Sharp rise in Chinese arrests at U.S. border
At least 261 have been arrested this year trying to cross near Tucson. Illegal Chinese immigrants can be big money for smugglers.
By Sebastian Rotella
October 5, 2009
Reporting from Nogales, Ariz. – Amid an overall drop in arrests of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S-Mexico border, an intriguing anomaly has cast a new light on human smuggling: Authorities report an almost tenfold spike in the number of Chinese people caught in the southern Arizona desert, the busiest smuggling corridor on the international line.
The Border Patrol in the Tucson sector has arrested at least 261 Chinese border-crossers this year, compared with an annual average of 32 during the last four years, officials said.
“They are the main [non-Mexicans] we catch,” said field operations supervisor Juventino Pacheco of the patrol’s international liaison unit in Nogales. “Lately we have been catching more Chinese than Central Americans.”
Unifying Dutch city falls to Muslim mayor
In Rotterdam, where cultural and social divides are apparent, the burden of bridging them now belongs to Morocco-born Ahmed Aboutaleb. How he fares could matter beyond his city’s borders.
By Henry Chu
Reporting from Rotterdam, Netherlands – The veiled women clutch their children’s hands as they scurry past the liquor store, ignoring rows of vodka bottles on their way to the Muslim butcher’s next door.
Across the street, male customers emerge from the Climax sex shop with their purchases and quickly stride away without a second glance at the Turkish kebab restaurant just opening for lunch.
The conservative and liberal, religious and secular, Dutch and foreign stand side by side here in Rotterdam, in a contrasting and at times uneasy coexistence where social and cultural middle ground can be elusive.
States Resist Medicaid Growth
Governors Fear For Their Budgets
By Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 5, 2009
The nation’s governors are emerging as a formidable lobbying force as health-care reform moves through Congress and states overburdened by the recession brace for the daunting prospect of providing coverage to millions of low-income residents.
The legislation the Senate Finance Committee is expected to approve this week calls for the biggest expansion of Medicaid since its creation in 1965. Under the Senate bill and a similar House proposal, a patchwork state-federal insurance program targeted mainly at children, pregnant women and disabled people would effectively become a Medicare for the poor, a health-care safety net for all people with an annual income below $14,404.
Obama’s Chinese honeymoon
The new administration’s relations with Beijing have been better than feared. But the first cracks are emerging
guardian.co.uk, Monday 5 October 2009 10.00 BST
China’s relations with President Obama’s administration have been, until very recently, excellent. Beijing had worried during Obama’s presidential campaign that a Democratic win might signal a protectionist stance towards China and overconcern with perceived human rights issues, but these fears had not proven grounded.
Yes, there were tensions, most prominently about the US naval surveillance activity within China’s special economic zone in the South China Sea. Yes, there were also a few ongoing major disagreements that Beijing and Washington still urgently needed to thrash out, on matters such as climate change.
But what had been impressive, even extraordinary, was that the handful of public frictions never reached crisis point, and were all dealt with within a climate of rather friendly negotiation.
Kurdistan rocked by oil revelation
Embarrassing claims highlight the Kurdish government’s lack of transparency and slow progress in combating corruption
guardian.co.uk, Monday 5 October 2009 08.00 BST
After electing a new prime minister last month, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Iraq’s Kurds are preparing themselves for a new era of politics. The success of the opposition party, Change, and its penetration of the two-party dominance of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic party (KDP) means that accountability could be arriving in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The countless challenges that lie ahead for the PUK-KDP-dominated coalition government include endemic corruption, unsatisfactory services and unemployment. Beyond the Kurdish borders, Iraqi politics continues to stagnate, with the KRG and the federal government in Baghdad still yet to reach a compromise over key outstanding issues like disputed territories and the hydrocarbons law.
Teach Gaza children about Holocaust, UN tells Hamas
Donald Macintyre reveals controversial plans to include a Jewish tragedy in lessons for Palestinian children
Monday, 5 October 2009
The United Nations’ refugee agency is planning to include the Holocaust in a new human-rights curriculum for Gaza’s secondary-school pupils, despite strident opposition to the idea from within Hamas.
John Ging, the UN Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) director of operations in Gaza, told The Independent that he was “confident and determined” that the Holocaust would feature for the first time in a wide-ranging curriculum that is being drafted.
Mr Ging, a passionate advocate for Palestinian civilians in Gaza who has recently faced increasingly personal criticism and even threats by elements in the Islamic faction, added: “No human-rights curriculum is complete without the inclusion of the facts of the Holocaust, and its lessons.”
Greek socialists win snap poll as voters punish conservatives
Outgoing Prime Minister steps down as party leader
By Elena Becatoros, Reuters, in Athens Monday, 5 October 2009
Greece’s Socialists trounced the governing conservatives in a landslide election yesterday with voters, angered by scandals and a faltering economy, ousting the Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis halfway through his second term.
Humbled by his New Democracy party’s worst electoral performance ever, Mr Karamanlis, 53, resigned as its leader and said a new chief is now needed for the party that was founded by his late uncle, Constantine Karamanlis, 35 years ago.
The Socialist leader and former foreign minister George Papandreou, 57, now follows in the footsteps of his father, Andreas Papandreou, and grandfather and namesake George Papandreou, both of whom served several terms as prime minister.
France and Germany make early moves for Europe’s foreign minister
From The Times
October 5, 2009
Charles Bremner in Paris and Roger Boyes in Berlin
France and Germany have begun jockeying for the top slots in the new-look Brussels, with each aiming to land the powerful new post of Europe’s foreign minister.
The “High Representative” for foreign and security policy is expected to have more clout than the new permanent president and is almost certain to come from the opposite political camp.
French and German officials have begun consultations for a common stand on the new posts created by the Lisbon treaty. President Sarkozy wants decisions on personnel to be made at this month’s European summit, but Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, is still negotiating a new coalition Government with her Free Democrat partners and wants more time.
Air India investigates mid-air brawl between pilots and cabin crew
From The Times
October 5, 2009
Jeremy Page, South Asia Correspondent
The pilots and cabin crew of an Air India flight brawled at 30,000ft after a stewardess accused a co-pilot of sexual harassment.
The cockpit of the Airbus A320 was reportedly left unmanned during the scuffle and at one point a pilot allegedly threatened to land Flight IC-844, from the United Arab Emirates to Delhi, in Pakistan, which it was flying over. According to Indian media reports, crew members threw punches and hurled abuse at each other in full view of 106 passengers.
Air India said it had grounded two pilots and two crew members over the incident, which happened at about 4.30am local time on Saturday.
“The incident of [a] scuffle between the two pilots and cabin crew members of [flight] IC-884 was reported yesterday morning,” said an Air India spokesman.
Suicide bomb hits UN in Pakistan
A suspected suicide bomber has attacked the UN World Food Programme offices in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, killing three people and injuring several more.
The BBC Monday, 5 October 2009
Two of the dead are local women, and the third is an Iraqi man.
It is unclear who is responsible but suspicion will fall on the Pakistani Taliban, correspondents say.
They promised revenge for the killing of their leader Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone strike in August and have been behind a series of recent attacks.
Last week at least 16 people died in two suicide car bomb attacks in north-western Pakistan.
‘A huge explosion downstairs’
Local television TV footage showed smoke rising from the heavily fortified UN building and shattered windows – shortly after the early afternoon attack.
Ex-Interpol man denies corruption
South Africa’s former chief of police Jackie Selebi has pleaded not guilty at the start of his corruption trial.
Jonah Fisher The BBC Monday, 5 October 2009
Mr Selebi resigned as head of Interpol after he was charged with having links to organised crime and accepting bribes worth 1.2m rand ($157,00, £98,000).
The BBC’s Jonah Fisher in Johannesburg says his case is seen as a test of a much-criticised justice system.
He will be the most senior member of the ruling African National Congress to face corruption charges.
Charges against ANC leader Jacob Zuma were dropped shortly before he became president after elections in April.
Somali president blasts Minn. terror recruiting
Young men, their parents ‘were wronged,’ president says
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The president of Somalia on Sunday denounced the recruiting of young men from Minnesota’s huge Somali community for terrorist activity in his war-ravaged homeland, and said he plans to work with the U.S. government to bring those still alive back home.
President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed spoke with The Associated Press while visiting the Minneapolis area, where authorities believe as many as 20 young Somali men – possibly recruited by a vision of jihad to fight – returned to the impoverished nation over the last two years.
Honduran military: An institution against democracy?
This year’s Day of the Soldier celebrations in Honduras got a mixed response. The military is now seen as tarnished by its role in the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya.
By Sara Miller Llana | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the October 4, 2009 edition
TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS – With rifle shots into the air and the national anthem sung by soldiers in salute, Saturday’s Day of the Soldier in Honduras seemed no different than any other year’s commemorations for the armed forces.
But this Oct. 3, after the June ouster of President Manuel Zelaya catapulted the Honduran military into the middle of a political saga, the customary congratulations from Honduran citizens are more muted.
“I always defended the military; I never let anyone speak badly of it,” says Justo Galo, who formed part of the military for five years in the early 80s. But when he woke up on June 28 and heard that the military had flown Mr. Zelaya out of the country, his lifelong views took a hard turn. “Now I see them as an institution that is killing democracy.”