No Matter What Happens At This
Weeks Democratic Convention
The American Media Will Somehow
Be At A Convention Of Their Own Making
Party Unity Tops Agenda For Democrats
Obama Heads to Denver Via Key States
By Shailagh Murray and Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, August 25, 2008; Page A01
DENVER, Aug. 24 — Sen. Barack Obama launched a four-day tour of battleground states Sunday to coincide with Monday’s opening of the Democratic convention and its ambitious agenda of selling Obama to a national audience, presenting a forceful case against Republican rival John McCain and unifying a party still recovering from a bruising primary.
The gathering here carries unusually high stakes for a party that believes the White House is within its grasp but understands that victory remains far from certain. Democrats have packed their convention schedule with speakers who will seek to validate Obama and create the image of a leader capable beyond his years and a worthy foe to McCain, a seasoned war hero.
In Nuclear Net’s Undoing, a Web of Shadowy Deals
By WILLIAM J. BROAD and DAVID E. SANGER
Published: August 24, 2008
The president of Switzerland stepped to a podium in Bern last May and read a statement confirming rumors that had swirled through the capital for months. The government, he acknowledged, had indeed destroyed a huge trove of computer files and other material documenting the business dealings of a family of Swiss engineers suspected of helping smuggle nuclear technology to Libya and Iran.
The files were of particular interest not only to Swiss prosecutors but to international atomic inspectors working to unwind the activities of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani bomb pioneer-turned-nuclear black marketeer. The Swiss engineers, Friedrich Tinner and his two sons, were accused of having deep associations with Dr. Khan, acting as middlemen in his dealings with rogue nations seeking nuclear equipment and expertise.
FBI saw threat of mortgage crisis
A top official warned of widening loan fraud in 2004, but the agency focused its resources elsewhere.
By Richard B. Schmitt, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 25, 2008
WASHINGTON — Long before the mortgage crisis began rocking Main Street and Wall Street, a top FBI official made a chilling, if little-noticed, prediction: The booming mortgage business, fueled by low interest rates and soaring home values, was starting to attract shady operators and billions in losses were possible.
“It has the potential to be an epidemic,” Chris Swecker, the FBI official in charge of criminal investigations, told reporters in September 2004. But, he added reassuringly, the FBI was on the case. “We think we can prevent a problem that could have as much impact as the S&L crisis,” he said.
Today, the damage from the global mortgage meltdown has more than matched that of the savings-and-loan bailouts of the 1980s and early 1990s.
Alaska Vote Pits Fisheries Against Mines
By Kari Lydersen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 25, 2008; Page A03
HOMER, Alaska — Salmon and gold mining. Both are, inarguably, very Alaskan.
But on Tuesday, Alaskans will vote on a ballot measure that is being framed as a choice between the two industries and portrayed by both sides as striking at the heart of what it means to be Alaskan.
The initiative was drafted to block the proposed Pebble Mine, a massive operation that would extract gold, copper and molybdenum from the tundra surrounding Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska, one of the world’s most lucrative wild salmon fisheries
Muslim areas of Kashmir under curfew ahead of protest rally
Randeep Ramesh in Delhi
Monday August 25 2008
Muslim-majority areas of Indian Kashmir were put under an indefinite curfew yesterday – in the lead up to a rally and sit-in outside government buildings planned by separatist leaders protesting against Indian rule.
The state’s summer capital Srinagar was closed down yesterday by a general strike, the latest in two weeks of demonstrations which have seen almost three dozen people die – the bloodiest violence for a decade.
Soldiers and heavily-armed police units took to the streets of Srinagar before dawn warning people to stay indoors and it was reported that a number of journalists were picked up for questioning. Local mosques have been blaring chants of “we want freedom” from their loudspeaker systems.
Two army officers sacked as 89 civilians die in ‘irresponsible’ raid
By Amir Shah, AP
Monday, 25 August 2008
Two Afghan army officers have been sacked after a joint Afghan-coalition operation in the west of the country that President Hamid Karzai said killed at least 89 civilians.
The officers were dismissed for their involvement in an “irresponsible” military operation on Friday in western Afghanistan that Afghan officials said killed scores of civilians gathered for the memorial ceremony of a militia commander. Mr Karzai ordered the defence ministry to investigate General Jalandar Shah, the corps commander for the Afghan National Army in Herat, and Major Abdul Jabar, the leader of a commando unit involved in the Friday raid in Azizabad village of Herat’s Shindand district.
Russia accused of violating ceasefire deal
Luke Harding in Tbilisi
Monday August 25 2008
Georgia said yesterday that it would appeal to the international community this week to pressure Russia to end its “occupation”, adding that Russian troops were now digging in across the country in violation of the ceasefire deal.
Russian soldiers established about 25 checkpoints over the weekend, including some outside the original conflict zone and in areas adjacent to the borders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Georgian officials said. Russia said its troops were no longer an occupying force but merely performing peacekeeping operations. It added that it could keep soldiers on Georgian territory under an agreement following civil wars in both breakaway republics in the early 90s.
Nato membership vital to our security, says Ukraine’s President Yushchenko
From The Times
August 25, 2008
Tony Halpin in Tbilisi
Ukraine’s President declared yesterday that membership of Nato was vital to the security of his country.
Alarmed by Russia’s invasion of Georgia, President Yushchenko marked the anniversary of Ukrainian independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union by calling for a steep increase in defence spending and a speedy entry into Nato.
His speech to thousands of people in Kiev’s Independence Square – scene of the 2004 Orange revolution that swept the pro-Western president to power – took place during Ukraine’s first military parade since 2001.
“We must intensify our work to win membership in the European security system and strengthen the defence capabilities of our country,” Mr Yushchenko said.
Israel frees jailed Palestinians
Israel has released nearly 200 Palestinian prisoners in what it calls a goodwill gesture to bolster Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
They include two convicted killers of Israelis who have been in detention since 1977 and 1979 and who are among the longest-serving inmates.
The release coincides with a visit to the region by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Washington aims to achieve a Middle East peace deal by the year’s end.
Reaching that target looks increasingly unlikely, as relations between Israel and the Palestinians have been strained in recent months, the BBC’s Aleem Maqbool reports from Ramallah.
Palestinians have been unhappy at illegal Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank.
On a previous visit, Ms Rice criticised the policy.
Iraq football final before sellout crowd >
By KHALID MOHAMMED, Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD – Tens of thousands of Baghdad football fans cheered on their club in the top league’s final game, the largest sports crowd the city has seen since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
The Baghdad club, al-Zawraa, lost 0-1 in overtime Sunday to a team from Irbil in northern Iraq. But the game was not marred by crowd violence or a terrorist attack, a sign that security forces are asserting more control in the capital.
In the past five years of war and sectarian killings, large gatherings would have been considered too dangerous – tempting targets for suicide bombers and other attackers.
MPs seized in Zimbabwe parliament
Two Zimbabwean MPs have been arrested, as they were due to be sworn in five months after disputed elections, an opposition spokesman says.
They were detained as they entered parliament, said Nelson Chamisa.
He said the police wanted to arrest 15 MPs, to ensure the ruling party wins the vote for the speaker of parliament.
Zanu-PF lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since independence in the the March polls. Power-sharing talks are currently deadlocked.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has warned that the opening of parliament could jeopardise the talks.
The balance of power in the new parliament is held by a breakaway faction from Mr Tsvangirai’s MDC.
The election of a speaker is expected to be a close vote.
Search goes on for abducted journalists
Former Press TV correspondent Amanda Lindhout and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan are still missing after being kidnapped in Somalia.
Mon, 25 Aug 2008 08:12:25 GMT
Lindhout’s fearless reporting from Baghdad for the Iran-based news channel shed light on the intense poverty and political alienation experienced by the population of Baghdad’s Sadr City slum.
Her eyewitness reports were in stark contrast to those of corporate media, so often, based in the heavily-fortified Green Zone of Baghdad.
With photographer Brennan, 27-year old Lindhout had taken the road from the Somali capital Mogadishu to the nearby city of Afgoye where they were planning to visit a refugee camp.
Mexico has reason for hope in future Games
Within a span of 72 hours, Guillermo Perez and Maria del Rosario Espinoza gave Mexico more gold medals than it had earned in the last five Olympics combined.
By Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 25, 2008
BEIJING — Paola Espinosa carried Mexico’s flag in the opening ceremony, and for the first week and a half of the Beijing Games, she carried her country’s Olympic hopes as well. Because through 12 days of competition, the bronze medal Espinosa and Tatiana Ortiz won in synchronized platform diving was Mexico’s only prize.
Then taekwondo started. And within the span of 72 hours, Guillermo Perez and Maria del Rosario Espinoza gave Mexico more gold medals than it had earned in the last five Olympics combined.
“It is a historic breakthrough,” said Espinoza, who received a call of congratulations from Mexican President Felipe Calderon shortly after her victory Saturday in the women’s heavyweight final.
A breakthrough that might have saved the jobs of quite a few people.