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al-Abssi is in Syria and Fatah al-Isalm is in Gaza
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Page 3: Non-WoT
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Page 4: Opinion
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Page 5: Russia-Former Soviet Union
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-Signs, Portents, and the Weather-
Southern Hemisphere Icecover above normal this year
AoS note: this is not WoT related. Please check to ensure you pick the right category. Also note the formatting changes. Thx.
Southern Hemisphere’s ice cover now is at the same level as last June, i.e., a level seen during the last winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Besides, there are two more millions square kilometers of ice now compared to December 2006.
some models predict increase southern hemisphere ice cover under moderate global warming because of decreased friction between seasonal ice layers which promotes a seaward drift
And the large positive anomaly has persisted since September.

Posted by: mhw || 12/10/2007 10:29 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6479 views] Top|| File under:

#1  There are now some interesting plans for using the Antarctic sea as a massive carbon sink, by generating tremendous amounts of algae growth.

This can be done because that sea has very little algae growth mostly because it has little or no free iron in it. So by adding just a few cargo ships worth of iron fertilizer, algae has explosive growth.

A test ship tried doing this a few years ago, and reported astonishing levels of growth, just prior to the cold and storm season, so it had to leave.

In turn, the algae absorbs a vast amount of CO2, which is does not release until the dead algae decomposes.

So if the iron is spread in the fall, the algae will bloom, and hold on to the CO2 until the next spring, when the ocean water warms again enough for decomposition, assuming the dead algae has not descended so low in the deep ocean so that it does not decompose.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 12/10/2007 10:53 Comments || Top||

#2  Let me see if I follow. An increase in ice is evidence of global warming. Of course, a decrease in ice would also be evidence of global warming, naturally. Droughts would also be evidence of global warming, of course, unless there are floods, which are caused, obviously enough, by global warming. It's the theory of everything!
Posted by: Baba Tutu || 12/10/2007 11:21 Comments || Top||

#3  It's the theory of everything!

the Southern Hemisphere is stealing something.. [hint Ice Baby Ice..]

we'd better TAX It.. definally Regulate It..

or we could just Cap the Southern Ice Cap.
Posted by: RD || 12/10/2007 11:36 Comments || Top||

#4  linky
Posted by: RD || 12/10/2007 11:37 Comments || Top||

#5  baba tutu

Its not that bad. SH and NH ice cover are fundamentally different because of the Antarctic continent.

None of the models predict an increase in arctic ice with moderate global warming (as opposed to the antarctic situation).

Of course your greater point, that is that there are so many global models that a dizzying array of phenomena can be attributed to global warming, is true. This is partly because there is so much research funding available that wanting to build a new global model is a relatively easy way to get a grant.
Posted by: mhw || 12/10/2007 12:15 Comments || Top||

#6  It is the new lefty religion. Everything can be attributed to it and all we need to do is repent and pay for our sins (in taxes) and all will be forgiven.
Posted by: DarthVader || 12/10/2007 12:18 Comments || Top||

#7  Something is definitely happening downunder. Our normally very predictable seasons have gone haywire. Perth had its coldest December day on record last week and it looks like being a monster wet season in the north and interior.
Posted by: phil_b || 12/10/2007 13:15 Comments || Top||

#8  Look, I just heard Al Gore say that the experts have confirmed the reality of GW beyond a shadow of a doubt. So all you naysayers out there had better just open your wallets and submit! The experts have spoken!
Posted by: Abu Chuck al Ameriki || 12/10/2007 13:50 Comments || Top||

#9  Um, any of you smart biology types want to explain what happens to a body of water when mass algae blooms die off? I seem to remember hearing about dramatic decreases in the oxygen level hence large fish kills washing up.

Also, IIRC, most whales feed on the krill and marine life of the Antarctic region. Do we have a systems issue here? Sure sounds like it to me.
Posted by: AlanC || 12/10/2007 14:40 Comments || Top||

#10  Yup. Let's do algae blooms. Sounds like the same folks that introduced rabbits and cats to Australia. Or goats to the island off the coast of California. Or the folks that want to protect the seals in the Columbia River but bitch about the "endangered salmon" that the seals are eating.
Posted by: Throger Thains8048 || 12/10/2007 14:48 Comments || Top||

#11  I have a vague memory that the antarctic has the world's highest brine reading BECAUSE, of the icebergs forming from sea water and expelling the salt.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 12/10/2007 15:18 Comments || Top||

#12  Some in the geologic community believe that we are in the end of the interglacial period. The final 50-120 years of it are marked by truly bizarre weather patterns, which we seem to be experiencing. It's considered that this may have started in the 1920's or 1930's.

Ice Age here we come!
Posted by: Silentbrick || 12/10/2007 15:41 Comments || Top||

#13  I wouldn't mind some ice over here in Queensland, Australia....It is soooo damn hot ! I guess it's going to be another Christmas spent swimming at the beach. Wo0T!
Posted by: Oztralian || 12/10/2007 15:43 Comments || Top||

#14  I'll remember to empathize with your problem as I dig my car out from under the ice & snow. ;-)
Posted by: lotp || 12/10/2007 16:20 Comments || Top||

#15  There is NO WAY their model is detailed enough to foresee the outcome of any action they want to propose as a potential solution.

I concur with #10. Let's not fuck with it.

History shows again and again
How nature points up the folly of men

Posted by: eLarson || 12/10/2007 16:21 Comments || Top||

#16  Was Al Gore at that climate "change" conference? Wasn't that in the southern hemisphere? Hmm?
Posted by: Excalibur || 12/10/2007 16:30 Comments || Top||

#17  If the folks Silentbrick referenced in the geologic community are correct-- and of all the climate theories currently swirling about, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if they were-- does this not mean that global warming may be our only hope for preventing or forestalling the impending Ice Age?

Does this mean I can start driving my civillian HUMVEE again?
Posted by: eltoroverde || 12/10/2007 16:34 Comments || Top||

#18  The increasing mass in China due to an increasing population has caused an axial tilt of the planet towards the sun in the northern hemisphere and away from the sun in the southern hemisphere thus causing global warming in the north. O.K. where's when can I pick up my Nobel Peace Prize, give my speech and pick up the loot that goes with the prize? Gore got something like $3000/minute for his speech. I'll do it for less and make a big contribution to Rantburg.
Posted by: JohnQC || 12/10/2007 17:05 Comments || Top||

#19  Ironically, if we do swing towards another ice age, all the efforts to prove MMGW may become useful in forestalling the ice. For example, we now know that a thin layer of soot can be used to melt ice.

And we also could set up a lightweight, geosynchronous orbiting reflector that would slightly increase the illumination over a several hundred square mile area, day and night.

If things got too bad, we could mine a bed of methane ice under the ocean, and release hundreds of thousands of tons of the highly efficient global warming gas into the atmosphere. Typically, it would stay in the atmosphere for many years, so it could be a measured response.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 12/10/2007 18:55 Comments || Top||

#20  The detectable vagaries of the climate can be attributed to a greater wobble in the earth's precessional axis rotation created by the immense accumulation of generations of National Geographic magazines stored in basements through out North America.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 12/10/2007 19:13 Comments || Top||

#21  Now, look, this is really very simple and I'm surprised no one has come up with the solution previously. Simply tow the southern ice north and drop it off at the North Pole. Save the polar bears! What's Nancy's phone number again?
Posted by: KBK || 12/10/2007 21:02 Comments || Top||

Hasina, Khaleda, 10 others sued
The Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday sued former prime ministers Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina along with 10 others for inflicting an enormous loss to the state through awarding gas deals to Canadian gas exploration company Niko by abusing their power.

In two separate cases -- one filed against Sheikh Hasina and six others, and the other against Khaleda Zia and four others -- complainants alleged that primary investigations found involvement of the accused in illegally awarding contracts to Niko for exploring and developing three gas fields in the country.

ACC Deputy Director Sabbir Hasan, in the case filed against Sheikh Hasina and her co-accused with Tejgaon police station, said the deal with Niko caused a loss of over Tk 13,630 crore to the government exchequer.

In the case against Khaleda Zia and her co-accused filed with the same police station, ACC Assistant Director Mahbubul Alam said although Khaleda Zia was the custodian of the country's wealth as the prime minister, she awarded Niko an opportunity to extract gas worth Tk10,000 crore, criminally violating her oath, unlawfully abusing her power, and through corruption. The case also said she did it in collusion with her co-accused, and issued an order for signing of the illegal deal with Niko.
This article starring:
Khaleda Zia
Mahbubul Alam
Sabbir Hasan
Sheikh Hasina
Posted by: Fred || 12/10/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6468 views] Top|| File under:

#1  HOW DARE YOU MAKE A PROFIT? (sounds like the old joke , no good deed goes unpunished.)
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 12/10/2007 15:10 Comments || Top||

#2  said the deal with Niko caused a loss of over Tk 13,630

Maybe they're estimating the ammount of bribes they didn't get?
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 12/10/2007 15:13 Comments || Top||

Caribbean-Latin America
Chavez tried to rig the election, was stopped by military
Interesting if true.
Posted by: lotp || 12/10/2007 10:02 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6463 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It would explain why Hugo didn't send the army in to do a 'recount'.
Posted by: SteveS || 12/10/2007 10:20 Comments || Top||

#2  Having the attention span of a raccoon, Chavez will no doubt try to purge the military leadership and replace them with his lieutenants. Then after a few minutes he will become distracted and forget about it.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 12/10/2007 11:16 Comments || Top||

#3  So, what WAS the true margin of defeat? Any inkling? Polls had it as around 10%, but I don't think of a poll as a trustworthy measure, but more like an indication. (Code vs. Guidelines quote).
Posted by: Whiskey Mike || 12/10/2007 11:34 Comments || Top||

#4  the president conceded—but with one condition: he demanded his margin of defeat be reduced to a bare minimum in official tallies, so he could save face and appear as a magnanimous democrat in the eyes of the world
What a piece of work this jerk is, and where is Cindy Sheehan to comfort him.
Posted by: Jan || 12/10/2007 18:07 Comments || Top||

South America launches rival to the IMF, World Bank
BUENOS AIRES (AFP) - Six South American presidents on Sunday launched the Bank of the South, the region's answer to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as a source for development funds.

Presidents Nestor Kirchner of Argentina, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Nicanor Duarte of Paraguay, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Evo Morales of Bolivia and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela -- all political on the left or left of center -- signed the bank into being.

"Motherland yes, colony no!" chanted a group of activists, most belonging to Kirchner's leftist Peronist party, who stood behind the presidents at the signing ceremony at the president's office.
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: Seafarious || 12/10/2007 03:01 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  ION, NOSI.ORG > WASHINGTON'S EASTERN SUNSET - THE DECLINE OF US POWER IN NE ASIA. Notsomuch USA going down as China, Japan, SK, etal. coming up. *STARS-N-STRIPES > NAVY OFFICIAL OUTLINES GUAM EXPANSION PLANS. Former NCTAMS now NTCS Finegayan to be the HQ for Marines coming from Okinawa - US Army also investigating areas for air-defense battery. But-t-t, a JAPANESE OFFICIAL > announces that COST FIGURES for Guam relocation given by USA to Japan is "TOO MUCH" for Japan to pay.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/10/2007 4:08 Comments || Top||

#2  If the South American countries can find the monies to fund their own economic expansion, more power to them. I do have to wonder, though, how the honourable President Chavez will be able to invest money in other country's infrastructure even as there's no milk or meat on Venezuelan store shelves.

JosephM, I suspect after some haggling Japan will pay what it takes to separate the US Marines from Japanese girls. Congratulations on the future expansion of your base!
Posted by: trailing wife || 12/10/2007 7:39 Comments || Top||

#3  Let's put our money where Hugo's mouth is...
Posted by: Grunter || 12/10/2007 9:03 Comments || Top||

#4  From each according to his ability.
To each according to his need.

Your oil revenues are toast, Oogo.
Posted by: Seafarious || 12/10/2007 12:28 Comments || Top||

#5  'Aint as easy as it sounds, as they're about to find out.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 12/10/2007 15:15 Comments || Top||

#6  First nation that defaults, end of scheme.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 12/10/2007 15:25 Comments || Top||

#7  Southern money is tied up in Northern economic regimes for a reason. For some reason Latin Americans have proven incapable of running their own economies so they are a bad investment.

Perhaps if they let the Chileans run things...
Posted by: rjschwarz || 12/10/2007 16:39 Comments || Top||

Oogo sez: Let's do the Time Warp, again
It's just a jump to the left
Venezuela creates its own unique time zone on Sunday, putting the clock back 22 minutes half-an-hour on a permanent basis. President Hugo Chavez says that an earlier dawn means the performance of the country will improve, as more people will wake up in daylight.
That makes no sense at all. I think he's crazy.
"I don't care if they call me crazy, the new time will go ahead," he said.
Yeah, you can do that if you're a dictator. That doesn't mean you're not nuts.
But critics say the move is unnecessary and the president simply wants to be in a different time zone from his arch-rival, the United States.
And then a step to the right
The new time puts Venezuela four-and-a-half hours behind Greenwich Mean Time, and out of step with all its neighbours. The move had first been announced in August, but it has been delayed twice because international bodies and Venezuela itself were not ready to implement the change.

Science and Technology Minister Hector Nacarro praised the measure. "I see it as a very positive thing that while there is light we can be in it," he said.
Put your hands on your hips
And President Chavez said earlier this year that schoolchildren would arrive for lessons with more energy as a result of the change. "These children have to get up at five in the morning... they arrive at school dead tired. And why? Because of our time."
And pull your knees in tight
The time change is the latest in a series of reforms implemented by President Chavez, who has already changed the country's name, coat of arms and flag.
Let's do the Time Warp, again
Posted by: Seafarious || 12/10/2007 01:13 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6466 views] Top|| File under:

#1  already changed the country's name

I guess I missed this. The Country Formerly Known As Venezuela is now the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The name Zimbabwe was already taken.
Posted by: SteveS || 12/10/2007 8:55 Comments || Top||

#2  Wow!! Hugo can make dawn earlier!!!! Now that's some powerfal juju controlling the rotation of the earth.

Oh....you mean it's the same thing just with a different name?
Posted by: AlanC || 12/10/2007 9:45 Comments || Top||

#3  Somebody's meds NEED ADJUSTMENT NOW!
Posted by: 3dc || 12/10/2007 11:19 Comments || Top||

#4  Nutten new here. The Newfies in Canada have been off by a half and hour for a long time. A!
Posted by: Procopius2k || 12/10/2007 11:56 Comments || Top||

#5  I'm starting to think we need to break out the Turkmenbashi pix for ol' Oogo.
Posted by: Seafarious || 12/10/2007 12:25 Comments || Top||

#6  "All citizens will be required to change their underwear every half hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check."

El Presidente

Posted by: Baba Tutu || 12/10/2007 13:17 Comments || Top||

#7  Given the average number of kids in a Newfie family is 13, they have way too much nighttime on their hands anyway.
Posted by: Slurong McCoy3546 || 12/10/2007 14:05 Comments || Top||

#8  It's those long winter nights.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 12/10/2007 15:01 Comments || Top||

#9  My earliest memories are of living in St. Johns (Not a newfie, Dad (ARMY)was stationed at Gander)I remember some days were completely dark (Near the Arctic Circle)
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 12/10/2007 15:05 Comments || Top||

#10  My earliest memories are of living in St. Johns (Not a newfie, Dad (ARMY)was stationed at Gander)I remember some days were completely dark (Near the Arctic Circle)
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 12/10/2007 15:05 Comments || Top||

#11  Now why did it dupe, I swear I hit the button only once.

Moderators, please remove one, thanks.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 12/10/2007 15:07 Comments || Top||

Bolivian assembly approves new constitution
ORURO, Bolivia - A majority in Bolivia’s Constituent Assembly, packed with supporters of leftist President Evo Morales, Sunday approved a new constitution that would broaden presidential powers.
Because that's what has held Bolivia back all these years, presidents with narrow powers.
"We need a president with more powers. We need somebody to tell us what to do."
‘The text of the new constitution is approved,’ a representative of the socialist MAS party, Carlos Romero, told AFP. The approval came after a marathon 15-hour session and with the backing of allied minor parties.

The new constitution would give Morales more power, including over natural resources following his nationalization of Bolivia’s oil and gas industry last year.
Heading down the same road as Venezuela, with likely the same results.
First principle of politix: Money is power. It doesn't matter if it's your money, as long as it's your power.
The run-up to the vote was bloody, with at least three killed in clashes between protesters and police. Six wealthy provinces held massive strikes as opponents feared the reforms would usher in a leftist regime similar to the one of Morales’ friend and ally in Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez.
Posted by: Steve White || 12/10/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6468 views] Top|| File under:

#1  If Bolivia has the same results as Venezuela it should happen a lot faster - Bolivia has far less oil and other natural resources and no ports (unlike stragically located Venezuela.)
Posted by: Glenmore || 12/10/2007 8:25 Comments || Top||

#2  Nice hat. Is it hand-knit?
Posted by: Spot || 12/10/2007 8:26 Comments || Top||

#3  Bolivia has had a new constitution every half dozen years or so, and an average of 18 months between revolutions over its history.

Education, merit, good sense never mattered to the old oligarchies (and the leftists don't get it either). For generations, only a certain set of last names had any social standing. The richest man in the world in 1910 was a Bolivian with no Spanish blood who, upon buying a tapped out gold mine, discovered it was full of tin. The Tin King (whose name eludes me)was a shrewd businessman and an able administrator, who had more money that all of the oligarchs in South America combined; but he didn't have the right family connections to get into the official social set.

A Bolivian woman told me a few years ago that it exasperated her to find Bolivian immigrants to the US bringing the same attitudes with them.

This country is stuck in the 17th Century, and nobody, including Morales, knows how to move it forward.
Posted by: mom || 12/10/2007 9:43 Comments || Top||

#4  This country is stuck in the 17th Century, and nobody, including Morales, knows how to move it forward.

Introduce computers and the internet, jump back out of the way.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 12/10/2007 15:23 Comments || Top||

#5  #2: Nice hat. Is it hand-knit?

Nah, just a really cheap wig.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 12/10/2007 15:33 Comments || Top||

Thousands of Turks march against judiciary law
ANKARA - Thousands of Turks protested on Sunday against a new law opponents say will undermine judicial independence and demanded respect for secularist values in a new constitution being prepared by the Islamist-rooted ruling party. Lawyers and judges led the demonstration to protest against the law, which changes the appointment process for judges and prosecutors.

The law introduces a justice ministry interview into the selection process. Critics say that opens the way for political interference.

Opponents have also criticised President Abdullah Gul, a former member of the ruling AK Party whose role is to review legislation, for approving the law in just a few days. Gul’s office said a review of the law had started before the draft went to parliament. ‘They do not know the importance of judicial independence ... but we will explain it to them, we will teach them,’ Turkish Bar Association Chairman Ozdemir Ozok shouted to the crowd in Ankara.

The judiciary is traditionally a bastion of secularism and the march turned into a pro-secularist rally. No official figures were available, but television footage showed around 5,000-10,000 people at the march, held amid tight security.

It was reminiscent of massive protests earlier this year at which demonstrators accused the AK Party, whose roots are in political Islam, of undermining Muslim Turkey’s official secular order. ‘Turkey is secular and will remain secular!’ protesters shouted, waving Turkish flags and pictures of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern secular republic.

The AK Party is preparing a new constitution, to replace a text drafted after a 1980 military coup, and secularists fear the new text will blur the strict separation of religion and state.
Posted by: Steve White || 12/10/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

UN Tour Guides Protest Pay, Conditions
Twenty-two tour guides called in sick on Thursday to protest the U.N.'s failure to deal with their demands for better salaries and working conditions, forcing all but large, prearranged tours to be canceled.

The United Nations employs about 50 guides, who each work around 30 hours a week, showing visitors around the headquarters building in New York. Only six are staff members, said Emad Hassanin, first vice president of the U.N. Staff Union. The rest are paid on an hourly basis and don't have regular contracts, vacation, or sick leave, he said.
Don't we have labor laws in this country about such things?
U.N. deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said the job action "is apparently related to a number of issues that the tour guides have raised with management in recent weeks."

Hassanin said a previous agreement to establish a working group to discuss contracts and working conditions for the tour guides was thrown out by the new Undersecretary-General for Public Information Kiyotaka Akasaka. But Okabe said a meeting with the tour guides had been scheduled for Thursday afternoon to again discuss creating a working group.

It was unclear if any of the tour guides showed up, but Akasaka later informed U.N. officials by e-mail that he had set up a group. It includes three representatives of the tour guides and two staff representatives of the Department of Public Information.

Hassanin said the Staff Union leadership had pointedly been excluded. The old agreement had called for union leaders to be included.
Oh that's going to go over well with the union.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, asked about the tour guides, said the fact that 22 called in sick "must have caused some inconvenience to the tours."
Dang is he a good diplomat.
"Tour guides are very important (in) connecting the United Nations and the outside world _ they have been playing an important role," he said.
Just not important enough to treat well.
Posted by: Seafarious || 12/10/2007 04:01 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6463 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Sounds like the UN bureaucrats are dealing with Americans the same way that they deal with their peons back home.
Posted by: gromky || 12/10/2007 5:30 Comments || Top||

#2  What, no "living wage"?
Posted by: Spot || 12/10/2007 10:41 Comments || Top||

#3  "Tour guides are very important (in) connecting the United Nations and the outside world _ they have been playing an important role," he said.

As if the UN has any intention of connecting with the outside world.
Posted by: Seafarious || 12/10/2007 10:57 Comments || Top||

#4  to your left is an excellent 5 star resteraunt. Over to your right, for those of you who like to eat local is a 4 star where the waiters speak french with a slight new york accent. Though tough to understand at first it becomes quite quaint when eating bread made from local grains - they even have wines from california for you daring types. Ahead is a hotel where you can take your dates. If you check in under the name Patty O'Set they will pick up and return your escort discretely. If your escort accidently falls into your fist and boots, call the desk and say 'pink turtle' for complimentary cleanup. As we round this corner you can, as they say, 'see the cribs' of many famous UN members' families wher they live rent free...
Posted by: swksvolFF || 12/10/2007 11:54 Comments || Top||

#5  Don't we have labor laws in this country about such things?

You forget, the UN is NOT part of America and NOT subject to our laws.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 12/10/2007 15:29 Comments || Top||

Col. Stephen Twitty
MOSUL, Iraq – Col. Stephen Twitty has conquered many challenges throughout his years of service, but standing up and deploying a brigade combat team in record time would not come without a heavy price. As if leading troops into the desert of Southwest Asia for 15 months of combat was not challenging enough; he would be faced with another war to fight, on a closer battlefield, with his life hanging in the balance.
Much more at the link. Twitty has appeared here several times and is one of our most effective commanders. Silver Star winner, to boot.
Posted by: Chuck Simmins || 12/10/2007 16:48 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6465 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Seems like a worthy addition to the Army of Steve.
Posted by: Tibor || 12/10/2007 17:42 Comments || Top||

In Gaza Cigarettes are More Expensive than Shrimp
The Paleos haven't hit bottom yet. When they can't afford smokes in any way, they'll be close.
In the Firas peddlers’ market in central Gaza stalls are laden with loose tobacco as smokers gather around seeking alternatives to regular cigarettes after prices tripled in the past few months. With cigarettes out of their price range, smokers are turning to “Nafil,” unrolled tobacco, as an alternative. “They are crappy, but people buy them because of their price,” says long-time smoker Abu Fatahi Nadi, who also owns a stall selling tobacco at the popular market.

Although one kg of tobacco costs NIS 120 in comparison to NIS 36 few months ago, the unrolled tobacco, an Egyptian product, remains the cheapest on the market today.

All of a sudden Gaza has become the most expensive place on earth for tobacco, and today cigarettes are more expensive than shrimps and caviar, Abu Nadi says, while cupping his hand over a match to light his rolled cigarette.

Prices soared after the deposed Hamas government decided to tax cigarettes, resulting in the price of a packet of cigarettes climbing from NIS 100 to NIS 200. By charging 60 to 70 percent tax on the second packet, cigarettes have become an excellent source of income for Hamas, which has found itself completely isolated in Gaza by Israel and the outside world since taking over the coastal enclave last June.
Have to have some way of affording guns and ammo.
There are fewer cigarettes in Gaza, and merchants have placed stands at every corner where they sell packaged cigarettes at insane prices, leaving at least 70% of smokers buying loose tobacco and rolling their own cigarettes.

“Those dodgy merchants are exploiting smokers and taking advantage of the situation,” says Ahmad Na’asan, a long-time smoker and one of those suffering from the jump in prices. Like thousands of men in Gaza, Na’asan worked in construction in Tel Aviv for more than 10 years before Israel closed all Gaza exits in 2000. Now he is unemployed. “I am spending the day roaming the streets looking for work… but I know that there is neither work nor life here.”
Apparently Na'asan doesn't draw the proper conclusion.
In the months that followed the Hamas takeover of Gaza, the economy of the territory has been slipping toward crisis. The main commercial crossing, known as Karm Abu Salem, is closed and only basics are entering Gaza.

Furthermore, up to 75% of the 3,900 factories operating in Gaza on the eve of the closure of the commercial terminal have had to cease production, according to the Palestinian Federation of Industry. Unable to import raw materials or export finished products, the factory closures are forcing as many as 30,000 more families to rely on daily food handouts to survive.

This situation is creating a generation of isolated and disaffected people. Youths are leaving schools and universities to join militant groups in order to earn money and get assistance for their families.

“People don’t have money even for the bread. Do you know that one kilo of bread costs NIS 12? I have to buy three kilos every day for the family,” Na’asan replies, sealing his words with a strong expletive.
Apparently Na'asan still doesn't draw the proper conclusion.
In Gaza, as in much of the rest of the Palestinian territories, smokers prefer American cigarettes, but many now can no longer afford them. Na’asan used to smoke Viceroy, now he rolls his own cigarettes and smokes less. “It’s better for my wallet and lungs, but if the prices continue leaping, I will eventually quit.

“Listen,” he says, “heavy smokers will continue smoking. I know people who smoke less but very few of them have stopped. But if the prices continue increasing all smokers will quit and Gaza will inevitably become the first non-smoking zone on earth,” Na’asan adds with a cynical smile.

In Gaza people are pessimistic over an imminent solution to the crisis. They strongly believe that only an agreement between Hamas and Fatah on holding early elections can end the stalemate and reunite Gaza with the West Bank. “First there have to be talks and then elections. But until then, I will keep rolling my cigarettes, sealing them with my mouth, and before closing my lips, I will spit on those who destroyed us for their narrow interests," concludes Na’asan before realizing that his cigarette has burned down to the filter, and stubs it on the ground with his shoe.
Posted by: Steve White || 12/10/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6468 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Cigarettes are More Expensive than Shrimp

Sounds like Canada.
Posted by: twobyfour || 12/10/2007 1:50 Comments || Top||

#2  IOn, HARRETZ > ISRAELI ARAB WOMEN COMPLAIN ABOUT [Arab/Muslim]CUSTOM THAT KEEPS THEM POOR, after Muslim agz Muslim, inter-Clan killing.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/10/2007 3:02 Comments || Top||

#3  In Gaza Cigarettes are More Expensive than Shrimp

Yeah, but try keeping a shrimp lit.

Posted by: Mike Kozlowski || 12/10/2007 4:07 Comments || Top||

#4  Mike, considering the alcohol is verbotten in Dar-al-Islam, I can see your point--no shrimp flambeaux.
Posted by: twobyfour || 12/10/2007 4:12 Comments || Top||

#5  If we ship them lots of ganja to replace the tobacco maybe it will mellow them out some. Of course then they'd run out of shrimp, and vanilla wafers, and Doritos and .... pretty fast.
Posted by: Glenmore || 12/10/2007 8:28 Comments || Top||

#6  Somebody get Huckabee on the phone. His anti-smoking co-religionists share his tax-and-spend policy too.
Posted by: Excalibur || 12/10/2007 8:53 Comments || Top||

#7  If you think the price of shrimp is low, wait until you see the price of a ham sandwich.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 12/10/2007 9:19 Comments || Top||

#8  two points on Islamic Law

1.- while a few authorities say shrip are harem, most of the Arab world says halal

2.- almost all islamic figures who have dealt with the cigarette issue have found that smoking cigarettes is harem
Posted by: mhw || 12/10/2007 10:26 Comments || Top||

#9  It's the same here in Chicago. A pack goes for about $8.00. About the same price for a pound of shrimp.
Posted by: danking70 || 12/10/2007 10:37 Comments || Top||

#10  See, the Hamas government is just concerned with their citizens health. They are making it too expensive to smoke, in order to make them quit.
Also, they are helping prevent global warming, by not having all the CO2 from the cigarettes.
Boy, and we thought Hamas was evil.
Posted by: Gaia || 12/10/2007 10:51 Comments || Top||

#11  Where can I go to contribute to the Cigarettes for Gaza Fund?
Posted by: Ebbang Uluque6305 || 12/10/2007 15:12 Comments || Top||

#12  Paging Mayor Bloomberg.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/10/2007 15:30 Comments || Top||

#13  sic'ing Nanny Bloomberg on them?

Now THAT's a humanitarian issue! LOL
Posted by: lotp || 12/10/2007 15:36 Comments || Top||

#14  Sounds like a real opportunity here, import those little hand operated individual cigarette rolling machines, I've seen them, they work really well.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 12/10/2007 15:38 Comments || Top||

#15  I meant he should be happy---on the other hand, he also hates guns.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/10/2007 15:39 Comments || Top||

#16  But they already burned all the keif.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/10/2007 15:41 Comments || Top||

#17  "In Gaza Cigarettes are More Expensive than Shrimp"

That's because of the law of supply and demand.

Whereas cigarettes are scarce in Gaza - and therefore expensive - shrimp are plentiful everywhere there.

One for each man, located between his legs....
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 12/10/2007 19:59 Comments || Top||

Israelis Embark on Journey to Mecca
Saudi Arabia is expecting more than two million visitors this month for the annual Hajj, a momentous event in the Muslim calendar. As in previous years, there will be pilgrims from a most unlikely destination: some 4,500 Muslims have departed for Mecca from their homes in Israel, a Jewish country with no diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia.

The spiritual weight of the Hajj is enough to overcome the political complications involved in a delegation of Israelis traveling to enemy soil. The process is done through the mediation of Jordan, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, and with the knowledge of the Israeli and Saudi authorities.

Israeli Muslims wishing to embark on the journey usually contact one of several associations dealing with pilgrims. Non-Muslims cannot take part in the event. The pilgrims register their details and submit passport photos, which are then sent to the Jordanian Ministry of Islamic Trust (Waqf). Once they cross the border from Israel into Jordan, a local official collects their Israeli passports and they are issued temporary Jordanian passports. The documents are valid for a month or two months, depending on the season.
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: Steve White || 12/10/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  And LIBYA's "the Colonel" reportedly desired Tent(s) + women to serve him while in Paris???
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/10/2007 2:57 Comments || Top||

#2  Don't let the tent flap hit your ass on the way out.
Posted by: Excalibur || 12/10/2007 8:53 Comments || Top||

#3  Is Paris cold yet?
Posted by: 3dc || 12/10/2007 11:25 Comments || Top||

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Two weeks of WOT
Mon 2007-12-10
  al-Abssi is in Syria and Fatah al-Isalm is in Gaza
Sun 2007-12-09
  Fierce battle rages for Taliban stronghold
Sat 2007-12-08
  Berri postpones Lebanon presidential election to Tuesday
Fri 2007-12-07
  Pak troops capture Mullah Fazlullah's base
Thu 2007-12-06
  Suicide attack on army bus in Kabul kills 16
Wed 2007-12-05
  Somali leader taken to hospital
Tue 2007-12-04
  Abu Maysara Positively Deader Than a Rock
Mon 2007-12-03
  40 Taliban killed, 14 held in Afghanistan
Sun 2007-12-02
  Walkout in Iraq parliament over Sunni leader raid
Sat 2007-12-01
  Binny: Euroleaders 'like living under shadow of White House'
Fri 2007-11-30
  Perv Sworn In as Civilian President
Thu 2007-11-29
  Perv finally quits army
Wed 2007-11-28
  Sistani tells Shiites to protect Sunni brothers
Tue 2007-11-27
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Mon 2007-11-26
  Nawaz returns, vows to contest elections

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