I Only Know What They Tell Me
So Quit Asking
Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control
By Patrick Cockburn
Thursday, 5 June 2008
A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.
The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq’s position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.
But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated.
Clinton Ready to End Bid and Endorse
By ADAM NAGOURNEY and JEFF ZELENY
Published: June 5, 2008
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will endorse Senator Barack Obama on Saturday, bringing a close to her 17-month campaign for the White House, aides said. Her decision came after Democrats urged her Wednesday to leave the race and allow the party to coalesce around Mr. Obama.Howard Wolfson, one of Mrs. Clinton’s chief strategists, and other aides said she would express support for Mr. Obama and party unity at an event in Washington that day.
China likely to beat U.S. back to the moon, NASA says
By Robert S. Boyd | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON – Here’s one Olympic-style event that China is likely to win: landing the next humans on the moon.
Chinese astronauts are on schedule to beat the United States back to the moon by two or three years, the head of NASA’s lunar exploration program said Wednesday.
“If they keep on the path they’re on, they can” land before Americans do, said Rick Gilbreth, NASA’s associate administrator for exploration systems.
The goal of NASA’s Constellation program is to return astronauts to the moon by 2020, as proposed in President Bush’s Vision for Space Exploration. Gilbreth said the Chinese could accomplish that by 2017 or 2018.
The Chinese lead will be even longer if the American schedule slips, as some space experts predict.
‘Al-Qaeda’ claims Pakistan attack
An internet posting purportedly by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan says it carried out Monday’s car bomb attack on the Danish embassy in Pakistan.
At least six people were killed and 30 injured in the attack in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.
The statement said the attack was to exact revenge over the reprinting of a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad in Danish newspapers in February.
The cartoons, deemed offensive to Islam, led to worldwide protests.
The authenticity of the statement, which was posted on a website used by Islamic militants, could not be independently verified.
Charles takes on China to save Ming dynasty houses from Beijing’s concrete carbuncles
Robert Booth and Jonathan Watts in Beijing
Thursday June 5 2008
As a vociferous cheerleader for the environment and certain types of classical architecture, Prince Charles has never been afraid of a challenge.
But even he might struggle in his latest attempt to encourage a return to what he regards as traditional values.
The man who once described China’s leaders as “a group of appalling old waxworks”, is imploring the country’s government to re-think its development of Beijing. In particular, he has plans to save a historic area of pre-communist housing near Tiananmen Square.
The prince wants to save Da Shi Lan, an area of hutongs – low rise courtyard homes linked by alleys and teeming markets.
Mecca talks stress religious tolerance
Riazat Butt in Mecca
Thursday June 5 2008
More than 500 delegates from around the world gathered in the Islamic holy city of Mecca yesterday with the aim of fostering better relations between Muslims and followers of other faiths. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia opened the three-day conference in Al-Safah Palace, a stone’s throw from the Grand Mosque, by stressing the need for better understanding and cooperation between monotheistic religions.
The king urged his audience to promote the true message of Islam and said the Islamic world faced great difficulties in the form of extremists whose “aggressions and excessiveness” targeted the tolerance of the religion.
The event, the biannual meeting of the Muslim World League, a non-governmental organisation engaged in the propagation of Islam, has been described as an interfaith conference, although its location makes it strictly off-limits to non-Muslims.
Nuclear report: parsing Iran’s intent
By Scott Peterson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the June 5, 2008 edition
ISTANBUL, Turkey – Iran’s nuclear intentions are under increasing scrutiny as diplomats and technical experts of the United Nation’s atomic watchdog agency meet in Vienna this week.
The latest report on Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) provides ammunition to all sides, at once bolstering arguments led by the US and Israel that Iran has been bent on building nuclear weapons, while confirming Tehran’s adherence to safeguard measures.
But the IAEA’s technical report and the interpretations of its findings are spinning into an overheated strategic standoff between Western nations, Israel, and Iran that, analysts say, may become reason for a military strike against Iran.
Zimbabwean opposition held, then released by police
By Celia W. Dugger
Published: June 5, 2008
JOHANNESBURG: Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader who placed first in Zimbabwe’s March elections and now faces a runoff with President Robert Mugabe, was detained by the police for nine hours on Wednesday and charged with drawing a big crowd, his party said. He was released late in the evening.
“It makes absolutely no sense that a presidential candidate in an election is arrested for attracting crowds of people,” the party said in a statement. The party said Tsvangirai was charged under the Public Order and Security Act, and it called the charge “spurious.“
Why Africa exults at Obama’s victory
Publication Date: 6/5/2008
There are three reasons why Kenyans in particular, Africans in general, and the black race at large are excited about Senator Barack Obama’s spectacular feat in clinching the Democratic Party nomination as the US presidential candidate.
First, Senator Obama has made history as the first African-American ever to win nomination to vie for the presidency of the world’s sole super-power.
Secondly, he can be regarded as a son of Africa who has made it good in the world. Thirdly, he is a son of Kenya, for he traces his roots in this country, his father having hailed from the present-day Siaya District.
This is why most Kenyans celebrated when Mr Obama won the nomination after a bruising battle against Hillary Clinton. They believe that with this win, their ”son” will implement Africa-friendly policies that could uplift the continent from poverty.
Bury Lenin’s body, says Gorbachev
By Guy Faulconbridge in Moscow
Thursday, 5 June 2008
The embalmed body of the Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin should be moved from its mausoleum in Red Square and given a standard burial, the former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev said yesterday.
Lenin’s body has been on public display in a glass case since his death in 1924. His continuing presence in the symbolic heart of Moscow has been a source of controversy since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Lenin led the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution to found the first Communist state, which lasted for 74 years until Mr Gorbachev presided over the break-up of the USSR. Mr Gorbachev, 77, said: “My view is [that] we should not be occupied right now with grave-digging. But we will necessarily come to a time when the mausoleum will have lost its meaning and we will bury [Lenin], give him up to the earth as his family had wanted. I think the time will come.”
Tory MEP Giles Chichester paid £400,000 expenses to his own firm
From The Times
June 5, 2008
David Charter, Europe Correspondent
The Conservative MEP charged by David Cameron with ensuring the probity of expenses claims admitted last night to breaking the rules by channelling thousands of pounds of allowances into a family company.
Giles Chichester paid more than £400,000 for office services to a company of which he was a director.
His admission caused alarm at Westminster by raising the spectre of sleaze for the Conservative Party just at it had reached a commanding lead in opinion polls over Labour.
U.S. Merida aid initiative angers some in Mexico
By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 5, 2008
MEXICO CITY — Billed as a way to strengthen bilateral ties, a proposed U.S. aid package for Mexican crime-fighting efforts has instead turned into a fresh reminder of the prickly dynamics that often drive the two nations apart.
At issue are human rights conditions that Congress attached to the so-called Merida Initiative, a three-year $1.4-billion proposal by the Bush administration to equip and train security forces in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean to combat drug trafficking.
Senior Mexican officials have called the provisions a form of U.S. interference and threatened to turn down the first-year installment if the conditions survive in a final version yet to be worked out by the House and Senate.