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From the Washington Post:

On a recent day in April, when U.S. aid officials flew to Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, with several journalists, they were greeted on the tarmac by a commando-style security team that instructed the visitors on what to do if their vehicles were shot at or bombed, issued everyone flak jackets and closely guarded their convoy at every step.

When the group arrived at a tiny cucumber and eggplant patch, heavily armed Afghan and foreign security guards surrounded it. Later they fanned out across empty poppy fields, and stood guard along a dusty cobblestone road being built by former poppy farmers who are paid $4 per day by USAID.

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From the Washington Post:

“This country is on a solid track under this president because of his leadership.”

“We’re more interested in looking at the results, not the polls.”

“We are winning in Iraq.”

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From Dana Priest, Pulitzer prize winner at the Washington Post:

One senior European counterterrorism official, asked recently for his assessment of Goss’s leadership, responded by saying, “Who?”

Goss, then the Republican chairman of the House intelligence panel, was handpicked by the White House to purge what some in the administration viewed as a cabal of wily spies working to oppose administration policy in Iraq. “He came in to clean up without knowing what he was going to clean up,” one former intelligence official said.

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From the Washington Post:

Members of Congress privately predicted that Hayden, who once enjoyed tremendous support on the Hill, would face a contentious confirmation process over the Bush administration’s domestic spying program. Other sensitive issues, such as the existence of secret prisons abroad for terrorism suspects, also are likely to arise.

“The calculus is that would be true about anybody at this point. Given all the other stuff, like secret prisons, the confirmation is going to be tough for anybody,” a senior administration official said.

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From PDN:

Photojournalist Tomas van Houtryve has been covering political unrest in Nepal for years, from the rise in power of King Gyanendra Shah to the secretive Maoist insurgency. This spring, when popular outrage against the monarch reached a boiling point, he knew he had to return to Kathmandu.

“When we arrived in the neighborhood of Kalanki, a full street battle was taking place. A riot policeman initially screamed threats at me to stop taking pictures, but soon they were too overwhelmed by rock throwing protesters to worry about us. The air stung with tear gas as I followed charging police toward the crowd. One of the officers was firing an assault rifle just over the heads of demonstrators. My main challenge was trying to get between the two sides to take photos while finding enough cover to keep clear from the volleys of rocks and bullets. I raced into a field with retreating protesters and one pulled me into a room where injured people were splayed across the floor.”

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From the Guardian:

Relatives of James Miller, the British cameraman shot dead by Israeli soldiers in Gaza three years ago, will today meet the attorney general.

The jury at last month’s inquest in London into Miller’s death decided the shooting was unlawful and that the 34-year-old the father of two had been murdered.

Miller was shot by an Israeli soldier as he filmed in the Gaza strip in 2003.

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From the Washington Post:

Brinkema replied with a smile, noting that Moussaoui had yelled “America, you lost! . . . I won!” after the jury delivered its verdict.

“Mr. Moussaoui, if you look around this courtroom today, every person in this room when this proceeding is over will leave this courtroom, and they are free to go anyplace they want,” she said before pronouncing the mandatory life sentence. “They can go outside, and they can feel the sun, they can smell fresh air . . . but when you leave this courtroom, you go back into custody. In terms of winners and losers, it is quite clear who won yesterday and who lost yesterday.”

“That was my choice!” Moussaoui interrupted.

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From eboy:

EbOY is a small group of four people. The Berlin based group creates re-usable pixel objects and takes them to build complex and extensible artwork. Peter in New York works with vectors.

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From The New York Times:

As the camera rolls, Mr. Zarqawi is flummoxed by how to fire the machine gun until an aide walks over and fiddles with the weapon so it discharges. Another scene shows Mr. Zarqawi hand the weapon off to several other insurgents, who absent-mindedly grab it by its scalding hot barrel.

And after his shooting scene, Mr. Zarqawi walks away from the camera to reveal decidedly non-jihadist footwear: Comfortable white New Balance sneakers.

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From the BBC:

Yuri Belyaev is one of its authors. He describes himself as a racist. He claims widespread public support for his views.

“Russians are fed up with being humiliated in their own country. Negroes have more rights here and immigrants own all the property,” he told me.

He makes light of the current wave of attacks saying, “The resistance you see for now is of the most innocent kind.”
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From the BBC:

Standing in a Moscow Metro carriage for the first time, the young Gabonese man was thrown forward when the train started with a jolt and he grabbed a pole to keep his balance, brushing the Russian man’s hand.

Without a word, the Russian withdrew his hand, produced a handkerchief and proceeded to wipe it demonstratively in front of the other passengers.

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From Thrasher:

Danny Way is in Las Vegas where he is going to attempt to smash the Bomb Drop world record by jumping from the giant neon-covered guitar atop the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas.

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From The Moscow Times:

Over the last year, various religious leaders have called on their followers physically to attack gay people. It began when a group of activists declared their plans to organize a gay pride parade in Moscow in May 2006. Umar Idrisov, the chief Muslim authority in the Nizhny Novgorod region, said Muslims should stone gays if and when they march. Far from reprimanding Idrisov for calling for violence, Russia’s head mufti, Talgat Tadzhuddin, stated that all “normal people, both Muslims and Russian Orthodox,” are going to beat gay people if they come out to march. Patriarch Alexy II was not quite as crude, but he publicly thanked Mayor Yury Luzhkov for his blatantly illegal refusal to consider the organizers’ application for a parade permit. Last month, Metropolitan Kirill cited homosexuality as a chief evil value forced upon Russia by the West. The message was clear: Homosexuals don’t just lack the right to march, they don’t have the right to exist.

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Thanks to Dave for tipping me off to this one.

From the Christian Wrestling Federation:

“When I’m up in front of a pulpit people don’t listen to a word I say. But through a wrestling match, they’re able to understand Jesus Christ better than anything I could say.”

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And the video is here.

From The Moscow Times:

At Renaissance, near the Shabolovskaya metro station, two people were injured Sunday when they were pelted by rocks, bottle, sticks and eggs, organizers said. One girl was beaten with crucifixes, icons and sticks, they added.

The attackers were part of a crowd that had assembled outside the club. Interfax said the crowd numbered 150, citing a law enforcement source. Club organizers put the figure at 300.

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From the Cape Times:

There has been no increase in reported cases of diarrhoea since rat-tailed maggots were first spotted in a Stellenbosch river at the beginning of the year, Andile Zimba, Cape Town’s acting director of health, said yesterday.

In a presentation to the health portfolio committee, Zimba said the monthly statistics for diarrhoea had shown no increases, and there was no evidence that the maggots were responsible for the diarrhoea cases.

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Editorial from The New York Times:

Last month Ollanta Humala, a military man whose family advocates the shooting of gays, Jews and Chilean investors, came in first in presidential elections. Since Mr. Humala did not get 50 percent, there will be a runoff on May 28.

More bad news: the other candidate will be Alan GarcĂ­a, a spectacularly irresponsible and corrupt president in the late 1980’s who wrecked Peru’s economy and presided over the commission of widespread war crimes. This sorry duo topped a field that included several excellent candidates.

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From the Guardian:

Robert Kilp, the head of the city’s public affairs department, said if a journalist was caught filming in the area the tape would be removed and a warning issued, but if he or she was caught a second time the consequences would be more serious.

“The second time we will be really angry. This zone is owned by the city of Cologne and is not considered a public street,” Mr Kilp said.

“Anyone filming or taking pictures there will be liable to prosecution. Prostitutes are having sexual intercourse in cars there, it is not a good thing to be filming.”

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From the Mail & Guardian:

In the latest case, a 41-year-old woman was tricked into having sex dozens of times with a medium who claimed to be the “Ninth Emperor of the Kingdom of God” and said she was possessed by evil spirits, newspapers reported on Wednesday.

The 52-year-old medium said her domestic and financial problems would be solved with the sex sessions, which took place over seven months at a cost of 20-50 ringgit ($5,50 to $13,85) each, during which he moved into her house.

He was eventually turfed out by the woman’s husband and has threatened to put a curse on the family.

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From the BBC:

Large crowds gathered at a Koranic school in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, to watch Mohamed Moallim, 16, stab Omar Hussein in the head and throat.

Hussein had been convicted of killing the boy’s father, Sheikh Osman Moallim, after a row about Mohamed’s education.

Islamic courts have brought a semblance of order to Mogadishu, imposing Sharia law after years of rule by warlords.

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