Friday, November 30, 2001

Wake Up, America
The order is described as if it is aimed only at Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders. A former deputy attorney general, George J. Terwilliger III, said the masterminds of the Sept. 11 attacks "don't deserve constitutional protection."

But the Bush order covers all noncitizens, and there are about 20 million of them in the United States — immigrants working toward citizenship, visitors and the like. Not one or 100 or 1,000 but 20 million.
And the order is not directed only at those who mastermind or participate in acts of terrorism. In the vaguest terms, it covers such things as "harboring" anyone who has ever aided acts of terrorism that might have had "adverse effects" on the U.S. economy or foreign policy. Many onetime terrorists — Menachem Begin, Nelson Mandela, Gerry Adams — regarded at the time as adverse to U.S. interests, have been "harbored" by Americans.

Apologists have also argued that the Bush military tribunals will give defendants enough rights. A State Department spokeswoman, Jo-Anne Prokopowicz, said that they would have rights "similar to those" found in the Hague war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

To the contrary, Hague defendants like Slobodan Milosevic are entitled to public trials before independent judges, and to lawyers of their choice. The Bush military trials are to be in secret, before officers who are subordinate to officials bringing the charges; defendants will not be able to pick their own lawyers. And, unlike the Hague defendants, they may be executed.
Justices Revisit the Issue of Child Protection in the Age of Internet Pornography
Four years after the Supreme Court overturned the federal government's first effort to shield children from pornography on the Internet, the justices were back today to consider whether the government's second try could pass First Amendment muster.

Even more sharply than before, the central question is whether a body of law that evolved in the heyday of the neighborhood adult bookstore and movie theater suits the age of the Internet.
News: DeCSS ban upheld by court
A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld an order that prohibits publishing or linking to DVD-cracking code--a decision with sweeping significance for free-speech rights and copyright protection on the Internet.,4586,5100096,00.html
View from the Ground 09/27/2001; The View From The Ground - Police Stories
Boatwright was blind-sided. He had no warning the blow was coming. The officer said nothing prior to striking him. "He didn't say, 'I'm an officer.' He didn't say, 'Stop!' He didn't say anything."

Witnesses said that the officer's name is Andre Cuerton.

Boatwright passed out briefly. He lay face down on the concrete. His nose was broken. His two top front teeth were knocked out—driven through his upper lip.

"I sat up on the ground, trying to compose myself. Another plainclothes policeman said, 'Get your black ass up. Ain't shit wrong with you. Get your black ass up.' I rolled over and got on my knees. As I was getting up, he grabbed my arm and slammed me up against the wall."

This police officer took him to the paddy wagon where they were collecting dozens of people they had arrested. As far as Boatwright knows, he was the only one they roughed up.

Wednesday, November 28, 2001

SearchDay - Twelve Cool Sites and Tools for Searchers - 21 November 2001
Twelve Cool Sites and Tools for Searchers
Create your own web image database, search for streaming multimedia,
automatically track changes to your favorite web pages -- check out the
dozen sites and tools covered in this roundup.
News: Search engines find the forbidden
Search-engine spiders crawling the Web are increasingly stumbling upon passwords, credit card numbers, classified documents and even computer vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers.

The problem is not new, security analysts say: Ever since search robots began indexing the Web years ago, Web site administrators have found pages not meant for public consumption exposed in search results.

But a new tool built into the Google search engine to find a variety of file types in addition to traditional Web documents is highlighting and in some cases exacerbating the problem. With Google's new file-type search tool, a wide array of files formerly overlooked by basic search engine queries are now just a few clicks from the average surfer--or the novice hacker.,4586,5099914,00.html

Tuesday, November 27, 2001

A List Apart: Reading Design
An Entirely Incomplete List of Things a Non–Illiterate Designer Should Know Before Being a Designer:
optimal web design
Designing a website that takes into account the human element requires both an understanding of our nature as well as our physiological limitations. Usable websites incorporate human tendencies and limitation into its overall design. The questions below are meant to address some of the more important human factors concerns in the design and building of usable websites.>

Monday, November 26, 2001

Kangaroo Courts
Bush's latest self-justification is his claim to be protecting jurors (by doing away with juries). Worse, his gung-ho advisers have convinced him — as well as some gullible commentators — that the Star Chamber tribunals he has ordered are "implementations" of the lawful Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Military attorneys are silently seething because they know that to be untrue. The U.C.M.J. demands a public trial, proof beyond reasonable doubt, an accused's voice in the selection of juries and right to choose counsel, unanimity in death sentencing and above all appellate review by civilians confirmed by the Senate. Not one of those fundamental rights can be found in Bush's military order setting up kangaroo courts for people he designates before "trial" to be terrorists. Bush's fiat turns back the clock on all advances in military justice, through three wars, in the past half-century.

His advisers assured him that a fearful majority would cheer his assumption of dictatorial power to ignore our courts. They failed to warn him, however, that his denial of traditional American human rights to non- citizens would backfire and in practice actually weaken the war on terror.

Sunday, November 25, 2001

Learning From Israel and Its Mistakes
The first responses to the attacks sounded quite familiar to me. America, it was said, was attacked not as a result of anything it had done but simply because of what it is. Globalization, cultural domination and support for oppressive regimes were not immediately considered plausible causes for the attacks. In the same way, many Israelis ignore the causes that lead Palestinians to wage a war of terror against them, choosing instead to argue that they have been attacked not for anything they have done but simply for who they are.

The attacks on targets in New York and Washington were perceived as attacks on every individual American; a huge wave of patriotic togetherness gripped the country. Nowhere — except in Israel — have I ever seen so many flags displayed. (In Israel people sometimes put up American flags in addition to our own flag.) Nowhere except in Israel have I seen a similarly enthusiastic wave of voluntarism and donations. Israelis often say that war brings out the best in us; something similar seems to be true in this country.

Other reactions also sounded familiar. Americans say, "We have survived Pearl Harbor; we will survive bin Laden." In Israel people often say, "We have survived the Holocaust; we shall survive Yasir Arafat." Then there is the worry that "the world" (meaning some United States allies in the Middle East) is not supportive enough of America's fight. Israelis, too, often contend that the whole world is against them. From Israel and Its Mistakes
An Alternate Reality
From an economist's point of view, the most revealing indicator of what's really happening is the post- Sept. 11 fondness of politicians for "lump-sum transfers." That's economese for payments that aren't contingent on the recipient's actions, and which therefore give no incentive for changed behavior. That's good if the transfer is meant to help someone in need, without reducing his motivation to work. It's bad if the alleged purpose of the transfer is to get the recipient to do something useful, like invest or hire more workers.

So it tells you something when Congress votes $15 billion in aid and loan guarantees for airline companies but not a penny for laid-off airline workers. It tells you even more when the House passes a "stimulus" bill that contains almost nothing for the unemployed but includes $25 billion in retroactive corporate tax cuts — that is, pure lump-sum transfers to corporations, most of them highly profitable.

Most political reporting about the stimulus debate describes it as a conflict of ideologies. But ideology has nothing to do with it. No economic doctrine I'm aware of, right or left, says that an $800 million lump-sum transfer to General Motors will lead to more investment when the company is already sitting on $8 billion in cash.

Saturday, November 24, 2001

Legal Powers Are Expanded in Bush Plan
President Bush's authorization of secret military tribunals for noncitizens accused of terrorism and the systematic interviewing of 5,000 young Middle Eastern men in the country on temporary visas is well known. But broad new powers are also contained in more obscure provisions.

A recent rule change published without announcement in the Federal Register gives the government wide latitude to keep noncitizens in detention even when an immigration judge has ordered them freed.
And under new laws, the attorney general can detain for deportation any noncitizen who he has "reasonable grounds to believe" is "engaged in any activity that endangers the national security of the United States," according to a recent internal Immigration and Naturalization Service memorandum.

Critics have said that the administration's measures, taken together, amount to singling out people on the basis of nationality or ethnicity.

"We have decided to trade off the liberty of immigrants — particularly Arabs and Muslims — for the purported security of the majority," said David Cole, a law professor at Georgetown University who often represents detained foreigners.
“A cynic might think that domestic extremists who share the attorney general's antipathy to abortion and gun control — and are opposed to the likes of Mr. Leahy and Tom Daschle — receive a free pass denied to suspicious-looking immigrants.”

Wait Until Dark
If the administration were really proud of how it's grabbing "emergency" powers that skirt the law, it wouldn't do so in the dead of night. It wasn't enough for Congress to enhance Mr. Ashcroft's antiterrorist legal arsenal legitimately by passing the U.S.A.-Patriot Act before anyone could read it; now he rewrites more rules without consulting senators or congressmen of either party at all. He abridged by decree the Freedom of Information Act, an essential check on government malfeasance in peace and war alike, and discreetly slipped his new directive allowing eavesdropping on conversations between some lawyers and clients into the Federal Register. He has also refused repeated requests to explain himself before Congressional committees, finally relenting to a nominal appearance in December. At one House briefing, according to Time magazine, he told congressmen they could call an 800 number if they had any questions about what Justice is up to.
This kind of high-handedness and secrecy has been a hallmark of the administration beginning Jan. 20, not Sept. 11. The Cheney energy task force faced a lawsuit from the General Accounting Office rather than reveal its dealings with Bush-Cheney campaign contributors like those at the now imploding Enron Corporation. The president's commission on Social Security reform also bent the law to meet in secret. But since the war began, the administration has gone to unprecedented lengths to restrict news coverage of not only its own activities but also Osama bin Laden's. A Bush executive order diminishing access to presidential papers could restrict a future David McCullough or Michael Beschloss from reconstructing presidential histories. To consolidate his own power, Mr. Ashcroft even seized authority from Mary Jo White, the battle-proven U.S. attorney who successfully prosecuted both the 1993 World Trade Center terrorists and the bin Laden accomplices in the 1998 African embassy bombings. He has similarly shunted aside state and local law-enforcement officials by keeping them in the dark before issuing his vague warnings of imminent terrorist attacks.

Thanks to a journalist, Sara Rimer of The Times, we now know that one of the attorney general's secret detainees was in fact a local official: Dr. Irshad Shaikh, a Johns Hopkins- educated legal immigrant who serves as the city health commissioner of Chester, Pa. Dr. Shaikh's door was broken down by federal agents who suspected he might be an anthrax terrorist. It's all too easy to see why Mr. Ashcroft wants to hide embarrassing fiascoes like this. But it's also likely that the attorney general wants to hide the arrests he is not making along with the errant ones that he is.
We Have the Right Courts for Bin Laden
Two unsound proposals have recently emerged. The first, and by far more dangerous, is already law: the president's misguided and much criticized order authorizing secret trials before an American military commission. The second, more benign approach, offered by prominent international lawyers, is to try terrorists before an as yet uncreated international tribunal.

Both options are wrong because both rest on the same faulty assumption: that our own federal courts cannot give full, fair and swift justice in such a case. If we want to show the world our commitment to the very rule of law that the terrorists sought to undermine, why not try mass murderers who kill American citizens on American soil in American courts?
Disaster Gives the Uninsured Wider Access to Medicaid
The need for health coverage is a vexing old problem that has become much worse since Sept. 11. Before the attack on the World Trade Center, one of four people in New York City had no health insurance. Since then, layoffs have driven the number far higher, though no precise figures are yet available. As a temporary solution, on Sept. 19, the state began offering four months of disaster-relief Medicaid to all low-income residents of the city, not just those directly affected by the attacks.

In the last six weeks, 75,000 families have applied. Before Sept. 11, typically only 8,000 New Yorkers a month applied for Medicaid, health care experts say.

Health insurance has always been an important part of physical and financial security. But since Sept. 11, as the people who lined up Wednesday morning at the Boerum Hill Medicaid office explained, it has become something far more elemental, a life's necessity in a city now preoccupied with death.
What Did You Do Before the War?
"There is a whole body of information out there in public records that people are generally not aware of," said James E. Lee, a spokesman for ChoicePoint (news/quote), a company based near Atlanta that compiles and searches public records.

Before the dawn of the Web, most of this personal information remained out of the spotlight. Because records were stored in the offices of individual companies and courts, often in backroom file cabinets or offline computer systems, they were difficult and costly to search. The shift to digital storage has meant that many of those records are now widely available.

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the demand for such information has increased — and the inquiries are coming not only from law enforcement agencies. Organizations that conduct background checks report a surge in requests over the last two months from companies that want to screen job applicants and employees. More and more employers are discovering that they can now tap into a new generation of databases that integrate public and some private records, making the search process easier and less expensive than ever.
Cyberspace Seen as Potential Battleground
"While bin Laden may have his finger on the trigger," he added, "his grandson might have his finger on the mouse."

Security experts who monitor attempts at computer intrusion say that other new tools and tricks are coming into use in that arena as well. In recent weeks, computer security experts have come to believe that malicious hackers have developed tools to take over computers using the Unix operating system through a vulnerability in a nearly ubiquitous computer communications protocol known as SSH.

Those experts say that they find the SSH flaw especially worrisome because it could provide a hacker who successfully attacks it unrestricted access to a computer. An intruder could gain access to machines linked to the compromised computer, could destroy all of the data on the machine or could use it to carry out denial of service attacks. "It's pretty nasty," said Dan Ingevaldson, a security researcher at ISS, a major vendor of security software and service.

The weakness in SSH has been identified since early this year, and many system administrators have fixed the problem with patches, but until recently the theoretical vulnerability had not been subjected to actual attack. Recently, however, security experts have noticed a sharp increase in probes by outsiders of a specific spot in their network known as Port 22 — the part of the system that SSH uses — presumably to see which machines are still open to attack. "They wouldn't be doing the scanning if it wasn't paying off for them," said Kevin L. Poulsen, editorial director of a SecurityFocus, a company that provides computer security information.
U.S. Hunting Antiviral Drug to Use in Case of Smallpox
Two promising antiviral candidates have been identified, and one of them, cidofovir, has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, for use against cytomegalovirus, which causes illness in some people with AIDS.

Last month the National Institutes of Health applied to the drug agency for permission to use cidofovir for smallpox on an experimental basis. The company that makes the drug, Gilead Sciences Inc. of Foster City, Calif., could increase production in three to six months, but so far the government has not placed an order, said Dr. William A. Lee, Gilead's vice president for research.

Drugs that might be used against smallpox are hard to test for that purpose: the disease was eradicated in people more than 20 years ago, and no animal is naturally infected with the virus

Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Increased Spending on Drugs Is Linked to More Advertising
Increases in the sales of the 50 drugs that were most heavily advertised to consumers accounted for almost half the $20.8 billion increase in drug spending last year, according to the study. The remainder of the spending increase came from 9,850 prescription medicines that companies did not advertise or advertised very little.

The study attributed the spending increase to a boost in the number of prescriptions for the 50 drugs, and not from a rise in their price.

Only the United States and New Zealand permit advertising of prescription medicines to consumers. The advertising has grown more controversial as both the number of ads and spending on prescription drugs continue to rise.

The Food and Drug Administration is now reviewing whether it should change rules it enacted in 1997 that made it easier for pharmaceutical companies to advertise their products on television.

Tuesday, November 20, 2001

News: Web ads watch the clock instead of clicks
Sessions are just one of many new online ad formats bubbling up to lure reluctant advertisers to spend money on the Internet. But online ad experts said the sessions may push advertising out of a rut by recasting the way publishers and advertisers price Web ads and measure their success.

More than changing shape or style, the new format touts the measurements traditional advertisers have come to feel comfortable with in print, television and radio. Known as "reach" and "frequency," they refer to the audience an advertisement reaches and the amount of time people see it.

Such measurements are also common in brand advertising--the Holy Grail for Internet publishers hoping to tap the budgets of major consumer packaged-goods advertisers.,4586,5099772,00.html
News: Privacy suffers at health Web sites
About 65 million Americans have sought health information on the Internet, but many of their online activities are not protected by U.S. medical privacy rules, a report released Monday said.

The Bush administration unveiled the first legal protections for medical information last April. The rules, which take full effect in April 2003, aim to give patients more control over who sees sensitive, personal information.

Consumers should be aware, however, that the rules will not cover most purchases, searches or other actions on thousands of health-related Web sites, the report said.
"Many probably assume that the personal information they provide to health Web sites is covered by the new regulation, and they are wrong," Susannah Fox, research director for the Pew Internet Project, said in a statement.

That means the sites can collect information and are not required by law to keep it confidential, the report said.,4586,5099803,00.html

Monday, November 19, 2001

Earth from Space
Earth from Space provides several ways to search the selected images. Each image is available in three resolutions and includes a cataloging data and a caption. However, this site contains only a small selection of the best of our Earth photography.
Clickable Map
Click on the area you want to search.
Search will return photos within a 5 degree range of latitude/longitude. More specific searches by latitude and longitude can be performed from the technical search page.
The Vanishing Act
Seldom in the last half-century has the U.S. been so poorly prepared to assist individuals and families struggling with the effects of a recession. Example: the unemployment insurance system, which was established to ease the pain of temporary joblessness, covers less than 40 percent of the people who are out of work. Example: the food stamp program, which was supposed to slam the door on hunger in the world's greatest nation (and which once served 90 percent of eligible families), now serves just 60 percent of the poverty- stricken folks who qualify for help.

And then there's welfare. In the summer of 1996 Bill Clinton signed the so-called reform bill ending "welfare as we know it." Among other things, it imposed a five-year lifetime limit on welfare assistance to needy families.

The potentially tragic consequences of that legislation were concealed for a while by the extraordinary economic boom in the last half of the decade. But Daniel Patrick Moynihan and others had warned all along of the dire implications of ending the guarantee of federal help to the nation's poorest families. Marian Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund noted that supporters of the welfare bill assumed there would be "no recession in the next decade, which is unprecedented."
With Water and Sweat, Fighting the Most Stubborn Fire
In a hot flaming fire, many toxic chemicals are incinerated, with little given off except carbon soot, carbon dioxide, water vapor and other fairly innocuous emissions.

But the relatively low temperatures of the trade center fires mean that traces of dozens of toxic chemicals and heavy metals are carried into the air, including benzene, a cancer-causing compound released when fuels are burned, and styrene, a gas emitted by burning plastic. At times the chemicals in the air at the site reach dangerous levels, particularly when fire flares up, as it did on Nov. 8.
Challenge Revives SAT Test Debate
In the nine months since the university president, Richard C. Atkinson, proposed that his system stop requiring the main SAT exam, he has brought attention to an arcane debate that was being conducted mostly at gatherings of psychometricians and on small liberal arts campuses.

Unlike those previous conclaves, hundreds of professors and administrators from perhaps the nation's most influential public university system gathered this weekend to discuss what many perceive as the exam's major shortcomings: that it is a distraction to too many high school students, and that it further handicaps disadvantaged students, particularly minority students.

Signaling the broader reach of this gathering, which was titled "Rethinking the SAT," representatives of other state university systems, including those of Washington and New Jersey, as well as from private colleges mostly from the West, joined the conference.

But the end of the test, known as the SAT I, is not yet in sight…
News: Citibank offers free Web payment service
Who says the days of the free Web are over?

Banking giant Citibank announced Thursday that it will soon remove fees for all U.S. transactions on its c2it online payment service. Previously the company charged people 1 percent of the transaction cost to send money.

Citibank made the change to expand the number of users of its service and of online payments in general, said Antony Jenkins, chief operating officer of c2it. The service has about 200,000 users, compared with about 11 million users for market leader PayPal.

"We think this is a key opportunity for Citigroup," Jenkins said. "Removing the price point is important because it allows us to grow quicker.,4586,5099713,00.html
Powell Outlines Steps Needed for Israeli-Palestinian Accord
Mr. Powell said Israel must be willing to end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and recognize that Palestinians have legitimate grievances, including the building of Israeli settlements, the deaths of innocent civilians and the daily annoyances and indignities of going through checkpoints.

And he said Palestinian leaders must hunt down and prosecute terrorists who attack Israeli civilians if Israel is ever to shed its doubts about whether the Palestinians really want peace. "The intifada is now mired in the quicksand of self-defeating violence and terror directed against Israel," he said.
Israeli Tanks Enter Palestinian Territory, Kill Two Policemen
In Monday's incursion, three Israeli tanks drove about 900 yards into Palestinian territory near the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, police said. Witnesses said troops fired randomly from tank-mounted machine guns. The Israeli military had no comment on the raid.

On Sunday evening, two armed Palestinians were killed by Israeli tank fire about half a mile south of the Jewish settlement of Dugit in northern Gaza, said an army spokesman, Capt. Jacob Dallal.

However, Palestinian police said the officers, members of the naval police, were killed about three miles south of Dugit.

The Palestinian police commander in Gaza, Brig. Gen. Abdel Razek Majaida, said members of the naval police who witnessed the incident told him the two men were lying wounded on the ground when they were killed by Israeli troops.

Dallal denied the charges. ``The armed terrorists were approaching the settlement and they were shot and killed,'' he said.

Palestinian doctors said tanks drove over the bodies. The body of one of the policemen was mangled, his head flattened.

As part of the incident, two Israeli tanks and an armored personnel carrier drove about a half-mile into the coastal neighborhood of Sudaniyeh in the town of Beit Lahia, Palestinian officials said. The armored vehicles fired machine guns and shells.

Two shells punched holes into the private American International School, which has American teachers and is attended by Palestinian children. School officials had no immediate comment. A large American flag flew atop the building.

Sunday, November 18, 2001

Waiting for America
In the bitterness and violence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today, can there be any hope of peace? Two longtime negotiators, Yasir Abed Rabbo of the Palestinian Authority and Yossi Beilin, former justice minister of Israel, insist that there can. But they both say it will require U.S. intervention.

Friday, November 16, 2001

Seizing Dictatorial Power
Misadvised by a frustrated and panic-stricken attorney general, a president of the United States has just assumed what amounts to dictatorial power to jail or execute aliens. Intimidated by terrorists and inflamed by a passion for rough justice, we are letting George W. Bush get away with the replacement of the American rule of law with military kangaroo courts.

In his infamous emergency order, Bush admits to dismissing "the principles of law and the rules of evidence" that undergird America's system of justice. He seizes the power to circumvent the courts and set up his own drumhead tribunals — panels of officers who will sit in judgment of non-citizens who the president need only claim "reason to believe" are members of terrorist organizations.

Not content with his previous decision to permit police to eavesdrop on a suspect's conversations with an attorney, Bush now strips the alien accused of even the limited rights afforded by a court-martial.
News: Chip revolution turns 30
The foundation of modern computing was something of an accident.

The Intel 4004 Microprocessor, which debuted thirty years ago Thursday, sparked a technological revolution because it was the first product to fuse the essential elements of a programmable computer into a single chip.

Since then, processors have allowed manufacturers to embed intelligence into PCs, elevators, air bags, cameras, cell phones, beepers, key chains and farm equipment, among other devices.

But that's not the way the story was supposed to turn out.,4586,2824457,00.html

Thursday, November 15, 2001

Al Qaeda Plans for Nuclear Bomb Reportedly Found
Al Qaeda Plans for Nuclear Bomb Reportedly Found
Detailed plans for a nuclear bomb similar to the one used on Nagasaki have been discovered in a hastily abandoned al Qaeda safe house in the Afghan capital of Kabul. The Times of London said that, after Kabul was taken by Northern Alliance fighters, one of its reporters covering the war in Afghanistan discovered the notes, along with applications for Canadian passports and other instructional material about weapons and bomb-making. Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader suspected of masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S., has previously claimed that his terrorist organization had a nuclear bomb. Western officials have dismissed that claim, but they say there is evidence that al Qaeda has tried to acquire chemical and biological weapons, as well as materials to build a nuclear bomb.
The Tower Builder
On September 11th, each building took the impact of a 767 (which is nearly twenty per cent heavier than a 707) and stood long enough to allow most of the people below the crash sites—the ninety-fourth floor to the ninety-ninth floor in the north tower, and the seventy-eighth floor to the eighty-fourth floor in the south tower—to escape. Had the buildings toppled immediately, nearly all those survivors would have died, and there would have been huge losses as well in the buildings and streets around the towers. The fact that the terrorists chose to hit the buildings on opposite faces suggests to some that they intended to knock the buildings over—which would have increased the destruction and loss of life. "Ninety-nine per cent of all buildings would collapse immediately when hit by a 767," Jon Magnusson said.
Death of a Child: How Israel's Army Responds
Khalil Mughrabi, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy, was resting after a soccer game on July 7 in Rafah, in the Gaza Strip, when an Israeli tank fired warning shots to repel nearby protesters. A bullet pierced the boy's head, killing him instantly.

Last week a sheaf of documents from the Israeli Army arrived at the offices of the human rights group B'tselem, containing records of a military inquiry into the incident.
B'tselem had asked the army about the case, and unexpectedly received the military's file of its internal investigation through an unusual — and apparently inadvertent — disclosure. An accompanying letter informed B'tselem that no criminal wrongdoing by soldiers was suspected, and therefore the military police would not investigate.

But the file tells a different story, strongly suggesting culpability by the soldiers. It provides a rare glimpse of how the Israeli Army investigates killings, decides whether to take disciplinary action and formulates public responses.

Monday, November 12, 2001

Ballots Cast by Blacks and Older Voters Were Tossed in Far Greater Numbers
"The finding about black voters is really strong," said Philip Klinkner, a political science professor at Hamilton College who has studied the Florida vote and reviewed the Times study. "It raises the issue about whether there's some way that the voting system is set up that discriminates against blacks."

There is no conclusive evidence of systematic efforts to discriminate against blacks, but this pattern — the same kind that courts look at in determining racial discrimination in voting rights lawsuits — raises suspicions.

"It raises questions about how they administer elections — where they put the best voting machines, how many poll workers they put out, what kind of education is done," Mr. Klinkner said.

Alan J. Lichtman, a political science professor at American University, said, "It suggests there was not just a disparate effect, but disparate treatment — not necessarily deliberate — of black voters in the election." Mr. Lichtman came to a similar conclusion in a study of more limited data for the United States Civil Rights Commission.
Sagging Economy Threatens Health Coverage
A 1986 federal law allows people to keep their health insurance even after they lose their jobs, but they must pick up the full cost of the premiums — a huge burden for someone laid off, as much as $500 or $600 a month for coverage of a family, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

At the same time, state officials and health care experts are warning that the basic government safety net for covering low-income people — the Medicaid program, jointly financed by the states and the federal government — is under increasing strain. Declining tax revenues because of the economy, rising health care costs and an expected jump in the Medicaid caseload because of layoffs all make for a dangerous combination, officials say.

Sunday, November 11, 2001

Israeli Minister Vacates Home After Assassination Warning
Israeli security agencies have been on alert for possible threats to senior Israeli political and military figures since the assassination on Oct. 17 of Rehavam Zeevi at a Jerusalem hotel. The militant Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for that killing, calling it revenge for Israel's assassination of the group's leader, Mustafa Zibri, known as Abu Ali Mustafa, in a helicopter missile strike on his headquarters in August.

The killing of Mr. Zibri, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization, marked the first time Israel had assassinated the head of a Palestinian faction as part of its policy of killing suspected militants. Israeli officials said that Mr. Zibri had organized terrorist cells responsible for several car bombings, but Palestinian officials called him a political figure, and warned of retaliation in kind.
Harsh Civics Lesson for Immigrants
The startling new lesson about this country for the immigrant owner, accountant, maître d' and busboy at the Crazy Tomato restaurant was forced upon them a month ago in a incident known as the perp walk.

This was the photo arranged by law-enforcement officials that saw the four Islamic restaurant workers and five Islamic friends paraded in prison stripes, leg irons and manacles across the front page of the hometown newspaper.

The preceding court hearing had been tightly closed to public view, with the windows taped and a gag order invoked against ever discussing it. So the perp, as in perpetrator, walk would have to do for anyone curious about the innocence or guilt of the nine caught in the terrorist dragnet.

"I am so happy to come back to my real life," declared Khaled Nassr, exultant tonight at surviving the perp walk and standing fetter- free once more as maître d' at the Crazy Tomato.

"All I want to do is make a better future," said Mr. Nassr, more interested in discussing the veal parmigiano than Osama bin Laden.

But diners kept apologetically chatting to him about the experience of the Egyptian newcomers in this American community who, while never charged with crimes, were taken off in chains for a week.
Single Letter With Anthrax Is Discounted
We're thinking there may be one more letter and maybe more than one," said Kenneth Newman, the deputy chief postal inspector for investigations.

The basis for this view, said John Nolan, the deputy postmaster general, is that experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it is unlikely that the mail handler at a State Department postal center in Virginia who contracted inhalation anthrax could have been infected by a letter that had merely come in contact with the one to Mr. Daschle.
'Afghan Arabs' Said to Lead Taliban's Fight
The "Afghan Arabs," as the foreigners are called, are proving crucial to the survival of the Taliban, whose leaders are former religious students with limited military expertise. The American and Pakistani officials say the foreigners taking leading roles in military and internal security and — unlike their Afghan cohorts — cannot be bribed into defecting or swayed to surrender.

"The Arabs are the best fighters they have," said Anwar Sher, a retired Pakistani general with longstanding influence on Pakistan's intelligence officers and Afghan military commanders. "A group of 30 of them can engage a battalion of 1,000. They will kill 100 before they take a loss."

Aid workers now in Pakistan also identify the Afghan Arabs as the men who have attacked United Nations operations and offices in Kandahar, the eastern city of Jalalabad, Mazar-i-Sharif and other towns. The foreign fighters assaulted Afghans working for the United Nations, stole Land Cruisers and trucks and took hundreds of tons of wheat flour destined for destitute Afghans, the aid workers said.

One Afghan working for a United Nations relief agency described being spat on and threatened by several armed Arabs outside the main United Nations compound in Kabul hours after the first American bombing raids began Oct. 8.

"The Arabs are the ones you have to worry about most," he said. "They will kill you in a moment if they see any sign that you are resisting."

Sunday, November 04, 2001

Hijackers' Meticulous Strategy of Brains, Muscle and Practice
What has emerged, nearly two months into the investigation, is a picture in which the roles of the 19 hijackers are so well defined as to be almost corporate in their organization and coordination.
SearchDay - Build Your Own Yahoo! - 1 November 2001
The itch to create your own online portal eventually strikes just about every web searcher, usually after you've built up a collection of a few thousand choice bookmarks or favorites that you'd love to share with the rest of the world. There are several ways to scratch this itch, and to do it properly, you should make sure you have the right tools for the job.

Saturday, November 03, 2001

The Rich-Poor Division Is in Stark Relief in Talks for Trade Agenda
Brazil and India are leading a coalition that wants trade rules rewritten to make it clear that nations can violate patents and save money on, for example, AIDS or malaria drugs when they face an acute health crisis.

They argue that poor countries often cannot afford vital medicine. Industrial nations, they say, often seek to punish them if they buy or produce knockoff versions of the drugs.

Paulo Teixeira, director of Brazil's anti-AIDS program, told reporters this week that the United States' efforts to reduce the price of Cipro, under threat of breaking Bayer's patent, mimics similar strong-arm tactics that Brazil has used. Washington threatened at one point to file a W.T.O. case against Brazil on behalf of American drug makers.
Rich Nations Have Been Too Insensitive to Poverty
Rich nations are shamefully stingy about aiding the poor, but none more so than the United States. In 1999, the World Bank reported that the United States gave 0.1 percent of its economic output for development, or $9.1 billion, the lowest proportion among the 30 or so wealthiest nations. Japan gave more than $15 billion — still skimpy, but 0.35 percent of its output. Moreover, America stipulates that about two-thirds of the $9 billion must be spent on American products.
con·cept: November 2001