George Bush Thinks
U.S. National Forests Are Best Used
For Housing Sub-Divisions
Israel launches assault across Gaza’s borders
Chris McGreal in Jerusalem
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 4 January 2009 01.03 GMT
Israel last night dramatically escalated its war with Hamas, sending troops and tanks pouring over Gaza’s borders in a move designed to reoccupy parts of the northern Gaza Strip. Amid reports of fierce clashes inside Gaza, columns of military vehicles and what the army said was “a sizeable number of troops” moved across the border at several points, backed by an intense air and artillery bombardment.
The move followed the failure of a week-long air force offensive, which has claimed more than 460 Palestinian lives, to halt the Hamas rockets. More than 30 hit Israel yesterday, wounding three people. Israel’s defence minister, Ehud Barak, said his country was a peace-loving nation but Hamas had given it no choice and brought the assault on the Palestinian people. “Now is the time to do what needs to be done,” he said. “It won’t be easy. It won’t be short. I don’t want to delude anyone.” The government in Jerusalem ordered the call-up of tens of thousands of reservists, suggesting the operation will be expanded further. The army said it expected to be in Gaza “for many long days”.
Beijing strikes at dissidents
Clampdown on Charter 08’s call for democracy also aims to gag parents of tainted milk children and Sichuan quake victims
David Stanway in Shanghai
The Observer, Sunday 4 January 2009
China has launched a tough countrywide crackdown on a new network of political activists, writers and lawyers who have supported a bold new manifesto that presses for the end of one-party rule.
The group of 300 or so people had all signed Charter 08, which called for democracy and the rule of law in China and was named after the famous Charter 77 dissident group formed in cold war Czechoslovakia.
Charter 08 has been hailed as the most significant act of public dissent against China’s Communist party since the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests were brutally crushed in 1989. It was posted online on 10 December, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It condemned recent economic modernisation efforts as having “stripped people of their rights”, and called for political reform and a new liberal, democratic constitution.
Security Agencies Alter Strategies, Add Backup for Inauguration Week
By Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 4, 2009; Page A01
Authorities are organizing what appears to be the largest security operation ever for an inauguration, bringing in thousands of extra police, agents and troops to handle crowds as President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in.
Security officials are bracing not just for the ceremony and parade Jan. 20 but also for at least 70 concerts, balls and other events surrounding the inauguration. Those include the welcome celebration featuring Obama on Jan. 18 at the Lincoln Memorial, which could draw 500,000 people, according to the D.C. mayor’s office.