26th April     No Comments

Taliban resurgent in Pakistan on enforcement of Sharia law/Interview archive

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Taliban resurgent in Pakistan on enforcement of Sharia law/Interview archive

What is the current situation in the NWFP?

The Pashtun people are or were renowned for their hospitality. Many westerners commented on it. Some with suspicion NOT willing to believe some people so poor could be so generous. It was almost a character flaw. One could travel with out fear of personal danger as long as you followed local protocols. (I would urge you to read Kiplings “East is East & West is West.” one more time, know this time that it is written about the Pashtun people.)

That was the sort of mind set among the people. An ageless paradigm of self satisfaction: This is enshrined in the code of the Pashtuns way of life (see James Spain “The Way of the Pathans”) – called Pashtunwali- in Pashto hospitality is referred to as “maelmastiya”.

The Islamic radicalism is in reality nothing but the Taliban movement. As I said earlier not all Pashtuns are Taliban (obviously) but most Taliban are Pashtun. Of these most belong to the FATA. Of these, most were affected by their cousins from Afghanistan coming over. Mingled with them were Arab-Afghans. Uzbeks and some Tajiks and even Chechens. Some of these married within the tribes and formed a bond with the locals. Marriage bonds go back in history. Again remember the mindset of the people here. Always keep that in mind. To them the scripture in the written word of God, and that includes the Old Testament (called Torat (Torah) and (Injeel = Bible less St. Pauls contributions).

This Talibanization shows itself in the content of the Friday sermons at the mosque. Now it shows in the popularity of growing beards, especially since the MMA – the coalition of religious political party’s – won power. More recently in their showdown with the Pakistan army in N and S Waziristan – where according to my sources, people prefer going to the Taliban for justice rather than the older system of Maliks and Political Agents. The latter are known as corrupt. In Pakistan in general people are sick of the amount of corruption.

And now in Bannu, from where hails the Chief Minister of the NWFP, Mr Durrani, is in Taliban control in the sense that there is a parallel government that they have established and which is functioning quite well and is popular among the people.

Justice in tribal areas of Pakistan has been handled by elders, following a mixture of tribal tradition and Islamic law. Would you say that Taliban influence has caused a stricter intrepretation of Islamic law in the NWFP?

Yes. The Maliks, or tribal elders who consider themselves quite conservatively religious, even so had a laid back attitude towards enforcement of religious doctrine. That is where the difference comes. My opinion is that this is the reason that the Maliks supported the government of Pakistan in South Waziristan, which has recently been in the news having kicked out the militant Uzbek who came as guests in the post-soviet era and started mischief of their own but am not sure what their agenda was to begin with, and I myself have questions about their presence as to why they were not reported earlier, since reporting the presence of any foreigner(s) in the FATA is job one of the Pakistani Political Agents (PA). Why is the presence of the Uzbeks and the Chechen in the area just coming to light? Remember there are seven of these PA’s – one for each FATA. The Taliban emulated the Saudi system of having a department concerned with citizens’ morals, even the name is the same, the department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, and this department has – as in Saudi Arabia, an enforcement police, called mutawwa’in, a morals law-enforcement agency.

Has there been a shift from tribal elders to clerics, as the main interpreters of law?

Yes there has been a movement in that direction but it has started a power struggle between the clerics who traditionally have been at the lowest strata of the social structure, to now when they have seen a bigger role for themselves first from the Taliban in Afghanistan – but also the government of the MMA in the NWFP who are nothing more than glorified clerics themselves, only a little smarter in exploiting religion politically, and the MMA is largely non-Pashtun which is a source of discontent in that they stand in the way of Pashtun nationalism, such as it is, because it only rears its head when non-Pashtuns start to usurp power over what the Pashtun consider their turf.

The deal made between Pakistani central government and the North and South Waziristan provinces, where tribal leadership was given the pivotal role in dealing with militants and the Taliban, has been criticized as a failure. What caused an initiative by tribal authority to fail?

First off, I don’t agree with the premise of the question, that the “deal” is a “failure” – for the following reasons:

  1. In the first place the Pakistan army (govt – same difference) did not have many options. This was the least worst option they had.
  2. And most importantly, I have said this before, this area is literally in a time warp – which means they proceed at (what seems to us in the west) a glacial pace. I will give an example from the folklore:

    The story goes that a Pashtun had to repay (badal) an enemy for a crime against his family and he waited patiently for 20 years (some say 50 years), after this time, he exacted his revenge – but soon after was depressed because he wondered “Did I act too hastily?”

    So one part of Pashtunwali is to “pay back” – (Badal: literally to exchange) which most people translate as revenge. Yes that is the form that is most visible, but badal is also played out in the exchange of gifts at wedding and other celebrations, and in the exchange of favors like in politics. The rules can be arcane, unwritten and hard to follow — who did what to whom, when, and so on, and what is the proper recompense — this same give and take would occur in a peace process pursued by the Tribal Maliks, who rule by consensus (see Olaf Caroe) and there is no actual leader in the western sense, because all the Maliks, in fact all the others are de facto, so many co-equals (The Way of the Pathans/ People of the Khyber – James Spain pp 129 on.) – it is a mind set, a paradigm foreign to the uninitiated, as is the concept of consensual gay sex to the Wazir in Waziristan.

  3. I wish someone would read the history of this area, it would help in dealing with our expectations and possibly much more. For instance there are two major tribe in N and S Waziristan, the Wazir, and the Mahsud – in the news you hear about the sub tribes; The most famour character of North Waziristan, the equivalent of a Jesse James, was leader called the “Faqir of Ippi” – he died in 1960, the Pakistan govt never was able to capture him, even though he set up a govt of Independent Pashtunistan in cahoots with Kabul. The great uprising of India of 1897 had its roots in Waziristan, as did the Treaty of Razmak. Of all the Pashtun, the Wazir are the most independent minded and the least to be cowed by military action.
  4. So what options did Pakistan have, more military action? It had already lost hundred of their “privates” in action. Allow the US forces to come in, as a matter of fact the ISAF do cross into the Pakistani territory, we just don’t know how deep they go — the rules of engagement, as I understand them are, that if they (the US Army of Marines) are in “hot pursuit” then they cross into Pakistan. In reality they do it more often then that, just that there is no proof of it, who will report it, the Wazir? Or the Pakistan army?
  5. The last part of your question, there are many assumptions, all wrong. The initiative was not from the tribals. There is no single authority amongst the tribal, they would convene a Jirga and decide on a course of action, such as this, to my knowledge no such jirga was called. To save face the Pakistan government might claim it was a tribal initiative, but it seems highly unlikely. The Pak troop’s casualties were so high, and there was talk of hostages being held as well — I tend to believe, that the Governor of the NWFP initiated the talks and the agreement, because he sure as hell is taking all the heat for its “failure”.
  6. That brings me to the last issue, the agreement has not failed, because it has not been given enough time, in Wazir time reference, not American time presidential election cycle controlled. I do not have a crystal ball, but if I did, I would see NATO troops in Afghanistan long after Iraq is over. Afghanistan can be a success ONLY if we accept one thing, the time warp these people live in — by my reckoning its still 1700 CE over there.

If the Talibanization of Pakistan is partly due to a perception of corruption among the older system of Maliks and Political Agents, and Musharraf has critics lining up, who can the U.S. turn to in dispensing with $10 billion in aid monies?

Talibanization has nothing to do with your premise there. Zilch. Nada. The corruption is in the ISI, the Pak army and the Pak system of Political Agents (PA) assigned to these tribal zones (FATA & PATA). These PA have budgets that are much like the CIA in that they are a single line item in the national budget, there is no accountability of where or how the PA spends the money. If one followed the IRS rules and looked at the lifestyles of the PA and compared them with their income, you would soon understand what was going on. Musharraf critics are a larger issue. For eons, Republicans have coddled Pakistan with the belief that “as long as they are pro America” – democracy in Pakistan will come in due course. Democrats have, I think, insisted Democracy first, and then we can discuss the other issues later. For example, pre 9/11, compare how Carter’s administration treated Gen Zia and how Reagan’s administration treated him.

The Talibanization of Pakistan has more to do with graduates of “Raiwind” a place near Lahore where the “Tablighi Jamaat” conducts brainwashing camps. It was graduates of this place, in my opinion, that are responsible for Britain’s 7/7 attacks as an example. For the Talibanization of the FATA, see Ahmed Rashid’s classic study on the subject wrt to Afghanistan but applicable to Pashtuns in the NWFP equally, in a sense.

Corruption amongst the Maliks is self limiting because of the egalitarian society they live & because of Pashtunwali (see Charles Lindholm, Oxford press).

Who can the US turn to? This is a tough one. The Pakistani national psyche has not progressed the way the Indians have. There are still very much remnants of the Raj visible and present and invisible but Pakistani behavior gives it away – in the way they treat household help, in the way company bosses treat their employees, in the way the government officers often act above the law. For example the NWFP is supposed to be dry – yet the governemt employees consume copious amounts of liquor. There are some that even moonshine at home. (I have pictures I could share taken at “dance” party, more like a stag party.)

I think this last question is best answered in who has been reliable in the past, and assume the past to be an indicator of future behavior.

We know the Pak army will siphon large amounts towards its Nuclear program and the upkeep of its generals.

We know that Nawaz Sharif left the national treasury almost bankrupt when Musharraf took over.

We know that Benazir husband took 10% of all government deals. I believe he has an Interpol warrant for his arrest, although I can’t vouch for it, it does come out in the news, even though it’s puzzling why Interpol has trouble executing the warrant. Now I hear they are withdrawn.

So who does that leave?

The next generation of Politicians who are not beholden to anyone.

In my opinion, the US should insist on the scheduled elections but accede to some genuine Pakistani concerns:

Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto ought to be ineligible to run, BUT other members of the respective party PML (N) and PPP (B) can do so.

Prohibit allocation of emblems to the religious party which they can & have misused.

For example in the last election they asked for and got the symbol of a book, they then went on to advertise the symbol represented the Qur’an and a vote for the book was a vote for the Qur’an – not the candidate but the Qur’an. Well the ploy worked only too well. Imagine a similar vote here where a vote is asked for as a vote for the Bible! You can imagine the results.

What is your take on the Musharraf suspending the judge Iftikhar Chaudhry?

My take:

I believe, and this is widely held belief, that Musharraf has no constituency of his own for his power base. He wanted legitimization from the Supreme Court, and from Mr Choudhry as Chief Justice (their system is not like ours) would not give it.

So Musharraf has had to hang on to his Army Chief of Staff position to get his power from the Army. If some one else were Chief of Staff, that person could refuse to support Musharraf.

The Justice favorable to the general is Justice Iqbal, who was not the next in line for Chief Justice. The next in line is a Hindu. That presented problems of its own for Musharraf. So when the Hindu judge went for a trip to India, Iqbal became the “available” senior most Supreme Court judge, and hence the haste and lack of decorum with which Justice Chaudhry was removed.

Now we have to wait for the other shoe to fall — will Iqbal issue a Judicial ruling which would make it easy for Musharraf to stay on as Chief of Staff – in the meantime, the US has asked him to relinquish this army position.

Needless to say, it was very badly handled, high handed, and the TV was present — the country saw what was being done to the highest member of the court of law, and in their mind, as in mine, the law in Pakistan was being manhandled, handcuffed and sent off packing to jail, so to speak. Something we long suspected, but was confirmed on TV and in the Newspapers. Overseas organizations taking up Chaudhry’s cause, might lead one to belive that Musharraf’s days are numbered, and they would be wrong, because America needs Musharraf – for the time being, anyway – because Iraq has scared America, just as in the post Vietnam era, there is now a fear regarding Muslim countries – the fear of the alternative, will democracy in Muslim country give us more of Ahmedinejad or Al-Maliki, or can we find some Hamid Karzais’? We just don’t know.

Can you tell us what the prevailing sentiment in the region regarding the Pakistani government effort in the provinces and the international effort in Afghanistan to combat Taliban and affiliated militants?

In my dealings and inquires, one thing stood out like a sore thumb – the conspiracy theories vis-à-vis anything having to do with America. I mentioned to one of my close friends that events that were previously ascribed as acts of God were now considered acts of the CIA. Some even believed that the Earthquake in the northern areas was because of some sort of underground secret “bomb” used by the CIA. Lack of evidence is further proof that the CIA did it. I was flabbergasted, and started to give this kind of thinking as an example in speaking to “educated” Pakistani’s – and among these, those that did agree that the earthquake was NOT the work of the CIA, they would start giving other examples, notably the Blow up of the plane carrying Zia ul Haq an ex President of Pakistan, in which the US Ambassador also perished. When I would point this out, the response would be that that is the sort of thing they do to take away suspicion from themselves.

In a nutshell, the impression I came away with is, there is NO war of civilizations going on, what is going on is a war between literacy and illiteracy. I use the latter term in the widest connotation.

Pakistan government efforts: While on the one hand people would decry that the government is not doing enough, in the same breath they would state the government is a puppet of the US and only does what the US tells it to do. In this sense there is very little awareness among the people about what the Pakistani army is doing in the FATA or for that matter in Balochistan. The local newspapers are censored, and if not censored they do not allocate much space to the topics. “Dawn,” which is the highest circulation English language paper, carries more stories about the US than about the local stories, that might appear say in “Newsweek.”

The international effort in Afghanistan is not considered international at all, only American. You could speak till you are blue in the face, and you would not change anyone’s mind. In my case they would simply turn quiet, not wishing to offend a “guest” (see Pashtunwali).

It is commonly agreed that some thing has to be done to curb the religious extremism that has taken root here, while historically these people (Pashtun) are a moderate people (see Olaf Caroe “The Pathans”). In fact some of the reasons the extremism has crept in is that many of the cultural practices were not in accordance with Saudi based “Salafiism” more popularly known as Wahabism. But Mr Wahab dates to the period of Lawrence of Arabia – Salafism dates further back, and is one of the six or seven schools of “Fiqh” or jurisprudence, but the latter fiqh has morphed into a cult like sect.

Taliban are not visible in the areas I visited, but the militants handiwork clearly is – as elsewhere, the common criminals are taking advantage of this situation, and crime is up significantly. One new crime is Cell phone “snatching” – it’s easy and nobody wants to pursue it. If some one is using a Razr phone, he can expect to be hit soon, if he uses it in public. So people have two cell phone (Called mobiles here) one fancy to show off, one for use in public places.

In so far as “foreign” militants are captured and identified, that is to say non-Pashtun (including non Afghan Pashtun or Pak Pashtun) – then the people are obviously in agreement with the government that these people don’t belong here and need to go.

The problem is this:

The foreigners are usually in the FATA and have been there since the Soviet war times. Many of them have taken local wives and now have a family. The local have accepted them into their family. Now for the Pak govt to ask them to kick them out, the locals are thinking what am I doing to my grandchildren’s father, etc. Again the edicts of Pashtunwali also play a role.

What kind of support is there in the area for the positions advocated by the Taliban on matters such as Sharia law, women’s education, role in public affairs, its proscriptions on entertainment such as movies, music ..etc?

In the areas that I visited and the people that I spoke to, which by definition is a very non-random sample, the people are TOTALLY opposed to the Taliban. I do have one nephew who seems to have come under the influence of the Salafi’s but that is a different story. I can address that separately and you can decide if it belongs with this story – not my nephew’s story but the way the Salafi’s have woven themselves into this area — which is historically a “Hanafi” fiqh area, which is much more moderate. Like I said this may be tangential to the main story.

In general, people will say Yes we are Muslim and we are for the Sharia, but in general most people do not know what that entails.

In their mind it entails a more just system, a less corrupt government.

But if you ask them if they want a system like the Taliban the answer is an unequivocal NO.

Women’s education is quite the norm in the non FATA parts of the NWFP. When I visited the earthquake area which is also mostly in the NWFP, (I have photo’s and video) the girl schools were some of the first to spring up. I remember being pleasantly surprised by this at the time.

As far as a role in Public, it gets complicated. Women are in general expected to be docile and compliant, and the same expectation foloows through into Public affairs. But this point of view is not limited to the NWFP – it is the same all over Pakistan, excluding the large cities of Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad etc. yet still applicable to Peshawar.

In Peshawar you do get to see more girls getting jobs as tellers in a bank and some other non traditional jobs, whereas previously the only jobs were either teachers to young kids, teachers to older girls, nurses and doctors – for the most part.

Movies in the NWFP in the Theaters are for the lower socio economic men only. The reason is other than Talibanization. The easy availability of pirated, good quality DVD’s of Indian and Hollywood movies (From China thru the land route over the Karakorum Highway) – it cost Rs120 ($2/-) for the whole family to watch a movie in the comfort of their home. Travelling to a theater might cost that much in gas. The inconvience. The crowds. The men gawking at the women and last but definitely not least, some bombs exploding in the theater some years back, put a comllete stop to the middle class from going out to see movies.

Paashtuns love music. So even though I hear that some bus drivers have been fined for playing their cassettes, I doubt this is going to stop them from playing their music. Some thing far worse has to happen – I think the drivers may start carrying guns and having it out with who ever is tring to stop them from their favorite music.

What is not being reported and what the Taliban could do effectively is to cut up cable tv cables. Most cable companies string their cable ABOVE ground to save cost and take it along the electric poles, below the electricity wires. Since these are exposed there have been many (several) instances of the cables being cut up. Luckiliy there is no market for coaxial cable, or more cable would be lost to druggies doing the cutting. The latter is a serious problem that you don’t hear about. One person that I knew told me that he was building his house and had poured conrete and reinforcements for the pillars. The next day he found the reinforcement bars to have been cut up flush with the ground slab leaving him to figure out how to do the rebar of the rest of the pillar.

To what degree does this support stem from fear and intimidation?

The Taliban are Pashtun, and the populace is Pashtun. The Pashtun do not scare easy. They are not intimidated easily. They might comply for the moment and then come back with a vengeance, so to speak. The women folk are more susceptible to intimidation, as was evidenced by the closure of the schools, because the mothers decided that they were not going to take a chance that their kids might get injured.

How about the “political positions” of the insurgent movement – resistance to foreign troops, and the Karzai government? Is there a separatist or nationalist component to the movement?

Karzai is not popular among the Pashtun’s who are loyal to Pakistan in the NWFP, those are the one I met mostly. They think that Karzai is opportunistic in that he is fleecing the government of the US whereas he himself is little more than the mayor of Kabul. They point to his American bodyguards as proof that he is disliked by his own people, that the moment the American leave Karzai is a dead man.

I can not speak to the separatist movement. I have seen no evidence of it. There is widespread resentment that the Federal government refuses to give a name to the province, a name of the people’s liking – there have been recently articles in Dawn about this, I will try and find them for you.

Nationalism is alive and well on the other hand, all over Pakistan – in all its four provinces. Everybody hates the Punjabi’s – almost to the man.

It is my opinion that were it not for US aid, Pakistan will go the route of Yugoslavia. With lots of bloodshed.

Resistance to foreign troops is like the national pastime among the Pashtun. Even today they collect in the evenings and will tell tales, vastly glorified of the way their grandfather fought against the British.

In other parts of the NWFP, like Charsadda and Mardan where Abdul Ghaffar Khan (the frontier Gandhi) was popular you have old “khudai khidmatgars” telling their stories of how they kicked out the British.

The only thing that Unites the Pashtun, are foreign troops on their soil. Other than that “Pashtun Unity” is almost an oxymoron.

What do you think the U.S., the international community and Pakistan should do to ease the problems in the region?

In my opinion, based on my conversations with individuals in positions to know these things, plus a little bit of plain common sense, plus knowing the history of the people and of the area: The ONE thing that will NOT work is direct military action. We know this from history. We know that the Pashtuns love to fight. We know that the Talibanization has brought the Jihadi’s into the picture, who like nothing better than to be martyred. So we need to keep this in mind, of what NOT to do. Having said that, what I am going to say next may appear like a paradox.

Because the Pashtun do not like to deal with what they believe are wus or weak people, we do need to have a strong PRESENCE there, and a strong “show of force” – invite a “Jirga” to like a demonstration of what the US air force is capable of doing – just to show them, – the reason is that their paradigm is the 14th century, if you simply told them that we can do this to you, they will simply think you are lying, because that is what they do, they lie to show off.

But if you drop a daisy cutter and tell them before hand what it is capable of, or a stealth bomber, these technologies are outsides their mind-set; we have to get them to believe that we have these capabilities, like the Drone. Or spy satellites.

From this position of strength, and always reminding them that we are raring to use our forces in that like them we also love to shoot our guns at every opportunity, but then not actually do it ( in this sense we had achieved all out objectives with Saddam prior to invading Iraq IMHO invading Iraq was redundant) – so the next step would be:

  1. Education
  2. Development meaning providing a means of livelihood so they do not have to become military mercenaries to make a living.
  3. Gradually replacing their madrassas with our own madrassas, except in the latter, the Mullah is an educated individual who knows comparative religion, and they teach other subjects including Biology, anthropology, measuring the age of the earth by carbon dating etc. and astronomy to learn the age of the Universe, black holes, quasars Relativity concepts, quantum mechanic concepts (not the mathematics, the simple concepts behind them, and how these ideas are behind some of today’s everyday electronic devices)
  4. Leisure activity, starting with traditional leisure activity, i.e. not TV and cable and Internet, but ultimately making these available
  5. Introduce these “NEW” technologies through a religious mode. Transmit a Qur’anic recital competition to begin with, as an example instead of beginning with MTV.
  6. Making water available. Drinking water is an everyday necessity, for cooking etc, and not available in most of the FATA.
  7. Food grain. Wheat flour etc, keep the prices the same as in Peshawar – these people are not traders, they are easily exploited, and like porn they couldn’t tell you what exploitation is, but they can tell you when they see it.

What makes the North-West Frontier Province competent to administer any monies?

This is the central question. Much like California has taken a separate initiative on stem cell research – as an analogy – the NWFP is central to the war on terror, not Pakistan.

The NWFP was central to the fight and aid to the Afghans during the Soviet occupation, not Pakistan.

This small distinction is lost on Washington, and it is the main reason, in my opinion, why so much of the Aid was “lost in transit was because the Punjabi army officers could not bring themselves to dispense such large sums to an ethnic group which it considers anti-Pakistani (You would have to read the history of the Indian partition, in particular that the NWFP was a “Indian Congress Party” controlled province where as the “Muslim League” of Jinnah was trying to show the Brits that all the area was FOR the creation of Pakistan).

All the FATA is contiguous to the NWFP. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda are holed up somewhere either in the FATA, or across the Durand Line in Afghanistan, the Durand Line has never been recognized by the locals as an international boundary. Even today, the Pashtun travel from Peshawar to Kabul by road with out a passport or visa, and it has been like that for eons.

(Especially for the nomadic Pashtun tribe of Ghilzai’s who travel by caravan and conduct trade.)

The present governor of the NWFP belongs to the Orakzai tribe (he spells his name Aorakzai) and it is my opinion that that he was picked partly because he belongs to one of the FATA as well as he is a retired General of the Pak Army.

The Frontier Constabulary (FC) is a force which primarily recruits from the FATA. All or most of its forces are from the various tribes. In the eyes of the tribes this is a bona fide force and service with the FC is considered an honorable thing. The US has already allocated some funds for increasing recruitment, but far less than what it would take to counter the Taliban and far less than what the economic need is. [The US] spends a thousand times more on a battalions sent to monitor activity over there. Plus why endanger the lives of our troops and spread our forces thin when a more effective job can be done by the FC. The FC has over history shown that they will attack and use force against the tribes that create trouble. There have been no instances of insubordination or mutiny.

Even the US Embassy is protected by a contingent of the FC! That goes to show their trustworthiness & discipline.

My second proposal is that there is a common phenomenon for Pashtun men to go to the Gulf States for jobs.

The “tribal” Pashtuns ( All Pashtuns are tribal, in that Pashtun form the largest tribal society in the world in terms of numbers) wrt the FATA are not educated or trained and hence not employable right now. I propose that we fund directly the Director of Emigrants (Mr Azhar Arbab) in Islamabad to set up training facilities in Concrete laying, iron work, pipe work, welding etc, which would then qualify these tribesmen to obtain jobs in the Gulf. As such we would remove them from the scene altogether. They would not be available in the labor pool to the Taliban or anyone else. I might add here, that a number of these individuals have very high innate intelligence, which is one reason they make formidable foes.

Now the central reason why the NWFP ought to do this is because they are themselves most affected by the scourge of Talibanization. They are highly motivated in carrying out these policies because it is to their own benefit.

One has to be convinced on this last point, and for that I urge you research the sentiments amongst the people of the province, such as I am willing to provide, and which you can corroborate from other sources as well.

For instance, after Malik Saad was murdered, there were people, whom I heard myself, that expressed the feeling (admittedly stunned with grief) “If this is Islam then fuck such Islam” (I paraphrase, obviously, the Pashto is not directly translatable) – moreover, Mr Saad’s posters are competing with Osama’s in the Bazaar’s as a spontaneous gesture from the public. We can’t afford to let this good-will to be lost.

An Associated Press report on MSNBC dated March 15, 2007 and headlined “Arrest of al-Qaida’s ‘best’ reflects changing role” stated, “A senior Western diplomat in Islamabad, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the Taliban resurgence had not necessarily led to the re-emergence of al-Qaida training camps in Pakistan – a key U.S. ally in the war on terror – but had “created the environment for whatever is left of al-Qaida to feel more comfortable.” What does that mean?

A senior western diplomat usually means a Political Officer in the US Embassy, which most people know is a CIA agent, OR it could be some other Embassy official –

First there is a big difference between Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Al Qaeda is mostly composed of Arabs, they do not trust any one else. While they might use others as couriers or in lowly position as servants, for second rate Al Qaeda officials, the Top guys ONLY deal with Arabs and are served by Arabs.

The Taliban are mostly Pashtun tribesmen. Mostly they are graduates of madrassa’s.

Mostly illiterate by any world standards. The better educated among them will know how to speak a few words of English, such as their Information minister. There might be one or two notable exception of which I am not aware, I had heard Yale had admitted a Taliban, but never followed up on the story.

However while Al Qaeda does not trust the Taliban, the Taliban look up to Al Qaeda top leadership. We saw this situation in Iraq where initially Al Zarqawi had no direct link with Qaeda but was keen to form one. It would be conjecture on my part to state that in the end he did indeed succeed in forming that connection. In the press at least that impression was prevalent.

So the lines of interest proceed ONE way, like one way traffic. Extremist want to be affiliated with Qaeda, IMHO, while the latter does not, again, in my opinion want to – so as to maintain its hideout.

Now we come to the statement below:

The Taliban resurgence is not connected directly to the Qaeda.


(al in Arabic = the; Qaeda means the base, or the foundation e.g. in kg school here you are asked “did you learn your “abc’s” – in the Muslim world one is asked in an equivalent kg “did you learn your qaeda”?)


The Qaeda supply lines are hampered, new recruits would have to be Arabs, and they would have to travel a long way through tight Pakistani security to reach here, or suffer hardship over a long and arduous land route through Balochistan and the Tribal area’s – NOT all of which are accommodating.

So as is becoming clear, Qaeda is having trouble replacing people they loose meaning those that were captured or died. They only trust Arabs, and that also a certain type of Arabs, (not all Arabs are the same, not all Arabic is the same – for example they would never trust a Syrian, in fact Qaeda folks consider Syrian brand of Islam an apostasy – but that is another story).

Okay so now we can understand the statement, that whatever remains of the Qaeda, are not in a position to set up training camps, since they are in a survival mode. The Taliban resurgence helps them get a little warm and fuzzy in this survival mode, since they feel a little bit more secure with their partners-in-arms doing some evil stuff, blowing up people and causing mayhem.

How many men does the FC field currently?

The FC currently has about 23000 men in total.

How much do they get paid?

They are paid the equivalent of $60 per month per person -Pak Rupees 3665, where Rs61= $1. They do have some fringe benefits but life is very spartan for these soldiers.

What the US could get in return is a huge bang for a buck, no pun intended.

I think we ought to double the number of these soldiers with one proviso that the FC maintains its high standards of recruits.

Compare this with our costs in the War against Terror; just Halliburton’s bills will have you reeling. I think that it would be foolish, NOT to do this.

Again to reinforce the reasons:

The Frontier Constabulary is an Institution with a long and glorious history within the Frontier Province.

The recruits come strictly from the tribes of the various FATA and so they are very familiar with the people, the bad guys the terrain etc.

They speak the Pashto dialect of the locals. The Pashto language has many dialects, and you can tell where someone is from based on which dialect he speaks. So if you do not speak the correct dialect, you are immediately identified as an outsider. This is one reason why these tribes are impossible to penetrate, there are other reasons as well, that are beyond the scope of the current discussion.

How can the FC help prevent attacks like the suicide bombing attempt on Sherpao in Charsadda last weekend?

In essence your question is how can anyone prevent a suicide attack? And frankly if I knew the answer to that I think the US military – and several other groups – would be knocking on my door. I think the Israeli Army has had the most experience with this sort of thing. The suicide bombing as a tactical weapon was invented by the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, and even today in terms of statistics they use it in far greater numbers.

So to summarize neither the FC nor anyone else can prevent a suicide bombing. We could attempt to improve our intelligence to find out about an imminent attack, but so far these have not been very successful in Pakistan. In the Lal Masjid Case the government avoided a suicide killing by negotiating with those two Mullah brothers – but I don’t know if that counts. But it does make for an interesting story. Both Washington, DC and Islamabad now have Madams threatening to publish the list of their clients unless they are given protection. Who would have thunk?Going back to your question:In my opinion what ought to be done is to make a Policy change, and address the issues that are producing these suicide bombers, that is the only way to stop this phenomenon.In this part of the world this is relatively new because prior to 9/11, suicide bombing was unheard of. Moreover it is not the FC’s job to provide security to the Minister of the Interior, that is the job of the Police force, because this Ministry is equivalent to the Department of Homeland Security.You don’t expect Border patrol to provide body guard duty to the Secretary of the department of Homeland Security. I am making these analogies so the American readers would relate to what is happening, and understand the difference in nomenclature.–RHakeem 20:13, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

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26th April     No Comments

Apes and birds are able to plan ahead: psychologists

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Apes and birds are able to plan ahead: psychologists

Friday, May 19, 2006

According to psychologists in Leipzig, Germany, apes and some birds are able to plan their actions ahead of time.

Psychologists Nicholas Mulcahy and Josep Call at Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology say that apes are able to save tools to use at a later time, that will assist them in retrieving food.

The results of the testing are “groundbreaking” and is “a starting point from which we can begin to reconstruct the evolution of the human mind. Apes and jays can also anticipate future needs by remembering past events, contradicting the notion that such cognitive behavior only emerged in hominids,” said Thomas Suddendorf, a psychologist at the University of Queensland Brisbane, Australia.

One aspect of the study is that “our extraordinary abilities of planning for the future did not evolve entirely de novo. Planning for future needs is not uniquely human,” added Suddendorf.

An experiment was performed using bonobos and orangutans. The psychologists placed the apes alone in a room for five minutes. Each of them had a choice of two tools that would allow them to retrieve food and six that would not. The apes were allowed to look at and observe the tools; however, they were not allowed to handle them.

The apes were then taken to a room next door, allowed to take whatever tools they chose, and left alone in the room for at least one hour, while a researcher removed all other tools from the first room. The apes then returned to the first room (where the food was), but the food was not accessible unless they had the right tool to retrieve it.

After repeating the same test several times with each ape, researchers began to see that most apes would begin to use the right tool for the job. Researchers also received similar results even when the apes were left alone in a room overnight where they would sleep.

To make sure that the apes were not associating the tools with the food, they removed the food from the room, but would still give it to the apes if they used the right tool to retrieve it. After this change, most of them did not bring the proper tools, which researchers say confirm that the retrieval is a way of planning for the job.

In experiments using scrub jays (found mostly in the western United States), at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, psychologists have shown that the birds, who usually hide their food to eat later, will hide it again if an enemy bird saw them do it the first time, unless the bird is dominant. The subordinate jay could however, fight the other for the food.

“These results suggest scrub jays remember who observed them make specific caches,” said Joanna Dally who was involved in the study with the scrub jays.

“Together with recent evidence from scrub jays, our results suggest that future planning is not a uniquely human ability, thus contradicting the notion that it emerged in hominids only with the past 2.5 to 1.6 million years,” said Mulcahy and Call in the study.

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26th April     No Comments

Taking Time Off To Holiday With Your Teenager}

Taking Time Off to Holiday with your Teenager

by

Louise KerrWhen you finally raise your children to teenagers, it does not mean that you can stop travelling with them. However understanding them is the most important part to ensure you all enjoy a great time. It does not have to be disastrous and you can get boring or embarrassing for the teenagers. This can be the perfect time to show them you care, even if you have not been getting along well. Here are some tips to get amazing time with your teenagers.Inclusive planningIncluding the opinions and the views of the teenagers is a great way to involve them in the planning. This is because the teenagers love to be included to know their opinion counts and they are welcome to play a part in planning. Most teenagers will struggle to prove how mature they have grown, and this is a chance to show them you believe in them. Planning together will ensure they have fun and look forward to having the trip.Plan for time alonePlanning for your time alone is important, so you can get to have fun activities that you know you will enjoy. For most parents taking their children on a vacation trip, you do not get time to rest. Allowing your teenagers to have their time along will help to create your time and have fun. When planning for the trip, ensure you plan for fun activities for parents. Try not to include too much accomplishment for a short time. You can take some time when driving to the airport, since you can get great discounts with airport parking at parking-at-airports.co.uk. Consider taking your car while the teenagers take the means they enjoy most.Agree to disagreeFor most of the time, you will not have to agree on all matters with your teenager. For the sake of your time together while having fun, you can take the option to postpone the matter and talk it out later. Any conflict that may arise needs to be identified, but does not have to be resolved right away. When both parties take time to settle down, they can easily resolve the conflict. Taking time together will also be a great way for you to bond and create some fun time with your teenagers.Travel timeCreating the best travel time for your trip is the best and do not have to be compromised. Identify the number of seats you need and make an early booking. With all major airports in the UK, you can enjoy money off discounts. For more discounted travelling, you can get the voucher codes. They are mainly offered to people during various times of the year. When you need to travel, you can enjoy car airport parking codes that allow you up to 50% money off. Parking at Airports may have everything you need in terms of airport parking. May it be a short term or long term parking, park and fly or what they call valet parking. They also offer 24 hours security and CCTVs all over the place.

If you’re looking for a reliable website that also offers the best deals in airport parking, check out

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parking-at-airports.co.uk

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26th April     No Comments

Swedish man uses webcam to broadcast suicide live on internet

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Swedish man uses webcam to broadcast suicide live on internet

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A 21-year-old Swedish man killed himself and broadcast it over the internet via his webcam feed Monday, after posting to a message board that he had swallowed some painkillers and was going to hang himself.

At 11:51 a.m. Central European Summer Time (0951 UTC), Marcus Jannes, a student from Järna, Stockholm, posted to the Mental Health Problems forum of Sweden’s Flashback message boards using the newly-registered username “LurifaxFlux”, stating that he was going to hang himself, adding that he had already swallowed 100mg of dexofen and 1500mg of paracetamol. He said that he had set up a webcam to record the event, and would post details later of a FTP server for people to watch.

People responded to his post almost immediately. Some offered messages of hope, such as, “How bad can it be? When everything is at its worst, it can only get better”, and “Think of poor people, mutilated people, people who are lame or blind. Living with a disability is hard. They can not change their lives! But you still have the ability to alter yours!” Others tried to keep him online by talking to him empathetically: “Is there anything that can make you change your mind?”, “Tell me about yourself.”

However, other users posted messages saying they didn’t believe him, wishing him luck with his attempt, and calling him an attention whore and a troll. They also goaded him by saying, “you won’t dare, you are too cowardly”, and offering advice on the best way to hang himself: “I recommend … you do it from a height that you can jump off so you are guaranteed to break your neck.”

In a later post, Jannes said that he had been feeling suicidal for about six months, but was too scared to actually attempt anything until he tried to strangle himself with his own hands. In response to questions, he stated that he was using a network cable to strangle himself because he didn’t have any rope, but he was worried that the cable would not be strong enough to take his weight. He also told them that he had Asperger syndrome and High-functioning autism, and was emotionally vulnerable and lacked normal social skills. He admitted to feeling lonely, and alluded to experiencing problems at school, but admitted that he had a good upbringing and had a rather good life. At around the same time, he also updated his Facebook status to say life was “just too difficult”, and that he was going to kill himself.

I wonder where I end up… Was life perhaps a test of how long you stand out? I love my family more than anything, but honestly you can’t live for someone else’s sake… It’s not like my life is bad at all, it’s actually really good. But sometimes it’s just too difficult. I can’t be bothered to write more now.

A short while later, at 1:06 p.m., Jannus posted the FTP server URL and login details, and stated that he needed to hurry up because, “I’m beginning to feel that I might change my mind.” At this point, people who logged on to the server found a series of still images taken every two seconds, showing a young man dressed in sweatpants and t-shirt, in his apartment, hanging network cable from a doorway.

At 1:13 p.m., the images show that Jannus stepped out of the shot, and at this point he posted another message to Flashback. “Alright, let’s do it,” he said. The next series of images show him walking back to the cable and hooking it around his neck. He slumps to the floor, and his body begins shaking while his head and arms turn dark purple until he stops moving. His skin color then lessens to a pink-red shade as his limp body hangs motionless for a number of minutes.

On the message board, people start to realize the seriousness of the events: “Given the last pictures, it looks like [this was serious]”, “holy crap, he has done it already”, “okay it’s getting nasty”, “this is quite sick. Not okay at all,” and “I’ve seen a lot online but this is the worst I’ve seen in my entire life” were some of the comments posted. At 1:32 p.m., a user asks, “Did someone call the police?”.

The Södertälje police state that they were first alerted to the incident at 1:44 p.m. At 2:06 p.m., the image feeds show two police officers charging into the apartment and releasing the cable from around Jannus’ neck. They begin administering CPR. Two minutes later, two paramedics arrive, and they take over CPR while one of the officers looks around the room at cables; the back of a flat-screen television set; and presumably the computer, as the images finally stop being uploaded.

Södertälje Polisen spokesperson Lotta Thyni confirmed that Jannus had died. “The police performed CPR until paramedics arrived on the scene, but his life could not be saved.”

The police have so far declined to comment on how the suicide will be investigated, but Sven-Erik Alhem, a chief prosecutor in Sweden told Aftonbladet, that psychologically inducing a person to commit suicide, or contributing to the act, can be classified as incitement to murder, and is a criminal offense.

The “Hängning” thread at Flashback continued to receive new posts until the thread was locked by a site moderator at 5:27 p.m. It had received a total of 630 posts over 53 pages. “It is unfortunate if someone knew that the man planned to kill himself and did not do anything to stop him,” said Thyni, but added that police can not control how people use social forums on the web. “They lack empathy”.

The Flashback message boards are a controversial topic in Sweden. They are seen as being similar to the English language website 4chan, and especially its “Random” /b/ board. The Flashback members are able to post with a great amount of freedom of speech. The site has been investigated by the Swedish police on numerous occasions and is under constant surveillance by the Swedish Security Service due to its members’ abundant discussions about drug use, child pornography, race science, bestiality and other controversial subjects. Other controversies include sexual harassment of celebrities and politicians, open racism, forced disconnection from its internet service provider, the hosting of nazi sites, and the sabotage of telephone votes in TV shows.

“I do not remember such a situation in Sweden before,” says Anders Ahlqvist from the Swedish national police force. A similar incident occurred in Sweden in 2008, when Oscar Ores Balingen, 34, from Stockholm attempted to kill himself online. In that case, the police were able to reach Balingen before he died, and managed to save his life. “People said that I would not dare, but it made me only more triggered,” Balingen told Aftonbladet. “I do not think they are taking the threats seriously. There is a terrible lack of empathy on these forums.”

In November 2008, a 19-year-old male from Pembroke Pines, Florida used his webcam to broadcast his suicide on the live video site Justin.tv. Abraham K. Biggs, 19, committed suicide by taking an overdose of opiates and benzodiazepine, which had been prescribed for his bipolar disorder. He also made online threats of suicide and advertised his intentions to broadcast it live over the internet.

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26th April     No Comments

NYSE to merge with Archipelago; NASDAQ to buy Instinet

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NYSE to merge with Archipelago; NASDAQ to buy Instinet

Sunday, April 24, 2005

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) announced last Wednesday that it has agreed definitively to merge with Chicago-based Archipelago Exchange (ArcaEx) and form a new publicly traded, for-profit company known as NYSE Group. This announcement was followed two days later by NASDAQ®, which independently announced a definitive agreement to purchase Instinet Group.

Archipelago and Instinet are innovative e-trading (electronic trading) companies, and formerly were the two largest American rivals to NYSE and NASDAQ, in recent years taking increasingly large portions of their market share. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other regulatory agencies still have to review and approve the transactions, particularly with respect to US securities law and antitrust law, in order to ensure that the marketplace remains lawful and competitive.

Other pending issues for NASDAQ include obtaining the approval of Instinet shareholders, as well as customary closing conditions. NYSE must obtain the approval of its members and Archipelago shareholders.

These changes, a reaction to increased e-trading competition and a changed regulatory environment, will result in NASDAQ and NYSE trading each other’s shares and attempting to grab market share, which many hope will drive down transaction costs and ultimately benefit consumers. However, at least one commentator, Dan Ackman writing in Forbes, has noted that the trading commission at the NYSE currently averages less than a nickel (US$0.05) per share, and was less enthusiastic about potential efficiency gains from electronic trading at the exchange.

The transactions are also intended to make the two leading American stock exchanges more globally competitive with such exchanges as the London Stock Exchange, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the Toronto Stock Exchange, and the Australian Stock Exchange located in Sydney.

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25th April     No Comments

Florida man charged with stealing Wi-Fi

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Florida man charged with stealing Wi-Fi

Update since publication

This article mentions that Wi-Fi stands for “Wireless Fidelity”, although this is disputed.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

A Florida man is being charged with 3rd degree felony for logging into a private Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) Internet access point without permission. Benjamin Smith III, 41, is set for a pre-trial hearing this month in the first case of its kind in the United States.

This kind of activity occurs frequently, but often goes undetected by the owners of these wireless access points (WAPs). Unauthorized users range from casual Web browsers, to users sending e-mails, to users involved in pornography or even illegal endeavours.

According to Richard Dinon, owner of the WAP Smith allegedly broke into, Smith was using a laptop in an automobile while parked outside Dinon’s residence.

There are many steps an owner of one of these access points can take to secure them from outside users. Dinon reportedly knew how to take these steps, but had not bothered because his “neighbors are older.”

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25th April     No Comments

Several groups seek to purchase Saturn auto brand

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Several groups seek to purchase Saturn auto brand

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Penske Automotive Group, Inc., an Ohio-based investment group and Telesto Ventures have indicated separately that they are interested in purchasing the Saturn auto brand from General Motors (GM).

According to The Wall Street Journal, Nissan-Renault is interested in purchasing Saturn. Bloomberg, however, indicated that Nissan-Renault may be a partner of Penske’s potential bid. If Penske acquired the brand, they would distribute Saturn vehicles and outsource the assembly.

GM revealed that the Saturn brand along with Saab and Hummer were up for sale when unveiling their restructuring plans to Congress for governmental loans. While the Pontiac brand was originally to be a niche brand, GM had changed their plans recently and decided to eliminate the brand.

Telesto Ventures is an investment group that includes private equity firm Black Oak Partners LLC of Oklahoma City and several Saturn dealerships. Initially, Telesto will purchase Saturn branded cars from GM then act as a general retailer for foreign brands. Telesto is in talks with several foreign manufacturers.

The Ohio group includes many former senior auto company managers plus private financial backers, chemists and engineers who live in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Florida. This group plans to initially purchase cars from GM then purchase existing but closed plants due to automaker restructuring. Additionally, one of the partners indicated a willingness to accept some “legacy” cost in relation to the United Auto Workers. The Ohio group is also pursuing possible loans or other support from national and state governments.

GM is reviewing several offers for Saturn. GM has contracted with S.J. Girsky & Co. to advise them on the sale.

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25th April     No Comments

What Are Commercial Sprinkler Systems?

Submitted by: Ryan Paulin

Most commercial sprinkler systems are regularly upgraded and maintained by a professional company. They usually extremely high quality systems that are durable and have a range of high density settings to ensure water can be sprayed at a long distance and at a particular pressure for large spacious areas. The styles and types of commercial sprinkler systems available in the market today are vast, with many businesses and companies owning them for their specific property needs because they are highly efficient, energy saving and affordable.

The main difference between a commercial and regular sprinkler is in the production of the device. Smaller sprinkler systems are used mainly for residential properties by homeowners, whereas commercial sprinklers are specifically designed to have a high pressure level, with many device patterns and densities to ensure optimal results.

These particular devices are constructed to provide the fastest and easiest way to provide a large amount of water to a greater sized property or building area. They have unique settings that include an intensely higher density level to enable more water to be spread further but with the same desired effect.

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Some commercial sprinkler systems are used in large public buildings, factories and other areas for fire safety and other essential requirements. These are specially designed to have maximum water pressure and flow rate to distribute water evenly if such an event occurs. They need to be constantly accessed and repaired to guarantee safe and secure connections at all times.

Repairing any commercial sprinkler needs a qualified, skilled and experienced individual to ensure these devices are working correctly every day. Only specific companies have the correct qualifications, knowledge and information to successfully maintain and fix issues concerning these important systems. These special requirements have allowed only a few professionally qualified companies accessible today to offer these particular services with the highest reputation in the industry.

Sprinklers by Rich are a company located in St. Petersburg that is qualified to repair systems for any residential and commercial use. They have the correct equipment and tools to handle any large or small project efficiently and to the best of their abilities. They have been supplying a range of sprinklers to commercial companies and offering their services for many years to everyone who needs a new system installed or to repair an existing sprinkler.

Their customer service is excellent and they offer advice, information, estimates and more through the phone and their company website. They guaranteed to provide clients with the highest possible quality in the industry and can deliver quick and effective repairs every day.

All commercial sprinkler systems can be installed, upgraded or fixed by Sprinklers by Rich and they ensure it will be done safely, efficiently and within a budget. Their affordable rates has given them a loyal clientele over the years and their team is dedicated to providing the most reliable and professional service available to all customers; whilst guaranteeing to deliver successful commercial sprinkler systems at the lowest cost in the market today.

About the Author: If you are looking for information on

commercial sprinkler systems

, click on the link. Or you can visit

sprinklersbyrich.com/

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25th April     No Comments

Ukraine opposition candidate Yushchenko is suffering from a Dioxin intoxication, doctors say

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Ukraine opposition candidate Yushchenko is suffering from a Dioxin intoxication, doctors say

Saturday, December 11, 2004

VIENNA –Doctors from the Rudolfinerhaus clinic in Vienna say “there is no doubt” Ukrainian opposition leader Victor Yushchenko was poisoned with Dioxin.

Yushchenko’s body had about 1,000 times more than the normal concentration of the toxin. It is unknown if there were any other poisons in his system.

Although it has not yet been proven that the poisoning was deliberate, doctors suspect it was. “We suspect a cause triggered by a third party,” said Michael Zimpfer, head doctor at the Rudolfinerhaus clinic. He suggested the poison may have been administered orally, through food or drink.

Today’s announcements are a follow-up of an earlier press conference, where Dr. Korpan that there were three hypotheses under consideration, one of them involving dioxin. He did not reveal what the other two hypotheses were. Dr. Michael Zimpfer, director of the Rudolfinerhaus clinic emphasized that time there was no proof yet to specify the substance causing the illness.

Yushchenko left Kiev on Friday (2004-10-12) for further examination in Vienna. When Yushchenko fell ill on October 6th, Ukrainian doctors had initially diagnosed food poisoning, leading to speculation that he had been poisoned deliberately. The illness has disfigured Yushchenko’s body and face which doctors say could take up to two years to heal.

He fell seriously ill on the September 6th, during his presidential campaign. Yushchenko was taken to the Rudolfinerhaus clinic of Vienna, where he stayed for four days under Dr. Korpan’s care. He was diagnosed with “acute pancreatitis, accompanied by interstitial edematous changes.” These symptoms were said to be due to “a serious viral infection and chemical substances which are not normally found in food products” as his campaign officials put it. In laymans terms, he developed an infection in the pancreas and got a bad skin condition that disfigured his face with cysts and lesions. The skin condition has similarities with the chloracne associated with dioxin posioning according to a British toxicologist John Henry.

Earlier, doctor Nikolai Korpan of Rudolfinerhaus clinic confirmed today that the illness of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko was caused by an attempt to kill him.

  • Ukraine political crisis – Wikinews’ special coverage portal

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25th April     No Comments

Birks to create 2010 Olympic, Paralympic jewelery; wines on menu

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Birks to create 2010 Olympic, Paralympic jewelery; wines on menu

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Birks was recently announced as the “Official Supplier of Jewelery” for the 2010 Vancouver-Whistler Olympics. The company will create licensed products with the logos of the 2010 Olympic Games, 2010 Paralympic Games, and the Canadian Olympic team emblem, including necklaces, earrings, pendants and rings.

The partnership was announced at an employee celebration in Vancouver, to mark the centenary of Mayors Jewelers Inc., an American company Birks acquired in 2002.

The six-year sponsorship includes the rights to the Canadian Olympic team logo during the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games.

Thomas A. Andruskevich, president and CEO, Birks & Mayors stated in a press release:

We are extremely proud to take part in this journey that honors our best athletes and celebrates excellence as the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games shine on the world wide stage. Canadians look to Birks to mark the most important celebrations in their lives which is why Birks wants to commemorate this important moment in Canadian history.

The products will be launched in early 2008.

Also released today is information that Jackson-Triggs Esprit will be a special line of wines, created to celebrate the athletic event. The Vincor Canada wine is named in relevance to “spirit”, both the spirit of the Olympians, and alcoholic beverage usage of the word.

President and CEO of Vincor Canada Jay Wright said, “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to honor our Canadian athletes while affirming our role as Canada’s wine industry leader. Like our Olympic and Paralympic athletes, Vincor Canada shares a passion and determination towards excellence. This agreement is by far Vincor Canada’s most ambitious and broad-reaching sponsorship and will be great for the Canadian wine industry. I hope Canada will join us in the excitement that we feel regarding this exceptional opportunity to position Canadian wine brands on the world stage.”

The wines, featuring Olympic logo, will be distributed to liquor stores and restaurants across the country this summer. Proceeds from each bottle will go towards the Canadian Olympic Team.

Both the Chardonnay and Merlot will retail for CDN$11.95 MSRP. Inniskillin Wines’ vineyards, harvested since 1975, in either the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario pr the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia will create the wine.

Within the past few weeks, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) has announced a Omega-brand countdown clock that will tour British Columbia events, as the company is the “Official Olympic Timekeeper”. Canadian Pacific was named official rail freight services provider, and the Royal Canadian Mint announced they will create circulation and collector coins to mark the occasion.

There are 1099 days until the XXI Olympiad, according to the official website of the event.

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