Friday, 31 July 2009
Buggins? turn
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For once the Government does something useful. From the BBC:

 

The government says it will ban all private transplants of organs from dead donors in the UK.

The move comes after media reports of overseas patients paying to get onto the waiting list for organs donated by British people.

An independent report said organs were scarce and no one should be able to pay for transplants, to ensure NHS patients did not miss out.

Surgeons said it should reassure people organs went to those in most need.

Elisabeth Buggins, former chairwoman of the Organ Donation Taskforce, carried out an inquiry after allegations in a number of newspapers that organs from NHS donors were being given to patients from countries such as Greece and Italy.

It emerged that more than 700 transplants, mostly liver transplants, had been carried out on non-UK patients over the past decade.

In total, 631 of those transplants used organs from dead donors and, of those, 314 were from outside the EU.

 

How many went to wealthy Arabs, while British taxpayers suffered or died for want of an organ? The Government has put a stop to it, as is timely and just. We don't want no stinkin' foreigners getting their hands on our organs. Organs of England, stand up and be counted.

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Posted on 07/31/2009 7:17 PM by Mary Jackson
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Friday, 31 July 2009
Inn Signs of England
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by Esmerelda Weatherwax (August 2009)


This is the first in what I hope will be several articles on English pub signs and peripheral bits of interesting, but not necessarily useful, information.

Over 25 years ago when I lived in Dagenham I used to visit a pub called The Angel in nearby Rainham which is the next village east along the north bank of the River Thames. There is also a Rainham on the Kent side of the river which may have been founded by the same bunch of Saxons but the modern villages are not connected. more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2009 5:58 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 July 2009
?Bill of Rights? in the Constitution of India
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by G. B. Singh (August 2009)


Introduction

Many admirers of India often go out of the way to depict India as the "world's largest democracy" and a "secular" state, which through its constitution guarantees fundamental human rights to all Indians -- the implication being that such rights are in practice as a matter of routine. Yet, dismaying as it may seem, I have never come across any piece of written information analyzing the Indian Constitution itself, let alone all those enshrined fundamental rights that it guarantees to its citizens. Coupled with aggressive Soviet-style "active measures" channeled by the Indian government, several intellectuals outside India have fallen prey to the media hype. Included on this list are the key members of US Department of State who upon my inquiry a number of years ago hadn’t even seen what the Constitution of India looked like, let alone read it! more>>>
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Posted on 07/31/2009 5:57 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 July 2009
The Neglect of English Classical Music
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by David Hamilton (August 2009)


As T.S.Eliot noted, traditions have to be renewed. The English Music Festival presents English Classical music from Medieval to Contemporary and is renewing a tradition.

Yehudi Menhuin wrote to the Times in 1995, “English composers will not slavishly follow some arbitrary theory or construction, whether political or musical. They have kept their Englishness intact, whilst the mercantilistic world has gone all-American.” more>>>
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Posted on 07/31/2009 5:56 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 July 2009
?Edot HaMizrah? Israel?s Oriental Jewish Communities
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by Norman Berdichevsky (August 2009)


A central tenet of Zionism is that Jews share a common heritage and destiny. Nevertheless, the reality of Jewish society in the state of Israel is marked by four prominent social and geo-cultural divisions: Orthodox observant vs. secular, veteran settlers vs. new immigrants,  the haves vs. the have-nots and Geo-cultural origin (European vs. Middle Eastern or Oriental). The last dimension has often been the source of ethnic humor – gefilte fish vs. shish kebab, but is in fact, a serious ”kulturkampf” over the image of the country.
  more>>>
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Posted on 07/31/2009 5:55 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 July 2009
Lockwood de Forest, Ahmadabad, and American Orientalism
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by Ibn Warraq (August 2009)


One of my great pleasures is exploring cities, the larger the city, the greater the surprises and serendipitous discoveries. However much you may think you know London, or Paris, or New York, there are, I wager, parts that you have never visited, little associated
histories that you were unaware of, aspects you promised yourself to explore one day but never did. more>>>
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Posted on 07/31/2009 5:54 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 July 2009
Stormy Weather A Tous Azimuts
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Posted on 07/31/2009 4:45 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 31 July 2009
Chelm on the Charles River
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by Jerry Gordon (August 2009)



When the new Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) was dedicated on June 26th, a number of local clergy, including members of the progressive rabbinate showed up for the event. They were complemented by members of the Boston Jewish community who had unwavering long term commitments to Jewish Muslim dialogue. Massachusetts Governor Derval Patrick, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and the Jewish head of the City Council either sent greetings via videos or showed up for the occasion. “Others who attended included the Dean of Harvard Divinity School, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, and local Christian and Jewish clergy.” more>>>
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Posted on 07/31/2009 5:52 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 July 2009
Wrestling With Paul
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by Rebecca Bynum (August 2009)

 
Saul of Tarsus, the first Century Jewish Pharisee who became the Apostle Paul after his experience on the Damascus road, is arguably one of the most influential men in history. It was Paul’s interpretation of the fact of Jesus’ life and, most especially, the fact of his death, which formed the basis of the Christian message and allowed it to spread in the gentile world even as it was stifled in its birthplace, the Jewish world. It is ironic that Paul’s effort to place Jesus within the framework of Jewish theology, and thus make Jesus acceptable to Jews, was the very thing that exacerbated the theological split between Christianity and Judaism that continues to this day, with all its terrible consequences. more>>>
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Posted on 07/31/2009 5:49 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 July 2009
Fujimori
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by Theodore Dalrymple (August 2009)


Does the end justify the means? This question, difficult to answer in the abstract with a categorical negative or affirmative, occurred to me when I read that Alberto Fujimori, former president of Peru, had been sentenced to seven and a half years’ imprisonment for corruption, to run concurrently with the twenty-five years he is already serving for abuse of human rights. more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2009 5:46 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 July 2009
My Grandmother?s Paper Bag
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by Richard L. Rubenstein (August 2009)


Delivered to the New English Review Symposium in Nashville, Tennessee on May 30th, 2009.



In August 1999, I participated in an international Conference of Jewish and Muslim Scholars held in the city of Cordoba, Spain. [1] That was before Bill Clinton’s failed attempt at the end of his presidency to get Yasser Arafat to sign “the best peace deal he was ever going to get,” the Second Intifada, and 9/11.[2] The atmosphere was relaxed and those who were willing to dialogue were more relaxed than they were likely to be thereafter. more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2009 5:44 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 July 2009
Puss in bus
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It's Friday, and how better to end the working week than with a cute cat tail? The Telegraph has an a-mew-sing story to purr-use, which will whiskers away and trans-mog-rify us. Feeline good? Worked up an a-pet-ite? A thing of mew-ty is a joy fur-ever:

Casper, which is 12 years old, boards the No3 service at 10.55am from outside his home in Plymouth, Devon, and travels the entire 11-mile route before returning home about an hour later.

On the route, the cat passes an historic dockyard and naval base, a city centre, several suburbs and the city's red light district.

Could that be where you find the original Plymouth ho?

He has been making the journey for so long that all First Bus drivers have now been told to look out for him to ensure he gets off at the right stop.

Susan Finden, 65, a care worker who is Casper's owner, said: "Casper has always disappeared for hours at a time but I never understood where he was going.

"I called him Casper because he had a habit of vanishing like a ghost. But then some of the drivers told me he had been catching the bus.

"I couldn't believe it at first, but it explains a lot. He loves people and we have a bus stop right outside our house so that must be how he got started - just following everyone on.

"I used to catch the odd bus too so maybe he saw me and got curious what I was doing.

"Casper is quite quick for his age so he just hops on to the bus before the doors close. He catches the 10.55am service and likes to sit on the back seat."

Rob Stonehouse, one of the drivers on the route, said: "He usually just curls up at the back of the bus. Sometimes he nips between people's legs but he never causes any trouble."

Mrs Slocombe, thou shouldst be living at this hour.

Casper has travelled an estimated 20,000 miles but Mrs Finden says because he is getting old the drivers often have to shuffle him off at the right stop.

A spokeswoman for First Bus said the firm has put a notice up in the office asking them to look after the non-paying passenger.

Come on now, he tried to pay but he didn't have the exact fur.

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Posted on 07/31/2009 2:49 PM by Mary Jackson
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Friday, 31 July 2009
A Musical Interlude: All Of Me (Ambrose Orch., voc. Sam Browne)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 07/31/2009 2:48 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 31 July 2009
Judge slams Hilali spokesman Keysar Trad - amongst other things he is a racist
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I like this. I really do. From The Australian.
KEYSAR Trad, the long-time spokesman for Muslim cleric Taj Din al-Hilali, was yesterday (it is tomorrow in Australian already) denounced as "racist", "offensive" and "untruthful" by the Supreme Court judge who rejected his defamation claim against radio station 2GB.
Judge Peter McClellan said he agreed Mr Trad "incites acts of violence, incites racist attitudes, is dangerous and perhaps most significantly is a disgraceful individual".
He added that the founder of the Islamic Friendship Association held views that were "entirely repugnant" to most Australians. They included:
* Defending the stoning of a women for adultery in Nigeria;
* Condoning suicide bombers and the use of children as martyrs;
* Calling homosexuality "a depraved carnal pursuit" that should be criminalised;
* Regarding Anglo-Irish Australians as "unworthy descendants of criminal dregs";
* Joking about rapes committed by the Bilal Skaf gang;
* Believing America poses a greater threat to Australia than radical Islam; and
* Endorsing Hilali speeches which described the September 11 attacks as "blessings" and excused rapes on women who dressed like "uncovered meat".
Mr Trad had also hosted a web page with links to anti-Semitic sites and Adolf Hitler's manifesto Mein Kampf: "He must be regarded as having apparent sympathies for the views of Adolf Hitler," Justice McClellan said.
He said Mr Trad had never condemned the sheik's views, which he suggested on many occasions would have been "the only appropriate response".
Mr Trad, who faces up to $400,000 in costs, was devastated by the decision and said there would be an appeal. "I disagree with the judgment and what the judge said about me," he said.

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Posted on 07/31/2009 10:05 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 31 July 2009
TiZA sues ACLU
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When last we left the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy it stood accused of funneling taxpayer money back to the Muslim American Society which in turn used some of it to send  Keith Eliison on his Hajj. The plot thickens - from the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

An Inver Grove Heights charter school accused of crossing the line between religion and public education is fighting back against the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota.

Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA) says the ACLU, which sued the academy in January, defamed the school and hurt its ability to hire qualified teachers, according to counterclaims filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

In its suit, the ACLU alleged that the public school promotes the Muslim religion, violating the Constitution's First Amendment.

The K-8 school has denied the allegations and said in court documents that Charles Samuelson, executive director of the Minnesota ACLU, injured the school's reputation by saying publicly that TiZA is "a theocratic school ... as plain as the substantial nose on my face."

"We're surprised by these counterclaims," ACLU legal counsel Teresa Nelson said Tuesday. Nelson declined to comment further, saying the ACLU needed a chance to analyze the court documents.

$100,000 in damages sought

The ACLU's lawsuit and statements led to threats against the school's staff, and the lawsuit and resulting negative attention hurt the school's learning environment and caused several students to withdraw from the school, TiZA said in a statement Tuesday. At least 10 prospective TiZA teachers withdrew their applications in the middle of the hiring process, leaving the school with several open positions, the statement said.

(...)

 

TiZA, in addition to fighting the ACLU, has squared off against state Education Department officials who determined that more than a dozen of the school's teachers lack proper licenses. As a result of the Education Department's decision, which TiZA is appealing, state officials told the school last month that it would lose about $530,000 in state aid. The Education Department also withheld federal grants that had been awarded to the school. TiZA spokesmen have said the grants total close to $875,000.

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Posted on 07/31/2009 10:00 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Friday, 31 July 2009
Girl, 15, 'forced to marry illegal immigrant who then raped her and assaulted her little sister'
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From The Daily Mail
Police are hunting a suspected illegal immigrant accused of raping a 15-year-old schoolgirl who had been forced to marry him.
The Bangladeshi, in his 40s, is also wanted over claims that he sexually assaulted the girl's 12-year-old sister.
He disappeared after the elder girl, now aged 17, contacted the Metropolitan Police on June 26 because she feared she was now being forced into a second marriage.
Specialist child abuse detectives based at Stratford were told that the girl, from an Asian family living in Bethnal Green in London's East End, had been the subject of a forced marriage in April 2007 when she was 15.
Officers have arrested a 53-year-old woman, believed to be another family member, on suspicion of aiding and abetting rape and actual bodily harm. The arrest for assault is linked to an attack on a six-year-old boy.

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Posted on 07/31/2009 9:30 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 31 July 2009
Playing the race card: Ruth Wisse's Open Letter to Harvard colleague Henry Louis Gates
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Harvard Yiddish literature Professor Ruth Wisse has this telling open letter to Harvard colleague, Prof. Henry Louis Gates in The Weekly Standard. Yesterday, Gates, Cambridge police officer James Crowley met with President Obama and Veep Joe Biden, over beers served up by Obama as bartender. They were gathered to discuss how to play the race card in America following the kerfuffle over Gates’s arrest by Officer Crowley for allegedly breaking into his Cambridge home and the ensuing brouhaha. That episode and photo op achieved little as reported by the AP, here. Wisse’s open letter to Gates is very much on point especially as regards the rise of Black Antisemitism highlighted by Professor Gates in his earlier writings. Now that this incident is over, charges against Gates dropped, we should all commend Cambridge ‘townie’, Officer Crowley who can now return to his family in Natick, Massachusetts and his normal duties on the Cambridge police force that include diversity training. He had the best comment:

    “I think what you had today was two gentlemen who agreed to disagree on a particular issue,” Crowley told reporters. “I don’t think that we spent too much time dwelling on the past. We spent a lot of time discussing the future.”

    Asked about the president’s contribution to the meeting, Crowley said: “He provided the beer.”

 

Dear Skip: An open letter to Henry Louis Gates.

by Ruth Wisse, The Weekly Standard blog, July 29, 2009

Dear Skip,

My first thought on hearing of your arrest was for your welfare, so I was relieved to learn that that the case against you had been dropped and you were off to join your family on Martha’s Vineyard. From what I can piece together, you must have been exhausted after a long flight, exasperated to have your front door jammed, and then dumbfounded to find yourself suspected of breaking and entering your own home. To that point, you have my sympathy.

But thereafter your case becomes disturbing, and while the president’s unwise comments turned a local episode into a national referendum, it’s the local issue that troubles me. Like you, I live in Cambridge, commonly known as the “People’s Republic of Cambridge” for its left-leaning political correctness. Our congressional district has not sent a Republican to Washington since 1955. Not surprisingly, the officers who came to your door–a rainbow of black, Hispanic, and white–were led by a man hand-picked to provide training on the avoidance of bias in policing. To accuse the Cambridge police of racial profiling, as you did, is about as credible as charging Barack Obama with favoring Republicans.

What puzzles me most in the report of your actions–or reactions–on July 16 is why you would have chosen, as I’ve heard you put it elsewhere, to “talk Black” to officer Crowley instead of “talking White” as you so eloquently and regularly do? These are distinctions I’ve heard you expound–how educated African Americans switch their register of speech depending on what part of themselves they want to get across.

Many of us do something similar inside and outside our particular communities, but you make it sound like a sport that is also for African Americans a tool of survival. So why didn’t you address the policemen as fellow Cambridgians? What was that “yo’ mama” talk instead of saying simply, in the same register your interlocutor was using, “Look, officer, I’m sorry for your trouble. Thanks for checking on my house when you thought I was being burgled, but this is my home, and if you give me a minute, I’ll find the piece of mail or license that proves it to you.” It seems it wasn’t the policeman doing the profiling, it was you. You played him for a racist cop and treated him disrespectfully. Had you truly feared bias, you would surely have behaved in a more controlled, rather than a less controlled, way.

Do you really think anyone in this country has reached adulthood without having undergone the humiliation of self-justification to police? As it happens, a few days prior to your arrest, I was pulled over on the highway near Saranac Lake, New York. My husband and I had driven into town for dinner and were on our way back to our camp in the Adirondacks. When I saw that I was being stopped, I said, “I don’t get it. I’m going under 55 mph.” Nonetheless, when the officer approached the car, I quickly rolled down the window, reached for my driver’s license as my husband got the registration out of the glove compartment, and said to the officer as gently as I could, “Excuse me officer, have I done anything wrong”? (I had not noticed that one of our headlights was out: we were told to repair it at the next gas station.) It would not have occurred to this gray-haired Caucasian female to count on a policeman’s sympathy; the last time I tried joking with a policeman, some forty years ago, my quip cost me an extra $15 on my fine.

Rather than taking offense at being racially profiled, weren’t you instead insulted that someone as prominent as you was being subjected to a regular police routine? A Harvard professor and public figure–should you have to be treated like an ordinary citizen? But that’s the greatness of this country: enforcers of the law are expected to treat all alike, to protect the house of a black man no less carefully than that of white neighbors. You and I entrust our protection to these police, and we also entrust to them the protection of Harvard students. These are the police who were called in on May 18 to deal with the shooting of Justin Cosby, 21, inside one of the Harvard dorms by suspects who, like him, were African Americans. Has any case ever been dealt with more discreetly–likely at least in part because it involved African Americans? Should we not be encouraging all students to live within the law and to consider ourselves on the side of the law unless clearly and manifestly demonstrated otherwise? Is it not for faculty to set an example of politeness, civility, responsibility, and cool temper?

The ironies of progress can hardly be lost on you. When I came to Harvard in 1993, you had just published in the New York Times an op-ed urging Black intellectuals to face up to their own racist attitudes. Invoking the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr., you wrote, “While anti-Semitism is generally on the wane in this country, it has been on the rise among black Americans. A recent survey finds not only that blacks are twice as likely as whites to hold anti-Semitic views but–significantly–that it is among younger and more educated blacks that anti-Semitism is most pronounced.” You argued then that owning up to such internal racism was the key to self-respect. Now that America has a black president, Massachusetts a black governor, and Cambridge a black mayor, you appear to have adopted the posture of racial victim. Are you trying to keep alive the politically potent appeal to liberal guilt?

I’m concerned for you, but would not like to see the authority of our police diminished, their effectiveness reduced, or their reputation unfairly tarnished. Since, inadvertently I assume, you have made the work of our police force more difficult than it already is, I wish that you would help set the record straight. You are the man to do it.

Fondly,

Ruth

Ruth R. Wisse is the Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature, and Professor of Comparative Literature, at Harvard.

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Posted on 07/31/2009 7:15 AM by Jerry Gordon
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Thursday, 30 July 2009
Taliban murder Pakistani tribal elder
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From the Daily Times in Pakistan:

SHANGLA: Suspected Taliban stormed the house of a pro-government elder in Shangla and killed him on Wednesday, local police said.

The lashkar leader, Khalilur Rehman, was killed when more than 50 Taliban raided his residence. Khalil’s son and two others were injured in the attack, police officials said, adding that two assailants were also killed in when security forces engaged the assailants.

District Police Officer Gul Wali said the lashkar leader was related to Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid NWFP President Amir Muqaam.

“Early on Wednesday, suspected Taliban opened indiscriminate fire in Chogha village and later they stormed into the house of Khalil Khan, killing him and wounding his son and two other relatives,” family members were quoted as saying.

Khalil, 60, formed a private tribal lashkar and used to provide logistic support to groups fighting the Taliban, residents told AFP. The injured were taken to hospital in Khwazakhela in Swat by a military chopper.

According to locals, the Taliban have set up their headquarters in the area close to the border with Swat and Buner districts and use it as a launching pad for attacks on security forces in Swat.

Here is a previous story from January 4, 2006, in which then-Governor Khalilur Rehman proposed increased U.S.-funding of schools in the Waziristan region, even though those schools were "breeding ground[s]" for pro-Taliban students who were fighting U.S. troops.

I think it's fair to say that his theory, shared by then-National Security Advisor Steve Hadley, that emphasizing education would help "change the mindset" of jihadis in the NWFP of Pakistan, has been proven wrong.  One might even say definitively.

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Posted on 07/30/2009 5:04 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
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Thursday, 30 July 2009
Pakistani policeman killed in attack on Shia lawyer
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From the Daily Times in Pakistan:

PESHAWAR/ISLAMABAD: A policeman was killed and four others including a Shia lawyer were injured when a remote-controlled bomb went off in the parking lot of a court in Dera Ismail Khan, police said on Wednesday.

DIK Cantt police station official Arif Khan told Daily Times that the bomb went off as former District Bar Association president Mastan Ali Zaidi was parking his car in the district courts parking area.

According to police, Mastan’s bodyguard Asad Abbas, who was a police constable, was killed while Mastan, his clerk Iqbal and two pedestrians were injured. The injured were shifted to the district headquarter hospital where one was said to be in critical condition.

Condemnation: Separately, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani condemned the blast and ordered an immediate inquiry.

There was no claim of responsibility but the city has recently witnessed both Taliban-related violence and sectarian fighting between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
 

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Posted on 07/30/2009 2:59 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
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Thursday, 30 July 2009
Stiff competition?
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Swiss death clinic Dignitas could have a fight on its hands if this modest proposal goes ahead. From The Times letters page:

Sir, Assisted dying need not be the remit of the medical profession. As long as procedures could be legally established I see no reason why undertakers should not extend their professional scope to include euthanasia. After all our bodies are entrusted to undertakers just after death. Why not just before?

Brian East
London W13

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Posted on 07/30/2009 11:04 AM by Mary Jackson
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