Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Japan helps WFP feed thousands of poor Afghans

"We are very grateful to Japan for this contribution. It has made a big difference in our efforts to feed and improve living condition of many poor Afghans," said WFP Country Director and Representative Rick Corsino. "The donation comes just in time to help many whose difficulties are worsened by the approach of winter and the poor harvest caused by drought in much of the country,"

EDITORIAL: Backsliding in Afghanistan

WITH WINTER approaching, all the indicators for Afghanistan have headed south. We are on the brink of losing Afghanistan to the resurgent Taliban and to the poverty and despair in which U.S. forces found it five years ago. Among the many signs that the almost $12 billion the U.S. has poured into Afghanistan since 2003 for reconstruction has been neither sufficient nor well spent: Afghans will go hungry again this winter unless they receive massive food aid.

U.S., Afghanistan to launch strategic dialogue in '07

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will begin key talks with Afghanistan next year, a move that deepens a partnership with Kabul five years after American forces helped oust the Islamist Taliban, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday.

Hillary Clinton looks beyond the Senate -- Ed Pilkington New York

Soldiers Confess in Afghanistan Photo Case

Three soldiers with Germany's armed forces, the Bundeswehr, have admitted their participation in desecrating human skeletons in Afghanistan. At least 20 current and former members of the Bundeswehr are under investigation.

Afghan customs chief 'removed by mafia'

The head of customs at Kabul airport claims he has been sacked for being too good at his job. General Aminullah Amrkhel is now living in fear of his life at home. While the general was in charge of customs, the number of smugglers arrested rose significantly, and when he was removed from his post earlier this month, he says that he was on the verge of breaking up a major crime ring that was smuggling drugs through the airport.

White House, Kerry Exchange Accusations

Democrats Are Seen to Gain in Statehouse Races

Bush Says 'America Loses' Under Democrats

SUGAR LAND, Tex., Oct. 30 -- President Bush said terrorists will win if Democrats win and impose their policies on Iraq, as he and Vice President Cheney escalated their rhetoric Monday in an effort to turn out Republican voters in next week's midterm elections.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Politics: Exploring the Language of Post-Sept. 11 U.S. Policy

The impact of Sept. 11, 2001, forced America to engage in a kind of national "cramming session." Within weeks, such terms as "jihadist" and "war on terror" entered the American English lexicon. It wasn't long before Islamic extremist became "Islamofascists," and within months, America's publicly-stated Middle East policy became one of "democracy promotion."

Election 2006, President Lends Support in Red-State Races

President Bush said Democrats will raise taxes, and that their opposition to his policies in Iraq shows they don't understand the enemy. "It's raging across the country, this debate on Iraq," the president said. "If you listen carefully for a Democrat plan for success, they don't have one. Iraq is the central front for the war on terror.

What Happens If the Democrats Win -- Foreign-Policy

With just days before the U.S. Congressional elections, Washington is consumed with predictions that the Republicans are on their way out of power. What would a Democratic majority actually mean for U.S. foreign policy? FP asked Washington insiders, ex-politicians, and pundits to look beyond November 7.

'Shock and awe' on Afghan border

The missile strike that has killed close to 80 alleged militants in Pakistan's Bajaur area appears to have targeted well-known supporters of the Taleban and al-Qaeda. But exactly who was killed at Chinagai remains unclear as paramilitary troops prevented reporters from travelling to the area.

World 'failing on hunger pledges'

Little progress has been made in tackling world hunger despite pledges by leaders to halve the number who are underfed, the UN's food agency says.

Cruel and Degrading in Connecticut Prisons -- Human Rights Watch

Many people already believe prisons are brutal and brutalizing places. Using dogs for cell extractions just confirms that view.

U.S. Sets Ambitious "Global" NATO Summit Agenda

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The United States set out an ambitious agenda on Monday for transforming NATO into a global security organization at a summit next month but acknowledged that some European allies have misgivings.

The Next Congress -- First of five parts

Capitol Hill may soon swell from speed bump to stumbling block for an embattled President Bush, depending on which levers the voters pull in the congressional midterm elections a week from tomorrow.

Iran warns of response to nuke sanctions

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's firebrand president warned on Monday that his country would respond with an "appropriate and firm response" to any U.N. sanction over its nuclear program.

Afghan leader seeks Pakistani politicians' help

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai has written to influential ethnic Pashtun politicians in Pakistan asking for their support to stem a growing Taliban insurgency.

اسـناد و شواهد تازه

فلیپ کاروین Philip Carwin کارمند عالی رتبه امریکایی الاصل ملل متحد است که در سال ۱۹۹۲ عضو هیئت ملل متحد، تحت ریاست بنین سیوان بود. این هیئت ازجانب سرمنشی ملل متحد وظیفه داشت که مطابق پلان صلح ملل متحد، امور انتقال قدرت دولتی را به یک شورای بیطرف سازماندهی و تعمیل نماید

رازی از راز های به دار آویختن دوکتور نجیب الله -- Payamewatan.com

در سلسله نشرات پراگنده اینجا و آنجا کتابی زیر عنوان « سرنوشت غم انگیز در افغانستان » توسط فلیپ کاروین یکی از کارمندان عالیرتبه ملل متحد، توسط حکیم سروری بزبان دری ترجمه شده که مطالعه یادداشت های پروتوکولی دیپلومات مذکور از نظر زمانی دارای اهمیت شایان است، به ویژه صحنه ها و لحظات حساسی تاریخی که دکتور نجیب الله در سازمان ملل متحد پناهنده شده بود.

4 scams: How to avoid them

Think scams happen only to other people? Wake up and smell the coffee.

Nato denies Afghanistan push in disarray

Nato on Thursday sought to dismiss fears that its operation in Afghanistan was in disarray after a series of bloody and controversial incidents that have seen the alliance come under new pressure in the country’s south.

US urges Nato allies to help south Afghanistan mission

Officials say Washington is putting pressure on Spain, France, Italy and Germany, all of which have soldiers elsewhere in the country, to free up their troops to move into the south, where the most bitter fighting in Afghanistan is taking place.

No Problem With the Veil

Oct. 30, 2006 issue - "Must one be more Muslim than Mohammed?" It's astonishing how often I am asked this question. Europeans are finally waking up to the fact that it is Islamism, not Islam, that is hostile to everything Europe holds dear. Women's rights. Secular law and education. Tolerance of gays and different faiths.

Afghans, Returning Home, Set Off a Building Boom

Prince to meet Pakistan president

The Prince of Wales will meet with General Pervez Musharraf as he and the Duchess of Cornwall begin their visit to the Islamic nation.

Climate change 'brings huge cost'

Climate change could shrink the global economy by a fifth at a cost of up to £3.68 trillion unless drastic action is taken, a review is to warn. Without action up to 200 million people could become refugees as their homes are hit by drought or flood, he adds.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Photo Scandal Raises Doubts in Germany About Deployments

"The German politicians tried to sell this international cooperation and posting of German troops abroad as something good that we were doing for people, that we were bringing help to the starving masses," said Christoph Grams, a military and security analyst for the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin.

General: 'Mistakes' made in Afghanistan strike

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. James Jones promised Afghan President Hamid Karzai at a news conference Saturday that a full investigation of an incident involving the unintended death of around 70 Afghan civilians would be launched.

Religious hate seen as motive in killing

Fremont slaying: Muslim leaders and relatives of Afghan American mother shot at point-blank range say only motive they can imagine for anyone wanting her dead was the garment of her faith, her head scarf

Pomegranates Make Lucrative Alternative Crop

Pomegranates have been grown in Afghanistan for centuries, and before the Soviet invasion were a major cash-crop in Afghanistan’s booming agricultural sector. The fruit is renowned for both its sweet taste and its medicinal properties. The fruit itself is claimed to treat diseases, such as hepatitis and blood pressure problems, and the seed is considered effective against certain stomach ailments.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Report: College degree worth extra $23,000 a year

College graduates made an average of $51,554 in 2004, the most recent figures available, compared with $28,645 for adults with a high school diploma. High school dropouts earned an average of $19,169 and those with advanced college degrees made an average of $78,093.

Is NATO Losing the Real Battle in Afghanistan?

U.S. Economic Growth Slowed in 3rd Quarter

NATO Secretary-General Visits Bush

In a meeting at the White House, de Hoop Scheffer said he was saddened by recent deaths of Afghans, and said the alliance is committed to defending democracy in the nation once ruled by the repressive Taliban regime. The White House said the two leaders did not discuss NATO troop levels or the suspension of two German soldiers in connection with photos of troops posing with human skulls.

President Karzai’s Message -- Ariana Afghan Airlines Attract Investment

On August 15, Former President of Ariana Afghan Airlines Dr. Mohammed Nadir Atash announced two major investment proposals by US and European companies.

Penny Campaign for Peace

The Roots of Peace Penny Campaign has inspired thousands of American students and community members to collect more than 10 million “pennies for peace” to protect lives and restore the hopes of future generations in war-torn countries. Afghanistan is among the most heavily mined countries in the world. According to the United Nations, there are an estimated 60 landmine victims each month in Afghanistan alone—half of them are children.

Think tank calls for new approach in Afghanistan

An international think tank wants Canada to maintain but refocus its commitment to Afghanistan, as the NDP again called for the Conservative government to rethink the mission.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

US house price fall steepest since 1970

Economists warned that the housing figures were not entirely reliable. “No doubt a good part of this drop reflects an increase in the number of smaller homes in the sample,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics. “Still, mean prices also slumped so we think there probably has been a serious drop in prices per square foot.”

Nato denies Afghanistan push in disarray

In a separate development, Ronald Neumann, US ambassador to Afghanistan, criticised a ceasefire deal reached by UK Nato troops and local groups in a town in Afghanistan’s turbulent Helmand province.

Home Prices Plunge by Most in 35 Years

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Is this what a housing bust looks like? New home prices fell last month by the largest amount in 35 years and owners are being warned to brace for further declines, especially in formerly hot markets.

'Civilians killed' in Nato raids

Scores of civilians have been killed during Nato operations against Taleban fighters in southern Afghanistan, local officials and civilians say.

Opinion: Who's Running Afghan Policy?

The expert explained that many factors shape the difficult Pakistani-Afghan relationship. He pointed to the decades-long conflict between Afghanistan and Pakistan and mentioned the Durand Line, the supposed border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The 1,600-mile-long line, imposed on Afghanistan by the British in 1893, divides Pashtun and Baluch regions and separates Afghanistan from territory it has claimed as its own. Afghanistan has never officially recognized the Durand Line, which has been a great source of strife between the two countries.


Five years ago, the Taliban regime in Afghanistan fled along with its Arab terrorist allies in the US invasion that followed the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. Since then, the country has failed to establish a decent, functioning government. Despite much aid and strong support from the United Nations and the world, Afghanistan is in desperate trouble.

Record drop for home prices

Home sales fall for sixth month straight, while prices decline by 2.2 percent. But homeowners aren't out of the woods yet, says trade group.

A Better Way To Detect Lung Cancer?

(CBS) Nearly 175,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year. The majority will die. That's because standard chest X-rays too often can't spot it until it's too late, reports CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook. But a new study proves there may be a better way to detect the disease — early enough to beat it

President Bush Calls Iraq Violence a 'Serious Concern'

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Cheat Sheet to Schröder's Memoirs

Gerhard Schröder's stint as chancellor, from 1998 to 2005, marked the coming of age of the New Germany. The country took an increasingly prominent role on the international stage -- be it in the Balkans, the war on terror or Berlin's outspoken opposition to the Iraq war. Schröder's just-published memoirs provide a unique glimpse into that transformation. SPIEGEL ONLINE provides a cheat sheet.

Avoiding the Violence in Afghanistan

Southern Afghanistan is in trouble. But what can NATO do about it? With commanders in the field in need of support, Germany prefers staying in the relatively secure northern part of the country. Criticism is growing louder.

U.S. official: Britain seeks Iraq pullout in a year

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The British military hoped to withdraw troops from Iraq within about a year and London wanted to focus on the war in Afghanistan, a U.S. defence official said on Tuesday.

Editorial, Europe's Muslims

It's hard to believe that veils are the biggest obstacle to communication between British politicians and the country's Muslims; and it's even harder to imagine Mr. Straw raising similar objections about Sikh turbans or Orthodox Jewish dress. True, the Labor Party MP was reflecting -- or maybe pandering to -- the concern of many in Britain about the self-segregation of some Muslims. But veils -- which are also under government attack in France and Italy -- are not the cause of that segregation, much less of terrorism. Attacks on Muslim custom by public officials are more likely to reinforce than to ease the community's alienation.

President's News Conference

A distinguished independent panel of Republicans and Democrats, led by Former Secretary of State Jim Baker and Former Congressman Lee Hamilton, is taking a fresh look at the situation in Iraq and will make recommendations to help achieve our goals.

Report of Troops With Skull Irks Germans

BERLIN -- Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed disgust Wednesday at photos that appeared to show German troops in Afghanistan posing with a human skull and pledged that any soldiers found to be involved would be punished

President Says Democrats Are 'Disposed' to Increase Taxes

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Karzai urges Ummah to hear Afghanistan's cry

He was speaking to reporters after leading his cabinet in prayers in a mosque at the presidential compound to mark Eid al-Fitr, the three-day festival that follows the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The New Middle East -- Foreign Affairs

Richard N. Haas: Just over two centuries since Napoleon's arrival in Egypt heralded the advent of the modern Middle East -- some 80 years after the demise of the Ottoman Empire, 50 years after the end of colonialism, and less than 20 years after the end of the Cold War -- the American era in the Middle East, the fourth in the region's modern history, has ended.

Muslims being demonised, says Livingstone

The mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, today said the row over whether Muslims should wear veils had parallels with the hounding of Jews in Nazi Germany.

Vegetables But Not Fruit Said to Preserve the Aging Brain

Two servings of vegetables a day averted the equivalent of five years of mental aging in people older than 65, by Martha Clare Morris, Sc.D., of Rush Medical Center here, and colleagues, reported in the Oct. 24 issue of Neurology.

Iraq 'success' possible, US says

Study: Veggies could stem mental decline

Eating two or more servings of vegetables a day may slow a person's mental decline by about 40 percent compared with a person who consumes few vegetables, according to a six-year study of nearly 4,000 Chicago residents age 65 or older.

Study: Vegetables may keep brains young

CHICAGO -- New research on vegetables and aging gives mothers another reason to say "I told you so." It found that eating vegetables appears to help keep the brain young and may slow the mental decline sometimes associated with growing old.

Brother of N.F.L. Star Posts Antiwar Essay

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 23 — A brother of Pat Tillman, the National Football League player who was killed in combat in Afghanistan after leaving his sports career to serve in the Army, has lashed out at the Iraq war in an essay published online. “Luckily this country is still a democracy,” he wrote. “People still have a voice. People can still take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday,” Nov. 6.

Morning E-dition: Impatience Can Be a Virtue

U.S. Ambassador Ronald Neumann was in Kabul, speaking about the reconstruction of Afghanistan and the long-running war against the Taliban.

Afghanistan, Five Years On: U.S. Officials Assess Afghanistan Progress

Morning Edition, October 23, 2006 · Five years after America invaded, Afghanistan is still very much a nation in transition. It's also home to a large contingent of Americans.

U.S. urges Germany to extend mandate in Afghanistan

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany should consider extending its Afghanistan mandate to allow its troops to move to the south of the country, where other NATO members' forces have faced a wave of suicide attacks, a U.S. official said on Monday.

UN warns of Afghan food shortage

Nearly two million people in southern Afghanistan will need food aid this winter because of drought, the UN and Afghan government have warned.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Blood borders -- By Ralph Peters

What Afghanistan would lose to Persia in the west, it would gain in the east, as Pakistan's Northwest Frontier tribes would be reunited with their Afghan brethren (the point of this exercise is not to draw maps as we would like them but as local populations would prefer them).

McCaffrey visits Guantanamo

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Dirty Little Secret -- german-foreign-policy

Under the title "Redrawing the Middle East Map" the "Armed Forces Journal" shows its readers two maps with identical territorial outlines, with one ("before") showing the current border situation to then develop the future ("after") image of the Middle East. According to the accompanying article, the Muslim world is in a situation generating hatred and violence, in part as a consequence of its colonial heritage and partially due to its own fault, which can only be corrected with radical border alterations. The redrawing of the boundaries would have to follow ethnic affinities and religious communalism, writes the author Ralph Peters, a retired military officer.

Nation, Investigating the CIA Torture Program

Fresh Air from WHYY, October 19, 2006 · British journalist Stephen Grey writes about security issues and Iraq. His work appears in The Sunday Times of London, The New York Times, the Guardian, and The Atlantic Monthly.

An Argument for a Trans-Atlantic Free-Trade Zone

Europe Glimpses Veiled Threats

Western politicians increasingly cite the growing radicalization of Muslim immigrants as a justification for policies that have seemed to many to herald the end of multiculturalism. But is this radicalization fact or fantasy?

Musharraf's misunderstood Afghan strategy

From 1989 to 2001, the Western world knew little about the developments that tore through the war-ravaged Afghanistan in the shape of a civil conflict followed by Taleban rule. Left alone to pick up the pieces, the ISI used the opportunity to shape the future of Afghanistan with a view to securing strategic depth against India.

US active in Pakistan terror ops: Cheney

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Troops will be in Afghanistan for next 20 years, says commander

Bush accepts Iraq-Vietnam echoes --BBC

I define success or failure as whether we're seeing a democracy grow in the heart of the Middle East." Pulling out troops from Iraq would be the equivalent of surrender, he said. "I'm patient. I'm not patient forever...But I recognise the degree of difficulty of the task, and therefore say to the American people we won't cut and run."

Editorial, A Dangerous New Order

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Green Card: Ticket to a Life in America

Islam and Extremism: 'Reformation' in the Making?

All Things Considered, October 18, 2006 · In the Muslim world, radicals, reformers, activists and academics are all struggling to reshape their religion. Other Muslims are trying to rescue their faith from extremism. Some scholars say it's an "Islamic Reformation," borrowing from a Christian era that lasted more than 100 years -- and was often violent and bloody.

Afghan FM accuses Pakistan of playing down Taliban 'terrorism'

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Your Health: Medical Groups Fault Feds on Fish Advisories

Harvard cardiologist Dariush Mozaffarian reviewed all available studies documenting the risks of mercury exposure through eating fish. His team also reviewed all studies showing the health benefits of fish consumption. He says the benefits of consuming fish still outweigh the risks.

U.S. Population Tops 300 Million

Morning Edition, October 17, 2006 · The United States population officially reaches 300 million. According to government calculations, America reached the milestone at 7:46 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

Benefits of Eating Fish Outweigh Mercury-Related Risks, Report Says

The reports--one a federally funded report issued this morning by the Institute of Medicine (IOM); the other a study set for publication in tomorrow's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)--cite significant heart benefits from eating about two meals of fish per week.

Bush Signs Bill Authorizing Detainee Interrogations, Military Commissions

In a speech before signing the Military Commissions Act of 2006 , Bush said the new law "is one of the most important pieces of legislation in the war on terror" and "will save American lives."

Afghan Leader: Taliban Chief in Pakistan

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai told The Associated Press that Mullah Omar, the supreme Taliban leader who headed the repressive Islamist regime ousted by U.S.-led forces five years ago, is hiding in the southeastern Pakistani city of Quetta.

A 'Clear Message'

Here's the clear message to the voters: This Congress is willing to rubberstamp pretty much any White House initiative it sees as being in its short-term political interests. (And I don't just mean the Republicans; 12 Senate Democrats and 32 House Democrats voted for the bill as well.)

Blair, Prodi voice concern over Muslim veils

LONDON (Reuters) - Two European leaders separately voiced concern at the Muslim veil on Tuesday, with Britain's Tony Blair calling it a "mark of separation" and Italy's Romano Prodi saying it should not be used to hide behind. In France a law bans "conspicuous symbols" of faith such as Muslim headscarves, Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses, from schools.

In brief: Stone mulls Afghan invasion feature

Pakistan begins census of Afghans

For the first time Pakistan's government is beginning a campaign to register all Afghans currently living in the country.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Clinton Says G.O.P. Policies Will Alienate G.O.P. Voters

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton asserted yesterday that the Bush administration’s failings in foreign and domestic policy were so great that Republican and independent voters would help Democrats win control of Congress in the Nov. 7 elections.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Microcredit Idea Inspires Programs Worldwide

U.S.: Attack Dogs Used Against Prisoners -- Human Rights Watch

(New York, October 11, 2006) – Five state prison systems in the United States permit the use of aggressive, unmuzzled dogs to terrify and even attack prisoners in efforts to remove them from their cells, Human Rights Watch said today in a new report.

UN: New Report Says Violence Against Women Is a Human Rights Violation

The secretary-general's study conveys a very simple message. The individual who carries out any form of violence against women has committed a crime. A government that does not develop, fund and implement all necessary laws and programs to prevent and to punish this violence violates international human rights law.

Friday, October 13, 2006

'Hunger critical' in South Asia

A report released by a US-based group says South Asia continues to face "critical" levels of hunger. In May, a Unicef report said half of the world's under-nourished children live in South Asia.

Nobel for anti-poverty pioneers

Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh and the Grameen Bank have been jointly awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.

Ban Ki-Moon Named New U.N. Head

Ban, 62, will become the eighth secretary-general in the U.N.'s 60-year history on Jan. 1 when Annan's second five-year term expires. He was one of seven candidates vying to be the U.N. chief and topped all four informal polls in the U.N. Security Council.

Official's Muslim Veil Stance Divides U.K.

Jack Straw Says He Asks Female Visitors To Reveal Faces, Stirring Debate On Integration

Thursday, October 12, 2006

UN Security Council to send mission to Afghanistan

Japan's UN envoy Kenzo Oshima, the council president for October, said the mission would also "give Afghanistan and its people a message of assurance of the council's continuing commitment."

Afghan ultimatum over corruption

The Speaker of the Afghan upper house of parliament has said he will resign if corrupt officials are not sacked.

Afghanistan five years later: charting the reconstruction

The United States and its coalition partners launched "Operation Enduring Freedom -
Afghanistan" in October 2001 as a response to the attacks of Sept. 11. At the time of the invasion, Afghanistan was already a broken nation. Decades of war and austere fundamentalist rule had left the country with little in the way of industry, infrastructure, government institutions, or an educational system.

Afghanistan, Five Years On

Aside from security woes, Afghanistan also must overcome a number of economic, social, and political obstacles, as this new Backgrounder examines. “Levels of poverty, hunger, ill health, illiteracy, and gender inequality put Afghanistan near the bottom of every global ranking,” writes Rubin in this Council Special Report.

Top General Urges Britain to Leave Iraq

Turkish Writer Wins 2006 Nobel Literature Prize

Morning Edition, October 12, 2006 · The winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature is Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk. He's best known in this country for his novels My Name Is Red and Snow.

In Afghanistan, NATO Troops Fight to Build a Road -- Renée Montagne

Interviews, Gen.: Afghanistan Victory Hangs on Rebuilding Effort

Now is the moment that the international community must make progress in improving the lives of the Afghan people, according to Richards. "We've all now got to focus on achieving. It's delivering on the promises [of reconstruction]," Richards said. "And to be very fair, the international community hasn't done that, and the government hasn't done that [so far]."

Controversial Turkish Novelist Wins Nobel Prize in Literature

ORHAN PAMUK: Look, conservatives in West and fundamentalist conservatives in Islamic countries are pushing these countries -- pushing us towards a fight between Islam and West or East and West. I don't believe in this. A clash of civilizations is a fanciful idea which, unfortunately, is getting to be true.

Iraq Study Group Offers Recommendations for U.S. Policy

The chairmen of the Iraq Study Group, Republican James Baker and Democrat Lee Hamilton, discuss their assessment of the situation on the ground, its impact on the surrounding region and consequences for U.S. interests.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

World Leaders Respond to North Korea's Claim of Nuclear Test

Frontline: The Enemy Within

China Says It Will Back Sanctions On N. Korea

Beijing Stresses Limits on U.N. Action Against Ally

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Conference Addresses School Shootings

President Bush said at a conference of school officials, police officers and youth advocates yesterday that communities need a list of "best practices" to prevent and respond to the kinds of school attacks that have occurred in recent weeks.

Musharraf's misunderstood Afghan strategy

Islam Under Siege -- Akbar S Ahmed, American University

Critics of Islam in the West have begun to argue that the Koran asks Muslims to follow it blindly and resort to fanaticism. Yet in the words of linguist and translator Thomas Cleary, "Islam does not demand unreasoned belief. Rather, it invites intelligent faith, growing from observation, reflection and contemplation, beginning with nature and what is all around us. Accordingly, antagonism between religion and science such as that familiar to Westerners is foreign to Islam." It is a fact of history that Islamic civilization eventually nursed Europe out of the Dark Ages, laying the foundation for the Renaissance.

The Beliefs and Laws of Islam

Origins Islam is the religion of allegiance to God and his prophet Mohammed, who lived around 570-632 and came from a family of traders at Mecca. The religion's book of revelation, mediated by the prophet, is the Koran. The word Islam derives from the same semitic root as the Hebrew word Shalom, which means peace. Islam means "entering into a condition of peace and security with God, through allegiance or surrender to him".

Monday, October 09, 2006

Remembering the Bombs: Kabul Five Years Later -- by Renée Montagne

Morning Edition, October 9, 2006 · This past weekend marked the fifth anniversary of the start of U.S.-led airstrikes in Afghanistan. For residents of Kabul, to whom war was all too familiar, the onset of the bombing offered hope that the oppressive Taliban regime would soon be gone, and that they would be free.

South Korean nominated for top U.N. post

Karzai: Corruption in the whole system

There is corruption in the whole system, whether it's in the ministries, the NGOs, the donors' implementation of projects, in all spheres of the Afghan recovery. The international community did not stand with me on these issues. They said, 'No green on green' [no internal conflict among the anti-Taliban coalition]. So it isn't a blank check.

G.O.P.’s Baker Hints Iraq Plan Needs Change

“I believe in talking to your enemies,” he said in an interview on the ABC News program “This Week,” noting that he made 15 trips to Damascus, the Syrian capital, while serving Mr. Bush’s father as secretary of state.

Massive diamond bought for $12m

The Lesotho Promise - one of the world's largest diamonds - has been sold in the Belgian city of Antwerp for US$12.4m (£6.7m). The diamond, an uncut, 603-carat white gem, weighing 120g (4.2oz), was found in Lesotho on 22 August.

Now on YouTube: Google's gamble

Google is to buy video-sharing website YouTube for $1.65bn (£883m) in shares. So is this is a gamble or a winning investment?

N Korea 'nuclear test' condemned

NATO Chief Warns of Afghan Tipping Point

Afghanistan is going through its worst bout of violence since the U.S.-led invasion removed the former Taliban regime from power five years ago.

N. Korea Reports 1st Nuclear Arms Test

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Rumsfeld: Afghanistan Is Looking Up

Do you agree? - In an editorial today, Bush's defense secretary cites improvements in education, security, health care, infrastructure and the economy as signs that there's hope for Afghanistan.

Afghans 'could switch allegiance' -- Nato's commander

Gen Richards said: "If we collectively ... do not exploit this winter to start achieving concrete and visible improvement, then some 70% of Afghans could switch sides."

Unlikely Terrorists On No Fly List -- (CBS)

Who is on it and how valuable is it to national security? 60 Minutes managed to obtain a copy of the No Fly List and without giving away any national secrets, found it to be incomplete, inaccurate, outdated and a source of aggravation for thousand of innocent Americans.

Making money in Afghanistan: Still risky business

The limits of Karzai's power are on display at Ariana, the flagship airline. The carrier has long been a honey pot for Kabul's powerful, one of the few cash cows in government ownership. But Afghanistan's long years as a pariah state starved Ariana of skills, parts, and management, turning the carrier into a deathtrap. After liberation the airline was hijacked by warlords as the spoils of victory. Ariana pilots tell alarming stories of midnight gun- and drug-running, their services demanded at gunpoint. Flights were rarely logged, and the airline didn't produce financial statements for years. "We have been one of the most corrupt institutions in a very corrupt country," Ariana president Mohammed Atash told FORTUNE in June.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

E.U. Agrees To Ease U.S. Access to Data On Passengers

PARIS, Oct. 6 -- European officials agreed Friday to grant U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies easier access to detailed personal data on transatlantic air passengers, despite concerns about individual privacy and fears that the information could be misused.

Afghanistan: Five Years Later -- By Donald H. Rumsfeld

On Oct. 7, 2001, President Bush spoke from the Treaty Room of the White House to announce the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, a mission designed to disrupt and destroy al-Qaeda operations in Afghanistan and the regime that had harbored and supported Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.

Rumsfeld Cites Progress in Afghanistan

Former Cabinet Member's Advice: 'Keep Out of Politics'

Fresh Air from WHYY, October 5, 2006 · Former presidential Cabinet member James A. Baker III's new memoir offers some insights right of the bat in its title, Work Hard, Study...and Keep Out of Politics!:

Jirgas and the Taleban - Hamid Karzai interview

Karzai for jirga to crush Taleban

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said he wants to hold a jirga (council) of Pashtun tribes from Pakistan and Afghanistan to end Taleban violence. Pakistan has long stated that it wants Afghanistan to recognise the Durand Line, the 2,640km (1610 miles)-long border between the two countries. Afghans say the British-drawn, colonial era border line robs Afghanistan of Pashtun territory now inside Pakistan.

Uncertainty, violence darken Afghans' hope

U.S.-led military forces launched Operation Enduring Freedom on Oct. 7, 2001, toppling the Taliban. Five years later, the situation is sobering. Rising insecurity threatens early accomplishments.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Nato takes over Afghan security

Nato has taken charge of Afghanistan's eastern provinces, which have been under the control of US forces since the Taleban were ousted five years ago. But Mr Blair acknowledged that people in Afghanistan had "suffered" as a result of military action against the Taleban.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

47 Years After Father, Son Wins a Nobel, Too

U.S. is at critical crossroads in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — Nearly five years after the U.S. military drove the Taliban out of Afghanistan, total victory appears as distant and remote as the long-embattled nation itself.

Max Boot: Get Serious About Afghanistan

Afghanistan's troubles also require changes in Pakistan. President Bush needs to play hardball with Musharraf, telling him that American support for a free Afghanistan will never waver but that support for Musharraf's regime will be jeopardized if he doesn't do more to curb the Taliban. Musharraf needs to get the message — as he did after 9/11 — that it's more important to placate Uncle Sam than the radical Islamic parties.

Begin managing your risk from exposure to U.S. housing

This study will assist builders, investors, and lenders to: Assess the severity of the unfolding housing downturn, Identify housing market imbalances, Manage exposure to significant house-price drops one year out

Housing prices to drop in 2007

WASHINGTON -- Housing prices, slumping after a five-year boom, are projected to decline in more than 100 of the nation's metropolitan areas, with the Northeast, Florida and California among the areas hardest hit.

Hotly contested market for wrinkle removers

Allergan's new dermal filler to face off with Medicis's Restylane. Plus, more competition is circling.

US troops in Afghanistan to come under Nato command

Bernanke sees ‘substantial’ housing slowdown

A “substantial correction” is under way in the US housing market but it has not so far had a big effect on the rest of the economy, Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, said on Wednesday.

UN: New Secretary-General Must Lead on Human Rights

(New York, October 3, 2006) – The incoming UN Secretary-General must be prepared to speak out publicly against human rights abusers wherever they are found, however powerful they are, Human Rights Watch said today. “A key task for Annan’s successor will be to show he has the political courage to challenge powerful governments that abuse human rights.”

Card Urged Bush to Replace Rumsfeld, Woodward Says

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Democrats Assail Frist's Afghan Comments

WASHINGTON -- Democrats accused Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of waving a white flag of surrender for saying the Afghan war against Taliban guerrillas can never be won militarily and favoring bringing "people who call themselves Taliban" into the government.

Report: Frist says Afghan war can't be won militarily

The Associated Press reports that Mr. Frist said he had learned from military reports that the Taliban were "too numerous and had too much popular support" to be defeated in a military campaign. "You need to bring them into a more transparent type of government," he said during a visit to a military base in the Taliban stronghold of Qalat. "And if that's accomplished, we'll be successful."

North Korean nuclear test would be a "provocative act"

FRONTLINE: return of the taliban: introduction | PBS

After 9/11, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf pledged his country's support to America's fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but he has struggled to control his own military and intelligence services -- which have long supplied money, weapons and military advisers to radical fighters in Afghanistan. For Pakistan, the benefits of cooperation with America have been clear. As President Musharraf tells FRONTLINE, "Defense cooperation has increased between the United States and Pakistan, and ... the debt relief that we got will account for about $4 to $5 billion."

Frontline: Return of the Taliban

Frontline: Return of the Taliban, Investigate a secret front in the war on terror: the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Dow Soars to a Record High

NEW YORK, Oct. 3 -- The Dow Jones industrial average leaped into record territory today, highlighting Wall Street's long recovery from the popping of the technology bubble, the 2001 terrorist attacks and a wave of corporate scandals.

The Leaders We Have -- By George F. Will

Who is the right successor to Kofi Annan? Should the U.S. support reliable South Korea, rising India or a troubled Middle East?

Bush Expresses Confidence in Hastert

"I was dismayed and shocked to learn about Congressman Foley's unacceptable behavior. I was disgusted by the revelations and disappointed that he would violate the trust of the citizens who have placed him in office." Bush said families who send their children to be pages in Congress have a right to expect them to be safe.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Real Apprentices

At 60, Donald Trump is preparing for the day when he turns the family real estate empire over to his son Don Jr. and daughter Ivanka. He has taught them well.

The Afghanistan Triangle

There was Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, accusing Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan of failing to crack down on the Taliban. Mr. Musharraf struck back, saying Mr. Karzai was behaving like “an ostrich” and ignoring problems in his own land.

Editorials, Bush must get help to Afghanistan

Sunday, October 01, 2006

NATO to Lead U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

Inmates Detail U.S. Prison Near Kabul

"There were lots of stupid questions and accusations with no proof," said the 56-year-old veteran of combat against the Soviet occupation. He insists he was there only because Afghan rivals lied about him to the U.S. Army.

White House Aides Take to Talk Shows to Dispute Book

Suggestion That the President Misled the Public Over War's Progress Is Rebutted

Falling on His Sword

Colin Powell's most significant moment turned out to be his lowest

Dinner date with the presidents

West 'will fail' without Pakistan

Pakistan's president has warned the West would be "brought to its knees" without his country's co-operation in the so-called war on terror.

French critic of Islam in hiding

EU-US airline data talks collapse

Talks between the United States and the European Union on sharing confidential airline passenger information have broken down, according to the EU.

Afghan scholar arrested

Abdur Rahim Muslim Dost was picked by the sleuths of the intelligence agency with the help of the Crime Investigation Department (CID) after Friday prayer in the University Town area, his son Abdul Ahad told Dawn.He has been ‘punished’ for a book he had written about his detention, first by the Pakistani intelligence agency in Peshawar and then by the US army at Bagram prison in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Mr Ahad said.

Milan Fashion Week

As fall descends, Italy's fashion designers are leaping ahead, lifting spirits with the promise of sizzling looks to come next summer. Keep clicking for highlights of the runway shows presented in Milan during the last week of September. At left, a model shows a bright yellow outfit from the Agatha Ruiz de la Prada Spring/Summer 2007 collection, shown Sept. 24, 2006.

Bush acknowledges problems in Afghanistan

Says new Afghan government 'beginning to win the hearts of the people'

Amnesty Accuses Pakistan of Abusing Rights

In a statement, Amnesty said such detainees also are at "risk of torture and unlawful transfer to third countries." Many innocents, including children, have also been rounded up in Pakistan under the pretext of the war on terror, the Amnesty report said.