Obama Lands in Afghanistan
By JEFF ZELENY
Published: July 20, 2008
WASHINGTON – Senator Barack Obama arrived in Afghanistan early Saturday morning, opening his first overseas trip as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee by meeting with American commanders there, and later in Iraq, to receive an on-the-ground assessment of military operations in the two major U.S. war zones.
Mr. Obama touched down in Kabul at 3:15 a.m. Eastern time, according to a pool report released by his aides. In addition to attending briefings with military leaders, he hoped to meet with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan before flying to Iraq later in the weekend.
His trip was cloaked in secrecy, which advisers said was due to security concerns set forth by the Secret Service. His whereabouts have been unknown since he departed Chicago.
Giant steelworks’ leap lets Beijing breathe in time for the Olympics
From The Times
July 19, 2008
For 89 years the great black furnaces and mills of the Beijing Capital Iron and Steel Company – commonly known as Shougang – have been churning out pipes, plates and girders on the edge of the Chinese capital.
For nine decades, as it has transformed trainloads of iron ore into steel for everything from Peoples’ Liberation Army tanks to the new Olympic stadium, this flagship of Chinese heavy industry has also been blanketing Beijing in soot, dust and noxious chemicals.
In recent times the chimneys of its huge plant 11 miles (18km) west of Tiananmen Square have spewed forth 18,000 tonnes of particulate dust a year – the equivalent of 100 average-sized factories – and equally alarming quantities of sulphur dioxide, making it Beijing’s worst polluter.
Bush agrees to ‘time horizon’ for Iraq withdrawal
In a video call with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki, he says troop withdrawals still would be tied to security conditions. The shift is seen as an effort to break a deadlock in talks on security pact.
By Julian E. Barnes and Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
July 19, 2008
WASHINGTON — President Bush has agreed to a “general time horizon” for withdrawals of U.S. combat troops from Iraq, the White House announced Friday in a marked softening of his long-standing opposition to deadlines for reducing the American presence.
Administration officials portrayed the shift, which was announced a day after a video conference between Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, as an evolution in policy rather than a fundamental change. They emphasized that withdrawals still would be tied to improvements in security conditions.
But military officials acknowledged that by setting targets for troop reductions, the new agreement was a step toward a timeline.
“The bottom line is I think there has been a little bit of a shift, or at least a shuffle,” a senior Defense official said.