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  • Zafar Khan
    Iraq war delayed Katrina relief effort, inquiry finds http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article316682.ece Relief efforts to combat Hurricane Katrina
    Message 1 of 530 , Oct 3, 2005
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      Iraq war delayed Katrina relief effort, inquiry finds

      http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article316682.ece

      Relief efforts to combat Hurricane Katrina suffered
      near catastrophic failures due to endemic corruption,
      divisions within the military and troop shortages
      caused by the Iraq war, an official American inquiry
      into the disaster has revealed. The confidential
      report, which has been seen by The Independent,
      details how funds for flood control were diverted to
      other projects, desperately needed National Guards
      were stuck in Iraq and how military personnel had to
      "sneak off post" to help with relief efforts because
      their commander had refused permission.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Insurgents guilty of war crimes against civilians

      http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article316681.ece

      Insurgent groups fighting US and British forces in
      Iraq are responsible for war crimes against civilians,
      says a report by an international civil rights group.
      Human Rights Watch details examples of shootings,
      bombings and beheadings which have claimed thousands
      of lives in the most extensive compilation of
      atrocities by rebel groups.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      ‘Will we be next?’
      U.S. prepares for terrorist attack many expect will
      come

      http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/special_packages/voices/12796337.htm

      With the Pentagon still in flames from the Sept. 11
      terrorist attack, Shawn Kelley arrived to survey a
      surreal scene: mangled metal, charred ruins and
      firefighters hosing the smoky roof, crawling over
      rubble, searching for survivors. Kelley had come to
      the Pentagon to help deal with a terrorist strike on
      America. Four years later, he’s working to prevent
      one.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Hijabs conceal the hair but reveal the heart
      No, they are not oppressed. Yes, they will wear the
      scarves forever. And yes, this is what they want.

      http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/12792156.htm

      It was the first day of school. She took a seat in
      English class by friends, who didn't seem to know her.
      Roll call began. "Nuri Wafayee?" the teacher said,
      raising her eyes from the paper. Wafayee raised her
      hand. Her friends gasped and looked confused.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      'The cardinal rule ... you don't target civilians'

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/journalist/story/0,7792,1583879,00.html

      Brian Whitaker on a new Human Rights Watch report
      examining the aims and methods of the insurgency in
      Iraq
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      EU breakthrough on Turkey

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/eu/story/0,7369,1583965,00.html

      EU foreign ministers reached a deal today aimed at
      clearing the way for formal membership talks to begin
      with Turkey, EU officials said. However, there was
      still some confusion surrounding the situation, with a
      spokesman for the Turkish prime minister, Tayyip
      Erdogan, saying later that Ankara had not yet agreed
      to a deal.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Abbas told to form new government

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1583990,00.html

      The Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, was today
      ordered to form a new government amid concerns over
      mounting militant violence. The Palestinian parliament
      voted 43-5 for Mr Abbas to reshuffle his government
      within two weeks. It had initially planned to vote on
      a no confidence motion against the government, but the
      vote was replaced by the speaker's proposal.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Colonel blames Blair over Iraq 'catastrophe'

      http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article316589.ece

      Lack of political leadership from Tony Blair is
      putting British troops at risk in Iraq, according to a
      former commander of the British invasion force.
      Britain could lose the war against Iraqi insurgents
      and risks being driven into neighbouring Iran.

      Colonel Tim Collins - famed for the speech he
      delivered to his men in the 1st Battalion of the Royal
      Irish Regiment hours before they went into action in
      March 2003 - described the situation in Iraq now as "a
      right rollicking cock-up".
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      A proud Turkey hesitates at the EU crossroads

      The ins and outs of joining Turks are growing angry at
      the tight conditions being imposed on their entry into
      Europe. As support for joining wanes, Jason Burke
      reports on the divisions besetting Istanbul

      Sunday October 2, 2005
      The Observer

      http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1582950,00.html

      Just off the bustling Istiklal Street on a hill above
      the Golden Horn is a small art gallery. With its open
      space and whitewashed walls, it is an island of peace
      in a teeming, noisy city. At its centre is what looks
      like a straightforward piece of contemporary art -
      four huge fibreglass horses and a set of flat-screen
      video displays.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      US hits Iraqi villages near Syria

      http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1583023,00.html

      More than 1,000 US troops, backed by helicopter
      gunships and jets, yesterday launched a major
      offensive against Iraqi villages on the Syrian border,
      claimed to be in areas used by al-Qaeda. The latest
      attack was launched just two weeks before a referendum
      on a controversial new constitution for Iraq and after
      a week that has seen more than 200 Iraqis, mainly
      Shias, die in gun and bomb attacks.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Sunni death cult is pushing Iraq towards civil war

      http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article316372.ece

      A fundamentalist Islamic sect that slaughters Iraq's
      majority Shia community as heretics is pushing the
      country ever closer to civil war.

      Car bombs targeting Shias have killed 110 people, 25
      of them children, in the past five days. The latest,
      yesterday, was in Hillah, south of Baghdad: 12 were
      killed and 47 wounded.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Hamas loses ground in West Bank election

      · Fatah dominates armed group in local poll
      · Israel launches raids after rocket attack from Gaza

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1582378,00.html

      Fatah, the largest Palestinian political party, has
      maintained its dominant position over the Islamic
      group Hamas in local elections in the West Bank. The
      faction of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas,
      won 54% of the vote while Hamas received 26%. Fatah
      controls 61 out of 104 authorities and Hamas 28.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Vote backs amnesty for Islamist guerrillas

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1582387,00.html

      Algeria's government yesterday said it had won
      overwhelming support for a broad amnesty for Islamic
      guerrillas and would soon draft laws allowing fighters
      to be released. The interior minister, Noureddine
      Yazid Zerhouni, said there had been a 97% yes vote in
      Thursday's referendum, which is intended to bring an
      end to more than a decade of guerrilla war. He also
      said the turnout had been unusually high at around
      80%, despite the fact that polling stations in and
      around Algiers appeared largely empty for most of the
      day.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      After Demise Deedat's Legacy Lives on

      http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2005-10/03/article01.shtml

      DURBAN, October 3, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) – As I
      entered the large room, I was overcome by awe. I could
      not believe that I was standing in the same place
      where hundreds of people received the message of Islam
      from the enigmatic icon who used to sit behind the
      very desk I was facing. This was the office in which
      late Sheikh Ahmed Deedat, armed with little more than
      a plate of bhajias (Indian chilli-bites) and samoosas,
      smilingly piloted many an indignant visitor to a state
      of total submission to Islam.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    • Zafar Khan
      Allah s name in Kashmir Sky http://www.islamawareness.net/Miracles/miracle_allah_sky.html ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ West Embraces Sham
      Message 530 of 530 , Feb 3, 2008
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        Allah's name in Kashmir Sky

        http://www.islamawareness.net/Miracles/miracle_allah_sky.html
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        West Embraces "Sham" Democracies

        http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1199280060947&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout

        CAIRO — Europe and the United States increasingly
        tolerate autocrats posing as democrats in countries
        such as Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria and Russia out of
        pure self-interest, Human Rights Watch said on
        Thursday, January 31.
        "It's now too easy for autocrats to get away with
        mounting a sham democracy," Kenneth Roth, the HRW
        executive director, said in a press release.

        "By allowing autocrats to pose as democrats, without
        demanding they uphold the civil and political rights
        that make democracy meaningful, the US, the EU and
        other influential democracies risk undermining human
        rights worldwide."

        The watchdog's World Report 2008 said the US and
        Europe do not press governments on the key human
        rights issues that make democracy function such as a
        free press, peaceful assembly and a functioning civil
        society.

        It separately reviewed rights situations in more than
        75 countries, identifying many troubling cases such as
        atrocities in Chad, Colombia, the Democratic Republic
        of Congo, Ethiopia's Ogaden region, Iraq, Somalia, Sri
        Lanka, and Sudan's Darfur region.

        The report voiced concern at closed societies or
        severe repression in Burma, China, Cuba, Eritrea,
        Libya, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.

        It accused the Bush administration of failing to push
        for all governments to respect human rights.

        "The Bush administration has spoken of its commitment
        to democracy abroad but often kept silent about the
        need for all governments to respect human rights."

        In 2003, shortly before the invasion of Iraq, Bush
        advocated democracy in the Middle East in a series of
        bold statements and speeches.

        But the reform tone died down as Washington was
        getting deeper and deeper into the Iraq quagmire,
        needing the help of repressive regimes in the region.

        In 2005, Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
        again played the democracy tune, vowing support for
        "the democratic aspirations of all people."

        Little has changed since then.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Israeli Embassy in Mauritania Attacked

        http://www.islamonline.net/english/news/2008-02/01/01.shtml

        NOUAKCHOTT — Gunmen opened fire on the Israeli embassy
        in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott early Friday,
        February 1, wounding five people, amid growing public
        anger at the stifling Israeli blockade of the Gaza
        Strip.

        "At 2:20 this morning, there was shooting at the
        Israeli embassy in Nouakchott," Israeli ambassador
        Boaz Bismuth told Reuters.

        "It only happened a few hours ago, but a shooting on a
        foreign embassy is a very serious incident."

        Bismuth said all the embassy staff, Israeli and
        Mauritanian, are safe.

        Witnesses said six men wearing boubous – long flowing
        African gowns – and turbans got out of a vehicle and
        walked towards a restaurant near the embassy.

        After a few minutes "they said loudly in Arabic 'let's
        go' then shouted 'Allah Akbar' (God is Greatest) and
        opened fire" at the embassy, said one witness, who was
        at the restaurant when the attack took place.

        Footage showed the embassy undamaged, but there were
        three bullet holes in the windscreen of a vehicle
        parked outside.

        The gunmen also sprayed bullets at a nightclub about
        50 meters (yards) from the embassy on the same street.

        Five people, including a French woman, were injured in
        the two attacks.

        Friday's attack also came just weeks after the 2008
        Lisbon-Dakar rally, which was due to have passed
        through Mauritania, was cancelled due to a security
        alarm caused by two December attacks claimed by
        Al-Qaeda.

        Al-Qaeda's North African branch claimed responsibility
        for the killings last month of a number of Mauritanian
        soldiers and four French tourists.

        Public Anger

        The attack comes as pressure increases within
        Mauritania against the presence of an Israeli embassy
        there.

        The president of the national assembly, Messaoud Ould
        Boulkheir, called Sunday for the country to
        "reconsider" its "shameful" relations with Tel Aviv
        following its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

        It was up to parliamentary "deputies and the
        Mauritanian people to urge the government to
        reconsider the shameful ties with an entity that kills
        our brothers, occupies their land and keeps them under
        the blockade," Ould Boulkheir told the National
        Assembly earlier this week.

        "Gaza is aching at the massacres of its sons and at
        the blockade," he told the opening of a special
        parliamentary session, referring to Israel's total
        lockdown since January 17 of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

        Ould Boulkheir, who is constitutionally the most
        powerful man in the west African country after the
        head of state and Senate president, became the first
        senior politician publicly and officially to question
        relations established with Israel in 1999, under the
        regime of Maaouiya Ould Taya.

        The speaker is the leader of the Progressive Popular
        Alliance, now in power, which has always called for
        Mauritania to break off those ties sealed with the
        Hebrew state, in solidarity with the Palestinians.

        Domestically, the government of President Sidi Ould
        Cheikh Abdallahi has pursued a policy of freeing up
        the press and working for reconcilation among the
        traditional rulers and the black African population.

        Last week, leaders of parties in an increasingly
        active opposition and some allied with the government
        sent a letter to Abdallahi calling on him to sever
        relations with Israel.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        US Army Suicides Spike

        http://www.islamonline.net/english/news/2008-02/01/03.shtml

        WASHINGTON — The number of US army soldiers committing
        suicides after deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan
        continued to spike in 2007, hitting levels not seen in
        more than a quarter century, army data has shown.

        "We are perturbed by the rise despite all of our
        efforts," Colonel Elsbeth Ritchie, psychiatric
        consultant to the army's surgeon general, told Agence
        France-Presse (AFP).

        Ritchie was part of a team that reviewed suicide
        prevention efforts in Iraq in October after Lieutenant
        General Raymond Odierno raised concerned about
        suicides among deployed soldiers.

        Data released by the army Thursday, January 31, show
        the numbers of suicides and attempted suicides spiked
        in 2007 with 89 confirmed suicides and another 32
        deaths awaiting confirmation as suicides.

        In 2006, 102 active duty soldiers committed suicide,
        almost double the number in 2001.

        According to the figures, more than 2,000 soldiers
        tried to take their own lives or injure themselves in
        2006, compared to about 375 in 2002.

        Most suicides are young males between the ages of 18
        and 24, but the army experts are also starting to see
        higher numbers of suicides among older soldiers and
        females.

        Ritchie said 11 female soldiers killed themselves in
        2006. "That's the highest number of females we've ever
        seen," she said.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Conflict spells disaster for whole of East Africa

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/conflict-spells-disaster-for-whole-of-east-africa-776768.html

        Kenya's political meltdown is threatening its economic
        lifeline to Somalia and other neighbouring countries
        and disrupting the supply of desperately needed relief
        aid.


        The economies of landlocked states such as Uganda,
        Rwanda and Burundi, which rely on Kenya's trade links
        via its Indian Ocean port of Mombasa, are already
        being hit by the effects of the unrest.

        Goods are piling up in Mombasa amid fears of blockages
        along the main road to Nairobi. Other arteries
        including the roads from the capital to the western
        city of Kisumu and the highway between Nakuru and
        Eldoret have also been blocked. Guillermo Bettocci,
        the Somalia representative of the UN High Commissioner
        for Refugees, expressed concern about the cancellation
        of flights at Nairobi airport, which is used to fly
        out supplies to Somalia.

        He described the situation in Somalia, where fierce
        fighting has resumed between Islamic fighters and
        Ethiopian forces sent to prop up a transitional
        government, as "the world's worst humanitarian
        disaster" which he said had now overtaken Darfur in
        terms of a humanitarian emergency. A total of one
        million people have been displaced inside Somalia by
        the conflict, including 250,000 in Mogadishu alone.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        One of Bin Laden's top six aides is killed in
        suspected US strike

        · Abu al-Libi dies in attack on Pakistan compound
        · Leader of Afghan militants targeted Cheney last year


        http://www.guardian.co.uk/alqaida/story/0,,2250433,00.html

        senior al-Qaida figure in Afghanistan, described by
        Western officials as one of Osama bin Laden's top six
        lieutenants, has been killed, it was reported
        yesterday.
        Abu Laith al-Libi was "martyred along with a group of
        his brothers on the territory of Islamic Pakistan"
        according to a statement on Ikhlaas.org, a website
        that often posts communiques from Islamists in
        Afghanistan and Iraq.

        Libi's death may be linked to what is suspected to be
        a US missile strike in Pakistan's North Waziristan
        region earlier this week, in which 12 people - several
        Arabs and central Asians, as well as local Taliban
        members - are believed to have died. Locals told
        reporters that they heard US Predator drones flying in
        the area shortly before the explosion at a compound,
        and a Pakistani daily newspaper, The News, reported
        that the attack was targeted at Libi and another
        senior figure, Obaidah al Masri.

        Pakistani officials said they had "no information"
        indicating that Libi was dead, but the Associated
        Press quoted a "knowledgeable western official"
        confirming the death: "It appears that Al-Libi has met
        his demise."
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Letters: British Muslims
        Muslims should not be surprised at backlash against
        atrocities

        http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/letters/letters-british-muslims-776112.html
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Robert Fisk: The curious case of the forged biography

        When Robert Fisk heard that his life of Saddam Hussein
        was selling well, one thing bothered him: he had never
        written one. His investigation took him to the
        murkiest corners of Cairo

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/fisk/robert-fisk-the-curious-case-of-the-forged-biography-776775.html

        It arrived for me in Beirut under plain cover, a brown
        envelope containing a small, glossy paperback in
        Arabic, accompanied by a note from an Egyptian friend.
        "Robert!" it began. "Did you really write this?"


        The front cover bore a photograph of Saddam Hussein in
        the dock in Baghdad, the left side of his head in
        colour, the right side bleached out, wearing a black
        sports jacket but with no tie, holding a Koran in his
        right hand. "Saddam Hussein," the cover said in huge
        letters. "From Birth to Martyrdom." And then there was
        the author's name – in beautiful, calligraphic
        typeface and in gold in the top, right-hand corner.
        "By Robert Fisk."

        So there it was, 272 paperback pages on the life and
        times of the Hitler of Baghdad and selling very well
        in the Egyptian capital. "We all suspect a well-known
        man here," she added. "His name is Magdi Chukri."

        Needless to say, I noticed one or two problems with
        this book. It took a very lenient view of the
        brutality of Saddam, it didn't seem to care much about
        the gassed civilians of Halabja – and it was full of
        the kind of purple passages which I loathe. "After the
        American rejection of the Iraqi weapons report to the
        UN," 'Robert Fisk' wrote, "the beating of war drums
        turned into a cacophony..."
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Danish library plans to house cartoons of prophet
        Muhammad

        · Controversial works will be secure, says spokeswoman
        · Muslim society vows to ignore 'provocation'

        Robert Tait
        Wednesday January 30, 2008
        The Guardian

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/cartoonprotests/story/0,,2249021,00.html

        Denmark's national library is to risk re-opening an
        international political storm by housing the cartoon
        images of the prophet Muhammad that provoked violent
        convulsions throughout the Islamic world two years
        ago.
        The royal library in Copenhagen - founded in the 17th
        century by King Frederik III and home to many historic
        treasures - has declared the drawings to be of
        historic value and is trying to acquire them for
        "preservation purposes".

        The library, widely acknowledged as the most
        significant in Scandinavia, has agreed to take
        possession of the caricatures on behalf of the museum
        of Danish cartoon art, a spokesman told the Art
        Newspaper.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        UK lacks counter-terror policy, says Musharraf

        · Pakistani president hits back at British critics
        · Your Islamist militants are home-grown, Brown told

        http://politics.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,,2248535,00.html

        Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, claimed
        yesterday that Britain lacked a long-term
        counter-terrorist strategy and argued that Islamist
        extremism was a home-grown problem for Britain rather
        than his country's responsibility.
        Speaking before meeting Gordon Brown in Downing
        Street, and in response to persistent British
        criticism of his record on counter-terrorism,
        Musharraf set out the shortcomings he sees in the UK's
        efforts to deal with militant young Muslims, pointing
        out that all the July 7 2005 bombers were born in the
        UK

        "We have adopted a five-point strategy. You need to
        adopt a similar strategy to curb this kind of tendency
        in youngsters, who tend to become terrorists, because
        merely getting hold of them and punishing them legally
        does not solve the problem or get to the root of the
        problem," he said.
        He listed the five elements of Pakistan's
        counter-terrorist strategy: curbing the propagation of
        extremism in mosques; restricting the publication of
        extremist literature; banning extremist organisations;
        stopping the teaching of militant Islam in schools;
        and bringing madrasas (religious schools) into the
        mainstream.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Why is racial abuse now
        considered acceptable?

        http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/yasmin-alibhai-brown/yasmin-alibhaibrown-why-is-racial-abuse-now-considered-acceptable-774878.html

        On the day my beloved son was born at the John
        Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, Margaret Thatcher gave a
        speech on how her kith and kin felt rather "swamped"
        by alien cultures and peoples. My child was branded –
        rejected, I felt – as he took his first breath. I
        never forgave the Iron Lady for inciting animosity
        against us.


        This Wednesday the boy, now a barrister, turns 30. His
        Britain is dynamic, diverse and – in spite of old and
        new fissures – remarkably at ease with itself, as is
        he. Though discrimination blocks talent and top jobs
        still go to white, clubbable chaps, opportunities have
        been prised open and a meritocracy operates in many
        professions. There is nowhere else I would choose to
        live.

        And yet, and yet, I see a return to some of the
        attitudes personified by Thatcher and Enoch Powell,
        cultural protectionists who wanted England to be their
        England and only theirs once again. There are also
        ominous signs that racial intolerance is breaking out,
        even among the usually civil middle classes. It is
        hugely upsetting that we blacks and Asians
        increasingly experience spit-in-your-face racism, even
        in London, the city made by strangers.

        Last Monday, I was speaking at an Evening
        Standard/YouGovStone public debate on what we wanted
        from the London Mayor. We were at Cadogan Hall in
        smart Sloane Square. The audience– many well-heeled –
        was lively and keen, a good sign of political
        engagement. Such debates can get fiery and that makes
        them real and exciting. Other panellists were Michael
        Eboda, the ex-editor of The Voice newspaper, the
        prolific and weighty columnist Simon Jenkins, and
        Boris Johnson. All went spiffingly well until I said
        we needed time-limited, affirmative action in
        recruitment and promotion for key institutions such as
        the police forces.

        In Northern Ireland, affirmative action has
        transformed the police force so it reflects the
        Catholic/Protestant population. Mr Eboda then directly
        interrogated Mr Johnson on some of his insulting
        assertions about black people. The Tory MP first
        huffed and puffed and then blew out a timid apology.
        Neither Mr Eboda nor I were rude or aggressive, yet we
        seemed to stir some pretty revolting feelings in a
        number of ladies and gents attending. There was much
        unruly shouting. I was called a "cunt" and told to go
        back to Uganda. Mr Eboda was also racially abused, as
        was anybody else, black and white, who stood up to the
        posh hooligans. Members of the Black Police Federation
        later told me they were actually afraid of the mob
        malevolence. Five years ago, few readers resorted to
        ugly, racist abuse. Now hundreds mug me via email.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Talk to Al-Qaeda: French Expert

        http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1199279913449&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout

        PARIS — A French expert in terrorism and Islamic
        militancy is calling for a dialogue with Osama bin
        Laden's Al-Qaeda organization to refute its
        "unrealistic" ideologies as the security option has
        proved a "fiasco."
        "In talking to Al-Qaeda and its leaders, I'm sure we
        are able to counter their ideology with facts on the
        ground," Anne Giudicelli told IslamOnline.net in an
        interview.

        "This will be the first step to face Al-Qaeda."

        Giudicelli, a former anti-terror adviser to the French
        Foreign Ministry, said a quite dialogue with Al-Qaeda
        leaders could help convince them that their ideas,
        like enforcing Shari`ah in European societies, simply
        do not work.

        "An in-depth dialogue will enable us convince Al-Qaeda
        leaders that their ideology is inapplicable and
        unrealistic."

        Giudicelli regretted European rejection of bin Laden's
        truce offer in 2004 in the aftermath of the deadly
        Madrid bombings claimed by his network.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Artificial Life Under Fire

        http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1199279899471&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout

        WASHINGTON — An announcement by controversial US
        scientist Craig Venter of taking a major step toward
        creating the first ever artificial life form by
        synthetically reproducing the DNA of a bacteria has
        aroused heated scientific debate over the ethics of
        the lab trial and its success rates.
        "Venter is not God," Helen Wallace, a biologist and
        spokeswoman for GeneWatch UK, told Agence
        France-Presse (AFP).

        Hamilton Smith, from the J.Craig Venter Institute, in
        the study published Thursday in Science magazine, that
        through a five-year research effort showed that
        building large genomes is now feasible so that
        important applications such as biofuels can be
        developed.

        The move is seen as the penultimate stage in the
        endeavor to create an artificial life in the form of a
        bacteria based entirely on a man-made DNA genome.

        The research has been carried out at the laboratories
        of Venter, who has hailed artificial life forms as a
        potential remedy to illness and global warming.

        The chromosome which Venter and his team has created
        is known as Mycoplasma laboratorium and, in the final
        step of the process, will be transplanted into a
        living cell where it should "take control,"
        effectively becoming a new life form.

        The bacteria, which causes certain sexually
        transmitted diseases, has one of the least complex DNA
        structures of any life form, composed of just 580
        genes. In contrast, the human genome has some 30,000.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Beirut Blast Kills Senior Officer

        http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1199279898797&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout

        BEIRUT —A senior intelligence officer was killed with
        three other people in a car bombing in the Lebanese
        capital, Beirut, on Friday, January 25, in the second
        bombing targeting an official at the security and
        military establishments in as many as days.
        "Captain Wissam Eid, a member of the Internal Security
        Forces, and his bodyguard were killed in the blast," a
        security official told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Desert state channels oil wealth into world's first
        sustainable city
        Lord Foster designs car-free, solar-powered project
        for 50,000 people

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jan/21/climatechange.energy

        In an expanse of grey rock and dust in one of the
        harshest environments on earth, the United Arab
        Emirates is about to build what is being described as
        the world's first sustainable city, designed by
        British architect Lord Foster.

        The site is far from promising. Miles from a polluted
        sea, a fierce sun raises temperatures to 50C (120F) in
        the summer, and there is no fresh water, no soil and
        no animals. But tens of billions of petro-dollars will
        be poured into these seven square kilometres of desert
        on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.

        Called Masdar - "the source" in Arabic - the walled
        city is intended to house 50,000 people and 1,500
        businesses. It will have no cars and be
        self-sufficient in renewable energy, the majority of
        which will be solar energy.

        The formal unveiling of the desert eco-city will be
        made today at a summit on future energy sources in Abu
        Dhabi, attended by the UK business secretary, John
        Hutton, and Prince Andrew.

        "It's extremely ambitious," said Gerard Evenden,
        senior partner in Lord Foster's architecture practice
        in London, which has had a team working on the design
        for nine months. "We were invited to design a
        zero-carbon city. In this harsh place we needed to
        look back at history and see how ancient settlements
        had adapted to their environments." The buildings will
        huddle together as in a casbah, and will be cooled by
        wind towers which will collect the desert's breezes
        and flush out hot air. No building will be more than
        five storeys high; the city is to be oriented
        north-east to south-west to give the optimum balance
        of sunlight and shade.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        'To impose democracy from outside is inherently
        undemocratic'

        Ethiopia's prime minister, Meles Zenawi, tells Simon
        Tisdall in a rare interview that western policy in the
        region is ill-informed and at times arrogant

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2246188,00.html

        Western countries should stop trying to browbeat
        Kenya's warring political leaders into submission and
        do more in practical terms to prevent poverty, lack of
        opportunity, and Islamist terrorism from further
        destabilising the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia's prime
        minister, Meles Zenawi, has told the Guardian.
        "The threat of western sanctions as a response to the
        current crisis in Kenya is very, very misguided,"
        Meles said. "If it is presumed that the Kenyans will
        democratise in order to eat the peanuts of development
        assistance from the European Union, for example, it
        would be a big mistake."

        Placing pressure on resources to influence the
        post-election process, which has degenerated into
        violence amid claims of government-engineered fraud,
        would not work and could be counter-productive, he
        said.

        "What it does do is give the impression that Africans
        democratise in response to development assistance and
        all you have to do is close the taps and they will sit
        up and behave like proper schoolchildren. That is very
        unfortunate and quite demeaning."
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