Middle East

September 19, 2008

Gap, Inc will open stores in Mexico, Egypt and Jordan

Gap Inc. is expanding internationally with new franchise agreements to open stores in Mexico, Egypt and Jordan, according to a report in San Francisco Business Times:

The new agreement brings to 21 the number of countries with approved Gap franchisees. The first franchisee was signed in January 2006, and over 100 franchised Gaps and Banana Republic stores are now open in 13 countries.

In Mexico, Gap (NYSE: GPS) will open stores within stores at a Mexican department store chain through a partnership with Distribuidora Liverpool. Gap products will become available in spring 2009.

Gap Inc. will also expand its Middle East presence with franchised Gap and Banana Republic stores in Egypt and Jordan. Fawaz Alhokair Group will open the first Gap stores in Egypt and Jordan by the end of the year, with Banana Republic stores following in 2009. Fawaz Alhokair also has franchised Gap and Banana Republic stores in Saudi Arabia.

Gap and Banana Republic franchise stores are now open in Bahrain, Greece, Indonesia, Korea, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Philippines, Turkey and United Arab Emirates. The company has also announced franchise agreements to open stores in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and Russia over the next five years.

Filed under Egypt, Fashion and Apparel, Jordan, Mexico by

July 15, 2008

Iraq to open consulate in San Diego

The Los Angeles Times reports that Iraq will open a consulate in San Diego to assist Iraqis with documentation, passports, visas and other consular services.

Coming soon to California: a consulate of Iraq. To take the strain off the Iraqi embassy in Washington, D.C., and help expatriates scattered around the United States, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry plans to place consulates in Detroit and San Diego. Detroit and San Diego? “Yes, there’s quite a big community in Detroit,” Labid Abbawi, Iraqi foreign undersecretary, said. “Also we have quite a big number in San Diego as well,” Abbawi said. “There are also in Los Angeles a lot, but we thought San Diego was more suitable.” There were 3,705 Iraqis in Detroit, 2,039 in Los Angeles and 822 in San Diego, according to the 2000 U.S. Census.

But there are also Iraqi communities in east San Diego County, particularly Christian Chaldeans. Many small market owners and professionals in the area are Iraqi. Some estimate that, including second generation, there are 25,000 Iraqis in the county. Those numbers are likely to increase as the U.S. State Department gears up its post-war refugee program. The Bush administration set a goal of admitting 12,000 Iraqi refugees this year.

The San Diego consulate should open before the end of the year, Abbawi said. It will assist Iraqis with documentation, passports, visas and other consular services. Americans flying from the West Coast to Iraq will also find it convenient. Now they will be able to pick up their visas in San Diego, which could be preferable to waiting a day or two in Amman, Jordan, to get the necessary papers. For now, it may be only reporters and military contractors who would care, but Abbawi thinks wider need could be coming soon. If Iraq has turned the corner on security, as Abbawi believes, tourism should follow.

“We hope the day will not be too long where you’ll be able to come and have a walk in Baghdad quite freely,” Abbawi said. “I hope this will not be long.”

Filed under Foreign Relations, Iraq by

April 21, 2008

Schwarzenegger to meet with Afghan governors

Governor Schwarzenegger is meeting with eight governors from Afghanistan as part of a U.S. State Department exchange program, Associated Press has reported. The governors are spending five days in California during their three-week visit to the U.S. to learn about federalism, American elections and agriculture. Schwarzenegger plans to meet briefly with the governors on Monday. He will talk about his job and how he works with local and federal officials. The Afghan leaders also were meeting with state lawmakers and agriculture and trade officials. e U.S. State Department says the governors are among hundreds of world leaders who have taken part in the International Visitor Leadership Program.

Filed under Afghanistan, Foreign Relations by

October 30, 2007

Fatburger to open in United Arab Emirates

Santa Monica Fatburger Corp. plans to open three restaurants in the United Arab Emirates. The development is represented by Fatburger franchisee Khalil Asfour of Vetra Investment with the first Fatburger restaurant scheduled to open in Dubai in 2008. Fatburger, a subsidiary of Portland, Oregon.-based Fog Cutter Capital Group Inc.has a total of 91 restaurants more than a dozen state as well as China and Canada.

Filed under Agriculture and Food, United Arab Emirates by

October 16, 2007

Peace Activist jailed in Iran back in California

Ali Shakeri, an Iranian-American peace activist who spent four months in a Tehran prison has returned home after posting bond with Iranian authorities. Shakeri was arrested in May and charged with endangering national security, along with three other Iranian-Americans. He was released in late September, at the same time that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly. Shakeri is a founding board member of the University of California, Irvine’s Center for Citizen Peacebuilding. He was detained after traveling to Iran to visit his ailing mother. Shakeri has given speeches and radio interviews advocating democracy in Iran and has written occasionally for Payam-E-Ashena, a pro-democracy Persian magazine based in Laguna Hills. His son told reporters that he was allowed to leave the country after posting a property deed for about $110,000 and may have to return to Iran to answer the charges against him, but that the family has little information about the legal process there, or even the exact charges he faces.

Filed under Foreign Relations, Iran, Legal and Criminal Issues by

October 5, 2007

Paramount steps into a mine field

Paramount Vantage, the Los Angeles distributor of Kite Runner, has decided to delay the release of the film because of concerns over the safety of it’s child actors, and the possibility that it could set off ethnic violence in Afghanistan. As reported in the New York Times:

The boys (actors) and their relatives are now accusing the filmmakers of mistreatment, and warnings have been relayed to the studio from Afghan and American officials and aid workers that the movie could aggravate simmering enmities between the politically dominant Pashtun and the long-oppressed Hazara.

In an effort to prevent not only a public-relations disaster but also possible violence, studio lawyers and marketing bosses have employed a stranger-than-fiction team of consultants. In August they sent a retired Central Intelligence Agency counterterrorism operative in the region to Kabul to assess the dangers facing the child actors. And on Sunday a Washington-based political adviser flew to the United Arab Emirates to arrange a safe haven for the boys and their relatives.

“If we’re being overly cautious, that’s O.K.,” Karen Magid, a lawyer for Paramount, said. “We’re in uncharted territory.” In interviews, more than a dozen people involved in the studio’s response described grappling with vexing questions: testing the limits of corporate responsibility, wondering who was exploiting whom and pondering the price of on-screen authenticity.

The Kite Runner is based on the best-selling novel by Khaled Hosseini that spans three decades of war in Afghanistan. It is about a friendship between two Afghan boys- one a Pashtun and one a Hazara, but the storyline includes a rape of the Hazara boy by a Pashtun. The film’s director, Marc Forster made the film in Dari, an Afghan language. He has said that casting the two young Afghan actors did not seem risky at the time, but the situation there has since deteriorated and ethnic tensions are on the rise. In late July, violence worsened in Kabul, so Paramount executives turned to lobbyists for Viacom- their Parent Company, for help. They recommended that John Kiriakou, a retired C.I.A. operative with experience in the region, be sent to assess the situation. As the New York Times reported, Mr. Kiriakou’s briefing “could make a pretty good movie by itself”:

A specialist on Islam at the State Department nearly wept envisioning a “Danish-cartoons situation,” Mr. Kiriakou said. An Afghan literature professor, he added, said Paramount was “willing to burn an already scorched nation for a fistful of dollars.” The head of an Afghan political party said the movie would energize the Taliban. Nearly everyone Mr. Kiriakou met said that the boys had to be removed from Afghanistan for their safety. And a Hazara member of Parliament warned that Pashtun and Hazara “would be killing each other every night” in response to the film’s depiction of them. None of the interviewees had seen the movie.

While the Taliban destroyed all movie theaters in Afghanistan, bootleg DVDs often appear on the streets of Kabul shortly after a major film is released. It is likely that Kite Runner will be released after some time has passed and the safety of the child actors can be assured.

Filed under Afghanistan, Media and Entertainment, z9-Uncategorized by

September 28, 2007

California opposition growing to Blackwater military base

The recent shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians by Blackwater USA contractors has helped galvanize the opposition to their plans to build a private military base in California. In the most recent incident, Blackwater employees shot into a group of cars in a Baghdad square, killing at least 11 Iraqis and wounding 12. The Blackwater employees said they were ambushed but witnesses have described the shooting as unprovoked murder. “This is a nightmare,” a senior U.S. military official told the Washington Post. “We had guys who saw the aftermath, and it was very bad. This is going to hurt us badly. It may be worse than Abu Ghraib”. Iraq’s Interior Ministry concluded that Blackwater was at fault and ordered their license revoked causing still another embarrassment and huge headache for the Bush administration, which has relied heavily on private contractors for the occupation of Iraq.

Blackwater describes itself as “a professional military, law enforcement, security, peacekeeping and stability operations firm and has won more than $750 million in U.S. contracts for work in Iraq. It is owned by billionaire named Erik Prince, one of the largest donors to the Republican Party who is said to have links to the religious right and other far right political causes.

North Carolina-based Blackwater now wants to set up a paramilitary training base in the rugged mountains east of San Diego. The base is planned for Potrero, California, a small border town 45 miles east of the City of San Diego. The 24-acre facility is to have rifle and pistol ranges, helicopters and a helipad, armored vehicles and a defensive-driving motor course; and will have as many as 700 people present at any given time. The company typically hires highly trained former military personal such as Navy Seals for its security and paramilitary operations.

Residents of San Diego and Potrero have been organizing and began fighting this facility earlier this year on a number of issues- including environmental, local land control, noise, traffic, the risk of fire danger and basic opposition to the nature of Blackwater USA which many consider to be a mercenary group. It is strongly suspected that Blackwater has selected the San Diego border area in order to secure Federal Government contracts for border security.

Opponents to the expansion of Blackwater USA will stage a major rally and encampment at the gates of the proposed “Blackwater West” site in Potrero on October 6th and 7th. “The public is waking up to the atrocities attributed to Blackwater and to the private mercenary soldier industry now staring us in the face,” said Raymond Lutz, coordinator of Citizens’ Oversight Projects (COPS) and StopBlackwater.net. “The intimidating nature of these mercenary boot camps has kept locals from speaking out but, the tides have changed, when Blackwater USA tried to put in a jungle training camp in the Philippines they has to pull out after fierce public outcry. We can do the same here in San Diego County, we are resisting the further expansion of corporate mercenary armies and unregulated training of U.S. Armed Forces in residential areas.”

Filed under California Politics, Defense and Military, Iraq, U.S. Government by

September 27, 2007

Warner Bros. in multibillion-dollar joint venture with UAE firms

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. studio struck a multibillion-dollar joint venture deal Wednesday with two Abu Dhabi companies that will build a huge entertainment complex in the Persian Gulf region:

The partners have agreed to build a theme park, a hotel and multiplex cinemas in Abu Dhabi, the leading power in the United Arab Emirates. They also plan to produce movies and video games as well as undertake Web initiatives as part of the deal, which is arguably the most ambitious gamble yet by a U.S. entertainment giant in a region traditionally wary of Western culture.

Flush with cash from the oil boom, the Persian Gulf monarchies have been in a race to attract foreign investment in real estate, finance, healthcare and technology. Over the last year, Abu Dhabi and its smaller neighbor Dubai have made cross-cultural alliances with Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures in an effort to establish entertainment hubs in the Arab world…

Bahrain has emerged as a center for consumerism and tourism in the Middle East. Establishing an entertainment beachhead is seen by the emirates as helping to shake its reputation as lacking cultural attractions. The strategic alliance between Warner Bros.; ALDAR Properties, Abu Dhabi’s leading real estate developer; and the newly established Abu Dhabi Media Co. represents the Burbank-based studio’s first venture into the region.

“We think it’s a region of the world that has great potential and opportunities on many levels,” Warner Bros. Chairman and Chief Executive Barry Meyer said. “This is a unique arrangement for us. There’s nothing of the size, scope and breadth that encompasses so many of our businesses.”

In a conference call with Meyer from Time Warner’s corporate headquarters in New York, top executives from ALDAR and Abu Dhabi Media also expressed enthusiasm for the new arrangement. “We’ve found the right partner to start building our entertainment and media infrastructure,” said Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, chairman of ALDAR. “In the next five years, we hope to be the leader in the region. To do that, we need to attract world-class names, and Warner Bros. is certainly a very trusted name.”

Filed under Joint Ventures, Media and Entertainment, United Arab Emirates by

California to divest from Iran

The Los Angeles Times reports that Governor Schwarzenegger will sign legislation requiring California’s multibillion-dollar government pension funds to divest from the country:

As Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad paid his controversial visit to New York on Monday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger moved to steal some of the spotlight by announcing that California would sever ties with companies doing business in Iran.

Schwarzenegger, who like Ahmadinejad went to New York to address the United Nations, announced in a written statement after his speech that he would sign legislation requiring California’s multibillion-dollar state pension funds to divest from the country.

The move, pushed by a diverse coalition of activists who argued that the federal government has not done enough to keep multinational corporations out of Iran, puts California at the forefront of a national movement. The bill, AB 221, which passed the Legislature with no opposition, follows the state’s divestment from Sudan last year.

“California has a long history of leadership and doing what’s right with our investment portfolio,” the governor said in his statement. “Last year, I was proud to sign legislation to divest from the Sudan to take a powerful stand against genocide. I look forward to signing legislation to divest from Iran to take an equally powerful stand against terrorism.”

Schwarzenegger announced his decision as politicians from across the country jockeyed to outdo one another in condemning the Iranian president, who is scheduled to address the United Nations today. Ahmadinejad, whom the U.S. government accuses of leading a terrorist regime that arms Iraqi insurgents and is developing nuclear weapons

Filed under Foreign Relations, Iran by

June 19, 2007

German Book Fair Peace Prize goes to UC Professor

Israeli historian Saul Friedlander will receive the top prize of the annual Frankfurt Book Fair in recognition of his narratives documenting the Nazi Holocaust, the German Book Trade association said Thursday.  According to the International Herold Tribune, Friedlander, 74, who holds a professorship at the University of California, Los Angeles, is to be given the €25,000 (US$33,000) peace prize during the annual book fair in October.  In honoring Friedlander, the jury praised him as an “epic narrator of the history of the Shoah and of the persecution and extermination of the Jews during the Nazi era in Europe.”  Among Friedlander’s best-known works are his two-volume collection “The Third Reich and the Jews.”  Previous winners of the award include German sociologist Wolf Lepenies, last year; outspoken Turkish author and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk; and former Czech President Vaclav Havel.

Filed under Germany, Israel, University of California by

June 11, 2007

Iran confirms arrest of California peace activist

This is bound to harm U.S. Iran relations, according to this report in the Guardian, and it will certainly harm California-Iran Relations, with our huge population of Americans of Iranian descent- many of whom are reaching out in a positive way to the Iranian people.  

Mohammad Ali Hosseini, the spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, confirmed at his weekly news briefing that Iranian-American Ali Shakeri is being held.  On Friday, the semi-official ISNA news agency first reported the detention and investigation of Shakeri, of Lake Forest, Calif., by the security department of the Tehran prosecutor’s office.  Shakeri, a founding board member of the University of California, Irvine, Center for Citizen Peacebuilding, is the fourth dual citizen detained in Iran in recent months.  Iranian officials previously confirmed the detentions of three other Iranian-Americans: scholar Haleh Esfandiari, the director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Kian Tajbakhsh, an urban planning consultant with George Soros’ Open Society Institute; and Parnaz Azima, a journalist who works for the U.S.-funded Radio Farda.  All three are accused of endangering Iran’s national security and of espionage, according to a judiciary spokesman. It is not known if Shakeri has been accused of specific wrongdoing.

The United States broke ties with Iran after the storming of the U.S. Embassy there in 1979 and the seizure of U.S diplomats as hostages, however the Bush Administration was recently forced to begin talks with Iran because of public and congressional opinion and the Baker Hamilton Report.  Since political extremists now control the Federal Governments of both countries, it is thought that these people-to-people contacts may offer the best hope for better relations between the U.S. an Iran.  This action by the current Government in Iran, however, could put a chill on those relations for many more years to come.

Filed under Foreign Relations, Iran by

May 26, 2007

California Peace Activist Missing in Iran

The L.A. Times has reported that Ali Shakeri, a “much admired” Iranian-American community in Orange County is missing in Iran:

In March, Shakeri told colleagues he was flying to Tehran; his mother was ailing. But when former President Carter spoke at UCI this month, and Shakeri was oddly absent from the event, board members began to wonder whether he was coming home.

This week, the group Human Rights Watch said the Iranian government probably detained Shakeri, 59, at a Tehran airport and might be interrogating him in an isolated location. He was scheduled to leave Iran and fly to Europe on May 13 but never arrived at his destination. Instead, his ticket had been canceled and his luggage taken from the airline’s possession, the group said.  “It’s a disaster,” said John Graham of the UC Irvine center, “that this voice of peace has been potentially silenced.”

In recent weeks, two Iranian American scholars with dual citizenship have been imprisoned while visiting the country. A reporter, also a dual national, had her passport confiscated and is unable to leave Iran. The detention of one of those scholars, Haleh Esfandiari, bears close parallels to Shakeri’s apparent disappearance… When she headed to the airport to leave Iran on Dec. 30, she was stopped by knife-wielding men in masks, according to center officials. She was interrogated extensively and, earlier this month, imprisoned. The Iranian government this week announced she was being charged with setting up a network to overthrow the Islamic establishment.

In Orange County, where immigrant groups estimate about 250,000
Iranians live, Shakeri moved in political circles but did not dominate
them, friends said. He gave speeches and radio interviews and
periodically wrote about politics for Payam-E-Ashena, Payam’s magazine. 

Hossein Hosseini, a member of the Network of Iranian-American
Professionals of Orange County, said Shakeri advocated changing Iran’s
leadership but maintained that the Iranian people would bring about
that change only over time.  “He was only controversial depending
on your point of view,” Hosseini said. “To those who wanted to up and
overthrow the regime, he’s a sympathizer. He wasn’t a big thing. He
wasn’t well-known across the world. He was a harmless local guy.”

Filed under Foreign Relations, Iran, z9-Uncategorized by

April 26, 2007

Venrock Raises $600 Million Global Venture Fund

“Venrock today announced the formation of Venrock V and will invest $600 million in entrepreneurs with breakthrough ideas in technology, healthcare, media and energy. Drawing on the investing practices of its Rockefeller family founders, Venrock has delivered consistently superior performance since its inception in 1969. With the close of Venrock V, the firm holds approximately $2 billion under management. “With nearly 40 years in the venture business, Venrock is focused on the visionaries who want to build companies that shape the future,” said Tony Sun, managing general partner, Venrock. Venrock has invested in entrepreneurs charting new advancements in cancer and HIV treatments, powering semiconductors and the digital era, securing the nation’s information technology infrastructure, pioneering on-line advertising, and generating power through alternative means. “Venrock has always focused on people. We partner with entrepreneurs, sharing expertise and counsel and working hard throughout a company’s development, and this has allowed us to consistently create significant, enduring companies,” said Bryan Roberts, managing general partner. Venrock is a venture capital firm with offices in Menlo Park, New York, Cambridge, MA, and Israel that was originally established as the venture capital arm of the Rockefeller family.”

Filed under Israel, Venture Capital by

April 24, 2007

Growth amid Gloom: California’s Central Valley

Excerpt from L.A. Times article about the Central Valley City of Delano and its manager Abdel Salem, an Egyptian native who arrived in Delano about four years ago from El Centro where he had been city manager for more than two decades:

This city of 49,000 now has no fewer than 35 major building projects in the pipeline, including a giant shopping center. Hundreds of homes are being added each year as families spill over from the coast in search of affordable housing. “We know the people are coming,” Salem says. “The Central Valley is the last frontier.”

Despite the bustle, however, Delano is down at the heel. Its unemployment rate stands at around 20%, far higher than the county’s overall mark of 6.9%. The median per-capita income in the city is about $11,000 — just a shade above the federal poverty line. Since 2000, annual population increases have outstripped the creation of jobs (2.8% on average compared with 1.7%). Tumbledown shacks dot the outskirts of town.

What’s abundantly clear is that an influx of residents “isn’t necessarily a key to prosperity,” says Carol Whiteside, president of the Great Valley Center, a Modesto-based group trying to promote the region’s well-being.

Meanwhile, the pathologies that tend to go hand in hand with privation have descended upon Delano. Among them is gang violence. When I got my hair trimmed the other day at Firme’s Barber Shop, just off Main Street, the buzz was about how students were recently put on alert and shooed straight home from school. The reason: Police feared that Los Angeles gang members might make the two-hour drive to Delano and start shooting in retaliation for a MySpace posting they deemed offensive.

This juxtaposition — growth amid gloom — points up the enormous opportunities and challenges facing not only Delano but also much of inland California. Extending from Riverside to Redding, the area “is perhaps the greatest untapped outlet for upward mobility in the Golden State,” declared a report last month from the Brookings Institution. If our leaders are smart about how they plan and invest, this vast stretch can be a place that provides decent jobs, a strong sense of community and a shot at homeownership.

But if they goof up, the cost will be high. How this part of California fares, the Brookings study noted, “may determine whether the state remains competitive and a beacon of opportunity in the early decades of the 21st century.” Complicating matters is that these 75,000 square miles are far from homogenous. The rural reaches of the Central Valley, in particular, trail far behind the Inland Empire and the Sacramento suburbs in their economic vitality.

Filed under Central Valley, Economic Development, Egypt by

April 9, 2007

Woman of Iranian descent alleges slur by California Highway Patrol

A California woman of Iranian descent is suing the California Highway Patrol alleging that a patrol officer said that her ‘people’ responsible for the 9/11 attacks. According to a report in Tehran Press TV, Zahra Sedaghatpur 38, from Fremont was pulled over by a highway patrol for speeding, when Officer Jon Schatmeier 38 accused her and people like her of being responsible for the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. According to a lawsuit filed on March 29 2007 in federal court in San Francisco Schatmeire told the woman to “shut up” and refused to show his identification card. ‘Today is September 12. Do you remember Sept.11? Do you know what happened on Sept.11?’ the officer allegedly said. ‘It’s people like you who killed all of our people. This is our country. Why don’t you go back to your own country?’ “

Filed under Iran, Legal and Criminal Issues by

April 6, 2007

California may call for end of U.S. occupation of Iraq

Legislation has been introduced in the California State Legislature calling on President Bush to immediately begin the “safe and orderly withdrawal” of all United States forces from Iraq. California Senate President pro Tem Don Perata announced plans to place an advisory measure on California’s statewide ballot as part of next year’s February 5 presidential primary. The text of the resolution is as follows:

“The people of California, in support of the men and women serving in the Armed Forces of the United States, urge President Bush to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq and immediately begin the safe and orderly withdrawal of all United States forces; and further urge President Bush and the United States Congress to provide the necessary diplomatic and non-military assistance to promote peace and stability in Iraq and the Middle East.”

Filed under California Legislature, California Politics, Iraq, U.S. Politics by

April 5, 2007

Microsoft sues to stop gray market sales from Jordan

Microsoft has announced lawsuits in California and five other States against companies it accuses of participating in the gray market software trade. Microsoft said the companies named in the suits were importing low-cost, educational versions of its products from Jordan and other countries and reselling them at full commercial prices. The companies look at how gray market software finds its way into the United States from foreign countries was an international operation. The Jordanian government, among others, assisted with the investigation. “Companies that break Jordan’s intellectual property laws will be prosecuted,” said His Excellency Eng. Basem Rousan, Jordan’s minister of information and communications technology.

Filed under Information Technology, Jordan, Legal and Criminal Issues by

Visto mobile email chosen for Qatar

“Visto Corp., a mobile e-mail provider, said Wednesday it was chosen by Qatar telecom provider Qtel to provide e-mail services in that country. Redwood City-based Visto did not disclose financial terms of the deal. Qtel is the sole provider of mobile services in Qatar, and launched two previous customer trials before making the Visto service available throughout the country.”

Filed under Qatar, Telecommunications by

March 28, 2007

Fluential gets $1.2M defense contract for Arabic translation software

“The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded a $1.2 million contract to Fluential Inc. for a two-way speech translation technology, the company said. Sunnyvale-based Fluential said the contract calls for technology for English-Arabic to be used by service members in Iraq. Fluential said it received the contract under DARPA’s Spoken Language Communication and Translation System for Tactical Use, which is focused on finding technologies that enable spontaneous two-way tactical speech communications between English and “target-language speakers.”

Filed under Defense and Military, Iraq by

March 20, 2007

Measure would force CALPERS to divest from Iran

“California lawmakers are considering legislation that would force state pension funds to sell billions of dollars of shares in companies doing business with Iran.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest U.S. pension fund, and the state teachers’ fund would have to unload shares in companies including BNP Paribas of France, Siemens AG of Germany and Eni SpA of Italy. ‘Who’s funding terrorism? It sure as hell shouldn’t be our public employees,’ said Joel Anderson, a Republican assemblyman from El Cajon who introduced the measure. `When you’re looking at the war on terrorists, this is one of the best weapons we have — just defunding them.’ Anderson estimated his legislation would affect $24 billion worth of investments.”

Filed under California Legislature, Iran by

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