Friday, May 27, 2005

Good News From Iraq

Arthur Chrenkoff posted his latest Good News From Iraq column on Monday. Arthur compiles these columns and posts them about every two weeks. I can't recommend them highly enough. Here are some of the highlights, things you generally won't find reported in the mainstream media...

The selection of Iraq's new government has finally been completed. As it stands, "the new government, most of which was sworn in last week, includes 17 Shia ministers, eight Kurds, six Sunnis and a Christian.

The Iraqi government is partly or fully privatizing dozens of state-owned companies, and is developing outlets for domestic and foreign investment in Iraq's industrial sectors. The only exception: foreign interests cannot own 100 percent of Iraqi businesses dealing with natural resources such as oil.

Activity on the Iraq Stock Exchange is growing, with 89 companies now listed for trading, and a daily average of $2 million in trades.

ATM machines are being introduced in the coming weeks, according to the Trade Bank of Iraq. And Iraqi credit cards are now internationally recognized.

Iraqis are now buying cars, something the Saddam regine prevented. More than a million used cars have entered the country in the past two years.

Australia is providing increased agricultural assistance to Iraq, utilizing Australia's expertise in areas such as dry-land agriculture, irrigation, salinity and water resources management.

New roads continue to be built, existing roads paved and new bridges constructed.

The coalition has rebuilt 11 power plants, adding 2,000 megawatst to the Iraqi power grid. And more than 8,600 kilometers of electrical transmission wire have been run. Japan is building a new $100 million power station in southern Iraq.

Programs are in place distributing medicines and vaccines to the Iraqi people, including 48 million tablets to reduce iron deficiency anemia, prevalent in children and women of child bearing age, and a half-million doses of anti-tuberculosis vaccines.

More than 450 schools throughout Iraq have been renovated, with 350 left to rehabilitate. These 800 schools will greatly improve the education of more than 300,000 Iraqi children.
Arthur also includes small stories about individuals and groups across the country raising money, supplies, etc. for various causes relating to Iraq. I'll try to feature some of these over the coming weeks.