Monday, March 31, 2008

White House Raises Hopes of Missile Deal

Bush to Meet NATO Allies Divided Over Adding Troops in Afghanistan
Romania hopes for regional prominence after NATO
Afghanistan Moves to Censor TV

The Longest War

Richard Holbrooke, a former ambassador to the United Nations, writes a monthly column for The Post.

Russian ties, Afghan war at stake for NATO summit

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The largest summit in NATO's history starting next Wednesday could mould the West's relations with Russia for years to come and show whether the U.S.-led alliance has the resolve to win the war in Afghanistan.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

UPDATE 1-France's Sarkozy says euro is too strong

LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Thursday that the euro was too strong and questioned whether current monetary imbalances were sustainable.
Dollar falls back as credit worries linger

Candidates Leave Wall Street out of Economic Talks

Election 2008: Hear and read the speeches of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama; New York Sen. Hillary Clinton; and Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Schizophrenia Linked to Rare, Often Unique Genetic Glitches

Patients with schizophrenia are three to four times as likely as healthy people to harbor large mutations in genes that control brain development, and many of those glitches are unique to each patient, researchers reported yesterday.
Schizophrenia Tied to Multiple Genetic Errors

More NATO Security Aid Needed, Afghan Official Says

More NATO Security Aid Needed, Afghan Official Says

Finding of Fraud Led to Suspension of Company Supplying Arms to Afghanistan

House Panel to Examine Afghan Arms Contract

AFGHANISTAN: Kabul’s air pollution putting people’s health at risk

KABUL, 16 March 2008 (IRIN) - Worsening air pollution in Kabul is “seriously” threatening the health and well-being of its estimated three million residents, Afghanistan’s National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) has said. --- Severe air pollution causes respiratory disorders, eye and nasal problems, and is one of the major causes of lung cancer, public health experts say.

Brown seeks 'Entente Formidable' -- BBC

France pledges Afghanistan troops

Mr Sarkozy, who is on a state visit to Britain, said he would make the offer at next week's Nato summit in the Romanian capital, Bucharest.

McCain Outlines Foreign Policy

"Today we are not alone," McCain said. "Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom and knowledge necessary to succeed."
McCain Remarks on Foreign Policy, Transcript

U.S. Steps Up Unilateral Strikes in Pakistan -- Robin Wright and Joby Warrick

The United States has escalated its unilateral strikes against al-Qaeda members and fighters operating in Pakistan's tribal areas, partly because of anxieties that Pakistan's new leaders will insist on scaling back military operations in that country, according to U.S. officials.
Extremists Killing Afghans They Suspect Are Spying

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

McCain vows to reach out to allies -- Los Angeles Times

In his first major foreign policy speech since becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, McCain told the World Affairs Council here that to end terrorism and pacify Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States must lead by "attracting others to our cause" and "defending the rules of international civilized society."
McCain cites breaks with Bush foreign policy, washingtontimes

Equal Alliance, Unequal Roles -- ROBERT D. KAPLAN

WITH NATO set to hold its annual summit next week in Bucharest, there is concern that the failure of Germany and other members to carry a larger share of the burden in Afghanistan is threatening the alliance’s future.
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Supplier Under Scrutiny on Aging Arms for Afghans

Since 2006, when the insurgency in Afghanistan sharply intensified, the Afghan government has been dependent on American logistics and military support in the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
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France pledges Afghanistan troops -- BBC

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said France will send more troops to bolster Nato's mission in Afghanistan, subject to certain conditions.
Sarkozy woos the British
France, UK 'at their closest'

Sarkozy woos the British -- BBC

The French President Nicolas Sarkozy showed his powers of seduction in his speech to members of the British parliament.
Highlights of Nicolas Sarkozy's visit
Sarkozy and the Queen at a banquet
In pictures: French state visit

Germany Won't Increase Troop Levels in Afghanistan, DPA Reports

Chancellor Angela Merkel isn't going to bring a ``bag of presents'' for other NATO members, the German news agency said, citing deputy Defense Minister Christian Schmidt.
Canada demands Germany join south Afghanistan fight

Inside Afghanistan: A Talk with US Ambassador William Wood

Kabul, Asharq Al-Awsat- He expressed his conviction that Afghanistan, which has suffered approximately 30 years of continuous wars since the Soviet invasion, will restore its security and stability.
Pennies from American Schoolchildren Build Afghan Schools (February 12, 2008)
Ambassador Wood’s Press Conference at MFA (January 30, 2008)
Ambassador Wood Pledges U.S. Support to the People of Musa Qala (January 13, 2008)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Afghan peace hurt by West's failed aid pledges

KABUL (Reuters) - Peace in Afghanistan is undermined by Western nations' failure to deliver promised aid and 40 percent of funds that do reach the country return to the West in profits and salaries, aid agencies said on Tuesday.

While there are problems delivering development to Afghanistan due to poor security, government corruption and the ability of the country to absorb aid, major donors have fallen far behind on their pledges, ACBAR said.
Report Says Donors Short on Afghan Aid

Bush Says War's Outcome 'Will Merit the Sacrifice'

After A Nuclear 9/11

Afghanistan’s New Deal -- By ZALMAY KHALILZAD

The United States is fully behind the United Nations in the mission. Afghanistan is important not only because it was the origin of the attacks of 9/11 but also because it is the keystone of the geopolitical stability of Central and South Asia. Moreover, success in Afghanistan will be a major step in helping to create security, stability and progress in the broader Middle East, which is the defining challenge of our time.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Click here: FRONTLINE: bush's war | PBS

Click here: PBS - frontline: looking for answers : On Oct. 7, 2001, as U.S. bombs and cruise missiles hit targets in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden released a videotape calling for Muslims around the world to join his cause. --- As FRONTLINE and The New York Times discover, the roots of the hatred are not found in Afghanistan but in the lands of two crucial U.S. allies in the Islamic world: Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Click here: FRONTLINE: bush's war: interviews: george w. bush administration PBS

FRONTLINE: Bush's War -- PBS

Click here: FRONTLINE: bush's war PBS -- introduction PBS
From the horror of 9/11 to the invasion of Iraq; the truth about WMD to the rise of an insurgency; the scandal of Abu Ghraib to the strategy of the surge -- for seven years, FRONTLINE has revealed the defining stories of the war on terror in meticulous detail, and the political dramas that played out at the highest levels of power and influence.

Donors accused of failing Afghans -- BBC News, Kabul

Some $10bn in aid promised to Afghanistan has still to be delivered, the aid organisation Oxfam says.

It also finds that two-thirds of aid is not spent through the government and 40% goes back to donor countries in consultant fees and ex-patriot pay.

Oxfam says the prospects for peace in Afghanistan are being undermined because what has been donated is not being used effectively.

Acbar's director said too much was being spent on short-term projects as a lever to win people over as part of the military counter-insurgency strategy, at the expense of longer-term development.

The Oxfam report points out that while the US military spends $100m a day, the average amount of aid spent by all donors combined has been just $7m a day since 2001.

Afghan Pop Idol winner declared -- BBC

The grand final of Afghanistan's hit pop music talent show, Afghan Star, has taken place in Kabul.

Profile: Yusuf Raza Gillani -- BBC

By his own admission, Pakistan's new prime minister, Yusuf Raza Gillani, has not been one of the "good boys" who has followed the bidding of President Pervez Musharraf.

Bhutto ally elected Pakistan's prime minister

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A longtime loyalist of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was elected Pakistan’s new prime minister Monday and immediately freed judges detained by President Pervez Musharraf.

Does Dow's gain mean worst is over?

The Dow jumps 187, and tech stocks soar. JPMorgan boosts its Bear Stearns offer to $10. Some traders say the gains show the market has bottomed. Existing-home sales are better than expected. The Justice Dept. approves XM Satellite merger with Sirius.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama / The World Beyond Iraq

It may not dominate the evening news, but in Afghanistan, last year was the most deadly since 2001. Suicide attacks are up. Casualties are up. Corruption and drug trafficking are rampant. Neither the government nor the legal economy can meet the needs of the Afghan people. --- It is not too late to prevail in Afghanistan. But we cannot prevail until we reduce our commitment in Iraq, which will allow us to do what I called for last August – providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our efforts in Afghanistan.

Afghan Idol finale, Prophet protests show two faces of Afghanistan

Richard Holbrooke, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Bill Clinton, was among the VIPs watching the filming of "Afghan Star." But because of the protests outside, he couldn't leave the hotel when he had planned to. He took note of the irony. "I love it, fabulous. Better than 'American Idol,'" Holbrooke said of the show. "It shows the two Afghanistans. The riots down there and the show up here."

Sarkozy's ex-wife prepares to wed -- BBC

It is said she will marry Moroccan-born public relations executive Richard Attias on Sunday evening in Manhattan.

Cheney Says Goal of Palestinian State 'Long Overdue'

Cheney Hears Palestinian Complaints
Cheney Assures Israel on Security Steps

Nicolas Sarkozy to bolster force in Afghanistan with 1,000 extra troops

Afghanistan's Karzai declines to say whether he'll seek another term as president

Afghanistan: Radio Free Afghanistan Names 'Person Of The Year'

An Afghan governor has been named Radio Free Afghanistan's "Person Of The Year" for his role in keeping the peace and reconstructing his war-torn province.

'I restore murals in Afghanistan'

The worst thing about my work restoring ancient Buddhist cave murals at Bamiyan in Afghanistan is the fear of setting off landmines laid by the Taliban.

Afghanistan launches the International Year of Sanitation

On World Water Day, 20 March 2008, UNICEF is focusing on the importance of sanitation and hygiene in reaching global goals for safe water. Here is one in a series of related reports.

Americans are being killed by American trained Islamists -- Peter Chamberlin

Scheuer's book had to be cleared by the company before he could publish it, meaning that there is nothing in his book that the CIA does not want to become public knowledge.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Germany urges China to open up on Tibet

BERLIN, March 21 (Reuter) - China should let the world know what is happening in Tibet and the Olympic host is only hurting itself by denying access to foreign observers, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Friday
New York Times - International Herald Tribune - World Tribune - Radio Free Asia

Struggling for Solutions As Opium Trade Blossoms

TARIN KOT, Afghanistan -- "The people won't listen to us if we go to the mosque and say it's against our culture," he insisted. "No one wants to stop because the government has done nothing for us. They say, 'We have no choice, we have to make a living to support our families.'

McCain Backs Israel's Tough Response to Attacks

NATO Working to Rebuild Afghanistan

UN Renews Mission in Afghanistan

''Afghanistan is one of the most important issues facing the world, because the struggle against terrorism and against extremism in that part of the world is the defining challenge of our time,'' Afghan-born U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said.
Cheney Visits Afghanistan, Wants More NATO Troops

Afghans chant death to Danish, Dutch in protest

Three Candidates' Passport Files Were Breached

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has apologized to Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL), Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for the breach.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Afghanistan’s New Deal -- By ZALMAY KHALILZAD

Zalmay Khalilzad is the United States permanent representative to the United Nations.

Cheney meets with Karzai ahead of NATO

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney met with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday to discuss ways the country's fragile government can counter rising threats from al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.
Cheney in Afghanistan to bolster government
Cheney arrives in Afghanistan for talks with Karzai Reuters AFP - Reuters South Africa - RIA Novosti - PRESS TV

Cheney in surprise Afghan visit -- BBC

US Vice-President Dick Cheney has arrived in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on an unannounced visit, reports say. --- It is Mr Cheney's fourth trip to Afghanistan as vice-president.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fed Cuts Key Interest Rate in Latest Bold Move

NATO seeks Afghan support on anti-Koran film

KABUL, March 18 (Reuters) - NATO is concerned about a possible backlash over a Dutch video criticising the Koran and has appealed to Afghan leaders for support, its top operational commander said on Wednesday.
Secrecy about anti-Koran film worries Dutch govt
Danish PM condemns views of Dutch film-maker

Robert Fisk: The only lesson we ever learn is that we never learn

Robert Fisk: The only lesson we ever learn is that we never learn ...

On War's Anniversary, Bush Cites Progress

Bush Remarks on Iraq War and TerrorismTranscript

Afghanistan’s New Deal -- By ZALMAY KHALILZAD

Today in New York, the Security Council is scheduled to extend the mandate of the United Nations’ Assistance Mission in Afghanistan for another year — the perfect chance to provide a clear set of priorities.

This resolution rightly gives Mr. Eide the powers to directly coordinate all of the support provided by international donors. As things stand, more than 30 national embassies and bilateral development agencies, several United Nations agencies, four development banks and international financial institutions, and about 2,000 nongovernmental organizations and contractors are involved in rebuilding in Afghanistan.
OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR; Afghanistan’s New Deal

Bush Defends Iraq War in Speech

Video: Speech Excerpts
Cheney, Obama and Clinton on War Anniversary

11,000 Long-Awaited Pages of Clinton’s Schedules as First Lady Are Released

WASHINGTON — The National Archives and the William J. Clinton Presidential Library on Wednesday released more than 11,000 pages of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s public schedules for her eight years as first lady.
Clinton Library’s Web Site

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad talks to Lyse Doucet on The Interview

An Afghan by birth, and a Muslim, he was an academic in the United States and a policy advisor in Washington before setting off for his homeland on behalf of the US government.
Click here: BBC Media Player,
Label Listen (26mins 30secs)

Afghans demonstrate against 'deployment of Russian troops'

KABUL, March 18 (RIA Novosti) - Any return of Russian troops to Afghanistan would be certain to be greeted with open hostility from Afghans. The Soviet Union was involved in a bitter decade-long conflict in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. A million Afghan civilians and fighters are estimated to have lost their lives during the fighting. Some 15,000 Soviet soldiers also perished, and the return of Russian soldiers to the country would also be extremely unpopular in Russia.

U.S. Adapts Cold-War Idea to Fight Terrorists

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Afghan govt must bring rights abusers to justice: U.N.

"You have heard of the phrase 'action speaks louder than words'. Here in Afghanistan the lack of action speaks volumes," Norah Niland, the UN's Chief Human Rights Officer in Afghanistan told a news conference. --- Many Afghans are growing weary of the presence of foreign troops, official corruption and the ongoing lack of security.
Afghan govt must bring rights abusers to justice: U.N. ...

Afghan govt must bring rights abusers to justice: U.N.

KABUL (Reuters) - The Afghan government needs to take more action to bring human rights abusers to justice and end the culture of impunity that undermines faith in the state, the United Nations said on Tuesday
Afghan govt must bring rights abusers to justice: U.N. - Yahoo! News
ABC News: Afghan govt must bring rights abusers to justice: U.N.
Reuters AlertNet - Afghan govt must bring rights abusers to justice-UN

Admiral Fallon and Iran

The Post has unfairly put Adm. William J. Fallon's views in a negative light ["A Failing Campaign," editorial, March 14]. The real issue has two aspects. The first is whether the campaign to stop Tehran's nuclear program can succeed by peaceful means without a credible threat of force. The answer is not clear-cut.
NextNext >

Fed Slashes Key Interest Rate, and Stocks Soar

The Federal Reserve took another aggressive step in its campaign to prevent a deep and devastating recession yesterday, cutting a key interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point. The stock market staged its biggest rally in five years, with the Dow Jones industrial average rising 420 points.
Bush Stays Cautiously Optimistic Why Risk Is Good

Bush Says Iraq War Was Worth It -- Associated Press

Shedding Light on the Latest Fed Rate Cut

Fed's Moves Highlight Fragile State of Markets
Bernanke Urges Banks to Help Borrowers More
Wall Street Braces for New Round of Reports

Transcript: Barack Obama’s Speech on Race

The following is the text as prepared for delivery of Senator Barack Obama’s speech on race in Philadelphia, as provided by his presidential campaign.
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Obama Urges U.S. to Grapple With Racial Issue
More Articles in US »

Obama says US cannot ignore race -- BBC

US presidential hopeful Barack Obama has sought to tackle the issue of race and defuse a controversy over comments made by his former pastor.

Shooting rocks main Afghan prison -- BBC

Gunfire has been heard from the Pul-e-Charkhi prison, a huge complex built in the 1970s on the outskirts of the capital, Kabul.

Warlords rule Afghanistan

Recently, a NATO commander in Afghanistan said that two-third of the country is not under State control. As expected, this was refuted by President Hamid Karzai. The BBC now reports that Canadian troops in Afghanistan feel the country could get rid of insurgents only if there is a troop surge.

In Israel, German leader cites Holocaust shame

JERUSALEM - German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Israel's parliament on Tuesday that her countrymen are "filled with shame" over the Holocaust and that she bows before the victims of the genocide.

Tibetans divided over protest strategy

Dalai Lama vows to quit if worsens, but youth voice frustration

Dow up 420 as Fed cuts key rate to 2.25%

Stocks enjoy their best day of 2008 after the central bank makes another move to stabilize the economy.

Monday, March 17, 2008

China premier attacks Dalai Lama -- BBC

The Dalai Lama's claim of "cultural genocide" in Tibet is nothing but lies, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has said.

Reports Cite Lack of Uniform Policy for Terrorist Watch List -- Ellen Nakashima

The reports' findings come after criticism from privacy advocates that problems with the watch list hamper the government's ability to identify terrorists and do not ensure that innocent Americans are not included. --- A report issued yesterday by the Justice Department's inspector general, Glenn A. Fine, came to much the same conclusion regarding the FBI and six partner agencies.The inspector general's report can be found at:

Crises of Confidence in the Markets

U.S. currency traders launched a furious sell-off of the dollar immediately after the Fed acted Sunday, some staying up all night on concerns, they said, that major U.S. bank failures could be coming over the horizon. Major stock market indicators swung wildly, with the Standard and Poor's 500-stock index falling as much as 2.4 percent but ending 0.9 percent lower.
Wall Street Crisis Forces Candidates to Shift Their Focus

REVIEW & OUTLOOK : The Buck Stops Where? WSJ

In the credit market panic that began in August, we have now reached the point of maximum danger: A global run on the dollar that could become a rout. As the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee prepares to meet tomorrow, this should be its major concern.

What the U.S. and world economy don't need is a Fed that continues to insist that inflation expectations are "well-anchored" when everyone else knows they aren't. The Fed needs to restore its monetary credibility, or today's panic could become tomorrow's crash.

'Anyone Who Wants Integration Has to Provide Islam Instruction'

German-language Islam instruction for Muslim schoolchildren helps with integration and the development of language skills. Now the culture ministers of Germany's states want to introduce the subject for all students.
Part 1: 'Anyone Who Wants Integration Has to Provide Islam Instruction'
Part 2: A Dearth of Teachers

Uncritical Merkel Gets Red Carpet Treatment in Israel

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Part 2: Germans Wonder at Merkel's Israel Policy

INTERVIEW-New U.N. envoy seeks to coordinate Afghan efforts

Eide said he was encouraged by a U.N. focus on coordinating relief and nation-building efforts and expected "flexibility" from all players "to make the pieces fit together better". --- "We all know that the solution to the challenges we face in Afghanistan cannot be a military one. The security component is important, but the solution must ultimately be political," said Eide from his corner office in Norway's foreign ministry.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why Shariah? Noah Feldman -- law professor at Harvard University, and an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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.

In fact, for most of its history, Islamic law offered the most liberal and humane legal principles available anywhere in the world. Today, when we invoke the harsh punishments prescribed by Shariah for a handful of offenses, we rarely acknowledge the high standards of proof necessary for their implementation.
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Afghan Urges "Name And Shame" War on Graft, Drugs

Education Minister Hanif Atmar said Karzai, a fellow ethnic Pashtun, was prepared to consider action against members of his own entourage if presented with evidence against them. --- Atmar, a technocrat respected as an able administrator, called for international help to ensure full transparency and documentation as cases were investigated.

Fed Acts to Rescue Financial Markets

“The right decision here, I am convinced, was the decision that the Fed made, which was to do things, work with market participants to minimize the disruptions,” Mr. Paulson said on “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” on ABC.
The Fed's Statement
Post a Comment

AFGHANISTAN: Kabul's air pollution putting people's health at risk

KABUL, 16 March 2008 (IRIN) - Worsening air pollution in Kabul is "seriously" threatening the health and well-being of its estimated three million residents, Afghanistan's National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) has said. --- Kabul faces numerous environmental problems: a virtually non-existent sewage and sanitation system, burgeoning slums, crumbling infrastructure and rapid population growth. The fledging environmental protection agency will have an uphill struggle in improving air quality.

Afghan urges "name and shame" war on graft, drugs

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Afghanistan is ready to launch a "name and shame" campaign against high-level corruption and drug trafficking if it gets international backing, a senior minister and ally of President Hamid Karzai said on Sunday. --- Afghanistan, the world's biggest producer of opium, is ranked 172 out of 180 countries on Transparency International's corruption perception index.

Pakistan border strike 'kills 16' -- BBC

Iraq key players, then and now -- BBC

The world was divided in 2003 into countries that supported or opposed the Iraq war. The UN was in the middle. Here we recount the arguments for and against made by eight key players, and where they stand now.

Afghan Woman Voted Off 'Idol' Show

KABUL, Afghanistan -- An Afghan woman who sang her way to the top three of Afghanistan's version of "American Idol" has been voted out.

NATO Expansion, and a Bush Legacy, Are in Doubt

“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.”

Poverty not biggest factor driving Afghan drug crop

KABUL, March 15 (Reuters) - Afghan poppy farmers are some of the richest in the country, so poverty is not a big factor driving drug production in Afghanistan which last year produced 93 percent of the world's opium, a United Nations report said.
Poverty not biggest factor driving Afghan drug crop ...

Interactive Timeline: "Buying the War" -- Bill Moyers Journal

Click here: Bill Moyers Journal . For Educators . The Role of Journalists PBS

Friday, March 14, 2008

U.S. urges NATO allies to back 5-year Afghan plan

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The United States is urging NATO allies at a summit next month to sign up to a five-year plan stepping up efforts to end the insurgency in Afghanistan, according to a document obtained by Reuters.

The proposed U.S. plan is part of an input paper for a "strategic vision statement" to be unveiled at an April 2-4 summit in Bucharest affirming NATO's long-term commitment to defeating the Taliban-led insurgency.

Weak dollar costs U.S. economy its No. 1 spot

PARIS (Reuters) - The U.S. economy lost the title of "world's biggest" to the euro zone this week as the value of the dollar slumped in currency markets.

Laura Bush calls for U.S. AIDS funding approval

"I feel very encouraged that the United States will reauthorize," said Mrs. Bush during a visit to GHESKIO -- a Haitian clinic which was established in 1982 and calls itself the first institution in the world dedicated exclusively to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Bush says if younger, he would work in Afghanistan

"I must say, I'm a little envious," Bush said. "If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed."

Bush Notes 'Rough Patch' but Says Economy's Not 'in the Ditch'

Fed Comes To Rescue As Wall St. Giant Slips
Treasurys Rise on CPI, Bear Bailout

Bush Acknowledges Economic Troubles

Speaking to the Economic Club of New York at a midtown Manhattan hotel, Mr. Bush said that the economy was now having “a tough time.”
Stocks Tumble on Bank’s Troubles
Fed Chief Warns Anew on Foreclosures

House Rejects Eavesdropping Immunity

Why the Dutch must win hearts and minds - FT

However, burning Dutch and Danish flags in Afghanistan and crisis preparations in The Hague and Brussels indicate that this is already a big issue, and the film is a point of discussion at this week’s European summit.

Ex-ambassador urges long-term U.S. presence in Afghanistan

GREENWICH - A former ambassador to Afghanistan told World Affairs Forum members yesterday that stability could be achieved in Afghanistan and Iraq but that would mean long-term commitment from the United States.

Ronald Neumann, in a speech at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich, urged attendees at the Stamford-based organization's breakfast not to forget about Afghanistan as the war in Iraq continues to te the news.

Afghanistan’s political transition faces serious challenges – UN report

After the sell-off, investors face a scary week

A panicky day of selling ended Friday with investment bank Bear Stearns (BSC, news, msgs) likely to be sold and investors watching how the Federal Reserve and the federal government cope with continued stress in the financial markets.

House passes Dem-backed surveillance bill -- Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The House on Friday approved a Democratic bill that would set rules for the government's eavesdropping on phone calls and e-mails inside the United States. --- Democrats say the bill protects the privacy rights of Americans by making sure the telecommunications companies — and the wiretapping program — did not violate any laws.

Dollar Falls to Record Versus Euro, Near Decade Low Against Yen

Canadians extend Afghan mission -- BBC

Canada's parliament has voted to extend the army's mission in Afghanistan by two years to 2011, but only if Nato sends reinforcements and equipment.

Fighting the Wrong Foe With the Wrong Weapons -- MICHIKO KAKUTANI

First Chapter: ‘Marching Toward Hell’ (March 14, 2008)
A Review of 'Imperial Hubris' (July 9, 2004)

White House Offers Plan to Ward Off Credit Crises

Fallon resigns as Mideast military chief

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said the White House played no role in Fallon's move. U.S. admiral leading wars in Iraq, Afghanistan ...

AFGHANISTAN: UN Secretary-General warns of threats to "still fragile" country

"To meet the security challenge and stabilise Afghanistan, a common approach is needed that integrates security, governance, rule of law, human rights and social and economic development," said the report entitled The situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security

Plan Aims to Restore Faith in the Economy

The nation's top economic policymakers unveiled a far-reaching plan yesterday to fortify the U.S. financial system, aiming to prevent a repeat of the credit meltdown that has roiled global markets since the summer.

Pentagon Report Fails to Link Saddam, Al-Qaida -- Morning Edition

March 12, 2008 Study Finds No Link Between Saddam, bin Laden

House Closes Its Doors for Spying Bill

WASHINGTON March 14, 2008, 12:34 am ET · The House held a closed session Thursday for the first time in 25 years to discuss a hotly contested surveillance bill.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

EU dubs US air plans unacceptable

EU officials have strongly criticised US attempts to re-open a 2007 deal on exchanging personal information of trans-Atlantic air passengers. --- European Commission spokesman Jonathan Faull said that if the United States did not move soon to include all EU countries in the visa-waiver programme, the EU could adopt a visa requirement of its own for US citizens.
"We have been extremely patient... but our patience can't last forever," he said.
EU-US agree on visa waiver talks
EU dubs US air plans unacceptable

EU-US agree on visa waiver talks -- BBC

Only 15 EU states are covered by the current visa-waiver scheme. They are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK. --- Citizens from Greece and 11 of the 12 newest EU states - Slovenia is the exception - need visas for travel to the US.
EU dubs US air plans unacceptable

UN call to sharpen Afghan mandate -- BBC

The head of United Nations peacekeeping operations says the UN mandate for Afghanistan must be sharpened up to help efforts to stabilise the country.

Air strike kills Afghan civilians -- BBC

Four Afghan civilians have been killed in an airstrike by British forces, the Ministry of Defence said.

Gold hits $1,000 for first time -- BBC

The price of gold reached a record, trading at $1,000 an ounce for the first time, pushed higher by a weak US dollar and fears about the US economy.
See how gold has climbed
30 years of gold highs and lows

Silda Spitzer, Profile of an Accomplished Woman

She is known as the polished one, the poised one -- a Harvard-educated lawyer and an amateur painter, a prolific letter writer who gives homemade jam to friends at Christmastime.
Spitzer to Step Down as N.Y. Governor
High-Profile Attorneys on Spitzer Case

Suicide Bomber Kills Six Afghans

KABUL (Reuters) - A suicide car bomber killed eight Afghan civilians in an attack on U.S. troops near the airport in Afghanistan's capital on Thursday, a NATO spokesman said.
Suicide car bomb kills 8 Afghans near Kabul airport

Bush says if younger, he would work in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush got an earful on Thursday about problems and progress in Afghanistan where a war has dragged on for more than six years but been largely eclipsed by Iraq. --- "I must say, I'm a little envious," Bush said. "If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed."
U.S. urges NATO allies to back 5-year Afghan plan Reuters
Bush says if younger, he would work in Afghanistan

Home prices plunge across California

LOS ANGELES - Median home prices plunged in many of California's most populous counties in February, with Southern California leading the slide with an overall drop of 17.9 percent compared to a year earlier, according to new housing data released Thursday.

Bush, Democrats clash over new spy bill, immunity

"I think that is the proper way to decide whether they should have immunity or not -- not members of Congress' voting on it," Pelosi said.
Bush blasts House surveillance bill AP

Telecom tower burned in west Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan - A telecommunications tower was set ablaze in western Afghanistan, a police official said Wednesday, the latest such attack since insurgents warned phone companies to shut down the towers at night.

FBI gathers more info on U.S. citizens -- Washingtontimes

Report: FBI Misused Power -- Washingtonpost

Islamic leaders voice anger at Islamophobia in West

DAKAR (Reuters) - "Ignorance about Islam and calculated animosity with deep historic roots on the part of a minority in the West, as well as our failure to defend the true values of Islam, are the reason for the increasing wave of Islamophobia."

Afghan-born U.S. envoy says no presidential ambitions

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Washington's Afghan-born ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, rejected suggestions on Wednesday that he might run for president in his country of birth when Afghan President Hamid Karzai's term ends in 2009.
Afghan-born U.S. envoy says no presidential ambitions - MSNBC Wire ...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

White House: No Shift in Iran Policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon and the White House sought Wednesday to counter speculation that the abrupt departure of the top commander in the Middle East, who publicly opposed going to war with Iran, signals a shift in Bush administration policy toward Tehran.
Fallon resigns / One admiral too many
White House denies Fallon was forced out

Afghan becomes open heart surgeon -- BBC

Dr Hashmatullah Nawabi was trained by French surgeons at the French Medical Institute for Children in Kabul. --- The doctor, who had previously trained in the Soviet Union and worked in Germany, has been deemed capable of performing complex operations alone.

Citing Faith, Bush Defends War Actions

Afghan War Trend Worse Than Iraq - U.S. Trainer

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - "Afghanistan (is) in my eyes an under-resourced war, a war that needs a whole lot more advisers, a whole lot more economic aid," Lieutenant Colonel John Nagl told a security conference in Stockholm. --- "This war is the war I'm concerned about, a war in which the United States very much needs the help of our friends."

Spitzer Resigns, Citing Personal Failings -- MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM

Video Text Letter (pdf)
Milestones in an Ambitious Career
Silda Wall Spitzer: Public Ordeal of Private Person

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

U.N. reports sharp rise in Afghanistan attacks

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Militant attacks in Afghanistan increased dramatically last year, with civilians accounting for nearly a fifth of people killed, the U.N. secretary-general said in a new report.

Afghans open bureau of complaints -- BBC

The department will collect all manner of complaints from the Afghan public and pass them on to the office of President Hamid Karzai.

US Mid-East commander steps down -- BBC

The commander of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, Admiral William Fallon, is to retire from his post early.

If Nato fails, so too does Europe on security

In the face of a deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, political analysts have rushed to declare Nato mortally wounded, if not already dead. If this is correct it spells trouble for Europe, since the European Union’s foreign and security policy is not up to the job either. Europe risks being left without an effective security organisation.

Iran's rise owes much to Bush's Iraq and Afghan wars

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Five years on, Iran can thank the United States for unwittingly aiding its drive for regional power by ousting Saddam Hussein, one of Tehran's deadliest foes.

Afghanistan’s political transition faces serious challenges – UN report

10 March 2008 – The political transition in strife-torn Afghanistan continues to face a number of serious challenges, including terrorism and a booming drug industry, according to a new United Nations report, which urges an integrated approach among all international partners to stabilize the fledgling democracy.

US official: More military contracts should be awarded to Afghan companies

KHOST, Afghanistan - The U.S. military should let more Afghan companies bid on projects in Afghanistan in order to save U.S. taxpayers money, a senior U.S. Army official said Saturday.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

UN Racism Experts Urge Changes to Eliminate Racial Bias

The UN is telling the US that it needs to deal with an ugly aspect of its criminal justice system --Alison Parker, deputy director of the US Program at Human Rights Watch
February 2008 Human Rights Watch submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Musharraf opponents get MPs boost -- BBC

Gen Ashfaq Kayani also said the army would "stay out of the political process".

Rahul Gandhi starts India drive -- BBC

Mr Gandhi is seen as the heir to the Congress Party leadership and a possible future prime minister.

Women press for more rights on International Women's Day

Pajamas Media: What Robert McFarlane Still Doesn't Know About Afghanistan

The Afghan hero who died in Guantanamo -- The Huffington Post

Andy Worthington: The Afghan hero who died in Guantanamo ...

Afghanistan welcomes Norway's Eide as new UN envoy

NATO's European Mission

AN UPCOMING NATO summit meeting in Bucharest, Romania, could well be dominated by debate over how and even whether the alliance can succeed in Afghanistan. But another topic, barely discussed so far, may be almost as important: whether NATO can extend its last major mission of expanding Europe's zone of security to former communist countries.
Putin: Medvedev Won't Be Any Easier

Bush Announces Veto of Waterboarding Ban -- Dan Eggen-

Bush Explains Veto of Waterboarding Bill, Bush Uses Veto on CIA Tactics to Affirm Legacy, NYTimes, Bush Vetoes Waterboarding Bill The Associated Press Bush vetoes bill to ban waterboarding Los Angeles Times Bloomberg - WHBF - Washington Post

Karzai Urges More Freedoms For Women

(AP) -Afghan Women Need More Education, Fewer Forced Marriages, President Hamid Karzai Says --- "I call on all religious leaders to advise all the people to stop violence against women, to stop child marriages and forced marriages as well," Karzai told several hundred women gathered in a high school auditorium in Kabul.
Afghan women need more education, fewer forced marriages, Karzai ... msnbc
Afghan women need more education, fewer forced marriages, Karzai ... iht
Karzai Urges More Freedoms for Women, NYTimes

Afghan-Americans Weighing Presidential Candidates’ Afghanistan Policy

Afghan-Americans are carefully listening to the views of the U.S. presidential candidates on their policy objectives and specific plans for the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

Equal human rights -- Washingtontimes

Women are the pillars of communities and cultures across the globe, and Afghanistan is no exception. No nation has ever rebuilt or fully developed without the participation of women. ---It is only in the enabling environment of security, rule of law, and prosperity that the hopes and dreams of Afghan women can grow.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Afghanistan. Pakistan. Forgotten. -- By JOE BIDEN

If Afghanistan fails or Pakistan falls to fundamentalism, America will suffer a terrible setback. The candidates should tell Americans how they will handle what may be the next president’s most difficult challenge. --- Joe Biden is a Democratic senator from Delaware.

Norwegian Named as New UN Envoy to Afghanistan

"We welcome the appointment of Kai Eide as the new U.N. Special Representative for Afghanistan," Kate Starr, White House National Security Council spokeswoman, said.

Rice Presses NATO Allies to Expand Afghan Force

BRUSSELS — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, tiptoeing through a minefield of European squabbling, on Thursday urged NATO allies to step up troop contributions and other efforts to help defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan. Pakistan. Forgotten. -- By JOE BIDEN

THE next president will have to rally America and the world to “fight them over there unless we want to fight them over here.” The “over there” is not, as President Bush has claimed, Iraq, but rather the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Afghanistan is slipping toward failure. The Taliban is back, violence is up, drug production is booming and the Afghans are losing faith in their government. All the legs of our strategy — security, counternarcotics efforts, reconstruction and governance — have gone wobbly.

We also need to make good on President Bush’s pledge for a Marshall Plan for Afghanistan. In six years, we have spent on Afghanistan’s reconstruction only what we spend every three weeks on military operations in Iraq.
Op-Ed Contributors: What I’d Be Talking About if I Were Still Running

Norwegian Appointed UN Envoy to Afghans

UNITED NATIONS -- Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide has been appointed the latest U.N. "super envoy" to coordinate military and civilian efforts in Afghanistan, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's office said Friday. --- Eide replaces Tom Koenigs of Germany, who held the post and was head of the assistance mission from February 2006 until last December.

Too Much Power in Karzai's Hands, Critics Say

Morning Edition, March 7, 2008 · One reason American troops are still in Afghanistan nearly seven years after ousting the Taliban is to protect the still fragile democracy there. A growing number of Afghans question whether that democracy is worth protecting.

They complain that the government they've elected is corrupt and that it does a poor job of providing basic services, let alone law and order. They accuse the West of caring more about backing President Hamid Karzai, than addressing his government's problems.
Afghanistan, The Lingering War
Military Leaders See Mixed Results in Afghanistan
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

In Afghanistan, the War Against Insurgents Rages

It has been more than six years since U.S. troops and their Afghan allies swept the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. But the Islamist militia is far from beaten.
Afghanistan, The Lingering War

Afghanistan, The Lingering War: Military Leaders See Mixed Results in Afghanistan

There is growing worry at the Pentagon and elsewhere in Washington about the future of Afghanistan and the NATO-led military mission there. Taliban attacks are increasing, and support is dwindling for the Karzai government. One recent study said Afghanistan was in danger of becoming a failed state.
In Afghanistan, the War Against Insurgents Rages
Taliban's Shifting Tactics Define Afghanistan Conflict
NATO's Role in Afghanistan Strains Alliance
Afghan Mission Has Two Goals: Security, Farming

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Vatican and Muslims to establish permanent dialogue

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - "We emerged with a permanent structure that will ensure that the Catholic-Muslim engagement and dialogue continues into the future," said Professor Aref Ali Nayed, director of the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in Amman, Jordan.

UN: Afghanistan should hit lords

KABUL, Afghanistan - The Afghan government should target big traffickers — some with links to government officials — who are fueling the country's multibillion-dollar illicit trade, which has reached unprecedented levels, the United Nations said Wednesday.

US optimistic about Afghanistan reinforcements: Rice

BRUSSELS (AFP) - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed optimism Wednesday that NATO can find enough troops for Afghanistan to meet Canadian demands for a better response to the Taliban-led insurgency.

Obama says he will sharpen criticism

CHICAGO - Democratic Sen. Barack Obama on Wednesday blamed his primary defeats in Ohio and Texas on rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's criticism and news coverage that he argued benefited her at his expense.

McCain receives Bush backing -- USATODAY

Forget Annapolis: Nine Steps to Peace -- Yossi Melman

The Current Discussion: With the Israeli re-invasion of Gaza, it's clear that the "Annapolis Peace Process" is collapsing. Does it matter? Who's to blame?

Don't abandon Afghanistan -- Daniel Korski

Discussions are bound to be sombre. Six years of war, and the biggest military operation in the history of Nato, have failed to subdue the Afghan insurgency and left the government of President Hamid Karzai entirely dependent on the continued massive presence of international forces.

If historians are not to look back on early 2008 as the time when the west "lost" Afghanistan, then action is required. But what to do?

The ugly truth in Afghanistan

KABUL AND WASHINGTON — When managers from all the major humanitarian agencies in Kandahar gathered in a high-walled compound to swap war stories last month, it wasn't the tales of kidnappings and that caused the most worry. Nor was it the reports of insurgents enforcing their own brutal laws and executing aid workers.

Civil Fights: The canard of 'disproportionate force'

International denunciations of Israel came thick and fast this week. The EU's rotating president, Slovenia, condemned the "disproportionate use of force by the Israeli Defense Forces against the Palestinian population in Gaza." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon slammed Israel's "excessive and disproportionate" response to Palestinian rocket attacks. Even the US State Department urged Israel to "exercise caution to avoid the loss of life," which is merely a milder version of the same premise: that Israel is to blame for all Palestinian civilian casualties, either because it uses "disproportionate force" or because it exercises insufficient "caution." Yet media reports on the fighting in Gaza reveal that in fact, the blame frequently lies with Palestinian behavior.

Clinton hails 3 wins; Obama downplays losses

After big night, ex-first lady leaves door open to sharing ticket with rival, --- Obama: Still confident of victory

Bush endorses John McCain for president

WASHINGTON - "John showed incredible courage, strength of character and perseverance in order to get to this moment and that's exactly what we need in a president — somebody who can handle the tough decisions, somebody who won't flinch in the face of danger," Bush said, appearing with McCain in the Rose Garden.

Dollar's Falling Value Ripples Through U.S. Economy

As the value of the dollar has fallen, the U.S. economy has had to adjust in a multitude of areas. While some sectors have benefitted from cheaper U.S. exports, others have felt the pinch of inflation. Paul Solman examines the impact of the dollar's value.
Congress Divided on Economic Relief, Housing Measures

Afghanistan, The Lingering War: NATO's Role in Afghanistan Strains Alliance

Morning Edition, March 5, 2008 · NATO was set up in 1949 to, as some put it, keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down. But with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the question became: What exactly is NATO for?
In Afghanistan, the War Against Insurgents Rages

OBAMA: In the Weeks to Come, A Costly Battle on Two Fronts

INSTANT VIEW: McCain wins nomination; Clinton revives campaign Reuters

Obama wears the bravest of faces in his camp -- LATimes

SAN ANTONIO -- "We know this," he declared, as the breeze kicked up. "No matter what happens tonight, we have nearly the same delegate lead as we did this morning, and we are on our way to winning this nomination."
White Working-Class Voters Fuel Clinton's Comeback Washington Post Clinton goes 3 for 4 in comeback Boston Globe USA Today - New York Times - San Francisco Chronicle - Houston Chronicle

Clinton Gets Big State Wins

(CBS/AP) Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won the Ohio and Texas primaries on Tuesday night, defeating Sen. Barack Obama in two big key states. Along with a win in Rhode Island, Clinton's three triumphs ended a month of defeats for the former first lady, and she told jubilant supporters in Columbus, Ohio, "We're going on, we're going strong and we're going all the way." (Watch Clinton video.)
Clinton takes Texas, Ohio, NBC projects
Game On: Clinton Scores in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island -- ABCNews

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Big Wins for Clinton in Texas and Ohio; McCain Clinches Race as Foe Concedes

Speeches: Clinton Obama McCain Huckabee

McCain Clinches GOP Presidential Nomination

Huckabee Drops Out as Senator Wins Four Primaries
Huckabee Drops Out of Presidential Race
McCain Huckabee

A Surge To Help Afghanistan -- Joe Lieberman

In the run-up to the NATO summit in Bucharest next month, the Bush administration has launched an intensive diplomatic campaign to persuade our European allies to send additional combat troops to southern Afghanistan, where the Atlantic alliance has been struggling against a resurgent Taliban.

China Reports Military Budget Of $59 Billion

Sharp Buildup Raises Concern In U.S. Over Intentions, 'Opacity'

Nato fears over Dutch Islam film -- BBC

Nato's secretary general says he fears the airing of a Dutch film criticising Islam will have repercussions for troops in Afghanistan.
Dutch Muslims condemn MP's film

Bush optimistic of Mid-East peace -- BBC

US President George W Bush has said he is still optimistic there will be a Middle East peace deal before he leaves office, despite stalled negotiations.
Rice tries to save Mid-East talks
Israeli Gaza operation 'not over'

Exit Poll: Clinton Holds Whites in Ohio -- ASSOCIATED PRESS

Op-Ed Contributor: Afghanistan. Pakistan. Forgotten.

Afghan foreign minister condemns Danish reprint of Prophet Muhammad cartoon -- JAN M. OLSEN

COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Afghanistan's foreign minister on Monday condemned a Danish cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, saying that freedom of speech should not be used "to make a billion Muslims cry."-- Rangin Dadfar Spanta told reporters during a visit to Denmark that he respected differences in cultures, but suggested Danish newspapers abused the freedom of expression when they reprinted the cartoon three weeks ago. --- Spanta said freedom of speech should be used to promote "equality and peace between nations" and to exchange information.
Hundreds of Afghans protest Danish prophet cartoon, Dutch film ... -- MSNBC
Dutch PM warns of risks to national interests if anti-Quran film is released

Canada learning hard lessons in aid to Afghanistan: senior aid official

In an exclusive interview Monday with The Canadian Press, Wallace said Canada is learning hard lessons about how to allocate aid funding to rebuild the war-torn country. --- "When you do 50 different programs in the country as Canada does, some work really well and some don't work so well," Wallace said in a telephone interview from his Gatineau headquarters.

Rome-based group says it's mindful of finances in training Afghan jurists

ROME - An international organization helping to revamp Afghanistan's justice system says a news story citing one of its representatives in Kabul does not accurately reflect the work of the group.

Japan gives UNESCO $13 million for Afghan literacy initiative

KABUL: UNESCOs Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE) in Afghanistan would receive a grant of $13 million from the government of Japan, the UN agency announced. --- This grant, to be administered by UNESCO, will benefit almost 600,000 individuals - notably women who are unable to read or write - in 18 Afghan provinces, according to a statement from the organisation.

Afghan lawmakers protest Danish prophet cartoon, Dutch film criticizing Quran -- Associated Press Writer

On Monday, Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta told reporters during a visit to Denmark that he respected differences in cultures, but suggested Danish newspapers abused freedom of expression when they reprinted the cartoons three weeks ago.

Spanta said freedom of speech should be used to promote "equality and peace between nations" and to exchange information.

"Freedom of speech must not be used to make a billion Muslims cry," he said.
Afghanistan is a Muslim nation where criticism of Muhammad and the Quran is a serious crime that carries the death sentence.
Hundreds of Afghans protest Danish prophet cartoon, Dutch film ... --
Hundreds of Afghans protest Danish prophet cartoon, Dutch film ... -- - Afghan Lawmakers Challenge Danish Prophet Cartoon ... --

Afghan Lawmakers Challenge Danish Prophet Cartoon, Dutch Film Criticizing Koran -- Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan — More than 200 lawmakers shouted "Death to the enemies of Islam" during an angry demonstration outside the Afghan parliament protesting the reprinting of a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad in Denmark and an upcoming Dutch film criticizing the Quran.

"We want the world community, the U.N. and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to react against these kinds of activities, and not allow any countries to cause such confrontations and dangerous challenges among Muslim communities," lawmaker Mohammad Saleh Suljoqi read

Afghanistan looking for foreign investment in energy sector

AFGHANISTAN: Afghan mothers give children opium (video)

BADAKHSHAN, 2 March 2008 (IRIN) - Afghanistan is the world's leading producer of opium. Villagers in remote areas of Badakhshan Province, north-eastern Afghanistan, have been using opium as a substitute for medicine for years. They are oblivious to the harm it can do to their health.

Bernanke Urges Banks to Forgive Portion of Mortgages (Update5)

March 4 (Bloomberg) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, battling the worst housing recession in a quarter century, urged lenders to forgive portions of mortgages held by homeowners at risk of defaulting.
Fed Chief Urges Breaks for Some Borrowers New York TimesBernanke urges more principal writedowns to avert foreclosures UPDATE CNNMoney.comTimes Online - MarketWatch - Wall Street Journal - Los Angeles Times

Children and civilian bystanders in Gaza death toll

Amnesty International -

European Court of Human Rights Reaffirms the Absolute Prohibition on Return to Torture

(Strasbourg, February 28, 2008) – The European Court of Human Rights today reaffirmed that the ban on deporting people to countries where they are at risk of torture or ill-treatment is absolute and unconditional.
European Court of Human Rights Reaffirms Absolute Prohibition on Return to Torture

Bush warns Iran, calls for more NATO troops in Afghanistan

CRAWFORD, Texas (AFP) - US President George W. Bush on Saturday warned his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to "stop exporting terror" ahead of the Iranian leader's historic visit to Iraq.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Karzai-bashing deeply disturbing: Congressman Pitts

Senior US Congressman from Pennsylvania, Joe Pitts in a special speech in the House of Representative on Tuesday said the recent Karzai-bashing is deeply disturbing. -- Recently there have been a number of stories in the Western media bashing Afghanistan President Karzai. One in the Washington Post even raised doubts about his anti-Taliban activities before he became President. This is deeply disturbing, Pitts said.

Global Terrorist And Drug Trafficking Cartels

Afghanistan produces over 80 percent of the world’s opium supply and 90 percent of the opiate products destined for Europe and the USA. Unlike their counterparts in Colombia, the terrorists in Afghanistan enjoy the benefits of a trafficker-driven economy that lacks a national government who has any interest in combating it. --- Drug czar John Walters has acknowledged that “the struggle between narco-trafficking has to be linked with the fight against terrorism” because “drug-trafficking groups contribute to the financing of corruption and terrorism.”

Afghans Protest Prophet Cartoon -- THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Afghanistan is a Muslim nation where blasphemy of Muhammad and the Quran is considered a serious crime that carries the death sentence.
Afghans Protest At Danish Cartoons

Obama Defends His Christian Religion -- The Associated Press

NELSONVILLE, Ohio - Democrat Barack Obama says he's tired of questions about his religion. -- Obama said misinformation — including long-standing suggestions that he is a Muslim — is being spread by his opponents.

McCain Seeks Distance From Pastor -- The Associated Press

PHOENIX -- John McCain is refusing to renounce the endorsement of a prominent Texas televangelist who Democrats say peddles anti-Catholic and other intolerant speech. -- The Catholic League and Catholics United called on McCain to reject the endorsement.
McCain Seeks Distance From Pastor

Bush Moves to Shield Telecommunications Firms

President Bush said last week that telecommunications companies that helped government wiretapping efforts need protection from "class-action plaintiff attorneys" who see a "financial gravy train" ahead.

Transcript: Bush Holds a News Conference

Laura and I, as you know, recently came back from Africa, where we saw firsthand how the emergency plan for AIDS relief is saving lives. I had a chance to go to the -- speak to the Sullivan Foundation the other day about our trip. --- And the reason I did so was to remind the American people about how important it is for our nation to remain generous and compassionate when it comes to helping people overseas.
Bush Holds a News Conference: Addresses the Economy, Iraq, and Relations With Cuba...

Foreign Affairs - America the Resilient - Stephen E. Flynn

When it comes to managing the hazards of the twenty-first century, it is reckless to relegate the American public to the sidelines. During the Cold War, the threat of nuclear weapons placed the fate of millions in the hands of a few. But responding to today's challenges, the threats of terrorism and natural disasters, requires the broad engagement of civil society. The terrorists' chosen battlegrounds are likely to be occupied by civilians, not soldiers. And more than the loss of innocent lives is at stake: a climate of fear and a sense of powerlessness in the face of adversity are undermining faith in American ideals and fueling political demagoguery. Sustaining the United States' global leadership and economic competitiveness ultimately depends on bolstering the resilience of its society. Periodically, things will go badly wrong. The United States must be prepared to minimize the consequences of those eventualities and bounce back quickly.
America the Resilient

Foreign Affairs - Us and Them - Jerry Z. Muller

Americans also find ethnonationalism discomfiting both intellectually and morally. Social scientists go to great lengths to demonstrate that it is a product not of nature but of culture, often deliberately constructed. And ethicists scorn value systems based on narrow group identities rather than cosmopolitanism. --- A familiar and influential narrative of twentieth-century European history argues that nationalism twice led to war, in 1914 and then again in 1939. Thereafter, the story goes, Europeans concluded that nationalism was a danger and gradually abandoned it.
Us and Them

Clinton Campaign Pours Resources Into Two Crucial Primaries

Foreign Policy Hits Home in Tex., Ohio

John McCain Wants Conservatives by His Side. Fine, They Say, Just Move This Way.

McCain Seeks Distance From Pastor

REASSURING JEWISH VOTERS: Obama Rebuffs Challenges on His Israel Stance

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is engaged in a concerted effort to reassure Jewish leaders in the face of an increasingly aggressive Republican campaign to question his tolerance and his commitment to supporting Israel.
Obama Rebuffs Challenges on His Israel Stance

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Despite Spotlight, Putin's Heir Still Shadowy

ST. PETERSBURG -- At the age of 23, Dmitry Medvedev went to a cathedral in this city, then called Leningrad, and was baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church. Even in the relatively liberal environment of Mikhail Gorbachev's Soviet Union, it was a quiet act of defiance for a postgraduate law student whose prospects depended on not straying too far from the ruling ideology.

U.S.: Record Drug Growth Fueling Taliban

Immediate Action Against Poppy Farmers Needed, State Department Urges
70 Percent Of Afghanistan Still Lawless

Turkey Leaves Iraq After U.S. Pressure

McCain Faces Fire Over Minister's Views

(CBS) -- Bill Donahue of the Catholic League offered a tougher view: "I do want a clear-cut statement from McCain saying that he knows Catholics have been offended, when this man hagee calls my religon the great whore and a false cult system."

Bush Urges Iraqi Leaders to Give Ahmadinejad Clear Message

Israeli Strikes Kill 54 in Gaza

"The response to these rockets can't be that harsh and heinous," said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "It is nowadays described as a holocaust."

Clinton Talks About Stepping Up Effort in Afghanistan

“I will also be a commander in chief who refocuses on winning the war in Afghanistan,” she said. “I will do everything in my power to reverse our declining position in Afghanistan,” she said, vowing to make it clear to allies in NATO “that this is their war too.”
Senator Clinton Heads to Iraq, Afghanistan

Battle Company Is Out There --

Israel Takes Gaza Fight to Next Level in a Day of Strikes

The fighting brought harsh criticism from the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, who reportedly threatened to call off negotiations with Israel over a peace treaty. “We tell the world: watch and judge what’s happening, and judge who is committing international terrorism,” Mr. Abbas said in Ramallah, on the West Bank

Britain's Prince Harry:" I don't like England much"

Woman among three killed in Afghan bomb blast

KHOST, Afghanistan (AFP) - Three people including a woman were killed Saturday when a roadside bomb blew up their vehicle in eastern Afghanistan, in the third attack in the area in days, a district chief said.

Prince Harry pays tribute to injured UK soldiers

Prince Harry rejects 'hero' label BBC News ‘I’m no hero,’ says Prince Harry Times Online - ABC Online - Voice of America - The Associated Press

Czech PM wants allies 'more visibly' engaged in Afghanistan

OTTAWA (AFP) - Visiting Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek on Friday urged NATO countries to play a larger role in routing insurgents from Afghanistan, noting his nation is doubling its troop deployment this year.

NATO chief disputes U.S. view of Afghan control

Prince Harry Returns to UK, Family (AP)

Prince Harry returns to UK, family - Yahoo! News
Prince Harry Returns to Britain After Deployment Disclosed

U.S., NATO Reaffirm Commitment in Afghanistan

De Hoop Scheffer, a former Dutch foreign minister, said: "We have a long- term commitment vis-a-vis Afghanistan. . . . All 26 NATO allies are there, and we are there for the long haul."

Bush, NATO chief, discuss Afghan efforts

CRAWFORD, Texas (AFP) - - US President George W. Bush said Saturday that he would press NATO members to contribute more forces to the mission in Afghanistan at a summit in Bucharest in April.
Bush hosts Danish PM at ranch