Liberal and Conservative Democrats Feud Over Bill
By Perry Bacon Jr., Paul Kane and Ben Pershing
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, July 25, 2009
House Democrats feuded openly over health care Friday before shaking hands on a deal that guaranteed only that they would keep negotiating, wrapping up a week in which consensus on a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health-care system seemed to diminish by the day.
White House aides announced a week ago that President Obama was ready to “take the baton” for his biggest domestic campaign initiative, and indeed Obama campaigned for his proposals nearly nonstop this week, including taking an hour to make his case directly to the American public on prime-time television.
A Modest English Club Prepares Off the Beaten Path
By BILLY WITZ
Published: July 24, 2009
VENTURA, Calif. – More than 80,000 fans, among them Charlize Theron, Kevin Garnett and Will Ferrell, filled the Rose Bowl on Tuesday night, drawn by the star-studded lineups and the lion-like coaches of Chelsea and Inter Milan. It was one way to prepare for the coming European soccer season.
Another took place an hour’s drive west.
The Burnley Football Club readied itself for its first season in the English Premier League by playing a fourth-division American club on an artificial turf field covered by the lines for the Buena High School football team. The crowd was announced at 3,300. No celebrities were discernable, although Burnley’s manager, Owen Coyle, does bear a resemblance to George Clooney.
In a little more than a month, Burnley and Chelsea will play each other in London, and on Tuesday night they were separated by 67 miles. In reality, they exist in separate universes. They may, on occasion, share the same space but not the same air.
Obama Shifts Tone on Gates After Mulling Scale of Debate
By PETER BAKER and HELENE COOPER
Published: July 24, 2009
WASHINGTON – President Obama tried Friday to defuse a volatile national debate over the arrest of a black Harvard University professor as he acknowledged that his own comments had inflamed tensions and insisted he had not meant to malign the arresting officer.
Mr. Obama placed calls to both the professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and the man who arrested him, Sgt. James Crowley, two days after saying the police had “acted stupidly” last week in hauling Professor Gates from his home in handcuffs. Mr. Obama said he still considered the arrest “an overreaction,” but added that “Professor Gates probably overreacted as well.”
“I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up,” the president said in an appearance in the White House briefing room. “I want to make clear that in my choice of words, I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sergeant Crowley specifically, and I could have calibrated those words differently.”
Killing of Border Patrol agent prompts multiagency manhunt
U.S. and Mexican officials are searching for those responsible for the death of Robert Rosas. Tecate police say they arrested a man walking near the crime scene with a Border Patrol-issued weapon.
By Richard Marosi
July 25, 2009
Reporting from San Diego — A U.S. Border Patrol agent was fatally shot while pursuing a group of people in a remote valley about 60 miles east of San Diego, triggering a manhunt by federal, state and Mexican authorities, Homeland Security officials said Friday.
Robert Rosas, a three-year agency veteran, was responding to an incursion Thursday night just inside the steel border fence when one or more assailants opened fire, authorities said. He died at the scene.Rosas, a 30-year-old father of two, was the first border agent to be shot and killed in the line of duty in nearly a decade, officials said. “It was a cowardly act against an agent trying to protect this country,” said Rick Barlow, acting chief of the agency’s San Diego sector, where flags flew at half-staff outside of headquarters in Chula Vista.
Orthodox Jews take to streets in Jerusalem to save their simple life
The Haredi population believe in big families and reject TVs, computers, and Zionism
Rachel Shabi in Mea Shearim
guardian.co.uk, Friday 24 July 2009 20.40 BST
The headlines declared it a holy war, an almighty stand-off between the city’s religious and secular residents. For weeks West Jerusalem has been rocked by fierce street battles as ultra-religious Jewish protesters have clashed with police, resulting in countless injuries, dozens of arrests and thousands of pounds damage.
Protests first erupted over the opening of a municipal car park on Saturdays, seen as a desecration of the Sabbath. Then riots flared again at the arrest of an ultra-religious woman accused of starving her toddler son, which protesters viewed as heavy-handed police interference. These furious protests have been reported as the actions of a tiny minority, supporters of a violent and backward religious fundamentalism. The ultra-Orthodox counter that they have been cast as monsters, as usual – victims of religious intolerance.
Iran’s supreme leader orders sacking of vice-president
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad caved into pressure from hardline clerics and the country’s supreme leader Friday and allowed the resignation of his top deputy after a week-long standoff.
Published: 11:08PM BST 24 Jul 2009
For days, the president had resisted pressure from hardliners, including a direct order from the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to dismiss his choice for the key post of first vice president, Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, who last year angered conservatives when he made friendly comments toward Israel.
The final blow, however, appeared to be the public reading on state television of the order issued earlier by Khamenei to dismiss Mashai because he is “contrary to the interest of you and the government”.The issue created a rare rift between Ahmadinejad and the hardliners that form the bedrock of his support and comes at a particular sensitive time as he is battling opposition reformists who accuse him of winning the June 12 presidential elections through fraud.
The big lie of Afghanistan
Inquiries into the 954 deaths in police custody since 1990 have all proved fruitless – and then this historic case comes along
In 2005, I was the youngest person elected to the new Afghan parliament. Women like me, running for office, were held up as an example of how the war in Afghanistan had liberated women. But this democracy was a facade, and the so-called liberation a big lie.
On behalf of the long-suffering people of my country, I offer my heartfelt condolences to all in the UK who have lost their loved ones on the soil of Afghanistan. We share the grief of the mothers, fathers, wives, sons and daughters of the fallen. It is my view that these British casualties, like the many thousands of Afghan civilian dead, are victims of the unjust policies that the Nato countries have pursued under the leadership of the US government.
The South Korean DVD that the North loves to watch
By David McNeill in Tokyo
Saturday, 25 July 2009
A South Korean soldier on night patrol finds himself on the wrong side of the border with the country’s belligerent northern neighbour – and standing on a landmine. He is rescued by two North Korean troops who disarm the mine and free him to the south. His image of his once-hated enemy transformed, he begins a clandestine friendship with his rescuers that ends in a double murder, and the two sides almost go to war.
Such is the plot of Joint Security Area, until recently the biggest box-office hit in South Korean history. Rumour has it that Kim Jong-il is a fan, since the South’s then President Roh Moo-Hyun handed him a DVD copy at the landmark 2002 Korean summit. But while the North’s ailing leader can indulge his famous whim of foreign films, his citizens are banned from consuming anything but the state’s thin cultural gruel – at least legally.
Now comes a new report that claims that the blockbuster is one of the hottest tickets on the North Korean black-market – and it is not alone.
‘Silvio’s sex life: why Italians don’t care’
Europe has been transfixed by the saga of Silvio Berlusconi and the escort girl, but the Italian Prime Minister has been getting an easy time back home. Ezio Mauro, editor of La Repubblica, explains why in this exclusive article for The Independent
Saturday, 25 July 2009
There is a crack that has opened all of a sudden between Silvio Berlusconi and his voters, between the prime minister’s mythological image and reality.
It is nothing more than a crack, in a wall of consensus that is very high and very robust. But it is an important crack and one that is growing. It showed up in the European elections last month (the prime minister had announced that he would bag 45 per cent of the vote, he ended up with 35 per cent); it widened with the Church having to take a stand against his behaviour. What happens now?
For the first time, the prime minister is on the defensive.
Dark history still haunts Bayreuth Festival
Katharina Wagner and Eva Wagner-Pasquier debut as directors at this year’s Wagner Festival in Bayreuth, opening on July 25. They’re out to brighten up a festival that has a rather dark past.
CLASSICAL MUSIC | 25.07.2009
The winds have changed in Bayreuth – and this new wind is conspicuously tall, blond and good-looking. Thirty-one-year-old Katharina Wagner, great-granddaughter of the composer Richard Wagner, has taken over from her father Wolfgang after his more than half-century reign as festival director.
Once again, the Green Hill will stage a great show – even before the curtain opens. Every year, the arrival of the rich, famous and powerful is the true highlight of opening night.
But Bayreuth’s celebrity opera-goers don’t just add to the luster of it all – they are also representative of the dilemma that the festival finds itself in. After all, prior to the Second World War, Bayreuth’s most prominent guest was Adolf Hitler. He was a passionate Wagnerian and good friend of the Wagner family.
Foreigners flee as violence reignites in South African townships
From Times Online
July 25, 2009
Jonathan Clayton in Thokoza township near Johannesburg
“The hate is back” proclaimed the headline of one of South Africa’s leading newspapers after foreigners were this week once again targeted in violence sweeping through townships across the country.
More than 100 foreigners have fled for their lives in scenes reminiscent of attacks last year in which at least 67 people were killed. The violence has embarrassed a government trying to sell the country as a peaceful venue for next year’s Fifa soccer World Cup.
As anger mounted and the country braced itself for more unrest over the weekend, President Zuma, a populist who won an overwhelming election victory in polls last April, adopted a rare strong stand. He promised help for the townships, but warned that violence would not be tolerated.
In Brazil, judge holds city accountable for stray bullets
Rio de Janeiro officials worry a judge’s decision will unleash a rash of lawsuits in a city where 16 people were killed and 220 wounded by errant bullets last year.
By Andrew Downie | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the July 24, 2009 edition
SÃO PAOLO, BRAZIL – When Ana Maria Mendonça was hit by a stray bullet while standing at a bus stop, it’s safe to say her first thought wasn’t to sue Rio de Janeiro for its lack of security.
Not only are police bullets among those that cause the scores of stray bullet deaths and injuries in Rio each year, but few Cariocas, as people from Rio de Janeiro are known, really believe the city’s notoriously corrupt and violent police force are there to serve and protect.
But Ms. Mendonça did sue, and in May, a judge backed her claim, to the tune of $15,000 in damages.
“The city of Rio de Janeiro is caught up in a whirlpool of violence,” Judge Marco Antonio Ibrahim said in his summation. “People are being assassinated by stray bullets in their homes, at bus stops, in schools, on beaches, and at football stadiums. Saying the state is not responsible is, in practice, blaming the victim.”
The city has appealed the decision, claiming it cannot be held responsible for the “omissions” of police officers.