World News Sunday


U.S. to Demand Inspection of New Iran Plant ‘Within Weeks’

Published: September 26, 2009


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration plans to tell Iran this week that it must open a newly revealed nuclear enrichment site to international inspectors “within weeks,” according to senior administration officials. The administration will also tell Tehran that inspectors must have full access to the key personnel who put together the clandestine plant and to the documents surrounding its construction, the officials said Saturday.
The demands, following the revelation Friday of the secret facility at a military base near the holy city of Qum, set the stage for the next chapter of a diplomatic drama that has toughened the West’s posture and heightened tensions with Iran. The first direct negotiations between the United States and Iran in 30 years are scheduled to open in Geneva on Thursday.


Dust storms spread deadly diseases worldwide

Dust storms like the one that plagued Sydney are blowing bacteria to all corners of the globe, with viruses that will attack the human body. Yet these scourges can also help mitigate climate change

John Vidal
The Observer, Sunday 27 September 2009


Huge dust storms, like the ones that blanketed Sydney twice last week, hit Queensland yesterday and turned the air red across much of eastern Australia, are spreading lethal epidemics around the world. However, they can also absorb climate change emissions, say researchers studying the little understood but growing phenomenon.

The Sydney storm, which left millions of people choking on some of the worst air pollution in 70 years, was a consequence of the 10-year drought that has turned parts of Australia's interior into a giant dust bowl, providing perfect conditions for high winds to whip loose soil into the air and carry it thousands of miles across the continent.

It followed major dust storms this year in northern China, Iraq and Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, east Africa, Arizona and other arid areas.

No Deadline Set for Decision on Troops

Obama to Reassess Afghanistan War

By Bob Woodward
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 27, 2009


President Obama has not set a deadline for determining a new strategy or for committing more troops to the war in Afghanistan, despite an urgent request from his top commander, his national security adviser said Saturday.

In a lengthy telephone interview, retired Gen. James L. Jones outlined Obama's plans for reassessing the war effort. Jones noted that although the administration has seen some progress in Afghanistan and Pakistan, it remains uncertain about the outcome of President Hamid Karzai's contentious bid for reelection.


Judicial pay disparity drains talent from federal bench

Vacancies are rising as district judges reluctantly resign lifetime appointments to better provide for their families.

By Carol J. Williams
September 27, 2009


With seven children to care for and a caseload that quadrupled this past year, U.S. District Judge Stephen G. Larson says he can no longer afford his prestigious lifetime appointment.

The 44-year-old, named to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California less than four years ago, is the latest defection in an accelerating nationwide trend toward leaving the federal bench long before retirement age to earn more money in private practice.

Vacancies in the federal judiciary are mounting, and too few of the best legal minds are stepping forward to replace them, judicial analysts say.



In Afghanistan they held a recount, but not many cared

UN warns of more violence to come after revised presidential election results are announced

By Terri Judd in Helmand

Sunday, 27 September 2009


Surveying the dried-up farmland around him, Ghama gave a wry smile when asked what he thought of the government in Afghanistan. In Yatimchay, a remote part of Helmand within touching distance of the Taliban front line, the current row over election fraud is irrelevant to farmers whose greatest concern is bringing in a crop and keeping their children from stumbling on scattered bombs.

This weekend, few in Hamid Karzai's Pashtun heartland seemed too concerned as it became known that a recount had begun of some of the votes cast in the presidential election to assess if he had genuinely secured 54.6 per cent of the vote.


US threatens airstrikes in Pakistan

From The Sunday Times

September 27, 2009

Christina Lamb in Washington


The United States is threatening to launch airstrikes on Mullah Omar and the Taliban leadership in the Pakistani city of Quetta as frustration mounts about the ease with which they find sanctuary across the border from Afghanistan.

The threat comes amid growing divisions in Washington about whether to deal with the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan by sending more troops or by reducing them and targeting the terrorists.

This weekend the US military was expected to send a request to Robert Gates, the defence secretary, for more troops, as urged by General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander there.



Greece struggles to cope as immigration tensions soar

The revolt at conditions in overflowing detention centres is causing scenes of chaos in the 'backdoor into Europe'. Helena Smith reports from Athens

Helena Smith
The Observer, Sunday 27 September 2009


Greek authorities are desperately trying to cope with a surge of migrants on to the country's islands which has left detention centres overflowing.

Last week, amid chaotic scenes, hundreds of migrants demonstrated against "inhuman conditions" in a detention camp on Mytilene, the capital of Lesbos, in a protest that saw hunger-striking minors setting fire to mattresses and attacking guards. The clashes highlighted the rising anger on island outposts that are being overwhelmed by a double influx of holidaymakers and illegal migrants.

According to senior immigration officials, Greece has now become the frontline of migration to the EU.


Merkel fluffs her lines as election rivals close in

As Germany goes to the polls today, Mary Dejevsky looks at the campaign and asks if the Chancellor has blown her lead


Sunday, 27 September 2009


The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, rallied her party faithful for one last push on the eve of today's election, arguing that only the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) would keep the country on a stable course, re-energise the economy and safeguard the interests of working people. The election is expected to be close, perhaps very close, with the last polls showing the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) continuing to close the gap on the centre-right CDU-CSU alliance.

Ms Merkel, who hopes to serve a second term at the head of a new, less constrained, coalition, with the free-market FDP rather than SPD, had returned from the G20 summit in Pittsburgh only hours before. She cited her international experience and stature in support of her bid to remain in power.

South Africa struggles with crime rate

With new figures showing home and business robberies are on the rise, the government considers loosening restrictions on a police force that some say is already trigger-happy.

By Robyn Dixon
September 27, 2009


Reporting from Johannesburg, South Africa - House robberies: up 27% for the year ending in March.Business robberies: up 41%. Sex crimes: up 10.1%. Carjackings: up 5%.

"The crimes you fear most are on the rise," was how one South African newspaper put it.

No set of numbers is more politically sensitive here than the annual crime statistics, which were due for release before the April parliamentary elections, but were delayed until last week.


Wave of Labor Unrest Grips Egypt at Crucial Juncture


By Sudarsan Raghavan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, September 27, 2009


TANTA, Egypt -- The warehouses of the Tanta Flax and Oil Co. are quiet, the machines covered with dust. In the silence, Hisham Abu Zaid has found a power unlike anything he has experienced in his life.

For four months, the lanky, low-key father of three and his co-workers have staged a sit-in to demand higher salaries. They have blocked a main highway for hours and demonstrated in front of the prime minister's office. Outside the shuttered factory's rusting gate, government security officers keep close watch.

Middle East


Defiant Iran insists there’s no secret as inspectors invited to Qom nuclear site

Iran has defiantly insisted that it has nothing to hide at the previously secret underground uranium enrichment plant whose existence was revealed on Friday.

By Philip Sherwell in New York
Published: 9:28PM BST 26 Sep 2009


The Islamic regime responded to international condemnation that it clandestinely built a facility in mountain tunnels near the holy city of Qom by saying that international monitors would be allowed to visit the site.
The gesture by the country's atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi seemed designed to head off calls for new economic sanctions as world powers prepare to meet Iranian negotiators for talks in Geneva this week on its disputed nuclear programme. But he offered no timetable for the visit, leaving open the possibility that Iran might remove incriminating evidence from the installation, which is on military land, before the nuclear inspectors visit.


Yemen to fight rebels for 'years'

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has said the government is ready to fight Shia rebels in the north of the country for five or six years if necessary.



Speaking at a ceremony to mark the 47th anniversary of the overthrow of a Shia Muslim state, Mr Saleh urged the rebels to accept a ceasefire.
The rebels accuse the government of breaching a recent truce.
Hundreds have died in a recent flare-up in the five-year conflict, which has left 150,000 people displaced.
International concern about the conflict has intensified after witnesses said that more than 80 people were killed in a government air raid on a camp for displaced people on 16 September.

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