‘Cash for clunkers’ keeps dealers busy
Would-be buyers race in as reports surface that the federal rebate program is running out of money. The Obama administration is keeping it going at least through the weekend.
By Andrea Chang and Tiffany Hsu
August 1, 2009
Anxious buyers were rolling into Southern California car dealerships Friday, eager to snag a cash-for-clunkers deal while they still had the chance.
And some dealers said they were girding for a hellish weekend with a lucrative twist.
At Galpin Ford in North Hills, where huge banners promised “Big ca$h for your clunker,” the showroom was packed with people.
“I’ve never worked so hard,” said Galpin salesman Brian Fraleigh, who said he worked selling cars until 3:30 a.m. Friday and was back at his post before noon.
Car dealers said they have seen a healthy increase in customers all week, but things took off Thursday night when reports surfaced that the program was running out of money.
Losing Afghanistan’s Drug War
The U.N. drug czar says that efforts to eradicate opium have failed.
After spending years and hundreds of millions of dollars trying to eradicate the fields of poppies that produce opium in Afghanistan, the United States suddenly announced in June that, in the words of special Af-Pak envoy Richard Holbrooke, “eradication is a waste of money.” Instead, NATO and Afghan forces are trying to focus on the nexus between the opium trade and Taliban financing. Nobody has watched these developments more closely than Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the Vienna-based U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. A frequent visitor to Afghanistan himself, he also has a staff of some 360 locals “crisscrossing the country,” tracking the growth and sale of narcotics. In a series of interviews with NEWSWEEK’s Christopher Dickey, Costa talked about the surprising drug story behind the war story in Afghanistan. Excerpts:
Health Bill Clears Hurdle, and Hints at Consensus
By ROBERT PEAR and DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
Published: July 31, 2009
WASHINGTON – House members headed home on Friday, leaving behind the outlines of a nearly $1 trillion health care overhaul that is sure to draw fire from a variety of interests, but also shows the beginnings of a consensus that would provide insurance for more Americans and give them new rights in dealing with insurers.
As a final act before recessing until September, one crucial panel, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, approved landmark health legislation that could ultimately lead to coverage for about 95 percent of Americans and create a new government-run insurance program.
The 31-to-28 vote occurred at 9:05 p.m. Friday, at the end of a session that began at 10 a.m. Five Democrats joined all 23 Republicans on the panel in voting no.
Talk Radio Campaign Frightening Seniors
Provision for End-of-Life Counseling Is Described by Right as ‘Death Care’
By Ceci Connolly
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 1, 2009
A campaign on conservative talk radio, fueled by President Obama’s calls to control exorbitant medical bills, has sparked fear among senior citizens that the health-care bill moving through Congress will lead to end-of-life “rationing” and even “euthanasia.”
The controversy stems from a proposal to pay physicians who counsel elderly or terminally ill patients about what medical interventions they would prefer near the end of life and how to prepare instructions such as living wills. Under the plan, Medicare would reimburse doctors for one session every five years to confer with a patient about his or her wishes and how to ensure those preferences are followed. The counseling sessions would be voluntary.
Spanish police hunt six Eta suspects
Tourists in Spain told to be vigilant as police scour country for further two possible car bombs planted by Basque separatists
Giles Tremlett in Madrid
Holidaymakers in Spain were told today to be on the lookout for half a dozen members of the violent Basque separatist group Eta as police scoured the country for a further two possible car bombs.
A countrywide hunt was launched as police published photographs of six named suspects, four men and two women in their early to mid-20s, thought to belong to Eta cells that planted bombs in Spain this week.
Two of the suspects were reportedly spotted on the holiday island of Mallorca shortly before a bomb killed two policemen in the busy resort town of Calvia yesterday.
Mont St Michel’s isle restored
A grand environmental project harnessing sea power will sweep away the silt and sand that have built up over the centuries and connected the French landmark to the mainland, reports John Lichfield
Saturday, 1 August 2009
Seen from afar, the Mont Saint Michel looks likes a gigantic sandcastle, permanently stranded at low tide. Closer, in summer-time, it resembles Disneyland. The Mont’s single, narrow, medieval street is sometimes so jammed with tourists you have the impression that you could move along without your feet touching the ground.
In the 8th century, when a chapel was carved into its granite pinnacle, the Mont was a rocky island, three miles from the shore of the bay where Normandy and Brittany join.
She led a people power revolution to depose the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and become president of the Philippines, but could not resolve the country’s enduring conflicts
Vincent McKee and Claire Wallerstein
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 1 August 2009 00.42 BST
The former president of the Phillipines, Corazón Aquino, universally known as Cory, who has died of colon cancer aged 76, was the most recognisable symbol of the turbulence endured by her country over the last four decades. The 1983 slaying of her husband, the opposition politician Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, by assassins acting for the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, prompted this shy, religious widow into challenging his regime. Its attempt to rig the presidential election in February 1986 led to its being overthrown, and to her installation as president. But while she remained personally popular, not even a “people power” revolution was enough to resolve the conflicts dividing the nation.
Aquino avoided the limelight, and was more comfortable among priests and nuns than politicians. Yet, with dignified stoicism, she persevered with the duties of a presidency that had been thrust upon her by tragedy and circumstance.
‘The world went silent . . . being blown up was too quick to be frightening’
From The Times
August 1, 2009
Spurts of dust kicked up in the field to the left of the US Marines and the clatter of gunfire grew louder. The Marines began to run, their bodies taking on the hunched and wary posture of troops under fire. Shouting into radios, officers were struggling to catch up with the ambush that was beginning to envelop them.
More regular, disciplined shots sounded close by. A pall of ugly brown smoke hung in the clear dawn air several hundred metres away, marking the spot where a bomb explosion had initiated the Taleban ambush. It was 6.45am.
I was in the middle of the first squad of Marines. We pounded headlong towards a mud compound ahead. As we got to about 10ft of the corner of the building, the world went suddenly and inexplicably silent and everything turned white.
Ahmadinejad denies rift with Supreme Leader and attacks conservatives
By Nasser Karimi and Lee Keath In Tehran
Saturday, 1 August 2009
The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad begins his second term next week, undermined by a deepening feud with his fellow hard-liners and under assault from a pro-reform opposition movement that has shown it can bring out thousands of protesters despite the fierce crackdown that began seven weeks ago.
Yesterday Mr Ahmadinejad sought shelter with his top supporter, declaring that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was “like a father” to him. The President accused his hard-line rivals of trying to drive a wedge between him and the man who sits at the top of Iran’s clerical leadership and who has final say in all state matters.
In a speech in the north-eastern city of Mashhad, Mr Ahmadinejad said: “Some in recent days have portrayed the relationship between the leader and the administration as in doubt, they tried to imply distance and rift.
Iran poll protests trial begins
The first trial of people allegedly involved in post-election violence in Iran has begun, Iranian media said.
The BBC Saturday, 1 August 2009
The defendants included leading members of the opposition movement, including a former vice-president.
The state news agency said the charges included rioting, vandalism and “acting against national security”.
Media reports said dozens of people had gone on trial. Authorities arrested hundreds in the aftermath of the disputed 12 June presidential election.
News agency Irna said other charges included “having ties with counter-revolutionary groups.”
Radical Islamic leader Mohammed Yusuf shot dead by Nigerian security forces
From The Times
August 1, 2009
Nigerian security forces claimed victory yesterday over a radical Islamic sect blamed for some of the worst violence to rock the West African country for years after police shot dead its leader.
While police said that he died in a shootout human rights campaigners have alleged that he had been executed without due process and warned of revenge attacks to come.
Mohammed Yusuf, leader of the so-called Nigerian Taleban, was killed after he was captured on Thursday night at the end of a four-day manhunt. Hundreds of people gathered yesterday to see Yusuf’s corpse, laid on the ground outside the police headquarters alongside the bodies of other presumed members of his group in the northern city of Maiduguri.