Ballots Cast Under Watchful Eyes

And now the most interesting two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:

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Now They Want White Community To Pay!
Remember that World Conference Against Racism down on the Caribbean Island of Barbados, the one that started off with a vote to kick out all the white people? Well, the conference is now over, and it ended up more than $100,000 in debt. The sponsoring organization says the local white community should pay off the debt. The president of the organizing group, the Rev. Aaron "Buddy" Larrier said the money was pocket change for large local companies, adding that if they didn't pay up, "I will be asking black people to look very carefully at how they spend their money with white people."

Immigration Retaliation
Saudi Arabia is now saying that if the United States goes through with stringent immigration checks on Saudis entering the United States, it will retaliate with similar restrictions on Americans going to their country. Under the terms of the Patriot Act passed last year, nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria are subject to fingerprinting and photographing. Regulations do not mention Saudi Arabia, but some Saudis have complained that in practice, they are getting the same treatment. Saudi officials say that in addition to fingerprinting Americans, they may also shorten their visa stays and increase the visa fees.

Ballots Cast Under Watchful Eyes
Seven years ago, Iraq held a referendum on whether Saddam Hussein should stay in power and voters went to the polls where they were ordered to write their names and addresses on their ballots and to cast them under the watchful eyes of Saddam's election officials. He got nearly 100 percent of the votes. The same exercise is being carried again in Iraq this week and no one but CNN seems to take the referendum seriously. This is how CNN's Web site is promoting the coverage on its morning show. "Will Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's future be determined at the ballot box rather than the battlefield? Iraqi citizens are preparing to go to the polls to decide whether Hussein stays in office. We bring you the story in part one of our weeklong series 'Iraq — You Decide.'"