The word of the air strike came around mid-morning. I was actually the one to take the call from our stringer in Samarra. He said 32 people had been killed in an American air strike somewhere to the south according to local government official Amr something-or-other and he was heading towards the site, then the line went dead.
We tried to call him back later, because you can’t give a story based on the word of Amr something-or-other, certainly not an Americans-killed-dozens-of-people kind of story, but he’d either moved out of coverage area or the appalling Iraqi mobile networks were having another miserable day.
Periodic routine testing by a U.S. military laboratory of "Safi" brand bottled water showed results of elevated radiological readings for alpha and beta particles. Laboratory protocol now requires specific follow-on testing. Although initial testing levels fell within the safety margins of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. military authorities of the Central Command suspended the sale of Safi water through the retail facilities it operates. The American Embassy commissary, which is used by American diplomats and military personnel assigned to Egypt, suspended sales of Safi pending further test results. Based on the EPA standards, we do not believe that the consumption of Safi water has posed a risk. We will report the results of further testing as soon as they are available.Isn't Safi bottled by the military?
From the Egypt Human Development Report 2005:
The Ministry of Education, as the main provider of in-service teacher training, does not have the capacity to cater for the training needs of all employees, even within the traditional parameters. This has led to the adoption of the â€˜one size fits allâ€™ strategy whereby all teachers receive the same training at the same time irrespective of the wide variation of their qualifications (only 46% of employed teachers are graduates of Faculties of Education).
Others are filling in, namely international IT companies, most recently under the Egyptian Educational Initiative. I wrote a piece on it for qantara.de, trying to show how these companies take over government tasks â€“ out of their own interest, but for the benefit of school teachers (at least those who participate), I believe.Excerpt:
Independently of the current initiative, Intel plans to train an additional 650,000 teachers on its own. The company has thereby shown itself to be even more ambitions than other businesses active in the IT field in Egypt. The Egyptian Ministry of Education presents a rather different, seemingly uninvolved image. Its press spokesman referred to the participating companies and the responsible department head in the IT Ministry. In the end, he refused to answer any questions about the program.
(This week google announced another cooperation with the Ministry of Education, bringing its products to students in Egypt.)
DUBLIN: An immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq would be dangerous but staying is also risky, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said in an interview published on Wednesday. He said while talking to a daily newspaper that Iraq needs a strong leader but he did not name anyone. "I don't want to mention any names now," he said in an interview before his first visit to Ireland, which starts on Wednesday and is part of a tour including France and Germany.The names on Hosni's mind: Hosni Mubarak, Gamal Mubarak, Safwat Sherif. OK, actually he probably means a nice former Baathist he can get along with. Just not one of those pesky Shias.
A French postman who tried to sell online what he claimed were strands of hair from the mummy of Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II was being held by police yesterday. Jean-Michel Diebolt, 50, was arrested at his home in Grenoble after he placed an advertisement on a website offering strands of hair and tiny fragments of the funeral cloth from the 3,200 year-old mummy for â‚¬2,000 (Â£1,300). He claimed to have obtained the pieces from his late father, a researcher who had been part of a French team which analysed the mummy in the 1970s.Hereâ€™s the revenge? Nine French nationals were arrested during the past week-end in Egypt on charges of planning terrorist attacks in the region.
"The Musa Qala project has sent two messages: one, recognition for the enemy, and two, military defeat," said Mustafa Qazemi, a member of Afghanistanâ€™s Parliament and a former resistance fighter with the Northern Alliance, which fought the Taliban for seven years. . . . Some compare the deal to agreements that Pakistan has struck with leaders in its tribal areas along the Afghan border, which have given those territories more autonomy and, critics say, empowered the Taliban who have taken sanctuary there and allowed them to regroup.Whatâ€™s so interesting about this is that this is essentially what the British did in southern Iraq. They gave up. No one really likes to talk about it, and they are extremely difficult to embed with, but more and more people are starting to recognize that the one place coalition forces really suffered a defeat was in the south. The Brits donâ€™t patrol in Basra anymore, they largely just stay in their compound and get shelled every night. US bases get shelled too, but then they do something about it and the shelling stops. Their most famous move was their abrupt withdrawal from Amara, capital of Maysan province, where they were rocketed every night by Mahdi militia. So with no warning to Iraqi authorities, they declared their mission in Amara complete, pulled out and â€œredeployedâ€� to the Iranian border to conduct â€œWorld War II-styleâ€� desert patrol tactics. Somehow trying to turn a retreat into a evocation of the glories of the North Africa campaign. The base in Amara, meanwhile was sacked by the Mahdi militia because Iraqi authorities hadnâ€™t been given enough time to take control of it. Since their departure, there have been pitched battles in Amara between Mahdi militia and police (who are controlled by the rival Badr Brigade Shiite militia). Now donâ€™t get me wrong, Iraqâ€™s a tough place and each army has to make its decision about how to deal with it, but the British enjoy so much describing how they do everything better than the Americans. In the beginning of their Basra occupation, they described how their years of experience occupying Northern Ireland made them expert at a light touch and winning the inhabitantsâ€™ trust. Now, as they are talking about pulling out, the city is dangerous place awash in battles between rival militias and gangs making millions off the oil smuggling. The Brits just let them take over, and when it got too dangerous, they stopped leaving their base. And now they are leaving entirely. In Afghanistan, when the fighting suddenly became hot. They appear to be doing the same thing. So my question is, who are the real surrender monkeys?