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Thank you kindly for the post and link for 7/7

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TONY

are they dancing in the streets now?
Reader comment on article: Did It Change Us? 9/11, five years later.

Submitted by Donald O, Sep 11, 2006 at 22:42

yes, we heard the bells go off like clockwork to commemorate the time each attack was struck and the tireless mini-documentaries for 9/11 til we're blue in the face with it...

But did we hear of the same time [5 years ago] when they [the peaceful ones] began to dance in their streets and celebrate with joy when the news reached their neighborhoods?

No, just a slight oversight eh? Just trying to be fair. After all, they are the fastest growing religion inthe USA. I think the USA is still sleeping and will needs a few more 9/11's before they really wake up. Sorry to say.


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North Korea occupies some 120,540 square kilometres of land - an area roughly five times the size of Wales - on the northern part of the Korean peninsula.

Capital city Pyongyang is by far the largest population centre. The total population is about 23 million with most major towns and cities located in coastal lowland regions.

Much of the country is arid and mountainous, with only 16% suitable for agriculture. The highest point is Mount Paektu - the official birthplace of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

Heavy industry exists across the country, but most plants are rundown and inefficient after years of underinvestment.

Manufacturing output is geared to the demands of the massive armed forces. Few factories produce consumer goods and those North Koreans who can afford them rely on imported second hand items from China and Japan.



North Korea: land use map


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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammer6

North Korean soldiers patrolling the border with China
Agreement on a UN resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea is "very close," says the US envoy at the UN.

It's eventually goin to happen via either or the nutter's in the east.......But not to worry as we have our NEW...ELITE....J.N.B.C.R..(joint nuclear, biological,chemical weapons regiment) don't we! Who apart from imalgimating some of our best  as per.... are a ready and awaiting ...happily in the NNAFI...right noo... to hose us down with their billions o pounds o equipment ...oops..i mean.....WATER!!....noo it's either the water..or...300 feet doon.......either way i'd safely say we're DOOMED! ,xxxma
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HOD ON A MINUTE, BUSH AND BLAIR INVADED IRAQ BECAUSE THEY "THOUGHT" THEY HAD WEAPONS OF MASS DISTRUCTION.THEY "KNOW" THAT THE KOREANS HAVE THEM BUT THEY ARE NOT INVADING THEM.HAVE I MISSED SOMETHING OUT OR HAVE THEY JUST BEEN MADE TO LOOK LIKE A LOAD OF MUPPETS? WHY CANT THEY JUST TELL US THE DAMED TRUTH, DO THEY THINK WE ARE ALL THICK, DO THEY NOT REALISE THE AMOUNT OF UNREST THEY ARE CAUSING.READING INBETWEEN THE LINES IF THE USA DONT KEEP GETTING A STEADY SUPPLY OF OIL THEY WILL GRIND TO A STANDSTILL, TO WHICH I HEAR A LOT OF YOU SAYING "SO" I THINK THE PROBLEM MIGHT BE THAT IF THE USA DOES GRIND TO A HALT THE GLOBAL ECONOMY MIGHT JUST GRIND TO A HALT WITH IT.THE HYDROGEN PLAN MIGHT NEED TO GET FASTRACKED QUICKER THAN THEY ANTICIPATED, IF THEY RUN OUT OF ARMS, WHICH THEY MUST BE AFTER BLOWING THE SHIT OUT OF IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN THEN THIS WILL MEAN THAT ASIA MIGHT THINK THE WEST IS VULNERABLE, ASIA IS THE BIGGEST THREAT TO THE WEST NOT IRAQ OR THE TALIBAN, USA DOES HAVE A HELLUVA LOT OF WARHEADS THOUGH, ARE THEY GOING TO USE THEM AGAIN, WILL THERE BE ANY RETALIATION? ANY BODY KNOW ANY FACTS? 

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Hi MCGUINNESS, I hope this helps you understand a little more......I will get anything in my power that you ask for so for the time being here are the FACTS:

 

They went and did it

Underground_nuclear_testIt's just before noon, a misty early autumn day, and I'm waiting to cross the road opposite City Hall in central Seoul. A lot of policemen are standing around, and the lights are taking an unusually long time to change. Suddenly there's a buzz of motorbikes and black-windowed limousines with little Rising Sun flags flapping. It's Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, just arrived after his rather successful summit meeting in Beijing.

I walk to the bank and change my Indonesian rupiah (the left overs of last week's holiday money) into Korean won. Then back around the corner to meet Dr Andrei Lankov, a North Korea expert from Kookmin University, for lunch. "Did you hear?" he says. "They've gone ahead with the nuclear test."

It's not a surprise (although I hadn't expected it this early). And yet, stepping back a yard or two, how remarkable - that a country like North Korea, a starving, maimed wreck of a country, should have become a nuclear state. From the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France, down through Israel, India and Pakistan, and now - North Korea. It's like a nuclear armed Cambodia or Albania. Whatever you think of Kim Jong Il, what an amazing thing he has achieved.

How this happened and what happens next will be picked over for years, and I'll be writing more soon. Here's my brief instant reaction, largely based on my conversation with the admirable Dr Lankov, and a few thoughts to bear in mind while picking your way thorugh the self-righteous and inane guff that is already spewing out of CNN et al.

In the next few months there will be endless and tedious tough talking about how bad BAD BAD the Norks are, and what a spanking the "international community" is going to give them. There will be probably be an attempt at sanctions, but they won't make any difference. Nothing the rest of the world can do will make any difference.

There is nothing anyone can do about North Korea's nuclear test.

A military attack, and the bloody war which would follow, is out of the question - because of the opposition of the South Korean public and government (as well as the US public). Even a focused commando style raid is impossible, because nobody knows where the remaining warheads are hidden. A naval blockade won't achieve very much because North Korea has minimal maritime trade. Even if economic sanctions are imposed they will hurt ordinary people, but not bring down the government. Ten years ago, perhaps several million North Koreans died in a famine. If that failed to bring down the government, nothing the west can engineer will succeed.

In any case, Russia and China don't want the government to fall because they (understandably) fear the consequences - refugees, chronic instability, an East Asian Iraq on their door step. They will play along with sanctions for a while, but not agree to anything that looks as if it might work.

The only solution is the one which the South Korean government has promoted all along (and which the US government supported until the advent of George Bush): engagement, a long, patient process of drawing the country out of its shell and enabling North Koreans to see what a dreadful - but not hopeless mess - their leaders have got them into. That's not going to happen under George Bush, under whose presidency a manageable situation in Korea has got out of control. In a sense, the government in Pyongyang is only going to change if the governmentn in Washington changes first.

More soon ...

 

 


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CHEERS ADMIN, THAT CERTAINLY PUT IT 75% INTO PERSPECTIVE. I STILL FEAR THAT CHINA/JAPAN MIGHT BE USING KOREA AS A PAWN, EVERY SINGLE ASIAN I HAVE SPOKE TO, DETESTS AMERICA/AMERICANS WITH A PASSION, THAT WORRIES ME, AS I KNOW HUNDREDS OF ASIANS FROM ALL OVER ASIA.

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Hi MCGUNNISS, Here is another one for you:

 

BEIJING, Oct. 20, 2006


Tang with Kim Jong Il
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, right, poses with China's State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan for a picture in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2006. (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency)

 



Quote:

"If the U.S. makes a concession to some degree, we will also make a concession to some degree, whether it be bilateral talks or six-party talks."


 

(CBS/AP) North Korean leader Kim Jong Il said Pyongyang didn't plan to carry out any more nuclear tests and expressed some regret about the country's first-ever atomic detonation last week, South Korean news reports said Friday.

Kim told Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan that "we have no plans for additional nuclear tests," Yonhap news agency reported, citing an unnamed diplomatic source in Beijing.

A South Korean newspaper reported Friday that Kim had told the Chinese envoy that the North would return to nuclear talks if Washington drops financial sanctions.

“If the U.S. makes a concession to some degree, we will also make a concession to some degree, whether it be bilateral talks or six-party talks,” Kim was quoted as saying by the Chosun Ilbo, which cited diplomatic sources in China.

CBS News reporter Celia Hatton in Beijing said, according to the newspaper, Kim had apologized to the Chinese government for having put them in a difficult situation by conducting the test.

"He is sorry about the nuclear test," the Chosun Ilbo quoted Kim as saying.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing told reporters the visit "increased mutual understanding. Everyone discussed how to restart progress in the six-party talks as quickly as possible." Li didn't say whether Kim took part in discussion of resuming the nuclear talks.

The apparent endorsement of talks stood in contrast to North Korea's public rhetoric, which has been stridently provocative, since the Oct. 9 nuclear test unsettled the region and set off a flurry of shuttle diplomacy to get Pyongyang to desist.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in China as part of a diplomacy push among North Korea's neighbors, met Tang on Friday.

Tang, who delivered a letter and gift to Kim from Chinese president Hu Jintao, told Rice that he returned from Pyongyang Thursday night.

"Fortunately my visit this time has not been in vain," Tang told Rice, as reporters watched, before the two officials began their latest round of consultations on the North Korean nuclear issue.

Tang's comments were the first public remarks about his trip. His mission marked the first time a foreign envoy was known to have met Kim since his regime tested a nuclear device on Oct. 9.

Earlier, Rice and China's foreign minister called for resumed talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear program and appealed to the North for restraint amid fears it might conduct a second test.

Rice and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said they agreed on enforcing U.N. sanctions imposed for the North's Oct. 9 nuclear test. But they gave no indication they agreed on tougher measures. China has been reluctant to push its isolated ally too hard for fear it might collapse.

“We hope all relevant parties will maintain coolheadedness, adopt a responsible approach and adhere to peaceful dialogue as the main approach,” Li said at a joint appearance before reporters.

Rice flew to Beijing after visiting Tokyo and Seoul on a regional tour to lobby for support in enforcing U.N. sanctions imposed on the North last week. She said she and Li discussed the importance of enforcing the sanctions to prevent “trade in illegal materials, dangerous materials.”

“We also talked about the importance of leaving open a path to negotiations through the six-party talks,” Rice said. The talks, which include the United States, the two Koreas, host China, Japan and Russia, have been stalled since late 2005.

Rice's conciliatory tone appeared to be aimed at keeping Beijing's cooperation, which is key to enforcing any sanctions.

CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey says China undoubtedly holds the strongest diplomatic card when it comes to negotiating with North Korea, due to the two countries strong economic ties and Beijing’s ability to sever them, by cutting off oil, for example.

Their reluctance to take such drastic action reflects national interests; they simply don't want the hassle of a collapsed neighbor, reports Pizzey, who adds that some analysts in the region believe the Chinese are the ones really running the show.

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26 October 2006
BUSH TROOPS CLAIM...

PRESIDENT George Bush claimed yesterday that he would "bring troops home from Iraq tomorrow" if he could.

He said the loss of 93 US soldiers in the warzone in the last month was "a serious concern" to him.

But he said implementing a fixed timetable of withdrawal of troops from Iraq would mean defeat.

Bush said: "Our security at home depends on assuring that Iraq is an ally in the war on terror."

The president also said he would be pressing the Iraqis to accept more responsibility for their own fate.

He added: "We are making it clear that America's patience is not unlimited."

 

Recent opinion polls suggest the US public are now strongly opposed to the war.


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Japan keeps pressure on N Korea
North Korean soldiers march to celebrate the country's nuclear test. File photo
North Korea said its test was a "self-defensive measure"
Japan says it will maintain sanctions on North Korea, despite Pyongyang's agreement to return to six-party talks about its nuclear weapons programme.

Foreign Minister Taro Aso said the North's decision was welcome, but added that Japan would still demand that it give up all its nuclear activities.

Agreement to restart the discussions came at a meeting on Tuesday in China.

Pyongyang has now confirmed the news, saying it wants the talks to discuss the lifting of US financial sanctions.

"It is truly welcome that the talks are set to be resumed soon, but we cannot merely celebrate, saying 'That's great'," Japan's Kyodo news agency quoted Mr Aso as saying.

"We will continue to demand that North Korea give up all its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programme."

After the North conducted its nuclear test on 9 October, the United Nations Security Council imposed new sanctions on the secretive nation.

Japan also imposed measures of its own, including a ban on all North Korean imports and a prohibition on its ships entering Japanese waters.

Financial sanctions

In the aftermath of the nuclear test, there was a flurry of diplomatic activity designed to bring the North Koreans back to the negotiating table.

KOREAN NUCLEAR CRISIS
Sept 2005: At first hailed as a breakthrough, North Korea agrees to give up nuclear activities
Next day, N Korea says it will not scrap its activities unless it gets a civilian nuclear reactor
US imposes financial sanctions on N Korea businesses
July 2006: N Korea test-fires seven missiles
UN Security Council votes to impose sanctions over the tests
Oct 2006: N Korea claims to have carried out nuclear test

Efforts were particularly focused on the Chinese, who have the most leverage on Pyongyang.

That pressure seemed to produce results on Tuesday when it was announced in Beijing that North Korea had agreed to return to the six-party discussions - which involve the two Koreas, the US, China, Japan and Russia.

Pyongyang confirmed its decision on Wednesday, adding that it would use the talks to seek the lifting of US financial sanctions. North Korea pulled out of the talks in 2005 in protest at Washington's decision to impose such sanctions.

North Korea's foreign ministry said Pyongyang had decided to return to the talks on the premise that the sanctions issue "will be discussed and settled between the DPRK (North Korea) and the US within the framework of the six-party talks".

As well as Japan, the other members of the six-nation talks all welcomed the decision to resume discussions.

US President George W Bush hailed the news, but added that it would not halt US efforts to enforce a UN Security Council resolution passed in response to the North's atomic test.

"We'll be sending teams to the region to work with our partners to make sure that the current United Nations Security Council resolution is enforced, but also to make sure that the talks are effective, that we achieve the results we want - which is a North Korea that abandons her nuclear weapons programmes and her nuclear weapons in a verifiable fashion in return for a better way forward for her people," he said.

Ongoing crisis

N KOREA NUCLEAR PROGRAMME
Map
Believed to have 'handful' of nuclear weapons
But not thought to have any small enough to put in a missile
Could try dropping from plane, though world watching closely

The six-party talks began in 2003 to find a way to resolve the crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

They appeared to make an historic breakthrough in September 2005 when North Korea announced it would give up its nuclear activities and rejoin the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

But within months, optimism crumbled as North Korea withdrew from the talks in protest at US financial sanctions, under which about $24m (£14m) of funds had been frozen.

North Korea's decision to test seven missiles in July and then carry out a nuclear weapon test on 9 October drew international condemnation.


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Is George W. Bush the worst president ever?

Last updated at 11:27am on 4th November 2006

 

George Bush

Worst president?: George Bush

The end of the Bush presidency begins next week. That's what the opinion polls predict, with hints of a political tsunami on Tuesday.

Voters all across the United States are expected to deliver a wholehearted kick in the teeth to the Bush administration and the Republicans at the mid-term elections, in which both the Senate and Congress could fall to the Democrats.

Mr Bush and his advisers know he is in deep political trouble. Within the White House this weekend they fear that the Bush presidency could unravel. George W. Bush, after 9/ 11 the most popular president in American history, may serve out two more years in office, but will perhaps no longer hold power in any meaningful way.

He famously described himself as the 'war president' and now he could spend until January 2009 as a lame-duck president, fighting off an aggressive Democrat-led Congress determined to investigate why the Iraq war has gone so terribly wrong and demanding — among other things — the head of the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

Of course, many have written off George Bush before, only to find that they have underestimated him (or as Mr Bush might say, 'misun-derestimated' him). Yet many here in Washington — Republicans as well as Democrats — believe we really are entering the twilight of the Bush presidency.

Some go further. They cheer what they hope is the beginning of the end for what they see as the worst president in American history.

If the Democrats do gain control of Congress, they will launch a blizzard of inquiries over the profound failures of American foreign policy. It won't be like the Hutton or Butler inquiries in Britain; it will be more like a re-run of Watergate. A primitive tribe will demand a blood sacrifice because things have gone terribly wrong. And they have.

In my lifetime, I have never experienced around the world and in Britain such loathing and contempt for America. It's as if the only acceptable racism in 2006 is to be anti-American.

A friend making a TV documentary on stand-up comedy told me that the one thing which unites comedians from Birmingham to the Balkans to Bombay is that wherever jokes are told, you always get a laugh at America and President Bush. Always.

The fat, lazy, stupid American caricature never fails to have audiences rolling in the aisles.

At a local school in London, I gave a talk recently on world affairs to a group of clever kids ranging in age from 14 to 18.

When I mentioned that I was concerned about a possible war with Iran over the Iranian nuclear programme, more than half the pupils said they were more likely to believe the Iranians than the Americans. Can it really have come to this?

In the sixth year of the Bush presidency, do we in Britain now have a generation of young people so contemptuous of George Bush that they are more likely to believe the Islamic fanatics in Tehran, who speak of wiping Israel off the map, than the leader of the world's most powerful democracy? Sadly, yes.

One opinion poll published yesterday found that Britons now believe George Bush poses a greater danger to world peace than either the Iranian fundamentalist leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-il, the North Korean dictator who has plunged the world into a new nuclear arms stand-off.

American diplomats — patriotic and hardworking folk — privately are desperately worried that their country's image has never been so low among people who, even during difficult political times, usually respect America and like the American people and culture.

Destroyed reputation

So where has it all gone so wrong? How could one man, one president, seemingly have destroyed the reputation of perhaps the greatest nation on earth?

Everyone associates George Bush with one phrase, summing up his foreign policy objectives. He told the world he would confront the 'Axis of Evil'. His phrase. His Axis. His Evil.

He named North Korea, Iraq and Iran. Judging Mr Bush by that standard, Americans are worried he has failed to achieve any of the major objectives he so publicly set himself.

North Korea has the atomic bomb. It has even exploded one in a test. And if this basket-case dictatorship is ever brought to heel it will not be by American diplomacy, but by the leadership of the Chinese communist party.

Then there's Iraq. What more can one possibly say? A bestselling American book describes the boldest gesture of the Bush presidency with one word: 'Fiasco.' President Bush appeared before a banner reading 'Mission Accomplished' a few years ago, but Washington's open secret — though Mr Bush will not admit it until after Tuesday's U.S. elections — is that the Bush administration is about to change course on Iraq radically.

The pragmatic American people — rather like many British people — do not spend a lot of time worrying about whether the war in Iraq is legal. They worry why it has not been won.

In U.S. warfare, winning is not the most important thing. It is the only thing. Calling yourself the 'war president' and then failing to win the war is a political error without parallel in recent American history.

Then there is Iran. An Iranian friend of mine — who despises the regime in Tehran — said to me sardonically a few months ago: 'How much do you think the Islamic Republic of Iran has paid George Bush?'

'What do you mean?' I asked.

'Well,' my friend responded, 'Bush has done more to help the regime achieve its foreign policy objectives than anyone else in 27 years.'

From the moment Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1989, after the overthrow of the Shah, the Islamic regime has wanted a few simple things: to destroy Iraq's military power, to get rid of a dangerous rival in Saddam Hussein, to extend the Shia revolution, to expand Islamic fundamentalism, and to make America look bad, as 'the Great Satan' in the Middle East.

In the course of his presidency, Mr Bush has accomplished all those goals for them. Perhaps it should be the Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who should be posing in front of a banner with the words 'Mission Accomplished'.

And so if the Democrats do win control of either House of Congress on Tuesday, all these perceived failures will be opened up to scrutiny.

The guts of the Bush administration will be laid bare on television night after night as, for the next two years, two questions dog the President: What did he know and when did he know it about Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction? And why did he prepare so badly for the aftermath of the war?

Meanwhile, with Republicans questioning the patriotism of the Democrats over the war issue, the political atmosphere in Washington has never been more toxic. Some highly partisan Democrats, who have never forgiven Republicans for what they see as the witch-hunt against Bill Clinton, will respond in kind as Bush faces his darkest hour.

Tribal hatreds

Dave Gergen, a mainstream Republican who served Republican presidents and also Bill Clinton, said recently that in his long experience he has never witnessed such tribal hatreds in Washington.

Until now, the political genius of George W. Bush has been to hold together a powerful coalition of religious conservatives, economic conservatives and what could be called 'libertarians' — Americans who don't much like any kind of government interference in their lives.

All three groups now have reasons to be unhappy. True, taxes have come down under George Bush, and the stock market is racing ahead. But house prices are in trouble and 55 per cent of Americans told a recent poll their wages are not keeping pace with inflation.

The budget deficit is the highest ever, an enormous black hole that is worrying global economists. Libertarians worry about the increased size of the American government and — with the monitoring of telephone calls, military tribunals and other Big Government measures — the growing intrusions into private lives.

Even loyal religious conservatives have had their political faith shaken by sex scandals within the Republican party and the contempt with which some on the religious Right are apparently regarded within the White House.

I should, in all this, declare a bias. Not political, but personal. I have Republican friends and Democrat friends. But my bias is that I have always loved America. I grew up with Americans. As a child, there were American children in the small village in Scotland where I was raised, the sons and daughters of U.S. service personnel who — I was repeatedly told — were helping defend us from communism.

Unlike the Scottish sandwiches of the day — thin, almost transparent ham in tasteless white bread — the American sandwich had lettuce, bacon, tomato, pickles and cheese and was more than an inch high. For me — and millions like me — America has always been that gigantic sandwich, the dream of a ten-year-old boy.

I'm confident therefore that the genius of the ordinary American people will somehow win through whatever political troubles lie ahead. But I also remember how the whole world reacted to the atrocity that was 9/11.

Nato said it was prepared to go to war. Even Yasser Arafat — though it was a convenient photo opportunity — gave blood to show his solidarity. The Queen ordered the American national anthem to be played by guardsmen at Buckingham palace. Some wept at hearing it.

An American friend, Warren Hoge of the New York Times, told me of a stiff old Englishman who, hearing his American accent on the streets of central London, gave him a thoroughly uncharacteristic embrace, declaring: 'We're with you Yanks, yet again, whatever it takes.' And as a nation we were. But are we with them now?

On Tuesday I will be in Washington DC watching the U.S. election results and reporting for News-night. Personally I don't care whether the Republicans or the Democrats lose the House or the Senate. But I do care very much about why America has fallen so low in the eyes of the world.

And for that, one man may well be held accountable next Tuesday as his nation heads for the polls.


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Saddam Hussein sentenced to death
Saddam Hussein in court as the verdict was being read

Saddam Hussein has been convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging.

The former Iraqi president was convicted by a Baghdad court for his role in the killing of 148 people in the mainly Shia town of Dujail in 1982.

His half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and Iraq's former chief judge Awad Hamed al-Bandar were also sentenced to death.

Former Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan got life in jail and three others received 15 year prison terms.

Another co-defendant, Baath party official Mohammed Azawi Ali, was acquitted.

One hundred and forty eight people from Dujail were killed as collective punishment for a failed attempt to assassinate Saddam Hussein in the town.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki hailed the conviction in a televised address, saying that the sentence was "not a sentence on one man, but a sentence against all the dark period of his rule".

Long live Iraq! Long live the Iraqi people! Down with the traitors!
Saddam Hussein, reacting to verdict

"Maybe this will help alleviate the pain of the widows and the orphans, and those who have been ordered to bury their loved ones in secrecy, and those who have been forced to suppress their feelings and suffering, and those who have paid at the hands of torturers," Mr Maliki said.

When called to court, Saddam Hussein, dressed in his usual dark suit and white shirt and carrying a Koran, walked to his customary seat and sat down.

Judge Rauf Abdel Rahman ordered him to stand while he read out the verdict, but the former president defiantly refused to do so and had to be moved from his seat by court attendants.

As the judge began reading the death sentence Saddam Hussein shouted out "Allahu Akbar!" (God is Great) and "Long live Iraq! Long live the Iraqi people! Down with the traitors!"

'Triumphant smile'

The former leader looked shocked and furious as the sentence was passed, and continued to shout, denouncing the court, the judge and the US-led occupation force in Iraq.

But the BBC's world affairs editor John Simpson said that after his tirade, which was clearly deliberate, Saddam Hussein seemed to have a small smile of triumph on his face as he was led away from the courtroom.

The verdict sparked celebration in Baghdad but protests in Tikrit

"It was as if he was thinking 'I've come here and done what I intended to do'," our correspondent said.

Shortly after the verdict was announced celebratory gunfire could be heard across Baghdad.

In the Shia district of Sadr City there was jubilation on the streets, with people driving around in cars, sounding their horns. There were also jubilant scenes in the holy city of Najaf.

The Baghdad celebrations were in defiance of a 12-hour daytime curfew banning all vehicle and pedestrian traffic which was placed on the whole city of six million people amid fears of violence from Saddam Hussein's Sunni Arab supporters.

The government cancelled all army leave and the city's civilian airport was closed.

Hometown anger

Immediately after the sentencing, violence reportedly broke out in the mainly Sunni Azamiya district of Baghdad, with machine guns and mortars being fired.

THE VERDICTS
Saddam Hussein, former Iraqi president: found guilty and sentenced to death
Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Saddam Hussein's half-brother: found guilty and sentenced to death
Awad Hamed al-Bandar, Chief Judge of Revolutionary Court: found guilty and sentenced to death
Taha Yasin Ramadan, former Iraqi vice-president: found guilty and sentenced to life in jail
Abdullah Kadhem Ruaid Senior Baath official: found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in jail
Abdullah Rawed Mizher, Senior Baath official: found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in jail
Ali Daeem Ali, Senior Baath official: found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in jail
Mohammed Azawi Ali, Baath official: acquitted

Three nearby provinces, including Salahuddin, which contains Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, are also under curfew.

Thousands of people also defied the curfew in Tikrit - but there it was to voice support for Saddam Hussein and to denounce the verdict.

Sunnis in Tikrit marched through the city, chanting "We will avenge you Saddam."

Almost three years since Saddam Hussein was captured, soaring sectarian violence has brought Iraq to the brink of civil war.

Few Iraqis think the trial verdict will ease conflict, the BBC's Andrew North in Baghdad says.

Even those Iraqis who want to see their former leader dead do not believe his execution will make things any better, our correspondent says.

Chance to appeal

Saddam Hussein and his co-defendants will be given the right to appeal, but that is expected to take only a few weeks and to end in failure for the defendants.

HAVE YOUR SAY
This is just another sad episode in the tragic drama of Iraq
Mohammed, Iraq

Many critics have dismissed the trial as a form of victors' justice, given the close attention the US has paid to it.

Before the session began, former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark was ejected from the courtroom after handing the judge a note in which he called the trial a "travesty".

Saddam Hussein's defence team have also accused the government of interfering in the proceedings - a complaint backed by US group Human Rights Watch.

And the former leader's lawyers have attacked the timing of the planned verdict, which comes days before the US votes in mid-term elections.

US President George W Bush's Republican Party is at risk of losing control of Congress, in part because of voter dissatisfaction over its handling of the Iraq conflict.


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6 November 2006
HANG HIM...

IRAQI dictator Saddam Hussein was ordered to hang yesterday for crimes against humanity.

The sentence sparked celebrations and violence across the war-torn country.

Saddam looked shaken as his execution for the slaughter of 148 people more than 20 years ago was announced.

The verdict was welcomed by the US and Britain. Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said it was "right" that Saddam should face "Iraqi justice".

The White House said it was a "good day" for the Iraqi people.

Despite a security clampdown, thousands of Shias oppressed under Saddam fired guns into the air in wild celebration.

But Sunnis in his home town of Tikrit chanted: "We will avenge you, Saddam."


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9 November 2006
REVENGE PLEDGE

PALESTINIANS vowed revenge yesterday after 22 civilians died when Israeli tanks shelled a town in Gaza.

Seven children and four women were among the dead after at least 15 rounds tore into a residential district.

More than 60 were wounded in the morning attack, which destroyed seven houses and caused carnage in Beit Hanoun.

The town was targeted after Palestinian militants used it to launch rocket attacks into Israel.

Prime minister Ehud Olmert expressed regret at the deaths and artillery attacks were suspended pending an investigation.

But Palestinian leaders called for reprisals. President Mahmoud Abbas called the attack "a horrible and ugly massacre".


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Quick guide: Iran nuclear stand-off
The United Nations Security Council is discussing whether to impose economic sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear activities.

What is Iran doing?

Iran is trying to develop the technology of enriching uranium.

This is done by converting uranium ore into a gas which is then spun through centrifuges to separate the richer parts that can be used as fuel in a nuclear power station.

Why are there objections to this?

WHAT IS A QUICK GUIDE?
Quick guides are concise explanations of topics or issues in the news.

Because this technology can also be used to spin the uranium gas for longer in order to get an even higher level of enrichment and this highly enriched uranium can be used as the basis of a nuclear bomb.

The Security Council has demanded that Iran suspend its enrichment activities while talks take place about its long-term plans.

Is Iran trying to build a nuclear weapon?

Iran says that it is not. It says it is simply exercising its right under an international treaty on nuclear weapons known as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

This bans it from developing a nuclear bomb but does allow it to develop nuclear power, including the technology needed to fuel power stations.

The UN's nuclear watchdog says it cannot "confirm the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme".

Why are sanctions being discussed?

Because members of the Security Council, especially the United States, Britain and France, do not trust Iran.

Map showing Iran

For 18 years, Iran hid its enrichment programme and the suspicion was that it was trying to develop bomb technology in secret.

Iran has been told that if it stops enrichment, it will be offered help with developing nuclear power stations (including an offer to provide it with the necessary enriched uranium fuel).

However Iran has refused the Council's demand that it stop what it is doing before any talks take place.

Will the UN place sanctions on Iran?

This is not certain. Some countries, led by the US, say the time has come to impose economic sanctions such as a ban on trade in technology which could be used for nuclear or missile development.

However others, including Russia and China, are against such steps at the moment.

Could there be a military attack on Iran?

 

The US says it wants adiplomatic solution.

An attack on Iran would be hard to carry out and hard to justify legally.

The US is said to have plans but it has plans for many contingencies and it has not taken a decision.

Some Israeli strategists say a nuclear-armed Iran would pose an unacceptable threat to their country, but it is thought unlikely Israel would attack Iran without US support.


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Saturday, November 11, 2006 · Last updated 11:49 p.m. PT

Bush hails troops as Iraq war reviewed.
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER:

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  President Bush, right, with Tom Poulter, National Commander for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, participates in a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington,Va., Saturday, Nov. 11, 2006. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

ARLINGTON, Va. -- President Bush marked Veterans Day by praising U.S. troops who have fought oppression around the world, yet spoke only briefly about Iraq, where U.S. commanders are re-evaluating strategy.

Speaking three days after announcing the ouster of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Bush hailed members of the armed services - past, present and future - for their dedication and bravery.

"They confront grave danger to defend the safety of the American people. They brought down tyrants. They've liberated two nations. They have helped bring freedom to more than 50 million people. Through their sacrifice, they're making this nation safer and more secure, and they are earning the proud title of veteran," Bush said in a speech Saturday at Arlington National Cemetery.

Bush did not reference Iraq and Afghanistan by name, though he did say, "From Valley Forge to Vietnam, from Kuwait to Kandahar, from Berlin to Baghdad, our veterans have borne the costs of America's wars, and they have stood watch over America's peace."

Minutes before his remarks, the president laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and held his hand over his heart as a bugler played taps. Cannons fired a 21-gun salute and soldiers holding rifles stood at attention as Bush's motorcade made its way through the cemetery on a sunny fall morning.

In Iraq on Saturday, two car bombs exploded in a shopping district in Baghdad, killing eight people. A Slovak and Polish soldier were reported killed overnight by a roadside bomb south of the capital. The U.S. offered $50,000 for information leading to the recovery of a kidnapped American soldier.

At least 2,845 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. In addition, at least 288 members of the U.S. military have been killed in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of the U.S. invasion in late 2001 to oust the Taliban government for hosting Osama bin Laden.

Bush said that since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, "our armed forces have engaged the enemy, the terrorists on many fronts. At this moment more than 1.4 million Americans are on active duty, serving in the cause of freedom and peace around the world. They are our nation's finest citizens."

 

In his radio address Saturday, broadcast before his visit to the cemetery, Bush said America's enemies should not read this past week's ground-shaking election results as a sign of U.S. weakness. During the campaign, he had contended that Democrats would undermine national security.

With two years remaining in his presidency, Bush is trying to keep the nation focused on the global fight against terrorism and prevent a pullout of U.S. forces from Iraq before victory is achieved.

"The elections will bring changes to Washington," Bush said. "But one thing has not changed: America faces brutal enemies who have attacked us before and want to attack us again.

"I have a message for these enemies: Do not confuse the workings of American democracy with a lack of American will," the president said. "Our nation is committed to bringing you to justice, and we will prevail."

The victorious Democrats read the elections as a demand for change in Iraq. Delivering the party's weekly radio address, Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean said, "Americans across the country made it clear that they want a new direction in Iraq and in the war on terror."

Though Democrats have not coalesced around one alternative strategy, Dean promised they will be "tough and smart."

"We will listen to the military, take their advice, and ensure that our troops and agencies have the tools and equipment they need to defend our freedom," he said.

Bush is meeting on Monday with members of the Iraq Study Group, a blue-ribbon commission trying to come up with a new way forward in Iraq.

 

 


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