Monday, November 01, 2010

November 1st


Noticeable chill in the air.

All Saints' Day, All Souls' Day, mid-term elections in the US, Remembrance Day, American Thanksgiving  and Advent are right around the corner.

Gamil Gharbi was the son of an ineffectual Canadian woman and an Algerian Muslim who battered him and his mother. When his parents divorced, he moved from house to house, seeing his mother whenever possible. An academic failure, he placed the blame of his inadequacies on others. He later killed fourteen people.

Was there ever an effort to rehabilitate him? Would anyone want him in a halfway house?

Would anyone like to resurrect Marc Lepine from the dead?

Then why bring Omar Khadr back?

Opposition critics blasted Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon Monday for saying that the government will "implement" an agreement between U.S. military prosecutors and Omar Khadr's lawyers that calls for his repatriation to Canada in one year.

Cannon did not offer additional details on how the government would treat the controversial case if Khadr actually files an application to come back to Canada.

"The U.S. government agreed to have Khadr come back to Canada and we will implement the agreement that was reached between Mr. Khadr and the government of the United States," Cannon told the House of Commons in French.

"We will implement the agreement and we will ensure this agreement between the U.S. government (and) Omar Khadr is followed up on."

Cannon maintained that the Canadian government was not involved in Khadr's plea deal, reiterating his government's line that it was a matter between the 24-year-old Toronto man and the U.S. government.
That position continued to draw sharp criticism from federal opposition parties over the government's handling of the only Canadian and last Western national to be held at the infamous U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

NDP MP Wayne Marston said he hoped the government keeps its word and allows Khadr to return to Canada.

It baffles me that someone would claim this mongrel and want him to re-integrate into Canadian society, upon whom his worthless mother and sister sponge.

Let us not forget Chretien's involvement with Papa Khadr.

Fifty-two dead after an Iraqi church was attacked:

Fifty-two hostages and police were killed when an attempt by Iraqi security forces to free more than 100 Catholics held in a Baghdad church by al Qaeda-linked gunmen turned into a bloodbath, officials said on Monday.

Church officials described the attack, which began when gunmen seized the Our Lady of Salvation Church during Sunday mass, as the bloodiest against Iraq's Christians in the seven years of sectarian war that followed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

The Islamic State of Iraq, the al Qaeda-affiliated group which claimed responsibility, also threatened the Christian church in Egypt over its treatment of women the group said it was holding after they had converted to Islam.

Egypt condemned the threat to its Christian community, which makes up about 10 percent of the country's 78 million people. It beefed up security around churches.

Iraqi Human Rights Minister Wijdan Michael, a Christian, said at the scene of the Baghdad attack: "What happened was more than a catastrophic and tragic event. In my opinion, it is an attempt to force Iraqi Christians to leave Iraq and to empty Iraq of Christians."

Lieutenant General Hussein Kamal, a deputy interior minister, said 52 hostages and police were killed and 67 wounded in the incident, which ended with police storming the Assyrian Catholic church to free more than 100 hostages.

 The death toll was many times higher than that given overnight in the hours after the raid.

At least one bomb exploded at the start of the siege. Sporadic gunfire rang out for several hours over the Karrada neighborhood near the heavily fortified Green Zone district where many embassies and government offices are located.

"The attackers were among children, armed with weapons," a federal police source who declined to be identified said of Sunday's rescue effort. "Most of the casualties were killed or wounded when the security forces raided the place."

Officials say some of the attackers blew up explosives vests or threw grenades during the raid. Security sources said many of the victims died in gunfights between police and insurgents.

Iraq's Christians, who once numbered 1.5 million out of a total Iraqi population of about 30 million, have frequently been targeted by militants since the invasion, with churches bombed and priests assassinated. Many have fled.

Compare this to the freedom and security other religions throughout the West enjoy.

Cuba can no longer afford to pay its cockroaches so it is now releasing one of its longest-held prisoners:

 Cuba will free its longest-held political prisoner, jailed since 1985, and send him to Spain as the government continues to ship opponents out of the country.

The Catholic Church said on Monday that Cuba had agreed to release three more prisoners, including Adrian Alvarez, 44, who has been serving a 30-year sentence for stealing rifles while in the Cuban military.

He was allegedly taking the weapons with plans to launch a military action against the government.

The three prisoners were not included among 52 that Cuban officials agreed to let go in a July deal with the church.

So far, 39 of those original 52 have been released, and most of those still behind bars are said to be resisting the government's demand that they go to Spain.

In the meantime, Cuba has agreed to release 11 other prisoners, bringing to 50 the total number freed since July.

The releases have relaxed international pressure on Cuba that followed the February death of jailed dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died during a hunger strike for improved prison conditions.

Tourists could not be reached for comment.

Proof that the popular press has other people do the thinking for them:

Americans to vote on lesser of two evils


Americans face an unenviable choice Tuesday as they vote in this year's hotly anticipated mid-term congressional elections: casting a ballot for the party that caused much of the financial mess that's left one in 10 U.S. citizens jobless, or choosing the one that has failed to clean it up.

 What a heavy-handed title. Perhaps the writer should have done her homework. Who implemented these disastrous economic policies? Who controlled the House? The same people who are currently tanking the American economy.

And now for something completely different:

British tea planter Gyles Mackrell organized one of the most remarkable rescue missions during World War II — by using elephants when nothing else would do.

Now researchers have released new information that tells, for the first time, the full story of Mackrell's successful effort to use the animals to evacuate hundreds of desperate Burmese refugees stranded by a rain-swollen river. On Monday, Britain's Cambridge University put online a video shot by Mackrell, which together with his diaries and other documents brings to life a feat that with time had faded from public memory.

The material explains how Mackrell, who spent most of his life working as a planter for a tea company in British India, came to the aid of masses of people desperate to escape Burma as the Japanese army advanced. Through his work, he had access to elephants — the only safe way to cross the roiling Dapha river at the Indian border.

Tens of thousands of the refugees — many sick and starving — had trekked for hundreds of miles through dense jungle in the hope of reaching the Indian border. But by May 1942, those who made it to the border were trapped by monsoons that had turned the Dapha into a torrent.

Mackrell's diaries show that he collected some elephants to travel to the river soon after receiving a call for help from a group of refugees on June 4, 1942. His party rode the elephants for about 100 miles (160 kilometres) before finally reaching the river bank — only to find themselves helpless as they saw that fierce flood waters had trapping Burmese soldiers on river islands.

"On reaching the bank on a big tusker I discovered a number of men on an island surrounded by high and very fierce water," Mackrell, aged 53 at the time, wrote in his diary. "They signalled wildly and made signs to show us they were starving. I made several attempts to get over but it was utterly impossible."

The video shows Mackrell's elephants flailing against the power of the river, up to their eyes in water and struggling to move forward.

Mackrell and his men were about to give up when, the next morning, the waters retreated briefly and he saw an opportunity for his elephants to transport the men to safety.

We love you, Babar.

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