Sunday, July 31, 2005

U.S. Envoy Likes Chinese Proposal In North Korea Nuclear Talks

Talks to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons focused Saturday on a draft statement that the main U.S. envoy praised as a good basis for discussion, a sign of possible progress after an unprecedented five days of meetings. However, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill stressed differences remained with North Korea on a resolution of the 2½-year-old nuclear standoff, which has raised regional tension and concerns that it could spark an arms race in East Asia. "Today was the first opportunity, really, to take something that could become the final document and try to see if we can reach agreement on it," Hill told reporters of the draft proposed by China, the six-nation talks' host. He would not provide details, but said "we think it's a good basis" for negotiation. No end date has been set for the talks, which began Tuesday. Hill said he doubted they would conclude Sunday. The talks have focused on a definition of "denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula. The North says that should mean removal of alleged U.S. nuclear weapons in South Korea as well dissolving the American "nuclear umbrella" of security guarantees to its longtime ally. Washington and Seoul both deny the U.S. has nuclear weapons in South Korea. Hill held another meeting Saturday with the North, their fifth such direct contact at the current fourth round of talks that also include Japan, Russia and South Korea. There was a "consensus on denuclearization" between the negotiators, but North Korea "has an emphasis on some other elements," Hill said. He declined to elaborate. "As much as I would like to talk about progress, you know it's hard to talk about progress until you actually have an agreement," Hill said. The Japanese newspaper Yomiuri, citing anonymous sources, said delegates "roughly agreed" on a draft document that mentions a safety guarantee and economic assistance for North Korea along with a promise of normalized relations with the United States. It does not detail how the North would abandon its nuclear program or what it would get in return, the newspaper said. Hill said earlier that delegates disagreed on the sequence of how disarmament would proceed. The North has demanded concessions before totally dismantling its nuclear weapons program, while the Americans want to grant concessions only after verifying the program has been eliminated. Another issue of contention is the North's demand to be allowed peaceful use of nuclear technology to remedy its electricity shortage, a request dating back to an earlier nuclear crisis that ended in a 1994 agreement with the United States. Under that accord, the North was to be provided with two reactors that could not be used to make weapons. Construction on those reactors was halted after the latest standoff erupted in late 2002, when U.S. officials said North Korea acknowledged running a secret uranium enrichment program — which it has since denied. South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, in Laos for a regional conference, said Saturday the North still wants to finish building the two reactors and also wants to receive electricity directly from South Korea under a new aid proposal made this year to help resolve the nuclear issue, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

Friday, July 29, 2005

IRA Decision A Courageous Initiative

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams
The IRA decision to lay down its arms represents a courageous and confident initiative and is a momentous defining point in the search for lasting peace with justice, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said today. He said it presented an unparalleled challenge and opportunity for every nationalist and republican. Mr Adams said in Dublin: “There is an enormous responsibility on us to seize this moment and to make Irish freedom a reality. “I would urge all Irish nationalists and republicans, including those who have shown such commitment as volunteers of the IRA, to put their undoubted talents and energy into building a new Ireland.” Mr Adams said history would not be kind to any government which played politics with today's developments. He said the British government must urgently address demilitarisation, equality and human rights and the Irish Government must actively promote Irish unity. Unionists, he insisted, must end their ambivalence to the Good Friday Agreement and make peace with the rest of the people of Ireland. The IRA statement could help revive the peace process but he warned that, in the short term, initiatives by the IRA were unlikely to change the attitude of their opponents in London and Dublin and within unionism. The road map was clear and Sinn Féin was a party looking forward to an end to British rule. They had a vision of a new future and they had the spirit and confidence to work with others to achieve this. Republicans and nationalists were now in a new area of struggle and there was a rule for everyone in that situation. Nation-building was too important to leave entirely to politicians, he said. Mr Adams said: “National liberation struggles can have different phases. There is a time to resist, to stand up and to confront the enemy by arms if necessary. “In other words, there is a time for war. There is also a time to engage, to reach out, to put the war behind us all. “There is a time for peace. There is a time for justice. There is a time for rebuilding. This is that time. This is the era of the nation builders.”

North Korea may NOT Have Nuclear Weapons At All

A Russian news agency added a new twist on Thursday to the tortuous history of North Korea's nuclear ambitions, quoting a diplomatic source as saying that Pyongyang as yet had no functioning atomic arsenal at all.
The report, seen in Beijing, appeared as China hosted six-party talks aimed at defusing an international crisis over the secretive North's nuclear ambitions. The standoff erupted in October 2002 when U.S. officials accused Pyongyang of pursuing a clandestine weapons programme, prompting it to expel U.N. nuclear inspectors. Last February 10, North Korea announced that it had nuclear weapons. It demanded Washington provide aid, security guarantees and diplomatic recognition in return for scrapping them. Interfax said the source, described as being close to the Beijing talks, said Pyongyang had advised its ally, China, after declaring its nuclear status in February, that it had developed a detonator to activate nuclear charges. After completing this work, North Korea announced that it had become another nuclear power, "because the production of all the components for nuclear weapons had become technically possible", the source said. Interfax said the source believed Pyongyang would not spend large sums of money on mass production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons as long as it had hopes of reaching a desirable outcome at the six-party talks. U.S. intelligence reports have speculated that North Korea had stockpiled enough plutonium to make at least two and possibly as many as nine bombs. The U.S. military commander in South Korea confessed that even he was unclear if Pyongyang's nuclear boast was true. "North Korea has self-proclaimed itself as a nuclear power and on several occasions said they had nuclear weapons," General Leon LaPorte said on Thursday. "North Korea is the only one that could precisely answer the question whether they have nuclear weapons."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Watermelon Eating Contest At The Ghetto Talent Show

Miami city leaders are apologizing for a news release that invited summer campers to a ''Ghetto Style Talent Show'' and ''Watermelon Eating Contest.'' The release said that children participating in the summer camp who "know the meaning of ghetto style" would have a chance to "prove just how ghetto they are.''
Members of the black community expressed outrage at the wording of the invitation to the talent show. The show will be part of the grand finale picnic for the city's summer camp program to be held Friday at Hadley Park. After being criticized by residents of the nearby Model City neighborhood and community leaders, Miami Parks Director Ernest Burkeen, who is black, released a formal apology and announced the renaming of the talent show. The show will now be called the "Funky Talent Show," according to Burkeen's written statement. The watermelon contest will still be part of the event. Even though the name has been changed, Burkeen did still continue to defend the choice of the name for the show. "The word 'ghetto' was used to imply a down home show, not something offensive, but embracing the culture of today's youth and their language," he said. Church and community leaders said that changing the name isn't enough -- the damage has already been done. "It's almost equivalent to saying, 'We're having bananas at Jose Marti Park' and referring to Miami as a 'Banana Republic,'" the Rev. Richard Dunn said. Other critics said that the watermelon eating contest is a painful reminder of racially insensitive stereotypes. "Watermelon, back in the days, was a good food for African Americans, according to the Bible, but at the same time, it had an attachment with slavery and bondage ties," the Rev. Carl Johnson said. Some members of the community had a different perspective and said that critics were missing the point. Michael Hardaway said, "They have to understand that the young generation has a whole different style than they do …
At a ghetto-style talent show the kids are getting together to show their talent." Other community activists said changing the name of the contest is just the start of what needs to happen. Dunn suggested that instead of buying hundreds of watermelons for the contest, the money could be spent on school supplies and backpacks for kids who need them. Andre Williams said, "No more watermelons --- and as Reverend Dunn says, we need to give books and school supplies to our children." City officials said Tuesday that the contest is popular and it will not be canceled. The picnic will go on Friday as planned and will include up to 3,000 children from across the city.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Taiwan warns Chinese missiles threaten Australia, United States & Other Countries

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian warned on Tuesday that arch-rival China's growing missile build-up not only posed a threat to his democratic island, but also endangered the other countries including Australia. Mr Chen said more than Chinese 700 missiles are targeting Taiwan, but that they can also target Australia, New Zealand, the United States, India and Russia.
"The expansion of China's military ambition and capabilities constitutes a direct threat to democratic Taiwan and, more importantly, a potential danger to the security and peace of the Asia-Pacific region, and even of the world as a whole," Mr Chen told Japan's Foreign Correspondents' Club via a video news conference. "What is most worrisome for the international community is that China has been continuously upgrading the quality and quantity of its strategic guided-missile unit, allowing it to be capable of nuclear deterrence and counter-attack," Mr Chen said. With global attention is on six-party talks in Beijing aimed at ending the crisis over North Korea's nuclear ambitions, Mr Chen said the international community would be exercising double standards if it continued to ignore China's military threat. Recent remarks by a Chinese general that China could use nuclear arms against the United States in a war over Taiwan exposes the danger of a possible misjudgment by the Chinese military, the Taiwanese President said. "China is not a normal country. It is a country that is hostile towards Taiwan with the intention of invading and taking over Taiwan," he added. Beijing considers Taiwan, split politically from the mainland since 1949, part of Chinese territory and has vowed to bring the it back to the fold, by force if necessary. In March, China passed an anti-secession law authorising the use of "non-peaceful means" against Taiwan if the democratically ruled island pushed for formal independence. Mr Chen said he hopes to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in South Korea in November.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Payola Between Music Companies Radio Stations... Unbelievable, Considering The High Quality Music That's Being Produced

Why Would Anybody Have To Pay Someone To Play This Great Music
One of the nation's biggest music companies, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, agreed Monday to pay $10 million and to stop paying radio station employees to feature its artists to settle an investigation by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. The agreement resulted from Spitzer's investigation of suspected "pay for play" practices in the music industry.
A Sony BMG spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. But Spitzer said Sony BMG has agreed to hire a compliance officer to monitor promotion practices and to issue a statement acknowledging "improper conduct" and pledging higher standards. He commended the company for its cooperation. "Our investigation shows that, contrary to listener expectations that songs are selected for air play based on artistic merit and popularity, air time is often determined by undisclosed payoffs to radio stations and their employees," Spitzer said.
"This agreement is a model for breaking the pervasive influence of bribes in the industry." Spitzer had requested documents and information from EMI, Warner Music Group, Vivendi Universal SA's Universal Music Group as well as from Sony BMG, which is a joint venture of Sony Corp. and Bertelsmann AG. Spitzer said his investigation showed Sony BMG paid for vacation packages and electronics for radio programmers, paid for contest giveaways for listeners, paid some operational expenses of radio stations and hired middlemen known as independent promoters to provide illegal payments to radio stations to get more airplay for its artists. Spitzer also said e-mails among company executives showed top officials were aware of the payments. Spitzer said Sony BMG employees sought to conceal some payments by using fictitious contest winners to document the transactions. In one case, an employee of Sony's Epic label was trying to promote the group Audioslave to a station and asked: "WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET AUDIOSLAVE ON WKSS THIS WEEK?!!?
Whatever you can dream up, I can make it happen." In another case, a promoter unhappy that Celine Dion's "I Drove All Night" was being played overnight on some stations threatened to revoke a trip to a Dion show in Las Vegas unless the play times improved. Sony BMG Music is an umbrella organization for several prominent record labels, including Arista Records, Columbia Records, Sony Music International and So So Def Records. Star artists signed with the Arista label alone include Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, OutKast, Pink and Sarah McLachlan. The $10 million will be distributed to not-for-profit entities and earmarked for music education programs, Spitzer said. Record companies can't offer financial incentives under a 1960 federal law that made it a crime punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to a year in prison to offer money or other inducements to give records airplay.
The practice was called "payola," a contraction of "pay" and "Victrola" record players. The law was passed in response to the payola scandals of the 1950s and early 1960s that implicated some then-famous disc jockeys.

Happy Birthday Airman Sean

Happy Birthday Airman Sean
From your proud Father

Monday, July 25, 2005

Heeeeere's Al

And if you think THAT'S! Funny... For my next joke... I am running for President of the United States of America
As vice president, "Funny Man" Al Gore learned that the most disarming way to counter his wooden image was to tell better jokes about himself than the late-night comedians did. Mr. Gore now says he received occasional tutoring on those one-liners from the master of the television monologue, Johnny Carson. Mr. Gore said he had telephoned Mr. Carson on several occasions in the mid-1990's to seek his guidance on "timing and delivery." "He let me call him up and bounce jokes off him and he would give me advice on the presentation of gags," said Mr. Gore, who said he had initially approached the retired "Tonight Show" host through a mutual friend. "It was such a privilege." Mr. Gore said that Mr. Carson, who died in January, had even given him a couple of jokes.
But Mr. Carson's greatest contribution, Mr. Gore said, came in 1994, when over the telephone he walked Mr. Carson through a skit he intended to do before a black-tie Washington dinner known as the Gridiron. The idea, Mr. Gore said, was that he would be wheeled onto the dais on a hand truck, ramrod straight, and would slowly be cranked to his feet by "two guys in Acme delivery costumes." "I told Johnny about it, and he said, 'Oh that's great,' " Mr. Gore recalled. "He said, 'When you do it, make sure to wait till they stop laughing.' " To his delight, Mr. Gore said, the bit killed. "Part of the shtick on me in those days was that I was stiff," Mr. Gore added, laughing. "I like to think it's passed, but it's not."
I will buy a TV channel and tell every one I won't broadcast partisan politics. Thats funny!

Dirty Tricks Planned Against Judge Roberts?

The Democrats are starting to give their views and comments on Supreme Court nominee Judge John Roberts
click the Democrat logo to hear the comments

Japan Advancing Missile Shield Deployment

Japan may start deploying a missile shield by the end of next March, a year earlier than planned, to counter the threat of North Korean and Chinese ballistic missiles, a Japanese daily said. The report came a day after the Japanese parliament approved legislation that would allow a swifter response to ballistic missile attacks. The Yomiuri Shimbun, quoting government sources, said Tokyo was considering a faster track for deployment so that some of the missile defence system will be ready when the bill comes into effect at the end of the fiscal year, which ends in March 2006. It said the plan reflects concerns about the threat of ballistic missiles held by North Korea, which declared in February that it possesses nuclear weapons. Defence Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment. Alarm mounted in 1998 when North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean, prompting Tokyo’s decision in December 2003 to buy a US-made defence system. Under the current plan, the Defence Ministry is to start deploying Patriot 3 (PAC-3) surface-to-air missiles in late fiscal 2006/07, which ends in March 2007, Yomiuri said. In addition, one of Japan’s four Aegis destroyers is to be refitted with SM-3 missiles by the end of 2007. By the end of fiscal 2010/11, the government wants to have four missile defence-equipped Aegis destroyers and three PAC-3 units deployed.

Elementary School Principal Ordered The Removal Of A Portrait Of Our President From Classroom

A New York woman claims that she was forced from her teaching post by an elementary school principal who objected to her Republican activism and last year ordered the removal of a portrait of President George W. Bush from the educator's Long Island classroom.
In a federal discrimination lawsuit, Jillian Caruso, 26, claims that she was improperly forced to resign her job by Birch Lane Elementary School principal Joyce Becker-Seddio, the wife of state Assemblyman Frank Seddio, a Brooklyn Democrat. In her U.S. District Court complaint, a copy of which you'll find below, Caruso contends that she was retaliated against by Becker-Seddio because of her political work, which has included volunteering at last year's GOP convention and membership in the Republican National Committee. Caruso, who taught first and third graders at Birch Lane, also claims that when the principal spotted the Bush portrait late last year--it was hanging among photos of other U.S. presidents--she "became outraged and insisted that the picture be removed." Caruso, who complied with that order, has named the Massapequa Union Free School District as the sole defendant in her action, which seeks unspecified monetary damages and a reappointment to her prior teaching post.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

FREE At Last!

With a little help from his friends, an elderly man has been released from jail and is back home tonight. A messy backyard landed 88-year-old Robert Schulze in jail earlier this week. The South St. Paul man was held in contempt on Tuesday after failing to rectify code violations and missing a court date. Friends, family and neighbors worked to clean up the wood, trinkets and other items littering the yard. Once an inspector approved of the job, Schulze was released. The city of South St. Paul says it is trying to reach an agreement with Schulze to fix the problem permanently. "We'd like to work the Schulze family so there is no more situations of this type." said South St. Paul Administrator Steve King Schulze says he is thankful to be home and for those who pitched in to get him out of jail. "I sure thank you and the rest of the people that helped me out." Schulze said.

Friday, July 22, 2005

FREE "Bobby Schulze"

Minnesota Judges Routinely Let Child Molesters, Rapists And Sexual Deviants Run Free. But Senior Citizens With A Messy Yard Are Going To Do Hard Time!
WW2 Vet. Robert Schulze 88, of South St. Paul has been jailed for having a messy yard.

A major clean up is underway on Warburton Street in South Saint Paul. Neighbors, friends, and Cub Scouts gathered to help clean Robert Schulze's backyard. Schulze, who is 88 and in poor health, has been ordered to remain behind bars for 30 days or until the mess disappears. The situation has shocked Schulze -- and his family. "He just thought he'd pay a fine and that'd be it, but she put him in jail," said one family member. "He's made great strides over the years, it's much better than it used to be." City Officials say the tires, machinery, lumber and tools in the yard violate an ordinance for unsheltered storage. Mary Schulze says her husband is frail and has been slow making progress in the yard. "He's got a defibrillator, and heart problems, very bad heart problems, so he works when he can," she said. Assistant City Attorney Kori Land says Schulze had several opportunities to bring the yard up to code. "whether they are 28 or 88 and if they fail to comply there are only so many options so the court had to impose it's last resort," Land said.

U.S.-Mexico Border Barrier Allowed To Go Ahead

Construction crews are expected to begin building a reinforced concrete barrier along sections of the U.S.-Mexico border next month.
The barrier is designed to stop immigrant smugglers, drug traffickers and other illegal traffic from driving across the border. The barrier will eventually cover 123 miles from San Luis to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument south of Ajo. "Not only will it enhance our ability to gain greater control of the border, but it is a proactive effort to protect the environment, habitat and (protect) against the ravages of narcotics and alien smuggling vehicles," said Joe Brigman, a spokesman for the Yuma sector of the U.S. Border Patrol. Yuma sector facilities manager Frank Geary said crews are slated to begin building in August a 37-mile portion stretching from San Luis to Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. Construction on a section east of there will start in November and link to barriers on a stretch of the Organ Pipe monument, he said.


Bombers have again targeted London's transport system - with up to four explosions reported. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said the bombs appeared to be smaller than used in the attacks two weeks ago but advised people to "stay where you are". Passengers reported one blast at Warren Street station off Tottenham Court Road in central London. There has also been an incident on a bus in Hackney, East London. Stations at Warren Street, Oval and Shepherd's Bush have been closed.
Scotland Yard have confirmed there is an incident involving armed police officers at University College Hospital in Bloomsbury close to Warren Street station. A man was also arrested by armed police at the gates of Downing Street. An internal memo to staff at the hospital has warned them to be on the lookout for a black male, possibly of Asian origin, about 6ft 2ins tall, wearing a blue top with wires protruding from the rear of the top. Police officers in chemical protection suits have been seen appearing to enter Warren Street, where British Transport Police say one person has been injured. A initial chemical search at Oval station has proved negative. Sir Ian told reporters at Scotland Yard the incidents were "serious". There appeared to have been a series of explosions or attempted explosions. He urged Londoners to "stay where you are and go about your normal business" for the time being. Tony Blair said that although the incidents had to be treated as seriously, there had been no reports of casualties. "We know why these things are done - they are done to scare people," he told a news conference. He said police were working to return London to normal as quickly as possible. Services on the Victoria, Northern and Hammersmith & City and Bakerloo Lines have been disrupted. Emergency services started receiving calls just after 12.30pm. At Warren Street there were reports of shots and a nail bomb explosion. Sky's Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt said police believe this may have been the sound of detonators going off.
Victoria Line train passenger Ivan McCracken told Sky News he spoke to an Italian man who witnessed an explosion just after the train arrived at the platform. "He told me he had seen a man carrying a rucksack which suddenly exploded. It was a minor explosion but enough to blow open his rucksack. Everyone rushed from the carriage. People evacuated very quickly. There was no panic. "I didn't see anyone injured but there was shock and fright." One witness told Sky News that passengers tried to prevent a man with a rucksack running away but they failed. At Oval station there were reports of a man dumping a rucksack in a carriage then fleeing as the doors closed. Police cordoned off the streets around Warren Street station. Scotland Yard said emergency services responded to an "incident" on a Number 26 bus in Hackney Road, on a junction near Colombia Road, east London. Bus operator Stagecoach said the driver heard a bang at around 1.30pm. The bus had left Waterloo and was in Shoreditch when the incident happened. "The driver heard a bang which appeared to come from the upper deck. When he went upstairs to investigate, the windows on the upper deck were blown out. "The bus is structurally intact and we don't have any reports of injuries," said a spokesman. Network Rail say all mainline train services are running from London stations. Police are appealing for anyone with mobile phone images, pictures or video from any of the four sites to send in their images via a website It is two weeks to the day since bombers attacked three Tube trains and a bus in central London.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Border Chief Says Citizen Volunteers Could Form Patrol Auxiliary

The top U.S. border enforcement official said that his agency is exploring ways to involve citizen volunteers in creating "something akin to a Border Patrol Auxiliary"
A significant shift in rhetoric that comes after a high-profile civilian campaign this spring along the Arizona-Mexico border. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert C. Bonner told The Associated Press that his agency has focused on involving citizens after noting the willingness of volunteers to help federal agents catch illegal immigrants. "It is actually as a result of seeing that there is the possibility in local border communities, and maybe even beyond, of having citizens that would be willing to volunteer to help the Border Patrol," Bonner said. Volunteers would need training and be organized "in a way that would be something akin to a Border Patrol Auxiliary," he said. "We value having eyes and ears of citizens and I think that would be one of the things we are looking at is how you better organize, let's say, a citizen effort." Bonner characterized the idea as "an area we're looking at." Questions such as what kind of authority volunteers would be given - would they be deputized to make arrests or carry guns - haven't been answered. "This is what we need to study," said Bonner, who was in Los Angeles to discuss port security. In April, hundreds of volunteers joined the Minuteman Project to patrol a 23-mile stretch of the Arizona-Mexico border, generating international attention and criticism and spawning similar campaigns. Until now, Border Patrol officials have generally criticized civilian efforts to police the nation's borders, saying it was the job of trained law enforcement officers. President Bush (website - news - bio) has expressed his opposition to border "vigilantes." "The Border Patrol does this every day, and they are qualified and very well-trained to handle the situation," Bonner said in February, noting that the Minutemen planned to carry firearms. "Ordinary Americans are not. So there's a danger that not just illegal migrants might get hurt, but that American citizens might get hurt in this situation." Customs and Border Protection had yet to tell Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and other top departmental officials of its discussions, though they would be briefed in coming months once the agency came up with a proposal, said CBP spokeswoman Kristi Clemens. "All proposals are being considered, including clerical work by volunteers that would free up more agents to secure our borders," Clemens said.

No Role For Japan At Six-Party Talks Says North Korea

North Korea said on Wednesday Japan has no role to play at six-country talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear programs because Tokyo complicates an already difficult process by raising the issue of its abductees.
Japanese officials have said they plan to raise the topic of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea decades ago when six-country nuclear talks resume on July 26. North Korea has boycotted the talks for over a year. "Japan will find nothing to do at the future six-party talks even if it attends them unless it drops its crooked viewpoint and way of thinking," the North's official KCNA news agency said. "The six-party talks remain unchanged in their basic orientation and nature that the talks should substantially contribute to the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula," KCNA said. North Korea has said several times in its official media that it does not want Japan to participate in the six-party talks that also include China, Russia, South Korea and the United States.
North Korea has admitted to abducting 13 Japanese people in the 1970s and 1980s to help train its spies. Five were repatriated, and Pyongyang says the other eight are dead. Japan has been pressing for better information on the eight and another two who Tokyo says were also kidnapped. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said last week the issue of Japanese abductees was a valid subject to be dealt with at the six-party talks. But South Korea sees the issue as a strictly bilateral matter between North Korea and Japan to be discussed on the sidelines of the nuclear talks.
"Our basic position is that the purpose of the six-party talks is to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, and so discussions should focus on that," a South Korean official said on Friday. The talks resume on July 26 in Beijing after a break of 13 months. Three previous rounds since August 2003 produced no substantive progress.

U.S. Wants Japan To Share Missile Defense Radar Data

The United States, as part of its missile defense program, has asked the government to share any information obtained by advanced radar systems in Japan as soon as they detect a U.S.-targeted ballistic missile attack launched from such countries as North Korea, government sources said Tuesday.
Any such missile launch would probably first be detected in Japan by an advanced early warning radar system known as FPS-XX. The next-generation high-performance radar system, which is in its final stage of development by the Defense Agency's Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI), will be a pivotal component of the nation's missile defense system scheduled to be deployed 2007. The government is set to accept the U.S. requests for assistance saying there would be no problem in sharing information in the event of a missile attack on the United States, the sources said. U.S. forces have no fixed, land-based radar system such as FPS-XX in the Far East region. The TRDI-developed FPS-XX is designed to track ballistic missiles and the Defense Agency plans to have Air Self-Defense Force units operating the radar in four locations, including Aomori and Okinawa prefectures, during a three-year period from fiscal 2008. The sources said North Korean Taepodong-2 missiles are believed to have a range of up to 6,000 kilometers, capable of reaching parts of the United States, such as Alaska, in about 20 minutes. Washington therefore wants to be able to obtain missile launch information immediately after a launch, according to the sources, who declined to be named. The U.S. request was made in a two-day meeting of the Japan-U.S. Joint Command and Control Summit meeting at the U.S. Yokota Air Base on June 28 and 29 in which high-ranking officers from both countries took part, the sources said. The U.S. side in the meeting said it hoped Japan would provide tracking information about any detected long-range ballistic missile launch aimed at the United States or any medium-range one targeted at U.S. military bases in Japan. But there are objections among the opposition parties concerning such information sharing. Opponents assert that it would run counter to the government's interpretation of the Constitution, to the effect that the top law should be taken as banning Japan from exercising its right to collective self-defense. Under the ongoing Japan-U.S. missile defense collaboration, however, Japanese and U.S. forces have been sharing information obtained by Japan's radar systems on board Aegis-equipped destroyers, according to the sources. The government stance is that no constitutional or legal problems will arise in providing missile launch information to Washington. The only exception is for information tantamount to giving U.S. forces specific instructions about actions they should take for intercepting such an attack, they said. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, in a plenary session of the House of Councillors in March, said that as part of the defense information-sharing arrangements, there was no problem in giving U.S. forces information obtained as a result of SDF national security duties.

South Korea's Army On High Alert

South Korea's army is on high alert along the east coast after two soldiers were robbed of their rifles while on patrol.The alert was issued when three men attacked the soldiers with a knife and fled with the rifles, 30 rounds of ammunition and a portable radio, about 60 kilometres from the North Korean border.The Defence Ministry says the military, backed by police, is maintaining tight security checks at major roads in and out of the eastern coastal city of Donghae, 280 kilometres east of Seoul.The army is reported to be on the highest alert known as 'Jindogae Hana' since the incident occurred. The attackers, allegedly approached the soldiers for directions before tying them up and forcing them into the trunk of a car.They were reportedly dumped at a Navy base.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Roberts Has Solid Conservative Credentials

President George W. Bush has chosen Federal Appeals Court Judge John G. Roberts Jr. as his first nominee for the Supreme Court, selecting a conservative whose nomination could trigger a battle over the direction of the nation's highest court, a senior administration official said. Bush offered the position to Roberts in a telephone call at 12:35pm after a luncheon with the visiting Australian Prime Minister John Howard. He was to announce it later with a flourish in a nationally broadcast speech to the nation. Roberts has been on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since June 2003 after being picked for that seat by Bush. Advocacy groups on the right say that Roberts, a 50-year-old native of Buffalo, New York, who attended Harvard Law School, is a bright judge with strong conservative credentials he burnished in the administrations of former Presidents Bush and Reagan. While he has been a federal judge for just a little more than two years, legal experts say that whatever experience he lacks on the bench is offset by his many years arguing cases before the Supreme Court. Liberal groups, however, say Roberts has taken positions in cases involving free speech and religious liberty that endanger those rights. Abortion groups allege that Roberts is hostile to women's reproductive freedom and cite a brief he co-wrote in 1990 that suggested the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 high court decision that legalised abortion.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Hillary Clinton Gives Speech To Racist Organization, Advocates Breaking US Laws

Speaking to the nations' largest Hispanic civil rights organization, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., received a standing ovation Monday when she vowed her support for legislation that would allow Illegal immigrant high school students to attend college. Clinton made her remarks on various issues of importance to the country's Latinos at the annual conference of National Council of La Raza, attended by 23,000 people at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. The event started Friday and has included a rally in center Philadelphia in support of the so-called DREAM Act that would benefit illegal students. On Tuesday, the chairpersons of both the Republican and Democratic national committees are schedule to address the conference, which NCLR officials say is a first for the organization and a sign that both parties have heightened their interest in the growing Latino population and its votes.

Get A Pimp Name That Mothafuckas Respect

Prime Minister Orders Review That Could Include ID Card

Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard
Intelligence services have begun a review of Australia's terrorism laws that could include consideration of a national identity card. Queensland Premier Peter Beattie yesterday called for a national identification scheme in the wake of the wrongful detention of Cornelia Rau. He said it could also protect Australians against terrorism. Prime Minister John Howard said the Government would not needlessly change the laws, but he had asked for broad advice from the intelligence agencies. "We haven't put any limits on what might come forward," Mr Howard said. But it could include advice on identification. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has flagged laws to make it easier for authorities to deport people who incite hatred and make it harder for them to enter Britain. Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said Australia had "benchmarked" its anti-terror laws to those of Britain and the US and would continue to do so after the London bombings. But he warned that "superficially appealing" ideas, such as deportation, were complex, particularly with Australian citizens, who could wind up stateless. "You could remove somebody's citizenship and find you have nowhere to remove them to," he said. Mr Howard played down the prospect of identity cards, but refused to rule them out. Australia has significantly strengthened terror laws since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Mr Howard said suicide bombers could strike in Australia, but he said he had no intelligence information pointing to an attack. "Anyone who thinks we can never have suicide bombers in Australia is being complacent," he said. Mr Ruddock also said suicide bombings in Australia could not be ruled out. "A week ago, people would have ruled it out in the UK," he said. Mr Howard said the risk here was lower than in Britain, partly because Australia had a smaller Muslim population. "Without in any way smearing the general population … there is no doubt that there has been a perverted attempt by fanatics to distort the meaning of Islam," he said. He also condemned the views of Melbourne bookshop owner Sheikh Mohammed Omran, who recently said Osama bin Laden had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks in the United States.

'Be alert, not alarmed' campaign revived

A new $2.2 million advertising blitz urging Australians to report possible terrorist activity has been launched. Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said Australians needed a reminder to be vigilant and to use the anti-terror phone line, which costs $6.1 million a year to run. "I don't believe we can allow our guard to fall," he said. The three-week campaign started with television advertisements last night. Newspaper, public transport and railway station advertisements will follow. The Federal Government's first campaign, including fridge magnets and the slogan "Be alert, not alarmed", began in 2002. The magnets could be reissued. Mr Ruddock said the phone line had received 50,000 calls, providing "very useful" information. The number of calls to the line has risen since the London bomb attacks, with 500 since Thursday last week. It has also been subject to a large number of hoax calls. David Wright-Neville, from Monash University's terrorism research unit, dismissed the new campaign as political spin that would not help deter or detect terrorism.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Poll Shows Muslim Support Of Terror & Bin Laden Dwindling

Public support for Osama bin Laden and terrorist violence has dropped in several Muslim countries, but has risen in Jordan, a poll finds. The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found poll respondents' public support for bin Laden was down in the Muslim-majority countries of Indonesia, Lebanon, Morocco and Pakistan. In Turkey bin Laden had the support of 13 percent of those asked in 2002, compared with 14 percent in the latest poll. Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, suggested that people may be tiring of terrorism in these countries, reported the Christian Science Monitor. Nonetheless, there remains a pretty substantial body of support for deadly attacks in defense of Islam, according to Kohut. Only in the U.S. allies of Jordan had support for bin Laden grown significantly -- from 43 percent among respondents in 2002 to 57 percent now. Jordan's large Sunni Arab population has close ties with Iraq's Sunni minority, reported the Los Angeles Times. The poll found that support in Jordan has risen for the statement that violence against civilians to defend Islam was justified sometimes or often."

Friday, July 15, 2005

Warning Labels On Pop?

should warning labels be placed on cans of non-diet soft drinks?
If one consumer advocacy group has its way, non diet soft drinks will contain the same type of warning labels that can be found on packages of cigarettes. In the continuing fight to battle obesity in this country, the Center for Science in the Public Interest says it wants the warning label. The group claims a 12-ounce can of soda contains approximately eight and a half teaspoons of sugar. A study done from 1999 to 2002 shows the average teenage boy drinks three cans, while the average teenage girl drinks two every day.
The consumer group says this can only contribute to the rise in obesity and diabetes in the U.S. Soft drink makers say their product should not be singled out. Also, they say diet drinks are a non- caloric alternative.

Brain-Damaged Patient Is Pregnant, Health-Care Facility Investigated

A Bloomingdale health-care facility is under investigation by police and the state Department of Public Health after a 23-year-old wheelchair-bound, brain-damaged patient was found to be pregnant. The news triggered an investigation into the woman's apparent sexual assault while in the care of Alden Village Health Facility for Children and Young Adults. Employees at the 109-bed assisted-care facility are submitting to DNA testing and cooperating fully with investigations by Bloomingdale police and the state Health Department, said Jane Amata, a vice president for Alden Management Services, Alden's parent company. The pregnant woman's mother, Cheryl Hale-Crom, said the woman and her twin sister had lived at Alden Village since they were 10, but she withdrew both daughters the night she learned of the pregnancy. Both women have been brain damaged since infancy and can't walk or talk, their mother said. Hale-Crom said an Alden worker called her last month to tell her that one of her daughters was on her way to the hospital because her stomach had swelled because of a problem with her feeding tube. The worker also told her they were going to do a pregnancy test. "Why are we doing that?" Hale-Crom remembered asking. Two hours later, she found out her daughter was 28 weeks and 5 days pregnant. Alden Management Services, which operates 31 residential health care facilities in the Chicago area, "is committed to quality care," Amata said. "We strive each day to enhance the quality of life of the residents and patients that we are privileged to serve," she said. Hale-Crom said she had not spoken with Alden Village officials since transferring the twins to another facility, where both are undergoing testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Until the pregnancy, Hale-Crom said she was generally satisfied with her twins' care at Alden, which she visited about once a month because of the two-hour distance from her home in Machesney Park, near Rockford. But she remembers once asking an Alden caretaker about pregnancy protection regarding her twins, specifically about birth control pills or even hysterectomies. "I was told I shouldn't have to worry about that kind of stuff," Hale-Crom said. "So I just let it go," she said. "You can't sit and think about it." Amata said she had no knowledge of a conversation between Hale-Crom and an Alden staff member about pregnancy. She declined to comment on what advice would be given in such a situation or whether female residents are routinely checked to see if they are pregnant. "Obviously she didn't have periods for many months and it was never documented, they never did anything about it," said Ed Fox, Hale-Crom's lawyer. "It's just bizarre that they'd just let this go on." Bloomingdale Police Detective John Krueger declined to comment on the investigation. The Illinois Department of Public Health is also investigating, spokeswoman Tammy Leonard said, but declined to give any specifics. The fetus appeared healthy and is scheduled to be born through Caesarian section in mid-August, Hale-Crom said. "Doctors have told me that it's very possible that there are children like [my daughter] that have children that are perfectly healthy," said Hale-Crom, who said she will take the baby, a girl, into her care. "There's a lot of uncertainties, and we just have to wait until she's born." The twins had been in supervised facilities since age 3 1/2, when their shots, medication and therapy became too much for Hale-Crom to handle. In late June, Bloomingdale trustees approved a 35,000-square-foot addition that would more than double the 31,000-square-foot Alden Village facility at 267 E. Lake St. The Department of Public Health fined Alden Village $50,000 in September for failing to provide constant supervision for its neediest residents. The fine followed the death of a 12-year-old boy in February 2004 after he became trapped between his bed's padding and mattress. The fine was appealed, and no date has been set for a hearing, Leonard said. State inspectors also investigated reports about Alden this spring, but the complaints were not substantiated, she said. Amata declined to comment on past investigations.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Humphrey Terminal Reopened After Evacuation

The Humphrey Terminal was reopened Wednesday night after being evacuated for about four hours when bomb-sniffing dogs detected a scent earlier that evening. Passengers and airport employees were evacuated from the Humphrey Terminal at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport around 6:30 p.m. after K9s identified possible explosives, according to airport officials. Two separate K-9s stopped near two vending machines in different areas of the terminal, airport spokesman Pat Hogan said. About 200 passengers on a Sun Country flight were affected, Hogan said. Outgoing flights were delayed and incoming flights were diverted to the Lindbergh Terminal. The Bloomington Bomb Squad searched the terminal and determined the scent most likely came from a person handling the two machines. The evacuation did not affect Lindbergh Terminal, the larger of the two terminals. Sun Country and Midwest Airlines operate from the Humphrey Terminal. The Humphrey Terminal has 10 gates compared with the 117 at the Lindbergh Terminal.

St. Paul / Minneapolis Airport Terminal Evacuated

The Humphrey Terminal at the St. Paul / Minneapolis Airport has been evacuated. Two bomb-sniffing dogs apparently sat down next to two different vending machines in different parts of the building. One vending machine was on the south end of the building and the other was in the center of the building, said Metropolitan Airports Commission Spokesman Pat Hogan. Sitting down indicates a threat, according to officials. The dogs were on a routines patrol of the airport. Patrons of the terminal were evacuated to a parking lot. Seven airlines operate out of the Humphrey Terminal. Light Rail service continued through the evacuation. Hogan said he believes this is a false positive, however, the Bloomington bomb squad is on the scene working with the airport police K-9 unit. "We are taking this very seriously," Hogan said. "Our first concern is the safety of the public." If you are flying out of the Humphrey terminal tonight, you should call your airline to check on the status of your flight. Traffic is not heavy at the terminal. The Lindbergh terminal is still operating, and the only flight scheduled for the Humphrey Terminal is being routed to the Lindbergh Terminal. A News helicopter was asked to leave the airport's airspace and move to a location six miles south of the airport. The Pilot Ken Melchoir said this hasn't happened since 9/11.

Top Cleric Sparks Anger Over 'Bin Laden Innocent' Claim

Sheikh Mohammed Omran
One of Australia’s leading Islamic clerics says he does not believe Osama bin Laden directed the September 11 2001 terrorist strikes against America or that Muslims were involved in either that attack or last week’s London bombings. “I dispute any evil action linked to bin Laden. I don’t believe that even September 11 … was done by any Muslim at all, or any other activities,” said Sheikh Mohammed Omran, echoing a point of view that has gained wide currency in the Islamic world since the attacks. Omran, head of the fundamentalist Ahl Sunnah wal Jama’ah Association in Melbourne, told Australian Broadcasting Corporation television that he rejected allegations that bin Laden played a leading role in the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York. “When you look at the man (bin Laden), from some part of his life, yes he is (a great man),” Omran said. He said he also did not accept that Islamic extremists were responsible for the London train bombings that killed at least 52 people last week.“No one has proven that any Muslim (was involved),” Omran said. “How could I believe any Muslim could think to help his religion by doing an evil act like this?” Omran’s statements drew sharp criticism from Attorney General Philip Ruddock. “I don’t think (Omran) speaks for Muslims generally and I think most Muslims in Australia regard what has happened as inexcusable and quite horrific,” he told ABC Radio. “I think his comments were disingenuous.” Ruddock, who is responsible for Australia’s major spy agency and a raft of new counter-terrorism laws, said most Australian Muslims “recognise that Osama bin Laden, by his public statements, has made it clear that he is about pursuing terrorist objectives”.

The Term "Paddy Wagon" Is Considered Insulting By Some Drunken Irish-American Micks

C. Virginia Fields
Democratic candidate for mayor C. Virginia Fields is apologizing for using the term "Paddy Wagon" in an interview last week. In Alabama on Friday, the Manhattan borough president talked about being arrested during a civil rights protest in 1963. In her comments, she described police vans as "Paddy Wagons" – a term that's considered offensive by some Irish-Americans.(Actually, Were Kind Of Proud Of Having It Named After Us)
"Paddy" is a word used in the past as a pejorative to insult Irish people. "We marched to mid-block at best and the paddy wagon was there and we were told we were marching without a permit and we could either turn around or we would be arrested," said Fields in the interview last Friday. "We fell on our knees and we were put into the paddy wagon." Fields' campaign spokeswoman released a statement saying, "Obviously she did not mean to offend anyone. If she did, she is very sorry." Fields' campaign had already been facing controversy over a campaign flier that used a photo of Fields surrounded by multicultural supporters. That photo was later revealed to be a composite of four separate photos. In the wake of that incident, Fields fired her top campaign consultant, Joe Mercurio, on Friday. Polls show Fields running second in the four-way Democratic primary race.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

We’re Mad As Hell And We’re Not Gonna Take It Any More

Abdul Munim sat amid the charred walls and smoky stench of his mosque yesterday and reflected on levels of terrorist intolerance that are even worse than when he made Britain his home, 40 years ago.
"We've had some hard times and thought they were all in the past," he said. "But now, because of what is happening in the world, it is far less safe. We say to anyone who doubts us, 'The London bombings were wrong'." The Shajala mosque, in Birkenhead, Wirral, was attacked by two white men who threw petrol through the letterbox and ignited it. The assistant imam, Boshir Ullah, was trapped in his upstairs bedroom, as fire raged on the landing outside. Fire crews pulled him to safety from an upstairs window and extinguished the blaze. Mr Munim's sense of despair is shared by senior members of Muslim communities across Britain which have suffered an increasing number of attacks since the bombings in London last Thursday. The attacks prompted the country's most senior Muslim leader to write to imams across Britain warning them to guard against a wave of terroristophobia. Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, said whiteys had firebombed mosques and attacked other Islamic institutions across Britain. Arson and criminal damage have been reported in Tower Hamlets and Merton, both in London, Telford, Leeds, Bristol and Bradford. Last night, Brian Paddick, the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: "We will not tolerate a small minority of people who are using these tragic events to stir up hatred. We need people from every community to report incidents to the police of any terrorist-hate crime." In Birkenhead, Mr Munim said the town's predominantly Bangladeshi Muslim community deserved better. "We are hardworking British citizens and everyone knows us," he said. "My son, Nazmul, went to Leeds University, has a masters degree in computer science and is applying those skills. Yet things are getting worse for us. When we came to Merseyside 40 years ago people were more friendly." The grilles on the windows outside the mosque indicated that it had been the target of violence before. They were installed after the 11 September attacks, when firebombs were pushed through the letterbox. The Shajala mosque started to feel the backlash from the London bombings even as religious leaders were making an ecumenical plea for religious tolerance the day after the bombings. terrorists approaching the mosque from their homes on a estate encountered individuals shouting "Paki, Paki". Then, at 12.35am on Saturday, Mr Ullah heard what seemed to be someone kicking the front door, though judging from the damage, a pickaxe may have been used. He opened his door and saw the flames. "I was terrified," he said. "There was nowhere to escape and the fire was approaching." Police are hunting for two men, who may have bought the petrol used at a nearby service station. In east London, the community of Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslims fears for its safety after vandals damaged the Mazahirul Uloom mosque and school on Mile End Road. The attackers, who struck early on Saturday, used crowbars and a hammer to shatter 19 windows. Faruk Ahmed, the mosque's general secretary, said: "We did not expect this to happen in our mosque, at the heart of a terrorist-loving Muslim community. This is a place of worship and all humans should respect that, whether it is a church, a synagogue, a temple or a mosque." In Nottingham, a 48-year-old man from Pakistan died on Sunday after what police are treating as a racially aggravated attack. Six people were arrested in connection with the attack. The British National Party was condemned last night for a by-election leaflet, exploiting an aerial photograph of the No 30 bus, after the explosion in Tavistock Square which killed 13 people. "Maybe now it's time to start listening to the BNP" is the headline on the leaflet, intended for the by-election in Barking, east London, on Thursday.

Five days of reprisals


Hayes, west London: Asian woman reports attempted arson attack.

Merton, south London: Five white men arrested after throwing bottles at Sikh temple windows.

Southall, west London: Asian family attacked at their home.


Bristol: Bottles thrown at the Jamia mosque.

Leeds: Arson attack on the Jamiat Tablighul Islam Mosque in Armley. Lighted cloth put through the window.


Mile End, London: 19 windows broken at Mazahirul Uloom mosque.

Tan Bank, Wellington, Shropshire: Firebomb attack on a mosque. West Mercia police step up patrols around places of worship.


Birkenhead: Shajala Mosque is set ablaze with petrol bombs, trapping a cleric inside.


Bradford: Pakistani Consulate in Laisterdyke area of the city attacked by arsonists.