Tag Archive: Taiwan


Thousands protest across Syria; at least 1 killed

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110513/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_syria

By ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press Zeina Karam, Associated Press 56 mins ago

BEIRUT – Syrian security forces opened fire on thousands of protesters Friday, killing at least one person with a gunshot to the head as soldiers tried to head off demonstrations by occupying mosques and blocking public squares, activists said.

The death in the central city of Homs marks the latest bloodshed in what has become a weekly rhythm during the two-month uprising, with protesters taking to the streets every Friday, only to be met with bullets, tear gas and batons by security forces.

Leading human rights activist Mazen Darwish said Friday’s victim was shot in the head. A second activist in Homs put the death toll at two.

“At first they opened fire in the air but the people continued their way, and then they shot directly into the crowd,” the second activist said, asking that his name not be used for fear of reprisals from the government.

He said security forces dressed in black and pro-regime gunmen known as “shabiha” were doing the shooting.

Human rights groups say that between 700 and 850 people have been killed since the start of the revolt against President Bashar Assad’s repressive regime.

Thousands in Syria have persevered with the demonstrations, turning up in huge numbers on Fridays despite one of the most brutal crackdowns since a wave of popular uprisings began sweeping the Arab world. This Friday, three rallies were held in Damascus — the largest number of protests held at one time in the capital.

Security forces fired tear gas in the capital’s Zahra neighborhood, forcing scores of people to disperse. In nearby Mazzeh, protesters ran away when security forces arrived. In Muhajereen, security forces used batons to scatter dozens of people, activists said.

Assad has come under scathing criticism for the crackdown, with the United States and Europe imposing sanctions.

In several key areas, residents said Syrian soldiers occupied mosques and blocked off major public areas Friday to prevent people from leaving their homes.

“The army has transformed major mosques in the city into military barracks where soldiers sleep, eat and drink,” said a resident in the coastal town of Banias. “They’ve put up barriers and sandbags around the mosques.”

Up to 1,200 security forces have deployed in the public square in the center of town, and soldiers and armed thugs have broken into shops, offices and homes to intimidate people.

“It is tragic in every sense of the word,” he said.

There is a media blackout in Syria, making it impossible to confirm witness accounts independently. Witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear for their personal safety.

Other protests were around the northeastern city of Qamishli, where about 5,000 people marched in the streets chanting “Freedom!” and “Freedom to political prisoners!” said rights activist Mustafa Osso.

Thousands also were demonstrating in the nearby towns of Amouda and Derbasiyeh, he said.

Some shots were fired, but the protesters did not disperse for long, he added.

The government’s bloody crackdown has increased in intensity in recent days.

The army shelled residential areas in central and southern Syria on Wednesday, killing 19 people, a human rights group said.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton slammed the Syrian government’s assault on demonstrators and said the violence indicates that Assad is weak, though she stopped short of saying he must quit.

“Treating one’s own people in this way is in fact a sign of remarkable weakness,” Clinton said during a trip to Greenland.

The revolt was touched off in mid-March by the arrest of teenagers who scrawled anti-regime graffiti on a wall. Since then, the protests have spread nationwide and the death toll already has exceeded those seen during the uprisings in Yemen and Tunisia.

___

AP writer Bassem Mroue contributed to this report.

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Report: Syrian troops shelling residential areas

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110511/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_syria

By ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press Zeina Karam, Associated Press 22 mins ago

BEIRUT – The Syrian army shelled residential areas in the country’s third-largest city Wednesday, sending people fleeing for cover in a sharp escalation in the government’s attempts to crush a popular revolt against President Bashar Assad’s autocratic rule, according to activists and witnesses.

Heavy tank- and gunfire rocked at least three residential neighborhoods in the besieged city of Homs, which has seen some of the largest anti-government demonstrations during the seven-week-long uprising.

“There were loud explosions and gunfire from automatic rifles throughout the night and until this morning,” a resident told The Associated Press by telephone, asking that his name not be used for fear of government reprisals. “The area is totally besieged. We are being shelled.”

More than 750 people have been killed in a crackdown on the unrest and thousands of Syrians have been detained, with about 9,000 still in custody, said Ammar Qurabi, who heads the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria.

Syrian authorities are determined to crush the uprising, despite rising international pressure against it. Assad has dispatched army troops backed by tanks to Homs and other communities across the country, saying soldiers and security forces are rooting out “armed terrorist groups” and thugs he says are behind the violence.

Assad has announced a series of reforms, widely viewed as symbolic overtures to appease protesters since the movement began in the southern city of Daraa in mid-March and quickly spread nationwide.

On Wednesday, he was quoted by Syria’s private Al-Watan newspaper urging Syrians to cooperate with the government so that the reform process may continue. He also pledged a swift solution to the issue of detainees who were jailed during the unrest.

Wednesday’s shelling targeted the Bab Sbaa, Bab Amr and Jouret el Aris neighborhoods, according to activists in Damascus who were in touch with residents in Homs. The city also is home to one of Syria’s two oil refineries.

Syrian television quoted a military official as saying that soldiers and security forces were pursuing “armed terrorist groups” and arrested tens of fugitives and seized large quantities of weapons.

The official, who was not identified, said two soldiers were killed and five wounded during confrontations Wednesday.

Germany, meanwhile, said several European countries were summoning Syrian ambassadors and threatening new sanctions targeting the country’s leadership if it doesn’t halt the repression of protesters.

The European Union already has decided to impose sanctions on 13 Syrian officials, prohibiting them from traveling anywhere in the 27-nation bloc. But the first round of sanctions doesn’t target Assad himself.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke said European officials will make clear that “a second package that also includes the Syrian leadership” will follow if Syria does not immediately change course.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon also urged Syria Wednesday to allow an international aid assessment team to enter Daraa. He told reporters in Geneva he is disappointed the assessment team “has not yet been given the access it needs.”

Ban added he had been assured by Assad that the team would be allowed into the city.

Despite the government crackdown, small demonstrations and candlelight vigils were reported in several areas in the past few days.

Activists said three protesters were killed late Tuesday when government forces fired on demonstrations in Jassem, one of a cluster of villages near Daraa.

In the coastal city of Banias, where the army has also sent soldiers and tanks and arrested hundreds as part of military operation, rights activists said electricity, water and communications have been restored.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said authorities also released some 300 people Tuesday after making them sign a pledge not to state protests. But he said an army tank was still deployed in the city’s main square were protests were held in past weeks.

Abdul-Rahman said at least seven civilians, including four women, were killed during military operations in the city.

___

Associated Press writer Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.

http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/112284/subway-passes-mcdonalds

by Julie Jargon
Monday, March 7, 2011

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    It’s official: the Subway sandwich chain has surpassed McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCDNews) as the world’s largest restaurant chain, in terms of units.

    At the end of last year, Subway had 33,749 restaurants worldwide, compared to McDonald’s 32,737. The burger giant disclosed its year-end store count in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late last month.

    The race for global dominance is an important one for an industry that’s mostly saturated in the U.S. High unemployment and economic uncertainty have battered the restaurant industry in the U.S., and chains are increasingly looking overseas for growth, particularly in Asia.

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    Starbucks Corp. Honda (Nasdaq: SBUXNews) recently said it plans to triple its number of outlets in China, for example. Dunkin’ Brands Inc., parent of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, plans to open thousands of new outlets in China in coming years as well as its first stores in Vietnam in the next 18 months. Subway just opened its 1,000th location in Asia, including its first in Vietnam.

    Subway, which opened its first international restaurant in 1984, in Bahrain, expects its number of international restaurants to exceed its domestic ones by 2020, says Don Fertman, Subway’s Chief Development Officer. The chain currently has just over 24,000 restaurants in the U.S., where it generated $10.5 billion of its $15.2 billion in revenue last year.

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    The closely held company, owned by Doctor’s Associates Inc., does not disclose its profits.

    McDonald’s is still the leader when it comes to sales. The burger chain reported $24 billion in revenue last year. “We remain focused on listening to and serving our customers, and are committed to being better, not just bigger,” a McDonald’s spokeswoman says.

    Subway, which surpassed the number of McDonald’s in the U.S. about nine years ago, expects China to eventually become one of its largest markets. The sandwich shop only has 199 restaurants in China now, but expects to have more than 500 by 2015.

    [More from WSJ.com: TV’s Next Wave: Tuning In to You.]

    Subway has achieved its rapid growth, in part, by opening outlets in non-traditional locations such as an automobile showroom in California, an appliance store in Brazil, a ferry terminal in Seattle, a riverboat in Germany, a zoo in Taiwan, a Goodwill store in South Carolina, a high school in Detroit and a church in Buffalo, New York.

    “We’re continually looking at just about any opportunity for someone to buy a sandwich, wherever that might be. The closer we can get to the customer, the better,” Mr. Fertman says, explaining that it now has almost 8,000 Subways in unusual locations. “The non-traditional is becoming traditional.”

    // The company has some concerns about the economies of certain international markets, such as Germany and the United Kingdom. The company is trying to develop more affordable offerings in those countries, similar to the $5 foot-long sandwiches that have been successful in the U.S.

    “Finding that kind of value proposition in those countries is essential,” Mr. Fertman says.

    I heard about this last night. I’m sad because I love McDonald’s. But, theres nothing I can do about it. So please comment and tell me what you think.

    who really owns the U.S.

    So anyways I was looking on www.yahoo.com like I normally do when I’m bored and I found this artically about what countries really owns us and here’s what I read.

    Ok as many of you may already know we’re 14 trillion dollars in debt, but did you know as of December that 4.4 billion dollars is held by foreign goverments.

    So heres a list of the top 10 countries that own us.

    1.) Mainland China

    We owe them $891.6 billion

    2.) Japan

    We own them $883.6 bllion

    3.) United Kingdom

    We owe them $541.3 billion

    4.) This is another group but Oil Exporters

    Money owed $218 billion

    5.) Brazil

    Money owed $180.8 billion

    6.) Caribbean Banking Centers

    Money owed $155.6 billion

    7.) Hong Kong

    Money owed $ 138.2 billion

    8.) Canada

    money owed $134.6 billion

    9.) Taiwan

    money owed $131.9 billion

    10.) Russia

    We own them  $106.2 billion

    Now this really isn’t much of a surprise. I mean we keep hearing about how we’re in debt but many of us proably didn’t know the exact number. So I want to know what you think about this. So please comment.

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