Secret Assault on Terrorism Widens on Two Continents
By SCOTT SHANE, MARK MAZZETTI and ROBERT F. WORTH
Published: August 14, 2010
WASHINGTON – At first, the news from Yemen on May 25 sounded like a modest victory in the campaign against terrorists: an airstrike had hit a group suspected of being operatives for Al Qaeda in the remote desert of Marib Province, birthplace of the legendary queen of Sheba.
But the strike, it turned out, had also killed the province’s deputy governor, a respected local leader who Yemeni officials said had been trying to talk Qaeda members into giving up their fight. Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, accepted responsibility for the death and paid blood money to the offended tribes.
Alone With the Masters
I love humanity; it’s crowds I hate-especially the ones that swarm the world’s most famous museums during tourist season, turning what should be a transformational experience into a degrading competitive scrum. Three years ago my family’s foray into the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa was unforgettable, for all the wrong reasons. Despite the staff’s efforts to manage the crowd, my two sons were overwhelmed and wanted to leave, my daughter was fascinated primarily by other people’s illicit attempts to snap photos, and I completely lost track of my husband. By the time I was pushed briefly past the painting, the world’s most famous smile looked more like a bemused smirk.
Alaska plane crash a painful reminder for families of Boggs and Begich
By Jason Horowitz
Sunday, August 15, 2010
On a recent summer afternoon, Alaskan and American flags fluttered together above the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center, a low-slung gray building on the banks of Portage Lake. Inside, tourists perused a chart on sockeye salmon and maps of the surrounding Chugach Mountains. Few people paid any attention to a black-and-white memorial to the center’s namesakes.
“On October 16, 1972, United States House of Representatives Majority Leader Thomas Hale Boggs and United States Representative Nicholas J. Begich boarded an airplane in Anchorage en route to Juneau,” read a few short paragraphs alongside photos of the congressmen. “The aircraft disappeared amidst turbulent conditions, and no trace of the men or the airplane was found.”
Jobless millions signal death of the American dream for many
Even the criminals have fallen on hard times in America’s poorest city as the long-term unemployed struggle to keep a grasp on normality
The Observer, Sunday 15 August 2010
Richard Gaines is one of the best-known faces on Camden’s Haddon Avenue. It is a rough-and-tumble street, lined with cheap businesses and boarded-up houses, and is prey to drug gangs. Gaines, 50, runs a barbershop, a hair salon and a fitness business. He works hard and is committed to his community. But Haddon Avenue is not an easy place to make a living in the best of times. And these are far from the best of times.
Just how badly the great recession has struck this fragile New Jersey city, which is currently the poorest in America, was recently spelled out to Gaines. In happier times – whatever that might mean for a city as destitute as Camden – local businesses on Haddon Avenue could at least rely on a bit of trade from those who made their money on the street.
Ireland’s weakened economy provokes new abortion crisis
Women challenge government at European Human Rights Court on forced overseas terminations
By Marie-Louise Gumuchian in Dublin Sunday, 15 August 2010
Minutes after the test revealed she was pregnant, Amy saw only one option – to leave Ireland and have an abortion in Britain. Her architect partner had lost his job in Ireland’s property crash and she was worried about hers, so the 29-year-old office assistant felt she had no choice. “We found it hard enough to finance the abortion,” said Amy, who declined to give her full name because of the sensitive subject. “So how could we support a child?”
Women’s activists say Ireland’s deep economic crisis may have driven more women to consider an abortion.
Russia begins ban on grain exports after fires devastate crops
Russia has imposed a ban on wheat and other grain exports until the end of the year after a severe drought and an outbreak of wildfires destroyed one-third of the harvest and ravaged agricultural land.
AGRICULTURE | 15.08.2010
Exports of grain have been banned in Russia, as authorities try to reduce the chance of a food shortage following the destruction of crops in wildfires.
An estimated 10 million hectares of agricultural land has been devastated by the fires following the worst heatwave in Russian history.
Russia is one of the world’s biggest producers of wheat, barley and rye. However a quarter of the country’s crops have been destroyed, according to President Dmitry Medvedev.
Hezbollah theme park draws the crowds
The militant Shia group has turned a Lebanese hillside into a unlikely tourist landmark – complete with tanks, rockets and bunkers
By Alistair Lyon in Mleeta, Lebanon Sunday, 15 August 2010
If you have an urge to inspect mangled Israeli tanks, toy with a rocket launcher, or explore a genuine rock-cut guerrilla bunker, Hezbollah’s multi-media theme park in south Lebanon is just the place.
The Shia Muslim group, which fought Israel to a stalemate four years ago and has been preparing for the next war ever since, has applied its creative flair to a “resistance tourist landmark” at Mleeta, a strategic hilltop bastion on what was once a front line with an Israeli-occupied “security zone”.
Here, on the resort’s oak-sheathed slopes, the nitty-gritty reality of life as a Hezbollah guerrilla is on display, replete with themes of patriotism and martyrdom, plus a dose of bombast. More than 500,000 people have flocked to Mleeta, 37 miles south-east of Beirut, since it opened in May.
Israel sees battlefield hidden in southern Lebanon
Military claims Hezbollah moves fighters, weapons into villages
By MATTI FRIEDMAN
MOUNT ADIR, Israel – With tensions mounting along their shared border, Israel’s military says Hezbollah is moving fighters and weapons into the villages of south Lebanon, building up a secret network of arms warehouses, bunkers and command posts in preparation for war.
The Israeli military has begun releasing detailed information about what it calls Hezbollah’s new border deployment, four years after a cross-border raid by its guerrillas triggered a 34-day war.
A reminder of the volatility came on August 3, when Lebanese troops fired at Israeli soldiers clearing brush on their side of the border.
Pakistan floods: Aid trickles in for victims as cholera spreads in Pakistan’s worst-ever floods
More than 1,600 people are confirmed to have died with millions made homeless as water levels continue to rise
Gethin Chamberlain and Saeed Shah in Islamabad
The Observer, Sunday 15 August 2010
Two weeks into the worst natural disaster in its history, Pakistan is braced for further flooding as waters in the upper reaches of the swollen Indus river reach critical levels.
With more than 1,600 people confirmed dead and as many as 20 million made homeless, the country is reeling from the scale of the catastrophe wrought by torrential monsoon rains. The prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, said Pakistan now faced challenges similar to those during the 1947 partition of the subcontinent when as many as 500,000 people were killed.
China holds day of mourning for Gansu landslide victims
China is holding a day of mourning for those killed in floods and mudslides, as the death toll rose to 1,239 people.
The BBC 15 August 2010
Public entertainment has been suspended, with cinemas and karaoke bars closed, and government offices and embassies are flying flags at half-mast, state media reported.
Teams are continuing to recover bodies in Gansu province in the wake of Saturday’s landslides in Zhouqu county.
Another 505 people remain missing and thousands are in temporary shelters.
Continue reading the main story
Chinese town reeling after landslide
Aerial view: Before and after
In pictures: Relief race
Chinese health authorities say hygiene and safety for those left homeless is a priority, as concerns mount over a lack of clean drinking water.
Activist group Girifna aims to educate voters in Sudan
By Rebecca Hamilton
Saturday, August 14, 2010
KHARTOUM, SUDAN — Like any aspiring pro-democracy movement, the young Sudanese activists needed a name. They picked Girifna, Arabic for “We are fed up.” They chose orange for their color and the V-for-victory sign as a logo, then began distributing their first pamphlet.
Challenging the ruling party was risky in a country where political dissent is rarely tolerated, the activists said. But they saw a small opening before elections in April, as the United States and the European Union pressed the government to ensure a free and fair vote.
Haitian quake shook leader to his core
‘As a person I was paralyzed,’ says President Rene Preval, recalling the suffering he saw. He’s quiet for a politician, even humble; but his silence since the disaster enrages many.
By Joe Mozingo, Los Angeles Times
August 15, 2010
Reporting from Port-au-Prince, Haiti – Haitian President Rene Preval peers off and rubs his beard when he thinks about those 35 seconds when the earth convulsed.
Preval was feeding his 8-month-old granddaughter dinner in the courtyard of the presidential mansion. They were thrown to the ground as the house collapsed. Unable to reach anyone on the phone, Preval jumped on the back of a motorcycle taxi and directed the driver toward downtown. Wending through the rubble in the dark, he couldn’t comprehend the scope of death and ruin.