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In brief

Issue No. 1934

US injuries pass the 10,000 mark

US TROOPS now have a one in 11 casualty rate in Iraq, with the number of US soldiers who have suffered injuries passing the 10,000 mark this week.

In a statement, the US department of defence said 10,252 US troops had been wounded since 19 March 2003. Some 5,396 of these were hurt seriously enough to be unable to return to the battlefield.

On Thursday of last week nine US soldiers were killed in three separate incidents in Iraq. One involved the deaths of seven soldiers, killed when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb.

The total number of US soldiers killed since the war began stood at 1,349 on Thursday of last week.

With a total casualty count of 11,601 and a permanently deployed force of 130,000, one in 96 US soldiers has now been killed in battle in Iraq.

Baghdad suffers power cuts

THE IRAQI capital of Baghdad has been suffering from power shortages for nearly a month, according to reports.

Ministry of power officials say that problems with the main generators for the city will take longer than expected to be repaired and that a shortage of petrol is also delaying work.

Before the war Baghdad used to have approximately 18 hours a day of electricity. That has been reduced to only two hours in the morning and sometimes only two hours at night.

Medical centres which depend on generators are also being hit by the petrol shortages. Huge amounts of vaccines have been lost because refrigerators are not functioning properly.

Military censors doctor’s diary

AN INTERNET diary by a military doctor serving in Iraq was shut down last week by army officials.

Major Michael Cohen, who works as a doctor in a hospital that treats both soldiers and Iraqis wounded in the fighting, has kept the online diary for the past 12 months.

US army officials are concerned that these military “blogs” provide people with a more accurate account of the reality of the Iraq war than that presented in the traditional media.

Human rights? How quaint

GEORGE BUSH’S choice to be his new attorney general has admitted White House officials wanted to weaken the Geneva Convention that protects prisoners of war. As White House counsel three years ago, Alberto Gonzales had already decided that the international treaty, which prohibits torture, does not apply to those the US targets in its “war on terror”.

During that time Gonzales called the Geneva Convention “quaint” and “obsolete”. His advice paved the way for the Guantanamo Bay camp.

Now he has told a Senate committee investigating his nomination for attorney general, “We are fighting a new type of enemy and a new type of war...and I think it is appropriate to revisit whether or not Geneva should be revisited.”

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Sat 15 Jan 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1934
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