Obama under pressure in test of principle that could define his presidency
Politicians are stirring up opposition to a proposed mosque near Ground Zero. The result: a vital examination of American values
By Rupert Cornwell Saturday, 21 August 2010
Listening to the Great Mosque Debate, you’d imagine that minarets and domes are about to rise on the exact spot where the Twin Towers stood – and that at the appointed hour, a muezzin’s voice will soon ring out, summoning a city to bow to the faith of Mohamed Atta and his fellow hijackers.
The truth is a little different. Essentially, the New York authorities have given planning permission for a proposed Islamic cultural centre that, apart from a place of worship, will contain, inter alia, basketball courts, a restaurant, and babysitting facilities, as well as a memorial to the victims of 9/11. And all this is contingent on funding being secured for the project.
Frank Lloyd Wright house in Bethesda now belongs to architect’s grandson
By Nancy McKeon
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, August 21, 2010
It was just the kind of building site that Frank Lloyd Wright loved to tackle: The steep piece of land in a heavily treed corner of Bethesda was generally thought to be unbuildable. The driveway, a nearly straight drop from the wooded road above, was daunting. In addition, the only flat area was small, certainly not enough for a big house.
Wright visited the site in the 1950s and spoke with the lot’s owners. The husband was a lawyer with the Justice Department; he and his wife had come to Washington during the second Roosevelt administration.
Five years after Katrina, New Orleans sees higher percentage of Hispanics
By Ylan Q. Mui
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 21, 2010
NEW ORLEANS — Five years after Hurricane Katrina, the rebuilding of the Big Easy has created a new community of Latino immigrants in this famously insular city, redrawing racial lines in a town long defined by black and white.
The change began just weeks after one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history, which decimated homes, upended lives and drove a chunk of New Orleans’s black population to Baton Rouge, Houston and other places.
Muslims fear backlash as festival falls near Sept. 11
Citing a growing atmosphere of distrust, especially since the issue of the Islamic center near Ground Zero erupted, some plan to tone down celebrations of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.
By Mitchell Landsberg, Los Angeles Times
August 21, 2010
For nearly a decade, the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno has held a carnival on the Saturday following the end of Ramadan, during a festival that has been called the Muslim equivalent of Christmas. With pony rides, carnival attractions, games and Middle Eastern food, it’s a popular event for the community’s children.
This year, the center’s leaders had a sense of foreboding when they noticed the date on which the carnival would fall: Sept. 11.
Who really masterminded France’s crime of the century?
‘I was real brains behind Nice bank heist, not Spaggiari’, claims ‘Amigo’ in new book
By Molly Guinness in Paris Saturday, 21 August 2010
For 34 years, the legend of Albert Spaggiari as the daring mastermind behind France’s crime of the 20th century has blossomed.
From the raid on a bank via an underground tunnel to the daring escape on the back of a motorbike, his story has spawned films, books and theories of CIA involvement.
But now the legacy of one of the anti-heroes of modern French folklore – who taunted the authorities for their failure to catch him by sending photos of himself dressed as Father Christmas – is under threat.
Expelled Roma promise to return to France
More than 100 Roma were deported by France on Friday in the second day of a controversial clampdown on the minority group
Published: 6:30AM BST 21 Aug 2010
But as the 124 people landed in Timisoara, in their native Romania, many said they planned to head straight back to France.
“Of course I’m thinking about returning to France. Life is better than in Romania,” said 26-year-old Ionut Balasz as he arrived in Romania.Aurel Cioaba echoed his sentiment: “I was there [in France for] four months with my wife, and if I can’t get by here in Romania I will go back.”
President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the crackdown on Roma in late July as part of a larger “war” on people who outstay their work permits in France.
Iran begins loading Bushehr nuclear reactor
Iran has begun loading fuel up its first nuclear power station in a ceremony attended by Russian officials.
The BBC 21 August 2010
Russia will operate the Bushehr plant in southern Iran, supplying its nuclear fuel and taking away the nuclear waste.
Iran has been subject to four rounds of UN sanctions because of its separate, uranium enrichment programme.
Experts say that as long as the plant is Russian-operated, there is little immediate threat of its fuel being diverted to make bombs.The West fears Tehran wants to build a nuclear weapon, but Iran insists its plans are for peaceful energy production.
Settlements ‘may halt’ direct talks
SATURDAY, AUGUST 21, 2010
The Palestinian Authority has accepted an invitation from the United States to resume direct negotiations with Israel, but warned that it will withdraw if Israel builds more settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
The Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators – the UN, Russia, the EU and the US – said on Friday that it had invited Israeli and Palestinian leaders to attend talks in Washington on September 2.
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, confirmed that the talks would be attended by Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority.
Pakistan accepts $5m flood aid from India
Pakistan has accepted $5m (£3.2m) in aid from its rival and neighbour India, as donors pledged more money for the flood-hit country.
The BBC 21 August 2010
Abdullah Haroon, Pakistan’s UN Ambassador, welcomed the offer saying the disaster transcended any differences the two countries had.
Meanwhile, officials say the province of Sindh is now the worst hit, with more than two million people affected.
New warnings are being issued and villages evacuated, they said.
Mr Haroon welcomed the latest offers of help, which followed a two-day special meeting of the UN Security Council in New York to discuss the crisis.
UN figures showed on Friday that $490.7m had been raised for the relief effort, with another $325m pledged. The total tops the $460m sought in the UN emergency appeal.
Deaths that shocked Japan
Reports that a Japanese man kept his dead mother’s body in a rucksack for almost ten years are the latest in a string of unusual death-related stories from the country.
By Laura Roberts
Published: 7:30AM BST 21 Aug 201
Earlier this month the mummified body of a man who was registered as 111 years-old was discovered in his bedroom. Sogen Kate is thought to have been there for 30 years. he was found wearing underwear and pajamas and was covered with a blanket. his family said he retired to his room 30 years ago after announcing that he wanted to become a living Buddha. Officials believe that he died soon after that.
Since the macabre finding was made it has been discovered that almost 200 centenarians are missing, including 21 people who would be older than the nation’s oldest person of 113 – if it can be proved that they are still alive.
Stellenbosch University abuzz after student paper prints photo of gay kiss
At South Africa’s conservative Stellenbosch University, social-networking sites have lit up with comment since the student newspaper published a photo of a gay couple participating in a heterosexual ‘kiss-a-thon.’
By Ian Evans, Correspondent / August 20, 2010
Cape Town, South Africa
A kiss is just a kiss, or so the song goes – but not if it’s a gay kiss at one of South Africa’s oldest and most conservative, rugby-playing universities.
Students at the predominantly Afrikaans Stellenbosch University have been seething at a decision to publish a photograph of two men kissing on the front of the fortnightly student newspaper Die Matie. Editions have been slashed and torn up with some students saying the picture was offensive. But others have posted letters of support on Facebook, and some gay students saying the furor had given them the confidence to come out.
Nigeria: Is Goodluck Jonathan running for president or what?
Nigeria’s presidential race kicked off unofficially this week, with the entry of former president and military ruler Ibrahim Babangida and former vice-president Atiku Abubakar (both Muslims from the north) announcing their intent to run. Will incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian, enter the fray?
By Saratu Abiola, Guest blogger / August 20, 2010
Goodluck Jonathan is oscillating so much on his 2011 plans, he makes Hamlet look decisive. He can’t just be doing this for kicks – what’s his end game?
From all the tea leaves before us, this next election is not going to be pretty. Northerners want a northern president (well, they always do) because Yar’Adua didn’t have his full term due to his protracted illness and eventual death. To zone or not to zone has been a question for months.
Former military president Babangida has voiced interest, so he and former vice (and now out-of-favor with ruling party heads) Atiku are said to be the choices for the Northern leaders’ endorsement as the election draws nearer.
Wyclef Jean vows to help Haiti after presidential bid rejected
Hip-hop star urges supporters to respond to ruling ‘peacefully, responsibly’
msnbc.com news services
PORT-AU-PRINCE – Hip-hop star Wyclef Jean urged supporters to respond “peacefully and responsibly” to a Haiti provisional electoral council ruling that he is not eligible to run as a presidential candidate in the Nov. 28 election.
Singer-songwriter Jean, 40, an international celebrity who is popular in his impoverished and earthquake-ravaged homeland, was left off the list of approved candidates published by the council.