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Russians Push Past Separatist Area to Assault Central Georgia
This article was reported by Andrew E. Kramer, Anne Barnard and C. J. Chivers, and written by Ms. Barnard.
>By ANNE BARNARD, ANDREW E. KRAMER and C. J. CHIVERS
Published: August 10, 2008
TBILISI, Georgia – Russia expanded its attacks on Georgia on Sunday, moving tanks and troops through the separatist enclave of South Ossetia and advancing toward the city of Gori in central Georgia, in its first direct assault on a Georgian city with ground forces during three days of heavy fighting, Georgian officials said.
The maneuver – along with bombing of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi – seemed to suggest that Russia’s aims in the conflict had gone beyond securing the pro-Russian enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to weakening the armed forces of Georgia, a former Soviet republic and an ally of the United States whose Western leanings have long irritated the Kremlin.
Kitajima Leaves Hansen and Rivalry Behind
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY
Published: August 11, 2008
BEIJING – One of swimming’s finest rivalries is now looking lopsided. For the past five years, Kosuke Kitajima of Japan and Brendan Hansen of the United States have pushed each other, developing mutual respect and lower numbers across the language barrier.
But Kitajima is firmly in command at these Olympics, and on Monday, he roared back on the second lap of the 100-meter breaststroke to win the gold medal in 58.91 seconds, taking Hansen’s world record of 59.13 seconds with him.
Hansen, who has struggled in the lead-up to these Games and failed to qualify in the 200 breaststroke, swam a strong first lap but faded to fourth in 59.57 seconds.
For Those Once Behind Bars, A Nudge to the Voting Booth
By Krissah Williams Thompson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 11, 2008; Page A01
TALLAHASSEE — Herbert Pompey had gone through rehab, stayed sober, held a job, married and started a landscaping business in the two years since he walked out of Taylor Correctional Institution. But what Pompey hadn’t done — and what he assumed a string of felony drug and DUI convictions would keep him from ever doing again — was vote.
So his pulse quickened when civil rights lawyer Reggie Mitchell called to tell him that his rights had been restored.
U.S. may not be in recession, but 170 metro areas could be
By Kevin G. Hall | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON – The broad U.S. economy appears to have escaped a recession, most mainstream economists say, but that’s of no comfort to most parts of the country, where economic pain is being felt virtually everyplace but oil-rich Texas and Oklahoma.
In fact, one respected economic forecaster estimates that 170 U.S. metropolitan areas could be considered technically in recession, and another 116 are at risk of economic contraction.
The national economy reflects the sum of many regional and local economies, so at any given time there are always winners and losers. But today’s slowdown is unique. It isn’t driven by the usual business cycle; it was brought on by severe nationwide problems in the housing sector, which have spread to banking and finance, drying up consumer lending.
Eleven people dead after suicide attacks in western China
· Uighur separatists’ assault targets government sites
· Beijing authorities mount biggest security operation
Jonathan Watts in Beijing
Monday August 11 2008
A wave of a suicide bombings and police shootings left 11 people dead in western China yesterday, as Uighur Islamic separatists attempted to steal global attention from the Beijing Olympics.
In what appears to be one of the most widely coordinated assaults in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in recent memory, the militants threw or carried homemade explosives into a dozen government sites in Kuqa city, killing a security guard, injuring two police officers, destroying two police cars and damaging trading and commerce offices.
The separatists’ most ambitious assault involved wheeling a tricycle laden with explosives into a public security bureau just before dawn. One attacker was shot, another blew himself up and two were captured, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency
Ousted Thai PM flees into exile again
By Pracha Hariraksapitak in Bangkok
Monday, 11 August 2008
Thaksin Shinawatra, the ousted prime minister of Thailand, will not return again to his country, a pro-Thaksin MP has said, suggesting that the telecoms billionaire who was removed in an army coup in 2006 had flown into exile in London.
If true, Mr Thaksin’s decision to flee rather than fight a string of corruption trials could mean the beginning of the end of the political turmoil that has dogged Thailand for the past three years. “If Thaksin really doesn’t come back, the conflict in our country will lessen, which implies that our prolonged political trouble will come to an end soon,” said Kavee Chukitkasem, head of research at the Bangkok brokerage Kasikorn Securities. “The markets should definitely rise tomorrow.”
Minister fights Spanish military secrecy
By Elizabeth Nash in Madrid
Monday, 11 August 2008
Spain’s Defence Minister, Carme Chacon, continues to cut a swathe through Spain’s stiff-necked military establishment, with a pioneering proposal made public yesterday to declassify secret documents held in military archives.
In a nation that endured three years of civil war and 40 years of dictatorship, this is a revolutionary move comparable to Germany opening up the Stasi secret police files. Ms Chacon’s motive is similar: to provide public access for historians and those who suffered for decades because of the arbitrary decisions taken by a military regime against which no appeal was possible.
“We will take measures to declassify Defence Ministry documents that will permit free access to documentation inaccessible up to now, and which has a high scientific and also, of course, sentimental value for many people,” Ms Chacon said.
Rebellion in Sardinia: Italians shower rich ‘louts’ with water and sand in beach uproar after Briatore’s dinghies alarm swimmers
Tom Kington in Rome
Monday August 11 2008
Millionaires and Hollywood stars visiting Italy have been put on notice that they no longer own the beach after a group of celebrities led by Flavio Briatore, co-owner of QPR football club, were pelted with wet sand and showered with water as they tried to land dinghies on a crowded Sardinian beach.
Already victims of shrinking spending power and sky-rocketing rates for renting deckchairs, Italians have descended on their beaches this August in a surly mood, and the sight of the Briatore-led flotilla as it carved a swath through alarmed swimmers was enough to spark a near riot on Friday at the packed Capriccioli beach.
Hope springs for Zimbabwe regime change as Mugabe and Tsvangirai talk
From The Times
August 11, 2008
For millions of desperate Zimbabweans there were rising hopes last night that President Mugabe could finally be on the brink of surrendering if not his office then at least his monopoly on power.
Throughout yesterday, President Mbeki of South Africa chaired marathon talks in a Harare hotel between Mr Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader who won the presidential election in March but was excluded from office by vote rigging, violence and intimidation.
As the talks broke up in the early hours of today, both sides indicated that they had made progress. As he left the Rainbow Towers hotel, Mr Mugabe told reporters he was “confident” a deal was within reach. “We’re not through yet, but we’ve taken a break,” he said.
Many Thousands Of Children Mining For Gold In West Africa>
By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI And BRADLEY S. KLAPPER | Associated Press
August 11, 2008
TENKOTO, Senegal – – A reef of gold buried beneath this vast, parched grassland arcs across some of the world’s poorest countries. Where the ore is rich, industrial mines carve it out. Where it’s not, the poor sift the earth.
These hardscrabble miners in the West African bush include many thousands of children, some as young as 4 years old. If you wear a gold ring on your finger, write with a gold-tipped fountain pen or have gold in your investment portfolio, chances are good that your life is connected to these children.
One of them is 12-year-old Saliou Diallo, who is less than 4 feet tall. With two friends, he dropped out of school in Guinea about three years ago when the village’s only teacher left. Last year, as the price of gold hit a 26-year high, a thin stranger approached. The boys say he offered to take them to a place across the border in Senegal, where money hid inside the ground.
After setbacks, Sadr redirects Mahdi Army
Moqtada al-Sadr instructed his militiamen to join a new social wing of his anti-American Shiite army.
By Tom A. Peter | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the August 11, 2008 edition
Baghdad – Moqtada al-Sadr has taken yet another step in an attempt to transform his Mahdi Army militia from a force intent on battling US soldiers into a much broader social and political network that can still hold sway in the shifting landscape of Iraq.
During Friday prayers in Sadr City, clerics read instructions from the young anti-American leader ordering his militiamen to join a new religious and cultural wing of the movement that he is calling the Momahidoun, or “those who pave the way.”
The move comes just months after Mr. Sadr’s movement was dealt a serious blow in springtime battles with both American and Iraqi forces in Baghdad and Basra that ended when Sadr called off his fighters after the deaths of hundreds of his followers and innocent Iraqis.
“The Mahdi Army is in a real crisis,” says Abdul Kareem al-Mohmedawi, a native of Sadr City and deputy editor of Al-Jamaher, a liberal newspaper in Baghdad. “There is a weapons shortage and a shortage of volunteers.”
Iraq private sector falters; rolls of government soar
By Campbell Robertson
Published: August 11, 2008
BAGHDAD: Hampered by years of violence, a decimated infrastructure, a lack of foreign investors and a flood of imports that undercut local businesses, Iraq’s private sector, particularly its small non-oil economy, has so far failed to flourish as its American patrons had hoped.
In its absence, the Iraqi government has been sustaining the economy the way it always has: by putting citizens on its payroll. Since 2005, according to federal budgets, the number of government employees has nearly doubled, to 2.3 million from 1.2 million.
The impetus is not only economic: In exchange for abandoning the insurgency that plunged the nation into civil war, many of the 100,000 members of civilian patrols known broadly as the Awakening movement have been promised jobs in the security forces or in reconstruction, though many Sunni Muslim members complain it is not happening quickly enough.
Bolivia’s Morales hails poll win
Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has claimed victory in a referendum on whether he should continue in power.
Unofficial results gave Mr Morales a convincing win, and he promised to continue his reforms, including the nationalisation of key industries.
Four of six opposition governors, who have led protests against the president and are demanding more autonomy, also won the right to stay in office.
The outcome of the vote is likely to leave Bolivia divided, analysts say.
Both sides were quick to interpret the result as a validation of their position.
“What the Bolivian people have expressed with their votes today is the consolidation of change,” Mr Morales told thousands of cheering supporters in La Paz.