Monday, March 15, 2010

Chief exorcist says Devil is in Vatican

Father Gabriele Amorth said people who are possessed by Satan vomit shards of glass and pieces of iron.

He added that the assault on Pope Benedict XVI on Christmas Eve by a mentally unstable woman and the sex abuse scandals which have engulfed the Church in the US, Ireland, Germany and other countries, were proof that the Anti-Christ was waging a war against the Holy See.

"The Devil resides in the Vatican and you can see the consequences," said Father Amorth, 85, who has been the Holy See's chief exorcist for 25 years.

"He can remain hidden, or speak in different languages, or even appear to be sympathetic. At times he makes fun of me. But I'm a man who is happy in his work."

While there was "resistance and mistrust" towards the concept of exorcism among some Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI has no such doubts, Father Amorth said. "His Holiness believes wholeheartedly in the practice of exorcism. He has encouraged and praised our work," he added.

The evil influence of Satan was evident in the highest ranks of the Catholic hierarchy, with "cardinals who do not believe in Jesus and bishops who are linked to the demon," Father Amorth said.

In a rare insight into the world of exorcism, the Italian priest told La Repubblica newspaper that the 1973 film The Exorcist gave a "substantially exact" impression of what it was like to be possessed by the Devil.

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My Lai massacre triggered Vietnam's ‘class' war accusations

By Bruce Kauffmann, Appeal-Democrat

This week in 1968, with America's involvement in the Vietnam War increasing every month, several platoons of American soldiers from Charlie Company were ordered to attack the tiny hamlet of My Lai in South Vietnam's Quang Ngai Province. The GIs were charged with destroying any Vietcong (North Vietnam's guerrilla army) they could find, and angered by both the casualties they had suffered at the hands of the Vietcong and their inability to catch this elusive quarry, when these GIs charged this hamlet they were in a "take no prisoners" mood. The result was a village destroyed and some 350 people dead.

Tragically, none of the dead was an armed Vietcong combatant. Rather, they were unarmed villagers who had been murdered in cold blood, prompting many to call My Lai — when (after a massive coverup) it was discovered a year later — the worst atrocity of the Vietnam War. Several soldiers were charged with war crimes, including a platoon commander — and college dropout — named William Calley, who was later convicted of murder, but eventually paroled.

Also in My Lai's aftermath was a vigorous debate about its causes, and although the anti-war movement had a field day with My Lai, many military officials traced a cause of the massacre right back to the student anti-war protesters themselves.

Noting that these students had done all they could (both legally and illegally) to avoid serving in the army, military brass pointed out that this had made Vietnam America's first "class" war, in which most fighting was done by poorer, less educated, lower-class citizens. By undermining the fighting instead of joining it, the educated middle class ("the Harvards," as soldiers called them) so diluted the military's talent pool that misfits like Calley could achieve command rank.

What's more, as many historians have shown, Vietnam was the first American war in which there were no clear objectives or measurements. Unlike, say, World War II, in which major battles resulted in strategic territorial advantages (ports to establish bases, islands to launch raids, liberated countries to gain resources), in Vietnam's jungles the only way to measure who was "winning" or "losing" was body counts. This resulted in intense pressure to produce high enemy casualty figures and as time went by and morale sank, the distinction between civilians and guerrilla soldiers (often dressed alike) blurred.

To conclude then, if one accepts these arguments — that Vietnam was a "class" war fought mostly by America's poorly educated and disadvantaged, that body counts became the only measure of success, that civilians were often indistinguishable from guerrillas and so on — then the astonishing thing about My Lai is not that it happened, but that it didn't happen more often.

~ Link ~

New York Times targets Iran, fingers corporations doing business there

From U.S. Enriches Companies Defying Its Policy on Iran

The federal government has awarded more than $107 billion in contract payments, grants and other benefits over the past decade to foreign and multinational American companies while they were doing business in Iran, despite Washington's efforts to discourage investment there, records show.

That includes nearly $15 billion paid to companies that defied American sanctions law by making large investments that helped Iran develop its vast oil and gas reserves.

For years, the United States has been pressing other nations to join its efforts to squeeze the Iranian economy, in hopes of reining in Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Now, with the nuclear standoff hardening and Iran rebuffing American diplomatic outreach, the Obama administration is trying to win a tough new round of United Nations sanctions.

But a New York Times analysis of federal records, company reports and other documents shows that both the Obama and Bush administrations have sent mixed messages to the corporate world when it comes to doing business in Iran, rewarding companies whose commercial interests conflict with American security goals.

Many of those companies are enmeshed in the most vital elements of Iran's economy. More than two-thirds of the government money went to companies doing business in Iran's energy industry — a huge source of revenue for the Iranian government and a stronghold of the increasingly powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a primary focus of the Obama administration's proposed sanctions because it oversees Iran's nuclear and missile programs.


From Profiting From Iran, and the U.S.

The New York Times identified 74 corporations that have done business both in Iran and with the United States government over the last decade, using corporate records filed with the Securities Exchange Commission, company Web sites, news accounts confirmed by interviews with company officials, and Congressional reports...

...Halliburton     $27.1 billion     Federal Contracts: $27,080,906,722    
Withdrew
United States  

Halliburton, former Vice President Cheney's old company, provided oil and gas drilling services to Iran through foreign subsidies. After a political furor erupted over the work, the company announced it would do no new business in Iran, and it exited the country altogether in 2007. While still operating in Iran, Halliburton won huge contacts from the federal government, including a no-bid contract to restore Iraq's oil sector, as did its subsidiary at the time, Kellogg Brown & Root...

'If this was not about oil in 2003, it certainly is now'

From Iraq: All eyes on the oil prize by Chris Newby

Control of the oil wealth in the predominantly Kurdish area of northern Iraq is a major issue underpinning a lot of tensions. That oil wealth is potentially vast. Estimates put the reserves in Iraq at 115 billion barrels, probably more than Iran's and second only to Saudi Arabia. Yet production is still running at 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) lower than the pre-war daily average of 2.5 million.

In post-Saddam Iraq, the US government was hoping to dramatically increase output under the control of predominantly US oil companies. To try to achieve this aim Paul Bremer, Bush's chief representative in Iraq in the year following the invasion, under the guise of removing all members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party from their positions, sacked oil technicians, engineers and administrators leaving behind only a skeleton crew of Iraqi oil workers to manage the existing production.

Bremer was hoping that private oil companies, eager to exploit the oil wealth, would come in with their workforces to take over. Some companies did, but attacks on oil pipelines and facilities increased from 200 in the first two years of occupation to 600 in 2007. In part this was in response to Bremer ripping up agreements over access to oil by the local population.

The major oil companies weighing up the risks decided the danger was too great at that stage. Also, significant action was taken by Iraqi oil workers striking against the privatisation of oil facilities in Basra.

Arguments developed between the Iraqi government and US about how the oil fields could be developed. None of these arguments centred on improving conditions for ordinary Iraqis, but who gets the biggest share of the oil wealth, the Iraqi regime or the oil companies.

In an attempt to develop the oilfields, on 2 January 2009 the Iraqi government offered a new deal to oil companies wanting to invest in Iraq, offering them $2 for every barrel they extracted after their original investment costs had been met.

The major oil companies initially rejected these terms out of hand, demanding complete control over production and payments of $25 per barrel! However, the Chinese National Petroleum company was keen to gain a foothold in Iraq and get its hands on some of the vast reserves. It induced BP, its partner in Iraq, to develop the Ramaila oilfield near Basra on the Iraqi government terms.

As a result of this other companies, not wanting to see the Chinese government gain all the most lucrative contracts, accepted contracts on the initial terms. These companies are mainly state-owned but include Shell and Exxon.

However, some members of the Iraqi parliament are now challenging these contracts, no doubt wanting to get their own hands on this oil wealth but also feeling the pressure from ordinary Iraqis angry at seeing jobs and the oil wealth leaving Iraq.

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Mafia deeply entrenched in Australia

Days after police smashed a multimillion-dollar drug ring with alleged mafia links in Sydney and Mildura, a new report by Italy's top anti-mafia investigators has named several Calabrian mafia clans that have created "permanent links" with key family members in Australia.

In its annual report for last year, the National Anti-Mafia Directorate said the Calabrian Mafia, also known as 'Ndrangheta, had been transformed from a localised criminal operation in the impoverished south of Italy into a vast and complex international enterprise that exploits "deeply rooted" links in Australia.

In the report, obtained by the Herald, the directorate names several powerful clans, including Sergi, Barbaro and Papalia, as groups that have "active affiliates" in Australia.

"The links with the mafia families are steadfast and deeply rooted in Australia where permanent traditional links with the Calabrian clans have been solidly established," the report says. "Clans like Sergi, Barbaro, Papalia have been active through their Australian affiliates for some time."

In August 2008 a Griffith man, Pasquale Barbaro, was arrested along with 19 others as part of the-then world's biggest ecstasy bust.

Police allege Mr Barbaro was the organiser of the drug operation in which drugs worth $440 million, hidden in tomato tins, were shipped from Italy to Melbourne.

Mr Barbaro is the son of Francesco ''Little Trees'' Barbaro, who was named in the Woodward Royal Commission as a member of the Griffith-based Calabrian group behind the disappearance of anti-drug campaigner Donald Mackay in 1977.

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Council of Europe report negative on Greek minority rights

From Minority protection in Europe: best practices and deficiencies in implementation of common standards

...Case study: Greece

77. Since the monitoring procedures set up under the framework convention and the European charter do not formally apply to states that have not ratified them, these states escape scrutiny by the advisory committee (but they are monitored by other Council of Europe bodies). It is nevertheless most interesting to examine how these countries accommodate diversity, whether through minority policies with respect to recognised minorities or through a "non-discrimination" approach when minorities are not recognised, or by combining both approaches. In the context of this report, I therefore decided to visit one of these countries, namely Greece, which recognises only one minority on its territory. From 26 to 28 February 2009, I had a number of meetings in Athens, Thessaloniki and Florina (see the programme of the visit in Appendix III).

78. In its 2004 report on Greece, the ECRI noted, “persons wishing to express their Macedonian, Turkish or other identity incur the hostility of the population. They are targets of prejudices and stereotypes, and sometimes face discrimination, especially in the labour market”.24 In its 2009 report on Greece,25 the ECRI expressed concern about the situation of Roma, which suffer discrimination in particular in education, housing and employment.26 It also noted that the problem of the recognition of the identity of Macedonians and ethnic Turks, and in particular their right to freedom of association, remains. 27

79. Given that other reports of the Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights address the issue of the Muslim minority in Thrace (Eastern Greece), as well as the situation of Roma in Europe,28 I limited my focus to the contentious issue of the Macedonian community in Greece, which has, inter alia, also been recently dealt with, to various extents, by the Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner and the United Nations independent expert on minority issues, Ms Gay McDougall. The latter also visited Florina in September 2008. 29

-        The approach of the Greek Government

80. The Greek authorities recognise only one minority in Greece, namely the 'Muslim' minority in Western Thrace, by virtue of the Lausanne Peace Treaty of 24 July 1923. In this context, Greece was recently commended by various bodies, including the Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights,30 for a number of measures it had taken to enhance the rights of the Muslim minority in Greece. As regards others, Greece favours the approach to non-discrimination defined by European Union instruments.31

81. The Greek authorities have repeatedly denied the existence of any Macedonian minority in Greece and repeatedly referred to the hijacking of local culture by persons and groups which pursue political aims.

82. Despite the non-recognition of any other national or linguistic minority, the Greek authorities have acknowledged that in northern Greece there exist “a small number of persons who … use, without restrictions, in addition to the Greek language, Slavic oral idioms, confined to family or colloquial use”.32

83. During my visit, the Greek authorities stressed that Greek citizens who claim Macedonian identity are fully represented by a political party, which is free to participate in elections in Greece.

-        Claims of representatives of the Macedonian community

84. First and foremost, I should stress that there has not been any ethnic violence in the Florina area. Greek society is pluralistic and open to diversity. Nevertheless, it seems that still today, persons who express and actively claim a Macedonian identity often come up against the resentment and even hostility of the authorities.

85. Members of the Macedonian community recognised that their situation had improved in the last 15 years, though they were still allegedly subject to individual acts of harassment and intimidation (at work, to get Greek citizenship, when crossing the border with the neighbouring country, for recognition of diplomas, for property issues or in religious matters). They ask the authorities to recognise their right to self-identification as well as the existence of a Macedonian national minority in Greece.

86. During my visit, I focused on the non-execution of the Sidiropoulos and others judgment of 199833 and the situation of persons deprived of their Greek citizenship.

-        The case of Sidiropoulos and others v. Greece (freedom of association and right to self-identification)

87. The Sidiropoulos and others case concerns the refusal of the Greek authorities, even after the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 1998, to register “The Home of Macedonian Civilisation”, a non profit-making association that a number of Greek citizens who identify themselves as belonging to an ethnic Macedonian minority wanted to establish in Florina. The Strasbourg Court found a violation by Greece of the right to freedom of association (Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights). The authorities denied registration arguing, inter alia, that “'the promotion of the idea that there is a Macedonian minority in Greece … is contrary to the country's national interest and consequently contrary to law'”. In this case, it is most interesting to stress in the context of the present report, that the Court, in its judgment, in effect, agreed with the applicant that “territorial integrity, national security and public order were not threatened by the activities of an association whose aim was to promote a region's culture, even supposing that it also aimed partly to promote the culture of a minority; the existence of minorities and different cultures in a country was a historical fact that a 'democratic society' had to tolerate and even protect and support according to the principles of international law”.34

88. During my visit I reiterated that Greece should comply fully with the judgment of the Court, as well as with other judgments concerning the Turkish community, in which the European Court found violations of the right to freedom of assembly and association35. Moreover, this issue has been addressed in the ECRI's 2009 report on Greece,36 in which it recommended that the Greek authorities “take measures to recognize the rights of the members of the different groups living in Greece, including to freedom of association, in full compliance with the relevant judgments of the European Court on Human Rights”.

89. As stressed by the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights in his report on Greece37:

    “… it is to be noted that the UN Human Rights Committee has clarified that under … the ICCPR38 a state party 'is under an obligation to ensure that the existence and the exercise of [the above right] are protected against their denial or violation'. The UN Human Rights Committee has stressed that '[a]lthough the rights protected under article 27 are individual rights, they depend in turn on the ability of the minority group to maintain its culture, language or religion. Accordingly, positive measures by states may also be necessary to protect the identity of a minority and the rights of its members to enjoy and develop their culture and language and to practise their religion, in community with the other members of the group'. Similar provisions are found in the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (see e.g. Article 5), which was signed by Greece on 22 September 1997 but has not as yet been ratified.

    Indeed, the right to freedom of association is one of the fundamental prerequisites for the harmonious functioning of European democratic societies which are characterised by inherent pluralism that, in turn, should always be accompanied by tolerance and broadmindedness. The essential contribution made by non-profit-making associations, such as non-governmental organisations, to the development and realisation of democracy and human rights was recently highlighted also by the Committee of Ministers in its Recommendation Rec(2007)14 on the legal status of non-governmental organisations in Europe.”

90. It should be deplored that the application for recognition of the “Home of Macedonian Civilisation”, lodged on 24 July 2003, was again rejected by the Greek courts. This decision became final after the Supreme Court rejected its cassation appeal by judgment No. 1448/2009, published on 11 June 2009.39

-        Persons deprived of their Greek citizenship (those living in Greece and those living abroad), and in this context, the differentiation in Greek law between people of Greek and non-Greek origin

91. Former Article 19 of the Greek Citizenship Code provided that Greek citizens who were not ethnically Greek could have their citizenship revoked if they left the country and the Greek authorities believed that they did not intend to return. As a consequence of this provision, applied from 1955 to 1998, there were approximately 60,000 Greek citizens, including minors, who lost their nationality. The majority of these persons were of Turkish ethnic origin. However, the repeal of Article 19 does not have a retroactive effect. Although the Ministry of Interior issued instructions to local authorities to accelerate the procedure for naturalising stateless Muslims in Western Thrace and a number of other persons have re-acquired their Greek citizenship, it seems, according to the ECRI,40 that no other measures have been taken to tackle the situation of persons who lost their Greek citizenship under Article 19 of the Citizenship Code, including those who are currently residing abroad and/or have acquired the citizenship of another state. This issue has been addressed by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights in his report and I fully concur with his analysis and recommendations. During my visit, my interlocutors recognised that this was a problem and I also had the impression that the authorities were determined to step up efforts to solve it.

92. Moreover, in its recent judgment Zeïbek v. Greece, the European Court of Human Rights also dealt with the situation of a Muslim Greek applicant, who had fallen under Article 19 of the Citizenship Code.41 The Court found that she had been discriminated against with regard to her right to retirement pension (violations of Article 1 of Protocol 1 alone and in conjunction with Article 14 of the Convention).

93. Furthermore, I would like to express concern about the provisions of the Greek law that appear to affect mainly ethnic Macedonians. Indeed, during the Civil War in Greece (1946-1949), thousands of political refugees, ethnic Macedonians and others left the country. Reportedly, at least 28,000 child refugees, mostly ethnic Macedonians, were also evacuated from areas of heavy fighting and relocated to countries such as Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, etc. Greece subsequently confiscated the properties of these exiles and deprived them of their Greek citizenship. Finally, in 1982, a provision (Decision 106841/29-12-1982 on the “free repatriation and restoration of Greek Citizenship to political refugees”) permitted the return to Greece of people having fled the country during the civil war, together with their families, provided they were Greek “by genus” (that is to say of Greek origin), thus excluding persons of non-Greek, and particularly Macedonian, origin who had nonetheless left Greece under the same conditions. In 1985, a law (No 1540) provided for the return of confiscated properties of political refugees, again limited to Greeks “by genus”.

94. Reportedly, most of the ethnic Macedonians affected by these laws are over the age of 70 and now reside in various European countries, Australia, Canada, etc. Representatives of the Macedonian community consider that these laws are discriminatory, targeting Macedonian political refugees, many of whom would now like to return to their birthplace. During my visit, it was alleged that those claiming Macedonian identity experience difficulty in obtaining visas to attend funerals or visit relatives in Greece. The ECRI addressed this issue in 2004 and “strongly recommended to the Greek authorities to reconsider the foundations and the implications of their policy in this respect”.42 In its last report on Greece in 2009, it noted that the Ministerial Decision No 106841 of 1982 and the Law 1540 of 1985 continued to apply only to ethnic Greeks.43 Therefore it recommended again that “the Greek authorities take steps to apply, in a non-discriminatory manner, the measures of reconciliation taken for all those who fled the civil war”.44 Concerning denationalised persons who have remained abroad and are not willing to return, the Human Rights Commissioner called upon the authorities “to consider the possibility of providing them, or their descendants, with satisfaction, in accordance with the general principles of international law”.45 Concerning the remaining stateless persons who now reside in Greece, the Greek authorities have reportedly expressed their determination to proceed promptly to the restoration of their nationality. The situation of persons of Macedonian origin compelled to leave Greece in the civil war when most were only children who wish to return, even for a short time, nevertheless needs further attention. Further gestures, such as the opening of the border for a few days in 2003 for ethnic Macedonian refugees, should be considered.

-        The issue of the ratification of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (signed by Greece in 1997)

95. As in 2005, the authorities reiterated that the Greek constitutional and legislative framework is fully in conformity with the fundamental principles set forth in international instruments, including the framework convention. The scope of application of the framework convention would certainly be controversial, though not an obstacle. Nevertheless, during my visit, no timeframe was given for ratification. In its 2009 report on Greece, the ECRI once called upon the Greek authorities to ratify the framework convention as soon as possible.46 With respect to the European charter, the situation appears more difficult and I was not given the impression that there were any prospects for progress in the near future.

-       A few remarks as rapporteur

96. While fully aware of the sensitive international context in which these issues should be considered, as rapporteur on minority protection in Europe, I am concerned by the rights to self-identification, freedom of expression and freedom of association of minority groups in Europe.

97. As already stressed on several occasions by our Assembly and other Council of Europe bodies, cultural diversity should be perceived not as a threat, but as a source of enrichment and any attempt to impose an identity on a person, or on a group of persons, is unacceptable.

98. I note that in February 2009, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights expressed his deep concern about “the persistent denial by Greek authorities of the existence on Greece's territory of minorities other than the tripartite 'Muslim' one in western Thrace, despite the recommendations made so far notably by the ECRI, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the UN Human Rights Committee”. He also recalled that freedom of ethnic self-identification is a major principle in which democratic pluralistic societies should be grounded and should be effectively applied to all minority groups, be they national, religious or linguistic.47 I fully share this view.

99. I also fully support the call of the Commissioner upon the Greek Government to create a consultative mechanism, at national, regional and local levels, which would ensure an institutionalised, open, sincere and continuous dialogue with representatives of different minorities and/or representatives of individual minority groups. During my visit, I indeed also stressed the role of local authorities in accommodating cultural diversity.

100. The Greek authorities should also closely examine allegations of discrimination and intolerant acts against those who claim to have a Macedonian identity and take appropriate measures to punish any such acts.

101. As described below, obligations of Council of Europe member states relating to minority protection do not only derive from the framework convention and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (for details, see Part V below).

102. Finally, the Assembly should again pursue its efforts to promote the framework convention as a truly pan-European instrument and invite Greece and those Council of Europe member states which have not yet done so to ratify it without any further delay. ...

Argentina blames Shell, Petrobras for gas shortage

Argentina's government accused energy companies Royal Dutch Shell and Petrobras on Wednesday of deliberately causing gasoline shortages in order to force rival YPF to raise its prices.

Planning Minister Julio De Vido said the government would take steps to ensure the country's oil refineries were working at full capacity and threatened to limit companies' fuel exports if the shortages continued.

"Shell  and Petrobras are disrupting the refining of oil to create a shortage in the domestic market and force YPF to increase its prices," De Vido said in a statement.

The government's inflation watchdog, Domestic Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno, will also send inspectors to monitor supplies at the country's service stations, where rationing has been imposed in recent weeks.

The measures come a day after YPF, the local unit of Spanish oil major Repsol, said it was importing 50 million liters of gasoline, or 315,000 barrels, from the United States following heavy demand that depleted its stocks and caused shortages at service stations.

YPF, which sells gasoline at slightly cheaper prices, also accused its competitors of putting less of the fuel on sale as a way to force it raise its prices.

YPF, which used to be a government oil company, had a 57.3 percent share of the country's gasoline market in January and sales volume surged last year to a record.

The company's size means it has lower operating costs than its rivals, allowing it to sell gasoline at a slightly lower price. It also relies entirely on its own oil, refining and transport operations in fuel production.

Esso, the Argentine unit of Exxon Mobil, has denied YPF's accusations. Petrobras said on Tuesday it had not experienced gasoline shortages at its service stations and that its refineries were operating normally.

No one at Shell could immediately be reached for comment.

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Montreal protesters fear cops' anger

A group that organizes an annual and controversial anti-police brutality march that last year was the scene of more than 200 arrests says it had nothing do with an attack by vandals early Saturday that left 11 Montreal police squad cars smashed and a neighbourhood police station splashed with graffiti.

And Sophie Sénécal of the Collectif opposé à la brutalité policière said yesterday she hoped police won't use the incident as a pretext to adopt a "provocative" attitude during this year's march to protest against police brutality, which is scheduled to take place tomorrow.

"For sure, it's something we'd worry about," she said. "We just hope that the police ... don't make some cause-and-effect link between an isolated incident and the demonstration." Sénécal's comments follow an assault by vandals at a little after 12 a.m. yesterday on a Montreal police station used by the department's traffic division.

About 20 hooded individuals dressed in black and carrying rocks, baseball bats and, in at least one instance, a hammer, damaged 11 squad cars, slashing tires and smashing vehicle windows and the vehicles' computers.

The windows of the station house, at Dominion and Notre Dame Sts., were also broken and painted with grafitti slogans including FTP and ACAB. Early yesterday, a Montreal police spokesperson described the acronyms as echoing those seen at "certain demonstrations." "They're tags," Constable Yannick Ouimet told Radio-Canada. "In one case it means 'F--- the Police' and in other, 'All Cops Are Bastards.' We can believe that the group that was here ... is one we see at certain demonstrations in Montreal." Later yesterday, however, police had tempered their assessment of who might be responsible for the damages.

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Voters in Iceland reject repayment plan



Iceland's voters expressed their outrage this past weekend against bankers, the government and what they saw as foreign bullying, overwhelmingly rejecting a plan to pay $5.3 billion to Britain and the Netherlands to reimburse customers of a failed Icelandic bank. A staggering 93 percent voted "no" in the first public referendum ever held on any subject in Iceland.


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