Vetters Must Be Vetted
By Those Who Should Be Vetted
Robert Mugabe’s militia burn opponent’s wife alive
From The Times
June 12, 2008
Jan Raath in Mhondoro
The men who pulled up in three white pickup trucks were looking for Patson Chipiro, head of the Zimbabwean opposition party in Mhondoro district. His wife, Dadirai, told them he was in Harare but would be back later in the day, and the men departed.
An hour later they were back. They grabbed Mrs Chipiro and chopped off one of her hands and both her feet. Then they threw her into her hut, locked the door and threw a petrol bomb through the window.
The killing last Friday – one of the most grotesque atrocities committed by Robert Mugabe’s regime since independence in 1980 – was carried out on a wave of worsening brutality before the run-off presidential elections in just over two weeks.
4 killed as tornado hits Iowa Boy Scout camp
Officials say about 40 injured as storm slams camp for leadership training
MSNBC News Services
BLENCOE, Iowa – A tornado tore through a Boy Scout camp in the remote hills of western Iowa on Wednesday, killing at least four people and injuring 40, and setting off a frantic search to reach others in the piles of debris and downed trees.
Most of the injured had been on a hike when the tornado struck, authorities said, leaving them without protection from the deadly winds. A search and rescue team deployed after the 7 p.m. twister had to cut their way through branches during a lightning storm to reach the camp where the 93 boys, ages 13 to 18, and 25 staff members were attending a weeklong leadership training camp.
Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech
By ADAM LIPTAK
Published: June 12, 2008
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – A couple of years ago, a Canadian magazine published an article arguing that the rise of Islam threatened Western values. The article’s tone was mocking and biting, but it said nothing that conservative magazines and blogs in the United States do not say every day without fear of legal reprisal.
Things are different here. The magazine is on trial.
Two members of the Canadian Islamic Congress say the magazine, Maclean’s, Canada’s leading newsweekly, violated a provincial hate speech law by stirring up hatred against Muslims. They say the magazine should be forbidden from saying similar things, forced to publish a rebuttal and made to compensate Muslims for injuring their “dignity, feelings and self-respect.”
Strike on Iran nuclear sites under discussion again
By Dion Nissenbaum | McClatchy Newspapers
JERUSALEM – Six months ago, after American intelligence agencies declared that Iran had shelved its nuclear-weapons program, the chances of a U.S. or Israeli military strike on Iran before President Bush left office seemed remote.
Now, thanks to persistent pressure from Israeli hawks and newly stated concerns by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the idea of a targeted strike meant to cripple Iran’s nuclear program is getting a new hearing.
As Bush travels across Europe to gain support for possible new sanctions against Iran, Israeli leaders have been working to lay the psychological foundation for a possible military strike if diplomacy falters.
In public threats and private briefings with American decision-makers, Israeli officials have been making the case that a military strike may be the only way to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Kurdistan’s muckraking media test free speech limits
By Sam Dagher | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the June 12, 2008 edition
Suliemaniyah, Iraq – Last year, Ahmed Mira published a cover story in his magazine Leveen titled “The legacy of the sick man.”
The story was about the health problems of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and a bitter leadership struggle within his political party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Mira, who is the magazine’s editor, was arrested by Kurdistan’s powerful military security. He says he was interrogated, subjected to “psychological torture,” and held for 13 hours before being released.
But Mira isn’t backing off. He continues to publish hard-hitting investigative reports and to tackle taboo or sensitive topics such as government corruption, intra-Kurdish rivalries – anything that may be disparaging of officials and the activities of Al Qaeda-linked militants.
He’s among a group of Kurdish journalists, mostly based in Suliemaniyah, a major city in northern Iraq, who are pushing for reforms in Kurdistan. Some are working through purely personal initiative, while others are receiving support from European nonprofit and media-advocacy groups.
Factories close, supermarkets empty and jets run out of fuel as truckers’ strike bites
· Spain promises tough response despite deaths
· Britain on alert as action threatens to spread
Graham Keeley in Barcelona
Thursday June 12 2008
Strike action by thousands of Spanish and Portuguese truckers produced ominous knock-on effects on food supplies, aviation and industry yesterday, as Lisbon airport ran out of fuel, car factories shut down and petrol stations and supermarkets reported shortages.
In a worrying sign for other European countries that face rising discontent at the spiralling cost of diesel, a third day of strikes generated widespread mayhem and the mood turned ugly after the first casualties of the standoff: two strikers died in clashes on picket lines.
Tourists flying to Lisbon faced delays after the airport ran out of fuel. Some flights were diverted to Porto. Only emergency, military or state flights were allowed out of Portela airport, a spokesman said. Only emergency fuel stocks saved Spanish airlines from similar disruption.
Miliband defends Lisbon Treaty
By Anne Penketh
Thursday, 12 June 2008
Britain is making “no assumptions” about the Lisbon Treaty coming into force on 1 January next year, the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, said on the eve of the Irish referendum which could determine the EU charter’s fate.
He also sought to reassure MPs yesterday on the relationship between the Foreign Office and a new diplomatic corps in Brussels that would be created by the legislation.
Pressure on opposition to halt poll and share power with Mugabe
· Southern Africa leaders push MDC to accept deal
· Tsvangirai rejects plan but violence may force U-turn
Chris McGreal, Africa correspondent
Thursday June 12 2008
Zimbabwe’s opposition is under intense political and violent pressure to agree to call off a second round of presidential elections in a fortnight and join a coalition government that keeps Robert Mugabe in power.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the Movement for Democratic Change leader won the first round of elections in March but narrowly failed to win an outright majority. He has rejected any deal that leaves Mugabe in office, and says there can be no agreement on power-sharing before a run-off vote.
But there is concern among some opposition politicians that, if the MDC insists on taking power, the government will use escalating state-sponsored violence as a pretext to call off the polls at the last minute and impose emergency rule.
Darfur novelist returns personal narratives to the people he left behind
By Claire Soares
Thursday, 12 June 2008
The flapping of wings is not usually something that instils fear. Unless you live in Darfur. There, when a flock of birds suddenly takes flight, it is usually a sign that an attack is coming.
Much has been written about the atrocities unfolding in this corner of western Sudan – the ethnic cleansing, the machete massacres, the gang rapes. No one mentions the birds. No one mentions how the grieving mothers and wives suffer the added indignity of not being able to wear their traditional white mourning robes because they make them more visible to the bombers. No one, that is, before Daoud Hari.
Key Afghan donor meeting in Paris
The Afghan government is to ask international donors to fund a $50bn (£25bn) reconstruction plan at a meeting in Paris, officials say.
The US said on Wednesday it planned to commit $10bn, but pledges are expected to fall well short of the $50bn target.
Critics say Afghanistan has not got the capacity to spend the money it already has, let alone bid for more.
It comes as Afghan president Hamid Karzai faces growing international scrutiny ahead of elections next year.
Donors from about 80 countries are expected at the one-day conference.
US airstrike kills 11 Pakistani soldiers in ‘cowardly and unprovoked attack’
From The Times
June 12, 2008
Zahid Hussain in Islamabad and Michael Evans, Defence Editor
Pakistan accused US forces yesterday of killing 11 of its soldiers in an “unprovoked and cowardly” attack on a border post, an act that it said threatened to undermine the two countries’ joint effort in the War on Terror.
The soldiers were killed late on Tuesday night in what American officials called a “regrettable incident” at Gora Pai in the Mohmand tribal region of Pakistan, bordering the Afghanistan Kunar province, where coalition forces have been fighting Taleban insurgents.
A senior Pakistani security official said the fighting erupted after Afghan and Nato forces tried to set up a mountain-top post along a disputed stretch of the frontier and were told by border troops to withdraw.
Cuba to abandon salary equality
Cuba is to abolish its system of equal pay for all and allow workers and managers to earn performance bonuses, a senior official has announced.
Vice-Minister for Labour Carlos Mateu said the current system – in place since the communist revolution in 1959 – was no longer “convenient”.
He said wage differentiation should improve production and services.
President Raul Castro has introduced a series of reforms since succeeding his ailing brother Fidel in February.