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Wednesday, Aug 20th

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Across Mideast, Arabs hail shoe-hurling journalist

Iraqis and other Arabs erupted in glee Monday at the shoe attack on George W. Bush. Far from a joke, many in the Mideast saw the act by an Iraqi journalist as heroic, expressing the deep, personal contempt many feel for the American leader they blame for years of bloodshed, chaos and the suffering of civilians.

Images of Bush ducking the fast-flying shoes at a Baghdad press conference, aired repeatedly on Arab satellite TV networks, were cathartic for many in the Middle East, who have for years felt their own leaders kowtow to the American president.

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Israel 'wants West Bank land'

Israel has proposed annexing 6.8 per cent of the illegally occupied West Bank, the chief Palestinian negotiator has said in his first detailed comments about the stalled US-backed negotiations.

Israel proposed a swap of some of its own territory in return for the annexed area but the Israeli land was not an equal trade in size and quality, Ahmed Qurei said, adding that the Palestinians rejected the offer.

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German Government has lost files so secret their contents are unknown

The interior ministry confessed the loss in an answer to a parliamentary question submitted by the Free Democrats (FDP), according to newsmagazine Der Spiegel.

The 332 files were considered top secret, but have been lost over the last ten years, with no clue as to where they have ended up. They were of ‘considerable significance,’ the Interior Ministry has admitted.

It was also revealed that nearly 3,200 secret files have been destroyed in this legislature period alone – rather than stored in the federal archive.

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Zimbabwe: Britain, U.S. Caused Cholera, Says Govt

A Zimbabwean cabinet minister has accused Britain, helped by the United States, of masterminding the country's cholera outbreak in a "biological chemical war, a genocidal onslaught" against the country.

The accusation was published in the government-controlled Herald newspaper by Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, the information minister in President Robert Mugabe's government

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Russia scraps right to jury trial

The country's parliament voted to back a bill backed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's dominant United Russia party giving three judges the right to rule on cases involving terrorism, hostage-taking, armed insurrection, sabotage and civil disturbances.

The bill will go before Russia's upper house, the Federation Council where approval is expected to be a formality, before it becomes law.

The move came 15 years to the day since the adoption of Russia's first post-Soviet Constitution which reintroduced jury trials abolished by the Bolsheviks in 1917.

Critics said the move raised the spectre of a return to Soviet-style trials controlled solely by judges.

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Israeli drug smugglers hit Australia

ISRAELI drug lords are increasingly targeting Australia for ecstasy smuggling, according to confidential Israel Police intelligence that shows crime syndicates view it as a booming market for the party drug.

Israeli crime syndicates control a significant share of the global ecstasy trade and have a long history of supplying the Australian market.

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Nations sign cluster bomb treaty

The first of more than 100 countries have begun signing a treaty to ban current designs of cluster bombs, at a conference in Oslo, Norway. Campaigners are hailing the treaty as a major breakthrough.

But some of the biggest stockpilers, including the US, Russia and China, are not among the signatories.

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TVNL Comment: The strongest military powers in the world, including Israel, refuse to sign.  How is this a 'major breakthrough' rather than a 'major failure'?

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