666 The Number of The Beast
668 The Neighbor of The Beast
Booming, China Faults U.S. Policy on the Economy
By EDWARD WONG
Published: June 17, 2008
BEIJING – Not long ago, Chinese officials sat across conference tables from American officials and got an earful.
The Americans scolded the Chinese on mismanaging their economy, from state subsidies to foreign investment regulations to the valuation of their currency. Your economic system, the Americans strongly implied, should look a lot more like ours.
But in recent weeks, the fingers have been wagging in the other direction. Senior Chinese officials are publicly and loudly rebuking the Americans on their handling of the economy and defending their own more assertive style of regulation.
Report Questions Pentagon Accounts
Officials Looked Into Interrogation Methods Early On
By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 17, 2008; Page A01
A Senate investigation has concluded that top Pentagon officials began assembling lists of harsh interrogation techniques in the summer of 2002 for use on detainees at Guantanamo Bay and that those officials later cited memos from field commanders to suggest that the proposals originated far down the chain of command, according to congressional sources briefed on the findings.
The sources said that memos and other evidence obtained during the inquiry show that officials in the office of then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld started to research the use of waterboarding, stress positions, sensory deprivation and other practices in July 2002, months before memos from commanders at the detention facility in Cuba requested permission to use those measures on suspected terrorists.
Detainees recruited for jihad
Third of five parts GARDEZ, Afghanistan – Mohammed Naim Farouq was a thug in the lawless Zormat district of eastern Afghanistan. He ran a kidnapping.
By Tom Lasseter
Third of five parts
GARDEZ, Afghanistan – Mohammed Naim Farouq was a thug in the lawless Zormat district of eastern Afghanistan. He ran a kidnapping and extortion racket, and he controlled his turf with a band of gunmen who rode around in trucks with AK-47 rifles.
U.S. troops detained him in 2002, although he had no clear ties to the Taliban or al-Qaida. By the time Farouq was released from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the next year, however – after more than 12 months of what he described as abuse and humiliation at the hands of U.S. soldiers – he’d made connections to high-level militants.
Army Overseer Tells of Ouster Over KBR Stir
By JAMES RISEN
Published: June 17, 2008
WASHINGTON – The Army official who managed the Pentagon’s largest contract in Iraq says he was ousted from his job when he refused to approve paying more than $1 billion in questionable charges to KBR, the Houston-based company that has provided food, housing and other services to American troops.
The official, Charles M. Smith, was the senior civilian overseeing the multibillion-dollar contract with KBR during the first two years of the war. Speaking out for the first time, Mr. Smith said that he was forced from his job in 2004 after informing KBR officials that the Army would impose escalating financial penalties if they failed to improve their chaotic Iraqi operations.
Police out as torch hits Xinjiang
Security was tight as the Olympic torch began passing through China’s mainly Muslim Xinjiang region, on a highly sensitive part of its trip to Beijing.
Police were out in force as the flame left People’s Square in the capital, Urumqi, on its run around the city.
The torch will spend three days in the region, which is home to around eight million Muslim Uighur people.
Relations between Chinese authorities and the Uighurs are tense. Officials fear separatists may target the relay.
The relay has been moved forward by a week, in an apparent attempt to avoid unrest
Taliban Seizes Seven Afghan Villages
Hundreds of Fighters Launch Offensive Near Kandahar Three Days After Major Prison Break
By Candace Rondeaux and Javed Hamdard
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, June 17, 2008; Page A12
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, June 16 — Hundreds of Taliban fighters took control of seven villages in southern Afghanistan on Monday in what appeared to be a major offensive near the country’s second-largest city, according to Afghan officials.
An estimated 500 Taliban fighters swept into several villages in the Arghandab district, about 15 miles northwest of Kandahar, officials said. Agha Lalai Wali, an official with the government-sponsored Peace and Reconciliation Commission in Kandahar, said the fighters surged into the area Sunday evening, setting up several checkpoints in the district. Wali said local residents had reported seeing dozens of fighters believed to be of Pakistani and Arab origin traveling in the area in pickup trucks shortly before the incursion.
Simon Mann, coup plotter, gets his day in court
David Pallister in Malabo
Tuesday June 17 2008
At the ornate palace of the former Spanish colonial governor, the president of Equatorial Guinea yesterday sat in dark suit and gold and diamond watch and outlined his thoughts on the international conspiracy he believes lay behind a plot to overthrow him four years ago.
Less than a mile away, in shackles at Black Beach prison, the Briton who has confessed to his part in the failed coup awaited his day in court.
That reckoning is due today, when the former SAS soldier Simon Mann faces trial, four years after he was captured and accused of being the mastermind of a plan that involved 64 mercenaries.
It is scheduled to take place in the new conference centre in the middle of the capital, a tired town with rutted roads, muddy pools of rainwater from the morning’s steamy downpour and cracked pavements.
He’s black, and he’s back! Private enterprise saves southern Africa’s rhino from extinction
By Amol Rajan and Mike McCarthy
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
A pioneering scheme which allows private landlords to own and breed wild rhinoceroses has succeeded in bringing one of Africa’s most majestic animals back from the brink of extinction, conservations will announce today.
In 1960, an estimated 100,000 southern black rhinos roamed the plains of southern Africa. Poaching and the destruction of the animals’ natural habitat cut their number to 2,410 in 1995.
The decline has been reversed: the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will announce this morning that more than 4,000 southern black rhinos can be found in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, and Kenya, a landmark signifying stability.
Amsterdam coffee shops say tobacco ban is blow to business
By Peter Popham and Vanessa Mock
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
The Netherlands’ famous coffee shops, where marijuana is available over the counter, face the threat of extinction when the country goes smoke-free on 1 July.
Smoking dope is the raison d’être of the cafes which are scattered across the country, with the greatest and most famous concentration in Amsterdam. But when the tobacco ban comes in, the coffee shops will not be exempt.
This will lead to the paradoxical situation that only pure grass or cannabis resin, which are not covered by the ban, can be legally smoked in the shops.
The brutal biography of Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov
The young president has silenced dissent, pacified the Russian republic and embarked on a massive reconstruction campaign. His critics are hard to find, because they have a habit of disappearing.
By Megan K. Stack, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 17, 2008
The president of Chechnya looks out at the menagerie of birds, floating on the murky man-made lake in his backyard: black swans, pelicans and ducks. Ostriches roam the opposite bank. Deep grunts of laughter shake his thick chest, jolting his barrel arms. Then Ramzan Kadyrov stops laughing. “Bring me the tiger!” he barks to his camouflage-clad servants. “Bring me bread!”
Two former guerrilla fighters wrestle a chained tiger down the muddy slope. The tiger rears up on its hind legs, fangs bared, and swats at the guards with splayed paws. They yell and beat the tiger about the head until the animal is low to the ground.
‘Historic meeting’ planned for Israeli and Syrian leaders
From The Times
June 17, 2008
Sheera Frenkel in Jerusalem
The top Israeli and Syrian leadership could meet face-to-face next month for the first time in the history of those two countries, said Israeli officials yesterday.
Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, and Bashar Assad, the Syrian President, are scheduled to attend a July 13 summit of European and Mediterranean countries in Paris.
“The possibility of bringing the two leaders together while they cross paths in Paris was raised by the Israelis. It is presently a tentative offer… it depends on what happens between now and Paris,” said one Israeli official involved in the current indirect talks between Syrian and Israeli envoys in Ankara, Turkey that ended yesterday.
Iran to continue uranium enrichment work
Tue Jun 17, 2008
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran said on Tuesday it would continue enriching uranium, defying efforts by major powers to pressure Tehran into stopping such work.
The EU’s top diplomat on Saturday presented Tehran with a package of economic benefits to try and persuade it to stop its nuclear programme, which the West fears could lead to a nuclear weapon.
“We have repeatedly said that enrichment is our red line and we should enjoy this technology. The work will be continued,” deputy foreign minister Alireza Sheikhattar told reporters, according to the state news agency IRNA.
Mexican farmers angry over FDA salmonella probe
Tomatoes are rotting in warehouses while the FDA focuses on the country as a potential source of the outbreak.
By Marla Dickerson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 17, 2008
MEXICO CITY — Farmers are mad enough to throw, well, rotten tomatoes at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is focusing heavily on Mexico as a potential source of the fruit that has sickened hundreds of people in the United States with salmonella.
Mexican tomatoes are putrefying in warehouses south of the border. Producers say they’re losing millions of dollars in export sales even though U.S. health officials haven’t discovered the pathogen in any of the Mexican samples they’ve tested.