Afghan Taliban getting stronger, Pentagon says
A Pentagon assessment, while expressing confidence in U.S. strategy, says the movement has flourished despite repeated assaults.
By Julian E. Barnes, Los Angeles Times
April 29, 2010
Reporting from Washington
A Pentagon report presented a sobering new assessment Wednesday of the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan, saying that its abilities are expanding and its operations are increasing in sophistication, despite recent major offensives by U.S. forces in the militants’ heartland.
The report, requested by Congress, portrays an insurgency with deep roots and broad reach, able to withstand repeated U.S. onslaughts and to reestablish its influence, while discrediting and undermining the country’s Western-backed government.
‘Quiet Heroes’ photo exhibit celebrates elderly survivors
The L.A. Artcore collection of black-and-white portraits, many of immigrants who fled war, is meant as a tribute to the subjects’ long lives and perseverance.
By Anna Gorman
Los Angeles Times
April 29, 2010
Their expressions are solemn, their smiles subtle, their postures proud. One clenches his fists in the air, another stares intently at the Bible.
There is a 96-year-old former Thai tennis champion who helped found the Wat Thai Temple in North Hollywood. An 88-year-old Polish woman who helped hide Jews during World War II. An 88-year-old Iranian professor who said, “Tragedy has made my softer skin hide behind a harder one.”
Oil Leak in Gulf of Mexico May Be 5 Times Initial Estimate
By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON and LESLIE KAUFMAN
Published: April 28, 2010
NEW ORLEANS – Government officials said late Wednesday night that oil might be leaking from a well in the Gulf of Mexico at a rate five times as large as initial estimates have suggested.
In a hastily called news conference, Rear Adm. Mary E. Landry of the Coast Guard said a scientist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had concluded that oil is leaking at the rate of 5,000 barrels a day, not 1,000 as had been estimated.
Census mail results could be trouble for 5 states
Lackluster participation may cost N.Y., Calif., Ariz., Fla. and Texas seats
By HOPE YEN Associated Press
WASHINGTON – Five states – New York, California, Texas, Arizona and Florida – are perilously close to losing out on congressional seats because of lackluster participation in the U.S. census.
The five were average or below average in mailing back 10-question census forms when compared to other states, trailing by as many as 5 percentage points, according to the final census mail-in tally released Wednesday.
Based on recent population trends, New York, California and Texas had been estimated to fall just above the cutoff for the last House seats when they are redistributed next year.
Bosnia’s summer of discontent
Amid economic strife, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s politicians are using the pre-election period to try and divert the public
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 29 April 2010 08.00 BST
As the British electorate prepares to go to the polls, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s own elongated pre-election period enters a more frenetic phase. Amid talk of referendums and rivalries, however, the key issue of economic reform remains sidelined.
The economy contracted by some 3.5% in 2009, and with unemployment currently hovering at around 40%, this should be the single most important issue for Bosnia’s electorate. Nevertheless, as in previous years, election campaigns will be fought not on the basis of who can deliver change, but on who can best protect “vital national interests”.
Euro debt crisis deepens as ‘contagion’ spreads from Greece to Spain
As credit rating agency downgrades another country, the risk of collapse in bonds from weaker eurozone nations grows
By Tony Paterson in Berlin, Anita Brooks in Madrid and Nikhil Kumar Thursday, 29 April 2010
Angela Merkel moved to halt the deepening crisis in the euro yesterday by pledging German support for a controversial Greek bailout package.
Despite her actions, fears that the shockwaves from Greece’s debt crisis were spreading to the continent’s other ailing economies grew after the credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s downgraded Spain’s rating. The risk of a wholesale collapse in the value of government bonds issued by the weaker eurozone nations is now becoming more real, and threatening the fragile recovery across the EU.
Jerusalem’s mayor denies building has been halted
By Catrina Stewart in Jerusalem Thursday, 29 April 2010
Jerusalem’s firebrand mayor has vowed to speed up Jewish construction in Arab-dominated East Jerusalem in comments that could undermine hopes of a long-awaited breakthrough in the peace process.
Speaking at an event in Washington, Mayor Nir Barkat took aim at the US administration, which has engaged in an intense round of diplomacy to persuade the Israelis to agree to a construction freeze to try to coax the Palestinians into peace talks, stalled now for more than a year.
Six jailed in United Arab Emirates for funding Taleban
From The Times
April 29, 2010
Hugh Tomlinson in Dubai
Five Emiratis and one Afghan convicted of funding the Taleban and supporting terrorism have been jailed for up to four years in the United Arab Emirates.
The Supreme Court in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi ruled that the six men were guilty of channelling money to assist the Taleban campaign in Afghanistan. Two further Emiratis were acquitted of the charges.
The five Emirati men were found to have raised funds which the Afghan defendant, Abdul Wahab Sultan Gulam, was to send to the Taleban. It is not known how much money the group raised, or if it was successfully funnelled to Afghanistan.
Second China school knife attack in two days leaves 28 children injured
Parents across China were thrown into panic this morning after the country suffered its second schoolyard knife attack in two days, leaving 28 kindergarten-aged children injured, five of them critically.
By Peter Foster in Beijing and Malcolm Moore in Shanghai
Published: 8:36AM BST 29 Apr 2010
The attack in the city of Taixing, southern China came less than 24 hours after another knife-wielding man slashed 18 children and a teacher in the city of Leizhou in southern Dongguan Province.
That attack itself came on the same day that the Chinese authorities announced the execution of a former doctor, Zheng Minsheng, who stabbed eight children to death on March 23 at a school in the city of Nanping in the eastern coastal province of Fujian.
South Korea holds funeral for sailors killed in sinking
An official funeral has taken place for 46 South Korean sailors who died when their warship sank last month.
The BBC Thursday, 29 April 2010
The ceremony at a naval base in Pyeongtaek, south of the capital Seoul, was the culmination of five days of official mourning for the crew members.
Investigators say the corvette Cheonan sank following a “close-range” blast which split the ship in two.
Many South Koreans believe North Korea sank the ship but Pyongyang has denied any responsibility.
A siren was sounded in the capital city to mark the beginning of the funeral service, taking place at the 2nd Fleet Command, the home port of the warship.
Egypt sentences 26 in ‘Hezbollah cell’ for spying
By Miret El Naggar | McClatchy Newspapers
CAIRO – An Egyptian court Wednesday convicted 26 men of spying for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and planning terrorist attacks in Egypt, handing down prison terms ranging from 25 years to six months.
The trial – commonly referred to as the “Hezbollah cell trial” – involved two Lebanese, five Palestinians, a Sudanese and 18 Egyptians. It was held in the heavily guarded State Security Emergency court whose verdict can be reversed only by a presidential pardon.
The charges against the group included: plotting attacks against tourists; targeting vessels crossing the Suez Canal; spying; training agents; building explosive belts and devices; and smuggling weapons to the Islamist Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
Mexicans slam Arizona immigration law, but how do they treat their migrants?
As Mexico condemns the tough new Arizona immigration law, Amnesty International published a new report Wednesday that details abuse suffered by Central American migrants in Mexico – often at the hands of officials.
By Sara Miller Llana, Staff writer / April 28, 2010
As Mexicans decry the Arizona immigration law and launch boycotts of Arizona, Amnesty International released a scathing new report urging Mexicans to look in the mirror.
“Invisible Victims: Migrants on the Move in Mexico” details the abuse faced by Central American migrants, who cross the southern border between Guatemala and Mexico, usually en route to the US.
Each year, tens of thousands of migrants make the trip.
IN PICTURES: The US/Mexico border
Many lose limbs from accidents on trains they board to head northward. Women and girls report sexual violence. And – far worse than asking suspected illegal immigrants about their US immigration status, as the new Arizona law will require police to do – many Central American migrants to Mexico accuse Mexican officials of demanding bribes or flat-out stealing their cash.