With the U.S.-led war on Iraq in its fifth day, many people around the world are spending more time reading, watching and listening to news on the Internet. Here are some online information services that don't necessarily leap to mind -- and often have some interesting points of view:
One of the most interesting finds is BBC Monitoring, a subscription-based service. The site is geared toward corporate customers, offering tailored news packages and other information. There is a fascinating free wire service, however, compiling news reports from agencies all over the world, including Iraqi radio, and news services from Ukraine, Iran, Egypt and
elsewhere. The reliability of the news summarized on the site is questionable, but the BBC lets readers judge for themselves.
The Monitor service is particularly helpful now that the official Iraqi Web sites have fallen -- either to bandwidth max-outs or who knows what (Multiple Pentagon sources declined to comment whether their computer-literate staff members are responsible for this). Once they come back -- or if they come back -- check out:
Uruk Link: Run by the "State Company for Information Services," the site under ideal conditions is available in English and
Arabic. It has links to Iraqi television and radio, and to one of Iraq's daily papers (from headlines to funny pages). It also has links to statements from Saddam Hussein and various state propaganda.
Iraq 2000: This site is run by Iraq's Olympic committee, which is headed by one of Saddam Hussein's sons. It contains plenty of
links similar to www.uruklink.net, but is often more accessible, at least when the country is not under severe bombardment.
Iraq's U.N. Mission: This site serves Iraq's Permanent Mission to the United Nations. It has been down since last Thursday. The site's host, NTT-Verio, said that the site went down after too many people tried to look at it, and that the mission would need to pay for more bandwidth. A spokesman for the Iraqi mission confirmed this.
Babil Online: This is an Iraqi newspaper whose Web host is located in London. The site remained online as of Tuesday, March 25.
Some other international news sites from countries near the conflict include:
Zaman: English version of one Turkish