Bill O’Reilly Is
Morally And Ethically Challenged
Is Not A Journalist And
He Wouldn’t Know Fact
If It Bit Him
U.S. Seeks Expanded Power to Seize Firms
Goal Is to Limit Risk to Broader Economy
By Binyamin Appelbaum and David Cho
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, March 24, 2009; Page A01
The Obama administration is considering asking Congress to give the Treasury secretary unprecedented powers to initiate the seizure of non-bank financial companies, such as large insurers, investment firms and hedge funds, whose collapse would damage the broader economy, according to an administration document.
The government at present has the authority to seize only banks.
Giving the Treasury secretary authority over a broader range of companies would mark a significant shift from the existing model of financial regulation, which relies on independent agencies that are shielded from the political process. The Treasury secretary, a member of the president’s Cabinet, would exercise the new powers in consultation with the White House, the Federal Reserve and other regulators, according to the document.
An Ancient Culture, Bulldozed Away
China’s Attempts to Modernize Ethnic Uighurs’ Housing Creates Discord
By Maureen Fan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, March 24, 2009; Page A08
KASHGAR, China — For hundreds of years, Uighur shopkeepers have been selling bread and firewood along the edges of Kashgar’s old town to families whose ancestors bought their traditional mud-brick homes with gold coin and handed them down through the generations.
Now, this labyrinth of ancient courtyard homes and narrow, winding streets is endangered by the latest government plan to modernize a way of life that officials consider dangerous and backward.
Left behind are piles of brick and rubble, houses without roofs and hurt feelings.
Latinos, blacks losing jobs at a faster rate
‘We don’t have those older roots to anchor us in the professional world’
The ax fell without sound or shadow: Tatiana Gallego was suddenly called into human resources and laid off from her job as an admissions counselor for a fashion college.
“The way people tried to explain it to me was, I was the last one hired so I was the first one out,” said Gallego, 25, who had worked there for 17 months.
Last hired, first fired: This generations-old cliche rings bitterly true for millions of Latinos and blacks who are losing jobs at a faster rate than the general population during this punishing recession.
Much of the disparity is due to a concentration of Latinos and blacks in construction, blue-collar or service-industry jobs that have been decimated by the economic meltdown.
Abortion provider’s trial opens in Kansas
Dr. George Tiller faces 19 misdemeanor counts of violating the Kansas law governing late-term procedures.
By Robin Abcarian
9:51 PM PDT, March 23, 2009
Reporting from Wichita, Kan. — Opening arguments got underway Monday in the criminal case against Dr. George Tiller, one of the only physicians in the country who provides late-term abortions. And by day’s end, it was clear that the case could hinge on such nonmedical issues as who paid for copy paper and toner, the meaning of a hug and whether selling a beat-up sedan to a colleague can constitute proof of guilt.
Tiller, 67, faces 19 misdemeanor counts of breaking the Kansas law that governs how late-term abortions should be handled.
In cases where the fetus is deemed viable — or able to survive outside the womb, around six months’ gestation — the state requires the approval of a second doctor who is not affiliated legally or financially with the first doctor before an abortion can be performed. The doctor must certify that the mother will suffer permanent and irreversible harm, which can include psychological harm, if she carries the baby to term. The state also requires that the second doctor be from Kansas, which considerably narrows the field since few doctors in the state perform abortions.
Guardian investigation uncovers evidence of alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza
Palestinians claim children were used as human shields and hospitals targeted during 23-day conflict
Clancy Chassay and Julian Borger
The Guardian has compiled detailed evidence of alleged war crimes committed by Israel during the 23-day offensive against Gaza earlier this year, involving the use of Palestinian children as human shields, the targeting of medics and hospitals, and drone aircraft firing on civilians.
Three Guardian films based on a month-long investigation, add weight to calls this week for a full inquiry into the events surrounding Operation Cast Lead, which was aimed at Hamas but left about 1,400 Palestinians dead, including up to 300 children.
The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) refused to respond directly to the allegations made against its troops, but issued statements denying the charges, and insisted international law had been observed.
Back to Baghdad, for better or worse
Haider Al-Safi worked for the Baghdad bureau of ‘The Independent’ during the invasion of Iraq and the beginning of the war. In 2005, anxious about his safety, he came to Britain, where he has been studying journalism. Last week he went back to see his family. This is what he found
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
We had begun our descent. My homecoming, a moment I had looked forward to virtually every day in my four years of London exile, was here. I braced myself for the terrible missile-dodging, spiral landing into Baghdad international airport. But these are new times, and the plane touched down as smoothly and unremarkably as if I was coming into Heathrow. Well it might be true what people are saying after all, I thought to myself, maybe the security and the general situation in Iraq has improved quite a lot. It was not a thought that lasted long.
Back at my parents’ three-storey home, surrounded by excitable relatives, I began the lengthy process of inquiring after friends and family. But when I asked about my cousin, Jamal, who, like me, is 37, the assembled ranks looked at each other, as if to silently inquire whether they might be able to protect me from the truth. “He got killed by the death squads. No one knows why,” my brother Hassan finally answered. And Jamal was not the only one. Another relative recounted how he was parking his car outside our house when he saw our 23-year-old neighbour being gunned down. “He said ‘hello’ to me few moments before his death. A car stopped suddenly and two guys shot him several times with an AK-47.”
Tata Nano: World’s cheapest car is India’s answer for cash-strapped drivers
• Landmark ‘comparable to Moonshot’ says Tata
• World’s cheapest car could sell a million a year
Randeep Ramesh in Mumbai
The Guardian, Tuesday 24 March 2009
When the Indian industrialist Ratan Tata announced plans to produce the world’s cheapest car last January, he said he hoped to fulfil a dream of bringing motoring to the Indian masses.
But by the time the £1,350 Nano was launched yesterday in Mumbai, his dream had become more ambitious: to go head-to- head with the world’s biggest carmakers and bring low-cost motoring to the cash-strapped masses of Europe and US.
Yesterday, the group announced ambitions to challenge the gas-guzzling car culture of the west with plans to sell the Nano, which is priced in India at 100,000 rupees plus tax, to the US as well as Europe.
Tata, chairman of the group which owns Land Rover and Jaguar, said although the car had been designed for India, there had been “considerable interest” in the west.
China spearheads surge in state-sponsored executions
Amnesty report condemns ‘legalised terror’ as number of prisoners killed nearly doubles in a year
By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Executions of prisoners almost doubled last year – predominantly because of the Chinese government – according to a report by Amnesty International.
Death sentences handed down by China for crimes including tax evasion and bag-snatching represented three-quarters of the 2,390 executions carried out around the world, up from 1,252 in 2007. China’s resumption of its death penalty programme comes after a dip in executions during the lead up to the Beijing Olympics that were held last year.
But other countries also showed a renewed commitment to state executions. Amnesty said that Iraq, which last year executed at least 34 people, is set to put to death another 128 prisoners, reportedly in batches of 20 at a time.
Japan executed the highest number of people for more than 30 years and Iran killed eight prisoners who were under 18 at the time of the offence. A further 8,864 prisoners were sentenced to death in 52 countries.
Nicolas Sarkozy held to ridicule for failing to mind his language
From The Times
March 24, 2009
Charles Bremner and Marie Tourres in Paris
Presidents of the French Republic do not start speeches by saying: “To everyone who’s important here, bonjour.” They also conjugate their verbs and use pronouns correctly – or at least they did before President Sarkozy.
As Paris marks the annual Week of the French Language, the straight-talking President has upset teachers and purists with his fondness for sounding like a matey, ordinary bloke.
Mr Sarkozy’s habit of playing fast and loose with the French language helped him win the election in 2007, but it is now feeding his image as a Philistine. The trouble began early last year when he told a heckler to “p*** off, poor sod” and it has not been eased by implausible attempts by Carla Bruni to portray her husband as a closet lover of belles lettres.
After years of plenty, Russia returns to earth
By Andrew E. Kramer Published: March 23, 2009
MOSCOW: After years of coasting on high commodity prices, the Russian government is now acknowledging it will need to get by on a much diminished revenue stream for the foreseeable future. At the same time, economic policy officials here are striking an upbeat note, saying declining oil income is likely to spur growth in other areas of the economy.
Still, like an investor waking up to big losses, the new reality for Russia set in last week when the government, after some delay, introduced a budget that was deeply in deficit after years of huge surpluses.
Igor I. Shuvalov, a deputy prime minister, said on Friday that the government was not waiting for global commodity prices to recover but instead was laying plans to spark economic growth outside of the extractive industries that had been behind so much of the recent prosperity.
Policies to this end include stimulus money in the budget, support for small and midsize businesses, a new emphasis on improving labor productivity and an exchange rate favoring domestic producers over importers.
Sudan bombs Darfur rebels – and civilians – amid calls for a ‘no-fly’ zone.
A Dutch journalist and photographer traveled with rebel forces in Darfur in February. They were pinned down by government forces for weeks, before escaping across the border into Chad.
By Elwin Verheggen | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the March 24, 2009 edition
KAROYA LABAN, SUDAN – Ache Ali has lost four children and a husband.
A Sudanese cattle herder, she rides on a donkey cart with her youngest child, a daughter, wedged between hundreds of other fleeing Sudanese, herds of bleating goats, and other livestock.
“They [the children] ran away three days ago when our village, Buhera, was bombed.” she calls out over the din, hoping for some help.
For weeks, she says that her family lived in fear, as the region was bombed day and night by Sudanese government aircraft. In early February, when this reporter caught up to her, she was fleeing her village. She is just one of the roughly 30,000 displaced Sudanese who has fled the region around Muhajirya in recent weeks.
Muhajirya is strategically located along a transit route in southern Darfur. It became the scene of intense fighting in mid-January. The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebels captured the town after a fight with another militia, a Sudanese Liberation Army faction known as the SLA-Minni Minawi, which in 2006 had declared loyalty to the government.
Zimbabwe cholera ‘past its peak’
The cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe appears to have passed its peak, say the World Health Organization (WHO).
The number of new cases recorded in the week to mid-March nearly halved to 2,000, against 3,800 the preceding week and 8,000 cases a week in February.
But the agency warned the weekly statistics were not always accurate.
There have been more than 90,000 cholera cases in Zimbabwe since the start of the epidemic last August, about 4,000 of them fatal.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said official figures were probably a dramatic underestimate.
“The situation with the current cholera outbreak is improving,” the WHO said.
“The overall trend over the last two months is of a decreasing number of cases and deaths,” it added.
But the agency said the number of reported cases was on the rise again in and around the capital, Harare, despite the decline recorded in nearly all provinces.
Mexico offers $2-million rewards for top drug suspects
The rewards are for information leading to the capture of the 24 most-wanted, including Joaquin ‘Shorty’ Guzman and Ismael Zambada, leaders of the so-called Sinaloa cartel.
By Ken Ellingwood
March 24, 2009
Reporting from Mexico City — Nab a drug lord, earn $2 million.
That’s how much Mexican authorities offered Monday for information leading to the capture of the country’s most wanted drug suspects.
The government offered rewards of 30 million pesos, about $2 million, each for 24 wanted figures, including Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman and Ismael Zambada, leaders of the main trafficking gang in the northwestern state of Sinaloa.
Authorities offered $1-million rewards for 13 lower-ranking suspects. The offers, involving six separate drug-trafficking organizations, were published in the federal government’s official digest.
It is not the first time that Mexico has offered financial rewards for information leading to the arrest of individual drug figures. But Monday’s offer was unusual because it included the country’s top drug suspects on one list, organized by trafficking gang.