Good News from Iraq, Part Seventeen

Arthur Chrenkoff brings you his seventeeth installment of his trademark good news round-up from a place the mainstream media still tries to portray as a hopeless quagmire.
Don’t believe their hype:

As part of the overseas vote effort, the Jordanian authorities have announced they will set up a center to count ballots from the estimated 100,000 Iraqis residing in the country.
Here, meanwhile, you can find the updated list of over 220 registered parties and independent candidates (entities) which will contest the election. The registered entities are, in turn, expected to field some 5,000 candidates running on 83 candidates list.

Other foreign assistance for the election continues to flow in. Canada has offered to train election officials in Iraq and to help monitor the vote. Japan will be training 10 Iraqi electoral officials from Baghdad and Muthana province. Germany, meanwhile, is assisting with electoral education: “A new radio program is about to hit the airwaves in Iraq focusing on the upcoming elections scheduled for the end of January. It’s radio for Iraqis, by Iraqis, with a little help from [the German broadcaster] Deutsche Welle.”

If there is one thing instructors at the second training seminar for Iraqi judges learned at the Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (CEELI) in Prague, it’s that Iraqi judges were well-prepared to resurrect a democratic legal system.

More than 130 Iraqi boys and girls, aged 8-14, from 17 different schools in the Karrada area attend a two-hour computer course every day, delivered by fresh university graduates who volunteer to teach the children.

Five trade union leaders from Iraq attended the 18th World Congress of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), which began on Sunday in the southwestern resort city of Miyazaki.

The unemployment rate in Iraq fell from 28 per cent at the end of 2003 to 26.8 per cent during the first half of 2004.

In transport news, more work is on the cards to give Iraq another international airport.

U.S. officials announced… they would try to begin 150 more construction contracts in Iraq by the end of [December]. They have begun work on 363 schools, 16 military bases, 88 border posts, 41 clinics and 14 hospitals, among other projects, according to the Defense Department.

Iraq’s first national highway running from its northern borders to the Persian Gulf in the south was completed Dec. 5 with the driving of a golden spike.

Smile. We’re winning.

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