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Massive Unemployment a Key Factor in Iraq

by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail Violence has made unemployment even worse; it has led large numbers of people to quit the jobs they had. Most people in Baqouba are today either forced to stay at home, or to leave the city, and if they can, the country

Iraq Razes Thousands of Acres of Farmland

Facing international economic sanctions after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Saddam re-allocated this land in a bid to expand the country's agricultural areas, al-Hir said. Within a few years, peasant farmers transformed the barren land near Kerbala into fertile farms growing a range of produce, such as tomatoes, wheat, fruits and potatoes

Neo-cons Seek New Way to Spin Iran Threat

by Khody Akhavi Scholars at AEI have attempted to shift the focus of the debate from Iranian motivations and intentions towards an 'empirical study' of Iran's influence. In the final analysis, it reflects a tactical shift away from openly beating the war drums as do scholars like Ledeen, and towards an attempt to highlight the extent of Iranian influence in the region. The conclusion to be drawn is that, even without the nuclear issue at the forefront, Iran continues to exert a negative impact on U.S. interests

The Sun Sets for Hillary Haters

by Alexander Cockburn If Hillary's in bad trouble, the Hillary-haters are in even worse shape. The conservative movement is finished. Rush Limbaugh, the dirigible of drivel himself, is flaming out, like the zeppelin Hindenberg. For years now, the liberals have loved to tremble at Limbaugh's malignant powers. But it turns out Rush couldn't get a dog-catcher elected. For months, he's urged the dittoheads to rally to a true conservative. He's worn himself hoarse denouncing McCain as a traitor to the cause. With each daily dose of raillery from Limbaugh, McCain's cause florished

Super Tuesday Plunges Both Parties into Civil War

by Alexander Cockburn Both parties planned Super Tuesday as the coronation of a candidate, followed by six months of furious fund raising to finance the fall race for the presidency. Such hopes were deliciously dashed on Tuesday as chaos descended on both parties

The Race Card

by Alexander Cockburn Already the Republicans are using the photo of Obama in Kenya as part of what will be a long summer and fall of two-stepping around the race card. Step 1: Get some roughhouser to fire off a slur, as did right-wing radio shock jock Bill Cunningham, sounding off ripely this week about 'Barack Hussein Obama' as a hack black politician, in a speech introducing McCain. Step 2: Piously denounce the slur, just as McCain did Cunningham's

Hillary and McCain Both Party Outcasts

by Alexander Cockburn Setting aside such well-known traits as ill temper toward subordinates, what Hillary Clinton and John McCain certainly do have in common is a readiness to hang their own party out to dry when it's a matter of personal advancement

China News Blackout of Spielberg Olympics Snub

by Antoaneta Bezlova Having sought Spielberg's talents to help orchestrate the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic games this summer, Beijing was left deeply uncomfortable when the director abandoned his role this week, saying the country was not doing enough to help end violence in Darfur

McCain: Loose Cannon, Not Maverick

by Alexander Cockburn The U.S. press has fawned over McCain the 'maverick' for years, but his colleagues in the Senate have long regarded McCain as a mere grandstander, posturing for C-SPAN's camera and microphone about wasteful spending, then meekly voting for the pork barrel items he'd been denouncing half an hour earlier

Egypt-Gaza Border Incident was Major Victory for Hamas

by Khody Akhavi The border breach also blew apart Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's 'experimental' policy to pressure Palestinians and -- contrary to intention -- appears to have only further enternched Hamas in Gaza and weakened Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's ability to lead in the U.S.-supported peace negotiations. According to experts, Gaza's most recent crisis has undermined the Annapolis initiative endorsed by Washington, a process for which neighboring Arab states have already expressed varying degrees of skepticism

Lords of Loud Attempt Satire, Fail

by Steve Young If either Levin or Hannity wanted to truly earn their satire wings, they would have never let their audience in on the joke. Ever. Number one, telling a joke, then explaining that it was a joke, is the mark of a comedy club open-stager who doesnŐt have confidence in his material. But even more, it is a sign that a comic doesnŐt trust his audience to be smart enough to get the joke. And certainly no one would ever claim that those who listen to talk radio arenŐt smart enough to think for themselves

O'Reilly: It's Hate Speech if it Comes from the Left

by Steve Young Over 200 comments were posted to the Reagan story at HuffPo. There were some that were in bad taste, and there were plenty who wrote in to say that they too were bad. And just like the negative comments, they too were allowed by Arianna and HuffPo to be posted . Fact is, Bill, you don't even know if the person posting in the lefty who hates Nancy Reagan or a right wing poster trying make Huff Post look bad. But it doesn't matter who is commenting, they have a perfect right to. It's called free speech, Bill.

The McCain-Cunningham Con

by Steve Young McCain and his staff knew exactly what Cunningham would do. They used him for all he was worth, and then when he was all done doing what they wanted him to do, they threw him under the Straight Talk bus. Right? Not exactly

O'Reilly Tries to Steal Decency

by Steve Young Thursday morning you and your website announced that '(The Factor was) proposing a new G.I. Bill' and by Thursday afternoon the politicos who are helping you with the proposal is pretty much ready for President Bush's signature. That's not fast track, that's pretty much trashing the space-time continuum altogether. You truly are looking out for us. Um, except for one, itsy-bitsy detail: It's not your proposal, and you weren't any factor in achieving success

Tip to Dems: Play the Jon Stewart Card

by Steve Young I suggest that whomever of you get the nomination that you be well-equipped with a well-sharpened sense of humor and fast comeback. If not, you better be handled by someone who can make you appear to have both. Kind of like a funny Karl Rove but, without the disdain for truth

U.S. Contractor Abuses in Iraq Rarely Punished, Groups Say

by Ali Gharib Just one contractor has been tried for violence or abuse towards local nationals, says the report, which examined over 600 classified Serious Incident Reports (SIRs) on incidents involving the use of force by or attacks upon private security contractors in Iraq over a nine-month period in 2004-2005

Israel Report of 2006 War Ignored Civilian Deaths

by Haider Rizvi In the final 72 hours before the ceasefire, which officially took effect on Aug. 14, 2006, the Israeli military rained 1,800 cluster rockets on southern Lebanon, containing 1.2 million sub-munitions, many of which still remain unexploded. According to Amnesty, a many as 40 people, including 27 civilians and 13 de-mining personnel, have been killed by such munitions since the end of the war and over 240 people have been injured

Fuel Shortages Leave Iraqis Cold, Unable to Work

by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail The demonstrations have drawn in people from all around Iraq's volatile Diyala province. The streets have filled with people hoisting protest banners. The Sahwa here want to show they are a power that Baghdad cannot ignore

Petraeus, Gates: Risk of Losing Iraq Gains if Drawdown of U.S. Troops

by Jim Lobe When Bush's commander on the ground, Gen. David Petraeus, insists that reducing U.S. troops strength in Iraq below 130,000 could indeed jeopardize whatever chances remain of snatching 'victory' from defeat there, Gates, who had previously favored reducing U.S. troops in Iraq to as few as 100,000 by the end of this year, is forced to defer. He did just that Monday when, after meeting Petraeus in Baghdad, he announced for the first time that he supported a 'pause' in the ongoing drawdown when pre-surge levels are reached in July

Voting for Hillary In Spite of Herself

by Robert Scheer Does it not matter that Hillary's key foreign policy advisers are drawn heavily from the ranks of the neoliberals, who cheered as loudly for Bush's war as did the neo-conservatives? Are they not concerned that Richard Holbrooke, who exploited his experience and access to secret information during the Clinton presidency to back the Iraq invasion, is a likely contender for secretary of state should she win?

How Kosovo 'Success Story' Became Such a Mess

by Apostolis Fotiadis There is something more than raw anger that cultivates tensions in this case. A senior member of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), and a customs official, both told IPS on condition of anonymity that UNMIK's serious incapacities in administering post-independence Kosovo, and the organized disobedience by the Serbs point to gloom prospects for Kosovo's future

Security Council Deadlocked Over Kosovo

by Thalif Deen Russia -- which is protective of Serbs who are a minority in Kosovo -- is conscious of the political implications of the Kosovo UDI for the separatist movement within its own borders, in Chechnya. The Russians have threatened to use their veto to prevent the UN from giving its political blessings to the new nation state

Serbians Protest, Riot Over Kosovo Independence

by Vesna Peric Zimonjic Frustration over the Sunday declaration of independence of Kosovo is spreading all over Serbia, with protest rallies being organized around the country. Kosovo is being taken away, protesting Serbs say, as demonstrations continued Monday after a night of violence

Kosovo Serbs Not Celebrating Independence

by Apostolis Fotiadis and Zoltan Dujisin Serbs are unsure about their role in an independent Kosovo, and some Albanians are apprehensive what Serbia will do following Belgrade's pledge to take strong, albeit peaceful counter-measures. Serbian authorities have threatened to cut economic ties with the province in retaliation for the Feb. 17 declaration of independence by Kosovo's parliament

Independence - the Last Battle of Kosovo

by Vesna Peric Zimonjic Serbia was involved in the UN-sponsored negotiations over Kosovo that began more than two years ago. Its delegation continued to insist on 'broad autonomy' for Kosovo -- not independence

Despite Claims of Iraq "Calm," Bodies Piling Up

by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail Unidentified bodies of Iraqis killed by militias continue to appear in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities. The Iraqi government has issued instructions to all security and health offices not to give out the body count to the media. Dozens of bodies are found every day across Baghdad

Biofuels Worse Than Fossil Fuels, 2 Studies Find

by Stephen Leahy Biofuels are making climate change worse, not better, according to two new studies, which found that the total greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels are far higher than those from burning gasoline

Pakistan's Child Suicide Bombers Created by Religious Schools

Many of the bombers who blew themselves up were children, while teenagers who have been arrested provide chilling accounts of how they had been imbued into carrying out similar attacks. 'These young boys are as much the victims of terrorism as those they kill. They are victims of the most brutal exploitation'

Founder of Right-Wing Catholic Order Dies - Charged With 3 Decades of Molestation

by Diego Cevallos Maciel was accused by former seminarians in the order's schools of abusing them in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, and the Vatican suspended him as head of the congregation from 1956 to 1958 because of the allegations. However, he was eventually declared innocent and reinstated. In May 2006, after another investigation, the priest was finally ordered to retire by Pope Benedict XVI, and asked to conduct 'a reserved life of prayer and penance, renouncing every public ministry,' although the Vatican made no public statement as to whether the accusations of sexual abuse of minors were found to be credible

Man Arrested as Bhutto's Assassin Raises Conspiracy Questions

by Amir Mir Qari, chief of the militant group Harkatul Jehadul Islami (HUJI), banned for its links with the al-Qaeda and Taliban, was arrested on Monday for alleged involvement in an earlier attempt on Bhutto's life on Oct. 18 when the cavalcade carrying her from Karachi airport, after years in exile, was attacked by a suicide bomber leaving 150 people dead. Qari's release from prison, three months before Bhutto's return home, has aroused suspicions that he was tasked with organizing the October bombing

Nutrition Programs Reach Children Too Late

by Abra Pollock Nutrition programs offered to children who are both sick and well are noticeably more effective in reducing the overall prevalence of malnutrition than programs offered only to children who are already malnourished, according to a study published this week in The Lancet

Biofuels Taking Crops, Funding, From Food Production

by Stephen Leahy Biofuels have quickly turned from environmental savior to just another mega-scale get-rich quick scheme. Countries and regions without their own oil reserves to tap now see their farms, peatlands and forests as potential 'oil fields' -- shallow but renewable lakes of green oil

Israel Resumes Turning the Screws on Gaza

by Mohammed Omer Israel continues its strangling siege of Gaza. This latest stage of Israel's two-year embargo on Gaza began in late October after Israel declared the Strip a 'hostile entity' and cut fuel supplies to Gaza. Israel says its measures are aimed at stopping militants firing rockets into Israel. It has also pledged not to allow humanitarian disaster in the territory where nearly 80 percent the population depends on humanitarian aid

What Will McCain Do Now?

by Joe Conason What remains to be seen is whether his admirable image will withstand fresh scrutiny, if and when he becomes the presumptive nominee -- and how independents, Democrats and conservative Republicans will respond to an updated portrait of him. The price of his victory may well be measured in principles dropped, and in positions flipped and flopped

Back Off, Bill

by Joe Conason Whether he has done that much harm already remains to be determined in the primaries ahead. At the very least, however, the former president has begun to change the polarity of his own presence in her campaign from positive to negative -- and to raise real questions about the meaning of his return to the White House

Canada's Oil Sands Become Election Year Hot Potato

by Am Johal The oil-rich province of Alberta is currently in the middle of a provincial election where the environment and oil sands development will be a heated political topic of national importance in Canada. Producing one barrel of oil from oil sands is a water- and energy-intensive process that emits three times more greenhouse gases than production of conventional light or medium crude oil. The Alberta oil sands have pipelines which can send oil to the United States but not to Eastern Canada

Pakistan-Based Al-Qaeda is Top Threat, Says U.S. Intel Report

by Jim Lobe With key improvements in the security situation in Iraq during 2007, al Qaeda -- and particularly its central leadership based in border regions of Pakistan -- continues to pose the most significant threats to the United States, both at home and abroad, according to the director of national intelligence (DNI) McConnell

Bush Hopes for Victory Lap With Visit to 5 African Countries

by Abid Aslam In an attempt to polish his image and advance U.S. interests in the twilight of his presidency, George W. Bush is visiting Africa. Bush's second visit to the continent takes him to Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, and Liberia. Officials and commentators say the U.S. enjoys high regard in these countries -- assuring Bush a warm welcome

Trio Claiming to be "Ex-Terrorists" Appearing at Conferences, on TV

by Khody Akhavi To supporters, the 3-X represent 'moderate' voices; they are self-professed Muslim extremists who converted to evangelical Christianity and are now exposing Islam for what it really is. To critics, they are frauds, accused of fabricating much of their past exploits as mass murderers in order to peddle their Islamophobia on the lecture circuit and on cable news networks, including Fox News Corp. and CNN

Mexico Draws Tourists With Controversial Dolphin Aquariums

by Diego Cevallos Mexican law allows the capture of dolphins only for scientific purposes, but also accepts the animals' use in travelling or permanent shows. Until 2001, when dolphin aquariums came under regulation, such businesses had grown without any standards. Officially reported are some 270 dolphins in captivity in Mexico. From 1997 to 2005, 48 died. But the book's authors, who visited all operating dolphin aquariums, argue that the numbers fall short of reality, because the people in charge of the aquariums are hiding information

Mukasey Refuses to Consider Legality of Waterboarding

by William Fisher Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused Feb. 7 to open a criminal investigation into the CIA's use of waterboarding and other 'enhanced interrogation techniques' or to let Congress see the memorandum prepared by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel that concluded that these practices were legal

Bush War Vets Planning "Winter Soldier II"

by Aaron Glantz U.S. veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are planning to descend on Washington from Mar. 13-16 to testify about war crimes they committed or personally witnessed in those countries

Neo-Cons, Bush Backers Spending Million$ on "Grassroots" Org

by Bill Berkowitz The Washington-based non-profit organization founded last year by a group of former White House aides and a gaggle of wealthy Bush supporters is making its presence known, building a powerful organizational infrastructure, and may wind up spending as much as a quarter of a billion dollars in this year's presidential election and congressional races

E Timor Shooter Buried Amidst Flurry of Questions

by Setyo Budi Mystery continues to surround the shootout or the motives behind it. After all, Horta, now in a medically-induced coma in an Australian hospital, had shown eagerness in opening a dialogue with Reinado. The dialogue with the rebels had begun at Maubesi on Jan. 13. Although no agreement was reached, Reinado had offered to help solve the problem of some 600 army deserters who had left their barracks in 2006, claiming ethnic and regional discrimination.

McCain's Political Quagmire

by Joe Conason Certainly the troop escalation helped to revive McCain's fortunes in the Republican primary contest, quelling any dissent among his rivals (except for the indefatigable, unelectable Rep. Ron Paul). Yet the escalation appears to have had little political impact outside the GOP, despite all the promotional hype. If McCain is truly depending on the surge to elect him in November, he won't find the data reassuring

McCain Avoiding "Straight Talk" on Iraq Cost

by Joe Conason Although the senator from Arizona is obviously no chicken hawk, he carefully avoids 'straight talk' about the real costs of this war in dollars and debt. Like every other politician who agrees with the Bush policy of prolonged war and occupation, he still pretends that we can spend hundreds of billions on this endless misadventure without collecting enough tax revenue to pay the actual costs

What's Waiting for Obama

by Joe Conason The outlines of the coming assault on his fitness and character are clear enough, just as the Swift Boat campaign against John Kerry opened fire many months before the public noticed. The Kenya tale is a single aspect of a multifaceted strategy to portray Obama as a callow politician with dubious associations, who cannot be trusted with power

Israel High Court Okays Power, Fuel Shutoff to Gaza

In what human rights groups are calling a 'devastating' decision, the Israeli High Court issued a verdict on January 30 rejecting a petition by ten groups and clearing the way for Israel to cut electricity and fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip

No Candidate Will Battle the Military Budget

by Robert Scheer Curb your enthusiasm. Even if your favored candidate did well on Super Tuesday, ask yourself if he or she will seriously challenge the bloated military budget that President Bush has proposed for 2009

What's Good for Exxon ...

by Robert Scheer We have been conned since early childhood to look with dark suspicion upon anyone who points a finger of accountability at the robber barons of the corporate world. It is for that reason that Exxon's outrageous profits made in exploiting an energy crisis that has hurt so many ordinary Americans barely elicits media outrage of any sort. Nor does this fact get much play in the presidential race

Fidel Officially Steps Down

by Dalia Acosta The flurry of reactions was immediate. Castro's resignation 'ought to be a period of democratic transition' for Cuba, said Bush. But in Cuba, tranquillity reigned, and Tuesday began just like any other weekday. The few people who had heard the news early in the morning took it as part of a natural process for which they have been preparing for months. 'If we have understood anything in these last few months, it is that he cannot continue in his post. This is a wise, dignified decision,' a 52-year-old active member of the Communist Party told IPS

Super Tuesday Turned Into Stalemate Tuesday

by Ali Gharib The closest thing that the U.S. has seen to a national primary, however, did little more than give a window into the deeply divided electorates on both sides of the aisle and demonstrate that the races would continue

Raul Castro's VP Pick Shows Old Guard Still in Charge

by Dalia Acosta 'Machado symbolizes that conservative sector and its position at the head of the process of reforms, which it is controlling. After Fidel, it was obvious that the old guard was going to keep its grip on power. This is a government hand-made by Fidel Castro, who will continue to have a decisive influence on the direction taken by the country'

6 Gitmo Prisoners to be Tried for 9/11 Terrorism

by William Fisher All six accused will be tried together by military commissions -- highly- controversial criminal courts run by the U.S. armed forces -- at the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They will be the first trials of detainees held at Guantanamo

Unprecedented 143 Million Pounds of Hamburger Recalled

Animals unable to stand on their own, called downer cows, that had passed a veterinary inspection but were not walking before slaughter, were processed at the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company in an inhumane manner, the videotape shows. Injured animals were beaten and prodded, and a forklift was used to shove living downer cows onto the killing floor, contrary to California law. Inability to walk is a sign of an advanced stage of mad cow disease, so U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations forbid the processing of downer cows into the human food chain

Kenya's Version of Hate Radio Stirred Ethnic Tensions

by Kwamboka Oyaro Even privately owned media owners who backed different political parties had a hand in the stories that were carried. If it was about the party they supported, they exaggerated the story and generally depicted the opponents in negative ways

European Arms Sales Fuel Violence in Kenya

by Ketaki Gokhale Located in the west of the country, Eldoret is also home to an ammunition factory opened in the mid-1990s by the Belgian company FN Herstal. The plant has been blamed earlier for providing supplies to armed factions in the genocide that swept through Rwanda in 1994. Now Amnesty International has documented human rights violations by Kenyan forces using weapons manufactured at the same site

250,000 Kenyans Flee Homes

The violence that erupted after the declaration on December 30 of the disputed presidential election results was initially confined to the Western, Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces of western Kenya and the capital Nairobi. The victims were mainly members of the Kikuyu community. Revenge attacks by Kikuyu youths against communities they perceive to be rivals have, however, spread to areas not initially affected by the unrest

Kenya Violence Continues, Hundreds of Bodies Piled In Morgue

by Kwamboka Oyaro Reports that more than 200 bodies of Kisii people have not been identified for burial in neighboring Kericho district has sparked anger in the community which has been taking care of thousands of internally displaced persons since post-election violence broke out four weeks ago

Assassination of Top Hezbollah Commander Could Ignite Region

Analysis by Mona Alami For many in the Middle East, politics is essentially a matter of converging interests -- and the life and death of Imad Fares Moughnieh is no exception. His assassination in Syria has resonated across the borders of Lebanon, Syria and Iran

Anger, Hatred of U.S. Follows Airstrikes on Iraqi Villages

by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail The cluster of Sunni villages was bombed just weeks after the U.S. military encouraged families to return to their village after a heavy bombing earlier, in which scores of people were killed. Many residents had fled fearing sectarian death squads, which they say were backed by the U.S. Few people in the village are now interested in speaking the language of reconciliation promoted by Bush and by some Iraqis in the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad

Iraqis Chatter Through Winter With Little or no Electricity

by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail Lack of electricity in Baqouba has shattered businesses, and the lives of families. Months of power failures has darkened morale everywhere. In Diyala province, just north of Baghdad, a generation has grown up in dark. The province, and its capital Baqouba, has lived with intermittent electricity supply since the times of the sanctions under Saddam Hussein in the 1990s. Came the U.S. in 2003, and everyone thought it would get better

Arab Media Question U.S. Motives in Darfur

by Jalal Ghazi Arab officials and journalists say the Bush administration's focus on the 'crisis in Darfur' has more to do with reclaiming Sudanese oil fields than carrying out a humanitarian mission

White House Wins Claim That Renditions Flight Plan is "State Secret"

by William Fisher The suit charged that Jeppesen knowingly aided the program by providing flight planning and logistical support services for aircraft and crews used by the CIA to transport victims to U.S.-run prisons or foreign intelligence agencies overseas, where they were subjected to harsh interrogation techniques and torture

Did Asian Americans Swing California for Clinton?

by Kenneth Kim Clinton and John Edwards committed to promote Asian American interests by answering yes to all of the questions from the 80-20 Initiative, a political action committee dedicated to winning equal opportunity and justice for all Asian Americans through a swing bloc vote, but none of the Republican candidates replied. Surprisingly, Obama declined as well. According to the 80-20 Initiative's website, Obama replied Yes to the questions only after the group modified the wording of two questions about appointing Asian Americans as federal judges. By then the group had already endorsed Clinton for the Super Tuesday primaries

Kosovo Grows as a Problem for European Union

by David Cronin Four of the Union's governments -- Cyprus, Greece, Slovakia and Romania -- are opposed to recognizing a declaration of independence. Spain is also not enthusiastic about the idea, fearful that it could be a source of encouragement to Basque politicians who wish to sever their region's links with the Madrid government

E Timor Coup Attempt Tied to 2006 Crisis

by Mario de Queiroz The key to understanding Monday's attempts on the lives of the prime minister and president lies in the intense political-military crisis which broke out on Apr. 27, 2006, fuelled by the disintegration of the national police force and deep divisions in the armed forces, made up of the former guerrillas who had fought the Indonesian army

'Sunni Awakening' Forces Walk Out in Baqouba

by Jahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail U.S. backed Sunni militants have challenged the U.S.-backed Iraqi government in Baghdad, and demanded political power after two women were killed by government forces

Senate Seeks to Restrict Bush "State Secrets" Abuse

by William Fisher Alarmed by the Bush administration's increasing use of the so-called 'state secrets privilege' to keep politically embarrassing lawsuits against the government from ever coming before a judge, Senators Ted Kennedy and Arlen Specter would provide a mechanism for protecting legitimate secrets while also permitting civil litigation to proceed

Investors Warned Against Coal-Fired Power Plants

by Abid Aslam The ICCR, a coalition of 300 religious investors with a combined portfolio of some $100 billion, unveiled the document this week to Wall Street security analysts in hopes of promoting less ecologically damaging energy ventures

McCain More Complicated Than Times Portrayal

by Robert Scheer Although you would never have learned this from the mainstream media at the time, the 1996 legislation opened the floodgates for massive media consolidation, thus rewarding media moguls for their many millions in campaign contributions. McCain was a big player on the Commerce Committee at the time, and I expected a Times revelation as to just how Iseman got McCain to help gift the media barons with their dream legislation

To U.S. Dismay, Fidel Retires as Revered Icon

by Robert Scheer The resignation of Fidel Castro is more promising for the burnishing of his legacy than the mostly septuagenarian Cuban hardliners in Miami and their fawning allies in the Bush administration would like to believe. After all, Mao Zedong is still honored in communist China, the fastest growing capitalist power in the world

Right Painting Obama as Manchurian Candidate

by Khody Akhavi Members of the Republican Party and their allies have willingly employed brazen tactics, adding to the innuendo about the candidate's religious affiliations and casting Obama as a threat to Israel

John Lewis' Endorsing Obama Worth More Than One Vote

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Georgia Congressman John Lewis switched his superdelegate vote to Barack Obama and with that, signaled that an old guard leader was finally forced to pass the leadership torch to a new generation of less race-oriented, professional leaders

Women a Growing Force in Mara Gang Culture

by Ines Benitez Around 40 percent of the members of youth gangs in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are women, according to a new study that says governments have failed in their struggle against these groups that are employed by drug traffickers and organized crime

Tourists of the Apocalypse

by Stephen Leahy Ecotourism and nature tourism -- which would include 'climate tourism' -- is growing perhaps three times faster than the industry in general, estimates Ezaki, of the International Ecotourism Society. While Society members in nearly 100 countries promise to follow a green code of conduct, there is no inspection and no one has ever been kicked out for violations, she says. Mass tourism, like the typical tropical beach holiday that forms the bulk of the industry, is not sustainable and will continue to be the major problem into the future. National governments will have to step in and make every aspect of mass tourism as green as possible, according to Ezak

Pakistan Voters Stand up Against Musharraf

Analysis by Beena Sarwar Citing widespread irregularities and manipulations by the ruling party, organizations like the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan announced that there was no point in monitoring the polls. The Citizens Group for Electoral Process gave the pre-poll process an overall score of 26 on a scale of 100 in terms of fairness. Despite, or perhaps because of these manipulations, Monday's polls were the most scrutinized in Pakistan's history, drawing an unprecedented number of international observers -- over 500, including three prominent United States senators

Hillary, Where's the Firewall?

by Michael Winship Clinton strategists see the superdelegates as a final firewall, believing many of the superdelegates -- even some committed to Obama -- are susceptible to persuasion. After all, many of them owe their positions to the largesse of the Bill Clinton presidency. Pressure would be brought to bear

Latinos The Most Desired Voters in Texas

by Manuel Martinez, Rodrigo Paris and Antonio Ruiz Camacho, Translated by Peter Micek The state primary on March 4, and another the same day in Ohio will be crucial in deciding the Democratic nominee. Texas has the second most democratic delegates of any state, and 25 percent of voters are Hispanics, so the candidates are putting all their meat on the Texas grill. Barack Obama, after his rash of ten consecutive primary victories, comes with momentum, but meets the challenge of making himself known in the state. Hillary Clinton, not considered the favorite after a recent campaign shakeup, has a long history with Texas voters, especially Latinos

Satellite Shootdown Viewed as Space Weapons Test

by Jim Lobe Critics are deeply skeptical of the Pentagon's explanation that it decided to shoot down the satellite in order to protect populated areas from space debris, and specifically the half-ton of hydrazine that might have been released if the satellite's fuel tank were to survive re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere and explode on impact

Some in Congressional Black Caucus Fear Obama Victory

by Jasmyne A. Cannick Many members of the Congressional Black Caucus are supporting Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama because their days may be numbered if Obama wins and brings the change he promises to Washington

Will Democrats Decide Candidate by Undemocratic Superdelegates?

by Andrew Gauldin In this year's race, it appears that the primaries are a sideshow until the 400 or more undecided 'superdelegates' are wined and dined into supporting either Clinton or Obama. There are no illusions of participation in the 2008 race; pundits on all sides are looking at the upcoming convention in August as the high noon for both Obama and Clinton

Media Loves McCain, Mercurial Maverick

by Ali Gharib McCain has benefited greatly from the attention of the media generated by his positions -- even joking himself that the media is his base. But critics from the left often assail him as being simply that: a maverick only as created by the media

Big Losers in Pakistan Election: Bush and Bin Laden

by Jim Lobe Given the administration's staunch backing for Musharraf -- particularly over the past year as he dismissed the supreme court, altered the constitution, and cracked down against the secular opposition -- Monday's vote seemed to be almost as much a rebuff to Washington as to Musharraf himself

Mexico Border Fence Condemns Jaguars to Extinction

by Stephen Leahy Ecologists have long warned that the border wall -- actually a series of walls -- will have big impacts on wildlife and the region's fragile and unique ecology. 'There is no question that jaguars in the U.S. and northern Mexico would be significantly affected by the wall'

Persistent Cop Cracks Yusuf Bey Assault Case

by Mary Fricker For 30 years, authorities did nothing to stop Your Black Muslim Bakery patriarch Yusuf Bey's sexual assault of minors and physical abuse of women, though at least six complaints were made to police and social workers and the attacks were well known within the bakery community. Then, one of the raped women told her story to Oakland police investigator Jim Saleda. In less than three months, Yusuf Bey was arrested

Fear, Abuse Trapped Women in Your Black Muslim Bakery

by Mary Fricker While Yusuf Bey, owner of Your Black Muslim Bakery, was holding himself up to the community as a successful religious and business leader who gave downtrodden blacks a second chance, the view inside the bakery during its four decades as an East Bay institution was quite different. Some women and girls worked long hours while Bey regularly raped and beat them, according to five women's testimony. The names of four of the women have not been released because of the sensitive nature of their allegations

Despite Defeat, Bush Sticks by Dictator Musharraf

by Ivan Eland Musharraf's party was roundly thrashed by opposition parties, which now have a majority in the Pakistani parliament. Yet unbelievably, the same Bush, who spouts soaring rhetoric about spreading democracy around the world, looked into the soul of another dictator -- just as he did with Vladimir Putin of Russia -- and still remained loyal to him

Greek Neo-Nazis Step up Attacks on Migrants, Media, Left

by Apostolis Fotiadis Video footage started circulating of riot policemen collaborating with members of the Golden Dawn, causing serious concern about the relations of police forces with fascist elements. The police officially deny that riot police have joined forces with fascists, and blame the scale of violence on poor preparation on their side

Iraqi Police, Soldiers, Sidelined by U.S.-Backed Sunni Fighters

by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail Most are former resistance fighters, now being paid $300 a month to stop attacking occupation forces and to back them instead. The groups, which the U.S. military claims are 82 percent Sunni, are viewed as a threat by the government in Baghdad

Mountains of Garbage in Italy as Dumps Close

The European Commission giving the government of Italy just one month to clean up the waste crisis plaguing Naples and the rest of the Campania region or face a potentially costly lawsuit. Since just before Christmas, thousands of tons of garbage have been left uncollected by the roadsides because waste disposal sites are full.

Musharraf, Pakistan's Military, Benefit Most From Bhutto's Murder

by Thalif Deen Daniel Markey, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a U.S.-based think-tank, says that although he thought it highly unlikely that Musharraf was behind the killing, many people in Pakistan are holding him accountable

E Timor Mystery: What Was Behind Assassination Attempt?

Some of the 'petitioners' -- the nearly 600-strong defense force troops dismissed in 2006 -- had been allied with Reinado and were apparently planning to negotiate directly with the government, the UN official told IRIN. Some 75 had met Prime Minister Gusmao in the days before the assassination attempts. The theory is that Reinado may have acted to pre-empt a mass defection of troops and in an effort to restore his authority and credibility, according to the UN official

NATO Winning Afghanistan Battles, Losing the War

by Ali Gharib Reports showed equal concern that, despite overwhelming U.S. and international military might, things are going badly awry in Afghanistan and that a comprehensive reworking of international strategy there was needed

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