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Saturday Edition February 23, 2008

Posted by uberhim in Uncategorized.



According to The Guardian, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of Britain removed a reference to Israel made in the first draft of the controversial Iraq weapons dossier, fearing that the disclosure would seriously damage the UK’s relations with Israel. The now discredited dossier was written by John Williams, the FCO’s chief information officer at the time. Here are are some excerpts of the article:

Along with unfavourable references to the US and Japan, the reference to Israel was written in the margin by someone commenting on the opening paragraph of the Williams draft. It was written against the claim that “no other country [apart from Iraq] has flouted the United Nations’ authority so brazenly in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction”.

In statement to the tribunal, Neil Wigan, head of the FCO’s Arab, Israel and North Africa Group, said he did not know who had referred to Israel in the margin. He went on: “I interpret this note to indicate that the person who wrote it believes that Israel has flouted the United Nations’ authority in a manner similar to that of the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein.”

The FCO had no objections to references to other countries in the margin of the Williams document. Alongside the claim that no other country apart from Iraq had twice launched wars of aggression against neighbours, the unknown FCO official writes: “Germany?” and ” US: Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico”. Against a reference to the use of chemical weapons, the official has written: “Japan in China?”


One of California’s largest for-profit insurers has been ordered to pay more than $9 million to a breast cancer patient it dropped in the middle of chemotherapy.


The various responses which Kosovo’s independence has elicited across the globe are deciphered in the “The Kosovo Test” . The article merits attention for this little gem alone:

Kosovo is no joke because instability in the Balkans tends to spread. It triggered World War I, not to mention a few smaller conflicts in the 1990s. The Kosovo war was a big deal in 1999, when President Bill Clinton instigated a NATO bombing campaign to defend Kosovo’s Albanian Muslims and defuse a refugee crisis. Tom DeLay, then the House majority whip, accused Clinton of embroiling the U.S. in a “quagmire,” of “involving the U.S. military in a civil war in a sovereign nation.” But that wouldn’t happen to America for another four years.



Page 2

A Private Matter in the Backyard: “I wanted to build a cottage in our backyard. The problem was my wife. I had to do it before she noticed.”


Some guy has decided to walk to South America on foot.


The Washington Post’s “Islam’s Advance” blog has a nice video of a Quran reciter from Afghanistan who is gaining worldwide acclaim.





The Big Commute, In Reverse: About 300,000 people live in New York City and make their way to jobs in the suburbs every day, part of a fast-growing segment of the work force.


The Snapper, Snapped: Why a paparazzo walked away from the frenzied pursuit of Britney Spears.


They’re Working on Their Own, Just Side by Side: “Dozens of places around the country and increasingly around the world now offer arrangements where someone sets up an office and rents out desks, creating a community of people who have different jobs but who want to share ideas.”




The New York Times has written about a rather curious-looking legal battle underway in Indonesia. Time magazine is appealing a recent court ruling which has awarded Suharto $100 million in damages for an article which the magazine had published in May 1999. What is particularly interesting is that two prior rulings issued by lower courts had the audacity to rule in Time magazine’s favor.


Lawyers Rely on ‘Geek Defense’: Attorney for tech genius accused of murder says “being too intelligent can be a sort of curse.”



Candid Camera


Behave, the Video Vigilante is Watching: Brian Bates of Oklahoma City videotapes men consorting with prostitutes and posts the cleaned-up versions online. “People will be hitting that video on Google searches as long as you live,” he warns.


In Thriving India, Wedding Sleuths Find Their Niche: “In India, hiring a wedding detective has become a common prenuptial ritual, as important as the heavy wedding gold and the multi-cuisine 10-course meal served on plates coated in rosebuds.”



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