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[Transcript]  Mosaic News - 5/13/10: World News From The Middle East

Israel is disappointed over Russia-Hamas meeting‎

Al Jazeera, Qatar
Presenter, Male #1
Israel has criticized Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s meeting with Khaled Meshaal, the head of the Hamas political bureau in Damascus.

Presenter, Female #1
In addition, Israel strongly rejected calls by Medvedev and his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, for Hamas’ involvement in the peace process.

Presenter, Male #1
Hamas sources said that the Medvedev- Meshaal meeting constitutes an international recognition of the movement as an influential factor in the equation of the conflict.

Reporter, Male #2
From Turkey, the Russian president elected to launch his Mideast peace process agenda. Dmitry Medvedev called for the inclusion of all sides in the peace process, in reference to the Hamas movement.

Guest, Male #3 (Russian President Dmitry Medvedev)
In order to reach a settlement, all sides must be allowed to participate in the peace process. We shouldn’t exclude anyone.

Reporter, Male #2
Medvedev’s call was reiterated by his Turkish host, but in a clearer statement.

Guest, Male #4 (Turkish President Abdullah Gul)
We value Mitchell’s efforts in the Middle East. However, they are not enough. No one should be excluded from the peace process. Hamas won the elections so it can’t be ignored. We shouldn’t launch the peace process by excluding certain groups.

Reporter, Male #2
What’s notable is that the Russian president’s call comes one day after he visited the Syrian capital, Damascus. During the visit, Medvedev met behind closed door with Khaled Meshaal, the head of the Hamas political bureau. The meeting was also attended by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Despite the fact that Meshaal has visited Moscow three times, including his last visit in February, his meeting with the Russian president was unprecedented. Hamas sources said the meeting constitutes an international recognition of the movement as an influential factor in the equation of the conflict. A position that was not shared by the other side of the equation.This news comes after Israel criticized the Medvedev- Meshaal meeting In a statement issued by its Foreign Ministry, Israel expressed deep disappointment over the meeting. Israel also rejected Medvedev’s call for engaging Hamas in the peace process, reiterating its accusations of terrorism. However, it remains to be seen whether the latest developments in the region will bring about any tangible changes on the ground.

Israel FM: No agreement to East Jerusalem freeze

IBA, Israel
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says Israel has not agreed to freeze construction in East Jerusalem. Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo, Lieberman stressed that Jerusalem is a united city, open to all Jews, Christians and Muslims, and it will remain that way in the future. Lieberman also revealed that North Korean weapons found on a plane in Bangkok last December were bound for Hamas and Hezballah terror groups.

Iranian opposition criticizes government's executions

Al Arabiya TV, UAE
Presenter, Female #1
Iranian reformist leader Mir Hossein Moussavi criticized the policies of the Iranian government by describing both its internal and external fronts as “unreasonable and unbalanced”, saying that it increased the number of Iran’s enemies abroad. Moussavi believes that reconciling with the Iranian nation and yielding to the willpower of its people is the solution to Iran’s internal and external crises, and not a dinner hosted by New York for Security Council members, at the expense of Iran’s honor. During a meeting with some of the freed detainees, Moussavi said that the status quo in the region requires the government to close its Evin prison. He also called on the government to hold free elections to resolve the problems facing the nation and urged it to stop exporting its internal crisis to Israel and the world.

Reporter, Male #1
Following the condemnations issued by Mir Hossein Moussavi and his wife, reformist leader Mahdi Karroubi condemned the latest executions of five Iranian youth. Karroubi said that the executions were unfair and lacked legal justification. He added that he never thought that the day would come when the Islamic Republic, its foundation which he fought hard for, would carry such “ugly and inhumane acts in contradiction with Islamic and generally accepted principles.” Karroubi also condemned the latest remarks issued by Gholam-Hossein Elham, member of the Iranian Guardian Council, who was accused of rigging the presidential election. Elham said in statement that Moussavi has become an apostate warrior, and deserves the death penalty. In a related development, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jaafery, issued a warning to the reformists and those he referred to as “outside enemies” ahead of the first anniversary of the disputed elections. Jaffrey’s warning was ignored by reformist leaders who continued to fire back intensely. In a clear reference to Velayat-e faqih, known as the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists, and in reference to Ali Khamenei, former Iranian president, Mohammad Khatemi, said that if absolute power falls in the hands of a few people without accountability, it will lead to grave mistakes and corruption. Khatemi’s statement came during a meeting with members of Iran’s cities councils. He added that monitoring the ruler will protect him from deviating and abusing his power. Khatemi also called for the return to the constitution and the implementation of its articles. After being warned by the Revolutionary Guards to distant himself from the reformists, the head of the Iranian Expediency Council Hashemi Rafsanjani, met with young activists from the reformist blocs, including former detainees. Rafsanjani warned against the ongoing crackdown, saying the arrests of young activists will lead to the expansion of the circle of awareness and opposition among the general public. He said that victory, in the end, will be achieved by those who bear the burden of detention and hardship. Najah Mohammad Ali, al-Arabiya.

Iran rejects Kuwait spy cell claims

Al-Alam, Iran
Presenter, Male #1
It’s a case of “smoke without fire and noise without drums.” This is how most Kuwaitis are describing the dismantling of an alleged spy cell working for Iran in Kuwait. Is there a fifth or sixth column in Kuwait? Some Kuwaitis say “yes”, maybe in reference to the Chechens, al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, or al-Zarqawi groups in Iraq and Pakistan. The story continues to make headlines in Kuwait. We must be vigilant about such political propaganda in order to preserve unity. A poet once said:”The one who opens a door closes it and the one who sets a fire extinguishes it. “The Spy Cell in Kuwait is Fabrication,” is today’s title of our program, dubbed “Under the Ashes.” Let’s watch the following report.

Reporter, Female #1
The last episode of the so-called Iran spy cell story that surfaced in a Kuwaiti newspaper continues to unfold. Al-Qabas daily has claimed that a spy cell working on behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards has been dismantled in Kuwait. The news was widely condemned by the Kuwaiti public and officials. Senior Kuwaiti officials dismissed the claims and described the newspaper report as “media rhetoric aimed to stir tension and strain relations between Kuwait and its friends”. Meanwhile, Kuwaiti government spokesman and Communications Minister Mohammed al-Baseeri expressed regret over the way in which the media dealt with the espionage case, which is a national security issue according to him. Al-Baseeri further said that the case was built on inaccurate information attributed to high-ranking security officials. He also dismissed all the statements and remarks that have been attributed to officials. A Kuwaiti Interior Ministry source has dismissed reports that several suspects have been arrested by the ministries of interior and defense in connection with the so-called “Spy cell case.” The source added that his ministry has not issued any charges against any suspects in a case that is being described as the dismantling of a terrorist cell and the seizure of its documents. In addition, the source said that the notion of the spy cell started to surface after an alert was issued by Kuwait’s airport two weeks ago. Meanwhile, speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly, Jassem al-Khurafi, praised the relations between his country and Iran. Al-Khurafi declined to comment on the case but wished that his government would issue a statement soon. In Tehran, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that the allegations are unfounded and they aim to divert attention from the real threat in the region, namely the threat of the Zionist regime. Kuwaiti politicians believe that the case was fabricated for political gains by certain radical groups, whose affiliations and objectives are known.

Israel optimistic about indirect talks

Jordan TV, Jordan
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos has expressed hope of easing tension between Israel and neighbors Lebanon and Syria. Moratinos held talks with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in West Jerusalem before traveling to Ramallah in the occupied West Bank for talks with Palestinian leaders.

Torture still the norm in secret Iraqi prisons

Al-Rafidain, Iraq
Presenter, Male #1
Government forces continue their systematic arrests, the latest of which was of 19 allegedly wanted people in al-Qadiseya Province. Joint government and military forces arrested 15 people in Heet, in the province of al-Anbar, during a wide-ranging raid and search operation. According to a report by the occupation forces, government forces and the police, backed by air support from the occupation, conducted a wide-ranging raid and search operation in Heet that included homes and mosques in industrial areas, cemeteries, deserted areas, farms and even government institutions, and arrested 19 people. Meanwhile, government forces arrested four people in a joint security operation with the American occupation forces in eastern Mosul, the center of Ninawa Province.

Presenter, Female #2
New reports by human rights organizations and the families of prisoners indicate that most prisoners, who have been detained in secret prisons, were detained four years ago during the first five months of al-Maliki’s term.

Reporter, Male #2
The crimes committed by the government and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose term in office ended, are being exposed every day. These crimes were committed against innocent Iraqis who have been brutality treated by the occupation and al-Maliki’s government. According to new reports by human rights organizations and the families of the detainees most of the prisoners detained in secret government prisons were detained four years ago. This means that they were imprisoned during the first five months of al-Maliki’s term. The families of the detainees said that they held funeral processions for their sons who went missing, only to realize that they were kidnapped by militias in Baghdad four years ago. It turned out that they had been held in secret government prisons this entire time. According to legal experts, the detention of any person for any period of time without granting them their right to be tried in a court, torturing them, and denying them their human rights is considered to be a crime against humanity. These crimes are punishable offenses under Iraq’s constitution and international law. Political observes called for exerting efforts to have the violators punished in accordance with the law. These violators have destroyed Iraqi families and their social fabric by arresting fathers and sons without charging them of any crime. The government also failed to provide any information about the detained individuals for more than four years. Legal measures have been taken against the government after the American press and Human Rights Watch reported on the secret al-Muthana prison. Prisoners were tortured and threatened with their spouses being brought to al-Muthana secret prison. Nouri al-Maliki renovated these prisons after American forces discovered them; torture was taking place in al-Jazeriya, and al-Nesur Square, which belong to his predecessor Ibrahim al-Jafari. The scandal of al-Muthana prison confirmed reports by human rights organizations that indicated last year that 140,000 Iraqis were kidnapped and killed. They were killed during different periods of time, in different regions of Iraq, during the reign of al-Maliki. It seems that al-Maliki wanted to send a message to the Iraqis that whoever is not with him is against him.

Afghan opium production declines due to mystery disease

BBC Arabic, UK
Presenter, Male #1
The head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said a fungus which hit Afghan poppies may cause opium production to decline by 25%. Antonio Maria Costa said that the fungus has infected almost half of the poppies in Helmand and Kandahar in the southern part of the country where they are heavily planted.

Reporter, Male #2
More than 90 % of the world’s heroin comes from opium poppies planted in Afghanistan before getting smuggled to Europe and the United States. Opium is transformed in these countries to the potent drug of heroin. Without a doubt, opium poppies that are heavily planted in Afghanistan’s southern provinces are the main source of income for armed groups, which are concentrated in the south, especially the Taliban. However, opium production this year may decline by 25%. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime about half of the country’s opium crops have been infected. The UN office believes that the decline in opium production will translate into a decrease in the income of armed groups, some of which own large opium fields. Some Afghan farmers believe that NATO forces, which have been launching many armed operations against armed groups in the south, spread the fungus in the opium fields that cause poppy flowers to die. However, the UN said that NATO has no connection to the phenomenon, and demanded that the intentional community take advantage of this opportunity by compensating opium farmers for their financial loses as a way to convince them to stop growing opium.

Jordanian teenager launches online radio station

Dubai TV, UAE
Presenter, Male #1
14 year-old Yazen Kalalda started his own radio station in his small bedroom and called it Radio Kalalda. This private radio station, which can be heard online, airs Arab and Western songs. Yazen receives calls on his cellular phone from children his age requesting various songs. It is the success story of a child who has the ambition of being in the Guinness Book of World Records. Our correspondent Salwa al-Sawalqa reports from Amman.

Reporter, Female #2
With his youthful voice, Yazen talks to his audience through his online radio: Radio Kalalda. Yazen started this radio station as a way to stay in touch with his friends and share various songs with them. All of this is accomplished in his small room. He does not need any wires or control rooms. He only uses a computer, voice equipment, a microphone, and a cellular phone.

Guest, Male #1
I got the idea when I was chatting on the messenger with my friends. When we used to chat with one another, they would ask me to share songs with them. I did that through the messenger but then I started thinking about giving everyone an opportunity to listen to these songs, instead of just one person. I found a website that has a player with a code. I took the code and used it in a specific program and then I started airing songs.

Reporter, Female #2
Yazen talks about dozens of issues affecting his generation. He receives calls from people of all ages requesting songs.

Guest, Female #3
I’m calling from Amman; I would like to dedicate a song to my parents in Dubai. The name of the song is “Dubai Resident”.

Guest, Male #1
“Dubai Resident” for Fadi al-Mazruie.

Reporter, Female #2
Yazen hopes to have a real radio station with its own frequency.

Guest, Male #1
I hope to build a real radio with a signal. I also hope to enter the Guinness Book of World Records.

Reporter, Female #2
Yazen receives a great deal of encouragement at school from his teachers and classmates. Yazen is well-known and liked in his school, which makes him proud.

Guest, Male #1
He plays the songs that we request. This is really nice.

Reporter, Female #2
Yazen, who is still a child, started his own radio station. It is a success story for a child who wants to make a difference. Salwa Sawalqa, Dubai Television, Amman.

Kashmir summer capital among dirtiest cities in India

Press TV, Iran
The Indian-administered Kashmir may be known as the Switzerland of the East and paradise on earth but its summer capital, Srinagar is among the dirtiest cities in India, in fact, it’s the fourth dirtiest city. Although many in the region blame the government for not providing proper facilities, others say sanitation is a collective responsibility.