Bill Clinton in North Korea to Seek Release of U.S. Reporters
By MARK LANDLER and PETER BAKER
Published: August 4, 2009
WASHINGTON – Former President Bill Clinton landed in North Korea on Tuesday to negotiate the release of two American television journalists sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for illegally entering North Korean territory, according to a person briefed on the mission.
Mr. Clinton flew into Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, in an unmarked jet early Tuesday morning local time, Central TV, a North Korean station, reported. The White House declined to comment.
Citing television footage from Pyongyang, The Associated Press said Mr. Clinton was greeted at the airport by North Korean officials including the chief nuclear negotiator Kim Kye Gwan and Yang Hyong Sop, vice parliamentary speaker. The footage showed him smiling and bowing as a young girl presented him with flowers.
New Leader Tries to Get Toyota Back on the Road
By MICHELINE MAYNARD
Published: August 3, 2009
DETROIT – General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are not the only ones working through wrenching restructurings. Toyota is, as well, though with a much lower profile.
The results have yet to show, and in fact, no one at Toyota expects 2009 to be anything but dismal. (On Tuesday, the company reported a loss of $819 million for the first quarter.)
Its new president, Akio Toyoda, has moved quickly since taking charge in June, when he declared his dismay at the company’s financial crisis.
“Like everyone in the company, I am extremely frustrated” about the automaker’s decline, Mr. Toyoda said at his first news conference as president. “So we must start again from the ground up.”
Strategy On Flu Under Revision
U.S. Officials to Put Less Emphasis on School Closings
By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
The Obama administration is finalizing guidelines that would scale back when the federal government recommends closing schools in response to the swine flu pandemic, several people involved in the deliberations said Monday.
More targeted guidance would mark a change in the government’s approach from this spring, when health officials suggested that schools shut down at the first sign of the H1N1 virus. They later relaxed that advice.
New GI Bill to give vets $78 billion in tuition benefits
The newly enacted law could offer some Iraq and Afghanistan veterans full tuition at a public college for four years. Obama calls it ‘an investment in our own country.’
By Mark Silva
August 4, 2009
Reporting from Washington — President Obama on Monday called a new GI Bill offering college tuition assistance to veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan “an investment in our own country.”
The new law is expected to offer veterans $78 billion in benefits over the coming decade. It is the most comprehensive education benefit offered to veterans since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the original GI Bill for World War II veterans in 1944.
The new GI Bill is “not simply a debt that we are repaying to the remarkable men and women who have served,” Obama said at a ceremony at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. “It is an investment in our own country.”
‘There must be an architect somewhere who gets very rich furnishing dictators’
David Smith visits National Heroes Acre in Zimbabwe where Robert Mugabe will one day be buried
David Smith, Africa correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 4 August 2009 07.00 BST
“Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes” – it’s a priceless line spoken by Galileo after he has recanted to avoid torture by the papal authorities in Bertolt Brecht’s play The Life of Galileo. The sentiment can be equally hard to avoid in many parts of Africa.
National Heroes Acre is a burial ground for those who lived and died for Zimbabwe. Construction began in 1981, a year after independence, and continues on a hill overlooking Harare. It is a favourite spot for President Robert Mugabe to deliver bombastic speeches denouncing his foes.
This hallowed cemetery is also the place where, though his supporters are seemingly in denial about his mortal flesh, Mugabe will one day be buried.
Proetsts outside court as Lubna Hussein faces lashes over trousers
From The Times
August 4, 2009
Tristan McConnell in Nairobi
Scores of women today protested outside court in support of a woman journalist who faces flogging for wearing trousers in Sudan.
Lubna Hussein, a widow in her thirties, challenged the authorities on the eve of her trial, saying that she is willing to take thousands of lashes if it advances the rights of the country’s women.
Ululating women carried banners and headbands with the message,, “No return to the dark ages,” and shouted slogans against laws which ban dress deemed indecent. Riot police armed with batons moved in to clear the streets around the protesters.
Make way, Fatah young guns tell Arafat generation
First convention in two decades seeks to regain ground lost to Hamas and deal with corruption
By Ben Lynfield in Bethlehem
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
Fatah, the dominant Palestinian movement under Yasser Arafat that has gone from debacle to defeat since his death, begins its first leadership convention in 20 years today.
The big question as more than 2,000 delegates gather in Bethlehem is whether the secular group on which the world pins any remaining hopes for a peace deal with Israel can cast off the taint of corruption, regain its legitimacy and put forward new faces who can take back the ground lost to the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas movement.
One such face belongs to Ziyad Abu Ayn, a close associate of the jailed leader of the second intifada, Marwan Barghouthi.
Iraqi Government hit with claims that man died in detention after torture
From The Times
August 4, 2009
A man died in Iraqi army detention after allegedly being beaten, given electric shocks with a cattle prod and burnt with cigarettes in a case that highlights the abuses suffered by detainees at the hands of Iraqi security forces.
The fresh allegations undermine claims by Britain and the United States that the new Iraqi Government respects the rule of law and human rights, more than six years after Saddam Hussein was ousted.
In addition the US Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into allegations that one of its agents in Baghdad assisted in the beating of an Iraqi suspect, according to a former American adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Defence.
Thomas Cruise, who worked at the ministry’s human rights branch, says that the US-led coalition turned a blind eye to other abuses such as the alleged torture and murder two years ago of Adnan Awad Mohammed Thaib al-Jumaili.
Da, my smozhem! Russia’s answer to Obama
That’s ‘yes, we can’ in Russian – which could be the motto of the country’s answer to Obama.
By Shaun Walker
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
He’s standing for elected office, he brings a message of change, and he’s black. This has been enough for Joaquim Crima, a watermelon salesman who lives in a small town in southern Russia, to be dubbed the “Volgograd Obama”.
Mr Crima, a 37-year-old native of Guinea-Bissau, plans to stand for mayor of the district of Srednyaya Akhtuba, part of the Volgograd Region. If elected, he would become the first black man ever to hold public office in Russia.
Even though the elections are not until October, Mr Crima has started his campaign. He has a Russian passport, has lived in the district for more than a decade and is known locally not as Joaquim but as Vasily Ivanovich.
EU warns Georgia and South Ossetia against raising tensions
The European Union has called on George and South Ossetia to grant “unrestricted access” to EU monitors in the region. Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the war there, tensions are flaring.
CAUCASUS | 04.08.2009
The EU said on Monday that it “noted with concern” the accusations of shelling and other incidents on both sides of the South Ossetian administrative boundary line.
Tensions have escalated in the region as South Ossetia has accused Georgian forces of firing mortars at it over the weekend. One year after the five-day war between Russia and Georgia, Moscow has warned Tbilisi it reserved the right to use force to defend civilians if Georgia continues “provocations” in the Caucasus.
The Georgian interior ministry said late on Monday that three rocket-propelled grenades were fired from South Ossetia at the village of Plavismani on the Georgian side of the boundary. No one was reported hurt.
Plague death toll rises in China
A third man has died of pneumonic plague in north-western China where a town of more than 10,000 people has been sealed off, officials say.
The BBC Tuesday, 4 August 2009
The 64-year-old man was a neighbour of the first two people to die from the plague in Ziketan in Qinghai Province.
Police have set up checkpoints around Ziketan, as medics are disinfecting the area and killing rats and insects.
Pneumonic plague, which attacks the lungs, can spread from person to person or from animals to people.
A spokeswoman for the World Health Organization, Vivian Tan, earlier said an outbreak such as this was always a concern, but praised the Chinese for reacting quickly and for getting the situation under control.
A BBC correspondent in Beijing, Michael Bristow, says that unlike in the past the authorities are being very open about this outbreak.
Terrorist cell plotted suicide attack on base, court told
Steve Butcher and Adrian Lowe
August 4, 2009 – 3:32PM
A man charged over an alleged conspiracy to attack an army base in NSW put on a defiant face in court today, refusing to stand before the magistrate.
Nayef El Sayed, 25, of Glenroy, briefly appeared at Melbourne Magistrates Court this afternoon. He was remanded in custody to reappear on October 26.
El Sayed would not stand when asked to by the magistrate, Peter Reardon. When asked why, El Sayed’s lawyer, Anthony Brand, said his client would not stand for any man except for God, according to his religious beliefs.
Venezuelan TV station is stormed by supporters of Hugo Chavez
Rory Carroll in Caracas
The Guardian, Tuesday 4 August 2009
Dozens of militant supporters of President Hugo Chavez stormed an opposition TV station yesterday in an escalation of Venezuela’s “media war”.
Around 30 activists with red berets forced their way into the Caracas headquarters of Globovision, lobbed tear gas and threatened staff with handguns.
The raid came amid a government crackdown on critics of Chavez’s socialist revolution, a campaign which human rights groups have condemned as an attack on free speech. In recent days the government has revoked the licences of dozens of radio stations and proposed a law which would jail people deemed guilty of “media crimes” for up to four years.