Angry Britons have BP’s back
As the Obama administration has joined U.S. politicians lambasting BP for the gulf oil spill, a plume of anger is rising across the Atlantic at what many see as an unfair castigation of a British icon.
By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
June 12, 2010
Reporting from London – He may still be more popular in Britain than he is in America, but these days the Brits have a new message for President Obama.
As the Obama administration has joined the chorus of U.S. politicians lambasting BP over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a plume of anger is rising across the Atlantic at what many see as an unfair castigation of a British icon. U.S. officials have demanded that BP suspend dividend payments for the time being, and Obama has said he would have fired Chief Executive Tony Hayward if Hayward worked for him.
$2.6 million bid wins lunch with Warren Buffett
Money for meal with billionaire goes to San Francisco charity for homeless
By Jonathan Stempel Reuters
NEW YORK – A bidder has agreed to pay $2.63 million for a steak lunch with the billionaire investor Warren Buffett in a charity auction held on eBay Inc’s website.
The highest bid in the 11th annual auction topped the previous record $2.11 million paid in 2008 by Zhao Danyang, a Hong Kong investor. Wealth manager Salida Capital Corp of Toronto won with a $1.68 million bid in 2009.
The identity of the winning bidder could not immediately be determined after bidding closed Friday night.
South Carolina Votes First, Asks Questions (Who’s Alvin Greene?) Later
By MARK LEIBOVICH
Published: June 11, 2010
WASHINGTON – For a few hours this week, it looked as if South Carolina might ditch its never-fail reputation for political scandal in favor of a genuine history-making event.
There was Nikki Haley, a lawmaker of Indian descent, beaming on election night with her husband and children after taking a major step toward becoming the first female governor of the state. It was a feel-good image to obscure the stain of a campaign marked by ethnic slurs, accusations of marital infidelity and yet more national marveling over how a single state can produce a string of political embarrassments as long as the Appalachian Trail.
‘Tea party’ candidates hurt by lack of organization in movement
By Amy Gardner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 12, 2010
The polls hadn’t even closed Tuesday when “tea party” activists in Nevada started sniping at one another over whether Sharron Angle, the soon-to-be Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, was the best candidate to bring down Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid.
In Virginia, tea partiers vented on blogs and to reporters about the movement’s inability to coalesce around a single, strong candidate in two House races, resulting in the nomination of establishment candidates instead.
The national tea party movement has never had a central organization or single leader; in fact, it has boasted the opposite.
Italian media protests over Silvio Berlusconi ‘gagging law’
Critics claim PM Silvio Berlusconi is merely protecting himself by imposing curbs on the publishing of wiretap transcripts
Tom Kington in Rome
The Guardian, Saturday 12 June 2010
Italian newspapers and opposition politicians protested today after the senate approved a bill limiting police wiretaps and punishing journalists who publish leaked transcripts.
As journalists threatened a news blackout to coincide with the bill’s final reading in the lower house of the Italian parliament, the daily La Repubblica ran an empty front page with the message: “The gagging law denies citizens the right to be informed.”
The Turin daily La Stampa also blanked out a front-page column, while Corriere della Sera called the bill a “dark page for lawmaking”. Sky Italia aired a black banner of protest above its newsreaders.
Belgium votes in election that could split the nation
By Vanessa Mock in Brussels Saturday, 12 June 2010
The flag tugs at the wrought-iron balcony railing as if to reach out to the other tricolore across the road.
Elegant Art Nouveau houses dominate the avenues of Ixelles, this leafy neighbourhood of Brussels, but Belgian flags have also suddenly become a ubiquitous feature in the streetscape. Since the fall of the government in April, the black, red and yellow Belgian flag has been fluttering about window sills and above shop signs.
“When I heard that the government had fallen yet again I was totally shocked and started to worry about the future of this small country of ours,” said Ariane, a French-speaking resident.
Saudi Arabia gives Israel clear skies to attack Iranian nuclear sites
From The Times
June 12, 2010
Saudi Arabia has conducted tests to stand down its air defences to enable Israeli jets to make a bombing raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Times can reveal.
In the week that the UN Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions on Tehran, defence sources in the Gulf say that Riyadh has agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of its airspace in the north of the country to shorten the distance for a bombing run on Iran.
Israel to set up inquiry on ‘Freedom Flotilla’ raid
Israel is expected on Friday or Saturday to appoint a former Supreme Court judge and foreign observers to an inquiry panel that will investigate the fatal Israeli raid of the ‘Freedom Flotilla.
By Joshua Mitnick, Correspondent / June 11, 2010
Tel Aviv, Israel
Israel was expected to appoint an inquiry panel on Friday to investigate its fatal intercept last week of the Gaza-bound “Freedom Flotilla,” responding to pressure from allies abroad to account for the violence that sparked an international uproar. Nine of the more than 700 pro-Palestinian activists who challenged Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza were killed in the raid.
Both US and European diplomats have been involved in helping Israel set up the inquiry. Israeli media have reported that the panel will include a former Israeli Supreme Court judge, along with US and European observers – an attempt to produce the “credible” report demanded by the international community.
Violence returns to Kyrgyzstan as 40 are killed in gang riots
Troops despatched to second city after ethnic tensions with Uzbeks boil over
By Shaun Walker in Moscow Saturday, 12 June 2010
The central Asian state of Kyrgyzstan is in chaos again after bloody riots in the south killed almost 40 and injured more than 500. The fighting broke out late on Thursday night in Osh, the country’s second largest city, and was believed to have been fuelled by ethnic tensions.
Armed gangs roamed the streets last night with sticks, stones and petrol bombs. The government declared a state of emergency and said it was dispatching troops and armoured vehicles to quell the violence.
Gates closed out of China
By Peter J Brown
Just a few days after United States Navy Admiral Robert Willard, commander of the US Pacific Command, departed from Beijing in late May after a face-to-face meeting with Lieutenant General Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) general staff, China waved off a visit by US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
China announced that this was not a “convenient time” for Gates to visit. Willard’s talks with Ma in Beijing were part of the second round of the ongoing China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Willard was there as part of the huge US delegation that was headed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
World Cup village transformed with mobile cells and water cannon
From The Times
June 12, 2010
David Brown, Phokeng
David Tiego recalls as a child running across open veld where England footballers and 25,000 fans will begin their World Cup campaign under an unprecedented level of security.
The water cannon, mobile prison cells and South Africa’s largest beer tent were a world away from life for Mr Tiego until his village was named as the host of England’s match against the United States.
The retired grocer, who is a member of the Royal Bafokeng tribe, which owns the platinum-rich land surrounding the stadium, said that locals would support the team because they knew the players from the Premier League.
Is Obama starting to prod Egypt on human rights?
Many human rights and democracy activists in the Middle East are disillusioned with Obama’s lack of action. But Egypt’s acceptance today of 21 human rights recommendations after a visit by Vice President Biden may signal a shift.
By Kristen Chick, Correspondent / June 11, 2010
Egypt presented a rosy picture of its human rights credentials today, promising to implement most of the recommendations made by the UN Human Rights Council as part of a quadrennial review process.
Egypt, which had accepted 119 of the council’s 165 recommendations in February, agreed to another 21 after Vice President Joe Biden had publicly urged it to implement the recommendations on a visit here earlier this week. They included those calling for better treatment of religious minorities, changes in its penal code to bring it into line with the UN Convention Against Torture, and the establishment of a fully independent electoral commission.
Priest faces criticism for shining light on human rights abuses in Colombia
By Juan Forero
Saturday, June 12, 2010
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA — The ruling issued this week was one of the most severe ever handed down in Colombia against a member of the security forces: 30 years in prison for a retired army colonel found responsible for the disappearance of 11 people in 1985.
And it happened in part because of the tireless work of a mild-mannered Catholic priest, the Rev. Javier Giraldo, who sought out evidence from witnesses and made sure that the relatives of the victims were heard by prosecutors and journalists.