So, George H. W. thinks Jeb Should Be President.
Enough I Say.
One Is All The World Can Take.
Israeli troops and Hamas fighters clash in Gaza City
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
guardian.co.uk, Monday 5 January 2009 07.20 GMT
Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants fought gun battles in the streets of Gaza City for the first time this morning,with Israeli troops going house to house searching for Hamas fighters.
The fighting came as Israeli tanks and troops seized control of large parts of the Gaza Strip, dividing the territory and forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes as the death toll mounted under relentless artillery and gunfire.
Some of the heaviest fighting was reported to be east of Gaza City, in the Zeitoun district, where three Palestinian children were killed by an Israeli tank shell. Several others were wounded, according to Palestinian medical officials.
In Eastern Europe, Lives Languish in Mental Facilities
MEMO FROM PRAVDA
By MATTHEW BRUNWASSER
Published: January 4, 2009
PRAVDA, Bulgaria – The name of this isolated spot in the lush Danube plains means justice or, in Russian, truth.
But little of either seems to have penetrated the home for men with mental disabilities and illnesses here, a bleak establishment reached most easily by a bone-jarring, six-hour ride from Sofia, the capital.
In the Communist era, this is where authorities hid the mentally ill from public view. Today, the Pravda Social Care Home for Men with Mental Disorders, a small complex of scrappy, two-story buildings, is still a favored destination for city folk to send away relatives with a mental illness or disability – and not worry about hearing from them again, employees and residents here say.
Senate Appointee in Illinois Vows to Fight On
By KAREN ANN CULLOTTA and MONICA DAVEY
Published: January 4, 2009
CHICAGO – In a raucous sendoff at a church on this city’s South Side, Roland W. Burris, the contested appointee for the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama, vowing on Sunday night to cordially but aggressively fight efforts to block him from joining the chamber when he arrives in Washington this week.
Senate leaders have said they intend to prevent the seating of Mr. Burris, given his appointment last week by this state’s embattled governor, Rod R. Blagojevich. Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, said on Sunday that the Senate had the legal right to bar Mr. Burris from the new session, which begins Tuesday.
As Senate leaders continued to weigh their options over what they say is an appointment tainted by Mr. Blagojevich, a two-term Democrat who was charged last month in part with trying to sell the Senate seat, Mr. Burris’s allies here stood firmly behind him.
Commerce Pick Richardson Withdraws, Citing N.M. Probe
By Michael D. Shear and Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, January 5, 2009; Page A01
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, chosen by President-elect Barack Obama to be commerce secretary, withdrew from consideration yesterday, citing an ongoing federal “pay-to-play” investigation involving one of his political donors as a significant obstacle to his confirmation.
Richardson, 61, who competed unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination last year, becomes the first political casualty in Obama’s Cabinet, and his withdrawal marked the first visible crack in what had been one of the smoothest presidential transitions in modern history.
Paris opens door to author fleeing Islamist threats
Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
The Guardian, Monday 5 January 2009
The award-winning feminist writer Taslima Nasreen, who is under death-threat from Islamist extremists, is to be housed in an artist’s studio paid for by the city of Paris, more than a decade after she was forced into exile from her native Bangladesh.
Nasreen’s outspoken stance on what she calls the inherent misogyny of conservative Muslim society in Bangladesh has sparked protests, riots and warrants for her arrest as well as a cash reward for her decapitation by religious fundamentalists.
In 1994, the former doctor was accused of blasphemy over her novel Lajja (Shame), which described the life of a Hindu family persecuted in Muslim-majority Bangladesh. The book was banned for offending Muslim religious sentiments.
Greek policeman shot as riot unit targeted
By Elena Becatoros, AP
Monday, 5 January 2009
Gunmen attacked a riot police unit in Athens today, seriously wounding a 21-year-old policeman in an escalation of violence after the fatal police shooting of a teenager last month sparked Greece’s worst riots in decades.
The pre-dawn attack was aimed at a riot police unit stationed outside the Culture Ministry in the centre of the capital, police spokesman Panagiotis Stathis said, adding that the policeman is in a serious condition in hospital.
The policeman was being treated for two gunshot wounds, one to the thigh and one near the shoulder, and was undergoing surgery in a central Athens hospital, Panos Efstathiou, head of the Health Ministry’s operations centre, said on state television.
Gaza: The death and life of my father
For Fares Akram, The Independent’s reporter in Gaza, the Israeli invasion became a personal tragedy when he discovered his father was one of the first casualties of the ground war
By Fares Akram in Gaza
Monday, 5 January 2009
The phone call came at around 4.20pm on Saturday. A bomb had been dropped on the house at our small farm in northern Gaza. My father was walking from the gate to the farmhouse at the time. It was our beloved place, that farm and its two-storey white house with a red roof. Nestled in a flat fertile agricultural plain north-west of Beit Lahiya, it had lemon groves, orange and apricot trees and we had recently acquired 60 dairy cows.
It was the closest farm to the northern border with Israel. Ironically, we always thought the biggest danger there was not from Israeli troops, who usually went straight past if they were mounting an incursion, but from stray Hamas rockets aimed at the Israeli towns north of us.
End of Lebanon war may show way out for Israel
Just as a strong UN border force has stopped the rocket attacks by Hezbollah, it could bring peace to Gaza
From The Times
January 5, 2009 James Bone: Commentary
The world is watching a rerun of the 2006 Lebanon war in Gaza. That conflict was regarded widely as a calamity for both Lebanon and Israel. Yet it would not be the worst outcome for the Gaza war to end the same way, with the injection of a robust multinational force.
In Gaza, as in Lebanon, Israel faces an implacably hostile Islamist group mounting cross-border attacks on its territory.
As in Lebanon, Israel has responded with massive – critics say disproportionate – force.
Despite howls of protest, Arab leaders stand to benefit from Israel dismantling the Islamist group. Hamas, like Hezbollah, has no friends at the United Nations except Iran.
Fists fly at parliament as MPs try to block ‘evil laws’
From The Times
January 5, 2009
Seoul’s National Assembly building – the seat of South Korea’s explosive brand of democracy – is braced for a week of mayhem and violence as a key parliamentary deadline looms and opposition politicians dig in for a siege.
The stand-off within the precincts of the assembly comes as South Korean leaders attempt to use the last few days of the current parliamentary session to ram through legislation aimed partly at alleviating the worsening economic crisis in the country.
With a majority in parliament, the ruling Grand National party of Lee Myung Bak has all the seats it needs to ensure that the laws are passed. The complex package of 85 Bills, however, has inflamed the anger of the main opposition bloc, whose members have resorted to physically preventing any vote taking place.
Mumbai evidence given to Pakistan>
India has handed over evidence to Pakistan linking the Mumbai (Bombay) attacks to “elements” in that country, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee says.
Pakistan must act on the evidence and implement the bilateral commitments it has made to India, Mr Mukherjee said.
Gunmen stormed buildings in Mumbai in November, killing at least 173 people.
India blames Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for the attacks. LeT and the Pakistani government have denied any involvement.
Pakistan’s government says it has received the dossier and is reviewing its contents.
UN chief commends Ghana on vote
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has praised the presidential election in Ghana as a democratic achievement and an example to others.
He congratulated the people and government for the orderly outcome of the vote which saw a narrow victory for opposition candidate John Atta Mills.
But losing candidate Nana Akufo-Addo is considering whether to challenge the result in the courts.
He told the BBC that results from some areas were questionable.
He said that intimidation had stopped his party, the ruling New Patriotic Party, from campaigning freely.
Mr Atta Mills has said he will be “a president for all”.
Officials say there was no evidence of vote-rigging.
Mugabe set to form government in February: report
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is expected to form a new government by the end of February despite stalled talks with the main opposition party, the state-run Herald newspaper said Monday.
The veteran leader, who started a month-long holiday this week, began preparations for a new administration last week when he fired nine ministers and three deputies who lost seats in last year’s parliamentary election.
The move was seen as the clearest sign yet he had lost patience with talks on forming a power-sharing government with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
The Herald said a senior ruling ZANU-PF party official, Nicholas Goche, met Sydney Mufamadi, the representative for mediator Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s former president, on Saturday to discuss ways of ending the impasse.
Mexico’s Subcomandante Marcos makes a rare appearance
At a Chiapas conference, rebel leader Marcos, in his signature ski mask, holds forth on Mexico’s war on drugs, the bloodshed in Gaza, even the perceived shortcomings of President-elect Barack Obama.
By Tracy Wilkinson
January 5, 2009
Reporting from Mexico City — Who was that masked man?
Fifteen years after his uprising shocked Mexico’s status quo, and a year after he more or less dropped out of public view, Subcomandante Marcos had made a comeback appearance.
At least, it seemed to be Marcos. He was, after all, wearing his trademark black ski mask.
Followers were convinced. They listened over the weekend as Marcos ticked off complaints and critiques — of Mexico’s war on drugs, the events in the Gaza Strip, even the perceived shortcomings of President-elect Barack Obama.
Apparently a year out of the limelight had given Marcos lots to say.
“We came to know each other in war, and in war we continue,” he said.