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Brasilia
15 Nov, Thursday
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Is Another Cold War Brewing?

THE New York Times today reports on a US plan to set up a European shield against potential missile attacks from Iran.

The US is trying to get the anti-ballistic missiles installed in Poland and the Czech Republic. The Poles have been debating this for sometime now, though news of American intentions has been curiously, until now, absent from the US press.

As the article points out, Iran is still ten years away from producing an intercontinental missile capable of hitting either Europe or the US. But as one Bush official is quoted as saying, “it’s better to be a few years early than a few years late,” in developing and installing the defensive missiles.

The problem here is that the track record of these missiles is pretty poor, and Congress has been unwilling to approve the initial $56 million, of a total of $1.6 billion, needed to deploy the missiles in Poland.

The Russians have been understandably miffed at American encroachment into its former Warsaw Pact allies, with the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov sniffing: “The choice of location for the deployment of those systems is dubious, to put it mildly.”

I think the US plan is in theory a good one as long as the system works. It’s better to be safe than sorry. And with the type of lunatics ruling Iran nowadays, safer is better.

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AN excellent story today also in the NYT on how the reform of the Iraqi police force became a victim of the war there.

The long article describes how corruption and political favors have turned the police force into a cesspool of criminals and terrorists being recruited into the force, and how corruption has thoroughly undermined the force. Must reading for anyone interested in knowing why the violence is not subsiding in Iraq.

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REP. William J. Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana, has been caught by a FBI sting operation with $90,000 in bribes wrapped in aluminum foil in his home freezer.
Not only that, he was also caught on videotape accepting $100,000 in bribes from an undercover witness. It seems he was accepting up to $400,000 in bribes from a computer company, iGate, to help it get contracts in Nigeria.

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FINALLY, the Christian Science Monitor has a funny story on the 18-month dry spell that southeast England has been suffering from.

A ban on using garden hosepipes has some English people secretly watering their gardens late at night. But some are getting caught after annoyed neighbors have tipped off the authorities.

With England notoriously famous for its rainy and dreary weather, the water shortage has been hard for many inhabitants to get used to.