Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Microsoft Censors Chinese Version of Blog Tool

by susanhu Tue Jun 14th, 2005 at 08:49:57 AM EST

I just received this e-mail bulletin from Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières), and am furious with U.S. corporations' acquiesance to censorship. Are our blogs safe?

[RSF] said it was disgusted to find that Microsoft was censoring the Chinese version of its blog tool, MSN spaces, the system automatically rejecting words including "democracy" and "Dalai Lama".

"Following Yahoo! [a] second American Internet giant [gave] way to Chinese authorities, agreeing to self-censorship."

Al-Jazeera reports today:

Chinese bloggers, even on foreign-sponsored sites, have been advised to choose their words carefully after Microsoft joined China in censoring web messages.

Users of the MSN Spaces section of Microsoft Corporation's new China-based web portal get a scolding message each time they input words deemed taboo by the communist authorities - such as democracy, freedom and human rights.

"Prohibited language in text, please delete," the message says.

Google will likely now end its resistance to censorship ... more below:

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Strange Fruit: Delayed Justice & Skewed Foci

by susanhu Tue Jun 14th, 2005 at 07:02:31 AM EST

"It is a sign of how far the lower federal courts have drifted to the right that the Supreme Court had to correct this racially discriminatory prosecution."

     - From today's NYT editorial on yesterday's USSC decision that overturned a Texas death-penalty case in which eligible black jurors were "shuffled" so that 10 of the 11 eligible black jurors were removed.

Racism thrives, even in the trial that started Monday of Edgar Ray Killen, an 80-year-old "reputed Ku Klux Klansman" and a "part-time Baptist preacher who allegedly organized the killings" of three civil rights workers in 1964.

His antics outside the courthouse Monday - making a fist at a television camera and waving a folder at the media - could be one of the defense's biggest obstacles. ... Killen was greeted by J.J. Harper, who passed out business cards identifying himself as the imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. [.....]

The city tourism agency organized bus tours for journalists to see civil rights sites that are relevant to the trial. They passed by Killen's modest home, which is flanked by cement angels and other figurines and a heart-shaped U.S. flag. Most of his relatives live in the isolated farm area, not far from where the workers' car was stopped. Most of the yards have signs posting the Ten Commandments. (Chicago Tribune/KRT Wire, June 13, 2005)

The rightward trend, and racism, shows in how the federal government picks its top domestic terrorism targets. Mike German, an ex-FBI agent, resigned from the FBI and its counter terrorism program last year in protest of its failure to focus on the white supremacist and militia groups he'd infiltrated ... below:

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Iran: Explosions, Ecstasy, and Elections

by susanhu Mon Jun 13th, 2005 at 07:54:02 AM EST

Front-paged at BoomanTribune.

[W]e took off down the highway, going 60 miles an hour, swerving to get close enough so I could pass a cocktail made of whiskey with mulberry nectar out the passenger-side window of our Korean hatchback to a friend in one of the other cars.

   Our stereo screeched Shaggy's Hey Sexy Lady; theirs, insipid Lebanese pop. Tehran, with its murals of suicide bombers, Versace billboards and rickety buses adorned with portraits of Shi'ite saints, slid by in a smoggy blur. ...

 - From the June 13 issue of Time written by Azadeh Moaveni, author of Lipstick Jihad, about her return visit to Iran.

Iran: Where -- this week -- elections will be held.

Iran: Where bombs are going off, with eight people killed and 75 others wounded Sunday.

Iran: And where Sean Penn is stationed in Tehran "as a reporter for his friend Phil Bronstein, editor of the San Francisco Chronicle."

: : : More Below : : :

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French journalist freed in Iraq

by susanhu Sun Jun 12th, 2005 at 08:49:59 AM EST

Update [2005-6-12 9:38:38 by Jerome a Paris]: Promoted from the diaries by Jerome. France is talking about nothing else this evening. I actually learnt it in the street late this morning, when I was interviewed by a journalist in the street: "Florence has been freed. What do you have to say?" As I said then, this is great news, really great news. So many people were active in France to support the campaign to free her, it's been amazing, and it is a great relief to hear this.

French journalist freed in Iraq

Ms Aubenas appealed for help in videotapes

French journalist Florence Aubenas and her Iraqi interpreter Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi have been freed after five months of captivity in Iraq.

Ms Aubenas, 44, is said to be in good health. She flew to Cyprus where she was met by the French Foreign Minister and is now on her way to Paris.

No details have been given about Ms Aubenas' and Mr Saadi's ordeal.

They were seized on 5 January. French media have been running high-profile campaigns to have them freed.

The identity of the kidnappers is unknown and it seems likely that they were acting under criminal rather than political motives, says Hugh Schofield in Paris.

Nightmare over

More than 20 foreign hostages are still being held in Iraq. Many more Iraqis have also been kidnapped - several have been killed. ...

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