World News Sunday

Robert Fisk: The shaming of America
Our writer delivers a searing dispatch after the WikiLeaks revelations that expose in detail the brutality of the war in Iraq - and the astonishing, disgraceful deceit of the US
Sunday, 24 October 2010
As usual, the Arabs knew. They knew all about the mass torture, the promiscuous shooting of civilians, the outrageous use of air power against family homes, the vicious American and British mercenaries, the cemeteries of the innocent dead. All of Iraq knew. Because they were the victims.

Only we could pretend we did not know. Only we in the West could counter every claim, every allegation against the Americans or British with some worthy general – the ghastly US military spokesman Mark Kimmitt and the awful chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Peter Pace, come to mind – to ring-fence us with lies.

Samara: the disappearing wooden city on the Volga
Samara is an architectural treasure trove of wooden, art nouveau and constructivist buildings. Like many Russian cities, it is threatened by brutal developers and corrupt local officials. But there are signs of a fightback…
Rowan Moore
The Observer, Sunday 24 October 2010

"Half of Samara knows you're here," says a leading fixer in the city's property business. He adds, with slightly theatrical menace, that unnamed people are keeping tabs on my movements, and during my stay a mysterious yoga teacher and ex-jailbird called Bizon – bearded, like a cut-price Rasputin – keeps appearing and disappearing. It's not so very scary, except that this is an area where property politics is a serious business. In 2004 the chief architect in the next-door city of Togliatti was murdered, for getting in the way of the wrong people.

USA

Mama Grizzlies lead Republican hunt for angry women's votes
Family issues top the agenda as Democrats sound the alarm over Republican surge among 'soccer mom' swing voters
Paul Harris in New Jersey
The Observer, Sunday 24 October 2010

Anna Little, the tiny, red-headed Republican mayor of Atlantic Highlands, sat in her bustling campaign office and spelled out why next month's midterm elections could see her elected to Congress .

"Any time one woman stands up for office, other women support her. I am feeling it. This is going to be a breakthrough year for women and the Republican party," she said.

Little's hopes might come true. Many Republican activists are calling 2010 the "year of the conservative woman", both in terms of the number of candidates and what they hope might be a historic shift of female voters from left to right. Anyone wanting to cast a ballot for a Republican woman this year has a wide choice.

Group funding GOP campaigns had its origins backing tobacco
Democratic Rep. Allen Boyd of Florida is the target of attack ads paid for by the Center for Individual Freedom, founded in 1998 to counter restrictions on smoking.
By Kim Geiger and Tom Hamburger, Tribune Washington Bureau
October 24, 2010

Reporting from Tallahassee, Fla. — Rep. Allen Boyd of Florida has marshaled some key advantages for his seventh reelection race: He has outraised his GOP opponent, and has the rare distinction of being a Democrat endorsed by both the National Rifle Assn. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

But Boyd also voted in favor of the healthcare overhaul this year, and like other Democratic incumbents now faces a barrage of attacks by little-known conservative groups funded by anonymous donors.

Europe

Stem cell law loopholes allow XCell-Center to operate in Germany
The XCell-Center, which would be banned in the UK, has been able to thrive in Germany due to a legal loophole about to be closed under new European legislation.
By Robert Mendick, Chief Reporter
Published: 7:45AM BST 24 Oct 2010

The law governing stem cell clinics is extremely complex.
The UK classifies stem cell treatments as medicines. This means that before procedures can be licensed, the therapies must undergo the same kind of rigorous trials as those used for other medicines.
The stem cell therapies must first be shown to be safe and effective before they can be licensed for use by the general public.
Experts predict a stem cell treatment for multiple sclerosis for example could be between five and ten years away, given the regulatory hoops that must be jumped through first.

Angelina Jolie's controversial film divides Bosnian rape victims
The star's debut as a director has sparked fierce controversy over who has the right to tell the story of Serbian rape camps
Peter Beaumont in Sarajevo
A pack of dogs is basking in the sun in the old Jewish cemetery on the hill overlooking the district of Grbavica in Sarajevo. During the siege of Sarajevo in the Bosnian war, the Serbs placed their guns up here to fire into the city. Fifteen years after the war's end, this scruffy neighbourhood has become the centre of a new conflict.

It is thought to be one of the locations where Angelina Jolie would like to direct her debut film, dealing in part with the experience of a Muslim woman who was a victim of the notorious rape camps. The film has provoked a bitter battle over who has the right to interpret one of the conflict's dark episodes – and how. The dispute has even split groups that speak for rape survivors..

Middle East

Gaza hardliners launch arson attack on family leisure park
Hamas government is accused of turning a blind eye to crackdown on behaviour in the city by Islamic extremists
Harriet Sherwood in Gaza City
The Observer, Sunday 24 October 2010

Crazy Water Park had already been closed down for two weeks by the Hamas government, over an "unlicensed water whirl", when 40 armed arsonists struck in the middle of the night last month.

They set fire to the resort's two main buildings and a tented mosque, causing more than $300,000 (£191,000) worth of damage and leading the owners to wonder whether it was a doomed project.

The theme park, on the fringes of Gaza City, had suffered a previous arson attack on 20 August during Ramadan, following false rumours that it was hosting mixed-gender parties, and had to close for three days because of the damage..

Iraq's Maliki says Wikileaks documents could be used in court
But ordinary Iraqis didn't seem to immediately grasp that the 400,000 Wikileaks documents could provide details on the deaths of thousands of people.
By Jane Arraf, Correspondent / October 23, 2010
Baghdad
The trove of leaked secret US military documents filtered its way through top levels in Iraq on Saturday, with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki saying they could be used as evidence in court cases and the US denying that it turned a blind eye to torture.

For ordinary Iraqis, it didn't appear to have sunk in that the 400,000 documents, released Friday by the WikiLeaks website, contained details of the deaths of thousands of people that could finally provide answers and even evidence for some of the tragedies of the war.

The documents include indications of widespread Iraqi abuse of prisoners seemingly unaddressed by US forces, a much higher Iraqi death toll than had been admitted, including among Iraqis killed at US checkpoints, and fears of Iranian influence.

Asia

Despite successful U.S. attacks on Taliban leaders in Afghanistan's northwest, insurgency remains in control

By Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Foreign Service

MAQUR, AFGHANISTAN - October has been a calamitous month for the Taliban guerrillas waging war from sandy mountains and pistachio forests in this corner of northwestern Afghanistan.
The first to die was their leader, Mullah Ismail, hunted down and killled by U.S. Special Operations troops. Next came the heir apparent, Mullah Jamaluddin, even before he could take over as Taliban "shadow" governor. Within a week, several other top commanders were dead, a new governor had been captured and the most powerful among the remaining insurgents had lit out for the Turkmenistan border - all casualties of the secretive, midnight work of American commandos.

India’s Smaller Cities Show Off Growing Wealth

By LYDIA POLGREEN
Published: October 23, 2010

AURANGABAD, India — For decades this central Indian city was vintage old India: crumbling Mughal-era ruins and ancient Buddhist caves surrounded by endless parched acres from which farmers coaxed cotton.
But this month Aurangabad became an emblem of an altogether different India: the booming, increasingly urbanized economic powerhouse filled with ambition and a new desire to flaunt its wealth.

A group of more than 150 local businessmen decided to buy, en masse, a Mercedes-Benz car each, spending nearly $15 million in a single day and putting this small but thriving city on the map. Frustrated that the usual Chamber of Commerce brochures were slow to attract new investment, the businessmen decided to buy the cars as a stunt intended to stimulate investment in Aurangabad, one of several largely unknown but thriving urban centers across India’s more prosperous states.

Africa

MDC furious as police ban Tsvangirai public meetings

Oct 23, 2010 11:56 PM | By HARARE CORRESPONDENT
Tsvangirai had been scheduled to hold three public meetings at Cyril Jennings Hall in Highfields, Budiriro Community Hall on Thursday and Glen View 1 Hall on Friday, but police refused him permission, saying the MDC-T leader did not inform them in time.

Ironically, one of the co-ministers of Home Affairs, Theresa Makone, is a powerful member of Tsvangirai's kitchen cabinet and is directly responsible for the police.
The officer commanding Harare South district, Chief Superintendent TA Chagwedera, barred the meetings, citing provisions of the repressive Public Order and Security Act (Posa) which requires political parties first to seek permission from the police before holding public gatherings or meetings.

'Joao kept shooting pictures after the blast'

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA Oct 24 2010 07:32
"He has lost portions of both legs. Also some pelvic damage and internal bleeding," newspaper spokesperson Robert Christie said in an email to the South African Press Association.

"Here's all you need to know about the guy ... [reporter] Carlotta [Gall] reports that Joao kept shooting pictures after the blast, as the medics expertly applied tourniquets, gave him morphine, and stretchered him to the helicopter," he said.

Christie said Silva was being flown to Bagram air base near Kabul on Saturday night, where his wounds would be cleaned and checked before he was sent to Germany..

Latin America

Haiti Fears Cholera Will Spread in Capital

By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD
Published: October 23, 2010

MEXICO CITY — With the number of dead rising above 200, health officials battling a cholera outbreak in Haiti grew ever more pessimistic Saturday that the disease could be contained to a rural area and braced for a medical disaster in the capital.
Haitian officials have confirmed 208 dead and a total of 2,674 cases, but with people streaming into hospitals and clinics and suspected cases far from the outbreak’s epicenter — in St.-Marc, 60 miles north of the capital, Port-au-Prince — doctors were certain the toll would rise.

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