This is an Open Thread:
Together we could break this trap
Well run till we drop, baby well never go back
Democrats Blaze Trails In February Fundraising
Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama continued to rewrite fundraising records this month, with Clinton announcing yesterday that she had rebounded from a disappointing showing in January to raise $35 million in February, by far her biggest one-month total of the campaign.
Obama (Ill.), who raised $36 million in January, has not yet announced a total for February, but aides said it will be “considerably more” than that raised by his rival for the Democratic nomination. Their combined total appeared poised to surpass the $71 million raised by President Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) in March 2004, the previous record for fundraising by two candidates for the presidency in a single month.
For Obama, a Taste of What a Long Battle Holds
WASHINGTON – When Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton goes after Senator Barack Obama these days, she presses him on the details of his health care plan, criticizes the wording of his campaign mailings and likens his promise of change to celestial choirs.
But if Mr. Obama becomes the Democratic presidential nominee, he is sure to face an onslaught from Republicans and their allies that will be very different in tone and intensity from what he has faced so far.
New High In U.S. Prison Numbers
Growth Attributed To More Stringent Sentencing Laws
More than one in 100 adults in the United States is in jail or prison, an all-time high that is costing state governments nearly $50 billion a year and the federal government $5 billion more, according to a report released yesterday.
With more than 2.3 million people behind bars, the United States leads the world in both the number and percentage of residents it incarcerates, leaving far-more-populous China a distant second, according to a study by the nonpartisan Pew Center on the States.
The growth in prison population is largely because of tougher state and federal sentencing imposed since the mid-1980s. Minorities have been particularly affected: One in nine black men ages 20 to 34 is behind bars. For black women ages 35 to 39, the figure is one in 100, compared with one in 355 for white women in the same age group.
Moscow official admits media bias
With Russia’s presidential election campaign entering its last day, the head of the electoral commission has admitted media coverage was unequal.
Vladimir Churov told the BBC not all candidates had enjoyed equal access to the media, but he still believed the coverage had been fair.
Critics say TV channels have given too much time to Vladimir Putin’s chosen successor, Dmitry Medvedev.
He is expected to win by a wide margin when Russians vote on Sunday.
Mr Putin himself is expected to address the nation on Friday to bid farewell to the public as president after eight years, Russian media say.
Prince’s cover in Afghanistan blown by Drudge Report
By Terri Judd
Friday, 29 February 2008
An American website, the Drudge Report, broke a news blackout yesterday by revealing that Prince Harry has been serving in Afghanistan for more than two months.
To the fury of the Ministry of Defence and condemnation from the head of the British Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, the website announced a “world exclusive” and proclaimed: “They’re calling him ‘Harry the Hero!”.
The article brought to an end an agreement with the media that the Prince’s deployment to Helmand be kept quiet in the interests of his safety and that of the soldiers with him.
Killed while they played football, the child victims of Israel’s revenge on Gaza
By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
Friday, 29 February 2008
Four boys playing football have been killed in Gaza by Israeli air strikes, according to Palestinian officials, as Israel responded to the death of a man from a barrage of rocket attacks with a bloody escalation of violence.
At least 16 Palestinians – including the four children – were killed yesterday as Israel responded to the deadly attacks the previous day.
While the Israeli military said it had been targeting militants and rocket-launching squads, the officials said the boys were playing football close to their homes in Jabalya, northern Gaza.
Iran sanctions expected Saturday
UNITED NATIONS – Britain and France said Thursday they expect the Security Council to vote Saturday and approve new U.N. sanctions against Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment.
The two countries cosponsored the resolution that would impose a third round of sanctions on Iran. The two previous sanctions resolutions were adopted unanimously, but this one is currently facing difficulties from four non-permanent council members who have raised a variety of concerns – Libya, Indonesia, South Africa and Vietnam.
Bring on the girls: China offers hope of sisters for generation of only children
China’s little emperors, the adored only children born out of the one-child family planning policy, are set to disappear after a single generation.
Anxious about the burden of a greying population and a widening gender imbalance, family planning authorities are considering scrapping a policy that they fear could become a demographic timebomb.
The world’s biggest population of 1.3 billion lives on only 7 per cent of the arable land on Earth and is already straining scarce land, water and energy resources. The number, however, is likely to fall from the middle of this century, prompting worries among about how to slow the decline.
U.S. Embrace of Musharraf Irks Pakistanis
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – The Bush administration’s continued backing of President Pervez Musharraf, despite the overwhelming rejection of his party by voters this month, is fueling a new level of frustration in Pakistan with the United States.
That support has rankled the public, politicians and journalists here, inciting deep anger at what is perceived as American meddling and the refusal of Washington to embrace the new, democratically elected government. John D. Negroponte, the deputy secretary of state, said Thursday during a Senate panel hearing that the United States would maintain its close ties to Mr. Musharraf.
Hope for an end to bloodshed in Kenya as leaders sign surprise power-sharing deal
· Odinga to be PM and party to get half of cabinet seats
· Kibaki backs down under pressure from Annan
President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga signed a landmark – and largely unexpected – power-sharing agreement yesterday in an attempt to end Kenya’s worst crisis since independence.
The deal, which was brokered by the former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, will see Odinga occupy a newly created post of executive prime minister, and gives his party about half of the cabinet seats in a coalition government. If it holds, the agreement should go a long way towards quelling the ethnic and political violence in which more than 1,500 people have been killed and 600,000 displaced since the disputed presidential election on December 27.
Kibaki’s concessions, which in theory give Odinga and his party a near equal share in running the country, caught most Kenyans by surprise. On Tuesday Annan suspended talks because of the government negotiating team’s refusal to compromise
Zimbabwe prisons head orders officers to vote Mugabe
HARARE (Reuters) – The head of Zimbabwe’s prison service has ordered his officers to vote for President Robert Mugabe and said he would resign if the opposition won next month’s election, official media reported on Friday.
The southern African country holds joint presidential, parliamentary and council elections on March 29 in which Mugabe faces former ally Simba Makoni and long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Retired Major General Paradzayi Zimondi, who now heads the prison service, which is part of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said he would retire to his farm if Tsvangirai or Makoni were elected to lead the country.
Colombian hostages freed after six years
Venezuela helped facilitate the release of the four former legislators held by rebels.
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA — After six years of captivity at the hands of leftist rebels, four Colombian hostages gained their freedom in a jungle clearing Wednesday after captors turned them over to representatives of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Dressed in T-shirts and jungle boots and appearing reasonably healthy, ex-legislators Gloria Polanco, Orlando Beltran, Luis Eladio Perez and Jorge Eduardo Gechem met a helicopter-borne delegation that included the Venezuelan interior minister and a Colombian senator.
Venezuelan state television showed them as they were escorted to the meeting point in the Colombian jungle by a dozen guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, who were wearing fatigues and carrying carbines. Planned for nearly a month, the release took place in the state of Guaviare, where on Jan. 10 the FARC released two female hostages, Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez.