Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 Milestone: U.S. forces death toll in Iraq reaches 3,000

The U.S. military in Iraq reached a grim milestone at year's end as the Pentagon announced a toll of at least 3,000 soldiers dead.

Specialist Dustin Donica, 22, of Spring, Texas, who was killed Thursday by small arms fire in Baghdad, was the 3,000th soldier to die, the Defence Department said Sunday.

CBC News

Death of Saddam; the World speaks, Harper is silent.

The Pakistan Times has a good article on the World reactions on the hanging of Saddam (scroll down for world reactions).

I've listened to Dutch radio, German TV (ZDF Heute Journal has a video podcast you can download for free with Democracy Player) and French media; All polical leaders have spoken on the subject, except Steve Harper.

What's wrong with our current government? Can't they take a position on what happened? Everyone is talking about Saddam, and you would think whatever shakes the people, it should be of importance to our democratically chosen leaders. Is the hanging of Saddam the "important milestone" of 2006?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Saddam is dead; the violence continues....

December is (already) the deadliest month in 2006 for U.S. troops with the death toll reaching 106.

BAGHDAD, Dec. 29 -- Three more Marines were killed in battle in Iraq, the military said Friday, making December the year's deadliest month for U.S. troops, with the toll reaching 106.

Read the whole story - U.S. Toll in Dec. Is Highest of '06

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Corruption Conservatives disclosed

Delegate fees are donations. That's how it works now, and how it has worked for decades before. But Conservatives don't "see" it that way. If it's so hard to see ones own currupt behaviour, one wonders about their honesty all together.

OTTAWA -- After months of heated denials, the federal Conservative Party has quietly admitted it failed to publicly disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of donations.

And the muddle over the disclosure meant that at least three party members -- including Prime Minister Stephen Harper -- donated more than the legal limit last year.

Last Thursday, the party filed a revised financial report for 2005 with Elections Canada, acknowledging that it did not report delegate fees collected for its national convention that year as donations, contrary to political financing laws.

the CPC tried to make certain donations "legal" by changing the law:
The party's letter notes that Mr. Harper's minority government last month attempted to amend the Canada Elections Act to ensure that convention fees in future would not count as donations. But the proposed amendment was shot down by the three opposition parties.

Read the whole article

Update: see also PEJ The gang that (again) promises to shoot straight again.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Military Deaths in Iraq Exceed 9/11 Toll

When numbers tell it all:

NEW YORK (AP) - Nearly four years after the war in Iraq began, the number of Americans troops killed there now exceeds the grim toll of victims from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The U.S. military death toll in Iraq has reached 2,974, one more than the number of deaths in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, according to an Associated Press count on Tuesday.

The U.S. military announced the deaths of two soldiers in a bomb explosion southwest of Baghdad on Monday. The military was withholding the soldiers' names until relatives could be notified.

The 9/11 death toll includes the 2,749 killed at the World Trade Center, 184 at the Pentagon and 40 passengers aboard United Flight 93. While all were killed within a few hours that morning, the deaths in Iraq have stretched across 45 months - with no end yet in sight.

WHOLE STORY: the Guardian

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Iraqi police deaths 'hit 12,000'

What numbers can tell us:

Some 12,000 police officers in Iraq have died in the line of duty since the US-led invasion in 2003, Interior Minister Jawad Bolani said.

The figure is from a total force of about 190,000 officers, he said.

The announcement follows a suicide bomb attack that killed seven policemen and wounded 20 others during a morning parade at a base north of Baghdad.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Iran acts over Israeli nukes

From Al Jazeera:

Iran has called for the UN Security Council to compel Israel to give up its nuclear weapons.

The request, made on Tuesday in a letter to the Security Council, comes after Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, appeared to admit in a TV interview that Israel had nuclear weapons.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

French 'had bin Laden in sights'

It looks like "finding Bin Laden" has never been a priority of the Bush Government.

A new documentary says that French special forces had Osama bin Laden in their sights twice about three years ago but their US superiors never ordered them to fire.

The documentary, Bin Laden, the failings of a manhunt, was made by journalists Emmanuel Razavi and Eric de Lavarene, who have worked for several French media outlets in Afghanistan.

Razavi said the soldier told them it took roughly two hours for the request to reach the US officers who could authorise it, but the anonymous man is also quoted in the documentary as saying: "There was a hesitation in command."

France has roughly 200 elite troops operating under US command near the border. Paris announced on Sunday that it was withdrawing them in the new year.

Read the whole story: Aljazeera

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Peru FM calls for CSN meeting to boost regional integration

The second summit of the South American Community of Nations (CSN) is expected to boost regional integration and create a better neighborhood, said Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Garcia Belaunde on Monday.

"The CSN's future will be improved if we give it a practical reason for its existence," said the minister ahead of the summit slated for Friday and Saturday in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba.


Friday, December 01, 2006