An aid and quick archive to help you track the news as it impacts your life;
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Maravot News of the World
2:46 PM – San Francisco
Wed, Feb 9, 2005
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Faces of the Fallen – Iraq
(photos and names of the fallen)

Metric Conversion

kilometer: 0.6214 mile
meter: 39.37 inches
centimetre: 0.3937 inch
millimetre: 0.03937 inch
foot: 30.48 cm
Br. stone: 14 pounds
kilogram: 2.2046 pounds
litre: 1.0567 US quarts
hectare: 2.471 acres
– 1 djerib (Turkey)
– 1 jerib (Iran)
– 1 gong qing (China)
0° Celcius: = 32° F

Federal Debt vs GDP– Click image for larger view. (OMB)

Chart showing National Debt & Annual Deficits w/ Presidents. Click chart for larger image.

Interest exceeds Group A outlays. Click chart for larger image.

Gross Domestic Products. Click chart for larger image.

Blogs, news & stuff
Worth frequent visits

Intrnational Agencies – News

IRIN News, Africa & Asia
Power & Interest News Report

Osama bin Laden fatwas.
This monster's own words will
lead to his destruction
Definition of fatwa (fatwah)
Maravot News Comment


August 1996

Maps of interest

Click on maps for larger image
Iraq and neighbors
Afghanistan & neighbors
Kazakhstan & neighbors

Historical map of Israel. Figure 2 shows the area allocated to
Israel by the UN in 1948. Compare to Israel' s interactive map below of its controversial security wall

Israel's Security Fence. Click on image for larger view.

(AP photo) Click photo for story

Middle East Watch

Middle East Times



Kurdo's World (Blog)
Iraq the Model (Blog) (Iraq)
Iran Focus (Iran)

Middle East Newsline
Jerusalem Post

Haaretz Daily
Palestine Chronicle
Daily Star (Lebanon) (Qatar)

Russia Watch


East Asia Watch


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

Duty & Profit, Nov. 1994
Against Leviathan, Jan. 1993
Immoral Coercion, Dec. 1994
Philistia Triumph thou
because of me
, Dec. 1993

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Classics on-line

Juvenal, Sixteen Satires
Joinville & Villechardouin,
Chronicles of the Crusades
The Gallic Wars
Memorabilia (Xenophon)
The Offices (Cicero)
The Secret History

links & works

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11.11.04 - 11.15.04
11.07.04 - 11.10.04
11.02.04 - 11.06.04
10.25.04 -10.31.04

News Headlines & Trends

2.08.05 Suicide bomber kills 21 in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Feb. 8 – A suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of Iraqis outside an army recruitment center today, killing 21 other people and injuring 27 more, the U.S. military said. It was the deadliest attack in the Iraqi capital since last week's election.

There were conflicting reports about the attack, which occurred at an Iraqi National Guard headquarters at the Muthana airfield. Iraqi officials blamed the explosion on mortar fire and officials at Baghdad's Yarmouk Hospital said they had received 16 bodies from the scene, all of them army recruits. But witnesses reported only one explosion, and the U.S. military said the blast was caused by a suicide bomber. The al-Qaida in Iraq terror group, led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for the attack in an Internet statement.
[More>>; see also "A suicide bomber killed at least 21 people and wounded nearly 30 outside an Iraqi security forces recruitment center in Baghdad Tuesday."

2.08.05 The big picture may seem rosy, but the deficit is in the details

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 – Edmund L. Andrews and David E. Rosenbaum report on the US Budget: "The large tables in President Bush's new budget show he intends to keep his promise of slicing the federal deficit in half by the end of his term, but the fine print indicates that the goal may be elusive. The budget is notable for including limits on spending that are unlikely to be enacted and for excluding expenses that are sure to be incurred. Here are the most important points:

– It assumes that all discretionary spending outside of military and domestic security - everything from paperclips to space shuttles - will be frozen for the next five years.

– It includes no spending for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006. Those costs are now running about $5 billion a month and are likely to continue at some level in the 2006 fiscal year and beyond.

– It omits the initial cost of Mr. Bush's Social Security plan, which would let people divert some of their payroll taxes to private saving accounts. Administration officials estimate the plan would cost $23 billion in 2009 and $754 billion over the next decade.

– It leaves out the cost of reining in the Alternative Minimum Tax, a tax that was created to affect the nation's wealthiest taxpayers but is now ensnaring millions of moderate-income families as incomes rise with inflation...."

2.08.05 Saudis win backing for anti-terror center

RIYADH (Reuters) Feb. 8 – Security officials from 50 countries Tuesday endorsed a Saudi Arabian plan to create an international counter-terrorism center. But basic details were left to be decided later, including what exactly such a center should do, who would pay for it, and whether it should be based in Switzerland, New York or elsewhere..."The main thing is that Saudi Arabia, which was considered since 9/11 as perhaps the home country of a certain kind of terrorism, is not only taking measures inside the country but playing an important role internationally to fight it," a European official said. [More>>]

2.08.05 Mexico's Fox increases security

Feb. 8 – Mexican President Vicente Fox has boosted his personal security after reports that an adviser leaked details of his travel plans to a drug cartel. Mr. Fox said the cartels had managed to penetrate the Mexican government at the highest levels, but that he would not let the traffickers defeat the state. Nahum Acosta, a senior member of the team organizing Mr. Fox's official trips, was arrested last Thursday. There has recently been a surge in drug-related killings in Mexico. [More>>]

2.08.05 Sharon and Abbas declare end to four years of hostilities

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Feb. 8 – Echoing the words of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas moments before, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Tuesday announced an agreement to end more than four years of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians. "Today, in my meeting with Chairman Abbas, we agreed that all Palestinians will stop all acts of violence against all Israelis everywhere, and, at the same time, Israel will cease all its military activity against all Palestinians everywhere," Sharon said at the close of a day-long summit in the Red Sea resort town. [More>>; see also Jerusalem Post]

2.08.05 Hamas says not bound by Palestinian ceasefire

Feb. 8 – GAZA CITY (AFP) Feb 8 – Palestinian Islamist militant movement Hamas said Tuesday that it was not bound by the cease fire announced by Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas at a Middle East peace summit in Egypt. Abbas's declaration "expresses only the position of the Palestinian Authority. It does not express the position of the Palestinian movements," said Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri. In Beirut, Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdaneh said the cease fire pledge "does not commit the Palestinian resistance." [More>>; tip from]

2.08.05 PA official: IDF to quit five West Bank cities within three weeks

Feb.8 – Israel Defense Forces troops will complete their hand over of five West Bank cities to Palestinian control within three weeks, Palestinian negotiator Hassan Abu Libdeh said Tuesday, releasing a timetable for the first time. The hand over schedule was agreed on at Tuesday's Sharm el-Sheikh summit between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. [More>>]

2.08.05 China develops bird flu vaccine

BEIJING, Feb. 8 – China's agriculture ministry said its scientists have developed a new vaccine to prevent the spread of the killer bird flu, the Chinese news agency Xinhua said, quoting a report in China Daily yesterday. It said the ministry stated that the new vaccine can effectively ³cut a key link in the transmission chain of the highly pathogenic avian influenza among water fowl.² Using a technique called reverse genetics, scientists at the Key Laboratory of Animal Influenza, affiliated to Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, altered the genome sequence of the virus to construct a vaccine that is believed to be safe to both poultry and mammals. [More>> via]

2.08.05 EU joins forces to fight spam – the majority originates from the US

Feb. 7 – The EU has called for closer coordination among all member governments to find and prosecute those illegally spreading unsolicited bulk commercial email – the majority of which originate from the US. Viviane Reding, the EU commissioner in charge of new media and information society, also announced that "anti-spam enforcement authorities" in 13 EU countries had agreed to cooperate in investigating complaints against spammers. [More>>Al-Jezeera]

2.08.05 Rice calls for 'New Chapter' in US-Euro alliance

PARIS, Feb. 8 -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Tuesday for Europe and the United States to turn away from past disagreements and focus on spreading their common democratic values to the Middle East and around the world, saying recent developments show that "we've only just begun to see what freedom can achieve." In a speech billed as her first major foreign policy address since taking over as secretary of state for President Bush's second term, Rice echoed the themes of Bush's inaugural call to promote democracy abroad as a way to fight Islamic radicals, who she said are "swimming against the tide of the human spirit."

"Freedom by its very nature must be homegrown," Rice said. "It cannot be given, and it certainly cannot be imposed." But she added, "Spreading freedom in the Arab and Muslim worlds is urgent work that cannot be deferred..."America stands ready to work with Europe on our common agenda -- and Europe must stand ready to work with America," Rice said. "After all, history will surely judge us not by our disagreements, but by our new achievements." [More>>; see also and for the French take on the story.

2.08.05 Indonesia considers leaving Opec

Feb. 8 – Indonesia is reviewing its status in the oil-producers' club as dwindling production is pushing it closer to becoming a net importer, the country's energy minister said. Purnomo Yusgiantoro was quoted in the Jakarta Post newspaper as saying that a consideration to withdraw from Opec (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) would be carefully weighed. Analysts warned that such a move could backfire and cause foreign investment in the beleaguered sector to decrease further as the country is looking to boost interest. [More>>Al-Jazeera]

2.08.05 EU largest trading partner of Pakistan: EU Ambassador

KARACHI, Feb. 8 – The European Union is the largest trading partner of Pakistan and the overall trade between the two is 5.1 billion Euros. This was stated by the Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan, Likka Uusitalo. [More>>]

2.08.05 Iran to resolve problems with US

TEHRAN, Feb. 8 – Iran's top nuclear negotiator said on Tuesday that Tehran wants to resolve decades of differences with the United States but warned that a US military strike would not be able to destroy its nuclear facilities. "We are not seeking tension with the United States," Hasan Rowhani told the state-run television. "We are seeking to resolve our problems with America but it's the Americans who don't want problems be resolved." "There is no problem in today's world that can't be resolved," he insisted. [More>>]

2.08.05 Toll in Asian tsunami disaster tops 295,000

JAKARTA, Feb. 8 – JAKARTA - The number of people believed killed in December's tsunami disaster topped 295,000, six weeks after the catastrophe, as Indonesia again increased its number of dead. Indonesia was hardest-hit by the December 26 quake and tsunamis, with a total of 242,347 people listed as dead or missing, the health ministry said in its latest figures. [More>>China Daily]

2.08.05 Seoul stocks hit 5-year high

Feb. 8 – Korean stock prices rose to their highest level in five years yesterday lifted by broad gains on Wall Street after a weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs date eased concerns that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rate at a faster pace. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index closed up 1.68 percent to 949.19, its highest close since Feb. 11, 2000. The tech-heavy Kosdaq climbed 3.4 percent to 481.40, a level not seen since April. Chip makers rose to multi-month highs, mirroring a rally by their U.S. peers boosted by optimism over the outlook of the sector. [More>>]

2.08.05 Russia-Ukraine: a reply to Russian liberals

Feb. 8 – Political scientist Dmitry Yevstafyev prepared an interesting editorial, reflecting on the contest between the US / EU and Russia in influencing the election in the Ukraine, and concludes that regardless what happened, Russia was right: "... I will make a very unpopular conclusion now, against which the whole of the "progressive community" will protest: Russia acted correctly in [the] Ukraine, and its strategic choice was right, including and most importantly, from the view of morality... The main conclusion is simple: We must not hope that the West will respect Russia's interests in the post-Soviet countries. Hence, we can act symmetrically, gearing our actions to possibilities and interests and disregarding Europe's and America's opinion of the future of democracy in the former Soviet states. Eurasia is entering a period of harsh and sometimes ruthless politics, as the death of Zurab Zhvania showed. And we must be ready to talk with our partners in this language, which they apparently understand better than our calls to dialogue. As for [the] Ukraine, let it go where it wants – or stand where it is standing now. We should take two simple, if not primitive, steps..." [More>>]

We refused to beg concessions from a leader who did not want to and could not be pro-Russian. We clearly, without nuances, outlined our position and adhered to it to the last, even when it became clear that Viktor Yanukovich was losing the race. This ability to fight to the last, without betraying allies, has always been a national trait in Russia, and I am happy that this trait, rather than the party/nomenclature ability to betray each and all, marked Russian policy during the presidential election in Ukraine.

2.08.05 Japan close to accepting US mad cow proposal

TOKYO, Feb. 8 – Japan moved a step closer Tuesday to removing a near 14-month ban on U.S. beef imports as a government panel studying mad cow disease agreed to accept the age verification method proposed by the United States. The panel's judgment is expected to allow the Food Safety Commission in the Cabinet Office to go ahead with the revision of the current domestic policy to a system that excludes animals aged 20 months or younger. [More>>]

2.08.05 Beijing's military buildup races ahead

Feb. 7 – An editorial by Richard Halloran says: "...Where many American and Asian analysts said before that China would be able to mount a credible threat between 2010 and 2015, now they are saying it will come earlier, perhaps by 2006 and certainly by 2012." [More>>]

2.08.05 Ex-residents want Russian-held isles back

Feb. 8 – Japanese who used to live on the islands of Shikotan, Kunashiri and Etorofu and the Habomai islets will only accept the total return of the territories from Russia, not just two of the islands as Moscow is proposing, according to Toshio Koizumi, chairman of a group of former islanders. "Our principle to collectively seek the return of the four islands that originally belonged to Japan is unshakable," Koizumi said in an interview. "Any proposal other than a return of all four islands cannot be accepted." [More>>]

2.08.05 US, Japan begin talks on developing missile defense system

WASHINGTON (Kyodo News) Feb. 8 – Japan and the United States have started talks to move the ongoing joint development of a missile defense system to the development stage, a U.S. Defense Department official said Monday. The talks came after the Pentagon decided to embark on the development in fiscal 2007 of an enhanced version of its independently developed Standard Missile 3 interceptor, the official said. The two nations have been jointly researching the enhanced version. [More>>]

2.08.05 Lost city is 'not Kota Gelanggi'

JOHOR BARU, Feb. 8 – The Johor government agrees that there is a lost city in the state but is disputing its name. As the mystery of the site deepens, Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said there was a historic city in Johor located within the deep jungles of Kota Tinggi but it was not Kota Gelanggi. He said based on historical facts and archaeological finds over the past 10 years by the state heritage foundation Yayasan Warisan Johor, there was evidence that the historic city in Kota Tinggi is Kota Klang Kiu or Ganggayu. The search for the lost city drew nationwide interest after The Star broke the story last week, prompting the Federal Government to say it would be given top priority. [More>>]

2.08.05 Kausalyan death toll rises to six

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Feb. 8 – The death toll from last night's attack on a LTTE group in Welikanda has risen to six with the death of former TNA Ampara district MP A. Chandra Nehru this morning at the Colombo National Hospital. The LTTE¹s eastern political head E. Kausalyan and four other senior LTTE cadres were killed and four others including the former MP and two policemen were injured when their vehicle was ambushed, allegedly by Karuna loyalists, at Punani in government-held Welikanda. [More>>]

2.08.05 Death toll up in Jolo revolt; police on heightened alert

ZAMBOANGA, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines, Feb. 8 – A rebellion entered its second day on the southern Philippines island of Jolo Tuesday as the toll neared 50 dead, military officials said...Brigadier General Agustin Dema-ala, chief of the military's anti-terrorism Task Force Comet, told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo by phone that ³over 30² rebels were killed in the clashes...17 soldiers were killed while 26 others were wounded. Dema-ala however admitted that the military had recovered the bodies of only five rebels. Skirmishes were reported around the town of Panamao between several hundred followers of Nur Misuari, a politician and former Muslim separatist guerrilla leader, and Philippine security forces...The Abu Sayyaf kidnapped several European and US tourists several years ago, reportedly raising millions of dollars in ransom for some of the hostages...Misuari is now detained at a police camp south of Manila while on trial for rebellion. [More>>]

2.07.05 Bomb materials 'inside tsunami aid'

Feb. 7 – The Sri Lankan military has accused a relief group of trying to smuggle bomb-making materials hidden in goods - probably sent from Britain - intended for tsunami survivors in areas controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels. Port authorities found thousands of small steel balls hidden in water pots in a shipping container that consigned to the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation, the army reported.

Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels, who fought a two-decade civil war against the government, are known for loading suicide bombs with metal balls to cause maximum damage. The rebels control a large area in the ethnic Tamil-majority north and have authorized the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation to co-ordinate tsunami relief work there. The military web site said the balls "could be used for production of bombs or explosives". The report said the pots, believed to have been shipped from Britain, were being held for investigation.
[More>> via]

2.07.05 Indonesian Navy, Lapan to produce missiles

JAKARTA (Antara) Feb. 8 – The Indonesian Navy and the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (Lapan) signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday to develop missile to reduce the dependency on foreign weapons. "We are very dependent on foreign weapons. It is very harmful not to be able to operate our weapons just because we are under an embargo," Navy Chief of Staff Adm. Bernard Kent Sondakh said. "The missiles will be for defensive purposes only," he added. [More>>]

2.07.05 US Navy commander says Indonesia ties improving

SINGAPORE (Reuters) Feb. 8 – Washington's tsunami relief in Indonesia's ravaged Aceh province has paved the way for stronger ties between the United States and the world's most populous Muslim country, a U.S. Navy commander said on Monday. Many Indonesians were initially suspicious of the U.S. soldiers who arrived in Aceh a week after the Dec. 26 Indian Ocean tsunami but that attitude changed over a few weeks, said U.S. Navy Rear Admiral William Douglas Crowder. "There was quite frankly a lot of suspicion when the U.S. military first arrived," said the commander of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group, which is made up of an aircraft carrier, a cruiser, two destroyers and a supply ship. [More>>]

2.07.05 US redesigning nation's atomic weapons: report

NEW YORK (PTI) Feb. & – American scientists, worried that the nation's ageing nuclear arsenal is becoming increasingly fragile, have begun designing a new generation of nuclear arms meant to be sturdier and more reliable and to have longer lives, a media report said today. The programme could help shrink the arsenal and the high cost of its maintenance, it said quoting federal officials and private experts.

But critics were quoted as saying it could needlessly resuscitate the complex of factories and laboratories that make nuclear weapons and could possibly ignite a new arms race. So far, the 'New York Times' report said, the quiet effort involves only nine million dollars for warhead designers at the nation's three nuclear weapon laboratories, Los Alamos, Livermore and Sandia.
[More>>Press Trust of India]

2.07.05 Khan helped Iran, North Korea in nuke technology: report

NEW YORK (PTI) Feb. 7 – As the US tries to ascertain whether Pakistan scientist A. Q. Khan's network sold nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, investigations have found that the network played a "bigger role" in helping Iran and North Korea in their efforts to acquire nuclear know-how than had been previously disclosed.
Describing the list of Khan's suspected nuclear clients as "dizzying", a report published in the latest issue of 'Time' magazine said that as head of Pakistan's nuclear research laboratory, the scientist traveled all over the world for more than a decade, visiting countries in Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East.

The investigators of the United States and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) believe that Khan also travelled to Saudi Arabia and Egypt and to such African countries as Sudan, Ivory Coast and Niger, the news magazine says.
[More>>Press Trust of India; see also]

2.07.05 Assailants take over Spanish consulate in Switzerland

BERN, Switzerland, Feb. 7 – Three unidentified assailants took over the Spanish consulate Monday in Bern, injuring a security guard, authorities said. Spain's foreign minister reportedly said the crisis ended after three hours, but Swiss police said it was unclear if the hostage takers were still in the consulate building and that authorities were trying to contact them. "According to our latest information, the hostage situation still isn't over,'' said Juerg Mosimann, spokesman for Bern cantonal (state) police.

Three assailants – believed to be armed with knives and a handgun – stormed the consulate in the Swiss capital shortly before 8 a.m. (0700GMT), police said. Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said none of the consulate's Spanish staffers was hurt, according to Spanish news agency Efe. Moratinos said that three people of unknown nationality had gone in wearing masks, trying to commit a robbery, Efe reported.

2.07.05 Bush budget emphasizes military, security spending

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 – President Bush today proposed a $2.6-trillion budget that continues the reordering of government spending to emphasize military funding and domestic security that has marked his tenure, while seeking cuts across a wide swath of the nation's domestic needs. Under the spending plan for fiscal 2006, beginning Oct. 1, 2005, that the president sent to Congress, the deficit would drop to $390 billion from the $427 billion forecast for this year. [More>>; see also Reuters, "Bush proposes big cuts to rein in deficit,": "President Bush on Monday proposed a $2.57 trillion budget that slashes domestic programs from farm aid to housing grants for the poor, as he sought to curb budget deficits that have soared on his watch. Democrats derided Bush's plan as a 'hoax' because it excludes future costs for the Iraq conflict and massive borrowing required for his proposal to add private investment accounts to Social Security." See also article.]

2.07.05 Japan's Takeda buys California biotechnology company

TOKYO, Feb. 7 – Japan's largest drug maker, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., said Monday it will acquire Syrrx Inc., a privately held California biotechnology company working on treatments for cancer and diabetes. Takeda will buy San Diego-based Syrrx for about $270 million (euro210 million) in cash, Takeda said.

The purchase will give Takeda access to high-level talent and new medical research innovations. The Japanese company was also eager to have a research base in the United States, the world's largest pharmaceutical market and a center for medical research. "We have a pressing need to strengthen our new drug development,'' Takeda President Yasuchika Hasegawa said in a statement. Takeda has been trying to add new drugs to its product line in a bid to stay competitive and prepare for the patent expirations of older drugs.

2.07.05 14 soldiers killed in clashes with Misuari men in Phillipines

Feb. 8 – Fourteen soldiers have been killed while over a dozen have been wounded after followers of detained former rebel leader Nur Misuari attacked several military installations in Sulu island on Monday, a military spokesman said. Thirteen soldiers were killed after Misuari's followers and Abu Sayyaf members ambushed Marine Battalion Landing Team 5 in Barangay (village) Pansul in Patikul town at 1:35 p.m., Lieutenant Colonel Buenaventura Pascual said. Fourteen other soldiers were wounded in the assault on the military truck, Pascual said. "Pursuit operations are ongoing," the military spokesman said, adding that they had yet to account for rebel casualties. [More>> via bignewsnetwork]

2.07.05 India begins AIDS vaccine trials on humans

NEW DELHI (Reuters) Feb. 7 – India, home to the world's second-largest HIV population after South Africa, began its first ever human trials of a new vaccine against the deadly virus on Monday, the Health Minister said. A vaccine – the best hope for the developing world where drugs remain out of reach for millions – is considered the Holy Grail in the battle against the AIDS epidemic, but efforts to find one have been hampered by HIV's uncanny ability to mutate. Human trials of vaccines against different strains of the virus are already being conducted in the United States, Europe, Africa and South America. [More>>]

2.07.05 Saudi women spectators in male-only landmark vote

RIYADH, Feb. 7 – Saudi women will be left in the spectators' gallery on Thursday when their husbands, brothers and fathers head to polling centres to cast their vote in the first round of landmark municipal elections. Posters of aspiring male candidates for Riyadh¹s municipal council have sprouted in the streets of the capital, accompanied by invitations for men to visit their campaigning centres. "I cannot help but feel wronged for not participating," a Saudi woman told AFP, describing her feeling when she passes billboards promoting candidates. The elections to choose half the members of 178 local councils across the conservative Muslim kingdom will take place in three phases, kicking off in Riyadh and its surrounding area on Thursday. [More>>]

2.07.05 Astrological order not correct in 2004

Feb. 7 – The assassination of the president of the USA, a major terrorist act in London, a new terrible disease that will destroy thousands of people, the increase of Vladimir Putin and Sergey Ivanov's popularity. This is an incomplete list of the events that mankind is in for in the new year, according to the astrologers. And it does not actually matter if their predictions come true or not. It was earlier that astrologers simply informed people. Now they have a much wider range of tasks.

At the beginning of the year the German Paranormal Research Society checked 90 predictions taken at random that had been made by astrologers for 2004. It turned out that none of them had come true. George Bush junior has not become the victim of a terrorist act and has not lost in the elections, Los Angeles has not been destroyed by an asteroid, mushrooms have not mutated and come to parasitize on man, finally, the world has not become the object of a super-attack launched by hackers – the creators of an unusually powerful and invincible super virus. However, these failures have not told upon the reputation of the astrologers and interest in them.

2.07.05 Suicide bombers kill 27 people in Iraq

Feb. 8 – Suicide bombers killed 27 people in attacks in two Iraqi cities on Monday in the worst violence since the country's historic election eight days ago. As the counting of votes continued following the Jan. 30 polls, a Kurdish coalition moved into second place, pushing a bloc led by interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi into third. A Shiite alliance is still well in the lead.

At least 15 civilians were killed and 17 wounded when a suicide car bomb exploded outside the main police headquarters in the town of Baquba, northeast of Baghdad. Al-Qaeda's wing in Iraq, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for both blasts and vowed further attacks on "apostates and their masters," an apparent reference to U.S.-led forces and the Iraqis who work with them.

2.07.05 Israel says Iran is best dealt with diplomatically

Feb. 8 – Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday that Israel favored diplomatic pressure over military means to prevent Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. Speaking to Israel Radio after a meeting with Rice, who was on a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Occupied Territories, Mofaz said that "at the moment the efforts must be diplomatic". He added: "The way to act, the most acceptable way for us and the Americans is to use the diplomatic track to bring this issue to the (United Nations) Security Council and issue sanctions." His comments were in step with Rice's policy. She said last week that a military attack on Iran was not on the agenda. [More>>]

2.07.05 Shalom praises France for role in Iran nuclear negotiations

Feb. 7 – Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom on Monday praised France's role in seeking to persuade Iran to drop a nuclear enrichment program which Israel, the United States and others say is aimed at producing nuclear weapons. During a visit by French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier, Shalom urged the rest of Europe to follow France's lead in dealing with Iran. "We are very encouraged with the French determination to bring full cessation to Iran's efforts to develop a nuclear bomb," Shalom said. "I ask my French colleague maybe to convince his other colleagues among the European Union to adopt the same determination." [More>>]

2.07.05 Shalom praises France for role in Iran nuclear negotiations

Feb. 7 – Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas are to issue separate statements in Sharm e-Sheikh Tuesday designed to put an end to over four years of violence, even though the term "Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire" will not be used. Representatives from both sides were meeting near midnight Monday putting final touches on the ceremony that will be hosted by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and will also be attended by Jordanian King Abdullah II. [More>>Jerusalem post and]

2.07.05 EU demands to stop Iran's atomic plans rejected

LONDON, Feb. 7 – Iran, accused by Washington of developing nuclear arms, has rejected European demands to abandon key atomic processes that could be used to make weapons, Iranian and western diplomats say.

On the eve of a third round of talks with Iran in Geneva on Tuesday, France, Britain and Germany are faced with the task of persuading Iran to transform a temporary suspension of its nuclear fuel production programme into a permanent cessation, Reuters reported.


2.04.05 Japan's 1st case of human mad cow disease confirmed

TOKYO, Feb. 4 – The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said Friday it has confirmed Japan's first case of the human variant of mad cow disease in a Japanese man who died in December. The ministry suspects the patient in his 50s was infected with the variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease in Britain where he had stayed for about a month around 1989 while the country was in the midst of an outbreak of mad cow disease.

''All patients diagnosed with the variant disease outside of Europe had a history of staying in Britain and it is very likely that this patient was also infected there,'' said Tohoku University professor Tetsuyuki Kitamoto, who heads the ministry's experts committee on CJD and other diseases.

1.07.05 Sinclair Broadcasting to sue webloggers

The following was posted on a Americablog Jan. 7:

"The evil Sinclair broadcasting group, the group that planned to run the entire anti-Kerry attack film on their TV stations around the country right before the election, has threatened to sue David Brock's MediaMatters AND they've threatened to sue ANYONE who JOINS MEDIA MATTERS EMAIL LIST!

Here's my favorite quote from Sinclair's release:

Although Sinclair respects the rights of these organizations to voice their opinions, we find inappropriate that their tactics include advocating their constituency to contact our advertisers in a blatant attempt to use economic pressure to censor the speech of Sinclair. Moreover, the continued misrepresentation of the facts surrounding any company's advertising practices regarding Sinclair stations constitutes "trade defamation" which would entitle Sinclair to seek damages in a court of law. Sinclair will aggressively pursue any organization or any individual which engages in such defamation, including individuals who lend their names to mass e-mail campaigns spreading such misinformation.

Oh man. Make. My. Day."

The Sinclair Press Release is at: See also and others.


12.23.04 US is losing war of ideas
12.21.04 United States attacking itself from behind


(2) The name, Allah, in Arabic is an expression of surprise. It is not unusual for the God of the Bible to be known by many names . Jewish Midrash quotes passages in the Old Testament (Torah) that cite as many as seventy names of God (and more). But they can all be reduced down to one name.

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