Archive for May, 2008
The annulment of a young Muslim couple’s marriage because the bride was not a virgin has caused anger in France, prompting President Sarkozy’s party to call for a change in the law.
The decision by a court in Lille was condemned by the government, media, feminists and civil rights organizations after it was reported in a legal journal on Thursday.
The case, which had previously gone unreported, involved an engineer in his 30s, named only as “Mr. X,” who married “Ms. Y,” a student nurse in her 20s, in 2006.
The wedding night party was still under way at the family’s home in Roubaix when the groom came down from the bedroom complaining that his bride was not a virgin. He could not display the blood-stained sheet that is traditionally exhibited as proof of the bride’s “purity.”
The husband went to court the following morning and was granted an annulment on the grounds that his bride had deceived him on “one of the essential elements” of the marriage. The woman then acknowledged that she had led her groom to believe that she was a virgin when she had already had sexual intercourse. She did not oppose the annulment.
Critics ran out of superlatives to condemn what they depicted as a dangerous aberration. Valérie Létard, Minister for Women’s Rights, said that she was “shocked to see that today in France the civil law can be used to diminish the status of women”.
Requests for annulments have risen sharply to nearly 2,000 a year in France, but experts could recall no case involving non-virginity.
Well, I’ll be damned…It seems as though they CAN get along.
One challenge Palestinians face is an apparent reluctance by firms in Israel to form business partnerships with them, but Israeli software entrepreneur Zvi Schreiber is trying to break that mold.
Two years ago, he found Palestinian partners and formed a new company, G.ho.st (Global hosted operating system), which is developing an expanded version of a Web-based program that makes the desktop system accessible from nearly any location.
From the Palestinian prime minister to an Israeli venture capitalist, there’s agreement on the growth potential of Palestinian high-tech.
“I definitely see an opportunity there,” said an Israeli, Yadin Kaufmann, who has been investing in Israeli startups for the past 20 years and is now in discussions with potential Palestinian partners.
Did you know (I didn’t, just found out) that if you look up the word "prick" in the dictionary, this is the picture next to it…
James Webb, (D) U.S. Senator Virginia.
“When I hear people say this is racism, it gets my back up a little bit because that’s my cultural group,” said Webb. “This isn’t Selma, 1965.”
FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU — After nearly three months of reconstruction, Sayafiyah residents celebrated the simultaneous openings of the Sayafiyah Governance Center, Veterinary Clinic and Health Clinic on May 20.
“This is their day,” said Capt. Joe Johnson, commander of Company C, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, currently attached to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.
All three of the projects were a result of teamwork between Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and the civilian population.
“They are great people down here who want to help themselves,” said Sgt. Jeremy Johnson, a medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-187th Inf. Regt. “They put a lot of hard work into this,” he said, pointing to the restored health center. “Before, it was just rubble.”
Like the buildings, the community itself had been in dire straits. Once a safe haven for al-Qaida in Iraq, the community was held in bondage out of fear, said Lt. Col. R.J. Lillibridge, 1-187th Inf. Regt. commander.
The tide turned for the better with the arrival of the 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division in January.
With the support of this unit, the beginnings of a Sons of Iraq program took shape. However, due to the end of their deployment, the 5-7th Cav. Regt. could not pursue any long-term reconstruction efforts in the area before handing responsibility over to the 1-187th Inf. Regt.
When the 1-187th Inf. Regt. first arrived, Capt. Johnson said his unit began to strengthen the recently-risen SoI program and assess the area’s needs. Those needs, in addition to the health and vet clinic, included restoring two water pump stations, two water treatment plants and two schools, he said.
But most importantly was the need to establish a government structure in the area.
“We want to see Iraqi people taking care of Iraqis, and the Iraqi government facilitating the needs of their representatives,” said Capt. Johnson, of Baton Rouge, La.
Achieving this required the creation of a city council and linking them with higher government organizations, he said.
Currently, Sayafiyah has an 11-member city council, with the council head reporting to the Rasheed Nahia council. From there, concerns are sent to the Mahmudiyah Qada and finally to the central government, Lillibridge said.
“It’s little government reaching up to big government,” said Lillibridge, a native of Smithfield, R.I. “It is a positive sign. Before we solved all their problems, now we’re letting them solve their own.”
The work has begun to pay off, and the yield is shown by recent Government of Iraq involvement. The GoI rural service committee chairman, Mr. Mashadanni, has visited the area, as well as members of the Ministry of Education, Lillibridge said.
Besides instilling confidence in the people about their government, these commitments pave the way for considerable relief to American taxpayer involvement. Originally, projects such as the building of the health clinic, vet clinic and governance center were funded by Commander’s Emergency Relief Program funds, Lillibridge said. More than $3 million was invested into the area.
Now that Sayafiyah has a voice in the GoI, Iraqi money is starting to make its way into the rural agriculture-based society. The Sayafiyah council has already requested funds to restore seven additional area schools.
The funds will come from $8 million pledged to the Mahmudiyah Qada, Lillibridge said.
With the GoI finally making an investment into the area, it now works to protect that investment. Because none of the day’s events or other improvements could have happened without security established, GoI officials are sending troops into the area to help maintain security goals and keep al-Qaida out.
In the next 30 days, a company of Iraqi army soldiers will take up residence with the 1-187th Inf. Regt. at Combat Outpost Meade, one of several bases manned by the Soldiers in Sayafiyah. A second IA company will follow sometime in the next three months, settling in at Patrol Base Vanderhorn, Lillibridge said.
“It makes our job easier,” said Sgt. Johnson, an Aiken, S.C. native, of the Iraqi involvement.
Such ease will help both the coalition forces operating in the area and IA joining them, since much work still needs to be done in the community to improve standards of living, said Col. Terry Ferrell, commander of 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div. But for now, he said it is important to celebrate the progress evident in the new buildings.
“There’s work to be done, but not today,” said Ferrell, of Huntington, W.Va. “Today we celebrate and tomorrow we get back to work improving the community.”
Freedom Facts ::
The Iraqi Ministry of Health is being provided $12 million for health-care training to ensure medical personnel have the knowledge to properly work the new equipment that the U.S. Government has funded. In addition, the MoH also has been provided with $12 million worth of 50 maintenance vans and medical repair tools for maintenance teams, and a one-year maintenance support contract for the Provincial Health Clinics. This will ensure that Ministry has the tools and expertise needed to keep the hospitals and healthcare centers up-and-running.
Barack Obama’s verbal gaffes are becoming more frequent as the campaign goes along. But do the voters really care?
Is it my imagination, or is it true that the closer Barack Obama gets to sewing up the Democratic nomination for president, the more outrageous his gaffes and misstatements of fact become?
For an answer, I turned to the fairest, most practical, most logical person I know: my girlfriend Zsusanna. Now my Zsu Zsu is not a political junkie by any means. But she keeps up with things — if only to have something to talk to me about besides the weather and our never ending battle over whose turn it is to clean the litter box.
In fact, some campaign would do well to hire her on as the perfect bellwether of what Americans are thinking about when it comes to politics. She’d do better than any poll they could run as far as telling them what voters were thinking and feeling about a candidate and the issues. She has an unerring sense of what people find important and what they could care less about.
So I asked her about all these gaffes Obama had been making recently.
ME: Yeah, you know. Like when Obama said his uncle helped liberate Auschwitz even though it was Russian troops who did it.
SHE: Why would he say something like that?
ME: Apparently, his campaign says he misspoke.
ME: No, it’s true. His uncle helped liberate some other camp, not Auschwitz.
SHE: And this is what you do all day, what you write about? What’s this got to do with the price of gas? Gimme another.
ME: How about yesterday when he told a Memorial Day crowd he saw “fallen heroes” in the audience — dead people.
ME: Don’t you find that disturbing?
SHE: Not as disturbing as a near doubling in egg prices recently.
Leave it to my Zsu Zsu to get to the nub of what’s important to the American people in this election.
The fact is, Obama can make one gaffe after another, but unless he is caught in an outright lie — as Hillary was with her death-defying Tuzla sniper run — most of the voters who haven’t really made up their minds yet are very forgiving.
Of course, it might be different if the press covered Obama’s misstatements of facts and other campaign blunders the same way the cover, let’s say, Republican faux pas. PJM’s special DC correspondent Jennifer Rubin in Commentary:
Isn’t Obama supposed to be highly educated, sophisticated, a great intellect? Shouldn’t the media’s bar be higher for this brilliant leader of the new age of politics? Had it been Hillary Clinton or Al Gore who made all these errors, we would have heard by now that the candidate was a fabulist. Had it been John McCain it would have been a sign of senility. Had it been George W. Bush . . . oh, you can imagine. So maybe Obama’s gaffes are a sign of inexperience and shallow knowledge? Nah, couldn’t be.
More questions along that line from NRO’s Campaign Spot, where Jim Geraghty wonders about poor Dan Quayle’s “potato” problem and President Bush’s classic “Too many OB-GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country.” Why did the press have a feeding frenzy when those gaffes occurred but not for any of Obama’s eye-poppers?
If the MSM would either A) be more forgiving of Republican officials who they don’t like or B) be a little tougher on Democratic officials they do like, the world would be a better place. In this case, I don’t think Barack Obama is deliberately lying, or trying to pull a fast one. It sounds like a family “legend” in which the specific horrors of war witnessed by his uncle are mistaken as the years go by. It happens, and Obama only deserves the lightest of metaphorical slaps on the wrist for it. But it would help if his fans in the press actually paid attention to what he says.
It’s not like the press hasn’t had opportunities. As far back as last year — when Obama made mention of how his parents met as a result of the Kennedy Administration sponsoring Kenyan students to come to America to study, only to have it come out a little later that the program was not a government-run operation and that it began before Kennedy was even elected — has it become obvious that Obama gaffes were going to be treated just a little bit differently than those made by Republican candidates.
Michelle Malkin compiled a list of some of the candidate’s more outrageous misstatements including a couple of really ignorant spewings:
* Earlier this month in Oregon, he redrew the map of the United States: “Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go.”
* Earlier this month in Cape Girardeau, Mo., Obama showed off his knowledge of the war in Afghanistan by homing in on a lack of translators: “We only have a certain number of them, and if they are all in Iraq, then it’s harder for us to use them in Afghanistan.” The real reason it’s “harder for us to use them” in Afghanistan: Iraqis speak Arabic or Kurdish. The Afghanis speak Pashto, Farsi, or other non-Arabic languages.
* [Last] weekend in Oregon, Obama pleaded ignorance of the decades-old, multibillion-dollar massive Hanford nuclear-waste cleanup: “Here’s something that you will rarely hear from a politician, and that is that I’m not familiar with the Hanford, uuuuhh, site, so I don’t know exactly what’s going on there. (Applause.) Now, having said that, I promise you I’ll learn about it by the time I leave here on the ride back to the airport.”
I assume on that ride, a staffer reminded him that he’s voted on at least one defense-authorization bill that addressed the “costs, schedules, and technical issues” dealing with the nation’s most contaminated nuclear-waste site.
So I believe my Zsu Zsu when she tells me that the average voter doesn’t care if Obama thinks there are 57 states in the union or that he voted in total ignorance on an issue of vital importance to a whole lot of people. Taken separately, they don’t amount to much — perhaps a tired candidate whose mouth gets ahead of his brain or a faulty memory about events in the distant past made even more difficult to recall under the pressures of a presidential campaign.
The big question is: if the press cared a little more, would that change the minds of some voters?
One unlucky British teen suffered a painful shark attack without ever going near the water. In fact, he was bitten in the face by one of the sharp-fanged animals in his own bedroom, Metro.co.uk reported.
The “attack” happened at 14-year-old Sam Hawthorne’s home in Dudley, England.
Hawthorne was sleepwalking when the teeth of a dead souvenir shark from a family vacation, that hangs on the wall of his nautical-themed bedroom, became embedded in his face.
The teeth left blood pouring from the teen’s face, his mother, Susan, told Metro.co.uk.
“It was like something out of a horror film,” she said. “The shark must have been embedded in Sam’s cheek for about 15 minutes and he was in a lot of pain.”
In the end, Hawthorne came away with only a small scar. “It was the most frightening experience of my life,” he told Metro.co.uk.
Barack Obama is getting called out again for his knowledge of history, including his own family’s, after declaring to veterans on Memorial Day that his uncle helped liberate the Auschwitz death camp at the end of World War II.
Two problems with the tale: Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet Army, and Obama’s American mother was an only child.
“I had a uncle who was one of the, who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps and the story in our family is that when he came home, he just went up into the attic and he didn’t leave the house for six months, right. Now obviously something had really affected him deeply but at that time there just weren’t the kinds of facilities to help somebody work through that kind of pain,” he said.
However, a quick check on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Web site shows that Soviet forces were the first to approach Auschwitz, which was in Poland.
“On Jan. 27, 1945, the Soviet army entered Auschwitz and liberated more than 7,000 remaining prisoners,” the site reads.