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ISSN 1172-4153 | Volume 1 | Issue 3 |
| 22 August 2008
the Dunedin Police admit looming report is “Damning” on INSIDE By Ian Wishart TGIF Edition editor
Police and the Government are being accused tonight of trying to delay the release of a “damning”IPCA report into police corruption, until after the election. TGIF Edition has confirmed this afternoon that the report, due out next week, has now been delayed yet again after last minute legal maneuvers by police officers named in the report.
Campbell and retired Inspector Terry Richardson. Also named by the IPCA are Detective Senior Sergeant Kallum Croudis, Detective Ser-
geant Malcolm Inglis, Detective Sergeant B Roberts, Sergeant S Kindley, Constable Andrew Henderson and a Ms K Knight. The report will be politically
explosive, after constant denials from the Government about improper behavior inside police, and it may impact on another looming report into the activities
of Deputy Police Commissioner Rob Pope. Pope is at the centre of a four year long investigation effectively focusing on whether he Continue reading
Terry Schmitt / UPI PHOTO
GOVERNMENT SMACKED Referendum given go-ahead Page 3
Documents provided to the newspaper
include a letter from Southern Districts police operations manager, Inspector Lane Todd, who confirms that police received an embargoed advance copy of the Independent Police Conduct Authority report on July 23rd. Yet despite acknowledging that the law required those named adversely in the report to be given copies, Inspector Todd says this was not completed until 7 August.And police allegedly did not get their responses back to the IPCA until the final deadline given to them of yesterday. Bruce van Essen, an ACC claimant whose complaint about police corruption led to the Investigate magazine article that sparked the IPCA investigation, says the IPCA has today advised that the report will now be further delayed. “Every man and his dog has seen this report, but I’m not getting to see it,” van Essen told TGIF Edition. Documents released by Police under the Official Information Act reveal that ten people are adversely affected by the IPCA report, to the extent of requiring a chance to read in advance what the report says about them. The documents name four officers holding the rank of Inspector: Detective Inspector Ross Pinkham, Inspector Lane Todd himself, Inspector Dave
HOBBIT HABIT Jackson gives in Page 4
A new super spy agency P age 5
New Zealand poised to trounce Australia on medal table New Zealand’s stunning medal tally at the Beijing Olympics over the past week has propelled the country ahead of Australia on the medals-per-capita table. As athletes head into the final weekend of competition, New Zealand’s medal tally of 9 gives us a per capital haul of one medal for every 463,000 New Zealanders, enough to rate third
on the Los Angeles Times medals table behind Jamaica and Slovenia, who are locked in combat for the first and second positions. Australia, with 39 medals, is currently fourth. TGIF Edition has images from some of New Zealand’s great moments, on page 12.
MOST DANGEROUS Iraq no longer on list P age 8
New developments in old murder cases, Beard, Crewes South Island police are interviewing new witnesses in the 39 year old Jennifer Beard murder mystery. As Investigate magazine revealed two months ago, fresh witnesses have come forward in
the 1969 cold case, and earlier this month detectives travelled to the West Coast for a series of interviews as they tried to follow the new leads. The new investigation is being headed by Mark Lodge of the
Dunedin Police. One of the key witnesses is a former mill manager who believes he hired Jennifer Beard’s killer – a man he knew as Ron Hunter. Additionally, an Auckland businessman has come forward
to TGIF Edition this week with the name of an itinerant worker matching Hunter’s description who travelled to Haast for the Christmas of 1969 in a green Vauxhall. The informant says the man was a former psychiat-
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ric patient. Meanwhile, we’ve held over our breaking story from last week on the Crewe murders as we follow some further strong leads on the case. We’ll have more details soon.
off BEAT Poll: Sting’s lyrics most often misheard London, (UPI) – A British online poll has found rock musician Sting’s 1979 hit Message in a Bottle contains the lyrics most often misheard by respondents.The song topped the online poll of 2,000 music fans with its line “a year has passed since I wrote my note” being commonly misheard as ”a year has passed since I broke my nose”, The Daily Mail reported Thursday. Sting also took seventh place on the list with a line from his 1980 song When the World is Running Down – respondents said they commonly misheard “you make the best of what’s still around” as “you make the best homemade stew around”.The Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive came in second on the list with “it’s OK, you may look the other way” being heard as “it’s OK, you make love the other way”. The Beatles also made it into the top 10 with their song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. The girl with kaleidoscope eyes in the song is sometimes mistaken for “the girl with colitis goes by”, the poll found. The informal online poll was conducted by hearing aid retailer Amplifon, The Daily Mail said. Sweden’s socialists strike again Lund, Sweden,(UPI) – A teacher’s decision to force a child to take back invitations to his birthday party in the Swedish city of Lund was the right call, a local council says. A city council ruled that the teacher, whose identity was not revealed, was correct in forcing the child to rescind the invitations since school policy mandates a student invite all members of a class or none at all, The Local said Thursday. Lena Leufstedt, the council’s administrative chief manager for schools, said the unidentified male student did not invite two of his classmates to his July party and therefore violated school policy. This is accepted practice at pre-schools and school within the district presided over by the board, Leufstedt said. The boy’s father told the Local the teacher’s actions were ill-advised given the situation. My son took it pretty hard. No one has the right to confiscate someone’s property in this way, it’s just like taking someone’s mail, he told the newspaper.
22 August 2008 FROM FRONT PAGE
acted to pervert the course of justice by providing misleading information on oath to the courts in the Scott Watson court case.That inquiry has been headed by Detective Inspector Ross Pinkham, yet if the man heading the Pope investigation is himself named adversely in the IPCA report, that could backfire on the integrity of the Pope investigation as well. “I wouldn’t be surprised at all if there was political interference somewhere along the way. It just seems too much, the way they’re stopping this report,”growls an angry Bruce van Essen. For van Essen and other ACC claimants, it’s a race against the clock. They’ve challenged the right of Dunedin private investigator Peter Gibbons – a friend of Police Commissioner Howard Broad, to renew his private investigation licence on the grounds of corrupt behavior.That hearing is set down for the end of September, but there’s now a possibility the IPCA report won’t be released in time to be used in evidence against Gibbons. Gibbons, incidentally, is not supposed to know what’s in the IPCA report,but Bruce van Essen questions whether the PI has been tipped off by police. “Gibbons was out of town earlier this week, and arrived back in town on Wednesday night, because we had an informant who saw him on the plane, and Thursday morning a member of the CIB was at his house. Now Thursday was the last day for police to make comment on the IPCA report. “I believe Gibbons knows what’s in that report. I believe he’s seen it. I believe his mates have told him! “We’ve also had police being overheard talking about it in a coffee bar.Now that letter from LaneTodd says that the report was embargoed and the officers were not to show or discuss it with anybody, yet here it is being discussed publicly in a coffee bar.” What did people overhear? “They heard police saying, ‘the report is very damning, it’s going to hit us hard’,” says van Essen. A further complicating factor is the role of Private Investigators’ Registrar Gary Harrison. “I did some official information requests,” says van Essen,“because the Registrar wouldn’t tell me
Peter Gibbons speaking to 3News
when Graeme Scott was licensed. On 28th of June I received a letter from the Registrar saying Scott was licensed. Later on I did some more OIA requests to police, which showed Scott didn’t get his licence until the 28th of June, which is the date the Registrar sent me a letter saying he was licenced. “So it appears to me that the Registrar knew he wasn’t licensed, issued one quickly and told me without providing me a date or anything. So we believe there’s a bit of skulduggery going on there as well.” The allegations have prompted van Essen to ask the Registrar to excuse himself from the hearing into the activities of Gibbons and Scott, when it starts on September 29 in Dunedin, on the grounds of conflict of interest. The Registrar, Gary Harrison, remembers it differently however, telling TGIF Edition that he treated Scott’s certification as“routine”, despite the media publicity and despite communications from van Essen about Scott and Gibbons. “I get people inquiring all the time about whether someone has a licence or not,”Harrison said.“There was no complaint before me, so I processed the application as I do any other. “I recall there being some correspondence [from
van Essen], but I don’t see where a conflict of interest arises.” The documentation shows that Graeme Scott, Gibbons’ offside, was granted a temporary two month certificate to act as a security guard in September 2006. By the time Scott retired from the police force in December 2006, the temporary certificate had expired, and it was never renewed. Despite that lack of renewal, Scott then proceeded to work in Gibbons’ private investigation business. On 28 June 2007, Gary Harrison told van Essen that“I can inform you that Mr Scott holds a current Certificate of Approval”.What he didn’t disclose is that – after months of apparently working without a licence – Scott’s certificate had only been issued that same day: 28 June 2007. This fact did not emerge until another letter from Harrison to van Essen dated 27 February this year, where he wrote:“An application dated 20 February 2007 to review Mr Scott’s certificate was received on 5th March…notice of non-objection was received from the Police on 8th May 2007 and the Registrar granted and issued Mr Scott’s certificate on 28th June 2007, without a hearing.” Back to the front page
Ross Setford / NZPA
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Greens flooded with emails over ETS plea
Wellington, Aug 22 – The Greens says they have been flooded with emails after they asked for views on whether their MPs should back the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The Greens are putting pressure on the Government over key elements of the ETS which they want changed in return for their six votes. The Government hasn’t got a majority without the Greens and New Zealand First, and time is running out for the bill to be passed before the election. Greens’ co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said yesterday her caucus would decide on Tuesday whether to support the bill. She said the negotiations had failed to make progress on key areas such as agriculture and transport but ministers had agreed to substantial assistance for people to insulate their homes. Ms Fitzsimons said today she was delighted by the response to the request for views. “By 4pm yesterday we had received dozens of
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responses to our email@example.com account, this morning it is over 300 and they are still arriving faster than we can read them,”Ms Fitzsimons said. It appeared the response was split for and against the ETS. The arguments would be summarised and discussed at the caucus meeting on Tuesday. Under the bill, all sectors of the economy will eventually come under a regime that sets limits on the amount of greenhouse gas they can emit. Those that exceed their limit will have to buy units from those which are under their cap. The transport and agricultural sectors will come under the scheme in 2011 and 2013. The Greens want those dates brought forward but the Government apparently won’t budge. Negotiations between ministers, the Greens and NZ First are expected to continue during the next few days. –NZPA
22 August 2008
Kiwi Party leader Larry Baldock talks up his referendum hopes on the steps of Parliament earlier this year. NZPA/ Tim Hales
Smacking referendum to be held after petition deemed valid Wellington, Aug 22 – A referendum will be held on anti-smacking laws after parliamentary officials confirmed a petition calling for the ballot had enough valid signatures. Clerk of the House CLIENT Mary HarPUBLICATION ris said an audit of the petition 099684370 COVER DATE(S) firstname.lastname@example.org TRIM310,000 SIZE found that about of the
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as a postal ballot next year. Ministers cited advice from electoral officials that the last time a referendum was held it had confused voters, slowed down the count and to so again would be a logistical nightmare. They said there was little difference in cost between holding
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a postal ballot separately and the extra resources need to run a referendum on election day. Ms Harris said the petition would be presented to Parliament on August 26 and the Government had one month to name a date for a referendum or say a postal ballot will be held. The vote must be held within a year of its presentation to Parliament. Mr Baldock said Prime Minister Helen Clark was trying to avoid the smacking laws becoming an election issue, but this would not work. Mr Baldock, who is also the leader of the Kiwi Party, said today’s announcement was“great news and a huge victory”that had taken far more effort than should be needed in a democracy. When the petition was originally presented in February, there were 324,316 signatures, but many were ruled out during a checking process and the final tally was 269,500. Organisers had another two months to gather more signatures. The referendum will ask the question -- `Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” The legislation, which was drafted by Green MP Sue Bradford, amended section 59 of the Crimes Act to remove the defence of reasonable force for parents who physically discipline their children. It was backed by Labour and eventually National supported the legislation after an amendment gave police discretion to judge whether a reported offence warranted prosecution. – NZPA
Ross Setford / NZPA
Act leader shocked candidate suspended from union job Wellington, Aug 22 – It is shocking that a union suspended one of its employees because he was standing as a candidate for the ACT party, ACT leader Rodney Hide said today. Tenth-ranked ACT party list candidate Shawn Tan was been suspended by Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union, after it was revealed at the weekend he was standing for the rightwing libertarian party. EPMU president Andrew Little today said Mr Tan had been suspended for failing to get approval from the union’s executive to stand as a candidate. Under the union’s rules there is a requirement to do so. Mr Tan works as an organiser in the union’s call centre. Mr Little said most requests were dealt with on the basis of workload, but in the case of someone standing for ACT, which held positions counter to the union’s core beliefs, the choice of party could be an additional factor. That was because the union needed to decide whether it was going to give Mr Tan time off from his job to campaign for ideas it disagreed with. However, he said Mr Tan’s case had not gone that far as he had not sought the executive’s approval. Mr Hide said Mr Tan was a young man who wanted to contribute to the democratic process and he was now being punished. “It is shocking that the union would act like this,”Mr Hide said. He accused Labour of being behind the vindictive move. Mr Little said the EPMU’s policy was similar to other employers. “It is no different to any other workplace. There are requirements when an employee wants to
undertake activities outside their employment that have the potential to bear upon their employment and they are required to get the approval of the employer to do that,”Mr Little told NZPA. “That is the issue between us that we are resolving at the moment.” Mr Tan told the National Business Review that when he first outlined his plan in July to stand as a candidate in Mt Roskill, he was told by the union’s director of organising Bill Newson that if he wanted to do so he expected him to resign. Mr Tan said he told him he would not stand as he did not want to be fired, but reassessed just ahead of ACT announcing its list at the weekend. But Mr Little said he had “another account”of the conversation between Mr Tan and Mr Newson and emails from Mr Tan that suggested a different conversation was held. Mr Little said the union and Mr Tan would meet next week. There had also been a request for mediation. The Human Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on political beliefs, except where the staff member is an adviser to parliamentary or local body politicians. Mr Tan’s political CV says he came to the ACT party via the Greens and had been drawn to the party because of its law and order policy. He is completing a postgraduate diploma in human resource management and has two years’ experience working for three trade unions. – NZPA
22 August 2008
NZ dollar retreats from tentative recovery
Escaped monkey on the loose in Christchurch Wellington, Aug 22 – Christchurch residents are being warned to be on the alert for a small,hairy and intelligent escapee from the city’s Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. Police said that one of the reserve’s Capuchin monkeys was on the loose, and likely to be looking for food and shelter. Inspector John Doherty said staff were moving the monkeys
to a new enclosure on Wednesday when one managed to escape. They had not been able to locate it on the premises and a letter drop has been done with the neighbours in the area. The monkey, small, and brownish-black in colour, was not considered harmful but should not be approached, Mr Doherty said. – NZPA
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13c, or 4.45 percent, to 305 after telling shareholders at the annual meeting that first-half profit was likely to be up 38 percent on last year and the second half was looking good too. “The stock was down before the agm at $2.80 and had quite a major turn around on the news,” said Grant Williamson, partner at Hamilton Hindin Greene. The healthcare sector was seen as less cyclical than appliances. Fletcher Building continued a recovery after its profit announcement on August 13, rising 4c to 720 today. Ebos rose 15c to 500 after reporting a 61 percent rise in profit after bedding down four acquisitions. Mainfreight fell 2c to 710 as higher oil prices and profit-taking countered buying after the company reported strength in its New Zealand domestic business in its first-quarter profit result this week. “With the selldown in the market we’ve experience so far this year we are going to get surprises where companies do better than expected,” said Mr Williamson said. NZ Farming Systems Uruguay eased 2c to 158, Sanford fell 15c to 585,Infratil fell 8c to 214 and Tourism Holdings fell 4c to 140. Port of Tauranga rose 5c to 710. There were 28 rises and 56 falls and turnover was worth $87.12m. In the US, energy shares were boosted by surging oil prices, though fresh fears of more credit losses on Wall Street kept gains in the wider market modest. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.11 percent at 11,430.05.The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 0.25 percent at 1277.71.The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.36 percent at 2380.38. – NZPA
SFO inquiry into NZ First nearly completed Wellington, Aug 22 – Expatriate billionaire Owen Glenn has provided a written statement to the Serious Fraud Office, which says it is close to completing its preliminary inquiry into donations to New Zealand First. Mr Glenn has said he will cooperate with a privileges committee investigation into his $100,000 donation to NZ First leader Winston Peters as well as the SFO inquiry . SFO director Grant Liddell today said his office had received a written statement from Mr Glenn. It is currently assessing whether to launch a full investigation into a series of undeclared donations to NZ First. Its inquiries follow revelations a $25,000 cheque from Sir Rob-
ert Jones, which he believed was going to NZ First, was paid to the secretive Spencer Trust and never declared by the party. Mr Liddell said those inquiries were close to completion. “A decision whether an investigation using statutory powers under the Serious Fraud Office Act will be made soon.” Mr Peters is also facing an investigation from the privileges committee into his failure to declare the $100,000 donation from Mr Glenn towards the costs of his 2005 court bid to unseat Tauranga MP Bob Clarkson. Under Parliament’s rules all gifts over $500 or debts paid by another person must be declared. – NZPA
Police not to prosecute CYF worker over sex with 16-year-old Wellington, Aug 22 – Nelson police will not charge a former Child Youth and Family (CYF) social worker who had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy in CYF custody. Police legal advisers believed there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the woman, following an investigation into a complaint made by CYF in June, Detective Senior Sergeant Wayne McCoy told the Nelson Mail. It can be an offence for someone in a guardianship role to
have sex with a person under 18, although the age of consent is 16. The woman, who has resigned from CYF, was 36 at the time of the relationship, Mr McCoy said. The boy was still in CYF custody, and he and his parents had been informed of the police decision. CYF Southern regional director John Henderson said last month the social worker’s actions were a “clear breach of ethical standards”.
Jackson to write The Hobbit himself
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Wellington, Aug 22 – The New Zealand dollar moved slightly lower today after reaching two week highs in early trading. By 5pm today the kiwi was buying US71.87c from US72.06c at 8am and US71.32c at 5pm yesterday. It retreated from the firm open ahead of a weekend in which investors have an eye on appearance of Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke at a banking symposium in Jackson Hole. A surge in crude oil prices above $US120 ($NZ168) a barrel also took some steam out of the US dollar’s recent strong recovery, helping the kiwi, but there is also selling pressure from investors who think interest rates will continue to fall here. The ANZ bank said the NZ dollar’s early gains were tentative, and could be seen as partly a rebound from oversold levels. Along with the rise in the oil price, the broader commodities basket also gained strongly,ANZ said. “Unsurprisingly, commodity currencies such as the NZD and AUD also gained.” By the local close the kiwi was buying 0.4831 euro from 0.4828 at 5pm yesterday, and was at 78.30 yen from 78.17. Against the Australian dollar, the kiwi was buying A81.75c at 5pm from A81.76c at the local close.The trade weighted index rose to 66.52 from 66.34. Meanwhile, the New Zealand share market finished a week in which some strong profits were revealed with a down day. The benchmark NZSX-50 index closed down 20.45 points at 3331.61, after barely moving yesterday. A 18c fall in Contact Energy to 842 was a drag on the market index as was a 5c fall in top stock Telecom to 323. The star performer was Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, which rose
Los Angeles, Aug. 20 – After searching for a suitable scriptwriter,movie producer Peter Jackson will write The Hobbit himself, U.S. industry sources say. Jackson, who directed the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy, is set for a late-2009 start for The Hobbit, a prequel to Lord of the Rings. But he had yet to find a scriptwriter to join Guillermo del Toro, who is also on hand to direct the film. The Hollywood Reporter, citing unnamed sources, said Thursday Jackson has decided take up the duties himself. The newspaper said Jackson had conducted an eight-month
search for a writer to tackle the adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy novel, centered around the adventures of the young Hobbit Bilbo Baggins. Jackson had earlier said he would not be writing The Hobbit because of other commitments. Jackson, however, saw his schedule open up, and he and Del Toro were facing deadlines that required any new writer to already be familiar with Tolkien’s complex Middle Earth mythology, making Jackson’s participation as screenwriter make more sense, the Reporter said. – UPI
22 August 2008
The Greens want to hear what you think of them Hard on the heels of Green Party complicity in the toxic light bulbs scandal, the Greens have taken a hammering in two of the latest public opinion polls, dropping as low as 3.5% support. At those sorts of levels, doubts begin to emerge about whether a vote for the Greens is a wasted vote (any party that fails to make the 5% threshold automatically loses all its votes). As Labour and National head for a drag race to the ballot box, people who once toyed with third parties in safer times are weighing up whether it is strategic or just plain dumb to keep throwing votes at minor parties who may or may not be in a position to offer support to a coalition anyway. Whilst the Greens are still foolishly wedded to the idea of energy-saving, mercury-filled, fire-causing eco CFL bulbs, they are starting to show signs of speed wobbles and panic. Today, they’ve asked New Zealanders to email them with your views on the Government’s Emissions Trading Scheme – the one that’ll bankrupt your household and have you selling your kids into slavery just so some rich
third world merchant can belch more fumes into the atmosphere using New Zealand “carbon credits”. The fact that it’ll seriously hit electricity and petrol prices, and food prices, and disadvantage an already weakening economy on the international markets (putting more kiwis out of work), is apparently a trivial side issue to the Labour-led Government and its third party allies. Well, it will be if you don’t take the opportunity this weekend to email the Greens and let them know whether to support Labour’s ETS or not.The Greens are planning to review the public submissions at their Tuesday caucus. At the end of the day, it’s over to you what you say. You might be a Green Party voter who absolutely loves their work. Or you might be one looking at an ever-shrinking wage packet – especially after you had to buy $50 worth of dodgy poisonous light bulbs – wondering whether Jeanette, Russell et al have finally proven themselves to be one mung-bean short of a picnic. Nobody argues that we need to take more care of
Whilst the Greens are still foolishly wedded to the idea of energy-saving, mercuryfilled, fire-causing eco CFL bulbs, they are starting to show signs of speed wobbles and panic the planet. But this idea of Nanny State telling all of us what we can and cannot eat, burn, light our homes with, drive etc is getting ridiculous. Isn’t it? Email the Greens at email@example.com and let them know your views. They refused to listen on the Electoral Finance Act, they refused to listen on abolishing the Privy Council, but at 3.5% support, eight weeks out from an election, they might SUBSCRIBE TO TGIF! just listen now.
Europe’s Orwellian agenda comes closer Led by France and Germany, the European Union is planning to create its own super-spy agency, called a central intelligence unit, that would require its 27 member states to pool information from their intelligence agencies and in the process undermine the longstanding special relationship between Britain and the United States. The plan also calls for an EU-wide network of anti-terrorism centers, with offices in each member state, whose work and intelligence are to be run by SitCen, the EU’s coordination center in Brussels.This would include sharing of DNA databases and fingerprint records, material from surveillance cameras, electronic listening posts, satellites and aerial drones, common training and standardized surveillance systems. British police and intelligence officials are lobbying hard against the plan, which they fear would threaten the long and close relationship with their American counterparts that dates back to World War II.They suggest the U.S. intelligence agencies would be reluctant to continue their sharing of information with British colleagues if that information were then to be passed on to other European countries, many of which are notoriously leaky, corrupt or on occasion hostile to U.S. policies. British and U.S. electronic surveillance systems are currently closely coordinated, with key U.S. listening posts located in Britain, and the analysis centers of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade in Maryland and the Government Communications HQ at Cheltenham in England work closely together. They share data and analysis, exchange staff and technology, and, in effect, act as a model of the interstate intelligence cooperation that the EU is now hoping to emulate. Britain’s foreign intelligence service, SIS (still sometimes known by the old name of MI6), has long worked closely with its colleagues in the Central Intelligence Agency, and the FBI has a close relationship with Britain’s domestic intelligence and counterespionage arm, the Security Service (MI5) and also with the Special Branch of the British police.The two countries’counter-terrorism officials also cooperate closely, as do the British and U.S. military and their nuclear weapons establishments, part of a broad network of cooperation that is the heart of the Anglo-American special relationship that long has irritated (and excited the envy) of Britain’s EU partners. The plan has provoked two different forms of
-The Owen Glenn Question Love your magazine and the emailed TGIF. Thank goodness there are still investigative journalists such as yourself who are prepared to ask the really tough questions. One angle on the Owen Glenn affair that no one has picked up and the puzzling question I keep asking myself is this: Why was Owen Glenn so keen to pay a lot of money to become New Zealand Honorary Consul to Monaco? Surely it wasn’t just he could mix and mingle with the high society cocktail set of the rich and famous? Monaco is a tax haven. Owen Glenn is rich and lives in Monaco. Has the IRD ever had reason to question or doubt Owen Glenn’s claims that he is a legitimate resident of Monaco? Put it another way – is it possible Owen Glen has chosen to live in Monaco to avoid paying certain tax? If you are the New Zealand Honorary Consul for Monaco then you can legitimately claim that Monaco is indeed your home and the IRD in New Zealand would have a hard time refuting it. Wasn’t the wine box inquiry, instigated by Winston Peters, all about certain people trying to avoid paying tax to the IRD too? Chris Bennett, Auckland Editor’s comment:
By Martin Walker PARIS, UPI
the U.S. intelligence agencies would be reluctant to continue their sharing of information with British colleagues if that information were then to be passed on to other European countries, many of which are notoriously leaky, corrupt or on occasion hostile to U.S. policies
opposition in Britain, the first coming from the intelligence services, the police and the military, who have little faith in the capabilities, the security and the political reliability of many other EU countries, and strongly prefer to maintain their tried and tested U.S. relationships. Britain has by far the most respected intelligence service with the greatest global reach, so British officials fear they would be doing most of the sharing, with the risk of compromising their sources, while getting little of value in return.
“The difficulty with the EU is that it is a complex organization, and there are risks in sharing information with countries like Bulgaria or Hungary that it will end up in other hands. Many EU countries have immature and underdeveloped intelligence networks,” commented Paul Cornish, an expert in international security at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. “It is inconceivable that we would share information with organizations that may be flaky,”Cornish added.“We are not going to get anything out of giving this information to other countries, and we are not going to share the crown jewels if we do not get anything back.” The second level of opposition comes from those who are skeptical of the EU and its ambitions.They note that at every new rebuff to plans for more integration, like the latest Irish referendum vote against the proposed new EU Treaty of Lisbon, the integration process resumes elsewhere, as it now has in the sensitive sphere of intelligence. Public opposition to the integration process is widespread. The French and Dutch both voted against the EU’s draft constitution. Despite this, the constitution’s key proposals, for a permanent president and its own foreign minister and diplomatic service, and ever more majority voting to get around the use of national veto, was largely revived in the Treaty of Lisbon. Now the Irish have voted against the Treaty, although their government campaigned strongly for aYes vote, but Brussels simply expects them to vote again until they say “Yes”. The intelligence-sharing plan is laid out in a 53-page report that emerged from the self-styled Future Group of the ministries of the Interior and Justice from Germany, France, Sweden, Portugal, Slovenia and the Czech Republic and is justified as a way to improve EU integration in policing, counter-terrorism and intelligence. It also calls for a common EU paramilitary force, to be known as a Gendarmerie, to be deployed in crisis situations like terrorist attacks and major disruptions of public order, and also to crises abroad. “The whole field of justice and home affairs is passing daily under Brussels’ jurisdiction,” claims Daniel Hanna, a British conservative in the European Parliament and a keen critic of the apparently relentless moves toward ever-more EU integration. British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who has responsibility for domestic intelligence, insists she will not agree to “any plans that would jeopardize British security,”a careful choice of words that made no commitment to oppose the EU plan.
My understanding is that Glenn is not actually physically resident in Monaco long enough each year to be useful to NZ, even if the position had merit. Having said that, my personal belief is that Glenn saw it as a door-opener for himself to the Eurotrash jet-set. He didn’t need the small fee for services he would have received. His companies are based in the British Virgin Islands tax haven, so he already pays minimal tax and has probably paid less tax in New Zealand than you have. By flitting from country to country, never staying long enough in any one jurisdiction to become resident for tax purposes, Glenn is an international tax gadfly, who effectively pays tax nowhere. Legally. -CFL lights and the media I read with interest the articles in your two most recent magazines about CFL’s. You accuse the government and other media of buying the line from the manufacturers about the benefits outweighing the risks. Then I looked through some back issues of your own magazines. On page 52 of your May issue, in an article about trying to be responsible environmentally, your writer endorses the use of CFL’s, and I quote “They do contain a small amount of mercury – but the benefits of using CFL’s outweigh the mercury issue”. Then in June page 51, again CFL’s are again recommended, although you do add a couple of paragraphs about disposing through a recycling centre and what to do if one breaks. I’m sure the special investigation you published in August would have been underway in when your May and June issues went to press. What happened to in depth investigative journalism, especially in May, that published the endorsements of CFL’s in order to save electricity and be “greener” in our lifestyles? Claudia McFie, Via email Editor’s comment:
Well spotted...and yes, we had all bought the line that these things were safe. The June issue was published mid-May, its story deadline was end of April. It was not until the Government announced a compulsory move to ban the sale of incandescents in mid June that we became alerted to some of the reservations about CFLs, and did a little extra digging. When the scientific studies published end of Feb and July this year turned up, we were horrified, hence the stories that emerged. Having put the data out there, and with every major NZ media organisation alerted to it now, I expect a less sycophantic media approach to this “greenwashing” issue than we are currently enjoying. Thankfully, as a result of Investigate’s work, some media including the Dominion Post and the Otago Daily Times are now looking at the CFL issue more robustly. Letters to the editor can be posted to: PO BOX 302188, Nort Harbour, North Shore 0751 or emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
22 August 2008
Best of the blogs Greens’ Fitzsimons favours toxic poison drop By Peter Cresswell NOT PC
While Thames residents protest against the Department of Conservation’s 1080 aerial drop in the Coromandel Ranges, dropping the toxic poison over 13,000 hectares from Jeanette Fitzsimons bit of “green heaven” in the Kauaeranga Valley all the way up to Te Puru, the clean, Green Party Leader pleads in today’s Hauraki Herald for“tolerance.”“She did not know anyone who was comfortable with poison being dropped from the air,”the local paper reports,“However, 1080 was necessary to ‘hold the line’until a more effective pest control method was developed.” If recent polls can be trusted, Fitzsimon’s party will experience a rather effective pest control method come November. But it does seem strange to see the Green leader plead for tolerance for toxins, when opposition to toxins and the like was once the Greens’raison d’être. Perhaps when the toxins are delivered by Nanny it’s okay? But why should hunters and land-owners have to be tolerant of a poor decision made by government without any reference to those directly affected? Fact is, DoC’s use of 1080 has been intensely destructive to everything but possums, on which it has only just held the line. After many years and over a billion of taxpayers dollars spent on possum control we still have the same 70 million possums we had at the start. Not successful and of very little, if any, benefit. No wonder DoC staff joke that the best way to protect the kiwi is to give it them to exterminate. The so called possum problem is largely a manufactured one by the Government agencies who stand to gain from perpetrating it. DoC claims that the 70 million possums in New Zealand eat about 300 grams each of foliage each day,resulting in a whopping 21,000 tonnes of vegetation being consumed daily. What they do not tell us though is the forests of this country produce about 300,000 tonnes of new vegetation daily. The economics do not make any sense either.The New Zealand Conservancy Authority states that the economic costs attributable to possums is estimated to be between $40 million and $60 million per year. Yet over $130 million is spent each year by State,private individuals and businesses on control.Not much benefit in something that uneconomic,or in the costs to game hunters and food gatherers who face a standdown time of 6 months or more,and the considerable risk of contaminated meat,and the considerable costs to farmers directly and indirectly of aerial spreading of such a toxic poison on and near their properties – including in some cases whole farms – with no compensation for their loss. There are three main limits to possum populations in any given area; in decreasing order these are dry nest sites, food supply and (to a much lesser extent) play areas. Possum populations cannot go beyond these natural barriers, so despite DoC claims to the contrary, they simply cannot explode without control. In fact, many areas of New Zealand do not have any possum control, without any of the adverse effects that DoC claims they should experience. Further, concern about damage done to endangered species by possums is more than offset by the damage done by 1080 itself. The argument over the use of 1080 shows once again the problem of a lack of private ownership. To control a pest on government land, the government tramples on the rights of everyone – no matter how ineffective the control, or how toxic the chosen pesticide. But governments always favour blunt instruments, in complete disregard of the damage they cause. The use of 1080 itself should not be banned.What should be stopped is the widespread use of 1080 whether a landowner consents to it or not.
1080 use should be controlled because of the downstream effects on almost everything, including invertebrates, birds and fish – and all those good things that hunters like to shoot.There’s no need for a ban, however, because widespread private ownership and rigorous common law would effectively do this anyway, as a responsible property owner would have trouble guaranteeing no harmful effects to other property owners. What needs to be emphasised is that in free countries free people own the land, not the Government. It’s the government’s ownership of land that causes the conflict, not the possums.
Time to come clean Glenn and spill the beans!
By ‘Fairfacts Media’ NO MINISTER While John Armstong raises the issue of trust concerning National, what about New Zealand First and Liarbour? We have seen Winston Peters performing more pirouhettes with the English language than those young Chinese dancers I saw in TV last night. But now Owen Glenn is to co-operate with the Serious Fraud Office. Indeed, Owen Glenn has been at the centre of much murkiness and scandal in recent years. He has bankrolled the Labour Party, now New Zealand First and for what? Both organisations certainly shafted him when it suited them. But Labour Party president Mike Williams say he will get the begging bowl out for more. Some of that odour has wafted back to Glenn too. But here is a chance for him to come clean and explain just exactly what happened, how much he
donated; to who, when and why and into which bank account or trust fund. It will be uncomfortable for Winston and Uncle Helen too, but as the Hive notes, such a move will earn the respect of New Zealand. It might even force an early election!
Media on Henry and Peters
By David Farrar KIWIBLOG The NZ Herald reports: The immediate past president of the Bar Association, Jim Farmer, QC, says the Law Society could be interested in the way Mr Henry is paid. … Mr Henry told the committee that none of Mr Glenn’s $100,000 was used to pay for the $40,000 paid to Mr Clarkson’s solicitor for the costs settlement in March 2006. How can he know this? If $100,000 from Glenn went into Henry’s bank account and he paid $40,000 to Clarkson from the same account, then it is all mixed in together. Possibly the $100,000 went into his business account and he paid the $40,000 from his personal account – in which case that conclusion would be more warranted.This would be the correct way of doing it, as the $40,000 Henry paid is not a tax deductible expense. It was not a debt he owed, so he should have paid it out of his after tax income, not his pre-tax income. And while they are not issues for the Privileges Committee, I have received expert advice that the $40,000 payment was a gift to Peters and should have had gift duty paid on it by Henry. If Henry failed to pay gift duty on it, then Peters is liable for the gift duty. Dr Norman raised the question of the $40,000 costs and said yesterday he had received a tip-off that it
could be an interesting line of questioning. He said the $40,000 payment was more clear-cut than the Owen Glenn donation.“It’s absolutely black and white.” Mr Peters had a personal debt and Mr Henry paid for it, he said. “If you have got a debt and someone pays it for you then you should declare that someone had paid it, even if you don’t know who did. Russel Norman is quite correct that the $40,000 is black and white compared to the other issues. “There is just some pool in which debits and credits seems to float. It’s incredible – in the order of hundreds of thousands of dollars both ways – and it is very hard to prove anything.” One question is why is it done in this way? Why not set up a legal trust with some trustees to fundraise for the legal bills? Have Winston declare his beneficial interest in the trust. That is how Nick Smith did it, and would seem to be a far more appropriate way to do it. Dr Farmer described the relationship as“extremely unorthodox”. Being paid by some third party [Owen Glenn] and the client not knowing was unheard of, he said. So was the personal payment of $40,000 by Mr Henry. “I think it might be of concern to the Law Society,” Mr Farmer said. “Is it right for a barrister to receive $100,000 from a third party where there has never been a fee note rendered to the solicitor instructing him? I would have thought the Law Society would have real concerns about that.” The president of the Auckland District Law Society, Keith Berman, said it was also very unusual. “The issue which is uncertain is whether Brian is
22 August 2008
The value of teaching Latin to young children
By Lucyna Maria NZCONSERVATIVE o – s – t – mus – tis – nt ~ Latin verb endings for memorisation I started teaching my children (boys, ages 7&11) Latin from the start of this year using Memoria Press’s Prima Latina for young children. It’s very basic Latin which could almost be a bit too young for my older child, but I thought that it would be far easier to teach the same thing to two children and that it would be a gentle lead-in for my older child who really didn’t like to work too hard. A few weeks back we started really getting into the grammar rules for types of words. Not having learned anything like this at all myself beyond passing references to nouns, verbs, etc, I’m finding that the classical approach to learning for younger children looks to be very beneficial.The idea is that they memorise (dirty word in modern education!) facts so that they are easily assessable in their minds when they need them. I’m finding in teaching of grammar facts, for example, as they relate to Latin, that I do not have them readily assessable at all, and therefore I’m having to memorise them myself in order to spot-grill my kids on what they remember. So I can see the massive advantage they will have over me in the future in having these facts readily available as our study of Latin increases in complexity. I was prompted to write about the concept of memorisation and how handy it will because of the following passage from an article by the lady who designed the Latin course we are using. “More than a decade ago, I began to try my hand at the forgotten art of teaching Latin grammar to students in grades 3-8. I knew that middle and high school students learn English grammar with much difficulty and little success,yet up until the 20th century students regularly completed the much more difficult Latin grammar before high school. How could this be? Were students a lot smarter in the past? “The key to this riddle is found in the nature of the two languages (Latin and English) and in the inherent difficulty of understanding grammar by analyzing one’s own language. This problem was pointed out years ago by R.W. Livingstone: “In English, grammar study is artificial, we know the language already and have no real need to dissect it; while in Latin we must master the grammar in order to understand the language at all, and the study is therefore spontaneous. Again, if our object is to train exactness of thought, modern languages are far inferior to Latin, which has, in a unique degree, in a degree no modern language exhibits, that logical quality of which so much is said in these discussions. He (the Roman) disciplined his thought as he disciplined himself; his words are drilled as rigidly as were his legions, and march with the same regularity and precision. Modern languages, and English most of all, are lax and individualistic; in our grammar, as in our politics, we are nonconforming, dissenting, lenient...; we have almost as many exceptions as rules..In the ideal language, law is supreme; Reason governs its grammar and the expression is exactly measured and fitted to the thought which it expresses. Latin is such a language.” “Since grammar is the study of the structure of language,the best subject for that study is a language that is a model of organization, logic, and discipline. Latin is such a language and its study teaches grammar in a way no other language can.When English
grammar is learned side by side with Latin grammar, it produces a level of understanding and mastery far surpassing anything that can be achieved by the study of English alone. It also makes the separate study of English grammar unnecessary.” It really struck in me in reading the whole article that exactness of thought and ability to really get to the core of problems and how to fix those problems is woefully missing in modern times. Could it be that in order to improve everything requires that we get back to basics? But what basics? Ah, for the answer to THAT question, you need to read the following article: The Lost Tools of Learning: “I will say at once, quite firmly, that the best grounding for education is the Latin grammar. I say this, not because Latin is traditional and mediaeval, but simply because even a rudimentary knowledge of Latin cuts down the labor and pains of learning almost any other subject by at least fifty percent. It is the key to the vocabulary and structure of all the Teutonic languages, as well as to the technical vocabulary of all the sciences and to the literature of the entire Mediterranean civilization, together with all its historical documents.”
handling money on behalf of a client or just receiving money in payment of a bill. But as I understand it, he doesn’t issue a bill.” Interesting issues indeed. Tracy Watkins writes in the Dom Post: But Mr Henry’s disclosure that he personally paid the $40,000 in court-ordered legal costs against Mr Peters means it could be considered a gift. Mr Peters and Mr Henry were at odds over who made the payment, with Mr Peters suggesting he had paid it himself. How can you not know whether or not you paid $40,000 to Bob Clarkson? If it was $400 maybe, but $40,000?
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22 August 2008
Iraq no longer most dangerous place
Matt Thompson / INVESTIGATE
Iraq has been knocked off its perch as the most dangerous place on the planet, as fresh violence spills out across the Middle East, Pakistan and South East Asia. Twin suicide bombings at Pakistan’s main military weapons plant north of Islamabad early this morning killed a reported 70 people and wounded 90 others, officials said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, CNN reported. The blasts occurred during a
shift change near the gates of the military arms factory in Wah, near Rawalpindi where Pakistan’s military is based.The report said the ordnance plant has about 20 industrial units with up to 30,000 employees involved in making artillery, tank, and anti-aircraft ammunition for the military. It was the second such attack since Monday’s resignation of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. A suicide bomb attack Wednesday, claimed by the Taliban, near
the emergency entrance of a hospital in Dera Ismail Khan in North-West Frontier Province killed 32 people and wounded dozens more. In the past three weeks, hundreds have been killed in fighting between Pakistani security forces and hardline Islamist fighters. Meanwhile, a suicide bombing outside a police academy in Algeria left at least 43 people dead this week, authorities said. Dozens more people were reported injured and the death
toll could wind up higher, The Daily Telegraph reported. While no group had claimed responsibility, the attack resembled the previous works of alQaida in the Islamic Maghreb, the British newspaper said. The blast in Issers, which occurred as dozens of young people lined up to take an entrance test, was the deadliest terrorist strike in Algeria in two years. In Sri Lanka, at least 29 Tamil rebels were killed and 35 others were wounded in combat by
government troops in northern Sri Lanka as security forces advanced into rebel-held areas, a military spokesman said. The fighting was reported in the Vavuniya and Mullaitivu areas, more than 300 kilometres north of the capital. The army has recaptured rebel areas in the eastern and northwestern regions of the island during the past two years. Army Commander Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka said more than 9,000 rebels and 1,700 soldiers have been killed during that period. Closer to home, in the Pacific, a Philippine Army officer was wounded yesterday in fresh clashes with Muslim secessionist rebels in the country’s south, where 102 people have been killed and nearly
150,000 displaced since last week, a military report said. The fighting erupted when patrolling soldiers encountered about 30 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao province, 930 kilometres south of Manila. Fighting was ongoing and soldiers were using mortars and howitzers to flush out the rebels, the military report said. MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim expressed regret over the escalation of hostilities between government troops and the guerrillas. RELATED STORIES: Investigate magazine sent journalist Matt Thompson up to the Philippines in 2005. His first report can be found here while his second report seven months later is here.
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TEHRAN – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has advised the leaders of European countries and the US not to yield to Israel’s demands and never count on its support because “We will witness dismantling of the corrupt regime in a very near future.” Ahmadinejad made the remarks in the sixth conference held on the occasion of“World Mosque Week”in Tehran. Referring to Israel, the Iranian leader described it as the main cause of all corruption and wickedness in the contemporary era, adding that the Zionism is the most complicated political and social scheme which has ever taken place.The writers in
the West accept the fact that supporting the Holocaust is tantamount to backing the identity of the Zionists, he said, according to the state-run IRNA news agency. The Zionists who administer the affairs are not high in number but they have adopted a very complicated method in the world, he said. Zionists are the most isolated group in the world but through media propaganda they try to indicate that it is others that are isolated, he said. Zionism has lost its philosophy of existence because they dreamed of seizing Nile to Euphrates but they have been urged to build a wall around themselves.
22 August 2008
Grim search for cause continues Madrid – Rescue workers recovered the last two bodies from the Spanair plane crash site at Madrid’s Barajas airport this morning, rescue workers said as the difficult process of identifying the victims began. Benjamin Olivares, head of the airport’s fire department, said the bodies were those of an infant baby and an adult. The find did nothing to change the previous official death toll of 153, but now the search for any further victims could be halted, he said. Spain’s deputy prime minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said that so far 39 of the dead have been identified. Fifteen of them have been handed over for burial. De le Vega was speaking after a crisis meeting of the Spanish cabinet this morning at which it was decided that an office to help the relatives of the victims would be set up. There were 19 survivors of the original passenger and crew total
of 172 on board the MD-82 plane. A Red Cross spokeswoman said the identification of bodies would take time.“Many of the bodies are so charred that identification will only be possible with the help of DNA analysis,”she said. A temporary morgue has been set up in an exhibition hall in the capital to facilitate the process. Specialists of the Federal Criminal Police Office are to help Spanish authorities to identify bodies, the German Foreign Office said today. Spain had accepted an offer by the German government overnight, a spokeswoman said. She did not confirm whether German victims were amongst the dead. The Spanish government later said 14 foreigners had died in the crash,including five Germans,two French citizens, and citizens from Italy,Turkey,Bulgaria,Brazil,Mauritania, Gambia and Indonesia. Experts have begun attempting to find the cause of the worst Spanish air disaster in 25 years. The Spanair aircraft apparently
burst into flames and broke up immediately after takeoff. Spanair flight JK5022, which was cross-listed as Lufthansa LH 2554, had been bound for Spain’s Canary Islands. Spanish Transport Minister Magdalena Alvarez said that the flight had had technical problems prior to takeoff,and that the pilot had already aborted one attempt at departure.The minister did not say what the technical problems involved. Spain’s El Pais newspaper reported that a fire in one of the aircraft’s engines may have caused the crash. Spanish media said air crash investigators have recovered two black box flight recorders and would study the data for clues to the disaster. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero called a three-day period of mourning and visited the scene where relatives were being brought in by special flights to identify the dead today. Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia also expressed con-
Cause and risk of crash Where accidents occur 5%
On ground, taxiing
Causes of fatal flight accidents since the 1950s:
Mechanical 11% failure Weather
Climbing to cruise altitude
Descent and approach Landing
NOTE: 3% of crashes happen due to other reasons
Source: Boeing, www.planecrashinfo.com Graphic: Jutta Scheibe, Junie Bro-Jorgensen
dolences for the victims. Air traffic meanwhile returned to normal at Barajas airport. Spanair is facing financial dif-
© 2008 MCT
ficulties, with its Scandinavian parent company SAS reportedly trying to find a buyer for the ailing airline. Spanair was in the
process of reducing staff by a third and shrinking its number of routes. – DPA
School linked to tube bombers got big donations LONDON – A school linked to the young men who carried out the London Transport bombings got thousands of dollars in donations, the BBC reports. Money from Children in Need was given to the Leeds Community School in West Yorkshire between 1997 and 1999. But the British network reported the school was in the same building as the Iqra bookstore where two of the bombers worked. Martin Gilbertson, a former employee of both the school and bookstore, said money given to the school was used to make
Obama over the top.A rising star in the Democratic Party with a reputation for bipartisanship, Kaine is also a national co-chair of Obama’s presidential campaign. Obama is expected to name his vice presidential pick by Sunday, NZT, via text message and email to supporters. Some pranksters have been sending fake messages announcing the decision in past days, according to CNN. Other possible running mates include Delaware Senator Joseph Biden, the 66-year-old chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee;Evan Bayh,52,a popular senator and former governor of Indiana and; Bill Richardson, 60, a former UN ambassador and the governor of New Mexico. “I want somebody who’s independent, somebody who can push against my preconceived notions and challenge me so we have got a robust debate in the White House,” Obama told USA Today.
Obama mum on running mate, fast losing ground to McCain Washington – Barack Obama said this afternoon he has made up his mind on who to pick as his vice presidential running mate, but the world will have to wait for his official announcement in the coming days. “That’s all you’re going to get out of me,”the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee told the newspaper USA Today,adding that“we had some great choices.” Speculation over who Obama will pick as his running mate has reached a feverish pitch in the last few days. One of the top prospects,Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, joined Obama on the campaign trail today. Obama is in the middle of a two-day swing through southern Virginia, which has become one of the most hotly contested states in the country this election season. Kaine, 50, joined a rally that played up Obama’s economic policies in the southern town of Chester. Virginia has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson in 1964, but an influx of left-leaning and younger voters into affluent northern suburbs near Washington over the past years has put the state back into play. Obama trounced his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the state’s primary in February and has led in opinion polls against Republican rival John McCain. A current average of state opinion polls by realclearpolitics.com puts McCain ahead of Obama by 0.6 percentage points. Kaine, elected governor in the state in 2005, could help put
propaganda videos and on vacations for paramilitary training. He said the school received almost $500,000 from the Leeds City Council and charities such as Children in Need. Four young Muslims from the Leeds area set off bombs on underground trains and a city bus in London July 7, 2005, killing 52 passengers and themselves. Two weeks later, four almost identical bombings were attempted but the explosives failed to detonate and no one was killed.
RUNNING MATE: One of the top prospects is Virginia Governor Tim Kaine who has joined Obama’s campaign.
Obama’s brother found in tin shack Nairobi – Barack Obama’s halfbrother George Hussein Obama has been discovered living in tin shack in a Nairobi slum, the Italian version of Vanity Fair reported. Obama shares the same father with the 26-year-old George, who lives in Huruma, a slum on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital. Senator Obama’s father, the late Barack Obama Senior, was from the village of Nyang’omaKogelo in western Kenya. Obama Senior fathered Barack while in the United States, but left when the young Obama was two to return to Kenya. Despite his heritage, Senator
Obama has only visited Kenya a handful of times, the last visit coming in 2006. George Obama said he has met the senator only twice – once in 2006 and once when he was a small child – and that he would not be asking for any help from his famous half-brother. “I don’t even tell people that I am related to Barack Obama, I don’t want people here to be harassing me because they think I have money or influence,”George Obama told Britain’s Daily Telegraph. The Obama camp were yet to comment on the story. – DPA
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22 Augustâ€‚ 2008 said China is number one when it comes to holding mass performances in which thousands perform synchronized, highly choreographed movements. â€œI think other than North Korea (and China), no other country can achieve this in the world,â€?Zhang said. Zhang said he managed to get more than 15,000 people to perform various dances and moves at the National Stadium, or â€œBirdâ€™s Nestâ€?through a lot of hard training and strict discipline â€“ something he doubts he could accomplish in Western countries. â€œForeigners admire this.This is the Chinese spirit. We can make our human performance reach such a level, through hard and smart work. This is something many foreigners cannot achieve,â€? said Zhang. He was referring to the difficult task of getting so many people to move at just the right moment and in just the right way. director Zhang Yimou has told a For example, in one segment of Chinese newspaper. the three and a half hour show, In an interview, Zhang, who around 900 soldiers stood under is top director of the Olympicsâ€™ movable type cubes and followed opening and closing ceremonies, orders on when to raise the cubes
Western socialists are weak, says Chinese official Beijing â€“ Chinaâ€™s spectacular opening ceremony could not have been achieved in the West because labor unions and regulations would have got in the way,
to construct the Chinese character forâ€œharmonyâ€?and depict Chinaâ€™s invention of printing. Getting foreign performers to do the same would be very difficult, Zhang said. â€œI have conducted operas in the West. It was so troublesome. They only work four and a half days each week. Everyday there are two coffee breaks and no overtime work at all. There cannot be any discomfort, because of human rights. This can really worry me to death,â€?said Zhang. â€œWow, one week, I thought I should already have rehearsed it (the program)very smoothly, but they could not even stand in straight lines.You could not criticize them either.They all belong to some organizations.They have all kinds of institutions, unions.â€? China does not have independent workersâ€™ unions and Chinese performers can withstand discomfort, Zhang said. â€œWe can work very hard, can withstand lots of bitterness. We can achieve in one week what they can achieve in two months,â€? Zhang said. â€“ DPA
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Washington â€“ A key gauge of US economic performance dropped by 0.7 per cent in July, the sharpest slowdown in nearly a year and a sign of continuing weak growth in the worldâ€™s largest economy, according to a private survey released today. The New York-based Conference Board also revised slightly its leading economic indicators of the last two months. June figures were reported level and Mayâ€™s index fell 0.1 per cent â€“ in both cases an upwards revision of 0.1 per cent. Only three of the boardâ€™s 10 different measures of economic performance improved in July.The
decline was led by ongoing drops in the housing sector, stock prices and unemployment claims. The Conference Boardâ€™s index gauges economic performance over the coming three to six months. Economists had forecast a decline of only 0.2 per cent, according to the Bloomberg financial news agency. US economic growth has slowed to an average of 1.4 per cent annual rate in the first six months of the year. The board said its index decline â€œsuggests that the risks for further economic weakening in the near term remain elevated.â€? â€“ DPA
Israel under fire for digging Amman â€“ The Jordanian government today urged the worldâ€™s major powers to put pressure on Israel to halt its excavations at the Magharebah Gate in East Jerusalem, which the Jewish state captured from Jordan in the 1967 war. Foreign Minister Salah Bashir met at his office for this purpose with ambassadors of the UN Security Councilâ€™s five permanent member states, European Union countries and Islamic states accredited to Jordan, according to an official statement. â€œThe minister asked the concerned countries to employ their ties with Israel and international forums to urge it to stop taking any unilateral measure in Jerusalem that could change its legal status, including the planned con-
struction of a bridge at Magharebah Gate,â€?the statement said. Bashir said that Jordan â€œrejected such a unilateral step because it runs counter to the relevant UN resolutions which consider (East) Jerusalem an occupied city.â€? The minister told the envoys that Jordan had already contacted the Israeli government over the issue and urged a cessation of all unilateral steps in the holy city which could only â€œenhance tension in the region and derail peace moves.â€? Under the peace treaty which Jordan concluded with Israel in 1994, the Jewish state acknowledged Ammanâ€™s right to look after all Islamic and Christian holy places in the holy city. â€“ DPA
22 August 2008
Formula One resumes this weekend
Wayne Drought / NZPA
Erakovic’s first round US Open opponent named Wellington, Aug 22 – New Zealand tennis No 1 Marina Erakovic will face France’s Pauline Parmentier in the first round of the US Open. Erakovic’s form has taken a hit since her efforts at the French Open and Wimbledon pushed her into the world top 50. Last week the 20-year-old Aucklander was eliminated in the first round of the Olympic Games, suffering a 5-7 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 loss to Japan’s Ayumi Morita, a player ranked 96 places below her own 49th World Tennis Association (WTA) ranking. This week Erakovic had another first round loss when she was beaten 7-6 7-5 by American Jamea Jackson at the Forest Hills Classic in New York. Parmentier, who is ranked No 47 in the world, was also eliminated in the first round of the Forest Hills tournament, in which she was first seed. If Erakovic beats Parmentier in the first round of the US Open, she faces a possible clash with Russian Olympic champion Elena Dementieva. Meanwhile, another favoured entrant in the US Open faces strong Russian opposition as well. Serbian Ana Ivanovic, who won the French Open and was second at the Australian Open, has recently returned to the top spot in the world women’s tennis rankings. She’ll begin next week against Russia’s Vera Dushevina, ranked 61st in the world. She also has potential meetings against seventhranked Dinara Safina – yet another Russian – in the quarterfinals.Americans – either fourth-seeded Venus Williams or seventh-seeded Serena Williams – could meet Ivanovic in the semifinals. The Williams sisters, who met for the Wimbledon title, could play each other in the quarterfinals. Jelena Jankovic, a countrywoman of Ivanovic’s
who was briefly No. 1 this month, opens her U.S. Open against Coco Vandeweghe.Third-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova and fifth-seeded Elena Dementieva – two more highly-ranked Russians – are in Jankovic’s half of the draw. Last year’s U.S. Open women’s champion, Justin Henin, retired last May and isn’t back to defend the title. In the men’s draw, new world No. 1 Rafael Nadal will open next week’s U.S. Open against a qualifier but may have to face fourth-ranked David Ferrer before reaching the finals. Nadal will be seeded No. 1 at a Grand Slam event for the first time as he rode wins this year at the French Open,Wimbledon and the Olympics to the top of the rankings. He supplanted Roger Federer, who had been No. 1 for a record 237 consecutive weeks. Nadal’s shot at a third Grand Slam title this year could be tough as he has potential match-ups against local favorite James Blake, ranked ninth in the world, in the quarterfinals and Ferrer in the semis. There is also that potential final rematch with Federer, whom Nadal beat at the French and Wimbledon finals. Federer, who has lost four of his last eight matches, could go against third-ranked Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.They met in last year’s U.S. Open final, which ended in Federer’s 12th Grand Slam title. Federer opens his U.S. Open draw against Maximo Gonzalez. If the draw plays to form, Djokovic would go against eighth-seeded Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals before that date with Federer.
Valencia, Spain – Britain’s Lewis Hamilton will be hoping his strong record on street circuits will give him the edge when Formula One makes its debut in Valencia this weekend. Hamilton goes into the European Grand Prix leading the drivers’ championships as Formula One ends a three-week break to arrive on a newlydesigned circuit on the Spanish coast. The Mediterranean and city harbour will provide a dramatic backdrop for the 5.440-kilometre circuit, an unknown quantity which is expected to be both fast and demanding for the drivers. McLaren-Mercedes driver Hamilton heads to Spain atop the drivers’standings on 62 points, ahead of defending champion Kimi Raikkonen (57) and Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa (54). He has been impressive on all the urban tracks this season, winning in Australia and at Monaco, and leading in Canada before crashing into Raikkonen in the pit lane. The 23-year-old Briton said this week the priority would be to keep picking up points rather than focus absolutely on winning. The last race in Hungary saw Massa in charge until he was grounded by engine failure three laps from the end to scotch a victory which would have given him the lead in the standings. “That made it really clear to us all how important it is to finish races and pick up good points,”Hamilton said this week. “So, much as I want to win in Valencia, I know the most important thing is to score well because the big picture is the championship and not just once race.” Although a city course on the Mediterranean, Valencia will provide little comparison with a street race like Monaco.With 25 corners, many wide and sweeping, around the America’s Cup marina, it is expected to offer several potential opportunities for overtaking. Hamilton’s team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, who won his first F1 race in Hungary, said:“It looks pretty fast, to be honest.You get used to street circuits being quite slow, with lots of slow-to-medium-
speed corners and very short straights, but this is almost the opposite.” Ferrari hopes the track could be to its benefit, and despite some indifferent results recently, Massa and Raikkonen go into the 12th of the season’s 18 races confident they can overhaul Hamilton. “This season shows that you should never give up. There were some races where things didn’t go well for one reason or another, but I was able to collect some precious points,”Raikkonen said. “My position after Hungary is better than it was before the race. We haven’t lost anything, but we need to get better results consistently.” The fact thatValencia has joined the calendar,providing a second race in Spain this year after Barcelona,is in no small part down to the F1 boom triggered by two-time world champions Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard, hoping for a first podium place this season with Renault, has been encouraged by a fourth place in Hungary. “It’s always a special feeling to race in front of my countrymen and I’m really looking forward to it,”he said. “In Barcelona we were having a strong race when I had to retire, but I hope this time I can get a good result as the circuit will be new for all the drivers.” The first practice sessions, which begin tonight New Zealand time, will be particularly important for the teams as they come to terms with their new surroundings. – DPA
THAI, now Smooth as silk to Samui.
Lee advances to quarter finals at US amateur Wellington, Aug 22 – New Zealand’s Danny Lee blasted into the matchplay quarter finals at the US Amateur golf championship today with an impressive 7 and 6 win over American Connor McHenry. After McHenry bogeyed the par four, first hole and Lee sank back-to-back birdies on the second and third holes, the 18-year-old was three up after three holes in the third round of the tournament at the Pinehurst No 2 course in North Carolina. New Zealand golf high performance manager David Graham, who was with Lee, praised the Rotorua golfer’s game, saying today’s performance could not be faulted. “It was really just a great display of golf today,
he played fabulous -- there’s not much else to say,” Graham said. “He drove the ball straight,he really controlled his trajectory on his iron shots, hit the ball into the right spot of the green and holed a bunch of putts.” Earlier in the day, Lee had a 5 and 4 win over American Jacob Burger in the second round. “He was six under this morning through 14 holes which is just something else around here,”Graham said. Speaking about his performance Lee told US media: “I am really confident and played very aggressively today. Everything is working for me right now.” – NZPA
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22 August 2008 RIGHT: Christian Prochnow Christian Prochnow (L) from Germany and eventual bronze medalist Bevan Docherty come out of the water in the men’s Triathlon event at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Bernd Thissen /DPA BOTTOM RIGHT: Bronze medalist Nicholas Willis celebrates with his medal during the medal ceremony for the Men`s 1500m Final in the National Stadium during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Jens Buettner / DPA
Gold medalists Georgina and Caroline Evers-Swindell. KOSECKI/IMAGO/ICON SMI
Bronze medalist Mahe Drysdale is assisted to the medal dais after his punishing final. KOSECKI/ IMAGO/ICON SMI
LEFT: Hayden Roulston taking part in the Men’s Individual Pursuit Qualifying at the Beijing Olympics / UPPA/ZUMA/ ICON SMI BOTOM LEFT: Olympic 2008 Award Ceremony. Left, David Calder and Scott Frandsen both Canada. The Olympic gold medalists Drew Ginn and Duncan Free both Australia. Nathan Twaddle and George Bridgewater both New Zealand. XINHUA/IMAGO/ICON
TOP: Sam Bewley, Hayden Roulston, Ryan Marc & Jesse Sergent New Zealand Mens Team pursuit final Olympic Stadium / ALLSTAR PHOTOS BOTOM: Gold medalist Valerie Vili celebrates after women’s shot put final at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest, during Beijing 2008 Olympics. Valerie Vili claimed the title of the event with 20.56 metres. XINHUA/ZUMA/ICON
22 August 2008
TV & Film
BORN IDENTITY Los Angeles, (UPI) – U.S. actor Matt Damon and wife Luciana say they’ve welcomed their third daughter into the family, named Gia Zavala Damon. Gia was born Thursday at an undisclosed location, a publicist for the couple said in a statement given to People Magazine. Everyone’s doing great, Damon spokeswoman Jennifer Allen told People. She is a healthy baby girl.The newest Damon child joins 2-year-old Isabella in sharing Matt and Luciana as parents, while the couple also is raising Luciana’s 10-year daughter by a previous marriage, Alexia. The magazine said Damon, 37, and Luciana, 32, met in Miami Beach in 2003 while he was filming the comedy Stuck on You, tying the knot in December 2005 in New York City.
Helen Hunt returns to the limelight with Then She Found Me Then She Found Me
0Director: Helen Hunt 0Cast: Helen Hunt, Bette Midler, Colin Firth, Matthew Broderic 0Length: 100 minute 0Rated: M (for offensive language & sexual references) We haven’t seen much of Helen Hunt in recent years. That’s by choice, she says – her choice, not Hollywood’s. “I’ve been home with my daughter, which is where I want to be,”she says while at the Miami International Film Festival. And it turns out, that raising her little girl, Makena’lei, was great preparation for the next big thing in this Oscar-winner’s life – directing. Hunt used her stay-at-home-mum time to co-adapt, prep, cast and direct her first movie, Then She Found Me, in which she also stars. It’s about a woman who longs to have a baby, whose new marriage has just collapsed, and who, at that moment, suddenly meets her smothering, comical birth mom (Bette Midler) for the first time. “Being a mother and a daughter, the subject of this novel (by Elinor Lipman) grabbed me, right off,”Hunt, 44, says.“Mothers and daughters, that’s pretty rich territory to cover.” It dawned on her as she pulled the film together how much her newest job – motherhood – was great training for sitting behind the camera. “‘I’m listening to you.I need you to do this.’These are things mothers say. Gently.That’s what directors do.” She nurtured the project and called in a few favours (Matthew Broderick, a co-star, was an old friend). Hunt has been trying to get the film made and into theatres for nearly 10 years, she says.After others took a shot at the script, she made last draft alterations herself.At some point, it dawned on her that she didn’t want anybody else to direct it. “It sounds like I’m being rhetorical, but it actually would have been harder to tell someone how I imagined this than to direct it myself,” she says. “That’s one of the reasons I ended up acting in it
myself. I had so little time and so little money to make this movie that I didn’t have time to work with two actors in each scene, to work around two actors’ schedules for rehearsals.” She is the daughter of Gordon Hunt, a Canadian director, and started out as a child star, so she certainly was at home on a set, and knowledgeable about the job. Her years in the business have shaped her on- and off-camera persona into someone not unlike some of the characters she played in Mad About You or even As Good as It Gets. The lady likes control.That rep is turning up in the mixed reviews of Then She Found Me. “Hunt gives herself more close-ups than Norma Desmond (and Barbra Streisand – no small feat),” Robert Wilonsky sniffed in The Village Voice. Others have found a mothering empathy in Hunt’s debut behind the camera. “Actors directing themselves,”NewYork Observer critic Rex Reed wrote.“Not always a good idea, but this time you go away impressed.” Hunt is happy to see the film finally finished, hap-
I don’t think I had a desire to direct just to direct. It’s much too big of a headache to take on unless you really care about the project. I enjoyed a more direct relationship to the story
pier to see it finally released.The years in the making didn’t scare her off directing, either. She had her chance to keep acting, to use her peak years as an actress to further making her mark by performing in other people’s movies. But with rare exceptions (a small part in Bobby, a role on TV’s ensemble miniseries Empire Falls), she chose to stay at home, be a mum and plan her own movie. “If I had been playing a lot of different roles ... it would have been nice, on the one hand,”she says. “But on the other, I wouldn’t have been forced to sit down and pull this story from someplace inside me. So I think this worked out the way it was supposed to work out. “I don’t think I had a desire to direct just to direct,”Hunts adds.“It’s much too big of a headache to take on unless you really care about the project. I enjoyed a more direct relationship to the story. As an actor, you have a certain ownership. But at the end of the day, the director puts what he or she wants on the screen. Not you.” – By Roger Moore
Judge: Labels must consider ‘fair use’ San Jose, Calif., (UPI) – A U.S. judge says record labels cannot order YouTube users to remove videos featuring their music unless they can show it’s not a legal fair use. In what is being considered a victory for individual computer users over corporate music copyright holders, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel of San Jose, Calif., ruled Thursday that music companies cannot issue blanket orders to remove YouTube videos unless they first determine if each video is using the copyrighted music in a way that’s legally permissible, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday. The case stems from a 2007 incident in which Universal Music Corp. ordered a Pennsylvania women to remove a YouTube video of her 13-month-old son dancing to the Prince song Let’s Go Crazy. Universal ordered YouTube to remove the video and nearly 200 others involving Prince compositions. The woman sued, saying she was within the fair use provision of a law giving companies the power to issue takedown orders.Consumer groups have long argued record labels abuse their power to order YouTube video removals and do not consider whether they’re being used legally. Fogel agreed, saying the law is intended to prevent the abuse of takedown notices, the Chronicle reported. France bans Baby TV cable channels Paris, (UPI) – French television authorities say they’ve banned programming aimed at toddlers and babies as possibly hurtful to small children’s development. The issue arose earlier this year with the advent in France of two U.S. channels, BabyFirstTV and Baby TV, which feature programming geared to children under 3 years old. On Thursday, the French High Audiovisual Council ruled to ban such programming in order to protect children under 3 from the effects of television, The Times of London reported. In issuing the ruling, the council quoted health experts’ warnings that interaction with other people is crucial to early child development, the newspaper said. Television viewing hurts the development of children under 3 years old and poses a certain number of risks, encouraging passivity, slow language acquisition, over-excitedness, troubles with sleep and concentration as well as dependence on screens, the ruling said. Guy Oranim, chief executive of BabyFirstTV, said he respectfully objects to the council’s ruling, contending the channel is meant to be watched together by parents and babies, not used as a baby-sitter.
22 August 2008
collectively, to serve the role artists have served historically.” Crow was among the first pop artists to take a visible stand against the Iraq war, and her devotion to topics such as green activism has been well chronicled. Still, amid the personal trauma of 2006, it had been a while since she’d channeled such passions into her work.The“Detours”songs were written in stream-of-consciousness gushes late at night, often around Wyatt’s feeding schedule -“a wholly inspired creative environment for me, a very prolific time,”she says. Politics remains tricky territory for popular artists, particularly in an election year. But Crow scoffs at worries she might turn off portions of her audience, trusting that her fans have given her leeway to speak her mind. “Not to sound too harsh, but with this record I’m not concerned who I’m going to lose or pick up,”she says.“Because everything felt more urgentthe environment, a war based on deception.And in general, across the board, people in America have become comatose or dulled out by the immense amount of information that’s out there. I had to take a leap of faith that a lot of people are feeling the way I’m feeling.” That spirit has made its way into her live show, which features an expanded stage band and revamped arrangements of her older material amid the “Detours”songs. “It feels bigger and grander, and goes to a more dramatic place,” she says. “I’m really enjoying playing the new stuff. It’s a collection of very intense songs, and it actually even intensifies the old stuff.” Crow still shakes her head sometimes when she looks back on her success. She never expected“Tuesday Night Music Club”to catch radio programmers’ ears, let alone become one of the biggest albums of the 1990s. Her self-piloted career - which found her taking the production reins on subsequent albums - helped set the stage for what would become a surge of female singer-songwriters later that decade. She says she’s flattered by young artists who continue to cite her as an important influence, and through it all, she has resolutely tried to avoid falling into stardom’s common trap. “Throughout time, you have artists you really love who are so great in the beginning,” she says, “and as they get older and richer, they start making music that’s a little flat and not as inspired. I Club.”The new record finds Crow taking stock, filled don’t want that.” with the sorts of broad protest themes and naked Though she has finally put to rest persistent personal introspection that would feel at home on rumors that she’ll be joining Fleetwood Mac for an early ‘70s John Lennon record. touring and recording, 2008 will remain bustling That’s not unfamiliar territory for Crow, who for Crow, who plans to perform at fund-raisers for points to the social commentary of earlier work Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. such as “Soak Up the Sun” and “All I Wanna Do,” In addition to a new song,“So Glad We Made It,” the deceptively sunshiny breakout hit that she now written and recorded for NBC’s upcoming Olymsays was a snipe at the cultural emptiness of the pics coverage, she’s just put the final touches on her early 1990s. Still, with its pacifist pleas and anti-con- first-ever Christmas album, due for release in the sumerism diatribes, the album takes that tendency fall.And while no recording schedule is yet in place, further than she’s gone yet. she confirms that she’ll link up again with Botrell “For me, what’s paramount is writing from for her next proper record. a truthful place,” she says.“Now I’m finding this “It’s either very sad or very telling, but music has extreme sense of urgency to cut to the core, to get become commerce.Artists haven’t really stepped up to the truth. It strikes me that there’s a real lack of and written as artists,”she says.“I’m just enjoying protest songwriters out there.What a real opportu- making that connection to the audience. I think nity this is to write about what all of us are feeling that’s what people want.” August 2008, New York City. Singer Sheryl Crow performed live on NBCs Today Show at the Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. ACE PICTURES / Kristin Callahan
Sheryl Crow gets serious about music, motherhood and making a difference By Brian McCollum Detroit Free Press
A thriving, 15-year career in the pop-rock world is a triumph.A thriving career for Sheryl Crow in 2008 is a bona fide feat. It’s been two years since the celebrated singersongwriter faced down the biggest challenge of her life: Just weeks after the breakdown of her highprofile engagement to cyclist Lance Armstrong, she was met with an out-of-the-blue diagnosis of breast cancer. It was a one-two punch that took Crow out of the public eye for several months, as she underwent surgery and radiation treatment. That was then.This is now: an adopted baby boy, an album that’s been hailed by some as her best yet, and a successful concert tour that’s scheduled to traverse the globe through year’s end. Crow, 46, doesn’t take a lot for granted now. On
the road with her is 1-year-old Wyatt, whom she adopted in spring 2007. As she speaks by phone from a tour bus in New York, he romps noisily nearby, at one point mimicking his mom by picking up a nearby handset. “You doing an interview, too?”she says to him with an affectionate laugh. Life on the rock ‘n’roll road is different these days, says Crow.A little more regimented, a lot more restrained. “He helps keep things more focused,”she says. “You stop sweating the small stuff, that’s for sure.” It’s the big stuff that’s been on Crow’s mind. Her personal renaissance transformed into a creative burst that culminated with this year’s “Detours,” an album of textured, smartly crafted pop-Americana with an assist from Bill Botrell, producer of her 1993 breakthrough,“Tuesday Night Music
22 August 2008
NEW CD RELEASES
0Alas, I Cannot Swim 0Astralwerks Never mind the British neo-soul invasion. The British neo-folk invasion starts with Laura Marling, the spookily prepossessed songwriter who seems to have absorbed a lifetime’s worth of wisdom in her haunting songs about love and death, though she’s just 18. With a cool, clear voice and spare,understated arrangements,Marlin’s songs like“Night Terror,”“Crawled Out of the Sea”and “Ghosts”recall Brit folk soulstresses such as Linda Thompson and Sandy Denny.They’re delivered with a preternatural calm,but in romantic narratives like “Tap at My Window”or seafaring tales such as“The Captain and the Hourglass,”it’s always clear that there’s trouble lurking beneath the surface. – Dan DeLuca
Jonas Brothers 0Little Bit Longer 0Hollywood
Europe’s dark days, intrigue and spies The Spies of Warsaw
0By Alan Furst 0Random House, $52 (hardback)
Rare is the novelist who gets to invent a new subgenre, and rarer still the one who coins a name for it. Since 1988, when Night Soldiers came out,Alan Furst has managed both. So far he’s written 10 Rather than think of thrillers set during the late ‘30s and early ‘40s, Nicholas, Kevin and when European intelligence agencies jostled to Joseph Jonas as Disney’s gain advantage in the war all knew was coming. newest kiddie pop heroes He calls his books “historical espionage,”a term he (not that there’s anything happily lays claim to. “I never wanted to be a Cold War novelist,”Furst wrong with kids or their pop), try to reposition the says from San Francisco, where he’s on tour protrio as part of bubblegum’s rich history.This allows moting his latest, The Spies of Warsaw.“For John the Jonas Brothers proximity to the family of fizzy LeCarre, it was always who’s betraying who, the pop that is the Raspberries, OK Go and Big Star hall-of-mirrors kind of thing. When you go back rather than ‘tween teases Demi Lovato and Miley to the ‘30s, it’s a case of good vs. evil, and no kidCyrus. Caramel-coated choruses, ever-ascending ding.When I have a hero who believes France and melodies and amped-up fuzz tones are the order Britain are on the right side, a reader is not going of the day on rave-ups such as“Video Girl”(itself a to question that.” diss on teen celebrity) and “Pushin’ Me Away.”The Furst says World War II was the“great ideological Bros might stop for a simmering trek through mid- conflict”of the 20th century. Looking back, victory tempo R&B (“Burnin’Up”) worthy of the grown-up over fascism may seem to have been inevitable, but it New Edition and heartbroken ballads (“Sorry”). was, in fact,“the great struggle,”one that determined There are heavy handed, hamfisted moments to the survival of freedom in the West. If Hitler and be found, for sure. But from the bubblegum burst his fascist allies had triumphed, he adds, the world of “BB Good” to “Lovebug,” with its journey from would be very different today. acoustic smoothie to crunching Queen-esque finale, “For one thing, I wouldn’t be here,” says Furst, “Longer” is a sweet harmony-filled ride you won’t 68.“I’m Jewish.” mind feeling childish for loving. The actual fighting of the war – the invasion of – A.D. Amorosi Poland, Pearl Harbor – interests Furst less than what he calls “the espionage war.” Lykke Li “The war took three years to get going,” Furst 0Youth Novels says.“A lot of secret services were involved. The 0LL/Warners Russian NKVD, the Nazis, the French and British and so on.” Yet the heroes of Furst’s books are seldom profesIf you’ve been charmed by sional spies.They tend, instead, to be ordinary men Lykke Li’s single“A Little – sophisticated and worldly Continentals, to be sure Bit” – her chirping, girl- – drawn into espionage through a confluence of ish voice; her appealing chance, opportunity and conscience. Casson, the accent that turns “love” French film producer in“The World at Night”(1995), into “luff”; the spacious, is one example. So is Hungarian expatriate Nicholas high-relief instrumenta- Morath, co-owner of a Parisian advertising agency, tion – the good news is in Kingdom of Shadows (2000). that the young Swede’s debut album follows suit. In real life, Furst says, some of the most important And if the song’s repetitions have worn thin or made pre-war spies were amateurs, among them three it seem like a novelty (likely Lykke Li reactions), rest film producers.The ordinary demands of such jobs assured that the rest of“Youth Novels”stretches in afforded perfect cover for skulduggery – coming different directions. Li likes pop hooks, but she also and going at odd hours, managing large sums and likes arty experimentation in minimalism. large numbers of people, having military uniforms Produced and co-written by Bjorn Yttling of and guns on hand. Peter, Bjorn & John,“Youth Novels”highlights Li’s Furst is so good at creating such characters that shy, inviting voice with sparse, precise arrangements, people often assume he’s a former foreign correoften just keyboards and drums, but also solitary spondent.That’s why he makes the distinction that horns, reggae bass, or tropical acoustic guitars. Songs he was a travel writer, primarily for Esquire, not such as the irresistibly catchy“I’m Done, I’m Gone” a journalist.“I never went out and got the story,” and the comparatively extroverted “Breaking It he says. Up”assure that Li possesses more than a little bit Instead, Furst’s early work as an assistant to of poppy inventiveness. famed anthropologist Margaret Mead – “one of – Steve Klinge the smartest people I’ve ever known”– enables the
Manhattan native to see the world through other people’s eyes.“She had incredible insight into how people conduct themselves, how they work,” says Furst.“That’s what an anthropologist is supposed to do.” For instance, in writing from Casson’s perspective, Furst says he must keep in mind not only what a French film producer would know in 1940, but also what he would not know. “That’s definitely a major part of how to write from a European point of view,”Furst says.“And I’ve spent 10 years living in Paris, reading the newspapers, being there every day, living the life the French live.That conditions you.” Another aspect of the period that attracts Furst (who now lives in Sag Harbor, Long Island) is the loss of Old Europe, and the way of life that went with it – reverence for civility, sophistication, learning, high standards of quality.“Old Europe was dying,” Furst says.“Meanwhile, a lot of people didn’t eat, so we won’t be too nostalgic for it.” Paris serves as the symbol of what was good about Old Europe, in reality as well as in Furst’s novels. When the city fell to the Germans, he says, a wave of suicides swept Poland. “Paris was the beacon, a kind of hope for Europe,” Furst says.“You could go there and live the way the Parisians lived.You could have freedom, intellectual freedom.When Paris fell, a lot of people thought life was over for them.” The French, Furst adds, did not commit suicide. “No, they tried to figure out what do we do now – they’re French!”he says. Furst’s interest in the passing of Old Europe led to his new novel being set in Poland.“Warsaw was completely destroyed by the Germans,”he says.“I wanted to show it alive and vibrant during the 1930s.” Furst’s novels attract rapturous critical accolades – he’s frequently linked with 20th century giants like Graham Greene and Eric Ambler – and they sell a lot of copies, too. He’s been called America’s “greatest living spy novelist”by The NewYork Times and The Houston Chronicle. But he never made a conscious decision to write above the usual level of popular fiction. “Struggling writers are often advised to pick a simple genre, but it doesn’t work that way,” Furst says.“Robert Ludlum, all of them, write the absolute best they can.You can’t tone it down.You just do what you do, and if it comes out literary, so be it.” – By Chauncey Mabe
The workplace: dugout or battlefield? It’s a thin line between skepticism and cynicism. It’s also a constant challenge to remain open to all possibilities, which is why ‘’trust, then verify’’is still the best policy for just about everything. Sundry business books claim to have uncovered heretofore hidden secrets to success, yet they usually describe idyllic companies that apparently function in alternate dimensions that seem very similar to our own, except that most inhabitants
exhibit genuine passion toward their enterprises and always operate in clear, unambiguous bursts of altruistic energy. I’m certainly willing to conditionally suspend my disbelief as I wade through these patently revelatory tomes, but it’s difficult to reconcile their sci-fi scenarios with my own observations and experiences in the contemporary workplace.Yet case studies of successful business operations invariably provide inspirational glimpses of the possibilities. Here are two new books that examine these brave new worlds of work, as well as the real world that many of us occupy most of the time.
Great Business Teams: Cracking the Code for Standout Performance 0By Howard M. Guttman 0Wiley (US$16.47 from Amazon)
Teamwork is important, although it usually happens for authoritarian reasons rather than as a function of unselfishness or professionalism. Guttman, a management consultant specializing in team building, examines a number of successful and notso-successful units and seeks to identify consistent threads and reasons for each. His findings can generally be expressed by the Tolstoy quote,‘’Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’’ Successful and dysfunctional work teams appear to behave in a similar fashion:The good ones empower members, share responsibilities and goals, demand accountability and perform pretty much the way you would expect, especially in high-pressure situations. The bad ones each have their own ways of screwing up just about any project, as you can imagine or, perhaps, have experienced.
Executive Warfare: Pick Your Battles and Live to Get Promoted Another Day
0By David F. D’Alessandro 0McGraw-Hill (US$16.47 from Amazon ) D’Alessandro,author of“BrandWarfare”and“Career Warfare,”continues his series of combat tales with this volume of business battles. Some people can play nicely, while others will gleefully shove a shiv in your posterior just to break up a dull day or for other, even less prosaic reasons. Some executives act in ways that suggest more humane traits, or at least enlightened self-interest. D’Alessandro recounts all with gusto and humor. Greed, venality, duplicity and occasional acts of kindness and maturity during a variety of mostly typical business settings are colorfully depicted, followed by D’Alessandro’s pithy observations. Usually the best parts of books like this are the anecdotes, and “Executive Warfare” is thankfully unencumbered by excessive pontification and interminable reflection, making it an enjoyable and interesting repository of worldly wisdom.And worldly it is. D’Alessandro’s battle tales will echo with familiarity for anyone who has functioned for more than a few days in most earthbound corporate environments. – By Richard Pachter
22 August 2008
Merck denies Vioxx study was a marketing stunt Laparoscopic surgeons who played video games were 27 percent faster at advanced surgical procedures, and made 37 percent fewer errors, compared to their non-gaming colleagues, the study found
Video games not all bad – new studies Playing video games improves manual dexterity among surgeons, making them faster and less likely to make mistakes, US researchers said. The findings were contained in a raft of research about how video games effect the people who play them, discussed at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in Boston. “The big picture is that there are several dimensions in which games have effects,”including their content,how they are played,and how much,said psychologist Douglas Gentile of Iowa State University. “This means that games are not ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but are powerful educational tools, and have many effects we might not have expected they could.”
Gentile presented several studies on video games including one involving 33 surgeons specialising in laparoscopy, the use of a thin lighted tube to inspect and treat various conditions in the pelvic and abdominal cavities. Laparoscopic surgeons who played video games were 27 percent faster at advanced surgical procedures, and made 37 percent fewer errors, compared to their non-gaming colleagues, the study found. Studies involving high school and college students confirmed previous findings about the social effects of playing violent video games,the Iowa State researchers said.Students who played violent games were more hostile, less forgiving, and more apt to view violence
as normal,than peers who played non-violent games. But students who played“pro-social”games got into fewer fights at school and were more helpful to other students, the researchers reported. Yet another study,at Fordham University,measured the effect of learning a new video game on problemsolving skills in middle-school-age children and found that“playing video games can improve cognitive and perceptual skills.”“Certain types of video games can have beneficial effects improving gamers’ dexterity as well as their ability to problem-solve – attributes that have proven useful not only to students but to surgeons,”the researchers found.
NEW YORK – A new study asserts that a 1999 Vioxx clinical drug trial sponsored by Merck & Co. was done to support a marketing campaign, U.S. researchers said. “You hear people talk about it, but I’ve never seen anyone ... formally admit to it,”Arthur Caplan, a University of Pennsylvania bioethicist told The Wall Street Journal this week. The 1999 drug study included roughly 5,500 patients, the Journal reported. The new study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, includes quotes of Merck documents. One says the drug trial was designed and executed in the spirit of Merck marketing principles, the Journal reported. The authors, including lead author Kevin Hill, a psychiatrist from McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., are paid consultants working for lawyers who are suing Merck over Vioxx, linked to increased risks of heart attacks and stroke. Hill said patients in drug trials, need to know what they’re risking their health for. The company, finalizing a US$4.85 billion class action Vioxx settlement, denied their study was a marketing ploy. “This is a trial that had good, scientific merit and was judged by the editors of the Annals when they accepted it for publication,”Jonathan Edelman of Merck Research Laboratories told the Journal. – UPI
US lawmakers move against genetic testing by employers, insurers By Diane Stafford Kansas City Star
If you have the breast cancer gene, is an employer justified in not promoting you to a key job out of fear that you’ll get sick? If you have diabetes, controlled by medication, should an employer be able to find that out and not hire you in assumption your health insurance costs will be high? If sickle cell anemia runs in your family, is it fair to deny your participation in the group health insurance plan at work? I recently dug into a thick file labeled “Genetics as employment issue,” a topic I’ve written about periodically since 1998. The file chronicles explosive scientific advances in genetic testing and a 10-year congressional history of proposals to ban use of such information in employment and some insurance decisions. In 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007, Congress considered such a law.This year, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 passed and is scheduled to go into effect in 2009. The U.S.Chamber of Commerce and the Society for Human Resource Management said that the law was unnecessary and that the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act provided the same protections. Attorneys for employers said it opened up another cause of potential litigation from unhappy workers or job applicants. Proponents in the medical and civil rights communities disagreed. The National Society of Genetic Counselors, the American Society of Human Genetics, the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Partnership for Women & Families, and dozens of organizations that exist to educate and support people with genetic-influenced diseases delighted in the bill’s passage. It is, they said, a case of federal law keeping up with medical advances rather than waiting for indi-
vidual court cases to make piecemeal policy when be increased.Also, insurers can request genetic inforworkers or insurance applicants allege they were mation to resolve claims of individual enrollees.) discriminated against. What exactly does“genetic information”mean in But, more than that, proponents say, the law may the context of the law? help save lives and provide early diagnosis and treatIt covers an individual worker’s genetic tests, the ment. Currently, nearly 1,200 genetic tests exist to genetic tests of his or her immediate family memhelp people know if they have or may be likely to bers, and a family history of disease or disorders. have certain diseases or disabilities. It refers to any information obtained from Doctors have reported that patients forgo such analysis of DNA, RNA, chromosomes, proteins or testing for many reasons. Some don’t want to know. metabolites that detect genotypes, mutations or Some can’t handle the costs. Others fear the infor- chromosomal changes. mation will be used against them by employers or Will the law encourage people to get tests that insurance companies. could help save, extend or improve the quality of It’s the third concern that’s addressed in the new their lives? law.As of November 2009,it will be illegal for employWill the law prevent employment or insurance ers,agencies or labor unions to buy or ask applicants discrimination based on genetic information? or employees for genetic testing results. As with so many complex issues, and especially If they get such information, they’re supposed to in respect to employment decisions that can almost keep it confidential and separate from other employ- always be attributed to something other than a ment files and not use it to make hiring, promotion, charged act of discrimination, the answers will be firing, compensation or other employment decisions. yes ... and no. The law also bans insurance companies from buying or requirHealthy Living ing genetic information to make eligibility or premium decisions for group health plans that take Sweet, natural and rich in some nutrients, raisins would seem effect on or after May 21, 2009. to be a perfect healthy snack, but they may have a drawback. Under the law, group health plans and insurers will not be Yes! Maybe not able to require individuals to • Sticky sugars may promote • Very low in fat; no undergo genetic testing, and the tooth decay; they may also inhibit cholesterol use of genetic information for growth of tooth decay bacteria* • Contain natural pre-enrollment underwriting *Has not been resolved; dentists advise simple sugars brushing and flossing teeth regularly purposes will be prohibited. • Fiber 2 g It also prohibits group health • Iron 1 mg • Potassium 320 mg plans from changing contribution or premium amounts for the group based on genetic information. NOTE: Figures are for a small box, 43 g (1.5 oz.) (Once a health plan enrollee © 2008 MCT Source: Pediatric Clinics evidences a disease, though, preof North America, U.S. Agriculture Department existing exclusions can continue to Graphic: Helen Lee McComas, Melina Yingling apply,and group premium costs can
Are raisins really health food?
Breastfeeding may help mothers lose weight A U.S. study suggests exclusive breastfeeding promotes greater weight loss than mixed feeding among mothers, even during the early postpartum period. University of Georgia researchers Irene Hatsu, Dawn McDougald and Alex Anderson investigated the effect of infant feeding mode on maternal body composition.They measured the weight and changes in body fat among 24 mothers who were 19-42 years old. Results showed that mothers who exclusively breastfed lost the most weight, most likely due to breastfeeding’s high energy cost. Our results provide further evidence that exclusive breastfeeding promotes greater weight loss than mixed feeding among mothers, even in the early postpartum period, the scientists said. This suggests there is the need to encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed as a means of overweight and obesity prevention. The research is reported in the International Breastfeeding Journal.
SCIENCE & TECH 17
22 August 2008
The personality of machines participants stated having enjoyed the interactions most when their respective interaction partners displayed the most human features and accordingly evaluated their opponents as being more intelligent
Hamburg – Next time you kiss your car when it starts on a cold day, or you curse your computer when it crashes – you may be relieved to know that it is only human nature to regard inanimate objects as sentient beings like yourself. Scientists in Germany say our minds are hardwired to interact with other human beings to such a degree that our minds just work better when we subconsciously think of objects in our environment
as having human minds of their own. To study how people perceive humanoid machines and attribute mental qualities to them, a team led by Soeren Krach from the RWTH Aachen University, in Germany, in cooperation with the Department of “Social Robotics” (Bielefeld University) and the Neuroimage Nord (Hamburg), observed the brain activity of a group of 20 subjects while they played a computer game against increasingly
human-like machines – a regular computer notebook, a Lego-robot and a humanoid robot – and finally, against another person. The results showed that neural activity in two areas of the brain related to mental attribution increased in parallel to how closely the gaming partner resembled a person. The subjects also reported they enjoyed the game most when their opponent looked most like humans – and they thought those gaming partners were the most intelligent, too. The results clearly demonstrated that neural activity in the medial prefrontal cortex as well as in the right temporo-parietal junction linearly increased with the degree of “human-likeness” of interaction partners. In other words, the more the respective game partners exhibited human-like features, the more the participants engaged cortical regions associated with mental state attribution/mentalizing. Further, in a debriefing questionnaire, participants stated having enjoyed the interactions most when their respective interaction partners displayed the most human features and accordingly evaluated their opponents as being more intelligent. This study is the first ever to investigate the neuronal basics of direct human-robot interaction on a higher cognitive level such as mentalizing. The findings,reported in the journal Public Library of Science,quoted the researchers as saying they expect the results of the study to impact long-lasting psychological and philosophical debates regarding humanmachine interactions and especially the question of what causes humans to be perceived as human. –DPA
Marine worm may hold secret to space travel By Christopher Hinton MarketWatch
NEW YORK – In the rock pools along the North Atlantic lives a worm that may hold a clue for aerospace engineers looking for stronger, lighter materials to build aircraft that can fly greater distances and burn less fuel. The ragworm, also called a clamworm or Nereis virens by the scientists who study it, has a unique set of pinchers that it uses to tear apart food and fight off predators. Fascinating to researchers is that the pinchers have a high concentration of zinc, which is usually deadly to organisms in large amounts. Ragworms’ pinchers and jaws are also rich with histidine, an amino acid found in certain proteins. Together, the zinc and the histidine form an incredibly
strong composite with a hardness comparable to that of aluminum or titanium alloys, but at only half the weight by volume. “If you use only polymers that are presently available, you can’t approach the stiffness or the hardness that’s available in the jaws,” said Herbert Waite, a biochemist and professor at UCLA Santa Barbara, and one of the researchers. Such characteristics have garnered interest in the aerospace field, where stronger and lighter materials have helped to boost a plane’s flying distance and cut its fuel consumption. Boeing Co.’s latest wide-body plane, the 787 Dreamliner,is built with advanced carbon-fiber polymers in its wings and fuselage that will help cut fuel consumption by 20 percent. If researchers can figure out
how to fabricate the material on large scale, it could be used in future aircraft to help boost distance and fuel efficiency even further. NASA has shown particular interest in the scientists’ work; Waite said he has been asked to speak at Ashland Inc. and Hughes Research Laboratories LLC, a think tank operated by Boeing and General Motors Corp. How long it will take before the material can reach production stage is difficult to tell.“Everyone is impatient to get to the final project, but I’m arguing the more you understand how biology creates, the better you can create a mimic in industrial applications,” Waite added. A full article on the research results was published this year in Biomacromolecules.
Study: Elderly smarter than young guns Hamburg – Intelligence can increase in old age and many pensioners are mentally fitter than 20-yearolds who do little to increase their mental faculties, according to psychologist Dr Siegfried Lehrl from the University of Erlangen in Germany. Quoted by the women’s weekly Brigitte, Lehrl said that especially the brain’s capacity to gather knowledge and life experience increases over the years. “Intelligence does not age. It develops,” he said. Lehrl said recent research had surprised scientists when they found that a group of elderly people had a high level of activity compared to a group of young people who had performed well below the average at the same time. The German magazine, Spectrum of Science, reported similar findings, saying that the speed and precision with which thought processes and problems were solved slowed down during old age while abilities related to knowledge and life experience could be maintained or increased over time. The magazine, however, emphasized that intellectual abilities and cognitive processes developed differently with strong individual disparities, especially when it comes to maintaining abilities during old age. –DPA
22 August 2008
Success alters U.S. Iraq tactics
U.S. Navy hospitalman provides medical aid to a young Iraqi boy during a security patrol in Hit, Iraq / DEFENSELINK
A U.S. soldier hands out toys to children in Diyala province, 65 kilometers north of Baghdad, Iraq. UPI Photo/ Ali Jasim
Iraqi children gather around as U.S. soldier patrols the streets of Al Asiriyah, Iraq/ DEFENSELINK
By Richard Tomkins
BAGHDAD – U.S. forces are continuing on the offensive against Shiite extremists and al-Qa’ida remnants in Baghdad despite the dramatic drop in violence, but the way they do so is undergoing a transformation. The hard-edged aggressiveness of combat operations just a few months ago is being replaced with a seemingly softer, hearts-andminds practice. Searching suspect neighborhoods, soldiers who sometimes kicked in doors and gates in the push to root out extremist gunmen and their supporters now knock and request permission to enter for a conversation and search for illegal weaponry unless a terrorist is believed to be hiding in it. Civilians, especially children, shooed away during patrols of muhallas (neighborhoods) are now encouraged to stop and chat. Soldiers trained for combat are becoming ombudsmen, social workers, aid workers and reconstruction project managers in the effort to make Baghdad’s neighborhoods inhospitable areas for gunmen who may attempt to re-infiltrate the capital. Overall, attacks of all kinds in the Baghdad area in July fell for the third consecutive month. In July, for example, there were 95 incidents. In April there were 740 compared with 1,150 in July 2007, according to the U.S.Army’s 4th Infantry Division. The number of vehicle-borne explosive attacks last month was just one, resulting in six casualties, as opposed to 42 attacks and 186 victims in July 2007. Nonetheless, Iranian-influenced Special Groups – offshoots of antiAmerican cleric Moqtada Sadr’s Mehdi Army – remain a long-term threat to the security of Iraq and its people.The Special Group gunmen are keeping a lower profile at present, but are still not adhering to the cease-fire reached May 12 between Sadr and the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, officials said. Al-Qa’ida in Iraq, although seriously degraded, can’t be written off either.
“AQI’s attack levels show they don’t have the capability they once had,”Col.Allen Batschelet, chief of staff of the 4th Infantry Division, said recently.“Are we concerned about them coming back? We are always concerned about terrorist activity or individuals who want to do bad things in Baghdad. “We’ve been very aggressive in and around the city.” The instrument of that aggressiveness is as before – soldiers patrolling neighborhoods and districts.The difference is that U.S. combat troops are taking on roles more like those of policemen and social service and reconstruction officers as the United States tries to make Baghdad communities inhospitable places for extremists to reassert influence. Staff Sgt. Robert Rollheiser and the men of Echo Company, 1st (combined arms) Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment are typical of the effort. In April and May the company of combat engineers sought out and destroyed scores of improvised explosive devices in southern Sadr City while fending off snipers as part of operations to erect a security barrier in the area.Today they’re visiting neighbourhoods, knocking on doors and combing markets looking for extremist holdouts. “We’re going back to the market in Muhalla 343 and stir things up a bit,”Rollheiser said during a pre-mission brief at Combat Operations Post Callahan in Baghdad’s Sha’ab district.“We know the leaders of (the Mehdi Army) and the Special Groups have run, but there are others left who are coming into our district.We can’t catch them all. We can’t kill them all. But we can make their lives difficult.” Sha’ab is near Sadr City, the Shiite slum in northeastern Baghdad that was the stronghold of Sadr’s militia and the Special Groups until U.S. and Iraqi forces took and held its southern section after extremists attacked government checkpoints in April and May. Iraqi forces later pushed into Sadr City proper under a cease-fire agreement with Sadr and promptly began mopping up holdout extremist cells. The market Echo Company patrolled was a crowded and sprawling mix of single-story shops and stalls selling everything from fresh food to small appliances and sundries. Rollheiser said his first inkling that
extremists were attempting to infiltrate the market-area muhalla to escape the Iraqi army mop-up in Sadr City came in interaction with residents. People who earlier would come up and chat openly with the Americans suddenly started showing more reserve – hesitancy – in their public interaction. People, he thought, were again afraid of who was watching. Echo Company soldiers passed out Arabic fliers in the market appealing for information about suspicious activity. Other leaflets had photographs of wanted terrorist suspects. Both had hot-line telephone numbers to Iraqi security forces and coalition troops. Rollheiser also made great fanfare of looking at a photograph in his hand and then peering intently at the shoppers and stall owners. Occasionally he’d show it to someone and ask,“Ever see these guys? They’re criminals, they blow up children.We want them.” Rollheiser obtained the photograph during an earlier raid on a home of an extremist gunman. The home had been disclosed by a Sons of Iraq volunteer neighborhood guard.The picture showed four men relaxing outside a hookah shop. Rollheiser knew the odds of someone knowing one of the men and telling where he was last seen were slim, but holding the picture and then scanning faces in the crowd would get the word out that the Americans were not just looking for Mehdi Army and Special Group extremists but were looking for specific ones and had photographs of them. Pressure, he said, was the name of the game. Rollheiser left the market with directions to the hookah shop. It would be visited and then watched.A patrol by Echo Company later in the evening to a nearby neighborhood also proved a success. At least five illegal AK-47 rifles were confiscated. Although Iraqis are allowed one AK-47 per home by Iraqi law, those who live east of the Tigris River in Baghdad are not. Other units from COP Callahan were equally busy doing population engagement while performing other tasks. Delta Company checked an industrial area where explosives and components for improvised explosive devices had been found days earlier, then handed out fliers in a nearby neighborhood and scouted out open, garbage-strewn spaces in another area for a possible park-building project. Civil affairs officers met with businessmen over U.S. military grants to start businesses. Other units patrolled the streets with Iraqi security forces in the lead or gave advice on operations and procedures. “It’s a more secure environment, but extremists are still present and the troops remain on guard,”Rollheiser said. As well they should. A Humvee from Delta Company struck an IED one evening last week while on patrol. There were no injuries, but the vehicle was damaged. On Monday a pipe bomb was found near the main entrance to COP Apache in Adhamiya, and an IED was found in a pile of garbage elsewhere. “We’ve got five months to go before we head home,”Rollheiser told his men before a mission.“This is not the time to get bored.This is not the time to get sloppy.” – UPI
22 August 2008
Pocket-size Scotland: Sheltered island has highlands, lowlands and tranquility By Mary Ellen Botter The Dallas Morning News
ARRAN ISLAND, Scotland – Like a roadside fruit stand, the tangle of bushes offered delectable freshness: blackberries as big as bumblebees, as dark as night and as sweet as days on this island. Locals call it brambling: stopping to pick the berries beside Arran’s narrow roads.And we stopped, too, filling a napkin with juicy goodness. It was just one small pleasure on a small island well-stocked with them. This chip off the Scottish mainland is barely 30 kilometres long and 16 km wide. Though pocket-size, it offers much that its parent does: highlands and lowlands, rocky shores and sandy beaches, golf and hiking, wildlife and prehistoric stone circles, an elegant castle and good food, moors and heather-painted mountains. “Arran’s got everything,”says Jean Blair, a Blue Badge guide and my companion in exploring the island off Scotland’s southwest coast. Still, she says, it would be possible to circle Arran by car in about two hours. We have no plan to speed-tour.We’ll allot nearly two days, and, in the end, we’ll leave sights unseen. There’s no getting lost on Arran (ARE-un). One road rings the island, rising and dipping across the land like a theme-park kiddie coaster.Two cross-island roads connect the east and west coasts. All are narrow and flower-flanked. But not everyone drives, as we do. Some visitors with strong legs rent bicycles and pedal the perimeter. Others with even tougher thighs hike to the summit of 900 metre Goatfell for a view stretching to the Irish coast, or trek numerous marked trails on the island’s mountainous northern end and its pastoral southern side. From the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry dock in Brodick, we motor south to Whiting Bay and settle into the art deco Invermay B&B before treating ourselves to dinner at the all-but-next-door Trafalgar Restaurant, an Arran favorite. Owner Wolfi Kroner is as much Trafalgar’s entertainment as he is the host and waiter. Aproned and witty, he joshes with guests, his lightheartedness belying the serious goodness of the dishes prepared by wife and co-owner Ge-Ge Kroner. The vegetable soup is satiny with cream, garlic butter perfumes meaty prawns, and scallops are as tender as I’ve ever eaten. Morning comes gently, pinking the sky before the sun glides upward into low clouds.The tide has come and gone while the village slept. Invermay’s breakfast is a heaping plate of eggs, two kinds of sausage, bacon (British-style slabs), sauteed mushrooms and tomatoes, and toast.Afterward, I waddle to the post office to mail a parcel, and Lucy, the mutt on duty, watches benignly from behind the counter. Even an island can have its islands, and Arran is no different. From Whiting Bay, we see the humps of Holy Island, lately a Buddhist retreat partly accessible to the public via ferry. Farther down the coast, a pretty white lighthouse identifies low-riding Pladda Island. I spot crafts shops, and, if time allowed, I’d nose among the ceramics, jewelry and art created on Arran – these in addition to the cheeses, chocolates, whiskey, leather goods, ice cream, beer and bath products island entrepreneurs offer. But we’re headed away from the lowlands toward the mountains and a step back in time. More than five millennia ago, Bronze Age settlers came to the coast, fished the waters and somehow lugged massive granite boulders and pillars to the high meadows to create ceremonial circles.‘Why’remains a mystery that we ponder as we hike a half-hour off the ring road to the Machrie Moor sites. Along the way, a white-painted farm gleams in a sunbeam, its sheep like fat polka dots on the pastures. I stop among the gorse bushes, tufts of sheep’s wool tangled in their spikes, and listen to the wind. It’s a soothing sound those prehistoric people surely heard, too, and I wonder whether they chose this highland for its serenity, beauty and cupping mountains splashed with heather’s purple. The walk justifies a snack, and we stop in the tearoom of Shiskine Golf Club for fragrant, crusty scones. Shiskine is one of seven courses on Arran, and it’s unusual because it has only 12 holes. Its perch above the coast makes it scenic and challenging. Fortified,we make the short trip to BalmichaelVisitor Centre,a working farm where shops,a coffeehouse and a potter occupy some of its stone buildings,and outdoor activities include picnicking,archery,golf and an opportunity for a look at hairy, rusty-red Highland cattle.
LEFT: The upright granite pillars at the largest Machrie Moor stone circle are nearly 7 metres tall. The site on Arran Island, Scotland, was created by prehistoric islanders. Its purpose is unknown. BELLOW: A picturesque line of a dozen connected houses in Catacol on the northwest shore of Arran Island, Scotland, is called The 12 Apostles. Mary Ellen Botter/Dallas Morning News
IF YOU GO
Caledonian MacBrayne offers year-round service from Ardrossan on mainland Scotland to Brodick. Summer service (to late September) links Lochranza and the Kintyre Peninsula. Fares vary. Contact: www.calmac.co.uk.
0Where to stay:
We take the cross-island String Road back eastward to Brodick and its extraordinary castle.While the 13th-century portion is barely visible, the elegant Victorian tower and other additions are open for guided tours.The rooms’furnishings are intact, down to family photos and other touchingly personal items.All are as they were at the death of the Duchess of Montrose in 1957, and all were taken by the government in lieu of death taxes.As sad as that might seem for the family, it’s rare that such a time capsule is available to the public. The castle’s walled and woodland gardens and 10 miles of walking paths, including the Goatfell trailhead, frame this singular look into nobility’s lifestyle. To reach Arran, yachtless vacationers cross the sheltered waters of the Firth of Clyde or Kilbrannan Sound aboard car ferries that link the island to Ardrossan 55 minutes east or the Kintyre peninsula a half-hour north. We’re on the road by 8 the next day to catch a morning ferry from Lochranza.We early birds catch not worms, but wildlife: red deer grazing serenely at the edge of the ferry terminal’s parking lot.A flock of sheep toddles down the road to see what’s for breakfast, and as the ferry takes us to Kintyre’s hilly finger, I consider that Arran has infused these creatures with calm – and has done the same for me.
Arran has numerous lodgings, including the more- upscale Best Western Kinloch Hotel in Blackwaterfoot (www.bwkinlochhotel.co.uk) and Auchrannie House Hotel, Spa Resort and Country Club (www.auchrannie.co.uk) in Brodick. I chose the simple but comfortable Invermay B&B in Whiting Bay. Contact: 0064-44-1770-700431; http://guide.visitscotland.com. (Click on B&B/Guest House, then click on “2 Stars” under Guest House.) For more lodging options: http://guide. visitscotland.com (click on Isles).
0Where to eat:
Trafalgar Restaurant, Whiting Bay; 011-44-1770-700396. Reservations recommended. Kinloch Hotel, Blackwaterfoot, 0064-44-1770-860444. Tearooms, hotel restaurants and cafes islandwide.
Many villages have crafts shops or art galleries, including Whiting Bay and Lamlash. Duchess Court on the highway at Brodick includes Arran Aromatics (herbal products) and a cheese shop. Torrylinn Creamery at Kilmory. Cheeses for picnics.Shiskin Golf Club, on String Road. Pro shop for gear from a 12-hole course.
Tourist information center in Brodick: www.ayrshire-arran.com. Coastal Way walking routes, Arran: www.coastalway.co.uk. www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk (click “South West Index” on the map), www.visitbritain.us (search “Arran”) www.scotlandinverness.co.uk/arran.htm. • Driving atlas: www.a-zmaps.co.uk (search “Scotland Visitors’ Atlas”). • Jean Blair, Blue Badge guide: www.scotlandtouristguide.co.uk
8 August 2008
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