Canary in The Mine
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
of the Day
| WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 (Xinhuanet) --
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is expanding its intelligence
role in the United States and is seeking control over the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA)'s domestic activities, a news report said
At stake is control over a pool of US-based intelligence assets
and information that has been invaluable in the past to understanding
the intentions of foreign nations and groups, the report in The
Washington Post said.
FBI Director Robert Mueller is pushing to rewrite the rules under
which the FBI and the CIA have operated domestically for decades
and to assert what he views as the FBI's proper authority over all
domestic intelligence gathering as part of vast restructuring of
the bureau to focus on counterterrorism.
For decades, the CIA has been allowed under US law to recruit
foreign officials, business executives and students living in or
visiting the United States to spy for the agency when they return
home, the report said. CIA case officers working in National Resources
Division, which has stations in major US cities, routinely debrief,
on a voluntary basis, US business executives and others who work
The CIA is generally viewed across the US intelligence community
as more experienced and skilled at handling foreign assets, who
eventually return abroad, where the CIA leads in intelligence gathering
Under an executive order signed in 1981, the CIA is prohibited
from spying on or conducting operations against US citizens in theUnited
The CIA and the FBI in the past year have sought to vastly expand
the use of multinational corporations to recruit Americans willing
to share information from their trips abroad. The CIA is also making
a big push to embed its spies in US companies doing business overseas,
but only with a company's knowledge and permission, according to
The FBI and the CIA counterterrorism and counterintelligence officials
have been in heated debates over the past few weeks, trying to hash
out a new "memorandum of understanding" on domestic intelligence
gathering, but the two sides have made little progress so far, the
The film Seven Days In May is one of my all-time
favourites. The gripping 1964 drama, starring Burt Lancaster, depicts
an attempted coup by far rightists in Washington using a top-secret
Pentagon anti-terrorist unit called something like "Contelinpro."
Life imitates art. This week, former military intelligence analyst
William Arkin revealed a hitherto unknown directive, with the Orwellian
name "JCS Conplan 0300-97," authorizing the Pentagon to
employ special, ultra-secret "anti-terrorist" military
units on American soil for what the author claims are "extra-legal
In other words, using U.S. soldiers to kill or
arrest Americans, acts that have been illegal since the U.S. Civil
This frightening news comes as Washington is gripped by reborn,
Cold-War-style paranoia, ominous threats of war against Iran from
the real president, Dick Cheney, and a titanic bureaucratic battle
just won by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Instead of being fired for the grotesque military-political fiasco
in Iraq and the shameful torture scandals, Rumsfeld has just managed
to create a new, Pentagon spy/special ops organization, blandly
named "Strategic Support Branch," that will replace or
duplicate many of the CIA's tasks.
The CIA has been sent to the doghouse. Too many CIA veterans criticized
or contradicted Bush's and Cheney's phony claims over Iraq and terrorism.
So Bush has imposed a new, yes-man director
on the agency, slashed its budgets, purged its senior officers,
and downgraded CIA to third-class status.
Rumsfeld's new, massively funded SSB will become the Pentagon's
CIA, complete with commando units, spies, mercenary forces, intelligence
gathering and analysis, and a direct line to the White House. The
Pentagon has just effectively taken over the spy business.
Used terrorism hysteria
Mind you, the Pentagon and its Defence Intelligence Agency have
been deeply involved in intelligence around the globe for 50 years.
U.S. Army intelligence and its covert sub-branches
have long conducted "black ops," including missions in
the U.S. as well as assassinations and sabotage abroad. The
Pentagon consumes three-quarters of the total U.S. intelligence
Rumsfeld has skillfully used terrorism hysteria to wrest control
of intelligence and make the Pentagon supreme in Washington's bureaucratic
The Pentagon's new spy arm will be largely excluded from Congressional
oversight or media examination. Its special operations teams will
roam the globe, all under cover of "deep black" missions
of which no records will be kept, and no questions asked.
Equally worrying, the Pentagon's new special-ops
units are headed up by notorious religious fanatic, Lt. Gen. William
Boykin, who calls the U.S. Army "the house of God" and
Islamic insurgents "agents of Satan." He warned Muslims,
"my God is bigger than your god, which is an idol."
Boykin's command will now dispatch post-modern
Christian crusaders to cleanse the world of Satanic Muslims and
other miscreants. The Pentagon's new special forces will
be able to run operations of which the CIA knows nothing.
The 9/11 Commission called for improved intra-agency co-operation
and data sharing -- instead, the U.S. will get far less co-operation,
as the Pentagon goes its own, secret way.
Now, George W. Bush, who clearly believes he holds the mandate
of heaven after being re-elected by the less mentally active half
of American voters, has decided to "unleash" special forces
and all sorts of irregular units, including mercenaries, uniformed
bounty hunters, and mutants sporting t-shirts proclaiming "kill
'em all, let God sort 'em out." These militarized thugs and
video arcade Rambos are sure to run amok, dragging America's once
good name ever deeper into the mud.
We have evidently learned nothing from the wars in Indochina and
Have we reached Seven Days in May?
Not yet, but the second Bush administration has been taking dangerous
steps that continue to curtail personal rights, further emasculate
the supine, cowardly U.S. Congress, and empower ideological or religious
extremists and shadowy agencies with unrestrained powers that endanger
Americans at home, and all abroad suspected of troubling the Pax
| JERUSALEM, Feb. 7 (Xinhuanet) --
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice promised an active US involvement
in the Mideast peace process on Monday, saying Washington would dispatch
a high-level "security coordinator" to the region.
Speaking at the Ben Gurion International Airport before her departure,
Rice said Lieutenant-General William Ward had been appointed as
the security coordinator.
Ward was former commander of the NATO Stabilization Force in post-war
After talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the West
Bank city of Ramallah, Rice praised Abbas, for he is following through
on a clear mandate to restore calm in the Palestinian areas and
he has helped start peace efforts with Israel.
Rice said Washing would send over 40 million US dollars within
90 days in an immediate aid to the Palestinians for job creation
and infrastructure programs.
She urged Israelis and the Palestinians to make "maximum
efforts" to make the best of the current chance for peace.
After meeting with Abbas and other Palestinian leaders, Rice left
for Rome, Italy, Monday afternoon.
| RAMALLAH, Feb. 7 (Xinhuanet) --
Palestinian well-informed sources said Monday the Palestinian National
Authority (PNA) would reshuffle its cabinet headed by Prime Minister
Ahmed Qurei within the coming 24 hours.
The sources said the move would be announced soon and only six
portfolios would be changed.
Local press said General Nasser Yousef is expected to take charge
of the Interior Ministry, and the Palestine Liberation Organization
representative at the United Nations Nasser al Qeddwa would replace
Nabil Shaath as foreign minister.
Nabil Amer will be the minister of information and Mohammed Dahlan
is expected to take the portfolio of PNA cabinet affairs, said the
The US secretary of state, Condoleezza
Rice, today vowed the US would be "very active" in the
Middle East peace process as she made a joint appearance with the
Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.
On the Palestinian leg of her first foreign trip since taking office
two weeks ago, Ms Rice named William Ward, a retired US general,
as a security coordinator to oversee reform of the Palestinian security
forces and monitor peace efforts on the ground.
"This would not supplant efforts and activities of the parties
themselves," she said at the Palestinian administrative headquarters
in Ramallah. "I do believe it's most important that the Israelis
and Palestinians have security coordination that is bilateral, that
is strong and robust at dealing with problems."
Ms Rice also promised $40 million (£21m) over the next 90
days to spur job creation and economic reconstruction, part of the
$350 million (£187m) package already promised by the US president,
George Bush, to the Palestinian territories.
The success or failure of the Middle East peace process is likely
to be determined by the extent of US participation. In Mr Bush's
first term, the administration concentrated on Afghanistan and Iraq
but Ms Rice's visit is seen as an indication of US interest in re-starting
In a repeat of comments made yesterday at the Israeli foreign ministry,
Ms Rice said that both she and Mr Bush were personally committed
to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"There should be no doubt about the commitment of the United
States to this process at this time, no doubt about the commitment
of the president," she said.
Ms Rice's disclosure stopped short of appointing
a senior Middle East envoy that some, especially among the Palestinians,
believe is necessary to ensure the parties fully adhere to confidence-building
measures in the "road map" peace plan to a Palestinian
She will not attend tomorrow's summit in the Egyptian resort of
Sharm el-Sheikh between Mr Abbas and the Israeli prime minister,
Ariel Sharon, that renews cooperation on the plan. But yesterday
she told Israel it had to make "hard decisions" if it
was to create the correct environment for peace and a Palestinian
Ms Rice said she told the Israelis that they must refrain from
taking unilateral actions that would prejudge the outcome of future
peace negotiations, singling out Jerusalem, claimed by both sides
as a capital, and recent Israeli efforts to seize Jerusalem land
owned by West Bank Palestinians.
The US secretary
of state, Condoleezza Rice, said last night that Israel had "hard
decisions" to make to create the correct environment for peace
and a Palestinian state, as she began a two-day visit to Israel
and the Palestinian territories.
She said too that the Palestinians had to fight terrorism and create
political institutions to prepare for statehood.
Ms Rice's visit precedes the first high level meeting between Israelis
and Palestinians for more than 18 months. She will not attend tomorrow's
summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, but she met Ariel
Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, yesterday and will meet Mahmoud
Abbas, the Palestinian leader, and other officials today.
The success or failure of the Middle East peace process is likely
to be determined by the extent of US participation. In President
George Bush's first term, the administration concentrated on Afghanistan
and Iraq but Ms Rice's visit is seen as an
indication of US interest in re-starting the process.
"I most especially want to bring the personal commitment of
President Bush and my own personal commitment to this process, because
this is a time of opportunity and it is a time that we must seize,"
Ms Rice said at Israel's foreign ministry.
According to the US embassy in Tel Aviv, Ms Rice will discuss both
sides' commitments to the road map, the Bush-sponsored peace plan
which was unveiled 18 months ago but faltered soon after.
She will push Israel to honour its commitments
to dismantle illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank and carry
out other confidence-building measures to boost the credibility
of Mr Abbas.
Silvan Shalom, the Israeli foreign minister, told
Ms Rice that their main concern was the disarming of militants before
serious peace negotiations could begin.
Speaking on Israeli television, he said he told Ms Rice: "If
the Palestinians do not do everything to halt the smuggling of weapons
through tunnels, close the tunnels, close the weapons workshops,
gather up illegal weapons - we would simply be giving the violent
groups time to regroup and then carry out terror attacks that could
collapse the whole process."
After her meeting with Mr Shalom, Ms Rice said: "We will ask
of our partners and our friends in Israel that Israel continues
to make the hard decisions that must be taken in order to promote
peace and ... the emergence of a democratic Palestinian state."
Palestinian officials will brief Ms Rice about the effect of the
separation barrier and request support for their demands, including
freeing Palestinian prisoners and easing travel restrictions.
Israeli and Palestinian officials quarrelled on Friday about the
release of 900 Pales tinian prisoners. Israel planned to release
mostly criminals, while the Palestinians wanted the release of long-held
militants. Officials continued to meet to work out a compromise.
In an interview with BBC's Breakfast with Frost yesterday, Ms Rice
praised Mr Abbas and said that the international community should
help him build the economy and institutions required for a future
"The Palestinians will need help in bringing together ...
and unifying their security forces. They will need help in building
the institutions that will become the foundation of a state.
"They certainly need help in economic reconstruction, in reconstruction,
job creation, doing something about the terrible plight of the Palestinian
people that really the intifada has worsened."
She said that Israel should not do anything to prejudge the final
borders of a Palestinian state, adding that "this route, the
route of this fence, should do everything that it can to ease the
plight of the Palestinians, not contribute to it".
At the same time as Ms Rice's visit, the EU is offering financial
help to encourage peace. Its external relations commissioner, Benita
Ferrero-Waldner, is to meet Mr Sharon and Mr Abbas today.
She spoke of a "promising start" to improve relations
after the death on November 11 of Yasser Arafat, but added that
"further bold actions are necessary on both sides".
These included an orderly Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, a halt
to all violence and the release of Palestinian prisoners.
Ms Rice arrived in Israel from Turkey.
In Ankara she said the US wanted help from Turkey and other countries
to "sustain the momentum" toward Middle East peace, and
called for the end of "incitement of anti-Jewish violence".
"Israel deserves to live in peace in the Middle East and the
Jewish people deserve the respect of their neighbours," she
turned Washington's rhetoric on Iran up another notch yesterday,
telling Iranians they would have to "live up to their international
obligations" to avoid a conflict with Israel.
But back in Washington, the secretary of defence, Donald Rumsfeld,
struck a more dovish note, saying the estimates he had seen said
Iran was "years away" from building a nuclear bomb, and
that the White House had meanwhile opted for diplomacy.
"The president handles Iran policy, he's decided on a diplomatic
route ... They're on a diplomatic path," he said.
The Bush administration has sent mixed signals to Tehran in the
past week, mixing bellicose and reconciliatory remarks, amid reports
that the Pentagon is already sending special operations teams into
Iran to spot potential targets.
In an interview on BBC's Breakfast with Frost,
recorded on Friday but broadcast yesterday, Ms Rice was asked about
remarks last month by Vice-President Dick Cheney, who warned of
a possible pre-emptive strike against Iran by Israel - which already
has a nuclear arsenal - if the latter felt threatened.
In response, Ms Rice put the onus on Iran, saying:
"Obviously, anything that would lead to conflict in this region
would be a terrible, terrible thing. And the
Iranians need to live up to their international obligations so we
don't face any such point."
Ms Rice, who holds talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders today,
has said that the US will not take part in European negotiations
with Iran over its nuclear programme, reflecting the Bush administration's
distaste for dealing with Tehran, and its belief that Iran will
use such discussions as a cover to buy time to work secretly on
But Ms Rice said in yesterday's interview: "We
believe that this is a time for diplomacy. This is a time to muster
our considerable influence ... our considerable power, if you will,
to bring great changes in the world."
She added: "Iran is a destabilising
force in the international system and we need unity of purpose,
unity of message to Iran to stop those activities."
Reacting to earlier remarks by Ms Rice criticising "the loathed"
Tehran regime of "unelected mullahs", Iran's foreign ministry
spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, said yesterday that the war of words
would not affect its nuclear talks with Europe.
"Negotiations have not reached a deadlock and still continue,"
he said, but he added: "We think the Europeans must be more
serious and show more dynamism."
However, Time magazine reported yesterday that the International
Atomic Energy Agency had discovered that Iran was still doing maintenance
on a uranium-enrichment plant in southern Iran, in apparent violation
of an agreement with Britain, France and Germany to suspend all
activities related to uranium enrichment.
Time also reported that Iran may have acquired centrifuges for
enriching uranium and weapons designs from the smuggling network
operated by Abdul Qadeer Khan, a Pakistani nuclear scientist under
house arrest in Islamabad.
The report quoted unnamed IAEA investigators as saying that Tehran
had privately confirmed at least 13 meetings with representatives
of Mr Khan's network from 1994 to 1999. US and IAEA officials cannot
question Mr Khan directly, but have to submit questions to Pakistani
More information about the extent of the network is beginning to
emerge, according to Washington and the IAEA. One US official examining
the extent of its ties to Tehran, told Time: "You're dealing
with a supplier who didn't appear to have any qualms."
The network's other customers may also have included Saudi Arabia
and other Arab states, the Time report said, although there is no
evidence that any has begun work on a nuclear weapons programme.
Middle East analysts have warned that Iran's suspected efforts
to produce a nuclear weapon could provoke Saudi Arabia into acquiring
one itself, although most predict that in such a situation the Saudi
monarchy would try to buy a ready-made bomb, rather than attempt
to build one.
George Bush, in his state of the union address last week, offered
encouragement to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, another regional ally,
to develop democracy in their countries, but he directed pointed
warn ings at Syria and Iran, offering Iranians American support
for achieving democracy.
Ms Rice, on being asked in the BBC interview whether the administration
would support regime change, said: "All
of us would have to agree that the behaviour of this Iranian regime
in supporting terrorism, in sowing instability in the Middle East,
in the way it treats its own people, is not a regime to be admired
and certainly the Iranian people deserve the same opportunities
for freedom and liberty that are beginning to take hold in other
parts of the Middle East."
| BEIJING, Feb. 7 (Xinhuanet) -- Chinese
companies invested 3.62 billion US dollars in non-financial sectors
overseas in 2004, an increase of 27 percent year-on-year, the Ministry
of Commerce said Monday.
Up to the end of last year, China's direct investment overseas
reached 37 billion US dollars.
Last year, according to the ministry, nearly half of Chinese investment
went to Latin America and some 40 percent to the other parts of
Asia, mainly in the fields of mining, commercial service, manufacturing,
wholesale and retail sales.
Chinese companies that were engaged in engineering projects overseas
reported a business turnover of 17.5 billion US dollars last year,
up 26 percent year-on-year. They also signed new contracts worth
23.8 billion US dollars, according to the ministry.
So far, China has dispatched 3.2 million individuals overseas
under labor service contracts and earned 30.8 billion US dollars.
WASHINGTON - China would have a six-month
deadline to revalue its currency under a bill to be introduced in
the US Senate amid charges the yuan is wreaking
havoc on the US economy, officials said.
At least a dozen senators from both President George W. Bush's
Republican Party and the Democratic Party have agreed to co-sponsor
the bill, Israel Klein, spokesman for one of the senators, told
"It will be introduced hopefully tomorrow
or in the coming days and would require China to abide by international
trade agreements and stop manipulating the value of its currency,"
said Klein, speaking on behalf of New York Democrat Senator Charles
Schumer, who is spearheading the proposed legislation.
He said the legislation would give China "a
window of 180 days" to revalue its currency or face a 27.5
percent tariff on all Chinese manufactured goods entering the United
The Bush administration has often complained that the yuan, which
is fixed to the US dollar, is grossly undervalued and thus keeping
China's exports artificially cheap, undermining US exports and putting
many Americans out of work.
The yuan, also known as the renminbi and now pegged at 8.27 to
the US dollar, is kept in a narrow band by the People's Bank of
China. This range is considered too weak by many financial observers
and made worse by recent weakening of the dollar.
"The fact that there are a number of cosponsors for the bill
on both sides of the aisle is terrific and as the trade deficit
increases and as more jobs are lost, more Congress members are looking
to such an important issue and want to level the playing field,"
The United States trade deficit with China is ballooning and may
have hit 150 billion dollars last year or one-fourth the US deficit
with all countries, analysts say.
John Taylor, the US Treasury's under secretary for international
affairs, acknowledged Tuesday that China had taken steps "consistent
with the move towards a flexible exchange rate," including
participation in the Group of Seven meeting of finance chiefs.
"But setting time lines or indicating any other dates is not
what we're hearing and we can understand why the important thing
is that we are seeing steps and we urge them to move in that direction,"
China will send two senior officials to the G7
meeting in London this weekend but it is very unlikely Beijing will
make any major announcement on the fixed yuan, analysts say.
US legislators meanwhile have scheduled a two-day hearing from
Thursday to discuss issues such as the undervalued yuan and weak
Chinese enforcement of intellectual property as part of a broad
The hearing is hosted by the US-China Economic and Security Review
Commission, a Congress sanctioned panel pushing for a tough US approach
to China on trade and security.
It will examine China's record of compliance with its World Trade
Organization (WTO) commitments and explore options for using US
trade laws and WTO mechanisms for addressing continuing trade problems.
GREENVILLE -- South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham
says it's time to do something about Chinese imports.
Graham joined Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer
of New York Thursday in introducing new legislation Thursday
that would put a 27.5 percent tariff on all Chinese goods entering
Graham said he wants the tariff on goods because he said China
artificially pegs their currency below its true value, making their
Economists estimate the move makes goods 15 to
40 percent cheaper.
"If [workers are] losing their jobs and we're
losing market share because a government manipulates business transactions,
then it is incumbent upon us to stand up as workers," Graham
"We need an international response to China's
across-the-board cheating and if we don't do that, we're going to
lose jobs, not because we get outworked, but because people are
cheating us out of jobs," he said.
The plan got a mixed reaction from Upstate manufacturers.
"There are 1,300 jobs at Kemet which are dependent on our
ability to do business around the world ... in Europe and in Asia
and having open markets and free flowing trade is important to us,"
Kemet Electronics spokesman John Warner said.
"We want to make sure that don't end up with a trade war,
where various countries around the world start to erect tariffs
against one another, because that might hurt the Upstate in the
long run ... rather than help it," he said.
But textile manufacturer Milliken officials said
that this move could allow U.S. companies a fair chance to compete
against Chinese products.
"We've filed petitions for these Chinese safeguards that would
limit the number of imports that are allowed in the U.S.,"
Richard Dillard said.
Graham said that, "this is a common ground between Republicans
and Democrats," and he expects that the bill will pass if it
makes it to the Senate floor.
WASHINGTON - A 2.5 trillion-dollar 2006 budget
plan proposed by President George W. Bush would cut many domestic
programs while boosting defense, with a projected deficit of 390
The proposal, certain to ignite a battle from
opposition Democrats, would raise military expenditures 4.8 percent
to 419.3 billion dollars and add eight percent to the budget for
At the same time, non-mandatory, non-defense spending
would be cut one percent, budget documents showed.
About 150 domestic programs deemed inefficient on unnecessary would
be eliminated under the budget plan.
The deficit for the fiscal year starting October 1 would be reduced
under the proposal to 390 billion dollars, or three percent of gross
domestic product (GDP) from a projected 427 billion (3.5 percent
of GDP) in the current fiscal year.
The deficit would decline to 233 billion dollars, of 1.5 percent
of GDP, by fiscal 2009 under the spending outline that aims to fulfill
Bush's pledge to cut the deficit in half as a percentage of GDP.
The plan assumes economic growth of 3.6 percent
in 2005 and 3.5 percent in 2006, in line with most private economists'
The budget plan sent to Congress is merely a blueprint of White
House spending plans. A budget plan must be approved by Congress,
which also would decide on specific funding plans each year.
"The 2006 budget builds on the progress the president and
the Congress achieved in meeting the priorities of the nation during
the first (Bush) term," the document said.
"We are funding efforts to defend the homeland from attack.
We are transforming our military and supporting our troops as they
fight and win the global war on terror ... And we are taking additional
action to enforce spending discipline."
Among the biggest cuts come in programs for housing
(down 11.5 percent), agriculture (down 9.6 percent), transportation
(down 6.7 percent) and justice (down 5.5 percent).
But Democrats came out swinging immediately in response.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the plan does not even
include many programs that will be funded by the administration.
"The president's budget is a hoax on the
American people," Pelosi said.
"The two issues that dominated the president's
State of the Union address -- Iraq and Social Security -- are nowhere
to be found in this budget. We know that the cost of military operations
in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost billions this year, but those
costs are not accounted for in this budget. Independent experts
estimate the President's proposal to privatize social security will
cost trillions in coming decades, but it is not accounted for here."
Pelosi criticized efforts to cut local law enforcement, health
care and other domestic programs
"The president's budget is fiscally irresponsible, morally
irresponsible, and a failure of leadership," she said.
"Democrats insist upon fiscal discipline with budgets that
pay as you go, and over the coming months, we will fight for a budget
that reflects the values of America's middle class: national security,
prosperity, opportunity, fairness, community, and accountability."
On the international front, Bush earmarked 3.2 billion for fighting
AIDS worldwide in 2006 and three billion dollars -- two billion
less than earlier projections -- for the so-called Millennium Challenge
Account program for developing countries.
Traditionally sacrosanct farm subsidies would
be shaved, and the US passenger train network, Amtrak, would no
longer receive government funding.
Law enforcement, education and environmental
conservation programs would suffer and several public health programs
would be drastically cut. [...]
Signs Economic Commentary
February 6, 2005
The dollar closed at .777 euros
last week or 1.287 dollars per euro, representing a rise of about
1.2% in the dollar from last week’s close of .768 euros or
1.302 dollar per euro. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at
10,716.13 up 2.8% from last week’s 10, 427.20. The NASDAQ
closed at 2086.66 up 2.5% from 2035.83 last week. The interest rate
on the 10-year US Treasury Bond closed at 4.08%, down significantly
from last week’s 4.15%. Oil closed at $46.48 (36.12 euros)
a barrel, down 1.4% from last Friday’s close of $47.15 (36.16
euros). Gold closed at $415.90 dollars an ounce or 323.15 euros,
down significantly (2.6% in dollar terms) compared to last week’s
$426.80 or 327.10 euros. An ounce of gold would buy 8.95 barrels
of oil, compared to last Friday’s 9.05.
Some people would look at last week’s numbers and shout:
“USA! USA!” Not us, of course. We may not get much more
of a warning about a crash than we already have. Things didn’t
look too bad in mid 1929, either. That is how crashes work. What
we need to guard against is taking comfort from short-term numbers.
A reader wrote in with an excellent summary of the talking points
he heard in the US media trying to reassure us that a crash won’t
happen. For those of you living outside the United States, believe
it or not, this is what we in the US are hearing:
1. There is no problem
having a federal deficit because the federal deficit as a % of GDP
as been higher in the past than it is now. Reagan proved that deficits
don't matter. As long as GDP growth is strong, the deficits will
disappear in time as the U.S. grows its way out of the revenue shortfall.
(No mention that the total debt picture is a combination of household,
business, and government debt or that household debt has driven
a consumption buying spree, or that 70% of GDP is comprised of personal
consumption expenditures with another 5% in housing. Both these
areas have been "growing" due to credit creation.)
2. There is no problem
having a 50-60 billion dollar trade deficit each month because it
shows how high the U.S. standard of living is. The U.S. way of life
is a beacon of light to the world. If more countries copied the
U.S. system, they could enjoy a better lifestyle too.
3. Foreigners loaning
the U.S. 2 billion per day to finance the deficits shows that they
regard the U.S. as the safest place to put their money.
4. Gold prices are
not historically high, so that means the dollar is not losing any
value. It's a myth that the U.S. dollar is becoming unstable.
5. The U.S. is the
engine of world economic growth and expert economists see no reason
for concern about U.S. deficits or debt loads being excessive. The
Bush tax cuts will supply the capital needed to reduce all the deficits
within the next few years.
6. The event of
9-11 changed everything and had it not been for that there would
be a federal surplus. The federal deficit spending is the sign of
a responsible government that takes the steps needed to deal with
the crisis and protect the people and the system.
7. Record high levels
of mortgage debt are not actually debt; it's really unrecognized
wealth. It's a myth that the housing sector in the U.S. is experiencing
a price bubble. Price growth is the sign of a healthy real estate
market. Ask any economist that's paid by the real estate or homebuilders
associations if you don't believe it. The prices of houses have
gone up so the debt loads of households are of no concern. People
can let their homes serve as savings accounts. House prices never
go down and the Bush administration will make sure that economic
growth is strong so that everyone can own a home.
Still people are starting to take notice and the talking points
quoted above are starting to sound a little desperate. The syndicated
columnist, Charley Reese (http://reese.king-online.com/Reese_20050204/index.php)
had this to say:
What about the record
deficit? Well, [Bush] still plans to cut it in half in five years,
but no details yet.
What about the
falling dollar and the massive trade deficit? Well, he says, we're
for freedom. I'm for freedom, too, especially freedom from the poorhouse,
which, if the dollar collapses, a lot of us could be occupying.
A pension in dollars that are only worth 2 cents in purchasing power
isn't much of a pension. It's not that bad yet, but it's getting
In the meantime,
Europeans and Asians, holders of billions of U.S. dollars because
of the trade deficit, are starting to buy up America. One Frenchman
just bought an entire island off the coast of Florida and all the
mansions on it. I'm sure Bill O'Reilly will be happy to hear that.
Maybe some Frenchman will buy Fox News. If that happens, then O'Reilly
will say what a fictional Riley used to say on a radio sitcom: "What
a revoltin' development this is."
In all seriousness,
the trade deficit and the federal deficits are real crises that
are looming on a not-very-distant horizon. The only way to correct
the trade deficit is to sell more stuff overseas, but that's hard
to do when the administration is encouraging manufacturers to export
jobs instead of products.
We cannot live
as consumers, no matter how much easy credit there is available.
To keep consuming, we have to produce and earn and save. American
consumers are already $2 trillion in debt. How are these consumers
going to keep the economy going while paying off that amount of
More people are echoing Sy Hersh’s hope that the collapse
of the US economy will prevent Bush’s plan for World War III.
No doubt that is an indication of the desperate straits we are in.
Protests won’t prevent another war, voting won’t prevent
it, nor will opposition from establishment heavyweights. The Xymphora
The Chinese, who
are desperately trying to get somebody in the Bush Administration
to pay attention to the American economic problem, have had to resort
to making a public announcement of their lack of confidence in the
American dollar (something central bankers never do, particularly
if they are holding massive amounts of these rapidly depreciating
dollars). This is their vain attempt to find someone in the Bush
Administration who would help them let the dollar down in an orderly
way that won't ruin the American economy and the golden goose of
the consumer demand of Americans for cheap Chinese consumer goods.
When it comes to responsible economic policies, no one in the Bush
Administration is at home. Americans find themselves in the odd
position that their only hope is that their economy tanks sufficiently
quickly to save them from the warmongering stupidities of their
own government. Unfortunately, they'll probably get both the wars
and the ruined economy.
Last month’s jobs report came out, showing some 146,000
new jobs created, a disappointing number for most economists who
a much larger number. It was, however, gratifying to Bush since
he can now claim a very small net gain in jobs in his first term
(reason enough to be suspicious of the numbers).
It was amusing to hear the mainstream analysts express puzzlement
at the anemic rate of job creation in what they see as a strong
economy. To those of us working in Cubicle Land, it is no mystery.
It’s the outsourcing. Here’s a small example from personal
experience. The company I work for is developing some new enterprise-level
software products for which there is strong demand in the market.
Other companies are practically begging for the right to pay for
these products, but first they have to be finished. At the beginning
of the year we did not have near enough engineers to do it. In the
nineteen-nineties that would have led to a hiring boom. Now, however,
we hired one or two new people in the United States and about twenty
new people in Bangalore, India. Then we contracted out more engineering
work to other firms, who then hired even more engineers in India
The interesting thing is that all the outsourcing has led to a
six to eight month delay in completing work compared to hiring US
engineers (of which there is a large unemployed supply) at the outset.
The total cost would have been less to do it locally. When that
was brought up to upper management, they were told that they had
to make "the model" work even if it means delays and lost
contracts. "The model" being massive outsourcing of engineering
work and business process work to low cost countries.
Is it because the real "model" is simply to lower wages
of workers everywhere? Or are they trying to crash the economy?
This is not to say that it is not a good thing to have high tech
development in South Asia. It is a good thing, not just for them
but also for the whole world. But, when the stability of the world
economy depends on the continuing excessive spending of American
workers, if the United States loses the type of high-paying, high-tech
jobs that have made the earlier exodus of manufacturing jobs manageable,
all it will take to plunge the world into a depression is the bursting
of the US housing bubble from persistent unemployment and stagnating
Last week saw the product launch of the "Ownership Society"
of George Bush. What this really means is that THEY will own US.
Ostensibly this is a plan where there will be accounts set up from
which we citizens of the United States can all pay for our medical
expenses, retirement, education of our children using our own saved
money without help from that pesky government. Which might work
if they paid us enough. Since they only pay a small fraction of
the population enough to be able to afford those things, this is
a cunning plan to shift the blame for their low pay to the victims.
Last week, for example, it was reported
that in the United States, medical expenses accounted for half of
the personal bankruptcies. People in the rest of the developed
world can only shake their heads in amazement. The thing is, we
Americans only have ourselves to blame for being such sheep. In
France, whenever the government proposes some small cut in medical
benefits or education benefits the, citizens rush out in the streets
and start burning cars. In the United States, they take away our
pensions, our healthcare, cut our pay, and now they want to take
away Social Security, and no one raises a peep.
In the past, in the United States, social progress only came when
people began threatening the destruction of the property of the
owner class. The inner cities were ignored and pumped with destructive
drugs throughout the nineteen eighties. It wasn’t until the
Los Angeles riots of the early nineties that the political elite
began to say, "maybe we should do something about the cities."
Note that I am in no way advocating violent protests. While they
can bring about some reform, they are also used by the elite to
scare other citizens into supporting deeper crackdowns. What I am
advocating is that the elite should not wait until that happens
to spread some social health around.
If that doesn't happen, and it certainly looks like the Bush Administration
is moving in the opposite direction, the possibility of violence
becomes very real. Could that be the real reason for "Homeland
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Leon Harris pays for his
education at the University of Alabama on his own. He's drowning
in student loans, he's between jobs and his dorm room just got more
Yet on a recent afternoon, during a break at the student center,
the sophomore sat facing a banner that asked him to donate money
to a new student capital campaign. The university wants each of
its 21,000 students to give at least $2 toward a scholarship for
someone who will be the first in his family to go to college.
"I don't have any money to give," said Harris, who's
from Montgomery. "I give them a lot of money already."
Public universities traditionally have not solicited their undergraduates
for donations — Alabama hasn't asked since 1922. But
faced with state budget cuts and the need to remain competitive,
schools across the country are beginning to focus on students as
young as freshmen and sophomores as prime targets for fund-raising
At California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, undergraduates
give to a students-only fund, established in 1998, that's used for
scholarships. Several schools, including the University of Georgia,
solicit seniors to donate typically $35 to 50 for the betterment
of the campus. At Auburn University, a few colleges within the university
are asking students to make contributions in the amount of their
class year — $20.04 for 2004, for example. [...]
WASHINGTON - If you ask the White House what
President George W. Bush is reading these days, the press office
will call back with the official list: "His Excellency: George
Washington," by Joseph J. Ellis, "Alexander Hamilton"
by Ron Chernow and, not least, the Bible.
What the official list omits is Tom Wolfe's racy
new beer- and sex-soaked novel, "I Am Charlotte Simmons."
The president, a Wolfe fan, has not only read the book but is enthusiastically
recommending it to friends.
It is unclear exactly what Bush liked so much about the book,
which is told from the point of view of a young woman from the God-fearing
backwoods of North Carolina, Charlotte Simmons, the first in her
family to go to college. Charlotte, who is
at first shocked by the booze and debauchery she encounters at Wolfe's
Dupont University, modeled on Duke among others, eventually succumbs
in a chapter-long deflowering scene at the hands of a drunken fraternity
rat. Then she sinks into depression.
Bush, who was the hard-drinking, hard-partying president of the
jock fraternity at Yale, Delta Kappa Epsilon, is also the father
of two partying twins, Jenna and Barbara. Jenna graduated last year
from the University of Texas and Barbara from Yale, and on neither
campus is the milieu of Charlotte Simmons entirely foreign.
Does Bush like the book because it is a journey back to his keg
nights at Deke, or because it offers a glimpse into the world of
his daughters' generation? Or does he like the writing? Or is it
all of the above? The White House won't say. Scott McClellan, the
White House press secretary, did not respond to phone calls or e-mail
messages last week asking about Bush's interest in Wolfe's book.
So perhaps Wolfe had some thoughts. In relatively short order
he was located last Friday at a conference at his alma mater in
Lexington, Virginia, Washington and Lee University. He was asked
if he thought it unusual that a 58-year-old man, that is, the president,
had so embraced his book.
"Well, a 74-year-old man wrote it," Wolfe replied. He
said he had no idea why Bush liked it. "I imagine he responded
to the blinding talent," Wolfe added, chuckling, "but
beyond that, I'm just not sure."
Wolfe, who voted for Bush and was invited
by the first lady to the White House last year to speak at a salute
to the authors Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor and Truman Capote,
said he had not talked to the president about his book. But
he said that Bush's father once told him how much he liked "The
Bonfire of the Vanities," Wolfe's novel about New York City
bond traders and racial politics during the excesses of the 1980s.
Friends note that the current President Bush has read every one
of Wolfe's books, including "A Man in Full," the behemoth
about real estate and social change in Atlanta in the 1990s.
Bush, who does his reading for pleasure on Air Force One, on weekends
and before bed at night, has long said he prefers books to channel
surfing, although he does watch television sports. [...]
Friends say that Bush, who like most modern American presidents
is drawn to the biographies of those who governed before him, reads
more nonfiction than fiction and tends toward history. "It
turns out that the president better have seen the day that has gone
in order to be able to help lead to the day that is coming,"
Bush told Lamb, paraphrasing the Texas writer and painter Tom Lea.
"In other words, history really matters for the president."
Bush noted that he liked the Hamilton biography because "it
was a very interesting history of how hard it was to get democracy
started." He also told Lamb that he
alternates between reading the Bible every day in one year and a
daily devotional by Oswald Chambers, a Protestant minister of Scotland
from a century ago, the next.
Bush told Lamb that "Oswald Chambers was one of the great
Christian thinkers" and that "the easier it is to understand
what he writes, I think, the more understanding of religion a person
becomes." This year, the president said,
he is once again making his way through the Bible.
He did not utter a word to Lamb about "I am Charlotte Simmons."
VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Christopher
Key knows exactly what he would be giving up if he left Bellingham,
"It's the sort of place Norman Rockwell would paint, where
everyone watches out for everyone else and we have block parties
every year," said Key, a 56-year-old Vietnam War veteran and
former magazine editor who lists Francis Scott Key, who wrote "The
Star-Spangled Banner," among his ancestors.
But leave it he intends to do, and as soon as
he can. His house is on the market, and he is busily seeking work
across the border in Canada. For him, the re-election of George
W. Bush was the last straw.
"I love the United States," he said as
he stood on the Vancouver waterfront, staring toward the Coastal
Range, which was lost in a gray shroud. "I fought for it in
Vietnam. It's a wrenching decision to think about leaving. But America
is turning into a country very different from the one I grew up
In the Niagara of liberal angst just after Bush's victory on Nov.
2, the Canadian government's immigration Web site reported a surge
in inquiries from the United States, to about 115,000
a day from 20,000.
After three months, memories of the election have begun to recede.
There has been an inauguration, even a State of the Union address.
Yet immigration lawyers say that Americans are not just making
inquiries and that more are pursuing a move above the 49th parallel,
fed up with a country they see drifting persistently to the right
and abandoning the principles of tolerance, compassion and peaceful
idealism they felt once defined the nation.
America is in no danger of emptying out. But even
a small loss of population, many from a deep sense of political
despair, is a significant event in the life of a nation that thinks
of itself as a place to escape to. Firm numbers on potential immigrants
"The number of U.S. citizens who are actually submitting Canadian
immigration papers and making concrete plans is about three or four
times higher than normal," said Linda Mark, an immigration
lawyer in Vancouver.
Other immigration lawyers in Toronto, Montreal and Halifax, Nova
Scotia, said they had noticed a similar uptick, though most put
the rise at closer to threefold.
"We're still not talking about a huge movement of people,"
said David Cohen, an immigration lawyer in Montreal. "In 2003,
the last year where full statistics are available, there were something
like 6,000 U.S. citizens who received permanent resident status
in Canada. So even if we do go up threefold this year, we're only
talking about 18,000 people."
Still, that is more than double the population
of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. "For every one who reacts to the
Bush victory by moving to a new country, how many others are there
still in America, feeling similarly disaffected but not quite willing
to take such a drastic step?" Cohen asked.
Melanie Redman, 30, assistant director of the Epilepsy Foundation
in Seattle, said she had put her Volvo up for sale and hopes to
be living in Toronto by the summer. She and her Canadian boyfriend,
a Web site designer for Canadian nonprofit companies, had been planning
to move to New York, but after Nov.2, they decided on Canada instead.
"I'm doing it," she said. "I don't
want to participate in what this administration is doing here and
around the world. Under Bush, the U.S. seems to be leading the pack
as the world spirals down."
Redman intends to apply for a conjugal visa, which can be easier
to get than the skilled worker visa that most Americans require.
To do so, she must prove she and her boyfriend have had a relationship
for at least a year, so she has collected supporting paperwork,
like love letters, to present to the Canadian government.
"I'm originally from a poor, lead-mining town in Missouri,
and I know a lot of the people there don't understand why I'm doing
this," she said. "Even my family is pretty disappointed.
And the fact is, it makes me pretty sad, too. But I just can't bear
to pay taxes in the United States right now."
Compared with the other potential immigrants interviewed, Redman
was far along in planning.
Mike Aves, 40, a financial planner in Palm Beach, Florida, where
he has been active in the Young Democrats, said he was finding it
almost impossible from that distance to land a job in Canada. "I've
told my wife, I'd be willing to take a step down, socioeconomically,
to move from white-collar work to a blue-collar job, if it would
get us to Canada," he said.
Many of those interviewed said the idea of moving
to Canada had been simmering in the backs of their minds for years,
partly as a reaction to what they saw as a rightward drift in the
United States and partly as a desire to live in a place they see
as more tolerant, pacific and, yes, liberal. But for all, the re-election
of Bush was decisive.
"Not everybody is prepared to live their political values,
but these are people who are," said Jason Mogus, an Internet
entrepreneur in Vancouver whose communicopia.net offers marketing
services for progressive companies and nonprofit groups, and whose
canadianalternative.com is often the first stop for Americans eager
to learn about moving north.
"Immigration to Canada is not like packing your family in
a car and moving across the state line," Mogus said. "It's
a long process. It can take 18 months or even longer sometimes.
And if you hire a lawyer to help you, it can cost thousands of dollars."
So Mogus said the response to the Web site, from all over the United
States, had amazed him. Some are drawn by Canada's more tolerant
attitude toward same-sex unions, he said, and there are a surprising
number of middle-aged professionals.
"My wife and I have talked for a long time about perhaps retiring
to a condo in downtown Vancouver," said Frederick Newmeyer,
61, a professor of linguistics at the University of Washington in
Seattle. "But the election was the tipping point."
PARIS - France wants a fresh start in relations
with the United States and both sides have much to contribute to
a renewed transatlantic partnership, Foreign Minister Michel Barnier
said in comments published Monday.
He made the remarks before a visit to Paris Tuesday by Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice aimed in part at repairing ties damaged
by the U.S.-led war in Iraq, which France opposed.
"The moment has come for a fresh start in our relations,"
Barnier said in an interview with the French daily Liberation which
was conducted late last week.
"Alliance doesn't signify allegiance,"
he said, underlining the need for a mutual partnership. "A
renewed transatlantic alliance must be based on two pillars (European
His remarks were the latest sign since President Bush's re-election
of a desire for rapprochement between the Cold War-era allies.
Bush has invited French President Jacques Chirac to Washington
and the two leaders are due to dine together in Brussels on Feb.
21 before a NATO summit.
Recent statements from both sides have underlined the positive
rather than the negative in relations, and Rice has chosen Paris
as the venue for a keynote speech during her first tour of Europe
and the Middle East as secretary of state.
"The question is not to know what we can
bring to the United States, or what they can bring us. The question
is what we can do together to solve problems," Barnier said,
citing problems including terrorism, hunger and the situation in
Barnier, who like Rice was visiting the Middle East on Monday for
talks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, defended negotiations
by Britain, France and Germany over Iran's nuclear program but called
for U.S. support.
"We have no illusions and are moving forward with open eyes
with the Iranians. But to succeed we need American support. I have
the impression listening to President Bush, who has strongly criticized
Tehran, that he would wish to have confidence in Europe," he
The EU is trying to persuade Iran to turn a temporary freeze on
sensitive nuclear work, such as uranium enrichment, into permanent
cessation in return for economic and political incentives.
Washington accuses Iran of seeking to develop a nuclear bomb but
Rice has sought to ease fears of a possible U.S. attack. Iran says
its nuclear program is to generate electricity.
France was encouraged by the election in Iraq on Jan. 30 and by
a "renewed determination" in Bush's efforts over the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, Barnier said.
But Washington must understand the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict is central and there will be no progress toward democracy
in the Middle East unless it is addressed, he said.
PARIS - Forget about all that trans-Atlantic
talk of kiss-and-make-up following the "Freedom Fries"-era
disagreements between France and the United States. There's a new
tabloid on Paris newsstands offering an alternate take: "L'Anti-Americain."
The cheeky newspaper's editor-in-chief says Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice can have a free issue of the satirical monthly
when she's in Paris next week.
She'll need to have packed her sense of humor. This
month's issue features an entry in a bogus George W. Bush diary
that reads: "Ask the CIA: Where's China?"
Rice and her French counterparts hope to rebuild ties bruised by
disagreements over the U.S.-led war in Iraq. In Paris, a stop on
her swing through Europe and the Middle East, she'll give a major
speech in which she's expected to lay out her vision for American
But on French and American streets, mutual distrust
On the day Bush won re-election in November, freelance journalist
Frederic Royer decided to tap into the zeitgeist and start "L'Anti-Americain."
The French-language paper offers an unflattering, if tongue-in-cheek,
look at America's perceived shortcomings — from fast food
to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Cartoons and editorials featuring sharp-edged critiques of American
politicians — mostly Bush —
are a fixture of mainstream French dailies. Royer's monthly strives
to pack more punch. But he insists it's good-natured ribbing.
"We're so invaded by American culture, we can't resist,"
The first edition in December sold 7,500 copies, advertised only
by word-of-mouth and its eye-catching cover, Royer said.
Its Bush re-election headline read: "France offers political
asylum to Americans!"
The cover of January's issue features a voluptuous blonde clad
only in an American flag beside a doctored photo of Bush as a paperboy,
proudly pointing to his presidential seal.
"The name is 'anti-American' for laughs, but
it's really anti-Bush," said Royer.
By ordering troops into Iraq over European protest
and refusing to back international efforts to curb global warming,
Bush looks to some Europeans like a cowboy thumbing his nose at
Conversely, some Americans see France as ungrateful
for U.S. help during World War II.
"These grudges will probably last a long time. They go deep
beyond the White House and Washington, and out to Middle America,"
said political scientist Steven Ekovich of the American University
Royer acknowledges the success of "L'Anti-Americain"
rests on Bush providing good material.
"The danger is to do something too basic, too stupidly anti-American,"
Royer said. But he expects success "because of the ambient
air — maybe what I think a lot of French people are feeling
The Republican Party spin machine
was bouncing around the airwaves like an overloaded washing machine
on Sunday attempting to obscure from the American public that they
had by their actions managed to install a Shiite religious ruling
class in Iraq. The New York Times even lead with a headline, "U.S.
Officials Say a Theocratic Iraq Is Unlikely." This headline
is probably wrong, but in any case it begs the question of what
a "theocracy" is.
If it means a clerically-ruled state, then I agree with Vice President
Dick Cheney that a) you have to look at what Grand Ayatollah Ali
Sistani wants, and b) that Sistani does not want clerics to rule
the country as in Iran. But the main goal of political Islam in
the past few decades hasn't been clerical rule. It has been the
replacement of civil law with shariah or Islamic canon law. This
was done by the non-clerical government of Sudan, e.g. And that
is where Iraq is headed. The only question is how wideranging the
substitution will be. Will it just be personal status law (marriage,
divorce, inheritance, alimony, etc.), or will it be in commercial
law and other spheres of society?
Even as Cheney was pooh-poohing the notion of Iraqi theocracy,
Sistani's close colleague Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Ishaq al-Fayyad
said, "We warn officials against a separation of the state
and religion." Then Sistani's spokesman came out and said that
the Grand Ayatollah Sistani "wants the source of legislation
to be Islam."
A lot of Americans believe whatever Cheney says, though I cannot
for the life of me understand why, since he lies to them relentlessly.
He is the one who tried to link Saddam and al-Qaeda operationally.
He even once said he knew exactly where Iraqi weapons of mass destruction
were. Most people will only remember that Cheney said there wouldn't
be an Iraqi theocracy, but won't bother to actually read the newspapers
on Monday to see the news I'm reporting below.
Although George Orwell/ Eric Blair wrote 1984 as an anarcho-syndicalist
socialist critique of Stalinism, it is becoming increasingly clear
that it was also prophetic about the direction of Late Capitalist
societies characterized by corporate media consolidation. In such
a society, Cheney can substitute himself for Sistani and speak for
Sistani, erasing the real Sistani just as the Republican pundits
have erased the real Iraq. "Ignorance is knowledge."
WASHINGTON : Unqualified US military medics
stationed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison carried out amputations, recycled
used chest tubes and lacked medical supplies to treat the overcrowded
jail's inmates after the fall of Baghdad, according to a report.
The Time magazine report, to hit newsstands Monday, also said
that a medic was ordered, by one account,
to cover up a homicide inside the jail.
Although the prison just outside Baghdad was jammed with as many
as 7,000 detainees -- some of whom displayed serious mental illnesses
-- no US doctor was in residence for most of 2003 following the
US-led invasion of Iraq.
The report said "with straitjackets unavailable,
tethers -- like the leash held by Private Lynndie England -- were
put to use at Abu Ghraib to control unruly or mentally disturbed
detainees, sometimes with the concurrence of a doctor."
England has been charged with abusing Iraqi detainees at the jail.
She was infamously photographed holding a leash attached to the
neck of a naked Iraqi inmate sprawled on a cell block floor.
In a statement obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union,
Time reported that an Army medic based at
Abu Ghraib spoke of examining 800 to 900 detainees daily as they
were admitted. If he worked a 12-hour day, that gave him less than
one minute for each exam.
The report cited National Guard Captain Kelly Parrson, a
physician's assistant at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 and 2004.
Parrson was seriously injured by a mortar during an insurgent attack
that targetted the jail.
Parrson told Time there were times when
he and other non-physicians carried out amputations and other procedures
on inmates that should have been performed by surgeons.
"I took off an ankle and a lower leg," he recalls. "There
was no one else, and if it was death or amputation, you just had
to do it."
"When somebody died, we just took out
their chest tube and inserted it into another, living person,"
The National Guard captain cited a shortage of catheters, breathing
tubes, orthopedic supplies, including casts used to treat bone fractures
caused by shrapnel from high explosives.
Another officer, who is a psychologist, estimated that five percent
of prisoners suffered from mental illnesses, yet for long periods
no doctor was on site to treat such inmates.
Doctor David Auch, commander of the reserve company that supported
medical operations at Abu Ghraib in 2003, said medics at one point
used a helmet to protect a mentally unwell inmate who banged his
head against cell walls.
Improvised padded gloves and plastic handcuffs
were used to restrain the troubled inmate and a thin leather tether
was also used to restrain the man.
Auch said neither he nor his medical staff were consulted about
an Iraqi, later dubbed "Ice Man," when he was first brought
to the prison for interrogation by US military intelligence.
The detainee subsequently died during questioning in the middle
of the night under circumstances that have been officially ruled
a homicide by the military.
According to statements made during an Army inquiry, military
personnel ordered the body put on ice and then spirited it away
after medics had attached a fake IV to the dead man's arm in an
apparent attempt to create the impression he was still alive.
Auch told Time that he had not been questioned as part of the
army's probe into the homicide.
But he told the magazine a medic told him he
was ordered by a military intelligence officer to participate in
the ruse and to never discuss it.
The Pentagon has declined to comment on the case while it continues
its investigation into the man's death.
In the past year, the US military says it has set up a 52-bed
hospital at the jail, staffed by 200 highly trained medical personnel.
The number of detainees in US custody is currently about 3,000.
The interim Iraqi government also holds prisoners at the jail, Time
BAGHDAD - It was another day of violence in
Iraq on Sunday.
Insurgents attacked a police station south of Baghdad. The hour-long
gunfight killed 22 Iraqi security forces and 14 attackers, according
But the U.S. military in Iraq has denied the report. It says there
hasn't been any fighting in the district.
Earlier, four Egyptians working for a mobile phone company were
kidnapped in Baghdad, when gunmen stopped their vehicle on the way
to work. [...]
BAGHDAD : Gunmen abducted four Egyptian telecoms
engineers in Baghdad, heightening the fears of foreigners, as Iraq's
divided communities staked out their demands in the aftermath of
the country's historic election.
Despite the euphoria of the widely hailed election, insurgents
have targeted Iraqi security forces in a wave of attacks and foreigners
have again become a target.
Meanwhile, two of the most senior Shiite
Muslim clerics in Iraq on Sunday demanded that Islam be the only
source of law in the country's new constitution as Sunnis
demanded a clear timetable for a withdrawal of foreign troops.
The four Egyptians were seized in front of their Baghdad house
on Sunday morning, two days after an Italian reporter was abducted
in the centre of the capital.
The engineers worked for a subsidiary of the Egyptian telecom
firm Orascom, which runs the main mobile phone network in the Baghdad
Two groups have claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of Italian
reporter Giuliana Sgrena.
One previously unknown Islamist group said the 56-year-old veteran
Middle East correspondent would be killed unless Italy announces
by Monday night that it would withdraw its 3,000 troops in Iraq.
The group, calling itself the Organisation for Jihad in the Countries
of Mesopotamia, posted the threat on the Internet. There
was no confirmation of the authenticity of the claim.
Another group, the Organisation of Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility
in an Internet statement on Friday which made the same demand.
Several hundred people, carrying rainbow peace flags, rallied
by torch light outside the Rome city council on Saturday night to
demand the release of Sgrena.
Sgrena was seized as she worked on a story about refugees from
Fallujah who have moved into a Baghdad mosque. The area has become
notorious among western journalists.
French reporter Florence Aubenas was abducted with her translator
in Baghdad one month ago and there has been no news of her fate.
Insurgents have not eased up their renewed bloody campaign, despite
a brief lull after the election.
More than 25 Iraqi civilians and security
forces were killed on Saturday alone and a US marine was
also killed, during what the US military called "security operations"
south of Baghdad.
Three members of the Iraqi security forces and one gunman were
killed and nine wounded in two hours of clashes south of Baghdad
early Sunday, close to the town of Hilla, police and medical sources
The militant Ansar al-Sunna group, which is linked to Al-Qaeda,
said Saturday that it had executed seven Iraqi soldiers who were
taken following an ambush west of Baghdad last week.
In a statement posted on its website, the group said "the
divine rule executed seven miscreants taken prisoner in violent
combat with the valiant mudjahedeen in the Abu Ghraib region."
We find it of special interest that George
and the neocons do not get bent out of shape as Paul Martin, Canada's
PM, returns from China with an agreement to cooperate in a wide
variety of energy projects, including plans for a pipeline and ports
that would allow oil from Albertaís tar sands to move to
Canadaís west coast for export to China, rather than the
If you notice this information failed to appear
in the US media.
China will invest $100 billion in a series of energy deals to
extend its influence. Four hundred million will be spent in Venezuela
in the oil and gas industry. President Chavez has suspended the
operations of Conoco Phillips, Harvest Oil and Chevron Texaco. That
is a little payback for the antics of the CIA and George and the
Russia is supplying two-thirds of Europe's gas, which makes up
62% of their energy consumptions. Germany gets 35% of its oil and
40% of its gas from Russia and that is increasing every day. Russia
agreed to Japanís financing for an $18 billion oil pipeline
from eastern Siberia. After having put up $6 billion China has bought
a piece of what was Yukos. The US was frozen out of the deal due
to their arrogant attitude toward Russia, the US invasion of Iraq
and Afghanistan at Russia's backdoor, and interference in the recent
election in Ukraine. Due to dreadful US foreign policy by US elitists,
they will now have to share the oil production of Canada and Venezuela
• This is one of the biggest screw-ups of all time and
American citizens are going to pay for it dearly with a lower
standard of living. We see plenty of trouble ahead as Russia,
China, Iran, India, Brazil and Venezuela band together.
One attempt to attack Iran or Venezuela could bring on a world
war and nuclear war.
What absolute morons the elitists running our county are...
Iran's top nuclear negotiator says Iran will
retaliate and accelerate its efforts to develop nuclear technology
if attacked by the US or Israel.
Hassan Rohani told Reuters news agency there was nothing the West
could do that would persuade Tehran to scrap its nuclear programme.
Both the US and Israel have said it would be unacceptable for
Iran to have nuclear weapons.
Iran says its nuclear programme will be used to generate electricity.
The US has refused to rule out a military strike on Iran, but
has said it will try to resolve the dispute by diplomatic means.
Mr Rohani, secretary-general of Iran's Supreme National Security
Council, said Iran's ability to produce nuclear parts had made it
"invulnerable" to attack since it could simply rebuild
whatever was destroyed.
"If such an attack takes place then of course we will retaliate
and we will definitely accelerate our activities to complete our
fuel cycle and make nuclear fuel," he said.
"But I do not think the United States itself will take such
a risk," he added. "They know our capabilities for retaliating
against such attacks."
Mr Rohani said that not even the offer of lifting US sanctions
or security guarantees from Washington would be enough to make Iran
abandon its enrichment programme.
"Uranium enrichment is Iran's right," he said.
On Sunday, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said intelligence
estimates indicated Iran was some years away from developing nuclear
Iran has agreed to suspend all its enrichment activities during
negotiations with Britain, France and Germany.
The US is not taking part in negotiations, and wants Iran to be
referred to the UN Security Council, which has the power to impose
The European countries would like to use a package of incentives
to induce Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions, but Tehran has
said it is disappointed with what is on offer so far.
It says it can only continue talks for a matter of months, not
Enriched uranium can be used to produce nuclear power, but the
technology behind it can also be used to develop weapons-grade nuclear
North Korea will turn US military bases in
the region into a "sea of fire" if war breaks out on the
Korean Peninsula, North Korean media has quoted a communist officer
as saying today.
It was unclear why the North’s state-run news media highlighted
the comment, which was made two days earlier by an individual military
officer during a debate in Pyongyang, its capital.
North Korea has vowed to fight off what it calls a US plan to
invade, while the United States and its allies are struggling to
end the North’s nuclear weapons programmes through multinational
"If the US imperialists ignite flames
of war, we will first of all strike all bases of US imperialist
aggressors and turn them into a sea of fire," North
Korea’s Central Radio quoted officer Hur Ryong as saying.
Hur was also quoted as saying that the North Korean military will
"thoroughly incinerate the aggressor elements that collude
with the US imperialists", in an apparent reference to South
Korea and Japan, both of which host US military bases.
The remarks were reported hours after South Korea released a new
defense policy paper today that said the United States would dispatch
690,000 troops and 2,000 warplanes if war breaks out on the divided
| HARRIMAN, N.Y. - Most of those attending
a major conference on Canada-U.S. relations say it is time for Ottawa
to stop hesitating and to join the U.S. missile defence plan.
Most of the government officials, academics and diplomats from
both sides of the border say the missile project has been misunderstood.
They say it has been wrongly linked to "science fiction scenarios"
of weapons in space.
A draft report from the American Assembly at Columbia University
says if Canada joins, it would get the issue off the table and allow
both countries to move on to issues like co-ordinating maritime
defence and trans-border emergencies.
But the assembly's report wasn't unanimous.
A handful of high-profile Canadians, including former prime minister
Joe Clark, expressed reservations about the plan.
The elite assembly on cross-border issues last met two decades
ago, when it played a major role in pushing the concept of free
Worried that the nation's aging nuclear arsenal
is increasingly fragile, American scientists have begun designing
a new generation of nuclear arms meant to be sturdier and more reliable
and to have longer lives, federal officials and private experts
The officials say the program could help shrink the arsenal and
the high cost of its maintenance. But critics say it could needlessly
resuscitate the complex of factories and laboratories that make
nuclear weapons and could possibly ignite a new arms race.
So far, the quiet effort involves only $9 million for warhead designers
at the nation's three nuclear weapon laboratories, Los Alamos, Livermore
and Sandia. Federal bomb experts at these heavily guarded facilities
are now scrutinizing secret arms data gathered over a half century
for clues about how to achieve the new reliability goals.
The relatively small initial program, involving fewer than 100
people, is expected to grow and produce finished designs in the
next 5 to 10 years, culminating, if approval is sought and won,
in prototype warheads. Most important, officials say, the effort
marks a fundamental shift in design philosophy.
For decades, the bomb makers sought to use the latest technologies
and most innovative methods. The resulting warheads were lightweight,
very powerful and in some cases so small that a dozen could fit
atop a slender missile. The American style was distinctive. Most
other nuclear powers, years behind the atomic curve and often lacking
top skills and materials, settled for less. Their nuclear arms tended
to be ponderous if dependable, more like Chevys than racecars.
Now, American designers are studying how to reverse
course and make arms that are more robust, in some ways emulating
their rivals in an effort to avoid the uncertainties and deteriorations
of nuclear old age. Federal experts worry that critical parts of
the arsenal, if ever needed, may fail.
Originally, the roughly 10,000 warheads in the American arsenal
had an expected lifetime of about 15 years, officials say. The average
age is now about 20 years, and some are much older. Experts say
a costly federal program to assess and maintain their health cannot
ultimately confirm their reliability because a global test ban forbids
underground test detonations.
In late November, Congress approved a small, largely unnoticed
budget item that started the new design effort, known as the Reliable
Replacement Warhead program. Federal officials say the designs could
eventually help recast the nuclear arsenal with warheads that are
more rugged and have much longer lifetimes.
"It's important," said John R. Harvey, director of policy
planning at the National Nuclear Security Administration, which
oversees the arsenal. In an interview, he
said the goal of the new program was to create arms that are not
only "inherently reliable" but also easier to make and
certify as potent.
"Our labs have been thinking about this problem off and on
for 20 years," Dr. Harvey said. "The goal is to see if
we can make smarter, cheaper and more easily manufactured designs
that we can readily certify as safe and reliable for the indefinite
future - and do so without nuclear testing." [...]
Tales of systematic arrests of politicians,
alleged torture of students and targeting of human rights activists
emerged yesterday as reports of the early days after a royal coup
in which King Gyanendra dismissed his government came in from rural
A report by the Nepalese Bar Association's human rights project
outlined accusations of abuse and detention from all corners of
the country since King Gyanendra assumed absolute power last week.
The report comes amid suggestions that the number of courts that
hear appeals against detention may be drastically reduced by the
new government from 16 to five.
In Pokhara, in central Nepal, the Bar Association
report said that 15-20 students were arrested and claimed to have
been hit with the butts of guns at a student protest on Tuesday
after the state of emergency was declared.
At 10 that night, security forces went to Prithivi Narayan University's
hostel and took 150-200 students into custody
at Fulbari Barracks, the report said.
When 59 students were released the next afternoon,
after the university's campus chief
intervened on their behalf, they claimed they had suffered "extreme
torture" during their detention.
In the eastern town of Biratnagar, home town of the former prime
minister, Girija Prasad Koirala, anyone moving towards the Nepali
Congress Party president's home was arrested. Five
politicians, one journalist and 30-35 others were detained.
In Nepalganj, in western Nepal, the army issued a list of eight
human rights activists, instructing them to report to army barracks.
The groups on the list included the Bar Association's human rights
project and the Nepal Human Rights Commission, the organisation
charged with monitoring abuses.
The district vice-president of the Nepal Federation of Journalists
was also on the list.
The BBC's stringer had been told to inform the army if he wanted
to go into the field for a story, the report said. In the far west,
at Mahendranagar, 22 politicians and political
cadres were arrested.
In the first days after the royal coup, information outside the
capital, Kathmandu, was hard to obtain because the
army had shut down the phone system completely, and now those who
have regained access to local land lines are fearful of speaking.
One of the few rights not curtailed under this state of emergency
is habeas corpus, the right to a trial.
In Nepal, such cases are heard first in the appellate courts,
of which there are 16 across the country, with 76 judges, and then
the Supreme Court.
"I understand they are trying to ignore habeas corpus cases,
and not fix dates," said a Nepalese journalist who asked not
to be named.
"There are 16 appellate courts in the country, and they are
discussing reducing that to five. If they [do], it will discourage
people to come to the court."
He said the reason habeas corpus had not been suppressed with
all other civil rights was that the king
and the army were trying to avoid antagonising the United States
to ensure the military supplies pipeline stayed open.
MADRID : Eighteen young people in Spain were
gassed to death at a country inn, apparently due to a gas leak while
they were sleeping after spending all night celebrating a birthday,
emergency services said.
Officials said there were only two survivors from the group who
stayed the night at the San Christobal inn in the village of Todolella,
in eastern Spain. The bodies of the victims were found at 4:30 pm
The two survivors, who were sleeping further away from the gas
leak than the others, were found unconscious and taken to hospital.
Rescue services initially said the victims were teenagers, but
local officials said later they were aged between 20 and 40. [...]
SYDNEY : A suspected illegal drag racer crashed
his car into a crowd of onlookers in Sydney overnight, injuring
10 people, police said.
Two men were arrested after they allegedly attacked police trying
to question witnesses to the incident in an industrial estate in
Sydney's west, police Superintendent Allan Harding said.
Police said a speeding car hit a parked vehicle that then crashed
into a crowd of about 60 people who had allegedly been watching
an illegal drag race.
The driver and nine onlookers were injured seriously enough to
require hospitalisation, Harding said.
When police and media arrived at the scene, a group of young men
turned on them and one policeman was taken to hospital after being
punched in the face, he said.
"There was a very ugly mood for a short time," Harding
said on national radio.
BANGKOK : The Thai capital's subway was evacuated
and shut down for two hours on Saturday when a power failure halted
all trains just five days after the system was reopened following
a major accident, officials said.
"There was a power blackout at all subway stations, but we
managed to safely evacuate all commuters from the trains and the
platforms," head of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA),
Prapat Chongsanguan, told AFP.
An MRTA spokeswoman said the incident occurred at around noon
and the subway came back online two hours later. [...]
Cairo, Feb 5 - Two oil tanker collided off
the coast of Egypt's Mediterranean port city of Port Said on Friday,
leaking large amount of crude, Egypt's official MENA news agency
The collision of the vessels, one is the Maltese-flagged Genmar
Kestrel and the other the Singapore-registered Trijata, was caused
by bad weather.
Egyptian officials have gone to the scene to evaluate the extent
of the spill, said the MENA. Port Said is just north of the Suez
Canal, one of Egypt's major revenue earners. [...]
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and
Seismology (PHIVOLCS) noted an increase in the number of earthquakes
in Mayon volcano in the past 24 hours, prompting a reiteration of
a previous advisory against venturing inside the six-kilometer danger
In its latest bulletin released 8 a.m. Friday, the PHIVOLCS seismic
network monitored five high frequency volcanic earthquakes in Mayon.
The figure went up by one from Thursday though the number of volcanic
tremors recorded went down significantly from the 44 recorded last
However, seismologists said the decrease in recorded tremors does
not mean the public can now hike or wander inside the Permanent
Danger Zone (PDZ) imposed on a six-kilometer radius from the volcano's
ANCHORAGE - Mount Veniaminof, one of Alaska's
largest and most active volcanoes, spewed hot rocks and lava that
was clearly visible to residents more than 20 miles away.
The volcano's increased activity was noticed Thursday night after
a decrease in seismic activity during the morning, said scientists
at the Alaska Volcano Observatory.
"This kind of activity, while it would certainly be quite
dangerous close up, has not led to bigger explosions," John
Eichelberger, coordinating scientist for the observatory, said Saturday.
"It is not cause for great alarm because this is pretty typical
behavior of this volcano."
The volcano, located on the Alaska Peninsula 480 miles southwest
of Anchorage, was upgraded from yellow to orange on Jan. 10 after
a very weak seismic tremor was observed on Jan. 1. The tremor increased
in magnitude over the next week. Orange indicates that the volcano
is erupting or may erupt at any time. [...]
The great earthquake of December
26 in Sumatra and Andaman Nicobar islands has periodically triggered
off earthquakes at Mount Wrangell (volcano) in South Central Alaska
in the Arctic region, volcanologists and seismologists have said.
The data provided by the Alaska Volcano Observatory and the Alaska
Earthquake Information Center said, following the quake in Sumatra
and Andaman Islands, Mt. Wrangell, one of the largest 'andesite
shield' volcanoes in the world had a 'swarm' of seismic events.
"This is remarkable since Mt. Wrangell is nearly 11,000 km
from the epicentre," they said.
"It exhibits fumerolic (gaseous) activity and occasional steam
plumes. Because of its volcanic and seismic activity, a network
of short period seismometers is operated at Wrangell by the Alaska
Volcano Observatory," the scientists said.
"Following the quake in Sumatra and Andaman Islands on December
26, 2004, Mt. Wrangell had a swarm of seismic events ranging in
magnitude from -0.3 to 1.9. These events occurred as the large amplitude
surface waves from the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake crossed the region,"
While swarms are not uncommon at Wrangell, the events in this swarm
occur at intervals of 20-30 seconds in-phase with the teleseismic
ground motion and the tremors continuing, they said. "This
suggests that the events were triggered by individual pulses within
the teleseismic wavetrain," scientists said.
The Observatory is a cooperative effort of the Geophysical Institute
at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the U.S. Geological Survey,
and the State of Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.
Patterson, CA (AP) -- A 4.4-magnitude earthquake
rattled a remote area east of San Jose on Saturday, but there were
no reports of damage or injury.
The 10:43 a.m. temblor struck 23 miles east of San Jose and 20
miles southwest of Patterson, a small town along Interstate 5 southwest
of Modesto. It was centered at a depth of four miles in the Diablo
Range, close to the Stanislaus-Santa Clara county line near Henry
W. Coe State Park.
Sheriff's officials in Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties said
they had received no calls related to the earthquake.
Thousands of people in Malaysia's Sabah state
on Borneo island fled coastal areas for higher ground when officials
warned of a possible tsunami after a strong earthquake hit the neighbouring
An earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale was recorded
late Saturday with its epicentre in the sea south of Mindanao island.
The Prime Minister's Crisis and Disaster Centre issued Malaysia's
first-ever tsunami alert -- and police urged locals in some areas
to evacuate coastal homes.
The Asian Tsunami killed 68-people in Malaysia, mostly in the
northern resort island of Penang.
WELLINGTON : Hundreds of foreign tourists have
been evacuated from the Cook Islands as Cyclone Meena neared super-cyclone
status, authorities said on Sunday as the small Pacific nation prepared
to cut itself off from the world as a safety precaution.
Winds close to the eye of Meena were estimated at 230 kilometres
an hour, giving it a severity rating of four, one level short of
"This is now a critically dangerous situation" for the
Cook Islands, the
Australian-Pacific Centre for Emergency and Disaster Information
said on its website.
The storm is forecast to pass very near or over the main island
Rarotonga "as category 4-5 super-cyclone with the capacity
of causing severe damage to the capital late tonight and tomorrow".
Huge seas were expected to cause flooding in coastal areas of
the Cook Islands, and forecasters have warned of damaging gale-force
winds over northern parts of the southern Cook Islands in the next
36 to 48 hours.
"Frequent heavy rain with squally thunderstorms, phenomenal
seas, damaging heavy swells, flooding including sea flooding of
coastal areas," the Fiji Meteorological Service website said.
A spokesman at the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort told Radio New Zealand
that residents were calm, but the resort had been boarded up, about
300 tourists evacuated and flights cancelled.
New Zealand's foreign ministry said an Air New Zealand flight
out of the Cook Islands was packed with tourists as the storm neared.
The Cook Islands telecommunications tower was to be taken down
at 11:00pm Saturday local time (1100 GMT Sunday) to avoid destruction
in the winds and "from then on there won't be any communication,"
a ministry spokeswoman said.
The Cook Islands national emergency operations centre has been
activated to monitor the situation.
Meena had curved southeast after skirting American Samoa earlier
in the week.
The Cook Islands, made up of 15 small islands with a total land
area of 240 square kilometres, is spread over an area of the South
Pacific greater than the size of India and has a population of around
Winter storms took the life of two elderly
people - a woman and a man - and forced authorities in Bulgaria
to declare a state of emergency in 35 municipalities and nine districts
Rescue services have been fighting to transport nine baby-delivering
women through the snow-drifts to hospitals in Eastern Bulgaria.
The country's coastal capital Varna has seen one of its gravest
winters in decades waking totally blocked under a two-meter snow
cover since Friday.
The sea and airports of Varna remained closed on Saturday, as
the wind reached the hurricane speed of 20m/s.
More than 140 villages were left without electricity and 72 continue
to be deprived of water because of the damages incurred by the stormy
Meteorologists forecast a freezing weekend for Bulgaria with temperatures
dropping to minus 18 on Sunday and Monday until the Mediterranean
cyclone draws off the country.
NOVOROSSIISK (Krasnodar territory), -- Lights
are down in the homes of 8,571 people, including 3,000 children,
because of a hurricane in Novorossiisk and suburbs, a source in
the Kubanenergo energy company press service told Itar-Tass on Sunday.
The wind reached 35-37 meters per second, and temperatures dropped
to ten degrees below zero, Celsius. The villages of Natukhayevskaya,
Rayevskaya and Lenin were damaged most. Fallen trees broke electric
wire and damaged transformer sub-stations. Additional teams of repairmen
were sent from Krasnodar.
Meanwhile, the electricity supply to Anapa and Gelendzhik has
VIENNA - Three people were killed and four
were missing Sunday after avalanches in Austria, emergency services
A Belgian snowboarder, 42, was found dead Sunday afternoon after
an avalanche in the region of Obergurgl in the Tyrol. He was snowboarding
off the ski trails despite a high avalanche risk.
Earlier in the day, an Austrian was found dead in an avalanche
at Schmirntal also in the Tyrol, while a 28-year-old German woman
was buried by an avalanche at Koenigsleiten near Salzburg in the
centre of the country Saturday and later died in Innsbruck hospital.
A man buried under an avalanche Sunday afternooon at Weisskirchen
in the southern Styria region was rescued but remained in a critical
condition in hospital.
Searches continued for three hunters who disappeared Thursday
in Styria, the APA news agency reported. [...]
MANADO: The North Sulawesi Health Office reported
that the number of people known to have contracted dengue fever
in North Sulawesi reached 178 in January alone. Five of them, children
under the age of five, died.
Of the 178 cases, 90 cases were detected in Manado, 65 case in
Bitung, 11 cases in South Minahasa, seven cases in North Minahasa,
four cases in Minahasa Induk and one case in Tomohon.
There were still no reports of such cases in Bolaang Mongondow,
Sangihe Islands and Talaud regencies.
The highest death toll was in Bitung, where four of the victims
died, while one died in Manado.
The provincial health office has said it was attempting to prevent
the spread of the disease by fumigating throughout the province,
especially where the disease has claimed lives.
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