Salı, Nisan 24, 2007

A strong and measured reply to Barzani

What Massoud Barzani said regarding Turkey during an interview with al-Arabiya was grave and cannot be accepted. The reaction, a proportional and pretty strong one, came from Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan.

“We were invited to attend the Riyadh summit of the Arab League. While there, we spoke with Iraqi President Talabani and it was agreed that we should not talk to the media,” said the Prime Minister. “I gave some reasons as to why, but now it seems that they broke their promises again.

“I would recommend that they walk the walk and talk the talk. They should establish their position clearly,” continued Erdoğan. “Or else, they will squirm beneath their own words. Northern Iraq, neighboring Turkey, is making serious errors for not adhering to their own policies, and they could pay dearly. We are a natural state, a state whose history dates back centuries. History knows what we have done in relation, to even Baghdad, let alone northern Iraq.

“Thus, one needs to be very careful when using such strong rhetoric. Barzani, unfortunately, has ignored that line again,” he said. “I don't know if he is satisfying himself with these remarks, but the Turkish Republic does not need to respond in kind in order to gain satisfaction. They should be writhing under those words. It would be to their benefit to be more careful.”
The reaction is strong, but still, “measured.”

*** *** ***

So, what did Barzani say?
First of all, it has to be noted that what Barzani said at the “Frankly Speaking” program of al-Arabiya television was not specifically about Turkey and the interview encompassed Iran, viewpoint on Israel and the situation inside Iraq. When the al-Arabiya reporter said, “Turkey says they would not let the Kurds to annex Kirkuk to Iraqi Kurdistan,” Barzani replies, “We will not allow the Turks to interfere in the issue of Kirkuk.”

Afterwards, the journalist reminded Barzani that the Turks have “a huge army.” Barzani continues, “I do not fear their military power. No matter how strong their military power might be, it will not be stronger than that of Saddam. I do not fear their military or diplomatic power because they interfere in an affair that does not concern them. They interfere in an internal affair of another country. Kirkuk is an Iraqi city of Kurdish identity. History, geography, and all facts prove that Kirkuk is part of Iraq's Kurdistan and Kurdistan is part of Iraq. Therefore, Kirkuk is an Iraqi city with a Kurdish identity and Turkey has no right to interfere in the issue of Kirkuk. If it does, we will interfere in the issue of Diyarbakır and other cities.”

Asked if this is a threat, Barzani replies, “This is not a threat but a reply to interference. What right does Turkey have to interfere in the issue of Kirkuk?” He then says, “If they allow themselves to interfere in the issue of Kirkuk for the sake of a few thousand Turkomans there, we will then interfere for the 30 million Kurds in Turkey.”

The journalist then asks if things will reach this limit. Barzani says he hopes not, and continues, “If the Turks insist on interfering in the issue of Kirkuk, I will be ready to bear all the consequences and not allow them to peddle their plan in Kirkuk.”

Responding to another question, Barzani adds, “If we are denied our right to settle down and live freely, I swear by God that we will not allow others to live in security or stability. We are ready to defend our freedom and our cause to the end.”

This reply brings forth the question whether the Iraqi Kurds are helping Kurds in Turkey and Iran. “Frankly speaking, we support their rights,” says Barzani. “We do not interfere in their affairs; they choose the way to demand their rights or to struggle for their rights.”

Barzani denies supporting them with funds and weapons and says, “They do not ask us and we are not ready to interfere in their affairs, but we support them morally and politically. We are against the use of violence. It is impossible to support them with weapons, but we are ready to help them with all other means.”

*** *** ***

This is not a “wise” speech. In addition, it is riddled with mistakes. He says there are 30 million Kurds in Turkey, thus lying through his teeth. Moreover, what he says regarding Kirkuk amount to “tautology.” Claiming that Kirkuk is a city of “Kurdish identity,” and that “history, geography and all facts prove that Kirkuk is part of Iraq's Kurdistan,” is a self-styled allegation. He tries to build politics on this claim, but you cannot build politics upon tautology.

His father had made the same mistake in 1974 and this “miscalculation” resulted in obliteration and great suffering for Kurds. The reason for Jalal Talabani's breaking up and forming a separate organization is a grave mistake of father Barzani. Thus, decision makers in Turkey should not think Talabani and Barzani are “the same thing.”

In fact, this rhetoric was not viewed positively by the Talabani. Two weeks ago, a Kurdish minister from the Baghdad government was in Turkey for a meeting and he complained of the “inciting remarks” of Barzani.

Why is Barzani behaving this way? It is related with his personality. Massoud Barzani has a “rigid” personality. Plus, he lives 20 kilometers north of Irbil, on top of a mountain in Selahaddin, closed off from the world. One cannot say he has a broad field of view. However, those words cannot be counted as a “miscalculation” as a whole. Barzani thinks Turkey is in an atmosphere of elections and cannot act freely because of domestic balances. He thinks the rhetoric against him in Turkey in essence stems from Turkish inner politics, and is about the ongoing power struggle. He is also aware that the United States is cornered both in domestic politics and in Iraq. Thus, he comes up with the conclusion that his room for maneuvering has widened during this critical year for Kirkuk.

Add to those the fact that Barzani thinks Turkey's real issue is not PKK, but the formation in Iraq's Kurdistan region, and that Turkey is determined not to recognize this formation. Adding his personal traits to this conviction, Barzani toughens more and more. It can also be thought that he is following the general “diplomatic line” in the Middle East, which is basically aiming to reach a “consensus point” by “escalating” issues first.

But, he is wrong. Of course, it is not on the agenda for Turkey to militarily intervene in northern Iraq “immediately.” Turkey's national interests, the situation in Iraq, the United States, regional and international stability, etc. would not let this happen. It is expected that the relations between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdish leaders would continue with “harsh declarations” for a while. Thus, Barzani might think he has got a “tactical advantage.”

But, it is pretty dubious that he gets a “strategic advantage” out of this situation. Enmity between Kurds and Turks would benefit none, but when one looks at the “balances of power,” it would be especially harmful for Kurds.

The “message” in Tayyip Erdoğan's measured but strong reply should be understood as such....

Cengiz Candar

Cuma, Şubat 02, 2007

Turkey weighs cross-border attack on PKK separatists

By Vincent Boland and Guy Dinmore
Published: February 1 2007 02:00 Last updated: February 1 2007 02:00
Turkey made a decisive contribution to the Iraq war nearly four years ago when the parliament in Ankara rejected a US request to allow an invasion from the north. The military impact of this decision belongs to the "What if...?" school of history.

The diplomatic fallout is still casting a shadow over the US-Turkish relationship. Now Turkey could be about to make a second dramatic contribution.

Amid constant bloody clashes between Turkish troops and PKK Kurdish separatist guerrillas operating out of northern Iraq, Ankara is weighing up a cross-border incursion to attack PKK bases. Turkey, its political leaders insist, has the right and the determination to eliminate threats to its territory wherever they come from.

General Yasar Buyukanit, chief of the general staff, is expected to set out Turkey's concerns over Iraq when he visits Washington later this month. One possible outcome intended to guard against a unilateral Turkish intervention would be a joint anti-PKK military operation with US and Iraqi forces, says an analyst who asked not to be named.

Turkey is also becoming alarmed by what it claims is electoral and demographic gerrymandering by Iraqi Kurds in Kirkuk, the oil capital of Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. Ankara fears that Kurdish control of Kirkuk would give the Iraqi Kurds the economic basis for independence if Iraq were to break up.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, and other Turkish leaders have warned repeatedly that the gerrymandering threatens to make a fait accompli of a referendum on Kirkuk's status later this year that Turkey will not tolerate. Turkey is increasingly identifying with the Turkmen minority in the city, which Ankara believes is being ill treated by the Kurds.
Some see the danger of fighting erupting in Kirkuk. This would complicate US plans to "surge" troops into Baghdad, commented Glen Howard, head of the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington security think-tank.

"The Turks are now signalling that they are going to arm the Iraqi Turkmen as the Kurds refuse to back off on the [Kirkuk] referendum," he commented.

Some of the talk in Turkey is election-year rhetoric: no Turkish politician ever lost votes by being tough on Kurdish separatism.

But diplomats and analysts say the debate is also serious. A military strike into northern Iraq - with or without the consent of the US - is militarily and politically possible, perhaps even probable, some believe.

A senior retired Turkish diplomat, with extensive knowledge of the political and military calculations involved in such a decision, said military planning was not as far advanced as public statements from politicians suggested.

"This is not an easy decision to take, even though we are entitled by international law to undertake such a mission," the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

"We have to ask ourselves whether it would achieve our objectives, would it satisfy public opinion, what impact it would have on our international relations."
The debate among the Turkish leadership, hesaid, "is hot, but the thinking is not yet at that stage [of military intervention]".

In 2006, the US and Turkish governments each appointed a retired general - Gen Joseph Ralston of the US and Gen Edip Baser of Turkey - as "PKK co-ordinators" to develop a strategy to target the separatists in northern Iraq. But last month Mr Erdogan branded the initiative "a failure", without quite specifying how it had failed.

The two generals met senior politicians in Ankara this week and the initiative appears to be still on track.

Mr Erdogan's remark, nonetheless, indicated Turkey's impatience with the apparent impunity with which the PKK is acting and the inability of the overstretched US and Iraqi military to crack down on the separatists in Iraq's most stable region.

Turkey is home to 15m ethnic Kurds, some of whom openly sympathise with the PKK. It fought a long war against the PKK in the 1980s and 1990s, which cost at least 35,000 lives. After that conflict petered out and its leadership was captured, the PKK disappeared into the Iraqi mountains to launch periodic attacks on Turkish soil.

Nicholas Burns, US undersecretary of state, said in Ankara recently the US had "enormous sympathy" with Turkey's stance on the PKK, but he suggested Ankara needed to work more closely with Baghdad rather than undertake unilateral moves.

Diplomats say Ankara should be spreading largesse among the Kurdish communities, instead of threatening to disrupt the referendum process in Kirkuk. Others say Turkey's entire Iraq strategy - such as it is - will fail unless it wins the hearts and minds of the Iraqi Kurds.
Sahin Alpay, an academic and commentator, wrote this week: "The most effective way for Ankara to achieve its objectives in Iraq is to win the trust and friendship of the Iraqi Kurds."
Additional reporting Guy Dinmore in Washington

Çarşamba, Ocak 24, 2007

Star Wars Gangsta Rap and others

Perşembe, Ocak 04, 2007

Furor in Iran over ?Turkish dancing? accusations

Thursday, January 4, 2007

An Iranian vice president has filed a complaint against two lawmakers after a furor erupted over his alleged attendance at a ceremony in Turkey where women were dancing, the Fars news agency reported.

Esfandyar Rahim Mashaie has accused the members of Parliament of conducting a smear campaign against him by distributing a CD which purports to show him applauding while a woman stages an oriental dance at an official ceremony in Turkey.

It is considered strictly forbidden under Islam in Iran for a man to watch an unrelated woman dancing and such allegations are deeply sensitive for a member of conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government.

Mashaie, who is also head of Iran's tourism and culture organization, has accused Members of Parliament Emad Afrough and Saeed Abotaleb of doctoring the video to show him applauding the dancing and said he did not attend that section of the ceremony.

?They lied since they edited a portion of the opening session when there was dancing, trying to say that I was there during the whole show,? he said. ?I was not there, you are wrong. Watch it again. I objected to the Secretary-General [of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu]... and I told him: ?No Islamic!'? he told Fars.

?The CD you saw was certainly an edited version. Of course I clapped, but not during that dance. ?I will pursue the case until they tell me that they were wrong and compensate me for the fuss they have caused,? said Mashaie, who was Ahmadinejad's cultural supremo during his tenure as the mayor of Tehran.

Asked why he had maintained his silence over a ceremony which took place more than a year ago, he replied: ?There was nothing to talk about. There is conspiracy. A conspiracy to tarnish the government's work.?

Afrough retorted to Fars that he would be filing a complaint of his own. ?I am also ready to file a complaint. We were expecting from him to leave the ceremony but apparently he did not and sat until the end of it.?

Cumartesi, Aralık 23, 2006

On Iraq, Israel's borders, Quebec, Republican voters, Turkey and turkey

The year's big issue, again
SIR ? The ghosts of Lord Raglan and Sir Douglas Haig must be roaming your corridors late at night, because I detect the spirit of Balaclava and the Somme in your rejection of the Iraq Study Group's report (?Don't do it?, December 9th). In striking contrast to your ?stay the course? position, the cry of sauve qui peut is now resounding through the offices of Republicans hoping to be elected in 2008, and congressional and popular support is eroding in line with the deterioration in our position on the ground in Iraq.

Maybe we should view superpower America as being a pitiful, helpless giant. The technical wizardry of the invasion was awesome, of course, but that is in stark contrast to the occupation, where an undermanned, underequipped army assigned to embody the neocons' nation-building dream has proved itself incapable of handling the job.

The prospect, then, is for some version of ?cut and run?, however well disguised, and however dishonourable. It would not be the first time in American history: Bill Clinton in Somalia, Ronald Reagan in Lebanon, and Gerald Ford in Vietnam come to mind?not to mention the 1876 election compromise that withdrew Union troops from the South, condemning Southern blacks to almost another century of servitude. And for a worst-case scenario, there was Britain's abrupt withdrawal from the Indian subcontinent in 1947, which forced millions to flee their ancestral homes, with roughly 1m dying in the attempt.

William Burke

San Francisco

SIR ? You argue that the announcement of an American withdrawal will weaken our leverage over the internal politics of Iraq. However, the opposite is equally plausible. As long as Iraq's leaders think America will keep its forces in the country indefinitely they will continue to refuse to compromise and turn a blind eye to sectarian violence. Maybe the prospect of American forces being pulled out will concentrate Iraqi minds. But because either option could fail, isn't it sensible for the United States to choose the one that will minimise costs and the loss of American lives?

Richard Greene

Hopewell, New Jersey

Marking the line
SIR ? It is incorrect to refer to the ?Green Line? as ?Israel's internationally recognised border? (?Rowing Rabbis (cont.)?, December 9th). The Green Line represents the ceasefire lines drawn up in 1949 after the Arab-Israeli war, and up until 1967 Israel's Arab neighbours never recognised this as an international border. Following the Six Day War, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 242 that called for Israel to withdraw from ?territories occupied in the recent conflict? (note it did not say all territories) in return for a permanent peace agreement and termination of all hostilities. It did not call for a unilateral Israeli withdrawal to the Green Line, nor recognise this as Israel's permanent border.

The language of the resolution was carefully drafted to allow for territorial adjustments as part of any peace negotiations, and this is reflected in the agreements that Israel eventually signed with Egypt and Jordan, the Oslo Accords signed with the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Ehud Barak's proposals to Yasser Arafat at Camp David in 2000. The recent proposal made by Ehud Olmert to resume negotiations with the Palestinians is also consistent with this principle.

Raphael Lerner

Glencoe, Illinois

Not a nation apart
SIR ? You completely missed the subtle nature of the motion on Quebec passed by Canada's Parliament (?Nation bidding?, December 2nd). It recognised that the Québécois do form a nation within a united Canada, but because Québécois are French-speaking Canadians, tied to French culture and ethnic ancestry from France, the motion refers only to a people with no mention of provincial boundaries. Many Quebeckers are not Québécois. As such, the prime minister, Stephen Harper, has assuaged the pride of the separatists, yet given them no ground to further their ends of separating the province of Quebec from Canada.

Matt Hurst

Ottawa, Canada

SIR ? A few years ago I sat next to a young Quebecker on an aeroplane and she explained to me how she saw herself as living in a distinct society, but one which was not simply French. She had once visited Paris, where she had been treated to haute cuisine at a restaurant of the utmost elegance, causing her to feel part of something very superior to Anglophone Canada. After the meal she slipped down to the ladies' room and there, in a moment of horrified revelation, she had understood that she was also a North American.

Edward Lidderdale


Primary state of mind
SIR ? Regarding Lexington's thoughts on whether the Republicans can become a national party again (?A national party no more?? December 2nd). I'm a ?Live Free or Die? New Hampshire gun-owning libertarian fiscal conservative Republican-leaning independent who has voted a straight Democratic ticket for two elections in a row now. That makes me just the sort of voter Lexington had in mind. I have always found the way that the GOP won the South distasteful, but under George Bush the party has finally become an organisation I would be ashamed to support in any way. Karl Rove is not a genius and now his luck is running out. Perhaps the Republicans need to remember their first and greatest president, who proved conclusively that the South, for all its delusions, doesn't amount to much alone. Otherwise, we'll just have to bring back the Whigs.

Bruce Morley

Jaffrey Center, New Hampshire

A bird's tale
SIR ? Naile Berna Kovuk's indignation at Turkey being named after poultry is misplaced (Letters, December 2nd). The bird was actually named after the presumed country of origin, not vice versa. When first encountered, the turkey was confused with guinea-fowl, known then as turkeycocks. They were introduced to Europe from their native Africa via Turkey. The rest is (etymological) history.

Michael Metcalf

New York

SIR ? English merchants in Turkey discovered a most delicious bird to eat and exported it back to England, where it became very popular, and was known as a ?Turkey bird? or simply a turkey. There are odd names for a turkey in other languages as well, where the bird always seems to have come from somewhere else. In Turkey itself it is known as hindi (meaning from India), in Italy tacchino (peacock) or pollo d'India (India again); in Arabic it is called an ?Ethiopian bird?.

Tony Allwright

Killiney, Ireland

SIR ? The Poles call the same species indyk, perhaps after the French name for it, dinde (of the Indies). The Portuguese call it peru. The turkey is a truly global bird and should be used as a fitting symbol for the next round of World Trade Organisation talks.

Konrad Brodzinski


Salı, Aralık 19, 2006

With Lasers and Daring, Doctors Race to Save a Young Man?s Brain

He picked up a sponge soaked in antiseptic and began scrubbing the shaved skull of Chris Ratuszny, 26, a mechanic from Lindenhurst, N.Y.

Mr. Ratuszny lay on the operating table, anesthetized and oblivious. His head jutted out past the end of the table, supported by four pins that had been screwed into his skull. The pins were attached, like spokes in a wheel, to a semicircular frame ? surreal but standard, the hardware typically used to immobilize the head for brain surgery. A thick purple line had been drawn from his neck to the top of his head, to guide the scalpels.

He was about to become the first person in the United States to undergo an operation involving the use of an excimer laser to treat a giant brain aneurysm, a dangerous ballooning of an artery that could burst and kill him or leave him with devastating brain damage. The aneurysm was too big for the most common treatments, which involve clips or metal coils; it required bypass surgery on an artery in the brain.

The laser is not approved for brain surgery in the United States, but Dr. Langer got permission from the Food and Drug Administration to use it on an emergency basis for Mr. Ratuszny (ra-TOOSH-nee) last Tuesday at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan. The Dutch neurosurgeon who devised the laser procedure, Dr. Cornelius Tulleken, flew in from the Netherlands to help. He has performed the operation on about 300 patients in Europe.

Dr. Tulleken?s technique involves a seemingly small variation on the standard procedure and takes just a few minutes in an eight-hour operation. But it could make all the difference for patients like Mr. Ratuszny, said Dr. Langer, who traveled to Utrecht in 1999 to learn the procedure from Dr. Tulleken. The advantage of the laser is that it lets surgeons operate without clamping a major artery in the brain ? a step required in the standard operation, but one that can cause a stroke.

?It?s a high-risk operation in the best of hands,? Dr. Langer said.

He estimated that the laser could reduce the risk of stroke from bypass surgery for aneurysms to 12 percent, from 15 percent. But comparative studies have not been done. Some surgeons are skeptical, while others are eager to learn the technique, and it has begun to catch on in Europe, Dr. Tulleken said. A neurosurgeon from Chicago came to New York just to see how Mr. Ratuszny?s procedure was done.

The laser definitely makes the operation easier, Dr. Langer said, because just knowing that the brain arteries are still open takes enormous time pressure off the surgeon during critical parts of the operation. To him, that alone makes it worthwhile.

?If it was me, my head, and there was a new device that would allow me to have this operation without occluding an artery, that?s what I?d want,? Dr. Langer said.

Besides making operations easier, the laser may make surgery possible for some aneurysms that would otherwise be inoperable, Dr. Tulleken and Dr. Langer say. Hoping to get the device approved in the United States, Dr. Langer plans to direct a study of it at several medical centers in the United States starting in March. The hospital invited The New York Times to observe and report on the operation, whatever the outcome. Even if the device is approved, it is unlikely to come into widespread use, he said. It costs about $500,000, and giant aneurysms like Mr. Ratuszny?s are rare. Dr. Langer estimated that no more than 1,000 patients a year in the United States would need operations like Mr. Ratuszny?s.

The equipment is made by Elana, a company started by the University Medical Center in Utrecht, where Dr. Tulleken teaches. He owns no stock, he said but relatives do, as does Dr. Langer.

Three million to six million people in the United States have brain aneurysms but do not know it, according to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation in Boston. Aneurysms form when artery walls weaken, but the underlying cause is unknown. Most do not rupture.

But 30,000 people a year do suffer ruptures, with dreadful results. Half die within a month, and many survivors wind up with significant brain damage.

In Mr. Ratuszny?s case, the problem seemed to come out of nowhere. He had always been healthy. A soft-spoken, powerfully built man who works out, he has been a lifeguard at ocean beaches and served in the Army Reserves. Now, he works as a Lexus mechanic. He is recently divorced and dotes on his son, Sam, a 3-year-old with a mohawk who shares his father?s solid physique and knack for taking things apart.

One morning two years ago, when he was 24, Mr. Ratuszny woke up with an excruciating pain in his head. At first, the diagnosis was migraine, but when the usual drugs did not help, doctors ordered an M.R.I. scan.

By the time Mr. Ratuszny got home from the scanning center, he had five telephone messages waiting ? telling him to go straight to the emergency room.

He had what doctors call a giant aneurysm. A three-inch length of an artery had ballooned out to several times its normal diameter and coiled back on itself to form a tangled mass the size of a golf ball inside his head. The vessel was an especially sensitive one: the left internal carotid artery, which feeds the brain centers that control the right hand and create speech and personality.

Mr. Ratuszny was sent to Dr. Langer, the director of cerebrovascular neurosurgery at St. Luke?s-Roosevelt, Beth Israel and Long Island College Hospital.

The only way to fix such a large aneurysm would be to bypass it ? create a detour for blood to flow around it ? by taking a vein from Mr. Ratuszny?s leg and sewing its ends to the artery on either side of the aneurysm. Once the bypass was in place, the aneurysm could be sealed off with clips or stitches. It would gradually shrink.

But the operation was risky. The bypass would run from the carotid artery in the neck up over the brain and then down through the Sylvian fissure between the frontal and temporal lobes, to attach to a brain artery beyond the aneurysm. The standard operation would require cutting a hole in the brain artery and then sewing an open end of the bypass vein to the hole ? like making a T-shaped junction between pipes.

But to cut an artery, the surgeon must temporarily clamp it, or the patient will bleed to death. The clamps may have to stay on for a half-hour or even an hour. And that is where the risk comes in: cutting off blood flow to the brain can cause a stroke that leaves permanent damage.

Some patients can tolerate the clamping because they have other blood vessels that will fill in for the artery. But Mr. Ratuszny seemed to lack those collateral vessels. Dr. Langer thought he had a high risk of a serious complication like a stroke from the operation ? at least 10 percent to 15 percent. And yet the risk of doing nothing was even worse: for giant aneurysms, studies put the odds of rupture or death in one to five years at 50 percent.

Dr. Langer thought Mr. Ratuszny was a perfect candidate for Dr. Tulleken?s technique. Not only would it spare him the clamping, but it would allow Dr. Langer to attach the bypass directly to the left internal carotid, which he considered a better repair method than the standard operation. But the laser was not yet available in the United States.

Mr. Ratuszny?s aneurysm appeared stable, and Dr. Langer thought it would be safe to postpone the operation until the Food and Drug Administration allowed him to use the laser in a study. Mr. Ratuszny agreed to wait, hoping for a safer operation, even though the aneurysm was causing double vision and tremendous pain in his head that sometimes put him in the hospital.

Dr. Tulleken, gaunt and wry at 66, is a man of formidable eyebrows, and a fan of Spinoza and The New York Review of Books. He spends one day a week in the laboratory practicing microsurgical techniques, and he believes that neurosurgery should not be ?rude,? because the brain does not like being manhandled or having its blood supply clamped off.

This belief led him to devise a new technique. The idea is deceptively simple: instead of cutting a hole in the brain artery and then sewing a vein to it, he sews first and cuts later. That way, the artery does not have to be temporarily clamped, and blood flow to the brain is not cut off. A excimer laser is used to make the hole because it can be slipped into a tight space on the tip of a slender tube and makes a clean cut that stays open without burning nearby tissue.

Late in November, Dr. Langer was shocked to see that Mr. Ratuszny?s aneurysm had expanded markedly. It was pressing dangerously on his optic nerve and bulging into his nasal sinus, where it had actually eaten through a bony wall. Mr. Ratuszny?s left eyelid drooped, light hurt his eye and he had such severe pain in the eye, face, neck and head that it sometimes made him vomit.

The artery was stretched thin. Dr. Langer ordered Mr. Ratuszny to head for the hospital if his nose began to bleed, because it could be the first sign of a hemorrhage.

The operation could not be postponed any longer. Mr. Ratuszny?s father was prepared to take out a second mortgage on his house to pay to have the surgery in Utrecht, but the F.D.A. allowed Dr. Langer to use the device this one time.

A few days before the operation, Mr. Ratuszny said he was eager to get it over with. ?If that thing blows up in my head, it?s not something I?m going to survive,? he said.

Dr. Langer said, ?The best case is he goes back to work in about a month and can be a dad, for the rest of his life.?

At 2:40 p.m. last Tuesday, everyone in the operating room was ordered to put on safety glasses. A two-minute countdown was begun by Michael Münker, a physicist from Elana, the Dutch company that makes the laser-tipped tubes.

?Thirty seconds left,? he called. ?Fifteen seconds. Five seconds.?

It was not quite ?Star Wars.? The laser fired ? invisibly. All eyes were on monitors that showed a magnified image of the surgical field. As Dr. Langer withdrew the laser, a flap of tissue cut from the artery wall was stuck to the tube and blood began to flow. The artery was open.

Working through the microscope, using long forceps to grip a fine, curved needle, Dr. Tulleken began the delicate task of sewing the ends of a vein together to complete the bypass. A resident watched, awed by his deft hands.

By 5 p.m., Dr. Michael Tobias, a neurosurgery resident, was fastening metal plates to Mr. Ratuszny?s skull with a screwdriver to replace a 4-inch-by-2-inch oval of bone that had been cut out with a saw.

At 6 p.m., the anesthesiologist, Dr. Jonathan Lesser, prepared to wake Mr. Ratuszny, who had been under anesthesia for more than nine hours.

For brain surgeons, the biggest worry comes not during the operation, but after. They watch the waking patient with hope and dread, searching but not wanting to find signs of a stroke. Can he talk? Move his limbs? Respond to commands?

Almost as if he were afraid to watch, Dr. Langer rested on a stool, leaning against the wall, his head bowed. He seemed unaware that he was bouncing his foot in time with a beeping monitor, matching Mr. Ratuszny?s every heartbeat.

?This is the painful part,? he said. ?Sometimes you do everything right in neurosurgery and the patient doesn?t do well.?

He had predicted that Mr. Ratuszny would most likely have some speech problems after the operation from brain swelling, but that they would be transient.

?Chris!? Dr. Lesser called loudly, standing beside operating table. ?Open your eyes, big guy!?

It took a few more rounds of yelling, but Mr. Ratuszny began to respond. His left knee rose.

?They always move the leg you?re not worried about,? Dr. Langer said.

But within moments, Mr. Ratuszny was moving all his limbs and even raising his head and shoulders, as if he might bolt up off the table. Dr. Langer leapt from the stool to his side, and he and Dr. Tobias joined the chorus: Squeeze my hand! Stick out your tongue! Groggily, Mr. Ratuszny obeyed. He mumbled a few words in answer to questions, then began shivering violently. The doctors called for extra blankets.

?Chris, you did great,? Dr. Langer said. ?You?re all done, buddy.?

As predicted, the day after the operation Mr. Ratuszny did have some speech trouble: he repeated himself and had difficulty finding the right words. But he spoke fluently and laughed at jokes, and the problems began to diminish over the next few days. In his hospital room last Friday, three days after the operation, Mr. Ratuszny greeted visitors cheerfully and said his eye pain had already decreased. By Monday, he was up and about, despite a painful infection in one arm from an intravenous line. He couldn?t wait to go home, see his son and return to work.

Çarşamba, Aralık 13, 2006

China 'crackdown on online games'

Online games are popular in China's internet cafes

China is enforcing more monitoring of online games after some were found to contain banned religious or political material, a state news agency reported.

The announcement adds to government controls on Chinese newspapers, television and other media.

China has more than 23 million online gamers, generating revenues of more than $850m (£440m) a year.

Distributors must now obtain approval before releasing new games, reported Xinhua news agency.

Companies must also submit monthly monitoring reports, confirming developers have not added forbidden content.

The latest round of enforcement was prompted by "a rash of problems with imported online games, some of which contain sensitive religious material or refer to territorial disputes", Xinhua said.

It said some were criticised as pornographic or too violent.

Chinese officials said distributors concealed the content of the games when applying for approval, and operators sometimes upgraded games with improper content, Xinhua reported.