Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Olmert exit excites strong feelings in Israeli media


watching-olmert-on-television-in-jerusalem.JPG“The right step,” Israel’s most popular news daily screamed in red letters on Thursday across a front-page photo showing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, his back turned, after he announced plans to resign.
Olmert’s announcement on Wednesday triggered bold headlines and even bolder commentaries in the daily Yedioth Ahronoth in a climax to months of tensions over corruption scandals.

In a country of news junkies where emotions are raw and debate as hot as a mid-summer’s day, Israeli dailies typically give expression to pent-up feelings almost as much as they seek to inform.
Global concerns about the future of Middle East peace talks were not the main focus. Speculating over the political impact of Olmert’s downfall was more the order of the day.
“He couldn’t take it any more,” read the headline over a column on Yedioth’s front page by Eitan Haber, a former aide to the late Yitzhak Rabin, once a rival of Olmert’s felled by an Israeli rightist assassin who opposed peace talks.
“Olmert died in the war and was buried by the investigations,” Yedioth commentator Nahum Barnea wrote in another piece, referring to Olmert’s censure by an official panel for his handling of a 2006 war in Lebanon.
Some Israeli writers praised the dignified manner in which Olmert delivered his statement, quietly vowing to step aside and looking uncharacteristically humble in a speech broadcast live over radio and television.

Olmert protested his innocence, but his remarks bore little of the traditional mudslinging common in Israel’s fractious politics. “He lost with honour,” wrote Sima Kadmon, taking an unusually deferential tone.
In her article entitled “Not so fast,” Kadmon, a veteran political journalist, wrote the complex political manoeuvring needed to form a new government or to hold an election may result in Olmert remaining in office for months to come.

Under Israeli law, Olmert stays on as caretaker leader for the weeks or months it could take to form a new government or hold an election. “Olmert has announced the end of his political career, but the ending may drag on, and he could end up staying on as premier through next February or March,” Kadmon wrote.

Is the war in Iraq over?


new-image.JPGA Washington Post story on Barack Obama’s visit to Iraq caught my eye last week.

“In essence, Obama has declared the war in Iraq all but over,” the story said, noting the Democratic presidential candidate’s vow to shift troops away from Iraq to the worsening conflict in Afghanistan.

Reading in Riyadh


saudi9.jpgIt has got slightly easier to get a hold of Saudi novels in Arabic, but they remain suspicious material hard for average Saudis to find.

There are a number of book chains around the country and invariably the religion section has the largest number of Arabic books, alongside educational materials on medicine, business, computers and foreign language books on various subjects. But the Saudi novel remains controversial.

Does Karadzic detention give Bashir cause for concern?


  An armed policeman stands guard as Karadzic is brought to The Hague                                                                                                                               

      The extradition of former Bosnian Serb
leader Radovan Karadzic on Wednesday to
face genocide charges in The Hague sends
a signal that the international community
means business in bringing fugitives to
    Reinforcing the same message, 
Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor
of the International Criminal Tribunal
for the former Yugoslavia, called again
for the arrest of Bosnian Serb wartime
commander Ratko Mladic. Like Karadzic,
Mladic is accused of  genocide over the
43-month siege of Sarajevo and the 1995
massacre of some 8,000 Muslims at

from Africa News blog:

Losing billions in Zimbabwe

dollars.jpgZimbabwe may lose its status as the country with the world's highest proportion of billionaires after the central bank's decision to lop 10 zeroes from its dollar.

What it means for the currency is that 10,000,000,000 dollars will become just one - although it will still take 25 of the new dollars to buy a loaf of bread.

Trading kisses? Love-in fails to save WTO talks.


Call it the Geneva syndrome – a variation of the Stockholm syndrome where a kidnap victim grows to love his captors.

After gruelling nine-day World Trade Organisation talks collapsed spectacularly, the main warring parties – India and the United States – kissed and made up.

Iran’s theological heartland: why are some clerics nervous?


STUDENTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD ARE SEEN IN THE QUADRANGLE AT THE BODLEIAN LIBRARY.  REUTERS/Peter MacDiarmid    A  fellow journalist, an Oxford alumnus who worked in Iran, had a soft spot for Qom. There was something he found familiar about the Islamic Republic’s centre of Shi’ite learning.

     The brickwork and tiled domes did not much resemble the classic stone structures of his alma mater. Nor did students in their robes and turbans look like their jean-clad counterparts in the heart of England. But seminaries, set around courtyards, and the air of erudition evoked for him the quads of that city in Oxfordshire and its history.

Iran Geneva talks: whose interpretation will triumph?


EU foreign policy chief Solana shakes hand with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Jalili before a meeting on nuclear issues in Geneva.REUTERS/Denis BalibouseWas the meeting in Geneva filled with “meandering” small talk? Or did the discussions between world powers and Iran begin work on an intricately woven carpet, that in time, would yield an “elegant and durable” outcome?

The two views, the first voiced by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the second by chief Iranian nuclear  negotiator Saeed Jalili, say much about how the two foes approached Saturday’s meeting to resolve Iran’s long-running nuclear row with the West.

from India Insight:

With Islamist militancy, has India passed the tipping point?

Victims of the bombings in AhmedabadThe bombings that killed 45 people in the communally sensitive city of Ahmedabad have shaken India's establishment. It is now sinking in that India faces homegrown Islamist militant groups operating with a scale and sophistication unheard of in
previous years.   

A group called "India Mujahideen" claimed responsibility for the attacks, the same group that said it carried out the bombings in Jaipur in May that killed 63 people.

Are women behind the wheel driving Saudi reform?


Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah speaks during the opening of World Conference on Dialogue at El Pardo Palace, outside Madrid. REUTERS/Juan MedinaCould Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah finally live up to his reformer reputation and issue a clear decree allowing women to drive? Reformers speculate that it might happen by the end of the year or even, as one hopeful woman activist told me last week, by Saudi National Day on September 23.

One of the main factors driving this excitement has been a recent spate of incidents reported in the Saudi media where Saudi police have caught women behind the wheel. In the most recent case, a young woman in Riyadh died when she crashed the car, a tragedy one paper presented as evidence that the reform should not happen at all.