Friday, September 30, 2005

Greek Soldiers Have Front Line Sex Orgy

Greek Cypriot soldiers involved in a wild sex party at a guard post on the divided Mediterranean islands Green Line were banished to remote corners of the country as punishment, a newspaper has reported. Politics Daily said up to 10 army recruits were involved in an all-night romp in the Nicosia sector of the no-man's land with a mother-of-three who had them queuing up for more. "The soldiers formed an orderly line outside the room waiting to have sex one-by-one. At one point two soldiers came along to serve food, even they didn't leave unsatisfied," it said. Although the woman happily went through the ranks, from lowly privates to the officer in charge, military top brass frowned on her escapades. The troops were undone when one of the participants decided to capture the moment with his mobile phone and forwarded the video images to fellow recruits. Army chiefs got wind of what was going on and an internal inquiry was launched. Those involved were disciplined and had time added on to their length of service, which is 24 months for conscripts, Politis said. The Greek Cypriot national guard declined to comment on the report. Cyprus has been divided into Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot sectors since 1974, when Turkish troops seized its northern third in response to an Athens-engineered Greek Cypriot coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

China Begins Biggest Ever War Games

China's military Tuesday began its biggest-ever war exercises open to foreign observers with 16,000 soldiers carrying out maneuvers in the nation's Inner Mongolian region, state press said.
Some 40 military officers from 24 countries, including the United States, North Korea, Russia and major European and NATO nations began observing "North Sword 2005" in north China, Xinhua news agency reported. "It will enhance mutual understanding, and deepen friendship and cooperation between China's military and other militaries," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular briefing. Jia Xiaoning, a defense ministry spokesman, told Xinhua the exercise would "promote international and regional security cooperation." The exercises were expected to last several days but foreign observers would only be present on Tuesday, Western observers said. The exercises were unfolding in Zhurihe, a military base in Inner Mongolia, some 500 kilometres (300 miles) west of Beijing and about 100 kilometres south of the Mongolian border, they said.
"This was basically a routine exercise, similar to what they did last year when they invited foreign observers," a US diplomat told AFP. "This was not a new exercise." One Western military expert disputed the numbers of foreign observers attending the war games. "Each country was only allowed to bring two observers, from what we can see there are only 14 countries represented here," the expert said on condition of anonymity.
The US diplomat did not say whether the exercises resolved US concerns on the direction of China's ongoing military modernisation or transparency by Beijing in its basic military doctrine and military intentions.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

North Korea vs. Iran

While Asians were enjoying the full-moon Thanksgiving holidays a week ago Monday, they received two contrasting pieces of news regarding the nuclear deal.
One from Beijing, where the six countries finally ironed out a joint statement from the talks on North Korea's nuclear program. The other from Vienna, where delegations from the U.S. and EU-3 (Britain, France and Germany) rushed to tackle the Iranian nuclear issue at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). As the North Korean nuclear problem emerges from a long dark tunnel, the Iranian one looks increasingly gloomy. Some Western countries are talking about the option of referring the Iranian issue to the UN Security Council. This possibility had been frequently raised regarding North Korea, whenever the six-party talks encountered a dead-end. The news from Beijing were welcomed worldwide by many who have been waiting for a breakthrough. In a joint statement, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) "committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs," and said it was "returning at an early date to the treaty on nonproliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT) and to the IAEA safeguards." In return, the six participant countries expressed their respect for North Korea's right to "peaceful uses of nuclear energy." In this context, they said they would discuss the "provision of a light-water reactor" to North Korea at an appropriate time. This compromise is the most significant achievement since the North Korean nuclear issue emerged in 1993. The six-party talks, which resumed in Beijing on September 13, looked very fragile at first. North Korea insisted on retaining its right to pursue peaceful nuclear activity. This became an obstacle since other parties wanted to see the complete dismantling of all nuclear programs. However, they managed to reach a sound compromise. The progress at the Beijing talks does not mean that the six-party joint statement provides a solution to every problem. There is a long and difficult road ahead. North Korea's claim, which follows only one day after the agreement, to receive a light-water reactor before dismantling its nuclear program is one example.
The six countries should work harder to develop a framework for the implementation of their commitments as reflected in the joint statement. A follow-up meeting is scheduled to begin in early November. One of the main tasks for the participating countries is dealing with a verification process. Despite the difficult tasks ahead, the Beijing agreement is a big step forward on the way to the comprehensive settlement of the North Korean nuclear issue. Therefore, we should try to learn every lesson possible from the six-party talks, if they are applicable to the Iranian nuclear issue. First, the five parties have been consistent in their positions vis-a-vis North Korea throughout the talks. They held very frequent contacts and discussed their plans in detail. Also, they never retreated from the principle of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This firm stand made North Korea move forward with its bold strategic decision. In dealing with the Iranian nuclear problem, have the parties concerned held truly close consultations among themselves? Second, there has been an "honest broker" in the six-party talks. China is trusted by each of the other five participants. It has played a very constructive role throughout the talks. It stretched the limit of its patience to produce a compromise text regarding its own revised drafts. Through persuasion, China succeeded in filling the gap, inch by inch, between the participants. In the Iranian case, is an "honest broker" needed? If yes, then who? Third, it was agreed to give North Korea substantial benefits. The Republic of Korea's (South Korea) recent offer to provide 2 million kilowatts of electric power to North Korea served as a catalyst in forging a deal. The five countries' agreement to discuss the light-water reactor issue was also an inducement. However, the incentives were not confined to economics. The United States affirmed that it has "no intention to attack or invade North Korea" with any type of weapons, thereby satisfying North Korea's long-held demand for security assurances. The commitment of the joint effort to normalization of the relations between the U.S./Japan and North Korea is also a part of the comprehensive deal. Were serious efforts made to figure out what Iran really wants? The Beijing agreement was not the end of the issue, but it is a very meaningful development. It harbingers a happy ending for the most terrible scenario.
It is everybody's wish that the Beijing compromise will lead not only to a successful resolution to the North Korean nuclear problem, but also serve as a good reference to Iran's.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Saint Paul Teen In Critical Condition After Gang Beating

A 13-year-old boy was severely beaten and a teenage girl was assaulted in St. Paul Friday night, police said.
Michael Duong
Michael Duong was standing outside a house near Payne Avenue and Ivy Avenue East talking with a teenage girl when the incident occurred, police said. Police said a sports utility vehicle containing four people pulled up around 10:30 p.m. A male suspect with a bat got out and yelled, "Are you a Blood?" The suspect beat Duong and the girl with the bat, police said. Duong was struck on the head and was taken to Regions Hospital with severe head injuries. He remained in critical condition Saturday night. Police said the girl suffered minor injuries. Huong Duong, Michael Duong's aunt, said her nephew was standing just half a block away from her home with a friend when it happened. "We were having a party here. A barbeque in the family yard," Huong Duong said. "All he was doing was walking out on the street." Detectives said there is no indication either of the victims were affiliated with gangs. Police said the only apparent motive was that Michael Duong was wearing a red sweatshirt and the Bloods are known for wearing red."It was scary for us. We wonder why someone would do this to a little boy," Huong Duong said.Michael Duong's family said the boy is an outgoing and smart seventh grader.The suspect was described as a Hispanic male in his early 20s with a muscular build and black, spiked hair. He was approximately 6 feet tall and was wearing a blue shirt with the words "New York" on the front.Police believed the suspect's vehicle was possibly gray in color. They said they had few leads.Police said there were at least three witnesses in the vehicle and were hoping someone could come forward with more. They are asking anyone with information to call them at 651-291-1111. They said callers could remain anonymous."It's a tragedy for the entire community," St. Paul Police Commander Colleen Luna said. "We worry about our kids. We need to solve this. We need the community to help us solve this."

Friday, September 23, 2005

North Korea Rejects UN Food Aid

North Korea has formally told the UN it no longer needs food aid, despite reports of malnutrition in the country. Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Su-hon said the country now had enough food, due to a good harvest, and accused the US of using aid as a political weapon.
The move comes as the international community continues to urge North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions. Analysts say Pyongyang might be worried that accepting more food aid now could be perceived as a sign of weakness. The North may also have lost patience with efforts by foreign agencies to monitor deliveries of food, according to the BBC's Seoul correspondent, Charles Scanlon. In recent years, the UN and other international agencies have been feeding up to six million of the poorest and most vulnerable North Koreans. But these organisations have long struggled for access to one of the world's most closed societies. Even at the height of a famine in the mid-1990s, which may have killed two million people, they were tightly restricted and refused entry to large parts of the country. Now the authorities are cracking down altogether, our correspondent says. After meeting UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in New York on Thursday, Choe Su-hon told reporters: "We requested him to end humanitarian assistance by the end of this year." He said that the North wanted all foreign NGOs out by the end of the year, and added that the UN was to stop delivering food aid and to focus on long-term development instead. Gerald Bourke, a spokesman for the WFP, said that UN staff were currently discussing with the North Korean government what this meant in practice - adding that he was hopeful that current food-for-work and other community-based projects would class as longer-term development. "We're also talking to donors to see how much they still want to help us in this way," he added. Mr Bourke said that despite Mr Choe's assertion of a better harvest in North Korea this year - and his pledge that the government was "prepared to provide the food to all our people" - there was still a considerable need for food aid. "North Korea has a substantial and chronic food deficit," Mr Bourke said, adding that malnutrition rates, especially for mothers and young children, were still very high. Mr Choe also accused other countries, especially the US, of attempting to "politicize humanitarian assistance, linking it to the human rights issue". He said this constituted interference in the internal affairs of the country. Washington rejected the suggestion it was mixing politics with relief work. "All US decisions are based on... the need of the country involved, competing needs elsewhere and our ability to ensure that the aid gets to people who need it most," a State Department statement said. Another problem which analysts believe may have led to the North's decision to ask foreign organisations to leave is the extensive surveying these groups are required to do, to ensure their money is being well-spent. "Part of the problem is with our monitoring people moving around the country," Mr Bourke conceded. "This is and has been a concern for them." In contrast, China and South Korea provide huge food shipments to North Korea without overseeing where it ends up. The South says it gives such aid as part of a strategy to promote political reconciliation. But diplomats and aid workers say these generous shipments have undermined the multilateral effect. According to our correspondent, there is concern that if monitoring stops, so too will surveys to check the food gets to those most in need.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Taliban To Step Up War In Afghanistan

The Taliban vowed on Wednesday to step up their holy war against foreign troops in Afghanistan and dismissed legislative polls held at the weekend as an American drama rejected by the Afghan people.
The UN vote organisers said about half of the 12 million registered Afghans voted in Sunday’s national assembly and provincial council polls, which were hailed by Kabul’s allies as step forward for democracy. Taliban spokesman Abdul Latif Hakimi said only four million had voted, less than 15 percent of a population he put at 30 million. “The Afghan parliament will be a subordinate body of the United States,” he told Reuters from an undisclosed location. “This institution does not represent Afghan people ... the Taliban are thankful to the Afghan people for rejecting the US drama.” The Taliban enjoyed the support of 85 percent of Afghans, Hakimi said, and added: “Our jihad (holy war) will continue until the withdrawal of foreign infidel troops and our attacks will be expedited. The Taliban will become more organised and strong.” Hakimi said Taliban defectors who took part in the election had nothing to do with the guerrilla group. Four defectors stood for seats, including former foreign minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil and Mawlavi Qalamuddin, a former minister for the Taliban’s notorious religious police. Hakimi’s comments came after President Hamid Karzai declared on Tuesday that a democratic Afghanistan was no longer a source of terrorism, and that the US military should stop air strikes and invasive searches in their hunt for militants.
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai
Karzai has been trying without much success to coax Taliban fighters to defect and his comments appeared aimed at wooing support in the Taliban’s and his own ethnic Pashtun heartland. The Taliban had vowed to derail the polls but failed to do so despite a wave of violence in the months ahead of the vote which killed more than 1,000 people, most of them insurgents. The insurgents launched dozens of harassing attacks at the weekend in which 14 people died, but election organisers said voting took place at all but a handful of 6,200 polling centres. Civilian deaths in US air strikes and what have been perceived as heavy-handed US military searches in the south and east have angered many in the conservative region where the Taliban have traditionally drawn most support. Karzai’s remarks came after the commander of US-led forces in Afghanistan, Lieutenant-General Karl Eikenberry, said more fighting was likely in coming weeks and his force would stay on the offensive this autumn and winter. On Tuesday, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld appeared to agree with Karzai’s comments on the efficacy of air strikes. “Obviously, air strikes - when you don’t have a massed army on the ground or large puddles of enemies, then air strikes are less effective than when you do have that type of a situation,” he told a Pentagon news conference.
Ayman Al Zawahri & Ossama Ben Laden
Bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, denounced the polls as a ‘farce’ in a video broadcast on Monday. He insisted the Taliban were still strong and US forces had to ‘hide’ in their bases.

Philippine Military Arrest 2 Terrorists

Philippine government forces arrested two suspected members of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in separate military actions in Zamboanga City and Basilan province in southern Philippines on Monday, the military said in a statement. The statement, issued by army Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon in Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila on Tuesday, identified the arrested suspects as Al-Amin Lahi Uddin, who was captured in a fighting between government forces and the Abu Sayyaf men near Zamboanga City, and Mustafa Kasim Arala, who was caught in a public market in Basilan by military intelligence agents. Arala is said to be one of the trusted men of the late Abu Sayyaf chieftain Ustadz Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani who was killed in 1998. He was succeeded by his younger brother, Khadaffy Janjalani. Listed as one of the terrorist groups operating the Philippinesby the US government, the Abu Sayyaf group is allegedly reponsible for the kidnapping and killing of a number of foreigners and Filipinos in southern Mindanao region in the late 1990s. It is also held reponsible for a number of bombing attacks in Metro Manila and Mindanao in the past several years, in which more than 100 people were killed.

Spain Announces Troops Withdrawal From Afghanistan

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced that all the 500 Spanish troops on humanitarian mission in Afghanistan will be brought home by Oct. 12. Addressing the parliament, Rodriguez Zapatero said the withdrawal began on Sept. 21 because the troops have accomplished their mission including protecting the Sept. 18 parliamentary elections from disruption in the Asian country. Mourning the death of 17 Spanish soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in August in Afghanistan, Rodriguez Zapatero said they sacrificed their lives for the UN mission. He also said the Spanish troops have accomplished 40 UN peacekeeping missions, with a total of 2,678 Spanish peacekeepers now in Afghanistan, the Balkans and Haitia. Spain joined the UN peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan in May 2002

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sharon May Be Ousted Over Gaza

Israeli leader Ariel Sharon says he may be ousted from the helm of his right-wing faction after the Gaza Strip withdrawal.
Sharon: Trouble ahead
Polls have shown senior figures in the Likud party favour a leadership contest as early as November. The prime minister has been praised by the UN General Assembly for pulling Israel out of the Gaza Strip after a 38-year occupation. But the move, which saw thousands fighting troops to stay in their homes, has split Likud between Sharon loyalists and its ultra-nationalist, settler supporting right. The inevitable leadership race will be a major blow to Mr Sharon's authority. Critising the party he helped found in the 1970s, he said: "It is not secret that I have lost the majority in my party and I am in danger of being ousted and exiled. "The number of extremists and the pressure from outside the party are increasing." Leadership contender Benjamin Netanyahu wants an early vote to take advantage of Likud discontent over Gaza. Attempting to reach out to the right of the party, Sharon said Israel can continue to expand and develop in the West Bank. Mr Netanyahu quit as finance minister in August over the Gaza withdrawal.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Happy Monday

Have A Great Day

Egyptian Arrested After Pilot Uniform Found

A university student from Egypt was ordered held without bond after prosecutors said they found a pilot's uniform, chart of Memphis International Airport and a DVD titled "How an Airline Captain Should Look and Act" in his apartment.
The FBI is investigating whether Mahmoud Maawad, 29, had any connection to terrorists. He is awaiting trial on charges of wire fraud and fraudulent use of a Social Security number. Maawad, who is in the United States illegally, told the judge during a hearing that he is studying science and economics at the University of Memphis. "My school is everything. I stay in this country for seven years; I stay for the school," he said. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Parker said that the airport-related items were found during a Sept. 9 search. "The specific facts and circumstances are scary," Parker said. U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Thomas Anderson ruled that Maawad be held without bond. "It is hard for the court to understand why he has a large concentration of those (aviation) items, and nothing else to indicate Mr. Maawad plans to stay in the community," Anderson said.
Maawad had ordered $3,000 in aviation materials, including DVDs titled "Ups and Downs of Takeoffs and Landings," "Airplane Talk," "Mental Math for Pilots" and "Mastering GPS Flying," FBI agent Thad Gulczynski testified. The company reported Maawad to authorities when he didn't pay for $2,500 of merchandise it had delivered, Gulczynski said.

Target, Best Buy Taking Care Of Gulf Coast Workers

Two of Minnesota's big-box retail chains have shown big hearts when helping their Gulf Coast employees struck by Hurricane Katrina three weeks ago.
From locating all the affected workers to setting up temporary shelters to making money grants for home repairs, Best Buy and Target scrambled to send help into the biggest -- costliest -- natural disaster in U.S. history. Above all else, both companies sent out the word that any displaced employee could show up at any other store in the country and have a job. Looking out for workers is the right and the smart thing to do, said David Rodbourne, vice president of the Center for Ethical Business Cultures, an affiliate of the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. "Recovery is all about building and sustaining good relationships with a wide constituency, including employees, customers, suppliers, you name it," Rodbourne said. "Also, there is a very long tradition of businesses stepping up and putting their shoulder toward social and community issues, certainly in this community," Rodbourne said. "I would be surprised if they didn't do this." Both companies give a lot of credit to individual employees inside and out of the affected areas for organizing money drives and stepping up to do each other's laundry, patch each other's roofs and cover each other's work shifts in stores as they reopen. "Our first priority was to locate and connect with employees," said Joe Kalkman, vice president of human resources at Best Buy. "Our managers did everything up to and including going to shelters as far away as Texas looking for familiar faces or wearing a [Best Buy] blue shirt and hoping people would notice and speak up," he said. "We had people hopping right away in their cars to go help and we had to stop them and say, 'There's no infrastructure yet; it's not safe there yet,' " said Lena Michaud, a Target spokeswoman. Businesses face mighty challenges recovering from this disaster that displaced up to 1 million people. "The human and financial effects of Hurricane Katrina will undoubtedly affect businesses well beyond the region for months to come," said the Society for Human Resource Management in a recent advisory. While business owners are hunting for their workers' compensation insurance records and lining up screening procedures as they hire on the fly, many are going beyond any legal requirements to help their employees, the organization wrote. Arkansas-based Wal-Mart got national attention for its efforts shortly after Katrina. It has reopened all but 15 of 126 properties initially closed by the storm. It also has given about $5 million in emergency cash aid to employees, between $250 and $1,000 per employee, according to spokesperson Melissa O'Brien in Bentonville, Ark. Best Buy and Target took the same tracks in their responses. The companies are working to reopen their stores as quickly as possible, to return people to their jobs and resume sales in communities trying to start over. Of seven Best Buy stores in Mississippi and Louisiana closed by the storm, four have reopened. Target has reopened 14 of its 15 closed stores. At the same time, they are helping displaced workers in steps as events unfold. Best Buy's first decision was to cover everyone's wages for at least 30 days, Kalkman said. "We learned how important that was last year in Pensacola," he said, after Hurricane Ivan hit that Florida city. After such disasters, people usually collect their checks at the nearest open Best Buy store, he said, and they often cash them there, too, for lack of any other option. Best Buy had located all its 1,273 displaced employees within 10 days. It offered cash advances for necessities, and set up a website and toll-free number to get information to employees. An electronics retailer, it also set up banks of computers with Internet connections in their stores so people can contact family, insurance agents and assistance agencies such as the Red Cross. Target also arranged for employees to pick up their paychecks at any open store. It provided similar contact options and resources such as emergency prescriptions. And it, too, promised to cover wages and benefits for displaced workers for a while. "Some stores are closed and some people are working fewer hours because of community curfews or they have to clean their houses," Michaud said. "We're trying to keep them all whole." Mike Delk moved to Slidell, La., last February to manage a Target store there. Delk, his wife and their daughter drove to Atlanta, where they have family, before Katrina hit. He came back later that week to check on the store and his employees. "The first seven days I was here I didn't even know what happened to my house, because I was busy contacting my team members to make sure they were safe," Delk said, "But we did pretty much lose everything. We had flood waters six to seven feet in my house." The store wasn't damaged. So with about a third of his employees, and company volunteers who now come in weekly shifts from Dallas and San Antonio, he's running the store for whoever's around in Slidell. It means a lot to his employees, and to the community, Delk said. "There's so much devastation here, and a lot of people still don't have electricity," he said. "They come in to share our air conditioning and get some things that they need."

Sunday, September 18, 2005

MacArthur Statue Provokes Protests In South Korea

Gen. Douglas MacArthur can’t be seen around these parts without his bodyguards. The old soldier stands high on a bluff here looking out to sea, binoculars slung around his neck and an officer’s cap perched jauntily on his head. In a cordon in front of him are several burly riot policemen, their shields raised in defensive posture. At least a dozen other officers, some in plainclothes with wires dangling in their ears, are fanned out around the flowerbeds, on the lookout for trouble. For nearly half a century, a 16-foot bronze likeness of the late war hero has dominated a park near the shores where thousands of US troops under his command landed Sept. 15, 1950, to expel North Korean forces. It is considered one of the decisive battles of the Korean War, one that many here credit for the eventual success of the prosperous, free-market nation that is South Korea. But not all. A movement to tear down the statue has been gaining momentum recently among some younger South Koreans, who call it a symbol of US occupation and oppression. MacArthur, remembered for his quote that ‘old soldiers never die, they just fade away’, has hardly faded when it comes to the controversy surrounding his life and legacy. Last week, more than 4,000 anti-MacArthur demonstrators armed with bamboo sticks clashed with an almost equal number of riot police. From the sidelines, nearly 1,000 conservative defenders of the statue, many of them Korean War veterans, threw eggs and garbage at the protesters. Some blocked an ambulance carrying away injured protesters, screaming that communists didn’t deserve to be rescued, witnesses said. “We’ve had demonstrations here before, but this is the first they’ve turned violent,” said Kim Kyeong Ho, a police official surveying the site on Wednesday. “There is a real clash of values going on. People consider him either a saviour or a war criminal.” The protesters are led by a coalition of student and labour groups, including the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union. Their argument, boiled down, is that the US effort in the Korean War was not so much an altruistic defence of South Korea’s freedom as an attempt to gain hegemony over the region, and that it needlessly caused the division of the peninsula. “It is time to reappraise MacArthur’s role in history. If it were not for him, our country would not have been colonized and divided as it was,” said Kim Guk Rae, a 40-year-old activist from Inchon who is one of the leaders of the movement. Getting in on the act, a popular radical performer, Park Seong Hwan, whose song with an obscene reference to the US was the ballad of demonstrators during a string of anti-American protests in 2002, came out last week with a piece calling for the removal of the statue. “Tear it down, tear it down” is the refrain of the song, in which MacArthur is accused of massacring civilians during the war. The drive to remove the statue has inspired a determined backlash. On Park’s Web page, furious veterans have denounced the singer as an ‘ungrateful commie’ and suggested that he move to North Korea. Even before the historical revisionism, MacArthur was a controversial figure in this country and at home. He was removed from his command by President Truman for insubordination in 1951 after he pressed to expand the war across the border into China, and some historians believe he needlessly prolonged the war. Regardless of their feelings about MacArthur, many South Koreans seem to be deeply embarrassed by the clash on Sunday, which was Sept. 11. The wave of anti-American demonstrations in 2002, sparked by the accidental death of two schoolgirls hit by a US military vehicle, damaged South Korea’s relations with the United States and its image abroad. Anti-Americanism is believed to be bad for business here, and many fear that a brouhaha over MacArthur will play badly with American conservatives. “We should leave the statue as it is and respect it for its place in history,” South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said during a meeting with Korean Americans in New York, where he was attending a gathering of world leaders. Other South Korean leaders, from a wide political spectrum, have spoken up in recent days in defence of MacArthur. Nonetheless, the dispute reflects a reassessment by South Koreans of the American role on the peninsula. In a poll taken last week, 53 per cent of respondents listed the United States as the country most responsible for the division of Korea.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Every One Wants To Get Their Hands On KEVIN!

Here is your chance to get your hands on your very own KEVIN DOLL
Click Image

I have nothing to do with the sale of this item, I just thought it would be neat for some one to have their own little Kevin sitting by their computer when visiting CRUEL KEV'S SCUTTELBUTT

Friday, September 16, 2005

Roberts Hearing Ends But His Fate Remains Uncertain

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy gave his (and the extreme left democrats) opinion on President Bush's Supreme Court Nomination: John Roberts
click below

Thursday, September 15, 2005

New Orleans Congressman Uses National Guard To Go To His Home

Amid the chaos and confusion that engulfed New Orleans after..." This is an ABC story, by the way. "Amid the chaos and confusion that engulfed New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck, a congressman used National Guard troops to check on his property and rescue his personal belongings — even while New Orleans residents were trying to get rescued from rooftops, ABC News has learned.
William Jefferson
On [Friday] Sept. 2 — five days after Katrina [vanden Heuvel] hit the Gulf Coast — Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., who represents New Orleans and is a senior member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, was allowed through the military blockades set up around the city to reach the Superdome, where thousands of evacuees had been taken. Military sources tells ABC News that Jefferson, an eight-term Democratic congressman, asked the National Guard that night to take him on a tour of the flooded portions of his congressional district. A 5-ton military truck and a half dozen military police were dispatched. Lt. Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News that during the tour, [Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA)] asked that the truck take him to his home on Marengo Street, in the affluent uptown neighborhood in his congressional district. According to Schneider, this was not part of Jefferson's initial request. Jefferson defended the expedition, saying he set out to see how residents were coping at the Superdome and in his [affluent] neighborhood. He also insisted that he did not ask the National Guard to transport him. He said..." In fact, here's what he said. I don't know where this is from but we have the audio anyway. This is what he said.

JEFFERSON: I did not seek the use of military assets to help me get around my city. There was shooting going on; there was sniping going on. They thought it needed to be secured by some military guards.

So he didn't seek the use of military assets to help him get around the city. He says, "There was shooting going on. There was sniping going on. They thought I should be escorted by some military guards, both to the convention center, the Superdome and uptown." Now, when they got to the affluent neighborhood where the Democrat Congressman William Jefferson lives, the water they found reached to the third step of Jefferson's house. This, again, according to the a military source familiar with the incident. "The vehicle pulled up onto the front lawn" of the affluent William Jefferson's home "so that he wouldn't have to walk in the water." Jefferson -- the affluent William Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana -- went to his house alone in the affluent neighborhood, the source says, "while soldiers waited on the porch for about an hour, while [Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA)] from an affluent neighborhood in New Orleans, was inside his home for one hour. Finally, according to the source, Democrat Congressman William Jefferson, Louisiana, emerged from his affluent neighborhood home with a laptop computer, three suitcases, and a box about the size of a small refrigerator, which the enlisted men loaded up into the truck. Two weeks later, the vehicle's tire tracks were still visible on the lawn of Congressman William Jefferson's affluent neighborhood home. 'I don't think there's any explanation for an elected official using resources for their own personal use, when those resources should be doing search-and-rescue or they should be helping with law enforcement in the city,' said Jerry Hauer, a homeland security expert and an ABC News consultant." Democrat Congressman William Jefferson "said the trip was entirely appropriate. It took only a few minutes to retrieve his belongings from his home [in an affluent neighborhood] and his truck stayed for an hour in part to assist neighbors." "'This wasn't about me going to my house,' said ]Democratic Congressman William Jefferson.] 'It was about me going to my district.' The Louisiana National Guard told ABC News that the truck became stuck as it waited for [Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA)] to retrieve his belongings. The soldiers signaled the helicopters in the air for aid. Military sources say a Coast Guard helicopter pilot saw the signal and flew to the home of Democrat Congressman William Jefferson while he was inside the home in his [affluent] neighborhood returning gifts and items from the home to the truck. The chopper was already carrying four rescued New Orleans residents at the time that it came to the front yard of the home of" Democrat Congressman William Jefferson in his affluent neighborhood. "After spending approximately 45 minutes with [Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA)] the helicopter went on to rescue three additional New Orleans residents before it ran low on fuel and was forced to end its mission. 'Forty-five minutes can be an eternity to somebody that's drowning, to somebody that's sitting on a roof and it needs to be used, the primary purpose during an emergency, 'said Hauer, the ABC consultant." So the helicopter had to come get the truck unstuck that was stuck in the yard of a home of William Jefferson (D-LA) in his affluent, uptown neighborhood, while it had four people rescued aboard the helicopter. The Coast Guard commander, Brendan McPherson, told ABC News, "We did have an aircraft that responded to a signal of distress where the congressman was located. The congressman did decline rescue at the time so the helicopter picked up three other people. I can't comment on why the congressman decided not to go in the aircraft," McPherson said. "'Did it take a little time to send the rescue swimmer back a second time? Yeah. You'd have to ask the congressman if it was a waste of time or not.' The Louisiana National Guard then send a second five-ton truck to rescue the first truck that was still stuck in the front yard of the home of William Jefferson (D-LA), [in his affluent uptown neighborhood of New Orleans]. Jefferson said his personal items were returned to the Superdome. Schneider said he couldn't comment on whether the excursion was appropriate. He said, 'We're not in a position to comment on an order given to a sold. You're not going to get a statement from the Louisiana National Guard saying whether it was right or wrong. That was the mission we were assigned.'" Now remember William Jefferson (D-LA) claimed that he was going to go to his neighborhood anyway, and the Guard said, "Oh, no, no. There's sniping going on out there. There's shooting going on out there. You have to go with us." But everybody on the other side claims that he ordered them to take them, and they can't rescind and refuse this kind of an order. Jefferson, Congressman William Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana, insisted the expedition did not distract from rescue efforts. He said, "They actually picked up a lot of people while we were there." The young soldier said, "It's a good thing we came up here because a lot of people would not have been rescued had we not been in the neighborhood." I don't know how that works out since it took two trucks and a helicopter and apparently all that resulted in three additional people getting out. "In an unrelated matter, authorities recently searched Jefferson's property as part of a federal investigation into the finances of a high-tech firm." Now, listen to this, folks. "In an unrelated matter, authorities recently searched [Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA)]'s property as part of a federal investigation into the finances of a high-tech firm. Last month FBI officials raided [the home of William Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana,] as well as his home in Washington, D.C., his car and his accountant's house." William Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana, "has not commented on that matter, except to say he is cooperating with the investigation. But he has emerged as a major voice in the post-Katrina political debate." He's gone to the floor of the House. He's complained and moaned about the levee system and how people didn't care enough to get it fixed. Last week he set up a special trust fund for contributions to his legal defense. This is last week! Last week, in the midst of the recovery efforts, William Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana, set up a special trust fund for contributions to his legal defense in light of the FBI investigation! "A senior federal law enforcement source told ABC News that investigators are interested in learning if [William Jefferson (D-LA)], moved any materials relevant to the investigation," out of his house during the rescue.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I Pity That Dr. Phil Fool

"The A-Team" may or may not ever take its place in the pantheon of classic TV shows, although viewers of a certain age (that'd be about 28 to 36, men in particular) tend to remember it fondly. One of the show's stars, though, may soon make it onto classic-TV network TV Land.
Mr. T has signed a deal to star in a pilot for the channel called "I Pity the Fool," in which he'll dole out advice and try to help people in difficult situations. Lions Gate TV is producing the project. It's presumed that in the course of helping people get their lives right, no jibba jabba will be allowed. "We are very excited to work with Mr. T and Lions Gate on 'I Pity The Fool,'" says Sal Maniaci, head of development for TV Land. "By putting Mr. T in an unfamiliar environment, viewers will have the experience of seeing him back up his famous words and attitude with concrete actions." "I Pity the Fool" will find Mr. T acting as a "motivational guru" helping people improve their personal and professional lives. Mr. T will use his own varied life experience as basis for his strategy to help others. The pilot is set to go into production in October. Stephen Belafonte ("Thank You for Smoking"), Ken Druckerman and Banks Tarver ("Growing Up Gotti") will serve as executive producers.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Protestants Riot In North Ireland For 3rd Day

Crowds of Protestant hard-liners blocked key roads in Belfast and rioted for a third straight night Monday in a long-building explosion of frustration at Northern Ireland's peace process.
Police Service of Northern Ireland come under attack by Protestant petrol bombers in North Belfast, Northern Ireland. Protestant hard liners hi-jacked and burnt vechicle's on the third night of rioting were loyalist terrorist's attacked the British Army and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
At least 50 officers were wounded over the weekend when extremists fought riot police and British troops in the worst Protestant violence in a decade. The British governor and the territory's police chief said two outlawed Protestant paramilitary groups mounted machine-gun and grenade attacks on police. The rampage followed British authorities' refusal Saturday to permit the Orange Order, Northern Ireland's major Protestant brotherhood, to parade as it usually does each year along the boundary of Catholic west Belfast. Monday's road blockades, formed by men, women and children, caused traffic jams that lasted for hours. Adding to the chaos were troublemakers who called Belfast businesses and, pretending to be police officers, ordered them to send workers home and close early on security grounds. Protestant riots resumed at nightfall Monday in several parts of Belfast, although the mobs were smaller, the level of destruction much less severe and the intensity of violence greatly reduced from the weekend. No new injuries were reported. Several thousand police equipped with shields, body armor, flame-retardant suits, guns loaded with plastic bullets, armored personnel carriers, mobile water cannon and tear gas were on standby in fortified barracks across this city of 600,000. About 1,200 British soldiers also were deployed to support the police. British governor Peter Hain and police commander Hugh Orde said the outlawed Ulster Volunteer Force and Ulster Defense Association, which are supposed to be observing cease-fires in support of Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord, carried out the weekend attacks on police. Confrontations over Protestant parades, particularly near Catholic areas, have triggered riots in the past. The most widespread violence happened from 1996 to 1998, when Catholic militants blockaded Protestants' parade routes. Since then, a government-appointed Parades Commission imposed restrictions on disputed Protestant parades. Until now, Orangemen usually accepted with sullen resignation. But when the commission ordered Saturday's marchers to parade through a factory site instead of the main road, Orange leaders called for illegal sit-down protests all over Belfast. Orangemen refused to accept any responsibility for the rioting.

New Orleans Strip Joint Wants To Get Back To Work

There's no water for the "wash the girl of your choice" service and there aren't any girls either, but Big Daddy's strip club on New Orleans' Bourbon Street is getting ready to bring back erotic spectacle to the devastated city.
Friday night on Bourbon Street, usually a throbbing artery of the party-going French Quarter, was pretty grim this time around in what has become a foul-smelling ghost town partly covered with a swamp of filthy water. Police patrol cars and military Humvees made up most of the traffic on the street. But Big Daddy's general manager, Saint Jones, and a band of helpers defied an evacuation order by arriving to clean up their premises in the historic French Quarter, which escaped largely unscathed from the floods. Jones told Reuters he would open for business as soon as he could get electricity, water and dancers. He was already had electricity from a generator, which was moving a pair of robotic woman's legs, in stockings and pink high heels, waving invitingly on the street by the sign for Big Daddy's. He also had plenty of bottled water. But his former employees had been evacuated, so his main problem was convincing girls to come to a town without services and supposedly off limits to most civilians. But Jones, a corpulent man with a strawberry blond beard wearing a black t-shirt reading "I'm smiling because they haven't found the bodies yet," foresaw few problems getting strippers. "It shouldn't be too hard. Everyone's going to come back in town and want to work. You know, if you've got 50 dancers in Houston and they're not making money, they're going to spread out," he said. Judging from the number of military and police vehicles which stopped or slowed passing Big Daddy's, they'll have plenty of customers. It didn't seem to occur to the men in uniform to enforce the evacuation order in effect on the city -- they preferred to ask when the strippers would be back. One army Humvee, carrying a team of Puerto Rican troops, stopped so that a soldier could pose with his M16 rifle by a life-size picture of a naked blonde while his buddy took a photo. Jones gave them vodka on the rocks in plastic cups, which they enjoyed before hopping back in the Humvee. Big Daddy's sign advertises several attractions, including "Bottomless. Topless. Table top dancing," and "Wash the girl of your choice."
This last item seemed to provide a business challenge in a city where the scant running water available in some districts is infected with feces and toxic loads of bacteria. But Jones was undaunted. "We'll make sure they get showers," he said. Of course, Jones will fail in his ambition if he is compelled to evacuate. One of his helpers, Vietnam veteran Terry Fredricks, who has temporarily moved into the strip joint because his home is flooded, said they would only leave if they were forced to go but they would go peacefully if it came to that. Jones maintained his optimism. Asked about the identity of his potential customers, he replied, inaccurately as it happens, "probably you."

Monday, September 12, 2005

Filipino, Jakarta Militants In Joint Drive To Raise Funds For New Attacks; Philippines Seen As Source for Indonesian Bombs

Muslim militants in the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines and their Indonesian allies have been trying to solicit money from unidentified Middle Eastern financiers to buy weapons and fund new terror attacks, according to government reports. Details of the fund-raising effort and planned attacks were obtained by Philippine security officials from their Indonesian counterparts, who recently captured two suspected militants with knowledge of Filipino rebel activities, the reports said. Copies of the reports, which summarized intelligence relayed by Indonesian authorities, were seen by The Associated Press on Friday. The captured militants in Indonesia — Abdullah Sunata, allegedly the head of a group called Kompak in Ambon, and Encen Kurnia, who reportedly belongs to Negara Islam Indonesia — were among 15 suspected militants captured by the Indonesian police during an anti-insurgency sweep from June to July, the reports said.
Four of the 15, including Sunata and Kurnia, had received military training in southern Philippine rebel camps. The two later helped organize covert training and escort Indonesian recruits from their country to the southern region of Mindanao, according to the reports. In letters found by Indonesian authorities, Sunata separately discussed with two compatriots hiding in the Philippines — Umar Patek and Pitono or Dulmatin — the fund-raising campaign and planned attacks in the Philippines as well as efforts to obtain explosives in the country for an unspecified attack in Indonesia, the reports said. Dulmatin and Patek, both suspected leaders of the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, have been hunted for their alleged role in terrorist attacks in Indonesia, including the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 people. They’re believed to be in the company of Abu Sayyaf chief Khaddafy Janjalani, who’s the target of a US-backed military manhunt in the south.
The collaboration indicates continuing operational ties between militants in the Philippines and Indonesia despite years of anti-terrorist crackdowns in the neighboring countries. During interrogation, Sunata allegedly disclosed that “he was tasked by Patek to solicit funds for terror attacks in the Philippines and recruit suicide bombers in Indonesia to be sent to central Mindanao,” one report said. Meanwhile, bomb material used in many militant attacks in Indonesia may have been sourced from the turbulent southern Philippines, a senior Philippine police intelligence official said on Friday. The official, who declined to be named, said intercepted email exchanges between militants indicated that a shipment of high explosives had been sent early this year to Indonesia from the Philippine island of Mindanao. The southern Philippines has faced a separatist Muslim rebellion for the past 40 years. “The militants had successfully purchased materials for bombs to be used in Indonesian targets,” the intelligence official told Reuters, citing a classified security report prepared last April. The report summarised email exchanges between suspected Indonesian militant leader, Dulmatin, who has been hiding on Mindanao since April, 2003, and other suspected militants.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Kentucky Governor Fletcher's Communications Office Issued The Following Press Release:

Governor Ernie Fletcher calls on faith-based organizations to partner with Division of Emergency Management to assist hurricane evacuees in Kentucky Toll-free hotline established for housing assistance for hurricane relief
Governor Ernie Fletcher
FRANKFORT, Ky. - Governor Ernie Fletcher is calling on faith-based organizations to contact state emergency management agencies to coordinate disaster relief efforts through the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management. "Many churches and other organizations have opened their doors to provide a place to eat and sleep to evacuees coming to Kentucky," said Governor Fletcher. "And with the need expected to grow in the coming weeks, I'm calling on faith-based organizations to coordinate efforts through our emergency management offices to make sure the evacuees are getting the care and attention they need." (...) Emergency officials also want to remind evacuees that they must register as soon as possible with their local American Red Cross chapter and with FEMA. AMERICAN RED CROSS NUMBERS TO CALL TO REGISTER:
1-800-438-4636 ( 1-800-"GET HELP")
1-800-438-4637 ( 1-800-"HELP NOW")

The problem is, the second phone number listed for the Red Cross (ending in 4637) is actually for a phone sex service.
Talk about "Emergency Relief"

Friday, September 09, 2005

Blasts Hit KFC & McDonald's In Karachi Pakistan, 3 People Injured

Bomb blasts minutes apart damaged a KFC and a McDonald's restaurant in the southern Pakistan city of Karachi late Thursday, injuring at least three people, police and witnesses said.
The first bomb went off inside the KFC Karachi's upscale Defense district as three families were dining, said witness Mohammed Akhtar. He said the explosion shattered windows and three people, including a girl, were cut by flying glass. Three cars outside were damaged. Police said the explosive caused considerable damage to the restaurant, including the destruction of a brick wall. Eight minutes later, a bomb went off outside the McDonald's on Karachi's crowded beach front, causing panic but no injuries, police said.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Kofi Annan Failed To Curb Corruption In Iraq's Oil-For-Food Program

A yearlong probe of the Iraq oil-for-food program has concluded that the United Nations allowed "illicit, unethical, and corrupt behavior" to overwhelm the $64 -billion operation. The Independent Inquiry Committee's final report, to be released today, says the UN must adopt sweeping reforms before taking on such tasks again, according to a draft forward obtained by The Associated Press.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
Yet the committee, which is UN-appointed and supported, also found that the program succeeded in providing minimal standards of nutrition and health care for millions of Iraqis trying to cope with tough UN sanctions imposed after Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. It also helped in the international effort to deprive Saddam of weapons of mass destruction, it said. While the forward doesn't go into detail about UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, an official familiar with the committee's final conclusions said it will criticize him, his predecessor Boutros Boutros-Ghali and the U.N. Security Council, especially Russia and France. Annan's failure to properly manage the program will be strongly criticized, but there is no new "smoking gun" linking him to an oil-for-food contract awarded to the Swiss company Cotecna that employed his son Kojo, the official said yesterday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the report had not been released. The new report will criticize Kojo Annan for trading on his father's name in the purchase of a Mercedes, for which he borrowed money from Michael Wilson, a Cotecna executive who is a friend of Kofi and Kojo Annan, the official said. The final report is expected to detail the inner workings of oil-for-food over more than 700 pages. "As the years passed, reports spread of waste, inefficiency, and corruption even within the UN itself," inquiry chief Paul Volcker, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, wrote in a draft forward of the report. "Some was rumor and exaggeration, but much - too much - of it has turned out to be true." Yet the forward says the United Nations is the only organization in the world with the expertise and authority to handle work like oil-for-food, established in 1996.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Philippines Authorities Warn Of More Terrorist Attacks

A Philippine military report says local guerrillas are now using more sophisticated technology in their attacks and operations.
The report comes amid a warning from security officials of more terrorist attacks in the country, including Manila, in the coming days, as Shirley Escalante reports. Military intelligence officials say they found evidence of training and technology transfer in bomb-making from the Jemaah Islamiyah to local insurgents.Officials say nine explosive designs and eight chemical recipes have been passed on to local militants, who previously relied on simple hand and rocket-propelled grenades to attack civilian targets. National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales has warned that Manila could be the target of a terrorist attack, based on intercepted communication among terrorists and their fund inflow and spending. Gonzales says the Philippines was a prime target of global terrorists because of the country's ties with the United States. He suggests that the Philippines push for an ASEAN-wide response program to contain terrorist threats.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Chief Justice Rehnquist Dies

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist died Saturday evening at his home in suburban Virginia, said Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg.
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist
A statement from the spokeswoman said he was surrounded by his three children when he died in Arlington. "The Chief Justice battled thyroid cancer since being diagnosed last October and continued to perform his dues on the court until a precipitous decline in his health the last couple of days," she said. Rehnquist was appointed to the Supreme Court as an associate justice in 1971 by President Nixon and took his seat on Jan. 7, 1982. He was elevated to chief justice by President Reagan in 1986.

North Korea Abuses International Food Aid

North Korea is abusing international food aid while cutting back on its own imports of food and diverting funds elsewhere, including the military, a U.S. human rights group said.
North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-il
The U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea accused Pyongyang of hindering aid efforts by both foreign governments and nongovernmental organizations to reach those who needed help most in the communist state. "Pyongyang's refusal to allow full monitoring of food delivery and need, and the restrictions on the movement of aid workers, continue to impede the aid effort and limit its ability to reach vulnerable groups," it said in a report. North Korea has suffered persistent food shortages since a famine caused by drought and flooding in the mid and late 1990s led to the deaths of more than a million people.
A starving North Korean refugee in China.
This woman was captured by the Chinese police the day after this picture was taken, and later repatriated to North Korea. She is known to have died soon afterward in a North Korean prison.

"This crisis is no longer about food shortages, it's about a government that denies its citizens basic rights," said Stephan Haggard of the University of California, San Diego, who co-wrote the report. It said as international aid increased, North Korea cut back on its own commercial imports of food. The government was paying for only about 10 percent of food coming into the country, allowing it to shift resources to other priorities, including the military, it said. "North Korea is taking advantage of the generosity of the donor countries. At the same time, they have been accepting food aid to alleviate their man-made crisis, they have been cutting their commercial food imports drastically," said Debra Liang-Fenton, executive director of the committee. "So instead of the destitute population being fed and supplies of food being supplemented thanks to international aid, the communist regime has saved the dollars raised in order to shore up its power."
Its Good To Be The King
There was no guarantee aid was reaching the truly needy and only those loyal to the authorities were cared for, the report said. "If anyone bears even a sign of suspicion that he has lost blind faith, the suspect is immediately deprived of basic foodstuffs and medical aid; he loses his job and even the chance to receive an education," said the report. Evidence from refugees and others pointed to a need for better monitoring of food aid, much of which comes from the World Food Program. This monitoring was made more difficult by less conditional shipments of aid made to North Korea by China and South Korea. The group urged these countries to channel food via the WFP.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Satellite Imagery of New Orleans

Friday, September 02, 2005

North Korea As Ready For War as Ever

U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Leon LaPorte says there has been no real change in North Korea’s readiness for war over the last five years, and it is maintaining its normal operational level regardless of its economic difficulties.
General Leon J. LaPorte, Commander United States Forces Korea
Reporters, in a report largely based on an interview with LaPorte, Said Pyongyang maintained its state of readiness "despite the near collapse of North Korea's economy, including its agricultural system, with the nation's military receiving about one-third of the gross domestic product regardless of the poverty” of its people. "They are operating within what we would call operational norms, seasonal norms,” LaPorte told the paper. “They have a summer training cycle and a winter training cycle. We have not seen any significant deviation outside the norms over the past five years." The paper also reported the USFK was changing its strategy for a potential military clash with the North against a background of new war and combat concepts and military technology. It said U.S. reinforcements from Fort Lewis, Washington could now reach the Korean Peninsula in 11 hours, and from Okinawa in a day, and the military equipment those reinforcements would need was already in Korea. The paper said, "Fighter aircraft and bombers based in Japan, Guam and as far away as Alaska, Hawaii and the continental United States also would be put under General LaPorte's command in time of war." It said the F-117 Nighthawk stealth bombers recently sent to Korea on symbolic training exemplified the strategic changes.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Gas Prices At Seoul, South Korea Filling Stations Hit All-Time High

The selling price of gasoline in Seoul exceeded W1,600 (about US$1.6) per liter (1 US gallons = 3.8 liters) for the first time in history on Wednesday as international oil prices continued to soar.
Industry sources said some gas stations in Yeouido and southern Seoul hiked their prices above that level, and the Korean oil refinery industry plans to keep raising prices. The record came only one month after surpassing W1,500 per liter in Seoul in mid-July. The price of diesel exceeded W1,270 per liter at some Seoul filling stations. A full tank for the new Sonata 2.0 now costs a whopping W112,000. Consumer prices of gasoline and diesel have surged as international oil prices hit fresh records every day. GS Caltex raised the post-tax supply price of gasoline by W32 to W1,446 from W1,414 on Wednesday. Consumer prices are calculated by adding 5-10 percent of distribution costs to supply prices. SK Corp. raised supply prices of gasoline from W1,408 to W1,419 per liter on Aug. 25 and plans a further increase from Sept. 1. An industry source says gas stations are making no profits since refineries put supply prices up.