Swine Flu Is Widespread in 46 States as Vaccines Lag
By JACKIE CALMES and DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
Published: October 24, 2009
WASHINGTON – President Obama has declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency, allowing hospitals and local governments to speedily set up alternate sites for treatment and triage procedures if needed to handle any surge of patients, the White House said on Saturday.The declaration came as thousands of people lined up in cities across the country to receive vaccinations, and as federal officials acknowledged that their ambitious vaccination program has gotten off to a slow start. Only 16 million doses of the vaccine were available now, and about 30 million were expected by the end of the month. Some states have requested 10 times the amount they have been allotted.
Ever-Present Surveillance Rankles the British Public
By SARAH LYALL
Published: October 24, 2009
POOLE, England – It has become commonplace to call Britain a “surveillance society,” a place where security cameras lurk at every corner, giant databases keep track of intimate personal details and the government has extraordinary powers to intrude into citizens’ lives.A report in 2007 by the lobbying group Privacy International placed Britain in the bottom five countries for its record on privacy and surveillance, on a par with Singapore.
But the intrusions visited on Jenny Paton, a 40-year-old mother of three, were startling just the same.
But the intrusions visited on Jenny Paton, a 40-year-old mother of three, were startling just the same. Suspecting Ms. Paton of falsifying her address to get her daughter into the neighborhood school, local officials here began a covert surveillance operation. They obtained her telephone billing records.
Radovan Karadzic enters the dock in last act of Balkan wars
Trial of Bosnian Serb warlord brings to a climax 14-year battle to punish crimes against humanity
Ian Traynor in Brussels
The Observer, Sunday 25 October 2009
The former offices of a Dutch insurance company in The Hague will tomorrow morning see the climax of an extraordinary 14-year battle to seek redress for victims of the Balkan wars when the former Bosnian Serb warlord Radovan Karadzic goes on trial for genocide.
Poet and psychiatrist, convicted embezzler and new age guru, Karadzic is allegedly responsible for mass murder and the most barbaric behaviour in Europe since the Nazis. He is threatening to boycott the trial’s opening at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Barring the arrest of his fugitive colleague, General Ratko Mladic, the Karadzic trial could mark the end of 15 years of the tribunal’s work, a mixed record of achievements and failings in what has been a pioneering attempt to expand international justice to encompass crimes against humanity.
The week the Iron Curtain began to be torn apart
Twenty years ago, marches convulsed the cities of East Germany, from Berlin to Leipzig and Dresden
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Countdown to the fall of the wall
In 1989, the Communist bloc began to crumble. Russia repudiated the Brezhnev Doctrine (used to justify military interference in Warsaw Pact countries), declined to stop Poland holding free elections, then watched, impotently, as Hungary opted for democracy.
And, that summer, despite attempted clampdowns, tens of thousands of East Germans escaped over the Hungarian and Austrian borders – a criminal offence in their own land.
As demonstrations grew in strength, the East Berlin authorities struggled to contain pressure for freedom. Our build-up to the fall of the wall
as reported by The Independentbegins 20 years ago:
Senate’s climate bill a bit more ambitious
Early version would cap carbon allowance prices — and deficit
By Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Climate legislation took a small step forward late Friday night as Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) issued a version that includes big benefits for farmers, provisions for deficit reduction and a ceiling on carbon prices.
The proposal, sponsored by Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Boxer, calls for reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to a level 20 percent below 2005 emissions, a more ambitious target than the 17 percent set in a climate measure approved by the House in June.
White House confronts the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
The group has long been a powerful player in Washington. But the Obama White House is critical of the group’s positions and seeks to develop its own pipeline to the business world.
By Tom Hamburger and Alexander C. Hart
October 25, 2009
Reporting from Washington – The Obama White House, stepping in where other Democrats feared to tread, has launched a potentially risky fight with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — attempting to bypass the nation’s most powerful business organization and develop independent ties to corporate America.
In recent weeks, President Obama, his Energy secretary and one of his other most senior advisors have begun criticizing the chamber publicly, casting it as a profligate lobbying organization at odds with its members in opposing the administration on such issues as consumer protection and climate change.
Pakistani soldiers take Taliban stronghold
By Asif Shahzad and Ashra Khan in Islamabad
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Pakistani soldiers captured the hometown of the country’s Taliban chief yesterday in a breakthrough in their eight-day-old air and ground offensive in South Waziristan. An army spokesman claimed the Taliban was in disarray, with many deserting its ranks.
Kotkai town, home of the Pakistani Taliban chief, Hakimullah Mehsud, and one of his top deputies, Qari Hussain, lies along the way to the militant base of Sararogha, making it a strategically helpful catch. Most of its homes were turned into “strong bunkers” and it also hosts a suicide-bomber training camp.
The US military has kept up its own missile strikes, including a suspected attack that killed 22 yesterday.
Japan, Australia ‘Test’ Asean With Economic Plans
Oct. 25 (Bloomberg)
By Daniel Ten Kate and Shamim Adam
Japan and Australia pushed competing visions for forming an East Asian bloc during a summit of 16 Asian nations in Thailand, plans that differ on the role played by the U.S.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is meeting today with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China, Japan, South Korea, India and New Zealand. His idea for an “Asia-Pacific Community” explicitly includes the U.S. and India.
Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who took power last month, will put forth a “long-term vision” for an “East Asian Community,” foreign ministry spokesman Kazuo Kodama told reporters today. Japan will “closely discuss and coordinate” with the U.S., Kodama said yesterday without elaborating.
UN inspectors arrive in Iran to visit secret nuclear plant
From Times Online
October 25, 2009
A team of UN inspectors arrived in Iran this morning to visit the previously secret nuclear facililty at Qom, three weeks after Tehran admitted to the plant’s existence.
The team of scientists from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will spend three days in Iran as they inspect the facility being built inside a mountain near the holy Shia city south of Tehran, the capital.
The inspection will be the first time IAEA inspectors have been allowed access to the uranium enrichment plant.
Tehran told the international community about the secret plant on September 21, increasing fears that Tehran is enriching uranium with the ultimate aim of making the bomb.
Logging in Kenya forest feeds deadly drought
Mau is country’s biggest water catchment area and feeds key rivers
NAROK, Kenya – More than 200 of Ole Saloli’s cows have died, ruining his children’s inheritance and his safety net for old age. Now he wanders miles seeking pasture for the surviving animals, his bare feet as cracked and dry as the Kenyan earth he sleeps upon.
Saloli, who estimates he is around 80 years old, has seen many droughts. But he says they have gotten much, much worse since the devastation of the Mau Forest began.
“Mau Forest was created by God to make it rain and now people are destroying it,” Saloli said bitterly as he watched his 50 remaining cows searching for forage in the dust.
Fleeing drought in the Horn of Africa
A new kind of refugee has arrived: Those forced from their home regions not by war or persecution, but by the climate. A Kenyan camp is bursting with the displaced, some of whom share their stories.
By Edmund Sanders
October 25, 2009
Reporting from Dadaab, Kenya – For centuries, Adam Abdi Ibrahim’s ancestors herded cattle and goats across an unforgiving landscape in southern Somalia where few others were hardy enough to survive.
This year, Ibrahim became the first in his clan to throw in the towel, abandoning his land and walking for a week to bring his family to this overcrowded refugee camp in Kenya.
He’s not fleeing warlords, Islamist insurgents or Somalia’s 18-year civil war. He’s fleeing the weather.