Saturday, January 31, 2004

Train Your Brain With Exercise: "Train Your Brain With Exercise
Not only is exercise smart for your heart and weight, but it can make you smarter and better at what you do.
Anyone with a brain exercises these days, but did you know exercise can return the favor and train your brain? Not only is exercise smart for your heart and weight, but it can make you smarter and better at what you do.
'I like to say that exercise is like taking a little Prozac or a little Ritalin at just the right moment,' says John J. Ratey, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of A User's Guide to the Brain. 'Exercise is really for the brain, not the body. It affects mood, vitality, alertness, and feelings of well-being.'
Stephen C. Putnam, MEd, took up canoeing in a serious way to combat the symptoms of adult ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Then he wrote a book, titled Nature's Ritalin for the Marathon Mind, about the benefits of exercise on troublesome brain disorders such as ADHD, a neurological/behavioral condition resulting in hyperactivity and the inability to focus on tasks."

Friday, January 30, 2004 : Rifts Emerge in Iraq's Shiite Community
Serious Political Rifts Emerge in Iraq's Shiite Community Before Sovereignty Is Restored
KUFA, Iraq Jan. 30 — The political empowerment of Iraq's Shiite Muslims after decades on the sidelines is producing grave internal rifts, with rival factions and religious leaders competing for advantage before Iraqi sovereignty is restored on July 1.
With so much at stake, the line between politics and religion has blurred. Shows of force are common, and mudslinging is on the rise.
Tension among Shiites in Iraq is not new, but it's more widely pronounced than at any time since Saddam Hussein came to power in 1979 and sidelined the sect in favor of the minority Sunnis.
Three clerics are drawing the most attention in the fight for Shiite turf: Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Husseini al-Sistani, arguably Iraq's top Shiite cleric; maverick cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the son of a respected religious leader gunned down in 1999; and Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim, a junior cleric who took over leadership of a key Shiite political group after his brother died in a bombing in Najaf last August.
Others competing for leadership are Shiite politicians with close U.S. links, such as Ahmad Chalabi and Iyad Allawi who, like al-Hakim, are members of the U.S.-backed Iraqi Governing Council. They spent years in exile, however, and their political careers may end if they lose American backing.
Many Iraqi Shiites, believed to make up about 60 percent of Iraq's 25 million people, are secular-minded, middle-class city dwellers. Those most active in Shiite politics, however, are mainly clerics, whose supporters are generally poor.
WorldNetDaily: U.S. intel: WMD went to Syria last year: "As a result, the Bush administration and senior members of Congress have reached different conclusions over whether Syria obtained Iraqi WMD. The administration has determined the intelligence evidence remains insufficient, while senior staffers and members of Congress said the evidence is enough to press Syria to open its facilities to inspection.
'I think that there is some concern that shipments of WMD went to Syria,' Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said.
David Kay, who resigned last week from the CIA-sponsored Iraq Survey Group, went further. Kay said Iraqi officials told his investigators that WMD was sent to Syria before the war in Iraq.
'We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons,' Kay told the London Daily Telegraph. 'But we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD program. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved.'"

Thursday, January 29, 2004

U.S. military 'sure' of catching bin Laden this year: "The U.S. military is 'sure' it will catch Osama bin Laden this year, a spokesman said Thursday, but he declined to comment on where the al-Qaida leader may be hiding.
Bin Laden, chief suspect in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that sparked the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, is widely believed to be holed up somewhere along the mountainous Pakistani-Afghan border with former Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
Following last month's capture of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, American commanders in Afghanistan have expressed new optimism they will eventually find bin Laden. Spokesman Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty said the military now believed it could seize him within months.
'We have a variety of intelligence and we're sure we're going to catch Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar this year,' Hilferty said. 'We've learned lessons from Iraq and we're getting improved intelligence from the Afghan people.'
Hilferty declined to comment on where exactly bin Laden or Mullah Omar might be hiding, but his optimism coincides with comments from U.S. officials in Washington that the military is planning a spring offensive against Taliban and al-Qaida holdouts." - Top Stories - U.S. Plans Major Offensive Against Al Qaeda
The U.S. military is planning a major offensive in Afghanistan along the Afghan-Pakistani border this spring, Pentagon officials have confirmed to Fox News, but officials would not divulge whether it would involve moving troops into Pakistan.
According to military sources, a small number of U.S. special forces troops have already been working with Pakistani forces in the tribal sections of Pakistan, but those have been covert operations — small teams designed to hunt Taliban and Al Qaeda figures hiding in villages throughout the area.
U.S. officials have suspected that Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters travel back and forth, over the border, shifting hiding places and seeking refuge in friendly villages in Pakistan.
Senior Defense officials still believe Usama bin Laden and top Al Qaeda leaders are in the region as well.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Yahoo! News - Flower-Power Could Help Clear Land mines: "COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - A Danish biotech company has developed a genetically modified flower that could help detect land mines and it hopes to have a prototype ready for use within a few years.
'We are really excited about this, even though it's early days. It has considerable potential,' Simon Oestergaard, chief executive of developing company Aresa Biodetection, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.
The genetically modified weed has been coded to change color when its roots come in contact with nitrogen-dioxide (NO2) evaporating from explosives buried in soil.
Within three to six weeks from being sowed over land mine infested areas the small plant, a Thale Cress, will turn a warning red whenever close to a land mine.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

The Seattle Times: Inside Iraq "You have got your freedom but you must be patient," Al-Emeri says. "Saddam destroyed the whole country."
Al-Emeri, 44, is an expatriate who came home. The Iraqi Army veteran and rebel, who once had a price on his head, is starting over — again — after a dozen years away from Iraq, eight of which he lived in the Seattle area.
A year ago he was hired to be a translator and guide for the eventual U.S. military push to Baghdad. With an international press corps in tow, Al-Emeri's tearful return home to Qal'at Sukkar in April was flashed around the world.
After briefly returning to Seattle this fall, Al-Emeri says, he has returned to Iraq to stay. With the United States in Iraq, he believes his homeland offers an abundance of business and political opportunities.
His return, however, has not been easy and at times has been outright perilous.

Monday, January 26, 2004

The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Underachievers' parents deny honor students
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The school honor roll, a time-honored system for rewarding "A" students, has become an apparent source of embarrassment for some underachievers.
As a result, all Nashville schools have stopped posting honor rolls, and some are considering a ban on hanging good work in the hallways — at the advice of school lawyers.
After a few parents complained their children might be ridiculed for not making the list, school-system lawyers warned that state privacy laws forbid releasing academic information, good or bad, without permission.
Some schools since have put a stop to academic pep rallies. Others think they may have to cancel spelling bees. And schools across the state may follow Nashville's lead.
The change has upset many parents who want their children recognized for hard work.
"This is as backward as it gets," said Miriam Mimms, who has a son at Meigs Magnet School and helps run the Parent Teacher Association. "There has to be a way to come back from the rigidity."
WorldNetDaily: Texas coast eyed by terroristsWASHINGTON – While FBI, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs, the U.S. Coast Guard, state police and local law enforcement sources are publicly downplaying terrorism fears in the shooting of a guard at a BASF Corp. ammonia terminal in Freeport, Texas, some of those same sources are telling Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin, off the record, they strongly suspect the guard stumbled into a terrorism reconnaissance operation.
The FBI, state and local law enforcement are all involved in investigating the incident Friday night on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The gunman, described as a dark-complexioned, mustachioed man with dark hair and a thick Middle Eastern accent and a 5 o'clock shadow, was driving a white, club cab, half-ton Chevrolet pickup with black trim at the bottom and dark-tinted windows. The truck had no front license plate.
Robbie House, the guard, questioned the driver of the truck about why he was in the vicinity of a large, multi-story ammonia tank. He told police the truck driver explained that he was taking pictures of it. When the guard turned to radio for help, the driver pulled out a handgun and shot House in the shoulder.
Disaster struck Texas City in 1947
Freeport is about 60 miles south of Houston, but only a few miles from Texas City, where one of the worst disasters in the history of the United States took place April 16, 1947, when the French ship SS Grandcamp, carrying ammonium nitrate, exploded at the docks. The entire dock area was destroyed, along with the nearby Monsanto Chemical Company, other smaller companies, grain warehouses, and numerous oil and chemical storage tanks.
MSNBC - Living proof of al-Qaida in IraqTwo more Iraqi civilians killed today in a bombing of the Communist Party headquarters in Baghdad. An Iraqi said: “This is a terrorist operation from terrorist people.”
U.S. officials claim they now have living proof that Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network may be behind some of the terrorist attacks in Iraq. The officials tell NBC News U.S. special forces captured a top al-Qaida leader during a raid in Iraq on Thursday.
He’s Hasan Guhl — in the top 20 of al-Qaida leaders. Called “The Gatekeeper,” he’s responsible for providing money, transportation and safe havens for al-Qaida terrorists.
Intelligence sources say Guhl was sent to Iraq by bin Laden or his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri. U.S. officials call Guhl’s capture huge because he could provide critical intelligence on what al-Qaida plans in Iraq. Home US: "India's technology industry has attacked proposed new US legislation that bans the outsourcing of federal work to low cost countries arguing it is a protectionist measure contrary to the spirit of free trade.
The move by the US Senate coincides with decisions by a number of foreign companies to halt further outsourcing to India because of a new domestic tax ruling that would enable the Indian government to tax part of their worldwide earnings.
The US bill, which was passed by the Senate of Friday but has still to be signed by President George W. Bush before it becomes law, is the most significant attempt to stop outsourcing, a fast-growing industry trend that has led to the loss of thousands of highly-paid technology jobs in the US and become a hot political issue in a US election year."
Telegraph | News | Saddam's WMD hidden in Syria, says Iraq survey chief: "David Kay, the former head of the coalition's hunt for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, yesterday claimed that part of Saddam Hussein's secret weapons programme was hidden in Syria.
In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, Dr Kay, who last week resigned as head of the Iraq Survey Group, said that he had uncovered evidence that unspecified materials had been moved to Syria shortly before last year's war to overthrow Saddam.
'We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons,' he said. 'But we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD programme. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved.'"

Saturday, January 24, 2004 - Top Stories - Poor May Not Be So Poor, After AllLOS ANGELES — Homelessness and hunger has increased an average of 16 percent annually for the last 15 years, according to a recent study by the U.S. Conference of Mayors (search), while the Census Bureau (search) has found the number of poor increasing slightly last year, to 35 million.
But while there's no question that some Americans are hungry and homeless and others live in dilapidated housing, a new study suggests the poor aren't so poor.
According to a recent study by the Heritage Foundation (search), 46 percent of the technically "poor" live in their own homes, most with more living space than the average person in Paris, London or Vienna. While 73 percent own at least one car, 30 percent own two or more, and 76 percent have air conditioning. Also, according to the study, 65 percent have a washing machine, 97 percent have a color TV and 78 percent have a DVD player or VCR.
"I think we should see it as good news and be very grateful that poverty in this country is not worse and in fact, material hardship, as we know it, is significantly lower than many people might have previously imagined," said study author Melissa Pardue (search).
The bottom line is that a very small percentage of the 35 million people considered "poor" actually suffer real material hardships. - Top Stories - Suspected Al Qaeda Operatives Nabbed in IraqU.S. forces in Iraq believe they may be facing an Al Qaeda cell in Fallujah after two men with suspected ties to the terror network were captured in the last week, sources told Fox News Friday.
Husam al-Yemeni was arrested by U.S. forces last Thursday and is said to be part of the leadership structure of Ansar al-Islam, the Al Qaeda-associated terrorist group based in Iraqi Kurdistan. Some U.S. officials described al-Yemeni as the first Al Qaeda operative captured in Iraq.
Another possible Al Qaeda operative, Hasan Ghul, was detained Thursday in Iraq. Ghul, a Pakistani, is known to have been an Al Qaeda member since the early 1990s, when Al Qaeda was established.
Officials said it was too early to be sure, but at least one guerrilla cell in Fallujah — a Sunni Arab city known for its fierce enmity toward American forces — was believed to be linked to Al Qaeda. The officials said three other possible Al Qaeda operatives — two Egyptians and an Iraqi — had been captured in raids Sunday.

Friday, January 23, 2004

: "Mohamed M. ElBaradei, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he was taken aback during a recent trip to Libya by the scale and complexity of the illicit trafficking through which it obtained material and blueprints for nuclear weapons designs.
'All of that was obtained abroad,' he said in an interview during the World Economic Forum meeting here. 'All of what we saw was a result of the Wal-Mart of private-sector proliferation.'
'When you see things being designed in one country, manufactured in two or three others, shipped to a fourth, redirected to a fifth, that means there's lots of offices all over the world,' Dr. ElBaradei said. 'The sophistication of the process, frankly, has surpassed my expectations.'"
World Page"The Al Qaida of the 9/11 period is under catastrophic stress," State Department counter-terrorism coordinator Cofer Black said. "They are being hunted down, their days are numbered."
Black's assertion, made in an interview with the London-based British Broadcasting Corp. on Thursday, is based on U.S. intelligence community estimates that about 70 percent of Al Qaida has been neutralized, officials said.
Yahoo! News - Captured Insurgent Said Linked to al-Qaida: "U.S. forces in Iraq (news - web sites) captured a leader of the insurgency who is believed to be a close associate of Abu Musab Zarqawi, described by some as a key link between the al-Qaida terrorist network and toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), a senior American official said Friday.
U.S. troops captured Husam al-Yemeni last Thursday, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. He is described by U.S. officials as the leader of an insurgency cell in Fallujah, west of Baghdad.
The official said al-Yemeni is the highest-level member of Ansar al-Islam captured so far. That is a group comprising mainly ethnic Kurds from northern Iraq with alleged al-Qaida ties." - Top Stories - Shiite Cleric Calls for Halt to Protests: " Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric Friday urged his followers to stop holding demonstrations for early elections until a U.N. team decides whether polls are feasible.
The call by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani (search) is good news for the U.S.-led administration, which says early elections to choose an Iraqi government are impossible because of the country's precarious security."
Israel News : Jerusalem Post Internet Edition: "US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is considering provoking a military confrontation with Syria by attacking Hizbullah bases near the Syrian border in Lebanon, according to the authoritative London-based Jane's Intelligence Digest.
In an article to be published on Friday, the journal said multi-faceted US attacks, which would be conducted within the framework of the global war on terrorism, are likely to focus on Hizbullah bases in the Bekaa Valley of eastern Lebanon.
It noted that the deployment of US special forces in the Bekaa Valley, where most of Syria's occupation forces in Lebanon are based, would be highly inflammatory and would 'almost certainly involve a confrontation with Syrian troops.'"
New York Post Online Edition: entertainment: "LAST February, Morgan Spurlock decided to become a gastronomical guinea pig.
His mission: To eat three meals a day for 30 days at McDonald's and document the impact on his health.
Scores of cheeseburgers, hundreds of fries and dozens of chocolate shakes later, the formerly strapping 6-foot-2 New Yorker - who started out at a healthy 185 pounds - had packed on 25 pounds.
But his supersized shape was the least of his problems.
Within a few days of beginning his drive-through diet, Spurlock, 33, was vomiting out the window of his car, and doctors who examined him were shocked at how rapidly Spurlock's entire body deteriorated."
Report: U.S. denies bin Laden held - (United Press International): "The United States has denied al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has been captured, Germany's Die Welt newspaper reported Thursday.
The newspaper, on its Web site, earlier cited 'unconfirmed reports' as saying the al-Qaida leader had been captured."
AP Wire | 01/22/2004 | Army Leader: War Brings Chances, Obstacles: "The Army's new leader says his soldiers, while stressed by war on two fronts, are gaining the type of combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan that will make them better warriors.
The fast pace of operations, which some say has stretched the Army dangerously thin, also has presented a rare opportunity to change the way the Army organizes to train and fight, he says.
As a large institution, the Army 'tends to perfect what it knows,' he said, rather than seek change. 'Now we have this focusing opportunity, and we have the fact that (terrorists) have actually attacked our homeland, which gives it some oomph.'
'We are getting better (combat) units out of the war than we sent over there,' he said." | CIA sounds alarm on civil war risk (January 23, 2004): "CIA officers in Iraq are warning that the country may be on a path to civil war.
Yesterday's warning starkly contradicts the upbeat assessment given by President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address earlier this week.
The CIA officers' bleak assessment was delivered verbally to Washington, said officials.
The warning echoed growing fears that Iraq's Shiite majority, which has until now grudgingly accepted the US occupation, could turn to violence if its demands for direct elections are spurned.
Meanwhile, Iraq's Kurdish minority is pressing its demand for autonomy and shares of oil revenue. 'Both the Shiites and the Kurds think that now's their time,' said one intelligence officer." - Politics - U.S., Saudis Seek to Freeze Charity's Assets: "The United States and Saudi Arabia are seeking international support to choke off funding to four branches of a Saudi charity that authorities say diverted money to help bankroll Al Qaeda's terrorist activities.
The branches of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation (search) are in Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania and Pakistan, the U.S. and Saudi governments said Thursday in a joint announcement.
The United States and Saudi Arabia want the United Nations to add the four branches to its blacklist of suspected terrorist financiers, which member countries must honor. "
WorldNetDaily: Source: WMD imported to Iraq from Iran: "Saddam loyalists and al-Qaida insurgents have raised the stakes significantly in Iraq with the arrival of warheads and chemical components from Iran into northern Iraq, U.S. military sources said, citing intelligence reports.
This could signal a weapons of mass destruction campaign against the U.S.-led coalition, said Geostrategy-Direct, the intelligence news service.
Several convoys reportedly have entered northern Iraq, and Kurdish militia forces captured one. The Kurds found a warhead containing C-4 plastic explosives meant for an unspecified rocket.
The Kurds told U.S. military commanders Saddam loyalists have contracted with al-Qaida-related groups to bring 30 missile warheads into Iraq."
WorldNetDaily: Defector links Iran to 9-11: "A surprise witness in the trial of a man charged as an accomplice of the Sept. 11 hijackers stunned a German court by claiming the terrorist plot was a 'joint venture' between al-Qaida and the Iranian government.
Hamid Reza Zakeri, who claims to have been a longtime member of the Iranian intelligence service, also implicated the defendant, a 31-year-old former Moroccan student named Abdelghani Mzoud, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing sources familiar with the testimony.
'If the story was true, the consequences would be remarkable,' a senior intelligence official told the Tribune."
WorldNetDaily: Al-Qaida terrorists leaving Iraq?: "Al-Qaida's campaign in Iraq has backfired politically due to large numbers of Muslim deaths, prompting the terrorist network to take its holy war elsewhere, according to counter-terror experts.
An Internet magazine published by al-Qaida, Sawt al-Jihad, or 'Voice of Jihad,' urges Osama bin Laden's supporters to stay away from Baghdad and instead hit U.S. military targets in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, terrorist expert Rita Katz told the New York Post.
Katz' SITE Institute monitors al-Qaida propaganda on the Internet.
An article titled 'Do Not Go To Iraq,' by Muhammad bin al-Salim, says: 'My instructions to the people of the peninsula [Saudi Arabia], young as old, men as women, is to fight Americans in their homes and the people of Yemen should fight the Americans in their bases, battleships and their consulates.'
The Post notes this is a change in strategy by bin Laden, who reportedly in October shifted some resources from Taliban renegades in Afghanistan to Iraq in order to battle coalition forces."
Inside the Ring - The Washington Times: Inside the Ring: "Iraq-Cuba axis
A senior Defense Department official tells us one of the alarming after-action intelligence reports that reached the Pentagon is that the communist government of Cuba shared intelligence on the United States with Saddam Hussein's regime.
The reports stated that Cuban intelligence, which is known to have extensive 'coverage' of U.S. military bases, supplied information to Saddam's intelligence service on the movement of troops and other military activities.
The intelligence ties are believed to be an offshoot of Cuba's covert oil-purchasing arrangement with Iraq under Saddam. Those deals have been under way since the late 1990s and involve oil tankers that were sent to Mexico. The oil then was pumped from the tankers to smaller boats for delivery to Cuba. "
musicplasma : the music visual search engine

Wow! This is really cool. Enter the name of a a band you like and the website will make a flash diagram showing related bands you might also like. Pretty slick.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

TCS: Tech Central Station - A Northern Strategy: "Taking off from the quote by Arben Xhaferi above, I would argue that a personal or private Islam is the dominant form of the faith, in a wide belt extending from the Balkans through Turkey to the countries of Central Asia. I have come to think of these as the 'northern tier Muslim countries,' and their form of religion as 'northern Islam.' As indicated by The Washington Post quote, Iran, notwithstanding its recent extremist history, also embodies comprehension, at least, of Islam as, potentially, a personal matter.
'Northern Islam' may even be somewhat inaccurate, in that a similar style of Islam was historically found in Pakistan -- before that country was assaulted by Saudi-funded extremists -- in India, and in Malaysia and Indonesia. Muslims from these countries refer to a 'Turko-Persian-Indian' Islamic tradition.
But are Muslims who keep their Islam private, even when they are the majority of a country's population -- 70 percent among Albanians, 88 percent in Uzbekistan, 90 to 99 percent in Turkey and Azerbaijan -- 'insincere' or 'nominal'?
That is a claim that many Western academics have made about northern tier Muslims. Everyone knows that Turkey is completely secularized. Bosnian and Albanian Muslims have often been described as adhering to 'Islam lite' because of their low rates of mosque attendance. In their case, what appears to be lack of religious enthusiasm is typically ascribed to the influence of Communism -- even though Albanians were and are provably the most anti-Communist nation in Europe. Unlike the Bosnians, who tended to embrace Communism as a representation of progress, Albanians viewed it as Slavic imperialism, nothing more, nothing less." : Rat Study Suggests Supplements Can Extend Life: "A dose of lipoic acid, a naturally occurring antioxidant found in green leafy vegetables, and carnitine, found in red meat, was all it took to make old rats act young again, or at least middle aged.
Not only were they far more energetic. It also became easier for them to learn, and their short term memory improved dramatically, much to the surprise of Hagen." - Foxlife - Study: Sleep Essential for Creativity: "For the first time, scientists say they have proved what creative minds have known all along: that our sleeping brains continue working on problems that baffle us during the day, and that the right answer may come more easily after eight hours of rest.
The German study is considered to be the first hard evidence supporting the commonsense notion that creativity and problem-solving appear to be directly linked to adequate sleep."

Wednesday, January 21, 2004 : Dispute Over Iraqi Vote Sees Flexibility: "BAGHDAD, Iraq Jan. 21 Iraq's top Shiite Muslim cleric and coalition officials signaled flexibility on holding early elections, with both sides suggesting they'll follow any U.N. recommendation on whether a direct vote is feasible, Iraqi and Western officials said Wednesday."

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

STATE, ISLAM AND OPPOSITION IN SAUDI ARABIA: THE POST DESERT-STORM PHASE.: "This article reviews the status of Saudi religious groups after the Second Gulf War. The historical roots of opposition to the monarchy are traced and it is noted that while the monarchy did consolidate its authority and adapt over time, groups critical of the government and its positions have occasionally appeared. Recently, economic leadership and security crises have given rise to a new opposition, unique in its combining Islamic and 'modern' concepts. Thus far, as in the past, the regime has dealt with its opponents effectively, although the ultimate impact of this latest opposition surge is not yet determined."
For Saudis, a hard fight over faith | "The two, however, have similar backgrounds and goals. Khalid al-Ghannami and Mansour al-Nogaidan were once subversive sheikhs, religious leaders espousing the same tenets as Osama bin Laden and his acolytes.
But they both embarked on spiritual journeys - separately - and now embrace a more moderate, inclusive view of Islam, and act as the most outspoken public boosters of religious reform in Saudi Arabia.
In fact, they made 180-degree turns from far right to left, and now say they want a broad reformation of Islam, something akin to what they say John Calvin or Martin Luther kicked off in Christianity. That's no small quest in any part of the Muslim world, much less Saudi Arabia. The birthplace of Islam, Saudi Arabia adheres to a branch of the religion known to many people as Wahhabism, as well as tribal cul tural traditions. The struggle over how to interpret Islampolitically is not only important for Saudi Arabia, but for many foreign countries that receive billions of dollars in aid from Saudi Arabia - for building mosques, supplying Korans, and teaching their brand of Islam.
Wahhabism has led many Muslims to support and evem join jihadist groups from Asia to Europe and the US, according to several government officials. And changing the ideology that supports and advocates the use of violence is crucial to eliminating terror attacks, like those perpetrated by Al Qaeda."
How an Al Qaeda hotbed turned inhospitable | "RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – When Al Qaeda attacked Saudi Arabia on May 12 - and again on Nov. 8 - it brought home a cold, hard truth for the rulers of Riyadh: the house of Al Saud was now its primary target - even more so than the United States.
That realization is triggering a profound stir in the land where Al Qaeda and other militant groups have long drawn ideological and financial succor. After Sept. 11, Saudi Arabia went through a period of denial (15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi). But now there is perhaps no more determined partner for the US war on terror than this Middle Eastern kingdom. The royal family is rounding up suspected terrorists, cracking down on Al Qaeda's financial backers and radical clerics, and moving toward significant educational and gender reforms.
How it will turn out is not at all clear. "There are those who believe in controlled change, and those who say we should rip through the changes," says Khaled al-Maeena, editor of Arab News, in Saudi Arabia. "And there are those who say any change should come under the umbrella of Islam. All three are struggling to come to the forefront." Today, the Monitor begins a four-part series on the Saudi reformation."
frontline: hunting bin laden: who is bin laden?: about the bin laden family | PBS: "The beginnings of his activity are shrouded in mystery. It is said that, having satisfied King Abdul Aziz with construction work on the royal palace, Mohammed bin Laden was awarded a much more prestigious contract: the renovation of Mecca. Whatever the actual circumstances, it is a fact that the Saudi royal family gave the bin Laden family--and group--exclusive rights to all construction of a religious nature, whether in Mecca, Medina or--until 1967--the Holy Places in Jerusalem. This enabled the bin Ladens to establish an industrial and financial empire which now extends far beyond religious construction projects.
The relationship between the bin Ladens and the Saudi royal family is quite exceptional in that it not simply one of business ties: it is also a relationship of trust, of friendship and of shared secrets. This is particularly the case with regard to the group's present-day leaders and the Soudairi clan.
Thanks to the renovation of Mecca, Sheik Mohammed bin Laden did not become merely Kin Abdul Aziz' official contractor, but his friend and confidant as well. This friendship has been handed down to their children. The bin Laden sons went to the same schools as the numerous offspring of King Abdul Aziz and they all followed the same path."

A look fascinating look inside the secretive Bin Laden family. The 54 siblings who run it represent all nationalities and have extensive investments, contracts and various financial dealings all around the world. In a way, Osama simply applied this model to the creation of his terror organization. A hybrid of tribal family traditions, modern western organizational/financial structure, and religious zealotry.
Moderation rising in the Mideast | "JERUSALEMJERUSALEM – The Middle East - a region long known for its rancorous politics - is trying something new: pragmatism and moderation.
Two caveats must come early in any discussion of regional improvements. The success of the US attempt to remake Iraq is by no means guaranteed. And the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is moribund.
But in recent weeks, Libya has said it will abandon plans to pursue weapons of mass destruction. Iran has promised to allow international inspections of its nuclear facilities. Syria has announced that it is again willing to talk peace with Israel.
Egypt and Iran are ending an era of mutual mistrust. So are Turkey and Syria. Saudi Arabia is allowing unprecedented internal debate.
"It's the end of radicalism," says Abdel Monem Said, director of the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo. "You have a general sense of accommodation taking place in the region."
Dr. Said, who defines radicalism as the struggle for unobtainable goals, adds that "radical movements, whether pan-Islamic or pan-Arab, have come to the conclusion that continuation of confrontation with the status quo or the West in general is either futile or very costly." "
BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | The rising voice of Iraq's Shias: "Since the Iranian revolution, the image of a Shia cleric, with a black turban and a long white beard, has become synonymous with a radical Ayatollah bent on creating a theocratic state.
But the most senior Shia cleric in Iraq, Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, is actually among those who believe in separating religion from the state.
After the invasion of Iraq in March last year, he appeared to adhere to his quietist stance.
Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani's image can be seen throughout Basra
He rarely made political statements.
That is why his recent public intervention in politics is a clear indication of a growing impatience among many of his followers.
It seems that he could no longer remain quiet when more and more of them feared that American plans for the transfer of power would undermine their aspiration for a representative democracy."
EE Times - Lie-detector glasses offer peek at future of security: "Besides lie detection, Watson said, the technology 'can also measure for other emotions like anxiety, fear or even love.' Indeed V Entertainment offers Pocket PC 'love detector' software that can attach to a phone line or work from recorded tapes. It's available for download at Instead of color-coded LEDs, a bar graph on the display indicates how much the caller to whom you are speaking 'loves' you. V Entertainment claims the love detector has demonstrated 96 percent accuracy. A PC version is due next month."

Monday, January 19, 2004

Guardian Unlimited | World Latest | Karzai Releases More Taliban Prisoners: "KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - President Hamid Karzai ordered the release Sunday of more former Taliban fighters, a highly symbolic move that could boost his standing and undermine holdouts from the ousted hardline Islamic regime.
Karzai issued a decree saying all Afghans detained at the northern Sheberghan prison and not considered dangerous should be set free immediately.
It was unclear how many inmates were affected. Local officials said the jail holds more than 400 suspected Afghan Taliban.
The government hopes the move, like the return of millions of Afghans from exile and the release last week of dozens of Pakistanis who fought with the Taliban, will help heal the wounds left by the latest episode in the country's almost quarter-century of conflict."
Telegraph | News | America to cut troops in Iraq by one fifth
The United States military is to cut troop strengths in Iraq by a fifth, from 130,000 to 105,000, as commanders begin the largest rotation of men and equipment in American history.
The reduction in overall troop numbers did not signal a lessening of US military might in the country, a senior military officer said. Instead, Pentagon chiefs would be consolidating assets scattered across the Gulf inside Iraq itself.
Heavy infantry and Marines will replace armoured units that have until now provided the firepower to take on a conventionally armed enemy.
'While there may be a reduction in the numbers, it's not a reduction in our capability,' the officer said.
The next few months before the transfer of sovereignty planned for July 1 will see a huge influx of Marines and part-time soldiers from the reserves and National Guard units, equipped with lightly armoured infantry vehicles.
The rotation of that many men and machines is the largest such movement any US military commander can recall, dwarfing even the troop rotations of the Second World War.
The rotation will also be the largest and most perilous deployment faced by reservists - weekend warriors from America's heartlands - since the Vietnam War.
The driving philosophy is to bring more sensitivity and responsiveness to the problem of fighting the insurgency centred on the Sunni triangle near Baghdad, while winning hearts and minds elsewhere in the country, as the interim government takes charge.
To that end, the US military presence in Baghdad itself is about to be dramatically scaled back.
The expectation is that after 'Operation Iraqi Freedom 2' is in place, the coalition forces will be better poised to fight a series of smaller, sharper engagements with elusive attackers.
Marine commanders have already vowed to show more subtlety than the regular army units they will replace, publicly disparaging such tactics as calling in air strikes.
Reserve units, though usually older, less fit and less experienced than regular troops, are thought to bring other skills to bear from their civilian lives, where many are policemen, teachers, firemen and the like.
Unspoken, behind all the military changes, is the political need to avoid US casualties - which crossed the 500 dead mark (including combat casualties and accidents) at the weekend.
Senior officials planning George W Bush's re-election campaign admit that US death tolls remain the yardstick by which ordinary Americans judge the success of events in Iraq."
israelinsider: security: Hamas prefers "bad girls" to be bombers: "Female bomber Reem al-Reyashi, who blew herself up last Wednesday at the Erez Crossing, killing four Israelis, was induced to carry out the suicide attack as a punishment for cheating on her husband.
A few hours after the suicide attack the Hamas released the videotape of the 22 year old mother of two. In her last statement, with a beatific smile on her face, a rifle in one hand and a Koran in the other, al-Reyashi proudly proclaimed that 'I always wanted to be the first woman who sacrifices her life for Allah. My joy will be complete when my body parts fly in all directions.' She said her fondest wish was to 'knock on the doors of heaven with Zionist skulls.'
However, information regarding the circumstances that led al-Reyashi to carry out her attack, based on Israeli security sources originally disclosed by Yediot Ahronot, suggests a very different motivation: not anti-Zionist motivation or Islamic fervor but a fatal love triangle. She apparently became involved in an extramarital affair with a Hamas man. When her husband, a wealthy owner of a battery factory, found out, he reached an arrangement to have her sent on the suicide mission. She was compelled to sacrifice herself to clear her name and the 'honor' of her family. The husband denied the charge, saying it was a fabrication of Israeli security services to defame Arab women and Islam. "
Yahoo! News - Hoping the Stork Skips the Goat for the Monkey: "BEIJING (Reuters) - Many expectant Chinese women are trying to delay the birth of their children until the Year of the Monkey begins next week because they think it will bring them luck, state media said.
'They superstitiously believe that people born in the current Year of the Goat are deemed unfortunate,' the China Daily newspaper said.
'Whatever the truth, one thing is for sure -- Year of the Monkey babies face a competitive education and career environment because they will have many more of them around,' it said, quoting the Shanghai Morning Post.
The newspaper did not say how the mothers were delaying their children's arrival.
The Year of the Monkey -- one of 12 animals that make up the Lunar New Year cycle -- begins on January 22."
Did I already mention that I was born in the year of the Monkey?
Yahoo! News - Internet fanatics aren't geeks: "LONDON (Reuters) - The typical Internet user -- far from being a geek -- shuns television and actively socialises with friends, a study on surfing habits says.
The findings of the first World Internet Project report present an image of the average Netizen that contrasts with the stereotype of the loner 'geek' who spends hours of his free time on the Internet and rarely engages with the real world.
Instead, the typical Internet user is an avid reader of books and spends more time engaged in social activities than the non-user, it says. And, television viewing is down among some Internet users by as much as five hours per week compared with Net abstainers, the study added.
>>> The Chinese, meanwhile, are among the most active Net socialisers. According to the study, Chinese Internet users say they rely on the medium to interact with others who share their political interests, hobbies and faith.
"It's more than in any other country and a significant figure for citizens of a nation in which religion is officially banned," the study said of Chinese users' willingness to discuss religion online with others. "
My Way News: "SINGAPORE (AP) - People in strait-laced Singapore were urged Monday to act like monkeys - the Chinese zodiac sign for the coming Lunar year - for the sake of their country.
Singaporeans could foster an economic recovery this year by behaving more like monkeys, Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan said in a Lunar New Year message reported in The Straits Times newspaper.
Chinese communities around the world will herald the start of the Year of the Monkey on Thursday. Chinese believe the monkey is clever, flexible, innovative and confident, but can also be selfish, jealous and vain.
'Be like a monkey. When things happen, you have to be nimble. Take advantage of opportunities, don't be cast down, but rise to the challenge if it does occur,' Tan was quoted as saying.
Tan urged Singaporeans not to be daunted by the challenges of helping the city-state recover from its worst economic downturn. The SARS outbreak, the Iraq war and slumps in global manufacturing and air travel hit Singapore hard in 2003."
I was born in the year of the monkey.
News: "SAMAWA, Iraq (Reuters) - As a few dozen Japanese troops drove through Iraq Monday at the start of a controversial deployment, they were far outnumbered by scores of Japanese journalists scouring the deserts to find them.
>>>The dispatch of troops has caused deep controversy in anti-war Japan, where the pacifist constitution prevents soldiers from engaging in combat.
As a result, scores of Japanese media have flooded into the country to cover the twists and turns of the unfolding drama, which could take weeks as the force builds from the advance party of about 35 to an eventual deployment of around 1,000.
After crossing the border with Kuwait, the advance party was escorted by Dutch soldiers on its way to Samawa.
The Japanese force will stay with the Dutch at a camp on the outskirts of Samawa, a dusty market town on the banks of the Euphrates, until their own camp is set up nearby.
Residents of Samawa have been growing ever more excited in recent days at the prospect of the Japanese coming.
Banners have been hung across streets in the center of the town with greetings in both Arabic and Japanese. 'Along with our Japanese friends, we will help to rebuild this city,' reads one; 'Welcome to the Self-Defense Force,' proclaims another.
The excitement is built largely on the expectation of jobs, with many townspeople hoping that Japanese corporations like Sony and Toshiba will be only a few steps behind the soldiers.
'Everyone is thinking that they would like to work for a big Japanese company, like Hitachi,' said Ahmed Kassim, a young man running a street stall. 'The Japanese will give us lots of jobs.' "
Did the Bush Administration burn a useful source on Al Qaeda?
: "American intelligence and State Department officials have told me that by early 2002 Syria had emerged as one of the C.I.A’s most effective intelligence allies in the fight against Al Qaeda, providing an outpouring of information that came to an end only with the invasion of Iraq. (A number of the details of the raid and the intelligence relationship were reported by U.P.I. on July 16th.) Tenet had become one of Syria’s champions in the interagency debate over how to deal with its government. His antagonists include civilians in the Pentagon who viewed Syria, despite its intelligence help, as part of the problem. “Tenet has prevented all kinds of action against Syria,” one diplomat with knowledge of the interagency discussions told me.
Syria is one of seven nations listed by the State Department as sponsors of terrorism. It has been on the list since 1979, in large part because of its public support for Hezbollah, the radical Islamic party that controls much of southern Lebanon. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for, among other acts, the 1983 bombing of the American Marine barracks in Beirut, which left two hundred and forty-one Americans dead; it was implicated in the 1984 kidnapping of William Buckley, the C.I.A.’s Beirut station chief, who was tortured and murdered; and it has been linked to bombings of Israeli targets in Argentina. Syria has also allowed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, two groups that have staged numerous suicide bombings inside Israel, to maintain offices in Damascus.
Nevertheless, after September 11th the Syrian leader, Bashar Assad, initiated the delivery of Syrian intelligence to the United States. The Syrians had compiled hundreds of files on Al Qaeda, including dossiers on the men who participated—and others who wanted to participate—in the September 11th attacks. Syria also penetrated Al Qaeda cells throughout the Middle East and in Arab exile communities throughout Europe. That data began flowing to C.I.A. and F.B.I. operatives.
Syria had accumulated much of its information because of Al Qaeda’s ties to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic terrorists who have been at war with the secular Syrian government for more than two decades. Many of the September 11th hijackers had operated out of cells in Aachen and Hamburg, where Al Qaeda was working with the Brotherhood. In the late nineties, Mohammed Atta and other Al Qaeda members, including Mohammed Haydar Zammar, who is believed to have been one of the organization’s top recruiters, worked on occasion at a German firm called Tatex Trading. Tatex was infiltrated by Syrian intelligence in the eighties; one of its shareholders was Mohammed Majed Said, who ran the Syrian intelligence directorate from 1987 to 1994. Zammar is now in Syrian custody.
Within weeks of the September 11th attacks, the F.B.I. and the C.I.A, with Syria’s permission, began intelligence-gathering operations in Aleppo, near the Turkish border. Aleppo was the subject of Mohammed Atta’s dissertation on urban planning, and he travelled there twice in the mid-nineties. “At every stage in Atta’s journey is the Muslim Brotherhood,” a former C.I.A. officer who served undercover in Damascus told me. “He went through Spain in touch with the Brotherhood in Hamburg.”
Syria also provided the United States with intelligence about future Al Qaeda plans.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies Jerusalem, Washington
Securing the Northern Border
Syria challenges Israel on Lebanese soil. An effective approach, and one with which American can sympathize, would be if Israel seized the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon, including by:
* striking Syria’s drug-money and counterfeiting infrastructure in Lebanon, all of which focuses on Razi Qanan.
* paralleling Syria’s behavior by establishing the precedent that Syrian territory is not immune to attacks emanating from Lebanon by Israeli proxy forces.
* striking Syrian military targets in Lebanon, and should that prove insufficient, striking at select targets in Syria proper .
Israel also can take this opportunity to remind the world of the nature of the Syrian regime. Syria repeatedly breaks its word. It violated numerous agreements with the Turks, and has betrayed the United States by continuing to occupy Lebanon in violation of the Taef agreement in 1989. Instead, Syria staged a sham election, installed a quisling regime, and forced Lebanon to sign a “Brotherhood Agreement” in 1991, that terminated Lebanese sovereignty. And Syria has begun colonizing Lebanon with hundreds of thousands of Syrians, while killing tens of thousands of its own citizens at a time, as it did in only three days in 1983 in Hama.
Under Syrian tutelage, the Lebanese drug trade, for which local Syrian military officers receive protection payments, flourishes. Syria’s regime supports the terrorist groups operationally and financially in Lebanon and on its soil. Indeed, the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley in Lebanon has become for terror what the Silicon Valley has become for computers . The Bekaa Valley has become one of the main distribution sources, if not production points, of the “supernote” — counterfeit US currency so well done that it is impossible to detect.
Given the nature of the regime in Damascus, it is both natural and moral that Israel abandon the slogan “comprehensive peace” and move to contain Syria, drawing attention to its weapons of mass destruction program, and rejecting “land for peace” deals on the Golan Heights.
This is from a neocon planbook. It describes Syria and its destabalizing influence on the Middle East and urges allowing Israel to take an upper hand and bring the battle to the Syrians.
Reuters AlertNet - Time Europe defended itself -EU military official: "
The European Union's top military official suggested on Sunday that American and European forces should be responsible for their own territorial defence and only cooperate on major crises outside their regions.
>>>'The American and the European pillars (of NATO) would be responsible for their respective territorial defences, and would together engage in crisis management outside their own territories,' Hagglund told the conference in Salen, 450 km (280 miles) northwest of Stockholm.
'My prediction is that this will happen within the next decade,' he told a news conference later.
U.S. forces would handle high-intensity operations involving terrorism and weapons of mass destruction while Europeans would concentrate on sustained low-intensity crisis management such as conflict prevention, he said.
'That arrangement would divide tasks distinctly between Europe and the United States. The division would be well in line with existing ambitions and capabilities and the different threat scenarios embraced by both sides,' he added."
My Way - News _U.S. Eyes Space as Possible Battleground: "One unspoken motivation may have been China's milestone launch in October of its first piloted spaceflight in earth orbit and its announced plan to go to the moon.
'I think the new initiative is driven by a desire to beat the Chinese to the moon,' said John Pike, director of, a defense and space policy research group.
>>>The moon, scientists have said, is a source of potentially unlimited energy in the form of the helium 3 isotope -- a near perfect fuel source: potent, nonpolluting and causing virtually no radioactive byproduct in a fusion reactor.
'And if we could get a monopoly on that, we wouldn't have to worry about the Saudis and we could basically tell everybody what the price of energy was going to be,' said Pike.
Gerald Kulcinski of the Fusion Technology Institute at the University of Wisconsin at Madison estimated the moon's helium 3 would have a cash value of perhaps $4 billion a ton in terms of its energy equivalent in oil.
Scientists reckon there are about 1 million tons of helium 3 on the moon, enough to power the earth for thousands of years. The equivalent of a single space shuttle load or roughly 30 tons could meet all U.S. electric power needs for a year, Kulcinski said by e-mail.
Bush's schedule for a U.S. return to the moon matches what experts say may be a dramatic militarization of space over the next two decades, even if the current ban on weapons holds.
Among other things, the Pentagon expects to spend at least $50 billion over the next five years to develop and field a multi-layered shield against incoming missiles that could deliver nuclear, biological or chemical weapons." - Top Stories - Pakistan Arrests 7 Al-Qaeda Suspects: "KARACHI, Pakistan KARACHI, Pakistan — Pakistani agents arrested seven Al Qaeda suspects and confiscated weapons during an early Sunday raid in the southern city of Karachi, an intelligence officer said.
As many as 60 armed officers carried out the raid at the Qasim Apartments complex in the Gulistan-e-Jauhar area of the city, surrounding the building before moving in, witnesses said.
Officers arrested five men and two women in the 3 a.m. raid, the intelligence officer said on condition of anonymity. Two of the men were Egyptians, three were Afghans and the two women were Arabs, he said without giving details about their alleged ranks in the terror network.
Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said, "Our information is that these are Al Qaeda people. One is a recognized man." "
WorldNetDaily: Gadhafi proposes role as Mideast peacemaker: "While Israeli officials refuse to speak on the record about the possibility of talks with Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, off the record, well-paced officials confirm the high-level Triploi-Jerusalem negotiations to Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.
Amira Oren, director of the Arab desk at the Israeli minister of foreign affairs, has refused to deny or confirm Israel is negotiating with Libya.
The no comment response followed a breaking story by an Arab-language, Nazareth-based newspaper, Kul El-Arab, reporting a high-ranking Libyan delegation has visited Israel and met with Israeli officials.
The purpose of the visit was to examine ways for a possible Libyan-Israeli peace accord and normalization of bilateral relationships.
The newspaper also claimed an Israeli delegation is on its way to Tripoli.
Well-informed sources in Jerusalem told G2 Bulletin that although the Libyan government has denied these moves, Libya's Moammar Ghadafi has proposed to become a mediator between Israel and the Arab world."
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Libya's black market deals shock nuclear inspectors: "Colonel Muammar Gadafy of Libya has been buying complete sets of uranium enrichment centrifuges on the international black market as the central element in his secret nuclear bomb programme, according to United Nations nuclear inspectors.
The ease with which the complex bomb-making equipment was acquired has stunned experienced international inspectors. The scale and the sophistication of the networks supplying so-called rogue states seeking nuclear weapons are considerably more extensive than previously believed.
The purchase of full centrifuges, either assembled or in parts, marks a radical departure in what is on offer on the black market, sources said. While it is not yet clear where Col Gadafy obtained the centrifuge systems, at least 1,000 machines, believed to have been made in Malaysia, were seized last October by the Italian authorities on a German ship bound for Libya."
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Al-Qaeda launches online terrorist manual: "Al-Qaeda has issued a chilling new call to arms to recruits who remain undetected by security agencies. In a terrorist manual published on the internet, Osama bin Laden says: 'After Iraq and Afghanistan will come the Crusader invasion of Saudi Arabia. All fighters all over the world must be ready.'
The manual has been masterminded by Saif al-Adel, the organisation's third most senior man and the only terrorist other than bin Laden and his partner Ayman al-Zawahiri to have a $25 million reward on his head.
It is directed at new volunteers who are 'below the radar' of counter-terrorist authorities and who cannot break cover to undergo formal training in terrorist techniques. Like bin Laden, Zawahiri is quoted in the publication, called 'The Base of the Vanguard'. Other writers encourage the use of weapons of mass destruction."
NASA Cancels Trip to Supply Hubble, Sealing Early Doom: "Periodic service calls by shuttle astronauts repaired a series of early problems and have continually refurbished the telescope and kept it at the fore of cosmic research. The mission next year would have left the telescope in good shape to continue working through the end of the decade, when NASA plans to bring it down. But the service missions are expensive, more than $500 million each.
More important, NASA officials say, after the Columbia catastrophe a year ago, the missions are also considered dangerous. The shuttles do not carry enough fuel to reach the space station in case of trouble.
In its report on the shuttle disaster last summer, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board recommended that there be a way to inspect and repair the shuttle's heat shields, which were damaged after the Columbia lifted off. That is easily conducted if the craft is at the space station, but not at the Hubble.
In his remarks to the astronomers on Friday, according to those present, Mr. O'Keefe referred to that recommendation and said it would be too difficult to develop that ability for a single trip to the telescope.
Given enough time, NASA might have developed the tools to do it, Dr. Grunsfeld said, but the decision to retire the shuttles in 2010 foreclosed that possibility."
Workers Assail Night Lock-Ins by Wal-MartThe reason for Mr. Rodriguez's delayed trip to the hospital was a little-known Wal-Mart policy: the lock-in. For more than 15 years, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, has locked in overnight employees at some of its Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores. It is a policy that many employees say has created disconcerting situations, such as when a worker in Indiana suffered a heart attack, when hurricanes hit in Florida and when workers' wives have gone into labor.
"You could be bleeding to death, and they'll have you locked in," Mr. Rodriguez said. "Being locked in in an emergency like that, that's not right."
Mona Williams, Wal-Mart's vice president for communications, said the company used lock-ins to protect stores and employees in high-crime areas. She said Wal-Mart locked in workers — the company calls them associates — at 10 percent of its stores, a percentage that has declined as Wal-Mart has opened more 24-hour stores.
Make That Steak a Bit Smaller, Atkins Advises Today: "fter advising dieters for years to satisfy their hunger with liberal amounts of steak, eggs and other saturated fats, the promoters of the Atkins diet now say that people on their plan should limit the amount of red meat and saturated fat they eat.
Responding to years of criticism from scientists that the Atkins version of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat regimen might lead to heart disease and other health problems, the director of research and education for Atkins Nutritionals, Colette Heimowitz, is telling health professionals in seminars around the country that only 20 percent of a dieter's calories should come from saturated fat. Atkins Nutritionals was set up by Dr. Robert C. Atkins to sell Atkins products and promote the diet.
An Atkins spokesman said Ms. Heimowitz has been giving these seminars for five years, but that they do not represent a departure from the original premise of the diet."

Saturday, January 17, 2004

WorldNetDaily: CIA: Saudi Arabia will go nuclear: "The CIA report envisioned Saudi Arabia as reducing its dependency on the United States and using nuclear weapons to bolster the kingdom's security.
In contrast, the intelligence community sees Libya and Syria as seeking a rapprochement with Washington.
'Ironically, some of the most significant proliferation might involve moderate states such as the current Saudi regime rather than 'rogues' such as Libya or Syria,' the report said. 'The former will seek ways to ensure their security without overly heavy reliance on the United States. The latter will seek to escape the opprobrium of being 'rogues' and to be fully rehabilitated as members of the international community.'"

Friday, January 16, 2004

U.S. News: Unsettled times in the Middle East(1/19/04): "The Jewish settlement movement, whose spread has anchored Israel's occupation of the Palestinian-populated territories, shows no signs of blinking on the eve of probably the most fateful confrontation of its 36-year history. Long assailed by the Israeli peace movement, the settlers, who believe Israel has a God-given right to the West Bank and Gaza lands, are now facing a threat from an unexpected source: Sharon, who has been perhaps their most powerful backer in government. But after failing to end the intifada uprising militarily or diplomatically, Sharon has decided to seek security for Israelis by clearing out settlers and soldiers from the heart of the Palestinian areas, leaving nearly all 3.5 million Palestinians enclosed inside fortified barriers and thereby separating the two warring sides. His plan would dismantle many tiny outposts like Ginot Aryeh and even some permanent, suburban-style settlements. 'This is my program and I will carry it out!' Sharon declared at a stormy Likud convention last week."
DoD News: Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing, Commander's Emergency Response ProgramAll major cities now have city councils.
For the first time in 30 years, an independent judiciary is functioning, and nearly all of Iraq's 400 courts are open.
Baghdad now has 88 neighborhood advisory councils.
The citizens of Iraq stay informed about developments in the country through more than 200 independent newspapers.
35 percent of households now receive news via satellite TV dishes, which were illegal under Saddam's regime.
Health care spending has increased to 26 times what Saddam spent.
With the help of $6.4 million in CERP funds, all 240 hospitals, and 95 percent of Iraq's 1,200 clinics have reopened, and the neglected health care facilities are undergoing rehabilitation and reconstruction. - Top Stories - U.S. to Iraqi Loyalists: Lay Down Arms or Else: "The U.S.-plan for transferring power to a sovereign Iraqi government through an appointed legislature was in trouble because of vehement opposition from Iraq's foremost Shiite cleric and his followers.
An aide to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani told Abu Dhabi television on Thursday that al-Sistani might issue a religious edict, or fatwa, declaring the U.S. plan illegitimate if his demand for direct elections are ignored.
The warning came as an estimated 30,000 Shiite Muslims rallied in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, in support of al-Sistani.
The turnout in Basra, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad, was the biggest protest yet against the power transfer plan, which calls for a provisional legislature to be selected by 18 regional caucuses. The legislature would then choose a new, sovereign administration to take office by July 1.
Faced with al-Sistani's objections, U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer left Baghdad for Washington on Thursday for consultations with President Bush and his senior national security advisers.
'If Bremer rejects the opinion of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, then he will issue a fatwa to deprive the elected council of its legitimacy,' Mohammed Baqir al-Mehri, al-Sistani's representative in Kuwait, told Abu Dhabi television." - Politics - Military Misses Armor Deadline for Troops in Iraq: WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense failed to meet its self-imposed Dec. 31 deadline for equipping all U.S. soldiers and contractors in Iraq with lifesaving body armor.
More than 8,000 of the 160,000 troops the military is trying to equip still lacked the equipment at the end of last week, an Army spokesman told - Politics - U.S. Tries to Salvage Plan for Self-Rule in Iraq: "In Basra, meanwhile, a crowd estimated by British soldiers at up to 30,000 people turned out in the streets of Iraq's second-largest city. Protesters chanted, 'No, no to America, yes, yes to al-Sistani.'
The United States wants regional caucuses -- whose members would be at least partially appointed -- to choose a new Iraqi parliament, which would then select an Iraqi administration. The Bush administration says security is too poor and voter records too incomplete for direct elections right now.
The clerics want direct elections, fearing the caucuses may be rigged to keep Shiites out of power. Al-Sistani and other clerics wield great influence among Iraq's Shiites, believed to make up about 60 percent of the country's 25 million people."

Thursday, January 15, 2004

The race into space - The Washington Times: Editorials/OP-ED: "
Are the Chinese serious about human space flight? Most definitely. And they are interested in doing more than simply going to low Earth orbit. They are headed for the moon.
>>>At my Washington office a few weeks ago, I met with a visiting Japanese parliamentarian who specializes in science and technology issues. I related to him my belief that the Chinese would be on the moon within a decade with a declaration of permanent occupation. He disagreed. He smiled and said my conclusion was accurate but my timing was off. In his view, the Chinese would be on the moon within three to four years.
Regardless of who is right about the time frame, and I still believe that even a decade is ambitious, the fact remains that the Chinese are devoting resources and gearing up to do something that we are no longer technologically capable of achieving in the immediate future. We went to the moon, planted our flag, gathered samples, took credit for an amazing achievement in human history and then abandoned the effort. The space technology available to us today could not be used to replicate what we did 35 years ago.
For many Americans, our inability to compete in a new moon race will not be important. Been there, done that. But for our strategic thinkers and planners, there are some serious questions that arise from a Chinese moon capability. "

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Intelligence: Hussein Warned Iraqis to Beware Outside Fighters, Document Says
" Saddam Hussein warned his Iraqi supporters to be wary of joining forces with foreign Arab fighters entering Iraq to battle American troops, according to a document found with the former Iraqi leader when he was captured, Bush administration officials said Tuesday.
The document appears to be a directive, written after he lost power, from Mr. Hussein to leaders of the Iraqi resistance, counseling caution against getting too close to Islamic jihadists and other foreign Arabs coming into occupied Iraq, according to American officials.
It provides a second piece of evidence challenging the Bush administration contention of close cooperation between Mr. Hussein's government and terrorists from Al Qaeda. C.I.A. interrogators have already elicited from the top Qaeda officials in custody that, before the American-led invasion, Osama bin Laden had rejected entreaties from some of his lieutenants to work jointly with Mr. Hussein.Military and intelligence officials now believe that the number of foreign fighters who have entered Iraq is relatively small. American military units posted along the border to screen against such an influx have reported that they have seen few signs of foreign fighters trying to cross the border.
In December, American military officials in Iraq estimated that foreign fighters accounted for no more than 10 percent of the insurgency, and some officials now believe that even that figure may be too high. Only 200 to 300 people holding non-Iraqi passports are being detained in Iraq by American forces, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, a military spokesman, told reporters in Baghdad in December.
"They're a threat, but the vast majority of the personnel that we have in detention for activities against the coalition, for activities against Iraqi citizens, remain personnel from this country," General Kimmitt said then."

Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - IRNA: Iran's cabinet may dissolve - Jan. 13, 2004: "TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Amid a protest over the disqualification of moderate candidates from upcoming elections, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's cabinet is prepared to dissolve if it cannot guarantee a fair election process, state-run media report.
'President Khatami's cabinet has been feeling shocked during the past 48 hours, and the country's governor generals have announced they cannot continue with performing their duties under the current conditions,' Iranian Vice President Mohammad Sattarifar said in the IRNA report.
'Our political system is based on religious democracy, and so if the government becomes impotent in securing the legitimate freedoms of the nation, it loses its legitimacy, and then whether it dissolves itself or not, it is automatically dissolved,' said Sattarifar, Iran's vice president for management and planning.
Over the weekend, the hard-line Guardian Council banned hundreds of moderate candidates from running in the February 20 elections, including about 80 sitting members of parliament -- all allied with Khatami, a moderate reformist."
New moderation may be rising in troubled Mideast: "The success of the U.S. attempt to remake Iraq is not guaranteed. And the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is moribund.
But in recent weeks, Libya has said it will abandon plans to pursue weapons of mass destruction. Iran has promised to allow international inspections of its nuclear facilities. Syria has announced that it is again willing to talk peace with Israel.
Egypt and Iran are ending an era of mistrust. So are Turkey and Syria. Saudi Arabia is allowing unprecedented internal debate.
''It's the end of radicalism,'' says Abdel Monem Said, director of the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in ter for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo. Said said that ''radical movements, whether pan-Islamic or pan-Arab, have come to the conclusion that continuation of confrontation with the status quo or the West in general is either futile or very costly.''" - 100th U.S. military death reported in Afghanistan - Jan. 13, 2004: "In a major change of strategy, U.S. security teams are deploying for the first time to provincial capitals across the south and east, hoping to open the way for some of the promised $2 billion in U.S. aid.
The joint military-civilian effort is the latest bid by American officials to shore up Afghanistan in time for landmark elections planned for June.
The United Nations has welcomed the move, but warns that the elections cannot go ahead unless security improves.
The new drive will put American troops on the streets of some of the most hostile towns in the country for the first time, and U.S. commanders have forecast a sharp reaction from the enemy."

Monday, January 12, 2004

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Al-Qaida terror plot foiled, say French police: "
The French police are convinced that their country has escaped a planned chemical or biological attack by an Islamist cell linked to al-Qaida.
An interior ministry official said evidence from Islamist militants arrested in the Lyon area last week made it 'very plain' that an attack with the deadly botulism or ricin toxins was being actively prepared.
The eight suspects arrested on Tuesday were mainly relatives of Menad Benchellali, the son of a radical imam in the Lyon suburb of Venisseux, who has been in jail since December 2002, when he was arrested during a police investigation of French Islamists' efforts to send young Muslim volunteers to fight the Russian forces in Chechnya.
The ministry official, who asked not to be named, confirmed a report in Le Monde that the suspects admitted to the police that Mr Benchellali was a chemicals expert who had been trained in poison-making in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan and was actively trying to produce a botulism toxin and ricin.
He had tested his chemicals on animals, they said.
Mr Benchellali's arrest was said at the time to have thwarted suicide bomb attacks on Russian targets in Paris, including the embassy.
But Tuesday's arrests have proved a 'goldmine' of further 'unexpected but unsettling' evidence, the official said.
'After last year's arrests we thought we were dealing with a group planning bomb attacks on Russian interests, and possibly supplying false papers, money and lodgings to Chechens,' an investigator said.
'It now seems a cell around the Benchellali family was trying to manufacture chemical and biological weapons for attacks around Europe.'"
BBC NEWS | Middle East | How strong is Iran's opposition?: "'Regime change'
Some of the right-wing Republicans in Washington, known as the neo-conservatives, think the recent student unrest is a sign that the regime is close to collapse.
John Calabrese of the Middle East Institute, a Washington research centre, takes a different view.
'I think the street demonstrations and protests that have been occurring over the last month or two provide yet additional evidence that there is a deep resentment, a deep alienation - a gulf really - between the regime and the population,' he says.
'Having said that, it's also clear from the protests and demonstrations that the regime is resilient, resourceful, and prepared to use repression in order to make sure that the protests are kept more or less under control.'
Mr Calabrese believes the weakness of the student demonstrators is their lack of leadership and organisation. He believes the prospects for 'regime change' from within are low.
So the two main camps in Washington, the neo-cons and their critics, sometimes known as the realists, disagree over whether 'regime change' should be the goal of US foreign policy."
BBC NEWS | Middle East | New power struggle erupts in Iran: "New power struggle erupts in Iran
Mr Khatami says he is trying to avert a crisis
About 60 Iranian MPs are staging a sit-in in parliament to protest over hundreds of reformist candidates being barred from next month's elections.
The MPs vowed to continue until the decisions, made by the conservative Guardian Council, were reversed.
President Mohammad Khatami said he did not think the Council's methods were democratic and said he would hold talks with its members to resolve the issue.
Up to half of the candidates registered have reportedly been disqualified.
They include Mr Khatami's brother, who is head of the country's largest reform party, the IIPF.
The 12-member Guardian Council, made up of six clerics and six Islamic lawyers, is empowered to ensure parliament's actions comply with Islamic principles.
But the decision has provoked outrage among reformers. MPs threatened to go further in their protest."
New York Post Online Edition: news: "January 12, 2004 -- It's the all-new Baghdad Bob - he's cleaned up his act, dyed his hair and he's back on the air.
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, the Iraqi minister of disinformation who became famous for his absurd daily reports that Iraq was winning the war, has popped up on Arab television as a commentator - as these new exclusive photos show.
The fallen regime spin-doctor was hired by Abu Dhabi TV specifically to rant about his former boss and favorite subject: Saddam Hussein.
'Finding [Saddam] wasn't surprising. However, the way he was arrested was insulting,' al-Sahhaf said in a TV interview the day after the former Iraqi dictator was captured.
'We never expected that he would be arrested alive. We all were expecting that Saddam would kill himself rather than be [caught]."
Baghdad Bob is awesome!
The Atlantic | January/February 2004 | Spies, Lies, and Weapons: What Went Wrong | Pollack
"Spies, Lies, and Weapons: What Went Wrong
How could we have been so far off in our estimates of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs? A leading Iraq expert and intelligence analyst in the Clinton Administration—whose book The Threatening Storm proved deeply influential in the run-up to the war—gives a detailed account of how and why we erred
Let's start with one truth: last March, when the United States and its coalition partners invaded Iraq, the American public and much of the rest of the world believed that after Saddam Hussein's regime sank, a vast flotsam of weapons of mass destruction would bob to the surface. That, of course, has not been the case. In the words of David Kay, the principal adviser to the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), an organization created late last spring to search for prohibited weaponry, "I think all of us who entered Iraq expected the job of actually discovering deployed weapons to be easier than it has turned out to be." Many people are now asking very reasonable questions about why they were misled.
Democrats have typically accused the Bush Administration of exaggerating the threat posed by Iraq in order to justify an unnecessary war. Republicans have typically claimed that the fault lay with the CIA and the rest of the U.S. intelligence community, which they say overestimated the threat from Iraq—a claim that carries the unlikely implication that Bush's team might not have opted for war if it had understood that Saddam was not as dangerous as he seemed.
Both sides appear to be at least partly right. The intelligence community did overestimate the scope and progress of Iraq's WMD programs, although not to the extent that many people believe. The Administration stretched those estimates to make a case not only for going to war but for doing so at once, rather than taking the time to build regional and international support for military action. "
Wow! This is a great article!
Study Published by Army Criticizes War on Terror's Scope ( "A scathing new report published by the Army War College broadly criticizes the Bush administration's handling of the war on terrorism, accusing it of taking a detour into an 'unnecessary' war in Iraq and pursuing an 'unrealistic' quest against terrorism that may lead to U.S. wars with states that pose no serious threat.
The report, by Jeffrey Record, a visiting professor at the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, warns that as a result of those mistakes, the Army is 'near the breaking point.'
It recommends, among other things, scaling back the scope of the 'global war on terrorism' and instead focusing on the narrower threat posed by the al Qaeda terrorist network.
Record's core criticism is that the administration is biting off more than it can chew. He likens the scale of U.S. ambitions in the war on terrorism to Adolf Hitler's overreach in World War II. "A cardinal rule of strategy is to keep your enemies to a manageable number," he writes. "The Germans were defeated in two world wars . . . because their strategic ends outran their available means."
He also scoffs at the administration's policy, laid out by Bush in a November speech, of seeking to transform and democratize the Middle East. "The potential policy payoff of a democratic and prosperous Middle East, if there is one, almost certainly lies in the very distant future," he writes. "The basis on which this democratic domino theory rests has never been explicated."
" - Attacks down 22% since Saddam's capture: "BAGHDAD Attacks against coalition forces in Iraq have dropped 22% in the four weeks since Saddam Hussein's capture, military records show. U.S. military officers say the decline in attacks, after months of growing intensity, is the first proof that Saddam's capture and recent U.S. offensives have dampened, but not eliminated, resistance to the occupation. "

Sunday, January 11, 2004

US puts Baathists 'on parole' | "TALAFAR, IRAQ – It's one of the US military's most innovative efforts to deal with Iraq's postwar insurgency.
Last Monday, after weeks of talks, the 12 senior Baathists in the Talafar region, about 210 miles northwest of Baghdad, met with US officers. They denounced the Baath Party in a ceremony broadcast on radio and arranged to hand over of more than 522 AK-47s, dozens of rocket-propelled grenades, and nearly 100 mortar rounds and the tools to fire them.
About 200 more Baath Party members from the next level down in the hierarchy are scheduled to follow their lead Monday.
The dramatic gestures are the fruit of a "parole program" - a broad effort to aggressively go after Baathists who have access to weapons handed out by the regime just before its fall. The rules are simple: Beyond turning in weapons, local Baath leaders agree to report periodically to US forces, inform them if they're moving out of the area, and provide assistance in tracking down insurgents. " - Top Stories - British Soldiers, Iraqi Police Fire on Protesters, Killing Six: "Also Saturday, Danish and Icelandic troops found a cache of 36 shells in southern Iraq, and preliminary tests showed they contained a liquid chemical weapon, the Danish military said.
But U.S. Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said the leaking shells, found near Al Quarnah, north of the city of Basra, are believed to date from the Iran-Iraq war, which ended in 1988.
A statement from the Danish army said British experts did a preliminary test and said the shells contained 'blister gas,' but did not elaborate.
The statement did not specify the type of gas, but before the war, the United States alleged Iraq still had stockpiles of mustard gas, a World War I-era blister agent that is stored in liquid form.
Allegations that Saddam maintained chemical and other weapons of mass destruction in violation of U.N. orders was cited by the United States as the main reason for launching the Iraq war. No such weapons have yet been found."

Saturday, January 10, 2004 - Top Stories - Bomb Attack on Shiite Mosque in Iraq: "Attacks on Shiite and Sunni Muslim (search) mosques have increased in recent weeks, raising tensions between the two communities as they compete for influence in post-Saddam Iraq. An upsurge in sectarian violence could undermine U.S. efforts to put together a democratic government in Iraq, where the Shiite majority was oppressed for decades under Saddam's mainly Sunni regime.

The blast Friday went off near the Sadiq Mohammed mosque in Baqouba, a religiously mixed city 35 miles northeast of Baghdad in an area dominated by Sunnis."

Friday, January 09, 2004 - British official: Saddam not talking, but documents are - Jan. 9, 2004: ""He has not talked himself, but what came out of the papers found with him led to further operations, which led to further information, which led to further operations," said the official, who is closely involved in British activity in Iraq. "It has by no means ended the problem ... but it has not been a bad few weeks for the American forces."
>>>The British official said Saddam loyalists were operating in small cells and have found it difficult to organize a coordinated structure to carry out attacks against coalition troops.
He said trained foreign fighters were still trickling into Iraq. He said he feared they would try to destabilize southern Iraq, which has not seen the same level of violence as U.S.-controlled Baghdad and areas surrounding the capital.
As the economy improves, however, Iraqis are becoming more cooperative with the coalition and were informing on outsiders, he said."

Thursday, January 08, 2004

The Daily Telegraph | Iraqis 'learn ambush methods': "IRAQI guerillas blasting US military convoys with improvised bombs hidden at roadsides might have learned tactics by talking to Chechen rebels and Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan, a US Army intelligence officer told The Associated Press.
Iraqi rebels have been communicating with such outsiders through e-mail, telephone and personal visits, said Major Thomas Sirois, chief intelligence officer of the US Army's 3rd Corps Support Command, which occupies this sprawling base north of Baghdad."
Iraq's Arsenal Was Only on Paper ( "A review of available evidence, including some not known to coalition investigators and some they have not made public, portrays a nonconventional arms establishment that was far less capable than U.S. analysts judged before the war. Leading figures in Iraqi science and industry, supported by observations on the ground, described factories and institutes that were thoroughly beaten down by 12 years of conflict, arms embargo and strangling economic sanctions. The remnants of Iraq's biological, chemical and missile infrastructures were riven by internal strife, bled by schemes for personal gain and handicapped by deceit up and down lines of command. The broad picture emerging from the investigation to date suggests that, whatever its desire, Iraq did not possess the wherewithal to build a forbidden armory on anything like the scale it had before the 1991 Persian Gulf War."

Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - Top Stories - Iraqi Police Fire on Protesting Ex-Soldiers: "Some Iraqi troops have received threats from suspected insurgents who have carried out deadly attacks on Iraqis working with the U.S.-led coalition.
Still the soldiers were upbeat.
'We were very confused about this at first,' said Capt. Nasr Abdel Jalil, a graduate who had stayed with Saddam's army until the fall of Baghdad on April 9. When recruitment for the new army began in July, he said, 'We volunteered because we had to work, and not with much enthusiasm. It was the only job I knew.'
He was won over by the two months of training to prepare the Second or Honor Battalion for low-intensity conflict that will include patrols, reconnaissance, security for convoys and cordon and search operations conducted alongside coalition troops, which are expected to remain in Iraq for some years.
'When we got to training, we were shocked!' he said. 'This is the military the way we love it.'
Abdel Jalil, a newlywed in his 20s, is from the Shiite majority among Iraq's 24 million people that long was oppressed by Saddam's Sunni minority, which also dominated the ranks of the army.
New to the military was another Shiite, Capt. Hassan Abdel Amir Aziz, who said seven of his relatives had been killed under Saddam.
'My family didn't want me to be a member in this army, this is a risky job. ... But I told them it is our duty. We should be here now. If we need the freedom, we will make it. Nobody will give us that freedom,' Aziz said in English." - Top Stories - More Than 500 Iraqi Prisoners to Be Released: "BAGHDAD, Iraq More than 500 Iraqi prisoners will be released from detention camps in a gesture of goodwill, Fox News has confirmed.
Bremer's statement describes the release as a pardon for some Iraqis who worked against the U.S. occupation. "They made a mistake and they know it. We are prepared to offer some of them a new chance," the statement says.
Before they are freed, the prisoners must sign a statement renouncing violence and have a community or tribal leader accept responsibility for their conduct.
The coalition officials said they wanted to send a message to families and community leaders that "the reconciliation process is beginning." "

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Al-Qaeda's New Strategy: "October 3, 2003 -- STILL smarting from the blows it has received in the past two years, the Islamist terror movement is debating a new strategy. Conducted in Islamist circles in Pakistan, the Middle East and Europe, and echoed in numerous Web sites and newssheets, the debate centers on a key question: Which should be our priority target - the United States and its Western allies, or the fragile Muslim states where we could come to power in a reasonable time frame? Some argue that the 9/11 attack against the United States was 'premature.' They insist that the Islamist movement should have first seized power in several Muslim countries and dotted itself with nuclear weapons before taking on America, which is regarded as 'the last champion of unbelief in the world.'"
The Australian: Monkeys make a meal of human babies [January 01, 2004]: "Chimpanzees struggling to survive amid the destruction of their forest habitat are snatching and killing human babies.
At least eight children have died in the past seven years in Uganda and Tanzania after being taken by chimpanzees and a further eight have been injured. The children were found with limbs and other body parts chewed off.
Primate experts blame deforestation and human encroachment on the chimpanzees' habitat for the aggressive behaviour, but are divided on whether the animals are defending their territory or seeking a replacement food source.
Chimpanzees were believed to be largely vegetarian until British ape expert Jane Goodall discovered in the 1960s that they are predatory animals who often hunt smaller primates in packs.
Further studies have identified striking similarities between chimp and human aggressive behaviour, including rape, wife-beating, murder and infanticide. Attacks on human young, however, are a recent development."