37 die in revenge attacks in Pakistan’s Karachi
KARACHI, Pakistan – Gunmen killed at least 37 people in Pakistan’s largest city after a prominent lawmaker’s assassination set off a cycle of revenge attacks, officials said Tuesday. Dozens of vehicles and shops were set ablaze as security forces struggled to regain control of Karachi.The southern city of more than 16 million has a history of political, ethnic and religious violence, and has long been a hide-out for al-Qaida and Taliban militants. Its stability is important for Pakistan because it is the country’s main commercial hub.
Why Is Discovery’s Shark Week So Beloved?
America, rejoice! The best week of the year-the six nights that you spend 51 weeks pining for, longing after-is finally here. Shark Week reared its toothy jaws last night on the Discovery Channel with the premiere of Ultimate Air Jaws. For the 23rd year in a row, Americans will spend a hot summer in the tranquil refuge of their air-conditioned living rooms, watching cool, comforting images of sharks diving, swimming, and ripping chunks of flesh off unsuspecting sea mammals. There is Shark Week merchandise. There are shark-themed libations. And yes-did you have to ask?-there are gory attack videos aplenty.
Empowering oil rig workers to stop operations not a fail-safe plan
By David S. Hilzenrath
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Overlooked among the systems that apparently failed in the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe is what could be the most crucial safety device of all: the human blowout preventer.
Every person working on the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico had the authority to stop action, according to the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon, if he or she considered the situation unsafe. Yet people exposed to an array of hazards refrained from demanding a halt, reflecting a pattern that extends to almost any office cubicle or industrial site.
Republicans decry stimulus funds for iPods, cellphones
Such spending highlights waste, two senators say, but the White House dismisses their report as misleading.
By Peter Nicholas and Julia Love, Tribune Washington Bureau
August 3, 2010
Reporting from Washington – Stimulus money is going toward iPods for high school students in Utah, cellphones for smokers trying to quit in Washington and advertising devoted to the promotion of … the stimulus.
The findings are part of a 74-page report put out by a pair of Republican senators who contend the $862-billion program is fraught with needless spending.
Sarkozy under fire after video shows brutal treatment of immigrants
Film shows pregnant African woman dragged away by police in north of Paris
By John Lichfield in Paris Tuesday, 3 August 2010
A video showing French police dragging immigrant women and children away from a protest squat has sharpened accusations that President Nicolas Sarkozy has made a cynical turn towards the authoritarian right.
Although police insist that the disturbing footage is misleading, the film of the apparently brutal arrests north of Paris last month coincides with a noisy campaign by the floundering Mr Sarkozy to revive his image as a politician tough on crime and immigration.
Dmitry Medvedev would not run against Vladimir Putin
Dmitry Medvedev has said he does not want to run against Vladimir Putin in the 2012 presidential election, although he has not ruled out running for re-election.
Published: 11:01PM BST 02 Aug 2010
Mr Medvedev said he did not want a “battle between close forces”, saying it would be bad for Russia.
“I don’t know what will happen in 2012, I don’t know who will run,” he added. “It could be Medvedev, it could be Putin or someone else.
“In any case, we need to think it over,” said Medvedev.
Mr Putin stepped down as required by the Russian constitution in 2008 after serving two consecutive terms as president, but is eligible to run for the office again in 2012.
Israelis Divided on Deporting Children
By ISABEL KERSHNER
Published: August 2, 2010
JERUSALEM – Deep divisions emerged here on Monday over the fate of about 400 children of foreign workers who have no legal status in the country and are slated for deportation. The issue has touched on sensitive nerves in Israel, which sees itself as a nation of Jewish refugees and defines itself as a Jewish and democratic state.
The public debate followed a decision by the cabinet on Sunday to approve a plan for granting status to the children of people who entered Israel with a valid visa or permit but have stayed on illegally.
Under the new guidelines, based on the length of time the children have been here and their integration in the education system, about 800 of the 1,200 in question are qualified to stay.
Music fails to chime with Islamic values, says Iran’s supreme leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claims the promotion and teaching of the artform is not compatible with country’s sacred regime
Saeed Kamali Dehghan
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said today that music is “not compatible” with the values of the Islamic republic, and should not be practised or taught in the country.
In some of the most extreme comments by a senior regime figure since the 1979 revolution, Khamenei said: “Although music is halal, promoting and teaching it is not compatible with the highest values of the sacred regime of the Islamic Republic.”
Khamenei’s comments came in response to a request for a ruling by a 21-year-old follower of his, who was thinking of starting music lessons, but wanted to know if they were acceptable according to Islam, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
In Restive Chinese Area, Cameras Keep a Watchful Eye
By MICHAEL WINES
Published: August 2, 2010
URUMQI, China – For a street whose name suggests throwing off shackles, South Liberation Road doesn’t look like a very free place these days.
At the intersection with Shanxi Lane, a busy crossing in this northwest China metropolis, 11 surveillance cameras eye the bustle from a metal boom projecting over one corner. Still more cameras stare down from the other three corners – 39 in all, still-photo and high-resolution video.
Floodwaters bring risk of cholera to compound misery of the displaced
By Andrew Buncombe, Asia Correspondent Tuesday, 3 August 2010
Rescue teams battled to get drinking water, food and medicine to hundreds of thousands of disease-prone people caught up in Pakistan’s worst flooding in decades even as a new cycle of monsoon rains threatened to spread the devastation to the country’s south.
With massive devastation in north-west Pakistan leaving anywhere up to 1,400 people dead and affecting a further 2.5 million, according to the Red Cross, experts said there was a crucial need avoid the spread of cholera and other waterborne diseases spread. There have already been several reported outbreaks, as drowned livestock rots amid the slowly receding waters.
Charles Taylor’s warcrimes trial: factfile
Blood diamonds are at the heart of the trial of Liberia’s ex-president Charles Taylor in the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Published: 7:00AM BST 03 Aug 2010
Charles Ghankay Taylor, 62, was the president of Liberia from 1997 to 2003.
He is accused of arming neighbouring Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in exchange for “blood diamonds” – so called for being mined in rebel-held regions of Africa and sold to fund warfare.
The RUF is blamed for mutilating thousands of civilians who had their hands and arms severed in one of the most brutal wars in modern history, which claimed some 120,000 lives from 1991 to 2001.
Will sky-high cocoa prices lift West African farmers?
West African cocoa farmers and their families should be cheering that a ‘market cartel’ has emerged, pushing cocoa prices up. Capitalism, so often the instrument of their oppression, is now working dramatically in their favor.
By G. Pascal Zachary, Guest blogger / August 2, 2010
Cocoa farmers in West Africa – growers of the main portion of world cocoa supply – are distant actors in a weird rumble over prices, which recently hit a 33-year peak, achieving the highest prices on record since 1977. The proximate cause of the record price is speculative activity by commodities traders, especially a particular hedge fund, Armajaro of London, which recently shocked financiers by actually taking deliver of physical cocoa.
The financial drama has masked a fundamental shift in the pricing of one of Africa’s most prized outputs. Cocoa is essential in the manufacturer of chocolate and producers, who are largely clustered in the neighboring countries of Ghana and Ivory Coast, have long failed to form a cartel to drive up prices, much in the same oil producers (OPEC) do. In economic terms, cartels can make sense, rewarding owners of a relatively scarce commodity.