This is an Open Thread:
I been up, I been down.
Take my word, my way around.
I aint askin for much.
Gunman at Illinois College Kills 5 Students, Wounds 16
DEKALB, Ill., Feb. 14 — Without saying a word, a gunman dressed in black opened fire in a Northern Illinois University geology class Thursday, killing five students and wounding 16. He fired at random, authorities said, until the moment he killed himself.
Students screamed and crawled on their bellies to escape the auditorium in Cole Hall as bullets and buckshot flew. The gunman, a former graduate student in sociology, carried a shotgun and two handguns. Police said he volunteered no motive before he died.
“It started and it stopped very, very quickly,” the university’s police chief, Donald Grady, said. “This thing started and ended in a matter of seconds.”
Black Leader, a Clinton Ally, Tilts to Obama
MILWAUKEE – Representative John Lewis, an elder statesman from the civil rights era and one of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s most prominent black supporters, said Thursday night that he planned to cast his vote as a superdelegate for Senator Barack Obama in hopes of preventing a fight at the Democratic convention.
“In recent days, there is a sense of movement and a sense of spirit,” said Mr. Lewis, a Georgia Democrat who endorsed Mrs. Clinton last fall. “Something is happening in America, and people are prepared and ready to make that great leap.”
Mr. Lewis, who carries great influence among other members of Congress, disclosed his decision in an interview in which he said that as a superdelegate he could “never, ever do anything to reverse the action” of the voters of his district, who overwhelmingly supported Mr. Obama.
When Strains on Military Families Turn Deadly
A few months after Sgt. William Edwards and his wife, Sgt. Erin Edwards, returned to a Texas Army base from separate missions in Iraq, he assaulted her mercilessly. He struck her, choked her, dragged her over a fence and slammed her into the sidewalk.
As far as Erin Edwards was concerned, that would be the last time he beat her.
Unlike many military wives, she knew how to work the system to protect herself. She was an insider, even more so than her husband, since she served as an aide to a brigadier general at Fort Hood.
With the general’s help, she quickly arranged for a future transfer to a base in New York. She pressed charges against her husband and secured an order of protection. She sent her two children to stay with her mother. And she received assurance from her husband’s commanders that he would be barred from leaving the base unless accompanied by an officer.
Australia pledges E Timor support
Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says his government will do all it can to safeguard democracy in East Timor after attacks on its president and PM.
On his second visit to East Timor in only two months, Mr Rudd said his support was “absolutely rock solid”.
President Jose Ramos-Horta was seriously hurt in Monday’s shooting, and is being treated in Australia.
Canberra deployed an additional 350 peacekeepers to Dili in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.
In a three-hour visit, Mr Rudd held talks with Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, who narrowly escaped injury when gunmen ambushed his car on Monday.
Bhutto ghost dominates Pakistan election
· Sympathy vote predicted for husband’s party
· Post-poll protests won’t be tolerated, says Musharraf
Shielded behind bulletproof glass and surrounded by armed police, the Pakistani opposition leader Asif Zardari told supporters yesterday that his assassinated wife, Benazir Bhutto, had come to him in a dream.
“She said ‘I am with you, and I am with the people,'” he said, drawing a roar of approval from the crowd at his party’s last rally before next Monday’s tensely anticipated general election.
A sense of trepidation has gripped Pakistan as the country faces its most troubled poll in decades amid suicide bombings, rigging allegations and the dramatically crumbling popularity ratings of President Pervez Musharraf.
While Bhutto is gone, her ghost hangs heavily over the campaign. Pollsters predict a massive sympathy vote in favour of her Pakistan People’s party that could dislodge Musharraf from power.
The great wall of indifference
Yesterday, The Independent announced a global campaign to shame China into doing more to help Darfur. And the reaction from those who could actually change things? President Bush rules out boycott and says ‘I’m going to the Olympics’. Major Games sponsors refuse to raise the issue with the Chinese
By Jonathan Brown, Amol Rajan and Ben Russell
Friday, 15 February 2008
An international coalition of human rights activists has urged corporate sponsors of the Beijing Olympics to call the Chinese government to account over its support for Sudan or face a series of protests and consumer boycotts in the approach to this summer’s Games.
As international condemnation mounted over China’s reluctance to censure Khartoum for its conduct in Darfur, campaigners pressured multinational companies including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Adidas, to end their “silent complicity” with the regime.
The new focus came after a letter that demanded China to use its extensive links with oil-exporting Sudan to press for peace in Darfur was sent to President Hu Jintao by a coalition of Nobel laureates, athletes, celebrities and politicians. The trenchant text, printed on the front page of The Independent, yesterday made further headlines around the world but received a cold welcome among those leaders best positioned to act on its message.
The long goodbye: Vision of post-Putin Russia is set out in marathon conference
By Shaun Walker in Moscow
Friday, 15 February 2008
Vladimir Putin has launched a stinging attack on plans for Kosovo independence, accusing the West of double standards in its approach and directing several other characteristically vicious barbs at the West.
“Are you Europeans not ashamed of yourselves to approach the same issues in different parts of the world with such double standards?” asked Mr Putin during a marathon question and answer session with journalists in Moscow.
Speaking days before the UN-administered Serbian province is expected to declare independence, he said that if Kosovo could do so, there is no reason why Turkish-controlled Northern Cyprus, or territories like Abkhazia in Georgia should not also be allowed to break away.
US judge rules for BBC in Fleetwood Mac founder case
NEW YORK (AFP) – A US judge ruled in favor of the British Broadcasting Corporation Thursday in a long-running dispute with Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood over distribution rights, local media reported.
The ruling ended a four-year legal saga over the distribution rights for rare music recordings and videotapes within BBC’s pop and rock archives.
The dispute centered on a music-sharing deal signed in 2001 in which Fleetwood was supposed to get clearance to release archived material from artists including Bruce Springsteen, U2, Elton John and Santana.
Chad leader declares state of emergency
N’DJAMENA, Chad – Chad’s president declared a nationwide state of emergency Thursday, telling citizens that tightened controls are needed to restore order after recent rebel attacks.
In a speech broadcast on national radio and television, President Idriss Deby said he signed a decree increasing the government’s powers for 15 days, beginning Friday, as provided for in Chad’s constitution.
Deby said the decree instituted “measures important and urgent to maintain order, guarantee stability and assure the good functioning of the state.”
Forces loyal to Deby battled rebels Feb. 2-3 in and around the capital of this former French colony in Central Africa.
Signs in Kenya of a Land Redrawn by Ethnicity
OTHAYA, Kenya – Sarah Wangoi has spent her entire life – all 70 years of it – in the Rift Valley. But last month, she was chased off her farm by a mob that called her a foreigner. She now sleeps on the cold floor of a stranger’s house, seeking refuge in an area of Kenya where her ethnic group, the Kikuyu, is strong. It is, supposedly, her homeland.
“I am safe now,” said Ms. Wangoi, though the mob still chases her in her dreams.
Across the country, William Ojiambo sat in a field where the ground was too hard to plow. He, too, sought refuge with his ethnic group, the Luo. He used to live in an ethnically mixed town called Nakuru but was recently evicted by a gang from another ethnic group that burned everything he owned.
“We came here with nothing, like cabbages thrown in the back of a truck,” Mr. Ojiambo said.
Hezbollah Chief Warns Israel of Wide War
Fiery Speech Broadcast at Commander’s Funeral; Elsewhere in Beirut, Slain Ex-Premier Is Remembered
BEIRUT, Feb. 14 — Hezbollah’s leader threatened Thursday to strike Israel anywhere in the world in retaliation for what he said was its role in assassinating Imad Mughniyah, a Hezbollah commander blamed by the United States and Israel for killing hundreds in bombings, kidnappings and hijackings over a quarter-century.
In a video speech broadcast to thousands of mourners in a spare but sprawling tent in southern Beirut, Hasan Nasrallah said that because Israel had struck beyond what he called the “traditional battlefield” of Lebanon and Israel, it risked a borderless war with the Shiite Muslim group.
A dash of discord mixed with competition
“It is not a revolution in the literal sense of the term, which is, people getting on their feet and redirecting themselves. It is the insurrection of people … who want to lift the formidable weight we all bear, but more particularly weigh on them, ‘the weight of the entire world order’.”
– French Philosopher, Michel Foucault
This week, as Iran celebrates the 29th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution that deposed the archaic one-man dictatorship, sustained for a quarter of century by Western powers professing democratic values, the world is once again reminded of the trans-Iran, ie, regional and global, dimensions of this revolution – intuitively detected by French philosopher Michel Foucault, who
observed first-hand the revolution’s historical unfolding in 1978-1979.
“The Islamic Revolution belongs to the whole of humanity,” Iran’s president Mahmud Ahmadinejad has stated, adding that since the revolution there have been popular elections almost every year based on the principle of “popular sovereignty” (mardom salari) even during the “tough years” of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988).
Iranians vote for candidates running for 290 seats in the Majlis (Parliament) on March 14. The runup has already been marked by some controversy. The Guardian Council, which oversees electoral rolls, recently confirmed that more than 2,400 candidates would not be allowed to participate
Japanese Show What It Takes To Dazzle the Culinary Judges
160,000 Restaurants. 191 Michelin Stars. Paris? New York? No, It’s Tokyo.
TOKYO — The Michelin Guide has decreed that Tokyo is the premier city in the world for food. A 19-hour day in the life of chef Ichiro Ozaki helps explain why.
Ozaki woke up one recent Thursday at 5:30 a.m. and began working the phones, searching for live turtles and fresh crab. He had not gone home the night before to his wife and 1-year-old daughter. He had cooked past midnight and fallen dead asleep in a tiny apartment near the Japanese-cuisine restaurant that bears his name.
It won a star in November in the first-ever Tokyo edition of the Michelin Guide, whose judges astounded the French — and won over the Japanese — by finding more than twice as many star-worthy restaurants in Tokyo as in Paris.
Hero of the Day: Marla Spivak
Choate student Marla Spivak turned the screws yesterday to Karl Rove, in one of the bravest performances Steven Colbert hit the White House correspondents’ dinner:
From the Hartford Courant:
Then there was Marla Spivak.
Spivak, a senior from Hamden… asked Rove to explain how giving gay people the right to marry would endanger other people.
Rove took issue with the way the first gay marriages came about, through the Massachusetts Supreme Court. An issue as important as the definition of marriage should be resolved by a legislature or a referendum, not a court, he said.