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Uncle Sam gets Uncle Saddam

nLos Angeles, March 27 (Reuters): A satirical documentary that portrays Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as a personal hygiene fanatic who likes to fish with grenades is getting a timely first time DVD release in the US next week.

Uncle Saddam, made by French freelance journalist Joel Soler in 2000, received critical acclaim at international film festivals two years ago and resulted in death threats against Soler at his Los Angeles area home.

Distributor Xenon Pictures say the timing of the April 2 DVD release during the US-led war raging in Iraq, is mere coincidence, but hope the documentary will give Americans “a candid look at the enigmatic Iraqi tyrant”.

The film was compiled from footage Soler smuggled out of Iraq during a visit there on the pretext of chronicling the nation’s suffering under UN sanctions. He won rare access to Saddam and the film includes shots of the Iraqi President being kissed on his armpit, showing off his vast collection of hats and fishing at a country lake by throwing hand grenades into the water.

Brolly battle

nLondon: While American Marines braced themselves against sandstorms behind ski masks and body armour, a British soldier was pictured near Basra with a more low-tech defence against the elements: an umbrella.

Corporal Claire O’Connor stays dry in the rain near Basra. But his equipment does have a precedent.

Major Digby Tatham-Warter, who led the 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment, to secure a crossing at Arnhem in 1944, was often seen leading his men, umbrella in hand, seemingly without a care for his own safety.

Ally by mistake

nLjubljana (Reuters): The US mistakenly named Slovenia as a partner in its war against Iraq and even offered it a share of the money budgeted for the conflict, the tiny Alpine nation said on Thursday. A day after hundreds of Slovenians hit the streets to protest the inclusion of their nation in the US war budget, Prime Minister Anton Rop said: “When we asked for an explanation, the (US) state department told us we were named in the document by mistake.”

Jordan snub

nBaghdad (Reuters): Baghdad has accused neighbouring Jordan of letting US forces use its territory to launch attacks on Iraq and of preventing food aid trucks from reaching the country. “It is a disgrace for any Arab country to allow foreign troops to use its territory to launch an aggression against their brothers in Iraq,” trade minister Mohammad Mehdi Saleh said.

Jordan sided with Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War.


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