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The New Oil

There’s something an American television anchor saidduring the opening moments of the U.S. invasion of Iraqthat I just can’t get out of my head. “One ofthe key aims of this campaign is to avoid damaging theIraqi infrastructure,” he said. “After all, in a fewdays we’re going to own this country.”

President Bush has been careful to avoid this kind of talk. This was, let’s not forget, a war of pre-emption and liberation, not of conquest and acquisition.

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A glimpse of history in the marketplace

Sheâe(TM)s smiling. They often do here. This part of town is called Nambu Shi-jang (Nambu Market), and though it isn't the only traditional market in Jeonju, it's thelargest. Itâe(TM)s run in large measure by middle-aged women called ajumas. (Ajuma means aunt.

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Therapy for a psychotic electorate

A reporter from Moncton, fresh from the open and straightforward politics of New Brunswick, called me a couple of weeks ago completely baffled. He had gone over the border to Cumberland and Colchester Counties to cover the Nova Scotia election and felt as though he had wandered onto a strange planet.

Mention the election, he said, and people became snarly and uncommunicative, but couldn't or wouldn't explain why. Could I explain this?

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Education: good for your health

University students returning to class this week are facing an average 7.4 per cent increase in their tuition costs. This rise in tuition fees will almost certainly mean a reduction in accessibility to post-secondary schooling — especially for those from poor and working class families — which, in turn, will have significant detrimental health effects.

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Bangladesh launches war on terror

In a major attitudinal shift, Bangladesh's mainstream Islamic parties have joined forces with the right wing government and the people to crack down on extremist Islamic groups in the country — a move aimed at boosting the country's international image.

In a new trend, about a dozen Islamic parties including the leading Jamaat-e-Islami, wedded to establishing Islamic rule through election, have begun openly opposing militant Islamic groups.

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Women push to pass law against wife-beating

Alarmed by the rise in domestic brutality, last week the provincial assembly in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province introduced a stringent law against wife-beating, despite stiff opposition from the six-party ruling religious alliance, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA).

Women lawmakers both from the Opposition and the ruling alliance joined hands to get the law passed.

Dr Anjum Amjad, a member from the ruling alliance, tabled The Punjab Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill 2003 for protection of victims of domestic violence.

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No quibble, no question: Mulroney and the media

Let's see if I have this right. In 1995, former prime minister Brian Mulroney sued the federal government and the RCMP for $50 million for suggesting he had accepted secret payments from middleman Karlheinz Schreiber to help grease the sale of Airbus jets to Air Canada in the late 1980s.

In 1996, during a discovery hearing in connection with his lawsuit, Mulroney testified under oath: “I had never had any dealings with [Schreiber].”

A year later, Ottawa settled that lawsuit and agreed to pay Mulroney $2 million in legal and PR fees.

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Looking back at 2003

Here at rabble we're taking a couple of weeks off. If you are too, this is your chance to have a look back at some of the stories and columns you might have missed in the past year. If you find something you'd like to discuss, go to babble — oops, babble is closed too. We'll all be back on January 5, 2004. Happy holidays, everyone.

News and features:

Porto Alegre, Canada?

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Wal-Mart and China: the ultimate joint venture

Wal-Mart and other major global retailers in the apparel and food industries are driving down working conditions for millions of mostly women workers worldwide, according to a new report by the British-based international development agency, Oxfam.

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Martin's budget: we live in two different worlds

Never is the divide in Canadian society so wide as it is on budget day. When the bankers and the business community express smug satisfaction, the rest of us better take cover. When the Conservatives cry that there aren't enough tax cuts while health, education, housing and municipal needs go wanting, the differences between “them” and “us” become very clear.

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