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Quick jump to below stories:
Shell Replaced Less Than Half Oil Pumped
Sandy Berger to plead guilty on documents charge
A rising China counters US clout in Africa
A Con Job by Pakistan's Pal, George Bush
For Army Recruiters, a Hard Toll From a Hard Sell
Troops deployed after riot at Karachi Stock Exchange Angry protests erupt after share values plummet in Pakistan market

Shell Replaced Less Than Half Oil Pumped

Mar. 31, 2005

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Oil major Royal Dutch/Shell replaced less than half the oil it pumped last year with new finds, according to final reserves data published on Thursday.

Shell said its proved reserves stood at 11.9 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) at the end of 2004, equal to less than nine years' production at average 2004 rates, excluding the Athabasca oil sands reserves, which it put at 0.6 billion boe.

While the figures were in line with previous guidance, they will cement many investors' worries that Shell has lost its knack of finding oil following a reserves over-booking scandal last year that led the company to downgrade around a quarter of its oil and gas reserves.

"The Reserve Replacement Ratio (RRR), excluding the impact of divestments and year-end pricing and including associates, was 49 percent," Shell said after it filed a report with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC).

Including the impact of divestments and year-end pricing, the RRR was 19 percent.

Shell, the world's third-largest oil group by market capitalization, added that it continued to target at least a 100 percent replacement of its oil reserves from 2004 to 2008.

Some analysts question the firm's ability to meet this target while some investors would prefer to see the company focus on expanding production.

"The numbers make pretty poor reading but we knew the performance of Shell was poor ... it has to be a concern (that Shell has) by far the lowest reserves base of any of the large oil companies," said one fund manager who asked not to be named.

Most of the large international oil companies (IOCs) are finding it increasingly hard to make new oil finds big enough to meet their goals to replace and increase production, threatening their long-term health.

The world's biggest reserves are controlled by Middle Eastern states which restrict access to their reserves to their own national oil companies (NOCs).

Analysts say this privileged access to oil will enable the NOCs to threaten the IOC's dominance of the oil industry.

While Shell's 20-F filing shows its problems in finding oil are among the worst in its peer group, many in the industry believe the SEC rules are too strict and underestimate the true state of firm's oil reserves.

Shell says the oil in the ground at its projects is many more times the 11.9 billion boe figure.

The company also cut its net income for 2004 to $18.2 billion from a previously reported $18.5 billion, to take into account its February reserves downgrade of 1.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Shell's London-listed shares were up 0.32 percent at 477-1/2 pence at 1346 GMT, while its Amsterdam-listed stock was up 0.04 percent at 46.26 euros. This compared to a 0.55 percent rise in the DJ Stoxx European oil and gas sector index.

Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer received 2.9 million euros in salary and cash bonuses in 2004, the statement said.

Copyright 2005 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures

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Sandy Berger to plead guilty on documents charge

Former national security adviser Sandy Berger will plead guilty to taking classified material from the National Archives, a misdemeanor, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Berger is expected to appear in federal court in Washington on Friday, said Justice spokesman Bryan Sierra.

The charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.

The former Clinton administration official previously acknowledged he removed from the National Archives copies of documents about the government's anti-terror efforts and notes that he took on those documents.

He said he was reviewing the materials to help determine which Clinton administration documents to provide to the independent commission investigating the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

He called the episode "an honest mistake," and denied criminal wrongdoing.

Berger and his lawyer, Lanny Breuer, have said Berger knowingly removed the handwritten notes by placing them in his jacket and pants and inadvertently took copies of actual classified documents in a leather portfolio. He returned most of the documents, but some still are missing.

The materials related to a 2000 report on how government reacted to the terror threat prior to the millennium celebrations.

Berger stepped down as an adviser to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's campaign last July after The Associated Press reported that the Justice Department was investigating the matter.

Many Democrats, including former President Clinton, suggested politics were behind disclosure of the probe only days before the release of the September 11 commission report, which Republicans feared would be a blow to President Bush's re-election campaign.

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A rising China counters US clout in Africa

Trade drives political role ahead of Zimbabwe's election.

By Abraham McLaughlin | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
March 30, 2005

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

HARARE, ZIMBABWE - The Chinese economic juggernaut and its thirst for minerals and markets has increasingly brought it to Africa, including here to Zimbabwe. The fertile hills of this Southern African nation are rich with gold and the world's second largest platinum reserves. In Sudan, Angola, and along the Gulf of Guinea, the Asian giant is guzzling the continent's vast oil supply.

But lately the Chinese are digging on a different front, one that could complicate the Bush administration's efforts to promote democracy here: African politics.

Last year, China stymied US efforts to levy sanctions on Sudan, which supplies nearly 5 percent of China's oil and where the US says genocide has occurred in its Darfur region. And as Zimbabwe becomes more isolated from the West, China has sent crates of T-shirts for ruling-party supporters who will vote in Thursday's parliamentary elections.

In addition, China or its businesses have reportedly:

  • provided a radio-jamming device for a military base outside the capital, preventing independent stations from balancing state-controlled media during the election
  • begun to deliver 12 fighter jets and 100 trucks to Zimbabwe's Army amid a Western arms embargo; and
  • designed President Robert Mugabe's new 25-bedroom mansion, complete with helipad. The cobalt-blue tiles for its swooping roof, which echoes Beijing's Forbidden City, were a Chinese gift.

China is increasingly making its presence felt on the continent - from building roads in Kenya and Rwanda to increasing trade with Uganda and South Africa. But critics say its involvement in politics could help prop up questionable regimes, like Mr. Mugabe's increasingly autocratic 25-year reign.

"Suffering under the effects of international isolation, Zimbabwe has looked to new partners, including China, who won't attach conditions, such as economic and political reform" to their support, says a Western diplomat here. Of China's influence on this week's elections, he adds, "I find it hard to believe the Chinese would push hard for free and fair elections - it's not the standard they're known for."

Indeed, Mugabe often praises China and Asia as part of his new "Look East" policy. He responded to tough questions from an interviewer on Britain's Sky News last year
about building his $9 million new home, while millions of Zimbabweans live on the verge of starvation, by saying: "You say it's lavish because it is attractive. It has Chinese roofing material, which makes it very beautiful, but it was donated to us. The Chinese are our good friends, you see."

China is becoming good friends to many African nations, as the US has been. Between 2002 and 2003, China-Africa trade jumped 50 percent, to $18.5 billion, Chinese officials say. It's expected to grow to $30 billion by 2006. US-Africa trade was $44.5 billion last year, according to the Commerce Department. As the world's largest oil importer behind the US, China has oil interests in Sudan, Chad, Nigeria, Angola, and Gabon. The US is also hunting for oil in Africa, with about 10 percent of imports coming from the continent.

Not all of China's activities in Africa are controversial. Under the auspices of the UN, the China-Africa Business Council opened this month, headquartered in China, to boost trade and development. It has peacekeepers in Liberia and has contributed to construction projects in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Zambia, though critics say it is using these projects to garner goodwill that it can tap into during prickly issues like Taiwan's independence or UN face-offs with the US.

Here in Zimbabwe, China also may be helping to support one of Africa's more oppressive regimes. The radio-jamming equipment that has prevented the independent Short Wave Radio Africa from broadcasting into the country is Chinese, according to the US-funded International Broadcast Bureau.

Reporters Without Borders, a group dedicated to freedom of the press, based in Paris, had this to say about the jamming: "Thanks to support from China, which exports its repressive expertise, Robert Mugabe's government has yet again just proved itself to be one of the most active predators of press freedom."

A Chinese diplomat here insists the equipment didn't come from China. And he says the T-shirts, which reportedly arrived on Air Zimbabwe's new direct flight from Beijing, were "purely a business transaction." But he adds that China-Zimbabwe relations have recently "been cemented in the field of politics and business."

In return for its support, China has received diplomatic backing on Taiwan's independence, as it has from many African nations.

Ultimately, China's expansion into Zimbabwe and Africa is more narrow than the 1800s colonization by European powers, when "Christianity, civilization, and commerce" were the buzzwords. For China, it's all about economics. "They've said: 'If you agree to privatize and sell to us your railways, your electricity generation, etc. - we will come in with capital," says John Robertson, an economist based in Harare.

With an economy that has shrunk as much as 40 percent in five years, Zimbabwe's government uses these promises to put off critics. "The government says, 'The Chinese are coming, and they'll bring in billions of dollars in investment, and soon everything will be fully restored,' " Mr. Robertson says.

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["Our friendship with the Pakistani military is blossoming, perhaps in response to India's booming energy needs." -Jenna Orkin]

A Con Job by Pakistan's Pal, George Bush

Robert Scheer Copyright © 2005
Los Angeles Times
March 29, 2005,0,3428948.column?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

March 29, 2005 -- Trying to follow the U.S. policy on the proliferation of nuclear weapons is like watching a three-card monte game on a city street corner. Except the stakes are higher.

The announcement Friday that the United States is authorizing the sale to Pakistan of F-16 fighter jets capable of delivering nuclear warheads -- and thereby escalating the region's nuclear arms race -- is the latest example of how the most important issue on the planet is being bungled by the Bush administration.

Consider this dizzying series of Bush II-era actions:

We have thrown away thousands of Iraqi and American lives and billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars after crying wolf on Iraq's long-defunct nuclear weapons program and now expect the world to believe similar scary stories about neighboring Iran.

We have cozied up to Pakistan for more than three years as it freely allowed the operation of the most extravagantly irresponsible nuclear arms bazaar the world has ever seen.

We sabotaged negotiations with North Korea by telling allies that Pyongyang had supplied nuclear material to Libya, even though the Bush administration knew that the country of origin of those shipments was our "ally," Pakistan.

Now, Lockheed Martin has been saved from closing its F-16 production line by the White House decision to lift the arms embargo on Pakistan and allow the sale. The decision, which ends a 1990 embargo put in place by the president's father in reprisal for Pakistan's development of a nuclear arsenal, is especially odd at a time when we are berating European nations for considering lifting their arms embargo on China.

The White House says the F-16s are a reward to Islamabad for its help in disrupting terrorism networks, despite a decade of Pakistan's strong support of Al Qaeda and the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Yet Pakistan's ruling generals could be excused for believing that Washington is not seriously concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons. How else to explain invading a country -- Iraq -- that didn't possess nukes, didn't sell nuclear technology to unstable nations and didn't maintain an unholy alliance with Al Qaeda -- and then turning around and giving the plum prizes of U.S. military ingenuity to the country that did?

Even as the Bush administration continues to confront Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons program, Islamabad has admitted that Pakistani nuclear weapons trafficker Abdul Qadeer Khan -- the father of his nation's nuclear bomb -- provided Iran with the centrifuges essential to such a program. Further, new evidence reveals that Khan marketed to Iran and Libya not only the materials needed for a nuclear bomb but the engineering competence to actually make one.

Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf insists Khan was running his nuclear smuggling operation under the radar of the military government that brought Musharraf to power. And although this is a highly implausible claim given the reach of the military's power and the scope of the operation, the White House has found it convenient to buy it hook, line and sinker -- all the better to remarket Pakistan to the American people as a war-on-terrorism ally.

While Pakistan was receiving such heaping helpings of benefit of the doubt, North Korea became the Bush administration's scapegoat for the rapid nuclear proliferation happening on its watch, according to the Washington Post.

"In an effort to increase pressure on North Korea, the Bush administration told its Asian allies in briefings earlier this year that Pyongyang had exported nuclear material to Libya," wrote the Post. "But that is not what U.S. intelligence reported, according to two officials with detailed knowledge of the transaction." Sources told the paper that "Pakistan's role as both the buyer and the seller [of uranium hexafluoride] was concealed to cover up the part played by Washington's partner."

One result of the United States shortsightedly pulling this fast one has been the collapse of multilateral nonproliferation talks with Pyongyang. Yet in the long term, the cost is much greater: a dramatic erosion of trust in U.S. statements on nuclear proliferation.

From Iraq to Iran, North Korea to Pakistan, the Bush administration has pulled so many con jobs that it is difficult for anybody to take it seriously. Unfortunately, though, the proliferation of nuclear weapons is as serious as it gets.

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[This article must be read in its entirety. Almost every paragraph is charged with its own poignant revelation about the state of this country and its "wartime." -JAH]

For Army Recruiters, a Hard Toll From a Hard Sell

By Damien Cave
The New York Times
March 27, 2005

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

The Army's recruiters are being challenged with one of the hardest selling jobs the military has asked of them in American history, and many say the demands are taking a toll.

A recruiter in New York said pressure from the Army to meet his recruiting goals during a time of war has given him stomach problems and searing back pain. Suffering from bouts of depression, he said he has considered suicide. Another, in Texas, said he had volunteered many times to go to Iraq rather than face ridicule, rejection and the Army's wrath.

An Army chaplain said he had counseled nearly a dozen recruiters in the past 18 months to help them cope with marital troubles and job-related stress.

"There were a couple of recruiters that felt they were having nervous breakdowns, literally," said Maj. Stephen Nagler, a chaplain who retired in March after serving at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, where the New York City recruiting battalion is based.

Two dozen recruiters nationwide were interviewed about their experiences over four months. Ten spoke with The New York Times even after an Army official sent an e-mail message advising all recruiters not to speak to this reporter, who was named. Most asked for anonymity to avoid being disciplined.

A handful who spoke said they were satisfied with their jobs. They said they took pride in seeing awkward, unfocused teenagers transform into confident soldiers and relished an opportunity to contribute to the Army effort.

But most told similar tales: of loving the military, of working hard to complete a seemingly impossible task, of struggling to carry the nation's burden at a time of anxiety and stress.

The careers and self-esteem of recruiters rise and fall on their ability to fulfill a mission, said current and former Army officials and military experts who were also interviewed.

Recruiters said falling short often generates a barrage of angry correspondence, formal reprimands, threats or even demotion.

"The recruiter is stuck in the situation where you're not going to make mission, it just won't happen," the New York recruiter said. "And you're getting chewed out every day for it. It's horrible." He said the assignment was more strenuous than the time he was shot at while deployed in Africa.

At least 37 members of the Army Recruiting Command, which oversees enlistment, have gone AWOL since October 2002, Army figures show. And, in what recruiters consider another sign of stress, the number of improprieties committed - signing up unqualified people to meet quotas or giving bonuses or other enlistment benefits to recruits not eligible for them - has increased, Army documents show.

"They don't necessarily have real bullets flying at them," said Major Nagler. "But there are different kind of bullets they need to contend with - the bullets of not producing numbers, of having a station commander shoot them down."

The Army is seeking 101,200 new active-duty Army and Reserve soldiers this year alone to replenish the ranks in Iraq and Afghanistan, elsewhere around the world and at home. That means each of the Army's 7,500 recruiters faces the grind of an unyielding human math, a quota of two new recruits a month, at a time of extended war without a draft.

The mission puts them in a different kind of cross-fire: On one side, the military's requirement that new soldiers be found. On the other, resistance by many parents to Army careers for their children in wartime.

Maj. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle, commander of the Army Recruiting Command, acknowledged it is a stressful time for recruiters, who face "the toughest challenge to the all-volunteer Army" since it began in 1973.

"I do not deny being demanding," said General Rochelle, leader of the command since 2002. "We have a vitally important mission in terms of providing volunteers for an army that is at war and that is growing."

He said the Army has already added recruiters and taken measures to expand the pool of potential soldiers, by accepting older recruits and more people without high school diplomas. Other changes are being considered, he said.

But many recruiters said the Army continues to minimize how difficult it has become to find qualified volunteers during a war and in a growing economy.

For the first time in nearly five years, the Army missed its active-duty recruiting goal in February. The Reserve has missed its monthly quota since October. Army officials said the goals would most likely be missed the next two months as well.

Gen. Richard A. Cody, Army vice chief of staff, told Congress on March 16 that he is concerned about whether the Army can continue to provide the troops the nation needs.

"What keeps me awake at night," he said, "is what will this all-volunteer force look like in 2007?"

The Marines also missed monthly recruiting goals in January, for the first time in a decade. The Navy and Air Force, which provide fewer people for the war, are on track to meet their quotas.

Trying to refill the ranks solely through recruitment in wartime is rare. Historians say the Spanish-American War, Mexican-American War and Gulf war were the only major conflicts since 1775 that did not rely, in part, on conscripts.

Since 1973, the Army has usually maintained an all-volunteer force of a million active-duty, Reserve and National Guard soldiers, primarily through a marketing campaign that promoted opportunities for adventure, new skills, college money and other personal goals - enticements that, in wartime, often do not outweigh fear of combat and death, Army surveys show.

While some in Congress have raised the specter of a draft, the Bush administration has rejected that idea, saying higher skilled soldiers are needed in a high-tech age, and are best found through recruitment.

But several senior officers interviewed, including Col. Greg Parlier, retired, who until 2002 headed the research and strategy arm of the Army Recruiting Command, said the pressure on recruiters shows the policy should be re-examined, and initiatives like national service should be considered.

Courting Mom and Dad

The Army is the nation's largest military branch, comprising 80 percent of the 150,000 troops in Iraq. Its recruiters are among its best soldiers. Most are sergeants with 5 to 15 years of experience, pulled randomly from the top 10 percent of their specialty, as defined by their commanding officers. More than 70 percent did not volunteer for the job.

Some soldiers are better suited to the task than others. Staff Sgt. Jose E. Zayas, 42, is outgoing, bilingual and embraces his mission. Recently, canvassing in the Bronx, he had little trouble persuading a couple from Massachusetts to accept a few pamphlets.

But for every Sergeant Zayas, there is a recruiter like Sgt. Joshua Harris, 29, a former personnel administrator in a New Jersey recruiting station, who struggles when talking to strangers. Seven weeks of instruction in approaching prospects helped him, he said. But many recruiters said few soldiers possess the skills they need.

Recruiters are paid about $30,000 a year, plus housing and other allowances, including $450 a month in special-duty pay for recruiting. They live where they recruit, often hundreds of miles from a base.

These men, and occasionally women, spend several hours a day cold-calling high school students, whose phone numbers are provided by schools under the No Child Left Behind Law. They also must "prospect" at malls, at high schools, colleges and wherever else young people gather.

The follow-up process often takes months. Though parents do not have to sign off on the decision to join, recruiters said it is virtually impossible to enlist a new recruit without their approval. Over dinners and on the phone, they make the Army's case over and over to win parents' support.

If they succeed, they are responsible for bringing the recruit in for 5:30 a.m. processing , organizing physical fitness training or, in the case of one California recruiter, taking 3 a.m. phone calls to comfort a recruit crying over a breakup with her boyfriend.

The whims are many from the young, restless and uncertain, experts said.

Recruiters have "the only military occupation that deals with the civilian world entirely," said Charles Moskos, a military sociologist at Northwestern University.

Even before the war, recruiters contacted on average of 120 people before landing an active-duty recruit, Army data showed. That number is growing, recruiters said.

One recruiter in the New York area said that when he steps outside his office for a cigarette, he often is barraged with epithets from passers-by angry about the war.

In January, the brother-in-law of a prospective recruit lashed into him. "He swore at me," the recruiter said, "and said that he would rather have his brother-in-law in jail for selling crack than in the Army."

The recruiter said, when out of uniform, he often lies about his profession. "I tell them I work in human resources," he said.

Still, they must sign up two recruits a month. Anyone with outstanding criminal cases, health problems or poor test scores is disqualified. Most months, at least one must have a high school diploma and score in the top 50 percent of an aptitude test.

Lt. Col. William F. Adams, a psychologist at the United States Military Academy who has counseled recruiters, empathized with the pressure but said it came with the job. Of the recruiting goal, he said, "It is not a goal or a target; it is a mission. If you don't do it, you're a failure."

A December report from the commanding officers overseeing about 40 recruiters in West Houston reflects the mission-driven culture of recruitment. Sent by e-mail to station commanders, it started by declaring, "We can sum up the month of Dec with one word - Unprofessional!"

The document noted that in a month's-end drive to meet quota, seven recruits had appeared for processing. Of those, two did not meet weight requirements and needed a waiver, while two others lacked paperwork.

"We are processing crap," the report stated, "double and triple waivers, waivers which get approved and the applicant refuses to enlist (two this month), waivers on people with more than 20 charges, etc. We are putting these people in our Army!"

The cause, it said, was a lack of leadership: "I challenged you to fix your stations. No one has stepped forward."

Asked to respond to the document, the Houston recruiting battalion declined.

The report was followed on Jan. 6 by an e-mail message from Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Norris, the second in command of 212 recruiters in and around Houston, threatening to deny all requests for leave.

"There are no excuses and I am tired of entertaining such lack of discipline and focus," he said in the e-mail message forwarded to The Times by a recruiter who received it. "Let this serve notice that any station commander that is holding this great battalion back will not be a station commander in this battalion very much longer."

Neither document contained any mention of the war, nor other possible obstacles. Sergeant Major Norris declined through an Army spokesman to be interviewed. General Rochelle said most battalions do not resort to such tactics.

Brawling Over Prospects

The recruiter in New York who had considered suicide said he has seen at least four marriages break up among the 9 or 10 recruiters in his area since 2002. He said he has been subjected to threats of discharge and "zero-roller training," when superiors comb through recruiters' phone logs and other materials, then lambaste them for failing to enlist anyone.

After more than a decade in the military, he said he still loves the Army. "It's just this detail," he said. "This is hell."

A Texas recruiter - a gruff man whose home is decorated with military commendations - said that he suffers from severe headaches lasting up to six hours. "I never had them until I got out here," he said. "They're from recruiting."

He and other recruiters said they sometimes feel angry enough to hit someone. Two years ago, he said, two recruiters in his office brawled over who should get credit for a new recruit. "We call this the pressure plate, like on a land mine," he said, pointing to the recruiter patch on his uniform. "If you push it too hard, we'll explode."

His wife, like spouses in California and elsewhere, is furious at what she sees as the Army's lack of support. "What we are doing is good; recruiting is good and important work," she said. "But the fact of the matter is that it's killing our soldiers."

Many of the recruiters said they have asked for other assignments. One of them is Sgt. Latrail Hayes. Now 27, Sergeant Hayes enlisted in the Army 10 years ago, out of high school in Virginia Beach, continuing a family tradition of military service. He volunteered to be a recruiter in 2000, after 52 jumps as a paratrooper, and at first his easy charm, appeals to patriotism and offers of Army benefits enticed dozens of recruits.

But Sergeant Hayes said he started rethinking his assignment as the war went on. Mothers required months, not weeks, of persuasion. And stories he heard from some of his recruits who had gone to Iraq and Afghanistan made him reluctant to pursue prospects by emphasizing the Army's benefits. When his cousin, whom he had recruited, returned from Iraq with psychological trauma, he filed for conscientious objector status in June, to get a new assignment.

The application was rejected in November. Now, instead of serving 20 years in the Army, he intends to leave in December, when his tour ends. "There's a deep human connection when you try to persuade someone to do something you've done," he said. "So when it turns into something else - maybe even the opposite - it's difficult."

Some recruiters said they witnessed more "improprieties," which the Army defines as any grossly negligent or intentional act or omission used to enlist unqualified applicants or grant benefits to those who are ineligible. They said recruiters falsified documents and told prospects to lie about medical conditions or police records.

An analysis of Army records shows that the number of impropriety allegations doubled to 1,023 in 2004 from 490 in 2000. Initial investigations substantiated 459 violations of Army enlistment standards in 2004, up from 186 in 2000. In 135 cases, recruiters - often more than one - were judged to have committed improprieties, up from 113 in 2000. The rest were defined as errors.

General Rochelle acknowledged that the impropriety figures "may be a reflection of some of the pressure that is perceived at the lower levels." He also said that the increase could partly be explained by improvements in tracking violations.

"We hold every recruiter responsible for being a living and breathing example of Army values," he said.

The quotas will remain unchanged, General Rochelle said. But the commanders should be held responsible for finding ways to meet their goals. "It does no good to pass the heat, as it were, or the correction down to the individual soldier," he said.

The Army announced in September that it would add about 1,200 active-duty and Reserve recruiters to the field. It has also more than doubled bonuses for three-year enlistments to $15,000 and increased its advertising budget.

For the first time since 1998, the Army has lowered its standards, last week increasing its age limit for Reserve and National Guard recruits to 39. Last year, it agreed to accept thousands more recruits without high school diplomas.

In a small concession to recruiters, Army brass announced in February that they can trade the green slacks and shirts that they said made them feel and look like security guards for battle fatigues.

General Rochelle said the uniform swap was part of a new recruiting strategy to stress patriotism over salesmanship and enlist veterans to help make the Army's pitch. "It's less materialistic, in terms of the focus, once we get a recruiter face to face with a young American," he said.

The recruiter in Texas, for one, said the changes are too little too late. He said he would prefer to be in Iraq.

"I'd rather be getting shot at, because at least I'd be with my guys," he said. "I'm infantry. That's what I'm trained to do."

Margot Williams contributed reporting for this article.

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Troops deployed after riot at Karachi Stock Exchange Angry protests erupt after share values plummet in Pakistan market

The Globe and Mail
Saturday, March 26, 2005 Page B2

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Pakistan deployed paramilitary troops and police to guard the country's main stock exchange yesterday following angry protests from brokers and retail investors, who saw the value of their shares plunge more than 24 per cent in a week.

Hundreds of people, including some shareholders, threw stones and smashed cars after one of the world's best-performing markets tumbled on fears of payment default in the nascent futures market.

The stock market over the past three years has attracted a large number of middle class and first-time investors, who were encouraged by a booming economy, low interest rates and better corporate earnings.

Analysts said sharp gains in recent months had been largely speculative and unjustified by fundamentals. As the downturn gathered pace, many investors were forced to sell shares to meet obligations on the futures market, which accelerated the decline.

The benchmark Karachi Stock Exchange 100-share index closed down 349.15 points, or 4.20 per cent, at 7,964.95, 24 per cent, down from its record high of 10,304.72 points on March 17.

Analysts said the crisis at the stock exchange is the worst in Pakistan's stock market history and has the potential to spill over to the financial and property markets.

"This crisis so severe that it has sparked selling in the real estate market, which is down by 10 to 20 per cent," Mohammed Sohail, director of research at the Karachi-based brokerage house Jahangir Siddiqui Capital Markets, said in an interview.

Pakistan's asset markets have been rising since President Pervez Musharraf, the military ruler of this country of 150 million people, decided to back the U.S.-led war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan.

The decision unlocked millions of dollars in aid from the United States and other Western powers and helped in attracting investment from overseas Pakistanis and retail investors in the country's share market.

The listings of the state-run companies at the stock exchanges through stake sales further boosted investors confidence.

But despite hefty gains over the past three years, the market has the reputation of being one of the most speculative bourses in the world. The Karachi Stock Exchange, the country's premier bourse, suffers from constant volatility often blamed on market manipulation.

KSE faced its worst settlement crisis in decades when several brokers defaulted on share purchases in May, 2000, helping to wipe out more than 40 per cent of the market's gains from the first half of that year.

"There will be a further slide if the government doesn't intervene to resolve the issue," Mr. Sohail said.

But Pakistan's markets regulator has no intention of doing so. Tariq Hassan, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, said investors are responsible for their investment decisions and the commission has no plan to rescue the market.

"So far, there are no failures in the system, and we've all the risk management measures in place. But I can't say that there will be no default on the day of settlement," Mr. Hassan said in an interview from Islamabad.

The first settlement for March future contracts falls due Wednesday, and analysts estimate about $500-million (U.S.) in contracts are outstanding.

The meltdown in Pakistan's equity market comes as investors around the world exit emerging markets, deeming them more vulnerable to rising interest rates than those in the developed economies.

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Emerging Market index has shed 7.3 per cent since reaching a 2½-year high on March 7.

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