Saturday, April 30, 2005

This morning's New York Times: Tony Blair, Nepal, Putin, M. Cherif Bassiouni . . .

On the frong page of this morning's New York Times, Kate Zernike's "Plea Deal Is Set For G.I. Pictured In Abuses in Iraq" which deals with Lynndie England, visible in so many photographs coming out of Abu Ghraib.

Inside the paper, Alan Cowell has "For Blair, a Mere Victory in the Election May Not Be Enough:"

For much of this week, Mr. Blair's campaign has been shifted off course by opposition attacks on his credibility that culminated in his decision on Thursday to release in full the ambiguous 13-page legal advice he received in March 2003, shortly before the war started, from the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith.
Even Thursday night, as he face an audience of young people on television, the mood was primarily one of hostility. One member of the audience accused the prime minister outright of having lied to the people in explaining why Britain went to war.
[. . .]
At issue, most political experts here still feel, is not whether Mr. Blair will win, but how convincingly. In the British system, a reduced majority in Parliament can leave a prime minister with little authority, vulnerable to attack by opponents and rebels within his own party. He could be replaced at 10 Downing Street in mid-term if the party decided to switch leaders, or if Parliament forced an early election.

Francisco e-mails to note Larry Rohter's "O.A.S. to Pick Chile Socialist U.S. Opposed As Its Leader:"

In a rebuff to the Bush administration's efforts to press Latin America to take a tougher stance on Cuba and Venezuela, a Chilean Socialist emerged Friday as the consensus choice to become secretary general of the Organization of American States.
The O.A.S. is scheduled to convene in Washington on Monday to formally elect the Chilean, Interior Minister José Miguel Insulza, 62. His opponent, Luis Ernesto Derbez, the Mexican foreign minister and Washington's favored candidate, withdrew Friday afternoon after negotiations in Santiago, Chile, that involved Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and several of her South and Central American counterparts.
It is the first time in the organization's history that a candidate initially opposed by the United States will lead the 34-member regional group. Until it became clear that the numbers were not in its favor, the United States sought twice to block Mr. Insulza, by first supporting a Salvadoran and then Mr. Derbez.

Krista e-mails to call our attention to Somini Sengupta's "Nepal Ends Crisis Rule, but Bans Some Protests:"

The implications of his announcement, however, were far from clear, particularly the fate of emergency measures, including the jailing of political dissidents, curbs on news media freedoms and special powers awarded the military in the name of squelching the Maoist rebellion in the country. Perhaps more important, the king did not address what would be done to restore democratic rule. His handpicked deputies have governed the country since Feb. 1.
[. . .]
In India, analysts discounted the king's move, citing the continuing rebellion and his failure to address the question of a return to democratic government. "Thirty people killed here, emergency lifted there doesn't make a difference until the structure of the conflict begins to change," said Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management, a research organization based here.
The secretary general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, had pressed for "a return to constitutional rule as soon as possible." "I made this clear to the king," Mr. Annan told reporters last week in New Delhi, India's capital.

The dateline on the above article is " Published: May 1, 2005 ." Obviously, it's one intended to run in tomorrow's paper. (Today's the thirtieth.) So don't grab your editions (the way I did) and flip through wondering how you missed rare news of Nepal (rare for the Times). You didn't miss it in the print edition.

Every now and then, the Happy Talkers come out re: Iraq. While Operation Happy Talk has long been a favorite ploy of the Bully Boy administration, as Lloyd notes, it's been "very depressing and distressing" to see some Democrats engage in it as well. Lloyd notes the Associated Press article online at the New York Times entitled "Attacks Kill 10 as Violence Continues in Iraq:"

Insurgents launched fresh attacks in Baghdad and northern Iraq on Saturday, killing at least 10 Iraqis and wounding more than 30, officials said, in a second day of violence aimed at shaking the country's newly formed government.
[. . .]
Some of the worst attacks occurred in the capital, still reeling from Friday's onslaught in which at least 17 bombs exploded in Iraq, killing 50 people, including three U.S. soldiers.
A suicide car bomb exploded Saturday near the offices of the National Dialogue Council, a coalition of 10 Sunni Arab factions that had been negotiating for a stake in Iraq's new Shiite-dominated government. The blast killed two Iraqi civilians and wounded 18, police said.
Another suicide car bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol exploded Saturday near the Mohammad Rasoul Allah Mosque in eastern Baghdad, killing two Iraqi women and a girl, and seriously wounding four soldiers, police Lt. Col. Ahmed Abboud Effait said.

Rob and Kara both e-mailed to note Steven Erlanger's "Putin Urges Israel to Let Palestinian Security Forces Use Weapons:"

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia urged Israel on Friday to allow Palestinian security forces the weaponry required to fight terrorism as he completed a three-day visit to the Middle East intended to revive Russia's fading influence in the region.
Mr. Putin met with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, for two hours to discuss peace talks and renewed Russian economic and security aid to the Palestinians, Moscow's former clients.
In particular, Russia will provide Mr. Abbas with two transport helicopters to replace those of his predecessor, Yasir Arafat. Israel had destroyed them to limit Mr. Arafat's movements after the Israeli Army returned to the West Bank in the spring of 2002 to try to put a stop to Palestinian attacks, some organized by the security services. Israel also put severe restrictions on weapons allowed to the Palestinian police.

KeShawn e-mails to note Warren Hoge's "Lawyer Who Told of U.S. Abuses at Afghan Bases Loses U.N. Post:"

M. Cherif Bassiouni, a professor of law at DePaul University in Chicago who was the human rights commission's independent expert for Afghanistan, said Friday that he had received an e-mail message from a commission official in Geneva a week ago telling him his mandate had expired.
The day before, he had released a 21-page report saying that Americans running prisons in Afghanistan had acted above the law "by engaging in arbitrary arrests and detentions and committing abusive practices, including torture."

This has shaped up as an international look provided by the Times. There are a few other things members have e-mailed on and I'll put them in an entry to immediately follow this.

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