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US President George W Bush gets ‘Farewell Boot’ in Iraq

US President George W Bush (In picture) faces the wrath of an Iraqi journalist who hurls his shoes at him during his final visit to Iraq

On his ‘farewell’ visit to Iraq as US President, George W Bush had an unusual ‘encounter’ when an
Iraqi scribe threw two shoes at him, but the agile American leader downplayed the incident, saying “it’s a sign of a free society.”

The journalist, Muntadar al-Zeidi, threw two shoes at Bush — one after another — during a joint news conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad on Sunday (December 14, 2008) and shouted “it is the farewell kiss, you dog”.

“All I can report is a size 10,” the president joked. Bush, who ducked both throws, said he has seen a lot of weird things during his eight-year-long Presidency and that he would term the latest incident as “one of the weirdest”.

“And it was amusing. I mean, I’ve seen a lot of weird things during my presidency and this may rank up there as one of the weirdest. So this happens and it’s a sign of a free society,” Bush said. “But I’m not insulted. I don’t hold it against the government. I don’t think the Iraqi press corps as a whole is terrible. And so, the guy wanted to get on TV and he did. I don’t know what his beef is. But whatever it is I’m sure somebody will hear it,” the US President told ABC channel.

After the incident, Iraqi government said that the scribe, who works with Al-Baghdadia channel which broadcasts from Cairo, has been held for questioning by the Prime Minister’s guards and is being tested for alcohol and drugs. Meanwhile, the television channel demanded the immediate release of its journalist and called the scribe as a “proud Arab and an open-minded man.”

Bush shoe attacker ‘detested America’

The Iraqi journalist who caused a furore when he hurled his shoes at visiting US President George W Bush “detested America” and had been plotting such an attack for months, colleagues said on on Monday (Dec 15, 2008).

Muntazer al-Zaidi, 28, was being hailed as a hero by some after his action against the US President who ordered the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and anti-US demonstrations were being staged in Baghdad and the holy shiite city of Najaf.

“This was a spontaneous action by an Iraqi citizen who was showing his dismay at seeing the President of the country which is occupying our nation,” said Liwaa Sumeissim from the anti-American Sadr movement.

The Iraqi government however branded Zaidi’s actions as “shameful” and demanded an apology from his employer Al-Baghdadia television, which in turn was calling for his immediate release from custody.

One of his colleagues in the Baghdad office of Al-Baghdadia said Zaidi had been planning to throw shoes at Bush if ever he got the chance. “When he said he was going to do it, we didn’t doubt him,” he said.

“Muntazer detested America. He detested the US soldiers, he detested Bush,” said another co-worker who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

An Iraqi lawyer said Zaidi risked a minimum of two years in prison if he is prosecuted for insulting a visiting head of state, but could face a 15-year term if he is charged with attempted murder.

In Cairo, Muzhir al-Khafaji, programming director for Al-Baghdadia television, described Zaidi as a “proud Arab and an open-minded man.” “We fear for his safety,” he told, adding that Zaidi had been arrested twice before by the Americans.

December 16, 2008 Posted by | Attacks, General, USA, USA Related, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan unsafe: Dhoni, Tendulkar tell Board

The Marriott Hotel in Islamabad after the Sept. 21 bombing. The hotel was used by international cricket teams.

DOWN: The Marriott Hotel in Islamabad after the Sept. 21 bombing. The hotel was used by international cricket teams.

Top Indian cricket players, including captain M S Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar, are unwilling to tour Pakistan in January because they fear for their security.

Sources tell that senior players have expressed their concern to the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI). The team is scheduled to play three Tests and five ODIs from January 4 to February 19 tour in Pakistan.

Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh too have expressed their unwillingness to tour Pakistan. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has assured foolproof security but the Indians believe the threat during the tour would be severe.

PCB chief Ejaz Butt is scheduled to visit India soon to try and convince the BCCI but that plea is now likely to fall on deaf ears.

It is known that the Ministry of External Affairs is unlikely to permit the Indian team to tour Pakistan.

Early November, the government refused to permit the Indian junior hockey team to tour Pakistan due to security concerns.

The Associated Press reports the International Cricket Council deferred the Champions Trophy in September after five of the eight participating teams refused to compete at the biennial tournament that is considered the second most prestigious one-day event after the World Cup.

The PCB has said it would consider playing India at a neutral venue or possibly switch series as alternatives. Pakistan is due to tour India in 2010.

November 26, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disgusted Dhoni denies rift with selectors

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Nov 22, 2008 denied rift with selectors on dropping of Rudra Pratap Singh and preferring all-rounder Irfan Pathan for the remaining part of the on-going One-Day series against England.

“I don’t know who is spreading this kind of rumors. Whoever is leaking confidential matters to the press is not doing any good for the well being of cricket. I don’t want to deny or admit what transpires during the meeting because it is supposed to be confidential. If someone has leaked confidential matters to the press it is just not done. I want to know who the source was. As far as I am concerned there was no rift with the selectors on any issue,” Dhoni told reporters on the eve of the fourth One-Day match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

“It is unfortunate that such rumors are being spread when the team is doing so well and we are on the threshold of achieving yet another series victory. I should admit this kind of distractions are not good for the game in general and for the team in particular. The selection matters should always remain inside the four walls and moreover it is the selectors job to pick the best possible team,” he added.

It is understood that one of the selectors leaked about Dhoni’s threat to quit as captain of the Indian team if Irfan Pathan was preferred ahead of R P Singh during the selection meeting in Kanpur after the hosts beat England by 16 runs on Duckworth-Lewis Method.

However, Dhoni, who first denied the rift vehemently but later on softened his stance and wanted to know who was leaking out confidential matters to the press wanted to know the name of the person responsible when a scribe tried to grill him on this matter.

“if you (scribe) got the news over phone from someone, why don’t you name that person. By naming that person, you will be doing a great service to the team as what transpires in a meeting is not supposed to be leaked by anyone,” he thundered.

“Thankfully, our team is very united and both R P and Irfan understand that the best 16 boys get to play for the country. Luckily I don’t have to explain to RP or Irfan about anything as they trust me fully. In fact the whole team trusts each other and I should say that it has been a very short but fruitful journey as a player and captain so far. Though this unwanted event (rumors of rift) has turned out to be an eventful journey as well,” he added.

November 22, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment