February 9, 2007

Top Stories: Feb. 1-7

Shiite Militia May Gain From Surge

American soldiers in Iraq say the Mahdi Army will only be strengthened by White House plans to boost troops levels there.

The soldiers told a McClatchy Newspapers reporter that Shiite militants have “heavily” infiltrated Iraq’s army and police, use U.S. training and supplies to stage death squad killings, and are waiting for an American withdrawal before launching a final attack on Sunnis to consolidate their hold on Baghdad.

Humans Blamed for Indonesia Mud Volcano

More than 10,000 people have been made homeless so far by the slow but devastating eruption of a huge mud volcano. Scientists blame the tide of hot mud, which may continue for years, on botched gas- drilling by a company linked to an Indonesian government minister. Efforts to control the flood have so far proven futile.

Australia’s Flag: Gang Colors?

The director of Australia’s largest outdoor music festivals has enraged veterans and politicians by asking concertgoers to leave the national flag at home. Prompted by race riots at sporting and music events, Big Day Out producer Ken West told the Daily Telegraph that the flag was being used as “gang colors.”

Sources:

“Mahdi Army gains strength through unwitting aid of U.S.”
McClatchy Newspapers, February 1, 2007

“Indonesia trying to stop mud flow”
Reuters, February 3, 2007

“Drilling for gas caused Java mud deluge, British scientists believe”
The Guardian, January 25, 2007

“Australian anger at flag controls”
BBC, January 22, 2007

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