Sarah Palin Governor Alaska (R)
Candidate for Vice President of the
Palin has risen quickly from PTA to VP pick
Alaska’s first-term governor and McCain’s new running mate is enormously popular in her state, despite some tensions with other Alaska Republicans.
By Cathleen Decker and Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
August 30, 2008
Palin is breathtakingly unlike any other vice presidential pick in American history — a gun-toting, mooseburger-eating former Miss Wasilla, an Alaska governor whose parents nearly missed her national unveiling because they were out hunting caribou.
The first woman to grace a Republican ticket stepped onto the stage with McCain in Dayton, Ohio, surrounded by her husband and four of their five children, including a baby born in April. The tableau of everyday mom-ness, however, may have masked the ambition and grit that have marked Palin’s meteoric rise in Alaska.
Two years ago, she knocked off the sitting Republican governor in the primary and a former Democratic governor in the general. Her relations with Alaska officialdom have not always been sunny, resuscitating a nickname given when, as a high schooler, she led her basketball team to the state championship: “Sarah Barracuda.”
By her own telling, Palin’s political rise has been improbable.
Thai protesters break into gov’t office as PM heads to consult king
Thai protesters broke into abandoned government offices Saturday in their escalating campaign to force Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej from office.
The prime minister, just back from visiting the revered king’s seaside palace, meanwhile planned to return there Saturday evening to consult on the crisis, a government official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Chamlong Srimuang, one of the leaders of the so-called People’s Alliance for Democracy for whom an arrest warrant has been issued, ordered 45 PAD guards to break into the main government building on Saturday afternoon, activists said.
The PAD have been holding a protest camp in the grounds surrounding the building since Tuesday, and 15,000 people were rallying in the compound on Saturday.
Surge in Natural Gas Cars Has Utah Driving Cheaply
By CLIFFORD KRAUSS
Published: August 29, 2008
SALT LAKE CITY – The best deal on fuel in the country right now might be here in Utah, where people are waiting in lines to pay the equivalent of 87 cents a gallon. Demand is so strong at rush hour that fuel runs low, and some days people can pump only half a tank.
It is not gasoline they are buying for their cars, but natural gas.
By an odd confluence of public policy and private initiative, Utah has become the first state in the country to experience broad consumer interest in the idea of running cars on clean natural gas.
Utahans are hunting the Internet and traveling the country to pick up used natural gas cars at auctions. They are spending thousands of dollars to transform their trucks and sport utility vehicles to run on compressed gas.
Gustav becomes hurricane again, bound for U.S. Gulf coast
By Evan S. Benn and Jacqueline Charles | Miami Herald
Tropical Storm Gustav is Hurricane Gustav again after the system expanded in size and intensified Friday as it rolled toward the Cayman Islands and Cuba.
A tropical storm watch was issued Friday night for the Lower Keys from west of the Seven Mile Bridge to Dry Tortugas, although the storm’s expected path had not changed and a direct hit on the Keys was not likely, forecasters said.
Bosnia: Karadzic refuses to enter plea at war crimes tribunal
· Ex-Bosnian Serb leader brands court illegitimate
· Proceedings may be used as stage to attack west
Ian Traynor, Europe editor
Saturday August 30 2008
The former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, yesterday accused the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague of being a “Nato court” bent on killing him.
Appearing on 11 charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, Karadzic challenged the legitimacy of the court, refused to enter any pleas and insisted on defending himself.
The strategy outlined yesterday indicated that the 63-year-old, arrested in Belgrade last month after 13 years as Europe’s most wanted fugitive, intends to use the tribunal as a stage on which to present himself as a victim of alleged western treachery.
Clergy in crisis: Forget Father Ted… Ireland is running out of priests
With precious few candidates for the priesthood and rapidly emptying pews, the Catholic Church is being forced to accept radical change. By David McKittrick
Saturday, 30 August 2008
When the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, solemnly ordained this year’s crop of new priests in his diocese last month, he called them all by their first names.
This did not involve any great feat of memory on his part since there were, after all, only three of them. Michael, Richard and Dan are the only newly ordained priests for Dublin’s million-plus Catholics.
The tiny number is an ominous indication that Ireland, which once exported Catholic clergy around the world, is running out of priests. The manpower crisis for the Irish church is one which may well change its fundamental character. A new order is taking shape in which congregations will be sharing power with an ageing, shrinking priesthood. The faithful are now being invited not simply to be passively supportive, but to help rescue a church in deep trouble. This will represent a huge change for a country which the Rev Ian Paisley used to denounce as “priest-ridden”.
Burmese days: A nation faces up to its future
A year on from the ‘saffron revolution’, a nation faces up to its future. Words by Peter Popham
Saturday, 30 August 2008
The world had never seen anything like it. For an entire week last September we were riveted by the sight of hundreds, then thousands, then finally tens of thousands of Burmese monks, walking in bold defiance of the military regime through the streets of their country’s towns and cities.
It was quickly dubbed “the saffron revolution” – which was wrong on both counts. Burmese monks’ robes are not saffron in colour but maroon or cinnamon. And “revolution” wasn’t right either. The monks had no banners, no apparent leaders, made no speeches. Nor were they aiming to seize power. They merely walked through the streets, through the teeming monsoon rain, chanting the Metta Sutta, the Buddhist scripture on unconditional love.
President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan has progress making ties with China
From The Times
August 30, 2008
Jane Macartney in Taipei
Just three months into the job, the President of Taiwan believes that he has completed the greatest achievement of his entire term in office.
President Ma Ying-jeou (pronounced “Ing-jeeo”) has moved his island more swiftly along the road to peace with the Communist leadership in Beijing than his predecessors managed in eight decades.
His administration has reached agreement with Beijing allowing regular direct flights for the first time in 60 years across the narrow straits that divide the bitter foes. Two pandas are due in Taiwan within a week, an idiosyncratic Chinese gesture of diplomatic goodwill. Direct shipping and daily flights could begin by the end of the year.
Zimbabwe lifts ban on aid groups, but its effects linger
By Celia W. Dugger
Published: August 30, 2008
JOHANNESBURG: Zimbabwe lifted an almost three-month-old ban on the work of aid groups on Friday. The government had imposed the ban because it claimed some of the groups had been backing the opposition during a bitter election season in which President Robert Mugabe was fighting for his political survival.
The suspension of the groups’ field operations deprived more than a million orphans, schoolchildren, the elderly and other impoverished Zimbabweans of food and other basic assistance, according to the nations that donated the aid.
The effects of the aid restrictions will linger. The United Nations World Food Program had planned to feed 1.7 million Zimbabweans next month, but was unable to deploy its partners on the ground, the suspended aid groups, to identify and register the needy this month.
Barack Obama’s message of change as a wake up call For Africa >
By PanAfrican Visions – panafricanvisions.com
Feature Article | Sat, 30 Aug 2008
Presidential elections in the United States of America have always generated global excitement for obvious reasons. The USA is the lone super power in the world and wields tremendous influence on the orientation and pace of global policies. The excitement this year is like nothing ever witnessed before in history. The world seems to have fallen under the spell of one man: Senator Barack Obama who is the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party ahead of the November 2008 presidential elections.
Born of a Kenyan father and an American mother, Senator Obama has worked his way up to the summit of American politics.
Bombs, sectarian tensions still scar Iraq’s Diyala
By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press Writer
BAQOUBA, Iraq – The government offices in Iraq’s Diyala province are encased in thick blast walls, a shield against suicide bombings. Nearby buildings are pockmarked from fighting between U.S. troops and Sunni insurgents.
Diyala has proven one of the toughest pieces of Iraqi real estate to control despite several major U.S. and Iraqi military operations.
The stakes are high. The corridor between the provincial capital of Baqouba and Baghdad, 35 miles to the southwest, has been a key conduit for the trafficking of weapons and foreign fighters into the Iraqi capital
Hezbollah finds left-leaning friends abroad
Through a front organization, officials meet with activists opposed to U.S. policies.
By Raed Rafei, Special to The Times
August 30, 2008
BEIRUT — Hezbollah has extended its international reach by establishing contacts with left-leaning, environmental and peace groups opposed to U.S.-led economic globalization, analysts and people tied to the group say.
The Lebanese Shiite Muslim militant organization and political party, which is designated as a terrorist group by the United States, has participated through a front organization in dozens of gatherings where attendees criticized U.S. foreign policy and global financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The aim, analysts say, is to rally support for armed opposition to Israel among groups that regard the West’s policies as a threat to developing countries and to the environment.
Amazon rainforest: Explorer maps out complex lost civilisations of the Amazon
Tom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro
Saturday August 30 2008
Adventurers have long scoured Brazil’s vast Amazon rainforest for traces of hidden cities buried deep in the jungle. But new research shows the country’s dense and inhospitable jungles were once home to an intricate network of towns and roads built by one of the world’s earliest urban civilisations.
“These places were far more organised than your average medieval town,” anthropologist Professor Mike Heckenberger, from the University of Florida, told the Guardian.
Co-written with a team of Brazilian anthropologists and one local indigenous leader, the paper published in the journal Science contains evidence that the Xingu region in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso was home to thousands of native Indians spread across dozens of towns and villages. The settlements – which are thought to date back at least 1,500 years and are described by the authors as “garden cities” – were constructed around a central plaza and flanked by walls.