And now the most interesting two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine.
One day after a leading Saudi Arabian cleric denounced Jews as "rats, killers of prophets...monkeys and pigs," a group of Saudi intellectuals and writers has denounced the United States and Israel as the "axis of evil in the world." The statement was signed by 113 Saudis, which includes prominent writers for well-known Saudi newspapers. It attacked as "shameful" the U.S. position on the current Israeli military operation in the West Bank. It said, "Israeli massacres do not differ in shape and form from what the Nazis did."
The Israelis, meanwhile, are taking disciplinary action against one of their soldiers, who has admitted that he stole property from Palestinian houses during the current military action. In a court hearing yesterday, the soldier, who belonged to an Armored Corps battalion, said he took a sword and other items. According to the newspaper Ma'ariv, the soldier, who was not named, expressed remorse for what he had done. The paper said the military police are investigating 24 cases of alleged looting of Palestinian homes. A military spokesman said Israeli soldiers are under clear orders not to touch personal property when searching private homes.
Al Gore may not be doing too well in polls against President Bush, but he's doing just fine in polls against possible rivals for the Democratic Presidential nomination. The latest poll from Zogby Associates, puts Gore at 46 percent, far ahead of anyone else in the field. His closest competitor is Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who was backed by only 7 percent. South Carolina Democratic Sen. John Edwards, whom some pundits think will get the nomination, got only 1 percent support, which is less than Al Sharpton, who got 2 percent.
And finally, down in Brazil, the utility company in Rio De Janeiro is having trouble with people who make unauthorized connections to their power lines. In Portuguese, which is spoken in Brazil, such an illegal connection is called a “gato,” which means "thief," but also means "cat." So the power company has started an ad campaign urging people to "say no to the gato", featuring meowing cats. An animal rights group has now sued the power company for giving "a negative perception of cats."