S. Hussein’s Family Is Buying Al Jazeera TV ChannelThree thimblefuls of cognac and my gratitude to packen for the translation.
Saddam Hussein’s family intends to buy the controlling share of the largest Arab TV Channel Al Jazeera, as reported by the TV company NTV.
It has become known that there are three companies in the Virgin Islands which were registered (through frontmen) in the name of the former Iraqi president’s wife and two daughters. Hussein’s family intends to purchase 55% of Al Jazeera shares through these companies. The approximate price of this package–180 million dollars.
It is noteworthy that Hussein’s family resides in Qatar, which is also the address for Al Jazeera’s main headquarters.
It should also be mentioned that Al Jazeera is known as the “mouthpiece" for terrorist and extremist organizations. This channel’s transmission is banned in many countries. Even the Iraqi government closed the company’s headquarters in 2004, after having accused it for provoking violence.
Nevertheless, Washington in no way limits the company’s broadcasting, certain aspects of which can be called direct terrorist propaganda. Moreover, Al Jazeera’s broadcasting is achieved by means of a satellite all over North America, under the name of MRN.
Al Jazeera’s satellite channel has been financed and controlled from its inception in 1996 by the government of Qatar. Negligent amount of financial revenue is obtained by journalists through advertising, sponsorship and subscriptions in Europe and North America. Al Jazeera is very popular in Arab countries, where its audience comprises approximately 50 million people.
The Islamic Agency for Research in Egypt has now recommended that Muslims are not to consume Pepsi Cola because it is being suspected of containing material that has been made from the intestines of pigs.Whew! Good thing I drink Coke.
Dr. Mustofa Asyak'ah an agency member has asked for the other members of the agency to gather to discuss this problem, so that the Muslim community can receive clarity as to whether the product is haram (forbidden) or not, according to the daily Egyptian Al-Arabiyah.
Dr. Mustofa explained that the manufacturer of the drink has included a special material made from the intestines of pigs in the process of the drink's production.
Well, they're not counting now. American casualties are discounted in the newspapers. We have had an awful lot of people, more than a dozen die in the last few days alone in Iraq. American casualties are back up. And it's not a major story. Once in a while it gets to be a story. And so, they put out -- they do their own sort of accounting. The one way they balance the bad news is they have raids. And we suddenly show us on the offensive. And part of it is what the information -- it's an operation, it's a public relations. It's a strategic deception in a way. I’m not suggesting the raids are not there. I’m not suggesting they may even be finding people. God knows who they find. But clearly, one reason they're being emphasized is to detract from what's going on, which is a steady increase in the insurgency and the resistance.They're not doing raids to destroy the Al Qaeda in Iraq network and win this war. Nooo. They're doing them to distract you from the real news, which is the body count! Hersh, you idiot, we don't hear anything but the damn body count in the media. That's why we got guys like Bill Roggio, Chester, and Wretchard covering such stories as Operation Matador, Operation New Market and the upcoming Operation Thunder in such depth. It's not something we can get anywhere else, and you're part of the reason why.
And what happened is after the election of January 30, the elections so widely hailed by this President and the government, which as we now know has had very little consequence on the reality of what's going on on the ground, as we move towards an open civil war there, but after the election, there were orders put out to change the reporting requirements on incidents. In other words, you had to have a serious American fatality or casualty, not necessarily death, but a serious incident, to get reported. So just a mine going off and somebody being lightly wounded wouldn't get reported. So the numbers went down right away, suggesting that somehow the election had worked.I wish someone was telling the media to stop reporting this garbage, but it's sheer fabrication on Hersh's part (as is most of his reporting). Let me give a little attention to this "as we move toward open civil war" line. The upcoming Operation Thunder, as Bill Roggio reports, involves a good 40,000 Iraqi troops rooting out terrorists. The Iraqis are getting stronger, and the terrorists are growing weaker. They can field 40,000 men now? Sounds great.
France's poor economic performance, outlined in yesterday's OECD report, is one of the major issues dominating the run-up to Sunday's referendum on the European constitution.I guess the rapacious Anglo-Saxons have a little something to teach you arrogant frogs after all, eh? Here's my favorite part:
Unemployment is 10.2%, more than double Britain's 4.7%. Almost a quarter of young French people, including graduates, are out of work. Britain has a record 75% of its adult population in jobs; France has 62%.
"That is a tremendous waste of human capital. The French model is under threat because not enough jobs are being created. Britain is exploiting its full potential but France is not," says Raymond Torres, a labour market specialist at the OECD.
He is not the only one to come to this conclusion. The daily newspaper Figaro recently said: "The British 'miracle' should be a model for us."
France's high unemployment is not a result of economic stagnation - since 1998, the French economy has expanded by 13%, not much less than Britain's 17%. But France has grown more slowly than Britain in the past two or three years and the OECD forecasts its growth will remain weak for the next couple of years.
Rod Mitchell, a Briton who has lived in France for 20 years and set up a mortgage broking business five years ago, says France is in decline.There's more. French want British 'miracle' as a model for change
"There's not a work culture any more. People have become too dependent on the state. There would be a leisure culture but people don't even have the money to enjoy their leisure. This country used to be wealthy but will soon be bankrupt."
Figures prove his point. Average earnings in France over the past decade have only just kept up with inflation, meaning the French have not got any wealthier. In Britain, earnings growth has comfortably outstripped inflation. Britain is getting richer but France is not; Britain is affording more spending on public services while France is cutting back. The British are buying homes in France.
"France is starting to look like Britain in the 1970s. The two countries are moving in opposite directions. The French are petrified of the changes they need to make and are burying their heads in the sand," says Mr Mitchell.
The British Association of University Teachers (AUT) backed down Thursday from its decision last month to boycott Israeli universities following harsh criticism of the move.It's a good feeling, seeing academics come to their senses and seeing Sue Blackwell having a fit.
Sue Blackwell, an lecturer at Birmingham University and a leading pro-boycott activist, told BBC News she feared a "stitch-up" at the reconvened council and was expecting to lose the vote. She called the decision "undemocratic," saying it had been influenced by "outsiders."British Teachers Association Rescinds Israel Boycott
Until recently, Australia's independent-minded neighbor across the Tasman Sea chose to ignore grumblings from Canberra that it wasn't pulling its weight in defense spending.
But earlier this month, New Zealand started listening, announcing plans to boost its defense spending by $3.2 billion over the next 10 years to modernize equipment and add hundreds more ground troops.
In addition to frustrating Australia, New Zealand's antinuclear, pacifist stance has troubled its own generals and affected the morale of the armed forces in recent years. As the government moves to respond to these concerns with new money, it is also shifting strategy by concentrating on peacekeeping skills that it has developed in East Timor, Afghanistan, and the Solomon Islands.
"With the realization that the end of the cold war has only opened a Pandora's box and created more trouble spots, it's time, they feel, to contribute in the best way possible," says Peter Cozens, executive director of the Center for Strategic Studies at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.
Almost two decades ago, New Zealand was thrown out of ANZUS, the trilateral security alliance with Australia and the United States, for refusing to allow US nuclear-powered or equipped ships to dock in its waters. It canceled a deal to buy 28 F-16 fighter jets in 2000, cut its modern warships to two, and slashed the air force. It currently spends $850 million a year on defense - less than 1 percent of its gross GDP.
The goal now is to reverse that trend, while still streamlining the military. When the budget was announced in early May, defense minister Mark Burton told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that New Zealand would move away from trying to do a little bit of everything in favor of making "realistic contributions."
By redefining its "defense identity," New Zealand could well repair its relationship with the US, which was damaged in the 1980s, experts say.
"New Zealand now does not need the latest American equipment, but it offers troops in certain situations, and that opens up the possibility of rebuilding something that was lost," says Hugh White, professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University in Canberra.
The move is also likely to strengthen ties with Australia, on which New Zealand has long depended for security.
Australia spends about $12 billion on defense. It has the advantage of signalling and communications equipment from the United States, as well as fully equipped armed forces.
New Zealand, which lacks the ability to defend itself from a maritime threat, has long assumed that any attack would meet an Australian response.
"Australia has already taken a decision to be on the ready in case of attack, especially after 9/11, and any attack that was in the vicinity of New Zealand would be close enough to be [responded to under] its plans of self-defense," says Aldo Borgu, director of programs at Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Canberra.
But Australia is said to view the new attention to defense spending positively, particularly as New Zealand could complement some Australian efforts.
Mr. White says that a contribution to infantry is exactly what Australia needs in its overseas deployments.
"Australia has only six battalions and that should in any case be increased to eight or nine, but if New Zealand helps to ease that pressure wherever possible, it's welcome," says White.
A judge has ordered best-selling writer and journalist Oriana Fallaci to stand trial in her native Italy on charges she defamed Islam in a recent book.Fallaci charged in Italy with defaming Islam
The decision angered Italy's justice minister but delighted Muslim activists, who accused Fallaci of inciting religious hatred in her 2004 work "La Forza della Ragione" (The Force of Reason).
Fallaci lives in New York and has regularly provoked the wrath of Muslims with her outspoken criticism of Islam following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on U.S. cities.
In "La Forza della Ragione," Fallaci wrote that terrorists had killed 6,000 people over the past 20 years in the name of the Koran and said the Islamic faith "sows hatred in the place of love and slavery in the place of freedom."
State prosecutors originally dismissed accusations of defamation from an Italian Muslim organization, and said Fallaci should not stand trial because she was merely exercising her right to freedom of speech.
But a preliminary judge in the northern Italian city of Bergamo, Armando Grasso, rejected the prosecutors advice at a hearing on Tuesday and said Fallaci should be indicted.
Grasso's ruling homed in on 18 sentences in the book, saying some of Fallaci's words were "without doubt offensive to Islam and to those who practice that religious faith."