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Showing posts from March, 2007

The War in Afghanistan 2007 week 11

Iran's seizure of British sailors is commanding the world's attention but the story that British soldiers are fighting Iranians in Afghanistan has gone virtually unmentioned. The information appeared in the earliest story about Operation Achilles, the British-led offensive to clear a portion of Helmand province of Taliban fighters. The operation, now in its fourth week, involves 4500 Brit troops and about 1000 Afghan soldiers. The Telegraph, March 8, 2007 Operation Achilles: Taliban launch attack in Sangin British troops fight Taliban for key town By Tom Coghlan in Kabul British soldiers fought a fierce battle with hundreds of Taliban fighters yesterday as a flashpoint town in southern Afghanistan erupted in violence. *snip* Many of those fighting the British were believed to be foreigners. "There are some very strange people," said one local by telephone. "They cannot speak Pashtu [the local language], they are speaking Dari instead. They are clean-shaven and we

Magnus Avenue shooting a test of Katz's crime fighting resolve

Today is Day Two. Day Two of the test of the Mayor's credibility. On Oct. 10, 2005, 17-year-old Phil Haiart was shot and killed on Maryland Street. He was hit by a stray bullet as two street gangs shot at each other. He was young, white, the son of a well-known Winnipeg surgeon and a recent graduate of St. John's-Ravenscourt. Exactly 15 days later Mayor Sam Katz joined Police Chief Jack Ewatski to announce the creation of Operation Clean Sweep, a dedicated unit of 45 police officers assigned to target visible street crimes such as prostitution, drug dealing and street-level violence. " It is time to take back our streets. We have the police force, and they have the intelligence on the criminals " huffed Katz. " Public safety is our number one concern, and that's why we are taking our enforcement efforts to another level " puffed Ewatski. "The police know who they are, what they do and where they operate. We don't need an ivory tower policy disc

Free Press Fairy Tales and Fish Stories

Reporter Geoff Kirbyson must be nicknamed Rumpelstilskin in the Winnipeg Free Press newsroom because he keeps getting assigned to turn straw into gold. Kirbyson is the go-to guy when the FP gets bad-to-mediocre news and wants to spin it into something more positive. Like when circulation shrank according to figures released last November and he had to write a story about how good the FP's circulation was. On Friday he had to take the latest survey of newspaper readership and weave it into a story for advertisers about how the FP dominates the Winnipeg market. For the record, the 2006 Newspaper Audience Databank (NADbank) survey said 71 percent of adults in Winnipeg read something in the Winnipeg Free Press every week. But his story was so full of weasel words (every sentence talked about percentage of this and percentage of that without ever giving a single number for reference) and spin from editor B

The War in Afghanistan 2007 Week 10

More than two weeks into the British-led Operation Achilles in Helmand Province and the news blackout is tighter than ever. The sliver of news we compiled last week is a veritable feast compared to what's leaked out of the battle zone since. Still, undaunted, we've corralled what wee bits of information we could track down to provide you with the best glimpses we could of what's being billed as NATO's biggest offensive on Afghanistan yet. But first... if it's not one thing, it's another... Another wheel has falled off the Taliban war wagon and Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah (love the name), has had to send a mechanic to fix it so that he can finally launch the damn Feared Taliban Spring Offensive. Taliban insurgents and their allies have been killing each other by the score all week in the South Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan. Instead of crossing the border into Afghanistan to support the expected spring offensive, they're expending their terrorist ins

Spring Cleaning for 2007

The first day of spring means only one thing --- our annual spring cleaning issue. It's the time to clear off the desks at the Baxter Building starting with ... CBC's News at 6:00 has become a popular topic around town for many of the wrong reasons. If they thought a circus act was what viewers wanted, they got it. Producers didn't realize how tiny Janet Stewart is. It didn't matter on CKY/CTV because she just had to stay behind the desk and read the news straight to camera and share duties with Gord Leclair. But at CBC she has to interact with Murray Parker, Mike Beauregard, reporters and guests single-handedly. Putting her next to real-sized people makes her look even more Lilliputian. Seeing not-at-all-tall Mike Beauregard tower over her has viewers fiddling with their tv remotes trying to adjust the screen. Not that it matters. It's just comic relief from the leaden interaction between Janet and Mike at the best of times. There was zero chemistry between the two

War in Afghanistan 2007, Weeks 8 and 9

Why We Fight Excerpts from transcripts of terrorist suspects' military hearings KHALID SHEIKH MOHAMMED --"I was Emir (i.e. commander) of Beit Al Shuhada (i.e., the Martyrs' House) in the state of Kandahar, Afghanistan, which housed the 9/11 hijackers. There I was responsible for their training and readiness for the execution of the 9/11 Operation. " Al Qaeda terrorists killed about 3000 people in their attacks Sept. 11, 2001. They intended on killing the 50,000 who worked in the World Trade Centre each day. They will try again if we let them. AFGHANISTAN: Taliban blocks polio vaccination 15 Mar 2007 17:47:48 GMT According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Afghanistan had a severe polio outbreak in 2006, largely because of conflict in the south severely impeding access to children during immunisation rounds. Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Nigeria are the four countries worldwide where polio remains endemic, according to the WHO. Of the 31 confirmed cases of p

Winnipeg Free Press Double Standard Saves Gordon Sinclair

It looks like the Winnipeg Free Press owes its former columnist Dallas Hansen a big fat honking apology. Contrary to the sanctimonious position editor Bob Cox took when he fired Hansen last December, the standards for behaviour by columnists appears to be extremely flexible. Veteran columnist Gordon Sinclair has proven that in spades. The Black Rod wrote at the time of the Hansen firing that Free Press columnists frequently misuse their columns to take cheap shots at retailers and servicepeople who don't show the proper obsequiousness. Sinclair's March 13 column, although cloaked as an apology, fits the bill. It seems that 9 days earlier, Sinclair stopped for gasoline at an unnamed service station only to get into a fierce argument with the "petite young woman behind the counter" and "the gas jockey." It all started when Sinclair discovered he had no money to pay for the gas. Here's my number, see ya later , he told the girl. To his shock, she didn'