Weapons of mass destruction have proven hard to find in Iraq and now they've disappeared from President George W. Bush's speeches. \nA reliable staple of past addresses, the four words did not cross his lips during two public appearances in Pennsylvania and Michigan on Thursday. Nor did Bush use the phrase on Wednesday in a formal update for Americans on the progress US forces have made in Iraq that he delivered from the White House Rose Garden. \nAt a US$2,000 apiece cocktail party in Dearborn to raise money for his re-election campaign next year, Bush came close to resurrecting it, telling 900 Republican supporters: "Free nations do not threaten the world with weapons of mass terror." \nBefore the US-led invasion and during the war's early stages, Bush speeches were peppered with references to weapons of mass destruction and the specter of apocalyptic havoc that chemical and biological arms might wreak on the US, its friends and allies. He used the words so much that sometimes they became simply "WMD." \nNow that former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein has been ousted and with no conclusive evidence of weapons of mass destruction, the president has recently spoken more benignly of "weapons programs" and "illegal weapons," although he has said he remains confident that banned arms will be uncovered. \n"A free and democratic and peaceful Iraq will not threaten America or our friends with illegal weapons," he said in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Livonia, Michigan. "A free Iraq will not provide weapons to terrorists, or money to terrorists, who threaten the American people." \nIt was his only reference to Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction -- the main US justification for going to war. \nUnder fire from Democrats who accused the White House of exaggerating intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, Bush and other senior officials have launched a concerted effort to shift attention to the democratic promise of a post-war and Saddam-free Iraq. \nSome Democratic candidates seeking to unseat Bush in 2004 have charged the president with misleading the American people about the threat Iraq posed. They have seized on the controversy surrounding Bush's State of the Union speech last January, which included an unsubstantiated allegation that Iraq sought uranium from Africa for nuclear weapons.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
BEYOND CULTURE: The US State Department was expected to announce that the Chinese government-funded institutes would have to register as foreign missions US President Donald Trump’s administration is increasing scrutiny of a long-established Chinese-government funded program that is dedicated to teaching Chinese language and culture in the US and other nations, the latest escalation of tensions with Beijing. The US Department of State was expected to announce as soon as yesterday that Confucius Institutes in the US — many of which are based on college campuses — would have to register as “foreign missions,” according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. The designation would amount to a conclusion that the institutes are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by