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Selected Media Coverage: June 8, 2006

Iraq's tougher stance toward U.S
06/07/2006 - USA Today (cir. 2,272,815)

Iraq's tougher stance toward US
06/07/2006 - Christian Science Monitor, The (cir. 60,723)

Top picks for business majors
06/07/2006 - Newsday (cir. 427,771)

Best of 2006 celebrity commencement speeches
06/06/2006 - SI.com (cir. )

Unraveling toughest puzzle outstanding, mathematicians
06/06/2006 - Peoples Daily Online (cir. )

Unraveling toughest puzzle outstanding
06/04/2006 - Xinhua News Agency - New York Bureau (cir. )


Iraq's tougher stance toward U.S
06/07/2006 - USA Today (cir. 2,272,815)


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By Howard LaFranchi, The Christian Science Monitor

WASHINGTON — The Abu Ghraib prison scandal was a contentious topic when Iyad Allawi became Iraq's interim prime minister in June 2004. But Mr. Allawi, appointed by the occupying power, resisted domestic pressure to conduct an Iraqi investigation.

Now, amid charges of violence by U.S. troops against Iraqi civilians, including an alleged massacre in the Sunni village of Haditha, elected Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is showing no such reticence. A critic of the U.S. occupation before taking office, he has charged that such violence by coalition forces is a "daily phenomenon" and "a terrible crime," and demanded that the U.S. turn over to Iraqis information on the Haditha case.

Maliki's tough stance suggests a new assertion of sovereignty by the Iraqi government, something that actually works to the U.S.'s favor. But the allegations, coming as the new government tries to demonstrate control, are likely to complicate both U.S.-Iraq relations and Maliki's task of leading the Iraqi people.

Already, some Sunni religious and political leaders, in particular, are criticizing Maliki, a Shiite, for not being strong enough with the Americans. If his response falls short in their eyes, political relations with the minority Sunni population, already fragile, could become more difficult — and anti-American sentiment could intensify.

"Maliki is being hammered by the Sunnis. He has to worry about the rising fortunes of people like (radical Shiite cleric Moqtada) al-Sadr. So he needs to be able to show some sovereignty," says Iraq expert Henri Barkey, a former State Department analyst now at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. "The trick for the U.S. is to boost this guy, because there may not be another one after him."

A year ago, a minority of members in Iraq's interim national assembly sought a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal. In the new parliament, Sadr's supporters are even stronger. That, coupled with the parliamentary presence of a Sunni bloc, has added to pressure for a U.S. withdrawal.

Maliki has a "soft spot" for that viewpoint, says one Iraqi former official who refused to be named because of the sensitive nature of U.S.-Iraq relations. But the prime minister also knows he needs U.S. troops to cope with a worsening security situation in Baghdad and other areas of Iraq, the former official says. As a result, Maliki is likely to seek compromise measures short of withdrawal — including establishing zones that are off limits to U.S. troops and requiring joint U.S.-Iraqi patrols — to try to placate public concerns.

Incidents like the one alleged in Haditha, which can feed Iraqi resentment about living in insecurity, only make Maliki's task harder, some experts say.

"Incidents like Haditha have the effect of widening the gap further between the people and the government, because they leave them feeling like they are totally on their own," says Juan Cole, an Iraq expert at the University of Michigan. Iraqis see their new elected officials operating from inside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, he says, while they remain "outside" in the crossfire of a counterinsurgency battle and a "civil war."

In that environment, threats to civilians are not uniquely or primarily from U.S. forces. Just this week, more than 50 civilians were kidnapped midday just north of the Green Zone. A Sunni political group accused militias associated with the Shiite-controlled Interior Ministry of carrying out the operation.

On Tuesday, Maliki pledged to implement a new security plan for Baghdad that he said will address mounting sectarian and militia-generated violence.

With such worries, Maliki can't be too tough with the Americans, Cole says. "The government is in a difficult position because it's not able to tell the Americans to leave or what to do, but at the same time it needs to mollify a public that accuses it of letting American troops operate around the country marauding at will."

Simply "demanding the Haditha file" from the U.S. "is a symbolic gesture that only reveals his dependence on the American side," Cole says. What could begin to remedy that is a formal status of forces agreement, or SOFA, between the U.S. and Iraq that would lay out the functions and limits of U.S. forces, he adds.

"The problem is they have what is essentially a hung parliament" — unable to fill the key defense and interior minister positions — "and that hardly puts them in a position to demand a SOFA," Cole says.

If the Iraqi public comes to see its government as weak or atrophied, that would spell trouble ahead, especially as officials begin to tackle major constitutional issues.

Divisive matters — including the formation of autonomous regions, the dividing of oil revenues, and the status of the northern oil-rich hub of Kirkuk — are slated to be settled by the end of the year. Resolving them was supposed to be facilitated by the inclusion of Sunnis in the new parliament and government, but mounting Sunni criticism of Maliki is just one indication of how difficult progress will be to achieve.

For one thing, Maliki — and his U.S. backers — are discovering that the proudly proclaimed "national unity government" that represents all major population groups may actually be more unwieldy and less able to act.

In a recent report, Iraq expert Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies notes: "Rising participation did not reflect acceptance of the new government or political process, it reflected a steady sharpening of political division along sectarian and ethnic lines."

Some experts calculate that Maliki has fewer than 120 supporters in a 275-seat parliament. "If the Maliki government does not make real headway on security and the constitutional issues," says the former Iraqi official, "then it could go down."

www.csmonitor.com | Copyright © 2006 The Christian Science Monitor. All rights reserved.


Iraq's tougher stance toward US
06/07/2006 - Christian Science Monitor, The (cir. 60,723)

biz school in Atlanta is well-thought-of but often overlooked. Lehigh in Pennsylvania is big on combining computer technology with business. But recruiters also tout the University of Texas, Miami University in Ohio, and Iowa University, the last for its strong entrepreneurship program.

Bottom line. At a top biz school it can cost more than $20,000 a year for tuition alone. For less than $9,000 a year, a New York resident can study business at Buffalo or at Geneseo, another SUNY school that made Business Week's regional best list. Most schools making the elite list demand SATs about 200 points higher than the 1,000 that is typical of students who want to major in business. Graduates of one of these top programs usually start their careers at $50,000, compared with a bit over $43,000 for the typical business major.


Best of 2006 celebrity commencement speeches
06/06/2006 - SI.com (cir. )
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Friday June 2, 2006
Pearls of wisdom
Some highlights from this year's commencement speeches

We canvassed the nation for some of the best remarks from commencement speeches. Why you may have fallen asleep during your speech, these sports figures offered plenty pearls of wisdom to their audiences.

This morning at this ceremony of warm memory and high expectation, I summon you in the name of this school and all who have passed through it, to embrace the faith that every challenge surmounted by your energy, every problem solved by your wisdom, every soul stirred by your passion, and every barrier to justice brought down by your determination will ennoble your life, inspire others, serve your country, and explode outward the boundaries what is achievable on this earth. God, how I wish I had written that, because then I would be off to a good start and I could justify my being here. But, in fact, those were the words of former Secretary of State Madeline Albright speaking at Berkeley a few years ago. And I'm thinking 'Now that's what a commencement address is supposed to sound like'. -- Bob Costas, Loyola College

We lost one of our major players last night [Hideki Matsui to a broken wrist] and lost another player last week [Gary Sheffield to a wrist injury]. That doesn't mean we're going to throw up our hands and say, 'How can we do this?' We have to find a way to do it, and that's the only message I can give you. The world is loaded with potholes and setbacks, and whatever it takes to get through that will make you a better person and a better leader. -- Joe Torre, Rider College

But I am sure we can all come together and agree on one thing We have all yelled Yankees Suck. And if you haven't, you really should, it feels good. -- Shonda Schilling, Merrimack College

A survey revealed that 99.7 of college graduates can't remember any pearls of wisdom from the speeches at their graduations. That breaks down to only 23 out of roughly 10,000 people graduating from the nation's colleges this May. -- Frank Deford, Daniel Webster College

As a kid, I was called stupid and lazy, not living up to my potential ... There is no nutritional value in negative thinking. -- Henry Winkler, New England Institute of Technology

You know, for a guy who barely made it out of high school, I find it incredibly ironic that I am standing up here as a doctor. I would just ask that somebody send the photos to the principal at Plano East Senior High and let him know that I, in fact, graduated from Tufts and that he has to call me Dr. Armstrong now. -- Lance Armstrong, Tufts University [after receiving an honorary degree]

Success without a personal satisfaction or sacrifice isn't success at all. It's posturing. Money is a means of power, but seldom a measure of success ... I had a God-given gift, but that alone was not enough. I needed character, determination and resolve. I never took myself very seriously, but I took what I did very seriously. -- Jerry West, West Virginia

I was educated right here in West Virginia and it has been good for me. It is going to be good for you, also. -- Terry Bowden, Ohio Valley University

I hope somebody got that introduction on tape. If I ever want another job, I'll send them that instead of a resume. I don't want to get anyone in here too worried about my speech, but the only one I shared my notes with before hand was Archbishop Favalora and you can see that he walked out of the room already, so I don't want you to take that as a bad sign. -- Stan Van Gundy, St. Thomas University

As I was preparing my remarks a few days before the ceremonies, an official of the college accidentally let it slip -- rather cruelly, I thought -- that I was their third choice for a speaker. I was devastated. 'Who were the other two?', I asked, swallowing hard. 'Woody Allen and Roger Clemens,' the man said. I thought about this for some time and then later assured my undoubtedly despairing audience that they had nothing to worry about -- that, in fact, I possessed the blinding fastball of Woody Allen and the existential angst of Roger Clemens. --Ken Burns, Lehigh University

It's more important to be significant than successful...do what's right, do everything to the best of your help people know that you care. --Lou Holtz, Wingate College


Unraveling toughest puzzle outstanding, mathematicians
06/06/2006 - Peoples Daily Online (cir. )
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A leading Chinese mathematician Yang Le said Sunday that the successful unraveling of one of the world's toughest puzzles is an outstanding job. Two Chinese mathematicians, Zhu Xiping and Cao Huaidong, have put the final pieces together in the solution to the puzzle that has perplexed scientists around the globe for more than a century. The pair have published a paper in the latest U.S.-based Asian Journal of Mathematics, providing complete proof of the Poincare Conjecture promulgated by French mathematician Henri Poincare in 1904.

A Columbia professor Richard Hamilton and a Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman have laid foundation on the latest endeavors made by the two Chinese. Prof. Hamilton completed the majority of the program and the geometrization conjecture.

Yang, member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said in an interview with Xinhua, 'All the American, Russian and Chinese mathematicians have made indispensable contribution to the complete proof.' Prof. Zhu at Guangzhou-based Zhongshan University and Prof. Cao at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania co-authored the 300-page paper, 'The Hamilton-Perelman Thoery of Ricci Flow-The Poincare and Geometization Conjecture,' which was published in the June issue of the journal.

'The total length of Perelman's work on the conjecture by the end of 2002 was about 70 pages,' said Yang, citing that Perelman raised guidelines for proving the conjecture but not specifically pointed out how to unravel the puzzle. 'Guidelines are totally different to complete proof of theories,' Yang said. Xinhua correspondents contacted Prof. Cao for many times and finally got a telephone interview.

Prof. Cao said, 'Under the guidance of Prof. (Shing-Tung) Yau, Xiping and I worked for the conjecture in more than two years.' 'The latest find will be good for out future work,' Prof. Cao said. Harvard mathematics professor Shing-Tung Yau, winner of the Fields Prize, said the excellent job done by Zhu and Cao was the final strike on a global collaborative work for a complete proof.

Prof. Yau, co-editor-in-chief of the Asian Journal of Mathematics, said, 'All the 31 members of our editorial board are meticulously critical, and we must have consensus on any articles which will appear in our publication.' Zhu and Cao were invited last September by the Harvard Mathematics Department to conduct academic exchange at Harvard. In the following half year, they spent three hours every week to explain their work to five Harvard mathematicians. Yau rated the conjecture as one of the major mathematical puzzles of the 20th Century.

'The conjecture is that if in a closed three-dimensional space, any closed curves can shrink to a point continuously, this space can be deformed to a sphere,' he said.

By the end of the 1970s, U.S. mathematician William P. Thurston had produced partial proof of Poincar's Conjecture on geometric structure, and was awarded the Fields Prize for the achievement.

'The findings would help scientists to further understand three-manifolds geometrization and heavily influence the development of physics and engineering,' said Yau, who will himself explain the methodology of proving the Poincare Conjecture to the 2006 International Conference on String Theory, which is expected in late June in Beijing.


Unraveling toughest puzzle outstanding
06/04/2006 - Xinhua News Agency - New York Bureau (cir. )
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BEIJING, June 4 (Xinhua) -- A leading Chinese mathematician Yang Le said here Sunday that the successful unraveling of one of the world's toughest puzzles is an outstanding job.

Two Chinese mathematicians, Zhu Xiping and Cao Huaidong, have put the final pieces together in the solution to the puzzle that has perplexed scientists around the globe for more than a century.

The two scientists have published a paper in the latest U.S.-based Asian Journal of Mathematics , providing complete proof of the Poincare Conjecture promulgated by French mathematician Henri Poincare in 1904.

A Columbia professor Richard Hamilton and a Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman have laid foundation on the latest endeavors made by the two Chinese. Prof. Hamilton completed the majority of the program and the geometrization conjecture.

Yang, member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said in an interview with Xinhua, "All the American, Russian and Chinese mathematicians have made indispensable contribution to the complete proof."

Prof. Zhu at Guangzhou-based Zhongshan University and Prof. Cao at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania co-authored the 300-page paper, "The Hamilton-Perelman Thoery of Ricci Flow-The Poincare and Geometization Conjecture," which was published in the June issue of the journal.

"The total length of Perelman's work on the conjecture by the end of 2002 was about 70 pages," said Yang, citing that Perelman raised guidelines for proving the conjecture but not specifically pointed out how to unravel the puzzle.

"Guidelines are totally different to complete proof of theories," Yang said.

Xinhua correspondents contacted Prof. Cao for many times and finally got a telephone interview. Prof. Cao said, "Under the guidance of Prof. (Shing-Tung) Yau, Xiping and I worked for the conjecture in more than two years."

"The latest find will be good for out future work," Prof. Cao said.

Harvard mathematics professor Shing-Tung Yau, winner of the Fields Prize, said the excellent job done by Zhu and Cao was the final strike on a global collaborative work for a complete proof.

Prof. Yau, co-editor-in-chief of the Asian Journal of Mathematics, said, "All the 31 members of our editorial board are meticulously critical, and we must have consensus on any articles which will appear in our publication."

Zhu and Cao were invited last September by the Harvard Mathematics Department to conduct academic exchange at Harvard. In the following half year, they spent three hours every week to explain their work to five Harvard mathematicians.

Yau rated the conjecture as one of the major mathematical puzzles of the 20th Century.

"The conjecture is that if in a closed three-dimensional space, any closed curves can shrink to a point continuously, this space can be deformed to a sphere," he said.

By the end of the 1970s, U.S. mathematician William P. Thurston had produced partial proof of Poincar's Conjecture on geometric structure, and was awarded the Fields Prize for the achievement.

"The findings would help scientists to further understand three-manifolds geometrization and heavily influence the development of physics and engineering," said Yau, who will himself explain the methodology of proving the Poincare Conjecture to the 2006 International Conference on String Theory, which is expected in late June in Beijing.

Posted on Thursday, June 08, 2006

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