Saturday Morning News For Oct. 13

Its an Open Thread. Yea!

Brothers and sisters of the soul unite
We are one, indivisible and strong
They may try to break us
But they dare not underestimate us
They know our memories are long

Building Blackwater
Founder Seeks ‘Better, Smarter, Faster’ Security As History, Iraq Shape the Firm’s Fortunes

By Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Dana Hedgpeth
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, October 13, 2007; Page A01

MOYOCK, N.C. Erik Prince bounded up the stairs of a sand-colored building and paused on the flat roof, a high point of the 7,000-acre facility in North Carolina known as Blackwater Lodge and Training Center.

As owner of Blackwater, he has been the focus of intense scrutiny recently by Congress and critics because the company’s private security forces have at times operated with impunity in Iraq, including allegations that they murdered innocent civilians. But on a steamy afternoon this week, just days after testifying on Capitol Hill, Prince seemed like a king surveying his domain.

Key activists arrested in Burma
Burma’s military rulers have arrested three of the last remaining leaders of the recent pro-democracy protests which were violently suppressed.

Among those detained was Htay Kywe, who led some of the first marches and was a prominent activist in a 1988 uprising.


Big insurers dig deep to fight R-67
Measure strengthens policyholders with unpaid claims


OLYMPIA — Four large insurance groups that do business in Washington have contributed more than 60 percent of the $9.6 million aimed at repealing a new law making it easier for people to fight the denial of claims.

Those groups, which have the biggest slice of the state’s insurance market, also generated the most customer complaints with the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner — 1,096 last year.

Obama lashes out at Clinton
DES MOINES – Barack Obama’s decision to launch a new tougher phase of his campaign with a withering foreign policy attack on Hillary Clinton opened the door Friday for the most contentious campaign day yet among the field of Democratic presidential contenders.

Clinton, a New York senator who is the front-runner in national public opinion polls, found herself under attack not only from Obama, but Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. Biden also criticized Obama over a missed Senate vote, and Biden and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson sparred over a strategy to stabilize Iraq.

Children’s Health Coverage Showdown
October 13, 2007; Page A9

Democrats ratcheted up the pressure against Republicans this past week in a bid to override President Bush’s veto of a $35 billion increase in government-subsidized children’s health coverage.

Conservatives oppose the broad expansion of a program that subsidizes health insurance for millions of people because they claim it could lead to government-run health care. But many Republicans are worried about the political fallout from voting against a popular health-insurance program that covers mostly low-income children. Some 20 House Republicans who have opposed the expansion now face a $1.5 million advertising blitz from liberal activists and labor unions in their home districts.


Myanmar gov’t holds rally in Yangon
YANGON, Myanmar – Thousands at a government-staged mass rally in Yangon shouted slogans Saturday against Western powers and the foreign media, whom the military regime accuses of fomenting recent pro-democracy protests.
“Down with BBC! Down with VOA! Down with Radio Free America,” the crowds chanted at the rally, held amid growing international pressure on the junta to negotiate with the pro-democracy opposition. Many in the crowd were offered cash to attend, local officials said.

Sri Lanka rejects UN call for human rights monitoring
COLOMBO (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe rejected demands by a top UN envoy for international monitoring of the island’s deteriorating rights situation.
  Samarasinghe told the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, that Sri Lanka would not agree to her call for UN monitoring of human rights in the country.

Rare South China tiger spotted in wild
BEIJING – A type of tiger thought to be extinct in the wild for more than two decades has been photographed in a mountainous area in northwest China, state media reported Saturday.
The endangered subspecies known as the South China tiger was spotted by a farmer on Oct. 3, the China Daily said.

Experts confirmed that it was a young wild South China tiger, the newspaper quoted Shaanxi Forestry Administration Bureau Deputy Director Zhu Julong as saying.


Serbs offer reward for fugitives
By Nick Hawton
BBC News, Belgrade
Serbia has offered a reward of 1m euros (£700,000; $1.4m) for information that leads to the arrest of either Ratko Mladic or Radovan Karadzic.

The former Bosnian Serb leaders have been indicted for genocide by the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague for their roles during the Bosnian war.

De Menezes officer knew he wasn’t bomber

By Caroline Gammell
Last Updated: 1:30am BST 13/10/2007
The Metropolitan Police commander who ordered the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes knew the Brazilian was not one of the wanted July 21 bombers some time before he was killed, the Old Bailey heard yesterday.
Surveillance officers following the 27-year-old formally identified him as not being Hussain Osman, who they were hunting over the failed suicide attempts on London’s transport network the day before.


Vendor-free zone in Mexico City
The sidewalks are visible for the first time in years, but the leader of the merchants vows the fight is not over.
By Héctor Tobar and María Antonieta Uribe, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
October 13, 2007
MEXICO CITY — They disappeared from the colonial historic center of this capital city overnight, leaving behind empty sidewalks and open stretches of cobblestone street.

Friday morning, residents of Mexico City awoke to an eerie quiet. Tens of thousands of street vendors, for decades a fixture of this hopelessly crowded city, were gone. And the sea of cheap and often pirated goods with which they covered concrete and asphalt was gone too.

Pets hurled off bridge in Puerto Rico
By OMAR MARRERO, Associated Press Writer Sat Oct 13, 2:16 AM ET

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Animal control workers seized dozens of dogs and cats from housing projects in the town of Barceloneta and hurled them from a bridge to their deaths, authorities and witnesses said Friday. Mayor Sol Luis Fontanez blamed a contractor hired to take the animals to a shelter.
“This is an irresponsible, inhumane and shameful act,” he told The Associated Press.

Fontanez said the city hired Animal Control Solution to clear three housing projects of pets after warning residents about a no-pet policy


Rwanda probing 1994 plane crash
KIGALI, Rwanda – Rwanda said Friday it has opened an inquiry into the mysterious shooting down of a plane carrying its president 13 years ago, which led to extremist Hutus taking power and starting the 1994 genocide.
The government decided to set up an inquiry because it has no confidence in a French magistrate’s investigation into the April 6, 1994, attack on President Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane, said Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama.


  1. “Animal Control Solution” is a Puerto Rican subsidiary of Blackwater USA, right?

  2. Democrats ratcheted up the pressure against Republicans this past week in a bid to override President Bush’s veto of a $35 billion increase in government-subsidized children’s health coverage.

    Everyone knows the dems can’t do anything without a super-majority.

    Oh, this is about health insurance for children, not our soldiers being killed everyday.  Now I get it.

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