Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

Everyone needs to go listen to Daniel Schorr's news analysis from Morning Edition today. Then get back to me on the whole what constitutes a patriot thing.

65,000 turn out for the Dalai Llama in Seattle Tibet's exiled spiritual leader addressed a packed professional football stadium on Saturday, delivering a speech that encouraged adults to foster compassion in children. He also called for eliminating nuclear weapons, acknowledging that in the past they might have proven a deterrent, but that time is past. "Nobody dares to use nuclear weapons," he said. "Now I think we should think seriously about elimination of all nuclear weapons." Genuine disarmament will require willpower, he said, and dissolution of hatred, jealousy and fear.

Sri Lanka steps up offensive against Tamil Tigers both sides claim that they have killed dozens of the other sides fighters, both claiming that the other side has exaggerated their claims of casualties. What is certain is that daily air, land and sea battles are being fought.

Fuel Crisis in Gaza Palestinians are claiming that fuel supplies have been curtailed by Israels closing of border crossings into the Gaza Strip. Restrictions were tightened last year when the Islamist Hamas party won elections and seized control of the political apparatus of Gaza, and now energy shortages threaten basic sanitation and further compromises a shaky-at-best quality of life.

There was no way this was going to end well A 51-year-old Australian man is in critical care in a Thailand hospital after doctors operated for two hours to remove 63 condoms packed with 800 grams of Hashish that the man had swallowed. Three of the condoms had burst. The man is likely to evade Thailand's draconian death penalty for drugs trafficking, because Hashish carries a lesser penalty, and instead he faces up to five years in prison.

Price spike warned of trouble ahead the price of the main raw ingredient imported from China used to formulate and manufacture Heparin doubled in a short period of time last year. The sudden increase in price should have been a warning to drugs manufacturers that there was something afoot in the supply chain.

Alphonso fiddled while the sub-primes burned Even as the housing crisis loomed, HUD secretary Alphonso Jackson was insisting that the foreclosure crisis was a "temporary correction" and he was still pushing for legislation that would have made it even easier for federally guaranteed loans to be written for unqualified, high-risk borrowers.

A Unity Government in Kenya Weeks of anxiousness and deadlock came to an end earlier today when a massive unity government cabinet was announced. Allies of President Mwai Kibaki retained major cabinet ministries, but the leading opposition party took over several prominent and key ministries, including local governments and agriculture.

Yesterdays blast in Shiraz, Iran that left at least ten people dead and 160 wounded has been officially classified as an accident. "Last night's explosion in Shiraz was as a consequence of an accident and not the planting of a bomb," IRNA, the official news agency, quoted Abbas Mohtaj, the deputy interior minister in charge of national security, as saying. The Fars news agency reported that the blast might have been caused by leftover ordinance that had been displayed as part of a commemoration ceremony for the bloody, eight-year Iran-Iraq war which ended twenty years ago. (Personal observation - I have spoken with two Iranian friends since hearing the news of the blast yesterday. Both doubt the official story.)

French Commandos - 1, Somali Pirates - 0 French troops in helicopters swooped in on the pirates who had taken the crew of a luxury yacht hostage, recovering the ransom paid by the yacht owners for the safety of the crew and interdicting the pirates as they came ashore to waiting heavy weaponry. The pirates were captured alive and are now being held in the brig of a French Navy vessel. (And can we stop disparaging the French now, please? At least as long as the names of our military ranks are derived from their language.)

259 American Soldiers took the oath of citizenship in a ceremony in Iraq on Saturday. It was the largest naturalization ceremony ever held in a foreign country.

Immelman Wins the Masters And what a story his is! From public course champion to being fitted for a green jacket! And it sure is funny how fast the trash-talk disappears from Wikipedia. The final putt hadn't even fallen yet...

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