The Command Post
Global Recon

April 29, 2005

L-3 Subsidiary Under Criminal Investigation Over Military Rescue Radios


Boeing subcontractor L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (L-3, not to be confused with wholesale telecom provider Level 3 Communications) is under federal criminal investigation after Interstate Electronics Corp., one of its subsidiaries, supplied defective parts used in CSEL emergency radios to locate downed military pilots.

Interstate Electronics Corp. purchased many of the parts from lower-level suppliers, but it is responsible for supervising the manufacturing process, testing the parts and verifying they meet quality standards.

Pentagon criminal investigators and contract-management officials now suspect that Interstate Electronics may have supplied thousands of other, potentially substandard parts over the years to a wide range of Army and Air Force weapons systems. The Los Angeles U.S. attorney’s office is leading this investigation, and its expansion means that L-3 could be subject to greater penalties if found guilty of wrongdoing. The US government (primarily the military) accounts for more than 75% of the company’s business.

New industry blog Defense Industry Daily explains:

Posted by Winds of Change at 07:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

N. Korea Able To Arm Missile With Nuke

The Associated Press reports the Defense Intelligence Agency chief says North Korea is able to arm a missile with a nuclear weapon.

From California Yankee.

Posted by Dan Spencer at 07:36 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 28, 2005

Europe, Radical Islam & Secularism

Transatlantic Intelligencer put me on to a really good interview The Aspen Institute Berlin did with Irshad Manji, Gilles Kepel, and Steven Emerson about Islam in Europe. Canadian “Muslim Refusenik” Irshad Manji had some especially interesting things to say - not just about Islam, but about Europe and secularism:

bq.. 2. How widespread is Muslim extremism in European Muslim communities and mosques?

(Manji): It mostly depends on how you define extremism. If you mean “literalism,” then it is more than widespread - it is mainstream. If you mean the overt preaching of violence, then it percolates on the margins. The key here is to recognize that because literalism is mainstream in Islam today, the thin minority of Muslims who have any intention of engaging in terror are nonetheless protected by the vast majority of moderate Muslims who don’t know how to debate and dissent with that proclivity.

Let me explain why.

Read the Rest…

Posted by Winds of Change at 05:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 25, 2005

Japan Train Crash Kills 50, Injures 340

A packed commuter train jumped the tracks in western Japan on Monday and hurtled into an apartment complex, killing 50 people and injuring more than 340 others in the deadliest rail accident here in four decades.

Investigators focused immediately on whether excessive speed or the actions of the, about 250 miles west of Tokyo . The driver overshot the stop line at the last station before the wreck.

Several people were still trapped in the wreckage hours after the crash, local police said, but it was unclear what their condition was. Train operator West Japan Railway Co. said at least 343 people had been taken to hospitals.

Read more…

Posted by Michele at 07:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 24, 2005

U.S. Considers Blockade Resolution as N. Korea Prepares for Possible Nuclear Test

Today’s New York Times reports two major new developments in the North Korea story. The Administration’s long-lived patience with North Korea may finally be at an end as it contemplates asking the U.N. for a resolution that would authorize any nation to stop North Korean ship and planes to search for nuclear material. Meanwhile, North Korea may be preparing to test a nuclear weapon. First, the general terms of the conceptual resolution:

The resolution envisioned by a growing number of senior administration officials would amount to a quarantine of North Korea, though, so far at least, President Bush’s aides are not using that word. It would enable the United States and other nations to intercept shipments in international waters off the Korean Peninsula and to force down aircraft for inspection.

But, said several American and Asian officials, the main purpose would be to give China political cover to police its long border with North Korea, the impoverished country’s lifeline for food and oil. That border is now largely open for shipments of arms, drugs and counterfeit currencies, North Korea’s main source of hard currency.

Chinese cooperation with the resolution is doubtful at best, although increased trade pressure on China in the U.S. Congress and in Europe could give the Administration more leverage.

Previous leaks from the Bush Administration have suggested an emerging strategy of isolating North Korea economically to deprive its rulers of the hard currency they need to sustain their regime.

In late January, the Administration concluded that North Korea sold enriched uranium to the A.Q Khan network, and ultimately to Libya. In early February, North Korea recently walked out of nuclear disarmament talks and declared itself a nuclear power. Later that month, the North threatened to attack U.S. installations in South Korea. Most recently, North Korea shut down its plutonium reactor at Yongbyong, a prerequisite to removing fuel rods it could then reprocess into weapons-grade material. Neither China nor South Korea has been willing to force North Korea to choose between the aid and trade benefits they both provide and returning to the talks in earnest.

Today’s N.Y. Times story also reports that North Korea may be preparing for a nuclear test.

Activity at the site in October and again in January led to concerns that North Korea may be preparing for the first underground weapons test - which would end any ambiguity about whether it has the technology to build a warhead.

“They are either heading toward a full nuclear breakout, so that we are forced to deal with them as an established nuclear power, or they are putting on quite a show for our satellites,” said one senior administration official, who added that the quarantine option had not yet been formally presented to President Bush.

The White House has said little so far about North Korea’s actions, following a strategy very different from the one it pursued two years ago with Iraq. Ms. Rice has repeatedly said that North Korea’s pattern is to seek a public reaction from Washington, and she has made clear she does not intend to oblige.

But some experts say the statements and actions North Korea have taken recently could mark a significant shift in strategy: It may now see a chance to build a modest nuclear arsenal while the United States and Asian nations debate how to react. The C.I.A. estimates that North Korea already has enough plutonium for six or eight nuclear weapons.

“I’m afraid they are now more interested in getting away with it than getting a reaction out of the United States,” South Korea’s former foreign minister, Han Sung Joo, said in an interview last week.

In February 2004, the New York Times reported that North Korea may have tested a nuclear weapon in Pakistan in 1998, as part of its cooperation with the A.Q. Khan network. Although the exposure of the Khan network would make continued Pakistani cooperation with North Korea prohibitively risky, Time Asia has reported that North Korea also cooperates extensively with Iran in its nuclear weapons development.

HT: The Lost Nomad

Posted by OneFreeKorea at 11:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 23, 2005

North Korea Preparing Nuclear Arms Test

The Washington Times reports that U.S. intelligence agencies have detected activity at facilities in North Korea indicating the country may be preparing to conduct its first nuclear test.

From California Yankee.

Posted by Dan Spencer at 01:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 22, 2005

Winds of Change.NET's New Energy Currents: Apr 22/05

Spring is in full bloom in the NYC, and the energy bill season is in full swing - a great time to be alive, in other words. As different technologies begin to compete in earnest for the public’s attention, acceptance, and tax dollars, New Energy Currents will do its best to give you a broad overview of developments in energy technology and policy. By John Atkinson, of chiasm.

Posted by Winds of Change at 01:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

HateWatch Briefing: 2005-04-22

Welcome! This briefing will be looking hard at the dark places the mainstream media sometimes seem determined to look away from, to better understand our declared enemies on their own terms and without illusions. Our goal is to bring you some of the top jihadi rants, idiotarian seething, and old-school Jew-hatred from around the world, leaving you more informed, more aware, and pretty disgusted every month. This Winds of Change.NET HateWatch briefing is brought to you by Lewy14, and by zorkmidden of Discarded Lies. Past briefings and posts on related topics can be found here. Entil’zha veni!


  • Religious Hate: Taliban wannabe testifies against cleric recruiter; Sufi’s gone jihad in Iraq; China persecuting Muslims; Pakistan mob kills ‘blasphemer’; Hamas’ vice and virtue squad murders Gaza co-ed; Islamists disrupt election campagn – in Britain; Gay lashing (sic) in Saudi Arabia; Book calls Norwegians ‘Satan’s sons’; Mormons still baptising Jews; “We will control the land of the Vatican” claims Saudi Imam.

  • Idiotarian Seethings: German Green: Bush pushed pedophilia scandal to weaken pope; Nazi prof fired – for skipping class; 9/11 conspiracy theory pedaled at Winsconsin; MacKinnon compares women’s murders to 9/11.

  • Race and Culture: PA textbooks teach Protocols as history; Anti-Semitic literature in Russian religious bookstores; Anti-Semite hosted by British Lord; Britain’s main student representative organization is not addressing the issue of anti-Semitism on campus; Anti-Japanese protests in Shanghai; Anti-Kurdish propaganda in Turkey; Neo-Nazi to speak to Islamic group in Florida; Aussi Sheikh: rape victims have it coming.

  • A Hopeful Note: Afghani women participate in parliamentary elections; Saudi woman condemns chauvinism; Disco era star sings in Dubai.

Posted by Winds of Change at 01:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 20, 2005

Ecuador's President Removed from Office

Ecuador’s Congress voted Wednesday to remove President Lucio Gutierrez from office by a 62-0 vote. According tom the Associated Press, the removal was based on a clause in Ecuador’s Constitution that allows Congress to remove a president for “abandonment of the position:”

“Congress in representation of the Ecuadorean people has proceeded … to declare Col. Lucio Gutierrez in abandonment of the position of constitutional president. Therefore, he has been ceased in the position.”

Vice President Alfredo Palacio has been sworn in to replace Gutierrez.

From California Yankee.

Posted by Dan Spencer at 04:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 19, 2005

New Pope Is Selected- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI - FINAL UPDATE 1:30 ET

Link will follow. Coverage shows what appears to be white smoke emerging from chimney. Crowds are cheering and clapping in the Square. Others are running to the Square. However, no bells are heard ringing yet.

UPDATE: The bells are now ringing.




CNN Bacgrounder

Posted by Adam Harris at 11:58 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

More Black Smoke

The Associated Press reports that more black smoke chugged from the Sistine Chapel chimney Tuesday signaling the cardinals have not yet selected a new pope.

From California Yankee.

Posted by Dan Spencer at 06:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

China's Stresses, Military Buildups... and Futures

Cicero had another very fine piece last week called “Wish You Happy.” It brings his usual lyrical style to bear on China’s reputation as an exploitative low-cost manufacturer, the environmental dimension of the Chinese miracle, unrest among the populace, and the environmentalist gap. The phrase “Kyoto stinks” will never again register with me in quite the same way….

As we’ve seen over the past 2 weeks, the Chinese government is more than happy to channel some of that simmering angst into nationalism with a hostile edge, even as it seeks to keep control of what it is unleashing. Fortunately, this is a subject Winds has covered before. Which is why I want to return to that coverage and the debates it spawned, throw in a couple of items about the geo-political and military dimensions of China’s rise, and tie all that into a look at some potential futures.

Note the use of the plural “futures.” This post will not be about convincing you of one specific view of China’s future. That’s partly because I don’t have one. Instead, I’d rather introduce you to some new ideas about what that future could look like, and leave you better informed about some of the dynamics by laying out some good thought-pieces and good sources. Then you can get informed, think it over, come to your own conclusions, and hopefully return to discuss it.

The issue is important enough to be worth it.

Posted by Winds of Change at 12:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 18, 2005

Islam, the Vatican, and The Next Christianity

And why does this not surprise us at all?

Saudi Sheikh Muhammad bin Abd Al-Rahman Al-‘Arifi, Imam of the mosque of King Fahd Defense Academy, discussed the coming Muslim conquest of the Vatican. Citing a Hadith in an article posted on the Kalemat website in 2002, he stated: “…We will control the land of the Vatican; we will control Rome and introduce Islam in it. Yes, the Christians, who carve crosses on the breasts of the Muslims… will yet pay us the Jiziya [JK: poll tax paid by non-Muslim second-class citizens under Muslim rule], in humiliation, or they will convert to Islam…”

Nor is he the only example. Given the level of persecution and violence Christians face in Muslim countries, it’s probably no surprise that the Wahington Post reports that the Vatican is rethinking its relations with Islam.

But the shifts that are ripening within Christianity may end up mattering even more.

Read the Rest…

Posted by Winds of Change at 11:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Black Smoke - No New Pope Today

The Associated Press reports that black smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney Monday evening, signaling that the cardinals failed to elect a new pope.

According to the Associated Press, the cardinals will retire for the night and return to the chapel Tuesday morning for more balloting.

From California Yankee.

Posted by Dan Spencer at 02:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Angola Says Marburg Outbreak Coming Under Control

Reuters reports that Angolan officials believe the Marburg outbreak is coming under control in the north of the country:

Deputy Health Minister Jose Van Dunem said government and international health workers were turning to traditional healers and leaders to talk to the population.

“We already have it under control,” he told Reuters in an interview in the capital Luanda late Sunday.

“There have been no new cases in other provinces. We know exactly how to cut the epidemiological chain of transmission.”

From California Yankee.

Posted by Dan Spencer at 01:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cardinals Begin Conclave

The New York Times reports that Sistine Chapel’s doors have been closed as the Conclave to select a new pope begins.

According to oddsmakers Cardinal Ratzinger of Germany at 11 to 2, is no longer the favorite of the oddsmakers. The odds now favor Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria at 3 to 1.

From California Yankee.

Posted by Dan Spencer at 12:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 15, 2005

China Demonstrations: "Tame?"

Note that this piece by ‘Cicero’ follows on the heels of another China-related post, “Wish You Happy

Today’s New York Times has an article that concerns Chinese protests against Japan:

China has tapped a deep strain of nationalism among its people, gambling, analysts say, that it can propel itself to a leadership role in Asia while cloaking its move for power in the guise of wounded pride and popular will.

But the government also seems to have taken steps to control - some say manipulate - a nascent protest movement to prevent a grass-roots challenge to the governing Communist Party.

In the last few weeks, relations between Asia’s two leading powers have reached their most serious crisis since diplomatic ties were re-established in 1972. China has confronted Japan over newly revised history textbooks that gloss over wartime abuses. It stepped up its claim to disputed islands and undersea gas reserves between the countries.

China took Japan and the United States to task for declaring that they would jointly defend Taiwan in case of an attack from the mainland.

After weeks of hints, Chinese leaders said outright on Wednesday that Japan did not have the moral qualifications to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council…

…”Only a country that respects history, takes responsibility for history and wins over the trust of peoples in Asia and the world at large can take greater responsibilities in the international community,” Mr. Wen said.

“The moral issue is China’s trump card over Japan,” Mr. Shi said. “China is now playing that card.”

I can understand Chinese rage if Japan is in official denial over its abuse of China in the 30s and 40s. Too often, Nanking’s rape is eclipsed by European atrocities of the same era.

Commentary follows…

Posted by Winds of Change at 04:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What We Think We Know About Huarte

I noted a little while ago a very interesting story that appeared on Expatica in which the Spanish Popular Party had asked the 3/11 commission to look into one Fernando Huarte Santamaria, a Socialist deputy and the former head of the Spanish Palestinian Support Association who had met repeatedly with Abdelkrim Benesmail, who is either an aide to suspected GIA member and 3/11 mastermind Allekema Lamari or a mastermind on his own right.

There was a lot of interesting information that Colt and Joe A listed in the comments and I just want to make sure that I have all the details right concerning Huarte before I start repeating this. I freely confess my ignorance with respect to the Spanish political scene and am more than happy to be corrected on any details I get wrong here. Having seen first-hand how conspiracy theories can spin out of control very, very fast I want to make sure that we have the facts straight.

Read the Rest…

Posted by Winds of Change at 04:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 14, 2005

AP puts words in Ariel Sharon's mouth

The Associated Press reports, in an article that’s currently being given top billing by Drudge, that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told CNN he has ruled out a preemptive strike against Iran’s possible nuclear facilities.

Sharon Rules Out Attacking Iran Over Nukes

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel will not mount a unilateral attack aimed at destroying Iran’s nuclear capability, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Wednesday in a CNN-TV interview.

Sharon said he did not see “unilateral action” as an option. He said Israel did not need to lead the way on the Iran nuclear weapons issue, calling for an international coalition to deal with it.

The only problem is, reading the actual transcript of the interview in question, Sharon doesn’t actually say any of that!

Here’s the relevant portion of the interview:

BLITZER: A lot of our viewers will remember in 1981, when Israel unilaterally bombed an Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak. Are you considering — let me rephrase the question, at what point would Israel take unilateral military action to try to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb?

SHARON: I remember, of course, that raid in Iraq and was always proud to [have been] a member of the inner Cabinet … I think that decision then has saved many lives. Just imagine what could have happened if Iraq would have had — Iraq under Saddam Hussein — would have had atomic weapons.

I think that here the situation is different. And the problem is different and much wider. And I think that here it should be a coalition of democracies who believe in the danger, led by United States, in order to put pressure upon Iran.

BLITZER: Have you ruled out a unilateral military strike against Iran?

SHARON: We don’t think that’s what we have to do. We’re not going to solve the problems for nobody. And then the thing that — I’d say the danger is so great that it should be an international effort. Altogether, I would like you to know that Israel is not leading the struggle. Of course we exchange intelligence. We exchange views, we discuss these issues, but it’s not that we are planning any military attack on Iran.

Somehow, that bundle of equivocation got mangled by the AP into “Sharon rules out attacking Iran” and “Israel will not mount a unilateral attack.”

Let’s review what Sharon actually said, shall we?

1. “We don’t think that’s what we have to do” is a speculative assertion of fact; it is by no means a blanket statement that any future option has been ruled out. What you “think” can be wrong. Just because you “think” you won’t have to do something, doesn’t mean it will not happen or that it’s no longer an option.

2. “We’re not going to solve the problems for nobody” is somewhat more forceful, but in addition to being gramatically incorrect, it’s also quite vague. What, precisely, are “the problems”? Just how solid is the level of certainty that’s supposed to be implied by the phrase “not going to”? One can draw various inferences, but this statement certainly isn’t an effective disavowal of any and all possible future preemptive options.

3. “[I]t’s not that we are planning any military attack on Iran” is not an assertion that anything has been taken off the table by any means. He’s merely saying that it isn’t being planned, not that it’s no longer an option or that it will not happen. That’s a HUGE distinction.

Bottom line, if Ariel Sharon had wanted to say, “We are taking the preemptive option off the table,” he could have. But HE DIDN‘T. And yet the AP is reporting that he did!

Also, nowhere in the interview transcript does the phrase “unilateral action” appear, and the only phrase that comes close — “unilteral military action” — was spoken by Wolf Blitzer, not Ariel Sharon. Sharon never even uttered the word “unilateral,” according to the transcript. So what is the justification for the first sentence of the second paragraph in the AP article? It reads: “Sharon said he did not see ‘unilateral action’ as an option.” Sharon said no such thing!

Finally, Sharon also didn’t say anything about what Israel “needs” to do, talking only about what “should” happen internationally. He was silent on the question of what Israel would “need” to do if the things that “should” happen, don’t happen. Another potentially significant distinction.

Unless the CNN transcript is badly flawed or I am really missing something, I’d have to conclude that this AP article is badly, badly flawed.

[Cross-posted at]

Posted by Brendan at 01:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 13, 2005

Mystery Ship Crosses into N. Korea; S. Korean Navy Fires Warning Shots

UPDATE: Looks like I was wrong. It appears to be the act of a lone drunk who opted for the Workers’ Paradise. That’s going to be some hangover.

ORIGINAL POST: The Chosun Ilbo calls it a defection, but without knowing more than what’s in the article, I’d say a more likely theory is that some North Korean infiltrators were on their way home.

South Korean coastal border guards fired some 20 warning shots from a 60 mm mortar, 106 mm recoilless rifle and MG50 machine gun, but were unable to stop the ship crossing the NLL.

It’s strictly my own speculation at this point, and a definitive explanation may not be forthcoming, but I’ll be the first to admit it if I’m wrong. This piece by Andrei Lankov is must-read background material (the man’s timing is pretty extraordinary, no?). Not that the current South Korean regime would eagerly admit such a possibility.

Whose hostile policy, Minister Chung?

UPDATE: CNN reports that the vessel appears to have been a South Korean fishing boat.

Posted by OneFreeKorea at 12:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Scientists Rush to Destroy Killer Flu Virus

The killer “Asian” flu virus, sent to laboratories around the world as part of routine test kits, could trigger a pandemic if it escapes, but the chances of that are low, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

Senior WHO scientist Dr. Klaus Stohr said the virus, which killed between 1 million and 4 million people in 1957, had gone to about 3,700 laboratories, nearly all in the United States.

“The virus could cause a global (flu) outbreak. It was an unwise decision to send it out,” said Stohr, who heads the United Nations health agency’s influenza program.

But the laboratories, which are sent viruses to test their ability to detect strains, are experienced in handling such material and most had already been alerted to the danger, so there was little chance of anyone catching it, he added.

“It is a risk, but it is considered low. It should not lead to a big scare,” Stohr told Reuters.

The U.S. firm that sent out the virus, the College of American Pathologists (CAP), has issued instructions for all samples to be destroyed and would report to the WHO and U.S. health authorities by Friday on the response, he said.

“By Friday we may be through with this,” Stohr said.

Read more….

Posted by Michele at 10:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 10, 2005

ICG Report on NW Africa (and the War)

ICG has another report out, this one on terrorism in the Sahel (Mali, Niger, Chad, Mauritania, etc) region of North Africa. The issue of North African (and particularly Algerian) terrorism has been one that I’ve been interested in for quite some time now and apparently some of my previous posts on the subject apparently helped to inspire a chapter in Richard Miniter’s Shadow War, which I now shamelessly promote.

In contrast to some of my problems with the ICG report on Iranian influence on Iraq, in which I think the conclusions of the report ignored some of the evidence presented within it (elements of the IRCG are supporting Sadr and Ansar al-Islam, but there’s no proof that Iran is backing the insurgency - huh?), but all in all I think that this one is pretty good. Thankfully, the issue of North African terrorism has yet to be politicized the way that anything to do with Iraq (and to a lesser extent Iran) have been over the last couple years. I’m going through the information rather the recommendations contained in the report since I’m more interested in the information rather than the ICG recommendations, which are fairly easily accessible in summarized form on their website.

With all that in mind, let us begin, shall we?

Posted by Winds of Change at 11:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

6.8 Earthquake in Sumatra

A strong earthquake hit Sunday near the Indonesian island of Sumatra), Hong Kong seismologists said.

The 6.8-magnitude tremor’s epicenter was about 74 miles southwest of Padang, a city in western Sumatra, the Hong Kong Observatory said. The quake was recorded at 6:35 a.m. EDT, it said.

Just breaking, more as it comes in.

Posted by Michele at 08:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 08, 2005

Hatewatch Briefing 2005-04-08

Welcome! This briefing will be looking hard at the dark places the mainstream media sometimes seem determined to look away from, to better understand our declared enemies on their own terms and without illusions. Our goal is to bring you some of the top jihadi rants, idiotarian seething, and old-school Jew-hatred from around the world, leaving you more informed, more aware, and pretty disgusted every month. This Winds of Change.NET HateWatch briefing is brought to you by Lewy14, and by zorkmidden of Discarded Lies. Past briefings and posts on related topics can be found here. Entil’zha veni!


  • Religious Hate: Brave holy warriors battle picnickers, runners; Christian converts arrested in Iran, Jordan; condemns pope; Pakistan puts religious affiliation back in passports; Nigerian clerics preach against vaccines; New Jihadi internet publications; Palestinian Koran “scholar”: end is nigh for US.

  • Idiotarian Seethings: Arab intellectuals blame U.S. and Israel for repression in the Middle East; Saudis too proud to work; Jihad Jane and the Jews; UPenn professor laments ease of Taliban defeat; Cop killer: idiotarian or just nuts?

  • Race and Culture: Racist attacks at Paris student protest; Anti-Semitism in America; Palestinian TV continues anti-Israel propaganda; Hitler’s popularity; White supremacists in Ontario; Anti-semitism in Russia; Zionist = Nazi: a brief history; Greek xenophobia;Parents in Dubai protest pictures of Jewish children.

  • A Hopeful Note: Counter-jihad; Support for Australian religious hatred law reconsidered; Saudi reformers demand open trial.

Posted by Winds of Change at 07:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 06, 2005

Monaco's Rainier Dead at 81

Monaco’s Prince Rainier III, who turned one of the world’s smallest states from a faded gambling center into a billionaires’ haven in more than half a century on the throne, died at the age of 81 on Wednesday, his palace said.

It said he died after a battle with lung, heart and kidney problems.


He will be succeeded as ruler of the tiny Mediterranean principality by 47-year-old Prince Albert, who took over his father’s royal duties last week as hopes faded Rainier would recover.

“His Most Serene Highness Prince Rainier III died on Wednesday, April 6, 2005, at 6:35 in the morning (0035 EDT) at Monaco’s Cardiothoracic Center following broncho-pulmonary, cardiac and kidney disorders,” the palace said in a statement.

Rainier officially become monarch on April 11, 1950, but had already ruled Monaco for almost a year following the death of his grandfather.

Read more…

Posted by Michele at 05:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 05, 2005

Court Given Darfur Evidence

The UN yesterday gave prosecutors at the international criminal court the evidence it had gathered of the atrocities in Darfur, as a preliminary step to possible war crimes prosecutions.

Documents gathered last year by a UN commission were driven overnight from Geneva to the court in The Hague, in the Netherlands.

At UN headquarters in New York yesterday, the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, handed the chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, a sealed envelope holding a list of 51 people the commission recommends should stand trial.

UN officials have said the list includes Sudan government officials, rebels, and Janjaweed militia.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo said that he would analyse the material, assess the alleged crimes and the admissibility of the cases. He urged those with information on Darfur to provide it to his office. “We all have a common task - to protect life, ending the culture of impunity,” he said.

Read more..

Posted by Michele at 09:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

U.S. Re-Entry to Get Tougher for Americans

Americans will need passports to re-enter the United States from Canada , Mexico, Panama and Bermuda by 2008, part of a tightening of U.S. border controls in an era of terrorist threat, three administration officials said Tuesday.

Similarly, Canadians will also have to present a passport to enter the United States, the officials said.

The announcement, expected later Tuesday at the State Department, will specify that a passport or another valid travel document will have to be shown by U.S. citizens, the officials said.

These include a document called Sentri that is used for Mexico travel or a Nexus for Canada travel.

Read more…

Posted by Michele at 09:41 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 04, 2005

In Memoriam

Royal Australian Navy

  • Lieutenant Mathew Davey,doctor, ACT
  • Lieutenant Matthew Goodall, helicopter observer, NSW
  • Lieutenant Paul Kimlin, pilot, ACT
  • Lieutenant Jonathan King,pilot, Queensland
  • Petty Officer Stephen Slattery, medic, NSW
  • Leading Seaman Scott Bennett, aircrewman, NSW

Royal Australian Air Force

  • Squadron Leader Paul McCarthy, senior medical officer, Western Australia
  • Flight Lieutenant Lyn Rowbottom, Queensland
  • Sergeant Wendy Jones, Queensland

Killed in a recent helicopter crash while providing humanitarian relief to Indonesian civilians after the recent earthquake in the region.

As regular readers of TCP may know, I’ve taught at ADFA (Australian Defence Force Academy).

Midshipman Matthew Goodall was one of my students in 1999.

Greater Love hath no man….

Posted by Alan Brain at 10:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Canada's Scandal: The Government vs. The Blogosphere

Publication bans on explosive cases don’t mean much if you’re outside the country, but media outside a country often lack enough interested readers to care. The blogosphere is changing that - and now we’re seeing that change in Canada over an explosive political issue. Captain’s Quarters:

“A political scandal involving the Public Works Ministry, a government effort called the Sponsorship Program, and allegations of corruption in the ruling Liberal Party has Canada abuzz with rumors of payoffs, Mob ties, and snap elections. For the last two years, Canadian politics has been gripped by the so-called “sponsorship scandal” – tens of millions of dollars in government contracts which were funneled into advertizing firms closely connected with the Liberal government for little or no work, but with shadowy rumours that much of the money found its way back into Liberal coffers.”

A snap election is indeed possible. The Liberals have some big choices ahead of them, and so do the other political parties - and somehow, blogs look set to be right in the middle of it all. Time for a little bit of background so our American readers can understand exactly what’s going on. There are a few key wrinkles here that won’t be obvious otherwise.

Posted by Winds of Change at 02:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 02, 2005

Pope John Paul II Dies at 84 - Views From Around the World [Updated]

Pope John Paul II , the bold, humanitarian leader of the Roman Catholic Church, has died at 84, the Vatican announced in an e-mail Saturday.

“The Holy Father died this evening at 9:37 p.m. (2:37 p.m. EST) in his private apartment. All the procedures outlined in the apostolic Constitution `Universi Dominici Gregis’ that was written by John Paul II on Feb. 22, 1996, have been put in motion.”

The announcement came from papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls and was distributed to journalists via e-mail.

Read more..

[to be updated]
What they are saying:

Pope hero of our time, or stuck in past?

Who Will Be Next Pope?

Pope preached back-to-basics conservatism

Profile of the Pope

Pope’s last hours uplifted image of church he led

Bush to Address Nation on Pope’s Death

The pope who showed the church to the world

An Epic Tale of One Man’s Life

Shalom: Israel sends its condolences to Catholic Church

Americans Recall Meeting the Pope

Blair leads British tributes

Vatican rituals after the pope’s death

Statement by Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism

Vatian crowd moved to tears, applause

Via Instapundit, The Teaching Company has made two lectures on the papal succession process available for free online.

Channel Islands’ tribute to Pope

Pilgrims Walk Stations of the Cross at Basilica in Honor of Pope

Bush: ‘Catholic Church has lost its shepherd’

Poland Fell Silent after the Death of Pope John Paul II

Statement by Catholic Charities USA President Rev. Larry Snyder on the Death of Pope John Paul II

Arabs mourn for pope


Weblogs with coverage:

Ann Althouse
The Anchoress
Late Final
The Pope Blog has full coverage
Launch Exhaust
Rooftop Report
Talk Left

From Dream of Italy:

For those planning travel to Rome and/or following the events at the Vatican. These are the dates events are expected to take place. The Pope will lie in state in St. Peter’s Basilica. According to tradition, he will be buried on the 4th, 5th or 6th day following his death, which puts the burial on or between Wednesday, April 6 and Friday, April 8. The conclave begins at least 15 days and no more than 20 days after the death of the Pope. So it is expected to begin on or after April 17.
Posted by Michele at 03:38 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Pope News

Pope John Paul II showed the first signs of losing consciousness at dawn on Saturday, the Vatican said, as priests around the world prepared the Roman Catholic faithful for his passing.

But John Paul, 84, was not in a coma and opened his eyes when spoken to, papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said.

Pope John Paul II has named nearly every cardinal who will elect his successor, but that does not mean the next pontiff will be just like him. Much speculation surrounds the upcoming choice of the cardinals.

The world’s cardinals hold diverse and often conflicting views about what are the most pressing issues for the Roman Catholic Church and will likely seek out a leader with different qualities than John Paul’s. [read the whole thing]

  • Short biography of the Pope here; official Vatican page here.
Posted by Michele at 11:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 01, 2005

Pope's Condition Worsens : End is Near

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

Pope John Paul II’s health has worsened, drawing anguished prayers from Catholics around the world reluctant to accept that his historic pontificate was at an end.

The Vatican said the 84-year-old Pontiff’s heart and kidneys were failing and that his blood pressure had dropped dangerously low.

Late on Friday, Monsignor Angelo Comastri, the Pope’s vicar general for the Vatican city, prepared pilgrims for John Paul II’s passing as he led them through the Rosary prayer.

This evening or tonight, Christ opens the doors to the Pope,” said Monsignor Comastri as he started a prayer vigil in St Peter’s Square attended by tens of thousands of faithful, many openly weeply.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death.

Posted by Alan Brain at 08:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Angolan Marburg Outbreak Is Now The World's Worst

Reuters reports that with the death toll reaching 126 the outbreak of the Marburg virus in Angola has become the world’s worst.

With 132 cases of the haemorrhagic fever recorded the mortality rate in the Angolan Outbreak is much worse than the 23 to 25 percent the CDC says is the usual mortality rate from Marburg. The fact that Angola suffered 27 years of civil war, leaving Angola’s health system in “tatters,” is the only explanation offered for the higher mortality rate.

From California Yankee.

Posted by Dan Spencer at 09:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pope Has Heart Attack : Condition 'Stable'

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

Pope John Paul II is “fully conscious,” lucid and “extremely serene,” after suffering a heart attack and his condition seriously deteriorating overnight, his spokesman has said.

The 84-year-old Pontiff’s overall condition was “stable,” Joaquin Navarro-Valls told a news conference, adding that John Paul II had received his closest advisers in separate meetings at his bedside on Friday morning.

Giving his second update on the pope’s health in less than seven hours, Mr Navarro-Valls said the Pope’s blood pressure continued to be “unstable”, however.

He said that the Pope was “immediately informed about the gravity of his condition” on Thursday, and that the Pontiff chose to remain at the Vatican rather than return to hospital.

Posted by Alan Brain at 07:53 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Robi & Nitin's Indian Ocean Horizons: 2004-04-01

Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on South Asia, courtesy of Robi Sen and Nitin Pai of The Acorn.


  • Condoleezza Rice’s first trip to South Asia successful, at least compared to Colin Powell’s disastrous one last year. She managed to further the Bush administration’s agenda and improved relations with India and Pakistan simultaneously.
  • Rice was able to get the centre-left government in India to agree to the sale of the much debated F-16s to Pakistan. Although she did not publicly push General Musharraf to hang up his uniform any time soon, she managed to extract more concessions from Pakistan over the A Q Khan nuclear proliferation angle.
  • In addition to offering India advanced military hardware - including PAC-2 anti-ballistic missiles, F-16s and F/A-18 fighter aircraft - the United States signaled its intention to upgrade its bilateral relationship to one that is more ‘global in nature’. Despite India’s public protests over the sale of F-16s to Pakistan, it is quite certain that the deal had India’s tacit consent.
  • Her visit, however, was marred by revelations that the United States had actually led its allies astray when it pinned some of Pakistan’s illicit nuclear deals on North Korea to bolster its position the six-party talks.
  • The US has certainly made it clear that it plans to make India a regional superpower, which begs the question if there can be two? One of the ways the US plans to help do this is not only through the sale of weapons systems but through increased cooperation between the two countries militaries and especially in that region their navies.

Other Issues Include: Peeling the Skin off the Pakistani Onion; Peeling the Skin off India-Pakistan Relations; India, Energy, and Security; India - a Million Matinees Now; Keeping a Eye on Khan; The FBI is a Trusted Brand in Bangladesh; A Million Matinees in the Subcontinent, and much more.

Read the Rest…

Posted by Winds of Change at 05:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack