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War Briefs

Saddam topples Hitler

Washington, April 1 (Reuters): Forget Stalin or Hitler. The worst ruler in world history is Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the Pentagon said on Monday.

“The Iraqi people will be free of decades and decades and decades of torture and oppression the likes of which I think the world has not ever seen before,” Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said. Clarke’s comment was in line with a mounting stream of comments from Washington that have demonised the Iraqi leader as US and British troops now look as if they may take longer than expected in removing him from power.

Saddam has been condemned for his exceptional brutality against his own people but historians generally agree that the Nazi dictator and the Soviet leader were responsible for killing more people than any other dictators in world history.

Channel choice

Baghdad (Reuters): An Iranian-based Arabic television news station opposed to the Iraq war is drawing viewers in Baghdad where it offers residents an alternative to the government’s propaganda machine. Al-Alam or The World is a 24-hour news channel, which broadcasts on terrestrial airwaves, allowing Iraqis to tune in to watch the latest news. Satellite dishes are banned in Iraq. “I am selling these like bread,” said one man selling aerials, that improve reception of the station, as buyers line up at his kiosk in downtown Baghdad.

Marines drown

As Sayliya Camp, Qatar (Reuters): A US tank carrying four US Marines plunged from a bridge into the Euphrates last week after the driver was killed in combat, apparently causing the other three crewmen to drown, US military officials said on Monday. The incident occurred on March 27 near An Nasiriyah, but the tank and the dead Marines were not pulled from the river until Sunday, US Central Command said in a statement. It said the tank driver was shot and killed while crossing a bridge and the M1A1 tank toppled into the river.

Aussie Navy

Canberra (Reuters): Australia said on Tuesday it would scale back its naval contribution to the war on Iraq by one frigate later this month, as there was a reduced workload in the Gulf. However, six Australian air force intelligence specialists are to be added to the US-led forces to help assess battle and bomb damage, said defence minister Robert Hill. The frigates HMAS Anzac and HMAS Darwin, have been in the Gulf since October. Hill said they would leave for Australia by the end of April, to be replaced by one frigate, the HMAS Sydney. A supply ship would remain in the Gulf.

Song support

Toronto (Reuters): Canadian baseball fans stood and sang “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch of the major league season opener between the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees on Monday, in a show of support for the US war effort in Iraq. Ordered by Major League Baseball to play “God Bless America” instead of the traditional “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during all team home openers, it had been feared the song might trigger booing like that heard at a recent NHL hockey game in Montreal.


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