Thomson Corporation and Reuters agree to merge

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Thomson Corporation and Reuters Group PLC announced Tuesday that they have agreed to combine the two companies. The boards of both Thomson and Reuters will recommend the merger to their shareholders.

The Canadian Thomson-family holding company Woodbridge, which controls 70% of Thomson, has agreed to vote in favour of the deal and the Reuters Founders Share Company, which controls a special share in Reuters, will also support the merger.

Based on the TSX CA$46.36 closing share price of Thomson on May 14, 2007, each Reuters share would be valued at 691 pence and, therefore, the full capital of Reuters valued at approximately £8.7 billion. Cash requirements for the deal are to be provided by Thomson. Woodbridge will own approximately 53 percent of the combined company, other Thomson shareholders 23 percent and Reuters shareholders about 24 percent.

The merger arrangement will leave two separate companies that will be operated as a single entity. The boards of the two companies will be identical as will the senior executive management team. Thomson will be renamed to Thomson-Reuters Corporation, and will be listed on both the TSX and the NYSE. Thomson-Reuters PLC will list on the London Stock Exchange and the NYSE.

Reuters current CEO, Tom Glocer, will become CEO of the combined company while Thomson President and CEO Richard J. Harrington will retire at the completion of the merger.

Thomson has currently 32,000 employees worldwide, with operations in 37 countries and revenues of US$6.6 billion in 2006. Thomson’s major business operations centre around financial information and legal services, with smaller ventures in tax accounting, health care, and the scientific field. Thomson is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, in the United States.

Reuters is one of the world’s largest news agencies, with a total of 16,800 staff in all divisions, but derives more than 90 percent of its revenue from its financial service business. It is the merger of Thomson and Reuter’s financial services divisions that may have been the genesis of the talks. It has been suggested that both companies wanted a better economy of scale to compete with Bloomberg, the American financial services giant.

“We are enormously proud of the evolution of The Thomson Corporation and the value it has created for all our shareholders,” said David Thomson, Chairman of Thomson. “We recognize the rich history of Reuters and are committed to uphold the Reuters Trust Principles.”

The chairman of Reuters, Niall FitzGerald, expressed his satisfaction with the merger. “The shared expertise and complementary strengths of these two companies makes for a strategically compelling and financially attractive combination,” said FitzGerald in a joint press release. “I am especially proud that Reuters journalism will continue to be governed by the powerful Reuter Trust Principles of independence, integrity and freedom from bias.”

The new company is projecting efficiencies of greater than US$500 million per year, by the end of the third year after closing the deal.

Criticisms were raised by Reuters journalists, who voiced concerns in an open letter to the Reuters Founders Share Company. They worried whether or not “a reconstituted Reuters would maintain the high standards of journalism and the integrity, independence and freedom from bias that have shaped the company’s 156-year-old reputation.”

It is expected that the merger will draw the attention of regulators due to the size and nature of the transaction. “Antitrust authorities in Europe and the U.S. are almost certain to apply a more detailed and lengthy review of the acquisition than is typical, because of the limited number of companies that supply prices, data, news and financial tools,” said Simon Baker, analyst, Credit Suisse in London.

 

UK’s Commission on Assisted Dying to recommend law change

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Media reports recently released have suggested that the United Kingdom’s Commission on Assisted Dying, which was set up by the think-tank Demos in 2010, will support a change in British law to make it legal for someone to seek an assisted suicide, when they publish their final report on Thursday.

The Commission has been led by the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer. The Commission has members from the medical profession, from patient’s advocacy groups, politicians including the Conservative MP Penny Mordaunt, and a clergyman, Rev James Woodword, Canon of St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

The philosopher Mary Warnock, who strongly supports provision of assisted dying, has said that Parliament has a “moral duty” to change the law. Ian Blair, the former commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, also served on the Commission and has stated he supports a change in the law as it currently places police officers in the difficult situation of investigating cases of assisted suicide, with family members facing uncertainty as to whether the Director of Public Prosecutions will bring charges. Lord Blair also described as “incoherent” the current position that doctors are placed in by the law which is unclear as to what exactly counts as “assisting” a suicide.

British prime minister David Cameron has opposed changing assisted-dying law. He wrote in 2006: “I do not think we should tread over this line and we should not allow doctors or others positively to accelerate death — because I think the long-term consequences of permitting such action are too likely to be dangerous for society.”

 

Double car bombing attack in Mosul kills 26

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Mosul – With a Friday dump truck car bombing that left a massive crater and many dead, Iraqi insurgents frontally assaulted U.S. troops in Mosul, Iraq. Initial reports showed 25 Iraqis and one U.S. soldier dead. (As of this writing, additional information on the bombing was expected.)

 

Australian PM faces inquiry into Iraqi kickbacks

Friday, April 14, 2006

Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: Cole Inquiry

Australian Prime Minister, John Howard appeared before the Cole inquiry on Thursday, the first time an Australian Prime Minister has appeared before an inquiry with royal commission powers since 1983.

Unlike his foreign minister Alexander Downer who gave evidence before the inquiry on Tuesday, Mr Howard entered through the front door where he gave a brief address. He told the press that his government is being open about the Iraqi kickback affair. ” just want to make one point and that is that the appearance by me, earlier this week by the Foreign Minister and also by the Trade Minister, demonstrates absolutely how open and transparent and accountable the Government is being in relation to this matter” Mr Howard said to reporters.

Mr Howard was questioned by John Agius, counsel assisting the inquiry. Counsel for AWB, the company at the centre of the scandal did not apply to cross-examine the prime minister.

Terrence Cole, the inquiry’s commissioner received an application from Peter Geary and Micheal Long’s counsel to cross-examine the prime minister but refused it on the grounds that the proposed line of questioning was similar to that of Mr Aguis’ and that there was no evidence that Mr Howard had “ever met with Mr Geary or Mr Long”.

Mr Agius questioned the prime minister about a series of diplomatic cables sent to his office, which raised concerns about AWB’s contracts in Iraq.

Mr Howard told the inquiry that he doesn’t recall reading or being briefed about any of the cables referred to by the inquiry. The inquiry also heard that prior to 2003 there was no system in place to identify which cables had been bought to the prime minister’s attention.

In his statement to the inquiry, Mr Howard said that his office had not received four of the cables mentioned by the inquiry. Under questioning, Mr Howard confirmed this but conceded that it was likely that his staff had read the other 17.

When asked whether there were any guidelines which guided his advisors in deciding which cables should be bought to the prime minister’s attention, Mr Howard replied “No, there weren’t”.

The inquiry heard that the only discussions about which cables which should be bought to Mr Howard’s attention occurred when an advisor changed in very generic terms. Mr Howard told the inquiry that he would tell a new advisor “Well, you’ve got to exercise your own judgment, I can’t possibly read everything, and clearly I want things brought to my attention which are, in your judgment, important and are relevant to issues in front of the government at the time”.

Mr Howard admitted that the government had an interest in Iraq using the United Nations oil for food program for its own financial benefit, but said he did not expect cables dealing with alleged breach of UN sanctions to have been bought to his attention.

The questioning then turned to a statement Mr Howard made to the National Press Club on March 13, 2003, one week prior to the US-led Iraqi occupation. Speaking about Saddam Hussein Mr Howard said “He has cruelly and cynically manipulated the United Nations oil-for-food programme. He’s rorted it to buy weapons to supporthis designs at the expense of the wellbeing of his people”.

Mr Agius asked Mr Howard if his statement was based upon briefngs he had received. Mr Howard told the inquiry that the information was based upon “open source” intelligence stated at addresses by British foreign secretary Jack Straw and the United States state department. Mr Howard said one of his advisors “checked with some cables to confirm that those cables supported the open-source claims and was satisfied that they did”.

Mr Howard denied seeing the cables used by the advisor to support the claims, but believed he would have told her to be sure that everything they were saying can be supported by fact. Mr Howard told the inquiry that he never knew about cables which referred to Hussein rorting the UN Oil for Food program. Mr Howard admitted that at the time his “general knowledge” was that Hussein had breached UN sanctions and was rorting the Oil for Food program.

“My general knowledge at the time and belief was that the program had been rorted, and it was not seriously in dispute. Nobody was arguing it hadn’t been rorted” Mr Howard said.

The prime minister was questioned about an unassessed intelligence report which mentioned a Jordanian trucking company known as “Alia” paying kickbacks to Hussein. In response to this Mr Howard told the inquiry that he could not recall the information being bought to his attention, which was not unusual.

 

Category:Kenny MacAskill

This is the category for Kenny MacAskill, a Scottish politician.

Refresh this list to see the latest articles.

  • 13 February 2014: Scottish Justice Secretary ‘acutely aware of unusual publicity’ in Kular case
  • 18 August 2011: Scots report crime using Facebook
  • 21 October 2009: Scottish lawyer denies death of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi
  • 2 September 2009: UK denies pressuring Scotland into Lockerbie release
  • 20 August 2009: Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi released on compassionate grounds
  • 18 August 2009: Lockerbie bombing appeal dropped

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write.


Kenny MacAskill in his official Parliamentary portrait. Image: The Scottish Government.


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Tour de France: One day until ‘Le Grand Départ’

Friday, July 6, 2007

London is preparing for Le Grand Départ of the 2007 Tour de France. The route, which will run through the Greenwich Millennium Village, is being prepared for the Départ. The Tour de France will be in London and the South East for the two days of the 7th and 8th of July. The event will start in Trafalgar Square at 15:00 BST (UTC+1).

“I believe this will be the most spectacular Grand Départ the Tour has ever seen and the weekend will underline London’s great sporting reputation,” said Ken Livingstone, mayor of London.

The parts of the Tour that London will be hosting are the Prologue and Stage One. The Prologue will be on Saturday, the 7th of July, starting in Trafalgar Square at 15:00 BST and finishing at 18:20 BST. Stage One will be on the following day, starting in Greenwich at 11:00 BST and finishing in Canterbury, Kent.

Over the years the Tour de France has seen 52 British riders; the first being Charley Holland and Bill Burl in 1937. Londoners may get to see today’s riders on their two wheels, but they will be followed by 1,500 vehicles, 13,000 policemen and women patrolling the route and 2,300 members of the world press.

During the event many roads will be closed along the route and off it. The official website provides detailed information.

 

Keep your eyes peeled for cosmic debris: Andrew Westphal about Stardust@home

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Stardust is a NASA space capsule that collected samples from comet 81P/Wild (also known as “Wild 2) in deep space and landed back on Earth on January 15, 2006. It was decided that a collaborative online review process would be used to “discover” the microscopically small samples the capsule collected. The project is called Stardust@home. Unlike distributed computing projects like SETI@home, Stardust@home relies entirely on human intelligence.

Andrew Westphal is the director of Stardust@home. Wikinews interviewed him for May’s Interview of the Month (IOTM) on May 18, 2006. As always, the interview was conducted on IRC, with multiple people asking questions.

Some may not know exactly what Stardust or Stardust@home is. Can you explain more about it for us?

Stardust is a NASA Discovery mission that was launched in 1999. It is really two missions in one. The primary science goal of the mission was to collect a sample from a known primitive solar-system body, a comet called Wild 2 (pronounced “Vilt-two” — the discoverer was German, I believe). This is the first US “sample return” mission since Apollo, and the first ever from beyond the moon. This gives a little context. By “sample return” of course I mean a mission that brings back extraterrestrial material. I should have said above that this is the first “solid” sample return mission — Genesis brought back a sample from the Sun almost two years ago, but Stardust is also bringing back the first solid samples from the local interstellar medium — basically this is a sample of the Galaxy. This is absolutely unprecedented, and we’re obviously incredibly excited. I should mention parenthetically that there is a fantastic launch video — taken from the POV of the rocket on the JPL Stardust website — highly recommended — best I’ve ever seen — all the way from the launch pad, too. Basically interplanetary trajectory. Absolutely great.

Is the video available to the public?

Yes [see below]. OK, I digress. The first challenge that we have before can do any kind of analysis of these interstellar dust particles is simply to find them. This is a big challenge because they are very small (order of micron in size) and are somewhere (we don’t know where) on a HUGE collector— at least on the scale of the particle size — about a tenth of a square meter. So

We’re right now using an automated microscope that we developed several years ago for nuclear astrophysics work to scan the collector in the Cosmic Dust Lab in Building 31 at Johnson Space Center. This is the ARES group that handles returned samples (Moon Rocks, Genesis chips, Meteorites, and Interplanetary Dust Particles collected by U2 in the stratosphere). The microscope collects stacks of digital images of the aerogel collectors in the array. These images are sent to us — we compress them and convert them into a format appropriate for Stardust@home.

Stardust@home is a highly distributed project using a “Virtual Microscope” that is written in html and javascript and runs on most browsers — no downloads are required. Using the Virtual Microscope volunteers can search over the collector for the tracks of the interstellar dust particles.

How many samples do you anticipate being found during the course of the project?

Great question. The short answer is that we don’t know. The long answer is a bit more complicated. Here’s what we know. The Galileo and Ulysses spacecraft carried dust detectors onboard that Eberhard Gruen and his colleagues used to first detect and them measure the flux of interstellar dust particles streaming into the solar system. (This is a kind of “wind” of interstellar dust, caused by the fact that our solar system is moving with respect to the local interstellar medium.) Markus Landgraf has estimated the number of interstellar dust particles that should have been captured by Stardust during two periods of the “cruise” phase of the interplanetary orbit in which the spacecraft was moving with this wind. He estimated that there should be around 45 particles, but this number is very uncertain — I wouldn’t be surprised if it is quite different from that. That was the long answer! One thing that I should say…is that like all research, the outcome of what we are doing is highly uncertain. There is a wonderful quote attributed to Einstein — “If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called “research”, would it?”

How big would the samples be?

We expect that the particles will be of order a micron in size. (A millionth of a meter.) When people are searching using the virtual microscope, they will be looking not for the particles, but for the tracks that the particles make, which are much larger — several microns in diameter. Just yesterday we switched over to a new site which has a demo of the VM (virtual microscope) I invite you to check it out. The tracks in the demo are from submicron carbonyl iron particles that were shot into aerogel using a particle accelerator modified to accelerate dust particles to very high speeds, to simulate the interstellar dust impacts that we’re looking for.

And that’s on the main Stardust@home website [see below]?

Yes.

How long will the project take to complete?

Partly the answer depends on what you mean by “the project”. The search will take several months. The bottleneck, we expect (but don’t really know yet) is in the scanning — we can only scan about one tile per day and there are 130 tiles in the collector…. These particles will be quite diverse, so we’re hoping that we’ll continue to have lots of volunteers collaborating with us on this after the initial discoveries. It may be that the 50th particle that we find will be the real Rosetta stone that turns out to be critical to our understanding of interstellar dust. So we really want to find them all! Enlarging the idea of the project a little, beyond the search, though is to actually analyze these particles. That’s the whole point, obviously!

And this is the huge advantage with this kind of a mission — a “sample return” mission.

Most missions rather do things quite differently… you have to build an instrument to make a measurement and that instrument design gets locked in several years before launch practically guaranteeing that it will be obsolete by the time you launch. Here exactly the opposite is true. Several of the instruments that are now being used to analyze the cometary dust did not exist when the mission was launched. Further, some instruments (e.g., synchrotrons) are the size of shopping malls — you don’t have a hope of flying these in space. So we can and will study these samples for many years. AND we have to preserve some of these dust particles for our grandchildren to analyze with their hyper-quark-gluon plasma microscopes (or whatever)!

When do you anticipate the project to start?

We’re really frustrated with the delays that we’ve been having. Some of it has to do with learning how to deal with the aerogel collectors, which are rougher and more fractured than we expected. The good news is that they are pretty clean — there is very little of the dust that you see on our training images — these were deliberately left out in the lab to collect dust so that we could give people experience with the worst case we could think of. In learning how to do the scanning of the actual flight aerogel, we uncovered a couple of bugs in our scanning software — which forced us to go back and rescan. Part of the other reason for the delay was that we had to learn how to handle the collector — it would cost $200M to replace it if something happened to it, so we had to develop procedures to deal with it, and add several new safety features to the Cosmic Dust Lab. This all took time. Finally, we’re distracted because we also have many responsibilities for the cometary analysis, which has a deadline of August 15 for finishing analysis. The IS project has no such deadline, so at times we had to delay the IS (interstellar, sorry) in order to focus on the cometary work. We are very grateful to everyone for their patience on this — I mean that very sincerely.

And rest assured that we’re just as frustrated!

I know there will be a “test” that participants will have to take before they can examine the “real thing”. What will that test consist of?

The test will look very similar to the training images that you can look at now. But.. there will of course be no annotation to tell you where the tracks are!

Why did NASA decide to take the route of distributed computing? Will they do this again?

I wouldn’t say that NASA decided to do this — the idea for Stardust@home originated here at U. C. Berkeley. Part of the idea of course came…

If I understand correctly it isn’t distributed computing, but distributed eyeballing?

…from the SETI@home people who are just down the hall from us. But as Brian just pointed out. this is not really distributed computing like SETI@home the computers are just platforms for the VM and it is human eyes and brains who are doing the real work which makes it fun (IMHO).

That said… There have been quite a few people who have expressed interested in developing automated algorithms for searching. Just because WE don’t know how to write such an algorithm doesn’t mean nobody does. We’re delighted at this and are happy to help make it happen

Isn’t there a catch 22 that the data you’re going to collect would be a prerequisite to automating the process?

That was the conclusion that we came to early on — that we would need some sort of training set to be able to train an algorithm. Of course you have to train people too, but we’re hoping (we’ll see!) that people are more flexible in recognizing things that they’ve never seen before and pointing them out. Our experience is that people who have never seen a track in aerogel can learn to recognize them very quickly, even against a big background of cracks, dust and other sources of confusion… Coming back to the original question — although NASA didn’t originate the idea, they are very generously supporting this project. It wouldn’t have happened without NASA’s financial support (and of course access to the Stardust collector). Did that answer the question?

Will a project like this be done again?

I don’t know… There are only a few projects for which this approach makes sense… In fact, I frankly haven’t run across another at least in Space Science. But I am totally open to the idea of it. I am not in favor of just doing it as “make-work” — that is just artificially taking this approach when another approach would make more sense.

How did the idea come up to do this kind of project?

Really desperation. When we first thought about this we assumed that we would use some sort of automated image recognition technique. We asked some experts around here in CS and the conclusion was that the problem was somewhere between trivial and impossible, and we wouldn’t know until we had some real examples to work with. So we talked with Dan Wertheimer and Dave Anderson (literally down the hall from us) about the idea of a distributed project, and they were quite encouraging. Dave proposed the VM machinery, and Josh Von Korff, a physics grad student, implemented it. (Beautifully, I think. I take no credit!)

I got to meet one of the stardust directors in March during the Texas Aerospace Scholars program at JSC. She talked about searching for meteors in Antarctica, one that were unblemished by Earth conditions. Is that our best chance of finding new information on comets and asteroids? Or will more Stardust programs be our best solution?

That’s a really good question. Much will depend on what we learn during this official “Preliminary Examination” period for the cometary analysis. Aerogel capture is pretty darn good, but it’s not perfect and things are altered during capture in ways that we’re still understanding. I think that much also depends on what question you’re asking. For example, some of the most important science is done by measuring the relative abundances of isotopes in samples, and these are not affected (at least not much) by capture into aerogel.

Also, she talked about how some of the agencies that they gave samples to had lost or destroyed 2-3 samples while trying to analyze them. That one, in fact, had been statically charged, and stuck to the side of the microscope lens and they spent over an hour looking for it. Is that really our biggest danger? Giving out samples as a show of good faith, and not letting NASA example all samples collected?

These will be the first measurements, probably, that we’ll make on the interstellar dust There is always a risk of loss. Fortunately for the cometary samples there is quite a lot there, so it’s not a disaster. NASA has some analytical capabilities, particularly at JSC, but the vast majority of the analytical capability in the community is not at NASA but is at universities, government labs and other institutions all over the world. I should also point out that practically every analytical technique is destructive at some level. (There are a few exceptions, but not many.) The problem with meteorites is that except in a very few cases, we don’t know where they specifically came from. So having a sample that we know for sure is from the comet is golden!

I am currently working on my Bachelor’s in computer science, with a minor in astronomy. Do you see successes of programs like Stardust to open up more private space exploration positions for people such as myself. Even though I’m not in the typical “space” fields of education?

Can you elaborate on your question a little — I’m not sure that I understand…

Well, while at JSC I learned that they mostly want Engineers, and a few science grads, and I worry that my computer science degree with not be very valuable, as the NASA rep told me only 1% of the applicants for their work study program are CS majors. I’m just curious as to your thoughts on if CS majors will be more in demand now that projects like Stardust and the Mars missions have been great successes? Have you seen a trend towards more private businesses moving in that direction, especially with President Bush’s statement of Man on the Moon in 2015?

That’s a good question. I am personally not very optimistic about the direction that NASA is going. Despite recent successes, including but not limited to Stardust, science at NASA is being decimated.

I made a joke with some people at the TAS event that one day SpaceShipOne will be sent up to save stranded ISS astronauts. It makes me wonder what kind of private redundancy the US government is taking for future missions.

I guess one thing to be a little cautious about is that despite SpaceShipOne’s success, we haven’t had an orbital project that has been successful in that style of private enterprise It would be nice to see that happen. I know that there’s a lot of interest…!

Now I know the answer to this question… but a lot do not… When samples are found, How will they be analyzed? Who gets the credit for finding the samples?

The first person who identifies an interstellar dust particle will be acknowledged on the website (and probably will be much in demand for interviews from the media!), will have the privilege of naming the particle, and will be a co-author on any papers that WE (at UCB) publish on the analysis of the particle. Also, although we are precluded from paying for travel expenses, we will invite those who discover particles AND the top performers to our lab for a hands-on tour.

We have some fun things, including micromachines.

How many people/participants do you expect to have?

About 113,000 have preregistered on our website. Frankly, I don’t have a clue how many will actually volunteer and do a substantial amount of searching. We’ve never done this before, after all!

One last thing I want to say … well, two. First, we are going to special efforts not to do any searching ourselves before we go “live”. It would not be fair to all the volunteers for us to get a jumpstart on the search. All we are doing is looking at a few random views to make sure that the focus and illumination are good. (And we haven’t seen anything — no surprise at all!) Also, the attitude for this should be “Have Fun”. If you’re not having fun doing it, stop and do something else! A good maxim for life in general!

 

Microsoft without Bill Gates at the helm

Friday, June 27, 2008

After 33 years of managing software giant Microsoft, founder Bill Gates will retire from day-to-day management today.

Gates will retain the title of Chairman but without executive functions and will only report for work once a week.

The man who took a gut feeling of seeing personal computers in every household, each requiring a stable operating system will now pursue philanthropic activities under the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Microsoft did not announce any major event to mark the day when its founder steps down but internal private activities were scheduled to take place at the company’s headquarters at Redmond, Washington.

In the year 2000, the functions of being Chief Executive of Microsoft was turned over to long-time partner Steve Ballmer.

As Gates leaves day-to-day operations, two people will assume his two vital duties. Craig Mundie will handle the company’s long-term planning while Ray Ozzie will handle the operations.

Gates will focus more on helping out in causes he chooses through his foundation that is endowed with $38.7 billion and will soon gain more funds with his personal wealth and an endowment from billionaire Warren Buffet.

Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1975 which has since dominated the market for operating systems in personal computers. Gates managed close to 78,000 employees in 103 countries all over the world.

In recent months, Microsoft’s dominance has been threatened by Google which dominates the on-line industry and has business models that will soon eat up into Microsoft’s core software businesses.

 

Car bomb ramming attack kills dozens at military base in Maidan Wardak, Afghanistan

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A car bomb was on Monday rammed into a military base in Maidan Shahr in the centre of Afghanistan’s Maidan Wardak province. Dozens died in the attack, reportedly conducted by the Taliban.

The training centre belongs to the National Directorate for Security; it was targeted with a captured Humvee military car packed with explosives, followed by two gunmen. Some estimated death tolls, provided anonymously by officials to journalists, exceeded 100. Sharif Hotak, of the Maidan Wardak provincial council, described witnessing 35 bodies in one hospital, with some casualties, both alive and dead, transported to Kabul. “The explosion was very powerful. The whole building has collapsed,” he said.

Hotak also alleged the central government are “hiding accurate casualty figures to prevent a further dip in morale of the Afghan forces”, whose US-built armoured vehicle was used to breach the compound’s defences. A source within the central Interior Ministry reportedly said “I have been told not to make the death toll figures public. It is frustrating to hide the facts[.]”

The Taliban have claimed responsibility. Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid claimed 190 were dead. Efforts are ongoing to negotiate a peaceful end to the conflict within the nation, in which the Taliban, once the governing force, seeks to retake control and reimpose their version of Sharia law. Reuters reported Monday’s attack the deadliest since an assault in Ghazni in August 2018, with officials reporting at the time 150 security forces, 95 civilians, and hundreds of Taliban killed.

Abdurrahman Mangal, spokesperson for the provincial governor, said the attack had killed twelve and injured twelve more.

The Taliban met on Monday with Zalmay Khalilzad, a US peace envoy, in Qatar. Last week a Kabul car bombing killed five and wounded 110, another attack ascribed to the Taliban. The civil war has been ongoing for seventeen years; the Taliban wants foreign forces to leave and the Afghan government shut out of peace talks.

 

U.S. actor Charlie Sheen questions 9/11 theories

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Charlie Sheen, appearing on cable television news network station CNN on March 24, questioned the credibility of the theory that 19 hijackers caused all of the destruction to the World Trade Center.

Sheen said; “It seems to me like, you know, 19 amateurs with box cutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75 percent of their targets, that feels like a conspiracy theory… I am an American citizen that loves my country…. People want the truth. They want the truth. And what’s been offered to us resembles nothing of the sort.

In recounting his reaction on the day of the event, Sheen said,”I was up early and we were gonna do a pre-shoot on Spin City, the show I used to do. I was watching the news and the north tower was burning. There was a feeling, it just didn’t look like any commercial jetliner I’ve flown on any time in my life and then when the buildings came down later on that day I said to my brother, ‘Call me insane but did it sorta look like those buildings came down in a controlled demolition?’

Writer Marc Jacobson, of the New York magazine, who co-appeared with Sheen on the same program said in response: “Well, I think he’s doing a reasonable rendition of what other people that believe in this stuff say. And when he says he has his facts straight, I mean, I think the facts are in question. I mean, I think, just because you know what it says on all of these different Web sites doesn’t mean that that’s necessarily the fact. That’s the reason why the United States government, with their endless amounts of resources, let us down by not doing the proper work on the 9/11 Commission. That’s a real problem. Well, you know, but, I mean, it’s just one of those kind of things where you do this work and nobody really cares, but then Charlie Sheen is interested, so then everybody is interested, and that’s fine. You know, obviously, this material needs to be looked at again, because there’s been a lot of problems with the 9/11 Commission report. People feel it’s not adequate. Most of the people who had lost people during that time feel it’s not adequate. And it’s just I think we’re living in a truth vacuum, in a sense, that any time there’s a truth vacuum, these ideas — because people are smart. They put two and two together. Sometimes they get five; sometimes they get 12, but sometimes they get 11, like 9/11, but sometimes they get four. And the thing is that, if you have a situation where the so-called facts are covered up and aggressively covered up, then you’re going to get these conspiracy theories.” One website is claiming that Google had been censoring out any news articles relating to Sheen and 9/11 from it’s search engine.

Regarding the plane that hit the Pentagon, Sheen also has questions: “Just show us how this particular plane pulled off these maneuvers… It is up to us to reveal the truth. It is up to us because we owe it to the families, we owe it to the victims, we owe it to everyone’s life who was drastically altered, horrifically, that day and forever. We owe it to them to uncover what happened.

Some supporters of Sheen’s theories have complained about the lack of mainstream media coverage. They point to CNN’s recent cancellation of Ed Asner’s interview on Showbiz Tonight, where he was expected to support Sheen’s position, as an example of the “media blackout”.

Marina Hyde of The Guardian proposed a theory of her own with regard to Sheen: “Frankly, with dentistry as expensive as yours, you simply can’t afford to let The Man stamp his jackboot down on your face, and so it is that when faced with the inquiry ‘did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone?’, you find yourself thinking: ‘God, I mean… do any of us? Like, he had to have people, you know? At least an agent and a publicist.'”