Why are so many Americans hostile to Islam?
By Margaret Talev | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON – Nearly a decade after 9/11, less than a third of the country feels favorably toward Islam. Most Americans reflexively oppose an Islamic cultural center near ground zero, and the lower the Christian president’s approval ratings, the higher the percentage of people who think he’s Muslim.
Beyond the simplistic debate – are we patriots or bigots? – pollsters, historians and other experts say that the nation’s collective instincts toward Islam have been shaped over decades by a patchwork of factors. These include demographic trends, psychology, terrorism events, U.S. foreign policy, domestic politics, media coverage and the Internet.
BBC’s Mark Thompson takes aim at Murdoch empire in MacTaggart lecture
BBC director general Mark Thompson says Sky is becoming ‘dominant force’ in British TV – but isn’t investing enough
Mark Thompson, the BBC director general, launched a scathing attack on Rupert Murdoch’s media empire tonight, warning that BSkyB is too powerful and threatens to “dwarf” the BBC and its competitors.
Delivering the annual MacTaggart lecture at the Mediaguardian Edinburgh television festival, Thompson rounded on Sky’s chairman, James Murdoch, who used the same speech last year to attack the corporation.
“A year ago, James Murdoch fretted aloud about the lamentable dominance of the BBC,” he said. “He was able to do that only by leaving Sky out of the equation.”
Dangers of war persist for soldiers left in Iraq
By Leila Fadel
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, August 28, 2010; 12:13 AM
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARHORSE, IRAQ – Col. Malcolm Frost knew there would be questions. The official end to the U.S. combat mission in Iraq was approaching, but his soldiers, operating in two of Iraq’s most dangerous provinces, would still be here.
He sat down and penned a letter to the soldiers’ families. “01 Sept. 2010 does not mean a light switched on or off in Iraq,” the brigade commander wrote. “. . . The weight of responsibility upon our shoulders is great, because we must follow through to the very finish.”
U.S. wary over example of first military tribunal case
Administration has been trying to repair the system’s reputation
By CHARLIE SAVAGE 8/27/2010
WASHINGTON – After working for a year to redeem the international reputation of military commissions, Obama administration officials are alarmed by the first case to go to trial under revamped rules: the prosecution of a former child soldier whom an American interrogator implicitly threatened with gang rape.
The defendant, Omar Khadr, was 15 when he was captured in Afghanistan and accused of throwing a grenade that killed an American soldier. Senior officials say his trial is undermining their broader effort to showcase reforms that they say have made military commissions fair and just.
UN tells France to stop forced expulsion of Roma
By Jenny Barchfield in Paris, AP Saturday, 28 August 2010
France has come under increasing pressure to stop its mass expulsions of Roma when a United Nations human rights panel added its voice to the chorus of condemnation.
In recent weeks, French officials have dismantled more than 100 illegal camps and sent hundreds of Roma back to their homes in eastern Europe.
A report released yesterday by a UN anti-racism panel urged France to avoid its “collective repatriations” and expressed concern that members of the Roma community weren’t receiving full voting, education and housing rights in France.
ECB chief Trichet warns failure to tackle high debts risks a ‘lost decade’
Jean-Claude Trichet, the European Central Bank President, said governments risk causing a “lost decade” of weak economic growth if they delay reversing the surge in public debt triggered by the financial crisis.
Published: 11:29PM BST 27 Aug 2010
“The lesson from past history is that dealing with the legacy of accumulated imbalances is not simply a duty to be fulfilled after the economic recovery, but rather an important precondition for sustaining a durable recovery,” he said in a speech at the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank’s annual monetary symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
“The primary macroeconomic challenge for the next 10 years is to ensure that they do not turn into another ‘lost decade.'”
The great chess game of the Middle East
By Victor Kotsev
Nerves are frayed to the point of breaking over the Middle East escalation. One can tell this is so when even respectable think-tanks start looking for ulterior motives behind seemingly minor events, without offering any specific evidence or well-developed leads.
Take, for example, Thursday’s emergency landings of two Iranian civilian airliners over Turkey. Absolutely nothing unusual was reported, except that both aircraft malfunctioned, both over Turkey, and both coming from Tehran. Still, the event warranted a front-page report by Stratfor. The (anti-climactic) conclusion: “These incidents may simply be representative of Iran’s inability to maintain its commercial aircraft under the weight of sanctions and financial restrictions, but given Iran’s ongoing confrontation with the West over its nuclear program, ulterior motives for the landings cannot be ruled out.”
Iraq put on high alert ahead of expected bombing campaign
By Jomana Karadsheh, CNN August 28, 2010
Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) — Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki warned Friday of likely attacks across the country and put all local governments and security forces on high alert.
In a statement read on state television, al-Maliki — commander-in-chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces — said there were indications that “al Qaeda and remnants of the Baath party with foreign backing are planning to carry out a series of bombings in Baghdad and the other provinces.”
The statement, which came shortly before midnight in Iraq, said the attacks would strike across the country, targeting government institutions in particular.
‘We want to talk to the Taliban. But they would rather kill themselves’
Control of Kandahar is key to withdrawal from Afghanistan. But the coming US offensive there will be a bloody one, writes Kim Sengupta
Saturday, 28 August 2010
The first sign of the attack was somewhat mystifying: a tractor suddenly going up in flames on farmland beyond the base.
But there no ambiguity about what followed. A group of men charged, the first blowing himself up as he reached the fence, the others behind opening up with rifle fire. At the same moment, the first of a salvo of rockets launched from a distance landed inside Kandahar airfield.
It lasted no more than a few minutes. Once the tractor packed with explosives had prematurely detonated there was little chance of the Taliban fighters getting through, their suicide vests exploding as the Western troops cut them down.
The Dear Leader has left the building
By Sunny Lee
BEIJING – The South Korean government is keen to see whether Kim Jong-un, the heir-apparent of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, is accompanying the father on a secretive trip to China amid reports that the young heir will finally make his official debut next month.
Analysts are scratching their heads over the Dear Leader’s visit to China, the second this year. It all started when a senior aide of South Korea’s Presidential Office told reporters on Thursday that Kim had embarked on a secretive visit to China during the wee hours of that day.
Neither Beijing nor Pyongyang confirmed the report. But South Korean media said Kim Jong-il spent his first day in China in the northeastern city of Jilin that borders North Korea.
Fresh violence hits Mexico
SATURDAY, AUGUST 28, 201
A car bomb has exploded outside the local affiliate of Televisa TV network in the northeastern city of Ciudad Victoria, in Tamaulipas state.
Friday’s blast damaged equipment and the station was unable to broadcast locally, AFP news agency reported.
“Fortunately none of our colleagues were wounded,” Carlos Loret de Mola, the host of the Televisa morning news show, said.