Caught in America’s legal black hole
Guantanamo still holds 176 detainees, and one of them is about to stand trial – in a test of Barack Obama’s resolve to embrace the rule of law
By Robert Verkaik Monday, 9 August 2010
Have a nice flight with Country Airlines,” said the smiling stewardess, “and enjoy your trip.” Standing on the gangway of the Sun Country 737, she could have been welcoming us aboard a jet bound for any one of America’s favourite holiday destinations.
But the US military-chartered aircraft taking off from the Andrews Air Force Base in Washington this weekend was heading for somewhere not altogether known for its leisure facilities.
Eri Yoshida wins plaudits as first Japanese woman in US baseball league
Chico Outlaws’s 18-year-old ‘Knuckleball Princess’ is hailed as a pioneer for equality in sport, despite struggling on the field
Justin McCurry in Tokyo and Lawrence Donegan in San Francisco
An obscure baseball stadium in northern California is becoming a real-life field of dreams for Eri Yoshida. In just three months, the 18-year-old has pitched herself into sporting history and the affections of some of the most fickle baseball fans in the world.
This year Yoshida became only the third woman in history – and the first from Japan – to play in the US male professional baseball leagues. Despite struggling to adapt to the rigours of the game at that level, Yoshida is being hailed as a pioneer for equality in sport while earning the respect of hard-nosed pundits for her performances on the mound for the Chico Outlaws in the minor Golden Baseball League.
As oil spill cleanup shifts gears, gulf residents fear they’ll be forgotten
By Krissah Thompson and David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, August 9, 2010
BURAS, LA. — Obama administration officials promised Sunday to remain focused on the Gulf Coast — punishing BP for the worst oil spill in U.S. history, and cleaning up what remains of the mess.
But along that coast, such pledges have not stopped the rumors and suspicions that have multiplied as the oil’s sheen has faded.
Work was drying up, people heard. Claims seemed harder to win. The massive cleanup effort, which helped replace lost livings with BP paychecks, seemed certain to be dismantled soon.
Guardians of the nation’s attic
The National Archives keeps watch over 10 billion historical records. And its treasure hunting team keeps watch over collector shows and EBay for the scraps of valuable history that have been stolen.
By Faye Fiore, Los Angeles Times
August 8, 2010
Reporting from College Park, Md. – When Paul Brachfeld took over as inspector general of the National Archives, guardian of the country’s most beloved treasures, he discovered the American people were being stolen blind.
The Wright Brothers 1903 Flying Machine patent application? Gone.
A copy of the Dec. 8, 1941 “Day of Infamy” speech autographed by Franklin D. Roosevelt and tied with a purple ribbon? Gone.
Rail plan could be terminal for Merkel’s coalition
A €7bn scheme to rebuild Stuttgart station has turned deeply political, says Tony Paterson
Monday, 9 August 2010
It is one of the most ambitious construction projects in Europe yet it is fast turning into a worrisome political obstacle that threatens to hasten the demise of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ailing coalition. Sixteen thousand demonstrators turned out to protest against it at the weekend, death threats have been issued against its promoters and the building site at the centre of the scheme, in the middle of downtown Stuttgart, is policed round the clock to guard against saboteurs.
The deepening row is about a hotly disputed plan to completely rebuild Stuttgart’s main station at the staggering cost of €7bn (£5.8bn).
Medvedev reaffirms Russian support during visit to Abkhazia
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev paid a surprise visit to the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia, where he pledged further support for Abkhazia and South Ossetia as the two regions commemorated the 2008 five-day war.
CAUCASUS | 09.08.2010
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Sunday defended Moscow’s position to support two Georgian breakaway regions and assured Abkhazia of its support during an unscheduled visit to the region’s capital, Sukhumi.
“I regret nothing,” Medvedev said as he chatted to Russian tourists on Abkhazia’s Black Sea coast. “If we had not recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia, we would not be drinking coffee here. More likely, there would have been a prolonged, bloody conflict. We prevented a bloodbath,” the president said.
His visit coincides with the second anniversary of the 2008 five-day war between Russia and Georgia over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which cost hundreds of lives.
Gaza flotilla raid inquiry calls Binyamin Netanyahu as first witness
Israeli leader testifies before investigation into deadly attack on aid convoy in which nine activists were killed
Reuters in Jerusalem
guardian.co.uk, Monday 9 August 2010 08.46 BST
Binyamin Netanyahu today told an inquiry into the naval raid on a Gaza aid flotilla that he could not”afford to ignore a threat to Israel’s existence”.
The Israeli prime minister was the first witness to testify to the state-appointed inquiry into the lethal clash at sea on 31 May, in which Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists, after boarding their vessel from a helicopter at night.
The raid took place in international waters off the coast after the aid flotilla ignored several warnings not to continue its course to Gaza, which is ruled by the Hamas Islamist movement and sealed off by an Israeli naval blockade.
Extremist groups ‘very much alive’ in Iraq, U.S. Special Forces official says
By Ernesto Londoño
Monday, August 9, 2010
BAGHDAD — On the eve of the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq, extremist groups “are very much alive,” according to the U.S. Special Forces commander here.
Though weakened by the deaths of top leaders and a drop-off in foreign funding, al-Qaeda in Iraq’s “cellular structure” remains “pretty much intact,” Brig. Gen. Patrick M. Higgins said in his first interview since taking command in Baghdad last fall.
Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir arrested over links to terrorist group
The founder of Jemaah Islamiyah, the group responsible for the 2002 Bali bombings, is allegedly involved with ‘Al-Qaida in Aceh’
guardian.co.uk, Monday 9 August 2010 07.24 BST
Radical Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, once imprisoned for his links to the terror group behind the Bali bombings, has been arrested for alleged involvement with a new militant network.
His lawyer, Muhammad Ali, said Indonesia’s elite anti-terror squad swooped in on the 72-year-old cleric early this morning in West Java’s Ciamis district.
Bashir is best known as the founder and spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaida-linked group responsible for the 2002 bombings on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali that killed 202 people, many of them western tourists.
Kashmir youths take on the Indian state as separatist struggle starts again
Kashmir’s hospitals have been inundated with youths injured and killed by the security forces following an upsurge in violent clashes in the disputed Indian state.
By Dean Nelson in Srinagar
Separatist leaders warned that human rights abuses in Kashmir was creating a new generation of angry teenage militants dedicated to confrontation with the Indian security forces.
The government lifted a curfew in the Kashmir Valley yesterday with the hope of luring separatist leaders into talks.
But the offer has been rejected by groups that insist India withdraws its security forces.
Violence broke out in April when three young Muslims were killed by Army troops who claimed they were “unidentified foreign militants.”
Polls open in Rwanda’s presidential election
Rwandans are voting to elect their president, with incumbent Paul Kagame expected to win by a landslide.
The BBC 9 August 2010
Mr Kagame’s supporters say he has brought both stability and steady economic growth since the country’s genocide in 1994.
His critics accuse him of suppressing opposition and undermining democracy.
This is only the second presidential election since 1994, and five million Rwandans are registered to vote.
Mr Kagame won the election in 2003 with 95% of the vote.
Mr Kagame faces three rivals in the election, all with links to the president’s all-powerful Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).
Newspaper circulation blossoms in Kenya
The newspaper industry is in distress in much of Europe and North America, but in East African nations like Kenya, newspapers still show double-digit growth, and are into new-media industries such as digital media.
By Limo Bankelele, Guest blogger / August 8, 2010
Kenya’s Nation Media Group released their half-year results on Aug. 2 in Nairobi. The results were impressive for a media house, and as their CEO, Linus Gitahi, noted, newspapers still show double-digit growth in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
At NMG Circulation, numbers were up in terms of Nation copies distributed (up 6 percent, though no numbers cited), circulation revenue of the East African is 5 percent and business daily is up 10 percent – and overall the newspaper division had operating profits up 36 percent thanks to reduced costs.
Venezuela, Colombia presidents to meet
By the CNN Wire Staff
August 9, 2010
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and newly elected Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos will meet Tuesday for talks to try to end a diplomatic dispute between the nations, according to Santos’ website.
Venezuela last month broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia, after the latter claimed that rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (also known as FARC) and National Liberation Army (ELN) have camps in Venezuela.
Venezuela has denied the allegations.
It was at least the third time in three years that the relations between Venezuela and Colombia have been strained.