Afghan women fear loss of hard-won progress
Activists say they have been kept out of any deal-making with Taliban
By Karin Brulliard
LAGHMAN, Afghanistan – The head-to-toe burqas that made women a faceless symbol of the Taliban’s violently repressive rule are no longer required here. But many Afghan women say they still feel voiceless eight years into a war-torn democracy, and they point to government plans to forge peace with the Taliban as a prime example.
Gender activists say they have been pressing the administration of President Hamid Karzai for a part in any deal-making with Taliban fighters and leaders, which is scheduled to be finalized at a summit in April.
William Shakespeare’s lost 18th Century play Double Falsehood ‘not a hoax
It may be a case of all’s well that ends well, or simply much ado about nothing, but an academic claims to have solved a mystery which intrigued Shakespeare scholars for hundreds of years.
By Nick Britten, and Richard Alleyne
Published: 7:00AM GMT 16 Mar 2010
An 18th-century drama attributed to the Bard but dismissed as a hoax, truly is his work, according to an expert in the literature of the time.
Double Falsehood, published by Lewis Theobald in 1728, is a version of Shakespeare’s long-lost play Cardenio, he believes.
The original was a collaboration between Shakespeare and John Fletcher, his successor as house playwright to the King’s Men company. It was performed twice in 1613 but never made it into print and was lost to history.
Theobald claimed, more than a century later, to have had three copies of the play, which were also subsequently lost, on which he based his adaptation.
Double Falsehood was declared a hoax soon after it opened and disappeared, although Theobald became a famous editor of the playwright.
Defendants Fresh From War Find Service Counts in Court
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
Published: March 15, 2010
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – When Judge Robert C. Chambers handed down Timothy Oldani’s federal sentence for selling stolen military equipment on eBay, he gave the former Marine a break.
In Iraq, Mr. Oldani had performed the jangling work of detonating improvised explosive devices and had seen six of his fellow Marines burned alive in an armored vehicle. He left the service with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress syndrome that, the judge concluded, had clouded his judgment. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the prison term could have been nearly five years; Judge Chambers decided on just five months, with three years of supervised release and treatment.
Place names are the domain of an obscure U.S. board
Mt. Diablo or Mt. Reagan? And shouldn’t it be the Gulf of America? The U.S. Board on Geographic Names has to decide.
By Richard Simon
March 16, 2010
Reporting from Washington
One man wanted to name a stream in Glendale the Stream of Consciousness. An avid hiker proposed calling a rock formation in Utah the Golden Arches because it brought to mind McDonald’s. And a Girl Scout troop dug into the cookie jar to come up with a name for a Pennsylvania creek: Tagalong Run.
Anyone can propose a name for a feature of American geography. And hundreds do.
But whether the suggestions actually make it on the map is up to the obscure U.S. Board on Geographic Names, responsible for deciding the names of natural features, including glaciers, mountains, valleys, rivers and ponds.
Silvio Berlusconi faces inquiry over bid to block ‘hostile’ TV show
Italian PM placed under investigation by magistrates after wiretap
Tom Kington in Rome
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 16 March 2010
Silvio Berlusconi has been placed under investigation by Italian magistrates on suspicion of pressuring Italy’s media watchdog to block transmission of a state television talk show he considered hostile, it was reported on Monday.
The announcement, by the news service Ansa, came as figures released by the Italian parliament revealed that the prime minister’s income, partly derived from private TV channels, had shot up to €23m (£21m) last year from €14.5m in 2008.
I will only resign if Pope asks me, says defiant Irish cardinal
Storm over revelations that cleric helped to silence victims of paedophile priest
By David McKittrick, Ireland Correspondent Tuesday, 16 March 2010
The head of the Catholic church in Ireland yesterday rejected growing pressure to resign over his involvement in the country’s latest clerical child abuse scandal, insisting that he would stand down only on the Pope’s orders.
The position of Cardinal Sean Brady is in doubt following revelations that he was party to the imposition of an oath of silence on two young people complaining of abuse by one of Ireland’s most notorious paedophile priests. After two meetings in 1975 the priest, Father Brendan Smyth, went on to abuse many other young people over the following two decades before being jailed.
Supreme Leader tries to ban Charshanbeh Suri in attempt to quell protests
From The Times
March 16, 2010
Iran’s Supreme Leader is seeking to ban the Iranian equivalent of Bonfire Night in case the opposition turns it into another protest against his regime.
“Charshanbeh Suri [Red Wednesday] has no Sharia basis and causes much harm and corruption and should be avoided altogether,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared, in what opponents called a fatwa.
Millions of Iranians celebrate the festival, a prelude to the Persian new year, by lighting fires in the streets and letting off firecrackers on a night of anarchy that the regime has tolerated but never encouraged.
Palestinians clash with police in East Jerusalem
Palestinians have clashed with Israeli police in East Jerusalem amid increased tension over settlement building and the rededication of a synagogue.
The BBC Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Palestinians burned tyres and threw rocks and police fired stun grenades as rioting broke out in a number of areas.
The rioting follows Israel’s move to build 1,600 new East Jerusalem homes, angering the US. Its Mid-East envoy, George Mitchell, has delayed his visit.
The reopening of a synagogue in the Old City also drew Palestinian protests.
The clashes broke out in a number of areas, including Qalandia, the Shu’fat refugee camp, Wadi al-Jouz, al-Eisaweyah, Silwan, Ras al-Amoud and near the al-Aqsa mosque.
Sri Lanka opposition leader Sarath Fonseka to face court martial today
From Times Online
March 16, 2010
Jeremy Page South Asia Correspondent
General Sarath Fonseka, Sri Lanka’s former army chief, faces a court martial today that could see him jailed for up to five years on charges that his supporters say are designed to thwart his political ambitions.
The General who led the army to victory over the Tamil Tigers last year will be tried by a three-member panel of two-star generals on seven charges including “conduct unbecoming”, engaging in politics while still army chief, and making irregular procurements.
Afghanstan war: Are some Taliban ignoring Mullah Omar’s ethics code?
Last summer, Taliban leader Mullah Omar issued a new ethics code for Taliban fighters. But two killings of Taliban hostages indicate that those moral guidelines for conducting the Afghanistan war are being ignored by some fighters.
By Roy Gutman McClatchy Newspapers / March 15, 2010
In fact, the killings of Nabiullah, a 29-year-old police colonel who’d been held for 10 weeks, and Junid Hejeran, a 26-year-old translator with U.S. special forces in southern Zabul province, who’d been held for days, violated a new set of ethical principles that Mullah Mohammad Omar, the top Afghanistan Taliban commander, issued last summer.
In mid-November, around the time of the killings, American and Afghan forces arrested a Sunni Muslim cleric known as Mullah Naqib, the local Taliban strongman, who allegedly held both men and ordered their executions, officials of both countries said.
Nigeria is falling apart, says Nobel prize-winning author
Veteran writer and activist Wole Soyinka says his country is now a failed state. Daniel Howden reports from Lagos
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Nigeria is close to breaking up and its leadership has descended into a “theatre of the absurd”, according to the Nobel prize-winning playwright Wole Soyinka, who has been leading protests against the nation’s political crisis.
The veteran writer and civil rights activist told The Independent that his home country was now a “failed state” where ordinary people’s “anger has peaked”, with potentially lethal consequences. “Nigeria is looking at its last chance in the next year,” he said.
In Egypt, rumors of President Hosni Mubarak demise fuel uncertainty. Who will lead next?
Egypt has been churning with speculation after President Hosni Mubarak had surgery in Germany last week, despite official reports that he’s recovering well. He has ruled the country for nearly three decades.
By Kristen Chick Correspondent / March 15, 2010
More than a week after Egypt’s 81-year-old President Hosni Mubarak underwent surgery in Germany, the Arab world’s most populous country is churning again with speculation over his condition.
But this time the rumors, which sent Egypt’s stocks down on Sunday and Monday, underscore heightened uncertainty in Egypt over who will succeed Mr. Mubarak. Democracy advocates are pushing for the ability to elect a leader in a free and fair election, hoping to overturn a regime that has overseen human rights abuses and intimidated opposition parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
“Egypt is facing a serious and critical moment, and everybody feels it,” says Hassan Nafaa, a political scientist at Cairo University who has organized a campaign against hereditary succession in Egypt. “This will make it worse, certainly.
Funky beach town of Jacmel could be key to Haiti’s economic revival
By William Booth
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
JACMEL, HAITI — Behind the peeling facades and louvered shutters of its faded mansions and crumbling warehouses, this little beach town was a happening place before the earthquake — and if Haiti is to ever revive its shattered economy, planners say Jacmel needs to draw some tourists again.
“Tourism will not be the cure for all that ails Haiti,” said Eduardo Marques Almeida, head of the Haitian office of the Inter-American Development Bank, “but Haiti has a lot to offer a foreign visitor, and Jacmel is one of places where the country should put its resources.”