Pakistan’s flooded farms unable to be sown
Aid workers fear the crisis will be prolonged amid uncertainty over next season’s crop
By RAVI NESSMAN
SHAH JAMAL, Pakistan – Abid Hussein fears the deep floodwaters that destroyed his cotton crop, rotted his wheat seeds and swept away his farming tools are not done ravaging his life.
Just weeks before the wheat planting season is to start, his 1.5-acre (0.6-hectare) farm still lies under 3 feet (0.9 meter) of water, and he is certain it will not drain in time.
“I will not be able to plant,” the 35-year-old father of four said in despair.
Tales of the unexpected: The dark side of bedtime stories
A new biography of Roald Dahl throws light on the private life of one of our best-loved writers. But why are so many children’s authors such damaged human beings?
By John Walsh Monday, 6 September 2010
“A terrible wrathful man, with a slow fuse burning in one end of his belly and a stick of dynamite in the other.” That was how Roald Dahl described his long-term American publisher Alfred Knopf in the New York Times in 1983 – but it could easily have applied to himself.
The much-loved, best-selling children’s author, one of the UK’s most popular post-war writers, was a man of considerable fury and contempt for people who crossed him, or whom he considered beneath him. The creator of Willy Wonka, the Twits and Fantastic Mr Fox was often less than fantastic as a human being.
Congressional Charities Are Pulling In Corporate Cash
By ERIC LIPTON
Published: September 5, 2010
WASHINGTON – Representative Joe Baca has achieved near celebrity status in his suburban Los Angeles district, as much for his record of giveaways – Thanksgiving turkeys, college scholarships, spare boots for firefighters – as for anything he has done in Congress.
That generosity is made possible by the Joe Baca Foundation, a charity his family set up three years ago to aid local organizations. It provides another benefit, too: helping the Democratic congressman run something akin to a permanent political campaign.
Obama to call for $100 billion business tax credit
By Anne E. Kornblut and Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 5, 2010; 9:01 PM
Under mounting pressure to intensify his focus on the economy ahead of the midterm elections, President Obama will call for a $100 billion business tax credit this week, using a speech in Cleveland on Wednesday to launch what administration officials said was a new policy push.
The business proposal – what one aide called a key part of a limited economic package – would increase and permanently extend research and development tax credits for businesses, rewarding companies that develop new technologies domestically and preserve American jobs.
Basque separatist group Eta calls off 50-year campaign of violence
But lack of clarity brings only muted response from Spanish political figures
By Alasdair Fotheringham in Madrid Monday, 6 September 2010
Three hooded figures flanked by flags, filmed for a grainy video released to the BBC, announced yesterday that the Basque separatist group Eta was calling off the armed campaign it has waged for more than half a century.
Their statement defended Eta’s actions but suggested that the group might now be ready to turn to the political process to pursue its aim of an independent Basque state. “Eta confirms its commitment to finding a democratic solution to the conflict,” one of the hooded figures, a woman, said.
French immigration minister forced to change date of wedding after Facebook campaign
France’s immigration minister has changed the date of his wedding after Facebook users pledged to disrupt the ceremony in response to immigration policies.
Published: 12:20AM BST 06 Sep 2010
The minister, former Socialist Eric Besson, 52, has attracted criticism for his role in the government’s tightening of immigration policies.
France’s government has come under fire at home and abroad over security measures including the expulsion of thousands of Roma and the revocation of French nationality for immigrants found guilty of attacking police officers.
On Saturday tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets across France to denounce the security measures.
By Sunday evening over 940 users of the social networking site Facebook had signed up to a group planning to “create havoc” at Mr Besson’s wedding to 24-year-old art student Yasmine Tordjman, which had been due to take place on Sept 16 in Paris.
Israeli police accused of targeting Jerusalem’s Arab residents Monday, 6 September 2010
By Catrina Stewart in Jerusalem
A leading civil-rights group has accused Israeli police of systematic discrimination against the Arab residents of East Jerusalem as growing numbers of hardline religious Jews take up residence in Palestinian areas.
A report from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (Acri) found that violent confrontations between Jewish residents and their Palestinian neighbours had risen rapidly, but that Israeli police have largely ignored Palestinian complaints.
Vedanta investors look into human rights issues in India
Mining company’s operations in India under scrutiny by shareholders following pressure from Amnesty and celebrities
The Guardian, Monday 6 September 2010
Shareholders of Vedanta Resources are taking action to clarify issues about the mining company’s operations in India over concerns about alleged breaches of human rights and environmental laws.
Institutional investors have formed a coalition to investigate some of the issues that have dogged the company recently.
Independently, shareholders including Aviva Investors are considering going to Vedanta’s mining sites in India to assess the situation for themselves. They are also considering commissioning a report from an external consultancy.
Fit for a miniature Indian highway
For 17 years, a former furniture maker has been selling his handmade wooden tiny trucks and tractors on a roadside in Punjab, the real versions rumbling by a few feet away.
By Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times
September 6, 2010
Reporting from Dhanaula, India – He’s watched the cheap Chinese toys come in, a flimsy, mass-produced onslaught. That’s of little concern. He’s doing something more meaningful, something that will last.
Balwinder Singh slowly works the sandpaper around the cargo bay of the miniature wooden truck, one of dozens in his roadside store. Horse carts are the most difficult, he says, with their rounded staves. Then there are the John Deere tractors, the combines, the gasoline trucks, reflecting the rich agricultural land that is Punjab, India’s breadbasket.
Child mortality in Bolivia: a partial success
Twice as many newborn babies survive as did 20 years ago, but more still die here than in almost any country outside sub-Saharan Africa
Andres Schipani in La Paz
The Guardian, Monday 6 September 2010
At the entrance of La Paz’s maternity hospital, a banner reads: “A hospital that is a friend of the child and the mother.” Inside the maternity ward, Jimena Chambi has just given birth to a healthy baby, who is breastfeeding. “I am so happy he is healthy. I was so worried,” she says.
Jimena’s case seems to be an increasing reality in one of South America’s poorest countries, where recent policies have shown that it is possible to make the health of poorest and marginalised children a priority.
Since the mid-1990s the government has been moving towards a policy of universal healthcare provision for mothers and children, prioritising maternal health and child survival.