Hate Speech Has Consequences
Obama Team Weighs What to Take On in First Months
By PETER BAKER
Published: November 8, 2008
WASHINGTON – With the economy in disarray and the nation’s treasury draining, President-elect Barack Obama and his advisers are trying to figure out which of his expansive campaign promises to push in the opening months of his tenure and which to put on a slower track.Mr. Obama repeated on Saturday that his first priority would be an economic recovery program to get the nation’s business system back on track and people back to work. But advisers said the question was whether they could tackle health care, climate change and energy independence at once or needed to stagger these initiatives over time.
Sarah Palin blamed by the US Secret Service over death threats against Barack Obama
Sarah Palin’s attacks on Barack Obama’s patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign
By Tim Shipman in Washington
The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of “palling around with terrorists”, citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.
The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling “terrorist” and “kill him” until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.
But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.
The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin’s attacks
As a road to a better economy, an old idea gains ground
Often dismissed in favor of the quick-jolt stimulus, spending on bridges, streets and sewers is on the table again. Obama backs the public works idea, an echo of the FDR era.
By Richard Simon and Jim Puzzanghera
November 9, 2008
Reporting from Washington — As recently as a few months ago, the idea of trying to bolster the troubled economy by pumping money into public works projects such as roads and bridges was dismissed as too slow — not the quick pick-me-up that was needed.
But today, economists and policymakers are beginning to change their minds.
Most experts still think infrastructure spending is a slower way to put money in consumers’ hands than simply mailing out government checks the way President Bush did over the summer. What’s changed is that the economic crisis now looks to be so deep and likely to last so long that a stimulus plan that pumps out benefits for months and years seems to fit the situation — with the added bonus of providing long-term benefits to the country.
Automakers struggle to survive past mistakes
Industry’s huge mess prompts Congressional leaders to ask Bush for help
DETROIT – At Ford Motor Co. they called it “Blue,” a team set up around the year 2000 to design an array of small, fuel-efficient cars to compete with the Japanese.
It didn’t get far because no one could figure out how to make money on low-priced compacts with Ford’s high labor costs. Besides, the automaker was racking up billions in profits by selling pickups and sport utility vehicles. Times were good and gas was cheap.
“Blue” is only a small blip in automotive history, but it tells a big part of the story about why Detroit automakers are in a mess so critical they could be only months away from bankruptcy.
Reprisals fear as Bali bombers executed
Jihadists are tied to poles and shot dead by firing squad, despite pleas from victims’ families that their sentence could result in further atrocities
guardian.co.uk, Sunday November 9 2008 00.01 GMT
Three Islamic terrorists convicted for their part in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that claimed the lives of 202 people – most of them foreign tourists – were shot dead last night by firing squad.
The executions, which had been widely expected, came despite last-minute pleas to the Indonesian authorities from relatives of some of the British dead for the sentences to be stayed, warning that they would be used as a propaganda coup by the militants’ supporters and families.
Jasman Panjaitan, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s office, told a news conference last night that Imam Samudra, Amrozi Nurhasyim and Ali Ghufron had been executed on the prison island of Nusakambangan off southern Java.
Oxford graduate Gladys beguiles China
The biography of a British revolutionary hounded by Mao is an underground hit
From The Sunday Times
November 9, 2008
Michael Sheridan in Hong Kong
The story of an Anglo-Chinese couple who met at Oxford University and survived purges and imprisonment to become eminent translators of the classics has become a surprise hit among Chinese readers.
It is also the tale of a lifelong love between Gladys Tayler, the first graduate in Chinese from Oxford, and Yang Xianyi, whose wealthy family sent him to study there in the 1930s. The two returned to China and stayed on as admirers of the revolution after most foreigners left in 1949, the year the People’s Republic was founded.
Scandal of the children killed for ‘witchcraft’
In Nigeria, rogue pastors prey on fears of black magic to drum up a lucrative trade in ‘exorcisms
By Emily Dugan
Sunday, 9 November 2008
Five-year-old Utitofong can never go home. She has a loving family and has committed no crime, but her neighbours want her dead. Like thousands of children in the Niger delta of west Africa, she has fallen victim to an outbreak of virulent superstition that sees innocent young people condemned as witches. They can be driven from their villages, tortured or killed.
When her father died, Utitofong was blamed for having caused his death by witchcraft. Her mother spent more than four months’ wages on exorcisms, fearing that her daughter would be killed by hostile villagers. But when the money ran out and a pastor proclaimed her a lost cause, Utitofong had to leave home for ever.
Zimbabwe in ‘make or break’ talks
Southern African leaders are gathering in Johannesburg for talks aimed at breaking Zimbabwe’s political deadlock.
President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai have been unable to agree details of a power sharing deal following disputed polls.
South Africa has promised to take a tough stance, saying that Zimbabwe cannot afford to descend into conflict.
A top Zimbabwean government official said that Sunday’s meetings would be “make or break”.
The summit is also expected to discuss the ongoing violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Georgia fired first shot, say UK monitors
From The Sunday Times
November 9, 2008?
Two former British military officers are expected to give crucial evidence against Georgia when an international inquiry is convened to establish who started the country’s bloody five-day war with Russia in August.
Ryan Grist, a former British Army captain, and Stephen Young, a former RAF wing commander, are said to have concluded that, before the Russian bombardment began, Georgian rockets and artillery were hitting civilian areas in the breakaway region of South Ossetia every 15 or 20 seconds.
Their accounts seem likely to undermine the American-backed claims of President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia that his little country was the innocent victim of Russian aggression and acted solely in self-defence.
Report identifies UK terrorist enclaves>
Secret enclaves of al-Qaeda extremists based in London, Birmingham and Luton are planning mass-casualty attacks in Britain, according to a leaked Government intelligence report.
By Sean Rayment, Security Correspondent
Last Updated: 6:48AM GMT 09 Nov 2008
The document, which was drawn up by the intelligence branch of the Ministry of Defence, MI5 and Special Branch, states that “some thousands” of extremists are active in the UK. They are predominantly UK-born and aged between 18 and 30, and many are believed to have been trained in overseas terrorist camps.
Under the heading “International Terrorism”, the report, which is marked “restricted” states: “For the foreseeable future the UK will continue to be a high-priority target for international terrorists aligned with al-Qaeda. It will face a threat from British nationals, including Muslim converts, and UK-based foreign terrorists, as well as terrorists planning attacks from abroad.”
Self-Sufficiency Still Eludes Domestic Security Forces
THE IRAQ WAR
By Mary Beth Sheridan and Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, November 9, 2008; Page A01
BAGHDAD — Lt. Col. Kadhem Jabar Kadhem, a veteran of Saddam Hussein’s army, has the swagger of the top cop in the sprawling Dora market, one of Baghdad’s most dangerous areas until U.S. soldiers ousted insurgents last year.
“Ever since we came here, we’ve controlled the security by ourselves,” boasted the corpulent, mustachioed national police commander, surrounded by a dozen Iraqi officers in new gray-blue uniforms.
And yet, even as he spoke, a U.S. Army unit with a crane was lowering concrete barriers into place to protect his police station, at the market’s edge. Kadhem looked startled when asked about the prospect of a U.S. withdrawal, which could pick up speed given President-elect Barack Obama’s plan to remove most combat troops within 16 months of taking office.
Haniyeh: We will accept Palestinian state within ’67 borders
By Amira Hass , Haaretz Correspondent, and Agencies
The Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, said yesterday his government was willing to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. He spoke at a meeting with 11 European parliamentarians who sailed from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip to protest Israel’s naval blockade of the territory. Haniyeh told his guests Israel rejected his initiative.
Clare Short, who served in the cabinet of former British prime minister Tony Blair, asked Haniyeh to repeat his offer. He said the Hamas government had agreed to accept a Palestinian state that followed the 1967 borders and to offer Israel a long-term hudna, or truce, if Israel recognized the Palestinians’ national rights.
In response to a question about the international community’s impression that there are two Palestinian states, Haniyeh said: “We don’t have a state, neither in Gaza nor in the West Bank. Gaza is under siege and the West Bank is occupied. What we have in the Gaza Strip is not a state, but rather a regime of an elected government.
My 35-year fight to find Pinochet torturers who killed my brother
As 19 naval officers accused of killing a young Catholic priest are arrested, his sister tells Giles Tremlett how she defied intimidation and threats from the former Chilean dictator’s supporters to bring his brutal henchmen to tria
guardian.co.uk, Sunday November 9 2008 00.01 GMT
In recent years a determined, Anglo-Chilean woman has become a common sight in the streets of Valparaíso, the port city that was the power base of General Augusto Pinochet. She has spoken to judges, lawyers and ordinary Chileans. Gradually, in a remarkable tale of courage and perseverance, she has pieced together the grisly events that took place over 30 years ago, when she lost her brother to the brutality of the Pinochet regime.
Nineteen former naval officials have just been arrested as a result of Patricia Bennetts’s efforts. Four vice-admirals, several captains and other Chilean Navy officers face being put on trial. More importantly, justice appears finally to be possible for her brother Michael, a young priest who fell foul of one of the most notorious dictatorships in 20th-century history.