World News Sunday

N. Korea preps missiles amid U.S. war games
Pyongyang warns of 'merciless' assault if further provoked as joint naval drills begin
msnbc.com news services
YEONPYEONG ISLAND, South Korea — The sound of new artillery fire from North Korea just hours after the U.S. and South Korea launched a round of war games in Korean waters sent residents and journalists on a front-line island scrambling for cover Sunday.
None of the rounds landed on Yeonpyeong Island, military officials said, but South Korea's Defense Ministry later ordered journalists off the island.

Don't let us down: UN climate change talks in Cancun
As world leaders meet in Mexico, people in poor countries fear little will be done
By Jonathan Owen and Matt Chorley Sunday, 28 November 2010
As government ministers from more than 190 countries gather today in the Mexican city of Cancun for the start of talks aimed at minimising the impact of climate change, the need for a deal could scarcely be more pressing. The stakes are high, the expectations are low.

There is scant sign of the dramatic cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases needed to stop global warming exceeding 2C and devastating vast areas of the planet..

USA

F.B.I. Says Oregon Suspect Planned ‘Grand’ Attack

By COLIN MINER, LIZ ROBBINS and ERIK ECKHOLM
Published: November 27, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Somali-born teenager who thought he was detonating a car bomb at a packed Christmas tree-lighting ceremony downtown here was arrested by the authorities on Friday night after federal agents said that they had spent nearly six months setting up a sting operation.
The bomb, which was in a van parked off Pioneer Courthouse Square, was a fake — planted by F.B.I. agents as part of the elaborate sting — but “the threat was very real,” Arthur Balizan, the F.B.I.’s special agent in charge in Oregon, said in a statement released by the Department of Justice. An estimated 10,000 people were at the ceremony on Friday night, the Portland police said.

U.S. strategy for treating troops wounded in Afghanistan, Iraq: Keep them moving

By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer

AT BAGRAM AIR BASE, AFGHANISTAN Only the head and feet of Sgt. Diego Solorzano are visible outside his camouflage blanket and below the skyline of medical devices keeping him alive.
Clamped to his litter is an over-the-legs shelf. On it are three vacuum canisters putting gentle suction on wounds in Solorzano's thighs and abdomen, two IV pumps delivering drugs to his veins, a ventilator breathing for him, and a monitor recording his pulse, EKG rhythm and blood pressure.

Europe

Which domino will be the next to fall in the eurozone?
Margareta Pagano, Mark Leftly and Laura Chesters answer all your questions about what the Irish bailout will mean for UK banks and whether the euro could be in danger
Sunday, 28 November 2010
In the beginning, in 1951, was the European Coal and Steel Community, which begat the European Economic Community, which begat the European Union, and which led, in 1999, to what seemed at the time the promised land of the eurozone. Here, for the 11 participating countries (five more have been added since then), was an apparent world of centrally subsidised milk and honey, where they would share a single currency, and benefit from the economies of scale. And, lo, the milk and honey flowed.

Moldova seeks to end stalemate
Moldovans vote while deadlock over the appointment of a new president continues to lock the country in an impasse.
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2010
Moldovans are voting in a parliamentary election as Europe's poorest country seeks to end a political stalemate that has left it without a full-time president for more than a year.

The four-party liberal coalition that has ruled the former Soviet state since June 2009 has been unable to find the necessary parliament majority to elect a new head of state.

With 20 political parties and 19 independent candidates contesting this Sunday's parliamentary poll, the country's third in 18 months, analysts have warned that the impasse might not be broken.

"There is no guarantee that the elections will offer a way out of the political crisis," Anatol Taranu, a political analyst, told the AFP news agency.

Middle East

Egypt's discredited elections blighted by shadow of police violence
As Egypt goes to the polls today, allegations are multiplying of political torture and killings by a security service beyond the control of the courts
Jack Shenker in Alexandria
The Observer, Sunday 28 November 2010

The Mahmoudia canal wends its way through some of Alexandria's poorest quarters before eventually reaching the middle-class suburb of Somoha, where elegant blocks of flats abut the water's edge and a rickety old footbridge connects one bank to the other.

It was here that 19-year-old Ahmed Shaaban's body was found floating among the reeds, battered and bruised. The police say he drowned himself deliberately, though it is difficult to see how – the channel is so shallow it barely reaches one's knees.

Yemen's tragic tide of trafficked humanity
The poorest Arab state is the target of criminal people-smuggling
By Maryrose Fison Sunday, 28 November 2010
There is a tide of death and misery that washes up almost daily on the shores of Yemen. This is the Arab world's poorest nation, a land whose lawlessness has made it a fiefdom of al-Qa'ida, and the launch pad for the recent attempt to bring down a plane over the US. It is also at the centre of a vast people-smuggling industry.

Nearly 80,000 were trafficked by criminal gangs last year. There would have been more, but some of the human cargo die en route. Treated no better than consignments of contraband freight, they perish on the hazardous sea crossing from the Horn of Africa.

Asia

Monsoon gives pledge on minimum wage for Indian women
Retailer says that thousands of women workers will receive minimum legal pay within 12 months
Gethin Chamberlain in Panjim
The Observer, Sunday 28 November 2010

The retailer Monsoon has said it will ensure that thousands of women workers in India will receive the minimum legal wage within 12 months.

The company pledged to tackle the issue of illegally low payments to women who stitch its goods after the issue was highlighted in the Observer last week. In a statement on its website, the company confirmed that the women – who currently receive about 21p an hour for their intricate hand stitching – would be paid the legal minimum wage within 12 months.

The statement added: "Supply chains are complex, particularly where home working is involved, and it requires considerable effort to ensure that payments made to our suppliers reach the workers involved in the production of our products."."

North Korea's undercover journalists reveal misery of life in dictatorship
With its ruthless dictator, network of forced labour camps and iron grip of its ruling party, North Korea is the last country one might expect to see a middle-aged woman berating a policeman for demanding a bribe.
By Julian Ryall in Tokyo 12:01AM GMT 28 Nov 2010
But extraordinary video images smuggled out of North Korea, combined with reports of graffiti and posters critical of the regime, indicate a growing willingness among a previously cowed public to speak out and demand change.
Such dissent would once have been unthinkable in the reclusive state, but now hunger and plummeting living standards are now triggering demands for freedom - something that no North Korean has ever experienced.
Evidence of the rising tide of discontent has been captured on film by a small group of "citizen journalists", who newsgather at great personal risk to themselves. They then carry the footage across the heavily guarded border into China.

Africa

Gadaffi's 'cultural' tours to Libya for Italian models

Nov 28 2010 07:18
Maria M, aged 28, declined to give her full name, but allowed the Observer to examine her account of a lavish trip to the Libyan desert in October after she was recruited by the Rome-based agency Hostessweb. In her diary Maria tells of an eccentric week-long tour for which she and 19 other young women were reportedly each paid €3 000.

Six such "cultural" visits to Libya by agency recruits have been organised since Gadaffi visited Rome in 2009. The next is scheduled for next month. On one visit Gadaffi tried to marry off one of his guests to his nephew

Diamond warfare
Kurotwi takes Mpofu to court to demand gems
By ZOLI MANGENA and HARARE CORRESPONDENT
Kurotwi, who recently accused the minister of soliciting bribes, last week took Mpofu - along with state-owned entities the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), Marange Resources, Minerals Marketing Corporation of (MMCZ) and Canadile Miners, half-owned by government - to court accusing them of clandestinely grabbing and selling diamonds worth more than $80-million without involving him in violation of their contract.

Kurotwi is involved in a mining venture with the government.

Latin America

Haiti presidential election gains in drama
The vote had seemed an obscure piece of theater foisted by the world on a country reeling from a catastrophic earthquake, a near-miss from a hurricane, and an ongoing deadly cholera epidemic. No more.
By Joe Mozingo, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Port-au-Prince, Haiti — In the final hours of a chaotic presidential campaign in a country that needs no more drama this year, candidate Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly sent out a "breaking news" announcement: He had survived an assassination attempt by a member of the nation's leading party.

His campaign called a news conference in the capital Saturday, and Martelly's cousin — the manager of a hotel immortalized by Graham Greene as a place where you expect to be greeted by "a maniac butler, with a bat dangling from the chandelier" — gave his account of the shooting.

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