Election Day could bring historic split: Democrats lose House, keep Senate
By Karen Tumulty
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 25, 2010; 12:10 AM
The question around Washington today is not whether Nov. 2 will be a difficult day for the Democrats who control Congress, but rather how bad it will be.
Increasingly, it looks like the answer depends on which chamber of Congress you’re following.
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report now estimates that more than 90 Democratic House seats are potentially in play; on the Republican side of the aisle, it estimates that only nine appear in jeopardy. As a result, most leading forecasters say it is more likely that Republicans will win the 39 House seats they need to take control.
Secret war at the heart of Wikileaks
By Jerome Taylor Monday, 25 October 2010
A civil war at the heart of Wikileaks has virtually paralysed the whistle-blowing website from publishing any new exposés outside of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, say former staffers and volunteers.
The website’s recent unveiling of more than 390,000 secret US military documents from the Iraq war – on top of the 77,000 Afghan war logs it published earlier this year – has been hailed as one of the most explosive intelligence leaks in living memory, providing an astonishing level of previously unknown detail on two deeply controversial conflicts.
Political freak show that does little credit to US democracy
The Irish Times – Monday, October 25, 2010
LARA MARLOWE in Los Angeles
From comic to crass, this US campaign has been littered with gaffes and surreal moments
THE US midterm campaign enters its last week today, after one of the silliest and most brutal election seasons ever.
The level of political discourse has been abysmal, with politicians trading insults like children in a schoolyard. This freak show will end soon, and it has not been a credit to US democracy.
The New York gubernatorial debate on October 18th provided comic relief. Carl Paladino, the homophobic Republican candidate, had insisted that all seven gubernatorial contestants participate.
Pro-Republican Groups Prepare Big Push at End of Races
By JIM RUTENBERG
Published: October 24, 2010
OVIEDO, Fla. – The anonymously financed conservative groups that have played such a crucial role this campaign year are starting a carefully coordinated final push to deliver control of Congress to Republicans, shifting money among some 80 House races they are monitoring day by day.
Officials involved in the effort over the midterm elections’ final week say it is being spearheaded by a core subset of the largest outside conservative groups, which have millions of dollars left to spend on television advertisements, mailings and phone calls for five potentially decisive Senate races, as well as the scores of House races.
Peter Bossman becomes Eastern Europe’s first black mayor
‘Obama of Piran’ elected in south-western Solvenia
Jo Adetunji and agencies The Guardian, Monday 25 October 2010
A Ghana-born doctor nicknamed “the Obama of Piran” became the first black mayor in eastern Europe yesterday after he was elected in Piran, south-western Slovenia.
Peter Bossman, 54, said he was “happy and proud” to have been elected to the post after winning a second round runoff in the town with just over half the votes.
Bossman settled in Slovenia, then still part of Yugoslavia, in the 1970s after arriving in the country to study medicine. He decided to stay after marrying a fellow student from Croatia.
Merkel facing opposition over plans to change Lisbon Treaty
The Irish Times – Monday, October 25, 2010
ARTHUR BEESLEY, European Correspondent, in Brussels
GERMAN CHANCELLOR Angela Merkel is coming under increasing pressure from an alliance of European leaders, among them the Taoiseach, to scale back her push for changes to the Lisbon Treaty to recast the EU’s fiscal rulebook.
The schism pits Dr Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy, her key ally, against the leaders of Britain, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Ireland and a clutch of other countries. José Manuel Barroso, chief of the European Commission, also opposes a revision of the treaty.
These divisions come as the EU authorities try to craft new systems to prevent a repeat of the Greek debt debacle and destabilising episodes such as the meltdown in the Irish public finances.
Files show al-Qaeda’s grip on Iraq
Leaked documents show how al-Qaeda arrived in Iraq after the US military overthrew Saddam’s government.
Andrew Wander and Gregg Carlstrom Last Modified: 25 Oct 2010
“If you’re asking, are there al-Qaeda in Iraq, the answer is yes, there are. It’s a fact, yes.” Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defence, August 2002
It was one of the key American justifications for the Iraq war. But the theory that al-Qaeda was present in Saddam-era Iraq, much cited by the Bush adminsitration in the run-up to the invasion, has been undermined by the content of secret US military documents.
The files contain only half a dozen references to the group for the whole of 2004, the year records begin. But under the leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian who had met Osama bin Laden while fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the classified reports show that al-Qaeda established itself as major player in the carnage as the conflict wore on.
Some Question Insistence on Israel as Jewish State
By ISABEL KERSHNER
Published: October 24, 2010
JERUSALEM – The more stridently Israel insists on Palestinian recognition of it as the nation-state of the Jewish people, the more adamantly the Palestinian leadership seems to refuse.
As a result, some senior Israeli officials are beginning to question the wisdom of the policy of their prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has made recognition of the legitimacy of the Jewish nation-state a prerequisite for any final agreement with the Palestinians.
More recently, Mr. Netanyahu offered it as a quid pro quo for a temporary extension of a moratorium on building in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Nascent Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have stalled since the moratorium expired last month.
Bomb kills five at Sufi shrine in Pakistan
The bombing at the Farid Shakar Ganj shrine in Punjab province was the latest in a string of attacks targeting Sufi shrines in Pakistan
Associated Press guardian.co.uk, Monday 25 October 2010 06.29 BST
A bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded at the gate of a famous Sufi shrine in central Pakistan during morning prayers today, killing at least five people, said officials.
The bombing at the Farid Shakar Ganj shrine in Punjab province was the latest in a string of attacks targeting Sufi shrines in Pakistan. Islamist militants often target Sufis, whose mystical practices clash with their hardline interpretations of Islam.
The dead fromthe attack included at least one woman, said Maher Aslam Hayat, a senior government official in Pak Pattan district where the shrine is located. At least 13 others were wounded by the explosion, he said.
That’s a wrap – kimono-making art may face end
October 25, 2010
Yasutaka Komiya, an 84-year-old craftsman, sits on a woven tatami mat floor flicking through piles of exquisitely decorated rainbow-hued silk.
”I started learning how to dye kimono fabrics in this style when I was 12,” he said. ”A few hundred years ago, thousands of people were doing this. But today? We are one of only three families in Japan who can do this work.”
The industry that produces one of the most enduring cultural symbols of Japan is in crisis. Previously sustained by the need to dress an entire nation in traditional costume, it has shrunk to a fraction of its former size.
Guinea hits wall of ethnic loathing
Guinea’s attempt to shed military rule has hit the same wall of ethnic distrust that has for decades trapped the West African country in instability and poverty.
Rival presidential candidates from the main ethnic groups are urging supporters to keep calm after Friday’s announcement of yet another vote delay and a weekend of unrest in several towns. But it is no way certain their voices will be heard.
“There is a profound distrust among ethnic groups that comes to the fore in times of tension,” said Corinne Dufka, senior researcher in the Africa division of Human Rights Watch.
“There is always the perception in Guinean politics that the winner takes all – and, worse, that the losers will then be subject to repression,” she said of a country where only the ruling elite has seen the benefit of rich mineral resources.
Sudan government ‘committed to January referendum’
A senior US senator has said Sudan’s government has assured him it will hold a referendum on independence for the south and is committed to the outcome.
John Kerry added that Sudan – which is under US sanctions – could benefit in important ways if it kept that promise.
The chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee was speaking after a three-day visit to the country.
Earlier, Sudan’s president said the referendum should lead to further negotiations between north and south.
Continue reading the main story
Sudan: Country at a crossroadsAfrica’s next nation?
Panoramic photo: Returning south
Darfur: World’s favourite war?
Q&A: Darfur conflict
“It is without doubt a crucial event that is mixed with anxiety due to its importance and historical significance,” Omar al-Bashir said.
Cholera outbreak in Haiti ‘stabilising’
Health officials have said there are signs that the cholera outbreak in central Haiti may be stabilising.
The BBC’s Laura Trevelyan
Although the death toll moved past 250 with more than 3,000 people infected, fewer cases were reported.
Five were detected on Saturday in the capital, Port-au-Prince, but they were quickly diagnosed and isolated.
Officials say the disease is a serious threat to the 1.3 million survivors of January’s earthquake who are living in tented camps surrounding the city.
The poor sanitary conditions make them vulnerable to cholera, which is caused by bacteria transmitted through contaminated water or food.
Cholera causes diarrhoea and vomiting leading to severe dehydration, and can kill quickly if left untreated through rehydration and antibiotics.