Despite new toughness, Obama faces hurdles in spill
By Margaret Talev and Marisa Taylor | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama and his team are tantalizingly close to their first major success in plugging BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico after nearly three months of confounding setbacks.
Even if the capping plan that’s under way works, many struggles lie ahead, however.
BP still must kill the well, which could take weeks more. Cleaning up the spill has proved far trickier than envisioned. The administration’s long-term economic and environmental response will depend on the magnitude of the damage, which may take months or even years to emerge.
Consumer Reports gives iPhone 4 cool reception
The publication says it can’t recommend the Apple device because of a flaw in the antenna’s design. It also questions the company’s explanation for some phones showing weak signal strength.
By David Sarno, Los Angeles Times
July 13, 2010
Apple Inc.’s new iPhone is getting a lot of buzz these days, just not the kind the company is used to.
Consumer Reports magazine on Monday said it could not recommend the phone because of “a design flaw” in its antenna and questioned Apple’s explanation for some devices displaying weak signal strength and even dropping calls.
It was the first time that the magazine, known for independent testing of consumer products, did not endorse an iPhone since the original model was released in 2007.
The sad math of U.S. aid in Haiti: 6 months, 2 percent
By Dana Milbank
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
We’re two weeks into Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s new campaign for more “coordination and discipline” in the military’s public statements — and everything seems to be going according to plan.
On Monday, six months after the earthquake in Haiti that killed as many as 300,000 people, the Pentagon hosted a “Bloggers Roundtable” teleconference to release some coordinated and disciplined information about reconstruction in that country. The commander of the U.S. military’s task force in Haiti and his deputies delivered some news that should satisfy Gates’s wish to have only varnished information coming from the Defense Department.
White House unveils strategy against HIV/AIDS
Obama’s plan sets goals to control the disease’s spread, but it includes no additional federal spending, drawing criticism from some experts
By Noam N. Levey, Tribune Washington Bureau
July 13, 2010
The White House unveiled a new national strategy to combat HIV/AIDS on Monday, some three decades after the emergence of the deadly disease.
“Our country is at a crossroads,” President Obama said in a letter introducing the report. “Right now, we are experiencing a domestic epidemic that demands a renewed commitment, increased public attention and leadership.”
The president, who is to speak about his plan at the White House on Tuesday, pledged to slow infections, increase access to care and address persistent disparities in the experiences of different groups infected with HIV – an estimated 1.1 million Americans.
Nicolas Sarkozy faces the cameras to dismiss Bettencourt donation ‘lies
French president gives TV address to dismiss accusation that he accepted illegal donation from L’Oréal heir
Kim Willsher in Paris
The Guardian, Tuesday 13 July 2010
Nicolas Sarkozy went on national TV last night to shore up the credibility of his administration, denouncing allegations of sleaze and cronyism as a smear and vowing to stick by the minister caught by an increasingly damaging cash-for-campaigns scandal.
In his most important television intervention of his presidency, Sarkozy used France 2, a state channel, to dismiss as “slander and lies” the accusation that his successful 2007 presidential bid was partly bankrolled by an illegal donation stuffed in an envelope from France’s richest woman.
Police officer seriously injured after loyalist march ends in sectarian riot
• Woman rushed to hospital after being hit by missile
• Dissident republicans accused of stirring trouble
Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondent
The Guardian, Tuesday 13 July 2010
A female police officer was seriously injured last night during sectarian rioting in Northern Ireland after a loyalist parade was forced past a Catholic area of north Belfast.
The police officer was struck on the head with a breeze block during an attack by rioters from the nationalist Ardoyne. She was given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in the midst of the riot on the Crumlin road. As she was being tended to, rioters continued to throw missiles at her and colleagues had to hold up shields to protect her and paramedics. She was later transferred to hospital by ambulance.
Egyptian Islamists attempt to draw a veil over ‘salacious’ masterpiece
Robert Fisk reports on the hardline law group that wants to censor passages from ‘One Thousand and One Nights’
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
How come the Muslim world – at its moments of greatest crisis – will invariably manage to deflect its energies into the most preposterous cultural, historical or religious questions?
Egyptian Islamists have said they want to censor “salacious” passages from the One Thousand and One Nights, one of the Muslim world’s priceless literary works. This is the same country whose prelates once ordered a university professor to divorce his wife because he had dared to suggest a reinterpretation of the Koran.
Amid Violence and Instability, Iraqi Government Lies Idle
By TIM ARANGO
Published: July 12, 2010
BAGHDAD – Iraq’s Parliament has met once, for 18 minutes on June 14, since the close outcome of national elections more than four months ago created a political stalemate. On Monday – another day of staggering heat here – parliamentary leaders delayed a session scheduled for this week, raising questions about whether their inaction is now breaking the law.
Under the Constitution, a new president should be chosen within 30 days of the first session.
“It is not legal,” said Hayder al-Abadi, a spokesman for Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s State of Law political alliance. “It reflects the inability of the slates and blocs to agree.”
Taliban attacks increasingly kill Afghan civilians
International troops are responsible for about one-fifth of civilian deaths
by KAY JOHNSON
KABUL, Afghanistan – Taliban insurgents are carrying out more attacks this year than at any time since early in the war, killing increasing numbers of civilians as U.S.-led forces push into the militants’ southern strongholds, an Afghan rights group said Monday.
International troops were responsible for about one-fifth of civilian deaths – down from previous years, thanks to restrictive rules of engagement that some soldiers feel put their own lives at risk.
That so many noncombatants are dying shows that the international force has yet to succeed in its goal of protecting the Afghan people, whose trust and support are key components of NATO’s new counterinsurgency strategy in the nearly 9-year-old war.
Chinese Factories Now Compete to Woo Laborers
By ANDREW JACOBS
Published: July 12, 2010
ZHONGSHAN, China – If Wang Jinyan, an unemployed factory worker with a middle school education, had a résumé, it might start out like this: “Objective: seeking well-paid, slow-paced assembly-line work in air-conditioned plant with Sundays off, free wireless Internet and washing machines in dormitory. Friendly boss a plus.”
As she eased her way along a gantlet of recruiters in this manufacturing megalopolis one recent afternoon, Ms. Wang, 25, was in no particular rush to find a job. An underwear company was offering subsidized meals and factory worker fashion shows.
South Africans ponder life after the World Cup
We won, but how do we keep winning? That is the question many South Africans will ask on Monday, the first day of LAWC — life after the World Cup.
DAVID SMITH | JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – Jul 12 2010
Sport’s biggest showpiece was six years in the planning and came to define the national agenda, shaping budget priorities, infrastructure development and daily conversations from townships to vineyards.
Over the past month it has put South Africa at the centre of the sporting world, silencing the critics with its smooth operation and vuvuzela-blowing joie de vivre. It has helped challenge the way Africa is perceived around the world.
Libya’s path from desert to modern country – complete with ice rink
Libya, a one-time global pariah whose leader’s son is sponsoring an aid boat to Gaza this week, has seen dramatic economic progress since the lifting of sanctions for funding terrorism, nuclear proliferation. Is this a model for Iran and North Korea?
By Sarah A. Topol, Correspondent / July 12, 2010
Libya is on the rise.
From shiny new Hyundais cruising the capital’s wide palm-lined boulevards to cranes dotting the Mediterranean skyline, the long-time pariah is getting a modern face.
Seven years after the international community formally lifted the stringent sanctions it had imposed for state-sponsored terrorism, Libya has not only found its feet but is attracting international investment as well.
“There was huge interest by British and European countries in getting back, but the rewards in terms of contracts were quite slow in coming,” says Sir Richard Dalton, who was serving as British ambassador to Libya in 1999 when the sanctions were initially suspended. “[There’s] now on the economic side a pretty unstoppable momentum…. It’s the place to be,” says Dalton, now an analyst at Chatham House in London.
Seven freed dissidents leave Cuba for Spain
A group of political prisoners freed by Cuba are on a flight bound for Spain to start a new life in exile.
The BBC Tuesday, 13 July 2010
The seven dissidents were driven to Havana airport, to be reunited with family members leaving with them.
They are the first of 52 detainees set free under a deal brokered last week by the Roman Catholic Church and Spanish diplomats.
The Cuban authorities have promised to release all 52 dissidents, but it is not known how many will go to Spain.
Officials say they will not be required to stay in Spain and will be free to head elsewhere. Both the US and Chile have offered them asylum.