The peace prize war
Nobel ceremony may be cancelled, for the first time in 106 years, after China threatens diplomats in row over jailed dissident
By Paul Vallely Friday, 19 November 2010
For the first time in the history of the Nobel Peace Prize the award may not be handed out this year after a strenuous campaign by the Chinese government to stop one of its citizens, the jailed human rights campaigner Liu Xiaobo, receiving the honour.
Under Nobel Prize rules, the 10 million kronor (£880,000) award can only be collected by the laureate or a close family member.
The government in Beijing placed Mr Liu’s wife under house arrest as soon as the award was announced last month and his two brothers are under surveillance.
Conservationists launch appeal to save nature’s ‘ugly ducklings’
Creatures including hose-nosed tapirs and bat-eared bushbabies struggling to attract funding to keep them from extinction
Press Association The Guardian, Friday 19 November 2010
Conservationists today made an appeal for help for some of the world’s strangest mammals.
The creatures, including hose-nosed tapirs, a bat-eared bushbaby and a scaly anteater, are described as nature’s “ugly ducklings”.
They are finding it hard to compete with the “poster boys of conservation” when it comes to attracting the funding needed to save them from extinction, say experts.
Obama Forces Showdown With G.O.P. on Arms Pact
By PETER BAKER Published: November 18, 2010
WASHINGTON – Just two weeks after an election that left him struggling to find his way forward, President Obama has decided to confront Senate Republicans in a make-or-break battle over arms control that could be an early test of his mettle heading into the final two years of his term. He is pushing for a vote on a signature issue despite long odds, daring Republicans to block an arms-control treaty at the risk of disrupting relations with Russia and the international coalition that opposes Iran’s nuclear program. If he succeeds, Mr. Obama will demonstrate strength following the midterm election debacle. If he fails, he will reinforce the perception at home and abroad that he is a weakened president.
One family’s plunge from the middle class into poverty
By Wil Haygood Washington Post Staff Writer
IN FORT MYERS, FLA. Chrissanda Walker’s bourbon-glazed chicken is just out of the oven. The bread pudding is finished. The collard greens worry her, though; she doesn’t want to overcook them. Walker looks at the clock. It’s 10 a.m. She’s been on her feet since 6.
Walker used to make $100,000 a year as a nursing home executive until she lost her job a year and a half ago. Unable to find a new one, she shed her business suits and high heels and put on an apron and soft-soled shoes. This year, she and her daughter are living on $11,000: her unemployment benefits plus whatever she can earn selling home-cooked dinners for $10 apiece.
Nato to debate Afghanistan at crucial Lisbon summit
Nato members are preparing to meet in Portugal for what is being billed as one of the most crucial summits in the alliance’s 61-year history.
The BBC 19 November 2010
The 28 member states are hoping to reach a “New Strategic Concept” to shape the way Nato defends itself against threats over the next decade.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will also attend, in a sign of warming ties.
Afghanistan will be top of the agenda, with plans to bring Nato’s combat operations to an end by 2014.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who is scheduled to address the summit on Saturday, has said he wants Nato to hand back control of the country by the end of 2014 – a deadline the US has described as realistic but not set in stone.
Irish bank woes trigger urgent talks to end crisis
Paola Totaro HERALD CORRESPONDENT
November 19, 2010
Emergency negotiations were unfolding in Dublin yesterday as fears about the Irish Republic’s ailing banking system forced the deployment of an emergency team from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
Signs were emerging that Ireland may accept some kind of rescue package despite Dublin continuing to resist pressure. The Prime Minister, Brian Cowen, has insisted the IMF and EU team will explore the need for help but not a bailout.
Al-Qaeda ideologue held in Syria
By Syed Saleem Shahzad
ISLAMABAD – The al-Qaeda ideologue responsible for formulating strategy in the South Asia war theater, and who also instigating a rebellion against the Pakistani armed forces among Pakistani tribesmen and jihadi militants in the cities, has been languishing in a Syrian prison for the past several months.
Seventy-year-old Egyptian Abu “Amr” Abd al-Hakim Hassan, popularly known as Sheikh Essa, was arrested in Syria in 2009 and, according to high-profile intelligence sources, is in a poor state of health.
His presence confirms that a sizeable number of al-Qaeda leaders have now moved to the Middle East to turn neighboring Iraq into their strategic backyard and to ensure that the insurgency there flares up once again.
How to win power in Egypt
Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin examines the key to controlling Egypt ahead of a parliamentary election.
It is that time again when Egyptians will head to the polls to drive the democratic engine of the Arab world’s most populous country.
But if anyone is expecting that engine to send the country into a fiery jumpstart, do not hold your breath.
Sad to say, the engine is puttering along and could use a kick-start, but the question on everyone’s mind, both inside and outside government, is when, how and who exactly will begin the process.
Most Egyptians agree on one thing, though – they are all tired of being kicked around.
Sure, the democratic processes in Egypt are there, well written on paper for all to see. Yes, pluralism exists in the political parties. Indeed, civil society is robust, holding workshops to train cadres of election monitors and observers. True, the media has been emboldened to be more daring in issue-driven coverage of the country.
Chinese woman sent to labour camp for retweeting
Cheng Jianping, 46, re-posted a message from the social networking site hinting that Chinese protesters should smash the Japan pavilion at the Shanghai Expo
Associated Press guardian.co.uk, Friday 19 November 2010
China has sentenced a woman to a year in a labour camp for “disrupting social order” by retweeting a satirical message urging Chinese protesters to smash the Japan pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, an international rights group said.
Cheng Jianping, 46, re-posted a message from the social networking site Twitter last month hinting that Chinese protesters should smash the Japan pavilion at the Shanghai Expo and adding on the message “Angry youth, charge!” according to Amnesty International, which condemned the sentence in a statement last night.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Determined to build on national euphoria
The Burmese dissident and democracy leader speaks to The Independent after seven years in prison
By Phoebe Kennedy in Rangoon Friday, 19 November 2010
“No, no, not there, sit down here next to me,” commands Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese dissident and democracy leader, when I try to take a more formal position across the teak coffee table for our interview. Five days after her release from house arrest, Ms Suu Kyi is keeping up a punishing schedule of meetings and interviews, briefings from her colleagues and phone calls from world leaders, while all the time worrying about whether her son will be granted a visa to visit her.
Madagascan coup attempt fizzling
ANTANANARIVO, MADAGASCAR Nov 19 2010
The military officers called reporters to a base near the airport on Wednesday, prepared to read a list of their demands. Outside the base, the nation was voting on a new constitution proposed by Andry Rajoelina, who grabbed power with military backing last year. The officers’ list included a call on soldiers and civilians to rally and topple Rajoelina, but there was little sign of an uprising.
Instead, Malagasy, as the people of this Indian Ocean island are known, kept voting. Rajoelina, leaving a polling station, said he had never felt threatened. He said the majority of the military was behind him “and not bothered by declarations from a handful of people”.
Amazon champ meets his match
Alexandra Topping and Arnel Hecimovic
November 19, 2010
TAKING a plunge in the Amazon – arguably the world’s most formidable river – is not for the faint-hearted. Piranhas, sharp-toothed sharks and deadly whirlpools are just a few of its perils.
But they appear to have been no deterrent to Serbian Darko Novovic, who claims to have slashed by 20 days the world record for swimming the South American river.