“The fact that Iran is stable,
calm and secure, they’re upset with this,”
Intelligence Minister Gholam-Hosein Mohseni Ejei
told Iran’s Press TV.
U.S. ready to leave Iraqi cities despite violence
Many wonder if U.S.-trained forces will be able to keep areas secure
BAGHDAD – Death squads roamed the streets, slaughtering members of the rival Muslim sect. Bombs rocked Baghdad daily – until thousands of U.S. troops poured in two years ago, establishing neighborhood bases and taking control of the Iraqi capital and other cities.
By Tuesday, all but a small number of American soldiers will have left Baghdad and other urban areas, handing over security to Iraqi soldiers and police still largely untested as an independent fighting force.
State television has been showing a countdown clock with a fluttering Iraqi flag and the words “June 30: National Sovereignty Day.”
Iran frees five detained British embassy employees
Five of nine people detained after being accused of involvement in post-election unrest have been released, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman says
Ian Black and Matthew Weaver
guardian.co.uk, Monday 29 June 2009 09.01 BST
Five of the nine British embassy employees accused of involvement in the post-election unrest in Iran have been released, officials in Tehran said today.
The development came as Iran announced that a partial recount of votes in this month’s disputed presidential election had begun.
“Out of nine people, five … have been released and the rest are being interrogated,” Hassan Qashqavi, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, was quoted as saying by the state-funded Press TV.
A spokesman for the British Foreign Office refused to confirm the figure, saying only that “several have been released and some remain in custody”.
Yesterday, the Iranian intelligence minister, Gholam Hossein Mohseini Ejehi, claimed Tehran had video proof that the Iranian employees at the embassy “were distinctly present at the scene of clashes” following the 12 June election.
How a Loophole Benefits GE in Bank Rescue
Industrial Giant Becomes Top Recipient in Debt-Guarantee Program
By Jeff Gerth and Brady Dennis
ProPublica and Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 29, 2009
General Electric, the world’s largest industrial company, has quietly become the biggest beneficiary of one of the government’s key rescue programs for banks.
At the same time, GE has avoided many of the restrictions facing other financial giants getting help from the government.
The company did not initially qualify for the program, under which the government sought to unfreeze credit markets by guaranteeing debt sold by banking firms. But regulators soon loosened the eligibility requirements, in part because of behind-the-scenes appeals from GE.
41 Years Later in Chicago, Police and Demonstrators Still Clash, but With Words
By MONICA DAVEY
Published: June 28, 2009
CHICAGO – They arrived at the police union hall looking older, grayer, wider. At least one bore a cane.
It seemed an unlikely reunion: a gathering, 41 years later, of the police officers who clashed with demonstrators during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in this city, leaving behind an image Chicago has tried to shed ever since.
“People ask me, ‘What is there to celebrate about all of this?’ ” said Tom Keevers, one of the former officers, long gone from the force but with lasting memories of the 12-hour shifts he worked during those tense days in August 1968. “My answer is that I feel fine about what happened.”
Somali children being forced into war, says leader
Claim comes as President faces possible overthrow by rival Islamist groups
By Daniel Howden in Nairobi
Monday, 29 June 2009
Somalia’s embattled president has accused Islamic extremist militias of recruiting child soldiers in their efforts to take over the country. Shaikh Sharif Shaikh Ahmed said yesterday that Hizb ul-Islam, and Al-Shabaab, a militant group with links to al-Qa’ida, was training and deploying children in frontline fighting.
The accusation came as the capital, Mogadishu, was braced for the arrival of a controversial 40-tonne “weapons donation” from the US and Western diplomats warned that the UN-backed administration could fall “within days” if government forces were unable to turn the tide against insurgents.
But there are fears that the show of support from the US will weaken the Sharif government, which is portrayed as foreign puppet by its opponents.
Police deny Kenya torture claims
Kenya’s police have denied claims of torture and rape when they disarmed rival clan militias last year.
The BBC Monday, 29 June 2009
Human Rights Watch says there should be an inquiry into the “collective punishment” of civilians in Mandera.
The US-based organisation said its research showed thousands of people had been tortured and women had been raped.
But police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told the BBC there had been no torture or beatings and asked HRW to produce evidence to back up its findings.
“Certainly we should look into the laws in this country which allow any street boy to come here and publish very disparaging lies about our internal security forces,” he told the BBC’s Network Africa programme.
Berlusconi turns to G8 and Gaddafi for comfort
Italian leader shrugs off claims he hired call girls as he prepares to host summit
By Michael Day in Milan
Monday, 29 June 2009
Dogged by domestic problems, Roman emperors would launch international adventures to divert public attention. In the same vein, facing a series of domestic scandals that would have embarrassed the Emperor Tiberius, Italy’s Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, today takes to the world stage by announcing the programme for this year’s G8 summit.
Mr Berlusconi will say that the economic crisis and the need for greater financial regulation, food supplies for developing countries and climate change are the key issued facing the informal but exclusive gathering of the world’s seven richest nations, plus Russia, to be held in earthquake-torn L’Aquila from 8 to 10 July.
Exiled by Russia: Casinos and Jobs
By CLIFFORD J. LEVY
Published: June 28, 2009
MOSCOW – One of the largest mass layoffs in recent Russian history is to occur on Wednesday, and the Kremlin itself is decreeing it, economic crisis or not.
The government is shutting down every last legal casino and slot-machine parlor across the land, under an antivice plan promoted by Vladimir V. Putin that just a few months ago was widely perceived as far-fetched. But the result will be hundreds of thousands of people thrown out of work.
And in a move that at times seems to have taken on almost farcical overtones, the Kremlin has offered the gambling industry only one option for survival: relocate to four regions in remote areas of Russia, as many as 4,000 miles from the capital.
The high price of eliminating the Taleban from Buner
From The Times
June 29, 2009
The road home for Sultan Mahmood was hardly a welcoming sight. The route through the mountains was scattered with burnt-out cars and lorries and lined with the wreckage of buildings destroyed as the army mounted its assault on the Taleban in and around the northwestern region of Swat.
At makeshift checkpoints along the way, troops peered from sandbagged machinegun posts as cars and vans snaked back into Buner, the district neighbouring Swat, that has now been declared free of the militants.
On the outskirts of Mr Mahmood’s village, Sultanwas, the wreckage of an army tank was still standing on the road – testament to the ferocity of the combat that forced him to flee, one of about two million refugees from the region.
Nothing, however, could have prepared the 65-year-old pensioner for the scene of utter devastation when he finally arrived home yesterday in the first wave of refugees to return. His house had been flattened by aerial bombing and artillery fire – along with almost a third of the village of about 1,000 homes.
India to review gay ban
India is set to review its long-standing laws barring gay sex in a move that could decriminalise homosexuality in the largely conservative country, the law minister has said
Published: 9:33AM BST 29 Jun 2009
The move comes as hundreds of gay rights supporters waved flags and danced past traffic during marches through three Indian cities on Sunday to celebrate gay pride.
Consensual intercourse between same-sex adults is currently punishable by a fine and 10-year prison term and most politicians have so far resisted amending a statute which dates back to British rule.
But now three high-ranking ministers have agreed to meet shortly to discuss a possible revamp of the homosexuality laws.
“The union Home Minister, the Health Minister and myself will be meeting shortly to take a view on this matter because this is a mandate of the cabinet,” Law Minister Veerappa Moily said.
Gaza war victims tell of Israeli shelling in first public hearing
A UN human rights mission listened as witnesses described in detail the Israeli shelling of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip during a three-week offensive at the turn of the year.
Published: 6:00AM BST 29 Jun 2009
The delegation planned to hold two days of public hearings as part of its investigation into alleged war crimes during the 22-day offensive launched in late December that killed about 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.
The group is headed by Richard Goldstone, a South African judge who previously served as chief prosecutor for international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
They listened as a young wheelchair-bound man named Ziad al-Deeb described how he had been sitting at home with his family, savouring a brief pause in the fighting, when Israeli forces began shelling his neighbourhood.
“We were shocked when we heard the loud noise coming from the Israeli shelling, then one of the missiles landed on top of us. There were 11 people killed,” he said.
Gaza residents ‘live in despair’
The International Committee of the Red Cross has described the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza as people “trapped in despair”.
The BBC Monday, 29 June 2009
In a report, it said that a main cause was the continuing Israeli blockade.
The report comes six months after the end of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza in which at least 1,100 Palestinians died.
Israel said the offensive was aimed at curbing rocket attacks into southern Israel by Palestinian militants.
The Red Cross says that the people of Gaza are unable to rebuild their lives and are sliding ever deeper into despair.
There is not the cement or steel to reconstruct neighbourhoods hit by Israeli strikes.
Seriously ill patients are not receiving the treatment they need. The water supply is patchy, sanitation on the point of collapse.
Protesters demand return of ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya
Demonstrations in capital after 56-year-old ruler removed from power in military coup
Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent, and agencies
guardian.co.uk, Monday 29 June 2009 07.48 BST
Protestors in Honduras yesterday put up roadblocks in the capital, Tegucigal, as they demanded the return of the president, Manuel Zelaya, hours after he was ousted in a military coup.
Hundreds of people, some wearing masks and armed with sticks, put up barricades near the presidential palace as governments across the region condemned the first military overthrow in central America since the end of the cold war.
What has so far been a bloodless coup could yet turn lethal.
Shots were fired near the presidential palace last night,but it was unclear who was shooting or whether there were any casualties.
Soldiers seized Zelaya, who was in his pyjamas, early yesterday and took him to neighbouring Costa Rica by plane.