By ROBERT BAER
It's difficult to decide which will go over the edge first, Lebanon or Gaza. Maybe both at the same time, hand in hand, and – if you believe Israel – with a gentle shove from Iran.
Bets are on Gaza to explode first. Although Hamas claimed that Monday's suicide bomber in Dimona, the first in a year, came from the West Bank, the Israelis still are investigating whether he got into the country from Gaza via Egypt while the border fence at Rafah was breached. It's certainly possible. An estimated 750,000 Palestinians, half of Gaza's population, crossed into Egypt and back, primarily to shop for basic goods unavailable at home.
Israel also suspects that advanced long-range rockets, anti-tank rockets and anti-aircraft missiles were smuggled into Gaza during the breach. But more ominously, Israel claimed that, along with the weapons, Iranian-trained Hamas guerrillas came across at the same time – presumably to operate the new weapons. The Negev was hit by rockets on Tuesday, but they were an old model, Qassams.
At this point Israel has to be wondering if Hamas is planning a real war, something along the lines of the 34-day war in 2006 between Israel …
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By Andrew Grice in Delhi
The Prime Minister is drawing up plans to expand the number of permanent members in a move that will provoke fears that the veto enjoyed by Britain could be diluted eventually. The United States, France, Russia and China also have a veto but the number of members could be doubled to include India, Germany, Japan, Brazil and one or two African nations.
Mr Brown has discussed a shake-up of a structure created in 1945 to reflect the world's new challenges and power bases during his four-day trip to China and India. Last night, British sources revealed “intense discussions” on UN reform were under way and Mr Brown raised it whenever he met another world leader.
The Prime Minister believes the UN is punching below its weight. In 2003, it failed to agree on a fresh resolution giving explicit approval for military action in Iraq. George Bush then acted unilaterally, winning the support of Tony Blair.
UN reform is highly sensitive and Britain will not yet publish formal proposals for fear of uniting opponents against them. Mr Brown is trying to build a consensus for change first.
His aides are adamant that the British veto will …
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By Steve Schifferes
There is considerable unease about the pace of globalisation around the world, according to a new BBC global poll.
Half of all people polled across 34 countries say that the pace of globalisation is too fast, while 35% say globalisation is going too slowly.
But concern about globalisation is strongest among the world's richest countries, where it is closely correlated with a belief that the fruits of economic growth have been unfairly shared.
In many of the world's poorest countries, however, where large majorities say that the benefits and burdens of economic development have not been shared fairly, people are more likely to say that globalisation is proceeding too slowly.
BOOM IN SHANGHAI
“People in some developing countries want to accelerate globalisation and appear to believe that this will help break down some of the inequities in their country,” said Steven Kull of the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes, a co-sponsor of the poll.
Among the countries where this correlation is strongest are the Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, Kenya and Mexico.
Overall, 64% of the global public believes that the economic benefits of growth have been shared unfairly, with majorities favouring this view in 27 …
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Iran is testing an advanced centrifuge at its Natanz nuclear complex, diplomats said on Wednesday, a move that could lead to Tehran enriching uranium much faster and gaining ability to build atom bombs.
Tehran's quest to produce usable amounts of nuclear fuel has been hampered by its use so far of a 1970s vintage of centrifuge, the “P-1″, prone to breakdown. A senior diplomat familiar with the International Atomic Energy Agency's file on Iran confirmed it recently began testing centrifuges based on a “P-2″ design, used more recently in the West and able to enrich uranium 2-3 times as fast as the P-1
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Russia's foreign minister labeled US plans to build a global missile defense shield an example of “imperial thinking,” and suggested in comments published Thursday that Washington was using the system to try to encircle Russia.
Sergey Lavrov said in an interview published in leading Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza that elements of the missile defense system “exist or will be built in Alaska, California, northeast Asia.”
“If we look at a map, it's clear that all of it is concentrating around our borders,” he was quoted as saying. “Most likely in the near future we are going to hear about hundreds, and maybe even thousands, of interceptors in various regions of the planet, including Europe.”
Washington wants to place 10 missile defense interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the neighboring Czech Republic as part of a global system that it says is necessary to protect against future attacks from Iran.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has called for the U.K. to adopt Sharia law for
Rowan Williams suggested today that it “seems unavoidable” that elements of
Islamic law be accepted into the British legal system.
The head of the Church of England believes that officially sanctioning Sharia
will improve community relations and aid integration. He conceded that his view
would be controversial but said similar concessions to other religions were
already allowed in the U.K.
“Nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of
inhumanity that has sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in
some Islamic states: the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women,” he told
the BBC World at One program.
“But there are ways of looking at marital disputes, for example, which provide
an alternative to the divorce courts as we understand them.”
Williams pointed out that some Orthodox Jewish courts already operated in the
U.K., and that anti-abortion views of Catholics and other Christians were
“accommodated within the law.”
Sharia is a code of Islamic law implemented in Muslim countries across the world
including Libya and Sudan, but most modern Islamic nations operate a dual legal
system with …
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