"Before we rush to condemn America we must remember that even today millions of poor and miserable people all across the world are lining up outside US embassies eager to come to America, not just to live here but to become an American. No Muslim country today, can claim that people of other nations and other faiths see it as a promise of hope, equality, dignity and prosperity." -- Muqtedar Khan, Ph.D. Association of Muslim Social Scientists, Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Peace & Love...except in these places
...the Christians of the Iraqi city of Mosul are scared to put festive decorations outside their homes this year. Their ancestors settled here in the 1st century AD, yet as teacher Jamal Fadi has discovered, some of their Muslim neighbours want this Christmas to be their last. "A letter was delivered to my door with two bullets placed on top of it," said Mr Fadi, 32, standing watchfully in the neat garden of his two-storey villa. "It said: 'Leave, crusaders, or we will cut your heads off.' They want us to go from Mosul completely." More.
MOGADISHU, Somalia — Islamic fighters were in a tactical retreat Tuesday, a senior Islamic leader said, as government and Ethiopian troops advanced on three fronts in a decisive turn around in the battle for control of Somalia. Somalia's internationally backed government called on the Council of Islamic Courts to surrender and promised them amnesty if they lay down their weapons and stop opposing the government... More
ADDIS ABABA, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Ethiopian troops are advancing on the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and could seize it within 24-48 hours, Somalia's envoy to Ethiopia said on Tuesday.
"Ethiopian forces are on their way to Mogadishu. They are about 70 km (40 miles) away and it is possible they could capture it in the next 24 to 48 hours," Abdikarin Farah told reporters in the Ethiopian capital. More.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The US military on Tuesday reported the deaths of six soldiers in three separate roadside bomb attacks in Iraq. More.
Coordinated car bomb attacks in western Baghdad have killed at least 25 people and wounded 55+, a medical source at a Baghdad hospital says. More.
The head of Gaza's tiny Roman Catholic community on Sunday canceled Christmas eve's Midnight Mass celebration, citing recent Palestinian infighting between the rival Fatah and Hamas movements. Father Manuel Musallem said Christian children in Gaza are scared, especially after the three young sons of a Palestinian security officer were gunned down in broad daylight as they went to school two weeks ago. More.
"Muhammad had marched upon Mecca with an army of at least 10,000 soldiers. These men were tough, dedicated Muslims. The Meccan leaders did not think they could defeat Muhammad's army, so they surrendered to him. Muhammad did not destroy Mecca, or massacre it's inhabitants, but he remembered some of his personal enemies and ordered their execution. Muhammad hated some of these people only because they had mocked him years earlier." More.
+ 1 in 4 Saudi Wives Discarded by Husbands
+ Iran Promises UN Will 'Soon Regret' Nuclear Sanctions'
+ Palestinians Send Christmas Rockets into Israel
+ Shiites Fire on a Pakistani Funeral, Killing Four
Friday, December 22, 2006
Operation Baaz Tsuka
KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN - Canadian soldiers and their allies launched a new military offensive in the dangerous Zhari and Panjwaii districts December 15th, 2006 , vowing to drive out the Taliban and deliver essential development assistance.
Dubbed Operation Baaz Tsuka, or Falcon's Summit, the campaign starts almost exactly three months after the conclusion of Operation Medusa, a brutal two-week fight with the Taliban in which five Canadian soldiers died. Led by Canadian troops, Operation Medusa was also staged in Panjwaii district, about 30 kilometres west of Kandahar city.
The new operation involves both International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops and Afghan National Security forces. It is intended to send a strong and direct message to the Taliban that the people of Afghanistan want them to leave, said British squadron leader and coalition spokesman Dave Marsh. Full Article.
ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) Release # 2006-382
Operation Baaz Tsuka secures two regions
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (20 December) – Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and ISAF, working together as part of Operation Baaz Tsuka, have secured the regions of Howz-e Madad and Zangabad. “Since the start of Operation Baaz Tsuka on Friday, the ANSF and ISAF can confirm that these two regions are secure,” said Squadron Leader Dave Marsh. “The next step is to bring in humanitarian aid and to set up a security zone with the aid of the tribal elders.”
As part of today’s operation, ISAF soldiers provided food, clothes, medical aid, and tools to approximately 400 villagers and displaced people in the southern region of Panjwayi. An ISAF doctor treated close to 50 patients for minor wounds and bruises. The displaced Afghans, who originated from Sperwan Ghar, Zangabad and Talukan, told ISAF soldiers during a recent Shura that they were forced to flee their homes months ago due to fighting.
ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) Release # 2006-383
Operation Baaz Tsuka provides continued security
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (21 December) – Nearly a week into Operation Baaz Tsuka, commanders from Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and ISAF are reporting progress on securing areas in Regional Command-South. Today’s efforts focused on meeting with the local population, conducting security and clearance patrols, and removing improvised explosive devices discovered along several traffic routes.
Engineers have also started constructing ANSF security check points as part of the long term goal of providing sustained security within the Panjwai and Zahre districts. “The security required in order to sustain long term stability within Panjwai and Zahre districts is progressing,” said Squadron Leader Dave Marsh, spokesperson for Regional Command-South. “The key to success is the collective consultation between the Government of Afghanistan, the ANSF, ISAF and most importantly, the tribal elders.”
Thursday, December 21, 2006
The leader of Somalia's Islamic courts Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys and other radical Somalian Islamists are currently at war with Ethiopia and the Somali government, which hardliners say is sympathetic to Ethiopia.
NAIROBI, 21 December (IRIN) - The number of people fleeing the southern Somalia towns of Baidoa and Buur Hakaba swelled on Thursday as fighting between forces of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) entered a second day, sources told IRIN.
"Yesterday [Wednesday] we had people coming from the Daynuunay area [epicenter of the fighting]. Today, many Buur residents are leaving their homes," Mukhtar Atosh, a resident of Buur Hakaba, said...
Death toll rises: Medical sources told IRIN that the "death toll on both sides could be as high as 50". "Both sides are not bringing their dead to hospitals, but the number of wounded which we estimate to be between 150 to 200, indicate that there is a high number of fatalities on both sides," said a doctor in Mogadishu currently in touch with medical personnel in Buur Hakaba and Baidoa.
The UIC are keeping their wounded in Buur Hakaba, and the TFG are taking their wounded to Baidoa, said the Doctor. The TFG was installed in late 2004 in an effort to bring peace and security to the Horn of Africa country which has been without an effective government for 16 years. In June this year, the UIC defeated the warlords who had controlled Mogadishu since 1991, after the collapse of the regime led by Muhammad Siyad Barre. The UIC has since extended its authority to large areas in the south and central regions of the country. More
+ Dec 21 (Reuters) - Hardline Islamist leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys on Thursday said his powerful military movement was at war with Ethiopian soldiers in Somalia.
Witnesses says Ethiopian troops are helping the interim Somali government fight Aweys' Somalia Islamic Courts Council (SICC) near the government stronghold of Baidoa in the most sustained combat so far between the rival Somali factions.
+ Somalia on brink of civil war
+ 'Somalis should take part in this struggle' by Salad Duhul, Mogadishu
Monday, December 18, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Iraq Red Cross workers kidnapped
Iraq: "At least 30 aid workers and other people have been abducted from an Iraqi Red Crescent office in Baghdad as Tony Blair, the British prime minister, made a surprise visit to the country.
Armed men took the employees, visitors and security guards away on Sunday, according to a Red Crescent official and witnesses...Police said up the group was abducted by men wearing Iraqi army uniforms in the Karrada area of the capital.
The Iraqi Red Crescent, which is part of the International Committee of the Red Cross, is the only Iraqi aid agency working in all of the country's 18 provinces and has around 1,000 staff and 200,000 volunteers in the country. There have been several mass abductions in Baghdad in recent months. More. + Gunmen free 17 seized at Baghdad Red Crescent office
+ Iran to replace dollar with euro +++ Hardliners trailing in Tehran
+ Gunfight in Gaza City Wounds One +++ Nigerian militants: car bombs in oil delta
+ Blast hits NATO convoy in Afghanistan +++ Developments in Iraq, Dec 18
+ Abbas insists will hold elections, truce strained
Captain (Capt) Marois, the acting Officer Commanding of the ISTAR squadron, with his signaler, Sergeant (Sgt) Hermiston, inform their command post on the security arrangements for the meeting with village elders near Forward Operating Base (FOB) Sperwan Ghar to discuss the security in the region.
Joint Task Force Afghanistan (JTF-Afg) is Canada’s contribution to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The focus of this mission is to help Afghans rebuild their lives, families, communities and nation. Canadian Forces personnel in Afghanistan are working to improve the quality of life of Afghans by providing a more secure environment in which Afghan society can recover from more than 25 years of conflict. The Canadian Forces (CF) contribution in Afghanistan comprises about 2,500 soldiers, most of whom serve in Kandahar province with a smaller number of personnel assigned to Kabul, various military headquarters, and civilian organizations.
Corporal (Cpl) Killeen, a medical assistant, renders first aid to an Afghan soldier near Forward Operating Base (FOB) Sperwan Ghar.
Master Bombardier (MBdr) Munro observes possible targets from Ma'Sum Ghar. MBdr Munro is a member of a Forward Observation Officer (FOO) party working in and around the Panjwayi area.
Canadian Leopard C2 tanks and their crews stand-by as a Blackhawk helicopter takes-off from Forward Operating Base (FOB) Ma'Sum Ghar near the town of Bazaar-e-Panjwayi.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Ban political correctness, not the Christmas tree.
Toronto, Canada — A judge's order to have a Christmas tree moved from the lobby of an Ontario courthouse for fear it would offend non-Christians backfired Thursday, drawing the ire of everyone from the Muslim Canadian Congress to Premier Dalton McGuinty...
"This is stupidity and takes political correctness to new heights," said Farzana Hassan, president of the Muslim Canadian Congress.
"We should ban political correctness, not the Christmas tree."
"We're not asking any one of the wonderful communities that make up our province to somehow abandon their traditions," said Mr. McGuinty... "What we're saying is, let's share in those opportunities, let's better understand those celebrations." The Ontario legislature celebrated the Hindu holiday of Diwali a few weeks ago, the Islamic holiday Eid shortly afterward, and will mark Hannukah next week with the lighting of a menorah, Mr. McGuinty noted.
The Canadian Jewish Congress agreed it would have been a nice gesture to include decorations from other faiths, but opted not to dignify what it considered a non-issue....
"The presence of the Christmas tree is a symbol for a lot of people — believing Christians and perhaps non-believers — of a joyous holiday, and we respect that and acknowledge that."
"Our tradition in Canada has been one of including and celebrating all of these holidays and it has not been controversial and it isn't controversial in the vast majority of the 160 plus courthouse locations that we have in Ontario," (Ontario Attorney General Michael) Bryant said. "The tree, he said, is still on prominent display at the courthouse."
+ The whole article with reader comments.
+ Another article with reader comments.
Another Christmas incident in 2002 sparked backlash from the public when city hall officials put out a news release calling its giant tree at Nathan Phillips Square (City Hall) a "holiday tree."
Then-mayor Mel Lastman, who is Jewish, ordered staff to call it a Christmas tree. He then introduced a bylaw that prohibits the tree from being given any other name.
Thailand: 1,900+ Buddhists Murdered
+ Violence in the Muslim world rages on and on (Globe and Mail)
Associated Press (Dec 13, 2006): "BANGKOK, Thailand: Two Buddhists were shot dead Wednesday by suspected Muslim insurgents in southern Thailand, and six small bombs later exploded in a small town in the region, wounding two people, police said.
One of the Buddhists was identified as a 55-year-old rubber tapper, who was driving his motorcycle when he was shot three times by a gunman on the back of another motorbike, said police Maj. Suthas Noosrikong of the Lammai police station in Yala province, where the attack occurred. Fifteen minutes later, a gunman pulled up on a motorcycle at the home of another Buddhist man in the same village. The attacker entered the house and fired three times, killing the man, aged 69.
Drive-by shootings and bombings occur almost daily in Thailand's three southernmost Muslim-majority provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, where more than 1,900 people have been killed in an Islamic insurgency that flared in January 2004. Police, soldiers and others viewed as collaborators with the government are targeted, along with Buddhists.
Buddhist monks have been beheaded, Buddhist teachers slain, and leaflets distributed around Buddhist villages warning that raising dogs and drinking alcohol are offensive to Muslims.
In separate violence, suspected insurgents detonated six small bombs in shops belonging to Buddhists in Tanyongmas market in the Rangae district of Narathiwat province, injuring a 65-year-old women and a 15-year-old boy, said police Maj. Chalerm Khongying."
+ Thailand's Muslim insurgency has prompted hundreds of Buddhists to flee their homes in the restive south, creating refugee-like communities of Thais in their own country.
+ Seven killed in Thailand's Muslim-majority area
+ Malaysia puts Islamic cult under scrutiny
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I received this email from a friend:
"General Eisenhower insisted on photographing and documenting the horrors of the Holocaust. He also forced German villagers neighboring the death and concentration camps to view what had occurred in their own backyards and made them carry the bodies into mass graves.
When asked why he did it he replied: "Because I know that one day in the future...some one will say that this never happened"
There have been organized Jewish communities in Greece for more than two thousand years. In 1943 we had 53,000 Jews. Today we have about 1,000. 12, 898 Greek Jews fought in the Greek army, one of the best-known being Colonel Mordechai Frizis, which first successfully repelled the Italian Army.
My grand-mother (my mom's mom) fed and sheltered Jews each and every time they came to her door during the war."
We sometimes think that we can just sit back, comfortably knowing that it will never be forgotten, never be challenged. Hell no. Every genocide that has occurred...we should be in people's faces about it so that it's never forgotten and so that it'll never happen again.
Ann Applebaum has a good op-ed piece in the Washington Post titled "Tehran's Holocaust Lesson":
"The Iranian Foreign Ministry held an international conference...the invitees seem to have included David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader; Georges Theil, a Frenchman who has called the Holocaust "an enormous lie"; and Fredrick Toeben, a German-born Australian whose specialty is the denial of Nazi gas chambers...Of course, Holocaust denial also has broader roots and many more adherents in the Middle East, which may be part of the point, too: Questioning the reality of the Holocaust has long been another means of questioning the legitimacy of the state of Israel, which was indeed created by the United Nations in response to the Holocaust, and which has indeed incorporated Holocaust history into its national identity. If the Shiite Iranians are looking for friends, particularly among Sunni Arabs, Holocaust denial isn't a bad way to find them.."
"...the near-destruction of the European Jews, in a very brief span of time, by a sophisticated European nation using the best technology available was, it seems, an event that requires constant reexplanation, not least because it really did shape subsequent European and world history in untold ways. For that reason alone it seems the archives, the photographs and the endless rebuttals will go on being necessary, long beyond the lifetime of the last survivor." More.
In the news:
+ Baghdad suicide bombing kills at least 57
+ Palestinian officer's three sons slain
+ Somali Islamists tell Ethiopia to leave or face war
+ History of the Jews in Greece
+ Rescue and Liberation
+ Muslim-only swimming session irks London club members
+ Thai Buddhists flee from insurgency in Muslim area
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Iraqi Govt Steps Up
Saddam Hussein's conviction...fifty-seven Interior Ministry officials, including a few high-ranking officers, charged in the Iraqi courts with human rights abuses, alleging the torture of hundreds of detainees in Baghdad...Iraqi lawmakers to debate legislation that would allow former members of Saddam's Baath Party to return to government jobs. These are some of the steps that the Iraqi government is taking in order to get a handle on the civil bloodshed that has run rampant since the U.S. entered Iraq back in 2003. Meanwhile, a recent study of 163 nations ranked Iraq one of the most corruption-ridden countries in the world, The New York Times reported. No kidding. Only Haiti ranked lower than Iraq in the survey, and Iraq was tied with Guinea and Myanmar for their corruption level. It won't get better overnight. Baby steps...
The 872nd in Iraq.
U.S. Army soldiers from Bravo Company, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, are greeted by students and faculty of Kahnarbat Primary School in Alabara, Iraq
U.S. Army Sgt. Katherine Tripp, with 982nd Signal Company, tightens her helmet on Forward Operating Base Marez, Iraq, Oct. 22, 2006, as she prepares to go on mission in a Stryker with Soldiers from Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, Fort Lewis, Wash.
U S Army Spc Jeremy Wicklund provides security as Sgt Allen Ronnei cuts the lock of the entrance gate of a home during a cordon and search mission in Baghdad, Iraq.
+ Secessionist government of Somaliland convicts nine people, including Sheik Mohammed Ismail, of conspiring to commit terrorist attacks
+ Suicide car bomb kills seven in Iraq ++++ 10 US Soldiers Killed In Iraq Bomb Attack
+ Job seekers killed in Iraq bomb attack ++++ At least 132 dead in Iraq bomb attacks
+ Interview: Life After War: Colby Buzzell, Killing Time in Iraq
+ 2006 Weblog Awards Finalists Announced
Friday, December 08, 2006
British troops seized five “most wanted” terrorist suspects in Basra as well as explosives and roadside bomb devices in a series of raids. Operation Pisa involved 1,000 troops — 800 British and 200 Danish. Major Charlie Burbridge, spokesman for the multinational force in Basra, described those arrested as “rogue elements” of the local Shia militia who supported Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical cleric. In one of the raids, soldiers from the 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment found explosives, fuses and multiple ammunition rounds at the address of a suspected bomb-maker. More.
The Canadian Contingent Show Tour "A Smile From Home" performs at the Kandahar Airfield in Kandahar. The show held in Kandahar was the second of four shows held in Afghanistan at different locations.
The Canadian Task Force Padre in Kandahar, Major (Maj) Robert Lauder, gets buried in good will from well wishing Canadians. People from across Canada sent shoebox size parcels to Kandahar for distribution to Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan. Maj Lauder has been awed and overwhelmed by his festive workload after having received several hundred of these gracious gifts from caring folks back home. His office has become a makeshift clearing house for parcels as he works to find new ways to keep ahead of the inflow of Christmas cheer for the troops. Padre Lauder spearheaded the "parcels for troops" program which pairs willing gift givers in Canada with those soldiers in Kandahar who are happy to receive.
Joint Task Force Afghanistan (JTF-Afg) is Canada’s contribution to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The focus of this mission is to help Afghans rebuild their lives, families, communities and nation. Canadian Forces personnel in Afghanistan are working to improve the quality of life of Afghans by providing a more secure environment in which Afghan society can recover from more than 25 years of conflict.
The Canadian Forces (CF) contribution in Afghanistan comprises about 2,500 soldiers, most of who serve in Kandahar province with a smaller number of personnel assigned to Kabul, various military headquarters, and civilian organizations.
Captain Brian Joudrey, Lessons Learned Officer for Joint Task Force Afghanistan roto 3 (JTF - Afg R3) pays his respects to fallen comrades at the temporary cenotaph erected in the training area at CFB Wainwright, Alberta after Remembrance Day ceremonies held there on Saturday, November 11, 2006. JTF Afg R3 is in Wainwright preparing for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in February of 2007.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Stavros has a great site blogging about the Hellenic culture: "Born in Istanbul (Constantinople), Turkey of Greek parents who immigrated to the USA in 1956. Grew up in New York City, I joined the Marine Corps at age 19. and retired from the Corps twenty two years later. I was stationed in Greece during my military career, where I married a nice Greek girl...We live in Maine..." Stavros' latest post is about the Greek Expeditionary Force fighting the Chinese during the Korean war:
The soldiers of the Greek Expeditionary Forces called it Outpost 'Haros' the Greek name for Death. It was classic wartime humor, a dark pun borne of a hopeless mission. More than 88,000 rounds of Chinese artillery would pound Outpost Harry—a tiny Korean hilltop no bigger than Times Square, 425 yards ahead of the front line. Defended each night by a single company of American or Greek soldiers, the Chinese had anticipated an easy capture. Over a period of just over a week, vast waves of Chinese Communist Forces would flood into Harry’s trench lines--more than 13,000 soldiers in all. And yet each of the five companies ordered to hold Outpost Harry, when its turn came, held it.
The nightly Chinese assaults would advance and recede with each passing day--a relentless tide that would churn up a roiling, bloody flurry of hand to hand combat. On the night of the first attack, June 10, 1953, the Chinese had outnumbered Harry’s defenders by 30 to 1. “All total, there was a reinforced CCF regiment of approximately 3,600 enemy trying to kill us,” said Captain Martin Markley, commander of K Company, 15th Infantry Regiment. “There was no time to formally prepare the troops spiritually for the possibility of their death in the battle that was about to take place.” By morning, all but a dozen GIs had been killed or severely wounded. But they had held the hill. The full post.
In the news:
+ Death of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko officially murder, Britain confirms
+ US Senate confirms Gates as defence chief
+ Water flows on Mars: scientists
+ Suicide bomber hits NATO convoy in southern Afghanistan, civilians
+ Extra £600m earmarked for Iraq and Afghanistan
+ Somalis Told to Pray 5 Times a Day or Face Beheading
+ Bible Urinators Were Told That Australians are 'Evil'
+ 69-Year-Old Church Leader Murdered by Islamists
+ Iran Blocks YouTube
Sunday, December 03, 2006
"TORONTO, Canada (Reuters) -- Canadian university researchers have developed software that will let users hop over governments' Internet firewalls, raising the prospect of unfettered Internet access in countries that have long tried to control how residents use the Web.
"The Psiphon program, developed by computer experts at the University of Toronto, allows an Internet user in a country with no online curbs to set up an account for someone in a country that censors Web content, and that person can then surf the Web without restrictions...
"Human rights groups, along with other critics, have accused countries like China, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran and Egypt of clamping down of unfettered Internet use, blocking Web sites linked to or operated by opposition or independence groups. Some countries also censor sites from human rights groups, news services or gay and lesbian organizations...
"Deibert said Psiphon works by first allowing a person in a country like Canada that does not censor Internet content to set up a user name and a password for a person in a country that does -- China, for example. The Canadian user would then pass on the information to the Chinese user, who would log on to the Canadian's computer and effectively use it as a server to browse the Internet without being censored by the Chinese government. The Web traffic between the two users is encrypted and secure, so China would have difficulty tracing the usage, he said. But Deibert acknowledged that using Psiphon in countries where governments watch and censor how people surf the Web could be considered illegal. "In some countries, it might get you thrown in jail or worse, so there is a high security risk depending on the case," he said. The whole article.
Download Psiphon (released Dec. 1st, 2006). Then find someone to help.
Psiphon is funded by the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation) & the Centre for Innovation Law and Policy, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
News: + Islamic Jihad says having right to carry out suicide attacks in Israel
+ The Beatles, once touted as bigger than Jesus by John Lennon, are now smaller than Jay-Z — which is perversely fitting, since Jay-Z has branded his latest after a phrase from The Lord's Prayer.
+ 'Christmas' returns to Wal-Mart (and to Target, Sears and others....)
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI performs a PR miracle
"Seen through Turkish eyes, the Pope was a charmer till the end.
He began his visit by proclaiming, "I love the Turks," and ended it yesterday with a rhetorical offering sure to fuel the gushing newspaper headlines. "A part of my heart remains in Istanbul"...
For a pontiff who sparked outrage in much of the Muslim world two months ago by linking Islam to violence, the transformation seemed nothing short of miraculous...the Grand Mufti of Istanbul, Mustafa Cagrici, was poetically optimistic.
"A single swallow can't bring spring, but many swallows will follow and we will enjoy a spring in this world," he told the Pope, after sharing a moment of prayer with him Thursday at the 17th-century Blue Mosque.
The Pope also praised Armenians for clinging to Christianity despite "the very tragic circumstances of the last century" — a reference to the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915. He didn't call it genocide — the Vatican's official position — but the mere mention of an event Turkey refuses to accept responsibility for no doubt strained sensitivities in Ankara.
Niyazi Oktem, a political philosopher at Istanbul's Bilge University, said the visit should act as an example to both sides in the so-called "clash of civilizations." Turkey showed other Muslim states the strength of its democracy by having a civilized dialogue with the leader of the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics. It also showed Europe how the Turkish model has kept fundamentalist Islam at bay, Oktem added." More.
Kandahar, Afghanistan ~ 10 November 2006: The Chief of Land Staff (CLS) Lieutenant General Andrew Leslie visits the training camp for the Afghan National Police (ANP) near the Kandahar Airfield. On the way to the ANP training camp the CLS acted as an air sentry.
Kandahar, Afghanistan ~ 10 November 2006: Members of the Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Troop from the 5e Régiment D'Artillerie Légère du Canada (5 RALC) prepare a platform for the next flight. The TUAV is used for both aerial reconnaissance and targeting over the battle space, and is able to perform these tasks without risking the life of a pilot. Bombarders Vezina, Letendre and Sergeant Normand placing the UAV on the launcher.