A reassessment by the CIA has cast doubt on a central piece of evidence used by the administration of George W. Bush before the invasion of Iraq to draw links between former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's government and al-Qaeda's terrorist network, government officials said Tuesday. \nThe CIA report, sent to policy-makers in August, says it is now not clear whether Saddam's government harbored members of a group led by the Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the officials said. The assertion that Iraq provided refuge to Zarqawi was the primary basis for the administration's prewar assertions connecting Iraq to al-Qaeda. \nThe new CIA assessment, based largely on information gathered after the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, is the latest to revise a prewar intelligence report used by the administration as a central rationale for war. \nIn June of this year, Bush described Zarqawi as "the best evidence of connection to al-Qaeda affiliates and al-Qaeda." But while Zarqawi was once thought to be closely linked to al-Qaeda, his affiliations are now less certain. \nSome US and European officials have said there is no clear coordination between Zarqawi and al-Qaeda, though their aims are similar. In the meantime, Zarqawi has emerged as an architect of repeated car bomb attacks and as the most active and deadly foreign terrorist operating in Iraq as part of the anti-US insurgency. \nThe CIA's new assessment states that it could not be conclusive even about his relationship with Saddam's government. The CIA review, first reported by Knight-Ridder newspapers, did not say on what basis the earlier assessment was being softened, and government officials declined to explain on Tuesday. \nA CIA spokesman declined to comment about any new intelligence assessment. The government officials who outlined its findings represented several different agencies, but all were guarded in discussing it, saying they did not want to add to tensions between the CIA and the White House. \nOne official said the new report "doesn't make clear-cut assertions one way or another" about whether Iraq harbored Zarqawi. But officials said it had established beyond doubt that Zarqawi spent time in Baghdad in 2002, that from there he ordered the assassination of a US diplomat in Jordan and that he was in contact with members of the insurgent group Ansar al-Islam.
A British charity has teamed up with scientists to see whether dogs could help detect COVID-19 through their keen sense of smell, it said yesterday. Medical Detection Dogs is to work with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Durham University in northeast England to determine whether canines could help with diagnoses. It follows previous research into dogs’ ability to sniff out malaria and is based on a belief that each disease triggers a distinct odor. The organizations said that they had begun preparations to train dogs in six weeks “to help provide a rapid, non-invasive diagnosis towards the tail end
Under partial lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Spaniards are allowed to leave home only for essential outings, walking a dog being one of them, but not a rented dog, the Civil Guard said on Wednesday as it sanctioned a man who had repeatedly tried to rent his dogs out via Facebook so that people could walk them. “The man was advertising activities which implied people leaving their homes to rent dogs, or walk rented dogs,” said a Civil Guard spokeswoman in the northeastern Galicia region. “That would be infringing the decree that only permits going outdoors for work, groceries, walking
Britain’s Prince Charles, the eldest son and heir to Queen Elizabeth II, is showing mild symptoms of COVID-19, but “otherwise remains in good health,” his office said yesterday. The 71-year-old and his wife, Camilla, who does not have coronavirus, are currently self-isolating in Scotland, Clarence House said. “The Prince of Wales has tested positive for coronavirus,” it said in a statement, using his official title. “He has been displaying mild symptoms, but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual.” “The Duchess of Cornwall [Camilla] has also been tested, but does not have
The water service in Odessa, a port city in southern Ukraine, was suddenly overrun this week with calls from worried residents with a peculiar concern. Were officials really planning to run an antiseptic solution through the city’s taps instead of water? The calls were sparked by a message on social media claiming that: “Today, from 11pm until the morning, antiseptic will be distributed” in the water system. The antiseptic supposedly included several different whiskies — a brand for each district. However outlandish the claim, Odessa’s water agency, Infoxvodokanal, still issued a clarification. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, false news stories have spiked in