Top CIA spy in Pakistan pulled amid threats after public accusation over attack
By Greg Miller and Karin Brulliard
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, December 18, 2010; 1:20 AM
U.S. officials said Friday they are increasingly convinced that Pakistan’s intelligence service deliberately exposed the identity of the CIA’s top spy in Pakistan, triggering death threats and forcing the agency to pull him from his post.
The allegation marks a new low in the relationship between the CIA and its Pakistani counterpart at a time when both intelligence services are under pressure to root out militant groups and the CIA is waging a vastly accelerated campaign of drone strikes.
The CIA officer was rushed out of the agency’s massive station in Islamabad on the same day that President Obama issued a new warning to Pakistan’s leaders that “terrorist safe havens within their borders must be dealt with.”
Assange begins mansion arrest, but his ‘source’ feels the heat
By Kim Sengupta, Defence Correspondent Saturday, 18 December 2010
Bradley Manning spent yesterday, his birthday, alone in a tiny, bare prison cell, without a pillow or sheets on his bed, in weak health and wracked with anxiety at the prospect of a prison sentence of 52 years.
The young American soldier has faded into the background as international ructions continue over the hundreds of thousands of pieces of classified material from the US government that he is supposed to have supplied to WikiLeaks.
Now the fate of the whistleblowing website’s founder, Julian Assange, who has very much held the centre-stage, lies in the hands of the 23-year-old former army intelligence analyst.
Soros vs Murdoch: The battle for the soul of America
Two billionaires – one liberal, the other conservative – are at war. The prize is the future of the US.
David Usborne reports Saturday, 18 December 2010
Who knew that Rupert Murdoch and George Soros, two billionaires of not so tender years, had it in them? But consider.
While the one means to impose a right-wing “dictatorial democracy” on America, the other is a “master puppeteer” bent on collapsing the dollar and forming a socialist world government.
Cartoonish this may be, but a joke it is not. These two behemoths of media and finance might, as they approach retirement, have restricted themselves to brandishing their ideological differences over an occasional dinner at their clubs in New York and London.
Early Tests for Alzheimer’s Pose Diagnosis Dilemma
THE VANISHING MIND
By GINA KOLATA
Published: December 17, 2010
Marjie Popkinthought she had chemo brain, that fuzzy-headed forgetful state that she figured was a result of her treatment for ovarian cancer. She was not thinking clearly – having trouble with numbers, forgetting things she had just heard.
One doctor after another dismissed her complaints. Until recently, since she was, at age 62, functioning well and having no trouble taking care of herself, that might have been the end of her quest for an explanation.
Last year, though, Ms. Popkin, still troubled by what was happening to her mind, went to Dr. Michael Rafii, a neurologist at the University of California, San Diego, who not only gave her a thorough neurological examination but administered new tests, like an M.R.I. that assesses the volume of key brain areas and a spinal tap.
Europe’s big three form EU budget freeze pact
British Prime Minister David Cameron has secured an alliance with France and Germany in a quest to keep EU spending under control. The move has angered eastern European member states.
FINANCE | 18.12.2010
Ahead of tough budget negotiations next year, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy published a text Saturday stating their stance against overspending.
“All around Europe, countries are tightening their belts to deal with their deficits. [The EU] cannot be immune from that,” Cameron told a news conference on Friday at the close of a two-day EU summit, which set up a permanent crisis fund for the euro.
In hills outside Paris, tapping vast oil reserve presents risk but promises profit
A large supply of oil found underground in France’s agricultural region could bring the country closer to energy independence – but the ‘fracking’ process to obtain it could have environmental costs.
By Anita Elash, Correspondent
The rolling hills to the east of Paris are known for their cash crops. Large quantities of vegetables and grain, champagne and brie have been produced here for centuries.
But as the world’s thirst for petroleum sends industry searching for oil in increasingly unlikely locations, this bucolic region could soon become the stage for a fight that pits potentially huge economic benefits against fears of environmental destruction.
Oil industry estimates claim that there are between 50 billion and 200 billion barrels of oil trapped in shale rock more than a mile below the surface, in an 87,000-square-mile geological formation known as the Paris
Baghdad Christians forced to flee homes
The Irish Times – Saturday, December 18, 2010
MARTIN CHULOV in Baghdad
THOUSANDS OF Baghdad Christians have been forced to flee militant attacks after the siege at a Catholic cathedral in the city in October, the United Nations said yesterday.
The UN High Commission For Refugees said at least 1,000 families had fled Baghdad and Mosul since September 1st for the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. A further 133 families had registered with the organisation in Syria, as had 109 individuals in Jordan.
Fr Hanna, the leading Assyrian Catholic priest in Beirut, said that 450 recently arrived families had contacted with his office and plan to ask the UN for help.
In Israel, a rabbi who argues that anti-Arab measures are un-Jewish
Arik Ascherman, a Harvard grad who helped found Rabbis for Human Rights, is struggling to present an alternative voice amid rising anti-Arab and anti-foreigner sentiment in Israel.
By Ben Lynfield, Correspondent / December 17, 2010
At first glance, Arik Ascherman seems more like a soft-spoken university lecturer than a combative crusader for the rights of the “other,” be they Palestinian or African refugee.
Yet the American-born rabbi is embroiled in two of Israel’s main conflicts today: the struggle with Palestinians over the West Bank and, within Israel, a rising tide of anti-Arab and anti-foreigner sentiment. The latter is starkly illustrated by an unprecedented rabbinical edict calling on Jews not to rent or sell property to non-Jews.
US envoy Bill Richardson warns of Korea tinderbox
An unofficial US envoy visiting North Korea has warned that the situation on the peninsula is a “tinderbox”.
The BBC 18 December 2010
The envoy, Bill Richardson, made the comments after talks with officials in Pyongyang, whom he asked to exercise “extreme restraint”.
He said he had urged them to let South Korea go ahead with planned live-firing exercises on an island which was shelled by the North last month.
Pyongyang has been threatening to strike back if the drill goes ahead.
On Friday, Russia – which shares a border with North Korea – summoned US and South Korean envoys to urge them to cancel the exercises, saying Moscow was “deeply concerned” about rising tensions in the region.
Ki-moon: Gbagbo presidency a ‘mockery of democracy’
ABIDJAN, CôTE D’IVOIRE Dec 18 2010
The United States, the European Union and Côte d’Ivoire’s West African allies demanded Gbagbo hand over power to his adversary Alassane Ouattara, after a day of bloodshed on the streets of Abidjan left between 11 and 30 people dead.
Ouattara’s supporters had vowed to return to the streets to renew a bid to seize control of state television but, despite reports of sporadic gunfire, the sprawling seaport was eerily quiet following Thursday’s violence.
“People are scared to come out because there were victims yesterday. The fear is still there,” said Moussa Camara, a militant from Ouattara’s RHDP, guarding his party’s downtown headquarters.
Mugabe vows retaliation against West
Under current empowerment laws, black Zimbabweans are slated to acquire a 51 percent stake in businesses. During a party convention Friday in the eastern city of Mutare, broadcast live on state television, President Robert Mugabe warned British and U.S firms “unless you remove sanctions we will take 100 percent.”
Western countries imposed targeted restrictions on Mugabe and his party elite to protest violations of democratic and human rights in a decade of political and economic turmoil in the southern African nation.
Venezuela parliament gives Hugo Chavez more powers
Venezuela’s parliament has granted President Hugo Chavez special powers to deal with the aftermath of devastating floods.
The BBC 18 December 2010
Mr Chavez will be able to pass laws by decree, without needing the support of congress, for 18 months.
His critics say the move will turn the country into a near-dictatorship.
They accuse him of taking advantage of the floods to strengthen his grip on power before a new congress is sworn in in January.
This is the fourth time Mr Chavez has been given such authority since he came to office almost 12 years ago.
He had asked to able to rule by decree fo