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Merry Christmas & the Very Best for 2006!

She is a True Hero!

Amazon nun's killers are jailed

Landless peasants celebrated justice for Dorothy Stang ...

Two Brazilians have been found guilty of murdering a US-born Catholic nun and peasants' rights activist, and sentenced to long jail terms.
Sister Dorothy Stang campaigned on behalf of poor farmers against ranchers and big logging companies.

Rayfran das Neves Sales was found to have shot the 73-year-old nun six times on a muddy track in the rainforest.

He was sentenced to 27 years and his accomplice, Clodoaldo Carlos Batista, to 17 years in prison.

Prosecutors hope the convictions will open the way for three other men to be tried on charges of paying for and ordering the murder.

They are in custody and awaiting trial next year, accused of offering more than $20,000 (£11,000) to the gunmen.

'Defence of property'

The BBC's Tom Gibb in Sao Paulo says the case is being seen as a crucial test of Brazil's ability and willingness to clean up vigilante violence in the Amazon.

Dispu…

Is it Goodbye, Red Cross?

In today’s world of political correctness phobia, the issue of trying not to offend others is reaching higher levels of paranoia...The latest being that concerning the symbol to use for the respected (non-religious) organization that for decades has risked its members in desolate, war or disaster zones around the globe to provide first aid to needy people of all colors or creed. Should they have just one internationally recognized acceptable icon as their logo? Should the logo vary from region to another? If 'yes', what should this icon be?

The argument is interesting, but definitely a thorny one...

Ray de Bono, for Dmaxmalta


Red Cross mulls 'neutral' emblem
By Imogen Foulkes
BBC News, Geneva



Israel says it is ready to use the new symbol outside its borders

In Geneva diplomats from the 192 countries which have signed the Geneva conventions are meeting to discuss a third emblem for the international Red Cross.

Red Cross officials hope approval of a third emblem will fin…

What did we fight for, Mr Bush?

Abuse worse than under Saddam, says Iraqi leader


· Allawi in damning indictment of new regime
· Bush prepares way for US troop pull-out



Human rights abuses in Iraq are now as bad as they were under Saddam Hussein and are even in danger of eclipsing his record, according to the country's first Prime Minister after the fall of Saddam's regime.

'People are doing the same as [in] Saddam's time and worse,' Ayad Allawi told The Observer. 'It is an appropriate comparison. People are remembering the days of Saddam. These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same things.'

In a damning and wide-ranging indictment of Iraq's escalating human rights catastrophe, Allawi accused fellow Shias in the government of being responsible for death squads and secret torture centres. The brutality of elements in the new security forces rivals that of Saddam's secret police, he said.

Allawi, who was a strong ally of the US-led coalition force…

Women offered for Rape...

Blood debt women offered up for rape
By Isambard Wilkinson in Sultanwala
Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/11/22/wdebt22.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/11/22/ixworld.html


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Dmax Comment

I wonder what the United Nations, The US, the EU and the British Commonwealth are doing to make Pakistan change into a democratic society...This week Senior Members of the Pakistani government (that for your info did not take their power through a normal election, but by means of a coup d'├ętat) will be in Malta making nice speeches about human rights and world peace, bla, bla, bla...

Would the Maltese Government or the so-called Maltese European free press comment?

Ray de Bono


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A village council in Pakistan has decreed that five young women should be abducted, raped or killed for refusing to honour childhood "marriages".


The women, who are c…

Its official: UK 'Retreats' from Iraq

UK troops out of Iraq 'next year'



Dmax Editor Notes with Regret


I am concerned that this indirect announcement on behalf of the British through the Iraqi government is nothing but a likely smoke screen behind the UK's official retreat from the Iraqi front.

Why didn't the British announce it themselves, if their job was finished well? Are they trying to give the impression the Iraqis support such a retreat from an essential member of the US coalition thus acknowledging they are now ready to take over the country's administration?

Many agree that the Iraqi mission is a non finished job. The Iraqi troops are ill-trained, ill-equipped, lack morale and are reported to be infiltrated with Islamists and Jihadists ready to blow themselves at the right moment. The state of security for the average citizens in Baghdad, Basra and other parts of the country leaves much to be desired. Iraqi police get blown up many times daily so much so that it stopped being headline news.

But…

Look Who's Doing it Now!

In Maltese we have a saying...'biex tiskongra trid tkun pur..." in other words, "only the pure can cast out demons'...

The US came out with a long list of reasons why Iraq was attacked, cos its harboring terrorists, financing them, creating them, cos its storing nuclear weapons, building long-range missiles, developing chemical arms, its leader killed his own people, disrespected human rights, bla, bla, bla...All bad but now we are seeing that on some counts the USA is not so 'pure' and righteous itself in its deeds... A shocking piece of news just released by Italian State TV 'RAI' explains why...

Points to Ponder

The Italians have historically been known as ambivalent allies...Recent history shows them first aligning themselves with Nazi Germany in World War Two till victory was within reach, only to shift sides after massive failures against superior Allied resistance...

Nowadays we are witnessing yet another colossal shift all'Italiana...The flam…

Poverty Motivated Riots?

French Muslims face job discrimination

I felt it was good to see what possibly could have been the real factors behind this mayhem in Paris. It is worrying considering the growing number of muslims in the EU that such events are taking place in this day and age. We need to identify the motivation of these riots, whether or not they are coming from a genuine desire by these people to integrate in French society, or if its part of a wider political or Islamist agenda....I question the cause behind the plight of these angry young men... Is it just poverty? Are they being used? Instigated?

Ray de Bono, obo The Dmax News Team


Days of rioting in the bleaker suburbs of Paris have highlighted discontent among many French youths of North African origin.

As part of a series on French Muslims, the BBC News website's Henri Astier looks at the issue of discrimination, a leading source of frustration in France's unemployment-riddled ghettos.


Sadek recently quit his job delivering groceries …

Islamic Riots Spreading in Paris

Riots erupt in more Paris suburbs

French Interiors Minister,Nicolas Sarkozy has come under fire for his handling of the unrest...

Rioting has spread to more suburbs of Paris on a sixth night of unrest in the outskirts of the French capital.

At Aulnay-sous-Bois, cars were torched as gangs of youths hurled stones at police in riot gear, who responded by firing rubber bullets.

But the epicentre of the trouble, Clichy-sous-Bois, was said to be calm, with a heavy police presence.

The unrest was sparked by the death of two boys whom locals think were fleeing police, despite official denials.

Correspondents say anger has been fuelled by a tear gas canister hurled into the town's mosque on Sunday night, and arrests.

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin called earlier for a return to calm, during a meeting with the families of the teenagers.

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy joined the meeting, although the parents had refused to meet him a day earlier.

He has been criticised for hi…

Shape of things to Come...

More violence rocks Paris suburb


Many immigrants (mostly Muslim) are living in squalid conditions in France. This is bad. Some of them are becoming increasingly edgy as their calls for help remain unheeded and are making their voice heard, in many ways...


Many cars have been gutted by fire during the riots ...Mosques surrounded by the police...

Violence has flared for a fourth night in a north-east Paris suburb, but not on the same scale as before.

Six policemen were injured and 11 people arrested in the latest confrontations between angry youths and police in Clichy-sous-Bois.

Police said one or more teargas canisters were hurled into a mosque from an unidentified source.

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy is to meet the parents of two teenagers whose deaths sparked the riots.

Saturday saw hundreds of mourners pay homage to the teenagers by holding a peaceful procession in Clichy-sous-Bois, which has a large immigrant population.

The authorities denied rumours that policemen were chasi…

This is Serious

America and the UK knew that Iran was pursuing Nuclear Power before they attacked Iraq. Their evidence was more than just Satellite Photos. Russia knew well enough about it, actually, it supplied the technology to Iran...

And yet, defying all logic, the US and the UK invaded Iraq, not Iran. Sure, it was an easier target, or, was it? ...

Iraq has no Weapons of Mass Destruction. What’s next, now?


Iranian President - Mr Ahmadinejad calls himself a friend of the people...His people, that is...

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was elected Iran's president in June 2005, was an obscure figure when he was appointed mayor of Tehran in the spring of 2003.

He was not much better known when he entered the presidential election campaign, although he had already made his mark as Tehran mayor for rolling back reforms.

Since his election he has taken a tough stand on a number of foreign policy matters, in line with his hardline background.

Revolutionary credentials

Mr Ahmadinejad was born in Garmsar, near Te…

Are you a racist?

Many of us in Malta would not have had the opportunity of listening to a radio show on BBC channel-4 last week. The show has caused some stir in the UK...

The following article (taken from The Obsverver) provides various highlights on this radio chat show. It touches many issues that interest us in Malta right now - giving us many points to ponder upon...
Read on...

The spat between Joan Rivers and Darcus Howe illustrated just how hard it is to talk about race, writes Akin Ojumu
Sunday October 23, 2005
The Observer



Have you got something against black people? You probably wouldn't be reading this if you had. But if you are brave or foolish enough to admit your prejudices, you can expect to get clobbered for them. Quite right. But I felt some sympathy for Joan Rivers when she lost it with Darcus Howe on Radio 4 last week after he suggested she had a blind spot about race. He baited her; she responded: 'Don't you dare call me a racist.' It was riveting radio but it left me …

Dreaming of leaving Malta...

Immigrant frustration for Malta
By Daniel Sandford
BBC News, Malta



Some reach the island of Malta by mistake, and feel trapped
As you walk the historic streets of the Maltese capital Valletta, there is little sign of the turmoil on the Mediterranean islands.


Tourists mingle with shoppers in the ancient streets laid out in an unusual grid pattern.

In the centre of the tiny city is the building that houses the Malta Emigrants Commission.

From these offices, generations of Maltese migrants prepared to leave and start new lives overseas.

But the main corridor is now packed with young Africans - men, women and children. These are not people who are about to leave Malta, they have just arrived. It is the first sign that everything is changing.

We took to the air in a helicopter to see the scale of the change. As we lifted off it immediately became obvious. Dotted around Malta International Airport are barracks that were abandoned by the British Army when it left.

Plea for help

The buildin…

PROMOTIONAL INFORMATION

To be or not to be Real

A Maltese Young Person in Brazil


Ray Bartolo is an avid reader of this blog. He is extremely articulate and we often exchange opinions - even though we may not be always in tandem on all issues...

I like the guy!

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To be a part of 6 participants on a TV Reality show was something that I always dreamt of doing. And when I have a dream I make it a point that the dream will come true, and actually it did. Liquorish is no Grande Fratello or L’Isola dei Famosi, nor it is ‘Xarabank’ or ‘Becky’. Its not a super mega popular programme on the Maltese National TV station, yet the feeling I had when I was chosen to take part in this reality show was something which is not easily described and I couldn’t resist not to accept.

Last July the adventure started. The dangerous forests of Brazil were our destinations. We had 13 flights in all, including 2 11hours flights. At start it was difficult for me to integrate with the other 6 participants. They all had so…

A Malta - Gozo Bridge: Is it Possible?

Points to Ponder

Gozo Ferry Blues? Well, a bridge linking Malta to the tiny sister island of Gozo can be a solution...A cheaper one too considering it will save money on shipping costs, fuel, manning the ferry firm, etc. What do you think?

Just think about it: If you work in Malta all you need is drive to your destination...Irrespective of the season, weather or time of the day...If you incur an accident in Gozo, you don't need to be flown by helicopter...an ambulance can speed you to Malta in under 45 minutes...If you need to travel by plane, a trip to the airport can take place at any time you need...And if you are studying in Malta - well, you can go home everyday if it suits you better...

Our brothers across the Malta channel are finally building one...


Sicily bridge constructor named
Source: BBC

The bridge has been lauded and criticised in equal measure
Italy has chosen a winner for the 4.4bn euro ($5.3bn; £3bn) contract to build the world's longest suspension bridge that wil…

The Truth?! ...Whats that?

What are we to believe? What are we to stand up for? Is truth a make-belief game that the powerful play on the weak? Are we all dumbo's bred to accept the news as biblical facts?
Ray


After all the hassle the Libyan accused of the Lockerbie bombimg may end up potentially a fre man...


Forensic mix-up casts fresh Lockerbie doubt

Tony Thompson
Sunday October 9, 2005
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,1588101,00.html


Dramatic new evidence of forensic errors could see the man accused of planting the Lockerbie bomb win a new appeal against his conviction, The Observer has learned. Lawyers acting on behalf of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi are said to have uncovered anomalies suggesting vital evidence used to convict their client came from tests conducted months after the terror attack.
Pan-Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, when about half a kilo of plastic explosive was detonated in a cargo hold, killing 270 people including 11 on the ground.

Megrahi, a…

Can Turkey ever by Ready?

The European Union has started negotiations with Turkey...Opening the way for full membership...


No Comment.


Turkey sentences Armenian writer

Source: BBC NEWS 7.10/05

Journalists have raised concerns about aspects of the penal reforms
A journalist in Turkey has been found guilty of insulting Turkish identity and given a suspended six-month jail sentence by a court in Istanbul.
Hrant Dink, of Armenian-Turkish descent, wrote a newspaper column which he argued was aimed at improving relations between Turkey and Armenia.

The prosecution interpreted one part as an insult, but Mr Dink has said he will appeal against the ruling.

The verdict follows criminal code reforms as Turkey seeks to join the EU.

The reforms were intended to improve freedom of speech in Turkey.

The article written by Mr Dink addressed the killings of hundreds of thousands of Armenians during Ottoman rule in 1917.

Armenians, supported by several countries, want Turkey to recognise the events as a genocide. Turkey rejects t…

Are you sure its just Austria?

Austria sabotages Turkish EU talks
By David Rennie in Brussels

(Filed: 30/09/2005)Daily Telegraph, UK

Efforts to salvage one of the most ambitious and controversial projects in European Union history - the opening of talks to admit Turkey - ended in failure yesterday.

Turkish membership talks are due to begin on Monday. But Austria left the process deadlocked by sticking to demands that Turkey be offered something less than full membership.

A British-chaired meeting of EU ambassadors in Brussels broke up after only an hour amid Austrian demands that the EU's formal invitation to Ankara be rewritten.



Austria's ambassador said the accession agreement should be stripped of a pledge that the goal of entry talks is EU accession for Turkey.

Austria also wanted the agreement rewritten to include a warning that even if Ankara meets all the EU's conditions, the bloc can still say no to full membership "if the Union is not in a position to absorb Turkey".

Such a half-invitation is…

Go Agead! Ha Ha! Laugh at yourselves!

The Good Dogs that we are!
Licking the hand that feeds us is our middle name...

University students around the world are alert and ready to pounce on any political, social, artistic or religious issues of concern not just to their own direct interests, but those affecting others too.

From repressed societies such at China, Cuba and Korea to liberal democracies on our continent such as the Danes, the Swedes, the Italians and the Brits, students are seen massing in the streets sometimes marching against legions of armed police thugs in riot gear. From our parochial-narrow-minded-village-brain-box they defy logic, as more often than not they risk their lives to make a statement, to air their opinions on the war in Iraq, on gay rights, on freedom of expression, on economic or political reform in their country...

But not here in Malta. Our students have been doctored by years of pampering, political correctness, cultural potty training, religious spoon feeding, by years of 'mentally prog…

Crisps, bread, lipstick and soap help kill Apes!

We are all culprits

Campaigners fear orang-utans could become extinct

Demand for crisps, bread, lipstick and soap could drive orang-utans to extinction, research suggests.

The UK alone imports nearly a million tonnes of palm oil a year for use in such products, but campaigners say plantations for it destroy rainforests.

Friends of the Earth and international ape conservation groups warn in a report that 90% of the animals' habitat in South East Asia has been wiped out.

Their research claims the apes could become extinct within 12 years.

Legal duty

The groups claim British supermarkets do not know where their palm oil is produced.

It is we who will have to explain to our children that the orang-utan became extinct because of corporate greed


Ian Redmond
Ape Alliance


They are calling on the government to give company directors a legal duty to minimise their environmental impacts.

Friends of the Earth palm oil campaigner Ed Matthew accused the government of "failing to clean up i…

Quo Vadis Malta?

(Dmax) No Comment...

Malta fears it will sink under growing tide of migrants from Africa
By David Rennie in Valletta

(Filed: 21/09/2005)

The holiday island of Malta is in the grip of an accidental tragedy: it is directly in the path of a growing and potentially vast flow of asylum seekers from sub-Saharan Africa to southern Europe.


Caught: exhausted boat people from Africa await their fate
Its proximity to Libya, 180 miles to the south, threatens the identity and culture of the islanders. Thousands of refugees have made the crossing in recent months.

Libya has said that there are 1.5 million sub-Saharan Africans on its territory and many have their sights set on Europe.

Many asylum seekers are fleeing persecution in Darfur and Somalia and unknown numbers drown as they cross the Mediterranean.

The invasion of Malta is accidental: the boats are heading for the Italian islands of Lampedusa and Sicily, which offer direct access to the rest of Italy. But many of them run out of fuel or are hit by …

Pope John Paul's last words revealed by the Vatican

John Paul's last words revealed

Most Christians look at the holy figure of Pope John Paul rightly as a saintly and deeply inspirational. But its not only Christians but people from all faiths respected this larger-than-life personality, then and even now that he passed away...

Us Maltese have been lucky to have him twice amongst us. Both occasions saw ecstatic crowds flocking the main roads and public places as he passed by or made his speeches...

Now the Vatican has made some interesting revelations that should further boost the former Pontiff's golden chances for fast-forward 'official' sainthood. Read on...


Pope John Paul II's last words before his death were "let me go to the house of the Father", according to documents released by the Vatican.
His words were spoken in his native Polish to aides hours before he died last April.

They are preserved in a new 220-page volume which chronicles the last two months of the late pontiff's life.

It is the firs…