To Bad Nobody
Said George Go Home
And He Did
U.S. to Expand Immigration Checks to All Local Jails
Obama Administration’s Enforcement Push Could Lead to Sharp Increase in Deportation Cases
By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The Obama administration is expanding a program initiated by President George W. Bush aimed at checking the immigration status of virtually every person booked into local jails. In four years, the measure could result in a tenfold increase in illegal immigrants who have been convicted of crimes and identified for deportation, current and former U.S. officials said.
By matching inmates’ fingerprints to federal immigration databases, authorities hope to pinpoint deportable illegal immigrants before they are released from custody. Inmates in federal and state prisons already are screened. But authorities generally lack the time and staff to do the same at local jails, which house up to twice as many illegal immigrants at any time and where inmates come and go more quickly.
China and US held secret talks on climate change deal
• Negotiations began in final months of Bush administration
• Obama could seal accord on cutting emissions by autumn
Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Monday 18 May 2009 19.03 BST
A high-powered group of senior Republicans and Democrats led two missions to China in the final months of the Bush administration for secret backchannel negotiations aimed at securing a deal on joint US-Chinese action on climate change, the Guardian has learned.
The initiative, involving John Holdren, now the White House science adviser, and others who went on to positions in Barack Obama’s administration, produced a draft agreement in March, barely two months after the Democrat assumed the presidency.
The memorandum of understanding was not signed, but those involved in opening up the channel of communications believe it could provide the foundation for a US-Chinese accord to battle climate change, which could be reached as early as this autumn.
Credit Card Industry Aims to Profit From Sterling Payers
By ANDREW MARTIN
Published: May 18, 2009
Credit cards have long been a very good deal for people who pay their bills on time and in full. Even as card companies imposed punitive fees and penalties on those late with their payments, the best customers racked up cash-back rewards, frequent-flier miles and other perks in recent years.
Now Congress is moving to limit the penalties on riskier borrowers, who have become a prime source of billions of dollars in fee revenue for the industry. And to make up for lost income, the card companies are going after those people with sterling credit.
Banks are expected to look at reviving annual fees, curtailing cash-back and other rewards programs and charging interest immediately on a purchase instead of allowing a grace period of weeks, according to bank officials and trade groups.
Labor unions find themselves card-checkmated
Business groups have outmaneuvered workers groups, jeopardizing key components of a congressional proposal that has been unions’ top priority. Labor supporters say their side has gotten disorganized.
By Tom Hamburger
May 19, 2009
Reporting from Washington — In the Ozark Mountain town of Rogers, Ark., more than 250 business owners gathered for lunch at a construction company last month to focus on what they saw as a major threat — a proposal in Congress to make it easier to form labor unions.
At each place setting, attendees found pre-stamped postcards and pre-written letters to be sent to Arkansas’ U.S. senators, Democrats Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln, who had supported the labor bill in the past. After lunch, the business owners were ushered to computers to send e-mail messages as well.
Five days later came the good news: Two Senate votes had been stripped from the pro-union bill. Lincoln said she would oppose it outright, while Pryor declared the current version “dead” and said he would look for compromises.
Body of Tamil Tigers leader discovered
Sri Lankan TV broadcasts images of corpse said to that of Velupillai Prabhakaran, as bloody civil war is declared over
Matthew Weaver and agencies
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 19 May 2009 08.55 BST
Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, declared victory today in his country’s bloody civil war, as state television broadcasted images of a body said to be that of the Tamil Tigers leader killed in the final battle with government troops yesterday.
Today the army said it had recovered Velupillai Prabhakaran’s body, after a spokesman for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) claimed he was still alive.
In a statement on the ministry of defence website, the commander of the army, General Sarath Fonseka, said “The body of V Prabhakaran, psychopathic leader of world’s most barbaric terrorist outfit Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been found short while ago.”
[Warning: graphic video images] Today state television broadcasted images of what it said was his corpse.
Japan confirms dozens more swine flu cases
By Eric Talmadge, Associated Press
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
Japan confirmed dozens more swine flu cases overnight bringing its tally to 176, health officials said today, as the government considered scaling down quarantine checks at airports while focusing on its domestic outbreak.
The outbreak in Japan surged from just four cases over the weekend after infections were confirmed in the port city of Kobe and nearby Osaka, which is Japan’s second-biggest urban area. The 41 added to the list overnight included high school students and small children as the outbreak jumped to three more cities in the region.
The new wave of infections did not have a clear connection to foreign travel, as the initial one did, and involved primarily teenagers. None of the patients were in serious condition.
The number could climb further because medical institutions around the country are now testing viral samples of suspected patients with no foreign travel records, who were previously excluded from testing.
Health and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe indicated that airport quarantine efforts would be scaled down and urged flexibility in anti-flu measures since the swine flu is now believed to be no more infectious than seasonal influenza.
Ethiopia’s new climate of fear
Despite the generosity of donor nations, Ethiopia is ruled by an authoritarian government with virtual impunity
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 19 May 2009 08.00 BST
The European Union, United States and other major donors will pump about $2.5bn (£1.6bn) into Ethiopia this year, a sum that does not even begin to include the cost of medicines, famine relief and countless other services provided by non-profit groups in one of the world’s most impoverished countries.
That help is needed, because Ethiopians are prone to malnutrition, disease and natural calamity. Its burgeoning population far outstrips the country’s ability to feed itself. So desperate is Ethiopia that celebrity causes – from Bob Geldoff’s Live Aid famine-relief concerts to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s adoption of orphaned babies – supplement what donors cannot possibly provide.
Sudanese rebel leader appears at The Hague on war crimes charges
From The Times
May 19, 2009
David Charter, Europe Correspondent
A Sudanese rebel leader appeared at the International Criminal Court yesterday after turning himself in to face war crimes charges over an attack that left 12 African Union peacekeepers dead in Darfur.
Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, 46, was the first suspect from the Sudan conflict to come before the court in The Hague, which issued an arrest warrant for the country’s President, Omar al-Bashir, in April.
“I would like to confirm that absolutely I am not guilty to all charges but it is very important for any honest leader to come and to face the justice,” said Mr Abu Garda, leader of the United Resistance Front, after leaving court in The Hague.
“I am looking forward to clearing my name. I call on Omar al-Bashir and the others – come to face the justice here.” The court issued an arrest warrant for the President in April but he has refused to recognise its jurisdiction.
Rise of Europe’s extreme politics
Vanessa Mock: The economic gloom and public disillusionment with incumbent governments has Euro MPs worried that voters will turn to the fringes
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
From Stockholm to Sardinia, Waterford to Warsaw, a noisy and eclectic band of nationalists and eurosceptics are on the campaign trail hoping to unseat their mainstream rivals in the European Parliament.
Dutch anti-Islamists, Hungarian nationalists, Italian separatists and an Irish-backed anti-Lisbon Treaty party are all clamouring for seats when Europe goes to the polls between 4 and 7 June. And a combination of dismally low voter turnout and the economic downturn looks set to play into their hands in the vote. Job losses and the grimmest economic forecasts in decades have created the ideal conditions for single-issue candidates and marginal groups hostile to the EU to win seats in the Strasbourg assembly.
Crowd roars as Eric Cantona hits back of net at Cannes Film Festival
From The Times
May 19, 2009
Ben Hoyle, Arts Corresponden
The puffed-out chest and imperial strut were unmistakable, even if the collar that had once been distinctively turned up was folded down over a thin Armani tie.
Eric Cantona’s arrival in Cannes for the premiere of Ken Loach’s Looking For Eric prompted the hero worship associated at film festivals with Hollywood stars. Journalists fighting for autographs mobbed the former Manchester United and France footballer after a press conference that had more questions about sport than on cinema.
Netanyahu caught between Obama, Israeli settlers
By Joshua Mitnick | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the May 18, 2009 edition
TEL AVIV – With Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s White House meeting today with President Barack Obama seen by some as an historic showdown, Jewish settlers are worried.
“Bibi!” shouts a huge billboard on the back of commuter buses, a warning from one of the more uncompromising constituencies in Israeli politics. “Protect the Land of Israel… History will remember you as a strong leader who didn’t surrender.”
As Mr. Netanyahu makes his first trip to the US since taking office in April, his challenge is to reconcile two opposite forces at play: the right-wing members of his governing coalition and his need to have a good working relationship with the US – Israel’s strongest ally.
Though the Israeli leader is known the world over as a stubborn security hawk, back home he has a reputation for becoming weak-kneed when the pressure is on – most recently over budget negotiations last week. And the pressure is likely to be on in today’s meeting with Mr. Obama, whose administration has endorsed Palestinian statehood and a freeze on the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Iraq Arrests 2 Sunni Leaders, Raising Fears of Violence
By MARC SANTORA
Published: May 18, 2009
BAGHDAD – Iraqi government security forces arrested two prominent Sunni leaders in Diyala Province on Monday, according to local security officials, leading to renewed concerns that sectarian tensions in the area could once again erupt into greater violence.
One of those arrested, Sheik Riyadh al-Mujami, is a prominent figure in the local Awakening Council, a movement led by Sunni tribal leaders who decided to stop fighting the Americans and cooperate with them against Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a largely homegrown group that is believed to have foreign leadership.
The Awakening movement played a crucial role in reducing the violence in Iraq over the past two years, but some Sunni leaders have complained that the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has broken its promise to integrate their members in the country’s security forces.
Mexico captures drugs hit gang suspects allegedly led by police
Police chief among state officials held on drugs charges
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 19 May 2009 09.08 BST
Police in southern Mexico have arrested at least six members of a suspected drugs cartel hit gang, including two women, who were allegedly commanded by senior police officers.
The police chief, two commanders and a former public safety director in the city of Tapachula, near the Guatemala border, were detained on suspicion of leading the hit gang.
The suspects allegedly worked for the Zetas, a gang of enforcers linked to the Gulf drugs cartel. Police and soldiers seized dozens of grenades and assault rifles during the weekend raid in which the alleged killers were captured, state prosecutors said.
The arrests came as drug corruption scandals spread across Mexico, in states far from the US border, where the drug battles have long been concentrated.