Areas Hit Hard by Swine Flu in Spring See Little Now
By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS and DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
Published: October 8, 2009
While concern over the spread of the H1N1 virus sweeps the country, epidemiologists in New York and a few other cities that were awash in swine flu last spring are detecting very little evidence of a resurgence.Although flu season will not peak until the weather gets cold, in New York, which was the nation’s hardest-hit city, officials say that flu activity is no higher than it normally is at this time of year and that school attendance is normal.
Last week, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of immunization at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “Most states do have quite a lot of disease right now, and that’s unusual for this time of year.”
Robert Fisk: Genocide forgotten: Armenians horrified by treaty with Turkey
A new trade deal is set to gloss over the murder of 1.5 million people
Thursday, 8 October 2009
In the autumn of 1915, an Austrian engineer called Litzmayer, who was helping build the Constantinople-Baghdad railway, saw what he thought was a large Turkish army heading for Mesopotamia. But as the crowd came closer, he realised it was a huge caravan of women, moving forward under the supervision of soldiers.
The 40,000 or so women were all Armenians, separated from their men – most of whom had already had their throats cut by Turkish gendarmerie – and deported on a genocidal death march during which up to 1.5 million Armenians died.
Subjected to constant rape and beatings, some had already swallowed poison on their way from their homes in Erzerum, Serena, Sivas, Bitlis and other cities in Turkish western Armenia.
Civilian, Military Officials at Odds Over Resources Needed for Afghan Mission
Obama’s War Sticker Shock
By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 8, 2009
In early March, after weeks of debate across a conference table in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the participants in President Obama’s strategic review of the war in Afghanistan figured that the most contentious part of their discussions was behind them. Everyone, save Vice President Biden’s national security adviser, agreed that the United States needed to mount a comprehensive counterinsurgency mission to defeat the Taliban.
That conclusion, which was later endorsed by the president and members of his national security team, would become the first in a set of recommendations contained in an administration white paper outlining what Obama called “a comprehensive, new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Preventing al-Qaeda’s return to Afghanistan, the document stated, would require “executing and resourcing an integrated civilian-military counterinsurgency strategy.”
Awaiting a puff of moon dust
Earthlings’ eyes will be riveted skyward Friday morning as NASA crashes a rocket into a crater to look for ice.
By John Johnson Jr.
October 8, 2009
In the predawn hours Friday, while those on the West Coast still snooze, a rocket is scheduled to punch a 13-foot-deep hole in a crater at the moon’s south pole that hasn’t seen sunlight in billions of years. The purpose: to find out whether ice lies hidden there.
NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, which set out for the moon in June, made a late-course correction Tuesday to better position itself to steer the rocket into the 2-mile-deep crater Cabeus at 4:30 a.m. PDT on Friday.
Four minutes later, if all goes according to plan, the spacecraft will fly through the cloud of debris that will rise above the lunar surface and linger there briefly.
Mitterrand faces calls to quit over ‘boys’ for sex claim
The French culture minister faced calls for his resignation over an autobiography published four years ago
Angelique Christafis in Paris
The Guardian, Thursday 8 October 2009
The French culture minister, Frédéric Mitterrand, last night faced calls for his resignation over an autobiography published four years ago in which he described paying “young boys” for sex while travelling abroad.
Mitterrand was the first major political figure to leap to the defence of the film director Roman Polanski when he was arrested in Switzerland last month facing deportation to the United States for having had sex with a 13-year-old girl there in 1977.
Mitterrand’s impassioned comments in support of Polanski, who had initially faces charges of rape, and against an “a frightening America”, were controversial and the French government eventually distanced itself.
Berlusconi’s legal immunity stripped by Italy’s top court
Pressure mounts for ‘lame duck’ PM to face prosecution over corruption charges
By Michael Day in Milan
Thursday, 8 October 2009
A controversial law granting Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi legal immunity has been dramatically thrown out by the country’s top court, raising the likelihood that the media mogul will again face prosecution on corruption charges.
As the political pressure mounted last night, the 73-year-old premier lambasted the Constitutional Court judges as “red toga-wearing tools of the left” and vowed not to quit, despite predictions by opponents that the ruling could force him to resign and hold a snap election. “We must govern for five years, with or without the law,” Mr Berlusconi told reporters outside his residence in Rome.
Mystery as Iran nuclear scientist disappears
Thursday, 8 October 2009
The disappearance of an Iranian nuclear scientist on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in June is raising questions about whether he defected and gave the West information on Iran’s nuclear programme.
Iran’s foreign minister accused the United States of involvement in the disappearance of Shahram Amiri, who reportedly worked at a university linked to the elite Revolutionary Guard military corps.
In a sign of the sensitivities surrounding Mr Amiri, Iranian officials have not even publicly identified Mr Amiri as a nuclear scientist, referring to him only as an Iranian citizen.
Mr Amiri’s wife has said he was researching medical uses of nuclear technology at a university and was not involved in the broader nuclear programme.
Saudi man gets 1,000 lashes for talking sex on television
From Times Online
A Saudi man who boasted about his sexual exploits on television has been sentenced to five years in jail and 1,000 lashes, in a case that has divided public opinion in the conservative Islamic kingdom.
Mazen Abdul-Jawad, a divorced father of four, was arrested in August after appearing in an episode of Bold Red Line, a show screened on the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) satellite channel.
The 32-year-old airline worker discussed the first time he had sex at 14, then took viewers into the bedroom of his bachelor pad in Jeddah, dominated by red accessories, and showed off blurred sex toys and lubricants. He was joined by three male friends for a discussion on what turns them on.
Kabul blast outside India embassy
At least 12 people have been killed and more than 80 injured in a car bomb explosion in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
The BBC Thursday, 8 October 2009
The blast occurred near the interior ministry office and the Indian embassy.
Officials said it was a suicide attack. Eyewitnesses reported glass and debris scattered in the street and a plume of smoke rising above the area.
India’s foreign secretary Nirupama Rao said she believed the attack was aimed against the embassy as the bomber had driven his car up to its outer wall.
Kabul has witnessed a number of attacks in recent months. Last month six Italian soldiers were killed in a bomb attack on a military convoy.
Most of the attacks have targeted international forces or government offices – but Afghan civilians are invariably killed as well.
Taliban say they’re no threat to other countries
8 years after U.S. invasion, insurgent group says ready for ‘prolonged war’
KABUL – Afghanistan’s insurgent Taliban marked the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion Wednesday saying they have no “agenda” to harm other countries but would continue fighting as long as America and its allies remain in the troubled nation.
The Taliban insistence that it would pose no threat to other countries appeared aimed at countering suspicions that the Islamist movement would support al-Qaida’s global jihad if they returned to power. Supporters of the war fear that al-Qaida would regain its once-dominant position in Afghanistan if the Taliban topple the U.S.-backed Afghan government.
Capitalist crunch hits Cuban cigar sales
From The Times
October 8, 2009
Hannah Strange, Latin America Correspondent
Once, no banker’s party would have been complete without a box of Cohibas or Montecristos being passed around the dinner table – a symbol of wealth and privilege. Now, as the global economic crunch forces even Wall Street high-flyers to tighten their belts, the crisis in capitalism has hit communist Cuba’s most famous export, forcing the island to slash tobacco production.
The amount of land devoted to growing the crop is being cut by more than 30 per cent this year, according to the Government in Havana, as the recession and spread of smoking bans eats into sales.