No fuel from Egypt to Palestinians despite payments:
The Palestinian energy authority in Gaza said on Wednesday it had paid Egypt $2 million towards fuel for its crippled power station, but had yet to receive anything in return. Gaza is experiencing a major electricity crisis because of a shortage of fuel for its sole power plant. The plant, which supplies nearly a third of Gaza's electricity, has shut down three times in the past month and most Palestinians are receiving only six hours of power a day. The Palestinians have turned to Egypt for help, and recently agreed a deal which included a provision allowing them to immediately begin purchasing fuel from their Arab neighbour. But the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority (PENRA) said it had yet to receive any fuel, despite having made a downpayment. "$2 million was transferred to the Egyptian Petroleum Company as a downpayment for the fuel needed to operate the only power station in Gaza," PENRA said in a statement published on its website. "So far, nothing has been received by the station, which has not been operating [fully] for weeks, increasing the suffering of the Palestinian people," it said. PENRA hopes "the fuel enters as soon as possible so that station can resume operations". The plant stopped generating power on March 10, for the third time in four weeks, and was operating at sharply reduced capacity on Wednesday. On February 23, Hamas said it had reached a "comprehensive agreement" with Egypt to end the crisis.
Russia says it will keep selling weapons to Syria:
"Russia enjoys good and strong military technical cooperation with Syria, and we see no reason today to reconsider it," Antonov told reporters. Russia has shielded Syria, its last ally in the Arab world, from U.N. sanctions over the Assad regime's bloody suppression of an uprising against his government. Antonov said Russia's supply of weapons to Syria is in line with international law and will continue. "Russian-Syrian military cooperation is perfectly legitimate," he said. "The only thing that worries us today is the security of our citizens," Antonov said in a reference to Russian military personnel in Syria that are training the Syrians in the use of weapons supplied by Russia. He declined to say how many of them are currently stationed in Syria. "It's part of our contractual obligations," said Antonov, who oversees military technical cooperation with foreign countries. "When we supply weapons, we have to provide training."
British MP: ‘Iran regional superpower'
A British Conservative MP has admitted saber rattling and sanctions are "having no effect whatsoever" on Iran saying everyone should quit "yesterday's policies and recognize "Iran's status as a regional superpower." "The policy of saber rattling and sanctions has not worked. They are yesterday's policies. Iran is not going to be deterred from pursuing its nuclear program," said John Baron in an interview with Russia Today news channel. "I think we have to be realistic. The present policies have failed. The present policies are heightening tensions. What we want is now to pull back from any chances of military conflict and take a fresh look at the situation and adopt a fresh approach which I think should include an implicit recognition of Iran's status as a regional superpower," he added. Baron further stressed resorting to the option of military force against Iran over its peaceful nuclear program entails disaster stressing the responsibility for any conflict in the region would lie with the US, the Israeli regime and their allies, including Britain. "I think we all know that a military strike by Israel or anybody else would be a disaster for the region. It would ignite Iranian fury. It would not work," he said.
Afghanistan: Cover-up? ‘Several laughing drunk troops behind Afghan bloodbath, burn corpses':
Gruesome new details are surfacing after 16 Afghan villagers including nine children were shot in their houses by at least one US serviceman. Witnesses to the atrocity now say that several drunken American soldiers were involved. Neighbors at the village where the killings took place said they were awoken past midnight by crackling gunfire: "They were all drunk and shooting all over the place," Reuters cites Agha Lala, a villager in Kandahar's Panjwayi district. Lala's neighbor Haji Samad lost all of his 11 relatives in the rampage, including children and grandchildren. He claims Marines "poured chemicals over their dead bodies and burned them." Twenty-year-old Jan Agha says the gunfire "shook him out of bed." He was in the epicenter of the horrible shooting, witnessing his father shot as the latter peered out of a window to see what was going on."The Americans stayed in our house for a while. I was very scared," the young man told reporters.Lying on a floor, Agha says, he pretended to be dead. He added that his brother was shot in his head and chest. His sister was killed as well. "My mother was shot in her eye and her face. She was unrecognizable," he said.
Pakistan: US drones 'kill 15' in South Waziristan:
US drone strikes have killed 15 suspected militants in the volatile tribal areas of north-west Pakistan, say Pakistani officials. In one attack, missiles hit a vehicle in South Waziristan, near the Afghan border, killing eight people. Seven people died in a later attack close to the border between North and South Waziristan. Drones often target Pakistan's tribal areas, where many insurgents are active. Pakistan has previously complained that such attacks violate its sovereignty. Officials said two senior commanders of a prominent militant group in the area were killed in the first attack. The group's leader, Maulvi Nazir, opposes the presence of Western forces in the region, but does not order attacks on Pakistani government forces. The US does not normally comment on drone operations, which have killed hundreds of people in recent years, but in January President Barack Obama confirmed for the first time that the covert programme targets militants on Pakistani soil. Those killed by drones include senior al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, as well as an unknown number of other militants and civilians. The frequency of the attacks has increased since Mr Obama took office in 2008. More than 100 raids were reported in the area in 2010, and more than 60 took place last year.
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