Web of Shell Companies Veils Trade by Iran’s Ships
By JO BECKER
Published: June 7, 2010
On Jan. 24, 2009, a rusting freighter flying a Hong Kong flag dropped anchor in the South African port of Durban. The stop was not on the ship’s customary route, and it stayed only an hour, just long enough to pick up its clandestine cargo: a Bladerunner 51 speedboat that could be armed with torpedoes and used as a fast-attack craft in the Persian Gulf.
The name painted on the ship’s side as it left Durban and made for the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas was the Diplomat, and its papers showed that it was owned by a company called Starry Shine Ltd.
With ‘Up on the Ridge,’ Dierks Bentley stops getting by on looks and hooks
By Chris Richards
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
The last time we heard from country star Dierks Bentley, everything was hunky-dorky.
It was the summer of 2009 and the Arizona pretty boy was preening on the top of the charts with “Sideways,” a doofy party anthem where the singer’s notion of fun felt too good, too clean. It had all the charm of celery.
And that’s why Bentley’s new album, “Up on the Ridge,” qualifies as a both major transformation and minor miracle.The 34-year-old singer has always had a fine ear for hooks, but this time out, he’s swaddled them in traditional, bluegrass-inspired arrangements. The results are dazzling — and for a chart-topping cutie-pie, it’s a supremely gutsy move. To prove he means it, he’s allowed his neatly trimmed stubble to sprout into a mangy scruff.
Voters’ support for members of Congress is at an all-time low, poll finds
As voters head to the polls Tuesday for a crucial set of primary elections, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds antipathy toward their elected officials rising and anti-incumbent sentiment at an all-time high.
The national survey shows that 29 percent of Americans now say they are inclined to support their House representative in November, even lower than in 1994, when voters swept the Democrats out of power in the that chamber after 40 years in the majority..
Rescuers struggle to save oil-soaked pelicans
As BP tries to capture more crude gushing from its broken well, a slick overruns a fragile island rookery.
By Tina Susman and Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times
June 8, 2010
Reporting from Queen Bess Island Pelican Rookery – The rocky island off Grand Isle was intended as a haven for brown pelicans, a centerpiece of environmentalists’ efforts to rescue Louisiana’s state bird from the federal endangered species list.
On Monday, wildlife rescue workers came to the Queen Bess Island Pelican Rookery to capture the giant birds as oil from BP’s blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico despoiled the state’s largest pelican sanctuary.
A man in a canoe paddled near the shoreline, nudging the oil-covered birds into deeper water, where big boats motored up, their bird-catching crews leaning over the sides.
Capitalism in the dock as Kerviel goes on trial
Rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel is on trial. The case for the defence: the insanity of global banking culture. John Lichfield reports
Tuesday, 8 June 2010
If you want to hide a leaf, find a forest. Jérôme Kerviel, alleged to be the world’s biggest rogue trader, will attempt to hide a €5bn leaf in a multi-trillion euro forest when he goes on trial in Paris today. Mr Kerviel’s defence will be horrendously complex – and very simple. His lawyers will admit that what he did in 2007-8 – to bet more than the value of France’s second largest bank on a series of trades on stock exchange futures – was insane. However, they will also argue that his actions were rational, even tacitly approved, within a global banking culture which had, itself, broken off relations with reality.
Police protection for family of BP boss Tony Hayward
Police have launched an operation to protect the family of Tony Hayward, BP’s British boss, after they received hate mail and threatening phone calls.
By Alex Spillius in Washington
The chief executive’s wife Maureen said the material had made her and her two children feel “rather uncomfortable” at their home in Kent.
The family has been targeted amid growing hostility to the firm in the United States for the spill that has so far leaked about one million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Speaking at her house in a village near Sevenoaks, Mrs Hayward said: “Members of my family have had nasty phone calls and we have also had mail from groups.
“Tony is obviously away and we are miles away from him soit’s upsetting.”
Israel accuses former US Marine on aid mission of terrorist links
From The Times
June 8, 2010
Alexander Christie-Miller, Istanbul
A former US Marine is at the centre of Israel’s response to the outrage caused by its raid on a Gaza-bound aid boat after it listed him as one of five people on board with terrorist links.
Ken O’Keefe, 40, who lives in London, told The Times that he had met Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader, and said that he supported the organisation’s “right to violent resistance”.
He also said that he had helped to subdue two Israeli commandos after leaders of the Turkish Islamic IHH charity enacted a plan to defend the boat.
The words inked into the right hand of the 1991 Gulf War veteran – “US Expatriot, 01-03-01, RIP” – mark the date that he renounced his US citizenship after what he called a taste ofmilitary injustice.
Ahmadinejad defiant ahead of UN nuclear sanctions vote
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has struck a defiant note ahead of a vote due this week on new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.
The BBC Tuesday, 8 June 2010
At a summit in Istanbul, Mr Ahmadinejad warned Tehran would walk away from talks if fresh measures were imposed.
He urged Russia not to side with Iran’s enemies and said the US would lose if fresh sanctions were passed.
He also warned a nuclear fuel-swap deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil was an offer that would not be repeated.
If passed, the fourth round of sanctions would tighten financial restrictions and shipping inspections on Iran, as well as expanding a limitedarms embargo.
Thousands dead, their land poisoned. The sentence – just two years
Court ruling over the tragedy at Union Carbide’s Bhopal plant has enraged campaigners. Andrew Buncombe reports
Tuesday, 8 June 2010
More than a quarter of a century after tens of thousands of people were killed in one of the world’s most notorious industrial accidents, activists in Bhopal reacted angrily when a court handed down jail terms of just two years to former officials who oversaw the pesticide plant that leaked clouds of poisonous gas.
Around 8,000 people died within hours of 40 tons of deadly methyl isocyanate gas being accidentally pumped into the air in the central Indian city in 1984.
Rare photos of Kim Jong-il’s youngest son, Kim Jong-un, released
Rare photos have emerged of Kim Jong-un, the youngest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il who seems certain to inherit power in the communist state’s second dynastic succession.
By Peter Foster in Beijing
Published: 10:46AM BST 08 Jun 2010
Larking about with classmates and making playful V-signs for the camera, the boy who is now tipped to be the next leader of the hermit dictatorship of North Korea appears not to have a care in the world.
These photographs purportedly of Kim Jong-un, the reclusive third son of North Korea’s “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il, were released on Tuesday by South Korea’s national Yonhap news agency, providing a unique glimpse into the privileged life of the country’s elite.
Taken between 1996 and 2001, while Kim junior was a teenager studying at international school in Bern, Switzerland, the pictures show a grinning Kim at ease with his friends at a time when his countrymen were suffering a man-made famine that killed up to 2million people.
How Somalia’s civil war became new front in battle against al-Qaida
Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports from Mogadishu where presence of US drones reveals western anxiety over country’s conflict
Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in Mogadishu
guardian.co.uk, Monday 7 June 2010 22.00 BST
On a side street off Mogadishu’s Wadnaha Road frontline a young officer is explaining the unwritten rules of the city’s intractable civil war as his men exchange fire with an unseen enemy.
The fighters shooting at him are from the Hizb al-Islam, he explains. He knows this because they fight longer than al-Shabab, the other main Islamist group besieging Somalia’s tiny government-held enclave, but also because they told him. “We have friends there. They tell us before they leave their base that they are going to attack. When they want to fire mortars they tells us so we can take cover.”
Zimbabwe’s new independent daily ends state news monopoly
From The Times
June 8, 2010
Jan Raath, Harare
Zimbabweans woke yesterday to the unexpected sight of a new independent daily newspaper being hawked on the streets of the capital – seven years after the last one was shut down.
People glanced nervously at piles of the Newsday tabloid on the pavement. Only last Friday police arrested four of the newspaper’s marketing staff when they handed out free early versions of the newspaper. They were fined for obstructing traffic.
By mid-morning yesterday many people could be seen with it tucked under their arms. “Its going well,” said Trevor Ncube, the owner. “It’s early days but there’s a lot of excitement.”