Frantic Rescue Efforts in Chile as Troops Seek to Keep Order
By MARC LACEY
Published: February 28, 2010
LIMA, Peru – With frantic rescue efforts under way, a rising death toll and isolated outbreaks of looting, the Chilean president on Sunday issued an order that will send soldiers into the streets in the worst-affected areas to both keep order and speed the distribution of aid.
After huddling in a crisis meeting with her cabinet, President Michelle Bachelet called the damage caused by Saturday’s magnitude-8.8 quake “an emergency unparalleled in the history of Chile.” She said the death toll had reached 708 and suggested it would probably grow in the days ahead.
The police fired water cannons and tear gas to disperse hundreds of people who forced their way into shuttered shops in the southern city of Concepción, which was devastated.
Green fuels cause more harm than fossil fuels, according to repo
From The Times
March 1, 2010
Ben Webster, Environment Editor
Using fossil fuel in vehicles is better for the environment than so-called green fuels made from crops, according to a government study seen by The Times.
The findings show that the Department for Transport’s target for raising the level of biofuel in all fuel sold in Britain will result in millions of acres of forest being logged or burnt down and converted to plantations. The study, likely to force a review of the target, concludes that some of the most commonly-used biofuel crops fail to meet the minimum sustainability standard set by the European Commission.
Gun case presents quandary for Supreme Court justices
By Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 1, 2010
As a member of the Junior ROTC, teenager Antonin Scalia toted his rifle on the subway ride back and forth to Queens. As a hunter, he speaks lyrically of stalking wild turkeys. And as a justice, he may have reached the pinnacle of his more than two decades on the Supreme Court when he wrote the majority opinion that said the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own a firearm.
But when the justices on Tuesday confront the question of whether the amendment applies to state and local governments — not just the federal government and its enclaves, such as the District of Columbia — the court’s most prominent gun enthusiast faces something of a constitutional quandary.
Things are looking up for U.S. airlines
The industry is beginning to show signs of a recovery, with modest increases in revenue and forecasts of growing demand this year.
By Hugo Martín
March 1, 2010
After more than a year of slumping demand and sinking revenue, the nation’s airline industry is beginning to show signs of a recovery, with modest increases in revenue and forecasts of growing demand this year.
The indications of a recovery, documented in recent government and airline reports, come after 14 straight months of declining revenue for the nation’s airlines and passenger traffic totals that have been dropping for almost two years. Airline experts have blamed the drop in passengers on the recession, high unemployment rates and deep cuts to corporate travel budgets.
Atlantic storm kills 55 as it rages across Europe
By Genevieve Roberts in Paris Monday, 1 March 2010
At least 55 people were killed when the fiercest storm in a decade swept across France, and western Europe, with wave surges flooding coastal regions and hurricane-force winds leaving a trail of devastation in their wake.
Most of the victims were in France, where the storm, called Xynthia, crashed against the western coast in the early hours of yesterday morning, but there were also deaths in Spain, Portugal, Germany and Belgium.
Wind speeds hit 108 mph at the tip of the Eiffel Tower, centuries-old trees were uprooted in the grounds of Versailles and on the coast, waves of more than eight metres swept inland, forcing residents to head for the safety of their roof-tops.
Karadzic opens defence as Hague genocide trial resumes
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has begun outlining his defence as his genocide trial at The Hague resumes.
The BBC Monday, 1 March 2010
Mr Karadzic suspended his boycott of the trial, and appeared in court along with his lawyer on Monday.
The trial had been adjourned since November after the tribunal appointed a lawyer to represent Mr Karadzic.
He insists he is innocent of all 11 charges from the 1992-95 Bosnian war, but has refused to enter formal pleas.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) entered a “not guilty” plea for him.
On Monday he was expected to begin a two-day opening statement before prosecutors present their first witness on Wednesday.
Mr Karadzic, 64, faces two charges of genocide – including the killing in Srebrenica of more than 7,000 men and boys – as well as nine other counts including murder, extermination, persecution and forced deportation.
Iraqi PM accused of handing out guns in bid to buy tribal votes
• Claim by ex-senior spy raises election tensions
• Officials deny intelligence agency arms were diverted
Martin Chulov, Baghdad
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 28 February 2010 22.22 GMT
A senior Iraqi spy has accused the prime minister, Nour al-Maliki, of handing out thousands of guns to tribal leaders in a bid to win votes. The claim was made by Iraqi National Intelligence Service former spokesman, Saad al-Alusi, a week before Iraq’s general election, in which allegations of vote buying and exorbitant handouts have become widespread.
Maliki, who faces a bitterly contested final week of campaigning ahead of the7 March poll, has been photographed handing out guns to supporters in southern Iraq, engraved with a personal message from his office. However he denies that the delivery of weapons, along with cash payments, were improper.
Two Dubai Suspects Traveled to U.S.
By CHIP CUMMINS MARCH 1, 2010
DUBAI-At least two of the 26 suspects sought by Dubai police for the alleged killing of a top Hamas leader appear to have entered the U.S. shortly after his death, according to people familiar with the situation.
Records shared between international investigators show that one of the suspects entered the U.S. on Feb. 14, carrying a British passport, according to a person familiar with the situation. The other suspect, carrying an Irish passport, entered the U.S. on Jan. 21, according to this person. Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s body was found in a Dubai hotel room on Jan. 20.
There aren’t records of either man leaving the U.S., though investigators can’t be sure the two are still in the country, according to this person. Since the two were traveling with what investigators believe to be fraudulently issued passports, they may have traveled back out of the U.S. with different, bogus travel documents.
‘Invincible’ Taleban routed in raids on border camps
From The Times
March 1, 2010
Anthony Loyd in Peshawar
Significant leaders of the Pakistani Taleban have been killed or captured in an onslaught of frontier ground and air attacks, a Pakistani general has told The Times.
“The militant command and control centres and their caches have been dismantled or captured,” said Major-General Tariq Khan, one of the country’s most experienced commanders in the frontier war with the Taleban. “The kind of hits the leadership has taken, the casualties they have taken, the TTP [Pakistani Taleban] is no longer significant,” he said. “It has ended as a cohesive force. It doesn’t exist any more as an umbrella organisation that can influence militancy anywhere.”
The claims come at a time of improved military co-operation between America and Pakistan, in which US drones have killed a number of key Pakistani Taleban commanders, and Pakistani security agents have arrested at least four senior Afghan Taleban leaders over the past month.
India ready to walk extra mile if Pak acts against terror: PM
PTI, Mar 1, 2010, 01.47pm IST
India is willing to walk the “extra mile” to open a new chapter in relations with Pakistan but it must act decisively against terrorism, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asserted on Monday.
Addressing the Majlis-al-Shura or the Saudi Consultative Council here, he said India seeks a cooperative relationship with Pakistan for permanent peace as both countries are bound together by a shared future.
“We seek cooperative relations with Pakistan. Our objective is a permanent peace because we recognise that we are bound together by a shared future.
Al-Qaida growing in strength and numbers in Africa
By LOLITA C. BALDOR (AP
Al-Qaida’s terror network in North Africa is growing more active and attracting new recruits, threatening to further destabilize the continent’s already vulnerable Sahara region, according to U.S. defense and counterterrorism officials.
The North African faction, which calls itself Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), is still small and largely isolated, numbering a couple hundred militants based mostly in the vast desert of northern Mali. But signs of stepped-up activity and the group’s advancing potential for growth worry analysts familiar with the region.
The rapid recent rise of the al-Qaida group in Yemen – which spawned the Christmas airliner attack – is seen by U.S. officials and counterterrorism analysts as evidence that the North African militants could just as quickly take on a broader jihadi mission and become a serious threat to the U.S. and European allies.
The Mali-based militants have yet to show a capability to launch such foreign attacks, but are widening their involvement in kidnapping and the narcotics trade, reaping profits that could be used to expand terror operations, officials and analysts said.
Haiti confronts a monumental disposal problem
More than a month after the Jan. 12 earthquake that leveled most of Port-au-Prince, the huge task of clearing the rubble remains.
By Ken Ellingwood
March 1, 2010
Reporting from Port-Au-Prince, Haiti – When a city crashes to the ground, how do you dispose of it?
Six weeks after an earthquake reduced Port-au-Prince to the ruins of a lost war, Haitian and foreign officials who hope to build a new capital first have to confront the wreckage of the old one.
The capital is a panorama of rubble: collapsed and half-fallen stores, banks, apartment buildings and homes, hillsides covered by broken shacks that fell like dominoes. Gnarled steel rebar lies all over in massive tangles, like a thousand Medusas.