AIG Should Be Given To
Fox News, Jim Cramer Of CNBC Or
George W. Bush
Anger Over Firm Depletes Obama’s Political Capital
AN IMPERILED AGENDA
By Michael D. Shear and Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, March 17, 2009; Page A01
President Obama’s apparent inability to block executive bonuses at insurance giant AIG has dealt a sharp blow to his young administration and is threatening to derail both public and congressional support for his ambitious political agenda.
Politicians in both parties flocked to express outrage over $165 million in bonuses paid out to executives at the company, demanding answers from the president and swamping yesterday’s rollout of his efforts to spark lending to small businesses.
The populist anger at the executives who ran their firms into the ground is increasingly blowing back on Obama, whom aides yesterday described as having little recourse in the face of legal contracts that guaranteed those bonuses.
Sent back by Britain. Executed in Darfur
A failed asylum-seeker who returned to Darfur under a government repatriation scheme has been murdered by Sudanese security officers after they followed him home from the airport in Khartoum, The Independent has learnt.
Failed asylum-seeker followed home from airport and shot by Sudan security officials
By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Adam Osman Mohammed, 32, was gunned down in his home in front of his wife and four-year-old son just days after arriving in his village in south Darfur.
The case is to be used by asylum campaigners to counter Home Office attempts to lift the ban on the removal and deportation to Sudan of failed asylum-seekers. Next month, government lawyers are expected to go to court to argue that it is safe to return as many as 3,000 people to Khartoum.
But lawyers for the campaigners will tell the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal that people who are returned to Sudan face imprisonment, torture and death. Mr Mohammed, a non-Arab Darfuri, came to Britain in 2005 seeking sanctuary from persecution in Sudan, where he said his life was in danger. The village where he was a farmer had been raided twice by the Janjaweed, the ethnic Arab militia, forcing him and his wife and child to flee their home.
His family in Britain told The Independent that Mr Mohammed witnessed many villagers being killed and became separated from his wife during a second attack on the village a few weeks later. He escaped to Chad before making his way to the UK in 2005.
But last year his appeal for asylum was finally turned down and he was told that he faced deportation. In August last year he was flown to Khartoum under the Home Office’s assisted voluntary return programme, in which refugees are paid to go back to their country of origin. He stayed in Khartoum for a few months and then, when he believed it was safe, he travelled to Darfur to be reunited with his family
In Seattle, the World Still Turns, a Beacon in Memory of a Lost Newspaper
By DAN BARRY
Published: March 16, 2009
SEATTLE – A visitor passing through Seattle last week made an impertinent request. He called someone at The Post-Intelligencer to ask whether he could, if at all possible, visit the 30-foot neon globe that sits atop the newspaper’s waterfront building. He couldn’t really explain the need.
The request might have seemed especially rude, given that those employed by The Post-Intelligencer were living hour to hour, waiting for a call from the Hearst Corporation, its owner in New York, about what day would be its last as a printed entity. That call came Monday: A daily Seattle tradition that began in 1863 will end Tuesday, March 17, 2009.
But back last week, back when the newspaper could at least revel in another day passed, another edition published, the good people at The Post-Intelligencer understood the well-intentioned desire behind the request.
Louisiana shooting puzzles witnesses
Family and friends watched as an elderly man was shot by police at a cookout. They say he was killed without justification. State and federal officials are on the case.
By Howard Witt
March 17, 2009
Reporting from Homer, La. — On the last afternoon of his life, Bernard Monroe was hosting a cookout for family and friends in front of his dilapidated home in this small northern Louisiana town.
Throat cancer had left the 73-year-old retired electric utility worker unable to talk, but family members said he clearly was enjoying the commotion of a dozen of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren cavorting in the grassless yard.
Then the Homer police showed up, two white officers whose arrival caused the participants at the black family’s gathering to fall silent.
Within moments, Monroe was dead, shot by one of the officers as his family looked on.
Now the Louisiana State Police, the FBI and the Justice Department are swarming over this impoverished lumber town of 3,800, drawn by allegations from numerous witnesses that police killed Monroe without justification — and then moved a gun to make it look like he had been holding it.
Hardliner Avigdor Lieberman set to become Israel’s foreign minister
• Binyamin Netanyahu adds rightwing party to coalition
• Further blow to hopes of two-state peace agreement
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
guardian.co.uk, Monday 16 March 2009 16.51 GMT
Avigdor Lieberman, the outspoken far-right Israeli politician, is set to be appointed his country’s next foreign minister in a new coalition deal.
Lieberman, head of the Israel Our Home party, signed a preliminary agreement with the Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu, who is expected to become prime minister within days. Under the deal, agreed late on Sunday night, Lieberman would be both foreign minister and a deputy prime minister, giving him an important influence in shaping the new government’s policies.
His party would also have four other ministers in the cabinet, including national security minister, as well as the post of deputy foreign minister.
Netanyahu still has to sign agreements with the other smaller parties that would make up his government, but it appears increasingly likely he will lead a narrow rightwing coalition that could take power later this month.
Mohammed Khatami to withdraw from Iranian presidential race
From The Times
March 17, 2009
Catherine Philp, Diplomatic Correspondent
The reformist leader Mohammed Khatami has announced his withdrawal from this year’s presidential race to bolster the chances of another reformist candidate.
Mr Khatami, a former liberal president, served for two terms before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad succeeded him. His tenure was marked by repeated frustrations over attempts to push through reforms which were blocked by the country’s ruling hard-line clerics.
Mr Khatami’s candidacy energised the race and may even have influenced Mr Ahmadinejad’s warmer tone towards the West after President Obama’s offer of rapprochement.
Iran’s ailing economy and continued hostility towards the West has fuelled support for the reformist movement and against the firebrand incumbent.
Just mix red and white and you’ll be in the pink: Brussels enrages Provence rosé winemakers
Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
The Guardian, Tuesday 17 March 2009
Once dismissed by wine snobs as a lightweight plonk for a summer picnic, rosé wine is enjoying a world revival: French wine critics love it, the British market is booming and more French people now buy rosé than white wine. But the success has been soured by a bitter row in Brussels as the European Commission plans to loosen the strict rules on how the distinctive pink wine can be made.
In Provence – where rosé is as important to the region’s glitzy image as the Cannes film festival and St Tropez – winemakers are up in arms and warning that the whole art-de-vivre and economy of the south of France is under threat from the European Commission’s proposal to allow producers in all member states to make rosé by simply mixing red and white wine.
Russia’s richest woman begs for a state handout
Construction magnate blamed for destroying historic city landscape
By Miriam Elder in Moscow
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
She is Russia’s richest woman, and one of its most despised. Now Yelena Baturina, who rose from life as a factory worker to become a construction magnate and wife of Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, is seeking a state bailout – to the joy and consternation of many.
Some are happy to see her suffer. Since Ms Baturina built her firm, Inteko, into a construction and real estate powerhouse, Moscow’s landscape has been transformed. Cranes and gaudy buildings line streets that used to house centuries-old buildings and relics of Soviet architecture.
“Anything that slows down the construction that has destroyed much of old Moscow is welcome,” said Kevin O’Flynn, co-founder of the Moscow Architectural Preservation Society. “Baturina has undoubtedly been a part of that.”
Pakistan military ‘forced rethink on judge’
President’s decision to bow to pressure and reinstate chief justice is hailed as historic moment in the evolution of Pakistan’s fragile democracy
By Andrew Buncombe and Omar Waraich in Islamabad
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
The line started at the gate, turned at the steps, passed through the front door and then slipped along a hallway before heading down some steps. There, in a downstairs room, surrounded by colleagues and beaming as if he were a child on his birthday, stood Iftikhar Chaudhry, shaking hands with the long, endless line and receiving a million congratulations. “I feel good,” he declared, extending a large, fleshy hand and pumping enthusiastically.
On an historic day in which Pakistan’s government was forced into an embarrassing capitulation to its political opponents and reinstated the former chief justice, it appeared as if everyone in the country wanted to meet Mr Chaudhry. No matter that the government’s hand had been forced as much by the intervention of the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Kayani as by the forces of democracy, Islamabad buzzed with euphoria about the restoration of the country’s chief judge, ousted in 2007 by Pervez Musharraf.
Hybrid price wars as Toyota and Honda go head to head
From Times Online
March 17, 2009
Leo Lewis, Asia business correspondent, Tokyo
An intensifying race for the coveted title of “greenest” carmaker has pitched Toyota and Honda into a worldwide price war on hybrid cars that could see models in Japan selling for under £14,000.
Sales staff at one car dealership in Tokyo told The Times that the looming confrontation would almost certainly force the world’s biggest carmaker to make “quick and deep” cuts to the price of its flagship Prius model or risk Honda’s Insight stealing the momentum as the world’s most recognisable hybrid electric car brand.
The basic Prius model currently sells for Y2.3 million (£16,430) in Japan: company sources now say that the price may be slashed to just Y1.9 million in an effort to remain exactly competitive with Honda.
Downturn ‘risks Africa conflict’
African leaders have warned that parts of the continent could be plunged back into conflict if they are not helped to recover from the global downturn.
By David Loyn
International development correspondent, BBC News
The stark warning came as they gathered in London to put their case ahead of the G20 summit next month.
The scale of the crisis faced by Africa because of the economic downturn is only now becoming apparent.
The head of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, called it an “emergency” at the meeting in London.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown heard tales of woe from across the continent – 500,000 thrown out of work in copper mines in Zambia, farmers losing jobs in Tanzania when the cotton price halved, foreign receipts down everywhere because of a cut in tourism and the reduction in remittances sent home by workers living abroad.
‘Spend now or pay later’
The prime minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, made a case for the richest countries in the world to invest in Africa for their own self-interest.
Camps in Darfur struggle with aid groups’ exit
The U.N. and remaining aid groups are scrambling to bridge a shortfall in supplies and services after the Sudanese government expelled 13 groups in anger over an arrest warrant for President Bashir.
By Edmund Sanders
March 17, 2009
Reporting from Zam Zam Camp, Sudan — Feverish and dehydrated since fleeing to this overcrowded displacement camp last month, 2-year-old Manahel Abakar was supposed to be one the beneficiaries of the International Criminal Court effort to bring justice to Darfur.
Instead she became one of its unintended casualties.
The little girl died last week on a straw mat under the baking sun, surrounded by anxious family members helpless to save her. Their only shelter is a threadbare blanket, sagging over broken tree branches.
The situation at the Zam Zam camp, hard even in the best of times, is more desperate because the aid groups that deliver emergency food, water and healthcare were shut down this month by Sudan’s government in retaliation after the ICC issued an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir.
“We are innocent,” said Khatar Yusuf, 38, a father of four who lives in the camp, outside El Fasher in Northern Darfur. “We’re not political. But now it’s our children who are sick and dying. No one is taking care of them.”
In strategic shift, Colombia’s FARC targets cities
The embattled guerrillas are attacking urban areas that they had been pushed out of by a sustained military campaign under President Uribe.
By Sibylla Brodzinsky | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the March 17, 2009 edition
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – The taps have run dry in the Colombian city of Villavicencio.
For more than a week, residents have been making do with buckets of water from trucks that circle the neighborhoods after the latest in a spate of urban bomb attacks that signal a shift in leftist guerrillas’ strategy.
The flow of water to Villavicencio, a city of 300,000 on Colombia’s eastern plains, was cut March 7 when three bombs tore through the main water line. Two days later, two policemen patrolling the water plant were severely injured by land mines.
The government offered a reward of $40,000 for information leading to the capture of those responsible. But Gen. Freddy Padilla, commander of Colombia’s armed forces, says he has little doubt it was the guerrilla commander operating in that area who ordered the attack.
The bombing of the pipeline, he says, is part of a new campaign by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia’s largest rebel group, to make its power felt in the cities from which they had been pushed out through a sustained military and security campaign over the past five years.