News and Views [ May 2005 ]

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Tuesday, 31 May, 2005: The al-Qaida network is reportedly threatening terrorist attacks in Libya if it fails to release imprisoned followers, an Islamic Web site said Monday. The site, monitored in Beirut, carried a statement signed by Abu Baraa' al-Libi, presumed leader of al-Qaida in Libya. "We salute the struggling Libyan people and inform you that our Jihadist operations will begin soon against the tyrant's forces in the city of Darna," the statement said. It also threatened to "cut off the heads of atheists" and vowed "not to settle for less than the release of our leaders and followers held in Libyan prisons." The statement, which could not be authenticated, did not say how many al-Qaida followers were imprisoned in Libya. [UPI]
Tuesday, 31 May, 2005: News reports in Libya said that the Libyan authorities had postponed the release of detained Muslim Brothers members, due last Sunday. This, however, was due to reasons pertinent to special arrangements. The news reports said that al-Qadhafi Foundation will organize a large celebration in Tripoli on the occasion of releasing the 84 detainees and this will be attended by Arab and Islamic figures and human rights organizations. The official at the Libyan foreign media office Jum'a Balkheir said the reason behind the postponement was the coincidence of the event with important activities like the security conference for the "desert coast states", stressing that the release of the detainees decision is still valid. [Arabic News]
Tuesday, 31 May, 2005: France agreed officially Monday to cooperate with Libya for the use of nuclear energy for peaceful objectives, the Libyan News Agency, JANA, reported. It said the Libyan government was informed of France's decision in an official memorandum delivered by the French ambassador in Tripoli to Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam. France said it is keen on signing an agreement for mutual cooperation in the field of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, JANA said. Paris also emphasized its move came in appreciation of Libya's decision last year to cancel all its programs for developing weapons of mass destruction. [UPI]
Tuesday, 31 May, 2005: India is seeking more cooperation with Libya in hydrocarbon and energy sectors and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has deputed Minister of External Affairs, E Ahamed, to Tripoli for discussing means to enhance ties in this crucial sector through joint ventures and exploration contracts. Ahamed has held a seriers of meetings with the Libyan leaders on giving push to the bilateral cooperation. Two Indian firms ONGC and Oil India have already got contract for oil exploration in eastern Libya. [UNI]
Tuesday, 31 May, 2005: The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) led a high profile fourteen member delegation to Libya and Tunisia, two untapped emerging markets. The adoption of an open economic policy in Libya attracted the CCC to identify Libya as a potential market. Tea being the key player in both Libya and Tunisia, 80% of the delegation represented the tea sector. The others were interested in establishing contacts for spices, coconut products, rubber products, kitchenware, chemicals, cotton table linen and garments etc. [Daily News]
Tuesday, 31 May, 2005: Libyan leader Qadhafi has declared that the powers attributed to the UN Security Council should also be conferred on the General Assembly, which could then become the organisation's decision-making body. Speaking at a meeting with the UN secretary-general's special envoy, former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano, Colonel Qadhafi expressed the hope to see the Security Council becoming the enforcer of UN decisions. [Angop]
Tuesday, 31 May, 2005: Hypo Alpe-Adria bank of Austria is in trouble again. Not learning from their questionable activities in 2000 and 2003, which linked them to neo-fascist money transfers from Libya and the sponsorship of Croatian skier Ivica Kostelic a vocal sympathizer of Hitler's Germany, the financial institution faces renewed charges of unscrupulous business practices. This time the victim is Serbia. The controversy was sparked when Hypo Consultants board member Boris Ignjatovic announced his company"s intent to build on the famous "Three Tobacco Leaves" site in Belgrade despite widespread knowledge that the vacant lot is claimed by American suvivors of Nazi crimes and eligible for restitution once Serbian parliament passes a law on denationalization scheduled for June 2006. [PrWeb]

Monday, 30 May, 2005: The Swiss branch of Amnesty International has again called for a change of direction in asylum policy in Switzerland. At a meeting on Sunday, the human rights organisation criticised deportation procedures for failed asylum seekers and proposals to toughen the asylum law. In a statement, Amnesty said it knew of at least three cases since 2003 where people form Syria, Libya and Myanmar had been imprisoned after their applications to stay in Switzerland had been rejected. The 200 delegates at the conference in Rorschach called on the government and the Federal Migration Office to look into these cases. [SwissInfo]
Monday, 30 May, 2005: Libya's Prime Minister Dr. Shokri Ghanem, presented to the Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov a full description of the Libyan children's case, who were injected with HIV during their visits to Benghazi hospital to receive vaccination, Libyan television reported. The Prime Minister told President Parvanov that this case concerns all Libyans. He told him that Libya refuses any foreign pressure regarding this case. "The most important thing in the Bulgarian medics' case is the daily suffering of the children's families," Ghanem said. [FIA]
Monday, 30 May, 2005: One month after the St James Group embarked on its first overseas venture, investing close to Lm1 million in an outpatient and day case clinic in Tripoli, Libya, this operation is treating some 30 patients a day. Dr Josie Muscat, chairman of the St James Group, told The Sunday Times last week that the idea was first mooted by one of the St James senior nurses, who was running the eye clinic in Sliema three years ago. "We were receiving a slow but steady flow of Libyan patients seeking our services there," Dr Muscat said. [Times Of Malta]
Monday, 30 May, 2005: Libyan Ambassador to the Philippines Salem Adam will be attending a consultation called on by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Barangay Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, rebel officials said. MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu said Adam had confirmed his arrival to the MILF-organized "First Bangsamoro People General Assembly" on May 29 to 30. Kabalu said the Libyan envoy, as well as officials of other member states of the Organization of Islamic Countries, will be attending the consultation and his presence is expected to draw thousands of MILF sympathizers in Mindanao. [Sun-Star]

Sunday, 29 May, 2005: The Libyan national football squad couldn't overcome Malawi counterparts in their friendly on Friday on the 11th of June stadium where they drew 1-1. [LJBC]
Sunday, 29 May, 2005: After his visit to the children's hospital in Benghazi, where the Libyan children infected with AIDS undergo treatment, Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov has returned to Tripoli. Presently President Parvanov is talking with the five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death, Darik Radio has informed. The five Bulgarian nurses were sentenced to death in 2004 because they were accused of having infected over 400 Libyan children with the virus that causes AIDS by knowingly injecting them with tainted blood products. [SNA]

ALFA : For The Record (2)

Saturday, 28 May, 2005: Talks between Libya and Bulgaria on the fate of five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death for injecting hundreds of children with HIV could reach a breakthrough, Libya's foreign minister said on Friday. Tripoli's Supreme Court will rule on Tuesday on the case of the nurses and a Palestinian doctor sentenced to death for deliberately injecting more than 400 children with the HIV virus. Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov met with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi at the start of a two-day visit expected to focus on the medics and improving ties. More than 100 protestors, including families of the dead children, met Parvanov at Tripoli's airport holding up photos of the dead and posters with slogans "Death devils should be punished" and "Death to Kristiana" -- a reference to one of the condemned nurses. [Reuters]
Saturday, 28 May, 2005: British newspaper "The News Letter" launches a petition demanding an apology from Libya "for its support for the IRA during the Troubles". The paper says the initiative, being run in conjunction with the Families Acting for Innocent Relatives group, puts Colonel Qadhafi in the dock as "the man who supplied weapons for a campaign of genocide". Its editorial calls for Tony Blair's support in demanding compensation from Tripoli, but at the same time criticises him for bringing Libya in from the cold. [BBC]
Saturday, 28 May, 2005: Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov has gone to Libya in an attempt to save five nurses sentenced to death after a mass outbreak of Aids among children. He was officially invited by Libyan leader Qadhafi and is expected to discuss the fate of the medics. The five Bulgarians and one Palestinian doctor are on death row in Tripoli. Libya's supreme court is due to rule on their appeal on 31 May. The six, detained since 1999, claim they were tortured into confessing. Mr Parvanov is expected to meet the nurses during his two-day visit. [BBC]

Friday, 27 May, 2005: A French court convicted the youngest son of Libyan leader Qadhafi for striking his pregnant companion in a Paris hotel, handing him a four-month suspended prison sentence and fining him $628, the Paris prosecutor's office said Thursday. Hannibal Qadhafi was not in court for Monday's verdict, which found him guilty of assault and illegal possession of a pistol. On Feb. 1, 2005, Hannibal brandished an automatic pistol while at the Grand Hotel in Paris. His companion was hospitalized temporarily at the American Hospital west of Paris. [AP]
Friday, 27 May, 2005: Yang Hyong Sop, vice-president of the Presidium of the DPRK [North Korea] Supreme People's Assembly, met and conversed with Bashir Ramadan Khalifa Abu Janah, secretary of the People's Bureau of Libya to the DPRK, who paid a courtesy call on him. [KCNA]
Friday, 27 May, 2005: Syria says it is trying to keep terrorists from crossing into neighboring Iraq. Syria's UN ambassador Fayssal Mekdad said Thursday that his country has arrested more than 1,200 people who were trying to cross the border into Iraq in recent weeks. He told reporters that Syria suspects many of them wanted to join the insurgency and has sent them back to their home countries, including Saudi Arabia, Libya and Kuwait. [CRI]

Thursday, 26 May, 2005: The European Union's external relations commissioner met Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhdafi on Wednesday to try to secure the release of six foreign medical workers sentenced to death last year. Benita Ferrero-Waldner met Qadhafi in an ornate, book-lined office in a heavily guarded compound in Tripoli to press for the release of the medical workers as both the EU and Libya seek to improve long-frozen relations. Asked Qadhafi's reaction, she told Reuters: "He said that it is for the judiciary to take a decision and of course the Libyan population was very, very sensitive to this question." [Reuters]

RSF: Detained Bookseller And Cyber-Dissident Charged With Possession Of A Pistol

Human Rights Watch: Libya; Reforms Welcome, But Concerns Remain

"OPPOSITION'S POW-WOW: Enchilada + Smorgasbord!" By: Ghoma

Wednesday, 25 May, 2005: The first North Africa summit in more than a decade intended to forge closer ties was postponed by Libya on Tuesday to give time to calm a row over occupied-Western Sahara. The five-nation summit collapsed after Moroccan King Mohammed pulled out over comments on the desert territory, which Rabat seized after colonial power Spain pulled out in 1975. The AMU includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 25 May, 2005: A medical group today called for the immediate and unconditional release of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian physician sentenced to death in May last year after being found guilty of infecting hundreds of children with HIV in Benghazi, Libya. The US-based Physicians for Human Rights allege that the convictions of the medical team are unsafe. The courts found the team guilty of infecting at least 426 children, but nine Libyan police officers and a physician, accused of raping and torturing the medics to extract confessions, are currently on trial in Tripoli. Over the past few years, nearly 40 of the children have died of AIDS. [PE]

Tuesday, 24 May, 2005: Libya has taken important steps to improve its human rights record over the past year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said today, following its first-ever visit to the country. But serious problems remain, including the use of violence against detainees, restrictions on freedom of expression and association, and the incarceration of political prisoners. During HRW's three-week mission to Libya, the authorities provided access to a wide range of high-level officials, as well as police stations, an immigration detention center, five prisons and more than two dozen prisoners, who were interviewed in private. Government guides, however, escorted HRW researchers and controlled unauthorized contact with individuals. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 24 May, 2005: The first North African heads of state summit in over a decade aimed at settling differences and forging closer ties was on the brink of collapse on Monday after Morocco's king pulled out over a dispute over Western Sahara. "King Mohammed will not personally participate in the summit in the Libyan capital Tripoli as the sovereign had initially decided to do," the Moroccan Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Morocco reacted angrily to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's reiteration of Algeria's support at the weekend for the Polisario and their independence struggle in Western Sahara. [Reuters]

Monday, 23 May, 2005: The Libyan government said yesterday it was suing Amnesty International for ignoring Tripoli's demands to correct a report that criticised Libya's human rights record. London-based rights advocacy group Amnesty published the report on human rights abuses in Libya as leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi visited the European Union headquarters in Brussels last year. The report said Libya continued to jail, torture and execute political prisoners and urged to establish a "normal criminal law procedure". [Reuters]
Monday, 23 May, 2005: Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov will visit Libya later this week in an attempt to save five nurses accused of infecting children with Aids. He was officially invited by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and is expected to discuss the fate of the medics. The five Bulgarians and one Palestinian doctor are currently on death row, and Libya's supreme court is due to rule on their appeal on 31 May. But the six, detained since 1999, claim they were tortured into confessing. They were convicted by a Libyan court in 2004 of knowingly infecting more than 380 Libyan children with tainted blood as part of an experiment. [BBC]

Sunday, 22 May, 2005: Libyan Dinar [May 2005] : US $1.29900, Euro 1.63012, Pound Sterling 2.37379, Yen 83.25635, Swiss Franc 1.05336. Year : High 1.31998, Low 1.20550. [Forex]
Sunday, 22 May, 2005: Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, the founder of al-Qadhafi Foundation, and son of the Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has stressed the nearby release of prisoners of the Muslim Brothers groups in Libya in their being a political group which did not practice violence. Saif al-Islam told al-Jazeera TV that this step comes after the completion of legal measures and the commitment by the Muslim Brothers to work according to enforced laws. [Arabic News]
Sunday, 22 May, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's son said he had no plans to succeed his father as head of state and did not think the Libyan people would accept him anyway. Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi has played a behind-the-scenes role in Libya's reconciliation with the U.S., Britain, France and Germany, paying compensation for bomb attacks of the 1980s. But he yesterday told a seminar on Libya at the World Economic Forum in Jordan: "I don't think that the Libyan people are going to accept me as a leader because of my personality, which is sometimes very fast, very radical. Therefore I don't think that I am a popular figure in Libya." [Reuters]
Sunday, 22 May, 2005: It's a powerful network with analysts worldwide, and one notable mission is in Libya. Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6, appears to have found a home from home with his first business appointment as a "senior adviser" to the Monitor Group. Although the company is silent on what help the former intelligence chief provides, it was recently chosen by Libya to help to oversee economic reform. British intelligence was chosen by Col. Qadhafi as the go-between when he decided to surrender his country's nuclear programme. [The Independent]
Sunday, 22 May, 2005: Media experts, journalists, editors and column writers have held a meeting in Tripoli to discuss ways to improve the press in Libya. The participants agreed to set up a committee which mission is to prepare proposals to upgrade the Libyan media and press institutions through new structure, vision and horizons. The meeting is sponsored by Al-Qadhafi Foundation, and came after an initiative launched by [Qadhafi's son] Saif al-Islam in which he called for modernization of the media and the press in Libya. Saif al-Islam said Libya needs an outstanding information and press base to match the external media opening up. [LJBC]
Sunday, 22 May, 2005: Libya has confirmed its participation in the 32nd session of the foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) summit in San'a, Yemen, on June 28-30. Foreign Minister Abu-Bakr al-Qerbi received a relevant message from Libyan Foreign Minister Abdul-Rahman Shalgam. The letter was delivered by the Libyan acting ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Ali al-Rabet. [SAPA]
Sunday, 22 May, 2005: He arrived on the world scene with the mystique of Che Guevara; but in the 36 years since Col. Qadhafi seized control of Libya, he has been called everything from maverick and visionary to a terrorist and a madman. Yet Col. Qadhafi says he has now turned over a new leaf and he is now a pragmatist who has agreed to give up his nukes and chemical weapons in exchange for the warm embrace of the West. US President Bush has pointed to Libya as a model for reform for other rogue nations and weapons proliferators around the world, while others within his administration remain skeptical of this sudden transformation. Should a nation that has embraced terrorism as a tactic, be granted full diplomatic acceptance? [WBUR]

LCU: Re- The National Conference Of The Libyan Opposition

Saturday, 21 May, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's son said his country has no qualms about dealing with Israel because Libya considers itself more African than Arab. "Our position on Israel is clear," said Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Jordan. One of al-Qadhafi's eight children from two wives, Saif al-Islam, is representing Libya at the forum in his capacity as head of the Al-Qadhafi Foundation. "When Libya joined with the African nations, we left the Arab-Israeli conflict. When the Palestinians decided to negotiate, we can't be more Palestinian than the Palestinians," he said, implicitly hinting that Libya can deal with the Israelis if Palestinians do. "I have no problem dealing and speaking with Israelis. Darfur is more important for me now than Palestine," he said. [Al-Jazeera]
Saturday, 21 May, 2005: Scores of citizens and families of children who were affected by the AIDS virus organized on Thursday in Benghazi, Libya, an open food strike in protest of what they called the continues series of the country's silence towards the "AIDS massacre" which killed scores of children, in a step expected to greatly embarrass the Libyan authorities. The strike came three weeks after the meeting for the representatives of the families of the victims with government's officials and the secretariat of the general people's committee in which they demanded full support to them and ensure health care to their children. They warned that if their demands are not met, they will start food strike. [Arabic News]
Saturday, 21 May, 2005: The politically influential son of Libyan leader Qadhafi said on Friday that Libya would partly privatise five banks over the next six months and let foreign banks hold up to 50 percent. The move is part of Libyan efforts to liberalise a socialist economy as it re-enters the global economic and political mainstream following years of sanctions. Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi also said that foreign banks would soon be allowed to set up retail operations in Libya. [Reuters]
Saturday, 21 May, 2005: Ali Aujali, who could become the first Libyan ambassador to the United States in two decades, is sitting in a half-furnished office on the seventh floor of the Watergate Hotel. As Aujali looks out over the Potomac River, hoping the missing tables, desks and chairs will soon arrive, he is waiting for his government and the United States to work out several political issues that are stalling the establishment of full diplomatic relations -- the barrier keeping his office from blossoming into a full embassy. [UPI]
Saturday, 21 May, 2005: The son of Libyan leader Qadhafi said Libya will soon have an embassy in Washington and expected the US to reciprocate, adding the two had "excellent" intelligence cooperation. "By the end of this year we will have an embassy in Washinton and the United States will have an embassy in Libya," Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi told a conference on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in this Dead Sea resort. "We have an excellent intelligence cooperation," with the United States, he said without elaborating. On the other hand, he said "the Americans are willing to have military cooperation. We are not enthusiastic about this but we are still considering it." [AFP]
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Friday, 20 May, 2005: The United States has approved a plan to establish military relations with Libya. Officials said the Bush administration has agreed to a road map that would restore military relations and cooperation with Libya. They said this would include U.S. training of Libya's military and security forces as well as weapons exports. "The key would be the removal of Libya as a terrorist state," an official said. "Until that point, everything would remain on paper." Officials said U.S. European Command has been discussing the issue with Libyan military chiefs. They said European Command envisions a presence in Libya as well as a training program. [MENL]
Friday, 20 May, 2005: Although the United States still classifies Libya as a terrorism sponsor, the U.S. lobbyist for Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has for the past year quietly held a seat on the Energy Department's top advisory board, and the former energy secretary who appointed her now serves on the board of a major U.S. oil company seeking contracts in Libya. Former int'l policy adviser Randa Fahmy Hudome, whose contract with the Libyan leader calls for her to work to "strengthen Libya's interests," is still a member of the board, the highest-ranking in the department. [Reuters]
Friday, 20 May, 2005: The African Union (AU) said Thursday it will hold its annual summit in the Libyan port city of Surt on July 4-5. AU spokesman Adam Thiam told Xinhua that more than 40 leaders will attend the summit to debate a wide range of issues on the continent's agenda. He said the crisis in Sudan's western Darfur region will be at the heart of discussions of the two-day summit. The AU previously selected Khartoum for hosting the summit. [Xinhua]

Dr. Bugaigis, Dr. Jaballah And Mr. al-Thulthi: Recent Developments In "ALFA"

Thursday, 19 May, 2005: Israeli military intelligence has determined that three Arab countries serve as the chief suppliers of weapons to the Palestinian insurgency in the Gaza Strip. Military intelligence sources said Egypt, Libya and Yemen have become the leading suppliers of weapons to insurgency groups in the Gaza Strip, Middle East Newsline reported. [WT]
Thursday, 19 May, 2005: Libyan Ambassador to the Philippines Salem Adam will attend a consultation called by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front late this month, MILF spokesperson Eid Kabalu said. Kabalu said Adam had confirmed his arrival to the MILF's "First Bangsamoro People General Assembly" on May 29 to 30. Kabalu said officials of other member-states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) will also attend. [Minda News]

Wednesday, 18 May, 2005: A Tripoli court again on Tuesday postponed by a week the trial of nine Libyan policemen and a physician charged with torturing Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor to extract confessions. The defendants are charged with torturing the five nurses and doctor to make them confess they deliberately infected hundreds of Libyan children with the HIV virus that causes AIDS in a hospital in the eastern town of Benghazi. The case was postponed to May 24 to give the defence more time to prepare for the case, the court's judge said. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 18 May, 2005: African leaders who wrapped up Tuesday a seven-way mini-African summit on Darfur in the Libyan capital Tripoli have agreed to resume a fourth round of talks on the same issue on 1 June, the Egyptian Presidential Spokesman Suleiman Awad said Tuesday. President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, who is also the head of the current session of the African Union, urged that Egypt takes part in the Abuja negotiations, Awwad said. [MENA]
Wednesday, 18 May, 2005: As the extradition hearing of a Libyan national with alleged links to al-Qaeda was postponed again in Pretoria, South Africa, on Tuesday, fears were expressed for the life of Ibrahim Ali Abubakar Tantoush if he returned home. The case was postponed in the city's magistrate's court to May 26 as the magistrate was on leave. On that date, the defence intended to ask for the extradition application to be withdrawn, "or at least for the bail restrictions to be uplifted", his lawyer Omar Farouk Peer told reporters outside the courtroom. [News24]
Tuesday, 17 May, 2005: African leaders agreed on Monday to resume stalled Sudanese peace talks between warring parties by the end of May to end a conflict that has displaced more than 2 million people in Sudan's western Darfur region. "I think the most important thing of this meeting is the decision to resume Abuja peace talks," Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail told reporters after brief talks ended. "We have put in place a clearer roadmap to solve the problem in Darfur ... to reach comprehensive peace," he said in the Libyan capital Tripoli. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 17 May, 2005: At least 14 African migrants trying to reach Italy drowned when their boat sank off the coast of Libya, and three other passengers were missing, the Libyan Interior Ministry said. The boat had aboard 23 illegal migrants -- from North and Sub-Sahara Africa countries -- when it sank off An Noukat al Khams area, some 30 km west of Tripoli, a few hours after it left Libya for Italy on Sunday. A ministry statement said security forces had recovered 14 bodies, rescued six people and were still searching for three missing illegal migrants. [Reuters]

Monday, 16 May, 2005: The Secretariat of the General People's Committee has cut taxes of some of construction materials, in a bid to reduce their costs and boost the national economy. Production and Consumption taxes have been cut on Portland cement, flagstones, ceramics, paints, nails, pipes, electrical wires and water heaters. The new move will help in bringing down the cost of cement which is now ranging from 12 to 13,25 Libyan Dinars. [LJBC]
Monday, 16 May, 2005: Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov said on Sunday he plans to visit Libya to discuss the case of five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death over the infection of hundreds of Libyan children with HIV. "The sense of such a visit to Tripoli is to revive the dialogue between the two countries," Parvanov said in an interview with Nova Televizia. A Libyan court last year sentenced the nurses and a Palestinian doctor to death after convicting them of deliberately infecting 426 Libyan children with HIV. The medics, who have been imprisoned since 1999, said they were forced to confess under torture. Libya's Supreme court will rule on their appeal on May 31. Parvanov did not say exactly when he might visit Libya. [Reuters]
Monday, 16 May, 2005: Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa arrived in Libyan capital Tripoli on Sunday for a two-day official visit. President Mwanawasa will begin talks soon after his arrival with his Libyan counterpart Colonel Muammar Al-Qadhafi. The two leaders will discuss Libya's investment in Zambia's agricultural and tourism sectors and the import of oil from Libya. The two governments are currently negotiating for the lease of 10,000 hectares of land that the Libyan government has asked for to engage in agriculture. Libya also intends to build an ultra-modern hotel in Zambia's tourism capital Livingstone, best known for the Victoria Falls. [Xinhuanet]
Monday, 16 May, 2005: The Sudanese Foreign Minister, Mustafa Osman Ismail, has arrived in Libya to take part in Darfur summit, due to be held Monday. [LJBC]
Monday, 16 May, 2005: Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki left for Libya this morning upon an invitation extended to him by the Libyan leader Qadhafi to participate in the heads of state meeting for the discussion of the Sudanese peace matters in general and the Darfur situation in particular. The meeting that will commence in Tripoli on Monday will include the Libyan, Eritrean, Egyptian, the Sudanese, Chadian and Nigerian heads of state. [Sudan Tribune]
Monday, 16 May, 2005: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is to head for Libya Monday where he is to take part in the miniature African summit in the capital, Tripoli on the Darfur situation. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheir and Arab League Secretary General Amre Mousa are also to head to Tripoli this evening as well as foreign ministers of other participant states. The summit was initially planned to be held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, but the Libyan President requested to host it in Tripoli after coordination with Egypt and other participant states. [KUNA]

Sunday, 15 May, 2005: Libyan envoy, Said Eribi Hafiana said Friday that there is "a political will to reactivate the structures of the Arab Maghreb Union" (UMA), expressing his wish that the ongoing efforts in this respect be up to the aspirations of the region's people to unity and complementarity. Morocco recently said it is open to any initiative to hold the summit in the best conditions. Morocco and Libya, together with Algeria, Mauritania and Tunisia, are members of the Arab Maghreb Union, known by its French acronym UMA. []
Sunday, 15 May, 2005: Libya "is still suffering from mines and the remains of World War II raged on the Libyan soil, and mines planted during the wars and show downs witnessed by the region". Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi announced the launching of a national campaign to sweep and clear large part of Libya's land from mines," JANA reported yesterday. [Arabic News]
Sunday, 15 May, 2005: The Arab League said it hoped a mini-summit on Darfur that Libya is to host on Monday will contribute to the search for peace in the war-torn western region of Sudan. "I hope that the Libya summit will represent an important step on the way to achieving a solution to the situation in Darfur," said Hossam Zaki, spokesman for Arab. He added that he hoped a Darfur settlement would "reflect positively on Sudan's unity, security and sovereignty." [AFP]
Sunday, 15 May, 2005: [Libya's] World Islamic People's Leadership (WIPL) said in a statement that it has received several calls and cables from Islamic organizations demanding a serious stance on the desecration of the Holy Quran. News reports said that US guards desecrated the Holy Quran on order from the highest military command at Guantanamo. "We condemn such irresponsible attitude, that has no relation to combating terrorism, WIPL warns against the serious repercussions of such immoral acts, and against the fertile ground that it provides for growing the phenomena of extremism and violence..." The statement reads. WIPL has decided to dispatch bro. Louis Farrakhan, the Assistant Secretary of WIPL to Guantanamo detention to meet prisoners, and those responsible to clarify the background of the heinous practices, and ascertain whether they indeed took place. [LJBC]
Sunday, 15 May, 2005: Coordinator of the Egyptian-Libyan relations Ahmed Qadhaf el-Dumm said Libya will reclaim and cultivate wheat in about 300.000 feddans in Marsa Matrouh, Egypt, and a special company will be set up in Egypt to finance and supervise the project. The Libyan official's statements were made during his meeting with Governor of Marsa Matrouh Mohammed Shahhat. He added the new company will establish a factory to produce fodders for livestock. []

RSF: Still No Word Of Cyber-Dissident Al-Mansouri Five Months After His Arrest

Saturday, 14 May, 2005: Two men, one Libyan and another Lebanese, were arrested and charged with financing jihad through a charitable front group, the US Justice Department said. Emadeddin Muntasser, 40, of Braintree, Massachusetts, and Muhamed Mubayyid, 40, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, were accused of six counts of conspiracy and defrauding the government, prosecutors said in a statement. Muntasser is president of Care International based in Boston, Massachusetts and Mubayyid is treasurer. Between 1993 and 2003, Care collected 1.7 million tax-free dollars as a charitable organization. The men could face more than five years in prison if found guilty of some charges. In the 1990s, Muntasser was involved in running Al-Kifah Refugee Center in Boston, which was tied to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing according to the indictment, and Muntasser then went on to found Care. [AFP]
Saturday, 14 May, 2005: The South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) member countries adopted a statement of solidarity with the Bulgarian nurses on death row in Libya. The statement is part of the final document of a forum, which took place on May 10 in Bucharest. It urges for more active diplomatic efforts for the release of the five Bulgarian nurses. In May 2004, Libya found the five Bulgarian medics and a Palestinian doctor guilty of having caused the death of 40 children and of infecting almost 400 others with HIV at a Benghazi hospital. [SNA]
Saturday, 14 May, 2005: A Swiss engineer suspected of helping Libya obtain nuclear-weapons technology is to be extradited from Germany to Switzerland. Swiss prosecutors want to establish whether Urs Tinner breached the country's law on war materials by illegally exporting nuclear bomb-making equipment to Libya. Prosecutors in the German city of Cologne said on Friday that the 40-year-old Swiss would be handed over within the next few days. [SwissInfo]
Saturday, 14 May, 2005: In a message issued on a jihadist message board today, May 13, 2005, titled: "Mujahideen in Lybia Asking for Help," the author urges "the supporters of jihad" to support the brothers in Libya and describes recent confrontations between the mujahideen and Libyan security forces. In Darnah, Mohammad Taher al-Shairi, "one of the mujahideen," is cited in the message as having resisted arrest by "one of the devil's soldiers, Ramzy al-Mansouri," and subsequently murdered the officer "with a sword in his neck ...” before he was shot dead. Further, the message indicates that in al-Marj, west of Darnah, several confrontations between mujahideen and "the devil's dogs" allegedly resulted in injuries upon the latter. [SiteInstitute]

Friday, 13 May, 2005: Two rebel groups and local officials from Sudan's Darfur region vowed in an accord they signed in Libya to respect a shaky ceasefire in the region, five days before a summit in Tripoli, Libyan state media said. Jana news agency said that Sudan Liberation Movement and Justice and Equality Movement rebels and four local government officials from Darfur signed a truce and humanitarian aid agreement before Libyan leader Qadhafi in Tripoli. It was not clear if the local officials who signed it had any influence in the region. [Reuters]
Friday, 13 May, 2005: Patch International Inc. announced that it will be participating in the Second bidding round for the awards of certain Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement covering a number of key areas in Libya. David Stadnyk, Patch's CEO said: "Patch has undergone extensive efforts in laying the groundwork in Libya to move forward on securing a project. We are pleased that the Second bidding round is upon us and we look forward to submitting our proposal." Libyan oil accounts for 95% of the country’s exports. The country is looking to recover economically following the removal of the int'l sanctions. [PRNewswire]
Friday, 13 May, 2005: The coming summit of heads of state for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) in Kigali, Rwanda, will discuss and adopt a new roadmap for the establishment of a customs union in the region. The summit scheduled for June 2-3 will discuss the progress made by countries that have not joined the Free Trade Area. They will also discuss pending applications by countries that aspire to join COMESA. Informed sources said Libya has indicated interest to join COMESA. [Xinhuanet]
Friday, 13 May, 2005: Libya allocated 5000 hectares of land to build a new industrial city in Tajoura, 30 km to the east of Tripoli, Al-Fajr Al-Jadeed newspaper has reported. The new city, a joint venture with Germany's GTC and Al-Nahdha Center, will feature 12 thousand industrial sites, including residential areas and industrial and electronic compounds. [LJBC]
Friday, 13 May, 2005: Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie met with Sierra Leone President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah to urge that recommendations from a truth and reconciliation commission be swiftly implemented to heal the west African state after a decade of war. "I am impressed with the state of the people and their willingness to fight for their rights," Jolie told reporters. None of the recommendations have been heeded, including demands that Libya and Liberia pay reparations to the thousands of civilians who lost lives or limbs in Sierra Leone's ruinous conflict. [AFP]

Thursday, 12 May, 2005: An African summit next week focusing on Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region has been moved to Libya from Egypt, Libyan leader Qadhafi said on Wednesday. The summit of five African leaders, which has been postponed several times, had been due to take place on May 15 and 16 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. It was not immediately clear why the meeting of the leaders of Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Chad and Nigeria had been moved. In Cairo, an Egyptian official earlier said he believed it had been postponed again, without elaborating. [Reuters]
Thursday, 12 May, 2005: At least 217 migrants have been intercepted on their way to Italy and taken to the overcrowded holding centre on the island of Lampedusa. An official said the migrants had been spotted in a single, ill-equipped boat off the tiny island west of Sicily. The boat came from Libya, though it was not clear where the passengers had originally come from. [BBC]

The Libyan Patriotic Forces (Memorandom 123)

Wednesday, 11 May, 2005: A Libyan court again on Tuesday delayed by a week the trial of nine Libyan policemen and a physician charged with torturing Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor to extract confessions. The defendants are charged with torturing the nurses and doctor to make them confess they deliberately infected 426 children with the HIV virus that causes AIDS. The case was postponed to May 17 at the requests of the defence and the prosecution to be able to bring witnesses to the trial in Tripoli. One of the accused police officers, Juma Almishri, said he and his colleagues were innocent. All 10 accused are free pending the new hearing. "The Bulgarian medical reports regarding torture are incorrect because these reports were presented four years after the arrests," Almishri told Reuters outside the Tripoli court. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 11 May, 2005: Drug and human trafficking and the transfer of sentenced prisoners were among the topics discussed during high-level meetings between Malta and Libya yesterday. Justice and Home Affairs Minister Tonio Borg and Nassar El Mabrouk, Secretary of the Libyan People's Committee for Public Security - Libya's equivalent of a Home Affairs Minister - pledged to work together more closely in the fight against crime. Speaking during the first part of the meeting, which was open to the press, Dr Borg said the two sides hoped to facilitate the free movement of nationals through a better visa system. [Times Of Malta]
Wednesday, 11 May, 2005: The leaders of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), deadlocked for years mainly because of the Western Sahara conflict, will meet this month in Libya for their first gathering in 11 years, a senior Libyan official said on Tuesday. "I handed over today to (Tunisian) President Zine al Abidine Ben Ali a written message from Libya's leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi inviting him to attend the Arab Maghreb Union this month," Qadhafi's emissary Said Hefiana told reporters after meeting Ben Ali. Hefiana gave no details on the summit or its date. But a senior Maghreb diplomat said it was due on May 25-26, probably in Sirte. The North African grouping was set up in 1989 to create a free trade zone. But regional rivalries and the dispute between Algiers and Rabat over the Western Sahara have hindered its progress. The last summit was in 1994. AMU includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 11 May, 2005: Foreign residents in Libya should have authorized visa entry or they will be sent back to their countries. Libyan nationals, Public and private sectors have been informed to stick to the legislations aimed at organizing the residence of foreigners. The Ministry for Public Security said in a statement that all Libyan citizens should comply with the law that focuses on managing foreigners' residence in the country, and warned them not to employ any one unless he has a legal visa, valid passport and authorized health certificate. [LJBC]

Tuesday, 10 May, 2005: The mechanism by which Members of Parliament (MPs) are selected to represent their countries in the Pan African Parliament merits scrutiny. MPs from countries such as Uganda, to all intents a one-party state, surely lack credibility? Libyan MPs are even less representative, as Libya has no national assembly. Yet the parliament elected a Libyan as its vice-president for north Africa, endorsing an undemocratic government. [Business Day]

Monday, 9 May, 2005: Libya's state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC) said that the country exported 7,370,000 barrels of crude oil during the week between April 29 and May 5, Libya's official news agency JANA reported Friday. During the week, the price of the Libyan crude averaged around $47.67 per barrel. Libya is seeking massive investment to boost its energy sector, whose development was stunted under international sanctions imposed after a US airliner was downed by a bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, killing 270 people. After the diplomatic crises, American and European oil companies withdrew from the country and oil production gradually declined to a low of around 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd). It has now recovered to 1.7 million bpd, but that figure is still below the country's 1970 peak of 3.3 million bpd. [APD]
Monday, 9 May, 2005: Morocco and Libya are Italy's opponents in the upcoming Mditerranean games that will be held in Algeria and Spain, from June 24th to July 6th and that will involve three Continents. The draw of the team sports qualifying rounds was held this morning in Almeria. Italy debuts on June 23rd against Libya and on the 27th against Morocco. [FIGC]
Monday, 9 May, 2005: Arab and South American countries are to put their heads together to improve crop cultivation in drought-ridden regions, a key point on the agenda at the May 10-11 Arab-South American presidential summit in Brazil ... Brazilian diplomats say they hope negotiations will move forward during the summit on a proposed Libyan 450 million dollar investment in irrigation projects for northeastern Bahia state. [AFP]

Sunday, 8 May, 2005: Libyan Bank of Ummah has lunched a new prepaid card for fuel supply that aims to decrease the liquidity in money. The Executive Director of Prepaid System at Ummah bank said prepaid card holders can now use it in some petrol stations in Tripoli, and soon it will be circulated across Libya. He pointed out that prepaid cards will be used in the future for electricity and water supply. The new prepaid card, of LYD 15, has received an approval from its users and many people are queuing to buy it. [LJBC]
Sunday, 8 May, 2005: Seif al-Islam-headed charitable foundation, which is monitoring the trial against the Bulgarian nurses in Libya, announced the number of HIV-infected children, who died at the Benghazi hospital, has reached fifty. According to the statement of Qadhafi foundation, HIV-infected cases number 426 children and 19 mothers. A year ago Libya found the five Bulgarian medics and a Palestinian doctor guilty and they were sentenced to death, sparkling cries of foul from Bulgaria and its allies the United States and the European Union. [SNA]
Sunday, 8 May, 2005: Libyan authorities have arrested and handed over to Egypt the brother of the bomber who wounded seven people when he blew himself up with a nail bomb in Cairo about a week ago, an Egyptian newspaper reported. Al-Ahram, quoting a senior Egyptian security source, reported in Sunday's edition that Mohammed Yousri, the brother of the bomber, had been found hiding with an Egyptian who worked as a cook in a hotel in Libya, Egypt's western neighbor. "The Libyan authorities handed him over to Egypt," the semi-official newspaper said. [Reuters]
Sunday, 8 May, 2005: The first flight taking food from Libya directly into war-plagued Darfur in western Sudan took place Saturday as the U.N.'s food agency [WFP] launched a campaign to reach nearly 2 million people during the rainy season that starts late June. A UN cargo plane drops humanitarian aid packages on a prefixed site miles away from the western town of El-Geneina, close to the border with Chad. An Ilyushin-76 aircraft landed in the South Darfur state capital of Nyala from al-Kufra in southeast Libya carrying 30 metric tons of cereals. [AP]
Sunday, 8 May, 2005: A representative authorized by the Confederation of Chairpersons of Parliaments of EU Member-States will visit Libyan Leader Qadhafi with a demand for release of the Bulgarian medics held in Libya, said the deputy Chairman of the Bulgarian Parliament Asen Agov. Chairpersons of Parliaments of EU member states will develop all actions which can guarantee the release of the Bulgarian medics, he said. According to Agov, these actions are to be developed in a period of one year from now on. Information of Darik Radio. [SNA]

Saturday, 7 May, 2005: Travellers to neighbouring Libya will be relieved to know they no longer need to have their passport translated into Arabic. In a note verbale this week, Tripoli advised the Maltese government it had abolished the translation requirement whenever a person is travelling to the North African country. The procedure came into effect on April 18. Travellers to Libya normally would have had a two-day wait to take their travel document to the Passport Office to have their particulars translated into Arabic. The abolishment of the translation is seen as a further attempt by Libya to open up to the western world. [The Times Of Malta]
Saturday, 7 May, 2005: Libya, which holds Africa's biggest oil reserves, yesterday offered new oil and gas exploration licences in a further effort to lure international oil companies to help the country double oil output to 3m barrels a day by the end of the decade. Libya has invited bids for 44 blocks by June 4, with the winners to be announced on October 2. It follows the award of 15 exploration licences to foreign companies in January, of which 11 went to US companies. The issue of new licences in Libya represents the first significant opening to foreign oil companies in decades by a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. [FT]


Friday, 6 May, 2005: Libya is to set up a new free zone in the eastern part of the country. The People's Committee has passed a resolution to establish a free zone to be used for commercial and investment activities. The new free zone will be located at Imssaed city and it will be supervised by the People's Committee of Al-Butnan municipality. Libya has already established Misuratah Free Zone, which is managed by the General Authority for Free Zones. It occupies an area of 430 ha adjacent to Misuratah port. The area is located 207 km. east of Tripoli. [MenaReport]
Friday, 6 May, 2005: After many years when the entire population officially had jobs, Libya is now trying to tackle a growing unemployment problem, as it moves towards a more liberal economy. At night, Tripoli's Al-Rasheed Street is known as a hang-out for Libya's jobless citizens, some of whom try to sell anything for pocket-money. Heavily secured during the day, the area turns into a makeshift market in the evening. "I have a technical school diploma in computing and I have two files at the public workforce ministry with no results," said one former market trader. "I've wasted three years waiting for a job opportunity. I used to work in the fish market to try to make a living but the municipal guards removed us, saying we need a licence. As the world moves forward, we seem to be moving backwards," he added. [BBC]
Thursday, 5 May, 2005: Pakistani authorities have arrested an al-Qaeda leader from Libya, Abu al-Faraj (photo), in connection with the December 2003 attacks on President Pervez Musharraf, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said. Abu al-Faraj, also known as al-Libi or "the Libyan," was arrested a few days ago and is being interrogated by Pakistani security forces. The close associate of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is No. 3 in the organization, Agence France-Presse said, citing an unidentified U.S. official. Abu al-Faraj has been accused of masterminding a Dec. 25, 2003, suicide bomb attack on Musharraf's motorcade that killed 14 people in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad. He is also suspected in a Dec. 14, 2003, incident, in which Musharraf's motorcade escaped damage in a powerful explosion on a bridge in Rawalpindi. Musharraf wasn't hurt in either attack. [Bloomberg]

Wednesday, 4 May, 2005: Shell announced plans yesterday to invest up to $637m (£335m) in Libya, the biggest new investment since the country came in from the political cold. A landmark oil and gas agreement with Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's government will see up to $450m spent on potentially quadrupling the size of the Marsa al-Brega liquefied natural gas terminal. This could eventually lead to LNG being exported to Britain and is a tangible success for Tony Blair, who went to Libya 12 months ago to signal relations had thawed with the west. [The Guardian]
Wednesday, 4 May, 2005: There is still no press freedom in Libya where criticism of the "brother leader" is not tolerated. The country holds the unhappy distinction of holding a journalist in prison for a record 31 years. Abdullah al-Darrat has been in prison without charge or trial since 1973. Nothing is known either about his place of detention or his health. The media landscape has been atrophied by years of appalling repression and submission to government authority. Self-censorship is generalised and total. Foreign reporters who visit the country - when they manage to obtain one of the rare visas to be granted - are closely watched. [Reporters Without Borders]

Tuesday, 3 May, 2005: Faure Gnassingbe, the disputed winner of Togo's presidential elections, has received a red-carpet welcome in Tripoli and held talks with Libyan leader Qadhafi, state media and diplomats said on Monday. "The authorities gave him a lavish welcome when he arrived at Meitigha airport Sunday night. The official welcome ceremony had all the trappings of a presidential visit to Libya," a senior diplomat said. Thousands of people have fled Togo and scores have been killed in fighting which erupted after Gnassingbe, whose father ruled for four decades, was declared winner on Tuesday of a poll opponents say was fixed. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 3 May, 2005: The rotten health system in Libya is the main cause of the infection on the 426 children with HIV, reads an article in one of Turkey's most weighty social-political magazine Nokta. The article's author claims that the political authorities in Libya have accused innocent people to protect themselves against the society's reaction, referring to the Bulgarian nurses, sentenced to death in Tripoli for deliberately infecting Libyan children. The responsibility for the infection was first thrown to the secret services of Israel, but when it did not work out, Libya accused the Palestinian doctor and the Bulgarian medics, the author also writes. [SNA]

Monday, 2 May, 2005: The authorities in Libya have raised the prices of the fuels for mass consumption for the first time for many years now, a correspondent of AFP informed. The increase in the prices hasn’t been officially announced but the gas stations in Tripoli have already been selling by the new prices. The fuel prices have gone up by 30%. [FIA]
Monday, 2 May, 2005: Punj Lloyd (India), Joannou & Paraskevaides (Greece), Bonatti (Italy) , MAN (Germany),Petrojet (Egypt), submitted bids last week for the project to build the Zueitina gas pipeline, estimated at about US$75 million. The scope of works covers the the construction of a 42-inch-diameter, 215-kilometre-long steel pipeline. Libyan Zueitina Oil Company, will procure the pipe. [MESteel]
Monday, 2 May, 2005: A special Easter mass has been served by a Greek priest at the Tripoli Judeyda prison for the five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya. Bulgaria's Ambassador to Libya Zdravko Velev told the BNTV that doctor Zdravko Georgiev, who was acquitted by a Benghazi court last May, was allowed to visit his wife Kristyana and the other four nurses. The women talked on the diplomats' cell phones with their relatives in Bulgaria. [SNA]

Sunday, 1 May, 2005: Libya has secretly paid more than £68m compensation for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing to the insurers of the doomed Pan Am jet. The payment was made into a Scottish bank account last week. Minmar, which insured the fuselage of the aircraft, will receive £45m plus interest, while the remainder will go to the trustees of Pan Am, which went into bankruptcy in 1991. Until recently, lawyers for the Libyan government had contested the insurance claim in the Scottish courts despite a public admission of guilt by Colonel Qadhafi, the country’s leader. The payment follows a visit to Tripoli by Tony Blair in March last year, during which he is believed to have persuaded Qadhafi to settle the claim. [The Sunday Times]
Sunday, 1 May, 2005: Libya is looking to sell a significant stake in Tamoil, the state-owned oil refiner and gas station operator, according to a son of Mu'ammer al-Qadhafi, the north African country's long-time leader. Saadi al-Qadhafi, who represents Tamoil in Italy, told the Financial Times that he thought negotiations were in progress with "many Italian companies". [FT]
Sunday, 1 May, 2005: The Queen has unveiled a national memorial dedicated to police officers killed in the line of duty. The names of 1,600 officers who were murdered on duty, killed while carrying out an arrest or while performing acts of gallantry are included in the memorial. Film director Michael Winner lead a decade long campaign for a permanent tribute to their bravery after setting up the Police Memorial Trust following the shooting of Pc Yvonne Fletcher in 1984. Ms Fletcher was killed while on crowd control duty outside the Libyan Embassy during a demonstration near the building. [ITN]
Tibra Foundation: Tibra Awards 2005

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