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Seasons Greetings

Title: Seasons Greetings
Greetings to all and may sanity return to the world in the New Year. Enjoy the few day break, where ever you are.

Peter's wonderful selection and pithy style have been a joy - and to all who have input so much to CASI since it's inception, so very many congratulations on your impact.

a ps small point here from the ultimate computer illiterate -
this article says iraq's internet domain is 'iq' - it's email is uruklink - am I missing something? As I say, I am very stupid ...!warmest for the season and the coming year, best, felicity a.

CNN, 16th December

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Sitting in an air-conditioned Internet cafe with an
American pop song blaring in the background, Ziad Abdel Hady escapes from
Iraq's isolation.

Abdel Hady surfs his way to knowledge about everything from what life is
like in neighboring Arab countries to the latest breakthroughs in
engineering and medicine.

The 45-year-old engineer, who has never traveled abroad, says he'd sell his
car to buy a computer if he could access the Internet from home.

But private links to the Internet have yet to be introduced in Iraq.

Abdel Hady goes to one of the five or so government-run Internet cafes in
Baghdad, where browsers can only access government-screened sites, many
pages are not available and the connection is slow.

A first-time surfer, Abdel Hady was looking especially for work-related
information about pumps.

Iraqis live in a controlled world. Satellite dishes and modems are banned
and special permission is needed to install a fax.

Local media are either state-run or sponsored by the ruling party and
present the official version of the news. The Internet provides a window to
other worlds, albeit a small one and for few people.

Users in Iraq browse the Internet under the watchful eyes of government
employees and are unlikely to tap into opposition sites or other banned Web
pages, no matter how benign their content.

Verginie Locussol, a Middle East expert with Paris-based Reporters Without
Borders, said controlling the Internet is typical of all "dictatorships"
that "try to keep people in complete isolation from the world."

Iraqi officials blame the war-ravaged state of the country's communications
sector on the West.

Abdel-Razzak al-Hashimi, a senior member of the ruling Baath party, said
it's the sanctions and the countries that support them, not the Iraqi
government, that keep Iraqis behind.

Alan Mauldin of TeleGeography, a Washington-based Internet and
telecommunications consultancy, said Iraq, with 22 million people, is either
the last or one of the last countries in the Middle East to join the
Internet community.

Iraq's ".iq" Internet domain suffix counts just 225 subscribers, he said.

By the estimates of TeleGeography, Iraq has a tiny amount of international
Internet bandwidth, less than 10 megabits per second.

Iraq may have less bandwidth than Syria, whose estimated 4.3 mbps is
otherwise considered lowest in the Arab world. Neighboring Jordan hosts
about 75 mbps.

Whatever the limitations, the Internet is prized by those Iraqis with

Engineering student Talib Dagher Kathim sees the Internet as the only gate
to a better future. A Baghdad University senior, Kathim searches the web for
Canadian universities that may give him a scholarship to pursue postgraduate

"Sanctions have isolated the country .. but the Internet opened a new door
for knowledge and my ambition has no limits," said Kathim, who wants to
study abroad because of "the scientific development there."

"I wish I could go study there and come back to benefit the country and to
bridge the gap between us and other countries," Kathim said

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