Fed workers told: Stay away from those leaked cables
Directive notes the content ‘remains classified’; Columbia U. also warns future diplomats
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
NEW YORK – With tens of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables still to be disclosed by WikiLeaks, the Obama administration has warned federal government employees, and even some future diplomats, that they must refrain from downloading or even linking to any.
“Classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites or disclosed to the media, remains classified, and must be treated as such by federal employees and contractors,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a notice sent out Friday.
The New York Times, which first reported the directive, was told by a White House official that it does not advise agencies to block WikiLeaks or other websites on government computer systems. Nor does it bar federal employees from reading news stories about the leaks.
Giant panda breeding breakthrough in China
A critical breakthrough has been made in efforts to save the giant panda, one that could kick-start attempts to reintroduce the animals to the wild.
By Ella Davies
Earth News reporter
Conservationists say they have perfected the difficult task of reproducing pandas, having reached their target of successfully raising 300 of the bears in captivity.
The breakthrough, mainly by scientists at the Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Centre, China, should lead to the first panda being reintroduced into the wild within 15 years.
The revelation comes after documentary makers were given unprecedented access to the research centre to film captive breeding activity over two years.
Mounting State Debts Stoke Fears of a Looming Crisis
By MICHAEL COOPER and MARY WILLIAMS WALSH
Published: December 4, 2010
The State of Illinois is still paying off billions in bills that it got from schools and social service providers last year. Arizona recently stopped paying for certain organ transplants for people in its Medicaid program. States are releasing prisoners early, more to cut expenses than to reward good behavior. And in Newark, the city laid off 13 percent of its police officers last week.
While next year could be even worse, there are bigger, longer-term risks, financial analysts say. Their fear is that even when the economy recovers, the shortfalls will not disappear, because many state and local governments have so much debt – several trillion dollars’ worth, with much of it off the books and largely hidden from view – that it could overwhelm them in the next few years.
Tension grows between Calif. Muslims, FBI after informant infiltrates mosque
By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 5, 2010; 12:47 AM
IRVINE, CALIF. – Before the sun rose, the informant donned a white Islamic robe. A tiny camera was sewn into a button, and a microphone was buried in a device attached to his keys.
“This is Farouk al-Aziz, code name Oracle,” he said into the keys as he sat in his parked car in this quiet community south of Los Angeles. “It’s November 13th, 4:30 a.m. And we’re hot.”
The undercover FBI informant – a convicted forger named Craig Monteilh – then drove off for 5 a.m. prayers at the Islamic Center of Irvine, where he says he spied on dozens of worshipers in a quest for potential terrorists.
Spain, the world capital of prostitution?
Europe’s largest brothel has just opened in a land where no fewer than 39 per cent of men admit to visiting sex workers
By Alasdair Fotheringham Sunday, 5 December 2010
The Spanish economy may be dangerously close to meltdown this week but one area at least – prostitution – appears to be doing very nicely, thank you.
“Don Jose – cleanliness; Don Jose – discretion; Don Jose – security, and a patrolled car park,” half-whispers the calm female voice on a Granada radio station throughout the day. It is an advertisement for the city’s biggest and best-known brothel.
Cut to a Saturday night inside the said Don Jose “club” – three storeys high, flashing neon lights, two bars, a VIP zone and some 70 sex workers, clad in everything from nightgowns to G-strings to the very briefest of shorts – and, according to local regulars, business is booming.
Grandson of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer wants Germany to end eurozone bailouts
The eurozone is depending on Germany to pay for the bailouts of Greece and Ireland. But German taxpayers and businessmen are starting to wonder where it will end – and whether they can afford it.
By Nick Meo in Cologne 8:00AM GMT 05 Dec 1010
His grandfather was Konrad Adenauer, Germany’s first post-war chancellor and one of the original signatories of the Treaty of Rome – the first big step towards what is now the European Union.
With his family’s name so firmly linked to the dream of European integration, when business leader Patrick Adenauer backed a court action to try to stop German taxpayers’ billions being poured into EU bailouts, Germany took notice.
“We don’t want to pay the debts of Greece, Portugal, Ireland and then Spain, and then others,” Mr Adenauer told The Sunday Telegraph at his office in Cologne.
Covert war against Iran’s nuclear aims takes chilling turn
Sophisticated cyber-worms, motorcycling assassins: but who is behind the increasingly sinister campaign against the Iranian energy programme?
Julian Borger and Saeed Kamali Dehghan
The Observer, Sunday 5 December 2010
Tehran’s streets at the height of the morning rush hour resemble a vast, sprawling car park. Bumper-to-bumper traffic, much of it stationary, the acrid steam of a thousand exhausts hanging in the cold winter air. If you wanted to kill someone, this would be the moment to do it: when they are stuck in their cars – sitting targets.
At 7.40am last Monday, in north Tehran’s Aghdasieh district, a motorcycle threaded its way through the long lines of cars on Artesh Boulevard. It edged up to a silver Peugeot 405, hesitating alongside for moment, before moving off into the maze of vehicles..
Egyptians vote in runoff elections
Ruling party set to dominate second round of parliamentary polls hit by withdrawal of two main opposition blocs.
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2010
Voting has started in a second round of parliamentary elections in Egypt, a week after the first round was condemned for alleged fraud.
Egypt’s ruling party, The National Democratic Party (NDP), which has never lost an election, is set on Sunday to win all but a handful of seats that may be taken up by minor parties with no significant grass-roots support, after the Muslim Brotherhood and the liberal Wafd party pulled out.
With the Brotherhood sidelined from formal politics, the government’s main critics have one less platform for attack as Egypt heads towards a 2011 presidential election whose outcome is more uncertain.
The runoffs are being held in 114 seats where candidatess failed to secure the necessary 50 per cent of votes needed for an outright win in the first round.
Chinese blamed for Google attack
US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks say senior officials orchestrated hacking of search engine.
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2010
US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks have linked senior Chinese officials to the hacking of Google that led the company to briefly pull out of China earlier this year.
Citing the cables on Saturday, The New York Times newspaper said the country’s senior propaganda official had overseen the cyber attack after he had found “results critical of him” when he typed his name into the search engine.
“A well-placed contact claims that the Chinese government co-ordinated the recent intrusions of Google systems,” a cable dated earlier this year said.
“According to our contact, the closely held operations were directed at the Politburo Standing Committee level,” it said, referring to the ruling body of the Chinese Communist Party.
Unveiled: Work by Anthony Burgess suppressed for years
The exclusive Malaysian school where the author taught finally allows his ode to be performed
By Sholto Byrnes Sunday, 5 December 2010
When Anthony Burgess returned to Malaysia in 1980 after a gap of 22 years to film an episode of the BBC series Writers and Places, he was not impressed. “The country and I,” he announced, “have nothing to say to each other.” The author of A Clockwork Orange and Earthly Powers died 17 years ago, but he is still being talked about in the land that launched his career as one of the most celebrated British novelists of the late 20th century. And last night, the capital, Kuala Lumpur, saw a historic royal unveiling of one of Burgess’s first works, which was never published. Further, not only had it been forgotten, it had been deliberately suppressed.
UN calls for ceasefire in Congo to expedite vaccinations following polio outbreak
As polio reappears in 12 African countries, Unicef officials appeal for fighting to stop in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo so that an ambitious vaccination programme can proceed
Alex Duval Smith, Africa correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 5 December 2010 00.07 GMT
United Nations officials have called for an immediate ceasefire in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to allow vaccinations to reach millions of children who are threatened by a sudden epidemic of polio.
The aggressive return of the contagious paralysing virus comes just five years after it was declared eradicated in most of the world. It marks a major setback in the race to make polio only the third disease, after smallpox and the cattle virus rinderpest, to be eradicated.
In the wake of an outbreak earlier this year of so-called wild poliovirus, the first round of an unprecedented vaccination campaign aimed at 72 million children under five was launched in 15 African countries in November
Ken Saro-Wiwa was framed, secret evidence shows
Witness statements accuse Nigerian military commander of ordering killings and taking bribes
By Andy Rowell and Eveline Lubbers Sunday, 5 December 2010
Compelling new evidence suggests the Nigerian military killed four Ogoni elders whose murders led to the execution of the playwright and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995.
The evidence also reveals that the notorious military commander Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Okuntimo, whose troops were implicated in murder and rape, was in the pay of Shell at the time of the killings and was driven around in a Shell vehicle.
Since the time of Saro-Wiwa’s death, Shell has insisted that it had no financial relationship with the Nigerian military, although it has admitted paying it “field allowances” on two occasions.
SWAT team sent as Easter Islanders take land
‘All we’re asking for is title to the land,’ says native after police fired on dozens
By FEDERICO QUILODRAN
SANTIAGO, Chile – A military plane carrying riot police reinforcements landed on Easter Island Saturday, and Chile’s Interior Minister said they will continue evicting Rapa Nui islanders who have been squatting in government buildings built on their ancestral properties.
Dozens of people were wounded by police buckshot and batons after violently resisting the first such eviction on Friday on the usually tranquil South Pacific island, where as many as 50,000 tourists come each year to see the Moai – huge stone heads carved by the Rapa Nui’s ancestors..