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Picture of the Day


THE ORIGINS OF THANKSGIVING IN AMERICA
Plymouth Rock Landed on Us: The Truth About the Pilgrims
worldfreeinternet

Every year Americans go through the thoughtless rituals of Thanksgiving Day, without actually knowing anything about the Pilgrims, the Mayflower Compact, or the society the Puritans established in modern day Massachusetts. In an ironic twist of fate, millions of Americans sit down to a turkey feast, in order to celebrate the religious freedom of early settlers who came to the New World precisely for the purpose of creating a Zion in the Wilderness, a utopian place where absolutely NO religious freedom would be allowed.

Several years before the Mayflower arrived with the first boat-load of illegal immigrants, Puritan separatists fled England for the Netherlands, soon deciding to relocate altogether in the Americas. However, these Puritans did not so much seek freedom, as much as they sought to escape what they thought was a permissive environment, fostered by the Church of England. The migration of the Pilgrims in 1620 was the beginning of a larger migration of Europeans to the New World. The increasing interest in the New World as a source of easily exploitable wealth enabled the Pilgrims to obtain financing through the assistance of a group of investors called the London Adventurers. The agreement was that the Adventurers would put up the money, and the settlers would perform the labor, and they would divide the profits equally. Needless to say, this venture -- while historic -- was not profitable. The original decision had been to land within the domain of the Virginia charter, but as a result of bad weather, they wound up in what is today Massachusetts. The Mayflower Compact, the document that was signed by those first settlers, was not intended to imply that the settlers were agreeing upon any new or radical democratic system of government. It was actually a modified form of customary church covenant to meet a temporary crisis in an unfamiliar situation. This first European state in the New World, at Plymouth, was a theocratic dictatorship. It was a throwback to the 1200s, with a pillory and public stockade for those who gave in to temptation, and engaged in any disallowed activity. The Mayflower Compact guaranteed that the colony would remain under the iron control of the Pilgrim Fathers for the first 40 years of its existence.

After Plymouth was settled, other people started to settle in the area around Boston Harbor. A small fishing company tried to establish a foothold on Cape Ann, which was the forerunner of a much more significant colonizing movement than had as yet taken place in north America. In Europe, the social scene was restless, from religious, political and economic causes. The Puritans came to dominate New England, and they represented a movement of Christians within the Anglican Church who felt that a more thorough reformation was necessary than that provided for by the Elizabethan religious settlement. The term "puritan" originated as an epithet of contempt, as a pejorative. Some of the Puritans did not like the idea of waiting for the Church of England to see the light, and reform itself, so they struck out on their own. This was the main distinction between the Plymouth Puritans, and the Massachusetts Bay Colony Puritans: Plymouth being dominated by a Separatist Puritan sect, and Massachusetts being dominated by a Non-separatist sect.

Massachusetts Bay was the strongest colony in New England, and it had been founded in 1629, by a charter granted to, "The Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England." It was clear that the intention of the Crown had been to charter an ordinary stockholder-type commercial venture, but through shrewd and illegal maneuvers, the benefactors of the charter transferred the management and the charter itself to the New World, to Massachusetts itself. This not only made it possible for the Company to exert local control over the chartered area and its residents, but it became the foundation for the unwarranted assumption that a mere charter for a commercial concern was actually a grant of plenipotentiary powers of government, with an undefinable dependence upon the legitimate Government of the Mother Country. The settlers of Massachusetts came to America to have freedom to worship for themselves, but they had no intention of creating a refuge for others to look to as a sanctuary for democratic freedom. In fact, the leaders of Massachusetts fought religious liberty with every weapon at their disposal. Such leaders as Winthrop, Dudley, Endecott, and the Rev. John Cotton, were strongly opposed to democracy, were fanatical in their zealousness to prevent any independence in religious views, and had NO trust in the people at large. Of course, like Hitler's totalitarian regime, there developed an underground resistance, which became known when individuals were caught breaking the regime's "rules."

The test of any culture's level of civilization is how it treats its criminals. "Criminals" are people who have broken laws, but government's have been known to stretch this a bit, when they shorten the trial process, or corrupt the charging process, by which an individual is accused of lawlessness. The mark of an unjust state is when it will charge people with wrongdoing without going through the customary process of proving a case in court, under the principles of law. This is the mark of a totalitarian state, as that which existed under Adolf Hitler in Germany, or Mussolini in Italy, and the Puritans in Massachusetts. The first to be banished from the "Zion in the Wilderness", was Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island in 1636. Another religious dispute resulted in the banishment of Anne Hutchinson. The leaders of the colony were seriously criticized in England for their repressive measures, which continued for another generation until they were halted by the intervention of royal authority.

The Puritans believed that they were the "select," and they intended to establish their ideal Christian paradise in the New World, "a city set on a hill," as an example to the rest of the world of "righteousness." In Massachusetts they established a Bible based theocracy, in which only church members had any political rights. Church membership, on the other hand, was dependent upon the individual being certified as "regenerate," or a child of a "regenerate" who "own(s) the covenant." Religious uniformity was fanatically enforced, dissenters being warned that they had the "right" to stay away, or to take up land of their own outside the boundaries of Massachusetts, in an early version of the "Get out of Dodge at Noon," mentality. The clergy was the driving force in the political structure of the Puritan theocracy, but the system worked against itself, as all fascist systems ultimately do. The banishment of Roger Williams, and his founding of Providence, led to the development of Providence as a safe harbor for dissidents escaping the regimented Orwellian state of the Massachusetts Bay colony. The succeeding generation witnessed a decline of religious zeal, and when the clergy tried to whip it up again, in the dying gasp of the theocracy to keep a death-grip on political power, by interpreting recurring scandals and misfortunes as signs of divine wrath against a sinning public, the public rejected it. The replacement of the original commercial charter with a genuine crown charter in 1691, put to rest for the time, the aspirations of the clergy to rule. Of course, that harshness of rule, narrow-mindedness and self-satisfaction which was characteristic of Massachusetts which was not attributable to the Puritan mindset, was motivated by the desire for profit.

The mid-1600's saw a great wave of immigration from Europe into north America, and areas like Massachusetts began to expand, as new illegal European immigrants invaded the defenseless lands of the native Americans. This brought on troubles with the native Americans, who rightfully felt wronged by the pioneers who answered questions of right with a bullet between the eyes. In 1637, a war with the Pequots practically annihilated that tribe. (In the same year, a synod of the clergy held in Boston, listed 82 blasphemous, erroneous or unsafe opinions held by people in the colony).

In 1644, the good Christian folk of Massachusetts showed what they mean't by Christian love, when they adopted laws against the Baptists, who were treated with genuine cruelty. The Quakers were also persecuted mercilessly, four being murdered; and many others whipped, imprisoned, branded or banished. At the time of the English Civil War and the Regicide, Massachusetts pretty much became a law unto itself, its leaders arrogating to themselves almost absolute power. For the next 30 years, London pretty much had its hands full with the Cromwellian regime, and a European war, and Massachusetts was able to avoid any formal sanctions through basically evasive and delaying tactics. However, the colonists were pursuing a grasping land policy which was causing the native American Indians increasing degrees of desperation, as the encroaching White Man deliberately penned them in. One of the most powerful driving forces among the white people was pure greed, something that is justified today with the capitalist ideological-moral that if it makes money, it is good.

King Philip's War was only one in a long string of wars between European settlers and native Americans, and while the white people won the war, they lost one in every 16 males of military age due to the heavy fighting. This War, however, brought Massachusetts to the Crown's attention, which, as a result of the colonial leader's evasive tactics, suspended its charter in 1684, thereby freeing the residents from the unlawful arrangements the clergy had imposed upon them. The Puritans really had no friends anywhere, and both Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts Bay Colony ceased to exist, with no one in London to defend them, to be replaced with a new charter in 1691, which incorporated Plymouth into Massachusetts, along with Maine, under a new regime of professionals, who were sent out from London. The English king of America put the theocracy to an end, and provided for a stable colonial administration, showing that the Crown is one of the most progressive and vital institutions of government known to mankind.

It is a serious mistake to practice holidays based on a false history. The young people find out on their own that they are involved in a lie, and it makes them rage with fury and contempt. To watch a whole society practice empty rituals that celebrate horrible people, while deceiving ourselves into justifying what those horrible people did, is an abomination. It should surprise no one that after raising children honoring the memory of the Pilgrim fathers, that they grow up to hate freedom as much as the Forefathers did. It should surprise no one that a society that worships the Pilgrims -- who ruthlessly scalped the Indians (teaching them how to do it), who indiscriminately torched Indian villages, and murdered their women, children and elders in the precursors of total war, and holocaust -- should produce children who grow up to join street gangs, and who seek the experience of murdering other human beings for kicks.

It is also true that just because some fascists were involved in the origins of America, it does not mean that America is a captive legacy. The flag, the symbols of national identity, they go deeper than the memory of a few old cronies, and their corrupt and mean-spirited domination. Indeed, Americans can salvage the Day of Thanksgiving, as a day of personal atonement. A day when the individual looks within, and takes stock of his or her actions, to warrant to one's own self that one is true to one's own convictions. Ancient honor looks within. We must summon courage, and be bold, and conceive of something that we can do in service to the nation. It is empty pomposity to merely celebrate some ancient myth; the very falsity of the myth, and its very exaggeration of the motives of the protaginists, making it almost the equal of blasphemy. Far better that Americans celebrate the good things in America, such as the ancient customs that guarantee them freedom, despite eras of institutional domination, which must be checked by that ancient and venerable institution, the crown of law.

The Pilgrims were FASCISTS

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Comment: Once you have digested the above, we encourage you to read the following series of articles and commentary, all of which are 100% verifiable and which lay out in clear and precise detail the following FACTS:

The "War on Terror" and the terrorist threat are completely bogus and a product of government disinformation and scare-mongering. The US and British governments are actively involved in announcing "terror threats" that simply do not exist for the purpose of further controlling the population and solidifying their power.

Israel and the pro-Israel Neocons in Washington fabricated evidence about the existence of WMDs in Iraq and are in the process of doing the same with Iran.

The invasion of Iraq was carried out for the benefit of Israel and to prop up the US war economy by stealing the resources of that country and generating the vast "income" of war.

Iraq has not been liberated, is in ruins and many of its inhabitants are starving and dying from disease.

There is in reality only one party in the US. Both Republican and Democrat politicians agreed long ago that they would allow each other to subvert the rule of law for their mutual benefit.

The Israeli military have been given 'carte blanche' to murder Palestinian civilians and children at will. The US military has been given similar free rein in Iraq.

Bush and many members of his administration believe themselves to be "all powerful" and show signs of being pathologically delusional.

A majority of American citizens did not elected George Bush as their President on 2nd November 2004. The 2004 US presidential election was 'stolen'.

A large percentage of the American people are living in a complete fantasy world foisted upon them by their political leaders and the government-controlled mainstream media.

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Home Office 'linked to discredited claim of al-Qa'ida plot'

By Jason Bennetto, Crime Correspondent
24 November 2004

The Home Office is suspected of being behind discredited media reports on the eve of the Queen's Speech that an al-Qa'ida plot to fly planes into London skyscrapers had been foiled.

Supporters of David Blunkett were accused of trying to exploit public fears in an attempt to help the Government introduce anti-terrorism legislation.

The Daily Mail and ITV News reported that Islamic extremists were caught preparing to attack the financial centre of Canary Wharf, or possibly Heathrow.

The two journalists responsible said they had been told about the story by a "senior source" several days ago. The Mail said the "security services" - MI5 and MI6 - had prevented the planned attack.

Anti-terrorism sources denied the claim. One said: "To say we were surprised at the report is an understatement - this is the first we have heard of a plot like this." Another said: "No one has been charged for this so- called plot which suggests it never happened."

The source added that the fact that the story of the 11 September-style plan came from lobby correspondents, rather than security or crime specialists, "gives you a good clue to where they got their information". The journalists behind the story, Benedict Brogan, the Mail's Whitehall editor, and Nick Robinson, the political editor of ITV News, are known to have joint lunches with politicians and officials.

Details of the story, which they agreed to run at the same time, are believed to have been provided by a Home Office source several days ago.

Despite having the information for several days, and possibly longer than a week, the newspaper and television programme held the stories until just before the Queen's Speech, which contained Bills to introduce an ID card, an FBI-style organised crime agency and other anti-terrorist measures.

Barry Hugill, a spokesman for Liberty, the civil liberties organisation, said: "The timing and contents of this story look very, very suspicious indeed."

He added: "Ten days ago Mr Blunkett announced that the intelligence services had thwarted a major al-Qa'ida plot, then added that that they might not be able to convict the people involved. Now we discover that al-Qa'ida are going to crash an aeroplane into Canary Wharf - the whole thing appears to be very cynical indeed."

Patrick Mercer, the Conservative spokesman on homeland security, added: "The Home Secretary is getting his markers down now so that when the inevitable happens he can say, 'Well I warned you, didn't I?' "

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Flashback: The spies who pushed for war

Thursday July 17, 2003
The Guardian

Julian Borger reports on the shadow rightwing intelligence network set up in Washington to second-guess the CIA and deliver a justification for toppling Saddam Hussein by force

As the CIA director, George Tenet, arrived at the Senate yesterday to give secret testimony on the Niger uranium affair, it was becoming increasingly clear in Washington that the scandal was only a small, well-documented symptom of a complete breakdown in US intelligence that helped steer America into war.

It represents the Bush administration's second catastrophic intelligence failure. But the CIA and FBI's inability to prevent the September 11 attacks was largely due to internal institutional weaknesses.

This time the implications are far more damaging for the White House, which stands accused of politicising and contaminating its own source of intelligence.

According to former Bush officials, all defence and intelligence sources, senior administration figures created a shadow agency of Pentagon analysts staffed mainly by ideological amateurs to compete with the CIA and its military counterpart, the Defence Intelligence Agency.

The agency, called the Office of Special Plans (OSP), was set up by the defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, to second-guess CIA information and operated under the patronage of hardline conservatives in the top rungs of the administration, the Pentagon and at the White House, including Vice-President Dick Cheney.

The ideologically driven network functioned like a shadow government, much of it off the official payroll and beyond congressional oversight. But it proved powerful enough to prevail in a struggle with the State Department and the CIA by establishing a justification for war.

Mr Tenet has officially taken responsibility for the president's unsubstantiated claim in January that Saddam Hussein's regime had been trying to buy uranium in Africa, but he also said his agency was under pressure to justify a war that the administration had already decided on.

How much Mr Tenet reveals of where that pressure was coming from could have lasting political fallout for Mr Bush and his re-election prospects, which only a few weeks ago seemed impregnable. As more Americans die in Iraq and the reasons for the war are revealed, his victory in 2004 no longer looks like a foregone conclusion.

The White House counter-attacked yesterday when new chief spokesman, Scott McClellan, accused critics of "politicising the war" and trying to "rewrite history". But the Democratic leadership kept up its questions over the White House role.

The president's most trusted adviser, Mr Cheney, was at the shadow network's sharp end. He made several trips to the CIA in Langley, Virginia, to demand a more "forward-leaning" interpretation of the threat posed by Saddam. When he was not there to make his influence felt, his chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was. Such hands-on involvement in the processing of intelligence data was unprecedented for a vice-president in recent times, and it put pressure on CIA officials to come up with the appropriate results.

Another frequent visitor was Newt Gingrich, the former Republican party leader who resurfaced after September 11 as a Pentagon "consultant" and a member of its unpaid defence advisory board, with influence far beyond his official title.

An intelligence official confirmed Mr Gingrich made "a couple of visits" but said there was nothing unusual about that.

Rick Tyler, Mr Gingrich's spokesman, said: "If he was at the CIA he was there to listen and learn, not to persuade or influence."

Mr Gingrich visited Langley three times before the war, and according to accounts, the political veteran sought to browbeat analysts into toughening up their assessments of Saddam's menace.

Mr Gingrich gained access to the CIA headquarters and was listened to because he was seen as a personal emissary of the Pentagon and, in particular, of the OSP.

In the days after September 11, Mr Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, mounted an attempt to include Iraq in the war against terror. When the established agencies came up with nothing concrete to link Iraq and al-Qaida, the OSP was given the task of looking more carefully.

William Luti, a former navy officer and ex-aide to Mr Cheney, runs the day-to-day operations, answering to Douglas Feith, a defence undersecretary and a former Reagan official.

The OSP had access to a huge amount of raw intelligence. It came in part from "report officers" in the CIA's directorate of operations whose job is to sift through reports from agents around the world, filtering out the unsubstantiated and the incredible. Under pressure from the hawks such as Mr Cheney and Mr Gingrich, those officers became reluctant to discard anything, no matter how far-fetched. The OSP also sucked in countless tips from the Iraqi National Congress and other opposition groups, which were viewed with far more scepticism by the CIA and the state department.

There was a mountain of documentation to look through and not much time. The administration wanted to use the momentum gained in Afghanistan to deal with Iraq once and for all. The OSP itself had less than 10 full-time staff, so to help deal with the load, the office hired scores of temporary "consultants". They included lawyers, congressional staffers, and policy wonks from the numerous rightwing thinktanks in Washington. Few had experience in intelligence.

"Most of the people they had in that office were off the books, on personal services contracts. At one time, there were over 100 of them," said an intelligence source. The contracts allow a department to hire individuals, without specifying a job description.

As John Pike, a defence analyst at the thinktank GlobalSecurity.org, put it, the contracts "are basically a way they could pack the room with their little friends".

"They surveyed data and picked out what they liked," said Gregory Thielmann, a senior official in the state department's intelligence bureau until his retirement in September. "The whole thing was bizarre. The secretary of defence had this huge defence intelligence agency, and he went around it."

In fact, the OSP's activities were a complete mystery to the DIA and the Pentagon.

"The iceberg analogy is a good one," said a senior officer who left the Pentagon during the planning of the Iraq war. "No one from the military staff heard, saw or discussed anything with them."

The civilian agencies had the same impression of the OSP sleuths. "They were a pretty shadowy presence," Mr Thielmann said. "Normally when you compile an intelligence document, all the agencies get together to discuss it. The OSP was never present at any of the meetings I attended."

Democratic congressman David Obey, who is investigating the OSP, said: "That office was charged with collecting, vetting and disseminating intelligence completely outside of the normal intelligence apparatus. In fact, it appears that information collected by this office was in some instances not even shared with established intelligence agencies and in numerous instances was passed on to the national security council and the president without having been vetted with anyone other than political appointees."

The OSP was an open and largely unfiltered conduit to the White House not only for the Iraqi opposition. It also forged close ties to a parallel, ad hoc intelligence operation inside Ariel Sharon's office in Israel specifically to bypass Mossad and provide the Bush administration with more alarmist reports on Saddam's Iraq than Mossad was prepared to authorise.

"None of the Israelis who came were cleared into the Pentagon through normal channels," said one source familiar with the visits. Instead, they were waved in on Mr Feith's authority without having to fill in the usual forms.

The exchange of information continued a long-standing relationship Mr Feith and other Washington neo-conservatives had with Israel's Likud party.

In 1996, he and Richard Perle - now an influential Pentagon figure - served as advisers to the then Likud leader, Binyamin Netanyahu. In a policy paper they wrote, entitled A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, the two advisers said that Saddam would have to be destroyed, and Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iran would have to be overthrown or destabilised, for Israel to be truly safe.

The Israeli influence was revealed most clearly by a story floated by unnamed senior US officials in the American press, suggesting the reason that no banned weapons had been found in Iraq was that they had been smuggled into Syria. Intelligence sources say that the story came from the office of the Israeli prime minister.

The OSP absorbed this heady brew of raw intelligence, rumour and plain disinformation and made it a "product", a prodigious stream of reports with a guaranteed readership in the White House. The primary customers were Mr Cheney, Mr Libby and their closest ideological ally on the national security council, Stephen Hadley, Condoleezza Rice's deputy.

In turn, they leaked some of the claims to the press, and used others as a stick with which to beat the CIA and the state department analysts, demanding they investigate the OSP leads.

The big question looming over Congress as Mr Tenet walked into his closed-door session yesterday was whether this shadow intelligence operation would survive national scrutiny and who would pay the price for allowing it to help steer the country into war.

A former senior CIA official insisted yesterday that Mr Feith, at least, was "finished" - but that may be wishful thinking by a rival organisation.

As he prepares for re-election, Mr Bush may opt to tough it out, rather than acknowledge the severity of the problem by firing loyalists. But in that case, it will inevitably be harder to re-establish confidence in the intelligence on which the White House is basing its decisions, and the world's sole superpower risks stumbling onwards half-blind, unable to distinguish real threats from phantoms.

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IF IT'S 2005, IT MUST BE TIME FOR ANOTHER WAR
Tue Nov 23,11:04 PM ET
By Ted Rall

Bushies Gear Up for Invading Iran

NEW YORK--You've heard this song before. There's this country, see, and they hate America. They'd nuke us if they had the chance, you bet they would. Damn Muslim religious fanatics! Guess what? They have weapons of mass destruction! Either that or their scientists are about to develop them. Whatever--we can't let that happen. We've gotta hit them before they hit us! What's that? Of course we're sure! Our intelligence says so. Huh? No. We can't show you the proof. We'll say this much...a little bird told us. A little exile bird that wants to run the country after we overthrow the current regime. They wouldn't lie, and neither would we. And while we're at it, can we borrow your son for the next few years?

Colin Powell, disgraced by his 2003 fictional anthrax speech at the U.N., is closing his run as Bush's poodle-in-chief with a bravura repeat performance. His last big PR project: conning us into war against Iran.

The Administration's sales pitch for "Attack on the Ayatollahs" reads a lot like the one for "So Long, Saddam." There's a supposed "grave and gathering threat"--a nuclear-capable, America-hating Iran. Even as presented, the intel is sketchy. Iran, Powell says, has "been actively working on delivery systems"--missiles that could carry nukes. During the Cuban missile crisis, JFK went on television to show us the satellite photos. Powell thinks we should believe him just because. "I have seen intelligence which would corroborate what this dissident group is saying," says the outgoing Secretary of Rationalization. Not that there's much there there: "I'm talking about information that says that they not only had these missiles, but I'm aware of information that suggests they were working hard as to how to put the two [missiles and nuclear weapons] together." Bombs haven't even started falling on Tehran and the WMDs have already become WMD-related programs.

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Witnesses say US forces killed unarmed civilians
By Kim Sengupta in Baghdad
24 November 2004

Allegations of widespread abuse by US forces in Fallujah, including the killing of unarmed civilians and the targeting of a hospital in an attack, have been made by people who have escaped from the city.

They said, in interviews with The Independent, that as well as deaths from bombs and artillery shells, a large number of people including children were killed by American snipers. US forces refused repeated calls for medical aid for injured civilians, they said.

Some of the killings took place in the build-up to the assault on the rebel stronghold, and at least in one case - that of the death of a family of seven, including a three-month baby - the American authorities have admitted responsibility and offered compensation.

The refugees from Fallujah describe a situation of extreme violence in which remaining civilians in the city, who have been told by the Americans to leave, appeared to have been seen as complicit in the insurgency. Men of military age were particularly vulnerable. But there are accounts of children as young as four, and women and old men being killed.

The American authorities have accused militant sympathisers of spreading disinformation, and have also claimed that people in Fallujah have exaggerated the number of casualties and the level of damage in the air campaign that preceded the assault.

The US military, which is inquiring into last week's shooting of an injured Iraqi fighter in Fallujah by a US marine, has said that any claims of abuse will be investigated. They also maintain that the dead and injured civilians may have been victims of insurgents.

The claims of abuse and killings, from different sources, appear, however, to follow a consistent pattern. Dr Ali Abbas, who arrived in Baghdad from Fallujah four days ago, worked at a clinic in the city which was bombed by the Americans. He said that at least five patients were killed.

The doctor said that the attack took place despite assurances from American officers that they were aware of its location and would ensure that it was spared military action.

Dr Abbas, 28, said: "We had five people under treatment and they were killed. We do not know why the clinic was hit. Our colleagues from the Fallujah General Hospital, which was further out in the city, had talked to the Americans and had told us that they would avoid attacking us.

"Afterwards myself and other members of staff went from house to house when we could to help people who had been hurt. Many of them died in front of us because we did not have the medicine or the facilities to carry out operations. We contacted the doctors at the Fallujah hospital and said how bad the situation was. We wanted them to evacuate the more badly injured and send drugs and more doctors. They tried to do that, but they said the Americans stopped them.

"One of things we noticed the most were the numbers of people killed by American snipers. They were not just men but women and some children as well. The youngest one I saw was a four-year-old boy. Almost all these people had been shot in the head, chest or neck."

The family of Aziz Radhi Tellaib were killed before the battle for Fallujah began. He had been driving them to Ramadi to visit relations when the car was hit by fire from an American Humvee and careered into a tributary of the Euphrates.

Mr Tellaib freed himself but could not save the rest of the family. Those who died included Mr Tellaib's wife Ahlam, 26; his sons Omar, seven, and Barat, three, and his daughter Zainab. Also killed were his niece Rokyab, 26, her three-year-old son Fadhi, and three-month-old daughter Farah.

Mr Tellaib, 33, a merchant, said: "We were stopped, in a line of cars, by some Humvees which had overtaken us. One soldier waved us forward, but as I drove up there was firing from another Humvee. I was shot in the side of the head, and my wife and elder son were shot in the chest. I think they must have died then. There was blood all over my eyes. I lost control of the car which fell into the river. I managed to get out, and then tried to get the others out, but I could not and the car sank.

"The Americans told the police that it was all a mistake, and I could get compensation. But what about my family? My life has gone. They might as well have killed me as well."

Rahim Abdullah, 46, a teacher, said that anyone in the street was regarded by the Americans as the enemy. "I was trying to get to my uncle's house, waving a piece of white cloth as we had been advised when they started shooting at me. I saw two men being shot. They were just ordinary people. The only way to stay alive was to stay inside and hope your house did not get hit by a shell."

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Children Pay Cost of Iraq's Chaos

By Karl Vick
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, November 21, 2004; Page A01

Malnutrition Nearly Double What It Was Before Invasion

BAGHDAD -- Acute malnutrition among young children in Iraq has nearly doubled since the United States led an invasion of the country 20 months ago, according to surveys by the United Nations, aid agencies and the interim Iraqi government.

After the rate of acute malnutrition among children younger than 5 steadily declined to 4 percent two years ago, it shot up to 7.7 percent this year, according to a study conducted by Iraq's Health Ministry in cooperation with Norway's Institute for Applied International Studies and the U.N. Development Program. The new figure translates to roughly 400,000 Iraqi children suffering from "wasting," a condition characterized by chronic diarrhea and dangerous deficiencies of protein.

"These figures clearly indicate the downward trend," said Alexander Malyavin, a child health specialist with the UNICEF mission to Iraq.

The surveys suggest the silent human cost being paid across a country convulsed by instability and mismanagement. While attacks by insurgents have grown more violent and more frequent, deteriorating basic services take lives that many Iraqis said they had expected to improve under American stewardship.

Iraq's child malnutrition rate now roughly equals that of Burundi, a central African nation torn by more than a decade of war. It is far higher than rates in Uganda and Haiti.

"The people are astonished," said Khalil M. Mehdi, who directs the Nutrition Research Institute at the Health Ministry. The institute has been involved with nutrition surveys for more than a decade; the latest one was conducted in April and May but has not been publicly released.

Mehdi and other analysts attributed the increase in malnutrition to dirty water and to unreliable supplies of the electricity needed to make it safe by boiling. In poorer areas, where people rely on kerosene to fuel their stoves, high prices and an economy crippled by unemployment aggravate poor health.

"Things have been worse for me since the war," said Kasim Said, a day laborer who was at Baghdad's main children's hospital to visit his ailing year-old son, Abdullah. The child, lying on a pillow with a Winnie the Pooh washcloth to keep the flies off his head, weighs just 11 pounds.

"During the previous regime, I used to work on the government projects. Now there are no projects," his father said.

When he finds work, he added, he can bring home $10 to $14 a day. If his wife is fortunate enough to find a can of Isomil, the nutritional supplement that doctors recommend, she pays $7 for it.

"But the lady in the next bed said she just paid $10," said Suad Ahmed, who sat cross-legged on a bed in the same ward, trying to console her skeletal 4-month-old granddaughter, Hiba, who suffers from chronic diarrhea.

Iraqi health officials like to surprise visitors by pointing out that the nutrition issue facing young Iraqis a generation ago was obesity. Malnutrition, they say, appeared in the early 1990s with U.N. trade sanctions championed by Washington to punish the government led by President Saddam Hussein for invading Kuwait in 1990.

International aid efforts and the U.N. oil-for-food program helped reduce the ruinous impact of sanctions, and the rate of acute malnutrition among the youngest Iraqis gradually dropped from a peak of 11 percent in 1996 to 4 percent in 2002. But the invasion in March 2003 and the widespread looting in its aftermath severely damaged the basic structures of governance in Iraq, and persistent violence across the country slowed the pace of reconstruction almost to a halt.

In its most recent assessment of five sectors of Iraq's reconstruction, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington research group, said health care was worsening at the quickest pace.

"Believe me, we thought a magic thing would happen" with the fall of Hussein and the start of the U.S.-led occupation, said an administrator at Baghdad's Central Teaching Hospital for Pediatrics. "So we're surprised that nothing has been done. And people talk now about how the days of Saddam were very nice," the official said.

The administrator, who would not give his full name for publication, cited security concerns faced by Iraqi doctors, who are widely perceived as rich and well-connected and thus easy targets for thieves, extortionists and the merely envious or vengeful. So many have been assassinated, he said, that the Health Ministry recently mailed out offers to expedite weapon permits for doctors.

Violence has also driven away international aid agencies that brought expertise to Iraq following the U.S. invasion.

Since a truck bombing at the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad killed more than 20 people last year, U.N. programs for Iraq have operated from neighboring Jordan. Doctors Without Borders, a group known for its high tolerance for risk and one of several that helped revive Iraq's Health Ministry in the weeks after the invasion, evacuated this fall.

CARE International closed down in October after the director of its large Iraq operation, Margaret Hassan, was kidnapped. She is now presumed to be dead. The huge Atlanta-based charity had remained active in Iraq through three wars, providing hospitals with supplies and sponsoring scores of projects to offer Iraqis clean drinking water.

By one count, 60 percent of rural residents and 20 percent of urban dwellers have access only to contaminated water. The country's sewer systems are in disarray.

"Even myself, I suffer from the quality of water," said Zina Yahya, 22, a nurse in a Baghdad maternity hospital. "If you put it in a glass, you can see it's turbid. I've heard of typhoid cases."

The nutrition surveys indicated that conditions are worst in Iraq's largely poor, overwhelmingly Shiite Muslim south, an area alternately subject to neglect and persecution during Hussein's rule. But doctors say malnutrition occurs wherever water is dirty, parents are poor and mothers have not been taught how to avoid disease.

"I don't eat well," said Yusra Jabbar, 20, clutching her swollen abdomen in a fly-specked ward of Baghdad's maternity hospital. Her mother said the water in their part of Sadr City, a Shiite slum on the capital's east side, is often contaminated. Her brother contracted jaundice.

"They tell me I have anemia," Jabbar said. Doctors said almost all the pregnant women in the hospital do.

"This is not surprising because since the war, there is lots of unemployment," Yahya said. "And without work, they don't have the money to obtain proper food.''

Iraqis say such conditions carry political implications. Baghdad residents often point out to reporters that after the 1991 Persian Gulf War left much of the capital a shambles, Hussein's government restored electricity and kerosene supplies in two months.

"Yes, there is a price for every war," said the official at the teaching hospital. "Yes, there are victims. But after that?

"Oh God, help us build Iraq again. For our children, not for us. For our kids," the official said.

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Israel's Battle in Fallujah
Rashid Khashana Al-Hayat 2004/11/22
It has become clear that Israel played a major role in the battle for Fallujah, despite the American concern to conceal this fact. What news leaked of officers, soldiers, and even rabbis of dual citizenships that took part in the battles, some of which were killed by the resistance's bullets, is only the tip of the iceberg. The killing of an Israeli officer in Fallujah exposed the existence of a large number officers, snipers, and paratroopers in Iraq. Based on Israeli press statistics, Israel currently has no fewer than 1,000 officers and soldiers scattered around the American units working in Iraq. In addition, 37 rabbis are operating within the American troops, which leads to believe that the real number is greater; since Ha'aretz admitted that others are concealing their Jewish identities, which makes them self-driven Israeli citizens. Currently, there is a recruitment campaign coinciding with the escalation of the operations in Iraq, which seeks to send further assistance there. Amongst these campaigns is the incitement of Rabbi Irving Elson in his latest speech given in New York to allocate further "Fighting Rabbis" and encourage them to enlist in the American forces, in addition to another rabbi's advisory stating that those killed in Fallujah are "martyrs."

America needs the Israelis' experience in gang wars in order to manage the battles in the Iraqi cities; given that two generations of its armed forces lack this experience since the end of the Vietnam War. However, the Israeli role is neither technical nor complementary to the American plan. Rather, it is part of the vision established by its military and political leadership prior to the launching of the war, which aims at annulling any regional role for Iraq and eliminating any threat it might cause to its future. The Israeli plan became clear due to various headlines, most prominent of which is dispatching Mossad operatives to establish offices and networks in the north, south, eliminate the Iraqi scientists and intensify the real estate purchase of property and land in the north; specifically in Arbil, Kirkuk and Mosul. This comes as a completion of the previous project, launched ten years prior to the fall of Baghdad, through Jewish Turks.

Israel encourages the Kurdish leaderships to decentralize from Baghdad in administering their regions but at the same time, it aims at having the Kurdish parties play a pivotal role in the post-war Iraq due to the historical relations that it had established with the Kurds. More likely, Israel has advanced in developing the plan announced previously by the minister of infrastructure Joseph Paritzky that aims at laying oil pipelines from Iraq to Israel passing through Jordan; since a Turkish security report recently published by Jumhuriyet confirmed Israel's attempts to activate the line towards Haifa as soon as possible. Based on this vision, the Israelis believe that the American forces are incapable of imposing security and stability in Iraq. This obliged the Israelis to develop their own channels with the local powers beginning at the fulcrum point in the north and advancing in the implementation plan, which they had prepared prior to the fall of the former regime. However, they are now avoiding a confrontation with Turkey, which is worried from their expansion in the north.

In this course, Israel incites the Iraqi Jews to the forefront in order to head the bridge of organizing the relations with the new government and specifically intensify the trade initiatives with Iraq through Jordan. It also wants it to have a word in Iraq's destiny through the indirect influence at the Sharm El-Sheikh summit, which infuriated both Syria and Turkey. The vast and unexpected expansion of the Israeli role in various fields in Iraq, confirms that Israel is the major beneficiary in the continuity of the war, same as it is the first beneficiary from the American escalation with Iran regarding its nuclear file. Iraq is not Russia, and Iran is not China, hence they cause no threat to the U.S., nevertheless, they both represent a threat to the Hebrew state. In conclusion, it is possible to say that the Likudniks, who control decision-making posts in America, are using Bush's campaign against terrorism as a cover-up to accomplish Israel's objectives in Iraq. Hence, the purpose of the Fallujah battle is to break the backbone of the resistance and pave the way for the completion of the Israeli plan.

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Flashback: Ethics Probes Decline On Hill - Parties' Truce Leads to Inaction

By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 7, 2002; Page A01

In contrast to their campaign to crack down on crooked businessmen, lawmakers are increasingly choosing to overlook alleged transgressions by their own colleagues.

The trend reflects the result of an unwritten detente struck five years ago by Republican and Democratic congressional leaders, and as a consequence several cases of questionable conduct have led to little or no action by the House and Senate ethics committees.

For example, top Republicans are resisting calls to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by Democratic Reps. Paul E. Kanjorski (Pa.) and James P. Moran Jr. (Va.), according to lawmakers and aides.

GOP leaders backed off filing charges against Kanjorski -- for steering government money to companies closely tied to family members -- after a top aide to House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) threatened to retaliate by going after Republicans with ethical questions. Moran, who accepted a $450,000 loan from MBNA Corp. shortly before intensifying his support for legislation sought by the company, has escaped congressional scrutiny despite calls for an investigation by a top state Democrat, among others.

Government watchdogs, meanwhile, say the relationship that House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) has with corporate lobbyists, and the assistance that Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz (D-Tex.) provided to a company he is listed as president of, also have not been scrutinized because of the undeclared accord. [...]

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Israelis fired on girl 'having identified her as a 10-year-old', military tape shows

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
24 November 2004

Israeli soldiers continued firing at a Palestinian girl killed in Gaza last month well after she had been identified as a frightened child, a military communications tape has revealed.

The tape is likely to be crucial in the prosecution case against the men's company commander, who faces five charges arising from the killing of Iman al-Hams, 13, in the southern border town of Rafah on 6 October.

It shows that troops firing with light weapons and machine guns on a figure moving in a "no entry zone" close to an army outpost near the border with Egypt had swiftly discovered that she was a girl.

In the recorded exchanges someone in the operations room asks: "Are we talking about a girl under the age of 10?" The observation post, housed in a watchtower, replies: "It's a little girl. She's running defensively eastwards, a girl of about 10. She's behind the embankment, scared to death."

Not until four minutes later was it reported that the girl had been hit and had fallen. The observation post reports: "Receive, I think that one of the positions took her out." ... Operations room: "What, she fell?" Observation post: "She's not moving right now."

The tape records the commander as telling his men, after firing at the girl with an automatic weapon and declaring he has "confirmed" the killing: "Anyone who's mobile, moving in the zone, even if it's a three-year-old, needs to be killed."

The tape, broadcast on Israel's Channel Two TV, gives the most graphic account of the killing after which soldiers in the company, part of the Givati Brigade, complained that they had been "besmirched" by the company commander's insistence on "confirming the kill".

The army admitted shortly after the shooting near the Girit outpost that it had been a mistake. The girl was carrying a bag which the army said that the soldiers had thought contained explosives, but which was found to contain schoolbooks. Although the family is at a loss to explain why she had wandered into a dangerous prohibited zone, they say she was on her way to school at the time.

The soldiers said that the commander had fired two shots at the girl from close range as she lay on the ground before withdrawing, turning and "emptying his magazine" by firing some 10 bullets at her body.

This account is broadly confirmed by the terms of the indictment issued this week. Although the family's Israeli lawyer believes - and Palestinian witnesses said last month - that she was wounded but alive when the commander fired his first two shots, he has not been charged with manslaughter, apparently on the grounds that there is no evidence that the two bullets killed the girl.

After the report that she has been hit, the tape records the company commander as saying: "I and another soldier ... are going in a little nearer, forward, to confirm the kill ..." After a pause he adds: "Receive a situation report - we fired and killed her. She was wearing pants, jeans, an undershirt, a shirt. Also, she was wearing a keffiyah on her head. I also confirmed the kill. Over."

The charges include obstruction of justice because of a false explanation - which was accepted by senior commanders until soldiers came forward with their version of events to the newspaper Yedhiot Ahronot - that he came under fire from Palestinian gunmen 300 yards away as he approached the girl and shot at the ground to deter the fire.

Because "confirmation of the killing" is not dealt with under military regulations the commander - who has been named only as Captain R - has been charged with "illegal use of a weapon" and overstepping his authority to the extent of jeopardising human life. He has been remanded in custody.

The al-Hams family's lawyer, Leah Tsemel, said that she was angered by what she said was the relative lightness of the charges. "I believe that the commanders and the soldiers who fired should all have been charged with murder."

The family have declined an army request to exhume the body for a post-mortem examination, because of the pain it would cause relatives.

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Israelis elect new Palestinian leader
Avraham Avinunu, BNN Elections Expert, 23 November 2004
Millions of Israeli voters flocked to the polls today to vote for a new Palestinian leader. Israel has taken the unusual step of giving its voters a say in who will lead the Palestinians, after years of Israeli ministers trying to make the decision themselves.

Israel's Interior Minister, Tommy Lapid explained, "After the death of the terrorist leader Yasir Arafat, there is unique opportunity for Israel to pick a new, moderate Palestinian leadership." He added, "since Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, our people are the only ones qualified to make this choice."

The candidates in the election, all hand-picked by Israel, are actually Israeli actors playing Palestinians, who trained with Israel's notorious "Mista'aravim" death squads who disguise themselves as Palestinians when carrying out assassinations. The candidates are Ahmad Abu Karsh of the PFLP (Palestinians for Likud Party), Mohammad Abu ShibShib of Fatah (Falafil, Tabouleh and Hummus Party) and Mahmoud Abu Dishdasheh representing the DFLP (Definitely for the Labor Party).

Ronit Sharoni, a 23-year-old social work student at Tel Aviv University, cast her vote on her way to class. She declined to say who she voted for but explained, "it is very important who leads the Palestinians, since we have one day to negotiate with them, and we should know in advance it will not be someone who will reject our generous offers. Otherwise the peace process will fail."

Arieh Zahavi, a 36-year-old tank commander from the Jerusalem suburb of Har Ganuv said picking a Palestinian leader is one of the toughest decisions Israelis had to make: "on the one hand, it is someone we can do business with, on the other, he should look enough like a terrorist that we can turn the world against him when we need to." Zahavi said that none of the current candidates could fill the shoes of the late Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.

Still, many observers remain hopeful that the election could be a fresh start for the region. "Maybe it will not bring peace ever," said EU Special Representative for the Middle East Marc Van Nauseam, "but it will revive the peace process, and that is the important thing because we have seen a sharp deterioration in the economic situation as a result of the escalating conflict. Many Middle East envoys, including those from the US, EU, and the UN have faced severe unemployment and others have seen a terrible deterioration in their travel allowances and frequent flyer miles."

"A revived peace process may be just what they need to get themselves back on track," added Van Nauseam, "Having a Palestinian leader the Israelis and Americans will let us visit is an important first step." Election results are expected shortly after polls close at 7PM Israel time.

Al-Bassaleh and BNN are satirical

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Israel agrees to allow international observers for Palestinian election
07:40 AM EST Nov 25
MARK LAVIE
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel will allow international observers to monitor upcoming elections to replace Yasser Arafat as head of the Palestinian Authority, Israel's foreign minister said Wednesday in another indication of easing of tensions since Arafat's death.

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom made the commitment, which can be seen as a concession, before meeting visiting British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. Straw also offered assistance to the Palestinians.

"If the international community will want to send observers, Israel will allow the entrance of observers," Shalom told Army Radio.

Since Arafat died on Nov. 11, Israel has scaled back military operations in Palestinian areas, and tensions have abated. Israel accused Arafat of promoting Palestinian terrorism and refused to deal with him.

Now the Israelis are walking a self-imposed fine line, hoping a moderate Palestinian leadership emerges to resume negotiations, but keeping its distance before the Jan. 9 election. [...]

Israel usually opposes an official international presence in the Palestinian areas, rejecting a frequent Palestinian demand for observers or peacekeepers. Israel assumes that because most of the world opposes its policies, international teams would be hostile to Israel.

There have been exceptions. Israel agreed to a special observer force in the West Bank city of Hebron in 1994 after a Jewish settler massacred 29 Palestinians at a disputed holy site.

Also, observers including former U.S. president Jimmy Carter watched the other Palestinian election, in 1996.

Shalom said the role of observers would be "to ensure that these elections are fair and the results will be acceptable, not only to the international community, but first and foremost to the Palestinian people." [...]

Palestinians have also demanded Israel pull its troops out of Palestinian cities during the campaign and allow residents of east Jerusalem to vote in the poll.

After initial opposition, Israel said it would let residents of east Jerusalem vote by absentee ballot. Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it, claiming the whole city. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as their capital.

Shalom would not promise to pull troops out of the West Bank for the voting.

"The elections process will not be harmed if, on the outskirts of a certain town, soldiers are located. I think what is important is allowing freedom of movement," Shalom said.

Comment: This headline says mountains about the situation of the Palestinians. If they want to have elections, they must beg permission of Israel for when and how and where and, please, could you remove your troops from our land?

The Israelis consider this normal.

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Israel: Caterpillar Should Suspend Bulldozer Sales
November 23, 2004

Weaponized Bulldozers Used to Destroy Civilian Property and Infrastructure

(New York)--Caterpillar Inc., the U.S.-based heavy-equipment company, should immediately suspend sales of its powerful D9 bulldozer to the Israeli army, Human Rights Watch said today. As Human Rights Watch documented in a recent report, the Israeli military uses the D9 as its primary weapon to raze Palestinian homes, destroy agriculture and shred roads in violation of the laws of war.

Caterpillar betrays its stated values when it sells bulldozers to Israel knowing that they are being used to illegally destroy Palestinian homes. Until Israel stops these practices, Caterpillarís continued sales will make the company complicit in human rights abuses.

In a letter to Caterpillarís chief executive officer and board of directors, Human Rights Watch on October 29 called on the company to cease all sales to the Israeli military of the D9, as well as parts and maintenance services, so long as the military continues to use the bulldozer to violate international human rights and humanitarian law. 

Caterpillarís CEO James Owens responded to Human Rights Watch in a letter dated November 12 by saying the company did "not have the practical ability or legal right to determine how our products are used after they are sold." This head-in-the-sand approach ignores international standards on corporate social responsibility and the requirements of Caterpillarís own code of conduct.  [...]
 
Caterpillar makes the D9 to military specifications and sells the bulldozers to Israel as weapons under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales Program, a government-to-government program for selling U.S.-made defense equipment. Once exported to Israel, the bulldozers are armoured by the state-owned Israel Military Industries Ltd. Weighing roughly 64 tons, the armored D9 is more than 13 feet tall and 26 feet long with front and rear blades.  
 
A Human Rights Watch report released last month, "Razing Rafah," documented the Israel Defense Forceís (IDF) systematic use of the D9 bulldozer in illegal demolitions throughout the occupied Palestinian territories. The IDF has demolished over 2,500 Palestinian homes over the past four years in the Gaza Strip alone, most of them without the military necessity required by international humanitarian law.  
 
Nearly two-thirds of those homes were in Rafah, a town and refugee camp on Gazaís southern border with Egypt. The Israeli military has used the Caterpillar bulldozer to raze the homes of more than 10 percent of the population in Rafah. The government plan to expand a "buffer zone" along the border would entail the destruction of hundreds more homes. In May, the IDF destroyed more than 50 percent of Rafahís roads and damaged more than 40 miles of water and sewage pipes with a blade on the bulldozerís back known as "the ripper." [...]

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One gulp, and Bush was gone

Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday November 25, 2004
The Guardian

Behind the scenes at the Clinton library, we saw America's future

At the dedication of the Clinton library last week in Little Rock, Karl Rove and President Bush received separate tours of the dramatic building, a glistening silver, suspended boxcar filled with light and with a panoramic view of the Arkansas river. Flung across the river stands an old railroad bridge - and to Clinton watchers, bridges represent "the bridge to the 21st century", the former president's re-election slogan in 1996.

The opening ceremony was biblical in its spectacle, length and rain. For more than four hours we huddled in thin ponchos under the downpour, awaiting four presidents. For the Democrats among us - former advisers and cabinet secretaries, celebrity supporters and high school friends of Bill - this was an unofficial convention, a kind of counter-inaugural, with rueful discussions of the recent defeat.

John Kerry arrived to defiant cheering from the crowd. Then, when the presidents were announced, Bush tried to push his way past Clinton at the library door to be first in line, against the already accepted protocol for the event, as though the walk to the platform was a contest for alpha male. [...]

Offstage, beforehand, Rove and Bush had had their library tours. According to two eyewitnesses, Rove had shown keen interest in everything he saw, and asked questions, including about costs, obviously thinking about a future George W Bush library and legacy. "You're not such a scary guy," joked his guide. "Yes, I am," Rove replied. Walking away, he muttered deliberately and loudly: "I change constitutions, I put churches in schools ..." Thus he identified himself as more than the ruthless campaign tactician; he was also the invisible hand of power, pervasive and expansive, designing to alter the fundamental American compact.

Bush appeared distracted, and glanced repeatedly at his watch. When he stopped to gaze at the river, where secret service agents were stationed in boats, the guide said: "Usually, you might see some bass fishermen out there." Bush replied: "A submarine could take this place out."

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Is it Possible the People of the Ukraine Love Democracy More than Americans?
Kurt Nimmo
November 24, 2004

Is it possible the people of the Ukraine love freedom and fair play more than the people of the United States? It sure looks that way.

“Tens of thousands of [Viktor Yushchenko’s] supporters roamed the capital Kiev for a third day, marching past buildings housing the presidency, government and parliament and chanting: ‘Yushchenko! Yushchenko!’ The mass protests engulfed every corner of the city center and paralyzed all normal work. People in apartment buildings opened their windows and waved flags of orange—the campaign colors of Yushchenko—and cheered on supporters. Cars drove by with orange streamers fluttering from radio aerials,” Reuters reports.

“Ukraine’s outgoing President, Leonid Kuchma, raised the spectre of civil war engulfing the country after election officials declared yesterday that the Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovych, had won the bitterly fought presidential contest,” writes Askold Krushelnycky for the Independent. “The danger of civil conflict was also raised by the opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, who has refused to concede defeat in the face of widespread evidence of fraud by the regime. ‘This decision puts Ukraine on the verge of civil conflict,’ he said.”

Meanwhile, in America, the media refuses to even address the possibility of fraud in the election, and most Americans don’t even care, that is if they bother to pay attention. Nothing short of merchants giving away Xboxes would motivate them to go into the streets. Election fraud? Like, boooooooring. Politics cannot stand up to NFL weekends and the next episode of Gilmore Girls. Americans would rather watch West Wing than find out what is really going on in Washington.

Let’s face it. America is not a democracy and Americans don’t care if the president is a liar and a cheat. Bush is taking the country down a destructive path—an astounding deficit that will soon destroy the economy, one party rule (once upon a time this was called totalitarianism) by a plutocracy of multinational corporations and whack job evangelical christers and their Israel First fellow travelers, and endless war predicated on lies and absurd fabrications—and most people don’t give a rat’s posterior. Far too many Americans believe it is enough to affix a yellow “God Bless Our Troops” sticker to the ass-end of their SUVs.

Of course, in the months ahead, when the economy bottoms out, interest rates go through the roof, people begin to lose their jobs and homes, and their kids are conscripted to fight Bush’s never-ending wars, Americans will cry foul, maybe even do what the people in Ukraine are doing now.

It will be a day late and a dollar short.

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Ukraine
Israel Shamir & Ihor Slissarenko

The developments in Ukraine are very troublesome - they remind us the scenes from Tbilisi and Belgrade. The statement of Powell is even more troublesome - just recently the US went through the elections which appeared extremely flawed, and already the US administration dares to find flaws in the elections in Ukraine.

The Bankers Union of Ukraine also supports the opposition man who lost but won't admit it. Mercedeces and Cadillacs, status symbols for Ukraine, are serving the rebels; over a million of dead Ukrainians somehow managed to vote for the opposition. The president-elect is offering a reasonable solution to some of Ukraine problems, inclusing that of Russian language recognition - over a half of Ukrainians speak Russian, but the language is not recognised yet. Still, the situation is not too simple.

Our friend Ihor Slissarenko wrote the following text stressing the complexity of the picture.

PRO-WESTERN AND PRO-WESTERNER

Due the often heavily used in the mainstream media primitive cliche, Viktor Yanukovych is the pro-Russian candidate, while Viktor Yushchenko is his pro-Western rival. Indeed, Mr. Yanukovych found a powerful promoter in Russian president Vladimir Putin, who came to the capital, Kiev, for an open endorsement praising Yanukovych's governance and offering the dual citizenship. An ordinary Russian could be shocked with the only fact that his leader with KGB background openly associated with a person with a criminal record, who spent two terms in jail for robbery and hooliganism!

As to the US stance, it seems it had put eggs in different baskets a long before the elections. Until last days before the run-off on November 21, US ambassador to Ukraine often stated that the US 'would accept any choice made by the Ukrainian people'. Despite the recent vocal criticism from the US about the dirty campaign, many in Ukraine consider the US administration tolerates president Kuchma and his clan due the over 1,700 Ukrainian soldiers stationed in Iraq, although the overwhelming majority of the population is against that. And Mr. Yushenko already promised the withdrawal after his victory, as he signed an agreement with the leader of the popular Socialist party Mr. Oleksandr Moroz in exchange for the socialists' support.

On the other hand, Mr.Yanukovych's envoy currently orchestrating $1 mln PR-campaign in the US, came to Washington with the assurances that the Ukrainian soldiers would not leave Iraq if his boss wins. Many in Ukraine were confused with ex-congressman Bob Carr recruited by the Mr.Yanukovych's staff as a head of ex-congressmen mission to Ukraine's election, who after the voting day delivered the statement that his mission had not seen anything wrong while 3 mln Ukrainians had not been able to have voted as their names had been absent or misspelled in the voters' list.

Or should we forget the attacks of alleged recruited criminals, even security service agents in plain at some polling stations, burning of ballot-papers, and death threats to the heads of local electoral commissions if they failed to ensure the positive results for 'the candidate of power'?

President Kuchma's son-in-law billionaire Victor Pinchuk has enjoyed the company of George H.W. Bush, Henry Kissinger, Richard Holbrook, Wesley Clark, who visited Kiev in last three months as 'personal guests of Mr. Pinchuk'. Mr.Pinchuk's media (three nation-wide television channels, the published in large tabloid, number of FM radio stations) are the part of the current brutal smear campaign launched against Mr.Yushchenko, and naturally, the loyal partner to Mr.Yanukovych.

Another propagandist engine against Mr.Yushchenko "1 1" nation-wide television channel being often suited for libel, is owned by former US ambassador Ronald Lauder. Mr.Yushchenko knows for sure that being known either 'pro-Western' or 'pro-Russian' is not favored by the Ukrainian voters. Thus, he has often claimed being a 'pro-Ukrainian'. In his television ads, he appealed "not to rely on Europe, America, or Russia".

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Break out the tear gas for Bush visit
Tue, November 23, 2004
By Greg Weston -- Sun Ottawa Bureau

Even as the nation's capital is recovering from being this year's city of Grey Cup drunks, police here are polishing their riot gear for a likely onslaught of protesters during next week's U.S. presidential visit.

George W. Bush arrives in Ottawa next Tuesday for his first state visit to this country, a diplomatic celebration that could quickly turn into the great northern tear-gas festival.

Police are wisely assuming the welcoming party for the U.S. president this time will include mobs of anti-American protesters. The short notice of the visit -- it was announced virtually out of the blue only last week -- has left organizers scrambling to put in place the massive security that surrounds Bush wherever he goes.

But police are also hoping the last-minute trip to Canada caught the protest groups equally off-guard, without time to organize mass demonstrations.

There is also a reasonable assumption that only true diehards and assorted dupes would travel to Ottawa midweek for the fun of freezing their clenched fists off in the world's coldest capital.

Monique Ackland, a spokesperson for the Ottawa police, said there is no doubt security for the presidential visit "is going to be big, very big.

"As far as demonstrations are concerned, every indication is there will be some. How big, we don't know. The one thing I can tell you is we will have enough resources to deal with anything."

The last time the RCMP and other police forces assembled "enough resources to deal with anything" coming to the capital, a meeting of international finance ministers here in early 2003 was protected by enough riot police and heavy artillery to quell the outbreak of WWIII.
Similarly, the security cordon for the Bush visit will likely be massive overkill (pardon the expression).

True, violent demonstrations erupted in the streets of Santiago, Chile, as Bush arrived there for an international meeting with Paul Martin and other leaders this week.

Rubber bullets

But in North America, at least, most protest groups worth their face paint seem to have realized the days of free rock tossing, rubber bullets and friendly tear gas ended with 9/11.

A good demo these days is a lot of shouting, a little shoving, a few mandatory arrests for the cameras and plenty of riot cops in an ugly mood, banging on their shields. That's it.

Not that the protesters are coming to Ottawa with anything but great expectations.

One of the dozens of groups trying to recruit placard-wavers over the Internet has the following modest goals for its day of anti-Bush demonstrating:

"A group of Canadians has come together quickly to organize protests to 1) indict Bush for war crimes, and should that prove difficult, 2) force the Canadian government to stop its complicity with U.S. foreign policy.

"He expects to be treated like an emperor. He should be treated like the criminal he is." Good luck to that crowd.

A similar call to would-be fist-clenchers in the Toronto area includes a wee note about Bush that begins: "In every corner of the world, the policies of the Bush administration are causing impoverishment and destruction.

"On Nov. 30, this war criminal is coming to Canada. Against overwhelming odds, people across the world are mounting fierce resistance to the empire."

Another recruiting message calls the U.S. president "the world's foremost enemy of peace, of civil liberties, of choice and diversity, of self-determination, of the environment."

Finally, one organization wishes to make it clear this is not just all about George:

"The Canadian government, headed by Paul Martin, is preparing a warm welcome for him, betraying its true colours as a willing ally to a regime of international terrorism.

"We must make the most of an opportunity to confront the Bush and Martin administrations on their murderous policies, so thinly disguised as security agendas."

By the time this is all over, Carolyn "Stompin' Doll" Parrish is going to seem like a love-struck Bush fan.

Comment: In just a little over four years, George W. Bush has become one of the most despised and reviled leaders in all of history. It's hard to imagine any other American president that has become so universally hated in such a short time.

Could it be just a coincidence that he is on the receiving end of so much ire? Could these people in Canada and other countries around the world know something that the American population refuses to acknowledge?

Perhaps, it is because they have access to more accurate information as to the real story of the ongoing slaughter in Iraq. Perhaps they are not as easily fooled by trite dualist propaganda as in "either you are with us or against us". Perhaps, by virtue of living outside the US, these people are able to see Dubya more "objectively", as the bold-faced liar that he is.

Contrary to many American's conditioned perception that their country is an island unto itself, the actions of their warmonger President affect the entire planet. Acting out his apocalyptic fantasies as the fearless leader of the (not so) free world, he's seems hell bent to take us all down with him.

It is no accident that everywhere he goes, a massive security detail follow. In a true democracy, not only would be indicted for war crimes, he wouldn't have been elected in the first place.

As they say, the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree. The fact that Dubya inspires such intense loathing in so many ordinary people, is testament to the type of man he is.

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Bush to avoid Parliament, will travel to Halifax; no desire to be 'booed'
11:58 PM EST Nov 24
BETH GORHAM

WASHINGTON (CP) - President George W. Bush will avoid a potentially hostile reception in Parliament and travel to Halifax next week after his first official trip to Ottawa, White House sources said Wednesday.

Bush's side trip to thank Canadians who helped out after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks will come after a working visit Tuesday with Prime Minister Paul Martin and a dinner reception with hundreds of prominent Canadians. American officials involved in planning the trip were worried about a cranky audience on Parliament Hill, sources said.

"We didn't see the need and, frankly, we didn't want to be booed. There are other, better venues," said one U.S. official.

Last week, the White House brushed off the latest anti-American outburst of MP Carolyn Parrish, who appeared on a comedy show stomping on a Bush doll before Martin turfed her from the Liberal caucus.

Her antics didn't directly contribute to the decision to avoid Parliament, sources said.

But Bush wanted to avoid another embarrassing incident like the one in Australia last year, when he was shouted down by Green party senators while trying to address the parliament in Canberra.

And U.S. officials noted during planning discussions that Ronald Reagan was heckled by New Democrats opposed to his missile defence scheme during that president's 1987 state visit to Canada. [...]

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Citing Terror Issues, Britain Plans ID Cards
By ALAN COWELL
Published: November 24, 2004

LONDON, Nov. 23 - Invoking a global threat of terrorism, the British government announced plans on Tuesday to introduce national identity cards for the first time since the World War II era. An opposition legislator said the government wanted to create a "climate of fear" in advance of elections expected next year.

The proposal was in a list of 37 draft laws outlined by Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the government at the ceremonial opening of Parliament. While the queen summarizes proposed legislation, the list is drawn up by government ministers.

The most contentious law was the plan to introduce a national identity card in 2008, a measure the government asserts is needed to fight terrorism and organized crime. The queen said Britons "live in a time of global uncertainty with an increased threat from international terrorism and organized crime."

Speaking later, Prime Minister Tony Blair said, "With terrorism, illegal immigration and organized crime operating with so much greater sophistication, identity cards in my judgment are long overdue."

But opposition Conservatives and Liberal Democrats assailed the plan as an effort to raise levels of fear in Britain in the hope of winning votes in elections that could be held next May.

The government announced other security-related moves on Tuesday, including proposals for new counterterrorism legislation and for a new police unit akin to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Britain ceased issuing national identity documents to its citizens 52 years ago.

Identity cards are commonplace in many parts of Continental Europe. But in Britain, opponents argue that their use will infringe on civil rights because they will be accompanied by a national database. The cards are expected to include names, addresses and so-called biometrics, like computerized fingerprint records.

Outside Parliament on Tuesday, protesters accused the government of mounting what one demonstrator, Mark Littlewood, called "an enormous threat to privacy and liberty." They brandished a rubber stamp in the form of a supermarket bar code, saying the government's plans for a database were "the moral equivalent of bar-coding the entire population." [...]

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MPs file motion to impeach Blair over Iraq invasion
Wed Nov 24, 7:37 AM ET

LONDON (AFP) - Twenty-three members of parliament filed a motion to impeach Prime Minister Tony Blair on charges of "gross misconduct" over the US-led invasion of Iraq.

However, the first such bid to impeach a prime minister in 198 years has no chance of passing as it lacks the official backing of the two main opposition parties, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Analysts said the motion, filed in the House of Commons by 10 Conservatives, two Liberal Democrats as well as nine Welsh or Scottish nationalists, was aimed more at embarassing or humiliating the prime minister if it goes to a vote. [...]

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Second gun threat at school in Fruita
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
By Nancy Lofholm
Denver Post Staff Writer

Fruita - Hundreds of anxious parents waited outside Fruita Middle School on Tuesday during a lockdown after the second gun threat at the school in four days.

The threat - a penciled note on a bathroom stall reading, "I brought a gun to school" - was deemed to be a hoax after a 90- minute search of lockers, backpacks, cubbyholes and bulky coats.

Officials announced at the end of the tense lockdown that school would be canceled today. School officials and law-enforcement officers will meet with parents just after school begins Monday morning.

The school of 750 students in this town of 8,000 west of Grand Junction has been in a fearful limbo since an eighth- grader allegedly took two handguns and clips of ammunition to school Friday.

Other students reported the guns, and Fruita police officers - including the boy's mother, an officer on the force - found the weapons. They also obtained a list that named 34 students and spelled out reasons why each should be killed.

The student, 14, was taken into custody and is being held in a youth detention center without bail. He is on probation for an earlier gun violation and is scheduled to be formally charged today.

Four other students, who allegedly had knowledge of the plan or helped the student obtain or hide the guns, have been suspended indefinitely.

Fruita Police Chief Mark Angelo said his department is still investigating to determine whether they will be charged. Angelo said the writer of the anonymous threat that prompted Tuesday's lockdown may also face charges if that person can be found.

During the search, students were locked in their classrooms with all windows covered. Some in modular outbuildings said they had to get on the floor under their desks while officers with guns and dogs searched around those units.

"It was a little scary," sixth- grader Cody McNeece said as he hugged his crying mother, Brenda McNeece. [...]

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Quebec cops defuse explosive situation
Some News Source
September 5, 2004

QUEBEC (CP) - Police defused a potential crisis early on Wednesday after a man showed up to a local precinct with C-4 explosives in his coat.

The man was arrested several hours after walking into a police station in suburban Charlesbourg just after midnight. He was carrying C-4, a military-grade explosive, and threatened to blow himself up, said police spokesman Andre Tanguay.

The man offered the officer on duty to trade his explosives for a gun. The officer refused and started negotiating with him. A few hours later, the man gave in and was arrested.

After speaking with the man's wife, a provincial police bomb squad went to his apartment and found a large quantity of additional explosives.

Tanguay said police immediately evacuated the 24 units in the building before they removed the explosives. [...]

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Cellphone explosions scrutinized
Wed, Nov. 24, 2004
By ELIZABETH WOLFE
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Curtis Sathre said it was like a bomb going off. His 13-year-old son Michael stood stunned, his ears ringing, hand gushing blood and body covered in black ash.

In a split second last August, fragments from Michael's exploding cellphone had hit him between the eyes and lodged in the ceiling of the family's home in Oceanside, Calif.

Over the past two years, federal safety officials have received 83 reports of cellphones exploding or catching fire, usually because of incompatible, faulty or counterfeit batteries or chargers. Burns to the face, neck, leg and hip are among the dozens of injury reports the agency has received.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is providing tips for cellphone users to avoid such accidents and has stepped up oversight of the wireless industry. There have been three voluntary battery recalls, and the commission is working with companies to create better battery standards.

''[The commission] is receiving more and more reports of incidents involving cellphones, and we're very concerned about the potential for more serious injuries or more fires,'' said agency spokesman Scott Wolfson. [...]

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Snow, Storms Snarl Holiday Travel for Some
By The Associated Press

A fierce snowstorm pummeled the Midwest on one of the busiest travel days of the year Wednesday, snarling roads and causing long delays at airports as millions of Thanksgiving travelers tried to make it home for the holiday weekend.

The National Weather Service said parts of Illinois got up to 8 inches of snow, while 7 inches were reported outside Kansas City in the Midwest's first major snowfall of the season. The region was also hit by strong thunderstorms, high winds and icy conditions that made driving treacherous.

The snow caused dozens of flight cancellations and three-hour delays at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, where city officials expected more than 1.4 million travelers to pass through by Sunday night. [...]

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Tornadoes kill 4 people in U.S. southeast
By ROGER PETTERSON

(AP) - Tornadoes whirled across the South from Texas to Alabama, killing four people, wrecking homes and businesses in rural areas and the New Orleans suburbs, and turning trees to kindling.

The violent weather was part of a system that had drenched Texas for four days, pushing rivers out of their banks and forcing people out of their homes. A line of tornadoes skipped through Alabama early Wednesday, damaging homes and knocking down trees and power lines.

A falling tree killed a woman in a home in Bynum, Ala., about 80 kilometres east of Birmingham, and a deputy spotted a tornado about the same time, said Calhoun County emergency management spokeswoman Laura Roberts.

A tornado overturned mobile homes and damaged other houses at rural Autaugaville, Ala. "The town itself is small, but the storm concentrated in that area," said Lisa Sulkosky of the Autauga County Emergency Management Agency. County Emergency management director Randy Taylor said only one person was injured in the town.

Mack Clark and his wife escaped injury in Autaugaville by hiding in a hall closet as the twister peeled the roof off their house. "It brushed up against our back," he said.

More damage was reported in a half-dozen other Alabama counties, and fallen trees blocked highways.

One person was killed in Olla, La., and several homes were "completely torn up" late Tuesday, said LaSalle Parish Sheriff Carl Smith. Olla, with a population of around 1,400, is about 65 kilometres north of Alexandria.

"It cut a path through the middle of town," Smith said.

A twister touched down early Wednesday north of Slidell, La., a suburb of New Orleans, damaging as many as 50 homes and injuring a half-dozen people, said St. Tammany Parish sheriff's spokesman James Hartman. A tornado apparently hit the Jefferson Parish city of Westwego, just south of New Orleans, early Wednesday, tearing off roofs and heavily damaging several businesses, said Police Chief Dwayne Munch.

In Mississippi, a tornado killed one person in a house and injured two outside Louisville, said Clarence Kelley, the county civil defence director. Damage also was reported in scattered communities elsewhere across the state.

The house "was flattened. It was scattered everywhere. There was nothing left at the site itself," Kelley said.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour declared a state of emergency Wednesday.

About a dozen tornadoes struck Texas on Tuesday afternoon and evening. Four of them hit Hardin County, killing a woman and injuring three other people, a sheriff's department dispatcher said.

Authorities believe three other tornadoes hit the town of Kirbyville within minutes of one another, said Billy Ted Smith, emergency management co-ordinator for Jasper, Newton and Sabine counties.

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5 injured in earthquake in northern Italy
www.chinaview.cn 2004-11-25 10:30:37

ROME, Nov. 25 (Xinhuanet) -- At least five people were slightly injured and dozens of buildings were damaged in a strong earthquake that hit northern Italy late Wednesday night, local reports said Thursday.

One of the injured is from Milan, while the four others are from Brescia.

The quake, measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale, occurred minutes before midnight (2300 GMT), with its epicenter located near Lake Garda, about 85 km east of Milan, the National Institute of Geophysics said on Thursday.

The quake was felt in large parts of northern and central Italy, including cities of Milan, Turin, Genoa, and Venice.

Hundreds of people panicked and fled their homes in Milan and some small towns near Lake Garda.

The National Institute of Geophysics warned of aftershocks ahead in the next few days.

Italy reported one of its worst earthquakes on Nov. 23, 1980, which hit the south and left more than 3,000 people dead.

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Wheatbelt joggled by earthquake
November 24, 2004
AN earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter Scale was felt across a 200km radius in WA this morning.

Geoscience Australia said the tremor occurred at 10.42am. It was located 20km north of the Wheatbelt town of Koorda but was felt within a 150-200km radius, including Wongan Hills, Burakin, Stoneville, Upper Swan, Bickley and Perth.

The earthquake was shallow, occurring at a depth of about 5km.

Geoscience Australia seismologist Dr Mark Leonard said there were smaller tremors last week, and the effects of today's tremor were still being felt.

"So far we have recorded six aftershocks," Dr Leonard said. "The Wheatbelt in WA experiences an event of this magnitude a couple of times a year. In fact there have been a couple of smaller events in this region in the last week."

A police spokesman said there had been no reports of damage caused by the quake.

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"Light" earthquake strikes near Pinnacles, Calif.
November 24, 2004

PINNACLES, Calif. An earthquake with a magnitude of four-point-four has struck San Benito County.

The U-S Geological Survey considers that a light earthquake.

The earthquake, which struck at six minutes after six this evening, was centered about halfway between Salinas and San Benito and about six miles northwest of the town of Pinnacles.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, but two aftershocks measuring three-point-three and two-point-six followed within minutes. [...]

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Hundreds of tremors continue to rattle Guadeloupe, Dominica
AP and Observer reports
Wednesday, November 24, 2004

POINTE-A-PITRE, Guadeloupe - Hundreds of tremors continued to rattle Guadeloupe and Dominica yesterday, two days after a strong earthquake killed a girl and damaged scores of buildings, officials said.

In Dominica, a group of children in the northern town of Portsmouth ran frantically from a school building during a moderate aftershock yesterday morning, said Cecil Shillingford, the country's national disaster co-ordinator.

"Whenever there is an aftershock, it makes them jumpy," he said.

Guadeloupe's seismological office reported more than 1,700 aftershocks - mostly minor ones - since Sunday's main 6.3 temblor. But there have been several major aftershocks including a 5.4, two 4.9s and a 4.7. [...]

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Crops in danger as drought continues in Guangdong
www.chinaview.cn 2004-11-24 10:48:54

BEIJING, Nov. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- The drought is worsening in Guangdong, threatening the late rice harvest, as well as other crops.

More than 730,000 hectares of farmland were reported to have been affected by drought Saturday, 20,000 hectares greater than the figure reported at the end of October.

More than 36,667 hectares were barren, an increase of 2,667 hectares compared with last month's figures.

Some 85 cities and counties in Guangdong, or more than 80 percent of the province, have been affected by drought, according to an official from the Guangdong Provincial Water Conservation Department.

The water level in the Dongjiang River, a major tributary of the Pearl River, had fallen by at least 80 percent compared with last year. [...]

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34 counties declared disaster areas due to drought
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
By TOM HOWARD - The Billings Gazette

Yellowstone County is among 34 Montana counties that have been declared natural disaster areas because of the lingering drought.

On Tuesday, Yellowstone County commissioners received a letter from Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman that declares a drought disaster through two-thirds of Montana's 56 counties. [...]

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World's first fingerprint security mobile phone
23 November 2004 2249 hrs
By Wong Siew Ying, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : Personalising one's mobile phones will take on another dimension when a new Korean model is introduced in Singapore.

It is the first mobile phone in the world equipped with fingerprint recognition technology.

Instead of using the usual numeric PIN code, owners will have their fingerprints scanned to access and use the phone.

This also makes it diffcult for others to break the code.

So there is no need to worry about unauthorised access to information when the phone is lost or stolen. [...]

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