High-seas piracy drama plays out in U.S. courtroom
Five Somalis accused of attacking a Navy ship await their fate in the first such trial in almost 200 years.
By Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Norfolk, Va. –
The moon was bright, the sea was calm, and the pirates easily spotted their prey – a large gray ship plodding through waves 576 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.
Three men jumped from a command boat into an open skiff and raced toward the target. They opened fire with AK-47 rifles as they neared the starboard side, hitting a mast and several life lines.
No one was hurt, and the April 1 incident normally might have drawn little notice. Somali sea bandits have attacked several hundred freighters, tankers and other merchant ships this year. They have successfully hijacked 40 vessels and their crews and held them for ransom..
Carbon emissions set to be highest in history
Curbs are too feeble to stop climate change accelerating
By Steve Connor, Science Editor Monday, 22 November 2010
Emissions of man-made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are roaring ahead again after a smaller-than-expected dip due to the worldwide recession. Scientists are forecasting that CO2 emissions from burning coal, oil and gas will reach their highest in history this year.
Levels of the man-made greenhouse gas being dumped into the atmosphere have never been higher and are once again accelerating. Scientists have revised their figures on global CO2 emissions, showing that levels fell by just 1.3 per cent in 2009 – less than half of what was expected. This year they are likely to increase by more than 3 per cent, greater than the average annual increase for the last decade.
Administration to Seek Balance in Airport Screening
By SCOTT SHANE
Published: November 21, 2010
Caught between complaints that airport screening has become too intrusive and threats of new terror attacks on aviation, Obama administration officials say they are sensitive to criticisms that security measures go too far, but they are insisting that the measures now in place are justified by the risks.
With the Thanksgiving travel crush imminent, the chief of the Transportation Security Administration, John S. Pistole, said in a statement that his agency would try to make screening methods “as minimally invasive as possible.” But he gave no indication that the agency would reverse its move to full-body scanners, now deployed in 70 of 450 airports in the United States, and physical pat-downs for passengers who object to the scans.
‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ to be released day earlier than planned
By Ed O’Keefe Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 22, 2010; 1:13 AM
Signaling the growing seriousness of the Obama administration’s commitment this year to ending the military’s ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces, the Defense Department said Sunday that it will release a long-awaited report on the matter earlier than planned because senators are eager to vote on whether to repeal the policy.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has ordered the report to be released on Nov. 30, one day earlier than planned, “to support Congress’s wish to consider repeal before they adjourn,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Sunday.
IMF and EU bail out Ireland amid fears of Eurozone contagion
Greek crisis and Irish emergency combine to raise fundamental questions about the viability of a single currency
Ian Traynor in Brussels The Guardian, Monday 22 November 2010
European leaders moved last night to shore up the union’s decade-old single currency for the second time in seven months by agreeing to bail out Ireland to the tune of up to €90bn (£77.2bn).
An emergency session of European finance ministers and top officials from the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, conducted by teleconference, agreed for the first time to dip into the €750bn crisis fund established in May to defend the single currency in the worst crisis of its 10-year life, after previously putting up €110bn to rescue Greece from a sovereign debt default.
Villepin backs ‘Karachigate’ claims against Sarkozy
By John Lichfield in Paris Monday, 22 November 2010
A full-blown state scandal, involving President Nicolas Sarkozy and other senior figures, threatens to explode this week over “Karachigate”, the allegation that political corruption and revenge-taking in France led to the murder of 11 French submarine engineers in Pakistan in 2002.
The former prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, a visceral enemy of President Sarkozy, has sprinkled new fuel on what already threatens to become the most damaging French political scandal for decades.
No return to Middle East talks without halt to settlement construction, warns Abbas
The Irish Times – Monday, November 22, 2010
MICHAEL JANSEN in Cairo
PRESIDENT MAHMOUD Abbas has said Palestinians will not return to negotiations with Israel unless there is a complete stop to building settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Following a meeting in Cairo yesterday with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Mr Abbas said: “If Israel wants to return to its settlement activities, then we can’t go on. A settlement freeze must include all of the Palestinian territories, and above all Jerusalem.
Israeli troops guilty of Gaza abuse
Two Israeli soldiers given suspended prison sentences for using Palestinian child as human shield during Gaza war.
An Israeli military court has handed down suspended prison sentences to two former soldiers who forced a Palestinian boy to search for suspected booby-traps during the Gaza Strip war.
The ruling, issued on Sunday by the Kastina military court, meant the ex-conscripts, who were last month convicted of reckless endangerment and conduct unbecoming, are free but face a minimum three-month jail term if they commit another crime.
They were also stripped of their ranks as reservists.
While taking part in Israel’s ground offensive against Hamas-led fighters on January 15, 2009, the two infantrymen helped storm an apartment building in the Gaza City district of Tel Al-Hawa.
New Zealand mine explosion: ‘Every chance’ miners are still alive, says PM
Rescuers drill shaft to test for explosive gases
• Police chief angry at ‘lack of urgency’ accusations
Jo Adetunji and Haroon Siddique The Guardian, Monday 22 November 2010
New Zealand’s prime minister, John Key, said last night there was “every chance” that 29 trapped miners, including two Britons, would be found alive as emergency workers waited for a breakthrough that would determine whether it was safe to start a rescue attempt.
Pete Rodger, 40, from Perthshire and Malcolm Campbell, 25, from Fife, are among the 29 miners trapped in the Pike River mine in Greymouth on South Island after an explosion on Friday, believed to have been caused by a methane gas leak. Toxic gases have hampered efforts to reach the men, but a test shaft that will allow the team to gauge levels of methane and carbon monoxide in the mine before launching a full-scale rescue operation is expected to be completed today.
Film executive quits Hollywood to help Cambodia’s poor
The Irish Times – Monday, November 22, 2010
Seven years ago a chance encounter with a poor young girl during a backpacking trip through Cambodia changed the life of Hollywood film executive Scott Neeson.
He was on a holiday from his pampered life in California and eating at an outdoor restaurant when a nine-year-old girl came begging for money. The next night she came back, and he knew she would be there the next day and the day after that.
The studio boss asked where she came from and he was directed to the Steung Meanchey trash dump, outside the country’s capital, Phnom Penh, where young kids scavenge for food or items to sell to help them survive.
In no way would the kids ever thrive, he thought, and so Neeson did something to help. He met the girl’s parents, as well another girl and her parents. He got the kids enrolled in school and provided better housing for their families.
New twist in SA’s Aids war
DONNA BRYSON | JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
The concoction is called “whoonga” — less a word than an exclamation — and it adds a bizarre twist to the war on HIV/Aids in the world’s worst-affected country just as it embarks on a massive distribution of antiretrovirals.
Whoonga’s spread is so far limited to KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa’s most Aids-stricken province, but Aids and addiction specialists worry that it could reach other parts of the country.
Uganda’s salt miners dying for a climate change deal
In the good times, Yuryahewa — and hundreds of other salt miners at Lake Katwe in western Uganda — can make a reasonable living, but it is a casino existence. Salt production turns rapidly from boom to bust with the seasons, leaving the workers struggling to make ends meet, and climate change is starting to load the dice against them.
The gathering of environment ministers and officials at UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, on November 29 may seem a world away, but development campaigners say progress towards a deal to raise $100-billion a year by 2020 to help poorer countries such as Uganda adapt to climate change is essential.