Despite moratorium, drilling projects continue
Records show at least 7 new permits for drilling, 5 environmental waivers
By Ian Urbina May 24, 2010
WASHINGTON – In the days since President Obama announced a moratorium on permits for drilling new offshore oil wells and a halt to a controversial type of environmental waiver that was given to the Deepwater Horizon rig, at least seven new permits for various types of drilling and five environmental waivers have been granted, according to records.
The records also indicate that since the April 20 explosion on the rig, federal regulators have granted at least 19 environmental waivers for gulf drilling projects and at least 17 drilling permits, most of which were for types of work like that on the Deepwater Horizon shortly before it exploded, pouring a ceaseless current of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Cannes film festival: Apichatpong Weerasethakul wins Palme d’Or
Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is first Asian Palme d’Or win since 1997
Mark Brown in Cannes
Asian cinema tonight emerged as the surprise winner of this year’s Cannes film festival when a lyrically beautiful and often surreal Thai movie took the Palme d’Or.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, already had the best title of the 19 films in competition. Tonight jury chairman Tim Burton named it best film, seeing off films from an impressive roster of film makers that included Mike Leigh, Ken Loach and Abbas Kiarostami.
It is the first Asian Palme d’Or winner since Kiarostami shared it with Japanese film maker Shohei Imamura in 1997.
Cuts to Child Care Subsidy Thwart More Job Seekers
THE NEW POOR
By PETER S. GOODMAN
Published: May 23, 201
TUCSON – Able-bodied, outgoing and accustomed to working, Alexandria Wallace wants to earn a paycheck. But that requires someone to look after her 3-year-old daughter, and Ms. Wallace, a 22-year-old single mother, cannot afford child care.
Last month, she lost her job as a hair stylist after her improvised network of baby sitters frequently failed her, forcing her to miss shifts. She qualifies for a state-run subsidized child care program. But like many other states, Arizona has slashed that program over the last year, relegating Ms. Wallace’s daughter, Alaya, to a waiting list of nearly 11,000 eligible children.
Federal officials lash out at BP
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the oil giant has blown ‘deadline after deadline’ amid growing frustration over the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.
By Ashley Powers and Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times
May 24, 2010
Reporting from New Orleans and Atlanta The public-private response to the Gulf of Mexico oil leak showed more signs of strain Sunday as members of the Obama administration bashed BP’s progress even as they acknowledged they had to rely on the oil giant’s equipment and expertise to plug the blown-out well.
In one of the harshest government condemnations of the company to date, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said BP had blown “deadline after deadline” and had not “fulfilled the mission it was supposed to fulfill.”
Parc de triomphe: country life comes to Paris
By John Lichfield Monday, 24 May 2010
The Champs-Elysées – or Elysian Fields – rediscovered their roots yesterday in a colourful jumble of crops, fruit, vegetables, flowers and farm animals. Nearly 2km of the cobbles of the beautiful Parisian avenue have been covered by 8,000 small fields of imported soil, or giant containers, planted with wheat, beans, vines, mustard, bananas, pineapples and a hundred other species of cereals, fruit and vegetables.
The two-day “Nature Capitale” exhibition – stretching into today’s Pentecost bank holiday – is intended to remind the 2 million Parisians that food does not grow on supermarket shelves or market stalls.
Raid on chess power base as rivals vie to play the king
From The Times
May 24, 2010
Chess is normally seen as an intellectual battle of wits, but real-life violence has erupted in Russia as a former world champion attempts to checkmate the Kremlin for control of the game’s governing body.
Security guards stormed the headquarters of the Russian Chess Federation and evicted officials after they backed Anatoly Karpov in his fight to unseat the eccentric Kirsan Ilyumzhinov as president of the game’s world governing body, Fide.
The federation’s bank accounts were frozen and documents seized from its Moscow offices after it rejected a demand from President Medvedev’s chief economic aide, Arkadi Dvorkovich, to support Mr Ilyumzhinov’s re-election as Fide’s chief in September.
Tension mounts as Israel tests its defences
By Catrina Stewart in Jerusalem Monday, 24 May 2010
Israel yesterday kicked off a massive five-day civil defence exercise aimed at testing the Jewish state’s preparedness for rocket and chemical attacks. Israeli officials sought to reassure Syria and Lebanon that it has no plans to launch an attack.
The nationwide operation is likely to raise tensions between Israel and its neighbours at a time when tempers are already frayed over Iranian-backed Hizbollah’s efforts to rearm along Israel’s northern border.
Nuclear whistle-blower back in jail for violating release
From The Times
May 24, 2010
Screaming “freedom” and flashing a victory sign, Mordechai Vanunu, the nuclear whistleblower, began a three-month jail sentence yesterday for violating the terms of his release from prison by meeting a foreign woman.
Vanunu, a former technician at the secret Israeli nuclear facility at Dimona in the Negev Desert, served an 18-year sentence after leaking nuclear secrets to The Sunday Times in 1986.
In December he was found guilty of meeting a Norwegian woman, and initially opted to serve his sentence through community service, but the court rejected his request to serve it in Arab east Jerusalem for fear of harassment from Israeli Jews.
South Korea suspends trade with North Korea over torpedo attack
Seoul says it will take Pyongyang to UN security council as it freezes all trade and investment with neighbour
Tania Branigan in Beijing
guardian.co.uk, Monday 24 May 2010 09.43 BST
South Korea has suspended all trade and investment with North Korea and banned the North’s ships from passing its waters, Seoul announced today, saying Pyongyang had to pay for its brutality over the torpedo attack in which a warship was sunk.
The South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, said his country would also take Pyongyang to the United Nations security council.
“We have always tolerated North Korea’s brutality, time and again,” Lee said. “We did so because we have always had a genuine longing for peace on the Korean peninsula.
China-US talks: China vows more currency reform
China has pledged to continue reforms to its exchange rate policies at the beginning of high level trade talks with the US.
The BBC Monday, 24 May 2010
Speaking at the opening of the talks, President Hu Jintao said he would seek “gradual progress” on reforming the exchange rate of the Chinese yuan.
The US argues China’s currency policy unfairly favours its exporters.
North Korea will also be discussed, following its apparent attack on a South Korean warship.
Although not referring to North Korea directly, President Hu stressed that cooperation was needed to deal with “international hot spots”.
China is North Korea’s closest ally, and has so far refrained from openly criticising its actions.
Colombian president’s brother said to have lead death squads
By Juan Forero
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, May 24, 2010
Colombian President Álvaro Uribe will leave office in August having largely succeeded in winning control of once-lawless swaths of countryside from Marxist rebels, an accomplishment partly made possible by more than $6 billion in U.S. aid.
But Uribe’s government has also been tarnished by scandals, including accusations in congressional hearings that death squads hatched plots at his ranch in the 1980s and revelations that the secret police under his control spied on political opponents and helped kill leftist activists.