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Sunday
Feb272011

Exclusive: ABC's Amanpour Interviews Gadhafi's Son

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi, in an exclusive interview with ABC's This Week host Christiane Amanpour, insists Libya is calm, the military has not attacked any civilians and reports of Libyan diplomats abandoning their posts is simply 'miscommunication.'

There is a "big big gap between reality and the media reports" Gadhafi said. "The whole south is calm. The west is calm. The middle is calm. Even part of the east."

What will happen to him and his father – will they stay or go?

"Listen: nobody is leaving this country. We live here, we die here," he insisted. "This is our country. The Libyans are our people. And for myself, I believe I am doing the right thing."

Until civil unrest in Libya exploded over the last weeks, Gadhafi, the second oldest of Col. Moammar Gadhafi's children, had been seen as the western face of the regime. Educated at the London School of Economics, he promoted Libya's potential, telling The New York Times in February 2010 that Libya "can be the Dubai of North Africa."

But, a year later, his emphasis was a bit different. He sat down with Amanpour in central Tripoli to answer tough questions about the future of Libya.

"The President of the U.S. has called on your father to step down. How do you feel about that?" Amanpour asked.

"It's not an American business, that's number one," said Gadhafi, who was dressed casually as he spoke with Amanpour. “Second, do they think this is a solution? Of course not."

"He says if a person can only keep control by using force, then legitimacy is gone," Amanpour pressed.

"Right, but what happened? We didn't use force. Second, we still have people around us," he said.

Amanpour noted the extensive reports of attacks on civilians.

"Show me a single attack, show me a single bomb," he said. "The Libyan air force destroyed just the ammunition sites," Gadhafi said. "That's it."

"What do you make of your diplomats in Washington and New York who are resigning because they can't abide this policy?" Amanpour asked Gadhafi.

"I talked to him. You know, we are the victims of miscommunication," he said. "And they were under the influence of a strong media campaign, well-organized. So, you know, they are human beings at the end."

"But they've defected," Amanpour said.

"Not defected, none of them defect. They were so moved because they--"

Amanpour interrupted. "But they are calling on your father to step down," she said.

"C'mon, they are employees working for the government," Gadhafi said. "It's not their business."

Gadhafi emphasized that the most important issue for him was to correct what he saw as the falsehood that forces backed by his father had attacked civilians.

"The most important issue for us is show me a single evidence that the Libyan army or the Libyan government bombed civilians," he said, slicing the air with his index finger. "I challenge the whole international community to give me a single evidence."

Asked about the potential of international sanctions and the freezing of some of his family's assets, Ghadafi said, "First of all, we don't have money outside. We are a very modest family and everybody knows that. And we are laughing when they say you have money in Europe or Switzerland or something. C'mon, it's a joke."

And what about all those western-orient reforms he tried to implement?

"I worked very hard to implement many ideas, but things went wrong," he said.

"So now we are [in] a difficult situation," Gadhafi added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb272011

NATO Tankers, Coalition Supplies Torched in Pakistan

Photo Courtesy - USGS.gov(QUETTA, Pakistan) -- Two oil tankers delivering supplies to NATO troops in Afghanistan were attacked and set on fire Sunday in southwestern Pakistan.

Officials in Pakistan say unknown gunmen on motorcycles approached and burned the trucks, which were traveling near the area of Mangocher, about 250 miles east of Quetta.

The attackers instructed drivers and passengers to abandon the tankers before they were torched. Such NATO vehicles are often targets for insurgents looking to disrupt supply lines to coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb272011

Blasts Kill 8 at Kandahar Dogfight

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- At least eight civilians are dead after two bombs exploded during an illegal dogfight in the volatile Afghan province of Kandahar.

Five officers, who had arrived to break up the gathering, were also injured in the explosion.

Officials say villagers had gathered in the Arghandab district to watch the fight when two explosions tore through the crowd of spectators.

It is unclear whether civilians or security forces were the target of the attacks.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb272011

Journalists, Not Revolution at Sunday's 'Jasmine' Protests

Photo Courtesy - PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images(BEIJING) -- Western journalists were perhaps the largest part of a "jasmine revolution" protest Sunday afternoon in Beijing.

After an anonymous online group called for the protests in 23 cities across China, Western journalists congregated at the designated meeting point in Beijing: a McDonald's restaurant on Wangfujing.

Though the media seemed to account for much of those present, security forces were ready, setting up a makeshift checkpoint and trying to block access, but with limited success.

On the street, police hurried journalists and tourists along as "street sweepers" chased loiterers with brooms to keep them moving. At 2 p.m., the designated protest time, people were locked into the McDonald's and surrounding stores. Several news crews were also reportedly detained at a local police station.

The anonymous organizers criticize China's government as "fascist with a corrupt political system and degrading judicial system" where "officials and their offspring enjoy the monopoly of various resources." The group complains of sky-rocketing property prices, lack of opportunities for ordinary Chinese, a widening wealth gap and a lack of civil rights.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb272011

Tunisia's Interim Prime Minister Resigns Amid Protests

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TUNIS, Tunisia) -- The interim prime minister of Tunisia announced his resignation Sunday, as the revolution in that country continues and the world's attention is diverted to events in neighboring Libya.

Mohamed Ghannouchi's resignation follows protracted demonstrations against the transition government -- protests that have seen violence and burning across the country.

Ghannouchi’s decision to step aside highlights the challenges facing every country in the Arab world currently undergoing revolution. The demonstrations across the region were fueled by earlier protests in Tunisia, a country where a framework for the future has yet to be established.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb272011

Libyan Rebels Appoint New Leader, Pressure Mounts for Gadhafi

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Opponents of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi announced they have appointed a new provisional leader. Meanwhile, patience and sympathy for the country's leader seems to have quickly run out - even among his closest aides.

According to reports, even Gadhafi's nurse plans to leave him. Galyna Kolotnytska, a Ukrainian woman who is said to travel with the embattled leader, told family in Kiev she planned to return home.

Both the U.S. and the U.K. have also run out of patience with Gadhafi.

Foreign Secretary William Hague has said that diplomatic immunity for the leader has run out in Britain, and that it was time for him to step down. On Saturday, President Obama told Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel that he also believed it was time for the long-time leader to leave.

The United Nations has also stepped in, with the security council coming to a "broad agreement" on a travel ban and asset freezes for Gadhafi, his family and top associates, along with an arms embargo.

As pressure against Gadhafi mounts, rebels in eastern Libya have appointed Mustafa Abdel-Jalil to head a provisional government. The ex-justice minister has been a key voice against the leader's brutal crackdown on protesters.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb262011

New Zealand Earthquake: Death Toll Reaches 145

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- The death toll continues to rise in New Zealand, as search and rescue operations continue following the Christchurch earthquake.

The death toll stood at 145 on Saturday, and more than 200 people were still reported missing as emergency crews continued to sift through rubble armed with flashlights and other equipment. The last survivor of Tuesday’s 6.3 magnitude earthquake was found on Wednesday, and the lull in rescues seems to be accompanied by dwindling hope that those still missing will be found alive. Nationals from more than 20 countries are reported to be among the missing.
 
One site feared to be a mass burial ground is the crumbled CTV building, where authorities fear up to 120 people are dead. On Saturday, crews worked to stabilize the area around the Hotel Grand Chancellor to begin searching the for victims. Officials say a third of the buildings in central Christchurch may have to be demolished due to damage sustained by the earthquake, which New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said “may be New Zealand's single most tragic event.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb262011

Egyptian Military Uses Force Against Protesters

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) -- What began as a peaceful protest in Tahrir Square late Friday – two weeks after Hosni Mubarak ended his 30-year reign as Egypt’s president – turned into a standoff between the military and the people.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered, vowing to continue the revolution. Soldiers and plainclothes security officers moved in – beating protesters and firing in the air to break up the demonstration – and they succeeded in forcing them to leave.

The military, until now, has tolerated gatherings and sit-ins, but it appears the military’s patience may be running out. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said that "what happened late Friday was the result of unintentional confrontations between the military police and the youth of the revolution."  It stressed that it "did not and will not issue orders to attack the youth, and all measures will be taken to ensure this will not happen again."

The protesters are due to meet again next Friday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb262011

China Blocks Name of Outgoing US Ambassador in Web Searches

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SHANGHAI) -- The Obama administration is publicly criticizing China for blocking the name of outgoing U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman on web searches.

"It is remarkable that even before our colleague Ambassador #JonHuntsman departs #Beijing, #China has made him disappear on the #Internet," U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley tweeted Saturday morning.

It has been widely speculated that the former Utah governor is preparing a possible run for the presidency in 2012.

At a press conference in January, President Obama was asked about what were then rumors of Huntsman's departure from the administration.

"I couldn’t be happier with the ambassador’s service, and I’m sure he will be very successful in whatever endeavors he chooses in the future," the president said.

With a mischievous smile, the president added, "And I’m sure that him having worked so well with me will be a great asset in any Republican primary."

Huntsman's resignation is set to take effect in April.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb262011

Obama Calls on Libya's Gadhafi to Leave

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The pressure on Moammar Gadhafi keeps mounting. During a Saturday call to update the Chancellor of Germany on the situation in Libya, President Obama suggested that it’s time for the long-time leader to leave.

According to the White House, the president told Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel that "when a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now."

This the strongest language the administration has used in addressing the situation in Libya which has turned extremely violent. Witnesses on the ground say they’ve seen snipers and antiaircraft guns fired at unarmed civilians.

In a statement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the ongoing violence, saying it violates international norms and every standard of common decency. She also said the violence against the civilians must stop.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio