Morning Report: July 21, 2005

Breaking: Bombs strike London tube. CNN reports: 'Four "explosion or attempts at explosions" have been reported on three London Underground stations and a bus, two weeks after the July 7 terror attacks, the city's police chief has said. Scotland Yard also said they were looking into an "incident" at University College London Hospital (UCL), where armed officers have been deployed. Witnesses reported policemen with flak jackets entered the hospital along with dogs. Sky TV reported that police said they were searching that hospital for a man wearing a blue shirt with wires protuding from a hole in the back. UCL hospital is near Warren Street station, where police said one of three small devices detonated. The other blasts were reported at Oval and Shepherd's Bush stations. Thursday's blasts came two weeks to the day since bombs on three Tube trains on a bus killed 52 people and four of the bombers. ...' Debka adds: 'UK police commissioner has stated there is no evidence of chemical agents in the bombing and attempted bomb attacks on London’s transport Thursday, July 21, two weeks after the first al Qaeda rampage. He said one person was injured. Police drew weapons at end of Downing Street outside UK prime minister’s office and took a man away. A would-be suicide bomber appears to be on the run. Three Tube stations, Warren Street, Shepherd’s Bush and Oval, were evacuated, five main lines suspended over the bomb incidents. The bus was in the east London district of Hackney. One of the would-be suicide bombers appears to be on the run. At Warren Street, a witness on an incoming train reported an exploding rucksack in the hands of a young man and strange-smelling smoke. Police suggest he may be the suicide bomber who got away after a premature detonation. Later, armed police entered University College Hospital on an operation and cordoned it off.' (CNN, Debka)

Sudan regime guards harrass Rice aides, reporter. Fox News reports: 'Security forces in the Sudanese capital manhandled U.S. officials and reporters traveling with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, marring her round of congratulatory meetings with leaders of the new unified government. Rice demanded an apology, and got it. "It makes me very angry to be sitting there with their president and have this happen," she said. "They have no right to push and shove." Rice made her remarks to reporters after she and her entourage boarded an airplane to fly from the capital to a refugee camp in the Darfur region. At the camp, she said the United States would hold the Sudanese government to account if it fails to end the refugee crisis. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the Sudanese foreign minister responded to Rice's demand for an apology by telephoning her aboard the plane to express regret for the incidents at the ultra-high-security residence of Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir. Twice, Sudanese guards' hostility toward members of Rice's entourage devolved into shouts and shoving. As Rice's motorcade arrived at the residence, armed guards slammed the gate shut before three vehicles could get in, including those carrying Rice's interpreter and other State Department officials who were supposed to attend her meeting with el-Bashir. After protests, the officials were eventually allowed in. But guards repeatedly pushed and pulled Rice senior adviser Jim Wilkinson, and at one point he was shoved into a wall. ... Once Rice's traveling group was inside, the guards tried to keep reporters out of a planned photo shoot of Rice's meeting. When reporters were finally allowed in, they were elbowed and guards repeatedly tried to rip a microphone away from a U.S. reporter. They were ordered not to ask questions, over State Department objections. When NBC diplomatic reporter Andrea Mitchell tried to ask el-Bashir a question about his involvement with alleged atrocities, a scuffle broke out. Guards grabbed the reporter and muscled her toward the rear of the room as State Department officials shouted at the guards to leave her alone. "Get your hands off her!" Wilkinson demanded. But all the reporters and a camera crew were physically forced out.' (Fox)

Oregonians rally for justice. An estimated 800 to 1,000 activists - including the present writer - assembled at Oregon's state capital in Salem, calling on State House Speaker Karen Minnis to end her obstruction of Senate Bill 1000, which would ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, and transgendered Oregonians and would enact civil unions for gay couples. Details to follow at Dreams Into Lightning.

Scotty beams up. James Doohan, known to "Star Trek" fans as Engineer Scott, has died. MSNBC reports: 'James Doohan, the burly chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise in the original "Star Trek" TV series and motion pictures who responded to the command "Beam me up, Scotty," died early Wednesday. He was 85. Doohan died at 5:30 a.m. at his Redmond, Wash., home with his wife of 28 years, Wende, at his side, Los Angeles agent and longtime friend Steve Stevens said. The cause of death was pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease, he said. Doohan's ashes will be sent into space in accordance with his wishes, his agent said. The family has planned a private service.' (MSNBC)