Mother, do you think they’ll drop the bomb?
Mother, do you think they’ll like this song?
Mother, do you think they’ll try to break my balls?
Ooooowaa Mother, should I build a wall?
Mother, should I run for President?
Mother, should I trust the government?
Basra Assault Exposed U.S., Iraqi Limits
Anti-Sadr Gambit Seen Aiding Cleric
BAGHDAD, April 3 — When Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki launched an offensive in Basra last week, he consulted only his inner circle of advisers. There were no debates in parliament or among his political allies. Senior American officials were notified only a few days before the operation began.
He was determined to show, his advisers said, that Iraq’s central government could exert order over a lawless, strategic port city ruled by extremist militias.
Back From The Meeting From Hell: Better Late Than Never Here’s The News
U.S. Economy Shed 80,000 Jobs in March
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. employers cut payrolls for a third month in a row in March, slashing 80,000 jobs for the biggest monthly job decline in five years as the economy headed into a downturn, government data on Friday showed.
The Labor Department revised the first two months of the year’s job losses to a total of 152,000 from a previous estimate of 85,000. The March unemployment rate jumped to 5.1 percent from 4.8 percent, the highest since a matching rate in September 2005.
The March job report was more bleak than expected. Economists polled ahead of the report forecast a decline of 60,000 in non-farm payrolls and a rise in the unemployment rate to 5 percent.
The Other Side of the Mountaintop
Scholars Assess Nation’s Progress — And an Icon’s Rougher Edges — Four Decades After Assassination
Near the end of his life, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. felt cornered and under siege. His opposition to the Vietnam War was widely criticized, even by friends. He was being pressured both to repudiate the black power movement and to embrace it. Some of his lieutenants were urging him to jettison his urgent new campaign to uplift the poor, believing that King had taken on too much and was compromising support for the civil rights struggle.
Zanu-PF discusses Mugabe future
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has convened a meeting of his ruling party on how to react to presidential poll results, still not officially declared.
A senior member of the party has told the BBC that Saturday’s election ended in a “stalemate”.
He said the party was ready for Mr Mugabe to contest a run-off.
Meanwhile the opposition MDC says it intends to ask the High Court to order the immediate release of results of the poll, which it says it won outright.
It says its candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, took 50.3% of the vote – just enough to avoid a second round in two weeks’ time.
Journalists charged in Zimbabwe
A New York Times correspondent and a second man, reportedly a British journalist, arrested in Harare have today been charged with breaching the country’s tough media laws by reporting without accreditation, according to a news wire report.
New York Times correspondent Barry Bearak, 58, and the second man, reportedly a 45-year-old journalist from Britain, were among four people picked up yesterday by police at a Harare guest house.
“They have both been charged for practising without accreditation but the other two will be released soon after screening,” Zimbabwe national police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told Agence France Presse.
“We have so many other foreign journalists who have followed the laid-down procedures and are practising legally and here we have two people who thought they were a law unto themselves,” Bvudzijena said.
Al-Qaida deputy goes online to justify attacks
· In Q&A, Zawahiri denies innocent people killed
· Bin Laden claimed to be ‘healthy and well’
Al-Qaida has pulled off a propaganda coup by answering questions put to it by hundreds of people invited to take part in an online “open meeting” with Osama bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
In the internet Q&A Zawahiri insisted that his organisation does not kill innocent people and justified attacks against “Crusaders”, Jews, and their agents and allies in Arab lands. Al-Qaida’s chief ideologue also predicted that “jihadi influence” will spread “to Jerusalem” after the Americans leave Iraq and attacked the UN as “the enemy of Islam”, defending the bombing of its offices in Iraq and Algeria. Bin Laden, he claimed, is “healthy and well”.
Hu Jia: China’s enemy within
Even under house arrest, Hu Jia continued his fearless campaign against Beijing’s abuse of human rights. Yesterday he was finally jailed – but he is likely to become the poster-boy for critics of the Olympics. By Clifford Coonan
As far as Hu Jia was concerned, the door to his apartment was always open to fellow Chinese who shared his desire for greater freedom, foreign friends, or activists with issues to discuss.
But it was always a question of when, not if, the Communist Party would lock up Mr Hu, China’s most famous dissident, who has been under house arrest for many months, guarded by state security officers.
Yesterday Mr Hu, 34, was transformed into one of the world’s most famous human rights defenders as China moved to stifle dissent before the Olympic Games in Beijing. He was jailed by a Beijing court for three and a half years for “inciting to subvert state power” through a series of articles about freedom and for his constant dialogue with foreign journalists.
Irish cabinet backs Cowen as next Taoiseach
By David McKittrick
Friday, 4 April 2008
The election of Ireland’s Finance minister, Brian Cowen, as the country’s next prime minister became a formality yesterday when all but one of his cabinet colleagues endorsed him for the post.
Mr Cowen could succeed Bertie Ahern as Taoiseach as early as next week after their Fianna Fail party, following short but intensive discussions, confirmed the perception that he was Mr Ahern’s obvious successor.
Only one of Ireland’s senior politicians, the Transport Minister, Noel Dempsey, refrained from joining the chorus of acclaim for Mr Cowen.
Kosovo guerrilla leader Ramush Haradinaj is set free
Cheering crowds set off fireworks in Pristina yesterday after a former Prime Minister of Kosovo was acquitted of the ethnic cleansing and torture of Serbs in a trial plagued by accusations that witnesses were intimidated.
Ramush Haradinaj, 39, a former nightclub bouncer turned guerrilla leader in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), will return to a hero’s welcome and a leading political role in the new country, which declared independence from Serbia in February.
More Than 1,000 in Iraq’s Forces Quit Basra Fight
BAGHDAD – More than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and policemen either refused to fight or simply abandoned their posts during the inconclusive assault against Shiite militias in Basra last week, a senior Iraqi government official said Thursday. Iraqi military officials said the group included dozens of officers, including at least two senior field commanders in the battle.
The desertions in the heat of a major battle cast fresh doubt on the effectiveness of the American-trained Iraqi security forces. The White House has conditioned further withdrawals of American troops on the readiness of the Iraqi military and police.
Israeli minister’s aide shot from Gaza
JERUSALEM – An aide to Israel’s public security minister was wounded by a gunman on Friday as he toured an observation point overlooking the northern Gaza Strip with a group of Canadian Jews.
Dozens of other people were at the site at the time, Cabinet Minister Avi Dichter said, but no one else was hurt.
The deputy director of Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon, Dr. Emile Hay, said Dichter’s bureau chief, Matti Gil, was in stable condition with gunshot wounds to the lower abdomen and pelvis.
Several militant groups claimed responsibility for the attack, including the military wing of Gaza’s ruling Hamas movement, the militant offshoot of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party, and two little-known radical Islamic groups inspired by al Qaida, the Army of the Nation and Protectors of the Homeland.
Argentina farmers suspend strike
Responding to food shortages, they declare a truce but urge the president to be more flexible in talks on export taxes.
BUENOS AIRES — Argentine farmers Wednesday suspended a 3-week-old strike that has led to food shortages and sparked the first political crisis for President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
The four principal rural groups declared a 30-day “truce” in the strike, though representatives said that “a state of alert and mobilization” would be maintained.
“We are going to continue pressing for the solutions that we want,” a farm leader, Mario Llambias, told supporters in the northern city of Gualeguaychu, a center of the strike.
News media reports here indicated that hundreds of farmer-organized roadblocks on major rural routes were being lifted and produce was once again moving to the capital and other cities. Farm leaders expressed concern that serious food shortages would turn public opinion against them and trigger stronger police action to open the roads.