And the thought occurred to me
How come that everything you see
Is so bad
Cheney lawyer claims Congress has no authority over vice-president
The lawyer for US vice-president Dick Cheney claimed today that the Congress lacks any authority to examine his behaviour on the job.
The exception claimed by Cheney’s counsel came in response to requests from congressional Democrats that David Addington, the vice-president’s chief of staff, testify about his involvement in the approval of interrogation tactics used at Guantanamo Bay.
Ruling out voluntary cooperation by Addington, Cheney lawyer Kathryn Wheelbarger said Cheney’s conduct is “not within the [congressional] committee’s power of inquiry”.
“Congress lacks the constitutional power to regulate by law what a vice-president communicates in the performance of the vice president’s official duties, or what a vice president recommends that a president communicate,” Wheelbarger wrote to senior aides on Capitol Hill.
From Chief Prosecutor To Critic at Guantanamo
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, April 28 — The Defense Department’s former chief prosecutor for terrorism cases appeared Monday at the controversial U.S. detention facility here to argue on behalf of a terrorism suspect that the military justice system has been corrupted by politics and inappropriate influence from senior Pentagon officials.
Sitting just feet from the courtroom table where he had once planned to make cases against military detainees, Air Force Col. Morris Davis instead took the witness stand to declare under oath that he felt undue pressure to hurry cases along so that the Bush administration could claim before political elections that the system was working.
An Irascible Firebrand, Finally Quieted by Term Limits
LINCOLN, Neb. – The senior senator of Nebraska’s unicameral Legislature is going out just the way he came in nearly four decades ago: obstinately, and with a whole lot to say in his T-shirt and jeans.
It is time to retire from lawmaking, or so the new rules about term limits dictate.
“I have to remind people as they show great sadness that I’m not dying, I’m just getting out of the Legislature,” said the senator, Ernie Chambers, 70. “But a lot of people are going to be very happy when my absolute last day arrives. In fact, there will probably be so much joy in this corner of the world that it will be picked up on the Richter scale. I’m not liked at all.”
Liked or not, Mr. Chambers, a black, divorced, agnostic former barber from Omaha with posters of Malcolm X and Frederick Douglass decorating his office, managed to rise to an ultimate level of power in a mostly rural, white conservative state on little more than sheer determination to do so.
Tariq Aziz due on trial in Iraq
Former Iraqi Deputy PM Tariq Aziz is due to go on trial over the deaths of a group of Baghdad merchants in 1992.
Mr Aziz, along with seven other former members of Saddam Hussein’s regime, is accused of involvement in the executions of about 40 merchants.
The merchants were accused of hiking food prices at a time when Iraq was under international sanctions. They were executed after a speedy trial.
One of the co-accused is Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as “Chemical Ali”.
Ali Hassan al-Majid is already on death row after being convicted last year of leading a campaign in the late 1980s in which tens of thousands of Iraqi Kurdish civilians were killed.
Is an Iranian general the most powerful man in Iraq?
BAGHDAD – One of the most powerful men in Iraq isn’t an Iraqi government official, a militia leader, a senior cleric or a top U.S. military commander or diplomat
He’s an Iranian general, and at times he’s more influential than all of them.
Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani commands the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, an elite paramilitary and espionage organization whose mission is to expand Iran’s influence in the Middle East.
China jails 17 over Tibet protests
Seventeen people have been jailed over the most violent challenge to Chinese rule in Tibet for nearly two decades.
The sentences handed down today, ranging from three years to life, are the first since riots that began on March 10.
The official Xinhua news agency reported that the intermediate people’s court of Lhasa – a Chinese court in the Tibetan capital – announced the sentences at an open session. China’s state broadcaster reported that 200 people attended court.
China has said 22 people died in the riots. Tibetan exile groups say many times that number were killed in the uprising and ensuing crackdown.
Drugs for guns: how the Afghan heroin trade is fuelling the Taliban insurgency
The heroin flooding Britain’s streets is threatening the lives of UK troops in Afghanistan, an Independent investigation can reveal.
Russian gangsters who smuggle drugs into Britain are buying cheap heroin from Afghanistan and paying for it with guns. Smugglers told The Independent how Russian arms dealers meet Taliban drug lords at a bazaar near the old Afghan-Soviet border, deep in Tajikistan’s desert. The bazaar exists solely to trade Afghan drugs for Russian guns – and sometimes a bit of sex on the side.
Mozambique police ‘kill at will’
Police in Mozambique have been accused of killing and torturing people with near total impunity.
The human rights group Amnesty International has published a report saying the Mozambique police appear to think they have a licence to kill.
The group says officials have responded to rising crime rates with often lethal force, but that they almost never face criminal proceedings.
Police in the southern African nation refused to comment on the report.
Amnesty’s report was published just a day after Mozambique’s League for Human Rights said the country’s human rights situation had deteriorated in 2008.
Zimbabwe health minister accused as terror campaign reaches hospital wards
Dennis was beaten and left for dead with three shattered limbs, but even when he was found and taken to hospital there was no plaster to set his limbs or painkillers to quell the agony.
Jacob was set upon by militiamen who were armed with batons and was struck until he could no longer stand, but when he got to hospital he was told he could not be treated without a police report on his injuries.
When Harold’s house was burnt down and his foot almost cut through with the axe that one of his attackers swung at him he did not bother going to the government hospital at all. “It isn’t safe to be in a hospital where we can be found,” he said.
A port without shelter: Clandestine migrants stuck in ‘jungle’ by Calais
CALAIS, France: It is midnight, and eight hooded figures slip around the side of a freight truck at a gas station on the outskirts of this northern French port.
They wait in the orange half-light while one tries the locked truck door. It doesn’t give, and seconds later the figures vanish among the dozens of semi-trailers at this, the last truck stop before England.
Most weeknights, a smuggler leads clandestine migrants across the maze of motorways that encircle Calais to parking lots like this, where drivers sleep before catching a ferry to Dover, 33 kilometers, or 21 miles, away.
Truckers like Juan Antonio Santiago of Spain, sipping coffee at a gas station at 1 a.m., face hefty fines or even jail if stowaways are found hidden inside their vehicles, or clinging to the ledge behind the axle. “It’s a fear we all have,” he said. “But the greatest risk is taken by the migrants, because of the danger of falling off.
Supermarket sweep poses threat to French high streets
By John Lichfield in Paris
Tuesday, 29 April 2008
France, the land of the small shop and the thriving small town high street, faces a lurch of commercial power towards supermarkets and hard-discounters. Looked at another way, France, the land of high prices and cosy commercial arrangements, faces a boom in free competition and a drop in prices for food and domestic goods.
A draft law on the “modernisation of the economy” unveiled yesterday threatens, according to its supporters and some of its critics, to revolutionise shopping in France. Other critics suggest the draft law is too timid. Large French shops will mostly remain closed on Sundays.
By lifting bans on cellphones and personal computers, Raul Castro is paving the way for open communications, but the regime is intent on avoiding the fate of the Soviet Union.
HAVANA — In a campaign that bears much similarity to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s 1980s appeal for glasnost, Cuba’s President Raul Castro has been urging the public to investigate social shortcomings, denounce them and propose improvements.
And in concessions to allow Cubans some access to 21st century technology, Castro’s government recently announced the lifting of bans on cellphones and personal computers.
The top-down decisions granting citizens the ability to communicate with one another and to brainstorm solutions have been a hallmark of Castro’s leadership since he took the reins of a nation in crisis 21 months ago from his older brother Fidel.