Who Needs Oversight
Over $700 Billion?
It’s Only Money Right?
Obama and Bush Working to Calm Volatile Market
By JEFF ZELENY
Published: November 24, 2008
CHICAGO – President-elect Barack Obama sought to seize the reins of the economic crisis Monday as he and his new economic team worked closely with President Bush to inject confidence into the trembling financial markets, which rallied and erased most of last week’s losses.The coordination between Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush was taking place among aides, as well as in direct talks about the rescue plan for Citigroup and unresolved details of the overall Treasury bailout plan. The president said his successor would be informed of every “big decision” that was made, adding, “It’s important for the American people to know that there is close cooperation.”
Hamdan To Be Sent To Yemen
Bin Laden Driver Spent 7 Years at Guantanamo
By Josh White and William Branigin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, November 25, 2008; Page A01
The U.S. military has decided to transfer Osama bin Laden’s former driver from custody at Guantanamo Bay to his home in Yemen, ending the seven-year saga of a man the Bush administration considered a dangerous terrorist but whom a military jury found to be a low-level aide.
Salim Ahmed Hamdan is expected to arrive within 48 hours in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, where he will serve out the rest of his military commission sentence, which is set to expire Dec. 27, two government officials said. The Pentagon’s decision to send Hamdan home narrowly avoids what could have been a sticky diplomatic situation, as Bush administration officials had long contended they could hold Hamdan indefinitely.
Injured veterans engaged in new combat
n a little-noticed regulation change, the Pentagon’s definition of combat-related disabilities is narrowed, costing some wounded veterans thousands of dollars in lost benefits.
By David Zucchino
November 25, 2008
Marine Cpl. James Dixon was wounded twice in Iraq — by a roadside bomb and a land mine. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, a concussion, a dislocated hip and hearing loss. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Army Sgt. Lori Meshell shattered a hip and crushed her back and knees while diving for cover during a mortar attack in Iraq. She has undergone a hip replacement and knee reconstruction and needs at least three more surgeries.
In each case, the Pentagon ruled that their disabilities were not combat-related.
In a little-noticed regulation change in March, the military’s definition of combat-related disabilities was narrowed, costing some injured veterans thousands of dollars in lost benefits — and triggering outrage from veterans’ advocacy groups.
The car of the future – but at what cost?
Hybrid vehicles are popular, but making them profitable is a challenge
By Steven Mufson
Nov. 25, 2008
WASHINGTON – Many members of Congress believe they know what the car company of the future should look like.
“A business model based on gas — a gas-guzzling past — is unacceptable,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said last week. “We need a business model based on cars of the future, and we already know what that future is: the plug-in hybrid electric car.”
But the car company Schumer and other lawmakers envision for the future could turn out to be a money-losing operation, not part of a “sustainable U.S. auto industry” that President-elect Barack Obama and most members of Congress say they want to create.
At family farm, grim claims of organ culling from captured Serb soldiers
Investigator to re-examine allegations of war crime by Kosovan Albanian guerrillas
Paul Lewis in Burrel
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday November 25 2008 00.01 GMT
Seven members of the Katuci family sat silently in their living room, hands on knees, as rain tapped at the window. They had been asked if they hosted one of the most macabre war crimes of the 1999 Kosovo war. And they did not want to talk.
It was to their country house in northern Albania’s mountain region that Kosovan Albanian guerrillas are believed to have brought hundreds of captive Serbian soldiers to cull their organs in the aftermath of Nato’s bombing.
“I did not do it,” said Mercim Katuci, the 50-year-old head of the family, breaking the silence with a shot of liquor. “That is why I am angry. Shame has been brought on us. People in the village tell us: ‘You killed the Serbs. You are evil people.’ We are poor people – how could we kill hundreds of soldiers in this house?”
Germany in shock at release of Baader-Meinhof killer
Christian Klar to be freed after 26 years in prison
By Tony Paterson in Berlin
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
One of the last imprisoned, but unrepentant, leaders of the Baader-Meinhof terrorist gang is to be freed early next year after spending more than a quarter of a century in jail for a series of murders during the Seventies and Eighties.
Christian Klar, 56, has shown no remorse for the nine murders and 11 attempted murders for which he was convicted. A court decided, nonetheless, yesterday that he will be released in early January from a prison in the German town of Bruchsal.
Klar was sentenced in 1985 to five terms of life imprisonment and has served only the minimum 26 years required under German law.
Zimbabwe on brink of collapse as outbreak of cholera spreads
• Hundreds flee to South Africa seeking treatment
• Crisis much worse than thought, Elders group says
Xan Rice in Nairobi
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday November 25 2008 00.01 GMT
The situation in Zimbabwe may soon “implode” as a cholera outbreak spreads and basic services collapse, South African leaders and a group of international statesmen warned yesterday.
On the eve of talks in South Africa between Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party and opposition rivals, South African leaders sharply upgraded their crisis assessment and warned of Zimbabwe’s imminent collapse if urgent action was not taken.
About 6,000 people have contracted cholera in recent weeks, according to the UN, and almost 300 have died. A chronic shortage of medicine has sent hundreds of people south to seek treatment in South Africa.
“Unless this root cause of the political absence of a legitimate government is solved, the situation will get worse and may implode and collapse …
The Big Question: Who are the Elders, and can they do anything to resolve world crises?
Why are we asking this now?
By Archie Bland
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
The political and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe has dropped off the news agenda in recent months, as events there have stagnated and reverted to the deeply depressing status quo. In an attempt to change that, a group of influential world leaders who have now left their public offices arranged a visit.
The group – known as the Global Elders – had intended to draw attention to food shortages and a cholera outbreak. But on Saturday, just when the visit was supposed to begin, the delegation issued a statement saying that it had been barred from Zimbabwe by the Mugabe regime, which refused to issue them visas. That snub has led to questions about the nature of their influence in world affairs – and what good, if any, they can do.
Meet a living Buddha: Young, handsome, with an old soul
By Tim Johnson | McClatchy Newspapers
SIDHBARI, India – Give the magnetic personality and hunky good looks of a rock star to a Tibetan Buddhist monk, and the result might be Gyalwang Karmapa, the third-highest lama in the Tibetan religious firmament.
The Karmapa, as he is known, is getting more than his share of attention these days.
He’s being talked about as a possible transition figure for when the Dalai Lama, who’s the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, dies. The Dalai Lama, 73, was hospitalized last month to have gallstones removed.
Rape risk increasing in Cambodia>
Women and girls in Cambodia are facing an increasing risk of rape and sexual assault, a government report has said.
By Guy de Launey
BBC News, Phnom Penh
It says that around a quarter of the female population faces domestic violence.
But the study showed many Cambodians think it can be acceptable for a husband to assault his wife.
The Ministry of Women’s Affairs released its findings to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Long-held prejudices are combining with new forms of anti-social behaviour to put young women and girls at particular risk, the report says.
It said that the increasing use of drugs and alcohol by men is having a direct impact on the safety of female Cambodians.
It suggests that gang rape is being treated as a “sport” in some areas – and that law enforcement agencies need to do more to stop it.
In Egypt, spooling the thread of time
Samir Milad began repairing sewing machines when many homes had machines, before factory-made clothes made it cheaper to buy and women began pursuing careers. Now he works on industrial machines.
By Jeffrey Fleishman
November 25, 2008
Reporting from Cairo — He was a boy when a Greek taught him the intricacies of the sewing machine.
What was his name, that Greek?
Yani Defarkas. Nice man, steady hands.
That long time ago is mentioned the way a gray-haired man recalls how the job he took in his youth gradually became who he was. Kind of like thread, spooling, raveling. One day you’re a kid with pricked fingers, the next you’re an old guy with tweezers and a magnifying glass tinkering with the gadgetry of progress.
Samir Milad fixes sewing machines; he’s done it since he was 11, since Defarkas sent him hustling with bobbins and needles through Cairo’s alleys, past plumes of wool and cotton, past nut sellers and upholsterers, past the bygone bordellos near the stock exchange. He’s repaired thousands of Singers, Brothers, Pegasuses, and an Egyptian model named after Nefertiti.
3 Deadly Blasts Hit Iraq Ahead of Security Pact Vote
By Sudarsan Raghavan and Qais Mizher
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, November 25, 2008; Page A09
BAGHDAD, Nov. 24 — Three bombings targeting Iraqi government employees and the U.S.-fortified Green Zone killed at least 20 people and left scores wounded Monday, two days before the Iraqi parliament is expected to vote on a controversial security agreement with the United States.
The attacks illustrated the vulnerability of Iraq’s security apparatus and the lingering defiance of an insurgency whose influence has declined in recent months.
Russia’s new presence in Latin America
President Medvedev visits Venezuela this week as a Russian nuclear warship leads joint maneuvers.
By Sara Miller Llana – Staff writer and Fred Weir – Correspondent
CARACAS, VENEZUELA; AND MOSCOW – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit this week with Venezuela’s leftist leader Hugo Chávez is the first ever for a Kremlin leader to this oil-rich nation. And the meeting – part of a Latin America tour that includes stops in Brazil and Cuba – is kindling concerns that a resurgent Russia is aiming to revive its cold-war era presence in America’s backyard.
The meeting is expected to coincide with joint naval exercises off Venezuela’s coast, led by the Russian nuclear-powered warship, Peter the Great, and comes as the two powers announce that Russia will help Venezuela build a nuclear reactor.
Both nations insist their focus is economic, but geopolitics are also at play.
Mr. Medvedev’s tour is both a rebuke for US actions in Eastern Europe and a chance for leaders critical of the US, such as Mr. Chávez, to tilt global politics against Washington