Senate to vote again on military gay ban
Reid plans vote after Thanksgiving; White House urges passage before year’s end
msnbc.com news services
WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that he will call for a vote after Thanksgiving on legislation that would allow gays to serve openly in the military.
His announcement makes good on his pre-election promise to resurrect during the lame-duck session legislation that would repeal the 1993 law known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
NBC/WSJ poll: Record support for gays serving openly in the military.But it remains far from certain whether the legislation would have enough votes to pass. Several leading Republicans, including Sen. John McCain, have said they oppose lifting the ban.
WW2 file: The Guernsey resistance
‘I was charged with retaining my wireless set contrary to German orders and listening to the BBC’
The Guardian, Thursday 18 November 2010
“At the beginning of June 1943 I was arrested by the Gestapo in Guernsey and charged with retaining my wireless set contrary to German orders and listening to the BBC and conveying the news to others … I did about four weeks in the local jail before being taken to an annexe of Dijon … [he was later moved to Saarbrücken and on to Frankfurt]. I served most of my sentence under SS guards. I was in solitary confinement, except when working in a shed in one of the prison yards, and here I worked on nuts and bolts used for the construction and repair of German tanks. I don’t think international law permits a prisoner of the Germans doing this work, but I had no choice. The allies’ advance into Germany forced the Nazis to take all of us out of prison on a forced march into the interior of Germany … Finally I was released on 30 April 1945 by the advancing American army.
Terror Verdict Tests Obama’s Strategy on Detainees
By CHARLIE SAVAGE
Published: November 18, 2010
The mixed verdict in the case of the first Guantánamo detainee to be tried in a civilian court on Wednesday quickly re-ignited a fierce debate over the Obama administration’s effort to restore the role of the traditional criminal justice system in handling terrorism prosecutions.
Ahmed Ghailani will face between 20 years and life in prison as a result of his conviction on one charge related to the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa. But because a jury acquitted him on more than 280 other charges — including every count of murder — critics of the Obama administration’s strategy on detainees said the verdict proved that civilian courts could not be trusted to handle the prosecution of Al Qaeda terrorists.
General Motors’ public offering may net $20 billion
By Steven Mufson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Seventeen months after veering into bankruptcy, General Motors has become the unlikely darling of Wall Street, poised to complete an initial public offering Thursday that will fetch more than $20 billion and rank as one of the largest in history.
Stripped of laggard brands, costly health-care benefits and bulging debt, the shiny new GM has attracted investors that range from former employees to Chinese auto giant SAIC to big pension funds that only recently lost money on the old GM.
Economic crash to drive 100,000 out of Ireland
By Michael Savage in Dublin Thursday, 18 November 2010
Just three years ago, when business was booming for Paul Lynch, a plumber from Tallaght, Co Dublin, nothing could have been further from his mind than the prospect of leaving Ireland in search of a new life overseas.
But like thousands of unemployed, skilled workers, a year without a steady job has been enough to convince him to up-sticks and move abroad.
“I’m a total homebird – even when I go on holiday, I end up in an Irish pub somewhere,” said the 34-year-old. “But right now, I’m penniless. I’m just not one of these people who can pick up the dole. I want to work. I’ve heard some great things about Canada.”
With the unemployment rate still above 13 per cent and remaining high, many with a bankable trade are now considering taking the drastic option of leaving Ireland in search of work.
Champagne bubbles up from the sea bed after 200 years
THE WORLD’S oldest Champagne has been at the bottom of the sea for almost 200 years. It still tastes pretty good, writes RICHARD VINES
The Irish Times – Thursday, November 18, 2010
Two bottles were cracked open yesterday that were discovered in July in a shipwreck, 50 metres below the surface, in the waters south of Aaland, a Finnish- controlled archipelago of 6,500 islands in the Baltic sea.
The Aaland authorities only discovered yesterday while recorking some of the bottles that they contained two varieties of Champagne: Veuve Clicquot and Juglar, an old house now part of Jacquesson.
While 168 bottles were found, many were broken and others contaminated. I was one of a group of journalists allowed to try the two that were opened in the cultural centre in Mariehamn, the islands’ only town.
Israel finally leaves tiny village straddling Middle East’s political fault line
Ghajar’s Syrian residents fear they will be permanently divided
By Donald Macintyre in Ghajar Thursday, 18 November 2010
Israel’s cabinet yesterday decided to withdraw its troops from the northern section of a village that regards itself as Syrian but has in recent years found itself straddling a UN-designated Israel-Lebanon borderline.
The decision has triggered protests from angry residents, fearful that the move will permanently divide their close-knit community.
The decision is the latest chapter in the complex history of Ghajar, a village of Allawite Muslim Syrians wedged between Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. It is intended to resolve a dispute that has exacerbated tensions between the two countries since Israel’s war with Hizbollah militants four years ago.
President to protect Saddam deputy
November 18, 2010
PARIS: The Iraqi President, Jalal Talabani, said he will never sign the execution order for the former deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz, despite his being sentenced to death last month over the persecution of Shiite groups after the first Gulf War.
”No. I will not sign this kind of order because I am a socialist,” Mr Talabani, a Kurd, told France 24 television during an interview.
”I feel for Tariq Aziz, because he’s an Iraqi Christian, and he’s also an elderly person over 70 years old. That’s why I will never signthis execution order.”
Kabul gets its own stimulus package
By Tom Engelhardt
You must have had a moment when you thought to yourself: It really isn’t going to end, is it? Not ever. Rationally, you know perfectly well that whatever your “it” might be will indeed end, because everything does, but your gut tells you something different.
I had that moment recently when it came to the American way of war. In the past couple of weeks, it could have been triggered by an endless string of ill-attended news reports like the Christian Science Monitor piece headlined “US involvement in Yemen edging toward ‘clandestine war’.” Or by the millions of dollars in US payments reportedly missing in Afghanistan, thanks to under-the-table or unrecorded handouts in unknown amounts to Afghanb civilian government employees (as well as Afghan security forces, private-security contractors, and even the Taliban).
A whole new world for US and Asia: Can America adapt to the power shift?
President Obama’s trip to Asia shows just how much the global power balance has shifted. China and India now hold the key to Western economic recovery. In this climate, the US must learn a new form of international leadership.
By Takashi Oka November 17, 2010
President Obama’s swing through Asia these last two weeks demonstrated how the architecture of the world has changed. The United States is still the pre-eminent military power, but politically and economically it is China and India, not Washington or the Europeans, who hold the keys to the economic recovery and well-being of what was so long known as the Western world.
The lesson for Americans in the Obama tour of Asia is that they cannot afford to wall themselves off from Asia or from the rest of the international community if they are to regain their dynamism – the willingness to roll up their sleeves and get to work – that once made this country great, and that many Americans still possess. They must adjust to their new role in this new global structure.
Military officers in Madagascar claim coup takeover
The Irish Times – Thursday, November 18, 2010
BILL CORCORAN in Cape Town
A GROUP of military officers in Madagascar yesterday claimed to have taken over the country as citizens went to the polls for the first time since a coup destabilised the troubled island last year.
The news that a second coup was under way came as voters were casting their ballots in a constitutional referendum designed by politician Andry Rajoelina to resolve the political crisis that has dogged the country since he took control with the army’s support in March 2009..
Nigerian military rescue 19 hostages in Niger Delta
Nigerian troops have rescued 19 hostages kidnapped by militants in the Niger Delta this month, officials say.
The BBC 18 November 2010
Two Americans, two Frenchmen, two Indonesians and a Canadian were freed along with 12 Nigerians in a land, air and sea assault, said officials.
Security sources told the BBC the freed hostages were euphoric.
The operation was the first successful rescue of foreign captives in the Delta without any of the hostages being killed in the process.
It is not clear exactly where the operation was carried out, nor whether any militants were killed or wounded.
Cholera, fear spread beyond the border
The cholera epidemic that has plagued Haiti for weeks has made its way to Florida and the Dominican Republic.
BY FRED TASKER AND FRANCES ROBLES
A Southwest Florida woman who visited family in the disease-stricken Artibonite Valley of Haiti and a Haitian construction worker who lives in the eastern Dominican Republic but recently spent two weeks in Port-au-Prince became the first people to import deadly cholera.
The spread is worrying public health specialists in several countries who fear the illness could spread internationally.
The acute intestinal infection first surfaced in Haiti four weeks ago and has killed 1,110 people and hospitalized 18,382 since.