If any doubt remained that the U.S. and British governments’ case for invading Iraq was based almost entirely on lies, the Guardian has just put such doubt to rest. The British newspaper published a story based on interviews with Iraqi defector Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, code name “Curveball,” in which Janabi admitted “that nearly every word he had told his interrogators from Germany’s secret service, the BND, was a lie.”
A spokeswoman for the Russian government, Olga Kamenchuk, reports that VsTIOM, the state’s polling organization, has found an astounding level of ignorance among Russians about basic facts of science. As an example, one-third of Russians polled believe that the sun revolves around the earth (not vice versa), and an equal number believe that the earth is the center of the solar system. Also, most Russians polled, 55 percent of them, believe that all radioactivity is man-made.
Scandal-plagued Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will be tried in April on charges of corruption and paying for sex with an under-age prostitute. The evidence is reportedly so overwhelming that the prosecutors secured a fast-track trial for the billionaire leader, bypassing the normal preliminary hearing.
On February 13 voters in Switzerland turned back a proposal that would have tightened controls on firearms possession and use in a country where a large share of the homes have at least one gun and where learning to shoot and handle a rifle for defense of country (as well as sport) is a right of passage for every Swiss male.
When the Los Angeles Times confirmed that protests that started in January in Tunisia and then moved to Egypt were spreading to Algeria, Bahrain, Libya, Morocco, Cameroon, and Kuwait, many concluded that they were being driven by unhappy citizens connected via the internet. On Twitter, for example, protests set for Monday, February 14th, in Bahrain, can be found at #feb14, and #bahman for Libya. Algerian protest details can be found on #feb19, protests in Morocco at #feb20, Cameroon at #feb23, and Kuwait at #mar8.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy agrees with other European leaders who say multiculturalism has failed.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is in a quandry: the government ministers of France have been taking vacations in the sand and surf of the southern Mediterranean and presidential palaces on the Red Sea, with the Egyptian government and a Tunisian businessman picking up the tab. How high does this subsidized vacationing go in the French government? Prime Minister François Fillon, the head of government in the Fifth Republic, and Foreign Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie, second in precedence in the ministerial system, have both received gratis vacations at the expense of foreign governments or foreign nationals.
Egypt has been undergoing a revolution that ended the brutal 30-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak February 11. But all of America is wondering what the end result will be after the protests have ended. This reporter told an Egyptian Facebook friend in Cairo in an on-line chat recently that every American is wondering what will come of the revolution, and he simply replied: "All the Egyptians too."
Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak bowed to pressure from protesters and resigned his 30-year reign, handing power over to the Egyptian military February 11, a move met with joy in the streets of Egypt and eloquent praise by U.S. President Obama.
Would you like your college education to be free? Sure, who wouldn't? Better question: Would you like the results of free education? Well, the people of Tunisia and Egypt are learning that whenever the government supplies something, it is never really "free."
The move toward a North American Union received another big boost last week as President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper met in Washington, D.C. to hammer out a deal on creating a common “perimeter” around the two countries while diminishing the role of the nations’ shared border and developing a biometric system to track North Americans.