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Sep 27 2010

Morning Shinbun Monday September 27




Monday’s Headlines:

Military thwarted president seeking choice in Afghanistan

A new shelf life for treasures of nature

USA

U.S. Is Working to Ease Wiretaps on the Internet

Politicians’ money woes strike a chord with voters

Europe

Russia digs up woolly mammoth remains for guilt-free ivory  

Basque group may call permanent, verifiable ceasefire  

Middle East

Netanyahu urges Jewish settlers not to provoke collapse of peace talks

Palestinian rivals close to reconciliation deal

Asia

Afghan stringers are the bedrock of our reporting

North Korea waits to hear that Kim Jong-il’s youngest son will take over

Africa

Central Africa’s Only Orchestra

France ready for Mali hostage talks

Latin America

Rescue capsule arrives for trapped miners

Military thwarted president seeking choice in Afghanistan

The first of three articles adapted from “Obama’s Wars” by Bob Woodward.  

By Bob Woodward

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, September 27, 2010; 12:34 AM


For two exhausting months, he had been asking military advisers to give him a range of options for the war in Afghanistan. Instead, he felt that they were steering him toward one outcome and thwarting his search for an exit plan. He would later tell his White House aides that military leaders were “really cooking this thing in the direction they wanted.”

He was looking for choices that would limit U.S. involvement and provide a way out. His top three military advisers were unrelenting advocates for 40,000 more troops and an expanded mission that seemed to have no clear end. When his national security team gathered in the White House Situation Room on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2009, for its eighth strategy review session,the president erupted.

A new shelf life for treasures of nature

Berlin museum bombed during the war is finally reborn, reports Tony Paterson  

Monday, 27 September 2010

They might have been lifted from the most ghoulish of horror films: more than 200,000 jars containing more than a million snakes, monster frogs, bats, stunted fish, outlandish lizards and serpents, all garishly illuminated on nearly eight miles of theatrically back-lit shelving.

The spectacular display, which uses some 21,600 gallons of alcohol, is the world’s biggest, most sophisticated collection of so-called “wet species”, comprised of rare reptile specimens collected across the globe in the past 200 years. Visitors to Berlin’s natural history museum are able to pass through an elaborately constructed climatised air lock at the 200-year-old research institute and enter a vast darkened chamber where the alcohol-preserved reptiles have gone on permanent public display to the public for      the first time.

USA

U.S. Is Working to Ease Wiretaps on the Internet



By CHARLIE SAVAGE

Published: September 27, 2010  


WASHINGTON – Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications – including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype – to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages  

Politicians’ money woes strike a chord with voters

Candidates who’ve faced bankruptcy or foreclosure are finding that many people sympathize with their problems. And their opponents refrain from attacking on the financial front.

By Richard Fausset

Reporting from Marietta, Ga. – Georgia voter Bobbie Huff has heard about the failed business venture and the big loan that has Nathan Deal, this state’s gubernatorial front-runner, on the hook for more than $2 million.

She’s also heard that Deal, an 18-year veteran of Congress, will likely have to sell his house and liquidate other assets to cover the debt.

But Huff can’t bring herself to render a stern judgment on the man just because he’s suffered in the recession. After all, she said, who hasn’t?

Europe

Russia digs up woolly mammoth remains for guilt-free ivory  

Russia is mining the remains of its long extinct woolly mammoths to meet a growing demand for ethical ivory.  

Andrew Osborn in Moscow  

Taking advantage of a global ban on the trade in elephant ivory, Russia is gambling that ivory lovers around the world will pay a premium for ethically friendly mammoth ivory instead.

Michelle Obama, the US First Lady, has been spotted wearing jewellery crafted from the mammoth ivory.

It is exporting 60 tons of mammoth ivory to China, the world’s biggest ivory market, per year, and scientists estimate there is plenty more where that came from.

In fact, they believe there may be as many as 150 million dead mammoths frozen beneath the Siberian tundra just waiting to be dug up.

Basque group may call permanent, verifiable ceasefire

The Basque separatist group ETA has said it is ready to make a ceasefire called earlier this month “permanent and verifiable,” according to a newspaper. However, the declaration appears to have been dismissed by Madrid.  

Terrorism

The armed Basque separatist group ETA is prepared to observe a permanent and verifiable ceasefire, Basque newspaper Gara reported on its website Saturday, following interviews with two members.

When asked if they would commit to a permanent and verifiable ceasefire, the representatives said, “ETA is willing to take that step and also to go further” if the right conditions are met.

When asked if they would commit to a permanent and verifiable ceasefire, the representatives said, “ETA is willing to take that step and also to go further” if the right conditions are met.

“The goal is to resolve the [Basque] political conflict democratically, to close the wound forever, and in order to do that we are all obliged to act responsibly,” the ETA members said.

Middle East

Netanyahu urges Jewish settlers not to provoke collapse of peace talks

Israeli premier resists US pressure while preparing right wing for compromise. Donald Macintyre reports from Jerusalem

Monday, 27 September 2010

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, appealed early today to the Palestinian leadership to continue direct negotiations for a peace deal despite his refusal to prevent the resumption of Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank.

The midnight deadline set for an end to the partial freeze on settlement building passed amid last ditch international attempts to broker a compromise between Israel and a Palestinian leadership demanding that the ten month moratorium be prolonged.

Palestinian rivals close to reconciliation deal  



Jason Koutsoukis

September 27, 2010

Hopes were raised yesterday that the rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas were close to signing a deal that would resolve their bitter divisions.

Fatah, the secular Palestinian resistance movement of the President, Mahmoud Abbas, and Hamas, a radical Islamic group opposed to any peace negotiations with Israel, have been in a state of almost civil war since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Reconciliation between the two factions is crucial to any resolution of the conflict with Israel, with Hamas enjoying widespread support among the nearly 4 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Asia

Afghan stringers are the bedrock of our reporting

The two recent arrests of al-Jazeera stringers interrupted our coverage when they were picked up for being ‘Taliban facilitators’  

Sue Turton The Guardian, Monday 27 September

2010  


2Stringers in Afghanistan, where I am the correspondent for al-Jazeera, are the eyes and ears of the world’s media. Without them, getting a picture of what is going on outside Kabul is almost impossible for a western journalist. Most correspondents don’t often stray from the capital and those embedded with security forces struggle to witness anything not cleared by military censors.

Al-Jazeera is bolder than most, with an occasional trip to the more dangerous provinces. But in the past week our invaluable stringer network has closed down. This month, one stringer’s home in Khost was raided and four of his relatives were arrested. Then our Ghazni stringer was arrested two days after polling day for being what the International Security Assistance Force termed a “suspected Taliban media and propaganda facilitator”. Two nights later, our Kandahar stringer was also picked up for being a “Taliban facilitator”.

North Korea waits to hear that Kim Jong-il’s youngest son will take over  

Announcement expected at Tuesday’s Worker’s party assembly that Kim Jong-un will succeed Kim Jong-il  

Petteri Tuohinen in Pyongyang  

The fruit crop is expected to be excellent. The apples are plump and the grape clusters heavy. Farmers smile as they toil in the fields, and people wave flags on their way to work. Tractors are bringing in another good harvest.

The footage unfolding across North Korean television screens offers images of the good life, apparently unaltered for years. But change is coming to this isolated and bizarre dictatorship, as the world’s first communist dynasty prepares to transfer power to its third generation.

Africa

Playing Beethoven in Kinshasa

Central Africa’s Only Orchestra

By Elke Schmitter

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, misery has a tender sound. It sounds like the voices of children at play, conversations between women, men talking in the half dark of Nathalie Bahati’s apartment on Avenue Yassa. It sounds like the noises of wringing and pounding, the beat of bare feet on packed mud, the scraping of a spoon against metal. Bahati’s son Dan plays with his toy cars, imitating their noises with his lips, as a friend hums Bahati’s infant daughter Belmeande to sleep. Bahati found her daughter’s name in a calendar of saints and liked its sound.

Bahati is 34 years old and a flutist, one of more than 200 musicians adding another layer to the sounds of the Congolese capital, Kinshasa.

France ready for Mali hostage talks  

Statement comes as official says the five French nationals in custody of al-Qaeda branch are alive.



Last Modified: 27 Sep 2010  

The French government has said it is ready to talk to the group holding five of its nationals in Mali, as reports emerge that they are still alive.

A source in Mali told the AFP news agency that five hostages and two other foreigners kidnapped in Niger by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) are alive and being held in the mountains in the north of the country.

Members of Aqim seized the French nationals, along with a Togolese and a Madagascan, in a raid on  September 16 on a uranium mining town in the deserts of northern  Niger.

“We are ready to talk to the kidnappers,” a presidential aide said on Sunday.

The aide said that “we have every reason to think that the hostages are alive” and have been taken to the hilly desert zone of Timetrine near the Algerian border.

Latin America

Rescue capsule arrives for trapped miners  

 

By Guy Adams in Los Angeles Monday, 27 September 2010

Families of 33 miners trapped inside a collapsed copper and gold mine in northern Chile since early August have been shown the rescue capsule that authorities hope will eventually bring their loved ones safely to the surface. Crowds waiting outside the San Jose mine near the city of Copiapo on Saturday chanted “Viva Chile!” as the steel cage, named “Phoenix” was driven into the compound where the delicate operation to free the men, who are confined to a cavern 700 metres below ground level, is being coordinated.

Relatives were allowed to step inside the capsule, which is 10-feet high and 28 inches wide and has been specially designed by the Chilean navy. “I’m happy because we’ve been waiting for this for 50 days,” the wife of one of the trapped miners, Elizabeth Segovia, told reporters.

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