Saturday marks one year since the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan. The former prime minister was killed in a suicide bomb attack after an election rally near the capital, Islamabad. To her supporters, Bhutto's presence and guidance came to symbolise the quest for freedom and equality. Benazir Bhutto’s last speech was so spirited and full of hope that, a year later, her death has still leaves many feeling empty. The small Pakistani community in Moscow is marking the first anniversary of Bhutto's assassination with prayers and speeches. At a ceremony they praised her courage and vision, two qualities that, according to Pakistani Ambassador Mohammad Khalid Khattak, cost Bhutto her life. "Terrorists hate everyone, you don't have to do anything to be hated by them, if you disagree with them they hate you," said Khattak. A year after Bhutto's death, security still remains one of the most pressing issues in Pakistan. Metal detectors are a permanent fixture in the family mausoleum, as are the rose petals on Benazir’s tomb.
Is the United States going to put dictatorship into effect under the guise of the anti-terrorist struggle? What may trigger another major transformation in 2009? The answer is obvious: another 9/11 in the USA. Terrible and bloody events are in store for the world in the beginning of 2009. Most likely, the world will witness a reality show with a nuclear blast, which will be used as a reason for the US administration to change the world order again and leave the new Great Depression behind. There is every reason to believe that the Russian Federation may suffer as a result of this possible initiative too. Joe Biden made a sensational statement on October 19, 2008. He said that Barack Obama would have to undergo an ordeal during the first six months of his stay in the White House. It will be the time of a very serious international crisis, when Obama would have to make tough and possibly unpopular decisions both in home and foreign politics.
Rumsfeld, Ashcroft and other top Bush officials could soon face legal jeopardy. The United States, like many countries, has a bad habit of committing wartime excesses and an even worse record of accounting for them afterward. But a remarkable string of recent events suggests that may finally be changing—and that top Bush administration officials could soon face legal jeopardy for prisoner abuse committed under their watch in the war on terror. In early December, in a highly unusual move, a federal court in New York agreed to rehear a lawsuit against former Attorney General John Ashcroft brought by a Canadian citizen, Maher Arar. (Arar was a victim of the administration's extraordinary rendition program: he was seized by U.S. officials in 2002 while in transit through Kennedy Airport and deported to Syria, where he was tortured.) Then, on Dec. 15, the Supreme Court revived a lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld by four Guantánamo detainees alleging abuse there—a reminder that the court, unlike the White House, will extend Constitutional protections to foreigners at Gitmo. Finally, in the same week the Senate Armed Service Committee, led by Carl Levin and John McCain, released a blistering report specifically blaming key administration figures for prisoner mistreatment and interrogation techniques that broke the law. The bipartisan report reads like a brief for the prosecution—calling, for example, Rumsfeld's behavior a "direct cause" of abuse.
Where'd the bailout money go? $350 billion later, banks won't say how they're spending it. It's something any bank would demand to know before handing out a loan: Where's the money going? But after receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation's largest banks say they can't track exactly how they're spending the money or they simply refuse to discuss it. "We've lent some of it. We've not lent some of it. We've not given any accounting of, 'Here's how we're doing it,'" said Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money. "We have not disclosed that to the public. We're declining to." The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked four questions: How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what's the plan for the rest? None of the banks provided specific answers.
The US economy shrank in the third quarter, official data confirmed Tuesday, as the IMF's top economist warned of a second Great Depression offering no respite from relentless gloom ahead of Christmas. The abrupt 0.5 percent contraction of gross domestic product (GDP) in the world's largest economy was seen as marking the start of a steep downturn for the United States after GDP growth of 2.8 percent in the second quarter. Stocks on Wall Street rose in early trading, however, as the contraction had been expected and was unrevised from a previous estimate. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.54 percent and the Nasdaq rose 0.60 percent.
George S. Patton, America's greatest combat general of the Second World War, was assassinated after the conflict with the connivance of US leaders, according to a new book. The newly unearthed diaries of a colourful assassin for the wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA, reveal that American spy chiefs wanted Patton dead because he was threatening to expose allied collusion with the Russians that cost American lives. The death of General Patton in December 1945, is one of the enduring mysteries of the war era. Although he had suffered serious injuries in a car crash in Manheim, he was thought to be recovering and was on the verge of flying home. But after a decade-long investigation, military historian Robert Wilcox claims that OSS head General "Wild Bill" Donovan ordered a highly decorated marksman called Douglas Bazata to silence Patton, who gloried in the nickname "Old Blood and Guts".
GREGG SHOTWELL: Well, you know, I think that we need to advocate for a national industrial policy that supports and sustains the expansion, rather than the destruction, of the middle class. And I would advocate for a policy that strengthens our economy, our national security, and makes the dream of a higher standard of living attainable for a wider number of citizens. You know, the working class is the backbone of this nation. And I think that we need to strengthen the American worker. I would like to see, first and foremost, that we have national healthcare, because this is the one solution that would help everyone. It would help the employers. It would help the employees. It would help the consumers. And that is the biggest factor that takes away our competitiveness. That’s the one factor that would level the playing field, because all of our competitors have national healthcare and stronger pension systems in their country—and by “pension,” I mean government pension—so that when Toyota, you know, imports all these cars, they’re not paying for healthcare, they’re not paying for the pensions on those employees that are working overseas.
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