(Swedish or English language is OK)
Annan warned rich nations at a pledging conference in neighbouring Ethiopia that they would end up having to finance an "epic relief effort" if more violence made food even scarcer in the vast western region of Sudan, Africa's largest country.
"We are running a race against time. The rainy season and the 'hunger gap' are approaching fast, making our relief operations more difficult," Annan said in a speech at African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa.
"If violence and fear prevent the people of Darfur from planting and growing crops next year, then millions will have to be sustained by an epic relief effort which will stretch international capacity to the maximum."
That's a crazy morality. But it is the morality of AI and many such groups, and the morality that few are willing to speak out against.
Yes, these damnable Jedi were guardians of the Old Republic, and the Old Republic was a backwards cesspit of crime, corruption, kickbacks, and simmering grievances, and had been for thousands of years. The Jedi maintained the status quo, and maintained their position at the apex of the pyramid by decapitating all rivals, and that's just one of their many sins. They were more than just the guardians; they were the locus of the rot that was the Republic. They were insular, guarded, and reactionary; always digging up obscure thousand-year-old precedents and legends like some sweat stained Wahabist scholar. They were the force that kept the Republic from evolving. They were the enforcers of continued dysfunction, the self-styled protectors of virtue and preventers of vice. They were the rotting fish in the marketplace of ideas.
They'd so divorced themselves from real feelings, from rage, from lust, from joy, from love, that they no longer understood what made people tick. All they had were ancient screeds blasting forth about how people should tick, how things should work, the revealed "truth". They were like post-collapse communists running back to Marx for insight on software prices, or Imams searching the Koran for advice on JDAMs. If it walks like a dumbass, squawks like a dumbass, and talks like a dumbass, it's a Jedi. Lucas could've given them poofy turbans to go with their robes, but I guess it would've hit too uncomfortably close to the truth.
Screening in New Zealand's inaugural Human Rights Film Festival is Hamburg Cell, a film about the men behind the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Ex-pat New Zealander Finola Dwyer produced the film and talks to Maggie Tait about the experience.
Terrorists come in all shapes and sizes, expatriate New Zealander Finola Dwyer discovered as she worked on a drama based on the men behind the September 11 bombings.
Dwyer believes New Zealanders would be open to the film and be interested in learning about the terrorists' motivations - such as the Palestinian problem.
"I hope it will provoke people to think about the situation because these things don't just happen out of the blue. It's not because these people are all lunatics.
"There's something behind their actions you need to contemplate and in no way are we sympathetic to these terrorists at all but they don't go around blowing themselves and other people up just based on nothing."
Dwyer believes New Zealanders would be open to the film and be interested in learning about the einsatzgruppens motivations - such as the Jewish question.
"I hope it will provoke people to think about the situation because these things don't just happen out of the blue. It's not because these people are all lunatics.
"There's something behind their actions you need to contemplate and in no way are we sympathetic to these terrorists at all but they don't go around murdering people just based on nothing"
As the credits rolled on the 11-day movie marathon, Emir Kusturica made no secret of his disappointment at the 21 films in the official selection.
"We had a selection where I think the average wasn't very high," he told a final news conference.
"I felt that most of the films were a little bit less good than I expected."
Barry Pepper clips and smells his dirty toenails in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada before rising from the couch for a quick, animal-like sex session with his bored wife while she continues to watch television from the kitchen.
Perhaps the most controversial film is director Carlos Reygadas' Batalla en el Cielo (Battle in Heaven). It starts with a teen girl performing fellatio on an obese middle-aged Mexican who later has graphic sex with his even heavier wife.
Ukraine, last year's winner, hosted the contest in what was widely seen as a means to showcase the country after last year's Orange Revolution protests.
"I am so happy that this finally came to Greece," Paparizou, an ethnic Greek raised in Sweden, told reporters.
A hot favourite before the contest, she paid tribute to last year's Ukrainian winner, Ruslana, whose frenetic Wild Dances was similar in using folk themes.
"Ruslana was an inspiration for other countries to do more traditional things," said Parizou, sporting a revealing short dress like virtually all the female competitors.
President Viktor Yushchenko, who has pledged to take Ukraine closer to Europe after winning last year's bruising election, took to the stage to present an additional prize, a golden fern.
"This is a Ukrainian prize for the best European performer in favour of uniting Europe," the president said, embracing Paparizou on both cheeks.
Some 120 million viewers tuned in to the broadcast, little different from past editions of varying talent, trite lyrics and flamboyant performances.
Moldova, an outsider finishing close to the leaders, underscored folk music with a smiling elderly woman in traditional dress beating a drum.
Many had hoped the contest would help change Ukraine's image after years of association with political scandals, corruption and the effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
In 1932, Stalin went to war against Ukrainian nationalism and resistance to collectivization. His weapon of choice was enforced famine. Stalin won. The "war dead?" About 5,000,000 Ukrainians who starved to death or died of associated diseases.
The Herald, guided by what it thinks Dr Cullen will do with the income tax thresholds today, is estimating that someone earning $70,000 a year will gain $22 a week by the changes, compared to $6 a week for someone earning $40,000 a year. This really is shameful for a social democratic government.
Let’s be clear: what Dr Cullen is doing amounts to cutting tax. If he raises the threshold for the top rate of tax from $60,000 to $70,000, he’s handing a tax cut to everyone who earns between those two amounts. And let’s also be clear: it will be the relatively wealthy who benefit most from these tax cuts.
There are quite a number of reasons to dislike the expelled British Labour MP George Galloway, but it's hard not to admire the rhetorical flourish of his testimony this week to a US senate committee. He really did, as the Americans say, hand Senator Norm Coleman his ass.
It's from this collection that the Times' Tim Weiner draws at least some of its examples of weapons in orbit. And I'm afraid Weiner may have confused the Air Force's equivalent of day dreams with full-blown, big-money Pentagon development efforts.
Yes, "Rods from God" is mentioned in the 2003 "Flight Plan." But the idea was debunked so long ago that's it's hard to believe the service is actually pursuing the Rods in any serious way. As Columbia University physics professor Richard Garwin noted, the Rods could only work if they orbited at low altitudes. And that means they "could only deliver one-ninth the destructive energy per gram as a conventional bomb."
NEW YORK: British rock band Coldplay played Manhattan yesterday to promote their highly anticipated new album and said they are uncomfortable that they sell so many albums they can move a major corporation's stock price.
EMI, the world's third-largest music company and owner of Coldplay's label Capitol, warned in February that profits would be lower because the band took longer than expected to finish their first studio album in three years.
But lead singer Chris Martin said in an interview, "I don't really care about EMI. I'm not really concerned about that.
"I think shareholders are the great evil of this modern world," Martin told Reuters before a concert at Manhattan's Beacon Theatre.
But however uncomfortable Martin is with what he called "the slavery that we are all under to shareholders," the reception to Coldplay's third studio album will be closely watched by EMI shareholders.
The band was formed in 1998 and hit big in the United States in 2002 with the release of A Rush of Blood to the Head.
Having sold 20 million albums worldwide to date, their June 7 album release and subsequent two-month tour of North America in August and September will play a large role in determining EMI's corporate profits.
Martin said the album was delayed because their first eight months of recording sessions produced songs that lacked the "spark" of such earlier hits as Yellow, Clocks and The Scientist.
CANNES: An emotional film based on a true story about a Christmas truce that brought German, French, and British soldiers out of their World War One trenches made its multi-lingual world premiere at Cannes.
But unlike so many European co-productions before it that were lost in translation and disparaged as "Euro-pudding" flops, Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas) takes a little-known story of a 1914 fraternisation of enemies and makes it an ode for peace.
Details of what exactly happened along the front were long sketchy or little known in many countries because there was hardly any recorded official evidence of what was surely an embarrassment for military leaders in the warring nations.
The book's author Michael Juergs told Reuters in 2003: "If there had been live television at the time and people had seen pictures of this truce, it would have been the end of the war."
It's uncertain how it began, but many accounts – and Carion's film – trace the start to Germans singing Silent Night in their trenches adorned with candle-lit trees on Christmas Eve. In the film that was followed by applause and a bagpipe encore from a trench with Scottish soldiers nearby.
Soldiers from the two sides emerge from their trenches after Germans shouted: "We not shoot, you not shoot," and shake hands. Some accounts say the truce began along a short stretch near Ypres and spread rapidly.
"They all share the same longings when they come out of the trenches to shake hands," said German actor Benno Fuermann, who plays an opera singer turned soldier. "It an important film for Europe because it shows what we can do, but also for humanity."
"That so many have now chosen to leave the SSU means that there have been faults in the handling of memberships," says the SSU's secretary Sara Heelge Vikmång in a press release.
Supporters of the Tararua 3 wind farm extensions point to tourism as a positive spin-off to having windmills in the area - but opponents suggest the opposite.
Fitzherbert East Road resident Eddy Fischer said wind farm developments are doing a lot of harm to national perception of Palmerston North and Manawatu. A talkback radio survey about three months ago asked listeners to name the worst place to live, Mr Fischer said.
"Palmerston North gained the most votes by an overwhelming margin."
The city was described as a "windy hole" even by people who haven't visited, and callers were asking: "Why would anyone want to live there? It must blow all day there, why else would they put all those horrible windmills on their hills?"
Thanks to wind turbines Palmerston North is seen as a windy, unattractive place, Mr Fischer said.
The last submitters gave evidence against the proposed development at the fifth day of the resource consent hearing yesterday.
Farmer David Argyle said he regularly saw native falcon or karearea in the sky above his farm.
When he attended TrustPower's open day in April he was disappointed that when he mentioned the karearea, their existence was quietly doubted
"They are certainly in these ranges at present and as the Aokautere Forest is milled, more karearea can be expected to inhabit the area," Mr Argyle told the hearing.
Turbines kill birds everywhere else they exist - just because bird strikes are not counted in New Zealand doesn't mean turbines don't kill birds, he said.
"Our natives birds have been decimated by thoughtlessly introduced incompatible species. Here we are introducing another: -the turbines."
The hearing concludes tomorrow.
The Right won and they don't even realise it. The radical Left understands it which is why they condemn marriage or civil unions as a sell-out. It is not a sell-out. It is the realisation that the alternative view lead to disasters. It killed people and it made those who survived unhappy.
So please be advised of the following: “This lecture will contain material that some may consider to be complimentary toward the Bush administration. It may, therefore, strike some listeners as unsettling, naïve, partisan, propagandistic, chauvinistic, muddle-headed, or paid for by Karl Rove.”
I’d been told, first of all, that the President never read anything beyond his daily press and intelligence digests. So it was certainly a surprise to find that he had read my book, and that he had done so ahead of his own staff. We’ve since learned, of course, that the President has a pretty eclectic reading list, ranging from Nathan Sharansky and Ron Chernow to Tom Wolfe.
That’s why I found it so frustrating, at noon on Inauguration Day, to find that nobody in the Yale History Department had the speech on as it was being delivered. All the television sets were unplugged, and of course my generation of professors doesn’t know, on short notice, how to plug them in program them. So I missed it. The speech just wasn’t considered important.
This historian is also leaning, somewhat more controversially, in the direction of acknowledging that George W. Bush is likely to be remembered as the first great grand strategist of the 21st century. He is, however, somewhat ahead of most of his faculty colleagues and many – though by no means all – of his students in this respect.
Newsweek denies Koran desecration
After harsh criticism from the White House, Newsweek has now backed down and denies information that insulting of the Koran took place in the Guantanamo prison on Cuba.
"With respect yo what we now know, we deny [retract?] our original article claiming that an internal military investigation revealed insulting of the Koran at Guantanamo," write cheif editor Mark Whitaker in a one-line release. Yesterday the newspaper made an apology after it was admitted that facts in the article were untrue.
"I find it notable that Newsweek admits that the facts were wrong and that they refuse to publish a retraction," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan earlier on Monday. In the controversy that followed Newsweek's article on May 9 around the Muslim world at least 16 people have died and over 100 been wounded.
Sunday's notice that the details were perhaps not correct were greeted with scepticism.
"We won't be deceived by this," commented Mullah Sadullah Abu Aman in the North Afghan province of Badakhshan.
"This is a decision which the USA has taken to save itself... it is understandable even to normal farmers who can't read."
Mullah Aman leads the Afghan Koran teachers who on Sunday threatened the USA with holy war - Jihad - in three days if the military leaders who it is claimed have violated the Koran are not handed over. The Jihad threat stands, they said earlier today.
A number of the British who were detained in Guantanamo on Cuba came forward on Monday and said that they had seen many times how the guards put copies of the Koran in the toilet and threw the holy book on the ground.
One of the previous prisoners, Moazzam Begg, said that it is ridiculous of Newsweek to retract the article.
Newsweek dementerar Koranskändning
Efter hård kritik från Vita huset backar nu tidskriften Newsweek och dementerar uppgifterna om att skymfning av Koranen ska ha ägt rum i USA:s fångläger Guantanamo på Kuba.
- Med utgångspunkt för vad vi nu vet dementerar vi vår ursprungliga artikel om att en intern militär utredning avslöjat skymfning av Koranen vid Guantanamo, skrev chefredaktören Mark Whitaker i ett enradigt uttalande.
I går bad tidskriften om ursäkt sedan man erkänt att visa faktauppgifter i artikeln inte stämde.
- Jag finner det märkligt att Newsweek medger att faktauppgifterna var fel och att de vägrar publicera en dementi, sade Vita husets talesman Scott McClellan tidigare under måndagen.
I de kravaller som följt på Newsweeks artikel den 9 maj runtom i den muslimska världen har minst 16 människor dödats och över 100 skadats.
Söndagens besked om att uppgifterna kanske inte var korrekta mottogs med skepsis.
- Vi låter oss inte luras av detta, kommenterade mulla Sadullah Abu Aman i den nordafghanska provinsen Badakhshan.
- Det här är ett beslut som USA har tagit för att rädda sig självt. . . det begriper till och med vanliga bönder som inte kan läsa.
Mulla Aman ledde de afghanska koranlärda som i söndags hotade USA med heligt krig - jihad - om tre dagar om de militära förhörsledare som påstås ha kränkt Koranen inte lämnas ut. Jihad-hotet står fast, sade tidigare i dag.
Flera britter som suttit i Guantanamolägret på Kuba trädde på måndagen fram och sade att de själva sett flera gånger hur vakter lagt in exemplar av Koranen på toaletterna och slängt den heliga boken på marken.
En av de före detta fångarna, Moazzam Begg, sade att det är löjligt av Newsweek att dra tillbaka sina uppgifter.
"Interviewees were simply asked an open question - what five adjectives sum up the French," said Olivier Clodong, one of the study's two authors and a professor of social and political communication at the Ecole Superieur de Commerce, in Paris. "The answers were overwhelmingly negative."
Interestingly, the Swedes consider them "disobedient, immoral, disorganised, neo-colonialist and dirty".
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Britons described them as "chauvinists, stubborn, nannied and humourless". However, the French may be more shocked by the views of other nations.
For the Germans, the French are "pretentious, offhand and frivolous". The Dutch describe them as "agitated, talkative and shallow." The Spanish see them as "cold, distant, vain and impolite" and the Portuguese as "preaching". In Italy they comes across as "snobs, arrogant, flesh-loving, righteous and self-obsessed" and the Greeks find them "not very with it, egocentric bons vivants".
If some liberals are now afraid that certain Christian fundamentalists will reintroduce new forms of intolerance and excessive religious zeal into American political life, perhaps we should concede the possibility that they know what they're talking about. But they might also meditate on the current election and why there has been an apparent rightward shift in political sentiment in the U.S. It could be that a great many voters have taken a good look at the fundamentalists on the religious right and the fundamentalists on the political left and made up their own minds about which pose the greater threat to their own private and public values.
Girls-only schools dominate all NCEA levels. Their pass rates are far above the national average.
NZQA has warned that trying to compare schools with one another was dangerous territory under NCEA. Schools did not follow the same programme of study any more.
There are other bits and pieces
Boys' literacy results were also a concern, only 65 per cent of male pupils passing level one literacy credits compared with 75 per cent of girls.
Wellington High School principal Prue Kelly was not surprised.
English was particularly geared toward girls and many of the topics did not interest boys, she said.
Education Ministry learning policy manager Steve Benson said the gender gap was a big issue. A research project was under way to address boys' under-achievement but there were no easy answers.
"One of the most bizarre suggestions I've heard for getting boys to achieve was to change the brightness of the lightbulbs in classrooms."
Others had suggested the problem lay behind typical Kiwi attitudes to masculinity, with boys more interested in rugby than study.
It was hoped research would provide practical changes for schools to implement as soon as possible.
Wellington College principal Roger Moses was concerned about boys' low achievement. The NCEA system did not work as well for boys as it did for girls, he said.
"Girls tend to be more organised. The old system with one big exam at the end seemed to suit boys' learning styles more. But that's not an excuse – we do need to look at ways to help boys' learning."
Spokeswoman Heather Church said parents should read schools' Education Review Office reports when choosing a school for their children.
Vaknade vi först genom al-Qaida?
Det är 30 år sedan dramat i Stockholm som slutade med att två av diplomater mördades och en terrorist sprängdes till döds, konstaterar GP:s Anders Kilner.
När den västtyska ambassaden i Stockholm ockuperades av sex unga terrorister i Röda Armé-fraktionen föreföll det nästan overkligt. Samma och liknande grupper hade länge jagats i Västtyskland. Många tongivande hade gripits, bland dem Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof och Gudrun Ensslin. Genom att ta gisslan och hota att mörda den försökte ockupanterna få dessa tre och över tjugo andra frisläppta. I bakgrunden fanns tankegods med ursprung i andra världskriget, naziregimen och anklagelser mot föräldragenerationen för svek då och senare.
Baader-Meinhofligan hörde till de extremister som föresatt sig att omsätta sina politiska teorier i praktisk handling. De rånade banker, utförde bombattentat, tog gisslan och mördade. Kärnan fick stöd av långt fler sympatisörer.
Det är 30 år sedan dramat i Stockholm som slutade med att terroristernas sprängladdningar exploderade och dödade en av dem. En annan skadades svårt och de övriga och flera i ambassadpersonalen blev skadade.
Då hade två av diplomaterna mördats för att visa att man menade allvar. Regeringarna i Sverige och Västtyskland hade i liknande fall tidigare gett vika. Nu gjorde man inte det. En svårt skadad terrorist var bland dem som - efter ett juridiskt inte okomplicerat men snabbt regeringsbeslut - kort efteråt transporterades till Västtyskland. Där avled han efter några dagar.
Ett par år senare grep polisen några personer med samma bakgrund, bland dem flera svenskar, som planerade att ta justitieminister Anna-Greta Leijon som gisslan för att hämnas och få fängslade terrorister frigivna. Facit av terrorkampanjen blev många döda och för en del skyldiga långa fängelsestraff. Dan Hansén och Jens Nordqvist har i Kommando Holger Meins (Ordfront) skildrat deras tankevärld och verksamhet.
Teorierna känns igen, också hos den extrema vänstern i Sverige. De går ut på att medborgarna under sken av demokrati manipuleras av en elit som behärskar staten. Dessa styrande är beredda att sätta in sin våldsapparat polismakten mot folket om deras makt hotas. Meinhof med flera ville provocera fram detta öppna våld för att folket skulle förstå.
Att de kommunistiska regimerna i Östeuropa i verkligheten utövade just detta slags förtryck och våld (Ungern 1956, Tjeckoslovakien 1968) negligerades eller bortförklarades av extremvänstern. Svenska kommunister hade goda förbindelser där. I en blandning av förljugenhet och naivitet hyllades diktaturerna för att vara demokratiska medan demokratierna anklagades för manipulativt folkförtryck. Idéerna odlas fortfarande.
Häromdagen ansåg justitieminister Thomas Bodström i DN att vi på 80-talet (inte långt efter ambassaddramat 1975) och 90-talet lite naivt inte ville tänka tanken att personer som var inblandade i terrorverksamhet sökte sig till Sverige. Han intervjuades om kritiken mot regeringen för beslutet i december 2001 att snabbt skicka hem två terroristmisstänkta egyptiska medborgare, mot det brutala tillvägagångssättet och trots risk för tortyr.
Förstod vi inte faran för terrorister i Sverige förrän vid dådet mot World Trade Center tre månader tidigare, i september 2001? Så ny och fjärran var den inte.
Det var Sovjet-ledaren Michail Gorbatjov som innebar den stora förändringen. Han lanserade begreppen "glasnost" och "perestrojka", öppenhet och förändring. Han släppte taget om öststaterna och inledde omdaningen av Sovjetunionen. Han tog initiativet till en fullständig skrotning av medeldistansvapnen sedan den amerikanske presidenten Ronald Reagan lanserat en ny generation kärnvapen, ett slags "Stjärnornas krig".
Utan det nya ledningen i Sovjet, med Michail Gorbatjov i spetsen, hade inte föränd-ringens vind svept över det blockerade Europa. Tidigare Sovjet-ledare slog brutalt ned försök till frigörelse bland annat i Ungern. En gammaldags Sovjetledare hade inte hanterat Reagan som Gorbatjov gjorde.
It was The Soviet leader Mikael Gorbachev who brought about the great change. He began "glasnost" and "perestroika", openness and change. He loosened the hold on the Eastern states and the Soviet Union. He took the initiative on the scrapping of medium range [nuclear] weapons while the American president Ronald Reagan opened a new generation of nuclear weapons, a sort of "Star Wars". Without the new leadership in the Soviet Union, with Mikael Gorbachev in the lead, the winds of change would not have swept over the divided Europe. Earlier Soviet leaders brutally repressed attempts at freedom, in Hungary among others. An old fashioned Soviet leader wouldn't have handled Reagan as Gorbachev did.
Of course a truly multicultural society with real diversity requires markets, private property and social tolerance. Social tolerance means the right to freely associate as people wish including their right to not associate. When that is allowed to happen the miracle is that virtually all groups are catered to by businessmen or groups seeking them out. There is a growing number of people seeking to do good in ways which the clients or customers appreciate. You get real diversity through freedom.
Freden 1945: Så banaliseras Europas historieskrivning
Peace 1945: How Europe's history is made banal
Den ena efter den andra storfilmen handlar om de amerikanska krigen i Stilla havet, Pearl Harbor och så vidare.
På senare tid har tyngdpunkten flyttats till Europa. Förintelsen har ägnats kanske 100 filmer, men också nya hjälteepos om den amerikanska insatsen för Europas befrielse i form av Band of brothers, som sprids på film och tv.
One after the other big film deals with the American war in the Pacific, Pearl Harbour and so forth.
In later times the focus has moved to Europe. The holocaust has contributed to about 100 films, but also new heroic episodes about the American contribution to Europe's liberation in the form of Band Of Brothers, which is spread on film and TV.
Tankeflödena mellan det medeltida Palestina och det moderna Amerika bidrar till att göra Ridley Scotts Kingdom of heaven till ett komplext och intressant filmbygge, tycker GP:s filmrecensent Emma Engström.
Connections between Middle-Ages Palestine and modern America contribute to Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven being a complex and interesting film, thinks reviewer Emma Engström.
Hur skulle han balansera bilden av USA:s agerande i världen efter att ha gett den amerikanska militären och dess världssyn en öppen kanal rakt in i miljontals människors hjärnor?
How could he balance the picture of the USA's actions in the world after he gave the American military and its world-view an open channel straight into millions of peoples' brains?
Inte helt väntat gör han det genom att berätta om 1100-talets korståg i Jerusalem. Och visst finns de bekanta inslagen där i form av religiös fanatism och politisk turbulens.
Filmen har sin historiska bakgrund i den korta tid av fred som rådde mellan det andra och tredje av de västerländska korstågen in i det heliga landet (Palestina). Det kungarike som korstågsfararna hade upprättat i Jerusalem styrdes i harmoni med muslimerna och sultan Saladin.
Not totally unexpectedly he did it by telling of the 12th-century crusade in Jerusalem. And of course there are familiar themes in the form of religious fanaticism and political turbulence.
The film has its historical background in the short time of peace between the second and third Western-nation crusades in the holy land (Palestine). The kingdom which the crusaders had established in Jerusalem was ruled in harmony with the Muslims and the Sultan Saladin.
Det dröjer inte länge förrän tempelriddarna får mer makt och det är när de skriker: "Det måste bli krig! Det är Guds vilja" som man ser USA:s fanatiska kristna med Bush i spetsen framför sig.
It doesn't take long before the Knights Templar get more power and it is then that they shout "It must be war! It is God's will!" just like one sees in the USA's fanatical Christians with Bush in the lead.
They know what it looks like in East Timor. They know what it looks like in Le Quesnoy, they fly it there every day unlike most New Zealand schools. They know what it looks like in Afghanistan. They know what it looks like in Iraq. They know what it looks like in Turkey. They know what it looks like in Crete. they know what it looks like in Italy. The two cops who pulled one out of the rubble of the WTC didn't know who's it was but they sure as hell knew what it was and took the trouble to return it. If it had been a black flag with a logo silver fern on it they wouldn't have even glanced at it twice.
Oh, yes, our academic and intellectual Marxists today are getting a free ride. They get a certain respect because of their words about improving the lot of the worker and the poor, their utopian pretensions. But when empowered, Marxism has failed utterly, as has fascism. Instead of with respect and tolerance, Marxists should be treated as though they wished a return of the Red Plague, which they do, passionately, blindly, innocently, or not, it would make no difference to the hundreds of millions that would be killed.
Immigration Minister Paul Swain tonight confirmed Amer Mahdi Alkhashali is in New Zealand following claims by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters in Parliament today he is a former Iraq Minister for Agriculture and Agrarian Reform under the Saddam Hussein regime.
The second man, a former Iraqi ambassador to Cuba and Bangladesh, yesterday had his visitor's visa revoked following a search of records by the Immigration Service.
"I am extremely unhappy with this situation," Mr Swain told reporters.
"I was informed yesterday that a proper search was done on all people fitting the profile of this kind of person. Clearly this search was not completed."
A Thai immigration official at the New Zealand Embassy in Bangkok, Twich Kanchananaga, was investigated in February 2003 following allegations he was running a cash-for-visa ring in which Cambodian nationals were charged up to $US4000 (NZ$7215) to ensure approval of their student visas.
Department of Labour deputy secretary Mary Anne Thompson said tonight the immigration office at the embassy, which employed about 40 staff, had been strengthened since the 2003 investigation.
"I don't believe this is an issue of kick-backs," she told reporters.
"What we're saying is we don't like the decision-making coming out of that branch."
Mr Alkhashali - also known as Amer Mahdi Saleh Khashaly - arrived in New Zealand on a visitors visa and was visiting family, Mr Swain said.
He travelled to New Zealand on an Iraqi passport but also presented a United Nations passport to the Bangkok embassy. It is believed Mr Alkhashali is also a former delegate to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
"We have yet to confirm his status as a minister in Saddam Hussein's government but expect to be able to do that in due course.
"I have instructed the department to begin the process of revoking this man's visa."
The incomplete Immigration Service search failed to detect Mr Alkhashali because it was searching in categories and had focused on asylum-seekers first, he said.
It was "possible" a complete search would turn up more inappropriate people in New Zealand.
Mr Swain said Mr Aklhashali was not a security risk to New Zealand.
Refugee Council president Munjid Umara said today Mr Alkhashali and his family were active members of Saddam's Baath party.
Mr Alkhashali, who would be in his 70s now, played a big role in the 1963 killings when the party came to power, Mr Umara told Newstalk ZB.
Mr Peters today accused the Government of "going after a wolf and producing a rabbit".
"The Government has no idea who is coming into the country and this case proves it."