Democrats plan political triage to retain House
Party may divert its resources to save two dozen incumbents
By JEFF ZELENY and CARL HULSE
WASHINGTON – As Democrats brace for a November wave that threatens their control of the House, party leaders are preparing a brutal triage of their own members in hopes of saving enough seats to keep a slim grip on the majority.
In the next two weeks, Democratic leaders will review new polls and other data that show whether vulnerable incumbents have a path to victory. If not, the party is poised to redirect money to concentrate on trying to protect up to two dozen lawmakers who appear to be in the strongest position to fend off their challengers.
“We are going to have to win these races one by one,” said Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, conceding that the party would ultimately cut loose members who had not gained ground.
Efforts Afoot to Oust Assange as WikiLeaks Leader
As frontman for wikileaks.org, Julian Assange, the floppy-haired Australian computer hacker, has become an internationally celebrated advocate for would-be whistle-blowers. But now that Swedish prosecutors have reopened a rape investigation of Assange and continue an inquiry into allegations that he was involved in “sexual coercion and sexual molestation”–all of which he denies–some fellow WikiLeaks activists are considering asking him to step down from his role as the group’s public face, or ousting him if he won’t leave voluntarily.
The post-9/11 life of an American charged with murder
PATHS TO JIHAD: FROM NEW JERSEY TO YEMEN
By Peter Finn
Saturday, September 4, 2010; 8:36 PM
On the morning of Jan. 26, Sharif Mobley stepped out of his apartment in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, to buy some cereal for his sleeping 3-year-old daughter. The young American from New Jersey was quickly surrounded by eight black-clad, masked operatives from the country’s secret police. Mobley turned to run, but he was shot in the leg and bundled into the back of a white van. When Mobley shouted “I’m an American,” he was hit in the face. As the van sped away, Mobley later told his lawyers, one of his Yemeni captors made a call. The man said only one word, in English: “Easy.”
Oil dispersant effects remain a mystery
BP sprayed chemicals massively in confronting the gulf spill, but scientists aren’t sure how much good – or bad – they did.
By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
September 4, 2010|8:21 p.m.
In the wake of the BP oil spill, gaping questions remain about a key tool used during cleanup: the nearly 2 million gallons of chemical dispersants sprayed over the water or onto the gushing wellhead on the seafloor. Do the chemicals help recovery, hinder it – or neither?
Just as dishwashing detergent breaks grease on dirty plates into bits, dispersants help turn a slick of oil into droplets a hair’s breadth in size. In droplet form, oil is more easily pulled under by currents, away from birds, otters, seaweed and other marine life near the surface.
Tough lessons: How teachers are seeking answers at Auschwitz
As pupils across the country prepare to return to lessons, Paul Vallely joins a group of teachers on an educational trip to Auschwitz to ask: how do you bring the real horrors of history alive in the classroom?
Sunday, 5 September 2010
For me, it is the suitcases. The ancient brown leather is battered and crumpled. But the letters are clear enough. Each bears only the name and date of birth of its owner. Some belonged to adults. But many belonged to children. It is not hard to imagine how the child’s mother selected the bare essentials to pack – the Nazis often provided lists, reminding mothers not to forget their child’s favourite toys – while their father lettered the outside of the case in white paint – to make sure that things went as right as they could for their little one.
Mafia cash in on lucrative EU wind farm handouts – especially in Sicily
An ill wind is blowing over Italy’s green revolution, as the Mafia seek to capitalise on generous grants for renewable energy.
By Nick Squires in Trapani, Sicily, and Nick Meo
Published: 7:30AM BST 05 Sep 2010
They rise up high above the sun-scorched countryside, looking out over hilltop villages, palm trees, neatly-tended vineyards and olive groves.
But for all their promises of a clean, green future, Italy’s windfarms have now acquired a somewhat dirtier whiff – as the latest industry to be infiltrated by the country’s mobsters.
Attracted by the prospect of generous grants designed to boost the use of alternative energies, the so-called “eco Mafia” has begun fraudulently creaming off millions of euros from both the Italian government and the European Union.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani to be lashed over newspaper photograph
Iranian woman facing death for adultery to be whipped despite Times apologising for using picture of another person
Saeed Kamali Dehghan and Peter Beaumont
Iran has reportedly sentenced Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani – the 43-year-old Iranian woman who faces execution after being convicted of adultery – to 99 lashes in prison for “spreading corruption and indecency” after allowing an unveiled picture of herself to be published in a British newspaper.
The claim, which could not be confirmed, comes from her family and a lawyer representing Mohammadi Ashtiani, based on reports from those who have recently left the prison in Tabriz where she has been held for the last four years.
Middle East peace process: High-level talks but with low expectations
On the ground, there is little agreement over the way forward
By Donald Macintyre in Nablus Sunday, 5 September 2010
The two old friends were both middle-aged, both barbers, and both sons of Palestinian refugee parents who were forced to flee the same village outside Jaffa in the war of 1948. Each had an entirely different take yesterday on this week’s high-profile start to the new round of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Saad Sholi, 45, the owner of the barber’s shop, is a self-confessed political junkie who avidly watched the proceedings in Washington, switching between the al-Arabiya and al-Jazeera satellite TV channels. He was not wildly optimistic about the outcome.
‘Millions’ without aid in Pakistan
A month into the disaster, food fails to reach estimated three million people, with children particularly vulnerable.
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2010
The United Nations says that three million people affected by floods in Pakistan have yet to receive the food aid they desperately need.
Children are particularly in danger, according to Martin Mogwanja, the UN humanitarian co-ordinator in Pakistan.
For its part, the Pakistani government has acknowledged that nearly one million people have not received any help of any sort, a month into the disaster.
Some parts of the country are still being hit by fresh flooding. Southern Sindh province remains one of the hardest-hit areas.
More than 20 million people across the country have been affected by the floods, which have killed more than 1,500 people.
Crime and the sale of donated aid supplies are undermining aid efforts.
Resentment Simmers in Western Chinese Region
By ANDREW JACOBS
Published: September 4, 2010
URUMQI, China – The five-star hotels are full, bulldozers are making quick work of dreary slums and billboards for “French-style villas” call out to the nouveau riche. In the year since rioting between the Han and Uighur ethnic groups killed nearly 200 people in this city in far western China, life appears to be returning to normal.
“Don’t worry, everything is peaceful now,” said the perky bellhop at a hotel in the city’s predominantly Han Chinese quarter.
But before turning away, he had second thoughts. “You’d better not go to the Uighur part of town at night,” he said.
Tortured Mexican kidnap victim says: ‘I would sit there wondering how people could be that bad’
A man held for ransom by one of Mexico’s most brutal drugs gangs tells of beatings and constant killing of other captives
by Jo Tuckman in Reynosa, Mexico
The Observer, Sunday 5 September 2010
Félix survived his ordeal at the hands of the Zeta cartel, one of Mexico’s most ruthless drugs gangs. But he knows of many fellow migrants who suffered the same grisly fate as the 72 who were shot at an isolated ranch 70 miles from the border city of Reynosa.
“There are lots more dead migrants, they just haven’t found them,” says the 20-year-old Honduran, speaking at a shelter for migrants run by nuns in Reynosa.
Unlike those at the ranch who were travelling in one large group and kidnapped by an armed commando, Félix (whose name has been changed) was alone when he was picked up by a policeman. In an example of the official collusion that human rights activists have long claimed endangers migrants in Mexico, the officer took him to a Zeta safe house and left him there.