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Home > World

All the news that didn't fit

19 December 2003

By now we all know that the evil Saddam and the wicked Huntley are behind bars and that the world (or at least Soham) is safe for small children. But here are a few things you may have missed amid all the talk of spider holes and school-age girlfriends:

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was nearly killed in an assassination attempt.

On Sunday, a convoy Musharraf was travelling in passed over a bridge that blew up a few seconds later. The President's life was only saved by an electronic jamming device installed in his car.

Of course, the nightmare scenario in Pakistan is that fundamentalist elements take control of the country’s nukes (by, for instance, assassinating the President) and Delhi is more or less erased from the map by the day’s end.

The US State Department and the elite Washington press corps were deeply worried about the risk of a coup in a nuclear-armed country, as was made clear by the following exchange, two days after the event:

'Question: Pardon me if we discussed this yesterday, but I don't think we did, the assassination attempt on President Musharraf and your reaction to it?'

'State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher: No, we really didn't.'

'Question: All right. I didn't think we did.'

'Boucher: Let me get you something on that.'

The State Department later put out a statement thanking Musharraf for his support in the 'Global War on Terror' and expressing relief at the fact that nobody was hurt.

The EU agreed to hand US authorities personal data on everyone who flies to America.

This firms up a deal that’s been in the works for a while (more here). If you fly to the USA, the Department of Homeland Security will soon be given your name, address, phone number, credit card info, frequent flier account status and about 30 other bits of data. On a positive note, tough negotiation tactics by EU commissioners mean that your meal preferences are safe from prying eyes.

The junior partner in the Washington sniper case awaited the outcome of his trial.

Lee Boyd Malvo was only 17 at the time he allegedly participated in the killings, but that’s no problem, as the US is the only Western nation to allow the government-sponsored murder of children. They might have a tough time deciding which state gets to kill him, though.

The leader of a gang that beat, boiled, strangled and chopped up a 14-year-old boy in Wales was convicted of murder.

Lucky for Matthew Welsh, his victim was teenage, male and average-looking, rather than female, preteen, and cute, thus Huntley-type notoriety just kind of passed him by.

Afghanistan’s constitutional convention began, but was interrupted by a protester.

Malalai Joya tried to explain that the loya jirga was dominated by Afghan mujahedeen, i.e. the same guys who were behind one of the most repressive states of modern times and gave the world’s most wanted terrorist free rein to kill thousands of people. In a bold defence of Afghanistan’s new-found freedom of speech, Joya was booted out of the conference.

The naked photographer was caught.

Police in Ohio picked up a guy who has been walking around in the buff, sneaking up on women, and taking pictures after they apparently react with great shock, possibly (this is a guess) at the size of his manhood. So now all is right in the world, and we can breathe easy.

Musharraf story:

State department transcript:

TFT on US-EU data sharing:


Welsh murder:

Malalai Joya:

Naked photographer:

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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