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Showing posts from November, 2007

Brits accuse China of espionage against banks

Times:

The Government has openly accused China of carrying out state-sponsored espionage against vital parts of Britain’s economy, including the computer systems of big banks and financial services firms. In an unprecedented alert, the Director-General of MI5 sent a confidential letter to 300 chief executives and security chiefs at banks, accountants and legal firms this week warning them that they were under attack from “Chinese state organisations”. It is believed to be the first time that the Government has directly accused China of involvement in web-based espionage. Such a blunt and explicit warning from Jonathan Evans could have serious diplomatic consequences and cast a shadow over Gordon Brown’s first official visit to China as Prime Minister early in the new year. A summary of the MI5 warning, a copy of which has been seen by The Times, was posted on a secure government website. It says that Mr Evans wrote to business leaders “warning them of the electronic espionage attack…

Army's new ship named for slave who became a hero

Washington Post:

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As the West Point cadets and Annapolis midshipmen descend on Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium for tomorrow'sgame, one of the Army's newly commissioned ships -- a hulking, 314-foot long beast of a boat, large enough to carry nearly 30 Abrams tanks -- will slip into Baltimore's Inner Harbor at about 5 knots, its Army colors raised, lest anyone confuse it with a vessel from that other service branch. The Maj. Gen. Robert Smalls, a logistics support vessel, was commissioned Sept. 15 as the first Army watercraft to be named for an African-American citizen. Smalls was a slave who escaped, became a Civil War hero and eventually a U.S. congressman whose amazing story, the Army hopes, will inspire more than its football team. Smalls worked as a pilot on a Confederate transport steamer based in Charleston that delivered supplies to forces up and down the South Carolina coast. Late one night in May 1862, Smalls, then 23, commandeered the ship, which was loaded…

The horrors of existence in Zimbabwe

Times:

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Over nine days spent travelling clandestinely around this beautiful, once-bountiful country, The Times found a nation where millions now struggle to survive on barely a bowl of sadza (a mealie-meal porridge) a day, the most basic services have all but collapsed and thousands die every week in a perfect storm of poverty, hunger and disease. Aids, like corruption, is rampant. We found paupers’ burials, starving children with stunted bodies, orphans left to fend for themselves in the most brutal environments. It is a country regressing from commercial farms to vegetable patches, from the light bulb to the oil lamp, from the tap to the well. Feet – often bare – are replacing the wheel as the most common form of transport. Once Africa’s breadbasket, Zimbabwe can no longer provide its citizens with bread and water. “This is the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, worse even than Darfur,” said David Coltart, an opposition MP. “We lose more people a week to preventable illnesses …

Nut at Clinton headquarters captured

Image
CNN:

Police took into custody a man who walked into Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign office in Rochester, New Hampshire, and took several people hostage Friday.

The man, Lee Eisenberg, claimed to have a bomb strapped to his chest. By 4 p.m., three people, including a young child, had been released. The captor was also still inside the office and negotiations were taking place, according to reports.

The released hostages were not harmed, CNN affiliate WCVB reported on its Web site. Watch video of a hostage being released » The situation began when a man walked into the office at about 1 p.m., Maj. Michael Hambrook of the New Hampshire State Police told CNN affiliate WMUR-TV. Watch police take up positions »Don't Miss WMUR: Man takes hostages at Clinton office WCVB: Man claims to have bomb New Hampshire Department of Safety Assistant Commissioner Earl Sweeney said the man's name is Lee Eisenberg. Sweeney said Eisenberg was upset with the mental health care situation in the…

The real cause of the Huckabee surge?

LA Times:

AN A-list celebrity endorsement can lift a presidential campaign. But Chuck Norris' seal of approval can kick-start the Airbus.

Take Mike Huckabee's political efforts, for example. A month ago, few even knew that Huckabee was a former governor of Arkansas, let alone a Republican candidate for president. Then karate-movie tough guy Norris -- with a cult following big enough to populate three continents -- announced he was in Huckabee's camp. (They share evangelical Christian views.)

Suddenly, Huckabee became the presidential example of tough-guy cool. You thought Fred Thompson was going to be the law-and-order candidate? He was looking like a worn-out hound dog Wednesday night as Huckabee strode into the debate with the still buffed-up, 67-year-old Norris by his side.

"If you are going after those evildoers, you want Norris with you," said longtime Democratic strategist Rick Taylor, only half-joking. "That's how I look at it…

The Democrats Iraq problem

The Politico:

Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), one of the leading anti-war voices in the House Democratic Caucus, is back from a trip to Iraq and he now says the "surge is working." This could be a huge problem for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders, who are blocking approval of the full $200 billion being sought by President Bush for combat operations in Iraq in 2008.Murtha's latest comments are also a stark reversal from what he said earlier in the year. The Pennsylvania Democrat, who chairs the powerful Defense Subcommittee on the House Appropriations Committee, has previously stated that the surge "is not working" and the United States faced a military disaster in Iraq.Murtha told CNN on July 12, following a Bush speech, that the president's views on the success of surge in Iraq were "delusional.""Well it's delusional to say the least," Murtha told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "As I said earlier, and you heard …

Muslim mob throws teddy bear tantrum

AP/Fox News:

Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and knives, rallied Friday in a central square and demanded the execution of a British teacher convicted of insulting Islam for allowing her students to name a teddy bear "Muhammad."In response to the demonstration, teacher Gillian Gibbons was moved from the women's prison near Khartoum to a secret location for her safety, her lawyer said.The protesters streamed out of mosques after Friday sermons, as pickup trucks with loudspeakers blared messages against Gibbons, who was sentenced Thursday to 15 days in prison and deportation. She avoided the more serious punishment of 40 lashes.They massed in central Martyrs Square outside the presidential palace, where hundreds of riot police were deployed. They did not try to stop the rally, which lasted about an hour."Shame, shame on the U.K.," protesters chanted....
Shame on Sudan and these throwing an tantrum who should be a serious embarrassment to Islam as well a…

"We are winning in Afghanistan"

Canada.com:

Canada is winning the war in Afghanistan and is making significant progress in rebuilding that South Asian country, says the general who commands the Canadian Forces mission in Kandahar.But Lt.-Gen. Michel Gauthier, who heads the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command in Ottawa, warns that because Afghan insurgents are losing ground, they likely will resort to increasing the number of roadside bombs and suicide attacks in an attempt to inflict more casualties on troops."From a military perspective in the south of Afghanistan, in Kandahar specifically, we are winning," Lt.-Gen. Gauthier said in an interview with CanWest News Service. "We are winning where it matters most, where the people live. Where 90 per cent of the population is, we have a strong security influence in concert with our Afghan partners."...The state of the security situation in Afghanistan has been a hotly debated topic over the last several months. A recent United Nations report warned s…

More tortious twists for the tort bar

Opinion Journal:

The barons of the tort bar must have thought 2007 would be a very good year: Some of their biggest cases (Katrina, Enron) were set to pay out, and a Democratic Congress meant no more worries about legal reform. Talk about reversal of fortune: As the year ends, we are witnessing nothing short of the dismantling of what are alleged to be major tort criminal enterprises. Bill Lerach, the king of class actions, stands disgraced as an admitted felon. His former partners at Milberg Weiss face trial for being part of the same kickback scheme as Lerach. Federal prosecutors continue to pursue a criminal probe into asbestos and silicosis litigation fraud. And now comes the indictment of Mississippi tort legend Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, who is trying to soak insurance companies the way he once did Big Tobacco.On Wednesday, Mr. Scruggs and four cohorts were indicted for trying to bribe a state judge in exchange for favorable rulings. The indictment reads like something …

Pakistan's unappealing alternatives

Mansoor Ijaz:

Pervez Musharraf finally bowed to international pressure Wednesday and resigned Pakistan's most powerful government position: army chief of staff. On Thursday, he was sworn in as a civilian president, and he promises to lift "emergency rule" in December and hold free and fair parliamentary elections in January. Whether he keeps those promises, and whether Pakistan can be returned to a path of civilian government under the rule of law -- rather than rule by a dictator's decree -- will depend heavily on what its political party leaders and former prime ministers, Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, do in the next weeks.

Bhutto, like Sharif a political exile until recently, returned home to suicide bombers as well as throngs of supporters in Karachi. She has since spent more time writing opinion pieces than restructuring and regrouping her fractured party. Sharif, at first denied entry but allowed back last week, returned aboard a royal Saudi jet, with Saudi-pr…

Diplomatic genocide

Con Coughlin:

Is diplomacy dead? Given the perils of the modern age, this might seem an absurd question. The more threats and crises we face, the more we need our suave, smooth-talking diplomats to get us out of trouble. It is only when every possible diplomatic avenue has been exhausted that it is permissible to reach for the proverbial big stick. At least, so goes the theory.

But does modern diplomacy actually work? Careful consideration does not make for comfortable reading. Kosovo, Darfur, North Korea and Iran suggest that more progress might have been made had a little more stick been employed than endless talk.

All the main aid agencies estimate about two million innocent civilians have been the victims of the Sudanese Islamic militias that have waged a genocidal campaign against the Christian and Animist tribes that predominantly inhabit the south of the country. There are 700,000 people in refugee camps in the Darfur province of western Sudan and eastern Chad and it is universall…

Stem cell politics and science

Charles Krauthammer:

"If human embryonic stem cell research does not make you at least a little bit uncomfortable, you have not thought about it enough." -- James A. ThomsonWASHINGTON -- A decade ago, Thomson was the first to isolate human embryonic stem cells. Last week, he (and Japan's Shinya Yamanaka) announced one of the great scientific breakthroughs since the discovery of DNA: an embryo-free way to produce genetically matched stem cells.Even a scientist who cares not a whit about the morality of embryo destruction will adopt this technique because it is so simple and powerful.The embryonic stem cell debate is over.Which allows a bit of reflection on the storm that has raged ever since the August 2001 announcement of President Bush's stem cell policy.The verdict is clear: Rarely has a president -- so vilified for a moral stance -- been so thoroughly vindicated.Why? Precisely because he took a moral stance. Precisely because, as Thomson puts it, Bush was made …

The black opposition to Obama

Juan Williams:

BARACK OBAMA is running an astonishing campaign. Not only is he doing far better in the polls than any black presidential candidate in American history, but he has also raised more money than any of the candidates in either party except Hillary Clinton.

Most amazing, Mr. Obama has built his political base among white voters. He relies on unprecedented support among whites for a black candidate. Among black voters nationwide, he actually trails Hillary Clinton by nine percentage points, according to one recent poll. At first glance, the black-white response to Mr. Obama appears to represent breathtaking progress toward the day when candidates and voters are able to get beyond race. But to say the least, it is very odd that black voters are split over Mr. Obama’s strong and realistic effort to reach where no black candidate has gone before. Their reaction looks less like post-racial political idealism than the latest in self-defeating black politics. Mr. Obama’s success is …

CNN "screening" process

Michele Malkin:

IF any more political plants turn up at CNN's presidential debates, the cable-news network will have to merge with the Home and Garden channel. At CNN's Democratic debate in Las Vegas two weeks back, moderator Wolf Blitzer introduced several citizen questioners as "ordinary people, undecided voters." But they later turned out to include a former Arkansas Democratic director of political affairs, the president of the Islamic Society of Nevada and a far left anti-war activist who'd been quoted in newspapers lambasting Harry Reid for his failure to pull out of Iraq. Yet CNN failed to disclose those affiliations and activism during the broadcast. Behold - the phony political foliage bloomed again at Wednesday night's much hyped CNN/YouTube GOP debate. Oh, CNN did make careful note that Grover Norquist (who asked about his anti-tax pledge) is a Republican activist with Americans for Tax Reform. But somehow the network's layers and layers of…

Fed looks at rate cuts

Washington Post:

The chairman of the Federal Reserve said last night that the central bank would take into account recent deterioration in the financial markets as it decides whether to cut interest rates next month. Hours earlier, the White House released its economic forecast that acknowledged housing would be a drain on the economy next year, but it said tightening credit conditions would not stall business expansion.
The separate developments show how the Fed and the administration are grappling with a deterioration in the housing and credit markets as they set a course for the nation's economic policy. This month, new strains on global markets for debt have emerged, leading many economists to think there is greater risk of a recession. Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Fed, laid out in a speech to the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce how he is thinking through the economic situation as the central bank's policymaking committee prepares to meet Dec. 11. He noted that, by …

The Clinton political culture

Peggy Noonan:

I will never forget that breathtaking moment when, in the CNN/YouTube debate earlier this fall, the woman from Ohio held up a picture and said, "Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama, Mr. Edwards, this is a human fetus. Given a few more months, it will be a baby you could hold in your arms. You all say you're 'for the children.' I would ask you to look America in the eye and tell us how you can support laws to end this life. Thank you." They were momentarily nonplussed, then awkwardly struggled to answer, to regain lost high ground. One of them, John Edwards I think, finally criticizing the woman for being "manipulative," using "hot images" and indulging in "the politics of personal destruction." The woman then stood in the audience for her follow up. "I beg your pardon, but the literal politics of personal destruction--of destroying a person--is what you stand for." Oh, I wish I weren't about to say, "Wait, that d…

Huckabee has problem with immigration groups

Washington Times:

Groups that support a crackdown on illegal aliens haven't settled on their champion in the race for the White House, but there's little doubt which Republican scares them most — former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
"He was an absolute disaster on immigration as governor," said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, a group that played a major role in rallying the phone calls that helped defeat this year's Senate immigration bill. "Every time there was any enforcement in his state, he took the side of the illegal aliens."
As Mr. Huckabee rises in the polls, his opponents are beginning to take shots at him on immigration. Just as problematic for the former Arkansas governor, however, is that the independent interest groups that track the issue are also giving him the once-over, and don't like what they see.
"Huckabee is the guy who scares the heck out of me," said Peter Gadiel, president of 9-11 Families for a Secure America, a grou…

Interview with winner in Baghdad

Ralph Peters:

THE US Army's has had a remarkably successful year in Baghdad, turning around its slice of the long troubled Dura neighborhood. In an e-interview earlier this week, the unit's commander, Lt. Col. Jim Crider, explained how his troops did it. Question: Congratulations on the superb work "Quarter Cav" has done for us all - Iraqis and Americans. When you arrived in Iraq this time around, did you think you'd be able to make such progress?Lt. Col. Crider: Our initial experiences upon arrival in March '07 were very discouraging. The enemy controlled the ground - the people - in southwest Baghdad. I saw more combat in the first six weeks than in the entire year of Operation Iraqi Freedom I. We realized that we'd never kill or capture every enemy, so our goal was to change the conditions on the ground that allowed the insurgency to flourish. Three key factors contributed to our success: A sufficient number of troops to deny the enemy a sanctuary. A…

Venezuela showing signs of rejecting Chavez grab

NY Times:

Three days before a referendum that would vastly expand the powers of President Hugo Chávez, this city’s streets were packed on Thursday with tens of thousands of opponents to the change. The protests signaled that Venezuelans may be balking at placing so much authority in the hands of one man.

Even some of Mr. Chávez’s most fervent supporters are beginning to show signs of hesitation at backing the constitutional changes he is promoting, which would end term limits for the president and greatly centralize his authority. Other measures would increase social security benefits for the poor and shorten the workday.New fissures are emerging in what was once a cohesive bloc of supporters, pointing to the toughest test at the polls for Mr. Chávez in his nine-year presidency. In the slums of the capital, where some of the president’s staunchest backers live amid the cinder-block hovels, debate over the changes has grown more intense in recent days. “Chávez is delirious if he thinks w…

CNN's debate performance

Kate Phillips and Ariel Alexovich at the NY Times Blog Talk do a good job of summarizing the complaints lodged by bloggers against CNN's performance.

Some of bloggers they report on suggested punitive measures against some of the people at CNN or the network itself. I don't think that is necessary. They have damaged their reputation enough that the market for news will decide what will happen to them.

CNN has been in a steep free fall for a decade and this event is not going to change that trend. If anything it just confirms the judgment of many news consumers. Perhaps they can get Dan Rather to do some consultation for them on improving their image for fairness.

I do have a hint for CNN. If you are going to use ringers, disclose it up front and people can make their own judgment as to the fairness of the question. I do thin the segment of the population that thinks gays in the military don't ask don't tell is important is pretty small. As for the battle flag of …

Murtha admits surge is working

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

U.S. Rep. John Murtha today said he saw signs of military progress during a brief trip to Iraq last week, but he warned that Iraqis need to play a larger role in providing their own security and the Bush administration still must develop an exit strategy. "I think the 'surge' is working," the Democrat said in a videoconference from his Johnstown office, describing the president's decision to commit more than 20,000 additional combat troops this year. But the Iraqis "have got to take care of themselves."Violence has dropped significantly in recent months, but Mr. Murtha said he was most encouraged by changes in the once-volatile Anbar province, where locals have started working closely with U.S. forces to isolate insurgents linked to Al Qaeda....
An admission of the blindingly obvious is some progress for the anti war Dems. It will be interesting to see how this admission effects their strategy to cut and run.

It loses something in translation

The Daily Mail has a photo collection of Chinese signs with English subtitles which require their own subtitles. Some examples:

"When old man's child go up the hand ladder temporary need the family to accompany," which means "Children must be accompanied on the escalator."

"Don't press the glass to get hurt," means "don't put your head through the glass."

"I like your smile, but unlike you put your shoes on my face," means "Don't walk on the grass."

"Slip and fall down carefully" means, you can probably guess.

"Deformed mans toilet" means they have facilities for the disabled.

"The store be sterilized inside, please be contented," means the store is clean.
There are more that are pictured on the actual signs with the Chinese characters too. The Olympics should be interesting.

Marines cut order for MRAPs

AP:

The Marines plan to buy fewer bomb-resistant vehicles than planned despite pressure from lawmakers who are determined to spend billions of dollars on the vehicles.

The Marine Corps' requirement for mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles would drop from the planned 3,700 to about 2,400, The Associated Press has learned. The Marines would not comment on the decision, but defense officials confirmed the cut. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision has not been announced.About a month ago, Marine Commandant Gen. T. James Conway signaled the possibility of a new examination of the commitment to the vehicles, saying he was concerned his force was getting too heavy. "I'm a little bit concerned about us keeping our expeditionary flavor," he said.At the same time, an independent study by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington questioned whether the Pentagon was buying too many of the pricey vehicles, which can cost as …

How top schools raise kids math and science scores

Jamie Story:

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Contrary to the teacher associations’ rhetoric, improved student performance does not require increased taxpayer dollars and across-the-board teacher pay hikes. In fact, schools identified in the report spend 16 percent less per student than the state average. At the same time, they pay their teachers more than the typical Texas teacher. How is this possible? First, these best practice schools commit 68 percent of resources to classroom instruction, compared to 58 percent statewide. The most successful schools also have slightly larger math and science classes, which enable them to pay teachers more while spending less money overall. With prior research showing much greater results from increasing teacher quality than from decreasing class sizes, these schools are making a logical tradeoff. Teachers must agree, as average teacher experience at these schools is higher than in other Texas high schools. Forty percent of the surveyed schools provide stipends to recruit and…

Bin Laden asks Euros to retreat from Afghanistan

Reuters has a brief blurb on Osama's latest cowardly tape recording. He says the Taliban were not aware of his attacked on 9-11. He does not explain why they refused to turn him over to the US after they found out about the attack. That refusal made them an accessory after the fact which justified our attack on Afghanistan.

Bloomberg has more on the content of the tape. Only days after the Taliban murdered and mutilated some Afghan prisoners bin Laden makes the laughable charge that "The European countries in this war don't respect the conventions of war...." The Taliban use of human shields is turned on its head to imply a violation by western forces. It is all part of the Muslim victim strategy used by this terrorist organization.

More plants at CNN YouTube debate

Michele Malkin has a roundup of the yo-yo Dems who were allowed to ask questions at the Republican debate. It pretty much confirms the original suspicions of those who thought the format was a bad idea. Besides Hillary's gay general, there was a John Edwards supporter who has her on you tube piece wearing an Edwards shirt, an Obama supporter who says he is a Log Cabin Republican, a United Steele Worker whose union has endorsed Edwards. There is much more with links to their previous vids.

James Joyner ask "So What?" at about the gay general's affiliation, and posts comments from those who thought it was a "powerful moment." I disagree. Gays in the military are not important enough to waste time at a presidential debate. At most the issue effects a minority of gays who make up a small minority of the public. It obviously was not an issue that prevented the questioner from spending a life time in the military.

Gateway Pundit has more on the Dem Youtubers…

Readiness vs. war fighting

John Brinkerhoff looks at the arguments presented by some who are concerned about the deterioration in readiness of the military. On the Small Wars Journal board I described this complaint as saying that war interferes with the military's primary mission of training. Brinkerhoff has written a good piece in response to the concerns expressed earlier. What we are really seeing are excuses for quitting.

Current Taliban strategy

Strategy Page:

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But the Taliban have a plan for getting rid of the smart bombs, and it depends a lot on foreign journalists. These folks are always looking for an "exciting" story, and nothing is more exciting than "atrocities" committed by NATO or American troops. Defeats by NATO or American troops also plays well with the foreign reporters. So the Taliban endeavor to feed the foreign journalists as many suitable stories as possible. The Taliban understand that the story doesn't have to be true, just plausible. The news cycle is short, and the media proceeds on the assumption that news consumers have no sense of history. If the Taliban can get a story out there, they have succeeded, no matter how much the story is later discredited. Recently, for example, Taliban propagandists got some journalists to run with the story that the Taliban actually controlled most of the country, and were ready to take over. This was absurd, but too good to pass up for headline s…

Swat news from Pakistan?

Stanley Kurtz:

If you thought the mainstream media didn’t want to report on the Iraq surge, try finding stories on the Pakistani army’s offensive in Swat. I know it’s an important issue, because the New York Times ran an op-ed yesterday claiming that Pakistan never does anything about Islamists in its northwest. So where is the Times’s coverage of the gains made yesterday by Pakistan’s army in Swat? Clearly the Times has been put to shame by the Washington Post, which devoted at least three whole sentences to the issue today. How many people in the United States know that for the past week or so Pakistan’s army has been shelling Swat, attacking with helicopter gunships, cutting off food to the area, taking strategic hills, and reportedly, yesterday, driving Taliban opponents out of their headquarters and several key entrenched positions, and forcing them into the mountains. Much of the civilian population of the area fled some time ago, after being warned by the army of an imminent off…

Will Kindle make NY Times bestsellers list?

Daniel Henninger:

Time-pressed Christmas shoppers who visit Amazon.com nowadays see a homepage pushing Kindle. Kindle is Amazon's "revolutionary wireless reading device." This ambitious ($400) and ultimately admirable gadget springs from the hopes of Amazon's visionary founder, Jeff Bezos, whose e-company began with books but in time found that profitability required the selling of things that people prefer to do with their ever-dwindling free time. It was hard not to notice that Kindle was born unto us about the same moment the National Endowment for the Arts released a report on reading's sad lot in our time. Amid much other horrifying data, it revealed that the average 15- to 24-year-old spends seven minutes daily on "voluntary" reading. Cheerfully, this number rises to 10 minutes on weekends. An earlier, equally grim NEA report, "Reading at Risk," announced the collapse of interest in reading literature--basically books. This newer study …

Marine general says insurgency is withering on the vine

North County Times:

The insurgency in Iraq's Anbar province is "withering on the vine," the new commanding general of Camp Pendleton's I Marine Expeditionary Force said Wednesday.

In his first interview since assuming command of the 50,000-troop force, Lt. Gen. Samuel Helland gave an optimistic view of the war based on a visit to Anbar this month in advance of 11,000 local troops scheduled to deploy in the coming weeks. Helland said he found a sense of normalcy on the streets throughout his visit. "In Anbar we are being very, very successful," the Minnesota native said during a luncheon with reporters at a base officer's club. "We are defeating the enemy, forcing them out of the region, and they are withering on the vine."

Five weeks from now, Camp Pendleton and Miramar Marine Corps Air Base troops will deploy from Regimental Combat Teams 1 and 5, and a headquarters group will go to Anbar province to replac…

Slovaks make arrest in sale of dirty bomb material

AP/Fox News:

Two Hungarians and a Ukrainian arrested in an attempted sale of uranium were peddling material enriched enough to be used in a radiological "dirty bomb," Slovak authorities said Thursday.First Slovak Police Vice President Michal Kopcik said the three suspects, who were arrested Wednesday afternoon in eastern Slovakia and Hungary, had just under half a pound of uranium in powder form that investigators believe came from somewhere in the former Soviet Union."It was possible to use it in various ways for terrorist attacks," Kopcik told reporters.Kopcik said investigators were still working to determine who ultimately was trying to buy the uranium, which the trio allegedly was selling for $1 million.He said police had intelligence suggesting that the suspects — whose names were not released, but were aged 40, 49 and 51 — originally had planned to close the deal sometime between this past Monday and Wednesday. One of the Hungarians had been living in Ukraine…

Saudi lawyer fights back against Saudi "justice"

Washington Post:

A human rights lawyer who has defended a gang-rape victim sentenced to jail time and lashes said Wednesday that he is suing the Justice Ministry for revoking his license and for defaming his client by accusing her of having an affair. Abdul-Rahman al-Lahem's license was suspended this month in the eastern town of Qatif, where his client was sentenced to six months in jail and 200 lashes on a morals charge after she and a male companion were kidnapped by seven men and raped.
The Justice Ministry said in a statement last week that the 20-year-old married woman had "confessed to having an affair with the man she was caught with." The statement also said she was not fully clothed when she and her male companion were seized at knifepoint. "The Justice Ministry's accusing my client of adultery, without proof, is illegal. It is a crime, and they, better than anyone else, should know that," Lahem said. "I am suing them to protect my client'…