Sunday, November 30, 2003

Yahoo! News - Oil Experts See Long-Term Risks to Iraq Reserves: "As the Bush administration spends hundreds of millions of dollars to repair the pipes and pumps above ground that carry Iraq (news - web sites)'s oil, it has not addressed serious problems with Iraq's underground oil reservoirs, which American and Iraqi experts say could severely limit the amount of oil those fields produce.

In northern Iraq, the large but aging Kirkuk field suffers from too much water seeping into its oil deposits, the experts say, and similar problems are evident in the sprawling oil fields in southern Iraq.

Experts familiar with Iraqi's oil industry have said that years of poor management have damaged the fields, and some warn that the current drive to rapidly return the fields to prewar capacity runs the risk of reducing their productivity in the long run.

"We are losing a lot of oil," said Issam al-Chalabi, Iraq's former oil minister. He said it "is the consensus of all the petroleum engineers" involved in the Iraqi industry that maximizing oil production may be detrimental to the reservoirs.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

BBC NEWS | Technology | Camera specs take candid snaps: "A prototype pair of sunglasses with a camera built in to them has been created by Hewlett Packard researchers.

'It means you now have a wearable camera which nobody will notice and can take pictures while being involved in events,' said Huw Robson from Hewlett Packard.

But experts say there could be privacy implications if this sort of technology becomes part of everyday life.

The sunglasses developed at the Hewlett Packard labs in Bristol in the west of England sport a camera that constantly takes images of what a wearer sees. The camera also has an off-switch to preserve privacy.

This is part of the story of electronics becoming smaller and embedded in everything and cheap enough so that people can afford it
Huw Robson, HP Digital Media Lab
'If you are capturing your life as you walk around and you can simply and easily filter through that when you get home and get the important shots, that is going to be of great value to people,' said Mr Robson, manager of the Bristol Digital Media Lab."

Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - Top Stories - Bremer: Terrorists Shifting Attacks to Iraqis; Two Wounded in Hotel Blast:
BAGHDAD, Iraq � Attacks on American troops in Iraq have declined in the last two weeks and insurgents are increasingly targeting Iraqis working with the U.S.-led coalition in an effort to intimidate them, the top U.S. civilian and military leaders here said Tuesday.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

New Scientist: "
The World's No.1 Science & Technology News Service

Nano-transistor self-assembles using biology

A functional electronic nano-device has been manufactured using biological self-assembly for the first time.

Israeli scientists harnessed the construction capabilities of DNA and the electronic properties of carbon nanotubes to create the self-assembling nano-transistor. The work has been greeted as 'outstanding' and 'spectacular' by nanotechnology experts.

The push to shrink electronic circuits to ever smaller dimensions is relentless. Carbon nanotubes, which have remarkable electronic properties and only about one nanometre in diameter, have been touted as a highly promising material to help drive miniaturisation. But manufacturing nano-scale transistors has proved both time-consuming and labour-intensive.

The team, at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, overcame these problems with a two step process. First they used proteins to allow carbon nanotubes to bind to specific sites on strands of DNA. They then turned the remainder of the DNA molecule into a conducting wire."

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Intelligence: C.I.A. Report Suggests Iraqis Are Losing Faith in U.S. Efforts

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 � A bleak top-secret report by the Central Intelligence Agency suggests that the situation in Iraq is approaching a crucial turning point, with ordinary Iraqis losing faith in American-led occupation forces and in the United States-appointed Iraqi Governing Council.

The report, sent to Washington on Monday by the C.I.A.'s Baghdad station chief, suggests that the situation is creating a more fertile environment for the anti-American insurgency. Officials said the report was adding to the sense of urgency behind the administration's reappraisal of its policies in Iraq.

The officials said that the report, dated Nov. 10, had been explicitly endorsed by L. Paul Bremer III, the top American official in Iraq, and that the warnings it spelled out had been a factor behind Mr. Bremer's abrupt return to Washington for consultations this week.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

TIME Magazine: Coolest Inventions 2003, Human Genome Gene ChipHUMAN GENOME ON A CHIP
Inventor: Affymetrix
Every cell in your body contains a copy of your entire genetic makeup�some 50,000 known genes and gene variants. But to make that information useful to scientists who are trying to identify genetic markers for cancer and develop drugs that target specific genes, a tool was needed to isolate each gene and make it easily identifiable. The new GeneChip from Affymetrix does just that. While previous chips each contained a portion of the human genome, the GeneChip is the first to fit the whole thing on one.

Availability: Now, $300 to $500
To Learn More: affymetrix.comWow!
OpinionJournal - The Western Front: "These spectacular strikes are but a small piece in the larger war raging in Iraq. That missile attack launched on the al Rashid Hotel in Baghdad when Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying there was widely reported. He was unharmed, but the attack killed an American officer, scarred the outside of the building (which has made a good TV visual whenever the story is repeated), and scared many reporters who breathlessly reported how lawless the city must be if such an attack was possible.

But the military followed up by catching 18 suspects. Once in custody, the thugs were quick to rat out their friends. Those arrests led to the arrest of two dozen more enemy fighters.

This was no isolated success. Coalition forces are routinely catching the men who are planning and carrying out attacks on soldiers and civilian infrastructure:

Vote count marred by computer woes

Lebanon -- Boone County officials are searching for an answer to the computer glitch that spewed out impossible numbers and interrupted an otherwise uneventful election process Tuesday.

"I about had a heart attack," County Clerk Lisa Garofolo said of the breakdown that came as an eager crowd watched computer-generated vote totals being projected onto a wall of the County Courthouse rotunda.

"I'm assuming the glitch was in the software."

A lengthy collaboration between the county's information technology director and advisers from the MicroVote software producer fixed the problem. But before that, computer readings of stored voting machine data showed far more votes than registered voters.

"It was like 144,000 votes cast," said Garofolo, whose corrected accounting showed just 5,352 ballots from a pool of fewer than 19,000 registered voters.

"Believe me, there was nobody more shook up than I was."

Sunday, November 09, 2003

How to Win in Iraq ( "I believe we must deploy at least another full division, giving us the necessary manpower to conduct a focused counterinsurgency campaign across the Sunni Triangle that seals off enemy operating areas, conducts search-and-destroy missions and holds territory.

While Iraqification will not solve our immediate security problems, we must move more quickly to transfer meaningful political authority to Iraqi leaders. The Coalition Provisional Authority continues to make a fundamental mistake in the way it interacts with the Iraqi people. The authority seems to think that all wisdom is made in America and that the Iraqi people were defeated, not liberated. For all the comparisons of postwar Iraq to Germany and Japan in 1945, the examples of Italy and France, liberated countries whose people were largely on our side, may be more instructive. The United States is treated as an occupying force in Iraq partly because we are not treating Iraqis as a liberated people.

It is our responsibility to help create the security in which Iraqi politics can flourish. We can leave it to the Iraqis to decide what kind of tax code they should have.

Iraq's transformation into a progressive Arab state could set the region that produced Saddam Hussein, the Taliban and al Qaeda on a new course in which democratic expression and economic prosperity, rather than a radicalizing mix of humiliation, poverty and repression, create a new modernity in the Muslim world that does not define itself in ways that threaten its people or other nations.

Failure to make the necessary political commitment to secure and build the new Iraq could endanger American leadership in the world, put American security at risk, empower our enemies and condemn Iraqis to renewed tyranny. It would be the most serious American defeat on the global stage since Vietnam."
He makes some good points. - Top Stories - U.S. Retaliates After Black Hawk Crash: "In Baghdad, about 500 Sunni Muslims marched Friday to coalition headquarters to demand the release of 36 clerics arrested in recent months. Protesters chanted Islamic slogans including 'America's army will be wiped out,' and 'America is the enemy of God.' They also carried a banner reading 'Prisons ... will never terrify us.'

Marchers stopped at the heavily fortified compound and sent a three-member delegation inside to present their demand. After a 45-minute meeting, the three delegates returned, saying they has been promised 'that something good would happen,' according to one of them, Sheik Awad al-Haradan.

Another delegate said the Americans asked them to work on stopping anti-coalition attacks in Iraq.

'They wanted us to give them guarantees that what they call violence ends. We told them that this will only end when the last American soldier leaves the country,' said Sheik Abdel-Sattar al-Janabi. "

Friday, November 07, 2003

Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - At least one Muslim militant blew himself up during a police raid in the holy city of Mecca Thursday, hours after another militant was shot dead in Riyadh as authorities cracked down on suspected al Qaeda activists.

Thursday's raids, the second action against militant hide-outs this week, came shortly after the United States and Britain warned of terror attacks during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Tuesday, the Interior Ministry said police had foiled a plot to target Muslim pilgrims in Mecca. Five militants -- four Saudis and a Nigerian -- linked to the plot were arrested.

Thursday, an interior ministry statement said the Mecca militants had intended to use a huge amount of explosives and rocket-propelled grenades to cause maximum damage.

The statement said that while searching the militants' hide-out, police had found large stockpiles of machine guns, hand grenades, ammunition and various kinds of explosives.

"This just goes to show the extensive damage that would have happened to our country if these terrorists were allowed to go ahead with their crime," the statement said.

The kingdom has arrested hundreds of suspected militants since the May 12 suicide bombings on Riyadh housing compounds.
Pentagon Says a Covert Force Hunts Hussein

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 � The top American military commander for the Middle East has created a covert commando force to hunt Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and key terrorists throughout the region, according to Pentagon and military officials.

The new Special Operations organization is designed to act with greater speed on intelligence tips about "high-value targets" and not be contained within the borders where American conventional forces are operating in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gen. John P. Abizaid, who commands all American forces in the strategic crescent from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean, decided over the summer to disband two Special Operations missions, Task Force 5 in Afghanistan and Task Force 20 in Iraq, officials said.

Military officers say a broader, regional mission was given to the new force, which has become one of the Pentagon's most highly classified and closely watched operations.

Much about the force, which is commanded by an Air Force brigadier general, remains classified, and Pentagon officials declined to discuss the rules under which the new force operates throughout the region or whether its would require the permission of a foreign government to operate in its territory.

Military officers say that focusing the intelligence, and the Special Operations firepower, within one organization, called Task Force 121, streamlines the effort to use information on these targets and mount an attack.

The new, more flexible force already has shown results, according to Pentagon officials and military officers, who say it has gotten close to Mr. Hussein. Officials declined to give any details.
"Although the task force has not been publicly disclosed, a number of Pentagon officials and military officers agreed to discuss its work in broad terms as an example of the military's new thinking on how to fight terrorism.

The joint task force of elite Special Operations forces from the Army, Navy and Air Force is supplemented by a sizeable conventional force, which might be called upon to secure the perimeter of an area where a raid is about to take place, create a large diversion or bring firepower in greater numbers than the small Special Operations teams.

Commanders realized they were wasting forces by having two complete sets of fighters on alert 24 hours a day for quick-response missions. In addition, tracking and then capturing or killing Qaeda and Taliban leaders or fleeing members of the former Iraqi government required planning and missions not restricted by lines on the map of a region where borders are porous.

Officials described the force as a antidote to those who were concerned that the war to topple Mr. Hussein had taken the military's eye off the other prizes: capturing Mr. bin Laden and Qaeda leaders, as well as Mullah Muhammad Omar, the fugitive Taliban commander, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an anti-American Afghan warlord who survived an attack in 2002 by a Hellfire missile launched from a Predator reconnaissance aircraft.

While American forces have captured or killed many of the top members of Mr. Hussein's government they have had less success with Taliban and Qaeda leaders who survived the war in Afghanistan."
WorldNetDaily: New evidence reveals much larger 9-11 plot:

"New evidence leads some investigators to believe the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were part of a larger plot involving as many as seven passenger jets, according to ABC News.

Documents seized in caves in Afghanistan recently were matched with visa applications indicating several al-Qaida terrorists tried unsuccessfully to enter the United States at about the same time as the 19 hijackers who carried out the attacks.

If the men had been able to enter, some investigators believe, al-Qaida might have been able to commandeer six or seven planes instead of four, ABC said. Others think the plan was to use the men in a separate, second wave of attacks."

Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - Top Stories - No Turkish Troops May Mean More U.S. Call-Ups:
"WASHINGTON WASHINGTON � In a major setback to U.S. efforts to attract military help in Iraq, a Turkish official said Tuesday his country won't send peacekeeping troops without a significant change in the situation there. That makes it virtually certain the United States will have to send thousands more U.S. reservists (search) early next year.

No additional countries have contributed forces in Iraq since the United Nations Security Council (search) approved a new resolution last month. Bush administration officials had hoped the U.N. action would persuade reluctant allies to send more forces. "
Roberts says memo undermines inquiry 11/05/03: "WASHINGTON -- Republican Sen. Pat Roberts said Democrats have undermined the inquiry he is leading into Iraq prewar intelligence by drafting a memo aimed at discrediting the Senate Intelligence Committee's work.

The Kansan is chairman of the committee. The memo was written by Democratic committee staff and wasn't finalized or circulated among members of the committee, said the panel's senior Democrat, West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

Rockefeller acknowledged the document after news reports quoted excerpts from it. The memo spells out steps to make the committee's inquiry irrelevant by setting up an independent commission, and in the process attempt to 'castigate' majority Republicans. It suggested 'pulling the trigger' on the plan 'probably next year.'

Roberts said the memo stunned him.

'It's like a personal slap in the face,' he said. 'I'm very frustrated by it.'" - FBI has new 9/11 hijacking suspect:

"WASHINGTON � The FBI has identified an al-Qaeda operative who agents believe tried as late as August 2001 to join the 9/11 terrorist plot as the "20th hijacker," a top federal law enforcement official said Tuesday.

"We are fairly confident we know who No. 20 is," said the official, who is involved in the 9/11 probe and asked not to be identified. The official said the unidentified al-Qaeda operative got into the USA but "had to leave" the country shortly before 19 hijackers carried out the attacks that killed more than 3,000 people. The official would not say why the operative left, whether he is alive or whether he is in U.S. custody.

A top Justice Department official confirmed that FBI agents believe they have identified the 20th hijacker. Both officials said the FBI does not believe the would-be terrorist was accused al-Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui or Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, an alleged 9/11 paymaster who tried to get into the USA at least four times before the attacks.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003 - Top Stories - Saddam's Secrets Exposed by Aide

"WASHINGTON � Former Iraqi Vice Premier Tariq Aziz (search), who surrendered to U.S. authorities on May 24, has been providing considerable information about Saddam Hussein, officials familiar with his interrogation told Fox News.

Among the details provided by Aziz and the captured files:

� Saddam did not attack invading American and British forces because he believed that France and Russia would use the U.N. Security Council to stop the war.

� Ties were even stronger to two other nations: North Korea, which was in the process of selling Iraq a long-range No Dong missile, and Serbia, which provided Iraq with a sort of "lessons learned" template from its experience in dealing with the NATO-led air campaign over Kosovo.

� Iraq had no biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, according to Aziz, an assertion echoed by most other captured Iraqi leaders. But Saddam was insistent on developing long-range missiles despite the U.N. resolution barring him from doing so.

� The names of every Iraqi intelligence agent working abroad over the past few years. "We know [Saddam] had agents all over the world. We know who they are, and we're going to find all of them," one official told Fox News. "The Iraqis were meticulous record keepers."

Serb-Iraqi contacts were military-to-military, the officials said, and the Serbs gave many tips on enduring a prolonged air campaign, the officials told Fox News.

: Shortly before dawn on Aug. 28, an M1A1 Abrams tank on routine patrol in Baghdad �was hit by something� that crippled the 69-ton behemoth.

Army officials still are puzzling over what that �something� was.

According to an unclassified Army report, the mystery projectile punched through the vehicle�s skirt and drilled a pencil-sized hole through the hull. The hole was so small that �my little finger will not go into it,� the report�s author noted.

The �something� continued into the crew compartment, where it passed through the gunner�s seatback, grazed the kidney area of the gunner�s flak jacket and finally came to rest after boring a hole 1� to 2 inches deep in the hull on the far side of the tank.

As it passed through the interior, it hit enough critical components to knock the tank out of action. That made the tank one of only two Abrams disabled by enemy fire during the Iraq war and one of only a handful of �mobility kills� since they first rumbled onto the scene 20 years ago. The other Abrams knocked out this year in Iraq was hit by an RPG-7, a rocket-propelled grenade.

Experts believe whatever it is that knocked out the tank in August was not an RPG-7 but most likely something new � and that worries tank drivers.

Monday, November 03, 2003 U.S. Administrator Imposes Flat Tax System on Iraq:

The flat tax, long a dream of economic conservatives, is finally getting its day -- not in the United States, but in Iraq.

It took L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Baghdad, no more than a stroke of the pen Sept. 15 to accomplish what eluded the likes of publisher Steve Forbes, Reps. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) and Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.), and Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Tex.) over the course of a decade and two presidential campaigns.

'The highest individual and corporate income tax rates for 2004 and subsequent years shall not exceed 15 percent,' Bremer wrote in Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 37, 'Tax Strategy for 2003,' issued last month.

Voil�! Iraq has a flat tax, and the 15 percent rate is even lower than Forbes (17 percent) and Gramm (16 percent) favored for the United States. And, unless a future Iraqi government rescinds it, the flat tax will remain long after the Americans have left."
Bremer promises to "accelerate" authority handover to Iraqis: "Bremer promises to 'accelerate' authority handover to Iraqis

AFP Photo

US overseer in Iraq Paul Bremer pledged that the US-led coalition would speed up the handover of political and security powers to Iraqis after a surge of car bombings and other attacks.

Bremer also vowed the coalition would stand firm and not abandon Iraq in the face of the mounting violence against civilians and the rising number of US soldiers killed in action.

The US boss in Iraq declared his forces wanted to kill or capture Saddam Hussein as the coalition continued to scour the countryside for the fugitive dictator, with a 25-million-dollar price on his head.

'We will seek ways to accelerate the transfer of authority to the government of Iraq,' Bremer told his first press conference in Baghdad since a suicide bombing spree claimed the lives of 43 people and wounded more than 200 last Monday."
Al-Qaida critiques its Afghan errors:

"Top official says bad planning, betrayal aided U.S. victory
A soldier from the 10th Mountain Division escorts al-Qaida suspects from Shibergan prison in northern Afghanistan on Dec. 29, 2001.
SAIF AL-ADIL, currently the al-Qaida military commander, claims that during one night in October 2001, U.S. missiles came close to killing him three times.
The critique is carried in a magazine called The Voice of Jihad (Sawt Jihad), parts of which were published this week in Sharq al-Awsat, a respected Saudi newspaper, and translated by the U.S. intelligence community.
One senior U.S. official said the intelligence community had seen the article and believed it to be authentic, although since there are no time references in it beyond 2001 it is impossible to know when it was written. Another official noted that al-Adil �fancies himself as a military strategist and thinker� and such a critique would fit within what he sees as his responsibilities. - Report: Army Reviews 1967 Vietnam Probe: "TOLEDO, Ohio -- The Army is reviewing a decades-old investigation of an elite unit of American soldiers that allegedly killed hundreds of innocent civilians during the Vietnam War, a newspaper reported Friday.

The decision came a week after a series of articles in The Blade reported the Army's 101st Airborne Division Tiger Force killed villagers -- including women, children and elderly farmers -- in Vietnam's central highland area over seven months in 1967.

The Tiger Force reportedly dropped grenades in bunkers and randomly fired on unarmed civilians during the killing spree, according to a 4 1/2-year military investigation that was closed in 1975, the Blade reported. No one was ever charged in the probe, which was initiated by a soldier outraged by the killings.

Military officials are expected to spend weeks going over evidence from the investigation, Army spokesman Joe Burlas said.

'Right now, there's a lot of work to be done,' he said. 'We're going through a 3-foot-tall pile of papers. They've made a dent but there's a long way to go.' "
IHT: The fate of lemmings: It's murder, not suicide: "NEW YORK For centuries, people have puzzled over lemmings, the northern rodents whose populations surge and crash so quickly and so regularly that they inspired an enduring myth: that lemmings commit mass suicide when their numbers grow too large, eagerly pitching themselves off cliffs to their deaths in a foamy sea.
Scientists debunked that notion decades ago. But they have never been certain what causes the rapid boom-and-bust cycles that gave rise to it. Now, in a study of collared lemmings in Greenland, published on Friday in the journal Science, a team of European researchers report that the real reason has nothing to do with self-annihilation and everything to do with hungry predators. After 15 years of research, the scientists report, they discovered that the combined actions of four predator species - snowy owls, seabirds called long-tailed skuas, arctic foxes and weasel-like stoats - create the four-year cycles in which lemming populations explode and then nearly disappear."
BBC NEWS | South Asia | Afghans to have Islamic republic: "Afghans to have Islamic republic
A draft Afghan constitution has been unveiled, setting out a new political system and defining Islam's role in the country.
Man prays in Kabul: Islam will have an important role

It calls for the creation of an Islamic republic, with a presidential system, and where citizens have equal rights.

The draft will be debated by a loya jirga grand assembly next month, paving the way for possible elections in 2004.

A spokesman for President Hamid Karzai said Afghanistan needed stability and the new constitution was made with 'the next 100, 200 years' in mind.

The ceremony came as a delegation from the UN Security Council toured the country to examine post-war reconstruction efforts."