Sara Plummer reports for Tulsa World:
CHOCTAW — Oklahomans Warren Henthorn and John Scripsick are upset and disappointed that former President George W. Bush is considered an honored guest at Woodward's Independence Day celebration Saturday.
Both believe Bush and his administration shoulder some of the blame for their sons' deaths while serving for the U.S. military in Iraq.
Henthorn of Choctaw said his son, Army Spc. Jeffrey Henthorn, joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard when he was 17 and served six years. He enlisted in the Army in 2003 and was serving a second tour in Iraq when he died on Feb. 8, 2005, at the age of 25.
"I didn't much care for it. He had already done six years," Henthorn said. "He knew he was going to war. I did too."
Henthorn, who served during the Vietnam War, said he was "frozen" for about six months after his son's death.
"I never was for the war," he said. "The consensus now is that war wasn't necessary."
Scripsick's son, Marine Cpl. Bryan Scripsick, was deployed to Iraq in March 2007 to do house-to-house searches and investigate suspicious vehicles along roadsides. Six months after arriving, he was killed with three other Marines in a suicide bomb attack on Sept. 6, 2007. He was 22 years old.
Scripsick of Wayne said his son joined the Marines after talking with a recruiter at his high school.
"I was against it 100 percent," Scripsick said. "He kept saying 'The recruiter said more people die in car wrecks than in the military.' He kept talking about
seeing the world."
Henthorn invited Scripsick to some peace demonstrations, and both attended a protest when Bush came to Oklahoma City in September 2008 to raise money for former Republican presidential nominee John McCain.
"We've both become political junkies," Scripsick said. "We're just trying to figure out why our sons were sent to Iraq."
Both oppose Bush's visit to Woodward.
Henthorn said he started laughing when he heard Bush would be visiting the Oklahoma town of 15,000 people.
"I'm not saying anything bad about Woodward. I was kind of shocked by it. I don't believe he should be invited," Henthorn said.
Woodward City Manager Alan Riffle said most residents are thrilled to have a former president visit. Bush will speak in the new stadium at Crystal Beach Park about patriotism, independence and his life as president, Riffle said.
"We're not talking about politics, but the office and Independence Day," he said.
Riffle said protesters will not be allowed at the event.
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Sunday, July 5, 2009
Sara Plummer reports for Tulsa World:
Protest march in response to fraternal order of police reunion of '68 riot cops glorifying police brutality.
Produced by Fred Hickler for Chicago Independent Television (www.chicagoindependenttv.org), the Chicago Indymedia video collective.
"...This is one of the rarest footage from the legendary (best) Mk2 line-up of one of the best Rock bands ever Deep Purple. ... These footages were part of a Wochenschau (cinema news reel) from early 1971 concerning Deep Purple's riot blighted tour of Germany in November / December 1970. The 90 seconds of footage feature riot scenes with water cannon being deployed by the police, Ian Gillan's opinion of the situation, and a clip of 'Black Night' live in Hamburg, December 1970..."
I had been in Xanthi, the centerpiece city in the northeastern Greek region of Thrace, for only a few hours, admiring the neo-Classical-style buildings and restored tobacco warehouses of the old town. I spotted the minaret shortly after I heard a muezzin’s cry separating from the church bells and the cafes blasting Rihanna.
I’d never seen a mosque open for prayer in Greece. Almost all Greeks are Orthodox Christians, many of them fiercely attached to their cultural identity, and the church is as powerful as any political party. In Athens, where I had lived for four years, many Muslims are relative newcomers who must worship in rented basements until a mosque — approved by the Greek Parliament in 2006 — is built.
In Thrace, Islam has long been part of the landscape. But the area was not a familiar landscape to travelers until very recently. Just a couple of decades ago, Thrace was known mainly as an outpost for soldiers guarding Greece from a hostile Turkey and Communist Bulgaria. Today, thanks to much improved relations with both countries (especially Turkey), a spotlight is finally shining on northeastern Greece.
Travelers are heading to Thrace’s homespun inns and eco-tourism centers and to late-Ottoman landmarks like Imaret, a former Muslim administrative and school complex in the nearby eastern Macedonian city of Kavala that’s now one of the top luxury hotels in Greece. Surrounded by two rivers, the thickly forested Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea, Thrace, which comprises three smaller prefectures, has its roots in the ancient kingdom of the same name, which also extended into Bulgaria, Turkey, eastern portions of Serbia and the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. Along with the province of East Macedonia, Thrace makes up one of the 13 peripheries, or administrative divisions, of Greece.
I explored the region with a photographer, Yannis Kolesidis, on a five-day trip last year. Driving was easy and scenic partly because of the Egnatia Odos, a new highway through northern Greece inspired by the Roman-era Via Egnatia. Speaking Greek eased our way, too, though language would hardly be a barrier to travel in Thrace. Many locals speak a little English, and those who don’t will show an old-fashioned warmth that’s disappeared in more tourist-weary areas.
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Belgrade: The pipeline deal between Russia, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece envisages completion of the project by 2015
(birn) The pipeline deal between Russia, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece envisages completion of the project by 2015. During the often blazing heat that suffocates Serbia during the summer, it can be easy to forget how close, last winter the whole country came to freezing, when a dispute broke out between Russia and Ukraine, shutting off gas supplies to great swathes of South Eastern Europe. With Serbia’s main source of gas coming from Russia via Hungary, the need for diversification of the country’s supply suddenly seemed more urgent, lest the former Soviet republics fall out with one another again as temperatures plummet.
Step in, the South Stream pipeline project, which though it will once more originate in Russia, will traverse the Black Sea, pass through Bulgaria and then Serbia and on to Italy from there. Hopes are growing fast that it will guarantee the country’s energy security and also lend Belgrade crucial influence in the Western Balkan region when it comes to controlling gas supplies.
The 900-kilometre offshore section of South Stream is planned to start from the Beregovaya compressor station at Dzhubga on Russia’s Black Sea coast and then run to the Bulgarian port of Varna, from where it will continue into land-locked Europe. It is due for completion in 2015.
On May 15th, the gas companies of the countries involved in the project, Russia, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece, signed an agreement concerning the construction of the pipeline.
The Serbian branch of the pipeline is due to be 450 kilometres in length and will have a capacity of 4.4 billion cubic metres a year. Most observers agree that the project offers huge opportunities for Serbia, whose prime transit location is much remarked upon, but rarely exploited to the full. However, many are also very aware that behind the optimism exist a number of potential pitfalls too.
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More than two million people who have fled fighting in northwestern Pakistan do not have access to aid distributed in official displacement camps, Amnesty International warned today. Ethnic Pashtuns who have fled fighting also face discrimination from host communities, said Amnesty, as it called on the Pakistani government to ensure that ethnic Pashtuns fleeing to other provinces of Pakistan are not discriminated against.
Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Director, said:
'As the fighting expands to North and South Waziristan, a displacement crisis that the government had said would last only for weeks looks set to go on for months, with no relief in sight for the millions of displaced people.
'To make matters worse, the vast majority of displaced people are living outside the registered camps where aid agencies are distributing shelter, food and water to those in need. The Pakistani government has to ensure that the millions of displaced people, and their hosts, get the required assistance.
'People who lost everything as a result of the fighting are now being treated as second-class citizens in their own country. The central and local governments must ensure that all internally displaced Pakistanis, regardless of ethnic group or background, are treated in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and have adequate food, water, shelter, and healthcare.'
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Carola Hoyos reports in the Financial Times:
Two of the biggest names in the City of London had previously undisclosed links to slavery in the British colonies, documents seen by the Financial Times have revealed.
Nathan Mayer Rothschild, the banking family's 19th-century patriarch, and James William Freshfield, founder of Freshfields, the top City law firm, benefited financially from slavery, records from the National Archives show, even though both have often been portrayed as opponents of slavery.
Far from being a matter of distant history, slavery remains a highly contentious issue in the US, where Rothschild and Freshfields are both active.
Companies alleged to have links to past slave injustices have come under pressure to make restitution.
JPMorgan, the investment bank, set up a $5m scholarship fund for black students studying in Louisiana after apologising in 2005 for the company's historic links to slavery.
The archival documents have already prompted one of the banks named in the records to take action in the US.
When the FT approached Royal Bank of Scotland with information about its predecessor's links with slavery, the bank researched the claim, updated its own archives and amended the disclosures of past slave connections that it had previously lodged with the Chicago authorities.
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