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The Romance of Anais, an Arthurian-style tale written 1996 describing how Bush got us in the mess in Iraq with a short commentary on the
Chang-an cheat
Tapestry of One – on the creed of Buddha,
Duty & Profit, Nov. 1994
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because of me
, Dec. 1993
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News Headlines & Trends

10.30.06 Up to 80 killed in Bajaur operation: Shaukat Sultan

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, October 30 – Pakistanıs security forces in an operation killed up to 80 militants in Bajaur Agency, the chief military spokesman confirmed here on Monday. In news briefing at ISPR headquarters here military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan said the madrassa at Khar area of Bajaur tribal region was run by Maulvi Liaquat. "We had information that the madrassa was a militant training camp," he said.

The raid was conducted on Monday morning, he said and added that no women or children were killed in the raid. "We have not carried out a body count, but information we have received from certain local sources and intelligence sources suggests that there may be up to 80 dead," he said. He said that some foreign nationals were also killed in the Bajaur operation but denied presence of Al Qaeda or Talliban elements among them.
[>thenews.com.pk ; See also msnbc.msn.com, October 30, "Pakistan hits alleged al-Qaida center."]

10.28.06 Rioting youths burn hundreds of cars in France

CLICHY-SOUS-BOIS, France (AP) October 28 – Marauding youths torched hundreds of vehicles overnight and on Saturday in renewed violence coinciding with the first anniversary of riots that exposed a deep schism between poor North African immigrants and mainstream France. A group of teenagers set one bus on fire Saturday in the southern French port city of Marseille, seriously wounding a passenger. Three others suffered from smoke inhalation, police said. Two other public buses and 277 vehicles around the country were burned overnight, police said. Six police were injured and 47 people were arrested, ministry officials said. Still the Interior Ministry described the night as ³relative calm,² noting that up to 100 cars are torched by youths in troubled neighborhoods on an average night. [More>>msnbc.msn.com]

10.28.06 Mexico sends forces to violent city

OAXACA, Mexico (AP) October 28 – President Vicente Fox announced Saturday he was sending federal police into the violence-wracked southern state capital of Oaxaca after a US journalist and at least two Mexican men were killed by gunfire. The clashes occurred Friday as leftist protesters barricaded streets as part of a five-month-old campaign to oust the governor. Fox's office issued a declaration saying that the federal forces would concentrate in Oaxaca city on Saturday. His office later clarified that he was referring to federal police, not troops, but did not specify how many were being sent. [More>>cnn.com]

10.27.06 Kuwaitis still getting payouts for damage of 1990 Iraqi invasion

October 27 – Fifteen years after the first Gulf War, and three years after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, a UN commission is still paying out hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to the victims of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The latest payments, totalling $417.8m (£220m), were made yesterday to governments and oil companies for losses and damages stemming from the Kuwaiti occupation, bringing the total paid out to more than $21bn (£11bn). The total claims that have been approved run to $52bn (£27.5bn) and will take many more years to complete.

The transfers by the Geneva-based Compensation Commission are not the only hangover from the Saddam era to be funded by Iraqi oil revenues. The UN weapons inspectors, now known as UNMOVIC, have never been wound up by the Security Council and still have $114m in their coffers - despite $200m having been shifted from their escrow account in June last year into the Iraq development fund. That was only months after $9bn went missing from the development fund.

10.27.06 Malaysian minister placates US couple harassed by Islamic officials

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) October 27 – Malaysiaıs tourism minister was to meet and placate an elderly American couple harassed by Muslim religious officials on the northern tourist island of Langkawi, a report said on Friday. Randall Barnhart, 62, and his wife Carole, 61, were rudely awakened in their rented apartment in the early hours of the morning earlier this month by religious officials conducting a raid on "khalwat" couples.

Under Islamic law, which operates alongside the civil code in multicultural Malaysia, "khalwat" – close proximity between a man and a woman who are not married – is forbidden. The couple, who were on a six-week sailing holiday in Malaysia, have been married for 42 years and are Christians.

10.27.06 Building a wall around US a 'huge error': Mexican president-elect

OTTAWA, October 26 – The United States committed a "huge error" in choosing to build a wall between itself and its southern neighbor, Mexico`s president-elect Felipe Calderon said Thursday during a state visit to Canada, comparing it with the Berlin Wall. "The wall will not solve any problem. Humanity made a huge mistake by building the Berlin Wall, and I believe that today the United States is committing a grave error in building the wall on our border," he said. US President George W. Bush on Thursday signed into law a bill authorizing construction of a 1,100-kilometer (700-mile) fence along a third of the US border with Mexico. Some 1.2 billion dollars in funding were earmarked for the fence, in a bid to stanch the steady flow of illegal immigrants into the United States. [More>>turkishpress.com]

10.27.06 Fourteen killed in Afghan blast

October 27 – A bomb blast has struck a minibus in Afghanistan's southern province of Uruzgan, killing 14 passengers, mostly children and elderly people. Qayoom Qayoomi, a provincial government spokesman, said the bus was travelling to the provincial capital of Tirin Kot on Friday when it hit a bomb planted in the road. "Fourteen civilians, mostly elders and children, were killed in the blast and three were wounded," he said. [More>>aljazeera.net]

10.27.06 Iraqi police, fighters in deadly clash

October 27 – Intense house-to-house fighting between fighters and Iraqi police north of Baghdad has killed 43 people, including 24 officers, the US military said. Iraqi officials, however, said 12 Iraqi officers were killed. US soldiers later joined the fight, aiding in a counter-attack that left 18 fighters dead, the US military said on Friday. Police fought back and US soldiers nearby were diverted from another mission, assisted by air cover. One Iraqi civilian was also killed, eight fighters wounded, and 27 others captured, the military said. [More>>aljazeera.net]

10.27.06 US economic growth slowed in 3rd quarter

October 27 – The economy grew more slowly in the third quarter than at any time since early 2003, held back by a deflating housing market. The Commerce Department reported this morning that the nationıs total output of goods and services expanded at an annual rate of just 1.6 percent in the three months ended Sept. 30. That preliminary estimate compares with a revised rate of 2.6 percent in the second quarter and the robust 5.6 percent rate recorded in the first. The figures are seasonally adjusted. The slowdown in the third quarter was worse than economists were expecting. The consensus forecast compiled by Bloomberg News was for 2 percent growth. [More>>nytimes.com]

10.26.06 Argentina demands arrest of Rafsanjani in Jewish center bombing

BUENOS AIRES, October 26 – Argentine prosecutors charged Iran and Hezbollah militia with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish charities office in Argentina that killed 85 people and injured 300. Prosecutors demanded an international arrest warrant for then-Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and six other top Iranian officials at the time of the attack, and a former Hezbollah foreign security service chief, Imad Fayez Moughnieh.

In a statement, Argentine chief prosecutor Alberto Nisman declared: "We deem it proven that the decision to carry out an attack July 18, 1994 on the AMIA (the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association, a Jewish charities association headquarters in Buenos Aires) was made by the highest authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran which directed Hezbollah to carry out the attack." In Beirut, a Hezbollah source said she had not yet heard that the Shiite militia had been formally charged but that it came as no surprise. "I have not yet heard that but it is not new," she told a western news agency. Iran has already refuted the charges.

10.26.06 NATO says Taleban using civilians as shields, as high toll feared

KABUL (AFP) October 26 – The NATO force in Afghanistan Thursday accused the Taleban of using civilians as human shields, as authorities scrambled to verify reports that at least 60 people were killed in military strikes. The International Security Assistance Force said it could not say how many civilians were killed in a series of operations in the southern province of Kandahar late Tuesday, but was helping Afghan authorities to find out. ISAF said late Wednesday that 48 Taleban were killed in three engagements, including air strikes, in Kandaharıs Panjwayi area late Tuesday. However, the chief of Panjwayi district, Niaz Mohammad Sarhadi, said he had reports that about 60 locals were killed in aerial bombing that also destroyed a number of houses. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

10.26.06 Police, marines die in Iraq attacks

October 26 – At least four US marines and one US sailor have died in fighting in Iraq's volatile al-Anbar province, while 11 policemen were also killed in attacks north of Baghdad. The US military said in a statement that the five military personnel all died from wounds suffered in attacks on Wednesday in the western province. The latest deaths have pushed October's death toll to 96, the highest for US forces since the same month last year when the same number were killed. US officials have attributed the higher death toll to a spike in violence during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which ended this week, as well as additional patrols launched as part of a security drive in Baghdad. [More>>aljazeera.net]

10.26.06 Mufti outrages Muslims over sex comments

SYDNEY, October 27 – Australia's Muslims yesterday turned on their leader, Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, amid calls for him to be sacked as the nation's mufti for blaming women for inciting rape. Sheik Hilali was universally condemned by mainstream politicians and Muslim leaders nationwide and could even face a revolt from within his tight-knit community over the Ramadan sermon in which he likened immodestly dressed women to meat and suggested rape victims were as much to blame as their attackers.

Muslim women were devastated by the sermon – revealed in The Australian yesterday – while John Howard described the comments as "appalling and reprehensible." The Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward demanded that Sheik Hilali be charged with "incitement to rape."

Members of the Lebanese Muslim Association, which owns Sheik Hilali's home mosque in Lakemba, in Sydney's southwest, met late last night to consider his eviction. Association board members agreed to delay their decision on the mufti's future until after they had listened to a tape of the controversial comments and considered the context in which they were made. Sheik Hilali had earlier refused to resign but apologized for any offence caused to women.
[More>>theaustralian.news.com.au via expressindia.com; See related story, news.com.au, October 27, "Rape victims condemn al-Hilaly" : ...Today, the female victims of sexual assault issue a statement telling the Sheik his comments are sick, ignorant and heartless - and have no place in Australia. The 16-year-old girl, whose gang rape investigation was the subject of a secret police report, issued an open letter yesterday.

"You are a sad person who has no understanding of what really happens when these people inflict harm and degrading acts upon me or any other young girl," she said. "By you airing these views you hold, you are the one who is initiating the cultural problems we have today. Maybe you too should stand trial when another one of your so-called good Islamic men is charged with rape. Maybe you should attend some of my counselling sessions, as I believe you need it. Your comments and your words hurt me and also many other young girls. You want Australians to be more respectful of your beliefs and your cultural ways, but then you make these silly comments... ]

10.26.06 Debate over Islamic veil masks issues of integratiion

LONDON (AFP) October 26 – Britain is the latest European country to become embroiled in a row over the full-face veil, which reflects wider issues about the extent and nature of Muslim integration into Western society. With Muslim clothing becoming more visible in recent years, most "Old Europe" countries like Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium, have all had to address the same question to varying degrees.

According to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the niqab – where a woman's face is entirely covered except for her eyes – has often become the most noticeable "mark of separation" between communities. Earlier this month he said that similar discussions to the one in Britain were happening in most European countries and that wearing the veil masked a broader debate about integration. In Britain, where the July 7, 2005 suicide bomb attacks held up the country's much-cherished "multicultural" model to new scrutiny, the debate has centered around the niqab, even though it is worn by few Muslim women.

10.26.06 EU launches wide-ranging anti-terror project

BRUSSELS (AFP) October 26 – The European Union has announced the launch of a wide-ranging bloc-wide anti-terror project aimed at tackling terrorist financing, investigating the causes of violent radicalization and protecting key infrastructure against attacks. The European Commission is putting nine million euros (11.4 million dollars) into the fighting fund this year and plans to more than double the figure to 20 million euros annually from 2007. [More>>turkishpress.com]

10.26.06 Home price drop is largest in 35 years

WASHINGTON (AP) October 26 – The median price of a new home plunged in September by the largest amount in more than 35 years, even as the pace of sales rebounded for a second month. The Commerce Department reported that the median price for a new home sold in September was $217,100, a drop of 9.7 percent from September 2005. It was the lowest median price for a new home since September 2004 and the sharpest year-over-year decline since December 1970. The weakness in new home prices was even sharper than a 2.5 percent fall in the price of existing homes last month, which had been the biggest drop on record.

The price decline for new homes came while the sales pace picked up, rising by 5.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate 1.075 million homes. It marked the second consecutive increase in sales following three months of declines. The declines in prices served to underscore the severity of the correction in the once-booming housing market, which had seen sales of both new and existing homes soar to record levels for five consecutive years, propelled by the lowest mortgage rates in more than four decades.

Editorial note: The rise in interest rates is linked to the US National Debt. The debt is $8.5 trillion, with the interest to service the debt for 2006 at $405.8 billion. This amount is about the same as the deficit, which is $435 billion for 2006. It is no coincidence that the Bush administration has borrowed the equivalent of interest on the debt, reflecting the pattern of the Reagan and George Bush I administrations, who introduced the fiscally unsound Republican practice of running the US government through borrowed money. Newt Gingrich and the House of Representatives during the Clinton administration denounced this practice in their "Contract with America," and with the cooperation of President Clinton stopped the borrowing and actually paid down the debt during the Clinton years. George W. Bush reverted to his father's old practice, deferring the costs of his governance to those who inherit his deficits. Unfortunately, the unsound practice has adverse affects on those who borrow money, since funding the growing US National Debt forces rising interest rates. Rising interest rates increase the cost to service the US National Debt as well as the cost of home mortgages. Recent rises in interest rates initiated by the Federal Reserve have caused increasing defaults on home mortgages (mainly ARMs) as well as a depression in the housing market. Thus, the National Debt has immediate consequences.

Mel Copeland

10.25.06 US, Iraqi forces raid Shia stronghold of Sadr City

BAGHDAD (AP) October 25 – US and Iraqi forces on Wednesday raided Sadr City, the stronghold of the Shia militia led by radical anti-American cleric Muqtada Al Sadr, but Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki disavowed the operation, saying he had not been consulted and insisting that it will not be repeated. The defiant Al Maliki also slammed the top US military and diplomatic representatives in Iraq for their Tuesday press conference, at which they said Iraq needed to set a timetable to curb violence ravaging the country. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said Al Maliki had agreed. "I affirm that this government represents the will of the people and no one has the right to impose a timetable on it," Al Maliki said at a news conference...At least four people were killed and 18 injured in the overnight fighting in the overwhelmingly Shia eastern district known as Sadr City, according to Col. Khazim Abbas, a local police commander, and Qassim Al Suwaidi, director of the areaıs Imam Ali Hospital. The US military said Iraqi army special forces, backed up by US advisers, carried out a raid to capture a top illegal armed group commander directing widespread death squad activity throughout eastern Baghdad,ı the military said in a statement...[Full story>>khaleejtimes.com] ; See related articles, thestar.com.my, October 25, "Iraq PM bristles over US raid on Shi'ite militia" and time.com, October 25, "Ethnic cleansing in Baghdad?"]

10.25.06 NATO troops kill 38 insurgents in southern Afghanistan

KANDAHAR, October 25 – NATO soldiers have killed 38 Taliban rebels in strikes against militants returning to infiltrate an area of southern Afghanistan that has seen previous heavy clashes, the force says. Afghan authorities in the Zhari and Panjwayi districts of southern Kandahar province – the birthplace of the fundamentalist Taliban movement – confirmed there had been heavy bombardments late Tuesday. "In two separate engagements we killed 38 insurgents yesterday through very careful targeting against specific groups of insurgents trying to infiltrate back into Zhari and Panjwayi," a spokesman for the NATO force was quoted as saying. [More>>thenews.com.pk]

10.25.06 US draws link between Iraq war and Musharraf

NEW YORK, October 25 – The US is not looking for an Œexit strategyı on Iraq, one of the reasons being that what happens in that country will have an impact on the future of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. In the eyes of the Bush Administration, Musharraf, America's favourite ally in the war against terrorism, is seen as someone who "in effect puts his life on the line every day" because he is working with the US intelligence in tackling Al-Qaeda.

The hardline US Vice President Dick Cheney has told Time magazine in an interview that nobody can argue "what happens in Iraq is not going to have an impact on Musharraf in Pakistan or (President Hamid) Karzai in Afghanistan." Affirming that Washington was looking for victory in Iraq, Cheney said if the US withdrew from there, "you could imagine what happens to a man like Karzai or Musharraf, who in effect puts his life on the line every day when he goes to work."

10.25.06 Bush acknowledges setbacks in Iraq

WASHINGTON, October 25 – President Bush said Wednesday that he is concerned about the situation in Iraq, but it is "critical" that U.S. troops remain there and oust the insurgents. "The events of the past month have been a serious concern to me and a serious concern to the American people," Bush said in a White House news conference. But the president flatly rejected the idea that troops should be withdrawn on a fixed timetable and said benchmarks were a better way to manage troop levels. "If I did not think our mission in Iraq was vital to America's security, I'd bring our troops home tomorrow," Bush said.

..."We're also working to help the Iraqi government achieve a political solution that brings together Shia and Sunnis and Kurds and other ethnic and religious groups," the president said. "Americans have no intention of taking sides in a sectarian struggle or standing in the crossfire between rival factions. Despite the difficulties and bloodshed it remains critical that American defeats the enemy in Iraq by helping Iraq build a free nation that can sustain itself and defend itself," Bush said.
[Full story>>cnn.com]

Editorial note: The president stressed his definition of victory in Iraq. If the US were to pull out of Iraq without victory it could result in the establishment of a government comparable to the Taliban in Afghanistan prior to the US invasion of Afghanistan. This argument coincides with the Cheney interview in Time Magazine October 24, 2006 and appears to form a new campaign argument to instill fear to gain votes. The eventual establishment of an Iraqi government capable of defending itself and being an ally to the US in the war against terrorism presumes that the Iraqis may not change regimes or the US leadership may not change. Thus, Bush's new campaign of fear appears to set the stage for the continuation of his war in Iraq after he leaves office.

Mel Copeland

10.24.06 Shia militia hunts down shia police in Iraqi city as army stands aside

BAGHDAD (AP) October 24 – Militiamen loyal to an anti-American cleric re-emerged in the southern city of Amarah, hunting down and killing four policemen from a rival militia in a brutal Shia-on-Shia settling of scores. The Iraqi army set up a few roadblocks but did not interfere in the movement of Muqtada al-Sadrıs Mahdi Army fighters after police fled the streets. The latest attacks Monday came despite a public call by Al Sadr to halt the tribal vendetta, suggesting that splinter groups were developing within his militia.

The spread of revenge killings among Shias in their southern heartland has opened a new and ominous front as American forces struggle to control insurgent and sectarian bloodshed to the north – especially in Baghdad. In the capital, the US military reported that a soldier was listed as missing Monday night and that American and Iraqi forces were scouring the area where he was last seen. The missing soldier is an Army translator, and the initial report is that he may have been abducted, said a military official in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information was not cleared for release.

10.16.06 Seven killed, 6 injured in suicide attacks in Afghanistan

KABUL, October 16 – A series of Taliban-linked attacks across Afghanistan left seven people dead, as the Italian government said it believed a missing freelance photojournalist had been kidnapped. The unrest was all linked to the extremist Taliban movement that is waging a deadly insurgency, but a purported spokesman for the rebel group said Sunday it was not involved in the disappearance of Italian journalist Gabriele Torsello...In the volatile southern city of Kandahar meanwhile unknown gunmen opened fire on provincial legislator Mohammad Younis Hussaini after he left his home and was heading for the office, a doctor at a hospital in the city said. Three of his companions were hurt in the attack, said Mohammad Tahir at Mirwais hospital where the wounded were being treated. [Full story>>thenews.com.pk]

10.16.06 Deadly violence wracks Iraq

BAGHDAD (AFP) October 16 – Around 28 Iraqis were killed on Monday as violence continued to wrack a country in the grip of a deadly sectarian conflict and a brutal revolt against the US-backed government. In the deadliest single incident, a car bomb exploded outside a bank in the small town of Suweira, on the banks of the Tigris southeast of the capital in an area plagued by tit-for-tat killings between Sunnis and Shiites. Major Mohammed Hassan of the Suweira police said 15 civilians had been killed in the massive blast outside the Rafidain Bank and 35 wounded. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

10.16.06 Gloomy outlook for Islamist parties

JAKARTA, Indonesia, October 16 – The future of political Islam remains bleak in Indonesia, with fewer than one in 10 Muslims saying they would still vote for Islamic parties in the next election, a survey revealed Sunday. But the polling conducted by the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) shows religious radicalism and extremism remain strong in the nation with the world's largest Muslim population. The survey of 1,092 Muslims found only 9 percent would choose Islamic parties if the elections were held today. [More>>thejakartapost.com]

10.15.06 Forty-six Iraqi Sunnis killed in revenge rampage

BAGHDAD (AP) October 15 – Suspected Shiite militiamen killed at least 46 Sunni Arabs in a weekend rampage of revenge killing in a city north of Baghdad, an Interior Ministry official said Sunday, raising the toll in the latest sectarian bloodletting there to 63. A string of bombings in the northern city of Kirkuk killed 10 people, including two girls who died when a man detonated explosives strapped to his body in front of the al-Mallimin girls high school in downtown Kirkuk, police officials said. [More>>nytimes.com]

10.15.06 Five dead in attacks across Afghanistan

KABUL, October 15 – A series of Taliban-linked attacks across Afghanistan Sunday left five people dead. In the western city of Herat, a bomb exploded near a convoy of men believed to be US nationals who trained police. No US casualties reported in the incident but two Afghan nationals were killed and another wounded. Police in the eastern province of Khost reported that hundreds of rebels attacked a police checkpost, in which three policemen were killed and one injured. [>thenews.com.pk]

10.15.06 US presses China to influence North Korea

WASHINGTON (AP) October 15 – The US ambassador to the United Nations said Sunday that China had a "heavy responsibility" to influence North Korea's behavior and urged Beijing to heed a U.N. resolution intended to punish the North for its claimed nuclear test. John Bolton also said North Korea's Oct. 9 detonation amounted to a public humiliation for China, the North's major ally and supplier of crucial shipments of food and energy aid. If China were to cut that support, Bolton said, it "would be powerfully persuasive in Pyongyang," the North's capital. "They've not yet been willing to do it. I think that China has a heavy responsibility here." [More>>nytimes.com ; See related story, xinhuanet.com, "China: UN move should help peaceful resolution of Korean nuclear issue" : BEIJING (Xinhua) October 15– China hopes the UN Security Council will move to indicate the firm stand of the international community and help create conditions for peaceful solution of the Korean nuclear issue, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said Sunday. Liu made the remark when commenting on the UN Security Council resolution concerning the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on October 9.

China hopes that while representing the firm stand of the international community, the UN Security Council resolution should also create favorable conditions for peacefully solving the issue through dialogue and negotiations, Liu said. The resolution, co-sponsored by the United States and eight other nations, condemns the nuclear test proclaimed by the DPRK, demands that the DPRK eliminate its nuclear weapons and nuclear programs, and imposes sanctions on the DPRK in spheres related to its nuclear, ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction...

10.15.06 Tunisia moves against headscarves

CAIRO, October 15 – The Tunisian authorities have launched a campaign against the Islamic veil worn by some women to cover their hair. Police are applying with renewed vigour a decree dating back to 1981 which prohibits women from wearing Islamic headscarves in public places. In recent days, senior officials have hit out at what they describe as sectarian dress worn by people who use religion to hide political aims. Human rights groups say the move is unconstitutional.

Police in Tunisia have been stopping women on the streets and asking them to remove their headscarves and sign pledges that they will not go back to wearing them. Under a ban introduced in 1981, women in Tunisia are not allowed to wear Islamic dress in schools or government offices. Those who insist on it face losing their jobs. [

10.14.06 Conflict between Moslems and others increases

October 14 – Recent articles show how the conflict between Moslems and the nations where they live is increasing. A pharmicist in Britian refused to dispense medication and in the US, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Somalie cab drivers are refusing to pick up passengers carrying liquor or heading to liquor stores:

telegraph.co.uk, October 14, "Mother is denied pill by Muslim Pharmicist."

(by Kamal Nawash) freemuslims.org, October 12, "Free Muslims condemn Muslim cab drivers who refuse to pick up alcohol carrying passengers" : Recently a dispute arose over a large number of Somali taxi cabdrivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport who are refusing to take passengers who carry wine or alcoholic beverages. These drivers are claiming that Islam prohibits them from driving passengers with alcohol. The cab drivers also asked dispatchers not to call them to pick up passengers heading to liquor stores and bars.

The drivers, whose beliefs are not shared by most Muslims, say the airport should accommodate a deeply held religious tenet. Others say the Muslims are discriminating against people of other faiths and attempting to impose Islamic law on non-Muslims.

For two years the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which regulates taxi service at the airport, had been in discussions with cab drivers about how to accommodate them. The commission said it had agreed to let cabbies use lights on top of the cabs to identify drivers who won't transport alcohol so airport employees could direct passengers with alcohol to a willing driver.

However, the proposal created a public backlash by non-Muslims and Muslims who donıt agree with the cab drivers. Consequently, the commission rejected the proposal. That means those drivers who will not transport alcohol must go to the back of the taxi line which can force a cabbie to wait another three hours for a fare.

Most Muslims donıt agree that cab drivers are prohibited from transporting alcohol. Islam merely prohibits Muslims from drinking alcohol and those drivers are seeking to impose their religious values on others. The Free Muslims Coalition is disgusted by their behavior.

When the cab drivers chose to drive a cab they interred into an agreement to perform a public service that is essential to the economy of any city. They have no right to refuse a fare because the passenger is holding a bottle of wine or other spirits.

The Free Muslims Coalition believes that the cab drivers should be banned all together from picking up passengers at the airport and we would even support the cancellation of their taxi permits.

These Somali drivers are choosing to impose a minority view in Islam on the general population and this is simply unacceptable...

independent.co.uk, October 14, "Attacks on Muslims rise after veils row" : Islamophobic attacks have surged in the past month in the wake of controversial remarks by ministers about British Muslims, say campaign groups. The rise in verbal and physical assaults includes a spate of incidents in which Muslim women have been abused for wearing veils and scarves. They come in the week that the issue was raised by Jack Straw, the Leader of the Commons. Muslim groups blame part of the rise in incidents, which also include assaults, fire bombings and racist e-mails, on comments made by politicians and negative media reporting.

At least six Muslim women have been abused for wearing scarves or veils after Mr. Straw said last week that he asks Muslim women who visit his constituency surgeries in Blackburn to remove their veil. In one incident a Muslim woman aged in her 20s had her hijab or headscarf pulled off her head and thrown to the ground by a young white man while she was at Canning Town Tube station in east London. The attack happened on the same day that a Muslim woman had the veil torn from her face by a white man who uttered racial abuse as she waited at a bus- stop in Liverpool's Toxteth district. Both incidents occurred last Friday - the day after Mr. Straw described the veil as, "a visible statement of separation".

There were also reports that a young Muslim girl wearing a veil in Mr. Straw's Blackburn constituency was confronted by three youths last Friday night. One allegedly threw a newspaper at her and shouted: "Jack has told you to take off your veil." Three days later, a 21-year-old Turkish student told Muslim News that she was standing outside a supermarket in Canterbury, Kent, wearing a hijab when she was verbally abused by a middle-aged white woman. The older woman told her she hated her being in Britain and wanted her to leave...

thenews.com.pk, October 14, "Muslim preacher attacked in Scotland" : LONDON: A Muslim preacher was hurt in an apparently religiously or racially motivated attack inside his mosque in the Scottish city of Glasgow, police, health officials and witnesses said Saturday. Imam Mohammed Shamsuddin, 53, the Bangladeshi imam at the Dawat ul Islam centre in Glasgow, was attacked Friday evening and taken to a hospital for treatment to minor injuries, health officials said.

He was discharged Friday night. Witnesses said the suspect, a white man, shouted abuse at Shamsuddin before punching and kicking him with anything he could lay his hands on, including a safety deposit box and a chair. Strathclyde Police said they were treating the attack as racially motivated. The incident comes after a suspected arson attack on a mosque last week that caused 10,000 pounds (more than 18,000 dollars) worth of damage.

The mosque, which was established by members of the Bangladeshi community, is on the edge of the University of Glasgow campus and is used by Muslim students. Khalid Rehman, a close family friend of the injured imam, said: "A man came into the mosque holding some stones and asked the imam something along the lines of why Allah permits people to be punished with stones." Worshippers who had come to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan were horrified when the man then attacked the imam, witnesses said.

Tommy Sheridan, a member of the autonomous Scottish parliament, said the attack occurred because Muslims were being isolated and demonized by British politicians. He blamed it on the call by the Leader of the Commons (parliament), Jack Straw, for Muslim women to remove their veils and the subsequent failure of Prime Minister Tony Blair and other ministers to condemn his remarks.

10.14.06 Iraq violence leaves many dead

October 14 – At least 27 people have been killed and many more injured in separate incidents in Iraq. Seven of those killed were found decapitated and dumped north of Baghdad in what appeared to be a sectarian revenge killing, police said on Saturday. The decapitated bodies were found in an orchard in the city of Duluiyah, 75km north of Baghdad. Three of the corpses had been among a group of 17 construction workers kidnapped on Thursday while travelling home to the predominantly Shia town of Balad, police said. The corpses of the other 14 workers were found earlier on Friday, also all beheaded. [More>>aljazeera.net ; See other versions: Khaleejtimes.com (AP) October 14, "17 bodies found north of Baghdad," and thenews.com.pk, October 14, "Iraq 26 bodies found, 10 from one family."]

10.14.06 Report: Hamas operatives call for attacks on US targets

October 14 – Hamas operatives have been pushing their leadership to authorize attacks on US targets throughout the Middle East, TIME magazine reported on Friday. According to the N.Y.-based publication, operatives attending a recent meeting of the Islamic group called for strikes against American targets as a response to what they called the Bush administration's hostile policy towards them. Hamas has previously refrained from attacking U.S. targets. Last week, A US volunteer, Michael Philips, was kidnapped near the West Bank village of Nablus and released a day later unharmed by a previously unknown Palestinian group. [More>>haaretz.com ; See time.com October 13 article, "New calls by Hamas militants to target the US."]

10.14.06 Suicide bomb in Afghanistan kills nine

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AFP) October 13 – A suicide car bomb hit a NATO convoy in Afghanistan's southern city of Kandahar Friday, killing a foreign soldier and eight civilians in the latest in a campaign of Taliban attacks. The US convoy was traveling through town to a nearby area where International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) soldiers killed 20 Taliban insurgents a day earlier in a battle involving artillery and war planes. "A vehicle-borne suicide bomber killed eight Afghan civilians in an attack on an ISAF convoy traveling in Kandahar City," an ISAF statement said, adding that two ISAF soldiers and several civilians were also wounded. [More>>metimes.com]

10.13.06 Lakes and more lakes

October 12 – In this image taken by the Cassini radar system, a previously unseen style of lakes is revealed. The lakes here assume complex shapes and are among the darkest seen so far on Titan. The lake at the left is reminiscent both in form and scale of the flooded drainage system, Lake Powell in Utah and Arizona. However, the Titan lake has been filled with liquid methane and ethane rather than water. In the lake at right, older terrain may have been deeply cut by river valleys before it was flooded by the embaying lake. For a different radar view from the same flyby see "Titan's Great Lakes?" .

This radar image was acquired Oct. 9, 2006, and is centered near 80 degrees north latitude, 357 degrees west longitude. It measures about 310 kilometers by 100 kilometers (190 miles by 62 miles). The smallest details in this image are about 500 meters (1,640 feet) across.

10.13.06 Sadr bids to rein in militia as Iraq violence rages

BAGHDAD (AFP) October 13 – Radical cleric Moqtada Al Sadr ordered his Shiite militia not to take part in the wave of sectarian bloodshed sweeping Iraq Friday, as dozens more Iraqis fell to sectarian death squads. Police found the corpses of 36 murder victims on Baghdad's streets Thursday, according to the US-led coalition, after what a military spokesman dubbed a "tremendous spike" in killings in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Iraqi police said that another 14 corpses had been found in a plantation north of the capital, where gunmen had rounded up workers and shot them in the head. Most of the murders are thought to have been carried out by the death squads that roam Iraq, killing with virtual impunity on behalf of the Sunni and Shiite factions vying for control..."There are rumors that there are groups or persons from the Mehdi Army attacking the Iraqi people with no right to do so," Sadr said in a statement bearing his signature distributed by his office in the shrine city of Najaf. "It is not proved so far but, if proved, I will declare their names and will renounce them with no fear or hesitation," he said... [Full story>>metimes.com]

10.13.06 Army chief: I stand by my call for troops to leave Iraq

October 13 – The head of the British Army today insisted today that he would not withdraw his call for British troops to leave Iraq soon, as his candid comments were met with astonishment across the political spectrum. General Sir Richard Dannatt denied that he was at odds with the Prime Minister and said that "a tremendous amount" had been made of his comments in which he warned that the continued presence of British soldiers in Iraq had exacerbated bloodshed at home and abroad.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "It was never my intention to have this hoo-haŠin trying to suggest there is a chasm between myself as head of the Army and the Prime Minister or between myself as head of the Army and the Secretary of State for Defence. My intention is particularly to speak up for what is right for the Army. That is my job. That is my constituency. If some people have chosen to pick up one or two of the comments I have made and tried to make frankly quite a large mountain or chasm out of that then so be it."

10.13.06 Ney pleads guilty over Abramoff bribes

WASHINGTON (AP) October 13 – Rep. Bob Ney pleaded guilty Friday in the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling investigation, the first lawmaker to confess to crimes in a scandal that has stained the Republican-controlled Congress and the Bush administration. Standing before Judge Ellen S. Huvelle, Ney pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements. He acknowledged taking money, gifts and favors in return for official actions on behalf of Abramoff and his clients. The 52-year-old lawmaker faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. Huvelle said prosecutors had agreed to recommend a term of 27 months, and said federal guidelines suggest a fine of between $5,000 and $60,000. [More>>nytimes.com ; See related story, msnbc.msn.com, October 14, "Report says nonprofits sold clout to Abramoff."]

10.13.06 Indonesia appeals for smog help

October 13 – Indonesia has appealed for help in fighting forest and brush fires that have spread smoke over much of Southeast Asia, as environment ministers from five regional neighbors meet in the country for talks. Ministers from Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Brunei are due to hold talks in Pekanbaru, the capital of Indonesia's Riau province. The province itself is badly affected by the raging fires. Indonesia's neighbors are frustrated over Jakarta's inability to deal with the annual dry season blazes. In past weeks they have caused serious air pollution across the region, particularly in Malaysia and Singapore. "We are asking for assistance in terms of equipment or expertise. We will see what they can offer to us," Malam Sambat Kaban, Indonesia's forestry minister, said on Friday.

...Kaban said more than 75 per cent of the fires were not in government-controlled forests but in plantations and farms belonging to private companies and local people. He said that Central Kalimantan on the Indonesian part of Borneo island was the worst hit, with around one million hectares of peat land in one area affected. Peat fires are particularly hard to put out and can burn for months...
[Full story>>aljazeera.net ; See earlier story, Maravot News,
6.28.06 "Pollution, logging 'creating toxic RI'".

10.13.06 Hundreds of Palestinians riot over Temple Mount restrictions

October 13 – Hundreds of Palestinians rioted outside Jerusalem on Friday morning to protest restrictions on Palestinian entry to the Temple Mount for Friday prayers during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Palestinians hurled rocks and bottles at Border Police officers manning the Atarot and A-Ram checkpoints north of Jerusalem and two checkpoints south of Jerusalem. The Border Police dispersed the Palestinians with rubber bullets, batons and stun grenades. There were no injuries reported.

...Security forces are not allowing Palestinian men younger than 40 to participate in Friday prayers at the Temple Mount, fearing disturbances. The restrictions have been in place since Ramadan began three weeks ago, during which time police have also bolstered their presence in the Old City of Jerusalem over the past three weeks. Jerusalem police commander Ilan Franco said Friday that the restrictions on West Bank residents were put in place for "security reasons" and added that no restrictions were placed on Israeli Arabs or East Jerusalem residents...
[Full story>>haaretz.com]

10.13.06 Eight suspects held over rocket plot

ISLAMABAD (AFP) October 13 – Pakistani security forces have arrested eight militants with suspected links to al-Qaeda for an attempted rocket blitz in and around Islamabad, Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao has said. Authorities have also seized other rockets, grenades, explosives and hundreds of sniper rifle rounds in the arrests at undisclosed locations in Pakistan, Mr. Sherpao has said. Mr. Sherpao has not given the identity of the detainees but he has said "indications are that they had links with Al-Qaeda," while another official has said they had visited Afghanistan. "They are all Pakistanis, they are in police custody, we will disclose their names in due course," he has said. [More>>theaustralian.news.com.au]

10.12.06 Gunmen storm Iraqi TV station, kill 11

BAGHDAD (Reuters) October 12 – Gunmen stormed the offices of a new satellite channel in Baghdad on Thursday and killed 11 employees in the biggest attack yet on media in Iraq. Iraqi media organizations, government-run or funded by religious or political groups, are frequent targets for militant groups as attacks by Sunni Arab insurgents and sectarian death squads continue to convulse the country. Elsewhere in Baghdad, a string of bomb blasts killed at least eight people, police said. Hassan Kamil, executive manager of Shaabiya satellite channel, said gunmen raided the stationıs office in eastern Zayouna district at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT), killing guards, technicians and administrative staff. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

10.12.06 DPRK reiterates willingness to realize denuclearization

PYONGYANG (Xinhua) October 11 – A spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the country remained unchanged in its will to denuclearize the peninsula through dialogue and negotiation, despite this week testing a nuclear weapon. He said that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was late President Kim Il Sung's last instruction and an ultimate goal of the DPRK. "The DPRK has exerted every possible effort to settle the nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations, prompted by its sincere desire to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," he said. The DPRK would "feel no need" to possess a single nuclear weapon if the United States "dropped its hostile policy toward the DPRK" and "confidence" was built between the two countries, said the spokesman. [More>>xinhuanet.com]

10.12.06 Briton admits bomb plot against NY exchange

LONDON (Reuters) October 12 – A Briton arrested amid a massive US security alert two years ago admitted in a London court on Thursday to plotting to blow up financial targets in the United States and carry out "dirty bomb" attacks in Britain. Dhiren Barot, a Muslim convert, admitted to plotting to blow up the headquarters of the New York Stock Exchange, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Citigroup and Prudential in Washington, New Jersey and New York. "Explosions at these premises were clearly designed to kill as many people as possible," said prosecuting lawyer Edmund Lawson.

Amid tight security at Woolwich Crown Court in South London, Barot pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder and prosecutors outlined the details of his confession. Barot, looking relaxed and typing on a lap-top, spoke only to affirm his guilt. Apart from the US plot, he planned to hit British targets in a conspiracy called the "Gas Limos Project," which "involved parking three limos with gas cylinders with explosives and detonating them in underground car parks," Lawson said. [

10.12.06 French MPs outrage Turkey by approving genocide bill

October 12 – French MPs have today approved a Bill that makes it a criminal offence to deny that Turkish massacres of Armenians in 1915-17 constituted genocide, causing embarrassment to the French Government and outrage in Turkey. Deputies in the National Assembly voted 106-19 for the bill, which if signed into law, would punish denial with a maximum one-year prison term and a fine of up to €45,000 (£30,000). After the vote, the French government stressed that it valued close ties with Turkey and said that it would continue to oppose the motion, which needs to be ratified by the upper house Senate.

"This is just the beginning of a long legislative process. At each stage, the government will continue to make known its position on this proposed Bill, which appears unnecessary and untimely," a Foreign Ministry statement said. "We are very attached to dialogue with Turkey as well as the solid ties of friendship and cooperation which unite our countries." Today's vote caused outrage in Turkey where it has dominated the front pages, with some newspapers reporting that thousands of Turks have promised to go to France and deny genocide in hopes of getting arrested if the bill passes.
[More>>timesonline.co.uk ; See also turkishpress.com (AFP)October 12, "Turkey's Armenians distrust French genocide bill."]

10.12.06 Moscow banker shot dead in professional contract hit

October 12 – The wave of contract killings sweeping Russia has continued with the latest victim being murdered, execution-style, in the hallway of his apartment block. Alexander Plokhin, 58, a bank manager at the state-owned Vneshtorgbank, was shot dead on Tuesday night as he returned home to his riverside apartment and stepped out of the lift. He was killed by a single shot to his head. Police say they have no doubt his murder was a professional hit.

Mr. Plokhin was a former member of Moscow's parliament and his bank, Vneshtorgbank, is due to float on the London Stock Exchange next year. His killing is the fourth high-profile "hit" in the past month. Over the weekend, the investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya was found shot dead at her Moscow apartment. Other victims have included Andrei Kozlov, the deputy head of the Central Bank, and Enver Ziganshin, a chief engineer for a Russian oil firm. The perpetrators usually go unidentified. The Russian media is doubtful the person who killed Ms. Politkovskaya will be caught. Ramzan Kadyrov, the Prime Minister of Chechnya, who has been named in the media as a possible suspect, has issued a strong denial. He said: "She was a woman and I would never stoop so low as to settle a score with a woman."

10.11.06 N. Korea warns of 'physical' retaliation; South may bolster military

SEOUL (AFP) October 11 – North Korea warned on Wednesday it would physically retaliate to increased US pressure on the communist regime, while South Korea reportedly prepared for a possible nuclear conflict amid spiralling tensions in Asia. "If the US keeps pestering us and increases pressure, we will regard it as a declaration of war and will take a series of physical corresponding measures," the Northıs Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. "We are ready for both dialogue and confrontation," the North said.

The rising unease in Northeast Asia comes after communist Pyonyang shocked the world on Monday by claiming to have conducted its first nuclear bomb test, triggering a US-backed campaign to have the UN Security Council sanction the country. Even along the razor-wired no-manıs-land separating the divided Koreas, communist troops on the Northıs side were more boldly trying to provoke their Southern rivals in the wake of the underground atomic blast, a US military spokesman said. The North Koreans have stepped up their usual attempts to needle their South Korean counterparts: spitting across the demarcation line, making throat-slashing hand gestures, flashing their middle finger and trying to talk to the troops. [
More>>khaleejtimes.com ; See related story, koreaherald.co.kr, October 11, N. Korea says additional tests depend on US reaction." : Pyongyang's deputy leader said that whether North Korea conducts additional nuclear tests would depend on US policy, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported yesterday. Kim Yong-nam, North Korea's second-ranked leader, made the remarks in an interview with Kyodo in Pyongyang. Kim also reiterated North Korea's position that it would return to stalled six-party talks on its nuclear program if the United States ended its financial sanctions on the North...

10.11.06 Bush says US does not plan to attack North Korea

WASHINGTON (AP) October 11 – President Bush called Wednesday for stiff sanctions on North Korea for its reported nuclear test and asserted that the United States has ''no intention of attacking'' the reclusive regime. In a Rose Garden news conference, Bush said the United States remains committed to diplomacy, but also "reserves all options to defend our friends in the region." He also vowed increased military cooperation with allies, including bolstering ballistic missile defenses in the region and increased efforts to prevent Pyongyang from importing missile and nuclear technology.

As Bush spoke, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the United States to hold one-on-one talks with North Korea, something the U.S. has refused to do. Bush rejected criticism from Democrats that his administration had not paid enough attention to the brewing North Korean nuclear crisis, saying that Pyongyang had turned its back on a 1994 deal negotiated by the Clinton administration.

10.11.06 FBI agents still lacking Arabic skills

October 11 – Five years after Arab terrorists attacked the United States, only 33 FBI agents have even a limited proficiency in Arabic, and none of them work in the sections of the bureau that coordinate investigations of international terrorism, according to new FBI statistics.

Counting agents who know only a handful of Arabic words – including those who scored zero on a standard proficiency test – just 1 percent of the FBI's 12,000 agents have any familiarity with the language, the statistics show. The numbers reflect the FBI's continued struggle to attract employees who speak Arabic, Urdu, Farsi and other languages of the Middle East and South Asia, even as the bureau leads a fight against terrorist groups primarily centered in those parts of the world. The same challenge is facing the CIA and other agencies as the government competes with the private sector for a limited number of applicants with foreign-language proficiency, according to U.S. officials and experts.

10.11.06 US student kidnapped in West Bank, boss says

NABLUS, West Bank (AP) October 11 – An American student teaching in West Bank refugee camps was reported missing Wednesday, and his project manager said he had been kidnapped. A blurred copy of a passport and student card carrying the name Michael Leighton Phillips was obtained by The Associated Press in Gaza. Palestinian security said they did not know of such a group and could not confirm that the American had been abducted. Samah Atout, manager of Project Hope, said she received a call saying Phillips had been kidnapped. She refused to give further details. [More>>cnn.com]

10.11.06 655,000 Iraqis have died as a result of invasion: study

PARIS, October 11 – US researchers estimate that 655,000 Iraqis, or around one in 40 of the Iraq population, have died as a result of the 2003 invasion of their country, according to a study to be published on Thursday by the British journal The Lancet. In October 2004, a paper also published in The Lancet calculated that almost 100,000 deaths had occurred in Iraq between March 2003 and September 2004 as a result of violence and heart attack and aggravated health problems. Updating this, a team led by Gilbert Burnham of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, sought to make an estimate of deaths in the post-invasion period from March 2003 to June 2006, and compared the mortality before the invasion, from January 2002 to January 2003. [More>>turkishpress.com]

10.11.06 Egypt reports new human case of bird flu

CAIRO (AFP) October 11 – The Egyptian health ministry said Wednesday that it had detected a new case of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, the first since May, the official news agency MENA reported. Hanan Abul Magd, 39, from the northern delta province of Gharbiya was tested positive for bird flu after suffering from high fever and shortness of breath. Her case brings to 15 the total number of human bird flu cases since the virus was first detected in February in Egypt. Six cases turned out to be fatal and eight people recovered after being treated with Tamiflu. [More>>metimes.com]

10.11.06 Baghdad: Mortars destroy US ammo dump

October 11 – A blaze that destroyed an ammunition dump at a US military base in Baghdad was caused by a mortar attack, a US spokesman has said. Iraqi officials said that shells "cooking off" in the fire had crashed down in five districts in the south of the city. The munitions store in Forward Operating Base Falcon was still burning Wednesday, more than 13 hours after the strike set off a blaze that lit up the night sky and spread panic in the Iraqi capital. State television showed live pictures of the blazing inferno and ordnance exploding skywards.

US Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Withington: "It was a mortar round. An ammunition holding area caught on fire... in our operating base in the Rasheed area of the city." He said the ammunition store contained tank and artillery rounds as well as small arms ammunition. While there were no reports of US casualties, the explosions marked a rare success for mortar teams working for militia and insurgent groups, which rarely cause much damage to well-protected US facilities. Military and civilian personnel were evacuated from Forward Operating Base Falcon without injury.


05.23.06 Architect of New War on the West and Bin Laden via As-Sahab website
02.08.06 Iran misunderstanding – "Holocaust" means "whole burnt offering"
09.11.05 When a nation lacks a competent leader it invites disaster – the legacy of Bush
08.13.05 "Using force the George W. Bush way – Bush's crusade"
07.27.05 New security system for Temple Mount: Why the Dome of the Rock is threatened
03.24.05 Temple Mount controversy
02.19.05 'Dog-Deer' clan seen as common Chinese ancestor – relates to European Paleolithic Lion-Deer
02.15.05 Bush & Rice affects upon Iran's liaisons: it's all about oil and gas
12.23.04 US is losing war of ideas
12.21.04 United States attacking itself from behind
Why the Crusade & Jihad?


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