Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 11:05:40 AM EST
Pope Deplores `Ideological Manipulation' - NYTimes.com

AMMAN, Jordan -- Visiting a mosque on the second day of his closely watched first visit to the Holy Land, Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday denounced the "ideological manipulation of religion" and called for greater understanding between the Christian and Muslim faiths. Skip to next paragraph Related Times Topics: Pope Benedict XVI Enlarge This Image Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

Pope Benedict XVI waves to the faithful during mass at St. George Victorious Cathedral in Amman, Jordan, on Saturday.

Speaking outside Al-Hussein bin-Talal mosque in Amman, Benedict said that because of "the burden of our common history so often marked by misunderstanding," Christians and Muslims alike should "strive to be seen" as faithful worshipers of God.

In a speech that also touched on a central theme of his papacy and thought, the tension between faith and reason, Benedict said that "the ideological manipulation of religion, sometimes for political ends," was often "the real catalyst for tension and division, and at times even violence in society."

by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 11:11:43 AM EST
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anyone else thinking the words pot kettle and black ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 05:42:14 PM EST
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Zuma takes just the one wife to £6m party - Times Online

THE streets of Pretoria were clogged yesterday with the motorcades of African kings, presidents and dictators heading towards the Union Buildings to sip Dom Perignon champagne at President Jacob Zuma's 75m rand (£6m) inauguration bash.

Among the VIPs were Libya's Muammar Gadaffi and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, who received a standing ovation from an elite crowd that included at least 30 present or former heads of state.

As his relatives in Zululand prepared ritually to slaughter six cattle in his honour, Zuma arrived in the company of his senior wife Sizakele Khumalo, a painfully shy woman who presides over his rural homestead. Making his way into the VIP enclosure, Zuma paused to kneel at the feet of an extremely frail 90-year-old Nelson Mandela.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 11:12:42 AM EST
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is well worth the Murdoch Alert. Not by what it says, more by what it implies, and most by what is not told.
by Nomad (Bjinse) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 05:35:09 AM EST
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Sheikh reportedly detained pending torture investigation - CNN.com

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A member of the royal family of Abu Dhabi who was captured on videotape torturing an Afghan grain dealer has reportedly been detained, a senior U.S. State Department official told CNN Saturday.

Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan, pictured here, allegedly tortured a business associate on videotape. 1 of 3

The official said the government of the United Arab Emirates, which includes Abu Dhabi as one of its seven emirates, told the State Department that Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan is under house arrest pending an investigation, but that the United States has not independently confirmed the development.

The videotape emerged last month in a federal civil lawsuit filed in Houston, Texas, by Bassam Nabulsi, a U.S. citizen, against the sheikh. Former business partners, the men had a falling out, in part over the tape. In a statement to CNN, the sheikh's U.S. attorney said Nabulsi is using the videotape to influence the court over a business dispute.

by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 11:14:49 AM EST
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In a statement to CNN, the sheikh's U.S. attorney said Nabulsi is using the videotape to influence the court over a business dispute.

In another report I read that the Sheikh kept a library of his torture tapes which he could view at his pleasure.  The really interesting question is how his former partner got a copy of this tape.

This is not the first instance I have encountered of this Arabian business negotiating technique.  When I was in Riyadh one time I worked out of the offices of an Australian national who had a Saudi partner.  My company knew him from work at the Jeddah Airport.  He was pleasant and able.  I later learned that, when he wanted to wind down his business and leave the country, he and his wife were arrested, jailed and held for several months before being allowed to leave.  I never had the chance to again talk with him so I don't know the details, such as what he had to leave behind.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 11:45:09 PM EST
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Afghan girl's burns show horror of chemical strike - Yahoo! News UK

Life as 8-year-old Razia knew it ended one March morning when a shell her father says was fired by Western troops exploded into their house, enveloping her head and neck in a blazing chemical. Skip related content

Now she spends her days in a U.S. hospital bed at the Bagram airbase, her small fingernails still covered with flaking red polish but her face an almost unrecognisable mess of burnt tissue and half her scalp a bald scar.

"The kids called out to me that I was burning but the explosion was so strong that for a moment I was deaf and couldn't hear anything," her father, Aziz Rahman, told Reuters.

"And then my wife screamed 'the kids are burning' and she was also burning," he added, his face clouding over at the memory.

by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 11:15:33 AM EST
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Another day, another set of hearts and minds to win.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 05:43:32 PM EST
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France 24 | Gov't temporarily lifts curfew to allow civilians to flee | France 24
Pakistan temporarily lifted its curfew on the northwestern Swat valley to allow more than 100,000 civilians to flee an anti-Taliban military operation in the region. The government is advising residents in the main town of Mingora to leave.

AFP - Pakistan relaxed its curfew on the northwestern Swat valley Sunday to allow more than 100,000 civilians to flee fighting between government troops and Taliban militants, officials said. The curfew was to be eased in Swat and Malakand from 6:00 am to 1:00 pm (midnight to 0700 GMT), an official statement said, advising residents from the main town of Mingora and nearby areas to leave.
"We expect more than 100,000 people will quit their homes at different places in Swat today," local administration chief Khushhal Khan told AFP.
The UN refugee agency has warned up to one million people have already been displaced in northwest Pakistan, with tens of thousands streaming out of Buner, Lower Dir and Swat, registering in camps or sheltering with families.

by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 11:17:27 AM EST
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Obama Breaks Campaign Promise on AIDS

WASHINGTON, May 8 (OneWorld.net) - U.S. President Barack Obama's failure to lift a federal funding ban on syringe exchange -- a policy that allows intravenous drug users to swap used needles for clean ones -- is a blow to AIDS-prevention efforts, says a global health group.

  • Although Obama pledged on the campaign trail to overturn the federal ban on funding for syringe exchange, he refrained from doing so in his proposed 2010 budget. "Providing clean syringes is proven to be one of the most effective public health interventions since the polio vaccine," said Jennifer Flynn, managing director of Health Global Access Project (GAP). "It is clear that it works, but yet, we now have to wait for Congress to act to have the freedom to use every possible resource to make it widely available." (See Health GAP's full statement below.)

by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 01:53:31 PM EST
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I think that should read "... amongst his broken promises ..."

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 05:44:28 PM EST
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Helen: I think that should read "... amongst his broken promises ..."

Such as?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 10:18:52 PM EST
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SLDN: Obama Caving to Senior Military Leadership, Religious Right on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" | Latest News | Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
"Jones's answer, along with Secretary Gates's remarks to the Army War College on April 16, make it clear that a calculated political decision has been made that the President is not going to take `Don't Ask, Don't Tell' on publicly-himself-and instead his defense team is doing it."

There should be no waffling in this Administration-whether from Jones or Gates, on whether repeal is going to happen. The discussions should be when and how. Recall what Obama said on the campaign trail in 2007:

America is ready to get rid of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. That work should have started long ago. It will start when I take office. America is ready to get rid of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. All that is required is leadership.(Fall 2007 to Human Rights Campaign)
by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 12:10:19 AM EST
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China Emerges as a Leader in Cleaner Coal Technology    NYT

Construction has stalled in the United States on a new generation of low-pollution power plants that turn coal into a gas before burning it, although Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Thursday that the Obama administration might revive one power plant of this type. But China has already approved equipment purchases for just such a power plant, to be assembled soon in a muddy field here in Tianjin.

"The steps they've taken are probably as fast and as serious as anywhere in power-generation history," said Hal Harvey, president of ClimateWorks, a group in San Francisco that helps finance projects to limit global warming.

Western countries continue to rely heavily on coal-fired power plants built decades ago with outdated, inefficient technology that burn a lot of coal and emit considerable amounts of carbon dioxide. China has begun requiring power companies to retire an older, more polluting power plant for each new one they build.

Cao Peixi, the president of the China Huaneng Group, the country's biggest state-owned electric utility and the majority partner in the joint venture building the Tianjin plant, said his company was committed to the project even though it would cost more than conventional plants.

"We shouldn't look at this project from a purely financial perspective," he said. "It represents the future."

Those dastardly Chinese Commies!  They put the "future" ahead of immediate financial concerns.  And so much for the USA helping China by providing advanced pollution control technology.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 12:15:37 AM EST
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Daily Kos: Torture News Roundup: Breaking: al-Libi Found Dead in Libyan Prison

This just in from Andy Worthington (H/T Barb):

The Arabic media is ablaze with the news that Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the emir of an Afghan training camp -- whose claim that Saddam Hussein had been involved in training al-Qaeda operatives in the use of chemical and biological weapons was used to justify the invasion of Iraq -- has died in a Libyan jail. So far, however, the only English language report is on the Algerian website Ennahar Online, which reported that the Libyan newspaper Oea stated that al-Libi (aka Ali Abdul Hamid al-Fakheri) "was found dead of suicide in his cell," and noted that the newspaper had reported the story "without specifying the date or method of suicide."

It was al-Libi who was tortured by the CIA, subjected to mock burial in a box 20 inches high, in order to "confess" to a link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, just days after the start of the Iraq War. Al-Libi later recanted. Afterwards, he was disappeared.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 12:50:39 AM EST
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Jordan's king says U.S. pushing new plan for Mideast - washingtonpost.com
The United States is promoting a peace plan for the Middle East involving a "57-state solution" in which the entire Muslim world would recognize Israel, Monday's Times of London quoted Jordan's King Abdullah as saying.

"We are offering a third of the world to meet them with open arms," the king said. "The future is not the Jordan River or the Golan Heights or the Sinai, the future is Morocco in the Atlantic and Indonesia in the Pacific. That is the prize."

But he warned: "If we delay our peace negotiations, then there is going to be another conflict between Arabs or Muslims and Israel in the next 12-18 months."

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 06:39:14 AM EST
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The American reporter, Roxana Saberi, has just been set free by Iranian authorities. She had been condemned to eight years imprisonment for espionage for a hostile nation. The appellate reduced the sentence to two years on the grounds that the U.S. is not to be considered a hostile nation.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 08:20:06 AM EST
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