Hundreds of U.N. staffers temporarily leaving Afghanistan
United Nations officials say the deadly attack last week on an agency guesthouse in Kabul has prompted a review of security for U.N. workers.
By Alexandra Zavis
November 5, 2009
Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan – The United Nations is temporarily pulling hundreds of staff members out of Afghanistan while it reviews security arrangements in the wake of an attack by militants on a Kabul guesthouse last week that killed five U.N. employees, officials said today.
U.N. officials said staff members, scattered in dozens of dwellings in Kabul and around the country, were in many cases protected only by a few Afghan security guards.
Taliban spokesmen said the U.N. was specifically targeted in the Oct. 28 attack because of its involvement in plans for a Nov. 7 presidential runoff election, which has since been canceled.
Italian court finds CIA agents guilty of kidnapping terrorism suspect
• Italian court convicts Robert Lady and 23 others in absentia
• First prosecution for US abduction of suspects to torture states
John Hooper in Rome
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 4 November 2009 22.50 GMT
Twenty-three Americans were tonight convicted of kidnapping by an Italian court at the end of the first trial anywhere in the world involving the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” programme for abducting terrorist suspects.
The former head of the CIA in Milan Robert Lady was given an eight-year jail sentence for his part in the seizure of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, known as Abu Omar, who claimed that he was subsequently tortured in Egypt. Lady’s superior, Jeff Castelli, the then head of the CIA in Italy, and two other Americans were acquitted on the grounds that they enjoyed diplomatic immunity.
Energized G.O.P. Looking to Avoid an Intraparty Feud
By ADAM NAGOURNEY
Published: November 4, 2009
WASHINGTON – Republicans emerged from Tuesday’s elections energized by victories in Virginia and New Jersey, but their leaders immediately began maneuvering to avoid a prolonged battle with conservative activists over what the party stands for and how to regain power.
The victories, in races for governor, were cast by the party’s national chairman, Michael Steele, as a sign of a “Republican renaissance.” In New Jersey, Gov. Jon S. Corzine, a Democrat, was toppled by the Republican nominee, Christopher J. Christie. In Virginia, Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican, defeated his Democratic opponent, R. Creigh Deeds.
High court weighs immunity afforded to prosecutors
Defense says pretrial misconduct was within scope of duties
By Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 5, 2009
The case before the Supreme Court on Wednesday sounded like a television movie, a tale of wrongful imprisonment and the slow, inexorable wheels of justice.
Prosecutors under pressure to close the case of a cop killer settle on two young African Americans. They fabricate evidence, coerce perjury and bury the investigation of a white suspect.
A sympathetic prison barber unearths the investigative records that eventually lead courts to free the convicted men after years behind bars.
Iran’s reformists use key anniversary to defy regime
Official rallies marking 1979 hostage crisis hijacked by opposition marchers
By Katherine Butler, Foreign editor
Thursday, 5 November 2009
It was meant to be a highlight of the Iranian revolutionary calendar, a day of mass rallies sponsored by the government to showcase contempt for America and the West.
But the official commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the storming by students of the US embassy in Tehran and the start of the 1979 hostage crisis was hijacked by the opposition yesterday – for their biggest show of strength in months.
Violence occurred on some of the main thoroughfares of the capital and other Iranian cities after thousands defied messages sent to mobile phones warning them to stay at home or face prosecution.
Israeli commandos seize ship ‘carrying arms to Hezbollah’
From The Times
November 5, 2009
James Hider in Jerusalem
Israeli special forces have seized a cargo ship carrying 500 tonnes of weapons that military officials said were being delivered from Iran to its Lebanese ally Hezbollah.
A squad of small Israeli swift boats sped up to the Francop, an Antiguan-flagged freighter, just before midnight on Tuesday and boarded the craft off the coast of Cyprus. The crew offered no resistance and the charter company insisted that it had no idea there were large amounts of missiles, rockets, shells, grenades and assault rifles hidden in containers in the hull.
The haul was by far the largest interception of weapons smuggling since an Israeli raid in the Red Sea in 2002 on the Karine A, a ship carrying arms from Iran to Hamas, another Iranian proxy which now controls the Gaza Strip.
Patrick Cockburn: Deaths bring whole Afghan strategy into question
Thursday, 5 November 2009
I was in an office in Kabul this summer being lectured by a mid-ranking official about the successful work of the government. “Completely off the record, what do you really think of this government?” I asked him, not expecting a very interesting reply.
“So long as you promise not to reveal my identity, I can tell you that this government is made up of killers and crooks,” answered the official with scarcely a pause. He gave some examples of government-inspired killings and corruption.
In this tradition of carefully calculated treachery, the shooting dead of five British soldiers by an Afghan policeman operating with them is hardly surprising. Afghan leaders have long been notorious for concealing their true loyalties and changing sides. But the potential political consequences are very serious.
Thaksin Shinawatra appointed economic advisor to Cambodia‘
From Times Online
November 5, 2009
Thailand’s ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has thanked Cambodia for appointing him as an economic adviser, despite the move likely to further damage relations between to the two countries.
The brazen move by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to appoint Mr Thaksin – still a deeply divisive figure in Thailand – follows a border dispute that led to small but deadly military skirmishes over the past year and a half.
Responding to a congratulatory message from a supporter posted on his Twitter page, Mr Thaksin thanked Hun Sen for the appointment.
French Europe minister Pierre Lellouche labels David Cameron’s EU plans ‘autistic’
French Europe minister Pierre Lellouche has labelled David Cameron’s pledge to reclaim EU powers as “pathetic and autistic” and warned it will leave Britain isolated.
By Aislinn Laing
Published: 7:00AM GMT 05 Nov 2009
Mr Lellouche said he was reflecting Nicolas Sarkozy’s “sadness and regret” at David Cameron’s recently-announced plan to strengthen British sovreignity, warning it would “castrate” the country’s position within the EU.
His outburst reflects the growing sense of frustration with Britain’s reluctance to fully engage with the union, and is all the more potent because it comes from a keen Anglophile.
But Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague insisted Mr Lellouche’s views were not widely-held.
“I don’t think you will find that’s representative of the reaction in Paris or other European capitals,” he told BBC2’s Newsnight.
General Motors plans huge job cuts at European unit Opel
US auto giant General Motors says its planned restructuring of Opel would involve massive job cuts. The announcement follows a decision by GM not to sell off the carmaker to Canadian car-parts maker Magna.
AUTO INDUSTRY | 05.11.2009
General Motors Vice President John Smith said Wednesday that around 10,000 jobs would be slashed at the company’s European unit Opel, which employs some 55,000 Europeans in Germany, Spain, Belgium, Poland and the UK. Smith did not specify where the cuts would be made.
The announcement comes less than a day after GM announced its decision not to sell off Opel to a consortium led by Canadian car-parts maker Magna and Russian state bank Sberbank.
The job cuts would be undertaken with the view to reduce costs at Opel by around 30 percent, Smith said, adding that the plan did not differ substantially from proposals for Opel tabled by Magna and Sberbank.
GM said it wanted to finalize its restructuring plans for Opel as soon as possible for presentation to European governments.
Did Honduras deal weaken Zelaya?
What first seemed like a victory for ousted President Manuel Zelaya could become a setback for him depending on what – and when – the Honduran Congress decides.
By Sara Miller Llana | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
MEXICO CITY – When ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya and his successor, Roberto Micheletti, signed a deal last week to resolve the crisis that has crippled the Central American nation for four months, Mr. Zelaya was jubilant.
He told his supporters he expected to be back in office in a week’s time.
But as the Honduran Congress, now the ultimate arbiter, prepares to decide whether that will indeed be the case the political waters are in many ways murkier than they have been since Zelaya was toppled on June 28. What first seemed like a victory for Zelaya and the diplomats who secured the deal could become a setback.
“Everyone was congratulating the victory of diplomacy on Friday,” says Miguel Calix, a political analyst in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa. “If you read the deal carefully, Zelaya is weaker now than he was a week ago; the deal does not ensure that Zelaya will be president again.”