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LA Times:

At least, Yudin said, there is the sound of birds chirping in the trees. During most of 2004, when a toxic plume from the plant killed off many gardens in Karabash and some of the surrounding countryside, the town was eerily silent.

Even the butterflies left.

Yudin laughed.

“It’s funny that birds are much smarter than we are,” he said.

“They flew away.”


Washington Post:

“I just told him I’m preceding. I wasn’t going to back down,” Berntsen said in an interview last week. “It was very awkward.”

Berntsen resigned, wrote his book and, as required, submitted “Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda: A Personnel Account by the CIA’s Key Field Commander” to the CIA’s Publications Review Board, which redacted about five pages of the 400-plus-page manuscript. “They were very efficient and thoughtful,” he said last week.

Then the board sent it to the Directorate of Operations, where Berntsen had worked, as is the practice. There, Berntsen contends, “Mr. Foggo made good on his word” and 70 pages were blacked out.

Berntsen’s lawsuit, filed earlier this year in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asserts that the CIA violated his First Amendment rights in redacting as much as it did.


Wooster Collective:

Looking closely at the sign, it says:

An Ordinary Building

This building was designed by an unknown architect in an irrelevant epoch and never belonged to an important person. The complex does not show any original architectural solutions, nor does it conserve any important works of art within. No memory is kept of any significant historical events occurring on this site. No known personality was born, lived or died here, nor is any excellent artist or sublime poet still working here.



Anna Politkovskaya was found dead by a neighbor shortly after 5 p.m. A Makarov 9-millimeter pistol had been dropped at her side, the signature of a contract killing, Vitaly Yaroshevsky, the deputy editor of Novaya Gazeta, said in a telephone interview.

“We are certain that this is the horrible outcome of her journalistic activity,” he said. “No other versions are assumed.”

The former Soviet president, Mikhail S. Gorbachev, a shareholder of the newspaper where Ms. Politkovskaya worked, called her killing “a savage crime.”

“It is a blow to the entire democratic, independent press,” Mr. Gorbachev told the Interfax news agency. “It is a grave crime against the country, against all of us.”



Anna Politkovskaya, a Russian journalist known as a fierce critic of the Kremlin’s actions in Chechnya, has been found dead in Moscow.
She was found shot dead near her home in a block of flats in the capital.

A pistol and four bullets were found near her body, the Interfax news agency said, quoting unnamed police sources.

The award-winning journalist fell seriously ill with food poisoning in 2004, which some suspected was an attempt on her life.



“Gods Of War” has evolved into a multi-part epic cycle which will include tributes to the Gods of Valhalla. Continuing MANOWAR’s mission to never stray from their heavy metal style, “Gods Of War” will present a new level of heaviness, intensity and brutality to the MANOWAR mythos. “With this kind of theme… when you are paying tribute to Odin, the God of War, country music or jazz would not create the appropriate mental imagery and would not do justice to the Father of the Gods himself,” says MANOWAR bassist and founder Joey DeMaio. “Heavy Metal is needed to tell this tale.”

With “Gods Of War”, MANOWAR is calling all warriors to enter Valhalla. Let the battle begin!



“In order to come to the aid of the hip-hop nation, we must regrettably ask those men who heroically served the Black Planet to once again don their fatigues and take up their plastic arms,” S1W Chief and Public Enemy Minister Of Information Professor Griff said. “We have no more options. It’s not as though we can simply call 911. That would be a joke.”



Among the scenes being viewed daily by thousands of users of the sites are sniper attacks in which Americans are felled by snipers as a camera records the action and of armored Humvees or other military vehicles being hit by roadside bombs.

In some videos, the troops do not appear to have been seriously injured; in one, titled “Sniper Hit” and posted on YouTube by a user named 69souljah, a serviceman is knocked down by a shot but then gets up to seek cover. Other videos, however, show soldiers bleeding on the ground, vehicles exploding and troops being loaded onto medical evacuation helicopters.

At a time when the Bush administration has restricted photographs of the coffins of military personnel returning to the United States and the Pentagon keeps close tabs on videotapes of combat operations taken by the news media, the videos give average Americans a level of access to combat scenes rarely available before, if ever.

Their availability has also produced some backlash. In recent weeks, YouTube has removed dozens of the videos from its archives and suspended the accounts of some users who have posted them, a reaction, it said, to complaints from other users.


In 1998 Ms. Sontag received a diagnosis of cancer, from which she recovered. Ms. Leibovitz took several months off to be with her. There are photographs of that period too, of Ms. Sontag receiving chemotherapy, having her hair cut. “You know, one doesn’t stop seeing,” Ms. Leibovitz said, when asked about her impulse to photograph illness. “One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time.” In the middle of her Caesarean in 2001 she reached up with a camera to try to shoot the birth of her daughter, Sarah, over the curtain suspended across her midriff. “They’re all totally out of focus and terrible,” she laughed.

She photographed her father after his death in 2005. He was 91, had lung cancer and had driven a car until a week before. He died at home in bed, with hospice care, in his wife’s arms. The family kept his body in the bedroom all day, as children and, later, a rabbi arrived. Ms. Leibovitz photographed him there, his head on a flowered pillowcase, in pajamas with dark piping. “You find yourself reverting to what you know,” she said. “It’s almost like a protection of some kind. You go back into yourself. You don’t really know quite what you’re doing. I didn’t really analyze it. I felt driven to do it.”
She said, “My father was so beautiful lying there.”


Washington Post:

Printed neatly on white-and-green fliers, the edicts banned vices like “music-filled parties and all kinds of singing.” They proscribed celebratory gunfire at weddings and “the gathering of young men” in front of markets and girls’ schools. Also forbidden were the “selling of liquor and narcotic drugs” and “wearing improper Western clothes.”

But at the bottom of the list of prohibitions was a single command. Scrawled in green ink, it read simply: “Cut hair.”

“I feel powerless,” lamented Moataz Hussein, 22, a wiry, soft-voiced teacher seated in a hair salon on the main road of the Tobji neighborhood on Sunday. His long, stylish black hair was now a recent memory. “They are controlling my life.”



There is a further reason why Baron Cohen causes injury and offence. Under Stalin’s forced collectivisation in the 1920s, about half the ethnic Kazakh population were deported or starved to death. In the early 1940s, entire populations of “anti-Soviet” peoples – including Tartars, Chechens, Ingush, Volga Germans and Koreans – were dumped in the Kazakh steppes. The one positive outcome of the forced population movements is that Kazakhstan has one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the world. Just over half of the 15 million population are ethnic Kazakhs, about 30% Russian, and the rest from a dozen different nationalities. There are more than 100 different ethnic and religious groups.

Given what we have been through as a nation, racial and ethnic tolerance is regarded as a practical necessity and part of our contemporary identity. It is no exaggeration to say that the stability of the modern Kazakh state depends on a shared recognition that we must do nothing to disturb the harmony among this complex mosaic of peoples. Consequently, Kazakhs generally do not care for racial slurs or think much of those who indulge in them.


Moscow Times:

Vyacheslav Fedchenko watched in horror as a Stinger missile fired by Afghan mujahedin struck a Su-25 fighter jet and the pilot, Konstantin Pavlyukov, parachuted out high above the Bagram Air Base.

“It was so close to Bagram that everyone saw it,” said Fedchenko, who was at the base at the time. “The worst thing is that we couldn’t get to him.”

Helicopters attempting to rescue Pavlyukov faced fierce enemy ground fire, leaving the pilot to pull his final maneuver, one that would later earn him the posthumous award of Hero of the Soviet Union.

“He blew himself up with two grenades when they tried to capture him and took the bandits with him,” Fedchenko said by telephone from Barnaul, in the Altai region.


Moscow Times:

The 22 men bowed down before Allah and pressed their arms and shoulders together and chanted. They closed their eyes. They melded into a single body.

And in their unity, they seemed unfazed by the ultranationalists who days earlier had firebombed this city’s only mosque for the second time in a week.

Outside the mosque, the scars of the attacks were fading but visible: the spray-painted swastika, the white paint slopped over racist graffiti, the ugly rant scrawled on a rear gate — “Death to blacks! Glory to Russia! Forward Slavs!”

But as the worshipers rose from their prayers, slipped on their shoes and headed out into the night, they voiced few fears about lurking thugs. There were no guards posted in the courtyard, no locks on the front gate.

“We’re a part of this society,” explained Rustam Batrov, 28, the Yaroslavl Mosque’s imam. “This is our motherland. We’ve been here for 500 years. We aren’t immigrants.”


NoTxt #5 – Street Art Issue is now online, featuring: Tiki Jay One, REONE, Peat Wollaeger, ZOLTRON, Jackson, RoBaCk, Barto, Slinkachu, Brian Nicholson, DiMZ/WON, NO/FI, Graffinc, Smear, VD, Dial One, Dallas Graham, Shane “AKO” Whisenant, Mr. Sid, Anville, Kegr One, Disposable Hero, Tafe, Restitution Press, Bytedust, L3mn



The Soviet collapse spawned 15 new countries that are now established members of the international community. However, economic, political and ethnic disparities also gave birth to a series of far less known unrecognized republics, national aspirations and legacies. Jonas Bendiksen, a Norwegian and Magnum’s youngest photographer, started his “multi-year project about states that do not actually exist”. “Satellites” is a photographic journey through the scattered enclaves, unrecognized mini-states, and other isolated communities that straddle the southern borderlands of the former USSR. The itinerary goes through places such as Transdniester, a breakaway republic in Eastern Europe, Abkhazia, an unrecognized country on the Black Sea, the religiously conservative Ferghana Valley in Central Asia, the spacecraft crash zones between Russia and Kazakhstan, and the Jewish Autonomous Region of Far Eastern Russia.


LA Times:

As they rushed the house, Navy corpsman Alonso Rogero was hit in the stomach and Lance Cpl. Ryan Sunnerville in the leg. Grainy, shaky film of the incident shows Sunnerville hopping on one leg, still firing his M-16. Marines and insurgents exchanged gunfire from no more than 20 feet. From inside the building, the insurgents also threw grenades.

The insurgents had hoped to spring what is called a Chechen ambush, named after the rebels who have fought Russian troops for years. The tactic is particularly successful when tanks cannot be used.

The strategy, Marines determined later, had been to wound Marines attempting to enter the building. When other Marines came to help them, an insurgent sniper down an alleyway would pick off corpsmen, radio operators and officers. And when enough Marines or vehicles were gathered, insurgents would fire rocket-propelled grenades.

Adlesperger fired at the insurgent machine-gun position as he ran toward Rogero and Sunnerville. He helped the two up the outside stairway to the roof. As insurgents tried to storm the stairway, Adlesperger killed them before they could reach the roof. Shrapnel ripped into his face.



According to the filmmakers, however, there is nothing soft and helpless about the way the Musharraf administration handles Pakistani reporters. The documentary points the finger at the government for the murder in Hayatullah Khan, a Pakistani journalist who worked with PBS and whose reporting on a 2005 missile attack on a Qaeda operative embarrassed the Musharraf government. (The Pakistan army said that American forces had nothing to do with the attack; Mr. Khan published pictures of missile fragments covered with United States military markings.) Soon after, Mr. Khan disappeared, and last June his corpse was found, riddled with bullets and hands bound with government-issue handcuffs, in North Waziristan, a tribal region on the Afghan border.


Part 2 of Bob Woodward excerpts, Washington Post:

On July 15, 2004, Herbits sat down at his computer and wrote another memo, a scathing seven-page report titled “Summary of Post-Iraq Planning and Execution Problems.” Though he discussed the postwar planning and policies, and the tenure of L. Paul Bremer III as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, his real target was his friend of 37 years. The memo listed a series of tough questions:

· “Who made the decision and why didn’t we reconstitute the Iraqi army?”

· “Did no one realize we were going to need Iraqi security forces?”

· “Did no one anticipate the importance of stabilization and how best to achieve it?”

· “Why was the de-Baathification so wide and deep?”

“Rumsfeld’s style of operation,” Herbits wrote, was the “Haldeman model, arrogant” — a reference to President Richard M. Nixon’s White House chief of staff, H.R. “Bob” Haldeman.


Yes Men, from the fake site Halliburton Contracts:

Halliburton’s reputation as a disaster and conflict industry innovator will be cemented by the SurvivaBall™, a one-size-fits-all solution to global warming.


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