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Bodyguard
alternet.org

The Shadow Army

When debating troop levels in Iraq, one ought not to forget the countless bodyguards, interpreters, truck drivers and mercenaries scattered around the country. Apparently not even Central Command has a firm grasp of just how many civilian contractors are employed in Iraq—a number that could be as high as 100,000.

Posted on Dec 22, 2006 READ MORE


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Fatah and Hamas
aljazeera.net

Palestinians Demand End to Fighting

Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets of Gaza on Thursday to demand peace from their government. The rally came a day after a shaky truce between rivals Fatah and Hamas went into effect.

Posted on Dec 21, 2006 READ MORE


Haditha victims
news.bbc.co.uk

Charges Emerge From Haditha Killings

A year after 24 Iraqi civilians were killed in the town of Haditha, eight U.S. Marines have been charged in the crime—four with second-degree murder and four others with covering up the slaughter.

Posted on Dec 21, 2006 READ MORE


S.D. Senator ‘Recovering as Expected’

According to one of his doctors, Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., is “recovering as expected from brain surgery and his brain pressures continue to be in the normal range,” though he remains in critical condition. Johnson’s sudden illness last week raised the possibility of a Republican takeover of the Senate.

Posted on Dec 21, 2006 READ MORE


sunset
iraqirocker.blogspot.com

Iraqi Bloggers Cope With the Violence

In this powerful collection of blogs from recent days, Iraqis react to the violence sweeping their nation. Here’s Meemo, a 19-year-old from Baghdad who’s getting out: “I leave Baghdad in two days…. I’m not going to see death anymore; I’m not going to hear car explosions again; I will come back to life again.”

Posted on Dec 21, 2006 READ MORE


Sadr
msnbcmedia.msn.com

Sadr Considers Cease-Fire

Muqtada al-Sadr may call for a monthlong unilateral cease-fire amid the formation of a new political coalition in Iraq.  Sadr is set to meet Thursday with key Shiite political leaders and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to discuss his role, or lack thereof, in the changing political landscape.

Posted on Dec 21, 2006 READ MORE


FCC Rules in Favor of Telephone Companies

The Federal Communications Commission ruled along party lines on Wednesday to severely limit local governments’ ability to regulate their cable markets. The decision will allow telephone companies greater freedom to compete with cable by offering television services, but Democrats on the panel cautioned that the FCC had overstepped its mandate.

Posted on Dec 21, 2006 READ MORE


students protest
nytimes.com

More Trouble for Ahmadinejad

The student movement that led to revolution in Iran may now be setting its sights on the country’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was protested last week during an appearance at the same university where the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy was planned.

Posted on Dec 21, 2006 READ MORE


Abizaid
cnn.com

Top U.S. General Will Step Down

Gen. John Abizaid, head of U.S. Central Command and the military chief of the Iraq fiasco, will retire in March. Though officials say Abizaid tendered his retirement before Rumsfeld was pushed out, his departure will allow Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Bush more flexibility in their Iraq makeover, as Abizaid has been a dogged opponent of increasing troop levels.

Posted on Dec 20, 2006 READ MORE


Noam Chomsky
sl.wikipedia.org

Turks Acquitted for Publishing Chomsky

A Turkish publisher, two editors and a translator have all been acquitted of insulting Turkishness. The four were charged for translating and publishing “Manufacturing Consent,” by Noam Chomsky (above), which criticizes Turkey’s treatment of Kurds.  Though the EU has pressured Turkey to reform its laws regarding expression, it remains a crime there to insult the state.

Posted on Dec 20, 2006 READ MORE


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