Taliban claim to have captured missing US soldiers in ambush
Soldiers believed to have been attacked while driving through Logar province in eastern Afghanistan
A massive air and ground search is under way for two missing US soldiers the Taliban claim to have captured after a battle with the insurgents in eastern Afghanistan.
The US military has offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the safe release of the men, who are thought to have been seized in the province of Logar, south of Kabul.
The soldiers were tracked and ambushed in a shoot-out by Taliban fighters as they drove through the dangerous Charkh district in an armoured vehicle on Friday, according to Afghan district chief Samar Gul.
He said: “They stopped in the main bazaar of Charkh district. The Taliban saw them in the bazaar. They didn’t touch them in the bazaar, but notified other Taliban that a four-wheel-drive vehicle was coming their way”
Teen wins Soap Box Derby with late sister’s car
Browns maintain sister Carol Anne ‘was with us all the way’
Associated Press Sports
AKRON, Ohio – Real life beat Hollywood to the finish line at the 73rd Annual All-American Soap Box Derby on Saturday.
With actor-director Corbin Bernsen filming the movie “Hill 25,” based on the Soap Box Derby, 14-year-old Sean Brown rolled to victory in the Rally Super Stock Division in a way that no script writer ever imagined.
He won in the car that had been driven by his late sister Carol Anne. She was 18 when she committed suicide last year on Easter Sunday.
Battle Looms in Washington Over Expiring Bush Tax Cuts
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
Published: July 24, 2010
WASHINGTON – An epic fight is brewing over what Congress and President Obama should do about the expiring Bush tax cuts, with such substantial economic and political consequences that it could shape the fall elections and fiscal policy for years to come.
Democratic leaders, including Mr. Obama, say they are intent on letting the tax cuts for the wealthy expire as scheduled at the end of this year. But they have pledged to continue the lower tax rates for individuals earning less than $200,000 and families earning less than $250,000 – what Democrats call the middle class.
After bailouts, new autoworkers make half as much as veterans in same plant
By Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 25, 2010
DETROIT — Among workers building the Jeep Grand Cherokee here, there are few obvious distinctions. Clutching lunch sacks and mini-coolers, they trudge together through the turnstiles at the plant’s main gate each day to tinker with the same vehicles, along the same assembly line, performing the same tasks.
Yet they fall into distinctly unequal classes: About half make $28 an hour or more, while the rest, the recently hired, make $14.
Cloistered French nuns from Avignon are record label’s new sales hope
Sisters from a closed order dating back to 6th century win contract for a new album of Gregorian chant
The Observer, Sunday 25 July 2010
A group of Benedictine nuns who live in complete seclusion in the South of France are set to become divas of pop after signing a deal with Universal Music, the leading record company behind Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse.
After a worldwide search for the finest exponents of the art of the Gregorian chant, the Nuns of the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de L’Annonciation have signed a deal with Universal’s Decca Records label. The enclosed order still communicates with outsiders through a grille to avoid intrusion into a life of religious devotion. As a result, the nuns in the abbey will have to photograph their own album cover, as well as provide the footage for their television advertisements.
Nobel Peace Prizes ‘are being awarded illegally’
Norwegian author claims the committee behind the coveted award routinely violates the terms of Alfred Nobel’s will
By Hugh O’Shaughnessy Sunday, 25 July 2010
Can we have our Nobel Peace Prize back, please? We got most of our decisions wrong. We should have laid much more emphasis on abolishing the military and outlawing wars, but we didn’t. Such is the message about to go out to the more undeserving winners of one of the world’s most coveted awards.
More than half the Nobel Peace Prizes awarded since 1946 have been awarded illegally, says Fredrik Heffermehl, a Norwegian lawyer and peace activist, because they do not follow the expressed will of the millionaire inventor of dynamite.
Protests held worldwide against execution of Iranian woman
By Karen Smith, CNN
Hundreds of protesters rallied worldwide Saturday against the imprisonment and possible execution of an Iranian woman convicted of adultery.
Sakineh Mohammedie Ashtiani was originally sentenced to death by stoning, but it was put on hold earlier this month after an international outcry.
In London, protesters held posters with Ashtiani’s likeness while a speaker criticized Iran’s treatment of her. Many demonstrating in Trafalgar Square held signs reading, “No to Stoning. No to Executions.” John Lennon’s “Imagine” played in the background.
Journalists complain of intimidation in Iraqi Kurdistan
Two journalists have been killed in the semiautonomous region in the last two years as concerns mount about press freedom.
By Asso Ahmed and Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times
July 25, 2010
Reporting from Sulaymaniya, Iraq, and Baghdad – The deaths of two Kurdish reporters in northern Iraq in the last two years has prompted charges that authorities in the semiautonomous Kurdistan region, long hailed as the country’s success story, are complicit in the intimidation of journalists.
In May, journalist Sardasht Osman was kidnapped in Irbil. His body was discovered a few days later in the troubled city of Mosul. No one has been arrested in the killing of the reporter, who had written a satirical column mocking the daughter of the Kurdistan region’s president, Massoud Barzani.
Comrade Duch, the Khmer Rouge executioner who killed thousands for Pol Pot, faces his day of justice
Chum Mey, one of the dozen survivors who walked out of Tuol Sleng death centre in Phnom Penh, counts on the international court imposing a sentence of life imprisonment
Ben Doherty, Phnom Penh
The Observer, Sunday 25 July 2010
Chum Mey walks slowly through the corridors of Tuol Sleng – once a school, then a prison, now a museum – past thousands of black-and-white photographs, the unsmiling portraits of the Khmer Rouge’s victims in this place. He stops at faces he recognises, pointing out friends, colleagues, a relative he saw for the final time through barbed wire.
Over four years in the late 1970s, it is reckoned, more than 12,000 men, women and children passed through Tuol Sleng prison in central Phnom Penh, and were murdered by the Khmer Rouge. Most were tortured into confessing crimes they couldn’t possibly have committed before being loaded on to trucks and driven to the notorious killing fields of Choeung Ek, where they were bludgeoned to death with ox-cart axles.
US and S Korea begin joint drill
SUNDAY, JULY 25, 2010
The US has begun military exercises with its ally South Korea in the Sea of Japan in a show of force that North Korea has warned could trigger nuclear war in the region.
The joint naval and air drills, code-named “Invincible Spirit”, began on Sunday and came four months after the sinking of a South Korean warship that has been blamed on the North.
About 8000 US and South Korean troops, 20 ships and submarines and 200 aircraft are taking part in the drill, which the US and South Korea have said is aimed at curbing the North’s “aggressive” behaviour.
Gadget makers must label parts from war-torn Congo
A new U.S. law requires companies to identify the source of minerals in their components
by Peter Svensson
NEW YORK – Does that smart phone in your pocket contribute to rape and murder in the depths of Africa? Soon, you’ll know: A new U.S. law requires companies to certify whether their products contain minerals from rebel-controlled mines in Congo and surrounding countries.
It’s a move aimed at starving the rebels of funds and encouraging them to lay down their arms.
But experts doubt the law will stop the fighting. Furthermore, they say, it could deprive hundreds of thousands of desperately poor Congolese of their incomes and disrupt the economy of an area that’s struggling for stability after more than decade of war.
For a Haiti amputee, life-changing aid is in sight
Across Haiti, a vast global relief effort continues for the 3 million people affected by the Jan. 12 quake. Those receiving the largess are often the last to know what it all means.
By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Ganthier, Haiti – Sounlove Zamor was scrubbing laundry under an acacia tree when a stranger arrived to ask her about the good news.
The news was this: Foreign benefactors had arranged to fly Zamor, a 19-year-old student who lost both legs in Haiti’s earthquake, to a top-notch hospital in Israel to be fitted with prosthetic limbs and get rehabilitation for as long as four months, fully paid.
Zamor and her sister soon would fly to Tel Aviv. On the far side of the ocean, new legs awaited.