US new house sales hit record low
World stock markets fall as fears of a double-dip recession in the US fan fears for global economic recovery
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 26 August 2010 06.20 BST
The FTSE 100 sank to a seven-week low last night as fresh gloom from the US raised the prospect of recession gripping the global economy once again.
A record low for sales of new US homes combined with news of stuttering orders for manufacturers to underline fears that the world’s largest economy could be heading for a double-dip downturn.
Speculation grew that central bankers will be forced to step in with fresh support for the fledgling recovery as the US government said new orders for durable goods such as cars, machinery and household appliances rose a meagre 0.3% last month.
Satoshi Kon dies at 47; Japanese anime director
His boldly original visions and technical sophistication made him one of the most admired in contemporary animation. Among his films were ‘Millennium Actress,’ ‘Paprika’ and ‘Tokyo Godfathers.’
By Charles Solomon, Special to The Times
August 26, 2010
Critically acclaimed animation director Satoshi Kon, creator of “Millennium Actress,” “Paprika” and ” Tokyo Godfathers,” died of pancreatic cancer Tuesday in Tokyo. He was 46.
In contrast to the musical fairy tales and comedy-adventures of American animated films, Kon’s films blurred the boundaries between fantasy and reality in unsettling ways. His boldly original visions and technical sophistication made him one of the most admired directors in contemporary animation. In Newsweek, David Ansen wrote that Kon “may be the most exciting Japanese animator since [ Hayao] Miyazaki.”
As economy slows and Fed voices conflict, markets look to Bernanke for guidance
By Neil Irwin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 25, 2010; 11:02 PM
With the housing market retreating, unemployment lingering and top officials at the Federal Reserve in open disagreement over what to do, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is under rising pressure to offer solutions in an address Friday that is likely to be his most important since the end of the financial crisis.
The central bank’s policy intentions have been unusually muddled in the past two months, according to a widespread view among economists and people in the financial world.
Oil industry’s answers frustrate federal panel
The lead investigator examining the Deepwater Horizon disaster appears to be losing patience with vague or nonresponsive responses from officials including a BP vice president.
Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times
August 26, 2010
Reporting from Houston – Federal investigators are showing increasing frustration at murky or nonresponsive answers from oil industry officials as they parse the causes of the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
Since the hearings began in May, three BP officials with intimate knowledge of events leading up to the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig have declined to testify before a joint Coast Guard and Interior Department panel, which convened again Wednesday.
EU reviews France’s Roma expulsion as Paris digs its heels in
The EU Justice Commissioner has announced an investigation into whether France is complying with EU repatriation laws by deporting Roma to Bulgaria and Romania. Paris is standing by on the policy, rejecting criticism.
IMMIGRATION | 25.08.2010
The European Union’s top justice official expressed concern on Wednesday over France’s decision to repatriate Roma people to Romania and Bulgaria, but stopped short of directly criticising the expulsions.
“It is clear that those who break the law need to face consequences,” Commissioner Viviane Reding said in a statement. “It is equally clear that nobody should face expulsion just for being Roma.”
Reding said her office was analyzing the situation in France to determine whether the repatriation complied with EU laws on free movement of people. She also said she regretted “that some of the rhetoric that has been used in some Member States in the past weeks has been openly discriminatory and inflammatory.”
Facing jail, the unarmed activist who dared to take on Israel
Baroness Ashton ‘deeply concerned’ at court’s ruling in case of West Bank protest
By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem Thursday, 26 August 2010
Baroness Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, yesterday issued an unusually sharp rebuke to Israel over a military court’s conviction of a Palestinian activist prominent in unarmed protests against the West Bank separation barrier.
Lady Ashton said she was “deeply concerned” that Abdallah Abu Rahma was facing a possible jail sentence “to prevent him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to protest against the separation barriers in a non-violent manner”.
Mousavi secrets ‘put his life in danger’
By Omid Memarian
SAN FRANCISCO – Responding to pro-government critics, Iran’s defiant opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has said several times in recent months that he would reveal “untold secrets” from his tenure.
Mousavi served as prime minister of Iran from 1981 to 1989, until constitutional changes abolished the post. He was a leading opposition candidate in Iran’s contested presidential elections last year.
Abolhassan Banisadr, Iran’s first president after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, who now lives in France, told Inter Press Service (IPS) that he believes Mousavi’s life is danger.
Japanese politician launches attack on ‘River Kwai’ Britons
A politician tipped as a future Japanese prime minister has said the British are not very likeable, but admitted the way British prisoners marched in The Bridge on the River Kwai demonstrated their best qualities.
By Chris Irvine
Published: 6:45AM BST 26 Aug 2010
Ichiro Ozawa, the former secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Democratic Party, also said he values US democracy but dismissed the American people as “simple-minded”.
The 68-year-old veteran politician, who resigned as the second most important official in the ruling party in June after coming under fire for campaign finance scandals, reportedly said: “I don’t like British people,” before praising British democracy and their discipline, citing the 1957 Second World War II film, The Bridge on the River Kwai, in which British prisoners of war march in orderly ranks.
US warns of threat to foreign aid workers in Pakistan
The Pakistani Taliban are planning to attack foreigners helping with flood relief efforts in the country, a senior US official has warned.
The BBC 26 August 2010
The Taliban plan “to conduct attacks against foreigners participating in the ongoing flood relief operations in Pakistan”, the official told the BBC.
The official also said “federal ministers in Islamabad” may be at risk.
The warning comes as thousands flee their homes in southern coastal areas as floods sweep down from the north.
The UN says more than 17 million people have been affected by the monsoon floods, and about 1.2 million homes have been destroyed.
Some five million Pakistanis have no shelter, and urgently need tents or plastic sheeting to protect them from the sun.
‘Plans to attack’
“According to information available to the US government, Tehrik-e Taliban plans to conduct attacks against foreigners participating in the ongoing flood relief operations in Pakistan,” the official told the BBC on condition of anonymity.
UN to improve DR Congo links
THURSDAY, AUGUST 26, 2010
The senior UN envoy in the Democratic Republic of Congo has announced plans to improve communications and prevent any recurrence of sexual violence following reported widespread raping in the country’s east.
Aid groups reported last week that nearly 200 women and boys were sexually assaulted in recent weeks by rebels within miles of a UN peacekeepers’ base in North Kivu province.
UN figures show at least 154 civilians were raped and assaulted by rebels from the Mai Mai militia and the Rwandan Hutu Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) who occupied the town of Luvungi from July 30 to August 3.
Mexico: bleeding to death in the war on drugs
Another 72 corpses found in a new mass grave. Feuding cartels blamed for displays of mutilated bodies. Death toll in four-year crackdown passes 28,000
By Guy Adams in Los Angeles Thursday, 26 August 2010
The shootout left four people dead, but that was just the beginning. As dust began to settle on a ranch in north-eastern Mexico, thought to have been owned by one of the world’s most powerful drug cartels, the battle-hardened Marines stumbled upon their first decomposing corpse.
Minutes later, they found a second, then a third. By the time troops had finished searching the remote property, roughly 90 miles from the US border, a total of 72 contorted bodies had been laid out in rows beneath the summer sunshine. The 54 men and 18 women had all been recently murdered.