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Campaign to curb Iraqi violence fails

first_imgBAGHDAD, Iraq – The U.S-led campaign to curb violence in Baghdad neighborhood by neighborhood has failed, and American officials are looking for a new strategy, a top U.S. military official said Thursday. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said that instead of quelling violence, the campaign, code- named Operation Forward Together, had contributed to a spike in U.S. military deaths. The operation “has not met our overall expectations of sustaining a reduction in the levels of violence,” Caldwell said. “We are working very closely with the government of Iraq to determine how best to refocus our efforts.” In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Ballesteros called Caldwell’s assessment “accurate and candid.” Baghdad police reported that 27 bodies were found around the city Thursday, 11 in neighborhoods originally targeted in the security plan. The number of U.S. soldiers and Marines killed in Baghdad has skyrocketed, and October is on course to be the third deadliest month for American service members since Saddam Hussein was toppled in April 2003. U.S. officials announced the deaths of two more soldiers and a Marine on Thursday, bringing the death toll so far this month to 73. Caldwell sounded despondent as he acknowledged the death toll. He said U.S. officials were reassessing the assumptions they’d made before implementing the Baghdad security plan. “We’re asking ourselves if the conditions under which it was first devised and planned still exist today or have the conditions changed and therefore a modification to that plan needs to be made,” he said. Caldwell said “there is no question” that sectarian violence has increased in the neighborhoods that were swept. “We find the insurgent elements – the extremists – are in fact punching back hard. They’re trying to get back into those areas,” he said. Caldwell didn’t say how American officials might adjust their plans. But he said U.S. troops were re-entering the southern Baghdad neighborhood of Dora, one of the capital’s most violent areas. Dora was among the first neighborhoods swept, and it’s now the site of daily discoveries of bodies bearing signs of torture. Caldwell said there was a 22percent increase in violent incidents during the first three weeks of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, compared with the previous three weeks. He didn’t specify how the military compiled its numbers, and it’s unclear how reliable they are. American officials have released several statistics during the past month that have later proved to be inaccurate. U.S. pronouncements about other Iraqi developments also have been subsequently contradicted. American officials said earlier this week that the al-Maliki government had transferred two Ministry of Interior commanders who had been linked to possible death-squad police units. But when ministry officials announced that the commanders were being transferred, they called the moves promotions. “The commanders are very cherished by the minister and are appreciated for serving the great Iraq, and they will still be in the ministry,” ministry spokesman Abdul Kareem Khalif said. Caldwell conceded that al-Maliki had ordered U.S. officials to release Sheik Mazin al-Saidy, a top leader aligned with fiery Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose Mahdi Army militia is thought to be responsible for much of the sectarian killings. Caldwell wouldn’t say why.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’Caldwell’s comments, which came during his weekly briefing for reporters, were a rare public admission that an American strategy in Iraq hasn’t worked, and it came as Republicans and Democrats in Washington are pressing the Bush administration to devise a new approach. Polls have shown that Iraq is the No. 1 issue among U.S. voters less than three weeks before congressional elections. Bush administration policy has been built on two assumptions: that American troops would be able to shed some security responsibilities as the numbers of trained Iraqi police officers and soldiers grew, and that the elected government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would be able to assert control over Shiite Muslim militias aligned with its political supporters. Neither assumption has proved true. Violence has continued to surge, even as tens of thousands of U.S.-trained police officers and soldiers have been added to the Iraqi security forces, and al-Maliki’s government has yet to present a program to disarm the militias. Operation Forward Together was considered a last-ditch effort to tame Baghdad, where violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims has reached unprecedented levels. The plan involved pulling 12,000 American soldiers from elsewhere in Iraq and teaming them with Iraqi troops to go door-to-door in Baghdad’s most troubled neighborhoods and root out armed groups. The neighborhoods were then to be the focus of economic-development campaigns. Shortly after the operation began Aug. 7, Caldwell hailed it, saying Baghdad’s murder rate had dropped 52 percent. But, as McClatchy Newspapers first reported, statistics from the Baghdad morgue suggested a much smaller decrease in violent deaths. last_img read more

Eating Foods That Make No Sense Together Makes Meals Taste Better

first_imgOne of the best parts of the Cheesecake Factory is that you can get Thai spring rolls as an appetizer, fettuccini alfredo as your main course, fried rice as a side dish, and Snickers cheesecake for dessert.  You’ll die, but deliciously.It turns out when you order foods that don’t make any sense together, it actually makes you enjoy your meal MORE.Researchers at Drexel University in Philadelphia had people eat pasta with garlic and oil after an appetizer.  Half of them started with an Italian minestrone soup . . . and half of them started with a Thai soup.And the researchers found people liked their meal MORE when they had the mismatched appetizer.Their theory is that when you eat foods that are similar, you compare them to each other.  So if you eat a minestrone soup that’s just okay, it brings down your entire attitude toward any Italian food you eat at that meal.But when you have foods that don’t belong together, it’s easier to mentally keep them separate . . . so you can enjoy everything more since you’re evaluating them on their own.last_img read more

Learning to Think Strategically about Technology – An Intel® Small Business Profile

first_imgThis is the fourth profile in a new Intel Small Business Series focusing on Small Business owners and how they are reacting to the demands and opportunities presented by emergent technology.Jim Smith is the founder and CEO of McKenzie Books, Inc., a service that buys back used textbooks. Smith established McKenzie Books in 2004 when he identified an opportunity to provide college students an alternative to the small payouts they were used to receiving for their used books at bookstores. Since then, McKenzie Books has grown to a $5 million business. Additionally, Smith has expanded his offerings to contract with Amazon for processing and fulfillment as well as creating two new “recommerce” verticals (services that buy used devices or gear back from consumers for cash).Having grown from a bootstrapped family business to a sophisticated operation with four websites and a 20,000 sq. ft. warehouse, McKenzie’s IT needs have grown over the years. While Smith, a computer science grad, was able to handle the bulk of the work out the gate, it became more difficult as they scaled.“Once we hit about a million in sales, things are hopping along enough that I need to be thinking strategically and not thinking about, ‘well I need to fix a printer,’” Smith said when asked when did he realized his business needed additional IT support.While McKenzie Books doesn’t have a dedicated IT employee, they do work with a vendor to enable workstation and server monitoring. By outsourcing parts of his IT department, Smith feels like he can focus more on business strategy.ProductivityWhile migrating more services to the cloud is Smith’s most pressing IT priority, he also sees a need to supplement the company’s traditional workstations with mobile devices such as tablets. Additionally, his company supports a BYOD policy that lets employees sync their work email to their personal devices.Mobile technology is helping small businesses streamline their day-to-day operations in myriad ways. From mobile point of sale platforms to evolved customer relationship management services, small businesses are finding countless benefits in this new mobile-first ecosystem. While tablets have proven to be a great platform for work and entertainment, recent advances have led to the development of more robust “2-in-1s” — a hybrid consisting of a razor-thin tablet that features a full removable keyboard. Intel-powered 2-in-1s are a great option for small businesses looking to provide their employees versatility and mobility while retaining high levels of productivity at an affordable price point.Many businesses are also facing a demand for flexibility from the workforce. Fortunately, collaboration software such as video chat and document sharing has developed to high levels of sophistication, making a mobile workforce more feasible. With the pace of business moving faster than ever, adopting a flexible BYOD strategy is helping businesses stay nimble and productive.Cloud ComputingLike other small businesses, McKenzie Books is in the process of migrating different aspects of their business to the cloud. Smith reports that one of their IT priorities is to continue their trajectory toward the cloud. McKenzie Books is finding value in offerings like Intel-powered Amazon Web Services (AWS) due to their scalability and pay-as-you-go pricing.By migrating parts of their business to the cloud, small and medium operations alike are able to grow their businesses while managing overhead. Cloud services like AWS eliminate large capital expenditures for IT, making growth costs more manageable. Not only does cloud computing mitigate the hard costs of building and maintaining server infrastructure, these new services also offer valuable business insights in the form of data analytics and workload automation.For more information on how technology can accelerate your small business, check out Intel’s Small Business Tools.To continue the conversation and stay up to date on the latest Intel Small Business profile, follow us at @EmpowerSmallbiz or use #IntelSmallBiz. A software developer turned entrepreneur, Jim McKenzie Smith started McKenzieBooks.com and Cash4Books.net in 2004. Jim has Bachelors in Computer Science from Oregon State University from 2003, and worked at Freightliner in NW Portland for 3 years before leaving to run the business full time in 2007. Jim has recently launched two new companies in 2014: TechTwice.com and SeasonsGear.com. Jim is a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and currently serves on the Board as Accelerator Chair. On a personal note, Jim is happily married to Breanne Smith.  They have 3 children ages 11, 6, and 4. Their youngest is adopted from Ethiopia.Follow Jim on Twitter @Cash4Bookslast_img read more

Ricci Rivero participates in Gilas practice

first_imgPH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid LATEST STORIES Pyeongchang Olympics brings ‘real hope’ to divided Koreas, says Bach Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Also attending the practice were Japeth Aguilar, Troy Rosario, Allein Maliksi, Kevin Alas, Mac Belo, Carl Bryan Cruz, and Kiefer Ravena.Sophomores Roger Pogoy, Matthew Wright, and Jio Jalalon were also in attendance, but remained on the sidelines for the session.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingThe current Gilas pool members continue their preparations for the second window of the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers, where they face Australia on February 22 at Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne before flying back home to take on Japan on February 25 at Mall of Asia Arena.Aside from Rivero, nine players from the “23-for-23” cadet list also participated in the training namely Paul Desiderio, J-Jay Alejandro, Javee Mocon, Arvin Tolentino, Ken Tuffin, Juan Gomez de Liaño, and high school standouts Kai Sotto of Ateneo, Will Gozum of Mapua, and newcomer Carl Tamayo of Nazareth School of National University. SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netRicci Rivero was finally an active participant on Monday’s Gilas Pilipinas evening training session at Meralco Gym as for the second straight week, coach Chot Reyes drew a complete attendance from his current pool.Veterans Jayson Castro, June Mar Fajardo, and Gabe Norwood spearheaded the 12 members of the current pool.ADVERTISEMENT BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusives Do we want to be champions or GROs? – Sotto Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ View comments ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte MOST READlast_img read more

Enrique Iglesias Helps Kids in El Salvador Guatemala and Peru Turn the

first_imgRight before performing in front of thousands in Guatemala last week, Grammy Award-winning artist Enrique Iglesias received a surprise holiday gift backstage from some of his littlest local fans.The international pop star, through a partnership with Microsoft, just donated $200,000 in software to Save the Children to strengthen its literacy programming for elementary school-age children in El Salvador, Guatemala and Peru, and the kid fans from Guatemala’s remote mountainous region of Quiche wanted to thank him in their own words at the Dec. 9 concert.Their gift – a handmade book – is a collection of hand-written stories and colorful drawings that they created through Save the Children’s literacy program called Literacy Boost. The stories describe local traditions around holidays like Guatemala’s Independence Day and Christmas.“I am honored to receive such an original and creative gift. As a songwriter, words and story-telling have always had a special meaning to me. Through this donation, I hope more children will be able to share in my passion,” said Iglesias.In Guatemala, nearly 1 in three kids does not complete elementary school. Many children, lacking the basic skills to read and write, struggle in school and eventually drop out. Literacy Boost helps kids learn to read early on, by training teachers in effective classroom techniques, inspiring parents to support their children’s learning and create books with locally available materials, and offering reading camps and a reading buddy program for kids, which encourages them to read at home.“Going to school is not enough to ensure learning. Some children – those who are indigenous and do not know the national language, kids living in extreme poverty, girls and those with few books or no one to read to them at home – need an extra boost to gain basic reading skills,” said Mary McInerney, Save the Children’s country director in Guatemala. “The gap in reading ability between strong and struggling readers widens with age. That is why it is critically important that children learn to read in the early grades, so that they can then read to learn.”McInerny added, “We are tremendously grateful for Enrique’s donation to our Literacy Boost program. It will help the teachers improve their lesson plans and create learning materials, such as stories for the kids to read during reading camp with their reading buddies.”The donated software also will be used to support a food program funded by USDA called IDEA, which provides nutritious food and education on good eating habits to children in Save the Children-supported schools.With their gift to Iglesias, the Guatemalan children wanted to welcome the international pop star to their country.“We want to share something from our communities, and thank him for his support,” said 9-year-old Juana.“His support motivates us to stay in school and reach our dreams,” said 9-year-old Henely.Literacy Boost is helping kids learn to read in 24 countries around the world, including El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti and Peru in Latin America and the Caribbean.Teaming up with Save the Children last fall, Iglesias also launched a #Hearts4Kids T-shirt to support the non-profit’s humanitarian responses around the globe.last_img read more