A compilation of brief news reports for Monday, April 16, 2007.

Contents

  • 1 Benn criticises concept of ‘war on terror’
  • 2 Sadr ministers leave al-Maliki’s cabinet
  • 3 Undercover reporter finds corruption and drugs at private prison
  • 4 UK’s Department of Trade and Industry may be restructured
  • 5 Pipeline firms consolidate in Russia
  • 6 US still seeking missing ex-FBI agent in Iran

UK Secretary of State for International Development and deputy Labour leadership candidate Hilary Benn, has criticised US President George W. Bush’s ‘war on terror‘ concept in a speech given to the Center on International Cooperation, a US think tank.

Benn’s speech argued that the phrase ‘war on terror’ should be deprecated because it can’t be won by military means alone as well as indicating that the ‘war-on-terror’ concept may have actually assisted terrorist groups by giving them a sense of belonging.

Sources


Six ministers in radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr‘s Sadrist Movement have resigned from the Iraqi government, because Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did not push for a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country.

At a press conference, the head of Sadr’s parliamentary bloc Nassar Rubaie, read a statement from al-Sadr:”Considering the public interest, we found that it was necessary to issue an order to the ministers of the Sadr bloc to immediately withdraw from the Iraqi government,” The statement continued, “The six ministries shall be handed over to the government itself, hoping that this government would give these responsibilities to independent bodies who wish to serve the interests of the people and the country.”

Al-Maliki was happy the Sadrists respected the political process. The move could have threatened to topple his government, but so far the Sadrist Movement is still part of the ruling coalition.

Sources


Investigations undertaken by an undercover journalist, unearthed corruption, intimidation of staff, as well as exposing issues concerning availability of drugs within HMP Rye Hill prison in Warwickshire, a class B facility which is privately run. The investigative journalist finds staff living in fear of their lives and a massive black market in the prison which is run by GSL Group. The company countered that the undercover reporter, did not follow his training as a guard.

BBC‘s current affairs programme, Panorama, is scheduled to air an episode about the reporter’s findings.

Sources

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Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Alistair Darling said that some MPs have called for the scrapping of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). His statement came as a survey of 145 firms found that only 8% saw the DTI playing an important role. He has, however, said that DTI needed to continue for nuclear decommissioning.

A survey of British by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) found that British companies feel it more difficult to start and grow a business today than ten years ago. On a positive note, of the top 750 European companies, UK companies generated a third of total profits.

Sources


According to Russian officials, Transneft and Transnefteprodukt(TNP) are to merge. The merger will create a “single network of oil and oil products via the pipelines and protect the economic interests of the Russian Federation,” according to a Kremlin Statement. The move would give the companies concerned more power internationally, say analysts.

President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree, approving the merger. The Russian government would keep a 75% ownership stake in the combined firm. The merger of firms is to be complete in five months.

Sources


For the third time in a month, the United States has requested information about a missing former FBI agent believed to be in Iran. The State Department says Robert Levinson went missing while visiting Kish Island in March. He is retired and is said to have been there on his own business interests.

Iran’s previous responses have been to request more information about Levinson. Each time, the inquiries went through Swiss diplomats.

Related news

  • “Wikinews Shorts: April 3, 2007” — Wikinews, April 3, 2007

Sources