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Iraq Cuts Food Rations For Poor

by Daud Salman Subsidies have now been cut on staples including salt, soap and beans, but the government will continuing to supply Iraqis with free rice, sugar, flour and cooking oil. The ministry claims that items that were once scarce during sanctions are now widely available on the open market and therefore do not need to be distributed by the government

Iraq's Sunni-Shiite Civil War

by Stephen Zunes The risk of Iraq breaking up into a Sunni Kurdish state, a Sunni Arab state, and a Shiite Arab state is now very real. And, given the intermixing of these populations in Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk, and scores of other cities, the potential exists for the most violent breakup of a country since the partition of India sixty years ago. Recent weeks have shown ominous signs of what may be yet to come on a massive scale, as scores of Shiite families were forced to flee what were once mixed neighborhoods in and around Baghdad

More Than One Bad Outcome Possible In Iran Showdown

by Fatemeh Aman What is the greatest danger that a nuclear Iran might pose? The short answer: The highly destabilizing effect on a conflict-ridden region, and not the possibility of Iran using a nuclear weapon or transferring a weapon to terrorists, argues a leading U.S. expert on nuclear proliferation. The other major danger? A major U.S. military strike within months

Battle Over Cape Cod Wind Farm Blows Into Congress

by J.R. Pegg Advocates of a plan to build a wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod are scrambling to defeat an amendment to a U.S. Coast Guard reauthorization bill that would effectively kill the first offshore wind energy project in the United States

Of Course There's An Israel Lobby

by Edward Peck The London Review of Books recently published an article, by Professors John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, on the Israel lobby's negative impact on U.S. domestic and international interests. The expected tsunami of rabid responses condemned the report, vilified its authors, and denied there is such a lobby -- validating both the lobby's existence and aggressive, pervasive presence and obliging Harvard to remove its name

Nepal Protest Turns Street Party On News Of King's Concession

by Marty Logan Nepal's capitol was light-hearted again Tuesday. From the hundreds of thousands who marched, danced and sang on the roads, to the store-keepers idly chatting before open shops, to the pedestrians speaking on mobile phones nimbly side-stepping potholes, relief and normality were in the air hours after the king bowed to ‘people power' rather than face a protest headed for the palace gates

Lodi Terrorist Trial Reveals Saga Of FBI Chicanery

by Alexander Cockburn A terrorism trial of two Muslims in federal court in Sacramento has thus far left the FBI looking manipulative, credulous, and prodigiously extravagant. What's actually emerging in the trial, where both men are fortunate to have excellent lawyers (the son's attorney is a young Afghan-born woman in her first criminal trial), is a saga of FBI chicanery

WTO Is Dead, Ways & Means Comm. Chair Says

by Emad Mekay An influential U.S. lawmaker has declared the multilateral trade talks under the umbrella of the World Trade Organization (WTO) a failure and urged the Bush administration to fast-track country-to-country trade pacts

Where Are You Phil Ochs, When We Really Need You?

by Steve Young No one laid out more anti-war tracks in such short period of time than did Phil Ochs. This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of his death. How hard did his lyrics hit the Democratic and Republican administrations? At his much too early death at the age of thirty-five, the FBI had a 410-page file on Ochs. The single element from the Ochs library that strikes one most is how analogous his lyrics are to today's issues and conflicts

"American Liar" Captivates Audiences

by Steve Young Last year's 'American Liar' champ, Dick Cheney, whose virtuoso 'insurgency is in its last throes' still stands as perhaps the all-time fly-in-the-face-of-fact performance, proved that he hasn't lost a thing, by showing up at the Washington National home opener to throw out the first pitch which he said was met with overwhelming cheers

The Lord Of Loud (Laughs)

by Steve Young Jim Ward may not be the funniest man on radio, but if Harry Shearer ever dies...

Rumsfeld Rejected 2004 Warning Of Iraqi Revolt Against U.S. Occupation

by Gareth Porter A military assessment of the Iraqi insurgency in late 2004 concluded that it had the active support of millions of Sunnis who rejected the legitimacy of a U.S.-installed government, according to Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, who led all coalition forces in Iraq from January 2005 to January 2006

2005 Terror Attacks Tripled Over Year Before

by Jim Lobe Four years into the 'global war on terror,' terrorism appears to be thriving, according to the 2005 edition of the annual 'Country Reports on Terrorism' released here April 28 by the U.S. State Department

Washington Leaking: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

by Joe Conason Does anyone who leaks about NSA eavesdropping belong in prison? Not if that person happens to be a Republican senator. At least twice in recent years, ranking senators have revealed potentially damaging secrets, which were then broadcasted and published

Palestinians Refuse To Forgive Betrayal Of The Cause

by Fawzia Sheikh Since the start of the Intifadah, at least 72 Palestinians have been killed in shootings, stabbings, assaults and grenade attacks in retaliation for joining forces with the Israeli military

U.S. Quietly Pays 9/11 Detainee $300k To Settle Torture Claim

by William Fisher In a case that went virtually unnoticed by the mainstream press -- but that some legal authorities believe could become one of a number of 'tipping points' on the issue of presidential power -- a federal judge rejected the government's argument that it should be exempt from regulations during national emergencies. But in January, before the appeal could be heard, the government caved. It agreed to pay the plaintiff, Ehab Elmaghraby, $300,000, while not admitting to any of the charges in the lawsuit

U.S. Won't Bid For Seat On New UN Human Rights Council

by Thalif Deen The United States, which has been lambasted for human rights abuses both by members of its armed forces in Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad and by U.S. law enforcement officials in the Guantanamo detention facility in Cuba, has backed out of a hotly contested race for membership in the newly-created UN Human Rights Council

1000 CIA Rendition Flights Documented In Amnesty Report

by William Fisher Amnesty says it has records of nearly 1,000 flights directly linked to the CIA, most of which have used European airspace. It claims these flights have been carried out by planes that appear to have been permanently operated by the CIA through front companies

Neo-Cons, Hawks, Circle The Wagons For Rumsfeld

Analysis by Jim Lobe Rumsfeld's departure would almost certainly cripple the coalition of neo-conservative and aggressive nationalist war hawks in and around the administration for the remainder of Bush's term. That is why the hawks outside the administration, led by the neo-conservative editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, appear anxious to persuade Bush himself that the current campaign against his defense secretary is really aimed at him

No 'Happily Ever After' In Sudan A Year After Peace Deal

by Noel King More than a year later, separate conflicts in the Western region of Darfur and in eastern Sudan clamor for the world's attention. The signs are less than promising that progress has been made bridging the religious and racial divides between north and south that the peace agreement was intended to address

Columnist's Alleged Extortion Just Latest Scandal At Murdoch Paper

by Joe Conason Whatever may result from the 'Page Fix' affair, this scandal will bring renewed scrutiny to the appalling journalistic standards and practices of the Murdoch media

India's Sweet Nuclear Deal Sours In Congress

by Praful Bidwai The new U.S.-India nuclear deal appeared to be in deep trouble as Congressional hearings begin over Washington's controversial nuclear technology and supplies agreement with India

Global Warming Debate Past The Tipping Point

by Molly Ivins The political fight over global warming is over, except for the Bush administration, which has some weird problem with science in general. I'm still not sure what's behind that: I recall Rush Limbaugh and the radio right taking great glee in pooh-poohing the Kyoto treaty and the whole idea of global warming. Maybe they associated global warming with Canadians or something equally awful

DeLay Hiding Behind Jesus, Again

by Molly Ivins I never minded DeLay being a tough guy -- it was his syrupy claims to carry the banner for Christianity that I found offensive, as he frog-marched the House toward being a cash-operated special-interest machine

Dead J. Edgar Hoover Goes After Dead Jack Anderson

by Molly Ivins Now that investigative reporter Jack Anderson's safely deceased, the Federal Bureau of Investigation wants to go through nearly 200 boxes of his files to see if there are any classified documents in there. If it's classified, they want it back -- even though Anderson was in the habit of printing anything he ever got that was of any interest

U.S. Nuclear Industry Fires Up PR Campaign

by J.R. Pegg The nuclear industry launched a new campaign on Apr 24 to generate support for increased nuclear power, spearheaded by Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore and former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman

Uzbekistan A Nation Without Journalism

The lack of news and reliable information in Uzbekistan has worsened since the uprising in Andijan in May 2005, when authorities reacted to a demonstration in the eastern city by opening fire and killing hundreds of unarmed civilians. Human rights groups estimate more than 500 people were gunned down, while the government says the figure was 187, comprising security forces and Islamic extremists

The Rise Of Rice

by Jim Lobe Except for a brief period from Bush's November 2004 re-election and very early in 2005 -- a period in which they had hoped that Powell's departure and the president's soaring pro-democracy Inaugural Address signaled a resurgence of their power -- the hawks have steadily lost power to the realists led by Rice whose neo-conservative rhetoric, like the president's, has masked the shift back to the more cautious approach of Bush's father

U.S.-Funded Iraqiya TV Defects To The Other Side

by Jalal Ghazi The station, which reaches 70 to 80 percent of Iraq, used to broadcast rosy reports about liberated life in Iraq after the ouster of tyrant Saddam Hussein. Images of mass graves of people killed by the Hussein regime were frequently shown. Suspected armed fighters were exhibited on television and told to tell about their "terrorist operations" in extended detail. The station also used to get exclusive interviews with top U.S. officials. Recently, however, the Al Iraqiya coverage has changed 180 degrees

Conservatives, Not Liberals, Brought Down DeLay

by Joe Conason The two individuals most responsible for the end of his political career are Sen. John McCain, whose committee hearings on Indian gaming drew attention to the Abramoff scandal; and Emily Miller, the press flack who squealed on Mr. Scanlon to the Justice Department after he jilted her. Both happen to be conservative Republicans. Instead, he complained about the 'liberal Democrats' and 'liberal media' who supposedly ruined him

Italy Looks Unsteady After Close Election Win By Center-Left Party

by Sabina Zaccaro Prodi's center-left Union coalition, which ranges from pro-Vatican moderates to unreformed Communists, claimed victory early Tuesday. But it is such a narrow margin that a worrisome scenario has arisen

Behind The Scene Battles In Nepal's Media

by Marty Logan In the media, where private and state media air versions of the same events that are as different as night and day; in government offices, where staff are urged to join protests and threatened with dismissal and at health centers, which provide free care for wounded protesters while authorities deport foreign doctors

Nepal's 'Human Tsunami' Swamps King

by Marty Logan More than 100,000 people became a gigantic wave that had been gathering strength over the past 16 days of a general strike, swept King Gyanendra from the seat of direct power back into the role of a constitutional monarch

Nepal King Offers Partial Return To Democracy

The Nepalese monarch King Gyanendra announced on national television on April 21 that he is handing executive powers to the Himalayan kingdom's seven main political parties. The king's offer is too little too late for most protesters, who now want him to stand down

Nepal's People Power Not Interested In King's Deal

by Marty Logan Just minutes after a nervous looking king made his televised offer, thousands of protesters boldly marching on the capital's streets before stick-swinging riot police and rifle-toting soldiers resumed their chants of 'Democracy!' and 'Hang the king!' a sure sign that they rejected the proposal

After Iraq, Arabs Wary Of 'Western' Democracy

by Meena Janardhan Any democratic reform of Arab governments in the Middle East must be sensitive to the culture and the region, not something imposed or imported from the West, experts say. While the reforms debate has invariably been linked to the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Iraq is now increasingly cited as an example of how 'foreign' solutions are not suited for the region

Iraq Reconstruction Sputtering As U.S. Money Runs Out

by William Fisher The new rebuilding cost estimate of $70-$100 billion comes at a time when little progress has been made in increasing Iraq's oil production, which represents more than 90 percent of the country's income. With production slowed to a near halt by insurgent attacks, Iraq now spends about $6 billion annually to import oil

The Fuss Over The Lobby That Doesn't Exist

by Molly Ivins In the United States, we do not have full-throated, full-throttle debate about Israel. In Israel, they have it as matter of course, but the truth is that the accusation of anti-Semitism is far too often raised in this country against anyone who criticizes the government of Israel. I don't know that I've ever felt intimidated by the knee-jerk 'you're anti-Semitic' charge leveled at anyone who criticizes Israel, but I do know I have certainly heard it often enough to become tired of it

Don't Make A Martyr Out of Moussaoui

by Molly Ivins If I were to make an argument against the death penalty for Moussaoui, it would be on grounds of practical public relations. Why let this guy have martyrdom and world fame when we could just put him away?

White House Whopper Becomes Instant Classic

by Molly Ivins Given everything we already know about the lies before the war, this is not particularly startling -- although I do think it's long past time we stopped referring to the campaign of disinformation and false information that we were fed as anything but lies. No, the startling and funny part of the 'mobile weapons lab' lie is the administration's defense of it, which is so batty it's an instant classic

House Repeals Food Safety Rules

by Molly Ivins Earlier this month, the House effectively repealed more than 200 state food safety and public health protections. Say, when was the last time you enjoyed a little touch of food poisoning? Coming soon to a stomach near you

Is White House Serious About Iran Attack, Or Are Reports Psy-Ops?

by Jim Lobe The sudden spate of detailed stories has raised the question of whether the administration really intends such an attack -- if not imminently, then before it leaves office, as contended by the Sunday Times -- or if it is carrying out a psychological warfare campaign designed to persuade the Iranians and Washington's less warlike friends, especially in Europe, that it will indeed take action unless Tehran agrees to U.S. demands to abandon its enrichment program

Thousands Of Iraqis Flee Violence, Chaos

by Brian Conley and Isam Rashid At least 30,000 Iraqis have been displaced from their homes since then, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says

Bush Undermines AIDS Plan With Abstinence Emphasis - GAO

by Jim Lobe The priority given to abstinence-only strategies in President Bush's global HIV/AIDS program may be undermining the overall effectiveness of his administration's AIDS-prevention efforts, according to the GAO

The New Nuclear Wars

by Zia Mian Thirty-five years later, the prospect of nuclear disarmament looks bleak. The United States is in fact setting out to modernize its entire nuclear arsenal and the infrastructure for making these weapons. The other nuclear weapons states will no doubt follow. But all insist that others comply with the NPT. India and Pakistan, while outside the treaty, now follow the same nuclear logic: we have and shall keep, you cannot

Could America Fall Apart?

by Franz Schurmann If Bush winds up having to confront angry Americans from Maine to California, he'll have to do more than retread old themes as he did in the State of the Union address. The Democracy camp will push to keep the status quo but that won't satisfy the wants and needs of the Freedom camp

UN Alarmed Over Escalating Israeli-Palestine Violence

by Thalif Deen As violence in the occupied territories continued to escalate last week, the Palestinians and Israelis traded accusations during an open debate at the Security Council, where an overwhelming majority of the 191 UN member states pointed a finger at Israel for the worsening security and humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

Baghdad Morgue Unable To Keep Up With Daily Carnage

by Dahr Jamail and Arkan Hamed As sectarian killings continue to rise in Iraq, the central morgue in Baghdad is unable to keep up with the daily influx of bodies. The morgue is receiving a minimum of 60 bodies a day and sometimes more than 100, a morgue employee told IPS on condition of anonymity

Euro Leaders Say IAEA Should End 'Schizophrenic Role'

by Haider Rizvi Concerned about the enormous risks that nuclear technology poses to the environment and the questionable role it has played in heightening political conflicts, some leading European politicians are suggesting that the time has come for the United Nations to stop promoting nuclear technology as an effective tool to meet the world's growing energy demands

U.S. Now Viewing Al-Sadr, Iraqi Militias As Terrorist Forces

Analysis by Gareth Porter Just before the operation against the mosque complex, which the U.S. military referred to as a 'terrorist base,' U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad hinted broadly that the United States would soon target the Shiite militias for the brunt of its operations. Most of those killed in the raid by U.S. Special Forces and their Iraqi counterparts apparently worked for Muqtada al-Sadr's political-military organization, the Mahdi Army. After the raid, moreover, the State Department spokesman said the incident underlined the need to free Iraq's security forces from sectarian control

DEA'S 'Drug War' Targets Pain Doctors, Patients

by William Fisher In its zeal to stamp out illegal drug use, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is cracking down on doctors who prescribe medications to relieve chronic pain, and the patients who depend on these drugs to live normal lives. Hundreds of physicians have been put on trial for charges ranging from health insurance fraud to drug distribution, even to manslaughter and murder for over-prescribing prescription narcotics. Investigators have also seized doctors' homes, offices and bank accounts, leaving them with no resources for their defense

Sudan Ignoring Pressure To Halt Darfur Genocide

by Jim Lobe While political pressure is building on Bush to do more to stop what he calls genocide in Darfur, recent events suggest that the government of Sudan is not particularly concerned. One sign of the regime's confidence was its decision to block the scheduled visit this week to Darfur by the UN's chief aid official, Jan Egeland

Greenpeace Links McDonald's With Amazon Destruction

Using satellite images, aerial surveillance, previously unreleased government documents, and on-the-ground monitoring, Greenpeace says it has traced soya grown on land that once was rainforest to an animal feed producer whose chickens are processed into Chicken McNuggets and other McDonald's products.

Social Woes A Major Factor In Israel's Election

by Fawzia Sheikh Although at times Olmert's plan to withdraw from most of the West Bank and establish Israel's permanent borders within four years became a focal point during the elections, the country's socio-economic ills also played into Israelis' votes. Issues at the forefront included pension reform, increasing the minimum wage and expanding health care

European Neo-Nazis Plot Anti-Muslim Violence During World Cup In June

by Paolo Pontoniere Neo-Nazi groups from across Europe in March convened in a secret meeting in the Austrian town of Braunau, birthplace of Adolf Hitler, to plan violent actions to turn the world-renowned athletic event into a launching pad for fascist actions against Muslims immigrants and raise the public profile of the neo-fascist movement

2 Million Roar "Open The Borders, Shut Down The War"

by Haider Rizvi An estimated two million people took to the streets across the United States April 10 calling for comprehensive immigration reform that treats immigrants fairly and does not criminalize undocumented workers

Thousands Of Students March For Immigration Rights

by Daffodil Altan No one knows exactly how it started, or by whom, but there were fliers, text messages, MySpace bulletins and the repetition of one code phrase -- HR4437 -- that circulated throughout schools and cyberspaces over the course of a few days. There was no formal leadership organizing the protests, no inspired pulpit voice, no radio or television personality telling them when and where to meet. This was a purely student driven, student generated, student executed moment

Iodized Salt Could Have Saved Chernobyl's Children

by Sanjay Suri Properly iodized salt could have protected thousands from thyroid cancer following the Chernobyl disaster 20 years ago, says a UNICEF report

England's Water Privatization Not A World Model

by Sanjay Suri Champions of water privatization point to success in Britain, but experts say there's a big difference between Britain and developing countries considering similar systems: money

Iran Showdown Tests Power Of Israel Lobby

by Jim Lobe One month after the publication by two of the most influential international relations scholars in the United States of a highly controversial essay on the so-called 'Israel Lobby,' their thesis that the lobby exercises 'unmatched power' in Washington is being tested by rapidly rising tensions with Iran

Nepal Celebrates, But Wary Of King's Deal

by Marty Logan Days after spilling their blood on the streets in the fight to chase the king from power, Nepalis on Friday chanted, clapped and sang warnings that they will resume their battle if political leaders do not deliver full democracy

Argentina Workers Caught In Middle Of Sweatshop Crackdown

by Marcela Valente The Buenos Aires city government's new offensive against slave labor has resulted in the closure of 30 clandestine textile sweatshops, but it has also caused divisions among the Bolivian immigrants who work in the factories. Some denounce the exploitative labor conditions, while others desperately want to keep their jobs, however precarious

The Battle of Rumsfeld

by Michael Winship The president is resisting pulling the plug on Rumsfeld. Bush's intransigent loyalty is legend and the thought of confirmation hearings for Rummy's successor that would turn into a very public debate on Iraq -- not to mention Iran and the entire war on terror -- can't be a pretty prospect for the White House

Over 1,000 Kidnapped Every Week In Iraq

About 20,000 people, nearly half of them women and children, have been kidnapped throughout the country in the fifteen weeks since the beginning of the year, according to a survey conducted by several local NGOs

The Long Knives Come Out For Rummy

by Jim Lobe Three years after the fall of Baghdad and the city's disastrous plunge into chaos, U.S. military brass appears engaged in a new campaign: getting rid of Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld

Baghdad Neighborhoods Barricade Themselves In

by Dahr Jamail and Arkan Hamed Over several weeks before new clashes Monday and Tuesday this week, Adhamiya residents had been barricading streets with tires and the trunks of date palm trees to keep kidnappers and 'death squads' away. But clashes broke out Sunday night following a 'police' raid on the area 'We'd had sporadic fighting for several nights before, but nothing like this'

DeLay Steps To The Side, Not Out Of The Picture

by Michael Winship Doubtless, former House Majority Leader DeLay was hearing the whisper of the ax. Not only were his pollsters telling him that he faced an increasingly uphill fight for reelection, Delay's trial for money laundering and violating Texas election law was approaching and the Jack Abramoff-related indictments and plea bargains were slowly moving up the food chain closer and closer to him

1 In 5 Of World's Migrants End Up In U.S.

by Thalif Deen The number of international migrants worldwide rose from about 175 million in 2000 to 191 million in 2005. And six out of 10 -- about 115 million -- live in rich countries where they are deprived of basic rights, while seven out of every 100 migrants are refugees. According to the report, nearly half of all migrants are female, and female migrants outnumber male migrants in developed countries. Additionally, three-quarters of all international migrants are concentrated in just 28 countries -- and one in every five lives in the United States

Iranian Police Attack, Arrest Women's Rights Demonstrators

by Lisa Soderlindh The total number of arrests following a gathering of hundreds of women's rights defenders who had made their way from Tehran's Daneshjoo Park to Laleh Park on March 8 remains uncertain, as is the fate of those arrested by security forces, which reportedly used harsh tactics to disperse the peaceful demonstration. According to Human Rights Watch, police dumped cans of garbage on the heads of women who were seated before charging into the group and beating them with batons to compel them to leave the park

U.S. Lawmakers Arrested At Darfur Genocide Protest

Congressman Tom Lantos, of California, a Holocaust survivor who serves as the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, and four other Members of the House of Representatives, were arrested April 28 at the embassy of Sudan. They were participating in a rally to demand an end to the killing of people in Darfur

Now Powell Tells Us

by Robert Scheer On Monday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell told me that he and his department's top experts never believed that Iraq posed an imminent nuclear threat, but that the president followed the misleading advice of Vice President Dick Cheney and the CIA in making the claim. Now he tells us

Top Spy's Story On Pre-War Intel Is Finally Told

by Robert Scheer Before the war Hussein's foreign minister had been 'turned' and was talking secretly to U.S. intelligence. At first excited by this rare inside look at Hussein's regime, the top dogs at the White House dropped the issue like a hot rock as soon as his information contradicted their overheated rationale for pre-emptive war

Calling Iran's Bluff

by Robert Scheer There is one clear standard by which President Bush has asked, over and over, to be judged: his ability to keep us safe from rogue nations or terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction. Unfortunately, by any rational definition of that standard, his 5-year administration has been an abysmal failure

DeLay Blames Woes On Christian Haters

by Robert Scheer Blame it on the vast anti-Christian conspiracy. That was the explanation offered by U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas and his supporters last week for the whirlpool of legal difficulties that finally led the ex-leader of the Republicans in Congress to admit it was time to call it quits

Amid Threats, Some Republicans Seek Talks on Iran

by Jim Lobe In spite of the by now well-established cycle of threat and counter-threat, however, cooler heads from within ruling circles on both sides are raising their voices, particularly in the wake of alarming -- though still unconfirmed -- reports earlier this month that U.S. military planning for attacks, including nuclear strikes, against Iran has moved beyond its contingency phase

Numbers Of Iraqi Orphans Rising

Although there are officially only 642 orphans registered in Iraq orphanages, USAID last year counted some 5,000 orphans in the capitol alone, many of whom have been ostracized by society and have little hope of finding education or shelter

Duke Univ Rape Case Stirs Racial Divide In City

by Mark Weisenmiller The accused students from the pricy Duke University, whose tuition is about 43,000 dollars per year and whose student body is mostly white, are accused of assaulting an African-American woman who was also a student at Durham's North Carolina State University, traditionally attended mostly by African-Americans and which costs about a fourth of Duke

U.S. Efforts to Oust Jaafari May Backfire

by Jim Lobe Not only has heavy-handed U.S. intervention in negotiations to create a new government deepened divisions among the various factions, they say, but efforts to marginalize Jaafari -- epitomized by secretary of state Condoleezza Rice's snub during her trip with British Foreign Minister Jack Straw to Baghdad earlier this week -- risk empowering groups that are much more closely tied to neighboring Iran

U.S. Cuts Off All Aid To Palestinian Authority

by Jim Lobe One week after the Palestinian Authority (PA) swore in its new Hamas-led government, the United States April 7 announced that it will suspend all direct aid to the PA while sharply increasing humanitarian assistance to the people under its control. The move, which followed a similar announcement by the European Commission, comes as the PA, which was unable to pay its 140,000 employees last month, faces total financial collapse

Six Months to Midterm Elections, Bush's Popularity at Record Low

Analysis by Jim Lobe 'Deck Chairs on the U.S.S. Dubya' was the headline run by the influential National Journal, a reference to the president's middle initial and the cliche about re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, the ill-fated ocean-liner sunk by a North Atlantic iceberg in 1912. The Washington Post's front page, meanwhile, hinted at desperation: 'White House Shifts Into Survival Mode'

U.S. Evangelicals Most Distrustful Of Muslims

by Jim Lobe Evangelical Protestants tend to view Islam much more unfavorably than do mainline U.S. Protestants and Catholics, according to a new analysis of recent public opinion surveys

U.S. Evangelicals Rally Faithful Behind Israel

by Bill Berkowitz To prevent the Bush administration from pressuring the Israelis into turning over even more land, Hagee, the pastor of San Antonio's Cornerstone Church and the head of a multi-million-dollar evangelical enterprise, recently brought together 400 Christian evangelical leaders -- representing as many as 30 million Christians -- for an invitation-only 'Summit on Israel'

Iran, 2006 Sounds Awfully Like Iraq, 2002

by Bill Berkowitz Competing Iranian exile groups and leaders are vying for the attention and financial support of the administration. Information from some of these groups -- like much of what was provided by Iraq's Pentagon-designated exile-in-chief, Ahmad Chalabi -- has been less than stellar. There have been policy disagreements within the administration as to how to proceed. And now, there's 'show and tell' at the UN Security Council

Nepal Police Opens Fire On Protesters, Killing 3, Wounding 100+

by Marty Logan United Nations human rights monitors were kept off the streets of Nepal's capital April 20, as security forces opened fire on protesters defying a curfew, killing three and injuring over 100

Will Germany Be Bush's New Best Buddy?

by Franz Schurmann While British Prime Minister Tony Blair tried hard to reinvent the partnership, he wound up being little more than an echo of President Bush. Now Bush and the Pentagon appear to have set their sights on Angela Merkel, new Chancellor of a unified Germany. That Merkel grew up in Germany's impoverished backwater, East Germany, and speaks fluent Russian, may help solidify ties with Condoleezza Rice, who was raised in the segregated black district of Birmingham, Ala., and also speaks fluent Russian

Zarqawi Video Signals Shifting Landscape for Al Qaeda

by Jalal Ghazi 'Zarqawi's speech is now more in line with Al Qaeda thinking,' says Al Jazeera correspondent in Amman, Yaser Abu Helalah. 'Al Zarqawi used political language rather than pure religious concepts, avoided mentioning things that may create divisions, refrained from attacking any particular group by name, and even softened his position toward the Shiites, especially when compared to his previous speeches' in which he declared an absolute war on them

Iran Defiant, But Ready To Deal

by Praful Bidwai If the Western powers, led by the United States, adopt a tough posture and demand that sanctions be imposed on Iran, or worse, launch a military attack on its nuclear facilities, they will strengthen the hands of the nuclear hawks who at present constitute a minority in the Tehran regime

The Martyrs of Chernobyl

by Gulnoza Saidazimova and Claire Bigg 'We heard some rumors but didn't know anything about it,' said Suyunbai, a 52-year-old member of Kazakhstan's Union of Chernobyl Veterans. 'When I first arrived in Chernobyl, what struck me and stuck in my memory was the landscape. It looked like a beautiful painting. When approaching, you could see a city far away, a forest and a path, a river, and the church's [dome] was shining. It was like a painting'

IAEA Is Whitewashing Chernobyl Casualties, Enviros Charge

Greenpeace has sharply criticized an IAEA report claiming the 1986 nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl will cause no more than 4,000 deaths worldwide. Like a number of environmental organizations, Greenpeace accuses the report of "whitewashing" Chernobyl's impact and claims that some 200,000 people in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus could already have died as a result of the accident

Chernobyl Still a Menace 20 Years After Meltdown

A 2005 report prepared by the Chernobyl Forum, led by the IAEA and World Health Organization, attributed 56 direct deaths -- 47 accident workers, and nine children with thyroid cancer -- and estimated that as many as 9,000 people will ultimately die from some form of cancer as a result of the incident

Bin Laden's Latest Message Poses Greatest Threat Yet

by Jamal Dajani Unlike his previous recordings, which were mostly rhetorical and peppered with threats, his latest speech disseminated to his followers was Bin Laden's smartest ever. Through lashing words and a dash of poetry, Bin Laden looked toward current events to paint a picture of a clash of religions and inspire more attacks against the West.

Pakistan Tells Quake Victims To Clear Out Of Relief Camps

by Muddassir Rizvi The Pakistan government has come under scathing criticism from relief organizations for its recent decision to close down relief camps for the survivors of the massive earthquake last year which killed close to 73,000 people. The residents were left with no option but to return to devastated villages, still without basic facilities and housing

If Only They'd Hissed Barack Obama

by Alexander Cockburn The war's coming home all right, in the form of people dreadfully wounded in body and spirit. Thousands of tragedies will unwind, often violently, for years to come. But for now, for the most part, it's pictures on the TV, not tears and terror on the hearthrug. So the Democrats in Congress aren't too worried about pressure from their antiwar constituents. The awful six-termer, Jane Harman, faces a primary challenge from Marcy Winograd in Southern California, after a couple of unions defied orders and endorsed Winograd. Meanwhile, at the other end of the country in Connecticut, Sen. Joe Lieberman faced a decidedly cool audience at a big Democratic dinner at the end of March and got bailed out by his brother senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who told the crowd to haul out their checkbooks and make sure Lieberman gets returned for another term

Walk A Painful Mile In Their Shoes

by Steve Young Short of actual compassion, perhaps the only way for critics to understand the pain no "legal" medication can relieve is too feel it themselves. A shame it is that when we speak of walking in other's shoes we never get past the ankles. Tough to know the futility when the pain is heard but not felt. So, I think I've come up with a solution

Illegal Immigration Threatens Sea Change In Black Politics

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The rising number of Latino voters threatens to end both GOP and Democratic courting of the black vote and could push concerns specific to blacks to the sidelines

Iran and U.S. Locked Into Spiral Conflict -- Last Refuge of Weak Leaders

by William O. Beeman Just when it seemed impossible for relations between the United States and Iran to get any worse, they have deteriorated once again. The rhetoric and counter-rhetoric over Iran's nuclear program sounds serious and substantive. However, a little reflection reveals this situation for what it is: a continuing piece of high-stakes political theatre that principally benefits the leaders of both nations by shoring up their lagging political fortunes

Note To Dems: Make Body Armor The "Willie Horton Issue"

by David Michael Green As 2006 brings with it the prospect of yet another losing election cycle -- and, worse yet, against a GOP which in any normal universe would be facing extinction for any one, let alone the sum total, of its blunders and crimes -- Democrats desperately need a silver bullet. The truth is, they're sitting on an entire ammo dump full of them, but they have shown themselves so far to be either too dumb, too frightened, or too uninterested in anything but their own corporate-sponsored careers to actually pick any of them up and use them

Garbage Dump Second Home For Some Iraqi Children

by Barham Omar Mohammed's eyes often burn from the smoke that rises from the rubbish, and his forehead bears a scar from when he slipped on trash and sliced it on a piece of glass. But the 7 year-old is proud when he helps his father find a source of income for their five member family. That could be aluminium cans that they can resell in the market, or a piece of electrical equipment that has been thrown away but can be repaired. Shoes and clothes, though torn or stained, are also prized

Dozens Of TV Stations Caught Airing Fake News Produced By Companies

by Aaron Glantz A new study by the non-profit Center for Media and Democracy found that at least 77 television stations around the country have aired corporate-sponsored video news releases over the past 10 months. The report accused the stations of actively disguising the content -- which has been produced and paid for by companies like General Motors, Panasonic and Pfizer -- to make it appear to be their own reporting

Usual Suspects Urge Bush To Strike Iran

by Jim Lobe Led by a familiar clutch of neo-conservative hawks, major right-wing publications are calling on the Bush administration to urgently plan for military strikes -- and possibly a wider war -- against Iran in the wake of its announcement this week that it has successfully enriched uranium to a purity necessary to fuel nuclear reactors

60 Minutes Segment On Osama's Bodyguard Reinforced Stereotypes

by Thalif Deen The image of Muslims in U.S. media continues to be dominated by fundamentalists and terrorists, says Taleb Salhab, national outreach director of ACCESS (Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services) in Dearborn, Mich. Airing a well-spoken fanatic is even more dangerous, says Salhab. 'Those views don't represent 95 percent of the Muslim world'

Good News That Oil Hits Record Price, UN Report Says

by Thalif Deen As oil prices reached a record high of $72 dollars a barrel this week -- compared with the oil producers' targeted range of $22 - 28 dollars back in January 2005 -- the United Nations remains hopeful there will be increasing demand for conservation and alternative sources for energy

It's Really Bush The Generals Want Out

by Joe Conason While the frustrated generals named Rumsfeld in their complaint, they clearly aimed at Bush. They know that the commander in chief is implicated in every bad decision perpetrated by the Pentagon civilian leadership. They understand why he cannot take their advice to dump Rummy, as Brookings Institution military analyst Michael O'Hanlon pointed out: 'For Bush to fire Rumsfeld is for Bush to declare himself a failure as president'

Congress Balks At Funding Bush "Transformational Diplomacy"

by Emad Mekay Congress is poised to refuse a hefty funding boost for an international aid program that the. Bush administration argues is key to its agenda to 'transform' nations around the world

The Pulitzer Farce

by Alexander Cockburn The central project of the Pulitzer Prizes for work done in 2005 has been to remind the world that, appearances to the contrary, the nation is well served by its premier East Coast newspapers, the New York Times and the Washington Post

Obama's Game

by Alexander Cockburn Some hopeful progressives still say, 'Obama has to bob and weave while positioning himself at the high table as the people's champion.' But in his advance to the high table he is divesting himself of all legitimate claims to be any sort of popular champion. He advertises himself as another safe black, like Condoleezza Rice (whom Obama voted to confirm). The Empire relishes such servants

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