(click the headlines for the story links)
NORTH KOREA SAYS UN SANCTIONS WILL BE TAKEN TO BE "AN ACT OF WAR"
Even before the UN Security Council imposed sanctions against North Korea have been truly acted upon, North Korea is warning that cutting off military, nuclear, financial and "luxury goods" supplies are being viewed by the Stalinist regime of Kim Jong-Il as something of a war declaration.
China and Russia have already backed off imposing the true scope of the sanctions, and are casually warning the US, in particular, not to apply further pressure over the issue.
China Warns Against "Wilfully Expanding" Sanctions Against North Korea
US & Japan Build Up Naval Blockade Of North Korea Under Cover Of "Exercise"
US Promises 'Nuclear Umbrella' For South Korea
China And United States Want Different Things From North Korea
NINE PARADOXES OF THE LOST WAR IN IRAQ
An Asia Times report chewing over the counter-insurgency options available to the US in Iraq, and the pros and cons for each. Interesting reading :
Suggestions are rife for dumping (President Bush's) goal of "democracy" in Iraq and swallowing a little of the hard stuff. Reports indicate that in two desperate capitals, Washington and Baghdad, rumors about possible future Iraqi coups are spinning wildly. People of import are evidently talking about the possibility of a new five-man "ruling commission", a "government of national salvation" that would "suspend parliament, declare martial law and call back some officers of the old Iraqi army". Even the name of that Central Intelligence Agency warhorse (and anti-neo-conservative candidate) Iyad Allawi, who couldn't get his party elected dogcatcher in the new Iraq, is coming up again in the context of the need for a "strongman".Young Shiite Militia Men Splitting Into Heavily Radicalised "Cells"
UK Forces To Be Out Of Iraq By End Of 2007, Blair Tells House Of Commons
RICE SAYS UNITED STATES READY TO USE "ITS FULL MILITARY MIGHT" TO DEFEND JAPAN
There are very real fears in Washington that Japan and Taiwan will use the threat of a nuclear-armed North Korea to push forward on nuclear weapons programs of their own. Japan has assured Washington it doesn't want nukes, Taiwan has said little. But what worries Washington the most is how China will respond if these two countries pursue nuclear weapons.
Ms. Rice's reference to U.S. willingness to honor the "full range" of the nation's security commitments was meant as a signal to allies that the United States does not want to see them embarking on a new nuclear arms race to protect themselves. It was also likely to be taken as a reminder to North Korea that, should it use nuclear weapons on a neighbor, the U.S. has powerful forces of its own - including nuclear - and is pledged to defend its friends in the region.TAMIL TIGERS LAUNCH SUICIDE BOMBING ATTACKS NEAR SRI LANKAN TOURIST DISTRICT
Tamil Tiger rebels posing as fishermen blew up two of their boats today in the first suicide attack to target an area of Sri Lanka's southern coast popular with tourists.
Sir Lanka's government said at least one sailor had been killed, another two were missing and at least 14 civilians and 12 sailors were wounded.A violent backlash by the majority Sinhalese against Tamil civilians could strengthen the Tigers' claim that the Tamil people can live in peace only if they achieve a separate homeland.
On Monday, a rebel suicide bomber rammed a truck filled with explosives into a military bus convoy in central Sri Lanka, killing at least 95 sailors and wounding more than 150 others in the deadliest insurgent attack since a 2002 ceasefire temporarily halted the country's civil war.
Last Wednesday, fierce battles on the besieged northern Jaffna peninsula killed at least 129 soldiers and more than 200 rebels, and left hundreds of others wounded.
The Tamil Tigers have been fighting since 1983 for a separate homeland for the Tamil minority in the north and east, citing decades of discrimination by the Sinhalese.
Prior to the 2002 ceasefire, some 65,000 people had been killed in the conflict.
AUSTRALIA'S CHIEF SPY AGENCY WARNS THEY CANNOT STOP ALL TERROR ATTACKS
It is unrealistic fo the public to expect ASIO to prevent all terrorist attacks, and it is inevitable that some threats from extremists will remain hidden from the spy agency, says its director-general, Paul O'Sullivan.
The assessment....is the most pessimistic yet from Mr O'Sullivan, who has previously said only that an attack here was "feasible".
The remarks came as ASIO published its annual report, highlighting threats to national security including potential jihadist attacks, Jemaah Islamiah and divisions in Sydney's Islamic community over the Iraq war.
Mr O'Sullivan said terrorists were becoming more sophisticated, could attack almost anywhere, were driven by an absolute commitment and were using advances in technology and the ease of international travel to pursue their goals.
SOLOMONS ISLANDS' PRIME MINISTER WARNS AUSTRALIA TO BACK OFF
While the Australian Federal Police's pursuit of a known pedophile from the Solomon Islands to Papua New Guinea and back to the Solomons again is extremely important, the constant barrage of verbal attacks, threats and insults from both the Australian prime minister and the Australian foreign minister have made a mockery of South Pacific diplomacy.
There's a particular ugly, and old world, imperialistic tone to recent comments by Australia's PM and FM, as though they can't believe the leaders of the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea would act so defiantely, or so independently.
However, China is more than ready to take the place of Australia in the region, and has made strong inroads into the business communities of the Solomons and Papua New Guinea, something the Australian government is all too well aware of.
The Solomons Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, has accused Australia of trying to undermine his government and warned that he would "deal with" the Australians serving as police commissioner and solicitor-general.
He said Australia was guilty of the unwarranted arrest and "humiliation" of his immigration minister over the smuggling of the fugitive Australian lawyer Julian Moti into the country.
He also threatened to expel more than 200 Australian police and soldiers - only hours after his foreign minister tried to soften a similar threat made in Parliament last Friday.
ISRAEL'S OLMERT TRIES TO GET RUSSIA'S PUTIN TO ACT ON IRANIAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Russia is helping to build Iran's nuclear energy program and does not believe, as Israel continually insists, that Iran is working on a nuclear weapons program.
Neither does the International Atomic Energy Association, who recently harshly criticised Israel backed US senators for circulating "misleading" reports about Iran's intentions and nuclear weapons technological capabilities.
But Israel keeps on pushing.
Israel's Prime Minister has urged Russia to join ranks against Iran's nuclear program.Israel's Siege Of Gaza Enters Fifth Month - Hundreds Of Civilians Killed - New Offensive On The Horizon
Speaking in Moscow after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the entire international community should unite to block what he called Iran's intention to build nuclear weapons.
...in a joint news conference Wednesday, Mr. Putin said nothing about Iran's nuclear program. He said Russia wants to help restart peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Lebanon Says Israel Greater Nuclear Threat Than Iran - Israel Alleged To Be Hiding At Least 200 Nukes
Israel's Militarised Men Coming To Terms With New Age Of Sexual Harrassment Laws - 18 And 19 Year Old Secretary Pools Once Regarded As "Harems"