News and Views [ October 2005 ]

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Monday, 31 October, 2005: Tripoli repeated on Thursday its demands for compensation from Italy for its colonisation of Libya in 1911 and for the consequent practices of "annihilation, arbitrary arrest and detention, killing and mass expulsion" of the Libyan people. The demands came in a statement issued by the Libyan foreign ministry on the 94th anniversary of the biggest expulsion operation by the Italian invasion forces against the Libyan people during that time. The foreign ministry said the mass expulsion was "a question that directly affects the basic rights of Libyans and was a legacy of deep injury for generations of Libyans," adding that compensation would make for only a meagre fraction of the crimes committed by the Italians. [Khaleej Times]
Monday, 31 October, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi received Friday a delegation from the Sudan’s Eastern Front (EF) rebel movement headed by the EF’s president Musa Mohamed Ahmed, and EF’s Secretary General al-Mubarak salim. According to the official Libyan news agency JANA, the Sudanese delegation welcomed Qadhafi's initiative to bring peace and stability in eastern Sudan. Formed this year, the EF accuse the government of Sudan in Khartoum of marginalising eastern Sudan, the arena of sporadic fighting since 1994. [ST]
Monday, 31 October, 2005: Libya has pledged to support development efforts in Mindanao [The Philippines] and urged local Muslims to unite for peace. The Libyan Embassy hosted a Ramadan dinner for President Arroyo and officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), led by Governor Datu Ampatuan, and other diplomats Saturday. ARMM spokesman Samson Gogo said Libyan Ambassador Salem Adem has pledged not only to support efforts in developing the autonomous region, but to promote peace in Mindanao. [ABS-CBN]

Sunday, 30 October, 2005: Libya has decided to take part actively in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the quake-affected areas in Pakistan. This was announced by the son of Libyan president Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Saif al-Islam while visiting the affected areas of Balakot on Saturday. Saif al-Islam on the occasion laid the foundation of a Model Village at Shawal Najaf. He said that 100 homes would be constructed in this model village and all the cost will be paid by the Libya. Saif al-Islam has also distributed relief aid to the quake affectees. [INN]

Saturday, 29 October, 2005: The son of the Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi - Saif al-Islam, has admitted the guilt of the Libyan authorities for the AIDS epidemics that broke out in the children's hospital in Benghazi. Saif al-Islam also admitted that the five Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor, facing the death penalty after being found guilty of deliberately infecting with HIV/AIDS some 426 children in the Benghazi hospital, have been tortured. The news emerged from a publication in the UAE's newspaper Al Bayan, quoted by the BTA news agency. "I am an observer in that trial, which comes as a result of negligence and mistakes. The Libyan authorities were not aware of the conditions in the hospital where the disaster happened," Saif al-Islam, who chairs the Qadhafi foundation, was cited as saying. [SNA]

Friday, 28 October, 2005: Telephone service into Libya was switched off Thursday as the country observed the 94th anniversary of Italy's invasion. Anyone trying to dial into the country before 6 p.m. got a recorded message in Arabic and English saying: "International communications are interrupted until 6 p.m. to denounce the odious crimes committed by the Italians against the Libyan people." International air and sea links were also interrupted, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported. Libyan leader Qadhafi has repeatedly asked Italy for reparations, such as a $7.2 billion highway, the BBC said. Italy took Libya from the Ottoman empire in 1911, and occupied the country until World War II. Libya gained independence in 1951 after a period of French and British administration under a U.N. mandate. [UPI]
LLHR: Letter To British Prime Minister Tony Blair

Thursday, 27 October, 2005: Libya commemorated on Wednesday the 94th anniversary of the biggest deportation operation that history has ever withnessed, to which the Libyan people were exposed during the Italian occupation of Libya when thousands of Libyans were sent into exile, against their will, to remote and epidemic Italian islands in a very terrible and inhuman conditions where many of them died before reaching their exile destinations. [LJBC]
Thursday, 27 October, 2005: Britain's Biwater Construction Limited wins three contracts worth Euro 40 million for the turnkey design, supply, installation and commissioning, training of clients staff, and operation and maintenance (O&M) supervision of thirteen wastewater treatment plants in Libya. The Municipality of Green Mountain and the Public Works Authority of Shahat, Massa, Gernada-Faydiah contracted Biwater Construction to refurbish and expand the plants as part of the new National Infrastructure Development Programme. [Al-Bawaba]

Wednesday, 26 October, 2005: Beijing police detained 41 suspects, including five from Libya, for running underground banks that transferred millions of dollars in and out of China. Police seized more than $4.3 million in raids on three locations in eastern Beijing, Xinhua reported Tuesday. The police said many more foreigners, not necessarily from Libya, were involved. The suspects are accused of moving more than $120,000 in and out of China each day, much of it in money-laundering operations for corrupt officials or tax evaders. [UPI]
Wednesday, 26 October, 2005: As British Home Secretary Charles Clarke defends plans to deport radical Islamists, the UN's envoy on torture says we break our international obligations if we do. Mr Clarke said tonight it would be extraordinary if judges threw out memorandums of understanding made with countries to which he wants to deport terror suspects. The countries, so far Jordan and Libya, but with Algeria and Egypt in the pipeline, all have records of using torture. Meanwhile, Professor Manfred Nowak, the UN special rapporteur on torture has been telling Mr Clarke that Britian is in danger of breaching the UN Human rights convention. [Channel-4]
Wednesday, 26 October, 2005: The 25th Edition of the African Cup would kick off in Cairo, Egypt on January 20 with Egypt playing the opener against Libya. Also in Group A with the hosts are Morocco and Ivory Coast. Egypt, Cameroon and Ghana have all won the tournament four times. Defending champions Tunisia would face Zambia, S. Africa and Guinea in Group C. [Goal]
Wednesday, 26 October, 2005: There is something circulating in Washington these days that is far more contagious than avian flu: it's called regime change ... The idea has now ingrained itself among a certain segment of Washington's expatriate community. While dinning with a group of friends in a trendy and popular watering hole in Georgetown last week, regime change was the prominent item of the day ... There was the handsome young Libyan who is just as hopeful to bring about a change of regime in his native land. Unlike a number of American politicians who visited Libya in recent months, he is not buying into Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's sudden change of heart and mind for one minute. He knows better, having lived under the Libyan strongman's dictatorial whims, before escaping to a better life for himself in the United States. But the fact that he found his way to America does not mean he forgot about Libya. Quite the contrary, he too, devotes much time and energy in bringing Qadhafi's shortcomings -- and his impediment to democracy -- to the attention of the U.S. government and the U.S. media. [UPI]
ALFA: Letter To British Prime Minister Tony Blair

Tuesday, 25 October, 2005: A number of Libyan fundamentalists residing in Britain fear they will be deported to Tripoli following the memorandum of understanding that London and Tripoli concluded recently and which requires the British authorities to hand over to their Libyan counterparts persons suspected of having connections with terrorism under guarantees that they will not be ill treated. Libyan Ambassador in London Muhammad Al-Zaway has asked Britain to hand over to Libya members of the "Libyan Islamic Fighting Group" (LIFG) on the basis that they "pose a threat" to Britain's security. Libyan Islamist Numan Bin-Othman (photo) told Asharq al-Awsat that the number of LIFG leaders is nearly in the dozens and the British police arrested five of them at the beginning of this month in preparation for deporting them to Libya. [Asharq al-Awsat]
Tuesday, 25 October, 2005: A Libyan asylum-seeker, who has been living on a tree in Rabat, Morocco, for 10 months, claiming that he had fled from the oppression of the Libyan authorities, has been dismissed as a mental disorder patient by the Libyan Embassy, stating that the disorder had left him perplexed and in a confused state of mind. “We would like to inform all, that the details given by this citizen Omar Ali Abu Bakr (photo) are baseless. He has been suffering from a psychological disorder and his confused behaviour has left him noticeably perplexed and confused," a statement issued by the embassy said. The Libyan citizen had told Reuters that he had fled the oppression of the Libyan authorities, who regarded him as a dissident. He said he had chosen to live on a tree, near the UN Commission for Refugees and the US Embassy, to feel safe. [Khaleej Times]
Tuesday, 25 October, 2005: Libyan Islamist Numan Bin-Othman told Asharq al-Awsat that Libya gave London after the 9/11 attacks a list of the names of 25 "Libyan Islamic Fighting Group" (LIFG) elements residing in Britain. Bin-Othman, an expert in fundamentalist movements, expressed his conviction that the British authorities are serious about deporting LIFG elements and pointed out that the arrest of five of them was a message to the supporters of the Libyan jihadist tendency or the fundamentalist one in general that Scotland Yard police would not tolerate any activities considered tantamount to "backing or preparing for terrorism." The Libyan Islamist did not appear sure of the measures that Tony Blair's Government might resort to following its adoption of the new antiterrorism measures. Bin-Othman, the asylum seeker who has been living in Britain for 10 years, said the picture is vague and bleak, especially after the London bombings that created turmoil in British society. But he did say he was expecting British traditions to triumph in the end so that no one would be extradited to another country. [Asharq al-Awsat]
Tuesday, 25 October, 2005: A joint venture partner of Aberdeen Asset Management is in dealings with the Gaddafi regime in Libya, it has emerged. Executives at the Global Group in Malta told IPE that they are in regular contact with Qadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam with a view to developing commercial relationships. Independent bodies such as Amnesty International and Transparency International regard [Libya] as repressive and corrupt. It was recently classified as “not free” by US human rights group Freedom House. Aberdeen’s involvement would appear to contradict its own social policy, which declares that it supports the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “in all of its spheres of influence”. Next month it is planning a roundtable on Socially Responsible Investment. [IPE]
Tuesday, 25 October, 2005: Acting as financial advisers for Libya, the French bank BNP Paribas has begun contacting potential buyers of a large stake in the state-owned oil refiner and petrol station operator, Tamoil, the Financial Times reported on Monday. Most of the petrol stations for sale are in Italy, where Tamoil has approximately 10 percent of the market. One of Tamoil's oil refineries is also located in Italy. Other facilities for sale are in Germany, Switzerland and Spain, and the auction is likely to attract interest from a wide range of trade and financial buyers, in Tamoil, who will be asked to submit offers for either 60 or 100 percent. [AKI]

Monday, 24 October, 2005: The Lockerbie bomber should be allowed to return to Libya to serve the remainder of his sentence, according to the senior law officer who issued his arrest warrant. Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, the former lord advocate, has argued that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo) should be free to leave Scotland, where he is scheduled to serve the whole of his 27-year jail term. But victims' families last night argued such a transfer would stymie their campaign to find out the truth if the Libyan's conviction is overturned on appeal. "If he is transferred to any country, I would expect him to serve out the sentence that the Scottish court imposed," Lord Fraser said. [The Scotsman]

Sunday, 23 October, 2005: A Brighton law student detained at Guantanamo Bay is to have his case presented to authorities in Washington. Omar Deghayes, 36, has been imprisoned at the US military base in Cuba since his arrest in Pakistan in 2002. The American political counsellor in Europe has now promised to present a dossier on his case to the White House. Kyle Scott made the agreement in Brussels on Friday after meeting Green Party MEP, Caroline Lucas, and Mr Deghayes' brother Abubaker. Other campaigners fighting for the release of Mr Deghayes were also at the meeting. The group had travelled to Belgium to speak at the European Conference on Human Rights, lobby MEPs and visit the US Ambassador. Mr Deghayes was granted refugee status in the UK after fleeing Libya with his family in the 1980s when his father was assassinated. The Save Omar Campaign held a demonstration at last month's Labour Party conference in Brighton to highlight his case. [BBC]
Sunday, 23 October, 2005: Emirates has decided to increase its services to Libya. It has de-linked Tripoli from its Dubai-Malta-Tripoli-Dubai routing and instead is operating non-stop flights to Tripoli using a Boeing 777-200. Emirates is now flying from Dubai to Malta four times weekly via Larnaca, Cyprus. Passengers from Malta have the option to travel to Cyprus and/or onward to Dubai either on Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Sunday on the A330-200. From October 30 the airline will add two extra flights per week to the Libyan capital. Operating every Monday and Wednesday, the additional flights will boost Emirates' services to Tripoli to five flights per week. [Times Of Malta]

Saturday, 22 October, 2005: After last week's constitutional vote in Iraq, what's America's primary mission in Iraq? The same as it's been all along: to hunt down terrorists and insurgents, to eliminate Islamo-fascists, including both al-Qaeda forces and the Saddam Hussein loyalists who learned the wrong lesson when they were spared by American troops in 2003 ... America's secondary mission also remains unchanged: to support those in Iraq and elsewhere who, like us, value freedom so much they are willing to risk their lives for it. Prior to 9/11/01, Washington had no interest in Arab and Muslim freedom fighters. Most Europeans still could not care less. (And even this administration can be stingy with its support. For example, so long as Libyan dictator Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi appears to be playing ball on geo-strategic issues, no serious pressure is being applied for the release from prison of such [Libyan] dissidents as Fathi El-Jahmi (photo).) [Defend Democracy]
Saturday, 22 October, 2005: With the announcement of a controversial deportation deal this week, human rights groups charged that the British government is putting too much faith in the promises of Libya. On Monday, the British government said it had signed an agreement to send suspected Islamic extremists living in the UK back to their native Libya. As part of the arrangement, Home Secretary Charles Clarke said that Libya agreed not to torture or execute those extremists. However, groups such as Amnesty International charged that Libya still routinely mistreats political prisoners and that any understanding reached with Libya was worthless. Last night, Ashur Shamis (photo), a longtime Libyan dissident living in England, said he was shocked at the agreement, which he doubted the government of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi would honor. "It's difficult, if not impossible, to believe what they have to say," he said. "Their track record screams to the opposite." [CNSNews]
Saturday, 22 October, 2005: Human rights groups say British ministers are "dangerously misguided" if they expect Libya to respect a 'no torture, no death penalty' deal signed on Tuesday, which will allow terror suspects to be deported back to the north African country. Despite the newly signed agreement, the British Foreign Office's website continued to highlight concerns over the Libyan government's human rights record, mentioning in particular the "restrictions on political prisoners, arbitrary detention and conditions in Libyan prisons," the London-based Guardian newspaper reports. The memorandum of understanding between the two countries allows Britain to deport people to Libya if the Libyan government gives diplomatic assurances that they will not be subjected to torture. Unlike a similar deal signed with Jordan in August, it also explicitly states that the death penalty will not be used on deportees, but a monitoring body to assure that Libya keeps its assurances has yet to be set up. [AKI]
Saturday, 22 October, 2005: A consortium including Hellenic Petroleum, Woodside Energy and Repsol is expected to start drilling in Libyan oil deposits by the end of 2005, according to financial daily Naftemboriki. The press report said the consortium has been assigned to research and drill in two Libyan regions with an expected potential capacity of 400 mln barrels. According to brokers, the consortium needs to find oil reserves quickly rather than taking the risk of looking for large deposits in order to take advantage of current high oil price levels. [Forbes]

Is Iraq Becoming A Question, A Puzzle Or Just A Syndrome?  By : Ghoma

Friday, 21 October, 2005: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has ranked [Libya] as one of the countries with poorest press freedoms in the world in the Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2005 made public on Oct. 20. Nepal has been ranked [162] in the list of 167 countries, while North Korea has been ranked 167th in the global index. Denmark has been ranked as the country with the highest press freedom in the world. The countries with the poorest press freedom are: 158. Vietnam, 159. China, 160. Nepal, 161. Cuba, 162. Libya, 163. Burma,164. Iran, 165. Turkmenistan, 166. Eritrea, 167. North Korea. [ON]
Friday, 21 October, 2005: The Russian open joint-stock company, TVEL, has signed a contract with the Libyan research centre, Tajoura, for the delivery of low-enriched nuclear fuel (enriched by less than 20 percent) for an IRT-1 research reactor, a TVEL announcement quoted by Interfax says. The contract was signed by TVEL, the U.S. Department of Energy and Libya’s Renewable Energy and Water Desalination Research Centre. TVEL is to deliver fuel of this sort to Libya for the first time - previous deliveries of highly-enriched nuclear fuel were carried out by the Soviet Union, the announcement says. [MosNews]
Friday, 21 October, 2005: Host Egypt will play Libya at Cairo in the opening match of the 2006 African Cup in January. Only Angola and Togo of Africa's five World Cup qualifiers found themselves drawn in the same group on Thursday, and neither have won the African Cup. The two World Cup first-timers will play the last game of Group B. Ivory Coast, qualified for 2006 Germany, was in Group A with four-time winner Egypt, Morocco and Libya, which will make its first appearance in the tournament since it was the host in 1982. [AP]
Friday, 21 October, 2005: Bulgaria's President Georgi Parvanov made an apparent attempt to temper Tripoli's rejection of the appeal of US President Bush for the release of the five Bulgarian nurses facing the death penalty in Libya. There are also positive messages that we get from Libya, Parvanov said at the end of his visit to the US. He expects to see a revival in talks with Tripoli and real actions at the bilateral and multilateral levels. The US confirmed its unwavering stance that the Bulgarian medics should be set free during Parvanov's first meeting with President Bush. The next day Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam rejected the call by President Bush and hundreds of Libyans took on the streets of Tripoli to protest. [SNA]

Thursday, 20 October, 2005: Libya said on Wednesday it was "surprised" by charges of torture in its prisons, after Britain announced a deal with Tripoli to deport terror suspects based on assurances about their safety. "We are surprised by what Human Right Watch said. "Libya has nothing to hide and it makes every effort to respect human rights and combat torture," senior foreign ministry official Hassuna al-Shaush told reporters. "The authorities concerned have uncovered cases of abuse by certain individuals and taken steps to bring them to account and put them on trial. "We presented a report on torture to the UN human rights commission," Shaush said, adding that torture was a crime under Libya's laws and "nobody is above the law". [AFP]
Thursday, 20 October, 2005: Hundreds of Libyans demonstrated in Tripoli on Tuesday to protest against US President George W. Bush's call for freeing five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death for allegedly infecting 400 children with the AIDS virus, leaving 47 of them dead. Most of the demonstrators were relatives of child victims. They chanted slogans and marched to the UN office and the US liaison office in Tripoli. They also delivered a letter to the US liaison office, expressing their shock and anger over Bush's remarks. They also appealed to the international community to slam the Bush administration, which they said adopts dual standards on human rights and disregards children's rights of subsistence. In May 2004, a Libyan court sentenced five Bulgarian nurses anda Palestinian to death on charges they purposely injected HIV-contaminated blood into the Libyan children in an experiment to find a cure for AIDS. [Xinhuanet]
Thursday, 20 October, 2005: Mark Oaten MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, responding to the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Libya, which in principle allows the UK government to deport foreign terror suspects without fear of them being mistreated, said: "It is vital that we tackle terrorism head on, but this memorandum will only be truly worthwhile if the UN and Amnesty International can inspect what is actually happening on the ground. "If Amnesty has concerns about torture then they will know better than a Minister in Whitehall what is really going on, and we should listen to their concerns." [Liberal Democrat]
Thursday, 20 October, 2005: Libya has no bird flu, the Committee for the follow up of the situation of epidemic disease of bird-flu at the regional and international levels has confirmed. The committee said Libya is free of this epidemic and no case was recorded about this disease. Dr. Ikhrais Abulkasem, the Chairman of the committee said the spread of this disease in several countries of the world especially in the Mediterranean region requires taking urgent measures on our part to face any emergency situation related to the spread of this fatal disease. [LJBC]
Thursday, 20 October, 2005: Libya has formed a national commission to monitor the poultry fever at international and regional level. Formed by the deputy secretary of the People`s Committee, Dr Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi, the commission will work under the supervision of the inspector general of health, Habib Thamer. It will execute strategies adopted to fight the pandemic and take necessary measures to prevent and combat poultry fever. The commission, headed by Dr Khreis Belgasem Ahmed, will also provide drugs and vaccines against the disease. [Angop]

Human Rights Watch: U.K. : Torture a Risk in Libya Deportation Accord

Wednesday, 19 October, 2005: Libya has become the latest nation from Africa and the Middle East to sign a "memorandum of understanding" with Britain, promising that any terror suspects deported there will not suffer torture or execution. The memorandum was signed in Tripoli by Britain's Ambassador, Anthony Layden, and the Libyan Acting Secretary for European Affairs, Abdulati Ibrahim al-Obidi. It follows a similar agreement with Jordan earlier this year. Talks are said to be under way to reach another with Algeria. Libyan, Jordanian and Algerian nationals are among 22 foreigners currently in detention, pending deportation, after the Home Secretary said their presence in Britain was not conducive to the public good and national security. However, lawyers for those facing deportation have said that they will challenge the memoranda, arguing that the treatment of deportees cannot be properly monitored. [The Telegraph]
Wednesday, 19 October, 2005: Reacting to today’s news that the UK government has signed a ‘Memorandum of understanding’ with Libya over the treatment of people who may be deported from the UK to Libya, Amnesty International (AI) condemned the policy of striking such deals. AI-UK Director Kate Allen said: "Torture and suspicious deaths in custody are still being reported in Libya and it’s dangerously misguided to expect countries with a known record of torturing people to respect bits of paper promising not to torture. "The government has a duty to prevent any repeat of the London bombings outrage but going soft on torture is not the answer to terrorism. "The government should abandon this policy of trying to find a way around the int'l ban on torture and instead concentrate on condemning the torture of prisoners in places like Libya." Libya’s human rights record continues to be of serious concern to AI. [AI]

Libya Watch : Letter To British Secretary Of State...

Tuesday, 18 October, 2005: Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam has rejected a call by US President Bush for Tripoli to spare the lives of five Bulgarian nurses who were sentenced to death in May 2004. "This is a legal matter which cannot be influenced by any political decision," the minister told Al-Jazeera. In Washington, where he was meeting with Bulgarian President Parvanov, Bush had said: "The nurses ought to be freed. "There should be no confusion in the Libyan government's mind that those nurses ought to be, not only spared their life, but out of prison. "We will continue to make that message perfectly clear". [Al-Jazeera]
Tuesday, 18 October, 2005: President Bush is calling for the release of five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya. He spoke after talks with Bulgaria's president, Georgi Parvanov. Mr Parvanov came to Washington, in large part, to urge the US to put pressure on the Libyans to spare the nurses and set them free. The nurses were recruited to work in a Libyan hospital, where hundreds of children became infected with the AIDS virus. The Libyan Supreme Court is scheduled to hear their final appeal on Nov. 15. Mr Bush says America's position is clear. "The position of the US government is the nurses ought to be freed," he said. During a brief session with reporters, Mr. Bush stressed his stand is firm, and his views are well known in Tripoli. "Those nurses ought to not only be spared their lives, but out of prison," he added. [VOA]
Tuesday, 18 October, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have held a mini-summit in Libya on bilateral relations and Arab issues. Mubarak's unannounced visit lasted for a few hours, during which he held talks with Qadhafi "on the latest developments in the Middle East region, notably in Iraq, the Palestinian territories as well as the Lebanese and Syrian scenes," Mubarak's spokesman Suleiman Awwad said Monday. He said the two Arab leaders discussed bilateral relations as well as the situation on the African continent, especially in Sudan and its Darfur crisis. [UPI]
Tuesday, 18 October, 2005: A ship’s captain and another man were fined nearly Lm3,000 and given suspended three-month jail terms after cigarettes which were meant for export were unloaded and ended up on the local tobacco black market. In a statement, Malta Customs Department said this is a new way of smuggling contraband cigarettes. The cigarettes are loaded and then unloaded instead of being exported. The 16,000 cigarettes in question were loaded onto MV Asso Dieci, which was meant to leave Malta for Libya. [Times Of Malta]

Monday, 17 October, 2005: A Labour Party delegation, led by Dr Michael Falzon, the deputy leader for party affairs, yesterday left for Libya on an invitation by the Libyan government. The delegation, which includes foreign affairs and IT spokesman Leo Brincat, agriculture, fishing and rural affairs spokesman Noel Farrugia, and the party's international secretary Joe Mifsud, will be meeting Libyan officials to discuss matters of bilateral interest. [Times Of Malta]

Sunday, 16 October, 2005: A Benghazi court postponed for December 17 the hearing of the second civil indemnity claim, filed by families of infected Libyan children in the HIV trial against five Bulgarian nurses. The delay came upon the request of all sides in the case. Tripoli's Supreme Court, which was to confirm the death sentences of the Bulgarian convicts or call for a retrial on May 31, is to reconsider the death verdict on Nov. 15. On Oct. 2 the Southern court in Benghazi heard the claim brought by the family of a young Libyan HIV victim, who claim their child was killed by the Bulgarians. The relatives of the girl are demanding 15 million Libyan dinars. Last year 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]
Sunday, 16 October, 2005: The World Council of the Islamic Call based in Libya has approved a RM200,000 allocation to help the poor by organising breaking-of-fast functions throughout the Ramadan month in Malaysia. Its executive committee member in Malaysia, Datuk Mustapa Yaacob, said a total of 1,000 poor people in Rantau Panjang, Kelantan, had been selected to receive foodstuff. "Every selected participant will get basic necessities such as rice, sugar, cooking oil, dates, coffee powder and soy sauce," he told reporters. Similar aid was also given to Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. [Bernama]
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Saturday, 15 October, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi called for an international probe in the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat after unconfirmed reports said he was poisoned. The Libyan News Agency, JANA, quoted Qadhafi as saying "After results of analysis of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's death showed that he was poisoned, I call for the formation of an international investigation committee to uncover the criminals who killed him." Palestinian reports recently suggested that Arafat was poisoned. Arafat died at age 75 last Nov. 11 in a Paris hospital after a sudden deterioration in his health. [UPI]
Saturday, 15 October, 2005: The American state department officially appealed for the freedom of the 5 Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor in Libya sentenced to death on accusations of deliberately causing an AIDS outbreak. "We think that the people sentenced in Libya did not have a fair trial and are unjustly accused of this tragedy," U.S. state department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said. He added that both the U.S. and the European Union have insisted for the release of the nurses. The Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov is expected to bring up the question during his visit in the U.S. scheduled for Monday. [BNN]
Saturday, 15 October, 2005: Senior officials and diplomats in Bangkok denyng claims by a Thai military commander that Islamic insurgents received training in Libya. Defense Minister Thammarak Ayudhya told the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) Friday that there was no concrete evidence that any of the insurgents had been trained abroad. The Bangkok Post reported Thursday that deputy director of the Thai military's Internal Security Operations Command, Gen. Pallop Pinmanee, believed as many as 3,000 of the militants had received training at camps in Libya. But Pallop has since denied that he used the figure of 3,000, the BBC reported, saying instead that 20 or so of the insurgents had received Libyan training and had in turn trained another 300 elite fighters of the 3,000-strong insurgency. [UPI]
Saturday, 15 October, 2005: The temperature is rising fast, hurricanes have wiped out the US economy, and the OPEC countries are going bankrupt. Just when things look as if they cannot get any worse, disease strikes Libya's livestock. But then world leaders pull together a research fund for clean technologies in the developing world, prompting the US president (a woman, for once) to sigh and say: "We're really turning things around here". Sound like a news report from 2050? It's actually a scenario that emerged when six science reporters got together to play an eerily prescient board game called Keep Cool: Gambling with the Climate! The game's developers, at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, hope it will successfully communicate the risks of climate change. [Nature]
UNE Professor Ali Ahmida's New Book Rethinks ... Libyan History

Friday, 14 October, 2005: The U.S. military has sought to recruit Libya for a North African counter-insurgency program. U.S. European Command has been discussing the inclusion of Libya in the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative. The program was meant to include most of the nations in North Africa in an effort to prevent infiltration by Al Qaida-aligned groups. So far, the program, an expansion of the earlier Pan Sahel Initiative, includes Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. But Eucom has been discussing Libyan participation in the initiative. "The overall approach is straightforward: build indigenous capacity and facilitate cooperation among governments in the region that are willing partners in the struggle with Islamic extremism in the Sahel region," Eucom commander Gen. James Jones said. [MENL]
Friday, 14 October, 2005: Some of the insurgents blamed for a spiral of violence in southern Thailand were trained in Libya, a senior Thai defence official has claimed. General Pallop Pinmanee said the militants then used this training to teach many others in the south. But Thailand's defence minister said there was still no concrete evidence any insurgents had been trained abroad. He said Mr Pallop's comments were based on "information", not "intelligence information". The continuing unrest in Thailand's Muslim-majority south has led to the deaths of about 950 people since the beginning of 2004, and shows no signs of abating. [BBC]
Friday, 14 October, 2005: Libya announced Thursday the discovery of two oil fields in the south of the country with an estimated production capacity of 252 million barrels per year. The president of the Libyan Oil Institution Abdullah Badri said the two oil fields were discovered in the region of Merzek, 437 miles south of Tripoli. He said a coalition of Spanish, French and Norwegian oil companies discovered the two fields and will get 30 percent of the production while Libya will keep 70 percent. Badri said oil in the new fields is a high quality of light crude low in sulfur. He projected the production of both fields will be around 7,650 barrels per day. [UPI]
Friday, 14 October, 2005: Immigration police at [Bangladesh's] Zia Int'l Airport (ZIA) have barred eight Bangladeshi students having madrasa background from boarding Libya-bound flights. Intelligence sources said the eight students, who received scholarship from the Libyan government for higher studies, were brought down from two flights of Qatar Airlines "on suspicion" on Saturday and Tuesday. They are Akram Hossain, 21, Mahmudul Huq, 18, Jubair Hossain, 21, Zaber Al Mahmood, 25, Belayet Hossain, 19, Kamrul Islam, 18, Nurul Karim, 21, and Abdul Hafiz, 19. However, the consulate office of Libya discussed the matter with the high officials and the immigration authorities returned their passports yesterday. [The Daily Star]

Thursday, 13 October, 2005: The revival of anti-Italian celebrations in Libya in recent days, less than a year after an official promise to abolish them, has sparked anger in Rome. Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini said the decision by the Libyan government to reinstate a 'Day of Revenge' on October 7 was "unacceptable both from a moral and political point of view." The celebration marks the day when Italy invaded Libya in 1911 and the same day on which some 20,000 Italian residents were expelled in 1970, after their property had been confiscated. The expulsions came a year after Qadhafi came to power in a coup. Last year Libyan leader Qadhafi made a formal commitment to Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi to stop the Day of Revenge celebration. He also promised to allow Italians who were thrown out to return as tourists. [ANSA]
Thursday, 13 October, 2005: Relatives of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing will make their own representations to ensure the appeal of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of the atrocity, is able to go ahead. Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the 1988 bombing which killed 270 people, is to write to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) to request it pursues the investigation into whether a fresh appeal is required for Megrahi regardless of whether he is still in the country. The move follows the revelation in The Herald yesterday that secret talks are going on aimed at moving Megrahi from Scotland to a prison in Libya or a neighbouring north African country before the commission declares whether there should be a fresh appeal. A successful appeal by Megrahi would prove highly embarrassing for the Scottish judicial system, while moving him nearer home to a Muslim jail would satisfy Tripoli's demands after it offered compensation to families of the 270 Lockerbie victims. [The Herald]
Thursday, 13 October, 2005: A Libyan cargo plane carrying the second consignment of relief supplies to Pakistan, has left Maeitga airport on Wednesday. Sources at the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs said other consignments will be delivered in the coming days. The first Libyan aid arrived at Islamabad airport Tuesday morning with a plane uploaded with 40 tones of food. [LJBC]
Human Rights Watch: Libya: Retrial Of Political Prisoners A Step Forward

Wednesday, 12 October, 2005: The Libyan Supreme Court's reported decision on Sunday to retry 86 political prisoners is a hopeful sign of reform, Human Rights Watch said today. These Muslim Brotherhood members have served seven years in prison for nonviolent activities after being convicted by a now-closed tribunal that violated fair-trial standards under Libyan and international law. "While the Libyan government had promised us that the political prisoners would be released unconditionally, their retrial is still a welcome step," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa director. "The Libyan authorities should now provide a prompt and fair trial with international observers." [Reuters]
Wednesday, 12 October, 2005: Young Libyan rising singer Aiman Al A'atar (photo), who won the title of Arab Superstar 2004 on the popular show Superstar 2 on the Lebanese satellite channel Future, has arrived in Qatar to take part in the Sixth Annual Doha Music Festival. Aiman’s participation was very much criticized due to the fact that he is not considered to be qualified enough to sing alongside the big names taking part in the event. The General Manager of the festival stressed that Aiman is considered to be a talented and very promising singer, and the festival is honored to be the first place the young singer makes a public appearance. [Al-Bawaba]

NCLO: Appeal To The British Prime Minster

Tuesday, 11 October, 2005: Over the years, the world might have forgotten about the Green Book, but its author Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi 's (photo) faith in it has not diminished a bit. That's why he is now on a new mission to publicise the concepts therein through the launch of a new satellite channel. Qadhafi's idea is to hold seminars and forums on the thoughts and culture of the Green Book-that advocates a third political theory that is positioned between socialism and capitalism-and telecast them live. But, a pertinent question is, where have his ideas taken Libya to, or the media in the country to, in the last three and a half decades of his hold on power there? Libya under Qadhafi is often cited as a land where there is no freedom of expression and no freedom of press. The media in Libya is only the media that sings praise of Qadhafi. What people there have are only the state-controlled media, a reason why large numbers of Libyans are turning to Internet for news about their country. [Khaleej Times]
Tuesday, 11 October, 2005: British Home Office announced on Monday that it is to ban 15 international groups believed to be terrorist organizations. The 15 are on top of 25 international organizations already proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000, and a further 14 being already banned in Northern Ireland, the BBC reported. They include groups with links to Iraq, Uzbekistan, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Morocco. The British government is also planning to change the law so that it can ban groups which glorify terrorism. Under the Terrorism Act 2000, being a member of a proscribed organization can be punished by a ten-year prison term. Among the new list of groups to be banned are Islamic organizations Ansar Al Islam, Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain, Al Ittihad Al Islamia and Ansar Al Sunna. [Xinhuanet]
Tuesday, 11 October, 2005: ONGC Videsh Ltd and Oil India Ltd-Indian Oil Corp combine have won an oil block each in Libya. OVL, the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, won Block 81/1 in Ghadames basin while OIL-IOC combine bagged Block 102/4 in the Sirte basin, a government official said in New Delhi. OIL-IOC combine had won Block 86 in the same basin in January. "The Libyan government approved the award of 44 blocks in the second round last week. Indian firms managed to win two blocks," the official said. Libya offerd 44 blocks - 10 offshore blocks, eight each in Cyrenaica, Murzuq and Kufra basins, six in Sirte Basin and four in Ghadames Basin - in the second round for which bids were opened on October 2. [PTI]

A Sisyphean Destiny...?  By : Ghoma

Monday, 10 October, 2005: Dramatic new evidence of forensic errors could see the man accused of planting the Lockerbie bomb win a new appeal against his conviction, The Observer has learned. Lawyers acting on behalf of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo) are said to have uncovered anomalies suggesting vital evidence used to convict their client came from tests conducted months after the attack. Pan-Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, when about half a kilo of plastic explosive was detonated in a cargo hold, killing 270 people including. Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer and head of security for Libyan Arab Airlines, was convicted in January 2001 and sentenced to 27 years in jail after a three-year joint investigation by the Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary and the FBI. His co-accused, al-Amin Fhimah, was cleared. [The Observer]
Monday, 10 October, 2005: Benin's Goalkeeper Rachad Chitou scored a penalty in the 63rd minute Sunday, leading Benin over Libya 1-0 in an African World Cup qualifier. Both teams had no chance to advance to the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany. Angola, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo and Tunisia claimed the five African berths on Saturday. [SI]

Sunday, 9 October, 2005: Libya's supreme court has ruled that 85 Islamists convicted of belonging to militant groups, most of them serving life terms, should face a retrial, a judicial source told AFP. "The Libyan supreme court accepted that 85 out of 88 Islamists (convicted in 2002) should face a retrial," said the source. Two of the accused were sentenced to death by the Tripoli Popular Court, which was dissolved in 2004, 73 of them to life and the rest to lengthy prison terms. The Islamists, many of them students or university academics, were arrested in 1998 and accused of supporting or belonging to the Islamist group al-Jama al-Islamiya - Libya. [AFP]

Saturday, 8 October, 2005: Indonesia's state oil and gas firm Pertamina has won contracts to run two oil blocs in Libya, a company executive said Friday. Pertamina, which has lost several oil and gas projects at home to foreign rivals, won the tenders to manage the Sirt oil bloc with estimated oil reserve of 400 million barrels and the Sabrata offshore oil bloc that has reserves of around 690 million barrels, said Pertamina President Widya Purnama. "It's great that we won overseas tenders after we kept losing at home," he was quoted by the Detikcom online news service as saying. Pertamina will own a 55 percent stake of the two blocs while the host government will take the remaining 45 percent. The Libyan government has allowed 44 foreign companies to jointly explore oil fields with national companies after each paying 103 million US dollars. [Xinhua]
Saturday, 8 October, 2005: A shocking news article on conditions at an immigrant holding centre on a Sicilian island unleashed a political storm on Friday with the Italian opposition blasting the government over the allegations of immigrant abuse. The article in the weekly news magazine L'Espresso was written by journalist Fabrizio Gatti, who entered the immigration centre on Lampedusa by feigning to be an illegal immigrant. Journalists are not allowed to visit the centre. The Italian government denied the allegations of abuse. The European lawmakers also criticised Italy for its policy of airlifting illegal immigrants back to Libya. The deportations are being carried out with the agreement of Libya under secret bilateral accords aimed at combatting illegal immigration. The expulsions have triggered fierce protests from a number of international organisations including the UNHCR and Amnesty International. [ANSA]

Friday, 7 October, 2005: France's Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy called on Libyan leader Qadhafi to crack down on illegal immigration to Europe during a visit to Tripoli. Sarkozy, the latest Western official to visit Tripoli as Libya returns to the international fold after renouncing its WMD program last year, said Qadhafi "understands that control needs to be taken". Sarkozy offered France's help in training Libyan border guards and legal investigators to probe smuggling networks, some of which are suspected of collaborating with terror groups. [AFP]
Friday, 7 October, 2005: Human rights groups are calling on the UK Government to intervene in the hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay. At least six UK residents are among about 210 detainees at the US military base who are refusing food, says Amnesty Int'l and Reprieve. The detainees include Brighton law student Omar Deghayes, 36. He was granted refugee status in the UK after fleeing Libya with his family in the 1980s when his father was assassinated. Mr Deghayes has been held at Guantanamo Bay since being arrested while visiting Pakistan in 2002. [BBC]
Friday, 7 October, 2005: Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov has conferred on phone with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, the presidential administration said. He has informed him about the recently established civil association, including prominent Bulgarian artists, sportsmen, etc., who pledged to work for strengthening bilateral relations with Libya. [SNA]
Friday, 7 October, 2005: Russian oil company Tatneft won a bid Wednesday to explore and develop an oil deposit in Libya. Under the contract, which must be signed within 30 days, Tatneft will have access to a 2,000-square-kilometer deposit in the country's central region. Tatneft, Russia's sixth largest oil producer and No. 32 in the world, extracts 512,000 barrels per day from 77 deposits, including the Romashkinskoye oilfield, one of the world's largest. [RIA Novosti]
Letters: Thursday, 6 October, 2005

Thursday, 6 October, 2005: Libya may ask foreign companies such as Royal Dutch Shell to help revive and expand output at fields that are losing production after more than four decades of use. Prime Minister Shokri Ghanem in an interview in Tripoli said he would allow the companies to own the oil and book reserves that lie underground in so-called production-sharing agreements. Developing known reserves eliminates the risks associated with drilling in new areas. The proposal would be a first in Libya and differ from the policies of most other OPEC nations, which pay the oil companies a fee for similar services. [Bloomberg News]
Thursday, 6 October, 2005: A draft resolution, expected to be adopted Thursday by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, will call on the Libyan authorities to release the death-sentenced Bulgarian medics and a Palestinian doctor and secure a fair trial. The resolution recommends European countries to assign top priority to their bilateral relations with Libya. The document was prepared after Tony Lloyd, Rapporteur of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, presented a report on human rights violations in Libya and the inhuman treatment of Bulgarian medical staff. [SNA]
Thursday, 6 October, 2005: A prominent leader from the Sudanese ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has fiercely condemned attempts by the Libyan government to mediate the eastern Sudan rebels and government over the eastern problem. In a statement to the pro-NCP Sudanese Media Centre (SMC), Musa Hussein Dirar, a leader in the NCP, said Libya should concentrate on the Darfur issue, which is closer to its borders, and which it earlier sought to bring closer the views of the government and those of rebels. Libyan leader Qadhafi received on Monday [October 3] a delegation from al-Rashayda tribe in eastern Sudan. [ST]
Dr. Ali Ahmida : Memory Of A Genocide In Colonial Libya (1929-33)

Wednesday, 5 October, 2005: Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Ivaylo Kalfin has discussed the trial of five Bulgarian medics on a death row in Libya with Seif al-Islam, a son of the country's leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. The meeting with Saif al-Islam was held in Paris, the press centre of Bulgarian Foreign Ministry announced. These are the first face-to-face talks of the Bulgarian top diplomat with Qadhafi's son, whose same-name foundation has undertook steps for providing help to the five nurses in a Tripoli jail, since Kalfin stepped into office. [SNA]
Wednesday, 5 October, 2005: Imagine if you could capture and bottle the excitement of a Christmas season. Then, for a month, you opened it up and let it wash all over you. That's how Annie El-Amin feels about Ramadan, the holy month of Islam. El-Amin planned to awaken this morning at 4:45 a.m. She and her husband would eat, drink juice and read the Quran, the holy book of Islam. And then, before the sun rose at 7:12 a.m., they would pray. They will fast until the sun sets at 6:46 p.m. Fawzia Anaizi, who is from Libya, said in that country you can feel Ramadan in the streets. It's a feeling of celebration that she feels here only in Rochester's "wonderful" Islamic community and in her own home, she said. [Rochester Democrat and Chronicle]
Wednesday, 5 October, 2005: Eritrean President Isayas, today, held talks with Libyan government delegation led by head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Suleiman al-Shahabi. According to Radio Asmara, Afewerki and the Libyan delegation discussed peace and stability in Africa and the Horn of Africa in general and the Sudanese peace situation in particular. [ST]
Wednesday, 5 October, 2005: When the president of the world's superpower meets the prime minister of the European Union's smallest member, what do they talk about? "Terrorism," says Malta's Lawrence Gonzi after a 40-minute meeting with President George W. Bush, joined by Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, and Stephen Hadley, national security advisor ... Mr Gonzi said Libya was also a major topic, stressing that he wanted to encourage the US in opening up the country following Qadhafi's decision in Dec. 2003 to get rid of his WMDs. Malta is now trying to position itself as a "platform" for US energy companies breaking into the Libyan market. [FT]

Tuesday, 4 October, 2005: The holy Muslim month of Ramadan begins on Tuesday across much of the Middle East. In Cairo, Egypt's Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa told a press conference that an observatory committee had glimpsed the new crescent moon on Monday night. The others that also announced fasting will begin on Tuesday are: Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, the Palestinian territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Oman was an exception. Its Islamic clerics told Omanis to start fasting on Wednesday after they failed to sight the moon on Monday night. During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex from dawn to dusk. Bad thoughts and actions are also avoided. [AP]
Tuesday, 4 October, 2005: A man believed to be from Libya was among a group of five foreign nationals arrested yesterday and facing deportation accused of threatening national security. The Guardian has established that Britain and the Qadhafi regime have begun talks to reach an agreement which would allow Libyans deemed by the UK to be a terrorist threat to be returned there. Libya has been accused by Amnesty International of having a poor human rights record, including using torture and the death penalty, and Britain will not officially confirm that the talks are taking place. Friends of the Libyan man arrested yesterday say that he is an opponent of the Qadhafi regime and fears ill-treatment if deported to Libya. [The Guardian]
Tuesday, 4 October, 2005: Japanese firms won the lion's share of Libya's latest energy licensing round, fighting off stiff competition from global oil majors for acreage in the OPEC producer. Tarek Hassan-Beck, a top official at state-run National Oil Corp (NOC), told Reuters that high oil prices had helped lure foreign interest and Libya's energy sector would see "substantial investment." Libya also plans to hold a third oil and gas licence round in the first half of 2006 after racking up $103 million in bonuses from its second, post-sanctions round on Sunday. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 4 October, 2005: Energy group BG has confirmed plans to enter Libya after it was a big winner in the oil-rich nation's latest auction of exploration licences. BG was successful in three of its eight bids to drill for oil in Libya and will form a joint venture with Norwegian group Statoil for one of the projects. The Reading-based group - formed out of British Gas - was one of 120 foreign companies that submitted offers for the second round of bidding for oil and gas exploration and production contracts in the country. [PA]
Tuesday, 4 October, 2005: A promising oil discovery has been made on exploration block NC186 in the Libyan Murzuq Basin, some 800 kilometres south of Tripoli. Repsol YPF is operator of the, where Hydro holds an 8% ownership stake. The processing facility for the A and D discoveries on the NC186 field. The discovery was made in well I1 on exploration block NC186 in the Sahara Desert. The I1 well is the third commitment well of the second exploratory phase, which started in May 2003. Four discoveries have been made in this block already, with preliminary recoverable reserves estimated at more than 400 million barrels of light oil. [OilVoice]
Tuesday, 4 October, 2005: Uganda and Libya on Friday signed an agreement transferring 49% stake in the National Housing and Construction corporation (NHCC) to the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment company (LAFICO). Acting finance minister Mwesigwa Rukutana and Hamed El Houderi, the LAFICO general manager, signed for Uganda and the Libyan government respectively, at the finance ministry boardroom in Kampala. Libya has appointed LAFICO as its agent. The agreement finalised successful negotiations for a debt for equity swap between the two countries in which Libya agreed to cancel the interest and penalties on Uganda's debt amounting to US$88m (sh162.8b) of a US$184m (sh340.4b) debt. [New Vision]
Tuesday, 4 October, 2005: Libyan Tourism Minister Ammar Letayef met Sunday with visiting US investment agency officials on the possibilities of tourism co-operation, officials said in Tripoli. At the meeting, Letayef outlined investment opportunities in Libya, including archaeological and historical sites, noting that the country has 2,000-km long coasts on the Mediterranean, the sources said. Head of the US delegation, Ross Coonal, said his agency would urge American companies to invest in Libya`s tourism sector. The visitors also met with the Libyan Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Mohamed Siala. [Angop]
Tuesday, 4 October, 2005: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe announced a change in its policy towards Libya over the death-sentenced Bulgarian nurses. PACE has put it a lot of efforts for the release of the Bulgarian medics by engaging in quiet and parliamentary diplomacy, PACE president Rene Van Der Linden said at a press conference. He assured that the issue has been tabled for discussion during the PACE autumn session. The int'l community, not only the Council of Europe, but also other organizations like the European Union, must bring this drama to a positive end for the affected sides, Linden stressed. Tony Lloyd, Rapporteur of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, will present the report: "Serious human rights violations in Libya - inhuman treatment of Bulgarian medical staff" on October 6. [SNA]

Dr. Ali Ahmida's New Book : Forgotten Voices

Dr. Ali Ahmida : Memory Of A Genocide In Colonial Libya (1929-33)

Monday, 3 October, 2005: Libya awarded 44 oil exploration permits to predominantly Asian and European companies after a first batch was awarded earlier this year mainly to American firms. A total of 51 firms took part in bidding for rights to hunt for oil in Libya, which has Africa's largest oil reserves. Five Japanese companies, including Mitsubishi and Nippon Petroleum, received at least one permit each, followed by Italy's Eni Gas (four) and British Gas (three). French company Total received one permit and China's CNBC another. India Oil and Oil India also obtained a permit, alongside Norway's Statoil and Indonesia's Petromine. Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem told Agence France-Presse that he welcomed the 'large participation' in the tender, stressing that only one US company -- ExxonMobil -- had been awarded a permit thanks to 'more courageous offers' by other companies. European firms complained in January after Tripoli's first offer of exploration licences to foreigners for 40 years went mainly to US firms. [AFX]
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On Development: Megalopolises in the Desert?  By : Ghoma

Sunday, 2 October, 2005: Libya, the site of Africa's largest crude-oil reserves, has $30 billion deposited in a special fund that collects budget surpluses generated by high petroleum prices, the central bank said. The governor of the central bank, Ahmed Menesi, gave the figure at a political rally in the coastal town of Sirte last night, Libya's official news service JANA said today. The government set up the fund, called the "spared budget," in the 1990s with the idea of passing on part of the oil wealth to future generations. The central bank manages the fund, investing it internally and abroad in bonds and stocks and in the foreign currency markets, Prime Minister Shokri Ghanem told Bloomberg News in January. [Bloomberg]
Sunday, 2 October, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said Libya has $7 billion in surplus earnings as a result of rising oil prices since the beginning of the year. Speaking at public rally Friday night, Qadhafi said Libya earned $30 billion from oil sales between January and July, including $7 billion in surplus due to rocketing oil prices. He called on the Libyan people to invest the surplus money themselves without relying on foreign companies. 'Oil is not the possession of the rich in this country, but should benefit all people, including the poor,' Qadhafi said. He called on Libyans to cut down reliance on foreign labor and replace them with local workers. [UPI]
Sunday, 2 October, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said on Friday that Libya seeks "friendship" with the U.S. and that the time for confrontation with the superpower has passed, according to comments aired on official television. "We need friendship with the US. America equally needs us and its oil companies can now work in Libya. It's time for reciprocal interests and not confrontation," Qadhafi said at an official ceremony in Syrte. Last month, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice conferred with her Libyan counterpart, Abd al-Rahman Shalgam, in New York and said the two one-time foes were on a fast track towards better ties. [SAPA]

Saturday, 1 October, 2005: When Libya announced it was eliminating its WMDs, President Bush declared that nations that follow Tripoli's example will find "an open path" to good relations with the U.S. Yet, 21 months after Libya's dramatic announcement, the Bush administration has not yet put the Libyan model to the test. Libya is still on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism -- despite having met the criteria for removal. The U.S. and Libya still do not have full diplomatic relations. We took a step in the right direction on Sept. 17 when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with her Libyan counterpart, Abdel-Rahman Shalgam. Removing Libya from the list of state sponsors of terrorism is not only justifiable, it is overdue. [The Washington Times]
Saturday, 1 October, 2005: Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates will pay a brief official visit to Libya on Sunday aimed at improving relations between the two nations, his office said. "Normalizing relations with the country is a priority given its geographical proximity to Portugal and Libya's potential growth in various fields, above all in the energy sector, the development of infrastructures and tourism," it said in a statement. Socrates will be accompanied by Defence Minister Luis Amado, Economy Minister Manuel Pinho and Minister for Public Works Mario Lino. He is scheduled to meet with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and Prime Minister Shukri Ghanim. [AFP]
Saturday, 1 October, 2005: With little prospect of world crude prices falling much below current lofty levels, oil companies are expected to be out in full force in Libya's next oil and gas licensing round on Sunday, an increasingly rare opportunity for foreign oil companies to explore and produce oil from an OPEC member nation. "There are some good blocks on offer this round, and some bad. The question is whether you have deemed Libya as a market you want to enter or not," said attorney Reema Ali of Ali & Partners, a Washington-based law firm with offices in Tripoli and throughout the Middle East. "If it is, then you want to be in as early as possible and establish relationships and get to know things better than you would from the outside." [DowJones]
Saturday, 1 October, 2005: Nippon Oil, Inpex and several other Japanese firms are slated to participate in Sunday's closely watched bidding for oil and natural gas concessions in Libya. Those Japanese firms, which also include Japan Petroleum Exploration (JAPEX), Teikoku Oil, trader Mitsubishi and Mitsui Oil, an affiliate of trader Mitsui, are bound to face tough competition with a host of international oil majors in the bidding. According to British oil major BP PLC, Libya has crude oil reserves totaling 39.1 billion barrels, ranking ninth in the world. [Jiji Press]
Saturday, 1 October, 2005: Bulgaria has asked the World Health Organization (WHO) for help in securing the release of five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya after they were convicted of infecting children there with HIV. Bulgarian officials asked the U.N. agency in a letter to take an active role in negotiations to free the five women, Health Minister Radoslav Gaidarski said Friday. After meeting with the Gaidarski, WHO's regional director for Europe, Marc Danzon, pledged his personal assistance, but didn't specify what help he would offer. [AP]
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