U.S. Media Outlets Leave Iraq
I Guess The Mtv War Has Become Boring
While People And Soldiers Still Die
Now Israel declares ‘war to the bitter end’
International outcry grows as death toll from continued assault on Gaza reaches 320
By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Israel’s defence Minister, Ehud Barak, warned yesterday that his country was engaged in “a war to the bitter end” with Hamas as a third day of fierce bombing brought the estimated Gaza death toll to 320. Two Israelis were killed in retaliatory rocket barrages last night as Hamas struck deep inside Israeli territory.
Mr Barak’s declaration to the Knesset – the Israeli parliament – came as Israel continued its comprehensive bombardment of Hamas targets after overnight aerial attacks that devastated large parts of the Interior Ministry and the Islamic University.
Amid signs of increased international restiveness about the Palestinian death toll, Mr Barak insisted that “we have nothing against Gaza residents” but added: “We are engaged in an all-out war against Hamas and its proxies. This operation will expand and deepen as much as needed.”
Bush has successfully defended anti-terrorism policies
Domestic surveillance, rounding up Muslim men after Sept. 11, harsh interrogations — the administration has beat back nearly all legal challenges to its controversial programs.
By David G. Savage
December 30, 2008
Reporting from Washington — Second in a series of occasional reports on President Bush’s legacy.
George W. Bush will end his presidency in retreat, forced to compromise on several fronts. Free-market economics have given way to massive government bailouts, and an assertive, unilateral foreign policy has yielded to one more attuned to world opinion. But in his defense of the war on terrorism, Bush has succeeded in beating back nearly all legal challenges — including those to some of his most controversial policies.Among them are a domestic surveillance program to intercept international phone calls, the rounding up of Muslim men for questioning after the Sept. 11 attacks, the holding of suspects in military custody in this country without filing charges, harsh interrogations — some have called it torture — of suspects arrested abroad, and the detention of foreign captives at a military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Black Workers in Auto Plants Losing Ground
By MARY M. CHAPMAN
Published: December 29, 2008
DETROIT – Since millions of African-Americans began leaving Southern farms for Northern factories nearly a century ago in what is still known as the Great Migration, the destinies of many of them have been entwined with the auto industry’s.
The car companies were hardly multiracial utopias, but they, especially Ford, employed blacks when many industries would not. Through the decades, the automakers and their higher wage scales provided a route to the middle class for many blacks, especially those with limited education, and their children.
Now, with Detroit reeling, many blacks find their economic well-being threatened.
GMAC To Get $6 Billion Lifeline
Financing for Dealers, Customers Was at Risk
By Neil Irwin and Binyamin Appelbaum
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, December 30, 2008; Page D01
The government will invest $6 billion to prop up GMAC, the auto financing giant, the Treasury Department said last night, expanding its bailout of the troubled U.S. auto industry.
The Treasury said it would use $5 billion from the $700 billion financial rescue fund it oversees to buy preferred stock from the company. It said it would also lend $1 billion to General Motors, which owns 49 percent of GMAC, to allow it to invest further in the firm.
Winds of change come to country plagued by power blackouts
One man’s vision has turned demand for renewable power into a global business
Randeep Ramesh in Dhule
The Guardian, Tuesday 30 December 2008
The forest of white windmills that make up Asia’s largest wind farm can be seen from miles away. Dotted across 2,000 square kilometres of hills and villages on a basalt plateau in western India sit more than 800 turbines – generating more than 1,000 megawatts of electricity.
The towering machines, which stand 80 metres tall, cast shadows across fields tilled by man and buffalo – a stark juxtaposition of ancient and modern India. For one man, however, the windmill farm in Dhule is a fitting riposte to the critics who derided his dream to build a global green energy business from a country plagued by crippling power cuts.
In little more than a decade, Tulsi Tanti has made Suzlon Energy into the world’s fifth-largest producer of wind turbines – selling them at a couple of million dollars apiece.
World’s ‘largest dinosaur fossil site’ found in China
From Times Online
December 30, 2008
The remains of an enormous platypus have been found in China amongst what is believed to be the largest group of fossilised dinosaur bones ever discovered.
Palaeontologists have dug up more than 7,000 bones in 15 separate areas in Zhucheng City, known locally as ‘Dinosaur City’, in China’s eastern Shandong province.
“This group of fossilised dinosaurs is currently the largest ever discovered in the world… in terms of area,” said Zhao Xijin, a palaeontologist from the China Academy of Sciences, according to the Beijing News.
Gaza tactics and long-term goals divide Israeli military analysts
Sharp differences of opinion over how Israel can achieve aim of reducing Palestinian rocket fire
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 30 December 2008 01.30 GMT
Israel has said the aim of the past three days of intense bombing in Gaza is to stop rockets being fired by Palestinian militants into southern Israeli towns.
The rockets have claimed 19 lives in the past eight years, but have become an increasingly serious problem for the Israeli government.
To reduce the rocket fire, Israeli military analysts argue, is a modest goal. However, even within Israel there remain sharp differences of opinion about how to achieve that. Most believe the latest conflict will eventually end with a new lull in the fighting, or at best another short-term ceasefire agreement – the latest in a long line of temporary ceasefires in the conflict between Israel and militants in Gaza.
The Shah? He’s as safe as houses ..
… that was the startling misjudgement made by the British ambassador on the eve of Iran’s Islamic revolution. This and other extraordinary stories are revealed in secret documents released yesterday by the National Archives. Cahal Milmo reports
Tuesday, 30 December 2008
In May 1978, protesters in Iran’s major cities laid waste to luxury hotels, banks and government offices that symbolised the profligate regime of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. It was the first clear sign that students and Islamist revolutionaries were loosening the pro-Western dictator’s iron grip on power.
But the upheaval and bloodshed that presaged the Iranian revolution did nothing to dim the belief of Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Iran that the autocrat (and lucrative patron of the British arms industry) would successfully resist any effort to unceremoniously usher him from power.
Opposition ‘wins’ Ghana election
Opposition candidate John Atta Mills says he has won Ghana’s election run-off, with official results expected to be released shortly.
The BBC Tuesday, 30 December 2008
“The figures show clearly that I have won the election. I am only waiting for the electoral commissioner to declare me winner,” he told his supporters.
Police earlier fired warning shots as large crowds converged on the election headquarters demanding the results.
The governing NPP party said the result was still too close to call.
New Patriotic Party chairman Peter Mac Manu said there had been widespread intimidation of its election agents in the Volta region and results from these areas would be challenged.
Gazprom, once mighty, is reeling
By Andrew E. Kramer Published: December 30, 2008
MOSCOW: A year ago, Gazprom, the Russian natural gas monopoly, aspired to be the largest corporation in the world. Buoyed by high oil prices and political backing from the Kremlin, it had already achieved third place judging by market capitalization, behind Exxon Mobil and General Electric.
Today, Gazprom is deep in debt and negotiating a government bailout. Its market cap, the total value of all the company’s shares, has fallen 76 percent since the beginning of the year. Instead of becoming the world’s largest company, it has tumbled to 35th place. And while bailouts are increasingly common, none of Gazprom’s big private sector competitors in the West is looking for one.
Opponents Protest Kremlin’s Presidential Term Effort
By Philip P. Pan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, December 30, 2008; Page A10
MOSCOW, Dec. 29 — One of Russia’s opposition parties has challenged the Kremlin’s whirlwind legislative campaign to extend the term of the Russian presidency, saying it violates a law requiring parliament to wait a year before ratifying a constitutional amendment.
The protest by the pro-democracy Yabloko party could prove an unexpected hurdle for President Dmitry Medvedev’s plan to extend the presidential term from four years to six years — a proposal that has prompted widespread speculation that his patron, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, is preparing to return to the nation’s top post.
Setbacks in Mexico’s war on corruption
President Felipe Calderón’s government has made a series of moves to clean up the country’s police force. Results are open to interpretation.
By Sara Miller Llana | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the December 30, 2008 edition
MEXICO CITY – On Friday, Mexico’s government announced that an Army officer was arrested on suspicion that he sold information about President Felipe Calderón’s movements to drug cartels, the closest official to the president to be arrested thus far.
It was another embarrassing setback for Mr. Calderón, who has made the battle against drug trafficking a cornerstone of his presidency since taking office two years ago. He has employed the military to lead the fight, particularly where the local forces are, at best, ineffectual and, at worst, in collusion with drug cartels. He also promised to modernize and clean up the police force with a series of training courses, incentives, and trust tests.