Mar 27, 2003 | | 0 comments |

Now this is too cool. A guy has been arrested for turning $800 into $350million in two weeks playing the stock market. He's been accused of insider trading on 126 different companies, because the authorities don't believe his story. Which is this : he's a time traveller from 200 years in the future, armed with prior knowledge of all stock trades and positions. The great thing about it is that try as they might, the authorities can't find any record of this man anywhere until about three weeks ago. http://tv.yahoo.com/news/wwn/20030319/104808600007.html

| | 0 comments |

***WAR NEWS*** Remember those thousands of Iraqi POWs? The US military has admitted that their claims regarding the capture of 8,000 soldiers were false. The soldiers "captured" by the US military are currently battling against British forces near Basra. Go figure.
Meanwhile, during a speech on Wednesday to the Russian Federation Council, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov warned that US officials may plant evidence of WMD in Iraq, in order to justify the war now being fought. Wel duh! Congratulations for catching up. We all knew this would happen anyway. Yellowtimes.org has has articles and speculation on this for a few months now.
Meanwhile, Richard Perle, the head of the Defense Policy Board (which is the primary board that advises Rumsfeld) has just resigned. The pentagon announced it's sending 120,000 more troops to Iraq. (The new troops will include more heavy mechanized divisions.) And the US delegation to the UN walked out today while the Iraqi representative was speaking. I think it's slowly dawning on Rumsfeld, Bush and Blair that they've got themselves another Vietnam right here. It's turning very nasty.
Salam Pax is offline again - no posts for over two days...

| | 0 comments |

Wow. We just got a travel alert bulletin about this Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the mystery bug that's not responding to drug treatments and is spreading across the globe. Apparently airports are going to start screening passengers for flu-like symptoms.
In other news, it says that American Airlines have to cut $1.8Bn from their budget by March 31st or go into chapter 11. Two down, Delta to go.
About the most amusing item was this:
"Flight delays at Britain's airports were the worst in Europe last year, rising by 30%. London Heathrow had by far the largest rise in lateness according to Brussels-based Eurocontrol which supervises flights between 24 countries. The report blamed restricted runway capacity and aircraft parking problems at LHR, which also affected London Gatwick and London Stansted."
Well what do you expect when you try to land aircraft at a shopping mall?

| | 0 comments |

***WAR NEWS*** The US has begun airlifting troops, tanks and equipment for their 1st Infantry Division into northern Iraq after those 1,000 paratroopers secured a key airfield in the country's Kurdish-controlled zone. An ABCNEWS reporter has indicated that the Iraqis are abandoning their positions near the town of Chamchamal in northwestern Iraq. We don't know yet if these guys were regular members of the Iraqi military. The US has admitted a "glitch" in the Patriot missile system is to blame for them shooting down a UK fighter, and targetting a US fighter. That's a pretty big fuckin' glitch!

| | 0 comments |

Woohoo!. We closed on the house this morning. I signed my life away and now we own the bottom few layers of bricks and mortar on a new house. Well - new to us. The freaky thing is, the people we bought from have moved into the same apartment complex that we're in whilst they work on their new house. Weird!

Mar 26, 2003 | | 0 comments |

***WAR NEWS*** The US has airdropped over 1000 paratroopers into Northern Iraq. Warplanes are strafing republican guard units flowing out of Basra, and CNN reports that "previous reports of over 1000 Iraqi units heading south from Baghdad were erroneous". Now whether than means there aren't any, or there's only 999 units, I don't know :-)

| | 0 comments |

From the "seemed like a good idea at the time" files : Saddam Hussein donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Detroit church and received a key to the city more than two decades ago, soon after he became president of Iraq.
How funny is that?

| | 0 comments |

***WAR NEWS*** The US has admitted it's killed 14 civilians when it tried to take out a missile launcher in a residential area. Republican guard has mobilised 250 vehicles and troops in Basra, and over 1,000 heading south from Baghdad. The sandstorm is keeping coalition planes grounded. If I were there, I'd be getting ready to be ambushed by several thousand Iraqi soldiers....
The "general public" keep being surveyed on various things. On friday, 78% said the was was going "very well". Today it's 31%. By the end of the week, I reckon questions will start being asked about servicemen in body bags. America's public doesn't have the stomach, it seems, for a long, drawn-out war.
Meanwhile, world tension is rising. Both Pakistan and India say they have carried out test-launches of short-range, nuclear-capable missiles today.

| | 0 comments |

Jeez AT&T really do suck major ass. They told us we'd be able to take our old phone number to the new house because it was serviceable. We've sent out all the change of address cards, and today they tell me - "mistake" - it's not serviceable. They told me that now they're Comcast, not AT&T, and the serviceable areas have changed! They won't cover the cost of re-sending change-of-address cards, and they can't even keep their story straight about how long I can have a redirect intercept on the old number. 2 hours ago, it was 12 months. I phoned back and now it's 6 weeks.
So now I'm going to have to use Qwest, who have kindly rooted out a phone number only 2 digits different from our old AT&T number. And they're cheaper.
I checked to see if comcastsucks.com has been taken, and it has. Shame.
AT&T, ComCast - YOU SUCK! Kiss my shiny metal ass.

| | 0 comments |

Check back to my post on March 12th - where I said I reckoned it would be conveniently engineered so that none of the reward money for Elizabeth Smart's return would leave the family. Well on Fox news last night, they said that "serious consideration" was being given to awarding the money to Elizabeth's sister for coming up with the description of her abductor. Well that's just terribly cosy and convenient isn't it? Not to mention contrived.

| | 0 comments |

***WAR NEWS*** Another two brits have been killed by American fire (bringing the total to 25, not 20 as they claim), along with 14 Iraqi civilians. The US are playing the numbers game now, touting how many hundreds of Iraqis they've killed and how many thousands are POWs, and how the reports of any US deaths are greatly exaggerated. I wish they wouldn't do this. It doesn't win any friends or support by telling people how vicious your military is.
The first aid convoys have landed in Umm Qasr and are making their way inland.
Plus, supposedly 3000 chemical suits and atropine injectors have been found in an abandoned hospital, which the US says proves Iraq has chemical weapons. No. It proves they have protection against them - it doesn't prove they have the weapons themselves.

Mar 25, 2003 | | 0 comments |

***WAR NEWS*** ITV are reporting that there's a civilian uprising in the populace of Basra against Saddam's ruling Ba'ath party. According to military intelligence, Iraqi troops in the city have turned mortar fire on their own civilians in an attempt to crush the unrest.
Rumsfeld says 3,500 Iraqi soldiers have been taken prisoner and thousands more have deserted. Bush has asked Congress for $74.7 billion to pay for six months of combat and says that the length of the war may be uncertain, but, "We know its outcome: We will prevail." 6 months????
Coalition forces have destroyed six GPS jamming systems Iraq had been trying to use to disrupt coalition global positioning satellite-guided munitions. These are the devices apparently sold by Russia although it's still not clear.
U.S. troops are allegedly 50 miles from Baghdad, but in a "holding pattern" waiting for a fierce sandstorm to subside.
According to the Pentagon, Iraqi forces, especially the Fedayeen militia, are "terrorizing neighborhoods" and using civilians as human shields. Not sure if this is believable yet.

| | 0 comments |

I've got the insurance sorted for the bike. It's weird. Insuring the car is costing me over twice what it was in England, yet the bike insurance is less than half what it was back there. Very odd.

| | 0 comments |

***WAR NEWS***. It seems that we in fact haven't taken Basra, as the Americans indicated on friday. There's a republican guard unit that has withdrawn to the town so it's been declared a military target now. Elements of U.S. 7th Cavalry are claimed to have crossed the Euphrates River, opening the line for U.S. troops moving toward Baghdad from Basra north to An Najaf. A huge 60mph sandstorm is sweeping across Iraq right now, causing havoc with the troops and the gear. Bush was on TV this morning, but I couldn't make head or tail of what he was saying.

Mar 24, 2003 | | 0 comments |

***WAR NEWS*** A US missile has hit and destoryed a Syrian bus, killing 5 civilians and wounding 10 more. They claim they were targetting a bridge and that the bus "just stopped" in the middle of it after the missile had been launched. Syria has launched a protest to the US and UK citing violation of the Geneva convention (protecting civilians) and claiming recompensatory damages from both governments.
The downed Apache pilots have been paraded on TV, yet the pentagon still officially takes the line that they've not been shot down.
A second errant US cruise missile has devastated a civilian area in either Turkey or Israel - reports are muddled right now. This war is starting to show its ugly ugly face to the world. Investors are getting nervous because the war wasn't over by friday (duh!). The media wars have also started, Al-jazeera accusing the pentagon of not showing how horrific this war is turning out to be, and Rumsfeld saying that it is regrettable that some TV stations have shown the images in the first place. CNN is becoming more sterile by the day, carefully managing what we can and can't see.
Salam Pax is back online. They had a two day internet blackout. He still has running water, phones and electricity. Apparently his blog is taking such a hit that he's started slowing down google. Google, blogger and blogspot have pitched in with mirror sites to ensure his blog is available as long as he can keep it going.
Meanwhile, Bush has attacked Putin about Russia's supply of certain military items to Iraq, and we lost the first Brit in actual combat today, as oppose to being killed by US fire.

| | 0 comments |

We rode the Silver R1150GS this weekend, and Kerry came along on his VFR750. He seems more relaxed now when riding - I think he's starting to enjoy it more. The apartment is a maze of boxes and packed items now. We close on thursday and start moving hopefully on friday.
NASA recovered the flight data recorder this weekend. Amazing. Because Columbia was one of the earlier shuttles, it's FDR recorded nearly 800 items for 15 minutes during takeoff and 15 minutes during landing. They've got 9400ft of tape which they think is readable. A company specialising in magnetic media is cleaning the tape and trying to get data off it. We might know more about Columbia soon.

| | 0 comments |

***WAR NEWS*** Today's goings-on, so far. 180,000 troops inside Iraq, working their way to Baghdad. Iraqi farmers have downed two Apache helicopters. Ground troops are meeting more resistance. The stock market fell badly today - I think people seemed to think it would all be over and done with by the weekend. Now they've realised that they're actually at war, and not just taking a walk in the park, everyone has reacted. The US keeps going on about how Iraq is flaunting the Geneva Convention by showing US P.O.Ws on TV, but it's a bit of pot-calling-the-kettle-black, as CNN and the other channels continue to show footage of Iraqis surrendering and being taken as P.O.Ws. You can't have it both ways, Rumsfeld. If you keep showing your capture of Iraqis, they will keep doing the same. You're both in breach of the Geneva Convention........
The Iraqis have set fire to miles of oil trenches surrounding Baghdad, filling the sky with thick black smoke. They claim that it's allied bombings that caused it, but we didn't dig the trenches and fill them with crude.
A unit of the U.S. Marine Corps took control of the regional headquarters of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party in Umm Qasr last night, retrieving weapons, boxes of munitions and stacks of U.S. propaganda leaflets that Iraqi officials might have collected to keep out of the public's hands. Another Marine troop claim to have found a chemical weapons factory.

Mar 23, 2003 | | 0 comments |

Salam Pax's blog hasn't been updated for two days. I fear the worst for that guy.

| | 0 comments |

***WAR NEWS*** It looks like the Brits are doing especially well out of this war. Terry Lloyd, a veteran ITN news reported and his camera crew were killed when an American jet opened fire on their cars. Two Tornado pilots were killed when a US patriot battery brought them down. 6 helicopter crewmen were killed when their American pilots flew into each other, and another 12 were killed on an American helicopter that crashed at the end of last week. So far then, 23 brits dead because of Americans shooting at them.
The Iranian oil refinery, it turns out, might have been struck by a US cruise missile.