Record for Afghan poppy planting -- BBC
Afghanistan grows nearly all of the world's opium poppy crop in an illegal trade worth billions of dollars.
Afghanistan grows nearly all of the world's opium poppy crop in an illegal trade worth billions of dollars.
The Dow Jones industrials plunged 315 points, and every major index shed more than 2.5 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index is off to its worst start to a year since 1941.
"The United States is committed to the NATO mission in Afghanistan," Bush said. "We're committed to a comprehensive strategy that helps folks in Afghanistan realize security, at the same time, economic prosperity and political process."
The European Commission has begun an investigation into whether government assistance to two German banks amounted to illegal state aid.
A decision on whether Prince Harry should continue fighting in Afghanistan will be taken today as senior generals weigh up concerns for his safety.
TEHRAN (AFP) - The UN refugee agency on Wednesday expressed concern about tens of thousands of Afghan refugees who risk expulsion from an Iranian frontier province.
More than 2 million Afghans are still living in Pakistan as refugees, and nearly the same number including 920,000 registered ones are in the neighboring Iran.
Existing measures to promote peace in Afghanistan are not succeeding.
U.S. National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell now says Karzai's government has control over only about 30 percent of the country, while the Taliban controls about 10 percent of Afghan territory.
Michael McConnell, the U.S. National Intelligence Director, told a Senate committee in Washington on Wednesday that Afghanistan's central government controls just 30 percent of the country. The Taliban controls about 10 percent and local tribes control the rest, he said. --- In diplomatic circles, Karzai is sometimes referred to as the "Mayor of Kabul," a reference to his control of the capital but weak authority in remote areas of the country.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts said the president was using “the specter of ism” to push his own agenda.
LONDON -- The secret is out: Prince Harry has been serving on the front line with his British army unit in one of Afghanistan's most lawless and barren provinces. --- He said the news of his Afghan assignment was delivered by his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
WASHINGTON -- President Bush today urged Congress to pass legislation that would give telecom companies immunity from class-action lawsuits for cooperating with U.S. intelligence services in monitoring ist communications. --- On Iraq, Bush called on Congress to fund U.S. troops and chided critics for not acknowledging progress there.
LONDON, England (CNN) -- The UK's Prince Harry has been serving on the frontline in Afghanistan and seen combat, the UK Ministry of Defense confirmed Thursday. --- In a pre-deployment interview with the British Press Association, he said: "If I'm wanted, if I'm needed, then I will serve my country as I signed up to do."
At a news conference at Hobby Airport in Houston, where Mr. McCain was endorsed by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, Mr. McCain opened with a formulation of why he contended Mr. Obama is not ready to be commander in chief.
KABUL, Feb. 28 (Xinhua)-- Afghanistan defense ministry on Thursday described the claim of U.S. National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell as baseless and rejected.
WASHINGTON - Rebounding from weak fundraising in January, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton raised $35 million in February, a campaign official said Thursday, a remarkable recovery and her biggest fundraising period of her campaign. --- Obama spokesman: 'We've raised considerably more than that'
WASHINGTON - President Bush said Thursday the country is not recession-bound and, despite expressing concern about slowing economic growth, rejected for now any additional stimulus efforts. "We acted robustly," he said.
Harry, 23, who is third in line to the throne, has spent the last 10 weeks serving in Helmand Province. --- Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Prince Harry had been an "exemplary solider". "The whole of Britain will be proud of the outstanding service he is giving," he said.
LONDON - Prince Harry has been serving on the front line in Afghanistan with the British Army, calling in airstrikes on Taliban positions and going out on foot patrols, the Ministry of Defense announced Thursday.
Germany's highest court has ruled that spying on personal computers violates privacy, but governments across Europe are under pressure to help their security services fight terrorism and organised crime.
"Everything I do and say and the way I do and say it annoys me," he said once, explaining why he never watched himself on "Firing Line." However, while sailing in his yacht he was known to listen to a tape of David Frye imitating him.
NEW YORK - Mayor Michael Bloomberg has squashed for good the possibility of running for president as an independent, declaring in a newspaper editorial that he will not seek the White House but might put his support behind another candidate who embraces bipartisan governing.
William F. Buckley Jr., who marshaled polysyllabic exuberance, arched eyebrows and a refined, perspicacious mind to elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse, died on Wednesday at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 82.
NEW YORK (AP) — William F. Buckley Jr., the erudite Ivy Leaguer and conservative herald who showered huge and scornful words on liberalism as he observed, abetted and cheered on the right's post-World War II rise from the fringes to the White House, died today. He was 82.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- More than six years after the U.S. invaded to establish a stable central regime in Afghanistan, the Kabul government under President Hamid Karzai controls just 30 percent of the country, the top U.S. intelligence official said Wednesday.
TUESDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- While popular antidepressants such as Prozac are widely prescribed for people with varying degrees of depression, the drugs are only effective for those with the most severe depression, a new study suggests.
The disease, called neurofibromatosis, is common in Afghanistan. --- But due to lack of medical expertise and modern equipment, it is claiming the lives of many children across the country.
(AP) Gen. George Casey, the Army's chief of staff, said Tuesday he has no reason to doubt Barack Obama's recent account by an Army captain that a rifle platoon in Afghanistan didn't have enough soldiers or weapons
The following is a transcript of the Democratic presidential debate on MSNBC in Cleveland, Ohio, as provided by the Federal News Service and CQ Transcriptions via The Associated Press.
The United States is a country defined not by bloodline, race, or creed, but by our character and convictions. We are united by an unyielding principle, and that is, all men are created equal. We firmly believe that each man and woman has the right to make the most of their God-given talents. And we believe that all are endowed with the divine gift of freedom.
NEW YORK (AP) — Sen. Joseph Biden on Monday called for more U.S. aid for Afghanistan and deeper NATO involvement there, saying failure could also have dire consequences for neighboring Pakistan. --- "Afghanistan must never again become a safe haven for al-Qaida. But just as important, if Afghanistan fails, Pakistan could follow, because extremists will set their sights on the bigger prize to the east," he said.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United States must focus on securing and rebuilding Afghanistan because if it fails then neighboring Pakistan could follow, U.S. Sen. Joe Biden said on Monday after returning from a tour of both countries. --- He also urged a rebuilding plan similar to the Marshall Plan under which the United States aided Europe's shattered economies after World War Two.
CINCINNATI -- McCain says he will 'absolutely repudiate' comments by an introductory speaker who says Obama sympathizes with 'world leaders who want to kill us.'
CINCINNATI (Reuters) - Republican presidential front-runner John McCain on Monday retracted his earlier statement he would lose the November election if he did not convince Americans they were winning the war in Iraq. --- Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both advocate withdrawing U.S. troops if they are elected president.
Frustrated by government attacks on their opium poppy crops, a growing number of farmers in Afghanistan are turning to a lucrative alternative that is just as illegal: cannabis, the source of marijuana and hashish.
WASHINGTON February 25, 2008, 11:09 pm ET · President Bush predicted Monday that voters will replace him with a Republican president who will "keep up the fight" in Iraq. "I'm confident we'll hold the White House in 2008," Bush told donors at the Republican Governors Association annual dinner, which raised a record $10.6 million for GOP gubernatorial candidates.
Morning Edition, February 26, 2008 -- Americans are comfortable with change. They not only change jobs and swap hometowns, but, according to a new report, they also try out
CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina (AFP) - For the 2,200 US Marines being deployed to southern Afghanistan next month, training for a mission fighting Taliban insurgents has meant adapting to a different type of enemy.
A new report from an international rights group says that Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous places in the world to be female.
OTTAWA (CBC) - Defence Minister Peter MacKay opened the House of Commons debate on Monday on the future of the Canadian mission in Afghanistan by urging the opposition to support extending a mission that "matters to Canadians, our soldiers and the international community."
Chicago, IL (AHN) - Elderly patients with advanced dementia are seven times more likely to receive antibiotics in their last two weeks of life, a Harvard study reports.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senior diplomats from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- China, Russia, the United States, France and Britain -- and Germany, met in Washington to discuss strategy over Iran and give momentum to a sanctions resolution still being haggled over at the United Nations.
"Our projection for Afghanistan, is that by late summer we will have about 32,000 U.S. forces there," said General Ham. "That is a little bit more than we have now, we're about 28,000 now.
WASHINGTON - Job growth is faltering, consumer confidence plunging. The fallout from the worst housing slump in a quarter-century grows. Wherever you look, the signs are unmistakable that the economy is in trouble.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Karzai chaired the meeting in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, said government spokesman Asif Nang. --- The meeting also comes ahead of the country's next presidential election. Karzai's five-year term ends in 2009. He has yet to announce whether he will run again but is widely perceived by Kabul's diplomatic community as preparing for a campaign.
ABC News: Obama Camp Replies: 'Everything in Those Mailers Is Completely Accurate.'
The key to unlocking those secrets of the past was held by Assadullah Sarwary, the head of the Afghan secret police in 1978 and 1979, the time at which most people disappeared. There are no reliable statistics, but from nearly every large family in the Afghan diaspora, from Britain to the US, at least one member was jailed during that period. On documents that list names of prisoners who didn’t come back, it is Sarwary’s signature. Today he is the only representative of the communist regime in prison in Kabul on charges of mass murder. Many of his colleagues are either dead, in the West, or rising to the ranks again in today’s western-backed Afghan government. An Afghan court sentenced him to death in February 2006, but human-rights groups and the United Nations objected to the trial, calling it unfair. He has pleaded not guilty and appealed against the sentence. He’s waiting for the Afghan Supreme Court to grant him a military trial because he was in the air force.
FARYAB, 24 February 2008 (IRIN) - Afghanistan's livestock sector has been badly shaken after unusually cold temperatures have killed more than 300,000 animals, causing fears of higher meat prices and increased food insecurity among the population.
All three say they believe that Afghanistan is an important security threat that needs to be addressed. But the Republican, John McCain, suggests that Iraq remains America’s bugaboo of security threats, while the two Democrats, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, appear to have moved on to Afghanistan. Both of them argue that focusing on Iraq gets in the way of a more serious threat in Afghanistan.
"Something has to happen for women and now" The Million Woman Rise. is expected to include a day of speeches, prayer and music Hundreds of Thousands of Women are expected at Saturday's rally , to address violence against women through a show of political, social, economic and creative solidarity.
''You know, I've heard from an Army captain who was the head of a rifle platoon -- supposed to have 39 men in a rifle platoon,'' Obama said. ''Ended up being sent to Afghanistan with 24 because 15 of those soldiers had been sent to Iraq,''
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration said on Saturday U.S. telecommunications companies have agreed to cooperate "for the time being" with spy agencies' wiretaps, despite an ongoing battle between the White House and Congress over new terrorism surveillance legislation.
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democratic leaders came under criticism Saturday from President Bush who said they are blocking intelligence legislation so lawyers can sue telephone companies for helping the government eavesdrop on suspected terrorists.
Somber Clinton Soldiers On as the Horizon Darkens
WASHINGTON -- Democrat Barack Obama says the war in Iraq, which he opposes, has pulled troops away from Afghanistan and left soldiers there without proper equipment.
"Just seeing me and seeing that I don't have an accent, that underneath the scarf, yes, I'm a white girl, and I know American culture, it is my culture — that breaks down walls that any amount of information can't break down," she says.
(CBS) - And if you look at the states that she’s won-- New York, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Arizona, and I think that's going to include Ohio and Pennsylvania and hopefully Texas--I think she has won the states that are going to be critical for a Democrat to win in November in order to win the presidency.
(Wellington, February 22, 2008) – Eighty-two nations endorsed a strongly worded draft treaty on cluster munitions, moving the world closer to a ban on weapons that cause horrific civilian casualties, Human Rights Watch said today at the end of a week of diplomatic talks in Wellington, New Zealand. The push for a comprehensive ban on clusters, which harm civilians during and after conflict, came despite efforts to water down the text by a handful of states with stockpiles of the weapon.
BRDO PRI KRANJU, Slovenia (AFP) - The European Union called for the appointment of a special UN envoy that would coordinate operations in Afghanistan after Kabul rejected earlier this month the candidature of Paddy Ashdown.
BELGRADE (Reuters) - The United States accused Serbia on Friday of failing to protect embassies from attack over Western support for Kosovo's independence, and the EU said such violence could damage Belgrade's prospects of closer ties.
Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has completed a two-day visit to Afghanistan at a time of unprecedented tensions in the alliance over its first major operation outside its area in Europe and the North Atlantic.
OTTAWA–Building Afghanistan's economy and promoting "national reconciliation" have a greater chance of achieving a lasting peace than the use of military force, according to a military study of the parallels between the NATO mission and the Soviet invasion of the 1980s.
Once a month, Pakistan's Defense Ministry delivers 15 to 20 pages of spreadsheets to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. They list costs for feeding, clothing, billeting and maintaining 80,000 to 100,000 Pakistani troops in the volatile tribal area along the Afghan border, in support of U.S. counterterrorism efforts.
Miliband told lawmakers he was "very sorry" to have to correct statements made by the government in 2005, 2006 and 2007 that there were no such transfers involving Britain.
Obama said his candidacy is based on his belief that he is ready to be president. "I wouldn't be running if I didn't think I was prepared to be commander in chief," he said. "My number one job as president would be to keep the American people safe, and I will do whatever is required to accomplish that."
While Mrs. Clinton may have been harsher than Mr. Obama, she ended the debate with the night’s most memorable grace note, as if eager to leave voters with a gentle final impression after the political skirmishing.
Military officials have a "high degree of confidence" that they were able to hit and destroy the tank of potentially dangerous fuel aboard a wayward spy satellite orbiting Earth last night, but they said they must still monitor the debris to be certain it does not pose further risk of reentering the atmosphere in coming days.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A helicopter carrying three senior U.S. senators made an emergency landing Thursday in the mountains of Afghanistan because of a snowstorm. Sens. John Kerry, Joseph Biden and Chuck Hagel were aboard one of two helicopters that made emergency landings, Kerry said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from Turkey. Staffers were on the second chopper, Kerry said.
TOLEDO, Ohio — Senator John McCain said Thursday that an article in The New York Times about his close ties to a woman lobbyist was untrue, that he had no romantic relationship with the lobbyist and that he had no confrontations in 1999 with worried staff members who told him to stay away from her.
Both Polly Toynbee and Seumas Milne have offered strategies for what to do next, but the view on the ground is somewhat different
Can Sen. Hillary Clinton come back in a presidential campaign she once dominated? Will Sen. Barack Obama let her? And could two more debates make a difference?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A thriving Afghan opium crop earned farmers about $1 billion in 2007 and together with a resurgence in violence was hampering economic development, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday.
KABUL (AFP) - Afghanistan is sitting on a wealth of mineral reserves -- perhaps the richest in the region -- that offer hope for a country mired in poverty after decades of war, the mining minister says.
WASHINGTON -- Mr. Obama and his advisers respond that Mr. Obama has the judgment necessary for the job, and they focus on Mr. McCain's unwavering support for what they now call the "Bush/McCain war" in Iraq.
Little Accounting for $1 Billion A Year to Support Ally's Troops
NEW YORK, Feb. 20 -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton launched a tough new offensive against Sen. Barack Obama on Wednesday, asserting flatly that her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination is not prepared to serve as commander in chief.
Germany's role in the Second World War has made it difficult to win public support for military action in Afghanistan, the German ambassador to Britain has admitted.
WASHINGTON, Feb 15: The report by the Afghanistan Study Group, discussed at the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, urges the United States to reduce antagonism between Pakistan and Afghanistan by persuading Afghanistan to accept the Durand Line as the official border. The report also advises Washington to persuade Islamabad to remove restrictions on transit trade between India and Afghanistan.
Immigrants who want to become British and settle permanently in the UK will need to pass more tests to "prove their worth" to the country under new plans. -- Some migrants may also have to pay into a fund towards public services and have a period of "probationary citizenship".
Pakistani newspapers say the result of Monday's parliamentary elections is a vote against President Pervez Musharraf.
"Time is of the essence," Joseph Biden, one of the senators, said, urging India to confirm its support for the nuclear deal.
Gen Dostum said that the attorney general cannot dismiss him, and has appealed to President Hamid Karzai to overturn the decision.
The Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is in Afghanistan as the military alliance faces unprecedented tension over its mission there.
More patients die if they go into cardiac arrest after 11 p.m., study finds
Yep, you do. Although people do vary in how much sleep they need, the differences are slight, and the vast majority of us (including seniors) need seven to eight hours. Most people who regularly get less than seven hours of rest are simply unaware of the damage that fatigue and sleepiness is doing to their bodies. Chronic "short-sleepers," as scientists call them, have forgotten what it feels like to be well-rested, says Robert Rosenberg, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, in
Michelle Obama was never much interested in calling attention to herself. As an undergrad at Princeton in the 1980s, she was interested in social change, but didn't run for student government. Instead, she spent her free time running a literacy program for kids from the local neighborhoods. At Harvard Law, she took part in demonstrations demanding more minority students and professors.
KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- United Nations agencies are responding to a bitter central Asian winter that has killed hundreds of people in recent weeks, the U.N. said Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican Sen. John McCain raised nearly $12 million in January, propelled by victories in New Hampshire and South Carolina that solidified his place as the leading candidate for the GOP presidential nomination.
"It's about picking a president who relies not just on words, but on work, hard work, to get America back to work," Clinton said at a labor rally here. "Someone who's not just in the speeches business."
After the Super Tuesday primaries two weeks ago, Sen. Barack Obama faced continuing questions about the support he could draw from lower-income, white voters and those with less education, who had to that point proved to be the bedrock of support for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
U.N. officials say people in Afghanistan's Western Region are living through one of the harshest winters in nearly 30 years. The United Nations reports more than 800 people have lost their lives so far this winter in the four provinces of Herat, Farah, Badghis, and Ghor.
Sen. Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and one of several U.S. lawmakers who traveled to Islamabad to observe the election, said Tuesday the results mean the United States can shift its Pakistan policy. --- "This is an opportunity for us to move from a policy that has been focused on a personality to one based on an entire people," Biden, D-Del., said.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of Pakistanis fleeing to eastern Afghanistan to avoid violence in their country has risen to about 10,000 in recent weeks, a U.S. military official said Tuesday.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, says he has no plans to resign, despite a sweeping victory by the opposition in the country's parliamentary elections.
DALLAS (AP) -- Long-hidden items and documents related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy were revealed for the first time Monday, after spending nearly two decades locked inside a courthouse safe.
TORONTO: Iraq and Afghanistan crisis cannot be solved by the use of force, time has come to cut a deal and that policy makers from the West should start considering a political solutions, Pakistan's former intelligence chief has said.
A suicide car bomber plowed into a Canadian military convoy, killing 37 people at a busy market in southern Afghanistan on Monday, a day after a bomber blew himself up at a dog fight outside Kandahar, leaving more than 100 people dead.
"I believe now is the right time for me to help John in his effort to start building the broad base coalition it will take for our conservative values to carry the White House this fall," former President George H. W. Bush said at a press conference in Houston.
Economic woes are on most people's minds in the industrial belt. The Democrats' messages aim to ease those fears.
Up to 80 people have been killed in a suicide bombing outside the Afghan city of Kandahar, in one of the country's deadliest attacks since 2001.
Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed were murdered, Dodi's father Mohamed Al Fayed has told the inquest into their deaths in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Feb. 19 -- Voters in Pakistan appeared to deliver a sharp rebuke to President Pervez Musharraf on Monday, handing significant victories to the country's two leading opposition parties in parliamentary elections, according to early returns and Pakistani politicians.
President Bush is touring Tanzania to promote the fight against malaria in Africa and announced a new effort Monday to provide 5.2 million mosquito bed nets, one for every Tanzanian child age 5 and under.
BERLIN, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that Germany is not planning to change or expand its mission in Afghanistan despite mounting pressures from NATO allies.
KABUL, 17 February 2008 (IRIN) - The Afghan government has once again called upon the Iranian government to suspend its deportation of thousands of Afghans living in Iran illegally until after winter to avoid a humanitarian crisis.
The United States has counterterrorism operations in places all over the world -- but not in Pakistan, the center of world terrorism. Last month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates made an offer: "We remain ready, willing and able to assist the Pakistanis and to partner with them, to provide additional training, to conduct joint operations, should they desire to do so." Within hours, fearing a backlash on Pakistani soil, President Pervez Musharraf rejected the American offer.
Some Senate lawmakers say the U.S. is doing much of the heavy lifting in Afghanistan -- with little to show for it. --- One big problem: the failure to eradicate Afghanistan's poppy crop -- suspected of supplying 90 percent of the world's opium trade.
KABUL (Reuters) - President Hamid Karzai is under the influence of foreign powers and troops led by NATO and the U.S. must set a firm date for their departure from Afghanistan, a government-run daily newspaper said on Saturday.
An aide says Kerry will depart Saturday as part of a congressional delegation. He will travel with Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Joe Biden and Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel.
KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- More than 900 people have died as a result of the bitter cold and blizzards engulfing central and western Afghanistan this winter -- considered the worst in three decades, Afghan authorities said on Friday.
Cold, snowstorms and avalanches have killed 926 people as the country suffers what is thought to be the worst winter in three decades, the authorities said.
Afghanistan has been facing a violent rural insurgency by revived Taliban forces for the past two years, but the recent increase in suicide bombings in the capital, coupled with a sharp rise in organized crime and the deteriorating security and political situation in next-door Pakistan, has left people here feeling almost as vulnerable as they did during the civil war of the early 1990s.
KABUL (Reuters) - President Hamid Karzai is under the influence of foreign powers and troops led by NATO and the U.S. must set a firm date for their departure from Afghanistan, a government-run daily newspaper said on Saturday.
KABUL: Kabul is seeking an urgent meeting with Tehran about the deportation of Afghans, the government said Wednesday, with 7,000 forced out in the past month despite a pledge to halt expulsions over winter.
BERLIN (AFP)--Leaders of Germany's ruling coalition will hold a special meeting on Tuesday to discuss the country's military mission in Afghanistan, a government spokesman said on Friday.
As security deteriorates in Afghanistan, kidnappings of Afghans are increasingly common. Even the capital, Kabul, is no longer safe. The growing wave of Afghan kidnappings isn't about politics. It's about ransom.
Its Lib Dem chairman Malcolm Bruce said: "We are concerned about the recent deterioration in political relations between the government of Afghanistan and the UK. -- "We recognise that the civilian and military effort is entirely dependent on the goodwill of the government and people of Afghanistan. -- "But there is a risk that the tone and timing of recent comments by the government of Afghanistan which are critical of the UK could undermine British public support for the UK's long-term commitment to Afghanistan."
US President George W Bush has given his first interview to the BBC in almost seven years. Here is the full transcript of his conversation with BBC World News America presenter Matt
The House of Representatives defied the White House yesterday by refusing to make an expiring surveillance law permanent, prompting a harsh exchange between Republicans and Democrats as they prepared for an extended, election-year battle over national security.
"The outlook for the economy has worsened in recent months, and the downside risks to growth have increased," Bernanke said.
The White House has ordered the military to shoot down a malfunctioning U.S. spy satellite that is expected to crash to Earth within the next three weeks. The decision was made after the Pentagon determined that the satellite could pose a health risk if it hits a populated area. But the chances of the satellite hitting a person are miniscule, so why destroy it?
All Things Considered, February 14, 2008 · President Bush says the House needs to finish a bill governing U.S. eavesdropping on the phone calls and e-mails of suspected terrorists. The current law, the Protect America Act, expires this weekend, and the president says he won't approve another extension of it. The president is insisting
WASHINGTON February 14, 2008, 11:07 pm ET · Taking a page from Hollywood science fiction, the Pentagon said Thursday it will try to shoot down a dying, bus-size U.S. spy satellite loaded with toxic fuel on a collision course with the Earth.
The great sixth century BC military strategist Sun Tzu wrote: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
A growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is being overlooked as an unknown number of people are fleeing their homes, caught between security forces and the Taliban, Red Cross officials have told the Guardian. --- They say they have less access now to displaced people than at any time over the past 27 years. "The conflict has not only intensified but it has also spread over the last few years. Prolonged human suffering is causing real concern in ever larger areas," said Reto Stocker, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Kabul. "There is little capacity to address it. We've never had so little access."
A day after his overwhelming victories in three eastern primaries, Senator Barack Obama hammered his economic message in Wisconsin on Wednesday, while Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton sidestepped the next round of Democratic primaries to concentrate on the delegate-rich Texas race.
WASHINGTON — President Bush strongly urged the House of Representatives on Wednesday to quickly approve a surveillance bill passed by the Senate Tuesday evening, saying he would not agree to a further extension of the current eavesdropping law.
Foreign policy advisers to three presidential hopefuls gathered at the National Press Club in Washington on Friday to discuss their bosses’ strategies for Afghanistan and Pakistan. --- Despite being from different political parties, the representatives of Mike Huckabee, John McCain and Barack Obama all said they were disappointed that President Bush didn’t push harder to find Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. And they each spoke of a need for more economic development in Afghanistan and more accountability with regard to aid sent to Pakistan.
As security deteriorates in Afghanistan, kidnappings of Afghans are increasingly common. Even the capital, Kabul, is no longer safe.
The bill would raise temporarily to $729,750 the limit on Federal Housing Administration loans and the cap on loans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy. Those measures are designed to provide relief in the market for "jumbo" mortgages and help more homeowners refinance into government-insured loans.
Take away Islam, and the world would still be left with the main forces that drive today’s conflicts, including colonialism, cross-national ideologies, ethnic conflicts and terrorism, says Mr. Fuller in Foreign Policy (subscription required).
What if Islam had never existed? To some, it’s a comforting thought: No clash of civilizations, no holy wars, no terrorists. Would Christianity have taken over the world? Would the Middle East be a peaceful beacon of democracy? Would 9/11 have happened? In fact, remove Islam from the path of history, and the world ends up exactly where it is today. ---- Given our intense current focus on terrorism, war, and rampant antiAmericanism—some of the most emotional international issues of the day—it’s vital to understand the true sources of these crises. Is Islam, in fact, the source of the problem, or does it tend to lie with other less obvious and deeper factors?
A Realistic and Principled Foreign Policy
With his plea for recognition of the Muslim legal system in Britain, the archbishop of Canterbury has outraged his people. In doing so, he has driven a wedge into the center of a passionate national debate.
The fact that Mr. Gates is permitted such truth-telling is a measure of how bad things have gotten in Afghanistan and how much the United States needs more outside help.
Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) swept Republican primaries in Virginia, Maryland and the District last night, defeating former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and adding to his vast delegate lead in the race to become his party's presidential nominee.
Not smoking, regular exercise, maintaining normal weight, and avoiding diabetes and high blood pressure seem to be the secrets of living to age 90, researchers say. -- The researchers also found that genes determine about 25 percent of the variation in lifespan. Therefore, 75 percent can be determined by lifestyle. -- “Smoking, diabetes, obesity and hypertension each are predicted to reduce life expectancy by one to five years, while higher physical activity may add up to five years,” the study said. -- Being in a good shape could add as much as 10 years to a man’s lifespan, the study found.
THE US STRATEGY IS A SUCCESS. IT'S NATO AND HAMID KARZAI THAT ARE THE REAL PROBLEMS.
Officially 800 people have died, but many more will no doubt have frozen to death when the snow fell heavier and the temperatures dropped lower than anybody expected. --- The extreme temperatures and heavy snow struck parts of the country that are not usually hit.
Unlike previous government-led efforts, the plan will apply to all borrowers, not just those with subprime mortgages. The participants — Bank of America, Citigroup, Countrywide Financial, JPMorgan Chase, Washington Mutual and Wells Fargo — pledged to contact qualifying borrowers with further information through the mail.New loan arrangements would be worked out on an individual basis, officials said.
Civil liberties groups denounced the Senate's action.
Sen. Barack Obama will propose deploying two additional U.S brigades to Afghanistan in a speech Wednesday mapping out his approach to combating terrorism, an adviser said. --- He will also propose doubling US military aid to Afghanistan and putting restrictions in military aid to Pakistan, making it conditional on keeping ungoverned regions, particularly Waziristan, under tight control, the adviser said. The adviser declined to release other details of the speech.
KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghanistan needs more international help to build Islamic schools so fewer students will attend more radical ones outside the country, President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday. -- Education Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar said Afghanistan is building a "modern system of madrassas" offering a broad-based Islamic education.
The Bush administration, along with a group of major banks, announced a plan Tuesday called Project Lifeline to give more help to struggling homeowners. --- advocates question whether the new initiative will really provide more assistance.
As Western leaders and Congress debate NATO's responsibilities in Afghanistan, it's time to dissolve two great American illusions about Afghanistan.
President Bush famously doesn't like long memos. So if retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones hoped to get Bush's attention with the report he produced on Afghanistan, he was clever enough to be blunt from the start. "Make no mistake," the report says in its first line. "NATO is not winning in Afghanistan." --- If Bush read that far into the report, he evidently disagrees. During his speech Friday to the Conservative Political Action Conference, the president offered a far rosier view of the situation in Afghanistan than even his own top military and civilian advisers hold. "The Taliban, al-Qaeda and their allies are on the run," Bush declared to the audience of supporters.
Hopes for Progress Battered by War, Weather, Economy and Regional Tension --- "Winters here are always severe, and we were well-prepared for this one. But the massive price increases made the conditions much worse," said Rick Corsino, Afghan country director for the World Food Program. "We calculated there were two and a half million people who before were borderline food-insecure. The price increases pushed them into being high-risk."
Mr Karzai’s erratic behaviour is just one reason for fearing for the future of Afghanistan. The Taliban insurgency is still raging across the country. Suicide attacks are occurring at eight times the rate they were in 2006. Diplomats in Kabul are told not to visit restaurants or markets. Last week an International Monetary Fund report portrayed the Afghan economy as based on opium and aid. --- It was a mistake for the west to declare victory in Afghanistan prematurely five years ago. But it would be an even bigger error to declare defeat prematurely now.
(CNN) -- Aid workers have launched emergency responses to help people in rugged and poverty-stricken central and western Afghanistan, enduring what the United Nations is describing as "the harshest winter in nearly 30 years." -- Hundreds of deaths have been reported this winter as a result of the frigid temperatures, which have dipped to minus 30 degrees Celsius, or minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit.
"We already have more than 20 dead to mourn from this work, so it isn't very safe," said Erler, a member of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD). "It simply is not true to say that some are doing the hard work and others are quitters."
When I think about Afghanistan's difficult journey, I often remember its pilots. I call them the "hero pilots". --- They have crossed hostile skies across this land with their national carrier Ariana, sailed over jagged snow capped peaks of the Hindu Kush and navigated the risky entry into a capital ringed by majestic mountain ranges and ancient forts. --- When the Taleban were toppled in 2001, one of Ariana's senior pilots, whom I have known for years, took me to see the veritable Afghan museum strewn along the airfield's apron. --- There was a Russian-built aircraft punctured by a mujahideen stinger missile during the Soviet occupation of the 1980s, as well as smaller jets hit during mujahideen infighting when they took power in the 90s, and the blackened remains of a plane virtually obliterated by US bombing during the onslaught against the Taleban in 2001. --- Ariana lost six of its aircraft in that conflict. All told, theirs is the story of a country that has long been at war.
"President Karzai, a man whom I respect and I wish him well and I wish his government well, is a politician," the former British political party leader and international envoy to Bosnia-Hercegovina, told BBC television. --- "He's lining up, hopefully, as he would see it, to win the presidential elections likely to be in 2009. --- "I suppose he must have calculated that beating up on Britain -- an ex-imperial power -- beating up on the United States, was not going to do him any harm in a proud Afghanistan amongst the (ethnic) Pashtun vote."
At the time, many historians and constitutional scholars warned that such a system wouldn't work in a war-torn state with so many tribal and ethnic divisions. Presidential systems typically produce many disgruntled losers intent on challenging or undermining the victor. In addition, they can also put too much formal power in the hands of the winner, leading to personalised politics in which lesser politicians fight viciously over access to the president. Yet, paradoxically, the actual powers of the president are often less than they appear on paper, while his responsibilities are heavy and the expectations that citizens have of him are unrealistic. It is all too easy to create a job that no one could do adequately.
After some conversations with folks at the Clinton campaign, I can offer some clarity -- maybe -- on what they're asking NBC/MSNBC to do. MSNBC reporter suspended for 'pimped-out' Chelsea
MUNICH, Feb. 10 - Defense Secretary Robert Gates challenged the European military leaders and lawmakers Sunday to revive flagging support for the international mission in Afghanistan, warning that if members of NATO were no longer willing to shoulder the burdens of war equally, it "would effectively destroy the alliance."
KABUL (Reuters) - More than 750 people have perished as a result of severe cold and heavy snowfalls this winter across Afghanistan, a government official said on Saturday.
The Clintons were rightly indignant about MSNBC reporter David Shuster saying they had “pimped out” 27-year-old Chelsea by helping her campaign and calling Democratic superdelegates on behalf of her mother, Hillary.
WHO killed Benazir Bhutto? How was it done? By bullet or bomb, or both?
MUNICH — Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer’s defense of the unity of the alliance follows several weeks of difficult wrangling between the United States, Canada and their European allies over sorely needed troops to help fight the insurgency in Afghanistan.
WASHINGTON - Sen. Barack Obama swept the Louisiana primary and caucuses in Nebraska and Washington state Saturday, boosting his slim delegate lead over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in their historic race for the Democratic presidential nomination. -- Clinton: I'm ready for McCain
Advisors to Presidential hopefuls Senator John McCain, Senator Barak Obama and Governor Mike Huckabee participated in the forum, which was held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. --- www.afghanistanadvocacygroup.org
Embassy of Afghanistan Newsletter, Click here: january2008newsletter
The US and UK have been urging other Nato countries to share more of the combat burden in the south of Afghanistan.
The Pakistan People's Party has released the political will of former leader Benazir Bhutto in which she backs her husband to be party leader. --- "I fear for the future of Pakistan. Please continue the fight against extremism, dictatorship, poverty and ignorance," she wrote.
"The British have been much more vocal than other countries on issues like rooting out corruption and getting rid of dysfunctional elements within the government itself. That puts pressure on Karzai's powerbase," he says. "They have worked hard to rebuild the relationship, but you still find people within the embassy complaining about the quality of appointments Karzai is making."
Secretary Condoleezza Rice -- Kabul, Afghanistan
NEW YORK (PAN): President Bush has proposed $1.1 billion in aid to Afghanistan for development and economic growth in addition to $1.35 billion sought for strengthening Afghan security forces. --- Sent to Congress for approval, Bush's budget proposal said $1.1 billion aid - routed through the State Department - would advance Afghanistan's overall development by promoting economic growth and strengthening its national and local governing institutions.