A rapid-fire chain of events led to Gen. McChrystal’s downfall
Stanley A. McChrystal’s troubles began with fact checks by Rolling Stone for an upcoming article that angered Obama and culminated in the general’s loss of his command of the Afghanistan war.
By Christi Parsons and Peter Nicholas, Los Angeles Times
June 23, 2010
Reporting from Washington – Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s team knew it had a problem on its hands last Thursday, when fact checkers for Rolling Stone magazine sent in questions for an upcoming cover story.
Did the Afghanistan commander’s inner circle really refer to itself as “Team America”? read one question that landed on the desk of McChrystal’s press aide, Duncan Boothby.
It was hardly the most explosive revelation in the piece, but it served as an early warning that McChrystal’s decision to allow generous access might have backfired.
Kabaddi seeks to move into international arena
The ancient Indian game of Kabaddi is being driven into the international limelight as it tries to attract a new generation of fans.
By Ben Leach
Published: 8:21AM BST 24 Jun 2010
The Kabaddi World Cup, which was held recently in the northern Indian state of Punjab had more financial backing than ever before.
Players from nine countries, including Britain, competed for a first prize of ten million rupees (£145,000).
Each team member stood to earn £20,000 – more than the average Indian kabaddi enthusiast would normally earn in their whole career.
The Indian captain, Mangat Singh Mangi, and the Canadian Kuljit Singh – the “men of the tournament” – were each awarded a tractor.
Debate Over Industry Role in Educating Doctors
By NATASHA SINGER and DUFF WILSON
Published: June 23, 2010
In the latest effort to break up the often cozy relationship between doctors and the medical industry, the University of Michigan Medical School has become the first to decide that it will no longer take any money from drug and device makers to pay for coursework doctors need to renew their medical licenses.
University officials voted to eliminate commercial financing, beginning next January, for postgraduate medical education, a practice that has come under increasing scrutiny from academics, medical associations, ethicists and lawmakers because of the potential to promote products over patient interests.
Apparent suicide by fishing boat captain underlines oil spill’s emotional toll
By Dana Hedgpeth and David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Allen Kruse had been a charter fishing boat captain for more than two decades — long enough that people called him by his boat’s name, Rookie, as if they were one and the same. But then, two months ago, the leaking BP oil well began pouring crude into the waters where he took families fishing for snapper and amberjack.
Two weeks and two days ago, with his fishing grounds closed, Kruse, 55, took a job working for BP’s cleanup crew. For the very people who’d caused the mess.
Picasso, Manet and Matisse – auctions revel in Europe’s richest art sales
The two stand-out jewels among the 63 lots were a blue period Picasso and a Monet waterlily painting
Mark Brown, arts correspondent
The Guardian, Thursday 24 June 2010
It was Europe’s most valuable ever art auction and the script had been prepared for an evening of supernova prices. But the world’s richest art buyers refused to follow it. Last night they might even have been described as … prudent.
Christie’s in London hosted one of the most anticipated sales for years, selling art with a total presale estimate of £163m-231m.
The two stand-out jewels among the 63 lots were a blue period Picasso and a Monet waterlily painting, both with estimates of between £30m-40m and even higher expectations. But the Picasso sold at its low-end estimate – for £31m – and a final bid of £29m for the Monet meant it went unsold. In total, 16 lots were unsold.
Merkel rejects Obama warnings that cuts will damage global recovery
German Chancellor set for showdown with US President at G20 summit over concerns euro still not safe from collapse
By Tony Paterson in Berlin Thursday, 24 June 2010
Germany and the United States appear set for a heated showdown at this weekend’s G20 summit in Canada after Chancellor Angela Merkel flatly rejected warnings from President Barack Obama that Europe’s attempts to save its way out of the debt crisis could put fragile global economic growth in danger.
Germany has the continent’s largest austerity package, which will see up to €80bn worth of spending cuts imposed under a draconian savings programme agreed by Ms Merkel’s coalition government a fortnight ago.
Robert Fisk: Ghosts from the past: Syria’s 30 years of fear
A grim report sheds light on the thousands of ‘disappearances’ during Hafez al-Assad’s 30-year rule
Thursday, 24 June 2010
Not long before Hafez el-Assad died in 2000, Ahmed Hariri predicted what would happen when the official news announced the death of the president. Hariri, an old friend of mine in the Syrian ministry of information, came from the city of Tadmor, east of Damascus. The city, known as Palmyra to Romans and tourists alike, was home to one of the regime’s fearsome jails, which stood behind trees not far from the desert road to Baghdad. This was the site of a massacre of Islamist prisoners – perhaps a thousand in all – by Assad’s brother Rifaat after an assassination attempt on Hafez. The corpses were rumoured to have been tossed by night into a secret mass grave near a local hill, and have lain unmarked ever since.
UN chief says East Jerusalem demolition plan ‘illegal’
UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said the plan to demolish Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem to make way for a tourist park is illegal and unhelpful.
The BBC Thursday, 24 June 2010
On Monday Jerusalem City Council approved the plan to demolish 22 Palestinian homes in Silwan – part of a major redevelopment of the area.
The move has drawn criticism both at home and from the Obama administration.
Mr Ban said the plan was “contrary to international law” and “unhelpful” to efforts to restart peace negotiations.
The scheme is still in an initial stage.
Australia’s gets new PM in British-born Julia Gillard as Rudd steps down
Kevin Rudd steps aside rather than face Labor party ballot
The Guardian, Thursday 24 June 2010
Australia has its first female prime minister, British-born Julia Gillard, this morning, after Kevin Rudd stood down before a leadership ballot could be held.
Rudd had been expected to lose today’s planned ballot, amid predictions of defeat for the ruling Labor party in an election scheduled for October.
Although he scored a landslide election victory against an 11-year-old Liberal government led by John Howard in November 2007, he had said he was confident he would win the challenge. But commentators were already writing him off. “He’s a goner. You can stick a fork in him,” Nick Economou of Monash University told Reuters.
Japanese most holiday-deprived nation
The Japanese are the most holiday-deprived nation in the developed world, taking an average nine days off a year, while the French enjoy the most, averaging 34.5 days off annually, a survey has found.
Published: 10:06AM BST 24 Jun 2010
Japanese workers not only got the least vacation of about 16.5 days a year but they tended to use only about half of them.
The French, however, get the highest number of vacation days a year, an average of 37.5, and were happy to take almost full advantage of this R&R The United States gave workers the second fewest number of days off a year, averaging 17, of which most people would take 14, according to the so-called vacation deprivation survey conducted between April 13 and April 22.
Burundi election lacks critical ingredient: presidential candidates
Allegations of fraud in May’s local elections have brought a new wave of violence to the capital city and lurched Burundi into political crisis. Opposition parties are refusing to put forward any presidential candidates, a week before Burundi’s election.
By Jina Moore, Correspondent / June 23, 2010
Less than a week away from its first presidential vote since the last armed group laid down their guns, Burundi’s election is still missing a critical ingredient: candidates.
Only President Pierre Nkurunziza is running in the race. But members of opposition parties are campaigning anyway – not to win the election, but to convince their fellow Burundians to boycott the vote.
“We’ll hold a campaign against elections. We won’t kill. We won’t fight. But we will ask people not to vote,” says Leonard Nyangoma, a former presidential candidate and spokesperson for a coalition of 12 opposition parties who pulled out of the race, including Agathon Rwasa.
El Salvador president under fire
A year into his presidency, the leftist Mauricio Funes faces mounting criticism for failing to tackle corruption and halt rising violence and drug trafficking.
By Alex Renderos, Special to the Los Angeles Times
June 24, 2010
Reporting from San Salvador – When Mauricio Funes took office a year ago as El Salvador’s first leftist president, he promised to “reinvent” the impoverished, polarized nation.
“The Salvadoran people asked for change, and change starts now,” he proclaimed in his inaugural speech. His election was greeted with high expectations and celebration by many Salvadorans who had long felt disenfranchised.