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Jul 22, 2006

War in the Middle East While the World is Watching

For the 9th day in a row, Israeli forces have been bombarding Lebanon. So far, more than 300 Lebanese civilians have been killed, over 1,000 wounded and some 500,000 displaced, compared with 29 Israeli deaths (15 civilians) caused by Hizbullah's Katyusha rockets. Reports from Beirut talk of a deserted, devastated city, with residential buildings, roads and bridges being hit by Israeli air strikes. Israel launched attacks on Lebanon after Hezbullah captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid so as to swap them for the remaining three Lebanese and an undetermined number of Arab prisoners held by Israel. However, the captive soldiers, both in Gaza and Lebanon, have already been deleted from the public agenda. Israeli officials are now talking not about "bringing the soldiers home" but about destroying Hizballah and Hamas, and perhaps Syria and Iran as well, "once and for all." And, apparently, they have got the green light from the US and other international "allies".

[The Bank Accounts to send Funds for Lebanon Relief]

Meanwhile in Palestine, Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip continue, again allegedly to free a soldier seized by Palestinian militias on 25 June, whom they have offered to release in exchange for some of the Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. Tens of Palestinian civilians have been killed and many more injured, not to mention the periodic shortages of food, fuel, electricity, water and medicine. Many of those killed were Palestinian civilians, including children, who died during Israeli air force "targeted killings". As well as actual bombing raids, Israeli military airplanes have conducted nightly sonic booming raids over Gaza, with the aim of making the civilian population fearful that actual bombing is under way. In retaliation, Palestinian groups also continue to fire Qassam rockets at Israeli towns [see Human Rights Watch's statement].

Apart from the mass destruction of civilian infrastructure, there are reports that Israeli forces have been using internationally banned weapons, such as phosphorus incendiary bombs and vacuum bombs, both in Gaza and in Lebanon.

Although still small in scale, there have been several protests - in Israel and elsewhere throughout the world [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] - against the continuing Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Gaza. Opinion polls suggest that majorities of US and Israeli citizens oppose the attacks. On 18 June, several hundred people demonstrated in Parliament Square in London. UK-wide demonstrations have been called for July 22nd by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition and various Muslim organisations. Earlier this month, protesters blockaded EDO MBM in Brighton, which makes electrical weapons components for the Israeli military. [see also "Boycott Israeli Goods" National Day of Action].

Saturday July 22: International Day of Action Against Israeli Aggression

Read more: Global Indymedia feature | Word from Lebanon | Cyprus Indymedia features 1 | 2 | Appeal for Solidarity with Lebanese Civil Society | The racist subtext of the evacuation story | The Gaza Sea Weeps Blood | The Israeli Censor | Photos: cmaq gallery

Links: IMC Beirut | IMC Israel | Internation Middle East Media Centre | Palestine News Network | Electronic Intifada | Electronic Lebanon | Palestine Blogs | Tadamon

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Posted: Jul 22, 2006 7:26pm
Mar 31, 2006

Goldfish win equal status to cats and dogs

NEW YORK, March 29 (UPI) -- A New York state Appellate court has denied a man's appeal for a downgrade of animal cruelty charges, saying stomping a goldfish is the same as killing a cat.

Michael Garcia was appealing to have his felony animal cruelty charge reduced to a misdemeanor or thrown out because the victim was a fish, the New York Post said.

His lawyer, Robert Dean, said the incident in 2003 was not nearly as severe as if Garcia had killed his girlfriend's two dogs and a cat during a violent Manhattan domestic spree that also left him charged with assault.

"Beloved household pets they may be, but 'companion animals' in the same vein as dogs or cats (fish) are not," Dean said.

But the 5-judge panel disagreed.

Garcia was jailed for seven to 15 years, but the appeals court reduced his time to five to 11 years after finding fault with one of the assault convictions.

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Posted: Mar 31, 2006 9:03am
Mar 15, 2006

A dog has died of bird flu in Azerbaijan, a country on the crossroads of Europe and Asia where three people have already died from the virus, officials said on Wednesday.

"A dead stray dog has been found, and after analysis type A bird flu was discovered. The medical investigation is continuing," said a statement from the state commission tasked with fighting the spread of bird flu.

It said the dog died on March 9 in the capital Baku.

It was the first dog reported to have died of the virus in Europe, although Germany has reported that at least three cats and one stone marten have been infected. Austria has also reported cats infected with the deadly H5N1 strain on flu.

The disease has hit domestic and wild birds throughout the South Caucasus state. The three human victims, who died over the past few weeks, were thought to have been infected through contact with birds.
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Posted: Mar 15, 2006 8:08am
Mar 15, 2006
An ethical diet: The joy of being vegan

Its followers claim they look and feel healthier than ever - and have a clear conscience too. Martin Hickman examines the arguments for taking up a meat-free diet

Published: 15 March 2006

Wendy Higgins is pleased that her beliefs, her most passionate beliefs, are ridiculed by comedians. At least the gibes about vegans are evidence that vegetarians are now so numerous that they represent a substantial part of the audience.
Making jokes about veganism is hardly likely to result in a mass walkout. But Ms Higgins has taken comfort from knowing that at least people know what it is.
When the 33-year-old animal rights campaigner adopted the more extreme version of vegetarianism in 1988, her new-found beliefs met with perplexed looks. She said: "When I said I was a vegan people would look at me as if I had just said, 'I'm from the planet Mars'."

read more

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Posted: Mar 15, 2006 6:23am
Mar 11, 2006
Police battle Sorbonne protesters French riot police have grappled with protesters at the Sorbonne in Paris in unrest over a new labour law, making it easier to sack young employees. Police stormed the university early on Saturday to drive out at least 150 people, mainly students, some of whom had been inside for three days.
They used tear gas and batons to clear the main building in under 10 minutes, correspondents report.
At least two people were injured and some arrests were made.

About 40 of France's 84 universities saw student occupations to varying degrees on Friday in protest at the new law, according to French news agency AFP. Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has cut short a visit to France's Caribbean Antilles Islands because of the student unrest, his entourage said. The First Employment Contract (CPE) passed by parliament on Thursday is a two-year contract for under-26-year-olds which employers can break off at any time without explanation.

Ministers hope the flexibility will encourage employers to hire more young people, safe in the knowledge that they will be able to get rid of them if they have to. Critics say younger workers would have less job security than older colleagues and France's generous labour provisions would be undermined.
The new legislation currently only applies to small firms but some fear it could be misused by larger employers and make it even harder for young people to find a permanent job.

Extinguishers and books

Nicolas Boudot, a local educational authority administrator, said about 300 people had entered the Sorbonne on Friday by breaking windows and not all of them were students. Students vote for strike action at Nantes University Students at Nantes University are among those on strike The protesters, he said, were trying to turn the Sorbonne into a battlefield for fighting social woes. Other students had been inside the building since Wednesday as part of the students' strike. Riot police in the square outside the university fired tear gas shortly after midnight (2330 GMT Friday) after being pelted with objects including fire extinguishers from upper-storey windows of the university.
The police moved in to pull away a barricade from the main doors, all the while under a hail of projectiles.
After withdrawing, about 80 officers returned just before 0400 (0300 GMT), apparently getting into the main building by a back door before driving out the protesters. The police reportedly acted on a request from the educational authorities. Police also used batons on students at a road-block near the university on Friday. Protesters had marched around the building shouting "The Sorbonne belongs to students!"


The Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, has said he is "deeply concerned" about the use of force by police against the protest, which he said had been passing off peacefully. At least 100,000 people protested in cities across France on Tuesday against the new law, disrupting airports and public services. The overnight violence has echoes of the labour and student unrest of 1968 in Paris. One Parisian student, named only as Elodie, told AFP it was not a conscious attempt to repeat those riots. "The context is different," she said. "
In '68, the students when they left university, they found work."

Handcuffed students on the pavement near Sorbonne, Paris

Solidarity to Our Brothers & Sisters
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Posted: Mar 11, 2006 3:14am


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Vicki Murray
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