Representative John Boehner House Minority Leader
Won’t Support The Stimulus Package
Stamps His Feet And Jumps Up And Down
Barack Obama tells the Middle East: ‘Americans are not your enemy’
From Times Online
January 27, 2009
US President Barack Obama has told the Muslim world that “Americans are not your enemy” and renewed his pledge to travel to make an address in the capital of a major Muslim nation.
In his first interview with Arab television since becoming president, Mr Obama told the al-Arabiya television that his administration would adopt a more comprehensive approach in its relations with the Muslim world.
He also said that Israel and the Palestinians should resume their peace negotiations and he praised Saudi King Abdullah for putting forward an Arab plan for peace in the Middle East.
“It is impossible for us to think only in terms of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and not think in terms of what’s happening with Syria or Iran or Lebanon or Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Mr Obama told the Dubai-based Arabic cable TV channel. “These things are interrelated.”
At a Flash Point in Gaza, A Family’s Deadly Ordeal
By Jonathan Finer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, January 27, 2009; Page A01
ZAYTOUN, Gaza Strip — Just before dawn on Jan. 4, a sledgehammer crashed through the living-room wall of the home of Almaz al-Samuni in this southern enclave of Gaza City, pounding a hole wide enough for someone to poke a rifle through while shouting in a language she didn’t understand.
“Get out of the house now,” an Israeli soldier ordered, this time in accented Arabic, she recalled. Almaz, small for her age of 13, and her family quickly did as they were told, heading for her uncle Wael’s house nearby, where by daybreak 92 family members had packed in thigh-to-thigh. It was a week into Israel’s 22-day war with Hamas.
Two Prisons, Similar Issues for President
By ERIC SCHMITT
Published: January 26, 2009
WASHINGTON – For months, a national debate has raged over the fate of the 245 detainees at the United States military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
But what may be an equally difficult problem now confronts the Obama administration in the 600 prisoners packed into a cavernous, makeshift prison on the American air base at Bagram in Afghanistan.
Military personnel who know Bagram and Guantánamo describe the Afghan site as tougher and more spartan. The prisoners have fewer privileges and virtually no access to lawyers. Many are still held communally in big cages. The Bush administration never allowed journalists or human rights advocates inside.
New Prime-Time Ads Act Now!
As Economy Ails, ShamWow And Snuggie Get Big Break
By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 27, 2009; Page C01
Wait a second. What’s this? CashPoint, an outfit that makes quick-fix loans, is advertising in . . . prime time? On some of TV’s most popular programs?
Well, yes: “Need caa-aash?!” asks a shrieking announcer in one of several commercials for the three-year-old Alexandria company. “Take your car title to CashPoint and get cash!”
Back when, ads for the likes of CashPoint wouldn’t have made it out of TV’s late-night infomercial ghetto, a neighborhood also populated by the PedEgg, the ShamWow and the Snuggie (“The blanket that has sleeves”).
Zimbabwe power-sharing deal reached, South Africa says
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 27 January 2009 06.12 GMT
Southern African leaders have ended an all-night summit on forming a unity government in Zimbabwe, but the regional leaders and representatives of Zimbabwe’s opposition disagree on the results.
In a communique early today, the main regional grouping said it had been decided to swear in a prime minister – the post the opposition leader is to hold in the unity government – on 11 February, after passing a constitutional amendment creating the post on 5 February.
But Nqobizitha Mlilo, a spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition party, said after the communique was issued that that was not the case.
On trial, the warlord ‘who led an army of child soldiers’
Horrific allegations heard as case against Congolese rebel begins in The Hague
By Daniel Howden, Africa Correspondent
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
A horrific world where children are used as cannon fodder, human shields and sex slaves in Africa’swars was brought to life in The Hague yesterday on the first day of a historic trial at theInternational Criminal Court (ICC).
The case against the warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo will focus on his alleged conscription, training and exploitation of thousands of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC).
Human rights groups have hailed the proceedings as the first international criminal hearing to focus on the issue of child soldiers and to give 90 of them a voice for the first time.
Week of mass strikes set to paralyse France in protest against Sarkozy’s reforms
Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
The Guardian, Tuesday 27 January 2009
Nicolas Sarkozy this week faces the first mass-protests over his handling of the financial crisis as unions prepare to paralyse France in a general strike uniting train-drivers, air traffic controllers, journalists, bank staff and even ski-lift operators.
“Black Thursday” is the first general strike since the French president’s election in 2007. All the leading unions have joined forces to protest that the government’s stimulus plans should focus less on companies and more on workers’ job-protection and purchasing power.
The protests reflect a mood of social unrest that has been building for months. Unemployment had dropped in the first half of last year but it is now spiralling, particularly among the young, and is forecast to reach 10% in 2010. The recession is predicted to be worse than thought while flagging exports and consumer sales have hammered the manufacturing sector.
EU divided over taking in detainees when terror camp closes
Stance on Guantanamo set to test relations with Obama administration
By Vanessa Mock in brussels and Leonard Doyle in washington
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
After bitterly denouncing the Guantanamo Bay prison camp as a legal black hole and a torture chamber, EU governments were facing charges of hypocrisy last night as they failed to agree on how to respond to Barack Obama’s decision to close the camp within a year.
Foot-dragging in Europe about taking in detainees could create tensions with the new administration. The issue is seen as the first test of the EU’s relations with the Obama government and its willingness to repair ties severed during the Bush administration’s “war on terror”.
Pictures ‘prove’ that Burma refugees were left to die at sea
From The Times
January 27, 2009
Pressure is mounting on the Thai Government to reveal the truth about allegations that its military towed hundreds of Burmese refugees out to sea and abandoned them. The demands come after photographs emerged apparently showing soldiers caught in the act.
The pictures, obtained by CNN from someone directly involved in the operation, showed the refugees being rounded up on a Thai beach and towed out to sea in flimsy boats.
Human rights groups believe that up to 600 members of the ethnic Rohingya minority drowned after being caught by the Thai military while fleeing persecution in their native Burma. Nearly 1,000 migrants are known to have set off from the Burmese coast in two groups last month but there are fears that many more are missing.
Sri Lanka nears victory in long war with Tamil Tigers
The Army has squeezed the rebels into a small patch of jungle since seizing their last major stronghold Sunday. But they could still mount a messy counterinsurgency.
By Simon Montlake | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the January 27, 2009 edition
BANGKOK, THAILAND – Sri Lanka has edged closer to its military goal of defeating the Tamil Tigers, a rebel movement whose violent struggle for an independent homeland has spanned 26 years and shaped a generation of political strife.
Government troops said Sunday they had captured the town of Mullaittivu, driving the rebels from their last garrison and into a shrinking patch of jungle. Army chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka went on national television to declare that 95 percent of the war was over and that victory was imminent. “The end of terrorism is near and we will definitely win,” he said.
The fall of Mullaittivu is another blow to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which has held the coastal town since 1996. Earlier this month, the military overran Kilinochchi, the LTTE’s administrative capital, and seized a strategic road to Jaffna peninsula in the north.
General Fonseka said Sunday the retreating rebels were in a narrow strip of land measuring about nine miles by 12 miles (20 km by 15 km). Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been trapped by the fighting
Ex-Guantánamo inmates return to militancy in Yemen
Militants in Yemen threatened Monday to strike the US Embassy for a second time.
By Caryle Murphy | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the January 27, 2009 edition
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – Two Saudis formerly jailed at the US prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have joined Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch, and authorities here worry that two other ex-Guantánamo inmates may have strayed back to militancy because they have recently disappeared from their homes.
The revelations illustrate the difficulties faced both by President Obama, who has pledged to shutter the facility for terror suspects, and the Saudi government, which is trying to reform its own radical jihadis, many of whom were imprisoned at Guantánamo before being released back to the kingdom.
The two Saudis working with Al Qaeda in Yemen, in addition to the two missing ex-Guantánamo detainees, participated in a Saudi rehabilitation program to counter violent ideology and reintegrate militants into society, says Gen. Mansour al-Turki, the Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman.
‘Two killed’ in Gaza border clash
An Israeli soldier and a Palestinian man are reported to have been killed in a clash on the Israel-Gaza border.
The soldier was killed when his patrol was hit by an explosion, Arab news channels reported. The Palestinian was killed soon after by Israeli gunfire.
The Israeli military said the blast targeted a patrol in Israel near the Kissufim border crossing into Gaza.
It is the first reported Israeli death since Israel and Hamas declared ceasefires more than a week ago.
Arab news channels said one Israeli soldier had been killed and three injured in the explosion. The Israeli military would not confirm the casualties until next of kin had been informed.
Mexico City opens the 1st of 300 planned soup kitchens
Unemployment and food prices are on the rise, prompting the municipality to set up a feeding network. Officials hope to dish out 65,000 free or inexpensive meals a day.
By Deborah Bonello
January 27, 2009
Reporting from Mexico City — With her modest earnings as a seamstress and her grown children out of work, Esperanza Jose is like thousands of Mexicans finding it harder to make ends meet. And so she decided to take advantage of the city government’s new soup kitchen, the first of 300 planned by March.
“The truth is that there are a lot of people that now don’t have jobs, and so if they’re offering this, we should make the most of it,” said Jose, 63. “Many people are embarrassed to come; but, well, we come with dignity.”
As Mexico slips into the profound economic crisis circling the globe, unemployment is rising along with food prices. Inflation is running about 8% annually, but some basic “family basket” items such as cooking oil and rice are going up about 200% a year, said Cesar Cravioto, head of the city’s Institute of Social Assistance.