Friday, February 02, 2007

Daily Digest February 2, 2007

Joe Hueglin wrote:


CHARLOTTETOWN GUARDIAN - Our doctors and effective communication (View comments1)  print this article
The College of Physicians and Surgeons appears to be moving toward greater transparency.

HALIFAX NEWS - Climate change now the hottest issue

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Boisclair's woe no cause for joy

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Two-tier medicine is here - live with it

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Judgment for the people

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Panic in the streets

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Turn the page on censorship

OTTAWA SUN - No tears for PQ

TORONTO STAR - Absence of clarity not good for health

TORONTO STAR - No cellphones in school

TORONTO SUN - A sorry waste of talent

K-W RECORD - Helmet law not right

WINDSOR STAR - Best defence: Harper's welcome plan

WINDSOR STAR - Gender and the heart

WINNIPEG SUN - Bashing the banks

SASKATOON STARPHOENIX - Make watchdog on environment report to House

REGINA LEADER-POST - Pulses race over heart stats

GRANDE PRAIRIE DAILY HERALD TRIBUNE - How long can housing market keep pushing?
New stats show Canada booming, States slumping and rumours swirling

EDMONTON JOURNAL - Are ATM fees a top priority?

EDMONTON JOURNAL -Auditor general must explain firing

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - Who will act on climate change?

VANCOUVER SUN - MPs must consider who watches the environmental watchdog

VANCOUVER PROVINCE - Our government has a duty to intervene to help save a child

VICTORIA TIMES-COLONIST - Public gets little in forest land deal
Lifting restrictions on private forest lands good for company, but public benefit unclear


Taleban forces retake Afghan town
It comes just days before the British hand over command of Nato forces to an American general.

Afghan analysis as general bows out
For the last nine months, British forces have been in charge of Nato's mission in Afghanistan,
commanded by the charismatic British officer Gen David Richards.

Increase in troops to Afghanistan
Britain is to increase its military presence in southern Afghanistan by about 800 troops to 5,800.

Pakistan Admits Security Forces Allowed Taleban Raids

Afghan bill offers immunity for war crimes
United Nations objects

Defence to review, reassign PS jobs
Government strategy focused on employees in Ottawa area

U.S. bill would force full consideration of passport alternative

Senators say they have a lot more questions about Arar after briefing

Change of heart: George bush refuses to apologize to Maher Arar. Yet Washington is bending over backward to accommodate the legal rights of a Dutch terror suspect. Why?

Canada, U.S. pact on refugees flawed, lawyer says

Canada protests UN rejection of gay group

Data inadequate to track progress, health council says

A hybrid health-care system
For-profit medicare forays in Quebec raise concerns for public system

Doctor stands up for the poor

No change of course in justice

A threat to our Charter rights
Arar case underscores how our border security measures can hurt us

Oil politics heating up:Will oilsands operators balk at royalty review findings?

No immigration deal

PM expresses frustration with opposition Kyoto "fantasy"

No quick fix on climate change, says Harper

Canada does not see greenhouse gas cuts soon Reuters

Tories in financial lead

Harper still opposes early election

Minister’s visit to Paris underlines new Tory conviction on ...

Emission cuts will cost- Baird

Backpedalling Dion quote ignored
Media instead seems fascinated by his mangled fat joke about Harper

RCMP's probe over trusts faces review
Complaints body chair wants Mounties' mid-campaign announcement examined

Extra security measures taken to protect Flaherty

Ambrose hints at fiscal-gap solution
Feds would end duplication with provinces

Partisanship poisons clean air

NDP will not 'budge an inch' on clean air:The demands

Harper's handling of foreign affairs under attack

Tories want to avoid 'busybody litigators' in nomination fights: lawyer

Foreign pins a sticking point
The feds are under fire for distributing maple leaf lapel pins that aren't made in Canada.

Harper announces federal contributions to spinal cord research network

Memo hints at possible changes to youth justice act

Defence minister hails $3.4B cargo plane deal as 'new era' for military

Canada will jump the queue to get fast delivery of four new transport planes

Plans for mammoth military transports under attack

Ottawa's plan won't stop border runners

Cable firms declare CTF 'dead,' while NDP wants hearings

U.S. urges "global discussion" on U.N. warming report

Climate change 'unequivocal,' scientists say in Paris report

Blame for climate change pinned on humans

all 84 news articles »

A climate of bunk and hysteria

Tiny changes have huge impact
It could soon be too late to halt such disastrous events as the melting of the massive Greenland ice sheet, scientists warn

Terror informant wanted $14-million
Police reportedly paid him at least $500,000

"The greenhouse effect and all its tropes aren't the issue.
At the core of the debate are two issues everyone can agree on:
clean air and the needless waste of fossil fuels."

Who’da thunk it in Hérouxville?

Herouxville: Cause Celebre
'Isolated case,' Charest says, but other towns mull similar rules

Canada comes first. The old country comes second

Employers get working on child care

Canadian nominated for a Nobel

Curing cervical cancer - but at what cost?

Where are Tory tax promises?

Roman descendants found in China?;jsessionid=ECMNCYTG5BUQ5QFIQMFCFFWAVCBQYIV0?xml=/news/2007/02/02/wroman02.xml


# Jean Charest parle de libre-échange avec Jacques Chirac et Nicolas Sarkozy
# Ottawa confirme l'achat d'avions militaires et 1 milliard $ en retombées

# Le contrat accordé à Boeing par Ottawa suscite des critiques

# Stephen Harper répète que Kyoto contient des objectifs irréalistes

Une législatrice américaine plaide pour une alternative au passeport obligatoire

Dix degrés de plus dans le grand nord québécois d'ici 100 ans

Ottawa n'imposera pas une cible nationale de réduction des GES

Contrat octroyé à Boeing · La critique se manifeste

Dion se moque de la bedaine de Harper

Le contrat accordé à Boeing suscite des critiques

Les adversaires de Kyoto mobilisent des chercheurs américains pour attaquer la crédibilité du rapport de l'ONU sur le climat

Pas de changement de cap en justice

Un contrat fortement critiqué

Le Canada pourrait manquer de soldats


Springtime in Afghanistan
        Posts with this, Subject: Re: PRESSURE POINT SPECIAL are still coming in and so in that they ought to be presented to you as a whole to as great
        an extend as possible no BELOW(30) tonight.

        The Digest goes farther afield that the Canadian media. The Canada Com Network runs a continuing page on Canadians in Afghanistan at this link .

        We have the reports of Cabinet Ministers from time to time.

        What is presented to you to provide an alternative view is an article from the Asian Times dealing with the same subject as one from the National Post.
        but with somewhat more and more disturbing information. Included, if it arrives is a map of Afghanistan's provinces on which you can trace the strategy
        the Asian Times author outlines.


Afghan bill offers immunity for war crimes United Nations objects

Sayed Salahuddin, Reuters, with files from Agence France-Presse
Published: Friday, February 02, 2007

KABUL - Afghanistan's warlord filled parliament has come under criticism after passing a bill granting immunity from prosecution to all Afghans involved in the country's 25 years of conflict, despite calls by human rights groups and the United Nations for war crimes trials.

The National Reconciliation Bill, passed on Wednesday in the lower house, or Wolesi Jirga, covers those accused of abuses, including murder and torture, during the 1979-1992 Communist regime and Soviet occupation, the 1992-1996 civil war and the 1996-2001 Taliban regime.

Parliamentary officials said it covers Mullah Mohammad Omar and other Taliban figures, as well as former prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a warlord who now heads his own militant group, and several sitting members of parliament and senior government officials. The bill must be passed by the upper house before being sent to President Hamid Karzai to be signed into law.

The Wolesi Jirga justified the legislation on the grounds that it will promote reconciliation in a nation shattered by years of war and civil strife that have left almost no family untouched.

"In order to bring reconciliation among various strata in the society, all those political and belligerent sides who were involved one way or the other during the 2? decades of war will not be prosecuted legally and judicially," the bill says.

The legislation makes particular mention of Afghans engaged in jihad, or holy war, stating that "jihad, resistance and our people's rightful wars for defending their country and religion are counted as vital to national pride and must be honoured ... and appreciated by suitable privileges."

The United Nations in Kabul objected immediately.

"For any process of national reconciliation to succeed, the suffering of victims must be acknowledged and impunity tackled," it said in a statement.

"No one has the right to forgive those responsible for human rights violations other than the victims themselves."

The Wolesi Jirga, elected in late 2005, includes former senior Communist officials, former mujahedeen [holy warrior] leaders who fought the Soviets and some former Taliban. Dozens are accused of human rights abuses.

Legislator Malalai Joya, one of the few MPs who voted against the bill, said it was unjust and went "against the will of the people."

"National unity cannot be achieved through forgiving national traitors," said Ms. Joya, known for standing up to the jihadi commanders who occupy many of the seats in parliament.

"They must be tried. In fact, they have already been tried in the minds and hearts of people and they should be tried officially."

International watchdog Human Rights Watch called last month for a truth and reconciliation court to deal with war crimes and human rights abuses, including by some who still "hold high office."

It said Afghan and international judges should hear cases relating to the 1979-1992 Communist regime, which included the Soviet occupation, the 1992-1996 civil war and the 1996- 2001 Taliban regime.

"Several highly placed members of the current Afghan government and legislature were implicated in war crimes," it said.

Forty-five Canadians have died fighting a resurgent Taliban insurgency.

© National Post 2007

South Asia  Feb 3, 2007
A political curtain-raiser for the Taliban
By Syed Saleem Shahzad

KARACHI - The Olsi Jirga, the Afghan lower house of parliament, has granted immunity to all Afghans involved in the country's 25 years of conflict, despite calls by human-rights groups for war-crimes trials.

The decision will cover fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Omar and former prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who now heads his own militant group. The decision is just another dent in the US-led "war on terror" campaign at a time when the Taliban-led spring uprising is imminent and the Taliban show no desire to initiate dialogue for peace.

As the temperature has risen in Kabul to 1 degree Celsius - from minus-13 only two weeks ago - reconciliatory efforts on the part of Kabul have gained momentum.

The purpose of the initiative is to split opinion within the Taliban-led resistance, which has increasingly drawn in warlords across the country. From the tone of President Hamid Karzai's statements, though, it is clear that he does not intend to go as far as power-sharing; he talks of dialogue with "an enemy who is after our annihilation and is shedding our blood".

The amnesty decision, nevertheless, is significant. The overwhelming majority in the Olsi Jirga is former mujahideen, including Speaker Younus Qanooni and Professor Abdul Rab Rasool Sayyaf. The single largest group is Hekmatyar's Hezb-e-Islami, besides a sizable presence of former Taliban, including diehards such as Mullah Abdul Salam Rocketi, whose "defection" from the Taliban was made under considerable duress.

In early 2006, politicians in Kabul would have learned of the jump in support for the Taliban and their planned spring offensive for that year, which many believed would be successful. As a result, politicians drew up a political blueprint premised on the Taliban capturing Kabul and other key cities. In effect, they were acting as the Taliban's political wing. The latest act of granting immunity can be viewed as a continuation of this, and it sends a very strong message to all segments of Afghan society.

Spring sprung

The Taliban's plan for a mass uprising has now become an issue of honor, and this year it is many times better prepared than last year.

It is estimated that last year the Taliban were able to draw from a pool of about 40,000 foot soldiers, many of them secure in the Pakistani tribal areas of North Waziristan and South Waziristan. This year, the number of fighters has risen by many thousand, many of whom have already been launched from Pakistan into the Gramsir district of Helmand province across the border.

Thousands of others are ready to go from Pakistan's Bajaur agency into Kunar, Nooristan and then up the northeastern valley of Tagab to besiege Kabul.

In addition, there is a strong presence of Taliban in the Afghan provinces of Paktia, Paktika, Khost and Ghazni - possibly as many as 100,000. The Taliban have also regrouped in the western provinces of Faryab, Herat, Ghor and Baghdais, where they have sizable forces.

Within the next few weeks, Mullah Omar is expected to make major decisions on the appointment of new commanders and also make changes in command structures.

The roadmap for 2006, which centered on the fall of Kandahar and mobilization of Taliban forces to Kabul, is also likely to be altered, possibly allowing for an assault on an eastern city. This happened in 1991 when Khost was the first city to fall to the Taliban, followed by Jalalabad and finally Kabul in 1996.

Nonetheless, whether the Taliban move first on the east or the southwest, Kabul is clearly reading the signs, and preparing for the possibility of the Taliban entering Kabul.

Syed Saleem Shahzad is Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief. He can be reached at


Provinces of Afghanistan

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Other countries · Politics Portal

Afghanistan consists of thirty-four provinces (wilayat):
Provinces of Afghanistan 
  1. Badakhshan
  2. Badghis
  3. Baghlan
  4. Balkh
  5. Bamyan
  6. Daykundi
  7. Farah
  8. Faryab
  9. Ghazni
  10. Ghor
  11. Helmand
  12. Herat
  13. Jowzjan
  14. Kabul
  15. Kandahar
  16. Kapisa
  17. Khost
  18. Konar
  19. Kunduz
  20. Laghman
  21. Lowgar
  22. Nangarhar
  23. Nimruz
  24. Nurestan
  25. Oruzgan
  26. Paktia
  27. Paktika
  28. Panjshir
  29. Parvan
  30. Samangan
  31. Sar-e Pol
  32. Takhar
  33. Wardak
  34. Zabol