C.I.A. Steps Up Drone Attacks in Pakistan to Thwart Taliban
By MARK MAZZETTI and ERIC SCHMITT
Published: September 27, 2010
WASHINGTON – The C.I.A. has drastically increased its bombing campaign in the mountains of Pakistan in recent weeks, American officials said. The strikes are part of an effort by military and intelligence operatives to try to cripple the Taliban in a stronghold being used to plan attacks against American troops in Afghanistan.
As part of its covert war in the region, the C.I.A. has launched 20 attacks with armed drone aircraft thus far in September, the most ever during a single month, and more than twice the number in a typical month. This expanded air campaign comes as top officials are racing to stem the rise of American casualties before the Obama administration’s comprehensive review of its Afghanistan strategy set for December.
Aliens have landed … in the headlines
Alan Boyle writes
Did UFOs interfere with nuclear missile systems in the 1960s? Has the U.N. appointed an ambassador to the aliens? Due to a grand convergence, such questions have been generating fresh waves of headlines over the past few days – and that provides a ripe opportunity for a reality check.
The nuke-test angle was today’s highlight, due to a much publicized news conference at the National Press Club in Washington. Eyewitness accounts about funny business at and around military bases have been circulating for years, and in fact are among the main themes of Leslie Kean’s recently published book “UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record.”
Several retired military men discussed their recollections of an incident that took place at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana in March 1967, relating to reported missile system malfunctions at two locations known as Echo Flight and Oscar Flight.
New ‘Super Pacs’ bringing millions into campaigns
By Dan Eggen and T.W. Farnam
Washington Post Staff Writers
A new political weapon known as the “super PAC” has emerged in recent weeks, allowing independent groups to both raise and spend money at a pace that threatens to eclipse the efforts of political parties.
The committees spent $4 million in the last week alone and are registering at the rate of nearly one per day. They are quickly becoming the new model for election spending by interest groups, according to activists, campaign-finance lawyers and disclosure records.
Immigration has grown more complicated
By Chris Hawley, USA TODAY
When Yudi went to the U.S. consulate in San Pedro Sula in Honduras to see whether she could get into the USA, the receptionist ticked off the documents she would need to apply for a visitor’s visa.
She would need to show whether she had a bank account and how much was in it, whether she owned real estate or a car and that she had a good-paying job for at least five years – all evidence that might indicate she was not trying to get into America to stay and work illegally. Her heart sank.
Poet forced to pulp book after row with her family
By David McKittrick, Ireland Correspondent Tuesday, 28 September 2010
A prominent Irish poet has lived up to descriptions of her work as provocative, anarchic and untameable by sparking family divisions with her latest collection.
More than 900 copies of the Galway poet Rita Ann Higgins’ book, entitled Hurting God, were pulped by her publisher following objections from her millionaire brother.
He took exception to references in the collection to him and the pair’s mother which he and other members of the family characterised as “offensive” and “untrue”.
Kosovo president resigns over breach of constitution
Fatmir Sejdiu, the president of Kosovo, has announced his surprise resignation in a move that could hamper the start of Eu-brokered talks between Belgrade and Pristina.
Mr Sejdiu resigned following a court ruling that he breached the constitution by keeping a party post while in office.
In a decision published on Friday, Kosovo’s constitutional court said that Mr Sejdiu was in “serious breach” of the constitution by holding the posts of president of Kosovo and of the LDK.
A complaint against him had been filed by 32 members of parliament.
“I was convinced that keeping the function of the president of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) without exercising it did not violate the constitution. The court had a different opinion and I respect the ruling,” he said
Has the West declared cyber war on Iran?
Experts say the computer virus found in a nuclear plant is the work of a foreign power
By Rhodri Marsden Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Computers can go wrong, and everyone is used to it. But that’s at home. We assume that the machines controlling the infrastructure that makes everything tick – power stations, chemical works, water purification plants – have rock-solid defences in place to deal with unexplained crashes or virus attacks by malicious strangers.
Now, though, a new kind of online sabotage has reached its zenith with a self-replicating “worm” that started on a single USB drive and has spread rapidly through industrial computer systems around the world.
Hezbollah looks to Hariri for payback
By Sami Moubayed
DAMASCUS – Tension are rising between Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and the Hezbollah-led opposition over reports that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is laying the grounds to indict some of the group’s for the 2005 murder of Lebanon’s ex-premier, Rafik al-Hariri, who was Saad’s father.
Hariri remains committed to the STL while Hezbollah is calling for its immediate abolition. It was Hariri, in his capacity as son of the slain prime minister, who called for the STL and only Hariri, in his capacity as the prime minister of Lebanon, can call for its cancelation
Taliban leaders met with Afghan government
News of approaches ahead of establishment of high peace council may signal that direct talks could happen soon
Chris McGreal in Washington
The Guardian, Tuesday 28 September 2010
Top echelons of the Taliban have approached the government in Kabul about peace talks, said General David Petraeus, the Nato commander in Afghanistan yesterday.
Petraeus told reporters that there have been no substantive negotiations so far, but news of the Taliban’s approaches ahead of the establishment of a high peace council this week could signal that direct talks are not far off.
Although there have been contacts at various levels between President Hamid Karzai’s government and the Taliban for several months, Petraeus’s comments are the first time they have been revealed to be at such a high level.
Kim’s son, 27, now a 4-star general
September 28, 2010 – 5:41AM
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has appointed his youngest son as a four-star general, the communist state’s official media said today in its first mention of the man widely seen as heir apparent.
The announcement comes hours before the scheduled opening of the biggest ruling party meeting for 30 years.
The conference is expected to anoint the son Kim Jong-Un as eventual successor to the ailing 68-year-old leader.
South Sudan to arm militias against Uganda rebels
TUESDAY, 28 SEPTEMBER 2010
THE governor of South Sudan’s Western Equatoria state, Joseph Bakasoro, has promised to provide community militia groups with weapons to fight the brutal Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group.
Self-defence groups known as “Arrow Boys” – armed with basic weapons such as machetes – already guard the rural communities affected by the LRA fighters, since the mainstream armed forces are stretched too thin across the vast jungle region.
Now the southern parliament has allocated five million Sudanese pounds (two million dollars) to supply them with guns, communication systems and training, said Bakasoro in a chat with Agence France Presse (AFP) in Yambio, the state capital.
Angolan interior minister fired over ‘illegal extradition’
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has fired his interior minister over accusations he ordered an illegal arrest and extradition, the president’s office said Monday.
Interior Minister Roberto Leal Monteiro will be removed from office for ordering the “irregular and illegal” extradition from Sao Tome and Principe of a Portuguese national wanted on fraud charges in Angola, said a statement from the president’s office published in state media.
“There is no extradition agreement between the two countries and there was no judicial authorisation from any relevant authority in Sao Tome and Principe,” the statement said.
Mayor stoned to death in drug-plagued Mexican state
September 28, 2010 – 9:26AM
A small-town mayor and an aide were found stoned to death in a drug-plagued western state, the fifth city leader to be slain in Mexico since mid-August.
Michoacan state Attorney General Jesus Montejano said the bodies of Tancitaro Mayor Gustavo Sanchez and city adviser Rafael Equihua were discovered in a pickup truck abandoned on a dirt road near the city of Uruapan.
Montejano’s spokesman, Jonathan Arredondo, said initially that the victims were hacked to death with a machete, but the attorney general said they were killed with stones.