Ahmadinejad Gives Orders to Begin Enriching Uranium
|Monday, February 8,2010 21:13|
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has given orders to his Atomic Energy Organization to go ahead with higher-grade enrichment of its uranium stockpile on its own. Ahmadinejad said the enrichment from 3.5 percent to 20 percent was in order to power a research nuclear reactor. The West suspects this is part of a process to clandestinely produce nuclear bombs and has been trying to entice Teheran to pursue nuclear energy by more controlled means, such as swapping its low-enriched uranium for higher-grade fuel from abroad.
Netanyahu’s Visit to Russia Expected to Focus on Blocking Iran
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and other leaders during an official visit next week to Moscow. This will be Netanyahu’s first official visit to Russia, though he secretly visited the country last September reportedly to push the Russians to support economic sanctions intended to block Iran from getting nuclear weapons and buying Russian arms. The same issues will be high on the two-day visit’s agenda, particularly the Russian decision to sell the sophisticated S-300 anti-aircraft missile system. Netanyahu’s visit comes on the heels of a visit to Moscow by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. Meshaal’s journey to Russia was reportedly aimed at seeking Russian help in mending the rift between the Islamist Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and its rival Fatah movement of the Palestinian Authority, which controls parts of the West Bank.
Egypt Cracks Down on Muslim Brotherhood, Arrests Key Leaders
Egyptian security forces have detained over a dozen members of the outlawed but highly popular Muslim Brotherhood, including three of its senior leaders. Reports from Egypt identified one of the detainees as Mahmoud Ezzat, the Brotherhood's newly elected deputy leader, and two other members of the group's guidance council. Egyptian officials said the men were arrested for “engaging in banned political activity.” The Muslim Brotherhood accuses President Hosni Mubarak’s government of a heightened crackdown ahead of the national elections scheduled for later this year. Egypt has steadily taken moves to squeeze the largest opposition group out of mainstream politics.
Israel Makes Unprecedented Decision to Ban Trade in Animal Fur
The government has approved a bill that bans trade in nearly all animal fur, but left a hole in the law allowing religious communities to wear fur, such as the traditional Shtreimel hat popular among ultra-Orthodox Jews. The bill extended a previous ban on dog and cat fur to include all animals except those used for food. The near sweeping ban is not expected to harm the Israeli fur market since fashion in this Mediterranean climate draws little demand. It is remarkable, however, since it makes Israel the only country to impose a near total ban on fur trade.