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by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 04:12:09 PM EST
Barack Obama promises to lead world on climate change - Telegraph

A week after taking office, the new Democratic president drew another sharp contrast with his predecessor George W Bush, who only thought that man had a limited effect on climate change.

In the course of a ten-minute announcement at the White House, Mr Obama became the first American president to put cleaner energy at the heart of his domestic agenda and to envision environmentalism as a creator of jobs on a large scale and as a boon to the nation's defence.

"We will make it clear to the world that America is ready to lead. To protect our climate and our collective security, we must call together a truly global coalition," said Mr Obama, before signing three executive orders and memorandums on environmental issues.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 04:13:23 PM EST
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He should try catching up first.
by det on Wed Jan 28th, 2009 at 02:54:41 AM EST
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BBC NEWS | Middle East | Obama reaches out to Muslim world

US President Barack Obama has used his first formal TV interview since taking office to reach out to the Muslim world - saying Americans are not its enemy.

Speaking to the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya network, Mr Obama reiterated that the US would extend the hand of friendship to Iran if it "unclenched its fist".

It comes as his Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, travels to the region, heralding a new burst of diplomacy.

He will meet Egypt's leader to discuss the Gaza ceasefire and peace efforts.

Egypt has been mediating between Israel and the Palestinians, and between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah.

Mr Obama told Al-Arabiya that the US sometimes made mistakes and stressed that his administration would adopt a more open diplomatic approach.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 04:15:56 PM EST
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Interesting comment on Mitchell by Hurria on Booman:
Booman Tribune ~ BBC refuses to broadcast Gaza charity appeal UPDATE
By the way, Maronites are not Arabs, and they will be the first ones to tell you that - usually rather adamantly. Most are somewhat to extremely hostile toward Arabs, some of them refuse to speak Arabic, they rarely give their children Arabic names, and the really silly ones insist that they are Phoenicians.

The Maronites, particularly the fascist Phalangists, were allies of Israel and acted as Israeli agents during the various invasions and occupations, and committed a variety of atrocities on behalf of and under the direction of Israel, most notably the Sabra and Shatila massacres. You see, Israeli leaders decided very early on that it would be to their advantage to have Lebanon be a Christian-dominated country, and the Maronites were only too happy to volunteer. The Lebanese Orthodox and "regular" Catholics, who DO generally consider themselves Arabs, were less enthusiastic, and generally sided against the Palangists in the civil war.

I don't criticize Maronites for insisting they are not Arabs - lots of peoples living in Arab countries are not Arabs, and ethnic and religious diversity only enriches and strengthens society. I have many relatives-by-marriage who are Maronite, some of whom I love dearly and respect and great deal, some of whom I enjoy a lot, and some of whom I can do without. However, to pretend that a Maronite Lebanese-American is an Arab, and that choosing a Maronite as a Middle East envoy somehow balances out the overwhelming American bias against Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular, and in favour of Israel is either ill-informed or downright deceptive.

Uri Avneri, whom I do respect a lot, is mistaken in suggesting that George Mitchell is an Arab-American, or even remotely self-identifies that way. It will be a pleasant surprise if he does not go along with the traditional American blindly pro-Israel position.


by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 04:16:27 PM EST
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As I pointed out in shergald's thread. the Gaza appeal has had considerably more publicity from not being broadcast by the BBC than if it had been. And BBCNews have shown the website and telephone number screen capture from the ad suspiciously prominently whenever they have discussed it as a news issue.

I'm not saying it's a crafty way of actually having their cake and eating it, but.... if it was deliberate , it's genius.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 05:14:52 PM EST
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transcript

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Jan 28th, 2009 at 09:17:23 AM EST
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Closing jail in Bagram is a puzzle for Obama - International Herald Tribune

WASHINGTON: For months, a national debate has raged over the fate of the 245 detainees at the United States military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

But what may be an equally difficult problem now confronts the Obama administration in the 600 prisoners packed into a cavernous, makeshift prison on the American air base at Bagram in Afghanistan.

Military personnel who know Bagram and Guantánamo describe the Afghan site as tougher and more spartan. The prisoners have fewer privileges and virtually no access to lawyers. Many are still held communally in big cages. The Bush administration never allowed journalists or human rights advocates inside.

Problems have developed, as well, with efforts to rehabilitate former jihadists who had been imprisoned at Guantánamo. Nine graduates of a Saudi program have been arrested for rejoining terrorist groups, Saudi officials said Monday.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 04:23:01 PM EST
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... and an unknown number of detainees lost in the CIA's shadow system of camps around the world, eg Diego Garcia gets mentioned too often for coincidence.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 05:16:21 PM EST
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Surely Diego Garcia is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory.

The Brits wouldn't allow unsavory activities on their land. It wouldn't be sporting.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Jan 28th, 2009 at 03:31:40 AM EST
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your reaction only goes to show how good our pr is.

Our behaviour over the years leaves a lot to be desired, and the governments secrecy over its multiple hypocrisies is something that even Bush never dreamt of emulating.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 28th, 2009 at 05:35:50 AM EST
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Quite bragging...you had such a head start...but you have to admit that we jumped in with a full result in Iran for you and have been working very hard ever since to emulate your grand hypocracies.

I don't know about "...never dreamt of emulating." Reagan's puppeteers were certainly willing to sell cocaine to their own countrymen to get money for guns...while, no mater how many millions were addicted in the English/Chinese Silk trade, they were always foreigners.

;-)

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Jan 28th, 2009 at 05:33:33 PM EST
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Nato losing battle against the Taliban, says IISS - Telegraph
Nato is losing its battle in Afghanistan because of tensions within the alliance, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) .

The think tank said that the Taliban were stepping up the use of suicide bombings and expanding their operations into areas that were previously quiet.

At the same time, Nato members are struggling to agree among themselves what constituted "success" in Afghanistan while the global economic crisis meant that military budgets throughout the alliance were coming under pressure.

The warning, in the IISS's annual Military Balance survey of armed forces around the world, comes as new US President Barack Obama is expected to appeal to America's European allies to send more troops in an attempt to force a strategic breakthrough.

The report said that the Taliban insurgency had continued "unabated" throughout the past 12 months - even moving into previously quiet provinces - adding to pressures on the alliance.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 04:23:24 PM EST
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NATO probably started losing the day after they enterd Kabul. They noticeably started losing after bush went to Iraq. It's shocking that people like IISS, who ought to flipping know this stuff before anyone else, are just getting around to noticing.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 05:18:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Afghan Guards Confound U.S. Forces - WSJ.com

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A contingent of Army Rangers was moving toward a target in late October when it came under fire from machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. Fearful the team would be wiped out, U.S. officers called in air strikes. When the dust settled, 22 Afghans lay dead and six American soldiers were wounded.

Just who these dead Afghans were is still unclear. Afghan and some U.S. officials say they were hired by an Afghan road-construction firm to protect nearby workers. The security company confirms their employment. But other U.S. military officials say the Afghans were militants who targeted American troops.

Armed private security companies are proliferating in Afghanistan -- hired in many cases to protect Afghan companies doing work for the U.S. And for the American forces who regularly encounter these armed men, it is perilously hard to discern their identities and their loyalties. Some of these guards may be linked to the militant leaders or drug traffickers who regularly battle U.S. troops.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 04:27:13 PM EST
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The incompetence of Coleman's lawyers is really amazing. Yesterday he brought in some witnesses who claimed that their absentee ballots had been improperly rejected. From TPM.
One of the voters was Douglas Thompson, who admitted under oath that his girlfriend filled out his absentee ballot application for him, signing his name with her own hand and purporting to be himself. His ballot was rejected because the signature on his ballot envelope (his own) did not match the signature on the application (his girlfriend's). The Coleman team's argument appears to be that he is still a legal voter in Minnesota, as the signature on the ballot was his own, even if admitted dishonesty was involved in getting the ballot.

Keep in mind: Thompson's story came up during the direct examination by Coleman lawyer James Langdon. So the Coleman camp fully knew this information and decided to make him into a witness.

Another one of the voters, an older man named Wesley Briest, initially responded that he voted at the polls -- not by absentee. Then Coleman attorney James Langdon showed him his absentee ballot envelope, reminding him that he did not go to the polls, too. Upon cross-examination by Franken lawyer Kevin Hamilton, Briest admitted that his wife, who served as the witness on his ballot, did not fully complete the witness section of the absentee ballot.

The way this trial is going, Coleman has a good chance at being able to take Franken's old job as a comedian...
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jan 28th, 2009 at 02:45:17 AM EST
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One of the parties in the upcoming Israeli elections is called The Holocaust survivors & Grown-up Green Leaf Party. Their platform includes
Holocaust Survivors - Immediately raise legislation and press for a financially secure, dignified existence for Holocaust Survivors in Israel NOW

[...]

Grown-Up Green Leaf - Legalize and facilitate medical marijuana and industrial hemp; improve public awareness about drug use in Israel

SInce they are a combination of two parties, one of which got into the old parliament, they may just win seats in the upcoming election.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jan 28th, 2009 at 04:51:58 AM EST
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Michael Geist - Why the U.S. Lost Its WTO IP Complaint Against China. Badly.
The World Trade Organization yesterday released its much-anticipated decision involving a U.S. complaint against China over its protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.  The U.S. quickly proclaimed victory, with newspaper headlines trumpeting the WTO panel's requirement that China reform elements of its intellectual property laws.  For its part, China was conciliatory and offered to work with the international community to resolve the concerns raised by the decision.  Reuters notes that the Chinese reaction is far less combative than it has been other issues.

Why the muted response?  I suspect that it is because anyone who bothers to work through the 147 page decision will find that the headlines get it wrong.  The U.S. did not win this case, but rather lost badly. China is required to amend elements of its copyright law, but on the big issues of this case - border measures and IP enforcement - almost all of the contested laws were upheld as valid.
by Bernard on Wed Jan 28th, 2009 at 10:11:28 AM EST
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WTO's China Piracy Ruling: All Bark And No Bite - Forbes.com
Washington claimed a tactical victory in its intellectual property case against China, but it is losing the war.

In its efforts to get China to curb piracy, the United States claims that it now has the World Trade Organization on its side. But the proclamation of victory is empty or premature, or both.

by Bernard on Wed Jan 28th, 2009 at 10:12:19 AM EST
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