World News Sunday

Yemen, the new crucible of global terrorism
Al-Qa'ida has taken firm root in the poverty-stricken nation
By David Randall and Andrew Johnson Sunday, 31 October 2010
The axis of terror got bigger yesterday. After the presence of explosives in two packages bound for the US was confirmed – and a suspected 24 more discovered – their place of origin entered the big league as a crucible of deadly and disruptive terrorism. As Magnus Ranstorp, one of the world's leading experts on the issue, told The Independent on Sunday: "Yemen has become the new Afghanistan."

And, to go with this status, there comes to prominence one Yemeni who – in the eyes of America and some leading security specialists – is on a par with Osama bin Laden: Anwar al-Awlaki.

Scary Halloween? Don't count on it: on Dracula's trail in Romania
There are two Draculas – Bram Stoker's lawyer-nibbling Count, and the real one, Vlad III, the arch impaler. Grab your garlic and track them down in Bucharest and beyond this Halloween
Tanya Gold
The Guardian

How would you feel if a tourist came up to you and asked: "Was Elizabeth I really a flesh-eating dwarf? Like in the movie?" I ask because this is how Romanians feel about Dracula.

To explain why, let me introduce the two Draculas – the one the Romanians like, and one they don't. The one they don't like is Count Dracula, the vampire in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel, who invited the lawyer Jonathan Harker to stay in his castle in Transylvania. This book can be read as a novel about a client attempting to eat his solicitor. Stoker's Dracula was the inspiration for a thousand bad movies and Sesame Street'sCount von Count.

USA

Democrats Fight to Keep Senate From G.O.P. Gains

By JEFF ZELENY and CARL HULSE
Published: October 30, 2010

PHILADELPHIA — The battle for control of Congress rolled into a frenetic final weekend as Democrats fought to preserve the Senate as their power center on Capitol Hill, trying to hold off a Republican surge that could reshape the political order in Washington.
With Republicans in a strong position to capture the House, President Obama on Saturday opened a four-state weekend swing here to rally support for Senate candidates in Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania, hoping to build a critical firewall to protect the party’s Senate majority from Republican gains across the country.

Thousands descend on National Mall for Stewart's and Colbert's 'Sanity' rally
Organizers call the Stewart-Colbert rally a politically themed entertainment program, but those attending see it more as a call to action with three days left before final votes are cast in the midterm elections.
By Jordan Steffen and Matea Gold, Tribune Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — — A high-spirited spillover crowd numbering in the tens of thousands gathered on the National Mall Saturday, jamming Metro trains and platforms as they flocked to attend what organizers billed as a politically themed entertainment program.

But many of those drawn to the "Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear," put on by "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart and Comedy Central colleague Stephen Colbert, say they view it as a call to action with three days left before final votes are cast in midterm congressional elections.

Europe

Marathon anniversary race helps Greece's empty coffers
Greek PM joins thousands of runners to compete in long-distance race commemorating 2,500 years since historic victory
Helena Smith
The Observer, Sunday 31 October 2010

It was the battle that inspired Byron to dream that "Greece might still be free", and 2,500 years on Greeks hope the defeat of the Persians at Marathon will serve another, more modern purpose: saving the country from insolvency.

As a record number of athletes today mark the landmark anniversary, gathering in the Greek capital to run the 24-mile course which legend records was covered by Phidippides, the Athenian foot soldier, the socialist government is pulling out all the stops.

Army chiefs protest against headscarf

October 31, 2010
Turkish army chiefs boycotted an official ceremony at the presidential palace because the President's wife wore an Islamic headscarf, it was reported yesterday.

The army's top brass were conspicuous by their absence late on Friday at a banquet thrown by President Abdullah Gul to commemorate the creation of the modern, secular Turkey in 1923.

The military organised a separate reception at the same time to give the generals an excuse not to accept the President's invitation, reports said.

Middle East

Yemen makes bomb-plot arrest
Female suspect held in Sanaa a day after parcels containing explosive material sparked global security alert
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2010 06:43 GMT
Yemen has arrested a female student suspected of mailing the explosive parcels from the country to the US that sparked a global security alert, sources say.

The arrest took place on Saturday in the capital, Sanaa, after security forces surrounded a house where the suspect was hiding.

The woman's lawyer said she was a "quiet student" with no known links of religious or political groups. Her mother was also detained, but was not a prime suspect, the lawyer said.

A Yemeni security official said the woman, a medical student in her 20s, had been traced through a telephone number she left with a cargo company.

Iraqi Gold’s Glitter Dims for Dealers Under Siege

By JACK HEALY
Published: October 30, 2010

BAGHDAD — Inside Amjad Abed’s tiny gold shop, the display cases sit half empty, and the memories of his two grown sons are in the bullet holes that gouge the walls. Last spring, three gunmen burst in and ransacked the store, scooping up rings that brides choose for weddings and necklaces that husbands buy on credit for anniversaries. They killed Mr. Abed’s sons, who had been tending the shop.
“I lost my sons, I lost all my money,” Mr. Abed, 55, said. “I cannot give a word for what’s happened.”

Asia

Indonesia to rebrand dictator as 'national hero'
Suharto's 31-year rule was brutal and corrupt. Yet now they want to honour him
By Sholto Byrnes Sunday, 31 October 2010
As General Suharto lingered on his deathbed in January 2008, the former president of Indonesia, who had ruled his country from 1967 to 1998, was surrounded by regional leaders and garlanded with tributes from other local luminaries. Singapore's founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, expressed sadness that his "very old friend" was not receiving "the honour that he deserves". Malaysia's long-term Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir, shed a tear as he held the dying man's hand. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines praised his "pioneering vision... founded on respect and understanding", while even East Timor's Jose Ramos-Horta asked the Pope to pray for him.

Opium is winning the Afghan war

Michael Duffy
October 31, 2010

THE parliamentary debate on Australia's involvement in Afghanistan has involved little mention of its implications for our other big conflict, the war on drugs. In Afghanistan, the US and its allies are, once again, propping up Third World drug producers for political purposes.

According to the UN World Drug Report 2010, Afghanistan has produced 90 per cent of the world's illicit opium in recent years. A lot of that has come from the province in which Australian troops are stationed.

Africa

Ivory Coast to hold long-delayed 'reconciliation' poll
Voters in Ivory Coast are due to cast their ballots in presidential elections which have been delayed six times.
The BBC 31 October 2010
Incumbent Laurent Gbagbo is running against 13 candidates, including veteran politicians Alassane Ouattara and Henri Konan Bedie.

There are concerns about security if the results of the poll are contested.

The vote is seen a key step in helping the nation heal its deep ethnic rifts, which came close to splitting the country during civil war in 2002.

A deal signed in 2007 led to an uneasy peace in Ivory Coast - seen as one of West Africa's most successful countries until the outbreak of the hostilities.

Latin America

Haiti could suffer another earthquake, scientists warn
Strains that triggered January shock could unleash new disaster
Robin McKie
The Observer, Sunday 31 October 2010

Haiti is at serious risk of further devastation from earthquakes in the near future, geologists have warned. Their research, to be published in next month's issue of Nature Geoscience, indicates that not all the geological strain that triggered the original quake in January has been released as had been thought.

More than 230,000 people died in the magnitude 7.0 quake on 12 January and more than one million were left homeless. Now geologists are warning that Haiti faces the prospect of further devastation.

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I really enjoy your roundups. :)