Sunday, April 17, 2005

Tour of The News

UPDATE 04/20/2005 10:55AM
The CNN reported this morning:

Iraq President Jalal Talabani said dozens of bodies have been found in the Tigris River south of Baghdad.

He said the bodies were people who had been held hostage earlier this week in Madain, a village south of Baghdad.

"More than 50 bodies have been brought out from the Tigris, and we have the full names of those who were killed and those criminals who committed these crimes," Talabani said.


UPDATE 04/18/2005 2:27PM
it's been reported that no hostages were found in Al-Mada'en city. I have no idea what the deal is. We definitely need a good explanation from the Iraqi government or media.

Al-Rafidayn newspaper reported that the Sunni Imams in Al-Mada'en claim there were no hostages and the hoax was created by the government to get access to the city. I don't know who is telling the truth here.

I haven't looked at the news since last week. Yesterday, I toured the news to know what's going on in Iraq and around the world.

I read that Al-Sadr's gangs -- yes, they're gangs -- protested the American existence in Iraq last week. This guy reminds me of Saddam. Each time Saddam wanted to make the international headlines, he would jack with the United Nations inspectors to create a crisis and make the news.

What happened to last year's arrest warrant against Al-Sadr? And before anyone says Al-Sistani protected him during Al-Najaf siege, please understand that Al-Sistani protected Al-Najaf city and NOT Al-Sadr. I know many Westerners don't understand the importance of Al-Najaf city to the Shia around the world. Al-Najaf is as important as the Vatican is to the Catholics. And as we all know there were other opportunities to put him in prison before Al-Najaf siege.

The more important news is the hostage situation in Al-Mada'en city to the south of Baghdad. According to Al-Rafidayn Iraqi newspaper, 15 families have been freed so far. I hope the crisis ends very soon. As usual, the media is jumping all over this news and AGAIN predicting a civil war in Iraq. I really want to know how much those expert reporters know about the Iraqi society. We may be a bit of a dysfunctional family, but not to the point of starting a civil war. It's not going to happen.

The interesting news from last week was the arrest of David B. Chalmers, owner of Bayoil (USA) Inc., and Ludmil Dionissiev, a Bulgarian citizen and permanent U.S. resident, at their homes in Houston.

The Associated Press reported:

A Houston oilman and two traders from Texas and England paid millions of dollars in secret kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime, cheating the United Nations oil-for-food program out of humanitarian aid funds, authorities said.


Kelley [U.S. Attorney] called two indictments unsealed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan "two more pieces in the oil-for-food puzzle."

The kickbacks, between mid-2000 and March 2003, involved funds otherwise intended for humanitarian relief, Kelley said.

Kelley said $100 million would be "a conservative estimate" of the value of the oil the defendants dealt with.

A second complaint charged Tongsun Park, a South Korean citizen, with conspiracy to act in the United States as an unregistered government agent in the Iraqi effort to create the oil-for-food program.

If convicted of the charges, Chalmers, Irving and Dionissiev each could face a maximum of 62 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. Park could face up to five years in prison. The defendants could also be ordered to make restitution.


I wonder how good their lawyers are.

Now for more pleasant news. Iraqi-American filmmaker and actress Yasmine Hannaney will represent Iraq in the Miss Asia USA 2005 Pageant. Chaldean Online reported:

"I want to represent Iraq and the Chaldo-Assyrian community in a fresh, positive light," Hannaney said, "to share my enthusiasm about the culture, country, and people. I'm doing this because people probably won't expect Iraq to have a delegate. This is a very big honor for me."

Iraqi-American filmmaker and actress Yasmine Hannaney will represent Iraq in the Miss Asia USA Pageant to counter common misconceptions about Iraqis.


Click here to visit Yasmine's official Web site. Honestly, I never knew my fellow Chaldeans made it to Hollywood. Now I know.

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