Saturday, 15 March 2008

Friday, 15th March 2008


Germany won a guarantee Friday that big industrial energy users would be protected from the full force of Europe's emissions trading plan if rivals like the United States or China did not agree to similar measures.
The decision, at the close of a two-day summit meeting of European Union leaders, reflected growing concern about the economic impact of the EU's landmark agreement a year ago to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by one-fifth from 1990 levels by 2020.
Germany, France, Austria, Italy and the Czech Republic led the push for the concession, arguing that, without certainty over what would happen without a global deal on climate change, European heavy industries would lose investment and jobs.
Ahead of the summit meeting, Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden opposed such a move on the grounds that it would signal that the EU had already discounted the prospect of winning a wider global agreement.
Instead, they backed a European Commission plan to review the situation in 2010 or 2011 when it becomes clear whether international agreements for the period after 2013 have been reached.

Hopes are high, as are the hurdles, for alternative fuel
Biofuel, a technology once championed by Henry Ford and Rudolph Diesel, is roaring back into public consciousness after almost a century of oblivion.
Among the factors contributing to its comeback are soaring oil prices, climate concerns and government anxiety over dwindling oil reserves. The combination has led more than 40 governments to enact biofuel consumption mandates that not only set annual targets for adoption but also provide tax incentives and subsidies to the companies supporting this emerging technology.
To varying degrees, it is working. As of 2007, WorldBioPlant.Com, a database service created to track biofuel development, reports that there were 954 biofuel plants - 386 biodiesel and 565 bioethanol - in 56 countries with a cumulative output capacity in excess of 43 billion gallons, or 163 billion liters.

Bear Stearns , one of the most venerable names on Wall Street, turned to a rival bank and the Federal Reserve for a rare last-minute bailout Friday to prevent it from collapsing due to a grave liquidity crisis.
COLUMNIST - Betting the bank
When the Fed is worried about the state of the economy, it basically responds by printing more of that green paper, and using it to buy bonds from banks. The banks then use the green paper to make more loans, which causes businesses and households to spend more, and the economy expands.
This process can be almost magical in its effects: A committee in Washington gives some technical instructions to a trading desk in New York, and just like that, the economy creates millions of jobs.
But sometimes the magic doesn't work. And this is one of those times.
So now the Fed is following one of the options suggested in that 2004 paper, which was about things to do when conventional monetary policy isn't getting any traction. Instead of following its usual practice of buying only safe U.S. government debt, the Fed announced this week that it would put $400 billion - almost half its available funds - into other stuff, including bonds backed by, yes, home mortgages. The hope is that this will stabilize markets and end the panic.
Officially, the Fed won't be buying mortgage-backed securities outright: it's only accepting them as collateral in return for loans. But it's definitely taking on some mortgage risk. Is this, to some extent, a bailout for banks? Yes.
Still, that's not what has me worried. I'm more concerned that despite the extraordinary scale of Bernanke's action - to my knowledge, no advanced country's central bank has ever exposed itself to this much market risk - the Fed still won't manage to get a grip on the economy. You see, $400 billion sounds like a lot, but it's still small compared with the problem.
I used to think that the major issues facing the next president would be how to get out of Iraq and what to do about health care. At this point, however, I suspect that the biggest problem for the next administration will be figuring out which parts of the financial system to bail out, how to pay the cleanup bills and how to explain what it's doing to an angry public.
President Bush on Friday acknowledged more starkly than ever that the economy has slipped into trouble, dogged by falling home prices and turmoil in financial markets, but he inveighed against government bailouts aimed at limiting the pain.
“Our economy obviously is going through a tough time,” the president told the Economic Club of New York in a morning speech at a Midtown Manhattan hotel. “The temptation of Washington is to say that anything short of a massive government intervention in the housing market amounts to inaction. I strongly disagree with that sentiment.
“I believe there ought to be action,” Mr. Bush added, “but I’m deeply concerned about law and regulation that will make it harder for the markets to recover.”
Shortly after Mr. Bush spoke,
Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, issued fresh warnings about the gathering wave of home foreclosures while pledging new regulations to limit the impact and crack down on predatory mortgage lending.
“Foreclosure rates have increased substantially,” Mr. Bernanke said during a speech in Washington before a meeting of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
“Behind these disturbing statistics are families facing personal and financial hardship and neighborhoods that may be destabilized by clusters of foreclosures,” Mr. Bernanke said. “These realities challenge us to find ways to prevent preventable foreclosures” and “ensure a regulatory environment that promotes responsible lending.”
Call him Citigroup's $200 million man.
Vikram Pandit was paid more than that for taking over as chief executive of the embattled bank. Pandit received about $165.2 million in connection with the sale of Old Lane Partners, the investment firm that Citigroup bought last April for as much as $800 million to lure him to the company.
He received an additional $2.7 million in annual pay in the roughly six months he led Citigroup's investment bank and alternative investments group.
And in January, Pandit was given a sign-on grant of stock and performance-based options worth more than $48 million, though the options have no cash value. That brings the total to at least $216 million.
In theory, Pandit and three other top executives received only their salary in 2007 because of Citigroup's poor performance - shares tumbled 47 percent, and the bank had more than $20 billion in write-offs.
In practice, they were given multimillion-dollar deferred cash and equity awards in January.

The roaring success of the European Fine Art Fair which opened on March 6 and closes this Sunday in the most unfavorable economic environment ever demonstrates yet again that the art market has a life of its own. More importantly, it highlights the fundamental reason accounting for the independent course that it follows: No collector can any longer afford to pass up a major opportunity on the off chance that it might turn up again. It will not.

Why Shariah?
In some sense, the outrage about according a degree of official status to Shariah in a Western country should come as no surprise. No legal system has ever had worse press. To many, the word "Shariah" conjures horrors of hands cut off, adulterers stoned and women oppressed. By contrast, who today remembers that the much-loved English common law called for execution as punishment for hundreds of crimes, including theft of any object worth five shillings or more? How many know that until the 18th century, the laws of most European countries authorized torture as an official component of the criminal-justice system? As for sexism, the common law long denied married women any property rights or indeed legal personality apart from their husbands. When the British applied their law to Muslims in place of Shariah, as they did in some colonies, the result was to strip married women of the property that Islamic law had always granted them — hardly progress toward equality of the sexes.
How is it that what so many Westerners see as the most unappealing and premodern aspect of Islam is, to many Muslims, the vibrant, attractive core of a global movement of Islamic revival? The explanation surely must go beyond the oversimplified assumption that Muslims want to use Shariah to reverse feminism and control women — especially since large numbers of women support the Islamists in general and the ideal of Shariah in particular.Is Shariah the Rule of Law?
One reason for the divergence between Western and Muslim views of Shariah is that we are not all using the word to mean the same thing. Although it is commonplace to use the word "Shariah" and the phrase "Islamic law" interchangeably, this prosaic English translation does not capture the full set of associations that the term "Shariah" conjures for the believer. Shariah, properly understood, is not just a set of legal rules. To believing Muslims, it is something deeper and higher, infused with moral and metaphysical purpose. At its core, Shariah represents the idea that all human beings — and all human governments — are subject to justice under the law.
Turkey's secular establishment aimed a desperate blow against the governing party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday, when a senior prosecutor filed a legal case to shut down the party.
The lawsuit, filed in the Constitutional Court, the highest in the country, seeks closure because of what it said were anti-secular activities of the party, Justice and Development. The prosecutor who filed the case, Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, also asked for 71 party members, including Erdogan, to be banned from politics for five years.
"The AK Party has become a hotbed of activities against secularism," the state-run Anatolian News Agency quoted the lawsuit as saying, referring to the party's initials in Turkish.
The Norwegian government proposed a marriage law Friday that would give gay couples the same rights as heterosexuals, including church weddings, adoption and assisted pregnancies.
The new legislation would replace a 1993 law that granted gays the right to enter civil unions similar to marriage but did not give them other benefits enjoyed by married couples.
"This new marriage law is a step forward along the lines of voting rights for all and equality laws," said Minister of Children and Equality Anniken Huitfeldt.
The measure gives gays the right to a church wedding but does not require any minister or religious organization to perform the ceremony. The proposal also grants the right to assisted pregnancies to lesbians and allows gays to be considered as adoptive parents.
Isa Kamari is a Singaporean whose book "Intercession" (published in Malay as "Tawassul" and due out in English translation later this year) features a clone of the Prophet Muhammad.
The genesis of his book lay in the attacks of Sept. 11, 1991. Thinking about what could trigger such terror, he decided that the issue was history - that interpretations of the past were hindering the future. He wants his faith to be adaptive, inclusive and progressive, drawing on principles established in the past but made relevant to the present.
"That's why actually I created this character - the clone of the Prophet. In my story I put him in a community. Biologically he has all the traits of the Prophet but the question is, could historical man be repeated? I try to portray this person using experience from the past and trying to adapt to the current situation," Isa said.

BERLIN - 1933
A protest against the activities of Nazi storm troppers was lodged by Andre Francois-Poncet, the French ambassador, with Foreign Minister von Neurath today [Mar.14.] The ambassador pointed out that the occupation of the Kehl barracks recently by Nazi armed troops, following on the heels of an incident of Huningen bridge, was of a character which might disturb Franco-German relations.
“We face a crisis in Afghanistan that is extraordinarily difficult for our country and for the NATO alliance,” the under secretary of state for political affairs, R. Nicholas Burns, said just before stepping down at the end of last month. “For NATO, it may be an existential crisis.

A suspected high-level al Qaeda member who helped Osama bin Laden elude U.S. forces in Afghanistan has been captured and sent to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, the Pentagon said on Friday.
The detainee, Muhammad Rahim, helped prepare the Tora Bora caves used as a hide-out for bin Laden in Afghanistan in 2001, and helped him escape during the U.S.-led invasion that followed the September 11, 2001, attacks, officials said.
He also tried to procure chemicals for a plan to attack U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan and to recruit people with access to U.S. military facilities, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
"He is a close associate of Osama bin Laden and had close ties to al Qaeda organizations throughout the Middle East," Whitman said.

Cambridge, Massachusetts
Leadership theorists suggest we should pay less attention to leaders' policy promises than to their emotional intelligence - mastery of the self and outreach to others.
Contrary to the view that emotions always interfere with thinking, the ability to understand and regulate emotions can make overall thinking more effective. As Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously quipped after meeting Franklin D. Roosevelt: "a second-class intellect but a first-class temperament."
In the view of the Canadian political leader Michael Ignatieff, "It was not merely that the president [President George W. Bush] did not take the care to understand Iraq. He also did not take the care to understand himself. The sense of reality that might have saved him from catastrophe would have taken the form of some warning bell sounding inside, alerting him that he did not know what he was doing. . . . He had led a charmed life, and in charmed lives warning bells do not sound." Like Woodrow Wilson, Bush's stubborn commitment to his vision inhibited learning.
So how can voters judge a candidate's capacity to govern?
But most important is biography. While latter day conversions and acting can disguise character, an integrated life over time is the best source of clues about the authenticity of the next president's temperament and how he or she will govern.
An American sex scandal
How low you have sunk in publishing an editorial on Eliot Spitzer ("Governor Spitzer and his 'private matter,' " March 12). The United States is at war, the economy is on the verge of bankruptcy, confidence in the government and private sectors has evaporated and respect for America is at an all time low.
The news media, which has the responsibility to inform the public on matters of concern, distracts its audience by focusing on this subject.
If Spitzer caused public harm then he can be nailed on those grounds, but investigating and judging his private life according to ancient sexual concepts pulls down the strongest democratic nation to the level of theocratic, authoritarian regimes that stone women to death for alleged adultery and permit honor crimes.
H. Meyerhoff, Geneva
Elliot Spitzer has resigned for a sexual peccadillo; it was unwise of him to transport a prostitute across state lines. His transgression has cast doubt on all his efforts to reform, much to the joy of Wall Street. Spitzer deserved to be criticized, but resignation?
Meanwhile, a distinguished sailor, Admiral William Fallon, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, may have been fired for doing his job ("Under fire, U.S. chief in Mideast is retiring," March 13). And let's not forget that the president lied to take the United States into an unnecessary war for reasons that have still not been declared.
What hypocrisy. What a reversal of real ethical standards.
Joe Roeber, London

COLUMNIST - The rank-link imbalance
Every society produces its own distinct brand of social misfits, I suppose, but our social structure seems to produce significant numbers of people with rank-link imbalances. That is to say, they have all of the social skills required to improve their social rank, but none of the social skills that lead to genuine bonding. They are good at vertical relationships with mentors and bosses, but bad at horizontal relationships with friends and lovers.
Perhaps they grow up in homes with an intense success ethos and get fed into the Achievatron, the complex social machine that takes young children and molds them into Ivy League valedictorians.
They go through the oboe practice, soccer camp, homework marathon childhood. Their parent-teacher conferences are like mini-Hall of Fame enshrinements as all gather to worship at the flame of their incipient success. In high school, they enter their Alpha Geekdom. They rack up great grades and develop that coating of arrogance that forms on those who know that in the long run they will be more successful than the beauties and jocks who get dates.
Then they go into one of those fields like law, medicine or politics, where a person's identity is defined by career rank. They develop the specific social skills that are useful on the climb up the greasy pole: the capacity to imply false intimacy; the ability to remember first names; the subtle skills of effective deference; the willingness to stand too close to other men while talking and touching them in a manly way.
And, of course, these people succeed and enjoy their success. When Bigness descends upon them, they dominate every room they enter and graciously share their company with those who are thrilled to meet them. They master the patois of globaloney - the ability to declaim for portentous minutes about the revolution in world affairs brought about by technological change/environmental degradation/the fundamental decline in moral values.
They treat their conversational partners the way the Nazis treated Poland. They crush initial resistance, and the onslaught of accumulated narcissism is finally too much to bear.
But then, gradually, some cruel cosmic joke gets played on them.
They realize in middle age that their grandeur is not enough and that they are lonely. The ordinariness of their intimate lives is made more painful by the exhilaration of their public success. If they were used to limits in public life, maybe it would be easier to accept the everydayness of middle-aged passion. But, of course, they are not.
And so the crisis comes. Perhaps alpha male gorillas don't wake up in the middle of the night feeling sorry for themselves because "nobody knows the real me." But those of us in the business of covering the great and the powerful know that human leaders have an almost limitless capacity for self-pity.
They seek to heal the hurt. Maybe they frequent prostitutes because transactional relationships are something they understand. Or they just act like complete idiots.
I don't know if you've seen a successful politician or business tycoon get drunk and make a pass at a woman. It's like watching a St. Bernard try to French kiss. It's all overbearing, slobbering, desperate wanting. There's no self-control, no dignity.
These Type A men are just not equipped to have normal relationships. All their lives they've been a walking Asperger's Convention, the kings of the emotionally avoidant. Because of disuse, their sensitivity synapses are still performing at preschool levels.
So when they decide that they do in fact have an inner soul and it's time to take it out for a romp. . . Well, let's just say they've just bought a ticket on the self-immolation express. Some desperate lunge toward intimacy is sure to follow, some sad attempt at bonding. Welcome to the land of the wide stance.
Maybe they'd be OK if somewhere along the way they'd had true friends, defined as a group of people who share a mutual inability to take each other seriously. Maybe they'd be prepared for what is about to happen if they'd subordinated their quest for immortality to the joys of domestic ridicule.
But they are completely unprepared. And in the middle of some perfectly enjoyable dinner party, a woman will suddenly find a tongue in her ear.
I once visited a home in which the host had photos of himself delivering commencement addresses lining the stairway wall. I've heard countless presidential candidates say they are running on behalf of their families even though their entire lives have been spent on the campaign trail away from their families.
These are rank-link tragedies waiting to happen. The reputation recovery interview on "Larry King" is but a few steps away.
The problem of Americans is that they think violence is fun. Well, the fun stops here, people. Ann and George (Naomi Watts and Tim Roth) drive out to the country with their young son, Georgie (Devon Gearhart), towing their lovely wooden sailboat behind their Land Rover and listening to opera CDs. As they settle into their tasteful, gated vacation home, the family is confronted by two well-spoken young sociopaths, who in the course of the following night torment them with a knife, a gun, a golf club and impeccable prep school manners. These fellows variously address each other as Peter and Paul, Tom and Jerry and Beavis and Butt-Head (Leopold and Loeb would have given the game away), and they are played by Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet.
Pitt, blue-eyed and baby-faced, appears to be the calm, ironical alpha predator, while Corbet, acting skittish and high-strung, looks like the weaker, crazier one. But that might just be part of the game they and Haneke are playing, since the whole point of Peter and Paul is that they function without identifiable motive or affect.
When asked by George - his leg smashed, his hands tied, his eyes wide with terror - "Why are you doing this?," Pitt's character responds with answers that parody the kind of facile back story usually applied in cases like this: unhappy childhood; sexual instability; class resentment; bad education. All of it is facetious, and none of it explains anything.
"Why don't you just kill us and get it over with?" George whimpers. His would-be killer's reply - "What about entertainment?" - carries beyond the screen, where the voyeuristic masses are implicated in the gruesome spectacle of senseless cruelty. Are we, though? What if the guilt trip never takes off? Or, even worse, what if the American audience were to embrace Haneke's vision not for its moral stringency but for the thrill of, say, watching Watts, bound at the ankles and wrists, hop around in her underwear? Who will be implicated then? I started out by calling Haneke a sadist, but it seems to me that he may be too naive, too delicate, to merit that designation, which should be reserved only for the greatest filmmakers.
Fax: +390 818 701 274
Vital fifties, slim 174 - BILLIONAIRESS-EUROPEAN DYNASTY - no jet-set, yet
exceedingly engaged worldwide with amazing projects. This woman has the
balance, flexibility and spontaneity, the humour and witty lightness, the wisdom &
knowledge , which will enthuse your system and enhance your success on all
levels. She resides magnificiently in USA and Western Europe, knows the entire
World, loves nature, horses, adventurous explorations and wishes
to share all this again...with a wonderful and worthy future husband - !

Predictably Irrational The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions. By Dan Ariely. 280 pages. $25.95; £16.99, Harper/HarperCollins Publishers.
For years, the ideology of free markets bestrode the world, bending politics as well as economics to its core assumption: market forces produce the best solution to any problem. But these days, even Bill Gates says capitalism's work is "unsatisfactory" for one-third of humanity, and not even Hillary Clinton supports Bill Clinton's 1990s trade pacts.
Another sign that times are changing is "Predictably Irrational," a book that both exemplifies and explains this shift in the cultural winds. Here, Dan Ariely, an economist at M.I.T., tells us that "life with fewer market norms and more social norms would be more satisfying, creative, fulfilling and fun." Obviously, this sly and lucid book is not about your grandfather's dismal science. Ariely's trade is behavioral economics, which is the study, by experiments, of what people actually do when they buy, sell, change jobs, marry and make other real-life decisions. What the past few decades of work in psychology, sociology and economics has shown, as Ariely describes, is that all three of these assumptions are false. Yes, you have a rational self, but it's not your only one, nor is it often in charge. A more accurate picture is that there are a bunch of different versions of you, who come to the fore under different conditions. We aren't cool calculators of self-interest who sometimes go crazy; we're crazies who are, under special circumstances, sometimes rational.
There are few consumer products that generate as much psychic conflict as credit cards. We love their ability to allow us to buy things on the spur of the moment, and we fear that same ability. We like knowing that we are carrying a $20,000 or $30,000 line of credit in our pockets — and we worry about the trouble such an unsecured limit can cause. Credit cards enable foolish impulse purchases, but they also make it possible to buy things on credit — furniture, television sets, refrigerators — that are absolute necessities. They help us get through crises, but they can also help create crises if we’re not careful.
Stuart Vyse, a psychology professor at Connecticut College and the author of a new book on the psychology of credit cards, said that “immediate choices are extremely powerful and difficult to resist” and that credit cards play into that desire for immediate gratification. He believes that they have played a big role in the fact that the United States now has a negative savings rate.
By the end of 2006, however, the housing bubble had ended, and so had the ability of homeowners to use home equity loans. But it was hard to turn off the debt spigot entirely because so many people had become accustomed to living beyond their means.
Sure enough, it was right about then that credit card debt began climbing. In 2004, for instance, credit card debt grew at a rate of $6.25 billion a quarter. In just the fourth quarter of 2007, it grew by $20 billion. Total credit card debt stands today at about $950 billion. That is still not close to the $11 trillion in mortgages, but it’s within spitting distance of auto loans.
It is that rapid rise in credit card debt that has the bears worried. “Never in history has the American family skidded into recession with so much debt,” Ms. Warren said.
“It is unsecured debt,” said Daniel Alpert of Westwood Capital. “Eventually people are going to hit the wall.”

Against Happiness In Praise of Melancholy By Eric G. Wilson 166 pages. $20. Sarah Chrichton Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
It is a short but laborious book, and it begins: "Ours are ominous times. Each nervous glance portends some potential disaster. Paranoia most mornings shocks us to wakefulness, and we totter out under the ghostly sun. At night fear agitates the darkness."
It's a hilarious opening, and you smell parody here as the author ticks off the ominous things that shock him awake in the morning - the holes in the ozone , the extinction of animal species, global warming , nuclear arms, the threat of human extinction - and then you come through a dark thicket and over a field of jagged rocks and you find his thesis: American obsession with happiness, typified by the widespread use of antidepressants, is eliminating melancholia, the wellspring of creativity, the source of so much great art and poetry and music. Kafka, Hart Crane, Jackson Pollock, Tennessee Williams, Mark Rothko, melancholics all, so why shouldn't we accept our own bleakness and take long walks in the winter woods and look at the gnarled limbs of trees and struggle with the inscrutable and accept the beauty of permanent turmoil?
It's a good old-fashioned broadside against American optimism - the mass of men lead lives of shallow happiness, the superior man exults in his gloom.
The Man Who Made Lists Love, Death, Madness, and the Creation of Roget's Thesaurus By Joshua Kendall 297 pages. $25.95. G.P. Putnam's Sons. $25.95.
The "categorical imperative" means something quite different, but it does sound like the right term for the self-protective psychological urge that drove Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869), creator of the Thesaurus, to classify and categorize all manner of things over a long lifetime. Madness did not just run in his family; it galloped, sped, sprinted, dashed and made haste. If the title of Joshua Kendall's fine new biography of Roget has a clinical Oliver Sacks feel, the material pretty much justifies it.
"The Man Who Made Lists" outlines the "chronic mental instability" of Roget's maternal grandmother; the "psychotic trance" in which his mother spent her last days after a life of neurotic "neediness"; the breakdowns undergone by Roget's sister and daughter (he married late and was widowed early); and the grief-driven, throat-slashing suicide of his uncle, the great British civil libertarian Samuel Romilly, who expired in Roget's blood-soaked arms.
Roget himself turned out humorless and judgmental, beset with a "paranoid streak" as well as melancholy and shyness, not to mention a horror of "dirt and disorder" - the Thesaurus entry for "uncleanness" is a lollapalooza. So one can scarcely be surprised by the refuge he seems to have taken in workaholism and an assortment of small compulsions, including his "obsession with counting." ("I every day go up at least 320 steps.") He took particular pleasure in an ability to control the movements of the iris in his own eye.
Since 1852, Roget's has, Kendall explains, "lost 10 concepts - it's down to 990 - but it has gained a couple hundred thousand new words." Kendall's faith in the product makes him claim that the Thesaurus can help authors "figure out what they are trying to say." But just as often the book can provide them with the illusion that they have something to say. Kendall talks affectionately of the young Sylvia Plath's enthusiasm for the Thesaurus (she calls herself "Roget's strumpet" in a 1956 diary entry), but he might note that Plath found her real voice only when, in writing the poems in "Ariel" at a white-hot clip, she threw away her studied academic diction and let her own pent-up language spill onto the page.

"Those who turned to violence in North Mitrovica have crossed one of UNMIK's red lines," the UN official, Joachim Rücker, said in a statement issued Friday. "This is completely unacceptable. I have instructed UNMIK police to restore law and order in the north and to ensure that the court house is again under UN control."
A decade and a half ago, this time in Oslo, Palestinians and Israelis decided - this time for themselves - to tune their instruments to a different melody. Last November at Annapolis, the international community underwrote that score: Within a year, a Palestinian state would be the finale of the peace symphony.
The thinking was: You get a deal and all falls into place. But, Blair notes, no deal was ever cut. Unlike the Good Friday Agreement over Northern Ireland, the only agreement has been to agree to reach an agreement.
So the former British prime minister is seeking to replay the original music. The way forward, he argues, is not to try to cut a deal on an agreement first: "For the Palestinian state to succeed, you need to start getting the reality of that state on the ground before political negotiations can be meaningful. The state is not about an agreement, but about Palestinian capabilities in handling security and their economy."
PENANG, Malaysia
Hundreds of ruling party members protested outside the administrative headquarters of the opposition-ruled state of Penang on Friday in the first sign of partisan tensions after the weekend elections, police said.
The United Malays National Organization members were demanding that the newly installed Penang government retain affirmative action policies for the majority Malays, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to make public statements.
What actually sparked the violence is unclear, as accounts differed between Chinese and Tibetan residents. Monks from the Ramoche Temple, located a short walk from the market, reportedly began to march in the Barkhor area.
The Ramoche monks intended to protest the rough treatment of monks who had marched earlier in the week, according to a Tibetan activist in the United States who has communicated with people in Lhasa.
When police officers began beating the monks, ordinary Tibetans rioted in the Barkhor area, the activist said. Angry mobs set fire to a police car and a store owned by a Chinese shopkeeper, the activist said.
But a Chinese travel agent in Lhasa, reached by telephone, said Tibetans had instigated the violence and set fire to an empty tour bus parked outside the Ramoche Temple. Another Chinese resident described 50 or 60 young Tibetans burning stores owned by Chinese merchants as well as two fire trucks and two police cars.
"I saw someone who was dead and covered in a sheet," the Chinese resident said in a telephone interview. "The Tromsikhang market was destroyed, except for the shops owned by Tibetans. I heard a soldier shouting, 'Please go home and stop fighting!' "

BAA, the airport operator, promised speedier check-in and rapid passage through security controls, but one feature of the gleaming new steel-and-glass terminal seemed unchanged from its predecessors: With 112 retail outlets, including Fortnum & Mason and Cartier, Terminal Five will be as much a temple of consumption as a place to board airplanes.


No comments: