This is an Open Thread: No Dick Cheney’s here.
BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: 2007 becomes deadliest year for U.S. troops in Afghanistan
6 U.S. troops, 3 Afghans killed in ambush
KABUL, Afghanistan – Six U.S. troops and three Afghan soldiers died when insurgents ambushed their foot patrol in eastern Afghanistan, one of the deadliest attacks on American forces this year, officials said Saturday.
The troops were returning from a meeting with village elders on Friday afternoon in Nuristan province when militants attacked them with rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire, said Lt. Col. David Accetta.
Arthur Bremer became ‘a model prisoner’ in 35 years behind bars, Maryland officials say. He put Alabama’s governor in a wheelchair.
By Richard A. Serrano, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 10, 2007
WASHINGTON — Arthur H. Bremer, who as a young loner 35 years ago made a bold grab for notoriety by shooting four people — including Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace — in a suburban Maryland parking lot, was released from state prison early Friday morning after officials said he had turned himself into “a model prisoner.”
Now 57, the man who put Wallace in a wheelchair was set free by a Maryland state law mandating his supervised release because he had amassed numerous credits for good behavior behind bars. But authorities said Bremer must adhere to strict guidelines, never leave the state and “stay away from any local, state, federal or foreign official or office holder, as well as a current candidate.”
US says it’s blowing whistle on lawyer’s fee
Calls 33% share of award unfair
By Sacha Pfeiffer
Globe Staff / November 10, 2007
They risked their jobs and physical safety to expose a federal crime.
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And for their bravery in reporting the secret dumping of oily sludge into waters from Cape Cod to California, the 12 ship workers – most of them poor Filipinos – received an unanticipated reward: $437,500 apiece in government whistle-blower payments.
Now a Texas lawyer is trying to take what federal prosecutors in Massachusetts call a “manifestly unreasonable” cut of those awards, and the prosecutors have taken the uncommon step of asking a judge to deny his fees.
Pakistanis’ anger at Musharraf extends to U.S.
LAHORE, PAKISTAN — It takes almost no effort to find people who are angry with Pervez Musharraf on the streets of this bustling city. The Pakistani leader’s name comes up quickly in casual conversation, yoked with unprintable adjectives and harsh denunciations of the emergency rule he has imposed.
But dig just a little deeper and another target of resentment surfaces: Musharraf’s richest, staunchest and most powerful patron, the United States.
“We blame the U.S. directly for keeping us under the rule of the military,” said Arfan Ghani, a 54-year-old professor of architecture. Musharraf, who heads Pakistan’s army, is just “another dictator,” Ghani told an American reporter, “serving the interests of your country.”
Musharraf’s already abysmal popularity has reached a new low after he declared a state of emergency Nov. 3. But sinking alongside it is the public image of the United States, which many Pakistanis see as the primary force propping up an autocratic ruler.
US-China military ties warm with hotline
By Jing-dong Yuan
MONTEREY, California – United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ visit to China this week, his first since assuming office in January, has achieved some tangible results. However, for US-China military ties to develop, Washington and Beijing will have to engage in further dialogue, dispel misperceptions and develop strategies for mutual understanding and common interests.
One of the most important achievements during Gates’ visit was the announcement of the establishment of a military hotline, although no specifics were provided on when and how it will
operate. But this is certainly a clear demonstration from the two militaries that they want to strengthen communication and to have a mechanism in place to enhance crisis management.
Russia reduces election monitors
Kremlin says their presence is politically motivated even as a European delegation in an assessment ahead of the Dec. 2 vote raises concerns about the prospects of fair elections.
By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 10, 2007
MOSCOW — Russia has sharply reduced the number of European monitors permitted to observe upcoming parliamentary elections and has imposed restrictions that may impede the ability of opposition parties to run successful campaigns, one of Europe’s main monitoring delegations said Friday.
Denmark’s Unabashed Lightning Rod on Immigration
KAREN JESPERSEN is so new to her job as Denmark’s minister of social affairs that she felt compelled to apologize to a visitor that she could not identify the painter of the canvases hanging in her offices, because she still has her predecessor’s furnishings. It was a rare admission, for Ms. Jespersen does not often apologize.
Since her appointment to the post in September, she has emerged as a stalwart defender of a country’s right to require immigrants to accept its basic values and, inevitably, a lightning rod in Europe’s continuing debate
Gaza’s Isolation Takes Toll on Students and Prices
GAZA – Miriam Ashour will turn 18 in November and speaks English with only the slightest of accents. She has a scholarship to study for a college degree in business administration at Columbia College, affiliated with the United Methodist Church, in Columbia, S.C
But she will miss at least the first semester. She is among some 670 Gazans enrolled in schools abroad who have been denied permission to leave the territory.
Iran ‘must free’ woman activist
Seven human rights groups including Amnesty International have urged Iran to set aside a prison sentence for women’s rights activist Delaram Ali.
She has been ordered to begin her sentence of two-and-a-half years in prison and a flogging on Saturday.
Ms Ali, 24, joined a protest last year calling for greater legal rights for Iranian women.
New unrest worries Chavez ahead of vote
CARACAS, Venezuela – The defection of Venezuela’s former military chief coupled with massive protests that have turned violent have given President Hugo Chavez a potentially explosive mixture to worry about as he seeks to expand his power through constitutional changes.
But the rudderless political opposition has yet to demonstrate it can galvanize the unexpected upheaval into a united front capable of defeating a Dec. 2 referendum on proposed amendments.
University students have taken the lead in protests that have drawn tens of thousands – sidelining political parties discredited by several failed attempts to topple Chavez during his eight years in office.
Somalia: Ban opposes UN peacekeepers
UNITED NATIONS – Against a backdrop of heavy fighting and growing insecurity, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opposed the deployment of U.N. peacekeepers to Somalia and suggested instead a robust multinational force or a coalition of willing nations.
In August, the U.N. Security Council called on the secretary-general to begin planning for the possible deployment of U.N. peacekeepers to replace an African Union force that has struggled to put troops in the chaotic country.
But in a new report to the council, Ban on Friday said, “under the prevailing political and security situation, I believe that the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation cannot be considered a realistic and viable option.”
Uganda gripped by rebel chief murder claims
By David Lewis in Kampala
Published: 10 November 2007
Speculation is mounting about whether Joseph Kony, the self-styled mystic leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), has killed his deputy, who is seen as crucial to peace talks aimed at resolving the two-decade-old conflict in northern Uganda.
The group’s number two, Vincent Otti, has disappeared from the airwaves and failed to answer his satellite phone in recent weeks, triggering a flurry of reports that he was killed in a remote jungle base after a power struggle with his boss.
The Ugandan military, analysts and many involved in the peace negotiations believe Otti has been killed. However, no body has been found. The government of south Sudan, where the LRA also often operates, has set up a team to investigate the reports.