Environmentalists Slow to Adjust in Climate Debate
Opponents Seize Initiative as Senate Bill Nears
By David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 31, 2009
ATHENS, Ohio — The oil lobby was sponsoring rallies with free lunches, free concerts and speeches warning that a climate-change bill could ravage the U.S. economy.
Professional “campaigners” hired by the coal industry were giving away T-shirts praising coal-fired power.
But when environmentalists showed up in this college town — closer than ever to congressional passage of a climate-change bill, in the middle of the green movement’s biggest political test in a generation — they provided . . . a sedate panel discussion.
An American Icon Arrives In India With a Rumble
Harley-Davidson Will Try to Crack Country’s Huge Market
By Rama Lakshmi
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, August 31, 2009
NEW DELHI, Aug. 30 — Twenty-five Harley-Davidsons rumbled through the heart of the rain-drenched Indian capital Sunday, aggressively announcing the arrival of the legendary U.S. company in one of the world’s largest motorcycle markets.
The American motorcycle’s long-awaited journey to India was enabled by what has come to be called the “mango-motorcycle swap” in 2007 trade negotiations, when the United States decided to allow Indian mangoes to be imported in return for the export of Harley-Davidsons.
As the engines settled into idle, onlookers milled around the black-jacketed bikers and their machines, which were set against the backdrop of India Gate, a magnificent, British-built arch commemorating Indian soldiers who died in World War I.
Station fire claims 18 homes and two firefighters
Crews struggle to contain a 42,500-acre blaze that’s ‘still very much out of control.’ The flames have continued to spread despite relatively low winds, and continuing heat will keep them going.
By Jessica Garrison, Alexandra Zavis and Joe Mozingo
August 31, 2009
The giant fire in Angeles National Forest continued its slow-motion rampage through the mountains Sunday, causing the deaths of two firefighters as it bore down on the semirural community of Acton and threatened to overrun Mt. Wilson.
The two firefighters were killed when they drove off the side of a treacherous road in the Mt. Gleason area, south of Acton, around 2:30 p.m., said Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief Mike Bryant. They were later identified as Arnaldo Quinones, 35, of Palmdale and Tedmund Hall, 47, of San Bernardino County.
“This accident is tragic,” Bryant said, choking up as he spoke Sunday evening. “This is a very difficult time for L.A. County Fire Department and the men and women that serve day in, day out.”
Return of swine flu: What’s next for Americans?
U.S. and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere brace for fall surge of H1N1
WASHINGTON – The alarm sounded with two sneezy children in California in April. Just five months later, the never-before-seen swine flu has become the world’s dominant strain of influenza, and it’s putting a shockingly younger face on flu.
So get ready. With flu’s favorite chilly weather fast approaching, we’re going to be a sick nation this fall. The big unknown is how sick. One in five people infected or a worst case – half the population? The usual 36,000 deaths from flu or tens of thousands more?
Mutilated – for voting in defiance of the Taliban
Lal Mohammed paid the price for wanting to have his say on the future of Afghanistan
By Kim Sengupta in Kabul
Monday, 31 August 2009
Lal Mohammed was determined to exercise his right to have a say in his country’s future and vote in the election. It was a decision for which he paid a horrific price. On his way to the polling station he was held by Taliban fighters, beaten brutally, and then had his nose and ears slashed off.
What happened to the 40-year-old farmer is the savage and hidden side of the election in a country experiencing a bloody war. This chilling account is the first from a victim of retribution.
Jail term for Sri Lankan editor
The high court in Sri Lanka has sentenced a prominent Tamil journalist to 20 years in prison after convicting him under anti-terrorism laws.
The BBC Monday, 31 August 2009
JS Tissainayagam was found guilty of “causing communal disharmony”.
Mr Tissainayagam was arrested in 2008 and charged with inciting violence in articles in his magazine, the North Eastern Monthly, which is now closed.
He was also accused of receiving funds from the Tamil Tigers rebels. He denied supporting violence.
Mr Tissainayagam’s lawyer says he will appeal.
Mr Tissainayagam was found guilty of causing “racial hatred” and “supporting terrorism”, a court official said.
On trial for faking madness – as part of an artwork
Student turned her experience of breakdown into a performance piece
By Stina Backer in Stockholm
Monday, 31 August 2009
A Swedish art student who faked psychosis and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital – all as part of an “artwork” – will today be judged on public disorder charges in a trial in Stockholm that has divided the nation.
Anna Odell, a 35-year-old graduate at the city’s prestigious Konstfack art academy, staged the psychosis earlier this year for a film aimed at creating a debate about Swedish psychiatric care.
But her actions outraged the public and led to a media frenzy. She has been accused of wasting taxpayers’ money and of endangering those who are genuinely ill by wasting the time of the emergency services.
In May, the day after the opening of her film, entitled in Swedish Unknown woman: 2009-349701, she was charged with fraudulent practice, raising a false alarm and resisting arrest.
Downing Street approved Lockerbie bomber deal
From Times Online
August 30, 2009
Suzy Jagger and Tom Baldwin
Gordon Brown was dragged into the centre of the row over the early release of the Lockerbie bomber last night after it emerged that a key decision that could have paved the way for the terrorist to serve his sentence in Libya was approved by Downing Street.
A source close to Jack Straw told The Times that the move to include Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi in a prisoner transfer agreement in 2007 was a government decision and was not made at the sole discretion of the Justice Secretary. “It wasn’t just Jack who decided this. It was a Government decision. Jack did not act unilaterally.”
Ehud Olmert facing jail term over three corruption charges
From The Times
August 31, 2009
Sheera Frenkel in Jerusalem
Ehud Olmert, the former Israeli Prime Minister, was indicted on three counts of corruption yesterday. Mr Olmert resigned a year ago over allegations of corruption. He is accused of illegally accepting funds from an American backer, double-billing charities for trips abroad and advancing the clients of a former law colleague.
Menachem Mazuz, the Attorney-General, said that Mr Olmert faced charges of fraud, breach of trust and failure to report income. The cases against Mr Olmert date from his tenure as Finance Minister and Mayor of Jerusalem, though they surfaced when he became Prime Minister in 2006.
Mr Olmert has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. In a statement issued through a spokesman, he said that he was convinced that the court would find him innocent and clear his name once and for all.
Digging up the Saudi past: some would rather not
By DONNA ABU-NASR, Associated Press Writer – Mon Aug 31,
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Much of the world knows Petra, the ancient ruin in modern-day Jordan that is celebrated in poetry as “the rose-red city, ‘half as old as time,'” and which provided the climactic backdrop for “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”
But far fewer know Madain Saleh, a similarly spectacular treasure built by the same civilization, the Nabateans.
That’s because it’s in Saudi Arabia, where conservatives are deeply hostile to pagan, Jewish and Christian sites that predate the founding of Islam in the 7th century.
But now, in a quiet but notable change of course, the kingdom has opened up an archaeology boom by allowing Saudi and foreign archaeologists to explore cities and trade routes long lost in the desert.
World’s ‘Thriller’ dance record? Mexicans beat it.
Part homage, part Halloween, Saturday’s attempt to break the Guinness record for number of people dancing to Michael Jackson’s hit single drew more than 50,000 people (including over 12,000 dancers), according to Mexico City officials.
By Sara Miller Llana | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the August 30, 2009 edition
MEXICO CITY – Suggest to any Mexican that Mexico has a penchant for American pop culture, and a defensive reflex goes straight to mariachi, lucha libre, and anything else Mexican.
But thousands allowed America’s cultural hegemony to seep in on Saturday, as Mexicans from all walks of life gathered to retrace the dance steps in Michael Jackson’s hit 1983 video “Thriller” to mark what would have been the pop star’s 51st birthday.
In doing so they claimed to break the Guinness Book of World Records for number of people dancing to Thriller in a single gathering, surpassing attempts in both Spain and England. (The previous record was apparently set by a mere 242 students from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. in May. Guinness will make a final determination later.)