By LYNNLEY BROWNING
NYTimes: January 29, 2009
The income of the 400 wealthiest Americans swelled in 2006, soaring nearly 23 percent from the previous year, to an average of $263 million, according to data released Thursday by the Internal Revenue Service. Since 1996, this group has nearly doubled its share of all income earned in the United States.
The top 400 paid just more than $18 billion in federal income taxes in 2006, or an average of $45 million, on a record $105 billion in total income â€” the lowest effective tax rate in the 15 years since the agency began releasing such data. Continue reading
By Ashraf Helmi, Videographer, and Megan Hirons, Photographer
Published: January 25, 2009, 23:25
The Gaza Zoo reeks of death. But zookeeper Emad Jameel Qasim doesn’t appear to react to the stench as he walks around the animals’ enclosures.
A month ago, it was attracting families – he says the zoo drew up to 1,000 visitors each day. He points at the foot-long hole in the camel in one of the enclosures.
“This camel was pregnant, a missile went into her back,” he tells us. “Look, look at her face. She was in pain when she died.”
Around every corner, inside almost every cage are dead animals, who have been lying in their cages since the Israeli incursion.
Qasim doesn’t understand why they chose to destroy his zoo. And it’s difficult to disagree with him. Most of them have been shot at point blank range.
“The first thing the Israelis did was shoot at the lions – the animals ran out of their cage and into the office building. …
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The Hunger Winter In Holland
from Holland in World War 2
As the Germans cut off all food and fuel imports into Holland the privations of the Dutch people worsened swiftly as winter approached. In Amsterdam there was gas for only ninety minutes a day, no trains nor phones nor electricity. Children played football in the streets, empty of all vehicles save those of the German army. Sixty-six thousand of Hollandâ€™s 100,000 cars and 3,800 of the countryâ€™s 4,500 buses, together with half of its four million bicycles, bad been removed to Germany. There was no fuel for those motor vehicles which remained. People queued ceaselessly for the smallest trifles. In the Hague, communal kitchens were feeding 350,000 people a day with such provisions as were available. People in the capital were ordered to surrender any remaining blankets and clothing to the Germans. All Netherlanders became reluctant to walk far, became walking wore down shoes, and these were almost unobtainable. Continue reading
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 2008, pages 7-9
By Rachelle Marshall
THERE WERE many reasons to cheer Barack Obamaâ€™s election victory on Nov. 4. The first is that it ended an eight-year nightmare in which the Bush administration waged war in four Muslim countries, including Pakistan and Somalia; subverted the Constitution; and brought on a worldwide financial crisis. An administration allied with Israelâ€™s far right wing also left behind a moribund Middle East peace process and a more firmly entrenched Israeli occupation of Palestine.
It is not yet clear how Obama intends to change these policies, or to what extent he will be able do so. A major cause of anti-U.S. hostility in the Middle East has been Washingtonâ€™s unconditional support for Israelâ€”support that has included endorsing Israelâ€™s West Bank settlement blocs, approving Israelâ€™s lockdown and deliberate starvation of Gaza, and refusing to condemn the system of checkpoints and roadblocks that has strangled the Palestinian economy. Obama has given mixed signals as to how he will deal with these issues. …
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