The Kenyan military has sealed off an area where land disputes have flared into violence, and witnesses said helicopter gunships opened fire to drive gunmen from forests and caves.The operation at Mount Elgon, some 500 kilometers (300 miles) northwest of Nairobi, is a reminder that the resolution — at least on paper — of an election dispute has not ended decades-old tensions over land and inequality."Always in this country, people are fighting over land," said Lucy Okello, head nurse at Kitale District Hospital, where four girls were treated Thursday for burns after their village was attacked last week, allegedly by the Sabaot Land Defense Force, a militia group fighting for the redistribution of land in western Kenya.The oldest girl, Joanne Temuko, 15, wailed and held her head in her hands as nurses applied balm to her scorched back.Thirteen other civilians were hacked, shot or burned to death in the attack. There was no claim of responsibility. A member of the SLDF, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said at the time of the attack that his group was simply trying to "correct historical injustices."
Global food shortage
Regarding the article "UN warns on food prices" (March 7): Josette Sheeran, executive director of the UN's World Food Program, has done well to press the alarm bell that international food reserves are at their lowest level in the last 30 years. She warned that WFP may have to ration food due to shortages.
Apparently, high energy and grain prices, the impact of climate change and the growing demand for biofuels have all contributed to the scarcities. And Sheeran indicated that the rise in basic food costs could continue until 2010.
Aside from climate conditions and diversion of grains for biofuels, living standards have improved and people are eating more. There are fewer people below the poverty line.
We need to augment food production by about 15-to-20 percent per year, for the next 3 years, or we may witness violence in the poorer societies of the world. This is a crucial issue confronting world leaders.
Many restaurants have already raised prices, which is impacting shopping patterns. Consumers will downgrade their food purchases in terms of quality in the first phase. In the next phase, they may cut periphery food items like fruits, soups and ice-creams. Finally, we may witness declines in consumption.
Raju Aneja Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The European Commission president, José Manuel Barroso, warned European Union leaders Thursday that the bloc would be left with "zero credibility" if they yielded to pressure to water down commitments made last year to combat global warming.
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Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, said he would ask European Union leaders to back a reduction in sales tax on environmentally electrical goods like dishwashers and lightbulbs.
The European Union will not reverse its policies on promoting biofuels because they are an "important weapon" against climate change, Mariaan Fischer Boel, the commissioner for agriculture, said Thursday.
"Bio-fuels are controversial," Boel said at a biofuels conference in Brussels. Still, "they have a solid justification. Non policy U-turn lies ahead."
Volkswagen said Thursday it would roll out more than 20 new models by the end of the decade in a bid to bolster sales to 8 million vehicles in 2011 and close the gap with Toyota Motor and General Motors.
"There are 300 million people in China poised to buy their very first car. In Russia there are 70 million. And in Asia, 250 million people aspire to motorized mobility," the VW chief executive, Martin Winterkorn, said at VW's annual news conference.
The director, 29, who was raised speaking French and English, has sampled different cultures. Her family left the Paris suburbs when she was 10 to live in Singapore. Her return as a teenager to those suburbs, the sensation of going home to a place that had gone on without her, nourished the story of the screenplay that led her to filmmaking. The film seems set in a timeless world of teenage desire, inhabited by lovely, unhappy heroines.
"I've always had a passion for fiction," she said, "and live in the world of fiction, it's always been books and graphic novels. We had a good moviehouse in our suburb. I went for the art movies, and watched bad movies on TV - but also 'Twin Peaks' and 'Indiana Jones,' very smart movies.
"I wanted to write a one-hour-and-a-half movie, plotted like an action movie, not much dialogue, with rhythm, and characters you can identify with. That was vital. Also I like popular cinema. I thought about these things because I'm more a moviegoer than an auteur so I try to be an auteur who can rise to the level of audience demands."
Sciamma at 21 was a brilliant literature postgraduate who did a six-month stint in marketing before taking a stab at the demanding exam for entrance into Fémis, the national film school. She was accepted in the screenwriting section. "I was always interested in learning a craft and writing for movies meant learning something."
The script of "Water Lilies" was her graduation project; the jury suggested that she should make her own movie.
Her own film, which has a violent bedroom defloration scene, also takes risks. The tomboy heroine realizes that she is in love with a girl and suddenly collides against the vital question: Will it always be that way for her?
When this question was put to Sciamma by interviewers, the director said that she is open in discussing her lesbianism, but nobody quite dared bring up the issue.
"Nobody asked outright," she said. "In France, we think we are so liberated, but are we? Only at Cannes: some of the interviewers got snide, all they wanted was an outing and I don't mind talking openly, but I don't like snide. In England they asked openly."
Yet in England, there are problems releasing the movie: "They have something like the Children's Protection Act - and I think that the atmosphere of the movie also disturbs them," she said.
She is very curious to see how American audiences react. "I think it's a movie that moves people. Everybody says it's a movie for Americans because it's a movie they wouldn't make there. We'll see."
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Bank balance sheets are still impaired and probably will get worse, and banks will still strictly ration credit, making interest rate cuts less effective.
"The Fed has bought some time and time is a precious commodity now," said Nick Parsons, head of markets strategy at nabCapital in London. "We'll see if it's enough, but I doubt very much that it is."
As for turning around the stock market, Parsons noted that the rally Wednesday was one of 20 since 2000 in which the S&P 500 had risen more than three percent. The other 19 were during the 2000-2003 bear market.
"Once again we think the Fed is pushing on a string," he wrote in a note to clients. He said banks' lack of appetite for risk and the "very violent price moves of hedge fund positions" were leading to the "tightening of some prime brokers' policies."
That "will not change with the Fed intervention, and should keep the threat of forced selling firmly in place," he said in the note.
If margin calls from bank prime brokerage desks, which lend money to hedge funds, keep coming, it is unlikely this will be the last of the Fed's creative efforts.
This does however bring up the issue of how much ammunition the Fed has left. Its ability to swap government debt for mortgage debt without losing control of short term rates, which is unthinkable, is limited by the size of its balance sheet.
Steve Randy Waldman, who writes at interfluidity.powerblogs.com, estimates that after the most recent $200 billion is exhausted, the Fed will have $300 billion to $400 billion left, unless it finds a way to expand its balance sheet.
And again, this is all predicated on the ability of the mortgage bonds and other securities pledged to the Fed to hold their value.
Should bonds be downgraded or the Fed change its mind about their value, the Fed might ask for its Treasury securities back.
Given that U.S. house prices are falling fast, this scenario is far from impossible.
Richard Syron, who as chief executive of Freddie Mac is at the epicenter of the housing and debt bust, was truly pessimistic in an appearance before investors and analysts.
It is an "extraordinary environment in housing finance," Syron said. "It's not incorrect to say we are in a 100-year storm in the housing industry, and we have to treat it as such."
The $25 billion Ordu Yardimlasma Kurumu fund, known as Oyak, might use some of the money for infrastructure investments like roads and bridges, its chief executive, Coskun Ulusoy, said in an interview. He said he also was interested in mines that could provide raw materials for Oyak's steel-making venture.
“It was probably done because India did not want to displease China,” Ms. Ganguly said.
Over the coming months, China will offer the world an astounding spectacle. Not the Games themselves, but rather the spectacle of a nation that is in the midst of breathtaking change and yet clings to habits of statecraft so dated that they seem like relics of the Middle Ages.
That's asking an awful lot, and like requiring someone to hold their body rigid for an extended period, it will demand an immense and painful effort, and it brings the risk of self-injury.
This brings to mind a saying about propaganda, which is defined as a kind of magic practiced by people who don't believe in it for people who do.
A crude, practical example of how this all works was delivered last week after the Icelandic singer Björk ended a concert performance of her song "Declare Independence" in Shanghai with the cry "Tibet! Tibet!" Beijing said that act not only broke Chinese law, but even more preposterously, "hurt Chinese people's feelings."
The Chinese State Council, or cabinet, released the report two days after the U.S. State Department took Beijing to task for widespread human rights violations.
China's report criticized violent crime in the United States, its large prison population and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"It is high time for the U.S. government to face its own human rights problems with courage," the report said, "and give up the unwise practices of applying double standards on human rights issues and using it to suppress other countries."
If this is true, said Lee Kin Mun, a leading political blogger who calls himself Mr. Brown, the government should "take a leaf from school exams, where security seems to be tighter" and where students must be escorted to the bathroom.
The country's founder, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, boiled the whole debacle down to one word: complacency.
He used the incident to strike again with his frequent warning that Singaporeans must work hard to protect the modern but fragile country he created from a social or economic explosion.
"It shows that it is a fallacy, it is stupid, to believe we are infallible," he said. "We are not infallible. One mistake and we've got a big explosive in our midst. So let's not take this lightly. I think it's a very severe lesson on complacency."
Sarkozy's spokesman called for calm.
She said the 39 Israeli writers being honored were mainly from the political left and supported Palestinian statehood.
"Once more, it's a closing instead of an opening," she said.
When people from the six nations were asked when they thought they would actually retire, the earliest were the French, at 64.2 years old, and the oldest the Americans, at 67.2.
"This is good news for politicians who want to move the effective age of retirement to age 65 or beyond," Sapir said. "They don't need to fear being bold in making the necessary reforms."
Never mind that they remit millions of dollars back into Ghana, or that large numbers of overseas professionals return home. By some estimates, for example, 60 percent of Africans who go to the United States eventually come back.
No, the real question is whether any human being has a greater duty to his or her "own kind" - be it race, ethnicity or nation - than to humanity as a whole. Compared to other Americans, do middle class blacks have a special responsibility to lift inner-city African-Americans out of poverty? Do Ghanaian physicians have a higher obligation - than any other doctor, in any other nation - to treat Ghanaian patients?
Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said that it would take a while before Muslim community leaders worked out a legally binding agreement with the state, but that an agreement on the issue had been reached.
"It will take some time, but we are moving ahead," Schäuble said after a third conference with representatives of Germany's estimated three million Muslims. Other participants said it would take several years before the classes became available.
During the trip, Erdogan spoke to a crowd of around 16,000 people of mainly Turkish origin in Cologne and urged them to resist assimilation, sparking criticism from Merkel and other members of her government.
"I'm not insisting that all Turks become Germans - but when they want to become German citizens they cannot remain Turkish," Schäuble told the Süddeutsche Zeitung
What is it? Two-seat supercar and sound-effects machine.
How much? $224,800 base price; $249,895 as tested.
What makes it run? A 5-liter V-10 (523 horsepower, 376 pound-feet of torque); six-speed manual or six-speed automated manual transmission.
Alternatives: Ferrari F430 F1 coupe, $203,904; Porsche 911 GT2 , $192,560; Aston Martin DBS, estimated $265,000.
But trust me: the combination of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera is an underground, under-the-radar thrill. The tunnel, which connects Brooklyn and Manhattan below New York Harbor, proved the perfect concert hall for the Gallardo's 10 soaring cylinders. As I fired its bellicose engine to 8,000 rpm, the Gallardo convinced me - and other drivers, judging by the startled expressions - that we had entered a movie in which a runaway F-16 was strafing its way down the tunnel.
If it's hard for you to put a price tag on that kind of entertainment, allow Lamborghini to do so: That will be $224,800 to start for this lighter, faster, more expensive version of the regular $199,900 Gallardo. The V-8 powered Audi R8, which shares the Lambo's aluminum space frame, all-wheel-drive system and mid-engine layout, is a relative bargain, starting at $118,000.
What exactly is Kathryn Koromilas ("Speed up or get out of the way," Meanwhile, March 6) running toward - and why so fast? Of course, she is trying to earn enough money to retire so she can relax and enjoy life.
Koromilas should relax now. She should read a book, write some poetry and meditate. When she is 65 years old, she will be too old to enjoy many of the things she is running away from now.
Features include four bedroom suites, a pool, elaborate kitchens, high tech accessories and a “caretaker’s apartment.”
Covering 100 acres, El Banco is the first project developed by Koogle and his wife, Pam. It’s the age old story: boy meets girl, boy marries girl, boy and girl spot property on their honeymoon, boy and girl build $100 million resort on property. The overall project includes a 75-suite boutique hotel, called Las Banderas del Banco, a spa, restaurants, cooking school and an assortment of pools and courtyards.
A dozen years later, the trust fund had grown to eight figures. “Here I was, an activist thinking about class and race, but I wasn’t really factoring in my own personal wealth,” she said. “I decided to give away a large number. It was scary, but I just had to do it.”
So far, Ms. Glickman said, she has given away $1.2 million, and she plans to give away more.
Her mother was not thrilled. “I was shocked,” Francie Glickman said. “I had never heard of such a thing. My response was, ‘That’s a lot of money!’ ”
Anne Glickman is part of a movement of relatively young heirs who practice what they call social justice philanthropy, an outgrowth of ’60s activism that emphasizes giving to small, local groups. Karen Pittelman, 32, a singer in a punk band, said she inherited $3.5 million seven years ago and gave away all but $15,000. Jamie Schweser, 35, an author of the novel “Tales of a Punk Rock Nothing,” said he inherited $1 million eight years ago and gave away three quarters of it.
While most of these philanthropists do not give away their entire fortune, they do give away enough to violate a cardinal rule of wealth management: don’t touch the principal. Heirs are often advised to give away only a percentage of any investment income, and to leave the rest alone.
What motivates people to give away so much of their money? Short of donating a kidney to a stranger, it is hard to imagine acting more altruistically. Is it simply a sense of justice? Guilt? Rebellion? In interviews with almost two dozen of these philanthropists, the reasons given were complex, often having as much to do with family dynamics as politics.
For Anne Glickman, the decision was not about trying to live an ascetic life. “I’m not an antimaterialist,” she said. “I don’t believe you shouldn’t have a nice TV. But people said, ‘What about your unborn children?’ And at the time I think I was sitting on $12 million. I mean, how much do you need to raise children?”
Tyrone Boucher, 25, said he told his father he wanted to donate his six-figure trust fund to groups that work for racial equality. As part of his argument, he pointed to the growing gap between the rich and the poor.
His father, he said, responded: “ ‘Tyrone, we’re not really rich. There are people who have multiple homes and private jets.’
“And I’d say, ‘But the thing is, you’re talking about your friends who are in the top 1 percent, and we’re in the top 5 percent.’
“The point isn’t to dis my dad,” he added. “The point is, what’s enough?”
Of nearly 8,000 dead, only about 1,300 lie in identified graves. Time, decay, neglect - and a tidal wave in 1946 - have carried off the burial markers for the others. A visitor to the peninsula, run by the National Park Service and Hawaii's State Health Department, might see a graveyard or two. But there is no real way to perceive the immensity of the loss on that wind-swept triangle beneath the island's sea cliffs.
That the injustice of banishment for Kalaupapa's patients was compounded by their erasure from history is not surprising. The undeserved suffering associated with leprosy - or Hansen's disease, as those affected prefer to call it - is profound. This bacterial disease has been curable since the 1940s, but those who have it are still feared and shunned. Even in Hawaii, Kalaupapa's dead are a historical afterthought, recalled mostly as a backdrop to the lives of saintly individuals who cared for them.