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Wounded Iraqi Forces Say They’ve Been Abandoned
By MICHAEL KAMBER
Published: July 1, 2008
BAGHDAD – Dawoud Ameen, a former Iraqi soldier, lay in bed, his shattered legs splayed before him, worrying about the rent for his family of five.
Mr. Ameen’s legs were shredded by shrapnel from a roadside bomb in September 2006 and now, like many wounded members of the Iraqi security forces, he is deeply in debt and struggling to survive. For now, he gets by on $125 a month brought to him by members of his old army unit, charity and whatever his wife, Jinan, can beg from her relatives. But he worries that he could lose even that meager monthly stipend.
African leaders stay silent on Mugabe
By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor
Tuesday, 1 July 2008
Africa’s leaders have failed publicly to condemn Robert Mugabe for stealing Zimbabwe’s presidential election by proceeding with a run-off vote in which he was sole candidate at the height of an officially orchestrated intimidation campaign.
At a summit of the 53 member states of the African Union – in which stable democracies remain a minority – Mr Mugabe was praised as a “hero” by the veteran President of Gabon, Omar Bongo.
Although he was not addressed as “Mr President” by fellow summiteers gathered in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, the embattled Zimbabwean leader was comforted by speeches in which few spoke out about the political violence in his country.
Evidence Faulted in Detainee Case
By WILLIAM GLABERSON
Published: July 1, 2008
In the first case to review the government’s secret evidence for holding a detainee at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, a federal appeals court found that accusations against a Muslim from western China held for more than six years were based on bare and unverifiable claims. The unclassified parts of the decision were released on Monday.
With some derision for the Bush administration’s arguments, a three-judge panel said the government contended that its accusations against the detainee should be accepted as true because they had been repeated in at least three secret documents.
The court compared that to the absurd declaration of a character in the Lewis Carroll poem “The Hunting of the Snark”: “I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true.”
McCain’s energy record is on/off
The Republican presidential candidate has swerved from one position to another over the years, taking often contradictory stances on the government’s role in energy policy.
By Noam N. Levey, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 1, 2008
WASHINGTON — Crisscrossing the country over the last two weeks to promote his energy plans, Sen. John McCain promised a forceful national strategy to combat global warming and end U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
“We must steer far clear of the errors and false assumptions that have marked the energy policies of nearly 20 Congresses and seven presidents,” the presumptive Republican nominee told a crowd of oil executives in Houston.
Human toll yet to be counted in Zimbabwe
By Shashank Bengali | McClatchy Newspapers
HARARE, Zimbabwe – Ngoni Bothwell Naite never told his family that he’d become an activist. During Zimbabwe’s bloody election season, when Naite volunteered to guard the home of an opposition politician who’d been targeted for kidnapping, his mother assumed that he was staying with friends.
She learned the truth one morning last month, when her 27-year-old son’s body was found dumped beside a cluster of shops after a government militia raided the politician’s home.
Rwanda: Anger over failure to hold genocide fugitive
· Kenya falling short of legal obligations, says tribunal
· Wanted Rwandan said to have imported machetes
Xan Rice in Nairobi
Tuesday July 1, 2008
Prosecutors hunting the most wanted Rwandan genocide fugitive, Felicien Kabuga, are involved in an increasingly acrimonious row with the Kenyan government over the failure to confiscate his assets and assist with his arrest.
Frustrated officials at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) believe top Kenyan politicians and businessmen continue to shield Kabuga, who is accused of using his fortune to help finance the 1994 genocide. A letter from senior trial prosecutor Richard Karegyesa to the Kenyan government described the seizure of a Nairobi home owned by Kabuga as “too little too late”, and said that Kenya was still falling “far short” of its legal obligations.
Italy: Court inflames Roma discrimination row
John Hooper in Rome
Tuesday July 1, 2008
Italy’s highest appeal court has ruled that it is acceptable to discriminate against Roma on the grounds that they are thieves.
The judgment, made public yesterday, comes amid a nationwide clampdown on the Roma community by Silvio Berlusconi’s government. Last week his interior minister, Roberto Maroni, announced plans to fingerprint all of Italy’s Roma, including children.
The ruling by the court of cassation, which appears to provide judicial backing for the government’s policies, was handed down in March, but reported only yesterday. The judges overthrew the conviction of six defendants who signed a leaflet demanding the expulsion of Verona’s Gypsies in 2001.
Body to be dug up to solve mystery of film-maker’s killing
By John Lichfield
Tuesday, 1 July 2008
The body of a French woman who was murdered in Ireland 12 years ago is to be lifted from its grave in a village cemetery in south-west France today.
The remains of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, 39, is to be subjected to advanced forms of DNA testing, which did not exist at the time of her death in December 1996, following a ruling last week by an investigating magistrate.
The autopsy in effect re-opens one of the most controversial of cross-frontier “cold cases” in recent European judicial history.
Iraq opens oilfields to international deals
From The Times
July 1, 2008
James Hider in Baghdad
Iraq opened its main oilfields to exploitation by international companies yesterday in a first step towards reintegrating its massive reserves into a market hitting staggering prices.
Hussain al-Shahristani, the Oil Minister, said that he was keen to use international finance and expertise to allow Iraq to realise its full oil potential, an important step to boosting reconstruction and ultimately ending the violence. He said that the Government had drawn up a list of 35 companies and six state-owned oil firms that would be allowed to bid for long-term contracts in six oilfields.
U.S. forces to hand over hard-won Anbar Province
The Americans are set to transfer control of the once-restive Sunni province to Iraq, but many in Anbar question just how much real power the US is willing to relinquish.
By Sam Dagher | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
FALLUJAH, Iraq – This is a city literally rising from the ashes. While reminders of two major US assaults here in April and November 2004 are inescapable, signs of rebirth are plenty. Men in jumpsuits busily work on construction sites, sewers are being installed, and a hospital is nearly completed.
Now, the US military is poised to return to Iraq control of this city and the rest of Anbar Province, once a haven for Sunni insurgents and Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) fighters. In the past two years, a strategy of turning tribal leaders against AQI worked and led to a significant turnabout for the Americans.
But the danger, however, is not completely gone. On Thursday, an AQI-linked suicide bomber killed at least 20 people, including three US Marines, in the Anbar town of Garmah. And on the streets of Fallujah, doubts remain among both average Iraqis and some local officials about whether the US is really prepared to see Iraqis control Anbar
China tightens visa restrictions as Olympics near
Instead of the anticipated crush of visitors, tourism is down and some observers fear the restrictions may present a long-term business obstacle.
By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 1, 2008
BEIJING — It was a farewell dinner, Chinese-style.
A dozen people seated around a large table awkwardly picked up morsels of food from a revolving platter and sipped from tall bottles of room-temperature beer. There was a joyless quality to the evening as the dozen or so assembled guests, Britons, Canadians and Americans who had come to China to teach English, contemplated their imminent departure on account of visa restrictions.
“I tell them not to say they’re being deported,” said Diana Wan, manager of the Shane English School. “This is Chinese government policy. There is nothing we can do about it until after the Olympics.”
As the Summer Olympics draw near, foreigners are discovering that the welcome mat they had expected is being abruptly rolled up. Thousands of foreigners have been kicked out before today’s deadline as a result of tough new visa policies. Those forced to leave include nondiplomatic support staffers at embassies, migrant workers, freelance writers, artists and students.
Afghanistan deadlier than Iraq
With the Taliban bolstered by a prison break that freed 886, 45 international troops died in June; in Iraq, 31 died
By Jason Straziuso
KABUL, Afghanistan – Militants killed more U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan than in Iraq last month, as they did in May.
The grim milestone capped a run of headline-grabbing insurgent attacks that analysts say underscore the Taliban’s growing strength. The extremist militia in June staged a sophisticated jailbreak that freed 886 prisoners, then briefly infiltrated a strategic valley outside the city of Kandahar.
Last week, a Pentagon report forecast that the Taliban would maintain or increase its pace of attacks, which is already up 40 percent this year from 2007 in the area along the Pakistan border where U.S. troops operate.
Last month also saw the international community meet in Paris to pledge $21 billion in aid to Afghanistan, but Barnett Rubin, an expert on that country at New York University, warns that there is still no strategy to turn that commitment into success.