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Sep 26 2010

Morning Shinbun Sunday September 26




Sunday’s Headlines:

Barak says West Bank settlement deal has ’50-50′ chance

‘My happy days at school with North Korea’s future leader’

USA

Walking away with less

Washington state wrestles with tax-the-rich ballot measure

Europe

Gypsy circus is next on France’s expulsion list

Russia hails Prince Michael, the Royal Family member with Tsarist blood in his veins

Middle East

Official doubts scale of Yemen’s campaign against al Qaeda

In Arabian Desert, a Sustainable City Rises

Asia

North Korean elite secretly jostle for the reins of power

India sprints to save Games reputation

Africa

Egypt and Thirsty Neighbors Are at Odds Over Nile

Latin America

The former guerrilla set to be the world’s most powerful woman

Barak says West Bank settlement deal has ’50-50′ chance

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has told the BBC there is a “50-50” chance of reaching a deal with Palestinians about Israel’s settlement moratorium as a 10-month partial ban winds down.

The BBC  26 September 2010

Palestinians have said they could leave recently resumed peace talks if the construction freeze is not extended.

West Bank settlers are preparing to resume building if no deal is reached.

Mr Barak is returning home from the UN in New York, where he has been leading Israel’s negotiating team.

Israel says the settlements are no bar to talks, but US negotiators have been working intensively to secure a deal.

‘My happy days at school with North Korea’s future leader’

Kim Jong-un, who may soon be anointed as North Korea’s new leader, was educated under a false name at a Swiss school. Colin Freeman and Philip Sherwell report on his ex-classmates’ memories of the man who may one day rule the Stalinist state.

Published: 8:00AM BST 26 Sep 2010

To his fellow pupils, he was a pleasant, if unremarkable classmate: a quiet teenager, dedicated to the typical adolescent passions of computer games, designer trainers and action movies. Pak Un, who enrolled at a state school in Liebefeld, Switzerland, back in 1997, seemed like just another shy new boy – the son, his class was told, of an Asian ambassador posted to the nearby Swiss capital, Bern.

Yet this Tuesday, some 13 years from the warm September day when he first walked into their class, his former schoolmates may find themselves with the ultimate “Friends Reunited” story to tell. For at a grandiose ceremony some 5,000 miles away, Pak Un, real name Kim Jong-un, is expected to be anointed as the leader-in-waiting of North Korea, the world’s last Stalinist state.

USA

Walking away with less



By Dina ElBoghdady and Dan Keating

Saturday, September 25, 2010; 11:32 PM


A new wave of distressed home sales is rippling, more quietly this time, through American cities and suburbs.

Its unsettling effects are playing out here in Manassas, along Brewer Creek Place, a modest, horseshoe-shaped street lined with 98 brick townhouses. Several years after the U.S. foreclosure crisis erupted, the U-Hauls are back.

The last time, banks seized nearly every fourth house on the street through foreclosure. This time, homeowners are going another route: a short sale.

Washington state wrestles with tax-the-rich ballot measure

America’s wealthiest man backs it, but others say it would hurt more than help by deterring new business.

By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Seattle – Imagine if the slash-and-burn budget cuts that have become a new way of life for recession-stricken state governments could be ended by simply soaking the rich.

Here in Washington, they’re taking that literally. A TV spot for a proposed new income tax on the state’s wealthiest citizens shows Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ 84-year-old father, William Gates Sr., plunged by giggling kids into a dunk tank and left to drip in his wet khakis and Oxford shirt.

Europe

Gypsy circus is next on France’s expulsion list

After deporting many illegal Roma immigrants, Nicolas Sarkozy’s government may force Europe’s only Gypsy circus to close down

Lizzy Davies

The Observer, Sunday 26 September 2010


With its mesmerising songs and startling acrobatics, the Cirque Romanès is one of the most unusual cultural highlights of Paris: the only Gypsy circus in Europe and the only show in the French capital whose artists retreat to their caravans after the curtain falls. For 18 years it has been attracting audiences to its exotic blend of poetry and performance. In June it was deemed good enough to represent France at the World Expo in Shanghai.

But after a summer which has seen France crack down on its foreign Roma population and draw the ire of Brussels for the policy, the future of the circus and its loyal band of artists hangs in the balance

Russia hails Prince Michael, the Royal Family member with Tsarist blood in his veins

Prince Michael of Kent is admired throughout Russia – and not just for the Tsarist blood in his veins. On a visit last week he was building bridges to Britain, says Andrew Alderson.  

By Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter Saratov

Published: 7:30AM BST 26 Sep 2010  


It was Prince Michael of Kent’s short aside, delivered before he began his official speech at the Saratov Opera and Ballet Theatre, that was the crowd-pleaser for his predominantly Russian audience.

At the end of a lavish three-course dinner that acted as the extended interval for the night’s entertainment, the Queen’s cousin said a single sentence in English before delivering an address in word-perfect Russian.

“Every time I hear Russian music, I feel very emotional and fired up because I have Russian blood in my veins,” he said to loud applause.

Middle East

Official doubts scale of Yemen’s campaign against al Qaeda



From Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN

Yemeni security forces have driven out al Qaeda elements who infiltrated the town of Hawta in southern Shabwa province, the state-run news agency reported.

Brig. Gen. Ahmed al-Maqdashi, the security director of Shabwa, told the Saba News Agency on Friday that Yemeni troops were now chasing down al Qaeda fighters who fled to the mountains surrounding Hawta.

This week’s military offensive was touted by Yemen as part of an intensified hunt for terrorists, especially those linked to the offshoot al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

In Arabian Desert, a Sustainable City Rises

CRITIC’S NOTEBOOK

By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF

Published: September 25, 2010  


ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Back in 2007, when the government here announced its plan for “the world’s first zero-carbon city” on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, many Westerners dismissed it as a gimmick – a faddish follow-up to neighboring Dubai’s half-mile-high tower in the desert and archipelago of man-made islands in the shape of palm trees.

Designed by Foster & Partners, a firm known for feats of technological wizardry, the city, called Masdar, would be a perfect square, nearly a mile on each side, raised on a 23-foot-high base to capture desert breezes. Beneath its labyrinth of pedestrian streets, a fleet of driverless electric cars would navigate silently through dimly lit tunnels. The project conjured both a walled medieval fortress and an upgraded version of the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland.

Asia

North Korean elite secretly jostle for the reins of power

Kim Jong-il has chosen his son to succeed him, but other figures may set the state’s course

Peter Beaumont and Michael Rank in Rason, North Korea

The Observer, Sunday 26 September 2010  


The poster for the first conference of the (North) Korean Workers’ party to be held since 1966 depicts four striving, heroic figures. A rifle-bearing soldier leads the way, but only by the tiniest of margins, followed by an engineer in a hard hat. Behind them stride a technocrat clutching a rolled-up blueprint and a female farmer with a sheaf of wheat.

Taken together they represent a vision of proletarian certainty and confidence. But the reality in the world’s most notoriously unpredictable state is wholly different. This week, hidden from the world, its future will be mapped out behind closed doors, with international implications. The country’s leadership cadres will meet at a historic gathering in the vast 25 April Culture Hall in Pyongyang.

India sprints to save Games reputation  

But there are still sodden lawns, mosquito-infested water, stained walls and the threat of a cattle jam

By Andrew Buncombe in Delhi  Sunday, 26 September 2010

India yesterday officially unveiled to the world its athletes’ village for the Commonwealth Games. Some of it was first class, some of it was adequate, and some of it was downright shoddy.

After enduring days of criticism from competing nations about the unacceptable standard of “filthy accommodation”, Indian organisers yesterday invited official national delegates and the media to inspect the facilities, taste the food, try out a treadmill in the gym, and even test the comfort of the mattresses in the athletes’ quarters. A number of those participating in the inspection were at best only partly satisfied.

Africa

Egypt and Thirsty Neighbors Are at Odds Over Nile

 

By THANASSIS CAMBANIS

Published: September 25, 2010


BATAMDA, Egypt – One place to begin to understand why this parched country has nearly ruptured relations with its upstream neighbors on the Nile is ankle-deep in mud in the cotton and maize fields of Mohammed Abdallah Sharkawi. The price he pays for the precious resource flooding his farm? Nothing.

“Thanks be to God,” Mr. Sharkawi said of the Nile River water. He raised his hands to the sky, then gestured toward a state functionary visiting his farm. “Everything is from God, andfrom the ministry.”

Latin America

The former guerrilla set to be the world’s most powerful woman

Brazil looks likely to elect an extraordinary leader next weekend  

By Hugh O’Shaughnessy  Sunday, 26 September 2010

The world’s most powerful woman will start coming into her own next weekend. Stocky and forceful at 63, this former leader of the resistance to a Western-backed military dictatorship (which tortured her) is preparing to take her place as President of Brazil.

As head of state, president Dilma Rousseff would outrank Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, and Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State: her enormous country of 200 million people is revelling in its new oil wealth. Brazil’s growth rate, rivalling China’s, is one that Europe and Washington  

can only envy.

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