Thursday, April 24, 2008

fireworks guaranteed

britain's times online gives the onion a run for its money:

'disneyland' comes to baghdad with multi-million pound entertainment park

... mr [llewellyn] werner, chairman of c3, a los angeles-based holding company for private equity firms, is pouring millions of dollars into developing the baghdad zoo and entertainment experience, a massive american-style amusement park that will feature a skateboard park, rides, a concert theatre and a museum. it is being designed by the firm that developed disneyland. "the people need this kind of positive influence. it’s going to have a huge psychological impact," mr werner said.

the 50-acre (20 hectare) swath of land sits adjacent to the green zone and encompasses baghdad’s existing zoo, which was looted, left without power and abandoned after the american-led invasion in 2003. only 35 of 700 animals survived — some starved, some were stolen and some were killed by iraqis fearing food shortages.

... mr werner, who has been sold a 50-year lease on the site by the mayor of baghdad for an undisclosed sum, says that the time is ripe for the amusement park. "i think people will embrace it. they’ll see it as an opportunity for their children regardless if they’re shia or sunni. they’ll say their kids deserve a place to play and they’ll leave it alone."

indeed, in baghdad, what better time?

round-up of daily violence — monday 21 april 2008

around 8 am, three ieds planted in three cars targeted employees of the cabinet office. the first one was in dora and the employee was driving his own car the bmw when it exploded and he was injured in that incident. the second one targeted another employee who was injured as he was driving his hyundai car with another passenger who was sitting by him. the third one targeted a female employee’s car at alawi neighborhood. she was injured in that incident.

around 10 am, two roadside bombs targeted two cars near the red crescent in mansour neighborhood. no casualties reported.

around 11 am, random clashes took place at rubayee street of zayuna (east baghdad). six people were killed including a woman in that incident.

around 3:20 pm, mortars hit the green zone (iz) in central baghdad. no casualties reported.

around 4 pm, a roadside bomb targeted a kia mini bus near the oil marketing headquarter at zayuna neighborhood (east baghdad). one person was killed and five others were injured in that incident.

around 4 pm, a mortar shell hit mashtal neighborhood (east baghdad). two people were injured in that incident.

around 4 pm, clashes took place at mashtal neighborhood (east baghdad) between the iraqi army and the mahdi army. five people were injured in that clashes.

around 6 and 6:30 pm, two katyusha missiles hit the supreme council headquarters. no casualties reported.

around 6:10 pm, a katyusha missile hit the salhiyah compound (central baghdad). no casualties recorded, but some cars were damaged in that incident.

police found 4 dead bodies in baghdad today: (3) were found in east baghdad (risafa bank); 1 was in zayuna, 1 was in husseiniyah and 1 was in mashtal. while (1) was found in dora.

baghdad green zone blasted under cover of storm

militants bombarded baghdad's green zone with rockets on sunday, taking advantage of the cover of a blinding dust storm to launch one of the heaviest strikes in weeks on the fortified compound.

... iraqi police said eight missiles or mortars had hit the green zone and another 14 fell in other parts of the iraqi capital before nightfall in several quick bursts, killing two people and wounding 20.

... several more missiles were fired late on sunday evening but it was unclear if there were any casualties.

militiamen have fired 700 missiles and mortars over the past month in baghdad, but u.s. forces had said they believed they had reduced the fighters' ability to strike the green zone by occupying the part of the sadr city slum closest to it.

u.s. forces normally respond rapidly to missile firings with helicopter strikes, but those are impossible in dust storms.

quality of life indicators, april 20 2008

iraqi unemployment rate27% to 60% where curfew not in effect
consumer price inflation in 200650%
iraqi children suffering from chronic malnutrition28% in june 2007
percent of professionals who have left iraq since 200340%
iraqi physicians before 2003 invasion34,000
iraqi physicians who have left iraq since 2005 invasion12,000
iraqi physicians murdered since 2003 invasion2,000
pre-war daily hours baghdad homes have electricity16 to 24 hrs
average daily hours baghdad homes have electricity5.6 hrs in may 2007
average daily hours iraqi homes have electricity1 to 2 hrs
number of iraqi homes connected to sewer systems37%
iraqis without access to adequate water supplies70%

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