Obama’s Speech on Afghanistan to Envision Exit
By PETER BAKER, ERIC SCHMITT and DAVID E. SANGER
Published: November 29, 2009
WASHINGTON – President Obama plans to lay out a time frame for winding down the American involvement in the war in Afghanistan when he announces his decision this week to send more forces, senior administration officials said Sunday.
Although the speech was still in draft form, the officials said the president wanted to use the address at the United States Military Academy at West Point on Tuesday night not only to announce the immediate order to deploy roughly 30,000 more troops, but also to convey how he intends to turn the fight over to the Kabul government.
Timeline: Iran’s nuclear brinkmanship
How Iran wrangled with the west over its nuclear ambitions
Haroon Siddique and Matthew Weaver
guardian.co.uk, Monday 30 November 2009 08.17 GMT
Iran’s nuclear ambitions begin with a plan to build a power station in Bushehr on the Gulf coast with German help. It is scrapped after the Islamic revolution but resumes again in the 1990s.
Tehran forced to acknowledge the existence of a uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, which had ben developed secretly for the previous 18 years.
Satellite pictures confirm the development of a nuclear reactor at Bushehr. The US accuses Tehran of pursuing of weapons of mass destruction. The existence of a heavy water facility near the town of Arak also emerges.
A party both united and divided
Opposition to Obama is strong, but Republicans are split on GOP’s direction and leaders
By Jon Cohen and Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 30, 2009
The Republican rank and file is largely in sync with GOP lawmakers in their staunch opposition to efforts by President Obama and Democrats to enact major health-care legislation, but a new Washington Post poll also reveals deep dissatisfaction among GOP voters with the party’s leadership as well as ideological and generational differences that may prove big obstacles to the party’s plans for reclaiming power.
Republicans and GOP-leaning independents are overwhelmingly negative about Obama and the Democratic Party more broadly, with nearly all dissatisfied with the administration’s policies and almost half saying they are “angry” about them.
Chevrolet Volt: A sneak peek at GM’s plug-in hybrid
Even in this rough prototype, the whole car seems lighted from within by the ambitions of its builders. And it goes about 40 miles before dipping into its gas tank.
By Dan Neil
November 30, 2009
It accelerates with a big husky twist of its electric motor. Actually, you can even chirp the front tires if you push the go-button hard enough — very unlike a golf cart. It corners confidently and brakes crisply and, if it’s no Ferrari, it certainly won’t embarrass itself on the 110 Freeway, otherwise known as the Pasadena Grand Prix.
It’s comfortable, practical and — graded on the curve of five-seat family hatchbacks — reasonably attractive. Think German-made-dishwasher pretty.
Swiss vote to ban construction of minarets on mosques
Vote represents blow to Switzerland’s political establishment
Ian Traynor, Europe editor
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 29 November 2009 22.36 GMT
Switzerland became the first country in Europe todayto vote to curb the religious practices of Muslims when a referendum banning the construction of minarets on mosques was backed by a solid majority.
The surprise result, banning minarets in a country that has only four mosques with minarets and no major problems with Islamist militancy, stunned the Swiss establishment, which was bracing itself for a backlash in the Middle East.
The result looks likely to cause strife where there was relative peace, sully the country’s image abroad, damage investment and trade with the Muslim world, and set back efforts to integrate a population of some 400,000 Muslims, most of whom are European Muslims – and non-mosque-goers – from the Balkans.
Former soldier suspected of train bombing
Islamic militant blamed for an earlier attack on same Russian rail line
By Shaun Walker in Moscow Monday, 30 November 2009
Russian authorities suspect a former Russian soldier of being behind Friday’s train derailment which killed at least 25 people and injured around 100. According to news reports yesterday, the Russian security services have marked Pavel Kosolapov, a Russian soldier turned Islamic militant, as one of the top suspects in the train derailment, which appears to have been caused by a bomb.
Little is known about Mr Kosolapov, and there is only one grainy photograph of him in public circulation. He is believed to have converted to Islam during the 1990s and become a close associate of Shamil Basayev, the terrorist mastermind behind the Beslan school siege, who was finally killed by Russian forces in 2006.
Zardari ‘must relinquish powers of Musharraf’
Pakistan President accused of dragging his feet on constitutional change
By Andrew Buncombe and Omar Waraich in Lahore Monday, 30 November 2009
Pakistan’s beleaguered President, Asif Ali Zardari, should immediately relinquish many of his powers, a prominent opposition politician said yesterday in the latest twist to a long-brewing crisis.
Shahbaz Sharif, the brother of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister of Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province, called on Mr Zardari to renounce, without delay, his powers to fire an elected government and appoint military chiefs.
Journalists protest massacre in Philippines
By TERESA CEROJANO
Associated Press Writer
MANILA, Philippines – Some 1,000 journalists and activists marched Monday in the capital to protest the massacre in the southern Philippines of 57 civilians, including at least 30 journalists and their staff in the world’s deadliest attack on the media.
Clad mostly in black shirts and carrying a black mock coffin as well as placards calling for a stop to media killings, they demanded the arrest of all suspects in the Nov. 23 massacre in southern Maguindanao province.
Iran stokes tensions with huge nuclear expansion
From The Times
November 30, 2009
Catherine Philp, Diplomatic Correspondent
Iran plans to build ten new uranium enrichment plants in a gesture of defiance to the West.
The escalation of its nuclear programme was announced yesterday, two days after world powers ordered Iran to halt construction of a plant near Qom and to adhere immediately to five United Nations resolutions demanding it stop uranium enrichment.
The censure from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), with rare backing from Russia and China, provoked anger in Iran where members of parliament demanded the withdrawal of co-operation with UN inspectors.
Dubai stocks plunge as debt crisis fears continue
The main stock markets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have dived at least 6%.
The BBC Monday, 30 November 2009
The falls came after Dubai’s property developer, Nakheel, asked for trading of some of its Islamic bonds to be suspended.
Shares are trading for the first time since the state-owned property company Dubai World asked for an extension on repaying its debts.
The central bank of the United Arab Emirates said on Sunday it would provide banks with extra liquidity.
Dubai’s Financial Market Index tumbled 6.9% to 1,948.83 in the first hour of trading after the four-day break for the Eid holiday.
Right-wing rancher Porfirio Lobo wins Honduras election
From Times Online
November 30, 2009
Porfirio Lobo, a right-wing businessman from Honduras’ political old guard has been voted in as the country’s new president, in a controversial election which Honduran leaders hoped would turn the page on the June coup that ousted leftist Manuel Zelaya.
Exit polls indicated that Mr Lobo, a wealthy rancher and the National Party’s candidate, had won by 55% of the vote and early today his his closest rival, Elvin Santos of the ruling Liberal Party, conceded defeat.
As the partial election results were announced hundreds of Mr Lobo supporters waved flags and danced in a victory celebration in Tegucigalpa, the capital.