Who Needs The
When One Can
Have A War
Comedian Bernie Mac dies at age 50
Comedian Bernie Mac died early Saturday in a Chicago-area hospital from complications due to pneumonia, his publicist told CNN. He was 50. Publicist Danica Smith did not provide additional details, and asked that his family’s privacy be respected
Georgia: Russia steps up ‘peace enforcement’
> AP and Reuters
Saturday, 9 August 2008
Intense fighting raged for a second night in the Georgian separatist region of South Ossetia today, with Georgia’s interior ministry reporting air attacks on three military bases and key facilities for shipping oil to the West.
Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said the Vaziani military base on the outskirts of Tbilisi was bombed by warplanes during the night and that bombs fell in the area of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.
F.B.I. Says It Obtained Reporters’ Phone Records
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
WASHINGTON – The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Friday that it had improperly obtained the phone records of reporters for The New York Times and The Washington Post in the newspapers’ Indonesia bureaus in 2004.
Robert S. Mueller III, director of the F.B.I., disclosed the episode in a phone call to Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times, and apologized for it. He also spoke with Leonard Downie Jr., the executive editor of The Washington Post, to apologize.
Credit crisis triggers unprecedented response
Worst debt turmoil since Depression sparks government action
By David Cho and Neil Irwin
Since the credit crisis erupted a year ago, the Bush administration has presided over one of the broadest expansions of the government into private lending in U.S. history, risking public money to prop up financial firms both large and small.
The administration has transformed federal agencies into dominant players in such diverse realms as student lending and mortgage finance while exposing itself to trillions of dollars in loans.
As Program Moves Poor to Suburbs, Tensions Follow
By SOLOMON MOORE
Published: August 8, 2008
ANTIOCH, Calif. – From the tough streets of Oakland, where so many of Alice Payne’s relatives and friends had been shot to death, the newspaper advertisement for a federally assisted rental property in this Northern California suburb was like a bridge across the River Jordan.
Ms. Payne, a 42-year-old African-American mother of five, moved to Antioch in 2006. With the local real estate market slowing and a housing voucher covering two-thirds of the rent, she found she could afford a large, new home, with a pool, for $2,200 a month.
Explosives defused at French Basque resorts
· Three homemade devices found following tip-off
· Fears revived of holiday campaign by separatists
Lizzy Davies in Paris
Saturday August 9 2008
The French Basque country was preparing itself for a tense summer holiday season yesterday after bomb squads were called in to defuse several explosive devices planted at resorts across the region.
More than 1,000 holidaymakers, among them Britons, had to be evacuated overnight from their hotels and apartments after police received an anonymous tip-off that five bombs had been left in different towns in south-west France near the border with Spain.
Yesterday police located three of the devices – one at a popular “holiday village” in the town of Arcangues, another at Arcangues’ tourist information office and a third on the high-speed TGV railway line at the town of Ondres in the Landes region. The homemade explosives – one of which was a can of petrol strapped to a detonator – were described by local authorities as “weak and defective”
Population paradox: Europe’s time bomb
A leading medical journal recently called for British couples to stop having so many children to ‘reduce global warming’. But much of the rest of Europe has a different problem: declining birthrates and ageing populations. And trends across the traditionally more fertile developing world are just as uneven. Paul Vallely investigates the global demographic conundrum
Saturday, 9 August 2008
Save the world! Stop having children! Such was the rather drastic solution to the problem of climate change proposed in an editorial in the prestigious British Medical Journal, no less, the other day. And since one of its authors was a distinguished academic – Dr John Guillebaud, emeritus professor of family planning and reproductive health at University College, London – we should consider the notion seriously.
His argument was straightforward. The mushrooming population of the world is putting extreme pressure on the planet’s resources and increasing the output of greenhouse gases. Every single month there are nearly seven million extra mouths to feed.
Olympics: the power and the glory – China leaves world awestruck
From The Times
August 9, 2008
Jane Macartney in Beijing
The world saw China as it sees itself and as it wants to be seen by the world. Swaying nymphs from Buddhist mythology shared the Bird’s Nest stadium with inscriptions of Confucius and children armed with huge, oversized calligraphy brushes.
The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games was about China’s historic achievements and its dreams of future success. The show focused on moments that China sees as defining its journey through history, culminating in its current status on the brink of becoming a world superpower.
Zhang Yimou, the designer of the breathtaking show and an Oscar-nominated film director, selected themes that would be easily understood by an international audience, relished by his hundreds of millions of Chinese viewers and appreciated by the Communist leaders for dodging any sensitive moments in China’s path to becoming an Olympic host.
Close Musharraf Allies Say He Has No Plans to Resign Under Pressure
By JANE PERLEZ
Published: August 8, 2008
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – President Pervez Musharraf will stage a spirited defense against impeachment charges that the governing coalition is pursuing against him, and has no intention of resigning under pressure, his key allies said Friday.
Mr. Musharraf, who has been president for nearly nine years, faces the first impeachment proceedings in Pakistani history, after the leaders of the two major political parties in the coalition announced Thursday that they would seek to remove him.
The grounds for impeachment included mismanagement of the economy, along with Mr. Musharraf’s imposition in November of emergency rule and the firing of nearly 60 judges, the party leaders said.
U.S. Army microgrants help revive small businesses
But soldiers say the program taxes platoon resources – meaning that recipients are often not held accountable for the grants.
By Tom A. Peter | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Baghdad – When US Army Capt. Nick Piergallini appeared in Hassam Jabar Kareem’s appliance shop in Baghdad and offered him $1,000 to do whatever he needed to improve his store, the Iraqi businessman was understandably skeptical. “This is weird. Someone comes into my store and offers me money,” says Mr. Kareem, who is considering closing his shop due to poor sales.
Captain Piergallini is participating in one of the US Army’s latest reconstruction efforts: microfinancing. Although the microgrants doled out through program are turning around a number of businesses across Iraq, many soldiers worry that the program taxes combat resources while providing only limited oversight
The refuge that allows Gaza to reflect on past glories>
By Donald Macintyre in Sudaniya, Gaza
Saturday, 9 August 2008
It may seem an odd dilemma in a territory where more than half of families live below an internationally defined poverty line, but Jawdat Khoudary is wondering whether there should be museum charges in Gaza.
As the owner and creator of the Strip’s first purpose-built archaeological museum, he has no doubt that the most prized patrons, the organised parties of schoolchildren already starting to flock to it, must come for free. And having sunk a small fortune – he won’t say how much – into building this elegant and air-conditioned space overlooking the Mediterranean just north of Gaza City’s Shati refugee camp, he certainly isn’t trying to make money from it. But the 48-year-old owner of one of Gaza’s biggest construction companies worries that if he doesn’t charge a couple of shekels for individual entry, Gazans may not realise the value of their heritage as much as he does.
Mbeki heads to Zimbabwe for talks
South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki is due in Harare for talks with his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe and the opposition Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mr Mbeki has been mediating between the two sides which have been holding talks in South Africa for more than a week.
Despite a news blackout imposed on the discussions, reports suggest a power-sharing deal may be close.
Mr Mugabe won a run-off in June after Mr Tsvangirai pulled out of the race alleging violence against his backers.
South African mediators say that talks are aimed at creating some form of coalition but there is disagreement over who would lead a unity government and Mr Mugabe’s exact role.
Mr Mbeki is expected to return to South Africa on Sunday afternoon.
Latin leftists reshape democracy
Bolivians vote Sunday on the fate of President Evo Morales and other top officials.
By Sara Miller Llana | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Mexico City – In a high-stakes vote, Bolivians will decide Sunday whether populist President Evo Morales gets to keep his job.
It’s the latest in a string of popular votes called for by Latin America’s new crop of leftist leaders whose reforms have brought a sense of inclusion to the poor and, some say, strengthened democracy. But others say it reverses the region’s democratic gains. By bringing votes directly to the people, leaders are bypassing checks and balances and centralizing power in their own hands.
“There is a cascade of reform movements, and there is no doubt that Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela are inspired by what is going on in each other’s countries,” says Zachary Elkins, an assistant professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin