THE WAR LOGS
Afghanistan war logs: Massive leak of secret files exposes truth of occupation
• Hundreds of civilians killed by coalition troops
• Covert unit hunts leaders for ‘kill or capture’
• Steep rise in Taliban bomb attacks on Nato
Nick Davies and David Leigh
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 25 July 2010 22.03 BST
A huge cache of secret US military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency.
The disclosures come from more than 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports about the conflict obtained by the whistleblowers’ website Wikileaks in one of the biggest leaks in US military history. The files, which were made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel, give a blow-by-blow account of the fighting over the last six years, which has so far cost the lives of more than 320 British and more than 1,000 US troops.
Activists in India cry foul over new rules regarding public interest litigation
By Rama Lakshmi
Monday, July 26, 2010
MALGUND, INDIA — Vivek Bhide is a mango grower in this lush, sleepy coastal region of fruit and cashew trees. Four years ago, he also took on the role of environmental crusader for his community when a company began building a thermal power plant nearby.
Fearing that the plant’s fumes would reduce crop yields, Bhide wrote countless letters to officials, met with politicians and organized protests calling for the project to be scrapped.
Industries Find Surging Profits in Deeper Cuts
By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ
Published: July 25, 2010
By most measures, Harley-Davidson has been having a rough ride.
Motorcycle sales are falling in 2010, as they have for each of the last three years. The company does not expect a turnaround anytime soon.
But despite that drought, Harley’s profits are rising – soaring, in fact. Last week, Harley reported a $71 million profit in the second quarter, more than triple what it earned a year ago.
This seeming contradiction – falling sales and rising profits – is one reason the mood on Wall Street is so much more buoyant than in households, where pessimism runs deep and joblessness shows few signs of easing.
How oil-damaged marsh grasses recover could affect gulf’s rebound
By David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 26, 2010
ON TAMBOUR BAY, LA. — In the next act of the drama of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, two of the most important heroes don’t look like heroes. They are just thin green stalks, sticking out of grass too wet to stand on.
They are cordgrass and wiregrass, common species that wave in the winds in south Louisiana’s coastal marshes. Except, in some places, they aren’t waving anymore: Where oil has sloshed into the marshes, their stalks are matted and gooey and on their way to death.
Love Parade tragedy: ‘I’ll never forget the sight of all those twisted bodies’
By Tony Paterson in Berlin Monday, 26 July 2010
The organisers of Duisburg’s Love Parade were yesterday accused of rejecting safety warnings on cost grounds before a stampede that left 19 revellers dead and injured more than 340 others. Prosecutors opened an official inquiry yesterday into the worst tragedy in the celebrated techno-music event’s 21-year history. Among those killed were festival-goers from China, Australia, Italy and Holland.
Moments before the stampede, a huge crowd of some 500,000 festival-goers was making its way from the Rhine city’s main railway station through a 300-yard-long tunnel towards the festival site, which was already packed on Saturday with more than a million techno ravers.
Silvio Berlusconi’s daughter ‘offered job’ prompting university funding row
The chancellor of an Italian university has offered the daughter of Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister, a teaching position in an apparent bid for funding from her wealthy father.
By Nick Pisa in Rome
Published: 7:30AM BST 26 Jul 2010
Barbara Berlusconi, 26, obtained a first class honours degree in philosophy after submitting a dissertation on concepts of justice in the work of the Indian Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen.
At the presentation of her degree last Tuesday, Father Luigi Verzè, the rector of the San Raffaele Life-Health University in Milan, asked her if she thought a faculty of economics could be founded at the university based on her dissertation.
Father Verzè – a close family friend of Mr Berlusconi – then angered lecturers by inviting Miss Berlusconi to consider a teaching post at the university.
Iran stoning case lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei’s relatives arrested
The lawyer defending Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani himself faces re-arrest as his wife and brother-in-law are held by Iran authorities
Saeed Kamali Dehghan
The Guardian, Monday 26 July 2010
Authorities in Iran have issued an arrest warrant for an acclaimed Iranian lawyer and arrested his wife and brother-in-law over his involvement in the case of a woman sentenced to death by stoning.
Lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei’s office in Tehran was ransacked, and he was interrogated in Evin prison for four hours on Saturday over his human rights activities and involvement in the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the 43-year-old mother of two who was convicted of adultery and whose plight in Iran has drawn international attention since her children launched a campaign for her release almost a month ago.
As the Israeli blockade eases, Gaza goes shopping
The newest mall in Gaza City is filled with goods imported from Israel, not smuggled in through tunnels from Egypt. Donald Macintyre reports
Monday, 26 July 2010
Hila Abdul Wahad, a new graduate in commercial accounting from the Islamic University, was enthusiastic as she window-shopped her way round the eight new stores on the second floor of the shopping mall. “It’s great that this is happening in the situation we’re in,” she said. “We should be proud. It feels that we are outside of Gaza, it’s like … [she paused briefly] … being in Egypt.”
Ms Wahad, 21, had only bought a £2 family sized stick of deodorant – which she said would have cost her £2.50 elsewhere – but admitted that she had an ulterior motive. “I’ve really come to ask the management for a job,” she said.
Khmer Rouge chief jailer convicted of war crimes
Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, had been the head of the Tuol Sleng detention centre where thousands were tortured
guardian.co.uk, Monday 26 July 2010 07.31 BST
A UN-backed war crimes tribunal has sentenced the former Khmer Rouge chief jailer to 35 years in prison, the first verdict involving a leader of the genocidal regime that destroyed a generation of Cambodia’s people.
Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, listened impassively as the chief judge read out the verdict, convicting him of crimes against humanity and war crimes. He will serve only 19 years of the sentence, because Judge Nil Nonn said the court would shave off the 11 years he has already spent in detention and five more for being illegally detained in a military court.
US-led war games in South Korean waters draw threats from North
By Stephen Foley Monday, 26 July 2010
One of the largest ships in the US Navy is leading military exercises off the Korean peninsula in a show of strength aimed at the Communist North, but which the regime there warned could spark “sacred war” with its neighbour.
The 1,100-ft nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington, with 19 other ships, 200 planes and 8,000 US and South Korean personnel, launched the war games yesterday amid threats from North Korea that it would block the manoeuvres and could even use its nuclear deterrent.In an attempt to prevent tensions from escalating further, South Korea’s Defence Ministry said it has relocated the exercises to the Sea of Japan, instead of the Yellow Sea nearer China – which had objected.
Freed inmates carried out killings, Mexico police say
Prison guards loaned their own weapons to the killers, who went on to slay 17 at a birthday party in Coahuila state, authorities say. Inmates from the same prison are suspected in other attacks.
By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
July 25, 2010 | 4:55 p.m.
Reporting from Mexico City – Prison inmates allowed to leave their cells with weapons borrowed from guards carried out last week’s killing of 17 people in northern Mexico, federal authorities said Sunday.
Ricardo Najera, spokesman for the federal attorney general’s office, said prison officials in the northern state of Durango lent the inmates weapons and official vehicles to carry out several tit-for-tat killings on behalf of organized crime.
The deadliest was the July 18 attack on a birthday party at an inn in Torreon, in neighboring Coahuila state. Gunmen sprayed gunfire at revelers who had been summoned by an invitation on Facebook.