Entries in Gift (2)


Biden Greeted in Mongolia, Gifted with Horse

GOH CHAI HIN/AFP/Getty Images(ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia) -- Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Monday where his hosts celebrated the first visit by a U.S. vice president since 1944 with performances of traditional music and dance, a Mongol-style wrestling competition and a gift: a Mongolian horse.

"The horse is the most important animal in Mongolia,” an aide traveling with Biden told reporters.  “It is the lifeblood of the country (nomadic history), so giving a horse is one of the most meaningful gifts that can be given."

During the presentation ceremony, U.S. Ambassador Jonathan Addleton placed a blue ribbon around the horse’s neck, and Biden tied two knots in it -- a symbolic display meant to signal importance.  Biden said that he named the horse “Celtic.”

But the horse apparently did not respond in kind.

Press pool accounts of the moment said the horse “got a bit excited” by Biden’s gesture and had to be taken away.  Aides said it would not be returning to the U.S. on Air Force 2.

When asked later to explain what happened, Biden said the animal "reared up" on him and concluded that it must not have liked "the Irish epitaph."

After the ceremony, Biden posed for photos with two Mongolian camels and tried his hand at archery.  He later departed for Tokyo, Japan -- the last stop on his week-long swing through East Asia. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Saddam Hussein's Gift to Donald Rumsfeld: Video of Syrian 'Atrocities'

Donald Rumsfeld/Sentinel/HC(WASHINGTON) -- Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has released from his personal archives a bizarre and disturbing video he says he received as a gift from former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 1983.

The choppy three-minute, black-and-white tape, posted on Rumsfeld's website, shows what appear to be young Syrian soldiers biting the heads off of live snakes before roasting them over a fire and eating them. It also shows the stabbing and killing of a small animal, and men jumping from a moving truck before running through a door frame engulfed in flames.

"Such gifts can be unusual," wrote Rumsfeld, who had met with Hussein in his role as President Ronald Reagan's Middle East envoy. "But even so I was shocked by this one."

The performances in the film are part of a larger Syrian patriotic display that included marching battalions of bagpipe players and a parading of the Syrian flag before an audience of military and civilian dignitaries that included then-dictator Hafez al-Assad.

"Saddam's message was clear: The Syrian regime was barbaric," Rumsfeld wrote on his site. "Though his evidence was hardly convincing, his conclusion was a tough one to dispute."

The video is among the nearly 2,000 selected documents from Rumsfeld's tenure in politics that he has posted for public viewing in conjunction with his memoir, Known and Unknown, released last month.

The extensive archival collection took four years to digitize and compile and was paid for by the former defense secretary himself.

Rumsfeld said he received the diplomatic video during his 90-minute meeting with Hussein on Dec. 20, 1983, well before the relationship between the U.S. and Iraq went south years later.

A declassified State Department cable on the encounter described a "vigorous and confident" Hussein giving a cordial greeting to Rumsfeld and sending greetings to President Reagan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio