Robert Fisk: US troops say goodbye to Iraq
Torture. Corruption. Civil war. America has certainly left its mark
Friday, 20 August 2010
When you invade someone else’s country, there has to be a first soldier – just as there has to be a last.
The first man in front of the first unit of the first column of the invading American army to reach Fardous Square in the centre of Baghdad in 2003 was Corporal David Breeze of the 3rd Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment. For that reason, of course, he pointed out to me that he wasn’t a soldier at all. Marines are not soldiers.
Why your favourite band should split up
From the Pixies to the Zombies, Jude Rogers talks to the bands who chose to burn out, not fade away
“People get into bands, and just keep going because it’s that’s what’s in front of them, don’t they?” Down the line from New York, sounding world-weary and wistful, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy is reflecting on his decision – announced before the release of a hugely acclaimed third album, This Is Happening – to break up his band when they complete their current world tour. “It’s more fun to just go for it knowing that we’re done. And then nothing matters. Then we have nothing to lose.”
If Murphy sounds unconcerned about splitting LCD Soundsystem, there are plenty of people who were anything but unconcerned. After he made the decision public, messageboards and forums were filled with feverish debate. Nor was his decision the only piece of band politics to have resulted in an upsurge of interest and discussion this summer: when Supergrass announced they were breaking up after a much longer time together – they cited a “17-year itch” due to “musical differences” – fans clamoured for tickets to their farewell tour. Pop bands like Black Eyed Peas and N-Dubz have also been trying to dispel rumours about their demises all year – N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos even telling their admirers, extravagantly, “not to panic”, if they do.
‘Ground Zero mosque’: New Yorkers take dim view of rabble-rousing outsiders
By Jason Horowitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 20, 2010
NEW YORK — On a recent afternoon on the streets around Ground Zero, commuters jumped over puddles to make their trains home, French tourists snapped photos, a homeless man jangled a can, an angry woman cried into her cellphone and Ali Mohammed served falafel over rice.
Mohammed’s food cart stands equidistant between the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and a planned Islamic center that has become the prime target of national conservatives who, after years of disparaging New York as a hotbed of liberal activity, are defending New York against a mosque that will rise two city blocks from Ground Zero.
Target feels backlash from shareholders
Institutions with stakes in the retail giant are demanding that the company revamp its donation process after a $150,000 contribution backed an anti-gay-rights candidate.
By Jennifer Martinez and Tom Hamburger, Tribune Washington Bureau
Reporting from Washington – After weeks of public protest over its financial support of an organization that backed a GOP gubernatorial candidate opposed to gay rights, Target Corp. now faces a new form of pressure: demands from institutional shareholders that it revamp its donation process to avoid the chance of additional backfires.
The shareholder action follows the disclosure last month that Target had sent corporate funds to an organization backing the Minnesota gubernatorial candidate. Such donations are allowed under a recent Supreme Court decision that lets companies and unions contribute directly to independent election campaigns.
No longer unknown: Stories behind portraits of First World War soldiers are revealed
When hundreds of photographs of soldiers from the First World War were found, each portrait was a mystery in its own right. Here, John Lichfield tells the story of one of them
Friday, 20 August 2010
“There was a soldier, a Scottish soldier
Who wandered far away and soldiered far away
There was none bolder, with good broad shoulders,
He fought in many a fray and fought and won.
He’s seen the glory, he’s told the story
Of battles glorious and deeds victorious…”
The kilted soldier shown here – a short, grinning teenager without especially “broad shoulders” – is one of the 560,000 Scots who “wandered far away” to fight in the 1914-18 war. Almost 150,000 of them did not live to “tell the story of battles glorious and deeds victorious”.
At war under Tuscan skies
To the hordes of Britons who return every year, Tuscany is a seductive neverland. But intrusive development could kill the dream, says Jasper Rees.
By Jasper Rees
Published: 8:00AM BST 20 Aug 2010
This month, thousands of British holidaymakers are making the pilgrimage, putting hemselves through the purgatory of air travel and the struggle with baggage and car hire. But it will all be worth it when they arrive in the heart of the postcard that every middle-class Brit carries around somewhere in their mind’s eye.
In Tuscany, the olive groves dutifully simmer in the heat haze. Villages nestle gorgeously on hill crests. The land swishes its seductive, feminine curves. Cinema’s premier fantasy location, whither pallid north Europeans return like migrating wildebeest to marvel at the shimmering duet of light and landscape, is a chimerical neverland which miraculously exists.
Iraq war by the numbers, as last US combat brigade leaves
The last US combat brigade left Iraq today, after $751 billion and 4,415 American lives. Here’s a breakdown of the Iraq war numbers.
By Stephen Kurczy, Staff writer / August 19, 2010
The last US combat brigade departed Iraq on Thursday morning, 12 days ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline set by President Obama. It completed a cutback to 50,000 troops, from a high of 170,000. Mr. Obama has said all US service members will be pulled out by Jan. 1, 2012.
More than seven years after the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, Americans, Iraqis, and the international community are assessing the impact of one of the longest and most expensive wars in United States history.
“Given the blood and treasure expended on all sides, it’s a pretty poor outcome,” Toby Dodge, an Iraq specialist at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, told the Monitor’s Scott Peterson in his cover story, “Iraq Score Card: What’s been left behind.”
Israelis and Palestinians to Resume Talks, Officials Say
By MARK LANDLER
Published: August 20, 2010
WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to announce Friday that Israel and the Palestinians will return to direct negotiations for the first time in 20 months, delivering the Obama administration a small victory in its protracted effort to revive the Middle East peace process, two officials briefed on the situation said Thursday evening.
The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, have agreed to place a one-year time limit on the talks, these officials said.
Red Shirt v Yellow Shirt: Thailand’s political struggle
The supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra are massing again
By David McNeill in Lamphun Friday, 20 August 2010
In northern Thailand, the world has been turned upside down. Men branded terrorists are heroes, the police are the enemy and children wear T-shirts hailing anti-government rebels. Driven from power, branded a criminal and hounded by prosecutors, the exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is venerated here, his smiling features emblazoned on cups, flags and dolls at a rally of his supporters in this provincial town. Polls taken in this district put his support at more than 70 per cent.
Three months ago, Thaksin’s Red Shirt supporters – many from this area – were violently cleared from the Bangkok streets after occupying the city centre for nine weeks.
Pakistan is a ‘slow-motion tsunami’, UN chief says in emergency session
Pakistan’s deadly floods are a “slow-motion tsunami” that has presented an ongoing crisis, Ban Ki-moon, the UN chief, said on Thursday night as he urged countries to give more aid.
Published: 11:24PM BST 19 Aug 2010
At a special meeting of the General Assembly, Mr Ban said the UN had raised nearly half the $460m (£295m) wanted for initial relief, but said the response remained slow.
“Make no mistake: this is a global disaster, a global challenge,” he said.
Large parts of the country remain submerged and there are fears of more flooding as water continues to surge down the Indus river. Floods have affected about one-fifth of Pakistan’s territory, leaving at least 1,500 people dead and more than four million with no shelter.
President Asif Ali Zardari gave warning on Thursday that the world must act quickly to stop militants exploiting the disaster to cause social unrest.
Police clash with S Africa strikers
South African police have used rubber bullets and water cannons against teachers and other workers taking part in a civil servants’ strike outside a hospital in the city of Johannesburg.
The violence in the township of Soweto erupted on Thursday morning, the second day of the strike which has been called to demand higher wages.Teachers in the red T-shirts of their union threw bricks and stones at police who fired to stop them from entering the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
At least one officer was reported to have been injured as well as several protesters.
Human trafficker jailed for trying to sell albino man
Kenyan sentenced to 9 years in prison for trying to make deal with Tanzanian witchdoctors
DAR ES SALAAM – A Kenyan man has been sentenced to nine years in prison for trying to sell an albino man to witchdoctors in Tanzania, local media reported Thursday.
A magistrate’s court in northwest Tanzania sentenced 28-year old Nathan Mutei on Wednesday, after he pleaded guilty to charges of human trafficking and abduction with intention to sell an albino man, also Kenyan, for 400 million Tanzanian shillings ($263,000).
At least 53 albinos have been killed since 2007 in the east African nation and their body parts sold for use in witchcraft, especially in the remote northwest regions of Mwanza and Shinyanga, both gold-mining regions where superstition is rife.
Wyclef Jean not on list for Haiti election for legal reasons, official says
The former Fugee said this week that he had received death threats and been offered security by the incumbent president
Staff and agencies, Port-au-Prince
The Guardian, Friday 20 August 2010
The hip-hop star Wyclef Jean’s bid to become the president of Haiti appeared to be in doubt last night after an election official said he was not on the list of candidates for the 28 November poll.
The singer’s presidential bid has electrified the earthquake-stricken country’s election campaign. But yesterday a member of the country’s provisional electoral council, who asked not to be named, told Reuters: “He is not on the list as I speak.”