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Dec 24 2010

Morning Shinbun Friday December 24




Friday’s Headlines:

Expect more extreme winters thanks to global warming, say scientists

USA

EPA sets schedule to limit pollution from power plants, oil refineries

Navy Considers Medal, 65 Years After a Heroic Act

Europe

Hungary backtracks on media law after censure

Nokia Looks to Recover the ‘Magic Dust’

Middle East

In Bethlehem tourism is reborn, but only for a few

Iran’s Ahmadinejad urges West to choose ‘path of cooperation’

Asia

North Korea threatens South with ‘holy war’

As drone strikes have increased, so have assassinations, Pakistanis say

Africa

UN hears of Côte d’Ivoire atrocities

Oil could bring peace to Sudan: NGO

Latin America

Dictator jailed in final judgment on Argentinian junta’s dirty war

U.S. OKs business with terror-supporting nations

Loopholes let companies get lucrative deals with Iran, Cuba, North Korea

By JO BECKER

NEW YORK – Despite sanctions and trade embargoes, over the past decade the United States government has granted special licenses allowing American companies to do billions of dollars in business with Iran and other countries blacklisted as state sponsors of terrorism, an examination by The New York Times has found.

At the behest of a host of companies – from Kraft Food and Pepsi to some of the nation’s largest banks – a little-known office of the Treasury Department has made nearly 10,000 exceptions to American sanctions rules, approving deals involving countries that have been cast into economic purgatory, beyond the reach of American business.

Expect more extreme winters thanks to global warming, say scientists



By Steve Connor, Science Editor Friday, 24 December 2010

Scientists have established a link between the cold, snowy winters in Britain and melting sea ice in the Arctic and have warned that long periods of freezing weather are likely to become more frequent in years to come.

An analysis of the ice-free regions of the Arctic Ocean has found that the higher temperatures there caused by global warming, which have melted the sea ice in the summer months, have paradoxically increased the chances of colder winters in Britain and the rest of northern Europe.

USA

EPA sets schedule to limit pollution from power plants, oil refineries

Final standards would be announced in 2012 for such facilities, which account for almost 40% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. Republicans and energy industry officials object.  

By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington – The Environmental Protection Agency announced a timetable Thursday to curtail greenhouse gas emissions from two major sources of the pollution scientists link to global warming: power plants and oil refineries.

The announcement was the latest step in an ambitious effort to begin taking action on climate change, and it is certain to draw fire from congressional Republicans and industry leaders who have promised to halt the agency’s efforts.

The new move toward far-reaching emissions rules comes as environmentalists had begun to worry that the Obama administration was easing its push in order to avoid confrontations with major industries in advance of the 2012 presidential campaign.

Navy Considers Medal, 65 Years After a Heroic Act





By SCOTT JAMES

Published: December 23, 2010


Carl E. Clark, 94, served in World War II to defend America, not to win glory.

“We just figured it was a war that had to be won,” said Mr. Clark, who lives in Menlo Park.

Now the veteran, a remarkably modest man with a commanding presence, unexpectedly finds himself under consideration to receive the nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor.

It is an effort, 65 years after the fact, to repair history. Mr. Clark is one of an estimated one million black World War II veterans whose accomplishments were routinely ignored by the military.

Europe

Hungary backtracks on media law after censure

The Irish Times – Friday, December 24, 2010

DANIEL McLAUGHLIN in Budapest  

HUNGARY’S CONSERVATIVE government says it will change a controversial new media law if necessary, after coming under strong domestic and international pressure from critics who say it will muzzle the press.

The new law gives a new media council power to levy large fines on any publication, website or broadcaster that it deems to have breached guidelines on fair reporting and decency.

The council solely consists of supporters of the ruling Fidesz party, the fines it imposes must be paid before any appeal is lodged and it will have the power to force reporters to reveal their sources in matters deemed to involve national security or public safety.

Nokia Looks to Recover the ‘Magic Dust’

Outsmarted by Apple  

By Michaela Schiessl

Stephen Elop is unavailable. The man they call “The General” hardly ever appears in public. His employees say he’s busy, which is undoubtedly true — busy saving Nokia.

For the last three months, the former Microsoft executive has been at the helm of the Finnish cell phone maker. And, during that period, the company has been inundated with bad news. Elop finally took action last week, when he fired 560 software developers, presumably for proven incompetence.

Nokia much-touted new flagship smartphone, the N8, was released onto the market in October after delays caused by software problems.

Middle East

In Bethlehem tourism is reborn, but only for a few  



By Catrina Stewart in Bethlehem Friday, 24 December 2010



Artists have made a tidy sum depicting an imaginary scene where a pregnant Mary and Joseph are puzzled by Israel’s separation wall blocking their entry into Bethlehem.

The tourism industry, devastated by the Second Intifada that erupted a decade ago and the erection of the wall around the town, is now experiencing something of a rebirth. Pilgrims, drawn to the traditional birthplace of Jesus, are flocking to the town in droves.

Iran’s Ahmadinejad urges West to choose ‘path of cooperation’

While the US says that Iran has a ‘clear choice’ to make on its controversial nuclear program, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted Thursday that world powers can choose cooperation or confrontation.



By Scott Peterson, Staff writer

East Sussex, England

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad advised Western nations Thursday to create a “win-win” scenario for nuclear talks next month by choosing a “path of cooperation over confrontation.”

But Mr. Ahmadinejad also delivered a number of broadsides against the West during a regional economic summit in Istanbul, Turkey, where the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers are due by the end of January.

Co-opting the US tactic of casting the Islamic Republic as having a “clear choice” on its controversial nuclear program – to stop enriching uranium that might be used for weapons, or face unspecified “consequences” – Ahmadinejad said that world powers had “two choices.”

Asia

North Korea threatens South with ‘holy war’

The Irish Times – Friday, December 24, 2010

JONATHAN WATTS  

NORTH KOREA threatened yesterday to use nuclear weapons in a “holy war” against its neighbour after South Korean tanks, jets and artillery carried out one of the largest-ever live-fire exercises close to the border.

The exercises at Pocheon, just south of the Demilitarised Zone, were the third such show of force this week by South Korea amid the worst tensions since the 1950-53 war on the peninsula.

Multiple rocket-launchers, dozens of tanks and hundreds of troops joined the exercises which South Korean president Lee Myung-bak insisted were necessary for self-defence, after two deadly attacks this year.

As drone strikes have increased, so have assassinations, Pakistanis say  



By Karin Brulliard and Haq Nawaz Khan

Washington Post Foreign Service  

PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN – As drone-fired missiles drop with furious frequency in the tribal area of North Waziristan, so do the bodies.

As often as seven times a week, tribesmen there say, corpses appear in fields and on roadsides with dark warnings pinned to their tunics: All American spies will meet the same fate.

Espionage has long been viewed as an egregious offense in the lawless borderland, but residents say the current pace of assassinations is unprecedented. The escalation parallels a massive surge in CIA drone attacks on North Waziristan, home to a nest of insurgents that includes al-Qaeda and the Haqqani network, an Afghan militia considered the most lethal foe of U.S. troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

Africa

UN hears of Côte d’Ivoire atrocities



DAVE CLARK | ABIDJAN, CÔTE D’IVOIRE

The report to the UN Human Rights Council came as Ivorian strongman Laurent Gbagbo came under mounting pressure from world powers to step down.

UN staff have been able to confirm allegations of 173 killings and 90 cases of torture or ill treatment in Côte d’Ivoire in the past week, UN deputy human rights chief Kyung-wha Kang told ambassadors in Geneva.

“Unfortunately it has been impossible to investigate all the allegations of serious human rights violations, including reports of mass graves, due to restrictions on movement by UN personnel,” she added.  

Oil could bring peace to Sudan: NGO  

Sudan’s northerners have a pipeline but little petroleum; the southerners are swimming in oil but have no pipeline.  

By Sapa-AFP  

As north and south head for an expected break-up following a vote on independence for the south, oil could guarantee peace for the two new neighbours.

The January 9 referendum, which analysts expect will partition Africa’s largest country into a mostly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian and animist south, was a central part of a 2005 deal that ended a two-decade civil war between them.

Oil “can surely be a factor of peace in Sudan because both sides need each other — the north the oil, and the south the pipeline,” said Dana Wilkins, a campaigner at Global Witness, a British-based NGO.

Latin America

Dictator jailed in final judgment on Argentinian junta’s dirty war



By David Usborne Friday, 24 December 2010

The former military dictator of Argentina, Jorge Videla, who was the principal architect of the so-called “dirty war” during which as many as 30,000 civilians were “disappeared” to secret prisons, never to be seen again, has been found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

More than 20 other former military and police officials were also convicted and given harsh sentences alongside Videla, who, at 85 years old, will in all probability now die behind bars. They included his former army chief, retired General Luciano Benjamin Menendez.

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