Iraqi security forces killed at least four people and injured more than 50 others on Thursday. They used rubber bullets, tear gas, and live rounds to disperse hundreds of protesters gathered in central Baghdad, according to medical and security officials. Three demonstrators were killed in Tahrir Square when tear gas canisters struck them directly in the head Thursday morning. A fourth died later in a hospital from wounds sustained from a stun bomb. Read more: Zahraa Ghandour: 'It's always the right time to talk about freedom' The military-grade tear gas canisters are 10 times heavier than regular grenades and are capable of piercing the skull. Amnesty International reports that the victims suffered "gruesome wounds and death after the grenades embed inside their heads." Police and medical sources report that over half of the wounded suffered injuries from live ammunition. Thursday's deadly protest follows two days of relative calm in Baghdad. Security … [Read more...] about Iraq protests: ‘Gruesome wounds’ as several more killed in Baghdad
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Iran did a deal. Iraq got bombed back to the Stone Age. North Korea was invited to tea. Into the void where the Axis of Evil once terrified the world, a new existential threat to civilisation has been born. And it has a spire 123 metres tall. Unbeknown to the 500,000 tourists who visit it each year, it seems that Salisbury Cathedral is built on an inter-dimensional whirlpool which sucks evil down towards hell like sand in an hour-glass. The presence of these unwitting pilgrims, walking widdershins around the cloisters, merely speeds up the spiritual centrifuge. Hence the bemusement of Russian spies who, on an entirely-heterosexual visit under false names to the East End of London, found themselves dragged towards the bewitching building. They broke free of its unearthly tractor beam only when they dropped a bottle of perfume that Ruslan had bought as a gift for his mother, and was unfortunately past its sell-by date. Caught in the Salisbury swirl, the liquid mutated into a … [Read more...] about Is Salisbury Cathedral part of a new Axis of Evil?
In a poem of the 1950s, Robert Conquest considered the relation between thought and fornication. It is entirely dispassionate praise of passion as the source of all our apprehensions of beauty: "Not love, or not yet love, the sacred act/Speaks to that 'worship' passionate, exact,/The truly human action which of all/Seems most material, most animal,/This rite of adoration, thigh to thigh,/Creates the star-strewn goddess, the deep sky". A purely erotic poet might have stopped there. Conquest goes further. He wants to know how to get thought as well as beauty from his adventures: "What is the sex of meaning? What delight/Labours to loose it from the brooding night?" And answers that intellect should "move through jungles rank with Myth... in speed and passion, with pure instinct like a striking fer-de-lance". The leap from pure romanticism to the idea that intellect should cut through myth like a poisonous snake tells you a lot about his style of argument. When his history of Stalin's … [Read more...] about Scourge and poet