John McCain Agent of Change
Of Changing His Mind On The Issues
To Placate Religious Extremists
Unemployment up for 8th straight month. Rate jumps to 6.1 percent
McCain Vows to End ‘Partisan Rancor,’ Seizing Theme of Change From Rival
By ADAM NAGOURNEY and MICHAEL COOPER
Published: September 4, 2008
ST. PAUL – Senator John McCain accepted the Republican presidential nomination Thursday with a pledge to move the nation beyond “partisan rancor” and narrow self-interest in a speech in which he markedly toned down the blistering attacks on Senator Barack Obama that had filled the first nights of his convention.
Standing in the center of an arena here, surrounded by thousands of Republican delegates, Mr. McCain firmly signaled that he intended to seize the mantle of change Mr. Obama claimed in his own unlikely bid for his party’s nomination.
U.S. Spied on Iraqi Leaders, Book Says
Woodward Also Reveals That Political Fears Kept War Strategy Review ‘Under the Radar’
By Steve Luxenberg
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 5, 2008; Page A01
The Bush administration has conducted an extensive spying operation on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, his staff and others in the Iraqi government, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward.
“We know everything he says,” according to one of multiple sources Woodward cites about the practice in “The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008,” scheduled for release Monday.
The book also says that the U.S. troop “surge” of 2007, in which President Bush sent nearly 30,000 additional U.S. combat forces and support troops to Iraq, was not the primary factor behind the steep drop in violence there during the past 16 months.
Georgia lawmaker describes Obama, wife as ‘uppity’
By Halimah Abdullah | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON – A Republican lawmaker is facing criticism over using the racially charged term “uppity” to describe Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, on Thursday.
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia used the word in a conversation with reporters just outside the House chamber about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama.
According to The Hill newspaper, a Washington publication, Westmoreland said, “Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they’re a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they’re uppity.
In dispirited Detroit, mayor pleads guilty
Plea deal ousts Kilpatrick after an eight-month scandal. Interim mayor inherits a city in a slump.?
By Amanda Paulson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the September 5, 2008 edition
Chicago – A protracted scandal that has paralyzed Detroit and made its city government a spectacle for much of the US ended Thursday when Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to two felony counts, abruptly ending his tenure as mayor and giving the city a new and uncertain future.
The plea agreement calls for Mr. Kilpatrick to serve four months in jail and five years’ probation, leave office within two weeks, pay $1 million in restitution to the city, and surrender his law license. It came even as Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) was conducting a hearing, at the request of the Detroit City Council, into whether she should take the unusual step of removing Kilpatrick from office.
For a troubled Detroit, the deal concludes eight months of limbo that began after steamy text messages between Kilpatrick and a political aide became public. It also ends a mayoral tenure that has included both striking accomplishments and titillating scandal. City Council President Ken Cockrel is set to become interim mayor, and a special election is likely to be held in several months to elect a permanent mayor.
Afghanistan: Paris Match pictures ‘promoting Taliban’
Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
Friday September 5 2008
A magazine photospread of Taliban fighters posing in the uniforms of dead French soldiers sparked controversy yesterday as new accounts emerged of army failings in the ambush that saw 10 members of the French military killed last month.
Paris Match ran photos of a group of Taliban fighters and their commander, “Farouki”, wearing French army uniform and helmets and carrying French army assault rifles, walkie-talkies and even a watch belonging to a dead soldier.
The commander claimed to have been behind the Taliban ambush on August 18 in the Sarobi district 40 miles east of Kabul, which left 10 French soldiers dead and 21 wounded. It was the deadliest ground fighting for Nato troops since they arrived in Afghanistan in 2001 and the biggest single death toll for the French army in 25 years, causing an outpouring of emotion and debate over the human cost of sending troops to Afghanistan. Nicolas Sarkozy has since promised to maintain the fight against the “medieval” and “barbaric” Taliban.
Georgia will be in our Nato alliance, Cheney warns Moscow
In combative mood the US Vice-President stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the besieged Georgian President
From The Times
September 5, 2008
James Hider in Tbilisi
Dick Cheney delivered a bellicose warning to Russia yesterday during a brief visit to war-torn Georgia, promising that America’s small Caucasus ally would one day join the Nato alliance .
In combative mood, the US Vice-President stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Mikhail Saakashvili, the Georgian President, and bluntly reinforced Russia’s worst fears – that Washington would not stop pushing for Georgian membership in Nato. He also attacked Moscow for trying to redraw the country’s borders by force. “Georgia will be in our alliance,” he said, in defiance of the Kremlin, which has blamed the military alliance’s expansion into Russia’s traditional sphere of influence as one of the triggers for last month’s five-day war in Georgia.
Chronicle of a death foretold
Few in China doubt the guilt of convicted cop-killer Yang Jia, but many are questioning the criminal justice system itself
Friday September 05 2008 08:30 BST
Yang Jia, aged 28, was sentenced to death on September 1 for murdering six policemen and injuring another four. His case has raised widespread controversy in China, and beyond, not because of the crimes for which he was convicted, but because of the way the authorities handled the case – and the deep-rooted, long-ignored social problems that had been revealed during the trial.
Born in Beijing, Yang Jia had lived with his mother after his parents divorced 14 years ago. He had worked temporarily in a supermarket, but quit a year later. Since then, the entire family income had been the 1,500-yuan (US$214) pension of his mother. During a trip to Shanxi province two years ago, Yang was wrongly arrested, questioned and beaten by local police. Through persistent petitioning, he finally received some compensation from the police. Then, in a trip to Shanghai last year, Yang was questioned by police on suspicion of stealing a bicycle which he had rented. Feeling insulted, Yang stormed into a police station in Shanghai on July 1 and went on the rampage with a knife.
Prejudice & the Paralympics
The Games are another chance for China to show the world what it can do. Yet this is a country where disabled people are shunned. By Clifford Coonan
Friday, 5 September 2008
Wheelchair-friendly London cabs with distinctive Beijing taxi livery are waiting outside the Bird’s Nest stadium, buses fitted with ramps cruise the city and all over the capital there are banners and bunting proclaiming the arrival of 4,200 disabled athletes for the Paralympics, which start this weekend.
But it is not until you are inside the Paralympic Village itself that you see a single Chinese person in a wheelchair or one with any other obvious disabilities; China’s 83 million disabled are a largely invisible presence in a country where disabilities are viewed as a source of shame in some families, particularly in urban areas, and where discrimination is widespread.
Judgement day for the African state that is getting rich quick
Rulers of the world’s fastest-growing economy seek re-election
By Alex Duval Smith in Huambo, central Angola
Friday, 5 September 2008
In the central square, a group of teenagers compare quad bikes. Couples hold hands by a fountain. Children sit in wonderment beneath images on a giant television screen. A woman contemplates four brightly coloured plastic recycling bins, and comments that they are far too nice to use.
It could be Legoland but incredibly it is Huambo, the war-ravaged town in central Angola where Diana, Princess of Wales, cleared mines in 1997.
Today, in the country’s first parliamentary election for 16 years, voters will decide whether this and other makeovers are make-believe.
South Africa Union to Shield Zuma From Trial, Business Day Says >
By Nicky Smith
Sept. 5 (Bloomberg)
South Africa’s largest labor-union federation will attempt to obtain a stay of prosecution against Jacob Zuma, the leader of the ruling African National Congress, Business Day reported, without citing anyone.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions is considering measures that include holding a national strike, the Johannesburg-based newspaper said. The federation, known as Cosatu, will also try to assist Zuma’s bid to have the case dropped by becoming a so-called friend of the court, it said.
Zuma faces 16 charges of corruption, and Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said the federation feared the consequences of Zuma being found guilty, it said. Cosatu had 14 reasons for why Zuma wouldn’t receive a fair trial, one of which was that his prosecution was selective, the newspaper said.
Pop star’s slaying turns sordid political drama
By LEE KEATH, Associated Press Writer
CAIRO, Egypt – It’s the Mideast version of a sordid soap opera. A Lebanese pop star is brutally murdered in her luxury Dubai apartment, her throat slashed. Arrested in her death: One of Egypt’s most politically connected businessmen, accused of paying $2 million to have her killed. The slaying of Suzanne Tamim has gone beyond a lurid crime story to something more serious – a glimpse into the close links between Egypt’s government and powerful business tycoons long viewed as above the law.
It is also exposing strains between societies like Egypt’s, where wealth and political power increasingly go hand in hand, and Dubai, which recently launched a high-profile push against corruption.
Gen. Petraeus recommends delay in Iraq troop cuts
The move reflects concerns that widespread violence could return to the country.
By Julian E. Barnes, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 5, 2008
WASHINGTON — Army Gen. David H. Petraeus has recommended that President Bush postpone sharp troop cuts in Iraq until next year, delaying a large-scale shift of combat forces to Afghanistan and reflecting concerns that widespread violence could return to Iraq.
Under the recommendation, the current level of about 140,000 troops would remain in Iraq through the end of Bush’s presidency in January. Then, a combat brigade of about 3,500 troops would be removed by February, a senior Pentagon official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the recommendation has not been made public.
The move would represent a compromise between Petraeus and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, comprising the uniformed heads of the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force. The Joint Chiefs had hoped for a sharper cut — of up to 10,000 troops — by the end of the year. Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, had pushed to keep 140,000 troops, or 15 combat brigades and support personnel, until next June.
Mexico City launches community gardens
The 21 community gardens are part of the mayor’s bid to improve the city’s quality of life.
By Sara Miller Llana | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the September 5, 2008 edition
Mexico City – Teresa Trujillo’s family income took a hit when her husband, a carpenter and the family’s sole breadwinner, lost his job due to an illness just as food prices in Mexico started to skyrocket. So she looked for help with putting food on the table wherever she could find it.
It turns out the mother of two didn’t have to look far: right around the corner, among concrete-block homes, some with sheets hanging as doors, neighbors grow squash, spinach, and cauliflower in neatly potted beds.
It’s one of 21 community gardens planted in Mexico City since last year as part of Mayor Marcelo Ebrard’s push to improve the quality of life for this sprawling city of 20 million. It’s also part of the city’s answer to food inflation that has led to clashes and riots the world over.
“Our goal is that Mexico City be self-sufficient when it comes to food,” says Pedro Ponce, who directs the community garden program for the Mexico City government. “This is not to make anyone rich, but it can help.