John McCain Wants The Chairman Of The “FEC” To Resign
Is This Because His Campaign Has Sunk To The Bottom Of
Or Is It Because He Does Not Understand The “Alphabet Soup” Of Government Regulators? Or Maybe He Just Doesn’t Know the Alphabet.
Capital Feels Its Way on Huge Rescue Plan, Eyes on Nov. 4
By JACKIE CALMES
Published: September 19, 2008
WASHINGTON – The huge bailout of the financial system that the Bush administration and Congress are rushing to draft will leave taxpayers with at least part of the bill at a time when high gasoline prices, job losses and stagnant incomes have already helped produce an overwhelming sense that the nation is on the wrong track.
Policy makers cannot say where it all ends. News reports are unrelentingly talking of “crisis.” After decades of deregulation and free-market fealty, antiregulation, small-government Republicans are putting the government in control of a big chunk of the financial sector.
All of which has left Washington in the midst of a political convulsion that both parties are struggling to understand and turn to their advantage – or at least keep from turning against them.
A Modernized Taliban Thrives in Afghanistan
Militia Operates a Parallel Government
By Pamela Constable
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, September 20, 2008; Page A01
KABUL, Sept. 19 — Just one year ago, the Taliban insurgency was a furtive, loosely organized guerrilla force that carried out hit-and-run ambushes, burned empty schools, left warning letters at night and concentrated attacks in the southern rural regions of its ethnic and religious heartland.
Today it is a larger, better armed and more confident militia, capable of mounting sustained military assaults. Its forces operate in virtually every province and control many districts in areas ringing the capital. Its fighters have bombed embassies and prisons, nearly assassinated the president, executed foreign aid workers and hanged or beheaded dozens of Afghans.
McCain’s camp tests fundraising limits
Helping him is a key advocate of campaign finance reform
By MICHAEL LUO
Sept. 20, 2008
Senator John McCain toiled for years to push a campaign finance overhaul through Congress. After the measure finally passed, Trevor Potter, a lawyer and vigorous advocate for reforming the system, was instrumental in defending the law from challenges and pressing for strict enforcement.
Now, as Mr. McCain makes his final sprint for the White House, Mr. Potter is again helping Mr. McCain, but this time by maneuvering to wring the maximum out of campaign finance laws in ways that some contend are at odds with the spirit of the reforms they championed.
Congress’ fiscal conservatives declare free market ‘dead’
By James Rosen | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON – Fiscal hawks who dominate the Republican Party’s conservative wing have watched in dismay as President Bush, presidential candidate John McCain and Republican leaders in Congress fall in line behind a federal rescue mission of historic proportions.
Almost overnight, Republican lawmakers who came to Washington vowing to slash Big Government are powerless to stop what could be one of the largest government expansions since the Great Depression.
Sen. Jim Bunning, a Hall of Fame pitcher-turned-senator from Kentucky, threw a knockdown pitch Friday from the crumbling mound of fiscal conservatism.
Moscow trade halted again as stocks soar
Luke Harding in Moscow
Saturday September 20 2008
Russia’s two main stockmarkets bounced back yesterday after trading resumed for the first time since Wednesday – but were then closed after further volatility.
The rouble-denominated MICEX and dollar-denominated RTS reopened from suspension, only for trading to be halted in the morning and afternoon. Regulators sought the closures as shares soared – the MICEX was up 26.3% and the RTS 20%. By early evening, trading had not resumed.
The revival of Russian markets, coinciding with a strong rally on Wall Street and in London, came after the Kremlin pumped nearly $60bn (£33bn) into money markets. Russia’s finance ministry said on Wednesday it was lending $44bn to the three main banks, while the central bank announced loans of $14bn to ease the liquidity crisis.
Riot police stand by for ‘Anti-Islamisation Conference’
By Tony Paterson in Berlin
Friday, 19 September 2008
Thousands of extra riot police were drafted into Cologne today to cope with expected violence between militant right and left-wing protesters as a bitterly contested pan-European “Anti-Islamisation Conference” got underway in the German cathedral city.
The three-day event is being staged by the city’s far right “Pro Cologne” organisation which is campaigning to stop the construction of a mosque in a suburb and claims that Germany has fallen victim to creeping “Islamisation.” The group has recently won seats on the city council.
The secret life of Tzipi Livni
How the woman set to be Israel’s new leader earned her spurs as an agent working for a covert cell in an elite spy unit
From The Times
September 20, 2008
James Hider in Jerusalem, Charles Bremner in Paris and Fran Yeoman
It is an eye-catching episode on the CV of any would-be prime minister: a dangerous, youthful stint as a spy in one of the world’s most respected and feared secret services.
True to her training, Tzipi Livni, the Israeli leader-in-waiting, has maintained a Sphinx-like silence about her Mossad career in Paris in the early 1980s. Consequently, reports on her service have pegged her as anything from a frontline agent hunting down Arab terrorists across Europe to a mere house-sitter deployed to provide a respectable front for Mossad safe houses in the French capital.
Yemen child bride back to school
Nujood Ali, who became an international celebrity after refusing to accept her marriage to a man three times her age and winning a divorce, is now back to a semblance of a normal life in Sana.
By Delphine Minoui and Borzou Daragahi, Special to The Times
September 20, 2008
SANA, YEMEN — Still groggy, the schoolgirl brushed her hair, struggled to pull on her socks and snuggled into her school uniform: a green gown and a white head scarf.
By the time she gathered up her books and strapped on her backpack she was smiling and enthusiastic, her nervousness eclipsed by anticipation of the first day of class.
Like children across the world, 10-year-old Nujood Ali went back to school this month after a lengthy break. But Nujood hadn’t been lazing about or playing hide-and-seek with her friends during the summer.
Instead, after she was pulled out of the second grade by her father earlier this year, she was married off to a man three times her age, who beat her and sexually abused her.
Activists put Burma’s grim jails on display
A simple museum tucked away on the Thai-Burmese border re-creates the infamous prisons.
By Anand Gopal | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
Mae Sot, Thailand – Iron shackles lie heaped in the corner. A cement-gray jumpsuit, block letters emblazoned across the front, hangs from the wall. Wooden chess pieces, carved by Burmese prisoners, sit nearby.
But this 10-by-10-square-foot room isn’t actually a prison cell – the notorious prisons in Burma (Myanmar) are, of course, off limits to visitors. Instead, former political prisoners now hiding in Thailand have built a “prison museum” to expose the conditions inside the detention centers.
The replica on the Thai-Burmese border re-creates prison conditions, which curators hope will expose visitors to the plight of political prisoners.
“We have to preserve the memory of the victims of the military regime,” says staff member and former prisoner Aung Kyaw Do.
The museum – created by a group of former political prisoners called the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma (AAPPB) when it formed in 2000 – helps raise international awareness of the situation in Burma, even though it may not alter politics “on a grand scale,” says Nancy Wu, an aid worker with Burma Issues, a nongovernmental organization based in Mae Sot
In Conservative Nepal, a Tribune for the ‘Third Gender’ Speaks Out>
By TILAK POKHAREL
Published: September 19, 2008
SUNIL Babu Pant likes to take advantage of the frequent delays at Nepal’s newly elected Constituent Assembly. As the only openly gay member, he takes every opportunity to work on his homophobic colleagues, trying to convince them that contrary to what they were taught growing up in this very conservative country, homosexuals are just like any other people.
Mr. Pant, 35, a computer engineer by training, opens his laptop – an object of fascination to many in the assembly, who come from the rural hinterlands – and gives a PowerPoint presentation wherever he finds his audience.
Hunger levels soar in East Africa
Nearly 17 million people in the Horn of Africa are in urgent need of food and other aid – almost twice as many as earlier this year, the UN has said.
Some $700m (£382m) in emergency aid is needed to prevent the region descending into full-scale famine, it said.
Top UN humanitarian official John Holmes said food stocks were critically low in parts of Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, northern Kenya and Uganda.
The area has suffered from drought, conflict and rocketing food prices.
The number of those at risk could rise still further “as the drought deepens and the hunger season continues”, Mr Holmes said.
“What we need essentially is more funds, and more funds now, otherwise the situation is going to become even more catastrophic than it is today.”
The beaten dare to hope for change as cautious optimism returns to Zimbabwe
Chris McGreal in Epworth, Harare
Saturday September 20 2008
The mother of three, who gives her name just as Beatrice, still doesn’t know who raped her all those months ago. They were three men with beer on their breath, iron bars in their hands and Robert Mugabe on their T-shirts.
But she has known all along who she holds responsible even though there was nothing she could do about it. Until now. “They told me they raped me because this is war and I was the enemy. I was just a woman who wanted to vote. There is a Zanu-PF bigwig here in Epworth. I was raped by the militia at his house. There were other women and men they were beating. They were terrorising us because we were against Mugabe,” she said. “They did this to us because they thought we couldn’t touch them. Now we will touch them. Things have changed in Zimbabwe. They will arrest that bigwig before too long because of what he did to me.”
Young Bolivians fight for their regions
Untrained ‘defense’ groups are popping up in the rebellious lowlands and in the pro-government high plains.
By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 20, 2008
SANTA CRUZ, BOLIVIA — His mother pleaded: Don’t go to the road blockade.
“I had a bad feeling,” she recalled. “It was dangerous.”
But her son insisted. Edson Abad Ruiz was a proud member of the Juvenile Union of Santa Cruz, a group dedicated to defending this rebellious eastern region of Bolivia from its chief foe, the leftist administration of President Evo Morales.
Bolivia’s polarization has reached the point where “defense” bands — some call them militias — are popping up here in the defiant lowlands and in the pro-government high plains to the west.
“Win or Die With Glory” is the Juvenile Union’s motto.
The slogan adorned a green banner hoisted by mourning colleagues at the front of Ruiz’s funeral cortege. The 25-year-old had been badly beaten Sept. 13, a nail perforated his head, when unionistas brawled with pro-government activists at a roadblock west of town, police say.