Don’t Hesitate: Be The First and Not The Last Of Your Left Wing Friends
To Achieve The Ultimate Status Symbol
A Place On Bush’s Enemies List
Obama Expected to Hit Milestone in Today’s Votes
Senator Barack Obama is poised to reach a milestone in the presidential race on Tuesday by capturing a majority of pledged delegates, but he said he would not declare victory against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton or suggest the Democratic primary should end until the final three contests are finished on June 3.
For Mr. Obama, the situation is delicate. While eager to proceed to a general election match with Senator John McCain of Arizona, the likely Republican nominee, Mr. Obama is also trying to bring the contest to a close in a way that allows him to win over Mrs. Clinton’s supporters and unify the party.
For her part, Mrs. Clinton is making a counterargument that she is winning the popular vote if Florida and Michigan are counted, and that the party’s leaders should take that into consideration before deciding which candidate to support.
McCain Finds a Thorny Path in Ethics Effort
Sorting out the lobbying entanglements of his campaign advisers is proving to be a messy business for Senator John McCain.
On Monday, just days after it issued new rules to address conflicts of interest, the McCain campaign was furiously sifting through the business records of aides and advisers. The new rules were prompted by disclosures that led to the abrupt departure from the campaign of a number of aides who worked as lobbyists, including some with ties to foreign governments.
Mr. McCain’s political identity has long been defined by his calls for reducing the influence of special interests in Washington. But as he heads toward the general election as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, he has increasingly confronted criticism that his campaign staff is stocked with people who have made their living as lobbyists or in similar jobs, leaving his credentials as a reformer open to attack.
White House Role Cited in EPA Reversal on Emissions
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson favored giving California some authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks last year before he consulted with the White House and reversed course, congressional investigators said yesterday.
The five-month probe by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee drew upon more than 27,000 pages of internal EPA documents and interviews with eight key agency officials, and it provides the most detailed look yet at the administration’s mid-December decision.
Demolished by the Pakistan army: the frontier village punished for harbouring the Taliban
· 200,000 flee after attack on militant stronghold
· Soldiers say schools for suicide bombers found
A fading photo tossed on an empty bed is all that remains of the interrupted lives in Spinkai, a desolate Pakistani village that has endured the wrath of the army’s “collective punishment”.
In the image a laughing young man in a jet-black turban brandishes his rifle like a trophy. Beside him stand two little girls in bright frocks, giggling with glee. Now they have fled, and so has everyone else.
An estimated 200,000 villagers have been displaced since the Pakistani army attacked the mountain redoubt of Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban and a suspect in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto four months ago.
Beichuan to be laid to rest as China moves survivors to new settlement
The Chinese government has decided: Beichuan will never live again. At least not in the valley where its ruins cover the hillside.
A week after China’s most devastating earthquake of modern times, Beichuan is only for the dead. Entombed within its ruins, thousands are still missing. Their bodies may never be recovered.
On the street that lies at the foot of the hillside that tumbled down to bury the Beichuan Middle School and most of its 1,000 students, a few victims who have been unearthed lie stiff in green and blue zipped bags.
A mass of tangled beams, chunks of concrete and broken walls is almost all that remains of the main county town. The few remaining streets, scattered with beer bottles, children’s shoes and scraps of paper, are silent and empty.
Farmers face losing EU subsidies unless they promise to go green
English farmers could lose cash handouts from Brussels next year unless they agree to make environmental improvements to their land.
The European Commission is to announce today an end to the controversial set-aside payment scheme – under which farmers were paid to leave about 8 per cent of their fields fallow – as part of further reform of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP).
The payments, intended originally to prevent the creation of grain mountains in Europe, are regarded as outdated, given the worldwide shortage of grain that is being driven by demand from China and India.
Georgia’s leader vows to prevent Russia reviving the Soviet Union
By Shaun Walker in Tbilisi
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
Two photos stand out in the office of the Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili – there’s an autographed one of him with his buddy, George Bush; then there’s the unsmiling one with his nemesis Vladimir Putin. The body language says it all – the Georgian looks the other way, the Russian disdainfully at the ground. Yet more than anyone else, Mr Putin has defined the presidency of Mr Saakashvili, who came to power in the rose revolution of 2003 promising to bury Georgia’s Soviet past.
This week’s parliamentary polls come at a time when Mr Saakashvili’s battle with the Kremlin has plumbed new depths. With both countries refusing to blink first in the showdown over the renegade province of Abkhazia there is a very real prospect of war.
War that traumatizes Iraqis takes toll on hospital that treats them
BAGHDAD: In a different time, in another country, where violence and terror did not stalk the streets, Dr. Amir Hussain could practice psychiatry the way he once hoped to.
He can see it in his mind: the clean, tastefully decorated hospital wards, the well-stocked pharmacies, the gleaming laboratory equipment, the thickly carpeted consulting rooms, the halfway houses and outreach teams that help chronically ill patients re-establish their lives outside the hospital.
He has witnessed such things firsthand. In 2005, he left Iraq to spend five months in England, learning specialized care for the elderly and watching psychiatrists at work.
France admits contacts with Hamas in breach of boycott
· Former envoy’s meetings informal, Paris insists
· US condemns approach as unwise and inappropriate
France admitted yesterday that a retired ambassador had held informal contacts with the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in breach of the boycott by the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers. But Britain insisted that conditions for engagement had not changed and that Hamas had not met them.
Bernard Kouchner, the foreign minister, confirmed that France had had “contacts, not relations” with Hamas leaders for several months, adding: “We must be able to talk if we want to play a role.”
The admission came in response to a report that Yves Aubin de la Messuzière, a former envoy to Iraq, met Mahmoud Zahar, a top Hamas leader, and Ismael Haniyeh, its deposed prime minister, in Gaza a month ago.
Mbeki urged to use troops to halt attacks on migrants
South Africa has been rocked by a wave of xenophobic violence that has sent thousands of immigrants in Johannesburg fleeing for shelter as mobs beat, stabbed, shot and burnt people alive.
The government was urged to deploy troops in and around the country’s financial capital last night as the death toll climbed to 22, with more than 250 people arrested.
In scenes reminiscent of unrest during the apartheid era, gangs of men armed with clubs and jugs of petrol have been targeting Zimbabweans, Mozambicans, Malawians and others who they claim are taking scarce jobs and houses and committing crime.
Fighting resumes in Sudan flashpoint
KHARTOUM (AFP) – Fighting resumed on Tuesday in Abyei, the flashpoint oil-rich border area between north and south Sudan whose status remains contested three years after the end of civil war, officials said.
“It began early this morning and now it seems like the fighting has stopped,” Kouider Zerrouk, the deputy spokesman for the UN mission in Sudan, told AFP by telephone.
Southern ex-rebels in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, who fought a two-decade civil war until reaching a power-sharing deal with Khartoum and a promised referendum on self-determination, are believed to have started the fighting.
Brazil’s sugar cane mills race to keep up with ethanol boom
ORINDIUVA, Brazil – Just a decade ago, the giant Moema ethanol and sugar mill in this corner of southeastern Brazil covered less than half of its current 173,000 acres. It produced mainly sugar.
That was before world petroleum prices skyrocketed and millions of Brazilians turned to cheaper sugar cane-based ethanol to fuel their vehicles. Now, fuels made from sugar cane have become Brazil’s second most-used energy source, only behind fossil fuels.
That boom has transformed Moema into one of Brazil’s biggest sugar-cane mills and turned much of Sao Paulo state, where Moema is located, into the world capital of sugar cane ethanol.
More than 5,000 workers now help Moema churn out about 880,000 tons of sugar and 185 million gallons of ethanol every year, working day and night, rain or shine. Nationwide, sugar-cane mills produced nearly 6 billion gallons of ethanol last year, with output projected to jump by 160 percent through 2016.