Sunday, December 26, 2010

Truthout... News Briefs 12/25/10

From Truthout…
News Briefs
Saturday 25 December 2010 

For Christians in Iraq, a Christmas of Mourning and Fear
Shashank Bengali, McClatchy Newspapers: "Nearly two months after a shocking assault by Islamist militants, Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church will commemorate Christmas quietly, with daytime mass and prayers for the dead, under security fit more for a prison than a house of worship. It is the same at Christian churches across Baghdad and northern Iraq, where what's left of one of the world's oldest Christian communities prepares to mark perhaps the most somber Christmas since the start of the Iraq war." 
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All I Want for Christmas
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: "If you are as lucky as I am, remember those who are not. Give what you can, if you can, and keep your fellow citizens in mind and heart. Before Santa and presents and shopping and all the attendant Christmas bullshit got involved, this holiday was enshrined to commemorate a guy who got nailed to a tree for daring to tell people to be kind to one another. If you have two cloaks, He said, give one away. Remember those who have less than you, be charitable, be good, be merciful." 
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Guantanamo Closure Recedes Into Distance
Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service: "President Barack Obama's hopes of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility appear as far from being realised as ever in the wake of new legislation approved by Congress this week. Wednesday's approval by the Senate of an amendment banning the use of Pentagon funds for 2011 to transfer detainees at Guantanamo, the U.S. naval base on Cuba, to the United States or its territories appears to guarantee that the facility will remain open for business at least through next September." 
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Thermoses, Coffee Cups Added to List of Possible Terrorist Weapons
Brad Knickerbocker, The Christian Science Monitor: "Airline travelers this holiday season have one more thing to think about: whether to pack or carry a thermos bottle or beverage cup. On one of the busiest travel days of the year, federal officials have alerted travelers to the likelihood of extra scrutiny regarding such items ñ which could be used to conceal explosive materials." 
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How to Help the Two Koreas Becomes One
Michael N. Nagler and Stephanie N. Van Hook, Truthout: "Anyone who studies conflict knows that there are two ways to go about resolving one. There is, of course, a violent path, which ultimately leads to war, but there is also a nonviolent route that leads to reconciliation and the resumption of normal ties.... As in any conflict large or small, one has to start with the assumption, so far conspicuously absent here, that the people of North Korea - yes, including their leadership - are rational." 
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The Christmas Bonus Is Not What You Expect
Mark Blyth, TripleCrisis: "As the markets wind down for the year and the illusion of calm falls over us like a blanket of denial (yes, keep positive folks), I thought I'd write a piece about what I see as, perhaps, the emerging story of 2011.... What's the social utility of banking?... Is it a productivity miracle or a statistical mirage?" 
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The Possible Planet
Winslow Myers, Truthout: "In 2010, the burden of trying to act responsibly for the planet as a whole has become overwhelming, almost paralyzing.... How can we find a way to live with these inescapable realities that is not just bearable, but liberating? Many are tempted to retreat fearfully into supposed certainties, which have become obsolete in this painful new world of awareness - short-sighted nationalism, xenophobia, security by imperial domination, denial of the limits to growth and judging prosperity exclusively by how much we buy." 
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Did WikiLeaks Bring on Cyberwar? Maybe a Cyber Sit-In
Mark Clayton, The Christian Science Monitor: "The attacks slowed or blocked for hours a number of targeted websites, but they notably failed against Amazon and others. Thus the breathless 'cyberwar' reports by major media outlets - at least one of which evoked visions of 16-year-olds ruling the world from their laptops - were well off the mark, security experts say.... In fact, a fresh, detailed analysis shows that the cyberattacks related to the WikiLeaks controversy were more like a college-level cyber sit-in than global cyberwar.
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Osama bin Laden Is Dead: Maybe CIA Can Get Confirmation From "SNL"
Robert Weiner and James Lewis, The Washington Times: "Al Qaeda wants America and the world to believe bin Laden is still alive. His image is a specter of the horrors of Sept. 11, helping build public support for everything from troop surges a globe away to warrantless wiretaps at home. But the image of bin Laden is getting moldy, and there's little reason for his ghost to scare anyone anymore. If al Qaeda wants America to believe bin Laden is alive, it should put up or shut up.... Otherwise, we'll take it all as a big scam, al Qaeda's version of 'Saturday Night Live.' Otherwise, you betcha, he's dead." 
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