Chaos Brings Happiness
Baghdad Jews Have Become a Fearful Few
By STEPHEN FARRELL
Published: June 1, 2008
BAGHDAD – “I have no future here to stay.”
Written in broken English but with perfect clarity, the message is a stark and plaintive assessment from one of the last Jews of Babylon.
The community of Jews in Baghdad is now all but vanished in a land where their heritage recedes back to Abraham of Ur, to Jonah’s prophesying to Nineveh, and to Nebuchadnezzar’s sending Jews into exile here more than 2,500 years ago.
Just over half a century ago, Iraq’s Jews numbered more than 130,000. But now, in the city that was once the community’s heart, they cannot muster even a minyan, the 10 Jewish men required to perform some of the most important rituals of their faith.
Democrats Approve Deal on Michigan and Florida
By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE and JEFF ZELENY
Published: June 1, 2008
WASHINGTON – To jeers and boos that showcased deep party divisions, Democratic Party officials agreed Saturday to seat delegates from the disputed Florida and Michigan primaries at the party’s convention in August but give them only half a vote each, dealing a setback to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The agreement, reached by the rules committee of the Democratic National Committee behind closed doors and voted on publicly before a raucous audience of supporters of the two candidates, would give Mrs. Clinton a net gain of 24 delegates over Senator Barack Obama. But this fell far short of her hopes of winning the full votes of both delegations and moved the nomination further out of her reach.
Displaced by Katrina and edged out of FEMA trailer parks
Some Louisiana residents left homeless by the hurricane find themselves cast out again with the last emergency trailer parks set to close. A few cannot find housing
BAKER, LA. — Curtis Westbrook cut a lonely figure as he sat outside his trailer this week, chain-smoking as workmen hauled another empty trailer away.
He had already loaded all of his belongings — a television and some dishes and clothes — into his white Jeep Cherokee. But he was not sure how far the old Jeep would make it. With the motor mounts broken, he had rigged the engine on wooden sticks.
In any case, he was not sure where to go. He had barely a day to meet the deadline to vacate the Renaissance Village trailer park, and he didn’t know whether he could pay $400 a month for an apartment in nearby Baton Rouge. So he just sat there, waiting.
S Korea beef protesters detained
South Korean police have fired water cannons and arrested more than 200 people who were protesting against plans to resume US beef imports.
Some 20,000 people had gathered in Seoul to demonstrate, in the latest in a series of protests.
Protesters who then tried to march on the presidential Blue House were blocked by police, prompting clashes in which 228 people were detained.
The demonstrators say the plan fails to protect against mad cow disease.
Seoul’s beef market was closed to US imports in 2003 after the first US case of the disease was found in a Canadian-born cow in Washington state.
Chinese bloggers slip censors’ net to attack smiling party boss
Jonathan Watts in Beijing
Sunday June 1 2008
Angry Chinese internet users have launched an online campaign against an official in the earthquake zone who is accused of grinning too much in the midst of the disaster.
Censors have moved slowly to silence the unusually critical debate on blogs and community bulletin boards about Tan Li, the Communist Party chief of Mianyang, and what many see as his inappropriate smile. Websites show four pictures of Li, apparently beaming, as he escorts President Hu Jintao around his town and conducts other duties. As well as being disrespectful, critics say the local party boss was negligent in his slow response to the disaster.
Search engines suggest the three main posts about this topic on Tianya, one of the most popular internet community sites in China, have been read by more than 10,000 viewers. Many entries have been deleted by the censors, but others can still be read despite their incendiary content.
DNA explodes Greek myth about women
British researchers have unearthed evidence that proves Helen was much more than a chattel
Women in Ancient Greece were major power brokers in their own right, researchers have discovered, and often played key roles in running affairs of state. Until now it was thought they were treated little better than servants.
The discovery is part of an investigation by Manchester researchers into the founders of Mycenae, Europe’s first great city-state and capital of King Agamemnon’s domains.
‘It was thought that in those days women were rated as little more than chattels in Ancient Greece,’ said Professor Terry Brown, of the faculty of life sciences at Manchester University. ‘Our work now suggests that notion is wrong.’
Drink ban party sparks Tube closures and arrests
By James Watson, PA
Sunday, 1 June 2008
Police arrested 17 people and closed six London Underground stations following chaotic scenes after thousands spent the night partying to mark the last day of drinking on the Tube, British Transport Police said today.
From today an alcohol ban came into effect on the Tube, London buses, Docklands Light Railway and tram services across the capital banning people drinking from – and carrying – open containers of alcohol.
Robert Fisk: So al-Qa’ida’s defeated, eh? Go tell it to the marines
Last week the head of the CIA claimed it was winning the battle. Nonsense, argues Robert Fisk. The extremists in the Middle East are growing stronger
So al-Qa’ida is “almost defeated”, is it? Major gains against al-Qa’ida. Essentially defeated. “On balance, we are doing pretty well,” the CIA’s boss, Michael Hayden, tells The Washington Post. “Near strategic defeat of al-Qa’ida in Iraq. Near strategic defeat for al-Qa’ida in Saudi Arabia. Significant setbacks for al-Qa’ida globally – and here I’m going to use the word ‘ideologically’ – as a lot of the Islamic world pushes back on their form of Islam.” Well, you could have fooled me.
Six thousand dead in Afghanistan, tens of thousands dead in Iraq, a suicide bombing a day in Mesopotamia, the highest level of suicides ever in the US military – the Arab press wisely ran this story head to head with Hayden’s boasts – and permanent US bases in Iraq after 31 December. And we’ve won?
Tzipi Livni: terrorist-hunter secret of woman tipped to lead Israel
From The Sunday Times
June 1, 2008
Uzi Mahnaimi in Tel Aviv
The frontrunner to become Israel’s next prime minister, Tzipi Livni, was a Paris agent for Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence agency, in the early 1980s when it ran a series of missions to kill Palestinian terrorists in European capitals, according to former colleagues.
They say Livni, now foreign minister, was on active service when Mamoun Meraish, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organisation, was shot dead by a Mossad hit squad in Athens on August 21, 1983. She was not directly involved in the killing, in which two young men on a motorcycle drew alongside Meraish’s car and opened fire, but her role in Mossad remains secret.
Shortly afterwards Livni resigned and returned to Israel to complete her law studies, citing the pressures of the job.
No nudes is bad news for Cairo art students
by Alain Navarro
CAIRO, (AFP) – One hundred years after it was founded, Cairo’s School of Fine Arts seeks to train Egypt’s artists but has to make do without nude “life” drawing classes so as not to offend Islam.
It is in this academic hive, sheltered inside a neo-classical villa on the chic island of Zamalek, that 2,500 students come from around the country, with most of the female students these days veiled.
Ever since it was set up by the patron Prince Yussef Kamal in 1908, modelled on European art schools, the great names of Egyptian art have passed through.
Vote Mugabe or else, army chief tells his soldiers
Sunday June 1 2008
Zimbabwe’s army chief yesterday told soldiers they must leave the military if they do not vote for President Robert Mugabe in next month’s run-off poll.
Chief-of-staff Major General Martin Chedondo said soldiers had signed up to protect Mugabe’s principles of defending the revolution. ‘If you have other thoughts, then you should remove that uniform,’ he told them. Chedondo was speaking at a target-shooting competition outside Harare, the Herald newspaper reported.
Zimbabwe’s generals, most of them veterans of the independence war against Britain, have, in the past, vowed never to salute the opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change, if he is elected in the 27 June run-off election.
Yachts encountering real pirates of the Caribbean
Robberies have increased as the number of boats sailing the lush islands grows, and with it the lure of the sailors’ valuables.
CHATEAUBELAIR, ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES — When two men wielding cutlasses and a third brandishing a gun burst onto their yacht at 1:30 in the morning, Allison Botros and the seven others aboard suddenly realized that “Pirates of the Caribbean” is not just a movie.
“Give us your money or we will kill you,” Botros recalled the robbers telling them during the 15-minute ordeal. The mother of three from Cleveland was cruising with Swedish and American friends aboard the 70-foot Sway, which was boarded as it was anchored in this pristine harbor that is shadowed by the La Soufriere volcano and rimmed by swaying palms.