There’s a joke and I know it very well
It’s one of those that I told you long ago
Take my word I’m a madman don’t you know
Survey Says Iranians Favor Free Election Of Their Top Leader
As Iran’s brief election campaign for parliament heats up, a new public opinion poll shows that the vast majority of Iranians would like to directly elect their supreme leader in a free vote — and be able to replace him.
The power of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has long been at the heart of political debate in Iran, because the supreme leader can veto legislation, presidential actions, judicial decisions and candidates for office. Iran’s top political position has basically become a lifetime job, even though a panel of 86 religious scholars elected every eight years has the right to dismiss him. Khamenei has held the job since 1989.
Bush’s Veto of Bill on C.I.A. Tactics Affirms His Legacy
WASHINGTON – President Bush on Saturday further cemented his legacy of fighting for strong executive powers, using his veto to shut down a Congressional effort to limit the Central Intelligence Agency’s latitude to subject terrorism suspects to harsh interrogation techniques.
Mr. Bush vetoed a bill that would have explicitly prohibited the agency from using interrogation methods like waterboarding, a technique in which restrained prisoners are threatened with drowning and that has been the subject of intense criticism at home and abroad. Many such techniques are prohibited by the military and law enforcement agencies.
Influential Democrats Waiting to Choose Sides
Many Superdelegates Hope for Clear Leader After Primaries
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s trio of victories over Sen. Barack Obama last week appears to have convinced a sizable number of uncommitted Democratic superdelegates to wait until the end of the primaries and caucuses before picking a candidate, according to a survey by The Washington Post.
Many of the 80 uncommitted superdelegates who were contacted over the past several days said they are reluctant to override the clear will of voters. But if Clinton (N.Y.) and Obama (Ill.) are still seen as relatively close in the pledged, or elected, delegate count in June, many said, they will feel free to decide for themselves which of the candidates would make a stronger nominee to run against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the fall.
Vote to foil Eta, family pleads
The teenage daughter of murdered Socialist politician calls for Spaniards’ solidarity
It was the most moving rally of what had been until now the most uninspiring of general election campaigns. Yesterday the teenage daughter of the politician shot dead in an attack blamed on the Basque separatist group Eta called on her fellow Spaniards to unite in defiance by coming out today to vote.
After a rally in the small Basque town of Mondragón, where her father was murdered on Friday, Sandra Carrasco, 19, said: ‘I call on those who want to show solidarity with my father and with our pain to turn out to vote en masse … and tell the killers that we are not going to take a single step backward.’ Eta had previously called on Basques to abstain from voting.
Isaías Carrasco, 42, a father of three and former town councillor with the governing Socialist party, was shot three times in his car as he left for work just after midday on Friday. His funeral was held last night in Mondragón, a northern industrial town heavily in favour of Basque independence.
Serbia in crisis as PM quits over Kosovo
The Serbian prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica, dramatically resigned today, saying his government had collapsed over the issue of Kosovo’s declaration of independence last month.
Plunging the country into a new political crisis, he said he would call national elections for May 11.
Mr Kostunica had previously conceded that his government was in ‘deep crisis’, accusing his coalition partners of giving up on defending Serbia’s claim to Kosovo in favour of better ties with the West, which backs Kosovo’s secession.
Serbia – with the strong support of Russia – has said it would never accept Kosovo’s independence.
How a tiny West African country became the world’s first narco state
It is the world’s fifth poorest nation with no prisons and few police. Now this small west African failed state has been targeted by Colombian drug cartels, turning it into a transit hub for the cocaine trade out of Latin America and into Europe
The roads outside the X Club nightspot in Bissau, capital of the world’s fifth poorest country, are cracked and pot-holed. They have not been repaired since they were torn up by the tracks of military vehicles during Guinea-Bissau’s civil war of the late 1990s. But the cars that are parked outside – Porsche and Audi four-wheel drives – wouldn’t look out of place in the wealthiest quarters of London.
Inside, the music is thumping Europop, a beer costs more than twice the average daily income of a dollar a day. Many of the clubbers, though, are knocking back the imported whisky, which costs up to $80 a bottle. One of the regulars points out the people who represent the various stages of the cocaine supply chain from South America via Guinea-Bissau in West Africa to the UK and the rest of Europe. ‘He’s a pretty big dealer, and that’s one of his security guys. That guy there thinks he’s big news but he’s just small-time. That woman is a mule. She’s been to Europe a couple of times.
Sir Bob Geldof’s travels with George Bush
Over Coke and M&Ms on Air Force One, the leader of the free world and Bob Geldof (on assignment for Time magazine) get to the dark heart of Africa. And Saint Bob says the world should give credit to Bush for what he has achieved there
I gave the president my book. He raised an eyebrow. “Who wrote this forya, Geldof?” he said without looking up from the cover. Very dry. “Who will you get to read it for you, Mr President?” I replied. No response.
The Most Powerful Man in the World studied the front cover: “Geldof in Africa. The International Bestseller. You write that bit yourself?”
“That’s right. It’s called marketing. Something you obviously have no clue about or else I wouldn’t have to be here telling people your Africa story!”
Saudis offer pioneering therapy for ex-jihadists
Psychologists are turning militants into model citizens as they ‘deradicalise’ and providing education and financial help with marriages and cars, reports Jason Burke in al-Thamama
Tomorrow a young man in traditional white robe and headdress will walk out through the iron gates of an anonymous low-rise compound down a gravel lane behind a Lebanese restaurant, 30 minutes’ drive from the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh.
Ali Saeed al-Ghatani, 17, will head home to the resort town of Abha – four months after he was arrested making an attempt to join Iraqi militants fighting American forces. His incarceration may have been brief, but it will have been long enough for him to realise he had ‘taken the wrong path’. ‘I was angry and I was seeking adventure,’ he said. ‘Now all I want is to study and get married.’
Israel calls for tighter security on West Bank
By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
Sunday, 9 March 2008
Israel yesterday urged the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank to inject more “dynamism” into the faltering negotiating process by fighting militant cells after the killing of eight students at a Jewish seminary on Thursday.
Meanwhile the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, insisted negotiations must move ahead despite the major escalation in violence. Speaking in Ramallah, Mr Abbas said: “Despite all the circumstances we’re living through and all the attacks we’re experiencing, we insist on peace. There is no other path.”
While saying that there could not merely be “business as usual”, Mark Regev, spokesman for Israel’s Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, said Israel remained committed to the process established after the Annapolis summit last year and aimed at agreeing the outlines of a future Palestinian state.
Secret plan to let Japan resume whaling
London meeting discusses compromise over much-flouted ban on commercial hunting
By Geoffrey Lean and Jonathan Owen
Sunday, 9 March 2008
Controversial plans to lift the worldwide ban on whaling were presented to a secret meeting of more than 70 governments in London last week.
The plans, which have alarmed environmentalists, have been welcomed by both pro- and anti-whaling governments and seek to lift a long stalemate over hunting, enabling Japan officially to resume commercial whaling for the first time in more than 20 years.
The plans would permit the world’s main whaling nation to carry out a limited hunt in waters close to its shores.
Malaysia opposition win shows power of cyberspace
– Malaysia’s weak opposition was up against a hostile mainstream media and restrictive campaign rules, but it can chalk up much of its stunning success in Saturday’s election to the power of cyberspace.
Voters exasperated with the unvarnished support of the mainstream media for the ruling National Front furiously clicked on YouTube and posted comments with popular bloggers about tales of sex, lies and videotapes in the run-up to Saturday’s election.
Jeff Ooi, a 52-year-old former advertising copywriter who made his name writing a political blog, “Screenshots” (www.jeffooi.com) won a seat in northern Penang state for the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP).
Colombian rebel’s slaying boosts Uribe
BOGOTA, Colombia – The guerrilla walked out of the jungle tired, hungry and bearing the dismembered hand of his slain commander.
The rebel, known simply as Rojas, said the Colombian troops were closing in on his guerrilla column and he wanted out of the fight. But the rebels shoot deserters – so instead he murdered his commander and fled, lopping off the dead man’s right hand to present to the army.
“I did it to save my life,” the mustachioed rebel told a press conference Saturday in the western city of Pereira. “Because if you’re going to desert, they’ll shoot you.”