December 7, 2007

Venezuela, Chavez sour looser

The people of Venezuela went to the polls last week to decide if they would permit Chavez proposed referendums change the make-up of the presidency. The referendum would have made the president a lifetime position completely in control of the national bank, according to the BBC.

Simply put, he lost by a very close margin. The Washington Post reported several times as the votes were being counted electronically, and when the results came out three days late, they showed a 51% against the referendum, defeating Chavez proposal.

He is not happy about this.

Once again, Chavez says that he would shut down the opposition TV stations, just like he shut down RCTV, if those stations would continue to broadcast bias against his regime and try to create a front against him. He also warned opposition parties that this isn't the last that they will see of his referendums, because he plans on getting this one, or something like it, passed by the end of his current term in 2012, reported the Washington Post.

December 2, 2007

Conditions in Iraq

The New York Times opens up its argument for Iraq corruption in the lead of its latest story on the country, "Jobless men pay $500 bribes to join the police. Families build houses illegally on government land, carwashers steal water from public pipes, and nearly everything the government buys or sells can now be found on the black market." These, and other crimes lead to Iraq being ranked 3rd most corrupt country in the world according to Transparency International, which is a group that publishes the corruption list annually.

In northern Iraq things haven't gotten better under U.S. control either. Turkish troops recently killed 30 members of what they claimed were a terrorist organization. The BBC reports, "As many as 3,000 PKK members are believed to be based inside northern Iraq. Turkey has accused the local Kurdish authorities of supporting them, our correspondent says."

Corruption reigns, and a war is being fought in the north: two pieces of bad news for the United States who originally came in to stop both.

November 30, 2007

Putin speech prompts impromptu Kasparof press conference

Chess grand champion Gary Kasparov was released today after a week in jail. An event that was overshadowed by a well-timed President Valdmir Putin speech.

Putin urged the public to stand behind United Russian, his party that is expected to dominate the upcoming election based on the progress that Russia has made under his term as president.

Kasparov and others from his Other Russia party were imprisoned when the "coalition tried to deliver a letter to federal election officials contending that the parliamentary election this Sunday is biased toward Mr. Putin’s party, United Russia

According to the Washington Post, Putin said, ""We cannot allow the return to power of those who once tried but failed to rule the country." This speech came just two hours before Kasparov was released.

November 25, 2007

The big comeback

Prezident Musharaf's biggest rival-the man he ousted and exiled-Nawaz Sharif made a sucessful comeback from exile today amid cheers of supporters.

THe BBC reported, "Supporters clapped and danced and waved the green flags of Mr Sharif's party. They shouted slogans such as 'Long live Sharif' and 'Go, Musharraf, go'". Sharif said that the police state was not conducive to free elections.

THe New York Times reported that two months ago Sharif had tried to enter the country but Musharaf had deported him from Pakistan within hours of his arival. This time, thousands of police officers protected his motorcade and kept the peace while Sharif gave a speech.

The Times further reported, "Sharif's reappearance could trigger large-scale defections from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League, made up of politicians who have backed General Musharraf's rule. Intelligence agencies assembled the PML from the remnants of Sharif's party."

The BBC noted that the people also seem to like him because, "a surge of supporters at Lahore airport who carried Mr Sharif on their shoulders."

November 13, 2007

Natural Disaster leads to Oil Spill

I Love the Times

Good reporting and great reporting can be separated based on how in depth of a story they tell. The Times has covered the Russian oil spill in a great, in-depth way by siting facts, and quoting legitimate sources.

Already in the lead, the reporter from the New York Times states that at least 11 ships sank or broke and tens of thousands of birds were covered with oil. The Post leads with the obvious fact that Russia's shore is covered with oil after a spill. In the next graphs, the Times and the Post both noted that three saliors had died, but the Times reported that 20 others were missing, and that rescuers believed them to be dead because of hypothermia.

The Post had this quote, "The damage is so huge it can hardly be evaluated. It can be compared to an ecological catastrophe," Interfax news agency quoted Alexander Tkachyov, governor of Russia's Black Sea region of Krasnodar, as saying."

The Times had these facts paraphrased, and had this quote from a survivor, "“The waves were too high, so we could not lift the anchor,? one rescued sailor said glumly in an interview on RTR television from a hospital bed in Taman, in southern Russia. “Everything happened instantly. We listed, and then we sank.?

The extensive reporting that this writer has done is incredible. I hope that I can learn to pursue a story that far when I am on deadline.

November 9, 2007

A President Calls for an Election

An election is established in a violent way in a move that seems to have the whole world guessing. The Washington Post reported that Gerogia's president Mikheil Saakashvili has declared somewhat of a martial law, but at the same time moved the presidential elections up a year from when they would originally be held.

The New York Times was a little more clear as to why Saakashvili would do this. The NYTimes reported that because of the several peaceful riots, dispersed by riot police with tear gas, Saakashvili had suffered a terrible public relations disaster. He is trying to reconcile this, by declaring a national state of emergency and outlawing outside news sources, such as the BBC.

I am by no means an expert with this kind of politics, but the only time I witnessed something of this nature was in Venezuela, when the government was trying to consolidate more power into the president.

The Washington Post reported that NATO and the United Nations did not support Saakashvili's actions, and personally I don't feel that they will lead anywhere near the peaceful, free elections that he is describing for Jan 5.

November 3, 2007

Martial Law or Emergency?

Pakistani President Pervez Musharaf declared an emergency rule yesterday, suspended the country's constitution and fired the chief justice. According to the Washington Post, Musharaf did this because of feared for Islamic extremism, the supreme court was against the rest of the government, and he wanted to extend his rule as president and army chief for another term, an issue that the supreme court was debating on. According to the Post, "The government deployed hundreds of army rangers on the streets of Islamabad, arrested some opposition figures and blacked out privately owned television stations across the country."

The New York Times said, "The police blocked journalists from entering the area, disconnected telephone lines and jammed cellphones in the area." This doesn't sound like an emergency, it sounds more like a totalitarian regime to me. Benazir Bhutto agrees with me and said, "This is not an emergency, this is martial law.

October 26, 2007

Shell is benefiting from border war

Shell's business is doing surprisingly well this quarter, a fact the company blames on the large price increase in oil between when the oil was mined and the current refining process, according to the New York Times.

Shell is really lucky more than anything, they are capitalizing on the border wars between Iran and Turkey. The Washington Post said that the possible military attack of the U.S. on Iran could skyrocket prices, which are now sitting at about $3.36/gallon.

October 17, 2007

Turkey isn't just for Thanksgiving and Christmas

Countries across the world implored Turkey to do nothing rash, but the vote was 507 to 19. Besides a small, pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party opposed the parliamentary resolution, the Turkeish parliament was compeltely in favor of military action to reduce the threat of Kurdish terrorist group Kurdistan Workers' Party, according to the Washington Post.

According to the New York Times, "The vote to authorize sending troops, which Turkish officials say gives them up to a year to take action, was, in essence, a blunt request for the United States to acknowledge Turkey’s status as an important ally in a troubled and complex region."

Among phone calls received before the legislation was passed, the Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki talked with Turkey's President Abdullah Gul and asked for more time to deal with the PKK.

October 14, 2007

Kasparov blocked

Because the Other Russia Party doesn't qualify as a "party" , the greatest chess player in world history, Gary Kasparov and another candidates will not be able to run because of new Russian laws, according to the BBC.

According to the Star Tribune, the new policies that Putin established while in office has given his party United Russia a true dominance of the Parliament. His party will be overwhelming in the Parliament and other qualified officials, not in United Russia won't get a shot at a seat.

My beef, I guess, is that possibly the world's most brilliant and creative man, who has proven to be very politically involved, has been blocked from participating in the ultimate end to politics, and that possibly Putin is creating a stronghold to invoke his policies in the Parliament and take most of the power from the disillusioned people of Russia who have been living much better since the end of communism.

Noble is one part science and one part smile

According to the New York Times, the Nobel committee described Al Gore as "probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted." And if his awards would speak to that, it is a definite truth. He has won an emmy for The Channel (cable channel), two Oscars for "An Inconvenient Truth", and now the Nobel Peace Prize for his work spreading the word about global warming.

Though it seems a little rediculous that Gore would split this award with scientists who have proven what he has professed, According to the Washington Post, Gore has played the other essential part to research, publicity. The facts recorded by the International Panel on Climate Change would only have been brought to world attention through the antics of the infamous international Gore.

October 3, 2007

This is big news! now, will it happen...

According to the BBC, in October 2002 North Korea admitted to having a secret weapons program. And, since 1945, there has never been as much as a three-day summit between North and South Korean officials

On Tuesday Oct. 2, that all changed. In the talks between U,S., China, S. Korea and others, an agreement was reached between the group and N. Korea that would stop plutonium production and would give the UN a complete update of the nuclear popwerplant programs in N. Korea, according to the New York Times. The negotialtion were agreed upon by the U.S., China, and N. Korea, and the others are suspected to follow suit soon.

October 1, 2007

Kasparov, check out that mate!

In an interesting maneuver, the Other Russia party elected Gary Kasparov as its frontrunner in the next national election according to the Startribune. The world champion chess player was a major political figure in the Other Russia party in the last few years and has helped to unite the liberal and nationalistic forces in opposition to the Kremlin.

In a surprise move, Vladimir Puttin will not be running in the next election as he feels that his four-term regime has come to a legitimate end, according to the Washington Post. As leader of the United Russia party, Putin and the Kremlin have had great ratings lately and it appears that runners such as Kasparov will fall to whoever Putin points to succeed him.

September 24, 2007

Pakistan, a new front for peace or a terrorist training camp

The BBC reports that Russia, the European Union and the United Nations now back the U.S. proposal of Pakistani peace-talks. This group, known as the Quartet, is concerned that its roadmap for peace in 2003 has seen little progress. Also, the Quartet wants to end missles being fired into the Gaza strip.

The New York Times, however, reported on a German terrorist who recently returned to Germany after a being held in Pakistan. Aleem Nasir, 45, was held for two months while he was questioned by Pakistani and Western agents about his involvement in the tribal lands of Pakistan.

While in the tribal lands, Aleem Nasir was burned and he confessed to the agents that he was injured when a bomb he was being trained to make in an Al Queda camp blew up prematurely.

September 22, 2007

U.S. Dollar Falls, But areas could really benefit

The drop in the U.S. dollar compared to the Canadian loonie and the Euro appears to have litltle affect on the average U.S. citizen, but it could cause big wave according to the New York Times. The country of Dubai on the Persian Gulf is looking into buying a large portion of the Nasdaq, which is causing some concern to U.S. economists.

Though it may not be a great things for the United States, the caribean could benefit greatly from the drop in the U.S. dollar according to the BBC. Because the Carribean is set at the dollar, everything sold there, including services, is cheaper. Since also, the Carribean imports all foodstuffs from the United States, there will not be any inflation. This makes it a much more attractive area for European vacationing.

September 16, 2007

Long-Term MIlitary Presence In Iraq

On Tuesday, Gen. David H. Petraeus gave a speech and responded to questions about the current status of Iraq.

According to the BBC, after the speeches Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) said, "It sounds to me as if Gen. Petraeus is presenting a plan for at least a 10-year, high-level US presence in Iraq."

According to the New York Times, Gen. Petraeus recommended a withdrawl of 30,000 troops from the region by next July.

According to the New York Times, when Senator John W. Warner (R) asked whether the current strategy in Iraq was "making America safer," Gen. Patraeus said, "Sir, I don't know, actually."

Currently the troops are at an all-time high of 168,000 according to the BBC.

September 12, 2007

Japanese Prime Minister Resigns

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation Wednessday September 12th.

According to the BBC, Abe said Japan needed a "new leader to fight against terrorism". Abe also said, "The people need a leader whom they can support and trust."

The New York Times reported that Abe's support rating has fallen to 30 percent and that his party's loss of control of the upper house of parliament.

The New York Times reports that Abe's drop in ratings stems from scandals within his cabinet. Four of Abe's cabinet members were forced to resign over the past nine months. One of them, agricultural minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka, killed himself before his court appearance.
According to the New York Times, Abe stood behind Matsuoka when the agricultural minister claimed he needed $42,000 for the utilities bill for his Tokyo office.