| 2003-03-13 22:59, by Julie Solheim-Roe|
1. *'Freedom fries' lambasted in US*: A town in the southern US state of North Carolina launches French trade month, angered by efforts to ostracise the French over their opposition to war.
The town's council, or Board of Aldermen, have passed a resolution declaring April "French trade month", and will be encouraging residents to buy as many French products as they can all month in protest at the action.
2. Tony Blair gets slow-hand-clapped by very prominent women in the UK on a TV debate on Monday night:
"It's kind of tongue in cheek but we also have a serious message," Joal Hall Broun, one of the aldermen, told BBC News Online. "France is right to try to avoid war - we're sick of all this anti-French stuff, it's dumb.
He insisted war was right, despite the overwhelming public opinion against it.
3. And the Mirror cites Blair is in his worse position yet:
Here, 11 high-profile women, including some who appeared on Monday's show, tell why we should not be joining George Bush's battle trail.
Some speak as mothers worried that innocent children will suffer. Others voice their disgust at the macho ravings of a US president hell-bent on war whatever the human cost.
... MO MOWLAM, Ex-Northern Ireland Secretary is clear: Bombs will not beat terror
IF we go to war, it will fail. You don't beat terrorism with bombs and guns.
They simply act as a recruiting agent for terrorism, encourage the civilian population to hate us and make them willing to hide terrorists and weapons....
ROSIE BOYCOTT, Writer & broadcaster: US bribery makes a new art of cynicism
THE slow handclap that greeted the end of Tony Blair's interview with a group of women spoke volumes. They were unconvinced by the need for the war.
Aren't wars a thing of the past? Isn't the modern way forward the power of politics and persuasion, of sanctions and economics? Hans Blix says the weapons inspectors must be given more time.
Bush and his poodle ignore him. Neither will rethink until bombs have rained on Baghdad, even if the war is illegal under the UN charter.
This war will cause huge unrest in the Middle East. Meantime, Mr Bush does nothing to curb Israel's continual flaunting of UN rules - 68 to Saddam's 17. One law for the rich and one for the poor? You bet.
Watching the US and UK - and, it must be said, the French - bribe and cajole the junior members of the Security Council to vote their way by threatening their pockets makes a new art of cynicism. If we go to war without UN sanction, the organisation the world created to ensure peace will be in tatters. It's a frightening prospect
SHATHA BESAVANI, Member of the Iraqi Community Association slow-clapped Blair
TONY Blair was disappointing. We did not have enough time to talk to him.
When I told other women from the Iraqi Community Association that I was going to meet Tony Blair, they were crying and asking me to tell him their stories - one woman lost her sister and six children when they were bombed by a American warplane.
I hate Saddam Hussein's regime, I lost members of my family. My cousin was taken by the regime 23 years ago and the last we heard he was still in jail. The last time I saw him I hardly recognised him he had been so badly tortured.
There have been rumours that Saddam intends to poison political prisoners before the US and UK armies arrive. He will use chemical weapons on the Iraqi people. That means hundreds of thousands of innocent people dying. They will suffer the most from an invasion.
At home, Labour party chiefs fear the PM's opponents will try to force an emergency conference to hold him to account for flouting the will of the world community.
Mr Blair looked haggard yesterday at No.10 talks with key ministers.
His critics believe the 122-strong rebellion against the Government two weeks ago will be dwarfed if Britain backs US go-it-alone action.
I find it ironic a few of us are getting ready to move over to France when this country is starting to really divide from 'old Europe' ...ha! Well that is precisely what I would like to do... find that old pastorial middle ground. At this point, it could be only on another planet, in another time...