The Bush Administration Working
Hard On Its Legacy
A Legacy Of Complete Failure
Financial System Suffers Relapse
Shattering Lull, Fears of Deep Recession Roil Markets
By Neil Irwin and Renae Merle
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, November 21, 2008; Page A01
The financial system, which had recently shown glimmers of improvement, is unraveling again.
After a few weeks in which credit started flowing more freely through banks, giving relief to financial markets, prices continued to plummet yesterday for all but the safest investments, dragged down by fears of a deeper and longer recession than even many pessimists had expected.
Investors were so eager to move money into ultra-safe U.S. Treasury debt yesterday that they were effectively paying the government to hold on to their cash.
Sun sets on US power: report predicts end of dominance
• US intelligence: ‘We can no longer call shots alone’
• European Union will be ‘hobbled giant’ by 2025
• Triumph of western democracy not certain
Julian Borger, diplomatic editor
guardian.co.uk, Thursday November 20 2008 19.05 GMT
The United States’ leading intelligence organisation has warned that the world is entering an increasingly unstable and unpredictable period in which the advance of western-style democracy is no longer assured, and some states are in danger of being “taken over and run by criminal networks”.
The global trends review, produced by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) every four years, represents sobering reading in Barack Obama’s intray as he prepares to take office in January. The country he inherits, the report warns, will no longer be able to “call the shots” alone, as its power over an increasingly multipolar world begins to wane.
A Residency Dream, Now a Nightmare
By KIRK SEMPLE
Published: November 20, 2008
In 2004, Heathcliffe Bradley was planning to return to his native New Zealand after eight years in the United States when he met Cheryl Losee, a New Jersey native, and his plans flew out the window. He stayed, they married, and then he turned his attention to a lingering problem: Mr. Bradley was an illegal immigrant.
But what seemed to them a straightforward process to make Mr. Bradley a legal resident soon turned into a bureaucratic and legal nightmare. Last month Mr. Bradley, a construction worker who says he has no criminal record in either the United States or New Zealand, was hauled from his home in handcuffs and put in an immigration detention center in Elizabeth, N.J., and told he was going to be deported.
Parents’ despair is left at Nebraska’s doorstep
Thirty-five children have been abandoned in the state since passage of its unique safe-haven law. It’s a cry for help.
By Nicholas Riccardi
Reporting from Lincoln, Neb. — First Melyssa Cowburn’s 5-year-old child tried to bash in a baby’s head with a hammer. Then he set the shower curtain on fire. The next day he plugged all the sinks and toilets in their apartment and flooded the place.
Cowburn and her husband had tried unsuccessfully to get their insurance company to pay for mental health treatment for the boy. The difficulty she had keeping him under control had already helped drive her to attempt suicide last year. Now she felt she had only one option: She flew with her child to Nebraska last week and tearfully left him there.
This state has become notorious for being the one place in the country with a law whose wording allows parents to abandon children up to age 18. Its unique safe-haven law — which was intended to let parents leave unwanted infants at hospitals without legal consequences — took effect in September, and since then 35 children have been abandoned, almost all of them 11 or older.
Supertanker pirates demand $25m within 10 days
• Failure to pay ‘disastrous’, ship’s owners are warned
• UN agrees sanctions to stem arms flow to Somalia
Xan Rice in Nairobi and Ian Black
guardian.co.uk, Friday November 21 2008 00.01 GMT
Pirates holding a Saudi supertanker off the coast of Somalia have reportedly told the ship’s owners to pay a $25m (£16.9m) ransom within 10 days or face “disastrous” consequences.
The Sirius Star, which is carrying 2m barrels of oil worth £68m, was captured on Saturday and is being held near the town of Harardheere along Somalia’s eastern coast. The 25 crew, including two Britons, are being kept hostage on the ship.
A pirate who called himself Mohammad Said told Agence France-Presse via satellite phone that Vela International, a subsidiary of the state oil company Saudi Aramco, had received the demand for the $25m ransom.
“We do not want long-term discussions to resolve this matter,” the pirate said. “The Saudis have 10 days to comply, otherwise we will take action that could be disastrous.”
Congo: a touch of hope in the war without end
UN sends in 3,000 more troops as UK charities launch disaster appeals
By Daniel Howden in Kinyandoni, Eastern Congo
Friday, 21 November 2008
A man cradles his son as he stares intensely at the camera; the baby, secure in the strong arms of his father, playfully touches the man’s mouth with an outstretched finger. Only the rough bandages swaddling the legs of the chubby infant tell a bigger story, the story of a war without end, and of those men, women, ordinary families, caught up in the fighting in eastern Congo.
The nine-month-old son of Ngarambe Rukambika, 49, was shot in the leg at the height of the fighting. These are just two individuals in a dramatic and worsening humanitarian crisis that has drawn the world’s attention since their photograph, released yesterday by Médecins Sans Frontières, was taken outside a hospital in Masisi, North Kivu, in August.
France forgets giants of British cinema
No wonder Peter O’Toole looks shocked: the prestigious Cahiers du Cinema has revealed its list of the 100 greatest films of all time – and not one of them was made here. John Lichfield reports
Friday, 21 November 2008
A prestigious French cinema magazine, arguably the most influential of all cinema magazines, has drawn up a list of the best 100 movies made. Most are American. Many of them are French. None are British. There are German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Swedish, Indian and Japanese films on the list established by Les Cahiers du Cinema but not a single film made in Britain since the cinema industry began just more than a century ago.
There are several mentions for Alfred Hitchcock and Charlie Chaplin but only for the movies that the two British-born masters made in Hollywood. The nearest the British cinema industry comes to a mention is the 17th (equal) place given to 2001: A Space Odyssey, made in 1968, by the American director, Stanley Kubrick, partly with British money and with British technicians.
Vladimir Putin’s power is devalued as Russian economy falters
From The Times
November 21, 2008
Bronwen Maddox: World Briefing
It is easy to be distracted by Vladimir Putin’s footwork as he seeks to extend his hold on power in Russia. It would be equally easy to lose sight of Russia’s new financial weakness, and how that could undermine his influence, whether as prime minister or as president again.
At the weekend’s G20 summit in Washington, Russia was almost silent. The contrast with China was startling. China, unlike Russia, has bought into the idea that it serves its own interest by embedding itself further into international rules and by taking a more prominent role in institutions.
It has talked about helping to prop up the International Monetary Fund. Its leaders beat the rest to an announcement of a fiscal stimulus – and may, through that, have bounced the gathering into a firmer agreement on that front than it otherwise would have managed.
Jewish settlers prepare for battle to remain in Hebron’s House of Peace
From The Times
November 21, 2008
Sheera Frenkel in Hebron
Jewish settlers in Hebron spray-painted insults to the Prophet Muham-mad on a mosque and defaced Muslim gravestones with the Star of David yesterday as they defied a court order to leave a disputed building.
The graffiti was the most recent in a spate of attacks by the town’s settlers, considered the most hardline in the West Bank, as they prepared for potential clashes with security forces. Israel is nervously waiting an all-out battle similar to the eviction of settlers from the Gaza Strip three years ago.
“We will not leave. We cannot leave. If we give up this house, it will next be Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, our whole country they ask us to leave,” said Ruth Hizmi, 50, a mother of seven, who moved her family into the building two years ago.
Palestinian security gets a feminine touch>
By adding females to the police force, Palestinian officials hope to improve the image of their security forces.
By Ilene R. Prusher | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the November 21, 2008 edition
HEBRON, WEST BANK – Palestinian police surround the house of suspected militants and knock, demanding to be let in. Normally, they’d kick in the door if it didn’t open immediately, but today they have the thing that every home is said to need: a woman’s touch.
As part of a new Palestinian Authority (PA) security initiative, this unit, like every Hebron unit that searches houses, has two female officers to bring a gentler side to long-stigmatized house raids.
Using female police officers in the field is part of the latest PA effort to help President Mahmoud Abbas better control the West Bank and Hamas. Although there’s also been an overall expansion of the police force, security officials see women as key to a new, hearts-and-minds strategy.
“In the past, we never had women in the police [force], except maybe some working in the office,” says Brig. Gen. Samaeeh el-Safy, who is the head of the new security campaign in the Hebron area.
Is Kashmir key to Afghan peace?
Barack Obama says resolving the Indian-Pakistani dispute over Kashmir will be a goal of his presidency, ending eight years of silence on the issue.
By Mark Sappenfield | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
and Shahan Mufti | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the November 21, 2008 editio
NEW DELHI; AND ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN – As part of his push to find new solutions to the war in Afghanistan, President-elect Barack Obama is considering a new diplomatic push on Kashmir, reversing eight years of American silence on the issue.
Mr. Obama has argued that Pakistan will not fully commit to fighting the insurgency it shares with Afghanistan until it sheds historic insecurities toward India. Talks about Kashmir, the central point of contention between the two nuclear rivals, are among the “critical tasks for the next administration,” Obama said in an interview last month with Time magazine.
It is a strategy that worries Indians, who suggest the Pakistani Army is blackmailing Obama to support its claims. Yet security analysts say the Afghan insurgency has roots in the power struggle between India and Pakistan and cannot be solved without a regional approach.
Kafka of the Cubicle
Japanese Cartoonist Chronicles the Indignities Endured by Young, Dutiful, Sad Office Drones
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, November 21, 2008; Page A01
TOKYO — The American poet Theodore Roethke called it “the inexorable sadness of pencils.” It’s the desolation of time lost and dreams forsaken while sitting in an office.
Japanese office workers know that sadness in their bones. Millions of them linger dutifully at their desks until well past 10 p.m.
Now they have their own poet.
He is Makoto Yoshitani, a 30-year-old systems engineer who himself lingers late into the evening in an office in Tokyo, where he customizes accounting software for corporate clients.
Sometime after 10 p.m., Yoshitani goes home, stays up late with pen and ink and transforms office indignities into dolorous pop art that is part Dilbert, part Kafka, part symbolic self-immolation.
Another bloody night in Sinaloa, Mexico
Five federal and state police agents are killed in an ambush in Culiacan as drug gangs try to fight off a government crackdown. The day’s toll is 10.
y Tracy Wilkinson
November 21, 2008
Reporting from Culiacan, Mexico — The fourth corpse pulled from the bullet-shattered pickup truck didn’t have the benefit of a body bag. Only the face was covered (with a useless bulletproof vest). The victim’s red shirt was even redder, soaked with blood. His bare arm hung limply from a gurney as he was lifted to a wagon from the morgue, the toes of his boots pointed skyward, at odd angles.
He was one of five federal and state police agents killed in a brazen shootout Wednesday night on the city’s prominent Emiliano Zapata Boulevard. The officers were ambushed by gunmen in three vehicles who opened fire at an intersection outside an enormous casino called Play.
The shooters escaped. Police, emergency workers and soldiers converged on the scene, as the casino’s blue and purple neon lights blinked garishly over the dead men slumped in the cab and bed of the pocked pickup.