Failure Comes To Japan
On A 747 No Less
Prospects dim for G-8 climate change deal
Bush arrives in Japan for summit; no concessions expected from U.S.
MSNBC News Services
TOYAKO, Japan – Prospects that the G8 would reach a meaningful agreement to fight global warming at their annual summit dimmed on Sunday as leaders began arriving in northern Japan with a raft of global problems on their minds.
Climate change is high on the agenda of the summit of rich nations that begins Monday at a luxury hotel in Toyako, Hokkaido, and of a Major Economies Meeting on Wednesday that brings the G8 together with eight other countries, including China, India and Brazil.
‘To Be Busy Helps Them Forget’
Burma’s Storm Survivors Cobble Together a Meager Future
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, July 6, 2008; Page A01
BOGALAY, Burma — Two months after a cyclone savaged the fertile Irrawaddy Delta, in Burma’s southwest, the bones of drowning victims still clutter the muddy banks of waterways.
One bamboo stick at a time, survivors in hundreds of flattened villages are struggling to rebuild their lives. For shelter, they squeeze several families into a single tent. For drinking water, they collect monsoon rains that trickle off tarpaulin roof coverings into buckets or salvaged ceramic vases. For food, they cook communal meals with rice, beans and oil from handouts. Sometimes it is spoiled.
Employers Fight Tough Measures on Immigration
By JULIA PRESTON
Published: July 6, 2008
Under pressure from the toughest crackdown on illegal immigration in two decades, employers across the country are fighting back in state legislatures, the federal courts and city halls.
Business groups have resisted measures that would revoke the licenses of employers of illegal immigrants. They are proposing alternatives that would revise federal rules for verifying the identity documents of new hires and would expand programs to bring legal immigrant laborers.
Though the pushback is coming from both Democrats and Republicans, in many places it is reopening the rift over immigration that troubled the Republican Party last year.
Obama chides media on his Iraq remarks
Refinement ‘doesn’t change my strategic view that this war has to end’
ST. LOUIS – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Saturday his plan to end the Iraq war was unchanged and he was puzzled by the sharp reaction to his statement this week that he might “refine” his timetable for withdrawing U.S. combat troops.
“For me to say that I’m going to refine my policies I don’t think in any way is inconsistent with prior statements and doesn’t change my strategic view that this war has to end and that I’m going to end it as president,” Obama told reporters on his campaign plane.
China’s new freedom fighters
Countless thousands of people in China are blacklisted, harassed, intimidated and locked up merely for what they say or because of the job they do. Nineteen years after the Tiananmen massacre, six dissident voices explain why their battle for freedom of speech must continue
Interviews by Lijia Zhang
Sunday July 6, 2008
Ma Jian, novelist, 53
I am a writer. Being critical is a writer’s responsibility. In China, however, writers are encouraged to sing the praises of the government. Since being too critical may lead to the banning of their work, many exercise self-censorship or write books to please the market.
I left Beijing in the late 1980s to live in Hong Kong because, having been blacklisted by the government, I couldn’t publish my works on the mainland. My novella Stick out Your Tongue, which draws on my experience of travelling in Tibet, had been denounced as ‘filthy and shameful’ and banned. In spring 1989 I returned to witness the student-led democratic movement. As the government brutally cracked down on the protest, my brother went into a coma after an accident. I just couldn’t find the words to describe the sense of shock and despair I felt then; it forced me to see the evil face of the regime.
UN to urge revamp of Afghan aid
The United Nations’ envoy to Afghanistan is to outline a new plan on spending foreign aid, amid fears that millions of dollars have been wasted.
Kai Eide told the BBC that too much aid money was spent on salaries and goods in the countries that provided it.
“I think… we spend too much of our money in our home countries instead of spending it in Afghanistan,” he said.
Mr Eide advocates spending aid money through the Afghan government in return for a crackdown on corruption.
Last month, 80 countries pledged a further $22bn (£11bn) for Afghanistan.
Shell ready to quit Zimbabwe as Mugabe cronies hoard fuel
Mbeki flies into Harare to explore the chances of a deal that could lead to a ‘unity’ government
Paul Lewis and David Pallister
Sunday July 6, 2008
Shell was considering pulling out of Zimbabwe last night amid claims that President Robert Mugabe was reserving the distribution of fuel at petrol pumps for party supporters.
A source at the oil giant told The Observer it was looking at a plan to halt activities in the country, which are overseen in a joint deal with BP. One option being canvassed is for Shell to sell its stake to a third party. Meanwhile both the UN Security Council and the European Union are drafting tougher sanctions aimed at members of the regime and their families, but probably stopping short of wider economic sanctions that some British politicians and Zimbabweans are calling for.
Sadat family angered by Iranian film’s ‘traitor’ portrayal
The family of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat has threatened to sue the Iranian producers of a documentary film portraying his 1981 assassination as the killing of a traitor by a martyr.
The documentary, entitled “Assassination of a Pharaoh,” has already been shown on Iranian television, the Al-Masry al-Youm newspaper reported on Sunday.
The film, broadcast “in honour of the martyrs of the Islamic renaissance,” deals with “the revolutionary assassination of the treacherous Egyptian president at the hands of the martyr Khaled Islambouli,” the paper said.
Iraqis lead final purge of Al-Qaeda
From The Sunday Times
July 6, 2008
Marie Colvin in Mosul
American and Iraqi forces are driving Al-Qaeda in Iraq out of its last redoubt in the north of the country in the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror.
After being forced from its strongholds in the west and centre of Iraq in the past two years, Al-Qaeda’s dwindling band of fighters has made a defiant “last stand” in the northern city of Mosul.
A huge operation to crush the 1,200 fighters who remained from a terrorist force once estimated at more than 12,000 began on May 10.
Operation Lion’s Roar, in which the Iraqi army combined forces with the Americans’ 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment, has already resulted in the death of Abu Khalaf, the Al-Qaeda leader, and the capture of more than 1,000 suspects
Hamas, long the peace spoiler, finds it hard to halt attacks
By Dion Nissenbaum | McClatchy Newspapers
BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip – Like a Gettysburg battlefield tour guide , Ali Kafarna pointed out the scars of war as he walked through the fields between his home and the Israeli border.
“Here’s where the tanks used to stop,” said Ali, 14, as he passed a dirt berm dug into dry grass littered with shrapnel and animal bones.
“Here’s where they used to fire rockets,” Ali said of the charred square of earth that Palestinians used as a launching pad to attack Israel.
Until last month, this area was a no-go zone for Ali and his family. Two weeks into a shaky cease-fire, Palestinian families are using the relative calm to visit bullet-scarred homes a few hundred yards from the Israeli border and replant orchards uprooted by the Israeli military.
Hitler swiftly loses his head in the dictator’s latest downfall
Sunday July 6, 2008
In life, he died from a pistol shot to the head. But yesterday, Hitler’s wax effigy met the fate of the French nobility after 1789: decapitation. A controversial waxwork that went on show at Madame Tussauds in Berlin last week was beheaded by anti-fascist protesters within minutes of the doors opening.
‘A man leapt over the ropes and, with a single whack, the head was off,’ said a witness.
A 41-year-old man, a member of Antifa, a radical group opposed to neo-Nazi violence in Germany, was apprehended by police shortly afterwards. He faces charges of criminal damage, assault and trespass.
Some 25 workers spent about four months on the waxwork, using more than 2,000 pictures and pieces of archive material.
Silvio Berlusconi is a nusiance caller
Berlusconi is accused of making raunchy calls about his glamourous minister
From The Sunday Times
July 6, 2008
John Follain in Rome
Italy’s billionaire prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is pressing ahead with a law to ban the publication of taped telephone calls, after being swept up in a new scandal over his attempts to find parts on state television for budding young starlets.
According to reports in the Italian press last week, Berlusconi was heard making spicy remarks in a series of calls recorded by prosecutors in Naples during a corruption inquiry.
The transcripts have yet to be leaked but they are said to include “inappropriate” comments by the perma-tanned Berlusconi, 71, about Mara Carfagna, the 32-year-old minister for equal opportunities and the most glamorous member of his cabinet.
Reporters covering Mexico drug wars risk their lives
As violence has soared, more than 30 reporters have died or disappeared in Mexico since 2000, the group Reporters Without Borders says.
By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 6, 2008
VILLAHERMOSA, MEXICO — Rodolfo Rincon had reason to feel cheery when he left his newspaper office on a January evening last year.
His report on drug dealing in coastal Tabasco state had made a splashy, two-page spread that day in the Tabasco Hoy.
That night, Rincon, considered one of the best police reporters in the state, had put the finishing touches on a story about ATM thieves for the next day’s edition.
He strode from the glassy newsroom and hasn’t been seen since.
Colleagues believe Rincon, 54, was captured, and probably killed, by drug traffickers aggrieved by his crime coverage. He is among more than 30 reporters killed or missing in Mexico since 2000 as drug violence has skyrocketed, according to Paris-based Reporters Without Borders.
In many ways, Mexico’s democratic evolution has afforded the news media greater freedom than at any time in modern history. But at the same time, reporters are working on a battlefield: Mexico is considered the most dangerous Latin American nation in which to be a journalist, and one of the riskiest in the world.