Monday, February 18, 2008

Kosovo Factsheet

by Elissa Haney

Where is Kosovo?

Kosovo is a southern province of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which is composed of Serbia and Montenegro1. The country is about the size of Kentucky. It is bordered by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Albania.

The Factions
At odds are the Serbs, under the leadership of archnationalist Slobodan Milosevic, and the ethnic Albanians, who make up 90% of Kosovo's population. While Serbia is internationally recognized as having control over Kosovo, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a militant ethnic Albanian group, is calling for full independence for the province.

The ethnic Albanians of Kosovo share the ethnic background of the people of neighboring Albania and speak the Albanian language. They are largely Muslim, while the Serbians are generally Eastern Orthodox Christians.

At Issue
Kosovo was autonomous within the former Yugoslavia from 1974 until 1989, when new Serbian president Milosevic took control of the province. During their period of autonomy, the ethnic Albanians enjoyed a measure of cultural freedom that ended with Kosovo's absorption into the Serbian state.

The Serbs are struggling to maintain control over Kosovo for cultural reasons as well. The territory has a significant role in Serbian history, as the site of the Serbs' defeat by the Ottoman Turks in 1389. The battle at Kosovo Field figures prominently in Serbian poetry and has great national significance as the cradle of Serbian civilization.

Setting the Stage
While the issues at the center of the fighting in Kosovo date back nearly two decades, the recent tension began to heat up after the emergence of the KLA in 1996. In 1997 the KLA took a more active role against continued oppression by the Serbs. They began killing Serbs in Kosovo, their main target being policemen. Eventually the KLA was able to establish control over areas within the province.

In February 1998, President Milosevic sent Serbian troops to take back KLA-controlled areas. Eighty people were killed in the ensuing battle, including many women and children. The government-sponsored violence against Albanian civilians sparked rioting by outraged Kosovars and marked an escalation of the conflict.
It also gave cause for intervention by NATO, which, until that point, had never stepped into the middle of a conflict between a sovereign nation and its own citizens. In justifying its involvement, NATO cited the responsibility of protecting fellow human beings from crimes against humanity.

After months of unsuccessful attempts at restoring peace to Kosovo, NATO resorted to military action in the spring of 1999. On March 24 it launched an air campaign that would last for 78 days.

As bombs fell on Serbian soil, Western officials debated the likelihood of defeating the Serbs without the deployment of ground troops. NATO's hesitation in committing to a land battle —and therefore putting its troops at greater risk of danger— ultimately paid off. Serbia finally agreed to sign a UN-approved peace agreement with NATO on June 9.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Barack Obama

"My presence on this stage is pretty unlikely," Barack Obama said at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Seventeen minutes later, his presence on the national stage was virtually assured. Four months after The Speech, the three-term Illinois state legislator won the race to become a United States senator. Little more than two years later, Obama declared himself a candidate for president of the United States.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton has been in the public eye for some 40 years, her face one of the best-known in the world. She has been both admired and reviled with great intensity. She is a First Lady full of other firsts - the first student to speak at her college commencement; the first First Lady to become a United States Senator; the first woman to be treated seriously as a candidate for president of the United States.

Obama: Clinton Divides America

February 11, 2008 8:28 AM
At a town hall over the weekend, at the high school that inspired the Denzel Washington vehicle "Remember the Titans" -- TC Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia -- Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, asked voters to remember that, in his view, the Clintons were titanically bad for the Democratic Party.

“Keep in mind we had Bill Clinton as president when in '94 we lost the House, we lost the Senate, we lost governorships, we lost state houses," Obama said. "And so regardless of what policies they wanted to promote, they didn't have a working majority to bring change about.”

ABC News' Sunlen Miller has more on this HERE.

This argument dovetails with a harsh Obama campaign mailer (check it out HERE) that argues that "Democrats win when we unite America" and goes on to argue that the Clintons are divisive.

"8 years of the Clintons, major losses for Democrats across the nation," the flier says, enumerating that from November 1992 to November 2000, Democrats lost 12 governorships, 7 Senate seats, and 46 House seats.

The flier seems to insinuate that the Clintons have a "political strategy that's been all about division" and pushes instead what Obama says is his plan, which is "about addition -- to build a coalition for change that stretches through Red States and Blue States."

"It's time to turn the page on the divisive politics of the past," the flier says. "South Carolina voters rejected Hillary Clinton's divisive and deceptive attacks."

"Fair or not, poll after poll shows Hillary Clinton helps Republicans divide America. Clinton's nomination would be a guaranteed return to the permanent political warfare of the last decade -- the kind of warfare that succeeds in winning elections for Republicans but accomplishes nothing for the American people."

Something the flier doesn't touch on is former President Bill Clinton's strategy of "triangulation" -- positioning himself in the center with congressional Republicans on the right, congressional Democrats on his left, which a lot of Democrats complained at the time made Clinton look reasonable and made Democrats look like kooky liberals.

In any case, these are strong charges. What do you think?

Clinton Blasts Obama For Slamming Edwards Jab

WASHINGTON, DC—Dissent continued to plague the 2008 presidential campaign this week, as Sen. Hillary Clinton had harsh words for Sen. Barack Obama's recent criticism of blunt remarks made by former Sen. John Edwards over what he called "petty Democratic-party infighting."

"I am dismayed and outraged by my opponent's baseless accusations in response to my other opponent's crude mudslinging tactics, which were inappropriate and which the American people will not stand for," Clinton said, echoing the criticism of criticism that has become a key element of this race. "The sheer effrontery. Destructive. Barb. Vitriol."

Campaign observers speculate that Clinton's comments could provoke a strongly worded response.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Civilisation or the Strength

We always spoke how the country could be strong from any threat, didunia this all showed off each other whoever was most strong and interesting when we saw how the Country america with several countries as England, France, Spain and Germany could make the strength that almost did not have his rival?

Certainly these countries always became the focus by all the sides and their strength also was helped with the IMF strength, the world bank and seterusnya. from the side of the production also was like this and must be seen by us that almost all the
products must have the licence from international and this showed that if the country wanted to go up must be supported by several factors and was here sent by me that among them;

Firstly, each citizen must have the commitment that had against his nation personally without exception a Second ideology, the country must be able to have the strong defence or complete military weapons of the three, the country must be able to make the production of fourth economics, the Country must could do taklukan against the other country or that liked to be known by the expansion of the fifth military, his human resources capacity must be cleverer the six, the law must be really upheld without exception including himself the seven, the Country must could make and created the place of the place of economics as the production of his people and this will create equitable economics of the eight, the country must be able to give the answer and was responsible towards the unemployment and the child yatim.
Prinsif was national must really could be realised in the behaviour in bernegara. I was very jealous how the country that I mentioned above that how America could be allied with monarchial countries!

Today for the developing country and the dependence with the debt immediately must rise and go out as well as immediately proved himself that could compete with developed countries!!
Already during him developing countries proved themselves and said that we went up with civilisation that actually and definitely the bureaucrats, the political elite and the leading figure -the public figure no longer is protracted in his game personally and always came back with the big strength that this country will not go up except by dirinya. this commitment that became the main factor so that hope becomes real and not was the reverse all to wacana. it is hoped!!!

Working As A Black Man In Corporate America

By : Jack Goode
Ah...the thrill of being a black man in corporate America. Actually, it's not all that bad, but it sure isn't everything it's cracked up to be. There are some inherent problems, but, sure, there are some benefits too. Not everyone makes you feel as if you are the token of the organization, but, still, some things continue to need addressing. I'd like to explore those issues, good and bad, one by one.

Many black men won't even consider a position in corporate America. Why? Well, for a lot of us, it's just too darned hard to play the dual roles that are expected of us when we join the corporate ride. To many of our white counterparts, we've not earned the right to be there, and to many of our own black contemporaries, we've "sold out" to white America.

You know, I'm not sure that it has to be either way. I have a female friend who hails from Canada and we were recently discussing the issue of "blackness" in this country. She's a black woman and has encountered a great deal of resistance from the black community for her desire to participate in corporate life. She has been criticized for talking, dressing, and acting..."white".

Yet, for my friend, there's no such thing. Remember, she's from Canada. For her, there is no identity crisis between culture and career goals. And, you know? I have to agree with her. Success within corporate America for a black man is the same as it is for any American. We're not selling out. We're simply grabbing an opportunity and running with it; just like any other American would.

So, is seeking a career in corporate America a sell out? No way. Most of us play different roles at work and away from work. For a black man, maybe the difference between the roles is greater than for someone of another cultural background, but it is no less a role. I say grab the brass ring wherever you can and in whatever way you can reach it.

Don't worry about what other people think because you will never get to where you want to go in life. Being successful is not selling out...that is being from being smart, diligent, and hard work. No one can take away your heart and determination - only if you let them. Keep striving hard and be all that you can be.

Can Democracies Work And Do They Make A Difference To Ordinary Lives?

By : Holly Franklin
What is a democracy and are there truly any real democracies in the world. It seems that the western world is becoming cynical of politicians and there is voter apathy toward elections as many people no longer believe there vote will make a difference. In the United Kingdom the two main parties the Conservatives and Labour are arguing policies over a very narrow middle margin as both parties try and win votes or the next election.

It seems that most people in the UK see the next elections as more of a popularity contest rather than one on ideological grounds. The turnout for elections seems to become lower with each new one. In America turnouts for the caucuses has been higher than in many years. The race for the White House is going to be the most expensive in history. Many Americans are energised ready for change as they see their country as a much more dangerous place after the tenure of George Bush.

The race here though also seems to be more of a popularity contest as the man of the hour Barack Obama really hasn't set out his vision for America even though he believes the electorate should vote for him for change.

The question is will voting for either one of the other of the parties even here going to bring about a radical change in the way America moves forward. Countries like Britain and America who ever is in charge affects the average person very little. Most people wake up, have breakfast, go to work come home, have dinner and go to bed. The highways are maintained by local government a most of the day to day public services they use. Big government doesn't affect them and their vote for then counts for little.

It is an irony for many that at the same time that Western Governments are now trying to force their values and political ideas on other countries. They claim that democracy is the only way forward for countries such as Afghanistan and much of the Middle East when there hasn't been a precedent before. By trying to force these values on other countries they are causing many if these countries to become unsettled when before there had been peace if not always unity. There is supposed democracy in Afghanistan but it only goes as far as the outskirts of Kabul otherwise much of the rest of the country is held by local warlords.

Most people are disenfranchised by politics and believe their vote counts for little in the West. Whilst those who want change in other countries have only seen democracy leads to disorder as we are witnessing in Kenya now.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Edwards Joins Clinton, Obama Race Dispute

As South Carolina Primary Nears, Native Son Says He Was "Troubled" By Clinton's Remarks
SUMTER, S.C., Jan. 14, 2008

(AP) Democrat John Edwards on Sunday waded into a dispute between his rivals, criticizing comments by Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband that some have considered disparaging to Barack Obama and black people generally.

"I must say I was troubled recently to see a suggestion that real change that came not through the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King but through a Washington politician. I fundamentally disagree with that," Edwards told more than 200 people gathered at a predominantly black Baptist church.

Sen. Hillary Clinton recently was quoted as saying King's dream of racial equality was realized only when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, while Bill Clinton said Obama was telling a "fairy tale" about his opposition to the Iraq war. (Click here to read more.)

Edwards did not name either of the Clintons in his speech, but turned the argument back on them.

"Those who believe that real change starts with Washington politicians have been in Washington too long and are living a fairy tale," he said.

Speaking in his native South Carolina, where he hopes to win the Democratic presidential primary on Jan. 26, Edwards said he was pleased with the civil rights progress that's been made in the South and lauded Obama, an Illinois senator.

"As someone who grew up in the segregated South, I feel an enormous amount of pride when I see the success that Senator Barack Obama is having in this campaign," said Edwards. He then added, with a laugh: "Some days I wish he was having a little less success."

Obama won the first contest in Iowa, and finished second last week in New Hampshire. Edwards placed second in Iowa, third in New Hampshire.

A former North Carolina senator and trial lawyer, Edwards ran for president in 2004 and earned his only primary victory in this state. He was helped by black voter, who made up nearly half the primary ballots cast. But this time around, those votes appear to be heading either to Obama, who is vying to become the nation's fist black president, or Clinton, whose husband's presidency is remembered fondly in the black community, surveys show.

Edwards, who is touring the state by bus and hoping to again appeal to black voters with his populist, working-class message, told the congregation that the work of the civil rights activists needs to continue.

"We are not being true to ourselves or the heroes ... if we do not continue this journey to bring about real change," he said. "Real change started in churches just like this."

"What the election is about is about building one America," he said.

Israel Rules Out "No Options" Against Iran

After Meetings With Bush, PM Olmert Says All Means Considered To Prevent Nuclear Iran
JERUSALEM, Jan. 14, 2008

(CBS/AP) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a powerful parliamentary panel on Monday that Israel rejects "no options" to block Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, a meeting participant said.

The statement was the Israeli leader's clearest indication yet that he is willing to use military force against Iran.

"Israel clearly will not reconcile itself to a nuclear Iran," the meeting participant quoted Olmert as telling the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. "All options that prevent Iran from gaining nuclear capabilities are legitimate within the context of how to grapple with this matter."

The meeting participant spoke on condition of anonymity because the session was closed.

Despite the clear hint that the military option remains on the table, CBS News correspondent Robert Berger reports that Israel considers it a last resort.

However, Israel doubts the U.S. will attack Iran, and that has increased the possibility of an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, Berger adds.

Olmert addressed the panel days after discussing Iran's nuclear ambitions in talks with President Bush in Jerusalem.

During that visit, Israeli officials disputed the recently released conclusions of a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate that concluded Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

In Jerusalem, Mr. Bush declared that Iran remained "a threat to world peace," but reasserted his commitment to trying to resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear program diplomatically.

Israel won't reconcile itself to a nuclear Iran.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Israel, which sent warplanes in 1981 to demolish an unfinished nuclear reactor in Iraq, advocates a diplomatic solution to the Iranian standoff as well. But in his comments to the parliamentary committee, Olmert said: "It's clear that Israel won't reconcile itself to a nuclear Iran. We reject no options a priori."

Israel considers Iran to be its most dangerous enemy, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for the dissolution of the Jewish state.

Meir Javedanfar, an Israel-based Iran analyst, said Olmert refused to rule out a military option "in order to increase the urgency to find a diplomatic solution."

"I think this is Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's way of making sure that the international community stays alert on the Iranian nuclear issues," Javedanfar said. "The concern in Israel is that after the NIE report, the world is just going to sit and watch Iran continue with its nuclear weapons program."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

George W. Bush's Convenient Truth

by: Walter M. Brasch

The man whom the people elected in 2000 to be president was in the temporary residence of the man whom the Supreme Court anointed.

President George W. Bush hosted former Vice-President Al Gore, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and five other Nobel laureates, Nov. 26. This annual handshake photo-op has been an American tradition.

The Nobel committee had cited Gore, Oct. 12 , as “probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted” to reduce global warming. Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN network of about 2,000 scientists, who have shown that global warming isn’t a liberal conspiracy theory.

Believing that it is some kind of liberal conspiracy theory are the fringe right-wing who dominate Talk Radio and Pundit TV. The day after the announcement, Steve Doocy, co-anchor of FOX’s morning show, set the tone for the rabid-dog attacks. He produced a chart of past Nobel Peace Prize laureates, including “that crazy Jimmy Carter,” and claimed the award is nothing more than an “anti-Bush” trophy. On CNN, guest commentator Marlo Lewis, who was identified as a global warming expert, called Gore’s writings manipulative, misleading, and exaggerated. Jay Richards of the National Review claimed the Peace prize is “politicized.” Rush Limbaugh, who had a front group nominate him for the Peace Prize only to learn that the Landmark Legal Foundation had no standing to nominate anyone, was furious that Gore, not he, received the honor. With the microphone of more than 600 radio stations that carry his talk show, Limbaugh claimed his lawyers—the ones at the Landmark group—“are looking into the possibility of filing an objection with the Nobel Committee over the unethical tampering for this award that Al Gore is engaging in.” He claimed, “This is clearly above and beyond the pale. I mean, this might happen in high school class president elections and so forth, but this is shameless.”

Bloggers chattered almost endlessly that not only didn’t Gore deserve the award but also that global warming is a myth. The Nobel committee, blogged William Teach of Pirate’s Cove, “has basically surrendered to hysterics, mass exaggerators, and liars.”

Also doubting global warming, and volumes of scientific evidence, is Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), former chair of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, and recipient of one of the largest cumulative campaign donations from the oil and gas industry. Inhofe has claimed that there is “compelling evidence” that global warming not only is a hoax, but that it is “the greatest hoax ever perpetuated on the American people.”

George H.W. Bush, during his failed re-election campaign in 1992, called Gore “Ozone Man,” and claimed the vice-presidential candidate was “so far out in the environmental extreme we’ll be up to our necks in owls and outta work for every American.”

As for the current President Bush, he delegated the “congratulations” to a deputy press secretary. Tony Fratto told the media that Bush is not only “happy for Vice President Gore,” but also happy for the UN scientists who co-shared the award. “Obviously, it’s an important recognition, and we’re sure the vice president is thrilled,” said Fratto, dripping with insincerity.

The Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader, one of the nation’s most conservative newspapers, claimed, “The Nobel Peace Prize is worse than a joke. It's a fraud,” and called the prize a “useless medal.” The Wall Street Journal didn’t even mention Gore in its editorial the day the Nobel committee made its announcement, but listed several others who should be considered for the award. The Journal’s unscientific poll of its largely conservative upper middle-class and upper class readers that day revealed that 54 percent didn’t think Al Gore deserved the Nobel Peace Prize. One reader, reflecting the opinion of about 13,000 who disagreed with the award, called it “a joke and it encourages the pursuit of junk science for political gain.” Another reader believed, “The fear being installed from man made global warming is now officially a communist plot to control behavior.” However, among the 11,250 who believed the award was justified was one reader who believed that Al Gore, the former journalist, “did what the National Academy of Sciences could not do—explain the issue in a way that non-scientists can understand.”

For more than three decades, Al Gore has been one of the nation’s strongest voices for the protection of the environment. His first book, Earth in the Balance (1992), had pushed protection of the environment onto the national political agenda; as vice-president, he became the Clinton Administration’s primary advocate to protect the environment and the nation’s natural resources.

During the past seven years, Gore co-founded a major TV cable network (Current TV), which was honored with an Emmy in 2007; wrote the best-selling book about the effects of global warming, An Inconvenient Truth (2006), which was turned into a box office hit that won an Oscar for the best documentary; wrote a best-seller, The Assault on Reason (2007), which received the Quill Award for history/current events/politics; and increased his public appearances to speak out about a number of social issues, including environmental protection.

During the past seven years, George W. Bush spun a nation not only into a war that has destroyed the environment and natural resources of Iraq, but had also begun a war in America that is leading to a destruction of its environment and natural resources. President Bush consistently ignored the evidence of global warming, and suppressed the views of government scientists. He allowed Enron and other energy companies to direct the nation’s energy policy. With a cabinet that includes persons who either were employed by large oil and coal companies or were paid lobbyists against environmental protections, he reduced federal environmental rules. He believes that most of the 250 million acres under jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management should be available so private industry can strip the resources for their own economic gain. He has allowed extensive off-shore drilling, increased the incursion by mining companies, and allowed logging companies to devastate federal lands. He is a leading advocate for allowing oil companies to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, claiming it’s for “national security,” but completely oblivious to the reality that such intrusion would severely alter the balance of nature, while yielding little gas and oil for the American people. He has permitted gas-spewing recreational vehicles to tear up federal parks and permanently disturb the wildlife. He reversed himself on a campaign pledge to reduce acceptable levels of carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, and determined that higher levels of arsenic and other toxins in drinking water was acceptable. He reduced the effectiveness of the Environmental Protection Agency, preferring companies to undergo “voluntary compliance,” and eliminated the tax upon the oil and chemical industries that paid for the clean up of SuperFund toxic waste sites. It’s now the taxpayers not polluters who are paying for clean-up operations.

Within months of his first inaugural, Bush withdrew the United States from the Kyoto Protocol that called for global environmental protection by stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions. With Australia about to sign the Protocol, 173 nations will have signed the agreement; the U.S. is now the only industrialized nation not to sign.

And now, on a Monday evening after Thanksgiving, President George W. Bush was meeting with five American Nobel laureates, including Al Gore. By all accounts, a 40-minute private meeting with Mr. Gore was “cordial.” The President, after snubbing the former vice-president when the Nobel committee made its announcement, could now be cordial. He had personally called Gore to make sure the former vice-president was available, and was willing to rearrange the White House schedule to accommodate Mr. Gore. At the post-Thanksgiving ceremony, Bush could smile and backslap. After all, George W. Bush was president, and nothing that Al Gore was doing to protect the environment would ever be enough to erase this president’s political ability to alter the environment to benefit corporate interests.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Kenyan Riot Police Turn Back Rallying Protesters

NAIROBI, Kenya — Nairobi degenerated into violence again on Thursday, as riot police officers used tear gas, batons and water cannons to push back thousands of opposition supporters who poured into the streets to answer a call for a million-person rally that had been banned by the government.

But later in the day, Kenya’s attorney general broke ranks with the president and insisted on an independent investigation into disputed election results. It was the first clear indication of the growing divide not just on the streets but also within Kenya’s government about how to resolve a crisis that has ignited chaos and ethnic fighting across the country, killing more than 300 people in the past four days.

Starting about 10 a.m., protesters burned tires, smashed windows and clashed with the police across this capital.

Some demonstrators showed restraint, yelling to the rowdier members in their ranks, “Drop your stones!” Others tore through the slums, witnesses said, raping women and attacking people with machetes. The body of one young man who had been hacked to death lay in a muddy alley. His face was covered with plastic bags and his shoes had been stolen.
The trouble even spilled into the garden of the Serena Hotel, one of the fanciest in town. Guests in safari vests watched the turmoil from the balconies of their $400-a-night rooms. Police officers in padded suits charged a scrum of demonstrators and fired tear gas. As soon as the acrid smoke wafted up, the tourists ducked inside.

“This country is going to burn!” a protester yelled.

It has been a week since Kenyans went to the polls in the most highly contested elections in the country’s history, and the dispute over whether Mwai Kibaki, the president, honestly won the most votes continues to destabilize the nation.

The government and opposition leaders blame each other for the bloodshed, trading accusations of genocide and ethnic cleansing. They have set such strict conditions on negotiating that nothing — including the entreaties of Western ambassadors, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the cries of their own people — has succeeded in getting talks started.

Kenya’s two biggest newspapers printed the identical banner headline on Thursday: “Save Our Beloved Country.”
Kenya’s attorney general, Amos Wako, said on Thursday afternoon that an independent body should investigate the disputed vote tabulations, which gave the president, at the 11th hour of the counting process, a razor-thin margin of victory. Western officials and opposition leaders have been calling for such an inquiry.

However, it is not clear if Mr. Kibaki will agree to this. A few hours after the attorney general spoke, the president reiterated at a news conference that he had won the elections fair and square and would not relinquish power.

“I will personally lead this nation in healing,” he said.

Alfred Mutua, the government’s top spokesman, said that Mr. Wako was merely making a suggestion and that an independent investigation into election irregularities “was not necessarily going to happen.”

“The president prefers the court system,” Mr. Mutua said, meaning the opposition could file a complaint in court, which most people here think is futile. But, he added, “the president has nothing to hide.”

Foreign diplomats have been meeting day and night to find a way to ease tension between Mr. Kibaki and Raila Odinga, the top opposition leader, who says he was cheated out of the presidency.

Until last week, Kenya was one of the most promising countries on the continent, but the ethnic violence, fueled by political passions, is threatening to ruin that reputation. The economy, one of the biggest in Africa, has ground to a halt. Roads are blocked. Shops are closed. Factories are idle. The currency, the Kenyan shilling, is taking a dive.

The World Bank said on Thursday that the unrest threatened Kenya’s impressive recent economic growth and poverty reduction, citing business leaders’ estimates that the country was losing some $30 million a day.

And the ills here are hurting the entire region. Gas stations in Rwanda are now rationing fuel because their supply from Kenya has been cut. In Uganda, Sudan and Congo, displaced people are running low on food because United Nations relief trucks cannot get past vigilante checkpoints. Production in places like Tanzania is slowing because materials that come from Kenya have not arrived.

“Kenya is the dynamo of this whole region,” said Harvey Rouse, a diplomat for the European Union.

Mr. Rouse spoke from a hill overlooking an enormous slum where the police were battling protesters.

The slum, named Kibera, has become the protesters’ stage. Every morning, journalists take their spots on the hillside, police officers line up at the mouth of a road leading from the shanties to the glass towers downtown and protesters mass in the streets, screaming slogans, lighting fires and burning pictures of the president. On Thursday it was an effigy stuffed with greasy rags.

Thursday was supposed to be the day that Mr. Odinga’s supporters rallied in downtown Nairobi at a place called Uhuru Park. But they never got close.

The government has banned all political rallies, and thousands of riot police officers fanned out at dawn to seal off the main routes into the city. They refused to let any demonstrators pass.

Many of the protesters seemed harmless, like the hundreds of women carrying palm leaves and walking barefoot to town. They were chased away, choking on tear gas and clawing at their eyes.

Others’ intentions were not so clear. One young protester crouched in the street with a green leaf, the sign of peace, in one hand and a rock in the other.

“We have been patient long enough!” he yelled.

It is difficult to tell which way things are going here. In the past two days, there have been no big attacks, like the one on Tuesday in which up to 50 people hiding in a church were burned alive in a village in the west. But reports from the provinces indicate the killings are still going on.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The United States and the developing country

Politics and economics had his devout connections in organising the country!
The strength of the country was located in how the elites determined his authority trip?
Developing countries must could copy how the USA became the superpower's country!!!
The strength fuul fower that not only all of a sudden came just like that but owing to strong and firm efforts!

America: The Presidents, The Politics And The Wars

by: nick carter

The United States of America used to pride itself on a reputation for diplomacy and integrity. The world's largest economy, land of the capitalist dream. Immigrants would flock to America looking for their chance in life, looking to make a go of it all for their family. Then something went wrong. The global perception of the US changed, and suddenly the ethical and moral high ground was destroyed by needless bloodshed and political interference beyond the scope of their global role.

The Vietnam war - a tragedy of greed and senseless aggression. Vietnam wasn't an American war, yet it was this involvement that started the cycle of distrust and negative feeling towards the United States and everything it stood for. And that's not to mention the horrendous loss of life, and the destruction of lives caused by politically motivated violence. You'd think we'd learn our lesson, huh?

In 2003, George W. Bush with the support of Tony Blair sent hundreds of thousands of troops to invade Iraq on the premise of 'illegal weapons programmes' and 'imminent threats'. A chip off the old block, some would say. George H. W. Bush's invasion of 1990 failed to overthrow the regime or gain control of the wealth of oil in Iraq. His son was more fortunate.

One of the most controversial American authors of our time, Bob Miller has been a staunch campaigner against the Bush administrations of now and then, since back in 1976. A Veteran of the Vietnam war, Miller has been cast as a pariah, a renegade, and has even been taken into custody by the US Secret Service for his outspoken approach to American politics. Nevertheless Miller has continued his relentless attack on the Bush regime and everything it stands for, traveling the country to deliver his opinions on the real motives of the Bush family.

A Republican himself, Miller is no stranger to the world of political activism. Yet his controversial branding in the mainstream media has seen him cast aside as yet another extremist, unpatriotic and senseless. However, with his latest book "Kill Me If You Can, You SOB", Miller aims to express the true horrors of the Vietnam war, without descending into the same old 'this and that' of the Bush dynasty and their own brand of extremism.

Without forming opinions for the reader or giving a blow by blow account of the war and the politics behind it, Miller's latest effort is based on diary entries from his time in the war, telling the tale more graphically than could otherwise be possible of the horrors behind the wars and foreign policy of the Bush administrations.

As Miller was quoted as saying, "Bush has spent the lives of thousands of young Americans and billions of dollars for oil, not terrorists, and everyone knew it. To have participated in this needless savagery in any way is not only hypocritical, it's blasphemous. And to blame the son, and not the father, is like blaming the puppet, not the puppeteer. Like his father Prescott Bush, George H.W. Bush's epitaph should read, 'Here lies incomprehensible evil.'"

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

American Catholics In the New Gilded Age

By Daniel J. Morrissey | JANUARY 7, 2008
W hat a difference a few months make. Early last summer, knowledgeable observers were saying that we live in a new gilded age. The compensation of top business leaders had reached astronomical levels, with C.E.O.s being paid on average almost 400 times what the typical worker earns. And that did not even count what some business officials had been stealing from their shareholders in a string of scandals. Even the Enron-scale corruption of the post-bubble period was being eclipsed by the latest trend in corporate kleptomania, options back-dating.

Of Many Things

By Drew Christiansen | JANUARY 7, 2008
T he love command, love of God and love of neighbor—it does not get more basic than that. It is the heart of Jesus’ message and, by Jesus’ reading, of the Hebrew Scriptures too: “On these,” Jesus tells the Pharisees, “hang all the law and the prophets” (Mt 22:40). In Christianity, especially Western Christianity, the unity of love of God and love of neighbor is axiomatic. It was surprising, nonetheless, that 138 Muslim leaders writing Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders last October made the love command a central element of their letter.

Iran and the Bomb: Defusing Tensions

A proposal to promote regional stability

By Alon Ben-Meir | JANUARY 7, 2008

the cover of America, the Catholic magazineA lthough the recently published National Intelligence Estimate has changed the nature of the international discussion about Iran’s nuclear ambition, it has not answered the question of Iran’s ultimate intention to acquire nuclear weapons. Whereas the intelligence estimate suggests with “high probability” that Iran froze its nuclear weapons program in 2003, neither the United States nor Israel, distrustful of Iran’s intentions, believe that the findings warrant a new reconciliatory approach toward Iran. Yet the new report offers the Bush administration an opportunity and imposes a new obligation to engage Iran through direct and unconditional negotiations in an effort to defuse the nuclear issue and substantially improve the prospects for regional stability.