There Is No
Are Just Racists
Program to refurbish aging nuclear warheads faces setbacks
Technical problems and an erosion of scientific expertise are blamed for delays in the effort to replace thousands of parts that have aged since the bombs left the factory decades ago.
By Ralph Vartabedian
May 29, 2009
A decadelong effort to refurbish thousands of aging nuclear warheads has run into serious technical problems that have forced delays and exacerbated concerns about the Energy Department’s ability to maintain the nation’s strategic deterrent.
The program involves a type of warhead known as the W76, which is used on the Navy’s Trident missile system and makes up more than half of the deployed warheads in the U.S. stockpile.
The refurbishment program is aimed at replacing thousands of parts that have aged since the bombs left the factory 20 and 30 years ago.
The $200-million-a-year program is a cornerstone of America’s nuclear deterrent strategy, and the Energy Department has been under growing pressure from the military and Congress to meet tough deadlines to get the weapons ready.
In February, the department’s National Nuclear Security Administration announced that the “first refurbished W76 nuclear warhead had been accepted into the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile by the Navy.”
Nominee’s Links With Advocates Fuel Her Critics
By RAYMOND HERNANDEZ and DAVID W. CHEN
Published: May 28, 2009
In the 1980s, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund sued the New York City Police Department, claiming that its promotion exams discriminated against Latinos and African-Americans.
The fund, one of the advocacy groups pressing similar cases across the country, also helped redraw voting districts in the city that increased the number of Hispanic elected officials. The defense fund even sued a former Reagan administration official for defamation after he claimed that virtually all Puerto Ricans in New York received food stamps.
All those efforts were backed by the defense fund’s board of directors, an active and passionate group that included a young lawyer named Sonia Sotomayor, who this week was chosen by President Obama to join the country’s highest court.
Young Iran’s search for a leader
The candidates for the upcoming Iranian presidential election offer little to the country’s disillusioned young voters
guardian.co.uk, Friday 29 May 2009 09.00 BST
Iranians will go to the polls on 12 June to elect a new president. While some argue that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election is a foregone conclusion, the outcome is, in fact, not at all clear.
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has repeatedly said in public settings that he will not declare his preference among the candidates. Indeed, in Mashhad on 21 March, Ayatollah Khamenei said, “There were some rumours that I support a special candidate for the presidential elections. But I have one vote, and I would not determine a certain candidate because the people themselves should choose their candidates based on their own knowledge.”
Iraq faces the mother of all corruption scandals
Allegations of kickbacks rock key government department as 1,000 officials face arrest and Trade Minister is forced to resign
By Patrick Cockburn
Friday, 29 May 2009
Iraq plans to arrest 1,000 officials for corruption after a scandal which has forced the resignation of the Trade Minister and is threatening the food supply of millions of Iraqis.
Corruption at the Trade Ministry is an important issue in Iraq because the ministry is in charge of the food rationing system on which 60 per cent of Iraqis depend. Officials at the ministry, which spends billions of dollars buying rice, sugar, flour and other items, are notorious among Iraqis for importing food that is unfit for human consumption, for which they charge the state the full international price.
The scandal first erupted in April when police, entering the Trade Ministry in Baghdad to arrest 10 senior officials accused of corruption and embezzlement, were greeted with gunfire by the ministry’s own guards.
The hidden massacre: Sri Lanka’s final offensive against Tamil Tigers
From The Times
May 29, 2009
Catherine Philp in Colombo
More than 20,000 Tamil civilians were killed in the final throes of the Sri Lankan civil war, most as a result of government shelling, an investigation by The Times has revealed.
The number of casualties is three times the official figure.
The Sri Lankan authorities have insisted that their forces stopped using heavy weapons on April 27 and observed the no-fire zone where 100,000 Tamil men, women and children were sheltering. They have blamed all civilian casualties on Tamil Tiger rebels concealed among the civilians.Aerial photographs, official documents, witness accounts and expert testimony tell a different story. With the world’s media and aid organisations kept well away from the fighting, the army launched a fierce barrage that began at the end of April and lasted about three weeks.
Koreans turn out in force for Roh
Tens of thousands of South Koreans have turned out in Seoul for the funeral of former President Roh Moo-hyun, who died last week.
The BBC Friday, 29 May 2009
Top officials attended the ceremony, while huge crowds filled the streets.
Mr Roh dedicated himself to democracy and he would not be forgotten, PM Han Seung-soo said in a eulogy.
Roh Moo-hyun jumped off a cliff last Saturday amid allegations, which he denied, of bribery. His death has caused immense shock in South Korea.
Mr Roh was president between 2003 and 2008, when his term ended. Current President Lee Myung-bak’s Grand National Party won the subsequent election, forcing Mr Roh’s Uri party from office.
Supporters say Mr Roh was investigated for political reasons and some blame Mr Lee for a probe that they believe drove the former president to suicide, says the BBC’s Chris Hogg, from Seoul.
Authorities feared protests and some 15,000 riot police were on stand-by for the funeral.
Some scuffles were reported and there was booing as Mr Lee laid a flower for his predecessor.
Russia’s chief of elite forces ‘implicated in Chechen village massacre’
From Times Online
May 29, 2009
Tony Halpin in Moscow
The new leader of Russia’s elite combat forces should be investigated over massacres of civilians during the war in Chechnya, a human rights organisation said yesterday.
Lieutenant-General Vladimir Shamanov was named commander of Russian Airborne Troops this week, putting him in charge of the army’s top fighting units. He was known as the cruellest general in Chechnya during the Kremlin’s war with separatist rebels in Russia’s North Caucasus.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that Lieutenant-General Shamanov had been implicated in “grave human rights violations” and civilian deaths in Chechnya. The European Court of Human Rights had held him responsible in 2005 for “massive use of indiscriminate weapons” in an artillery attack on villagers in Katyr-Yurt in 2000.
Fiat will not attend Opel talks
Fiat has decided not to attend Friday’s meeting in Berlin at which a preferred bidder for GM Europe was to be chosen.
The BBC Friday, 29 May 2009
The Italian carmaker said it still wanted to buy GM Europe but it was “unreasonable” of the German government to ask it for extra funding.
There is now some doubt as to whether the talks will go ahead at all.
There is a tight deadline to secure the future of GM Europe because GM in the US is expected to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday.
The German government had hoped to reach a decision on Wednesday, but said it needed more information from the US after GM asked for extra cash.
Slump Disrupts Migration
Fewer Mexicans Are Going to U.S. and Sending Money Home
By William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, May 29, 2009
ANDOCUTIN, Mexico — There are hundreds of sleepy little towns in Mexico just like this one. The old church is restored, but there is no priest. The roads are newly paved, but there are no cars. The homes are tidy, but there are no families inside. The doors are locked with chains.
“They are all empty. You see the streets? You don’t see anybody. Because everybody is gone, and I don’t know if they are ever coming back,” said Elias Calderón, 68, a retired steelworker who spent his work life in Chicago and returned to the town of his birth.