April 06, 2007

LinkNews Digest [04/06/2007]

McCain "Strolls Through Iraq Street", with Military Escort

McCain recently claimed that there "are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods, today." In a press conference after his Baghdad tour, McCain told a reporter that his visit to the market today was proof that you could indeed "walk freely" in some areas of Baghdad.

NBC’s Nightly News provided further details about McCain’s one-hour guided tour. He was accompanied by "100 American soldiers, with three Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships overhead." Still photographs provided by the military to NBC News seemed to show McCain wearing a bulletproof vest during his visit.(Video )
Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the safety of the region. He MEANT that citizens would be safe walking a particular street, with a batallion of marines, heavy air cover and a kevlar suit.

UK Teachers drop the Holocaust to avoid offending Muslims

A Government backed study has revealed that some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial.

There is also resistance to tackling the 11th century Crusades - where Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem - because lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques. The findings have prompted claims that some schools are using history 'as a vehicle for promoting political correctness'.

The study, funded by the Department for Education and Skills, looked into 'emotive and controversial' history teaching in primary and secondary schools. It found some teachers are dropping courses covering the Holocaust at the earliest opportunity over fears Muslim pupils might express anti-Semitic and anti-Israel reactions in class. The researchers gave the example of a secondary school in an unnamed northern city, which dropped the Holocaust as a subject for GCSE coursework.

The report said teachers feared confronting 'anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim pupils'. It concluded: "In particular settings, teachers of history are unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship."

But Chris McGovern, history education adviser to the former Tory government, said: "History is not a vehicle for promoting political correctness. Children must have access to knowledge of these controversial subjects, whether palatable or unpalatable."

The researchers also warned that a lack of subject knowledge among teachers - particularly at primary level - was leading to history being taught in a 'shallow way leading to routine and superficial learning'. Lessons in difficult topics were too often 'bland, simplistic and unproblematic' and bored pupils. (LINK )

DUI on Horseback in Alabama

SYLVANIA, Ala. - A woman who went for a horseback ride through town at midnight and allegedly used the horse to ram a police car was charged with driving under the influence and drug offenses, police said Tuesday.

"Cars were passing by having to avoid it, and almost hitting the horse," said Police Chief Brad Gregg. He said DUI charges can apply even when the vehicle has four legs instead of wheels.

Police in the northeast Alabama town received a call around midnight Saturday about someone riding a horse on a city street, Gregg said. Officer John Seals found Melissa Byrum York, 40, of Henagar on horseback on a nearby road and attempted to stop her. Seals asked the woman repeatedly to get off the horse, but she kept trying to kick the animal to make it run, the chief said. "She wouldn't stop. She kept riding the horse and going on," Gregg said.

After ramming the police car with the horse and riding away, the woman tried to jump off but caught her foot in a stirrup, Gregg said. The officer took the woman into custody and discovered that she had crystal methamphetamine, a small amount of marijuana, pills and a small pipe, the chief said.

York was charged with DUI for allegedly riding the horse under the influence of a controlled substance. She was also charged with drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest, assault, attempting to elude police and cruelty to animals.(LINK)

Keith Richards Snorted Father's Ashes

LONDON (AP) - Keith Richards has acknowledged consuming a raft of illegal substances in his time, but this may top them all.

In comments published Tuesday, the 63-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist said he had snorted his father's ashes mixed with cocaine. "The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father," Richards was quoted as saying by British music magazine NME. "He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared," he said. "... It went down pretty well, and I'm still alive."

Richards' father, Bert, died in 2002, at 84. Richards, one of rock's legendary wild men, told the magazine that his survival was the result of luck, and advised young musicians against trying to emulate him.

"I did it because that was the way I did it. Now people think it's a way of life," he was quoted as saying. "I've no pretensions about immortality," he added. "I'm the same as everyone ... just kind of lucky. I was No. 1 on the `who's likely to die' list for 10 years. I mean, I was really disappointed when I fell off the list," Richards said. (LINK )

Coast Guard Helicopter Resuces Man Rescuing Parrot

William Hart, 35, from Montgomery County, near Houston, Texas, followed his £1,000 white cockatoo Geronimo after it escaped its cage. After he got stuck, about 30 Sheriff's deputies and firefighters converged on the tree but the ground was too wet to get a ladder near the tree.

As daylight began to fade, the decision was made to call in the coastguard from Galveston, reports the Houston Chronicle. Before the helicopter finally retrieved him, Mr Hart could be seen standing on a branch holding the bird under his shirt and smoking a cigarette. "In my 18 years as a firefighter, I've never seen anything like this," Porter Fire Chief Jody Binnion said.

Apart from a few scratches and a bite on his finger where the frightened bird nipped him, Mr Hart was unscathed and relieved to be back on solid ground.

Cradling the shaking bird in his arms, he said he was surprised by all the fuss, but had no regrets: "He's my baby. I'd do it again." His 14-year-old daughter had forgotten to put the latch back on Geronimo's cage after feeding him and the bird had flown out the bedroom window.(LINK )


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