Torture Leads Straight To Cheney
He Has Committed War Crimes
Flu virus outbreak in Mexico kills 70 and causes fear
The head of the World Health Organisation arrived in Geneva today for an emergency meeting as concern mounted over a frightening new flu strain.
By Sunday Telegraph reporter and agencies in Mexico
Last Updated: 9:43AM BST 25 Apr 2009
The outbreak of swine fever in Mexico has killed nearly 70 people and spread into the United States, raising fears of a global pandemic.
In Mexico, sports stadiums have been empty, schools and museums have shut and public events cancelled. Mexicans have started wearing surgical masks which soldiers handed out in the streets.
Margaret Chan, head of the WHO, broke off a visit to Washington to return to the agency’s headquarters in Switzerland to coordinate a response to the emergency.
Experts stopped short of declaring a pandemic but warned that there would probably be more cases of the swine flu, a mixture of viruses which has not previously been seen.
Officials from the WHO said the virus from 12 of the Mexican patients was the same genetically as a new strain of swine flu, designated H1N1, seen in eight people in California and Texas who later recovered.
Indonesia’s Voters Retreat From Radical Islam
By NORIMITSU ONISHI
Published: April 24, 2009
JAKARTA, Indonesia – From Pakistan to Gaza and Lebanon, militant Islamic movements have gained ground rapidly in recent years, fanning Western fears of a consolidation of radical Muslim governments. But here in the world’s most populous Muslim nation just the opposite is happening, with Islamic parties suffering a steep drop in popular support.
In parliamentary elections this month, voters punished Islamic parties that focused narrowly on religious issues, and even the parties’ best efforts to appeal to the country’s mainstream failed to sway the public.
The largest Islamic party, the Prosperous Justice Party, ran television commercials of young women without head scarves and distributed pamphlets in the colors of the country’s major secular parties. But the party fell far short of its goal of garnering 15 percent of the vote, squeezing out a gain of less than one percentage point over its 7.2 percent showing in 2004.
In 2002, Military Agency Warned Against ‘Torture’
Extreme Duress Could Yield Unreliable Information, It Said
By Peter Finn and Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, April 25, 2009
The military agency that provided advice on harsh interrogation techniques for use against terrorism suspects referred to the application of extreme duress as “torture” in a July 2002 document sent to the Pentagon’s chief lawyer and warned that it would produce “unreliable information.”
“The unintended consequence of a U.S. policy that provides for the torture of prisoners is that it could be used by our adversaries as justification for the torture of captured U.S. personnel,” says the document, an unsigned two-page attachment to a memo by the military’s Joint Personnel Recovery Agency. Parts of the attachment, obtained in full by The Washington Post, were quoted in a Senate report on harsh interrogation released this week.
Alaska’s drilling debate moves offshore
With the oil industry targeting Arctic waters, energy needs are weighed against a region’s delicate life cycle.
By Kim Murphy
April 26, 2009
Reporting from Nuiqsut, Alaska — The year the oil companies seriously began exploring the icy waters off the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — where Nuiqsut whalers have hunted for as long as men have wandered on dark waters — the villagers lost two bowhead.
The big whales had veered 30 miles from their usual migration path, and the men had no choice but to follow them through ice and mounting swells in their 20-foot boats. Hunters usually can kill the creatures with a fair amount of efficiency after they are harpooned. But this time was different.
The bowhead, longtime whaling captain Eli Nukapigak said, were “spooked.”
One of the whales flipped and dove, with the harpoon line twisted around the propeller, dragging the boat toward the sea floor. The crew managed to leap to safety. Another boat had been towing the second whale back to camp when it was overcome in the fierce seas. The hunters had to cut the whale loose.
Iceland’s left coalition poised for historic election victory
• First openly gay PM heading for thumping win
• Old-style socialist likely to oversee IMF-imposed cuts
Valur Gunnarsson in Reykjavik and Ian Traynor in Brussels
The Guardian, Saturday 25 April 2009
Iceland goes to the polls today after months of the greatest turbulence the North Atlantic island has experienced in modern times, with the left poised to make the most of bankruptcy and financial implosion.
In the throes of a cultural revolution triggered by the collapse of the country’s banks last October, protesting voters have already brought down a male-dominated, anti-European, centre-right government that had been in office for 18 years and look certain to vote in a leftwing coalition that could seek to put the country of fisheries and aluminium smelters in the European Union.
Rated by UN surveys until recently as the most successful society on earth, Iceland has been shaken to its foundations by the credit crunch and ensuing economic mayhem. The national currency, the krona, has become a national embarrassment and an international joke. The banking and business sectors are on their knees. Household debt has soared. In a matter of months unemployment has reached levels not seen since the early 1960s. The roads of Reykjavik are being taken over by second-hand bikes, replacing the previously ubiquitous SUVs.
The Irishman and the ‘plot’ to kill the Bolivian President
Michael Dwyer was found dead in a Santa Cruz hotel room, wearing nothing but his underwear. How did he end up there?
By Daniel McLaughlin in Budapest
Saturday, 25 April 2009
His bloody, bullet-riddled body, naked except for his underwear, was found on the floor of a hotel room in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Police say Michael Dwyer, a 24-year-old Irishman, was a ruthless assassin hatching a plot to murder the Bolivian President, Evo Morales. His family say the allegations are “absolutely ridiculous” and the Irish government is demanding an investigation into his death alongside a Balkan war veteran and a Hungarian nationalist.
Mr Dwyer’s mother, Caroline, describes her son as “fun-loving, always good-natured, generous, always thinking of us”. She is clearly baffled by the alleged transformation of her son from an engineering student from Tipperary into a mercenary scheming to kill a South American leader. Her husband, Martin, shares her confusion, saying: “He just wouldn’t be capable… you’d need to be trained for that type of thing, but he wouldn’t have those sort of skills.”
Jacob Zuma’s South Africa election win increases pressure on Robert Mugabe
David Smith in Johannesburg
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 25 April 2009 00.20 BST
Jacob Zuma has claimed victory in the South African election – a result that has been welcomed by ministers in neighbouring Zimbabwe as intensifying pressure on President Robert Mugabe.
With around 95% of votes counted, Zuma’s African National Congress (ANC) had taken 66.1% of the vote. British prime minister Gordon Brown called Zuma to congratulate him on his the victory.
Zuma has been outspoken in his criticism of Mugabe’s autocratic rule. He supports of the power-sharing agreement between Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change, led by Morgan Tsvangirai but he has criticised his predecessor Thabo Mbeki’s “quiet diplomacy” towards Zimbabwe.
Muslims and Christians in Kenya argue over Barack Obama’s grandmother
Barack Obama’s 87-year-old step-grandmother has become the subject of a tug-of-war between Muslims and Christians in Kenya.
By Nick Meo
Muslims have accused Christians of trying to convert Sarah Obama to Christianity.
Mrs Obama, a figure of substance in her homeland since her grandson was elected US President, was reported locally to have been stopped from going to a Seventh Day Adventist Church by Muslims because they thought the church would try to convert her.
However, members of the church said that she was not to be converted and was merely invited to attend an event.
“We had invited her to grace our meeting in Kisumu which was to mark the end of a three-week convention, but although she had prepared, she did not attend,” Lewis Ondiek, a senior church figure, told Ecumenical News International.
Taliban fighters still swagger in Buner’s fear-filled streets
Despite claims of withdrawal by insurgents, the markets are empty and the police have hunkered down
By Omar Waraich in Buner Valley
Saturday, 25 April 2009
Despite claims by Taliban leaders that the group had withdrawn from their new foothold in Pakistan’s Buner Valley, scores of fighters continued to swagger about in public last night. Long-haired and thickly-bearded young men – wearing skullcaps and bulletproof vests, with grenades attached to their belts and rusty Kalashnikov rifles slung over their shoulders – patrolled the streets.
Police were nowhere to be seen, and the market place had emptied out since the Taliban seized this fresh territory, just 70 miles from the capital Islamabad. Mohammed Kabir’s family has been running a shop selling women’s clothes, shoes and bangles for the past 50 years. But the Taliban banned all women from the bazaar when they entered Buner. “Now there is no business, nothing,” Mr Kabir said.
Pleas for ceasefire with Sri Lanka Tamils as civilian deaths increase
From The Times
April 25, 2009
More than 6,400 Sri Lankan civilians have been killed and 14,000 wounded in fighting between the Army and Tamil Tiger rebels since mid-January, according to the United Nations.
The figures were circulated among foreign embassies in Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, and released to the media by a foreign diplomat yesterday.
The UN said last week that the death toll had reached 4,500, but that was before the Army advanced into a “no-fire zone” where it has pinned down the Tigers along with tens of thousands of civilians. According to the new figures, 6,432 civilians have been killed in the fighting since January 20 and 13,946 have been wounded. Of those killed, more than 5,500 were in the no-fire zone on the northeastern coast.
The figures also showed that an average of 116 civilians were killed every day in April, compared with 33 a day at the end of January.
In Iraq, Clinton says country on right track
Secretary of state due to meet Iraqi war widows, aid workers during visit
NBC News and news services
BAGHDAD – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Saturday that this week’s deadly suicide bombings in Iraq are a sign that extremists are afraid the Iraqi government is succeeding.
Making her first trip to Iraq as America’s top diplomat, Clinton said the country has made great strides despite the recent violence that killed at least 148 people on Thursday and Friday.
“I think that these suicide bombings … are unfortunately, in a tragic way, a signal that the rejectionists fear that Iraq is going in the right direction,” Clinton told reporters traveling aboard her plane ahead of her unannounced visit to Baghdad.
Is Hezbollah poised to win in Lebanon?
Shiite group’s victory would mean upset, increase in sway of Iran, Syria
BEIRUT – With quiet campaigning and moderate talk, Hezbollah is building its strength for Lebanon’s June 7 parliament elections – and the militant Shiite Muslim group and its allies stand a good chance of winning.
That could mean a stunning shake-up for one of the Middle East’s most volatile countries, replacing a pro-U.S. government with a coalition dominated from behind the scenes by Hezbollah, the political movement and guerrilla group widely seen as the proxy of Iran and Syria in Lebanon.
The U.S. and Israel consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization, and their biggest fear is that a win by the group and its allies would increase the sway of Iran and Syria.