Sausage and Votes
Just Ends Up
In A Whine
This Time, It’s Different
Global Pressures Have Converged to Forge a New Oil Reality
By Steven Mufson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 27, 2008; Page A01
The two events, half a world apart, went largely unheralded
Early this month, Valero Energy in Texas got the unwelcome news that Mexico would be cutting supplies to one of the company’s Gulf Coast refineries by up to 15 percent. Mexico’s state-owned oil enterprise is one of Valero’s main sources of crude, but oil output from Mexican fields, including the giant Cantarell field, is drying up. Mexican sales of crude oil to the United States have plunged to their lowest level in more than a dozen years.
Shiite Militia in Baghdad Sees Its Power Ebb
By SABRINA TAVERNISE
Published: July 27, 2008
BAGHDAD – The militia that was once the biggest defender of poor Shiites in Iraq, the Mahdi Army, has been profoundly weakened in a number of neighborhoods across Baghdad, in an important, if tentative, milestone for stability in Iraq.
It is a remarkable change from years past, when the militia, led by the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr, controlled a broad swath of Baghdad, including local governments and police forces. But its use of extortion and violence began alienating much of the Shiite population to the point that many quietly supported American military sweeps against the group.
Justice, 64 years later
‘Long-overdue vindication’ comes for 28 black soldiers cleared in a 1944 lynching.
By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 27, 2008
SEATTLE — It was a crime so improbable that many had trouble believing it could have happened at all: Three black soldiers stood accused of lynching an Italian prisoner of war, found dangling from a wire on an obstacle training course at Ft. Lawton in the middle of World War II.
The subsequent trial of the three men, along with 40 other black enlistees charged with rioting, became the largest and longest Army court-martial of the war, and the only recorded instance in U.S. history in which black men stood trial for a mob lynching.
By the time it was over, 28 men had been convicted on rioting charges and two of them were also found guilty of manslaughter in connection with the 1944 hanging.
Obama to McClatchy: Goals in Afghanistan should be modest
By Margaret Talev | McClatchy Newspapers
In an interview with McClatchy Saturday night as he returned from his overseas trip, Sen. Barack Obama answered questions about sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan and other issues in his campaign against Republican Sen. John McCain.
Q: Afghanistan is something you’ve spoken a lot about…Take us to the next level, why, as you’ve said, and how, we need to put more U.S. forces into Afghanistan. To the Soviets it became a quagmire. How do you avoid that? How do you measure success? If you could give us a little more detail about what you think you’d like to do.
A: I’m not here to lay out a comprehensive military strategy. That’s the job of our commanders on the ground. I can tell you what our strategic goals should be. They should be relatively modest. We shouldn’t want to take over the country. We should want to get out of there as quickly as we can and help the Afghans govern themselves and provide for their own security. Our critical goal should be to make sure that the Taliban and al Qaida are routed and that they cannot project threats against us from that region. And to do that I think we need more troops. I also think that we need to deal with the situation in Pakistan and the fact that terrorists are able to operate with relative freedom of movement there right now.
Beijing’s haze thickens even with pollution controls in place
By Tim Johnson | McClatchy Newspapers
BEIJING – The haze that stubbornly cloaks China’s capital in the run-up to the Summer Olympics looks worse than it really is, two senior officials asserted Saturday.
The officials referred to the gray haze over the city as “fog” and “dust” but refrained from calling it air pollution.
A daily air pollution index in China’s capital has actually gotten worse in the week since city officials ordered more than one million cars off the streets and staggered office hours as part of an unprecedented anti-pollution campaign to clear the air for the Aug. 8-24 Olympics.
Olympics threatened by Islamic separatists
Little-known Muslim group claims responsibility for a series of explosions in Chinese cities and warns that its next target will be the Beijing Games
Tania Branigan in Beijing
Sunday July 27 2008
A Muslim separatist group yesterday claimed responsibility for a series of fatal explosions in several Chinese cities and threatened to target the Olympic Games, due to begin on 8 August.
Chinese officials dismissed video statements by spokesmen claiming to represent the little-known Turkestan Islamic Party, who warned that they would attack next month’s Games and said they were to blame for the previous blasts. A US terrorism-monitoring firm published a transcript of their video.
The Chinese authorities have repeatedly alleged that extremists from the restive northwestern region of Xinjiang – known as East Turkestan by separatists among the Uighur Muslim population – were targeting the Olympics.
Silvio Berlusconi: The padrone is back and he means business
Silvio Berlusconi is determined to get things done this time around. He has sprung some surprises already, so, where next for Italy?
Sunday, 27 July 2008
You read it here first: last week was a triumph for Silvio Berlusconi. For years his political genius has been a well-kept secret. The rest of us, convinced that he was a buffoon, scrabbled around for explanations for his success in winning elections: he had turned the population of his country into zombies through his dreadful television channels; he had done a deal with the Mafia whereby elections dropped into his lap in return for favours; an intrinsically amoral country saw him as its authentic representative, their co-conspirator in cheating the exchequer and out-foxing the judiciary ….
The truth is simpler. Italians are fed up with governments that do nothing; that scrape into power in cynical coalitions, stick around just long enough to get some friends out of jail and give juicy contracts to the rest.
How one careless phone call ended Radovan Karadzic’s liberty
A careless phone call brought Radovan Karadzic’s colourful life on the run to an abrupt end
From The Sunday Times
July 27, 2008
Marie Colvin and Andrew Wander in Belgrade
As the long-haired, bearded man who had become known as the local eccentric walked out of the Leotar supermarket in a suburb of Belgrade nine days ago, he unexpectedly turned back to the checkout girls.
“I want to say goodbye,” he said. “I’m going on vacation. I need a rest, I’ve been working a lot.” He could not know how prescient his words were.
Radovan Karadzic, 63, wartime leader of the Bosnian Serbs and one of the most wanted men in the world, had only a few hours of freedom left after almost 13 years on the run.
Iran executes 29 in jail hangings
Reports from Iran say 29 people have been executed by hanging in Tehran.
Among them were convicts found guilty of murder, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking, state television IRIB reported on its website.
All the executions took place on Sunday morning in Tehran’s Evin prison, the report said.
Amnesty International, the human rights group, said that last year Iran carried out 317 executions, a higher total than any other country apart from China.
The latest hangings were carried out after the death sentences were approved by the country’s Supreme Court, IRIB reported.
Turkish warplanes bomb PKK targets in Iraq
ANKARA, Turkey – Turkish warplanes on Sunday bombed 12 Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq, the military said.
The fighter jets attacked the rebel targets on Mount Qandil, on the Iraqi-Iranian border, where the rebel leadership is believed to be based, the military said in a statement posted on its official Web site.
All planes returned to their bases safely and the military was working to determine possible rebel casualties in the raids that began at midnight, the statement said.
In Zimbabwe Talks, Who Will Get the Real Power?
By CELIA W. DUGGER
Published: July 27, 2008
JOHANNESBURG – As negotiators for President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai began power-sharing talks on Thursday in South Africa, they confronted one seemingly unbridgeable divide: which man would have the real executive power in a unity government?
Mr. Mugabe’s governing party, ZANU-PF, insisted that Mr. Mugabe, as the victor in a runoff that has been denounced internationally as a sham, would name any new government, The Herald, a state-owned newspaper, reported Friday.
Key to feeding Africa called better farming
July 27, 2008
AWASH MELKASA, Ethiopia – Hussein Ibrahim walks solemnly past tidy rows of bright green cabbages, vines bursting with tomatoes and trees weighed down with plump avocados.
This modern, thriving farm – a rarity in drought-ravaged Ethiopia – filled Hussein with envy. Like so many other farmers across the Horn of Africa, he has no hope for his own crops this year.
“We are behind all the other people in the world,” said Hussein, who tends his land in southern Ethiopia the way his ancestors did hundreds of years ago – with rain, if it comes, and oxen, as long as they’re healthy.
To break out of endless cycles of drought, poverty and hunger, experts say, Africa desperately needs to modernize its age-old farming techniques. But the vast sums in foreign aid to Africa go toward feeding the hungry, and very little is left for improving farming so that Africans will cease to depend on handouts
Guanajuato’s mix of mines, mummies, music
Life is contagious in this historic colonial city. Don’t miss the nightly cavalcade.
By John Muncie, Special to The Times
July 27, 2008
GUANAJUATO, MEXICO — The pied pipers wore black.
Carrying guitars, mandolins, tambourines and an ungainly string bass, they led 35 of us away from the center of town, beyond the church of San Diego and the Jardín Unión, over stone bridges, up narrow, dark streets, centuries old, until somewhere near the Alley of the Kiss, in a plaza not much bigger than a family room, they stopped to play.
The pied pipers call themselves estudiantinas. They wander the city, playing traditional music, singing old favorites, making wisecracks, telling the city’s stories and retelling its legends. They pass the hat and, sometimes, little ceramic carafes of wine.
“The satisfaction is to meet people, make them laugh,” says Gerardo Leyva, 28, a violin student at the University of Guanajuato and head of the university’s estudiantina group. “This is our job, to make people happy.