Iraq's state-run media quotes Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan as saying during a visit to Baghdad that American Muslims are praying for an Iraqi victory in a war with the United States. A State Department official in Washington says he was aware of the report on the official Iraqi News Agency, INA, but was not prepared to comment.
Farrakhan held meetings during the weekend with Iraqi officials on a "solidarity" trip billed as an effort to avoid a U.S. military campaign against Saddam Hussein. The agency quotes the black Muslim leader as saying "the Muslim American people are praying to the almighty God to grant victory to Iraq."
The Bush administration has repeatedly said it is committed to "regime change" in Iraq and has made clear that it is considering military action to oust Saddam.
Farrakhan also met with Health Minister Omeed Mubarak, who briefed him on the "effects of the sanctions on Iraq and the health reality represented by the death of 1.6 million people a year because of food and medical shortages," INA says. Iraq has been living under economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations since its invasion of Kuwait in August 1990.
-- Is Farrakhan more a member of the Nation of Islam than he is an American?
-- Have economic sanctions against Iraq failed?
(Thanks to UPI's Thanaa Imam)
MASS SMALLPOX VACCINATIONS MORE EFFECTIVE
Mass vaccination of the U.S. general population against the smallpox virus would result in fewer deaths than the government's current plan of quarantining and vaccinating only those exposed in a bioterrorist attack, concludes a new mathematical model.
Vaccinating most or all of the population would make any post-attack strategy work better because fewer people would be vulnerable to the disease, says Edward Kaplan, principal investigator of the study and a professor at the Yale University. Another advantage of the strategy is it would deter terrorists from releasing smallpox in the first place because the chance for widespread mortality would be low, he adds.
Smallpox kills approximately one-third of people who become infected and while the vaccine is effective up to four days after infection, there are no other effective treatments. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta advises ring containment, which would quarantine and vaccinate only those exposed and those with whom they come in contact.
-- Should the public be vaccinated once the smallpox vaccine is available even if side effects kill hundreds?
-- Should the public have faith in the current government policy of ring containment?
(Thanks to Steve Mitchell, UPI Medical Correspondent)
BUSH, ASHCROFT 'DANGEROUS'
The Rev. Jesse Jackson called President George W. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft "the most threatening combination in our lifetime," at the 93rd annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
The crowd of about 3,000 in a ballroom at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston cheered Jackson's remarks, The Washington Times reports.
Sunday night, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond accused the president of selling "snake oil" and asserted that Bush was part of a "right-wing conspiracy."
Bush gave a dismissive shake of his head when asked at a news conference about the attacks on his civil rights record. "Let's see," there I was sitting at the table with foreign leaders, looking at Colin Powell and Condi Rice," he said.
The NAACP says it is nonpartisan but critics have accused the 500,000-member organization of being a tool for liberal causes, The Times reports.
-- Does the Bush administration have a strong civil rights record?
-- Are Bush and Ashcroft the biggest threat to blacks in the past 50 years?