WHAT is food? chewing gum and mineral water qualify, EU experts say - but not hallucinogenic mushrooms, live animals or an apple growing on a tree.I don't ever want to hear a leftist talking shit about Reagan and ketchup.
Animal feed also fails the European Union's "edibility" test as does any tasty plant ripening in the ground before it has been harvested. Cosmetics and psychotropic substances are also out, it says.
The EU takes more than 70 words to say what it understands by food in comments sent to the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a joint body of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation, that sets food standards.
Chewing gum is one of the more bizarre products mentioned.
"(It) should be considered as food even if only a part ... is actually ingested by the consumer," the text reads.
However, the EU recognises that in some cases, the characteristics of a given chewing gum impose that it be regulated as medicine.
With members from more than 160 countries, Codex sets non-binding recommendations that are often used in international trade disputes, including World Trade Organisation negotiations.
This is the EU's second attempt this month to try to work out food definitions.
A week ago, the EU's executive invited European consumers to write in their thousands to an internet site to say what they thought the flavour, colour and tenderness of veal should be.
Recent advances in an international investigation into the nuclear smuggling network centred on Abdul-Qadeer Khan have boosted hopes of uncovering the truth about Iran's nuclear programme.New nuclear clues could lift lid on Iran's programme
In a critical advance for the investigation, the Malaysian government has allowed experts from the UN's international Atomic Energy Agency access to Bukhary Sayed Abu Tahir, the Sri Lankan described by President George W. Bush as the network's chief financial officer. The experts held an initial long interview with Mr Tahir in February. Western diplomats say further sessions are expected.
The interviews with Mr Tahir, in detention in Malaysia, should provide material to corroborate or challenge accounts about its nuclear procurement given to the IAEA by the Iranian government.
Some analysts say concerns about what Mr Tahir may say could prompt further pre-emptive disclosures by the Iranian and Pakistani governments.
They say such a calculation might have prompted the release in January before the Tahir interview by Iran to the IAEA of a one-page handwritten document reflecting an offer made to Iran by the Khan network in 1987.
Nuclear analysts said the document might have encouraged Pakistan's first public admission this week that the network supplied Iran with centrifuges, ruling out that it supplied other, even more incriminating, technologies.
The document emerged out of a 1987 meeting in Dubai, attended by three Iranian officials, Mr Tahir and his uncle, a man named Mohamed Farouq, western diplomats said. As many as three Europeans may have attended, including possibly a German engineer, now dead, called Heinz Mebus.
BAGHDAD--Standing in the thick mud before a giant Paladin howitzer, Capt. John Benoit, an artilleryman from the Louisiana National Guard, looked Gen. John Abizaid squarely in the eye and asked bluntly: How's the war going? Many soldiers, even those who give no quarter when fighting insurgents, tend to clam up in the presence of four-star brass. So when Abizaid, commander of all U.S. troops in Iraq , finds a group like the Louisiana grunts willing to ask tough questions, he sticks around. And he doesn't just answer their questions but tries to share his view of the war in Iraq and what he sees as the larger struggle against Islamic extremism.Yahoo! News - A long, Hard fight
The insurgency, Abizaid acknowledged, has grown worse over the past year. There's no defensiveness on that point, though, as he segues into a discussion of why the insurgents--particularly the radical Islamists--must be confronted. "What we can't allow to happen is guys like Abu Musab Zarqawi to get started," Abizaid told Benoit and the soldiers of the 1-141 Field Artillery. "It's the same way that we turned our back when Hitler was getting going and Lenin was getting going. You just cannot turn your back on these types of people. You have to stand up and fight."
Abizaid's military command covers an area that stretches from Somalia through the Arabian peninsula, and into Iraq and on to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Throughout that mostly Islamic region, Abizaid argues, a critical struggle is going on between the forces of moderation, who are pushing for democratic reforms, and of extremism, who are pushing for the imposition of a rigid interpretation of Islamic law.
The White House uses the term "global war on terror." With the military's well-known fondness for acronyms, this has, inevitably, been reduced to GWOT, but Abizaid tends to cast the conflict slightly differently, as the "war on extremism" or the "long war." America has a chance to confront and stop an Islamic extremist movement akin to fascism or communism in its early stages, the general believes, before it metastasizes and dominates a significant chunk of the world. Before the United States attacked al Qaeda and its Taliban protectors, Afghanistan clearly fit that model; Iraq, on the other hand, did not become a magnet for Islamic jihadists until after the U.S. invasion. CIA Director Porter Goss, in congressional testimony last week, said that Islamic extremists now are "exploiting the Iraqi conflict to recruit new anti-U.S. jihadists. These jihadists who survive will leave Iraq," he predicted, "experienced in and focused on acts of urban terrorism."
Abizaid, who is of Lebanese descent, has deep experience in the Middle East. He was Gen. Tommy Franks's deputy during the initial invasion of Iraq. In the late 1970s, he served as a United Nations observer in Jordan, where he learned conversational Arabic. Though he frequently speaks to people in the region in Arabic, he rarely uses the language publicly. It was during his posting in Jordan, he says, that the foundation of his views on the Middle East was established, after watching the fall of the shah of Iran. "Being out here during the Iranian revolution," he says, "gave me a clearer idea of the emotional sorts of movements that can sweep the region very quickly and very powerfully."
Missed signals. Within Central Command headquarters, Abizaid has established an advisory group of six officers and two civilians with Middle Eastern expertise. The task of this mini think tank is to turn up ideas about the region from academia and find new ways of thinking about, and fighting, Islamic extremism. These advisers contend, for instance, that the United States missed the significance when Saddam Hussein , never a devout Muslim, embraced religion and, mindful of the growing American efforts against him, gave Sunni imams wide latitude to preach a fiery new brand of Islam. "We didn't appreciate how people got radicalized," says a member of the advisory group. "We didn't appreciate it, and it hurt us after the invasion."
In policy circles, there continues to be debate about the nature of the Iraqi insurgency--the role of disaffected Sunnis, of Iraqi nationalists, and of foreign jihadists. The most important enemy, Abizaid argues, is Iraqis who have come to follow the brand of extremist Islamic fascism preached by Zarqawi or al Qaeda. Those are the insurgents, Abizaid argues, on whom the military must focus. "There are all kinds of complexities," the general says. "But . . . the point is, there is a main enemy in the theater, and it is al Qaeda-inspired, [with an] ideological desire to dominate the region."
The stakes are particularly high in Iraq's volatile Al Anbar province, the heartland of the Sunni insurgency. "Al Anbar province is the place where we can demonstrate that the insurgency can be defeated," Abizaid says, "that it can be defeated everywhere."
Over the long term, Abizaid contends, extremists will be beaten back through the spread of democratic reform in the region. The Iraqi elections may represent a strategic turning point, he says, and the Americans must work to sustain this democratic evolution. "If we can succeed here," Abizaid told the Louisiana guardsmen, "the whole region will be better off."
Abizaid sees the Iraqi elections as a step toward democratic reforms elsewhere in the region. But on this point, the commander of the U.S. Central Command must be something of a diplomat, since the United States has close relations with authoritarian regimes like Saudi Arabia and Egypt. So Abizaid tries to strike a balance--and the diplomatic niceties can leave his argument a little less clear. But, delicately, he makes his point: "I think what we have to be wary of is trying to impose an American solution on a part of the world that may not necessarily be ready for an American solution," he says. But, he adds, even countries like Saudi Arabia are beginning to change: "While a lot of people say you will never get reform in Saudi Arabia, they fully recognize they need to have reform. But it needs to be reform on their terms within their cultural . . . limits."
A day after he met with the Louisiana guardsmen, Abizaid flew to Al Anbar province to bid goodbye to Maj. Gen. John Sattler before his force is replaced with a new rotation of marines. Generals across Iraq have been talking about the need to have Iraqi forces take on an increased role in fighting insurgents. On the wall of the marines' conference room hangs a sign quoting Lawrence of Arabia. "Better the Arabs do it tolerably than you do it perfectly," it reads in part. "It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them . . . . " Abizaid drove home the same point. "The hardest thing your successors need to do is take their hand off the wheel. What we have to do is set the Iraqis in front to fight the insurgency," he told the marines. "The insurgency will go on long past the time we are gone."
"That long war." At the Marine Corps headquarters at Camp Fallujah, rather than speaking to sergeants and captains, Abizaid spoke to generals and colonels. His message? "We didn't have the guts to get out in front of the fascists or the Bolsheviks. This time we have to get in front. This time we have a chance. If we don't fight this fight here, we will fight it at home. I would ask you to please talk to your captains, young gunnery sergeants, and tell them we need them. We need them to fight that long war."
Whether or not it started as part of the struggle against extremism, it is clear that the fight in Iraq has become part of Abizaid's "long war." The months to come will show whether Abizaid's plan to win that fight is the right one.
Karolos Papoulias, a former foreign minister, was sworn in Saturday as sixth president of Greece. Papoulias, 75, elected last month by parliament, replaces the popular Constantine Stephanopoulos in the largely ceremonial post.So I guess "maverick" is another term for "terrorist" along with "militant" and "freedom fighter."
A leading member of the opposition Socialist party, Papoulias was elected with an unprecedented 279 votes in the 300-seat unicameral parliament — winning support from his own party and from the governing conservatives who nominated him. Papoulias, the only nominee, needed 200 votes to be elected. Failure to elect a president would have led to national elections.
Papoulias was a longtime friend and confidant of the late Socialist Premier Andreas Papandreou, father of the current opposition leader George Papandreou.
When the Socialists governed from 1981-89, Papoulias served three years as deputy foreign minister and four years as foreign minister. He played a leading role in Greece's controversial decision to establish formal ties with Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat and maverick Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. He again served as foreign minister from 1993-96. He also served as deputy defense minister under a 1989-90 coalition government.
Greece's presidency was stripped of nearly all executive powers in March 1986, when the Socialists amended the constitution and transferred power to the prime minister and parliament
Papoulias will serve a five-year term.
After Haliburton's announcment last week that it will leave Iran shortly, now another 2 American companies, Cooper Cameron and General Electric are also leaving Iran very soon.The reason for Cooper Cameron's immediate widhrawal is the shareholders' demand to stop working with the axis of evil.
Here's Google's completely unconvincing response:
A short while ago, Threadwatch member Adam_C discovered what for all appearances seems to be Google pulling dirty SEO tactics on it's own pages and thus going against it's own guidelines in an effort to rank highly within it's own results.
Cloaking is covered in Google's guidelines as something strictly not to do:
- Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects.
Although there is some debate within the SEO industry as to what exactly cloaking is, in it's simplest form it is showing one page to search engines, and a different page for users - much of the debate hinges on intent.
Here's how Google define it in the Google Webmaster FAQ
The term "cloaking" is used to describe a website that returns altered webpages to search engines crawling the site. In other words, the webserver is programmed to return different content to Google than it returns to regular users, usually in an attempt to distort search engine rankings. This can mislead users about what they'll find when they click on a search result. To preserve the accuracy and quality of our search results, Google may permanently ban from our index any sites or site authors that engage in cloaking to distort their search rankings.
Keyword stuffing is, as you might expect, the practice of stuffing a page with the keywords you wish to rank for - without off page optimization it's worse than useless, but combined with incoming links, and cloaked to appear normal to visitors (they see a nicely worded page, search robots see the kw stuffed page) it can be highly effective.
So where do Google come into this?
If you look at this Adwords page on Google you'll see at the top of your browser, the title:
Google AdWords Support: How do I use the Traffic Estimator?
That's what normal visitors like you and me will see when visiting the page.
Now have a look at Google's cache of the same page - Notice the change in the title? It now reads:
traffic estimator, traffic estimates, traffic tool, estimate traffic Google AdWords Support ...
You think they want to rank for traffic estimates? I'd say they did...
Update: In the comments of this post, fishyking points out that the keyword stuffing has been done globally...
If true, what are the implications?
There is much debate around the way Google handles cloaking, in fact, many webmasters and SEO's feel thier is a need for a change in Google's official policy, but that's probably a discussion for another day.
For now, the implications are simple - If Google can do this on it's own pages, why can ordinary webmasters not? Google's keyword stuffed, cloaked title would be hard to describe as anything other than an SEO tactic not so much frowned upon, but full on hated by the Search giant itself.
Unless they can pull something out of the bag on this regarding an explanation, i'd say they've just been caught red handedly doing one of the very things they ban websites for, and consistently tell webmasters on forums and blogs not to do.
Google has responded to claims that it was using banned techniques of "keyword stuffing" and "cloaking" to promote its own site in search results, saying the information was meant only for internal purposes.Yeah, so...it wasn't for Google Google, it was for the site search inside Google in Google. Say wha? Then how come you guys were serving a different page to the regular web Google's bot?
On Tuesday, Threadwatch, a group blog that discusses marketing technology, provoked controversy when a thread entitled "Google Caught Cloaking - Keyword Stuffing Titles" gained the attention of the Slashdot online community. The thread suggested that Google purposefully violated its own guidelines to boost the rating of its Web sites to a more favorable position.
Keyword stuffing happens when a Web site is literally "stuffed" with keywords that are picked up by search engines as they spider the Web. Cloaking refers to a shadow Web site with mislabeled content that search engines index, when in fact the page a user encounters is not the same.
Using these techniques, Google could conceivably influence search engine results, but the company dismisses the bloggers' suggestions that it was giving itself an unfair advantage over other Web sites.
A Google spokesperson acknowledged the findings to BetaNews and chalked them up to a technical oversight.
"We inadvertently showed additional information on product support pages to both Google's site search crawler and Google's main web crawler. The additional information shown by the product support pages was intended only for the site search crawler, not the main web crawler," the spokesperson said.
Google also says it is in process of making a technical change so that the pages show only the information available to users.
One morning, during a brief stay at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, the nurses and a doctor rolled a new patient into our four-bed room. He was an Arab.
The patient, it turned out, was a medical Doctor from Gaza, the director of a clinic which treats about 1,500 people a month, you name it, everything from a runny nosed baby to gunshot wounds.
Fifty three years of age, he was facing quadruple bypass surgery to replace arteries totally blocked and worn out. He was admitted two days early to fortify him with fluids, anti-biotics, and medications before the operation.
His brother, who planned to stay with him, sleeping in a chair during the entire hospital stay, is a school principal, well educated, erudite, caring, and communicative.
He and I had several interesting, in-depth discussions about relations between Jews and Arabs.
Paul Schaefer - a former Nazi medic, Baptist preacher and alleged cult leader - has finally been captured in Argentina after eight years on the run.
His arrest means Schaefer is likely to face jail for the sexual abuse of young boys, for which he was convicted in absentia in November last year after fleeing Chile.
But Schaefer also faces charges of child sex abuse in Germany that go back to the late 1950s.
Schaefer, who is in his 80s, has been denounced by former followers and by human rights campaigners.
For them, his capture signals the end to decades of impunity for what they allege are his strange and terrible crimes.
Paul Schaefer was a medic in Hitler's army during World War II. After the war, he set up an evangelical ministry and a youth home, purportedly to care for war orphans.
But he was charged with sexually abusing two boys - and in 1961 he fled to Chile, reportedly accompanied by some 70 followers.
There, in a lush valley in the Andean foothills, he set up Colonia Dignidad - now renamed Villa Baviera.