Today's Headlines

US News

US Officials Warn Of Increased Terror Threat As War Begins
US officials say once war against Iraq is launched, the threat of terrorist attacks against American targets worldwide will skyrocket. The State Department's top counterterrorism official Cofer Black said Tuesday there is "certainty" that terrorists will attempt to launch multiple attacks against the United States and its allies in this time period of expected war against Iraq. The Department of Homeland Security responded to this by raising the terror threat level to orange on Monday evening.

Mitchell's "Divine Revelation" Unlikely To Influence Court
Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee may believe God ordered them to kidnap Elizabeth Smart, but legal experts say divine revelation will be little help to them in the courtroom. "Being egged on by another is not a defense," said Assistant Utah Attorney General Michael Wims. "It is not a defense that God urged them to do it." Mitchell and Barzee were charged yesterday in 3rd District Court with aggravated kidnapping and five other felonies in conjunction with the June 5, 2002 abduction of Elizabeth Smart at knifepoint from her Utah home.

Major Blizzard Dumping Snow In Colorado
A blizzard warning was posted this morning for eastern Colorado, where the Denver airport was closed along with scores of schools and businesses. More than two feet of snow fell in the eastern plains Tuesday and another 12 to 18 inches is possible today, which would make the snowfall the largest ever for the month of March in Colorado. About 4,000 passengers were stranded at the airport in Denver, and about 8,500 households were without power in the eastern part of the state.

International News

45 Nations Support War As Saddam's Deadline Approaches
The United States yesterday claimed the support of 45 countries for its war on Iraq, which could start as early as tonight after Saddam Hussein rejected George W. Bush's demand that Saddam leave Iraq within 48 hours. The deadline ends at 01:00 GMT on Thursday, which is 7:00 PM on the East Coast of the United States where the White House is. Meanwhile, thousands of U.S. Marines set off in tanks, armored vehicles and trucks across the Kuwaiti desert yesterday to take up battle positions.

Blair Gains Major Internal Support
With support for the conflict growing in Britain, Tony Blair's support within his own party is growing significantly, even evoking positive comparisons between Blair's stand on the Iraq issue and the steadfast opposition that Sir Winston Churchill showed towards Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. This comes on news of a doubling of support for the conflict among the British populace (from 26% to 50%), as well as the refusal of Clare Short, the standard-bearer for left-leaning Labour politics, to resign her cabinet post over the issue.

Wiretaps Found In French, German EU Offices
Telephone tapping systems have been found at offices used by France and Germany in the building where European Union leaders are due to hold a summit from Thursday, an EU spokesman said on Wednesday. "I can confirm that in the course of regular inspections, interception devices have been found ... which do not only affect France and Germany," Dominique-Georges Marro, head of the EU Council press service, told reporters. The French newspaper Le Figaro accused the United States of being behind the wiretapping, but Marro said: "We do not know who is behind it. I don't know who was on the other end of the line."


Federal Reserve Board Stands Pat
US Federal Reserve policymakers, led by board chairman Alan Greenspan, kept interest rates steady at a 41-year low, but surprised investors by saying the looming war with Iraq made it impossible to assess the US economy's outlook. The Federal Open Market Committee promised "heightened surveillance" of the economy, a statement some analysts said signalled a possible rate cut, perhaps even before its next meeting on May 6, 2003. It was the first time the Fed had declined to say whether the main risk to the economy was slow growth or inflation since it began publishing its view with rate decisions in 2000.

FedEx Boosted By Ground Shipping
A greatly expanded ground shipping business helped Federal Express post record higher earnings for the third fiscal quarter. FedEx on Wednesday said net income rose 23 per cent to $147m, or 49 cents a share compared to $120m, or 39 cents a share, a year earlier. "Our diverse portfolio of services has enabled us to manage well through difficult economic conditions, as evidenced by our solid year-over-year improvement in earnings," said Alan Graf, chief financial officer.

Turner Decides To Stay At AOL "A Little Longer"
AOL Time Warner Vice Chairman Ted Turner, a highly visible philanthropist and founder of CNN as well as many other cable channels does not pull punches when it comes to criticizing Time Warner's decision to merge with AOL. "I'd rather go back and be with one of my ex-wives than go through this again," Turner said of the merger this morning, but later, while discussing his publicized plan to leave the company, said "I'm going to make a decision after I talk to the board, but I'm leaning toward staying for a little longer. I hate to leave with the war starting."

Science & Technology

Red Hat, Hewlett-Packard Expand Linux Partnership
Hewlett-Packard has agreed to become a preferred partner to Linux software seller Red Hat, which means that the company will agree to provide all of the various Red Hat Linux software products on its machines in exchange for reduced prices and improved support. "HP is the single source for all Linux hardware and software support for customers," said Peter Blackmore, executive vice president of HP's Enterprise Systems Group.

Amazon Cancels Cheap iPaq Orders says it won't fill the orders of customers who took advantage of a pricing error on its UK site to buy iPaq handheld computers for less than $12 this morning. The company said that its terms of use strictly state that no contract for sale has been formed until customers receive an e-mail stating that their order has shipped, meaning it has no obligation to hand out Hewlett-Packard iPaqs at rock-bottom prices. In a statement, the company said "we will be canceling orders made for the HP iPaq Pocket PCs at the incorrect price this morning."

Human Error Biggest Cause Of IT Security Breaches
According to a survey by the Computing Technology Industry Association, human error -- not technical malfunction -- is the most significant cause of IT security breaches in both the public and private sectors. The survey report calls for a greater emphasis on educating employees on IT security risks, such as easy-to-break passwords. The survey found that 63% of all security breaches had human error as a major underlying factor.


Formula Developed To Calculate Cancer Risk
Smokers and ex-smokers can predict their risk of lung cancer by using a mathematical formula developed by researchers at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The formula takes into account how long and how much they smoked, and, in the case of ex-smokers, how long it has been since they quit, but with some caveats: it only works for people over 50 who have smoked at least half a pack of day for 25 or more years, because the study only tracked people with these qualifications.

Water Conference Overshadowed In Japan
The likelihood of war with Iraq cast a long shadow on Wednesday over an international forum in Kyoto, Japan dedicated to fighting a water crisis that has taken millions of lives around the world and threatens to take millions more. With water shortages worsening by the year, the timing could not be worse for the World Water Forum, as key delegates have cancelled their attendance and others, such as Iraq's delegates, have left early. There is also talk the conference itself could be shortened if war breaks out. Conference organizers are worried that the issue is being overshadowed by the imminent war.


Sports React To Upcoming War
NCAA President Myles Brand announced that the NCAA men's and women's college basketball tournaments would go on as scheduled regardless of the war, while Major League Baseball cancelled its upcoming goodwill tour of Japan between the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners, in which the games would have counted towards the regular season standings. The teams were expected to leave this morning, but the games were cancelled and would be rescheduled in the United States at a later date.

Liverpool Set To Take On Glasgow Celtic In UEFA Cup
A high-profile match between Liverpool and Glasgow Celtic is set for today in which previously favored Liverpool will be without forward El Hadji Diouf, who has received a two-match ban for spitting on Glasgow Celtic fans in the first leg. The incident has ignited tensions between the two teams, and with a semifinal spot at stake the match could be quite intense.


Academy Awards May Include Anti-War Commentary
Producers at ABC are concerned that this Sunday's Academy Awards may become a platform for actors and musicians to express their disapproval with the war, along with the concern that ABC News coverage of the Iraqi conflict may pre-empt the program. "We are continuing our efforts to bring the show together on Sunday," Oscars producer Gil Cates said in a statement. "But we do understand that ABC may adjust to war coverage if it is required and that ABC news will cover news as it happens."

Dixie Chicks' Chart Positions Affected By Anti-War Statements
Natalie Maines' comments about President George W. Bush cost The Dixie Chicks the top spot in the Billboard country singles chart this week. After a sudden 15% drop in airplay for their current chart-topping single Travelin' Soldier, the single fell to #3 on the airplay charts. Several stations have pulled the Chicks' music in response to the comments.

And Now, Some Typical Daylog Fare

Well, today is War Day, it seems. At 7:00 PM (in my time zone, anyway), President George W. Bush's deadline for Saddam Hussein to leave his country will come and go, and a war could begin at any time after this.

Three members of E2 wrote me yesterday telling me that they did suppor the war, and knowing that this forum is likely a bit left of center and thus most likely interested in not going to war, I admire their courage for expressing this viewpoint here.

Yet, my older brother was in the Gulf War, and when he came home, the conflict had destroyed his life. He couldn't resolve the conflict inside of him... how could he be involved in the deaths of people inside of their own country?

I don't know. I just hope that as little life as possible is lost in this conflict.

Lent Diary, Day 15

In my daylog for February 19, 2003, I outlined my plan for a challenging Lenten discipline: no food or water during daylight hours. Visit that daylog for more details.

Tonight, as my fast finishes, I am going to say a single quick prayer for not only the troops supporting our nation, but for the innocent civilians of Iraq as well as the civilians of the United States and Great Britain who will likely face terror retribution because of this war.

If you believe in a higher power, I hope you issue a similar prayer as well.