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Mar 17th
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Another Bad Deal for Baghdad PDF Print E-mail


WITH only perfunctory debate, the Bush administration is pressuring a divided Iraqi government to approve a security agreement that could haunt Washington’s relations with Baghdad for years to come. The “strategic alliance” that President Bush is proposing eerily resembles, in spirit and in letter, a failed 1930 treaty between Britain and Iraq that prompted a nationalist eruption in Baghdad, a pro-Nazi military coup and a pogrom that foreshadowed the elimination of Baghdad’s ancient Jewish community.
Sarah Churchwell: His skin colour won't stop Obama. The colour of his politics might... PDF Print E-mail

America's swing vote lies with those who may be relaxed about race but fearful and suspicious of the Democratic candidate as a member of the educated, liberal elite, writes Sarah Churchwell

Ever since Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination, one question has preoccupied the European media: is America ready for a black president? This seems to me a silly question but clearly it needs answering. Logically, there are four possible responses: America is ready, and Obama will be elected; America is ready, and Obama will not be elected; America is not ready, and Obama will be elected; America is not ready, and Obama will not be elected.
The black coat movement PDF Print E-mail

By Mubarak Ali

IN a stagnant society where moral values and traditions decline, where intellectuals fail to create new ideas in order to inspire the people, where political parties take no interest in mobilising the masses for a change in the system and where leaders, instead of resisting, are ready to compromise with the powers that be in order to retain their privileges and status, the emergence of a new movement with fresh ideas and a vision for change inspires the entire society to actively participate in the struggle.
Fiscal Poison Pill PDF Print E-mail


A poison pill, in corporate jargon, is a financial arrangement designed to protect current management by crippling the company if someone else takes over.

As I read the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center’s analysis of the presidential candidates’ tax proposals, I realized that the tax cuts enacted by the Bush administration are, in effect, a fiscal poison pill aimed at future administrations.
Revamping: setting priorities right PDF Print E-mail

By Dr Shahid Siddiqui

THERE is no harm in admitting that education has never been our national priority. This can be blamed on the fact that Pakistan has experienced long periods of military rule. If we look at our budgetary allocation, defence was usually given the lion’s share.

According to the CIA’s fact book, from 1958 to 1973, the defence budget accounted for nearly 60 per cent of the total government expenditure.
Angry Clinton Women ? McCain? PDF Print E-mail


TEN years ago John McCain had to apologize for regaling a Republican audience with a crude sexual joke about Hillary and Chelsea Clinton and Janet Reno. Last year he had to explain why he didn’t so much as flinch when a supporter asked him on camera, “How do we beat the bitch?” But these days Mr. McCain just loves the women.

In his televised address on Barack Obama’s victory night of June 3, he dismissed Mr. Obama in a single patronizing line but devoted four fulsome sentences to praising Mrs. Clinton for “inspiring millions of women.” The McCain Web site is showcasing a new blogger who crooned of the “genuine affection” for Mrs. Clinton “here at McCain HQ” after she lost.

Think global, act local! PDF Print E-mail

By Adil Zareef

“ACCORDING to the Wall Street Journal, agriculture has room to run and can give investors solid returns…. How to invest? These four stocks could bring you the biggest gains of your investment career!” pops up an advert when I open my Yahoo mail.

So tighten your seat belts ladies and gentlemen. Since gold, oil and real estate are things of the past — in this space age, life and death matters less and profits dominate our global free markets — this could be your last chance to strike gold. So pick up the phone and make your fortune!
Letters From Vermont PDF Print E-mail


Despite the focus on the housing crisis, gasoline prices and the economy in general, the press has not done a good job capturing the intense economic anxiety — and even dread, in some cases — that has gripped tens of millions of working Americans, including many who consider themselves solidly middle class.

Alzheimer’s leads atheist Terry Pratchett to appreciate God PDF Print E-mail

Robert Watts

TERRY PRATCHETT, the fantasy writer suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, has suggested he may have found God after years of atheism.

The 60-year-old creator of the Discworld series has spoken of an unexplained experience shortly after his diagnosis with the condition.
The arithmetic of crude oil PDF Print E-mail

Science may soon liberate us from our addiction to expensive fossil fuel

The Times

Forgotten to fill the petrol tank? Worried that you won't find a garage that still has any diesel, because of the strike by fuel tanker drivers? Fearful that even if the garage does have petrol, you don't know if you'll be able to afford any on account of the numbers in the price window at the petrol station spinning round, these days, as randomly as the drums of a one-armed bandit?
Evolution of Islamic legal system PDF Print E-mail

By Prof. Mohammed Rafi


LAW is generally defined as a body of rules, regulations and principles that govern the affairs of a country. It is enforced by a political authority in conformity with an established legal system.

As Islam makes no distinction between religious and social values, its laws cover not only the ritual, but every aspect of life. Four main sources of Islamic law include the Quran, as the supreme source, Sunnah or the life of the Prophet (SAW) as an example, the consensus of the Muslims (Ijma) and reasoning by analogy (Qiyas).
Obama, Liberalism and the Challenge of Reform PDF Print E-mail


Is Barack Obama really a force for change, or is he just a traditional Democrat with a patina of postpartisan rhetoric?
That question is surprisingly hard to answer. When you listen to his best speeches, you see a person who really could herald a new political era. But when you look into his actual policies, you often find a list of orthodox liberal programs that no centrist or moderate conservative would have any reason to support.
Obama's appeal in the Muslim world PDF Print E-mail

An Arab Muslim foresees a possible new era of positive US leadership

By Yasser Khalil

Cairo - U.S. Senator Barack Obama represents a phenomenon that has drawn global attention and captivated the minds of Muslims around the world as he wages a spirited campaign to become the next president of the United States.

In spite of the campaign's heated debate and some controversial rhetoric regarding Islam, large segments of the Muslim population here remain fascinated with the election and have become big fans of Senator Obama.
Barack’s Bad Day PDF Print E-mail


Everybody knows that the very first rule in picking a vice president is to do no harm. Really, you can choose anybody. How dumb would you feel if it turned into an embarrassment? This is why the careful, modern candidate sets up a screening system.

Now ask yourself: how dumb would you feel if you got in trouble over your selection for the vice-presidential screener.
The Sex Speech PDF Print E-mail


One of the missed opportunities of the primary season was that Hillary Clinton never gave a speech about gender comparable to Barack Obama’s speech about race.

That was understandable: She didn’t want to be reduced to the “woman candidate.” But such a speech might have triggered a useful national conversation about women in leadership, and so, Mr. Obama, now it’s up to you: Why don’t you give that speech? I’m helpfully offering some talking points:
Obama on the Nile PDF Print E-mail


This column will probably get Barack Obama in trouble, but that’s not my problem. I cannot tell a lie: Many Egyptians and other Arab Muslims really like him and hope that he wins the presidency.

I have had a chance to observe several U.S. elections from abroad, but it has been unusually revealing to be in Egypt as Barack Hussein Obama became the Democrats’ nominee for president of the United States.
Chavez spurns armed revolution PDF Print E-mail

By David Usborne

THE armed revolutionary has no place in modern Latin America, the Venezuelan President has declared. Catching his critics off guard, Hugo Chavez called on the Marxist rebel army in neighbouring Colombia to lay down its arms and release its hostages, declaring that guerrilla armies are now “out of place”.
It's Congress, not a king's court PDF Print E-mail

Second-guess the president? Actually, yes

By Mickey Edwards

The central feature of American government, the one that made the United States "exceptional" and preserved our freedoms for more than 200 years, is in the process of being destroyed. The enemy is not in Iraq or the hills of Pakistan but in Washington and in cities and towns throughout the United States.
42 days could put Brown out for the count PDF Print E-mail

The Prime Minister has got to decide whether he is tender or tough on terrorism

Rachel Sylvester

If you ask Google “What is the meaning of life, the Universe and everything?” the search engine replies: “42”. This is, of course, the response given by the Deep Thought Computer in Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But it could just as easily explain why our Deep Thought Prime Minister decided that it should be possible for the State to detain terrorist suspects without charge for 42 days.
No tearful farewell likely for Bush PDF Print E-mail

By David Cronin

It is a safe bet that there will be no mass shedding of tears when US President George W. Bush visits Slovenia to attend the final summit of his presidency between the European Union and the United States June 10.

Some 50 detainees are believed to face grave risks to their personal safety if they are returned home. Human rights activists have asked European governments to provide shelter to many of these detainees. Some of them have already been cleared for release but remain in custody.

The Good American and Monsieur Obama PDF Print E-mail


The French have always cherished a class of people called “les bons Américains.” These good Americans were those truest to a Gallic idea of what the United States should be, and in recent years those at the furthest remove from the aberrant folk who elected George W. Bush.

“Polls,” Packer writes, “reveal that Americans favor the Democratic side on nearly every domestic issue, from Social Security and health care to education and the environment.”

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