Media attempts to contact
MIC to establish why it was taking
an apparently defiant stance were rebuffed,
but the Guardian managed to grill MIC’s marketing
president, John McNelis.
“I would think [Burger King] would run from any form of controversy
kinda like cockroaches when the lights get turned on,”
said Mr McNelis. “I’m not aware of any direction
that they gave the franchisee and
I don’t think they have the authority to do it.”
U.S. Weighs Intercepting North Korean Shipments
By DAVID E. SANGER
Published: June 7, 2009
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration signaled Sunday that it was seeking a way to interdict, possibly with China’s help, North Korean sea and air shipments suspected of carrying weapons or nuclear technology.The administration also said it was examining whether there was a legal basis to reverse former President George W. Bush’s decision last year to remove the North from a list of states that sponsor terrorism.
The reference to interdictions – preferably at ports or airfields in countries like China, but possibly involving riskier confrontations on the high seas – was made by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
N. Korea sentences U.S. journalists to 12 years
Country’s top court convicts Laura Ling and Euna Lee of ‘grave crime’
SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea said its top court convicted two U.S. journalists and sentenced them to 12 years in labor prison Monday, intensifying the reclusive nation’s confrontation with the United States.
The North’s Central Court tried American TV reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee during proceedings running from last Thursday to Monday and found them guilty of a “grave crime” against the nation, and of illegally crossing into North Korea, the country’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said.
It said the court “sentenced each of them to 12 years of reform through labor.” The KCNA report gave no other details.
U.S. Will Let Some Banks Repay Aid
Move Doesn’t Signal Economic Recovery, Officials Caution
By Binyamin Appelbaum and David Cho
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, June 8, 2009
The Obama administration plans to announce as soon as today that some of the nation’s largest banks can repay billions in federal aid, but some officials caution that the show of progress is being underwritten by multiple layers of less visible government support.
Through cheap loans, debt guarantees and a promise that big banks will not be allowed to fail, these officials say the government has created an artificial environment in which profits and stock prices have rebounded, helping banks in recent weeks to raise about $50 billion from private investors.
For U.S. Autoworkers, Future Hinges on Adaptability
By Michael Leahy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 8, 2009
WARREN, Mich. If the electric car he is working on at this moment represents General Motors’ hopeful vision of its changing direction, then Tom Goddard may be the new face of the American autoworker, someone who after 24 years at GM takes nothing for granted, sees his job as tenuous and prides himself on building his skills in hopes of survival.Two years ago, Goddard took stock of the ailing corporation and the precariousness of union jobs here in Michigan and asked whether he might be able to work on the Chevrolet Volt, GM’s much ballyhooed electric car, still in the pre-production stage and not scheduled for sale until late 2010. In response, one of his supervisors wondered whether they ought to be part of the Volt project, voicing skepticism about the vehicle’s long-term chances.
Zimbabwe regime verdict: must do better
Things are getting a little better, Tsvangirai tells US and Europe. At home they’re not so sure
David Smith in Harare
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 7 June 2009 23.34 BST
Three months ago Davison Makhado took his first job, as a teacher, to play his part in reopening Zimbabwe’s schools. The 35 boys in Makhado’s class at Ellis Robins school in Harare are eager to learn about African history, but only have a single textbook between them, so before each lesson Makhado makes extensive notes that he then painstakingly dictates.
“It’s very difficult to teach,” the 25-year-old said. “The children complain about it a lot.”
The stuttering revival of the education sector is a litmus test of Zimbabwe’s faltering and fragile progress since President Robert Mugabe and prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s inclusive government was formed in February.
Gabon president Omar Bongo Ondimba dies
From Times Online
June 8, 2009
Africa’s longest serving leader, Gabon president Omar Bongo Ondimba, has died aged 73, according to reports in France.
Mr Bongo, who had ruled the former French colony in west Africa since 1967, had been in a clinic in Barcelona, Spain for a medical check-up amid reports that he was being treated for advanced cancer.
His death was not officially confirmed by either Gabon or France’s foreign ministry. But shops, restaurants and bars in Libreville, the capital, closed as news of the president’s passing was broadcast via French radio and television channels.
“We closed the restaurant since the announcement,” said one employee, adding on condition of anonymity, “People are scared.”
Lebanon’s ruling coalition claims election victory over Hezbollah
• Saad Hariri expected to become prime minister
• Vote deemed fairest in country’s history
Hugh Macleod in Beirut
The Guardian, Monday 8 June 2009
Jubilant supporters of Lebanon’s US-backed ruling coalition took to the streets last night, claiming a decisive election victory. It marks a dramatic reversal of fortunes after polls showed it losing its slim majority to a Hezbollah-led coalition backed by Syria and Iran.
Fireworks streamed from the Beirut home of Saad Hariri, leader of the governing coalition and the top Sunni politician who is now expected to become prime minister. The post was held five times by his father, whose assassination in 2005 triggered a prolonged crisis.
“We extend our hand to work together seriously and in earnest for the sake of Lebanon … to build a strong and sovereign state,” Hariri told supporters in the early hours of the morning. “Long live democracy.”
Mud, mud, glorious mud. Nothing quite like it for beating the Israeli blockade
With cement imports banned, one Gazan has fallen back on an ancient method of building
By Donald Macintyre
Monday, 8 June 2009
On the one hand it’s the ultimate in “de-development.” But on the other it’s a testament to Gazan ingenuity which has somehow been undimmed by three bloody weeks of war and two years of total economic blockade.
Certainly there is no prouder home-owner in southern Gaza than Jihad al Shaer, as he sits on his palm-lined verandah looking out on his desert garden, its path neatly fenced with half buried tyres, and already blooming with water melon, tomatoes and aubergines. But it’s the three-room family house itself which he completed within weeks of the end of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in January that is the source of his pride. It’s built almost entirely with mud.
Opus Dei lets film director in on some of its secrets
New film to explore history of controversial Catholic sect and its leader
By Elizabeth Nash in Madrid
Monday, 8 June 2009
The British film-maker Roland Joffe, who made his mark with his religious drama The Mission about crusading Jesuits in the Brazilian jungle, is to tackle an even more controversial chapter in the history of Catholicism: Opus Dei. Joffe is to recreate the life and miracles of Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer, the Spanish priest who founded one of the most influential and secretive organisations within the Catholic church, and was canonised in 2002. The film seems set to stir up more controversy, following in the wake of several screen hits tapping into public fascination with tales of Opus-inspired crimes and conspiracies, which have set Vatican chasubles aflap.
The Opus furiously condemned the blockbusting Da Vinci Code in 2006, and its sequel Angels and Demons currently topping the bestseller lists.
Stunning reversal of fortunes for Ireland’s Fianna Fáil
From The Times
June 8, 2009
David Sharrock, Ireland Correspondent
Fianna Fáil, the most successful political party in Western Europe, was facing up to its worst electoral performance in its history last night with the likelihood that it would lose a European Parliament seat in Dublin.
The party’s woes were compounded by disastrous results in local council elections and two Dublin by-elections.
Another loser last night appeared to be Declan Ganley, founder and leader of Libertas, which brought the Lisbon Treaty ratification process to a standstill when it spearheaded the No vote in last year’s Irish referendum.
‘Pakistan has awakened’: Locals fight back against Taliban
A new militia is targeting militants in revenge for a mosque bombing Friday. Some say it could be a turning of the tide in public sentiment, driven by recent Army successes.
By Issam Ahmed | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
LAHORE, PAKISTAN – As the Pakistani military cracks down on Taliban forces in the Swat Valley, hundreds of villagers in the country’s troubled northwest region are themselves taking up arms against the insurgents. They have formed a militia and are fighting back the Taliban to avenge the bombing at a mosque on Friday that killed at least 40 people.
Some view the uprising as part of an ongoing local conflict, but others hail the move as a turning of the tide in public sentiment against the Taliban – driven in part by the military’s recent successes.
“Once the Army moves in like it has, at some point in time you’ll see people gathering courage and standing up against these people,” says security analyst Mahmood Shah, a former governor of Pakistan’s tribal areas. “I think the nation has decided that these militants must be driven out of the territory of Pakistan and they must be punished.”
It may be precisely because the military is driving the Taliban out of the Swat Valley that locals are running them down in the nearby Dir Valley, a crossing point between Swat and Afghanistan.
Putting the Brakes on India’s Young Consumers
Banks Slash Account Limits for the Country’s First Credit Card Generation
By Rama Lakshmi
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, June 7, 2009
NEW DELHI — Three weeks ago, Geetanjali Bahl opened her monthly credit card statement to find a letter tersely announcing that her credit limit had been slashed by more than half — to just a little over $500.
Bahl, a 35-year-old public relations professional in the capital, is on maternity leave. She said she feels insulted because the letter gave no reason for the cut.
“What can I possibly do with this small amount? This is worth almost nothing,” she said angrily. “I am pregnant. You never know when you may need to rush to the hospital.”
Acapulco Gun Battle Leaves 18 Dead
Soldiers Confront Cartel Suspects In Tourist Zone
By William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, June 8, 2009
MEXICO CITY, June 7 — Suspected drug traffickers trapped in a safe house fought a furious gun battle with Mexican soldiers early Sunday in the beach resort city of Acapulco. As terrified residents and tourists cowered in their rooms, the firefight raged for two hours, leaving 16 gunmen dead. Two soldiers were also killed and several bystanders were wounded.
The gunmen, suspected members of one of Mexico’s major cartels, threw as many as 50 grenades at the advancing soldiers, and both sides fired thousands of rounds from assault rifles.
After the battle ended, soldiers found at the house nearly 50 guns, two grenade launchers, 3,500 rounds of ammunition, luxury cars — and four bound and gagged state police officers who said they had been kidnapped earlier.