How big government should be stirs debate
By Susan Page, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Americans are having a crisis of confidence in their government.
A majority in a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll disapprove of the jobs President Obama and Congress are doing and have unfavorable views of both major political parties. Only half express even a fair amount of trust and confidence in the people who hold or are running for public office. Just one in four are satisfied with the way the nation is being governed.
Meanwhile, six in 10 Americans say the government has too much power, and nearly half agree with this alarming statement: “The federal government poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedom of ordinary citizens.”
IN THE COCKPIT
PSU graduates are part of Marine unit that flies presidents, other world leaders
They’ve gazed at the Washington Monument’s exterior – from about halfway up – and watched the White House grow larger. Normally, flying low through the restricted air space would earn a trip to jail.
But for a select group of Marine Corps pilots, it’s all in a day’s work.
Fitzsimmons and Gaugler belong to Marine Helicopter Squadron One, HMX-1 for short, the famous unit responsible for ferrying the president, vice president, Cabinet members and foreign heads of state.
Both are also Penn State graduates, part of the university’s strong link to the Quantico, Va.-based squadron. Out of 75 pilots, six hold University Park degrees..
Obama continues attack on Chamber of Commerce
By Dan Eggen and Scott Wilson
Washington Post Staff Writers
The White House intensified its attacks Sunday on the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce for its alleged ties to foreign donors, part of an escalating Democratic effort to link Republican allies with corporate and overseas interests ahead of the November midterm elections.
The chamber adamantly denies that foreign funds are used in its U.S. election efforts, accusing Democrats of orchestrating a speculative smear campaign during a desperate political year.
How Hank Paulson’s inaction helped Goldman Sachs
By Greg Gordon | McClatchy Newspapers
Henry Paulson has received widespread acclaim for his bare-knuckled decision-making as the treasury secretary at the peak of the 2008 financial crisis, but former federal regulators say he missed multiple chances to contain the disaster.
Among the prime beneficiaries of Paulson’s inaction in 2006 and 2007 was Goldman Sachs, the investment banking behemoth he ran before he was named to former President George W. Bush’s Cabinet.
Paulson’s failure to take steps to curb risky mortgage lending also enabled top executives of other Wall Street firms to continue cashing big bonus checks, while less privileged Americans lost their jobs, their homes and their retirement savings in the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression.
New toxic sludge threat in Hungary
irishtimes.com – Last Updated: Monday, October 11, 2010
Workers raced to build an emergency dam in western Hungary as cracks in a reservoir widened, threatening to unleash a second torrent of toxic sludge on the village of Kolontar and nearby rivers.
About one million cubic metres of the waste material leaked out of the alumina plant reservoir into villages and waterways earlier this week, killing seven people, injuring 123 and fouling rivers including a local branch of the Danube.
Nearly a week into the disaster, a person was still missing.
Kolontar was evacuated on Saturday after cracks appeared in the northern wall of the reservoir, threatening a second spill of the toxic red sludge, which swept through neighbouring areas on Monday, toppling cars and wreaking havoc in houses.
7 July London bombings inquests to begin
The inquests for the 52 people killed by four suicide bombers in the 7 July 2005 London attacks are due to start.
The hearings were delayed because of criminal investigations and questions over what the inquests should cover.
Lady Justice Hallett, the coroner, will preside over five months of hearings without a jury into the attacks on three Underground trains and a bus.
She will look at whether MI5 could have stopped the bombers – but many victims’ families still want a public inquiry.
In addition to the 52 people killed, some 700 other people were injured, many of them severely and permanently, when the four al-Qaeda-backed suicide bombers, all British men, detonated their devices.
The hearings at the Royal Courts of Justice in London are expected to last until at least March next year and will look into the precise details of the 2005 attacks..
Israeli cabinet approves loyalty oath for non-Jews
Minister warns that divisive legislation will ‘incite Arab minority’
By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem Monday, 11 October 2010
A divided Cabinet yesterday approved a highly controversial measure that, for the first time in Israel’s 62-year history, requires new non-Jewish citizens to pledge loyalty to it as a “Jewish and democratic state”.
The 22-8 vote approving the bill, which was supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, came despite a split within his own ruling Likud party, and a warning yesterday by a leading Labour minister in his coalition that the legislation was a “terrible mistake” which would “incite the Arab minority”.
Pakistan’s nuclear arms push angers America
Pakistan has been secretly accelerating the pace of its nuclear weapons programme, infuriating the US which is trying to cap worldwide stocks of fissile material and improve fraught relations with a fragile ally in the Afghanistan war.
By Praveen Swami, Diplomatic Editor
The Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington-based nuclear watchdog, has obtained satellite images showing that a row of cooling towers at Pakistan’s secret Khushab-III reactor has been completed. This suggests the plant could begin operation within months, allowing Pakistan substantially to increase its stockpiles of weapons-grade plutonium.
Last year, Barack Obama, US president, called for “a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials”. In response, the Conference on Disarmament, a 64-nation coalition that negotiated the 1992 Chemical Weapons convention and the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, agreed to negotiate a Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty, intended to cap production of weapons-grade enriched uranium and most forms of plutonium.
China’s security apparatus is as Orwellian as ever
October 11, 2010
BEIJING: When news broke on Friday that the political reformer Liu Xiaobo had won the Nobel peace prize while serving the first year of an 11-year jail sentence, I was listening to a member of China’s communist aristocracy tell me how he had recently been lured out of his home by a caller pretending to be a deliveryman.
”I don’t have any money,” he had protested, mistaking the motivations of the goons who had grabbed him, before they shoved him into a van and pulled a hood over his head.
His long interrogations at an unknown location revolved around a short cryptic joke that some recipients had misinterpreted as serious intelligence, and which had fed a worldwide rumour that a senior party figure was about to die.
Sudan president warns of greater conflict with south
Sudan’s president accused former southern rebels of going back on the terms of a peace deal, warning that conflict could re-erupt if the sides did not settle disputes before a referendum on secession.
The comments from President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, reported on state media, raised the stakes in a war of words between Khartoum and the south’s dominant Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), five years after the sides ended decades of civil war with an accord.
In three months time, that peace deal is supposed to come to a climax with a referendum giving the people of the oil-producing south the right to decide whether to declare independence or stay part of Sudan.
Chombo feels the heat
Residents of Harare challenge minister to explain how he acquired vast properties in the capital
By Sunday Times Correspondent
Residents in Harare have demanded that the controversial Minister of Local Government, Ignatius Chombo, declare the vast properties he has acquired since he became a minister and prove that he did not corruptly acquire his vast wealth.
The Combined Harare Residents Association of Zimbabwe (CHRA) has written to Chombo demanding that he disclose his property interests.
Other residents associations and local authorities throughout the country are also said to be in the process of demanding the same from Chombo.
Journalists and a clown leave mark on ‘Camp Hope’
By Guy Adams Monday, 11 October 2010
If the trapped miners were ever briefly tempted during the long months they have been stuck underground to wonder whether the world had forgotten about their plight, they are certain to be rapidly disabused of that notion when they eventually reach the surface.
As the operation to rescue “Los 33” enters its final stages, the scene at Camp Hope has come to resemble a rolling-news equivalent of Glastonbury, complete with row after row of camper vans and – judging by the growing stench – a pressing shortage of fully functioning mobile toilets.