BP, the Gulf oil spill and 87 days that changed the world
The leak has stopped but the ramifications extend far beyond the Louisiana coastline
By David Usborne, US Editor Saturday, 17 July 2010
All should be better for David Cameron as he goes to the White House on Tuesday to see Barack Obama now that BP has killed its black plume in the Gulf of Mexico. But it won’t be, because he will find a Washington in full fulmination all over again about the release of the Lockerbie conspirator Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
In a sign of the most unusual strain between the two allies, the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, told the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, yesterday that when hearings into the circumstances of the release – and what involvement BP may have had behind the scenes – open on Capitol Hill on 29 July, she expects Britain to say something new. The implication is that the US isn’t buying the explanations London has offered up so far.
A Star Keeps Rocking in the Not-So-Free World
THE SATURDAY PROFILE
By MICHAEL SCHWIRTZ
Published: July 16, 2010
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia
REVERENCE for Russia’s leaders, be they czars, general secretaries or presidents, has never come easily to Yuri Shevchuk. A bespectacled, slightly graying rock star, Mr. Shevchuk has spent much of the last three decades growling into a microphone in an effort, he says, to awaken in his compatriots a passion to break from their long history of bowing to heavy-handed authority.
These days, at 53, Mr. Shevchuk remains a guttural voice of defiance, just as he was when he began dodging Soviet censors by holding secret concerts in apartments throughout Russia in the early 1980s.
Republicans divided on the importance of an agenda for midterm elections
By Karen Tumulty and Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Sometime after Labor Day, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner plans to unveil a blueprint of what Republicans will do if they take back control of the chamber. He promises it will be a full plate of policy proposals that will give voters a clear sense of how they would govern.But will Republicans actually want to run on those ideas — or any ideas? Behind the scenes, many are being urged to ignore the leaders and do just the opposite: avoid issues at all costs. Some of the party’s most influential political consultants are quietly counseling their clients to stay on the offensive for the November midterm elections and steer clear of taking stands on substance that might give Democratic opponents material for a counterattack.
Arizona’s immigration law isn’t the only one
Many states have their own regulations governing illegal immigrants. And five states have introduced bills similar to Arizona’s SB 1070, which is the target of a federal lawsuit.
By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times
July 16, 2010 | 5:49 p.m.
Colorado restricts illegal immigrants from receiving in-state tuition. Nebraska requires verification of immigration status to obtain public benefits. In Tennessee, knowingly presenting a false ID card to get a job is a misdemeanor.
Arizona’s strict new law has generated the most controversy, but there are hundreds of immigration-related laws on the books across the country. The laws regulate employment, law enforcement, education, benefits and healthcare.
Champion of UK burka ban declares war on veil-wearing constituents
By Andrew Grice, Political Editor Saturday, 17 July 2010
A Conservative MP says he will refuse to hold meetings with Muslim women wearing full Islamic dress at his constituency surgery unless they lift their face veil.
Last night Muslim groups condemned Philip Hollobone and accused him of failing in his duty as an MP.
In an interview with The Independent, the Kettering MP said: “I would ask her to remove her veil. If she said: ‘No’, I would take the view that she could see my face, I could not see hers, I am not able to satisfy myself she is who she says she is. I would invite her to communicate with me in a different way, probably in the form of a letter.”
Mystery trader buys all Europe’s cocoa
Even Willy Wonka might struggle to use this much chocolate. Yesterday, somebody bought 241,000 tonnes of cocoa beans.
Jonathan Sibun and Harry Wallop
Published: 7:00AM BST 17 Jul 2010
The purchase was enough to move the entire global cocoa market, sending the price to the highest level since 1977, and triggering rumours and intrigue in the City.
It is unclear which person, or group of traders, was behind the deal, but it was the largest single cocoa trade for 14 years.
The cocoa beans, which are sitting in warehouses either in The Netherlands, Hamburg, or closer to home in London, Liverpool or Humberside is equivalent to the entire supply of the commodity in Europe, and would fill more than five Titanics. They are worth £658 million.
Yemeni cleric blacklisted in US
SATURDAY, JULY 17, 2010
The United States has added an American-born, al-Qaeda-linked cleric to a terrorism blacklist, targeting him with sanctions aimed at cutting off his financial support.
The measures were outlined in Executive Order 13224 issued by the US treasury department.
“Anwar al-Awlaki has proven that he is extraordinarily dangerous, committed to carrying out deadly attacks on Americans and others worldwide,” Stuart Levey, the under secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said on Friday.
Iraqi leaders and the selfish gene
By Sami Moubayed
DAMASCUS – The Shi’ite politicians who formed the Iraqi National Alliance (INA) to fight parliamentary elections had one objective in mind: keeping secular ex-prime minister Iyad Allawi’s hands off the premiership.
That is becoming increasingly clear from their words and actions, which belie any thought that they had even the slightest intention of working together as a community or political bloc, with each politician seeing himself more worthy of the premiership than any other.
South Korean oil spill victims’ cautionary tale
Since a 2007 oil spill, residents of Taean have been awaiting compensation so they can begin to piece back their lives as beaches remain oil-slicked and sea life defiled. Some have committed suicide in desperation.
By John M. Glionna
July 17, 2010
Reporting from Taean, – A dull gray fog hangs over this deserted beach town, reflecting the now-gloomy psyche of a once-bustling fishing and tourist center.
Park Kyu-woong stands on an empty boardwalk, pointing to the source of an unstoppable force he says took the town’s life away, prompting a rash of suicides by residents who gave up hope that help would ever come.
“Out there,” he says grimly, motioning to the sea, “eight miles from land. On Dec. 7, 2007.”
Pakistan army accused of extrajudicial killings in Swat
The Pakistani army has carried out 238 extrajudicial killings of people in the Swat Valley since September last year, says a report from Human Rights Watch.
By Syed Shoaib Hasan
BBC News, Karachi
It documents cases where members of the army allegedly took away Taliban suspects, who were later found dead, their bodies riddled with bullets.
A military spokesman denied the army had engaged in extrajudicial killings.
The army said it had driven insurgents from Swat following a massive offensive against them last year.
‘Marks of torture’
But on Thursday a suicide bomb killed five people at a bus stop in Mingora, Swat’s main town.
A Tree Grows in Haiti
Six months after a devastating earthquake, the nation is still struggling to regain its footing. Why the best recovery efforts may hinge on something green.
Surrounded as it is by an amphitheater of treeless mountains, the city of Gonaïves has long been defenseless against the onslaught of hurricanes that pound Haiti every summer. Unencumbered by trunks or roots or shrubs, the water sloshes freely downward, gathering into apocalyptic mudslides that destroy homes, crops, and livelihoods. In 2004 a single storm claimed 2,000 lives from this one city.
Like the rest of Haiti, Gonaïves is bracing for another punishing hurricane season, even as earthquake-recovery efforts falter and the city struggles to absorb thousands of refugees from Port-au-Prince, 100 miles to the south. Amid a host of competing priorities, the seemingly least urgent task may prove to be the most significant: planting as many trees as possible.