JAKARTA - Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit on Thursday reasserted his country's claim to a seat on an expanded UN Security Council, but said reform of the body must not come at the cost of world unity.Man, if that's not chutzpah, I don't know what is. He's telling the Security Council it needs to change? Come on! We need to agree that no nation can be given a permanent seat and the right to veto without already being a functioning, legitimate democracy. Egypt doesn't pass the test; Nigeria and South Africa barely do. Who the hell wants more dictatorships to have the veto? This is Kofi Annan's vaunted reform? Why does Africa deserve two seats in the Security Council? No place in Africa is a world power, or bears any real responsibility for maintaining the peace of the world and contributes meaningfully to global security. So why should they get a two vetos? This is an extraordinarily stupid idea. It would be a spectacularly bad move to give Egypt the veto.
Gheit told reporters on the sidelines of an Asia-Africa summit in Jakarta that Egypt was expecting to secure one of two permanent Security Council seats slated for Africa under reforms proposed by Secretary General Kofi Annan.
"If the enlargement takes place and if option A, the addition of permanent seats are included, and Africa is offered two seats, we expect that Egypt would be included," he said.
"However, Egypt also prefers that whatever enlargement takes place, it would take place in the context of creating balance."
South Africa is widely seen as a favourite to fill one of the two seats that will be set aside for Africa at the Security Council, alongside the five permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.
But Egypt will have to battle for the other seat with Nigeria, a strong contender for membership.
"The enlargement of the UN Security Council is something that we have to work for but it has to be a balanced enlargement and it has to give every major player his due respect," Gheit said.
The minister said the UN reforms, which Annan wants to push through before September, should also extend to the Security Council's outlook.
"The enlargement per se is not enough... there has to be a change of behaviour, a change of the way the Security Council conducts its work," he said.
Tens of thousands of elderly Gypsy Holocaust survivors in Europe are living in poverty and desperately need more aid as they live out their final years, a Swiss-based migration agency said Friday.I wonder if Bavaria is sending them any of the proceeds from "Mein Kampf".
About 145,000 Gypsy Holocaust survivors are impoverished, the U.N.-affiliated International Organization for Migration said. And while IOM and other organizations have been helping the Gypsies — also known as Roma — since 2002, funds are now running out.
"Many Roma live in squalid settlements without any services," IOM Roma expert Delbert Field said. "It is only right that Roma Holocaust survivors receive some basic help to ease their final years."
Heavily persecuted by the Nazis during World War II, many were deported to concentration camps where they died. Others were enslaved by the Nazis and their allies.
Some 250,000 to 1.5 million Roma were killed during that time. Accuracy figures are difficult to find, because so many Roma were rounded up away from public view, executed and dumped into mass graves.
IOM says since 2002, it and other organizations have helped supply over 64,000 Roma Holocaust victims with food, firewood, coal and hygiene articles.
Funding comes from a settlement with Swiss banks and from the German Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future."
Field said ideally, $214 million is needed to assist 126,000 elderly Roma for five years at a cost of $300 per person per year. $59 million would be needed to aid 65,000 Roma for three years.
An estimated 4.6 million Roma live in eastern and central Europe out of a total of 6.2 million in all of Europe.
Gypsy Holocaust Survivors in Need of Aid
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards executed a number of teenage demonstrators in the streets of Ahwaz, southern Iran, according to eye-witnesses.Iran Focus: Iran executes teenage demonstrators in Ahwaz – reports
Residents reported that Revolutionary Guards arrested demonstrators in the city streets and gunned them down to terrorise the local people and end a weeklong anti-government uprising that has spread throughout the oil-rich Khuzestan Province.
Helicopters were also seen opening fire on demonstrators.
A 5-year-old boy was killed when he was run over by a Revolutionary Guards’ armoured personnel carrier, eye-witnesses said.
A shock decision by Singapore to drop the Eurofighter Typhoon from a shortlist of contenders vying to be the Republic's next-generation fighter has thrown the aircraft's manufacturing consortium, comprising BAE Systems, EADS and Alenia, into disarray.
JDW understands that Singapore¹s Defence Science and Technology Agency, an arm of the Ministry of Defence (MinDef), has delivered a letter to the Eurofighter team formally discounting the Typhoon from the NFRP competition.
While no official statement has been made by Singaporean authorities, and the Eurofighter partners have declined to comment, several sources close to the programme have confirmed the unexpected development.
The Eurofighter sales effort in Singapore is being led by BAE Systems.
Singapore's letter of rejection was delivered to BAE Systems' local office late last week. JDW understands that issues of pricing and the reliable release of capability within the RSAF's required timeframe were the key concerns that derailed Eurofighter's bid. Until recently Eurofighter was confident that its performance in Singapore's 2004 evaluation had gone a long way to answering critics questioning the aircraft's capabilities. The securing of funds in December 2004 for Eurofighter Tranche 2 production and development was also seen as a significant boost to Eurofighter's export prospects.
Russian security officials were heard plotting use of terror groups to thwart U.S. strategyNo link for this one, it's subscription-only at geostrategy-direct.
Russia's government recently discussed plans to organize various terrorist groups and exploit their activities as part of a strategic effort against
the United States, according to a European intelligence source.
The source said the plans were overhead at a recent session of the Russian government national security council.
The plan discussed included seeking to organize insurgents in the Caucasus region to conduct strikes against U.S. targets, according to the source.
The main terrorist threats in Russia are Islamist Chechen terrorists who have connections to Al Qaida.There are other groups as well.
The plan would be similar to Moscow's support for European and other terrorist groups during the 1970s and 1980s.
When Nazi rule ended in 1945, Austria's socialist leaders faced two options in finding talented professionals to rebuild their country.
They believed they could either recruit thousands of qualified Austrian Jews, who had fled the country after the 1938 annexation by the Third Reich known as the Anschluss, or tap the estimated 700,000 Austrians who had become members of Adolf Hitler's National Socialist German Workers' Party.
As Austria prepares to mark the 60th anniversary of liberation from Nazi rule Wednesday, a 333-page study released early this year by the Social Democratic Party shows how socialist officials courted former Nazis rather than repatriate Austrian Jews to work in government, industry, the judicial branch and state health services.
They "were afraid of being stamped as a 'Jew party' and jeopardizing their political future," said historian Peter Schwarz, co-author of the study. He called that decision a "brown stain" for Austrian socialists, in reference to the brown shirts worn by the Nazi militia.
Last Friday something happened that made me ashamed to be British. The Association of University Teachers, which represents 49,000 academics, voted to boycott two Israeli universities, Haifa and Bar-Ilan. They are likely to boycott a third, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.Here's the crying shame:
This boycott is the culmination of years of pro-Palestinian agitation on campus, which has seen Jewish students and pro-Zionist academics subjected to frightening levels of vilification and intimidation. But not since the Third Reich have Jews been the targets of an official boycott in a civilized country. That this should have occurred in the profession which, above all others, should have been on its guard against intolerance, is disgraceful but not, alas, altogether surprising. Just as German universities were hotbeds of anti-Semitism even before the Nazis came to power, so in recent years British universities have become the bastions of the latest mutation of anti-Semitism: denial of Israel's right to exist.
The grounds given for these boycotts are so ludicrous that one wonders why the promoters bothered to cover their prejudices with this fig leaf. In the case of Bar-Ilan, the university has links with the College of Judea and Samaria in the West Bank - an institution that teaches Palestinian and Israeli Arab as well as Jewish students. Haifa was targeted for allegedly victimizing a lecturer, Ilan Pappe, who has made controversial claims that atrocities were committed by the pre-1948 Jewish militia, the Haganah. The fact that Haifa has not threatened or disciplined this individual seems to have played no part in the AUT's debate.
That may be because there was no debate: Opponents were given no opportunity to challenge the two militants from Birmingham who proposed the boycott. Moreover, the vote was held on erev Pesach, forcing Jewish delegates to choose between religious and civic duties.Mosley's Ghost Emerges in London
One of the chief accusers was Shereen Benjamin, who makes much of being Jewish herself.Read the whole thing, and a thimbleful of cognac to bigel.
It had to have been the most sublime moment of his life. Samir tells how he arrived in Tikrit as an Arabic interpreter for United States Special Forces in late 2003, how he peered into a hidden bunker and heard a voice begging for mercy, how he reached into the darkness and pulled out Saddam Hussein.Read the whole thing, it's beautiful. Samir, if I ever meet you, the beers are on me. "I Punched Saddam in the Mouth"
"I was so angry," says Samir, who immigrated to St. Louis eleven years ago after fleeing Iraq. "I began cussing at him, calling him a motherfucker, a son-of-a-bitch -- you name it. I told him I was Shiite from the south and was part of the revolution against him in 1991. I said he murdered my uncles and cousins. He imprisoned my father.
"All these years of anger, I couldn't stop. I tried to say the worst things I could. I told him if he were a real man he would have killed himself. I asked him: 'Why are you living in that dirty little hole, you bastard? You are a rat. Your father is a rat.'"
In Arabic, Saddam told Samir to shut up. And when Saddam called him a traitor, an enraged Samir silenced his prisoner with a flurry of quick jabs to the face.
"I punched Saddam in the mouth."
Back at the farmhouse, Special Forces couldn't find Saddam or the hidden bunker.
"The farmers wouldn't tell us anything," says Samir. "We were beating the shit out of them, but they weren't talking."
Desperate, they pulled the bodyguard from the Humvee and demanded that he tell them the location of the bunker.
Samir thought the bodyguard was again trying to deceive them when he told the soldiers they were actually standing on top of Saddam's secret bunker.
"I gave him a few slaps on the face and said, 'What do you mean I'm standing on it?' We couldn't see anything. All there was was dirt and leaves. But we got some shovels off the trucks and started digging. Immediately we hit something."
Samir says a soldier fired several blank rounds into the bunker's exposed opening, and a man's voice cried out from the spider hole, pleading for his life.
"He said, 'Don't shoot. Don't kill me,'" recounts Samir.
Peering into the hole, Samir could make out only part of the man. In Arabic, Samir told the fugitive that if he wanted to live, he needed to get out now. When Samir asked to see the man's hands, he showed his right hand, and then his left, but he wouldn't show both at the same time.
"No, I want to see both your hands," Samir yelled.
Keeping an eye on the man's hands, Samir plunged into the hole and grabbed the prisoner. Samir says he knew right away that it was the deposed dictator.
"He smelled bad, like a homeless person, and had the long beard and hair, but I knew it was Saddam. I told everyone, 'It's Saddam. It's Saddam!'"
Unconvinced, Special Forces had Samir ask the captive his identity. When the man answered that his name was Saddam, Samir says he shook him by his hair and dirt-matted beard.
"I said, 'Yeah, Saddam what? Saddam what?' Finally he said, 'Hussein.'"
Upon hearing that, Samir unleashed years of pent-up rage.
"I told him that I was going to fuck him up the ass. That we were all going to fuck him up the ass. I told him he was a criminal and a murderer. I hit him and spit in his face. I stepped my foot on his head and his back. He wasn't crying, but I think he was shocked. No one had ever treated him this way."
Anti-Semitism and xenophobia are rampant in Russia, and the authorities have failed to adequately combat racial crimes, the Associated Press reported on a study released last week by the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights, a UCSJ affiliate that runs a European Union-funded program to monitor xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Russia.
There were at least 30 murders on ethnic grounds last year, the study said, but cautioned that the true number might be higher because law enforcement agencies often ignore racial hatred as a factor in crimes. "The reaction of the authorities and law enforcement agencies to manifestations of xenophobia and nationalism remains to a great extent belated and sporadic," the group said. It said that police and prosecutors are reluctant to enforce legislation against extremism, and prefer to charge perpetrators with the less serious crimes of hooliganism and vandalism. The group said that 124 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in Russia last year, including 12 violent attacks against Jews, 34 acts of vandalism, and 22 public anti-Semitic statements and demonstrations.
The study cited an opinion survey conducted last year that found that more than 42% of Russians believed it necessary "to limit the influence of Jews in government bodies, politics, business, jurisdiction, educational system and show business."
Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov, criticized by human rights activists for failing to prosecute the authors of a stridently anti-Semitic letter to him in January, met last week with a leader of Russia's Jewish community in an apparent effort to deflect criticism, AP added. The Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement that Ustinov and Vladimir Slutsker, head of the Russian Jewish Congress, discussed a "complex of measures, including legal ones, to help prevent cases of xenophobia, religious hatred and anti-Semitism."
hi i am RUGBY & welocme to the RAT Diner!!!
bananana (sp?) w/schmear of Nutella™ & dipped in curnchy GRANOLA!!! ♥
yay! bnaanza *(@NV%$74 im soccre?
SHUT UP stupid soccer!!
all Gorly & prayz 2 chef UKL BOB ♥♥!!
OK i will second that emotion EVEN THOUGH!! you are a sutpid moron with teh degraded intelligence of a glue-sniffign planarian?! but i guess it's TRUE what they say abuot stopped clocks...
My release from Fort Drum came earlier than expected, so when I pulled into my driveway at noon the house was empty. I dropped my bags inside and walked alone through the rooms, soaking in the images and smells that had been only a memory during ten months in Iraq.Read the rest and try not to bawl.
My older son's first-grade teacher had been wonderful to me while I was away. She sent school updates and pictures via e-mail almost weekly. So when I popped my head into her classroom she came running and gave me a "welcome home" hug.
"Easton is practicing a song. Why don't you surprise him?"
My heart was racing. I followed the sound of the piano and the little voices singing, then stood and watched. Trickles of love and pride started involuntarily down my cheeks as I listened to my son. He has gotten so big. The anticipation built as I waited for him to see me.