Three news stories, three examples of the mania that has gripped the American mind, three reasons to believe that, at this point, the American people are completely at the mercy of their political leaders' hidden agenda.
Recognition would imply acceptance that they deserve to be treated as subhumans.
Since the Palestinian elections in 2006, Israel and much of the West have asserted that the principal obstacle to any progress toward Israeli-Palestinian peace is the refusal of Hamas to "recognize Israel," or to "recognize Israel's existence," or to "recognize Israel's right to exist."
The Israeli army regularly murders Palestinian children.
Israeli army troops shot and killed a Palestinian boy near Qalandia checkpoint located between the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Jerusalem on Thursday at midday.
Tahha Qiljawi, 17, sustained fatal wounds and was left to bleed for some time until Palestinian medical teams managed to reach to him, Palestinian medical sources reported. Qiljawi was moved to a hospital in the nearby Ramallah city.
Army sources claimed that the civilian came too close to the wall and was trying to cross to the Israeli side of the Wall. This lead the soldiers to shoot and kill him.The claim is not verified by eyewitnesses.
Utro.ru Translated by Signs of the Times 2007-02-02 05:14:00
Vladimir Putin's press conference has been "asymmetrically" covered by the Western media, it seems. SOTT has made a translation, from the original Russian, of the most pertinent remarks which were "spun" in a somewhat different way in the LA Times, reprinted by the Boston Globe.
LONDON (AFX) - A federal press centre near the White House housing several of President George W Bush's press aides was evacuated for about a half an hour this morning because of a bomb scare, according to US media reports.
Bomb squad and other public safety personnel were breathing a sigh of relief Thursday night after determining that a suspicious, old-fashioned, medicine-type bottle containing a clear liquid that was left outside a Redding business was not an explosive device.
PARIS - President Jacques Chirac has demanded that the United States sign both the Kyoto climate protocol and a future agreement that will take effect when the Kyoto accord runs out in 2012.
He said that he welcomed last week's State of the Union address in which President Bush described climate change as a "serious challenge" and acknowledged that a growing number of American politicians now favor emissions cuts.
But he warned that if the United States did not sign the agreements, a carbon tax across Europe on imports from nations that have not signed the Kyoto treaty could be imposed to try to force compliance. The European Union is the largest export market for American goods.
· Patient claims film shows orphan with mouth taped
· Case highlights poor state of Russian healthcare
Russian prosecutors are investigating claims that staff at a hospital gagged babies with tape because they were fed up with hearing them cry.
A patient at the hospital in Yekaterinburg, Russia's fifth largest city, reported the case after allegedly hearing the children's muffled cries. She used her mobile phone to film a baby lying in a cot with his mouth taped, while others had dummies taped to their mouths. The children at Hospital Number 15 were all orphans.
A Muslim leader has warned that Britain is moving towards a "police state," comparing the situation to Nazi Germany after the anti-terror raids in the city of Birmingham this week.
But Mohammad Naseem, chairman of Birmingham's Central Mosque, urged Muslims to show restraint following the raids, in which nine suspects were arrested over allegations of plotting an "Iraq-style" kidnapping and filmed beheading.
by David Ignatius Cincinnati Post 2007-02-02 08:41:00
WASHINGTON - At the beginning of Tony Blair's political career, his Tory opponents gave him the nickname "Bambi" because of his faun-like appearance. Now at the end of his 10 years as prime minister, Blair is mocked in Britain as America's "poodle," a slavishly loyal supporter of George Bush and the Iraq War.
Blair had a bit of both animal instincts, deer and dog, but he also had the brilliant political gifts that might have made him a truly great prime minister and the defining politician of his era. That's what makes his story so sad: This immensely talented politician was devoured by Iraq - and by his support for an American president he kept thinking, wrongly, he could dissuade from mistakes.
Ian Traynor in Brussels The Guardian 2007-02-02 08:13:00
Europe's main privacy watchdog yesterday said that the banking secrets and rights of millions of people and businesses were being abused on a massive scale by a clandestine programme giving US agencies access to the information. It accused the EU's banks and financial authorities of doing nothing to stop the breaches.
In a damning report on the covert transfer to US agencies of the details of millions of financial transactions by EU citizens, Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection supervisor, accused the European Central Bank of complicity in the system that has been used since 9/11 and which was deemed illegal by European data protection agencies two months ago.
By George Jones and Toby Helm UK Telegraph 2007-02-02 07:17:00
Tony Blair was last night struggling to prevent a collapse of his authority and being forced to stand down within weeks after it was disclosed that he had been interviewed for a second time by police in the cash for honours affair.
Accepting female fares only, service says it is about safety, not segregation
The taxi driver who tried to molest passenger Marzieh Khatoon Shariati did not know what he was starting.
Assuming her to be easy prey as she travelled with her infant son in the back of his cab, he pulled up at an isolated spot and suggested sex. Instead, he was overpowered as Mrs Shariati, deploying skills honed as a karate instructor, put him in a stranglehold and ordered him to drive to her destination.
By IAN JAMES The Guardian/Associated Press 2007-02-02 08:21:00
CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez defended his plans to rewrite dozens of laws by decree, saying his country has a vibrant democracy and that the world's real ''tyranny'' is led by President Bush.
Signing a newly approved congressional measure that grants him broad lawmaking powers, Chavez said it will allow for changes to lead the country toward socialism but denied it poses any threat to democracy or individual freedoms.
''We are increasing power, but it's the power of the nation, national power. It's not anyone's personal power,'' Chavez said at a news conference Thursday.
More than 200,000 people died or vanished in Guatemala's civil war and thousands are still executed by police and vigilantes every year. Now secret state files detailing the atrocities are to be made public - despite death threats from the security forces.
By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. NY Times 2007-02-02 07:22:00
ATLANTA - Cities should close schools for up to three months in the event of a severe flu outbreak, ball games and movies should be canceled and working hours staggered so subways and buses are less crowded, the federal government advised today in issuing new pandemic flu guidelines to states and cities.
Health officials acknowledged that such measures would hugely disrupt public life, but they argued that these measure would buy the time needed to produce vaccines and would save lives because flu viruses attack in waves lasting about two months.
Empathy, everybody knows, can be kind of a mixed blessing. Fine human quality though it may be, it is not obviously useful in pursuits like business and war, which seem to be shaping up as the major occupations of the 21st century. So there's no reason, really, to be surprised that the movies (and television and commercial fiction) can now, with relative impunity, offer up the once despised psychopath - who feels no empathy - as at least a semi-heroic figure, a fulfillment of one of those fantasies that grow like pesky molds in the unfinished basements of our pop culture souls.
Calling Iran a danger to the U.S. and one of Israel's greatest threats, U.S. senator and presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said "no option can be taken off the table" when dealing with that nation.
"U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal: We cannot, we should not, we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons," the Democrat told a crowd of Israel supporters. "In dealing with this threat ... no option can be taken off the table."
Jacques Chirac yesterday sparked a diplomatic controversy after saying that a nuclear-armed Iran would not be "very dangerous" and Tehran would be "razed" if it launched a nuclear strike on Israel. He later issued a humiliating retraction.
The French president's comments to journalists prompted speculation as to whether, aged 74 and in the waning months of his second - and probably his last term - he was losing his political touch or even his mental vigour. Some also questioned whether Mr Chirac had simply voiced a fear that a nuclear-armed Iran would be a foregone conclusion.
Mr Chirac prides himself on being an international statesman and is popular in France for his stance against the war in Iraq. He is determined to prove himself on the world stage before the April and May elections, but the international community was astounded by his comments which appeared on US front pages.
In the interview on Monday, which was mainly about climate change, reporters from the International Herald Tribune, The New York Times and the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur asked Mr Chirac about the current impasse over Iran's nuclear development.
Paris has steadfastly opposed any attempt by Iran to develop nuclear weapons, with Mr Chirac recently accusing Tehran of "feeding the world's apprehension" with its atomic programme.
But the president told the three reporters: "I would say that what is dangerous about this situation is not the fact of having a nuclear bomb. Having one or perhaps a second bomb a little later, well, that's not very dangerous."
He said the danger lies in the chances of proliferation or an arms race in the Middle East should Iran build a nuclear bomb. The weapon would be useless for Iran because using it would mean an instant counterattack, he said. "Where will it drop it, this bomb? On Israel? It would not have gone 200 metres into the atmosphere before Tehran would be razed."
Two of the leading Democratic candidates for president will compete head-to-head tonight for money and support from the same pro-Israel group.
Senator Clinton and John Edwards are scheduled to appear at a dinner for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.
Mrs. Clinton will deliver the keynote speech, while Mr. Edwards is expected to work the crowd at the cocktail reception before she speaks, making a face-to-face encounter unlikely, but not impossible.
"When it comes to important gatherings like this, there is going to be a lot of pressure on the major candidates to not let one of their competitors have the room to themselves," a Democratic strategist, Daniel Gerstein, said.
Tonight's event is the first time any of the 2008 candidates have competed for attention in the same room since they launched their campaigns in earnest. It is also an important illustration of just how much stock all of the presidential candidates, Democrats and Republicans alike, will put in the pro-Israel community, particularly for campaign dollars.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg arrived in the Qassam-battered town of Sderot Friday morning, where he met with Mayor Eli Moyal and spoke with the father of Ela Abuksis, a 17 year-old teenage girl killed in January 2005 by shrapnel from a rocket while protecting her brother during a Qassam attack.
"It's a reminder to all of us that terrorism is trying to take our freedom," Bloomberg told Ela's father, Yonatan.
"Sadly, some people pay with their lives, as in your case," he added.
The New York mayor, accompanied by security guards and Eli Moyal, also arrived at a vantage point over looking Bet Hanoun in Gaza, where most of the Qassam attacks on Sderot originate from.
"This is our reality," Moyal told Bloomberg, as he overlooked Gaza with binoculars.
Caren Bohan and Richard Cowan Reuters 2007-02-02 12:49:00
President George W. Bush will request slightly more than $100 billion to cover war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the rest of this year and an even larger amount for fiscal 2008 that begins on October 1, congressional sources said on Thursday.
The administration, which will submit the war cost proposals along with its annual budget on Monday, will provide details of its war spending plans to try to placate critics who have accused it of using a shadow budget to fund the war.
For the current fiscal year, the White House will ask Congress to approve an additional $93 billion for the Defense Department to conduct the two wars and about $7 billion for State Department activities, a Senate aide said.
More than 20 Israeli military vehicles invaded the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem and Tulkarem refugee camp on Thursday evening, killed one resistance fighter and injured seven other civilians.
The military offensive started when an undercover Israeli army force using a Palestinian car arrived at the western entrance of the refugee camp. Several soldiers dressed in civilian clothes opened fire at Jasir Abu Zgheib, of the Al Aqsa Brigades of Fatah who was injured along with other bystanders.
More troops were called in, and Abu Zgheib was moved by the army to an Israeli hospital were he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter
Eyewitnesses stated that soldiers did not allow residents and medical teams access to the injured people. One medic identified as Ahmed Hadib was beaten while attempting to assist the injured, according to eyewitnesses reports.
Mark Tran and agencies Guardian Unlimited 2007-02-02 08:08:00
The US has little control of events in Iraq and there is a strong possibility of further deterioration, an intelligence assessment was expected to say today.
The long-awaited National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq expressed uncertainty about the capacity of Iraqi leaders to transcend sectarian interests and fight extremists, establish effective national institutions and end corruption.
A two-page version is to be made public today, after the 90-page classified NIE was presented to the US president, George Bush, yesterday.
By Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily IPS News 2007-02-02 08:00:00
Iraqi government lies over the killing of hundreds of Shias in an attack on Sunday stand exposed by independent investigations carried out by IPS reporters in Iraq.
Conflicting reports had arisen earlier on how and why a huge battle broke out around the small village Zarqa, located just a few kilometres northeast of the Shia holy city Najaf, which is 90 km south of Baghdad.
One thing certain is that when the smoke cleared, more than 200 people lay dead after more than half a day of fighting Sunday Jan. 28. A U.S. helicopter was shot down, killing two soldiers. Twenty-five members of the Iraqi security force were also killed.
As Congress and the American people protest the travesty Bush created in Iraq, our President is gunning for a confrontation with Iran. Bush is rattling the sabers and opting for gunboat diplomacy by pledging to "seek out and destroy" Iranian networks "providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies" in Iraq. But he has produced no hard evidence that Iran is supplying forces in Iraq with such weapons or manufacturing their own nuclear weapons.
ATHENS, Greece: A moderate earthquake shook parts of northwestern Greece on Friday, the Athens Geodynamic Institute reported. No damage or injuries were reported.
The temblor, which had a preliminary magnitude of 4.8, occurred just after 2 p.m. (1200GMT). Its epicenter was east of the town of Paramythia in Thesprotia province, about 315 kilometers (200 miles) northwest of Athens. The quake was felt in surrounding areas.
LADY LAKE, Florida -- Suspected tornadoes rocked central Florida residents out of bed early Friday, killing at least 14 people and ripping long swaths of destruction through neighborhoods, said Lake County spokesman Christopher Patton.
Many residents said they were unaware trouble was coming and didn't hear warning sirens.
The National Weather Service warned about the coming storm, which struck quickly in the middle of the night.
TAVARES, Fla. - Severe thunderstorms tore through central Florida early Friday, damaging homes, causing power outages and killing at least one person, authorities said.
A dispatcher at the Lake County Sheriff's Office confirmed there were fatalities but did not say how many. The woman, who would not give her name, said damage included ''every kind of damage you can think of.''
Russian emergency workers have flown to a Siberian region where smelly orange, yellow and green snow fell.
The Emergency Situations Ministry said officials in the Omsk region, about 1,400 miles east of Moscow, had warned local residents not use the snow for drinking or other purposes, and to keep domestic animals from it.
The ministry said the snow, which fell on Wednesday afternoon, was yellow, green and orange and had an oily texture and unpleasant smell.
Nicholas Kittel and Sarina Locke ABC 2007-02-02 13:39:00
Have you ever worked with an office psychopath?
Is your boss or a colleague making your professional life almost unbearable?
And if you are in this situation, how do you go about getting help?
If these are questions that you have often found yourself pondering then you should probably speak with Dr. John Clarke.
Following the success of his guide Working With Monsters Dr. Clarke produced a smaller book called The Pocket Psycho, which hopes to teach those who fear they may be working with a psychopath how to cope.
Dr. Clarke told 666 ABC Canberra that he had always been aware of the office psychopath but it was not until he started receiving feedback from his first book that he begun to understand just how endemic the problem is.
The on-going legal battle over the disclosure of secret Eli Lilly documents that reveal the serious health risks associated with Zyprexa and the company's off-label promotion of the drug involves a matter of grave public concern.
But observers on the sidelines of this courtroom circus say the conduct of the judge in helping Lilly keep documents secret that give the specific details of an illegal marketing scheme that is literally killing people is almost as disturbing as the underlying acts.
PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. -- Another cruise, another catastrophe.
Holland America's Volendam returned to Port Everglades at about 6:30 a.m. Thursday with 74 sick people on board.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 68 passengers and six crewmembers became violently ill with flu-like symptoms. But shortly before noon Thursday, the cruise line issued a statement that said that the total number had escalated to 112.
Indonesian geophysicists hope to stem the flow of a destructive mud volcano on East Java by dropping chains of concrete balls into its mouth.
The mud eruption began on 29 May last year in the middle of a rice paddy in the village of Porong, 30 kilometres south of Surabaya, the provincial capital. Since then, the volcano has spewed out up to 126,000 cubic metres of mud a day, flooding an area of more than 4 square kilometres.
Some 10,000 people have been left homeless and 20 factories have closed. Another 200,000 homes could be at risk if the mudflow combines with the rainy season - which has just begun - and weakening dams to flood more land. Attempts to alleviate the problem by drilling relief wells or channelling the mud into a nearby river have so far failed.
For decades, scientists have believed that the brain possesses an internal clock that allows it to keep track of time. Now a UCLA study in the Feb. 1 edition of Neuron proposes a new model in which a series of physical changes to the brain's cells helps the organ to monitor the passage of time.
"The value of this research lies in understanding how the brain works," said Dean Buonomano, associate professor of neurobiology and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a member of the university's Brain Research Institute. "Many complex human behaviors -- from understanding speech to playing catch to performing music -- rely on the brain's ability to accurately tell time. Yet no one knows how the brain does it."
Two leading American papers, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today are planning scented ads.
They hope the innovation will boost their ad income. The two papers are working with a company called Scentisphere, which markets a product called Rub'n'Smell.
Of course scratch and sniff ads have been around for many years - notably for perfume ads. But that system is complicated. The biggest difference is that Rub'n'Smell is applied directly to printed ads as an ink. No separate press run to create the scented inserts is necessary.
Tony Blair has announced that the Government reaffirming its commitment to green issues by making the Iraq conflict the first ever 'carbon neutral war'.
British soldiers will be set green targets to ensure that carbon emissions caused by missile attacks are off-set by tree planting and recycling initiatives. Helicopter gunships firing depleted uranium will be 'partly' offset by army laundries using a washing-line instead of the tumble dryer.