Friday, January 30, 2004

:: Dr. Rajaa Khuza’e (female member of the GC) met Mr. Bill Gates (the head manager of Microsoft) and discussed with him the possibility of Microsoft’s contribution in the process of reconstruction and also the possibility of making benefit of the software that the Microsoft produces to improve the countryside areas in Iraq. Mr. Gates assured Dr. Rajaa that his institution is ready to give all types of support to the Iraqi people, and they agreed to include some Iraqi countryside areas in the institution’s programs. The names of these areas will be announced soon.

:: After 10 days in Basra, I came back to Baghdad, and I noticed a great progress in the project of repairing the high voltage towers lines. Now we can see only small gaps in the line, almost all towers are repaired or replaced and most of the cables are aligned and fixed to the towers. In my estimation, it won’t take more than a month or two to finish the work on this line.

:: A considerable raise has been added to the salaries of all officials, the new ranking system required a delay in paying the salaries till after the coming (EID of ADHA or HAJ), however some ministries have already paid salaries to their employees.
My uncle, who works in the ministry of electricity, received his new salary according to the new ranking system and he got about a 40% raise (from 240,000 to about 350,000 ID) which equals now about 250 $ instead of 150 $ last month (taking also in consideration the recent increase in ID exchange value). My uncle's happiness was obvious, as now he can afford to live in a relatively higher standard of living, so I asked him about what he feels now about the regime change, he said" if I happen to meet Mr. Bremer, I'll give him a hug and kiss him",(don't get him wrong!, a kiss is a traditional greeting between men in Iraq just like other oriental nations).

:: The Iraqi women national team for basketball reached the Asian championship finals. It’s interesting to know that the team did not win the preliminaries; instead, two teams from the same group (Jordan and Lebanon) quit the qualifiers for some reason!!.

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