Morning Report: February 14, 2006

Where is the love? Part 1: Pakistan riots target US officer. Pakistani Muslims turned their anger against Colonel Harland Sanders and other Western business interests, according to news reports. 'Thousands of protesters rampaged through two cities Tuesday, storming into a diplomatic district and torching Western businesses and a provincial assembly in Pakistan’s worst violence against the Prophet Muhammad drawings, officials said. At least two people were killed and 11 injured. Security forces fired into the air as they struggled to contain the unrest in the eastern city of Lahore, where protesters burned down four buildings housing a hotel, two banks, a KFC restaurant and the office of a Norwegian cell phone company, Telenor.' (MSNBC, KFC)

Where is the love? Part 2: Basra council breaks coalition ties. Feeling wounded over allegations of British abuse and offensive Danish cartoons, the provincial government of Basra, Iraq, has temporarily cut ties with the UK and Denmark, CNN reports: 'Basra's provincial government temporarily has cut ties with the Danish and British contingents in Basra, the council's head told CNN on Tuesday. The move -- which calls for what a British official referred to as a "period of noncooperation" -- comes amid the Muslim protests over Danish cartoons and the alleged beatings of Iraqis by British troops. Mohammad Zaher Sadoun said the Basra Provincial Council demanded the withdrawal of Danish troops and an apology to Muslims worldwide from the Danish government amid the publications of caricatures of Islam's Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper. ... The council also demanded that soldiers accused of beating "innocent Iraqis" be brought to justice and demanded clarity from the British government on the incident seen on the videotape.' (CNN)

Where is the love? Part 3: Heartsick Saddam refuses to eat. Devastated at the prospect of facing trial for genocide, torture, and various crimes against humanity, Saddam Hussein has declared a hunger strike. 'Saddam said he had not eaten in three days, while his former intelligence chief, Ibrahim Barzan, said he had been on strike for two days. Their claims of a hunger strike could not be independently confirmed.' LATE-BREAKING UPDATE: Nadz has exclusive coverage. (AP via MSNBC; Nadz)

Where is the love? Part 4: US, Israel to play homewrecker to Hamas and PA. Washington and Jerusalem are working to engineer a breakup between Palestine and its new beau, Hamas. Debka reports: 'The United States and Israel are working on ways to destabilize the Hamas-led Palestinian government, the New York Times reported Tuesday, Feb. 14. The plan is said to center largely on money and on Mahmoud Abbas playing his part. The Palestinian Authority payroll amounts to $100 m per month. Israel will withhold its regular $50-55 million a month in collected revenues and place the money in escrow, creating a large cash deficit. The US and Europe will follow suit. In other words, the US, Europe and Israel propose to impose economic sanctions against the Palestinian Authority, even before putting them in place against Iran. ...' Read the rest of Debka's analysis at the link. (Debka)

Where is the love? Part 5: Hindu, Muslim fundamentalists burn valentine cards. Also via MSNBC, 'Hardline Hindu and Muslim groups burned Valentine’s Day greeting cards on Tuesday and held protests across India against celebrating the festival of love, saying it was a Western import that spread immorality.' No word on whether chocolate-covered cherries were also consigned to the flames. (MSNBC)

It must be love. Irshad Manji treasures her readers' love notes. Go to the link for the heartwarming details. (Irshad Manji)