An apology fatally devalued by the passage of 65 years
Robert Fisk reports on the day America and Britain united with Japan to remember victims of the world’s first atomic bomb
Saturday, 7 August 2010
At last we’ve apologised for Hiroshima – well, sort of. We’ve recognised the suffering our atom bombs caused
well, kind of. President Obama was showing off his antinuclear credentials in the killing grounds of Hiroshima, but this was not to be confused with saying sorry.
The presence of John Roos, the US ambassador to Japan, and the British deputy ambassador, David Fitton, at the site of the world’s first atomic bombing was an odd appearance.
Watergate Becomes Sore Point at Nixon Library
By ADAM NAGOURNEY
Published: August 6, 2010
YORBA LINDA, Calif. – The sign at the entrance to the largest exhibition room devoted to a single subject at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum reads “Watergate.” But on Friday, the exhibit was nearly empty, dominated by a 30-foot blank slate of a wall that is testimony to a new battle set off by this still-polarizing former president: how to mark the scandal that forced him from office 36 years ago.
Officials at the National Archives have curated a searing recollection of the Watergate scandal, based on videotaped interviews with 150 associates of Richard M. Nixon, an interactive exhibition that was supposed to have opened on July 1.
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac losing political support as U.S. reshapes housing finance system
By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 7, 2010
For several decades, whenever a question of housing policy came up in Washington, two companies dominated. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac marshaled armies of lobbyists, deep political connections and millions of dollars in contributions to get their way.
But now Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, titans of the mortgage finance industry, are wards of the state, bailed out by Washington to the tune of $160 billion and banned from political activity.
Justice Kennedy’s the one to watch on gay marriage test
By Michael Doyle | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON – Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy eventually will get his hands on California’s gay marriage ban.
That’s when the landmark case will really get interesting.
Kennedy’s the one to watch, even if his name appears nowhere in a trial judge’s 138-page opinion issued Wednesday striking down California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriages. Nonetheless, Kennedy’s previous decisions were cited 16 times in U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling that Proposition 8 violates the Constitution.
Sarkozy’s crackdown on gipsies begins
French police forcibly moved more than 100 gipsies from an illegal squatter camp as the authorities launched a campaign ordered by President Nicolas Sarkozy to clear up encampments.
Officers moved in before dawn to seal off the squatter camp, where the local authorities had installed water standpipes and chemical lavatories near the central city of Saint Etienne. The operation took several hours.
The French president announced tough new security measures last month that included plans to dismantle 300 unauthorised camps in three months.In addition to the destruction of camps, a squad of tax inspectors has been set up to target hidden wealth in the community. Brice Hortefeux, the interior minister, has raised suspicions over the owners of “caravans pulled by certain powerful cars”
Moscow choked by smog from devastating fires
Spreading wildfires in Russia have covered the capital Moscow in thick, noxious smog. As pollution levels soar, Muscovites are asked to wear surgical masks and stay indoors.
DISASTERS | 06.08.2010
Moscow was covered in thick, noxious smog from raging wildfires on Friday, with Muscovites urged to wear surgical masks and workers sent home as smoke seeped into offices and even underground metro stations.
Air pollution has surged to five times normal levels in the Russian capital, which is home to 10.5 million people. Famous landmarks like the Kremlin towers or the onion domes of Orthodox churches were barely visible from a distance. The weekly changing of the guard ceremony at the Kremlin on Saturday has been canceled.
“I woke up this morning, looked out of the window and saw a monstrous situation,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said during a visit to an ambulance station on Friday.
“We all want this heat wave to pass, but this is not in our hands. It is decided above,” he added.
Israel-Lebanon border clash has Israel complaining of Hezbollah’s influence
The Israel-Lebanon border clash that left an Israeli officer and three Lebanese dead this week has spurred Israeli complaints about ties between the Lebanese Army and the militant Shiite group Hezbollah. The Obama administration may face a congressional challenge to a US military aid program for Lebanon.
By Nicholas Blanford, Correspondent / August 6, 2010
A deadly clash this week along the Lebanon-Israel border has thrown into doubt future US government funding for the Lebanese Army, a cornerstone of recent US efforts to stabilize the country.
Since Tuesday’s border clash that left an Israeli officer, two Lebanese soldiers, and a Lebanese journalist dead, Israel has complained of an alleged “Hezbollah-ization” of the Lebanese Army, a reference to the militant Iran-backed Shiite group, and appears set to lobby Congress to curtail Washington’s military assistance program to Lebanon.
“Israel tends to view the distinction between the Lebanese Army and Hezbollah as increasingly cloudy,” said Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the US, in a conference call with two Jewish lobby groups on Wednesday.
Iran gains as Arabs’ Obama hopes sink
By Jim Lobe
WASHINGTON – United States President Barack Obama has suffered a sharp drop in popularity in the Arab world over the past year, and Iran may be reaping the benefits, according to a major new survey of public opinion in five Arab countries.
Only 20% of respondents in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) now view the US president positively, compared to 45% who did so in the spring of 2009, according to the 2010 Arab Public Opinion Poll conducted by Shibley Telhami of the Brookings Institution and the Zogby International polling firm.
Hard-Line Islam Fills Void in Pakistan’s Flood Response
By ADAM B. ELLICK and PIR ZUBAIR SHAH
Published: August 6, 2010
CHARSADDA, Pakistan – As public anger rises over the government’s slow and chaotic response to Pakistan’s worst flooding in 80 years, hard-line Islamic charities have stepped into the breach with a grass-roots efficiency that is earning them new support among Pakistan’s beleaguered masses.
Victims of the floods and political observers say the disaster has provided yet another deeply painful reminder of the anemic health of the civilian government as it teeters between the ineffectual and neglectful.
Kashmir burns again as India responds to dissent with violence
The hospitals are filling up with gunshot victims but angry protesters say the world is blind to their plight. Andrew Buncombe reports from Srinagar
Saturday, 7 August 2010
From the end of the hospital corridor came frantic shouts, urgent voices that grew ever more desperate.
A dozen men appeared, gathered around a blood-smeared trolley, rushing its occupant towards the emergency surgery room. Abdul Rashid, said his friends, had been shot in the head by police who had opened fire on a peaceful gathering. “There was no stone-pelting, nothing,” yelled one of the 25-year-old’s friends, as medics pulled shut the doors to the surgery room. “There was no curfew … They fired indiscriminately.”
Facing life in jail, the woman who dared to take on Paul Kagame
Stability in Rwanda is based on political repression, opposition leader Victoire Ingabire tells Daniel Howden
Saturday, 7 August 2010
Victoire Ingabire had expected to spend this weekend campaigning.
Instead, she will spend it under house arrest in Kigali, preparing her defence for a trial that could end with a life sentence. Ms Ingabire returned to Rwanda in February to contest Monday’s presidential election. She had not expected to win against Paul Kagame, the soldier who has run Rwanda since 1994, but she did think she would at least be able to stand against him.
With Uribe era ending, Colombia looks back and ahead
Uribe will turn over a far safer country to former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, elected in a landslide after promising to continue Uribe’s policies. But the challenges are now socioeconomic.
By Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times
August 7, 2010
Reporting from Bogota, Colombia – On his inauguration day eight years ago, leftist guerrillas tried to kill Colombian President Alvaro Uribe with a rocket and mortar attack. The U.S. government had drawn up contingency plans for a rebel-led government, and citizens were hunkering down in their homes at night in fear.
As Colombians who lived through those dark days know, Uribe on Saturday will turn over a far safer country to his successor, former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, who was elected in a June landslide after promising to continue Uribe’s policies.