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Dec 04 2010

Morning Shinbun Saturday December 4




Saturday’s Headlines:

Cancún climate talks in danger of collapse over Kyoto continuation

USA

A Silicon Bubble Shows Signs Of Reinflating

After stimulus, construction industry seeing private-sector and state projects drying up

Europe

Military steps in after Spanish air traffic controllers stage walkout

Down Pompeii? The ruin of Italy’s cultural heritage

Middle East

Firefighters battle to halt blaze in Israel

Dirty tricks and sticky bombs in Iran

Asia

Islamists fight efforts to save ‘blasphemer’

37 years after escaping killing fields, a Cambodian returns as US Navy commander

Africa

Zimbabwe not stable enough for IMF

Fury at Ivorian election reversal

Democrats try to regain balance in fight over tax cuts

Emboldened Republicans seem unlikely to back down on extending breaks for wealthy taxpayers.

By Lisa Mascaro and Kathleen Hennessey, Tribune Washington

Reporting from Washington – Congressional Democrats searched for leverage Friday in their bitter debate with Republicans over extending George W. Bush-era tax cuts, lashing out against giving “tax breaks to millionaires” and preparing for a rare weekend session in the Senate on the issue.

But the increasingly aggressive Democratic posture may come too late in the protracted battle over the fate of tax cuts that are set to expire Dec. 31. The White House has indicated it would consider an agreement with Republicans to temporarily extend all tax breaks, even for households earning more than $250,000 annually, if the GOP agreed to concessions and withdrew its block on certain Democratic priorities.ties.

Cancún climate talks in danger of collapse over Kyoto continuation

• Latin America outraged at foot-dragging by rich

• Wealthy countries say little chance of deal now


John Vidal, Environment editor

The Guardian, Saturday 4 December 2010


The UN climate talks in Cancún were in danger of collapse last night after many Latin American countries said that they would leave if a crucial negotiating document, due to be released tomorrow, did not continue to commit rich countries to emissions cuts under the Kyoto Protocol.

The Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (Alba) group of nine Latin American countries – who claim they are backed by African, Arab countries and other developing nations – said they were not prepared to see an end to the treaty that legally requires all of its signatories to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

USA

A Silicon Bubble Shows Signs Of Reinflating

 

BY JENNA WORTHAM AND EVELYN M. RUSLI  

In a memorable scene in the movie “The Social Network,” Sean Parker, the investor played by Justin Timberlake, leans over the table and tells the founders of Facebook in a conspiratorial tone: “A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion dollars.”

These days in Silicon Valley, a billion dollars seems downright quaint. The enthusiasm for social networking and mobile apps has venture capitalists clamoring to give money to young companies.

After stimulus, construction industry seeing private-sector and state projects drying up  



By Annys Shin

Washington Post Staff Writer  


The stimulus was here.

Those words should be embossed on a stretch of Route 29 outside of Charlottesville, where paver operator Clifford Carter poured hot asphalt one year ago.

The $885,000 project, funded by federal stimulus dollars, took two days in November 2009. A few weeks later, he was laid off – temporarily, he thought, until paving season resumed in the spring. But in April, he received his first permanent layoff notice. Without a job, he couldn’t afford to keep paying for life or health insurance, so he let both lapse.

“When they kicked me out the door, I lost everything,” he said.

Europe

Military steps in after Spanish air traffic controllers stage walkout

Passengers left stranded amid chaos caused by walkout, which comes amid dispute over hours and conditions

Jo Adetunji and agencies

guardian.co.uk, Saturday 4 December 2010 01.22 GMT


The Spanish military was called in to take control of the country’s airspace yesterday after air traffic controllers staged an unauthorised walkout over working conditions.

Passengers have been left stranded amid the travel chaos caused by the walkout, which left eight airports, including Madrid, closed across the country. Air traffic controllers called in sick en masse, leaving thousands of people stranded on the eve of a national holiday.

Spain’s deputy prime minister, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, announced that the army had been called in to take “control of air traffic in all the national territory” and said the head of the army would take decisions relating to the organisation, planning, supervision and control of air traffic.

Down Pompeii? The ruin of Italy’s cultural heritage  

From ancient Rome to Renaissance Florence, some of the world’s greatest treasures are falling into neglect.

By Michael Day Saturday, 4 December 2010

Collapses at the ancient site of Pompeii underline what experts have been warning for years: Italy’s priceless cultural heritage is slowly but surely disintegrating and the famous archeological site’s decay is a metaphor for the nation.

With chunks falling off Rome’s Colosseum and the seemingly inexorable decline and fall of Venice, the world looks on anxiously to see if the rot can be stopped. Few countries have a greater wealth of cultural and archaeological marvels than Italy, but experts warn that few nations are as complacent about them.

Middle East

Firefighters battle to halt blaze in Israel  

The Irish Times – Saturday, December 4, 2010

MARK WEISS in Jerusalem  

ISRAELI FIREFIGHTERS, backed by aircraft and crews from many countries, spent yesterday trying to contain the massive blaze in the Carmel forest that has so far left 42 people dead.

By nightfall the blaze was still raging south of the northern Israeli port of Haifa, but officials were optimistic it would be brought under control later today.

About 17,000 people were evacuated from communities in the Carmel mountain range and some outlying suburbs of Haifa, the country’s third-largest city, although officials said the port – which is also the centre of Israel’s petro-chemical industry – was not in immediate danger.

Dirty tricks and sticky bombs in Iran    

 

By Ben West  

On the morning of November 29, two Iranian scientists involved in Iran’s nuclear development program were attacked. One was killed, and the other was injured. According to Iranian media, the deceased, Dr Majid Shahriari, was heading the team responsible for developing the technology to design a nuclear reactor core, and Time magazine referred to him as the highest-ranking non-appointed individual working on the project.

Official reports indicate that Shahriari was killed when assailants on motorcycles attached a “sticky bomb” to his vehicle and detonated it seconds later. However, the Time magazine report says that an explosive device concealed inside the car detonated and killed him. Shahriari’s driver and wife, both of whom were in the car at the time, were injured.

Asia

Islamists fight efforts to save ‘blasphemer’

 

By Omar Waraich in Islamabad Saturday, 4 December 2010

Hundreds of Islamists took to the streets of Pakistan’s main cities yesterday in support of blasphemy laws used to convict a Christian woman who has been sentenced to death for allegedly insulting Islam.

At rallies in Karachi, Lahore and other cities, the crowds of protesters warned against attempts to repeal the laws and denounced two leading politicians who have been threatened for speaking out against the treatment of Aasia Bibi, an illiterate 45-year-old farmhand. Human rights groups say that the blasphemy laws are an abusive instrument invoked to punish Pakistan’s most vulnerable. They have overwhelmingly been used to settle political vendettas or afford protection to Islamist extremists when they have targeted religious minorities.

37 years after escaping killing fields, a Cambodian returns as US Navy commander

US Navy Commander Michael Misiewicz docked the USS Mustin in Cambodia Friday. He last saw his homeland, and many of his relatives, as a boy fleeing the murderous Khmer Rouge.  

By Clancy McGilligan, Contributor / December 3, 2010  

Sihanoukville, Cambodia

US Navy Cmdr. Michael Misiewicz watched today as relatives prepared to board his destroyer, which was docked a few miles off the shore of Cambodia. He had not seen any of them since he left the Southeast Asian nation as a boy 37 years ago, escaping civil war and the murderous Khmer Rouge.

The commander’s face was impassive at first, but it softened as more and more extended family members were helped onto the barge below him. Then he saw his aunt, now 72, who had helped him leave for the US so many years ago. Commander Misiewicz walked slowly down the metal stairs and they embraced, weeping.

“When I saw her this morning,” he later told reporters on the ship, “I just couldn’t hold back the tears, I was so happy that she was here. It’s been a very long time.”

Africa

Zimbabwe not stable enough for IMF  



By Sapa  

“A number of steps have to take place before a deeper engagement can take place with Zimbabwe,” the IMF’s senior resident representative Alfredo Cuevas said in a briefing to the standing committee on finance.

“Our teams visit Zimbabwe regularly and provide advice. We are also providing some technical assistance for the rebuilding of certain macro economic management institutions.

“That is what our board has authorised the staff of IMF to do. It is not until the board moves and takes a different decision that the IMF’s staff can go deeper into relationship with the country,” he said.

Fury at Ivorian election reversal



World leaders criticise court decision to overturn provisional election results and declare incumbent president winner.




Last Modified: 04 Dec 2010  


World leaders have criticised a decision by Cote D’Ivoire’s constitutional court to reverse the results of last week’s presidential election, warning that it could plunge the country back into civil war.

Friday’s decision to dismiss thousands of votes for Alassane Ouattara over fraud allegations paves the way for Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent, to take office on Saturday despite apparently losing the run-off election.

The move has outraged Ouattara’s supporters, prompting fears that Cote D’Ivoire’s tentative peace process could unravel and the country could slip back into conflict.

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