Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Ex-U.S. spy recalls years on no-fly list

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Posted by Randall Mikkelsen

ORLANDO, Fla – Decades of passing lie detector tests and the most stringent background checks count little when it comes to the U.S. no-fly terrorist watch list, the Pentagon’s former spy chief recalled on Monday.airport.jpg

Retired Lt. Gen. Patrick Hughes, once the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and a top Homeland Security Department intelligence official, said after he entered the private sector in 2005 he was denied boarding on a flight because his name was on the no-fly list.  It has taken him ever since to clear up the confusion.

“It happened three years ago, I just got off the list –  Yay!,” Hughes said at a conference of intelligence analysts.

Security screenings were nothing new to Hughes — he said had passed them going back to the 1960s — but he was stopped short when the watch list flagged an Irish Republican Army member with the same name.

Can Cyprus “comrades” clinch a deal?

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The leaders of Cyprus’s Greek and Turkish communities sipped coffee and called each other “comrade” as they launched a new round of talks on reuniting the island, whose 34-year division has exasperated the most committed of mediators.     
 Cypriot President Christofias shakes hands with Turkish Cypriot President Ali Talat during a news conference after their meeting in Nicosia                            
This time, foreign diplomats and analysts say, a solution is in sight, thanks largely to the two moderate, leftist men heading the negotiations – Greek Cypriot Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot Mehmet Ali Talat.

Although it has been years since any violence has erupted on the island, the simmering feud has far-reaching effects onTurkey’s EU aspirations, its relations with fellow NATO member Greece and politics in the eastern Mediterranean.

Gaddafi – No longer “Mad Dog” of Middle East

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Libyan leader Gaddafi listens to a speaker at the African Union summitOnce called the “mad dog of the Middle East” by President Ronald Reagan, Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi will meet U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this week.

Senior State Department official David Welch told reporters he had met Gaddafi — “a person of personality and experience” — several times. 

Weathering the storm: “This is part of life over here”

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(Charles Abbyad, 58, is the maitre d’ at Arnaud’s, a classic creole restaurant in the center of New Orleans. With his wife, Jill, he keeps a guesthouse called The Chimes in the city’s historic Garden District. Abbyad chose to stay behind and ride out Hurricane Gustav with Reuters reporters Matt Bigg and Tim Gaynor.)

 

11:00 a.m. Monday

 

“Time was flying by yesterday but when the wind shifted to the south I felt a bit of relief. We were watching the water overlapping the western wall of the Industrial Canal. The walls on that side were the old ‘I’ walls, not the present ‘T’ walls. I was concerned. I had heard of two things: if the winds persisted for another two hours they had no idea how much water would come into the parish. And the two barges that were loose had not been tied down.”

Bulgaria sends in pensioners to retake beaches

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bulgaria-bathers.jpgFive thousand Bulgarian pensioners are in line for a free holiday.

Could it be a vote catcher ahead of elections next year in the European Union’s poorest member state? The government’s standing in the polls has suffered because of poor living standards and corruption.

Socialist Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev says he wants to give elderly Bulgarians a ‘calm’ life. He also has another motive:

Escaping Saudi Arabia

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One of the oddest, and yet most understandable, features of
Saudi society is the need that many of its citizens have to
escape themselves. For the clerics who are given massive
influence in the running of society beyond the key
decision-making areas of government — the preserve of the Saudi
royal family — Saudi Arabia is no less than their own private
Utopia. They are given free rein by the ruling family to
administer their version of Islamic sharia law through the
courts, the education system and the mosques. They even have a
police force all of their own in the form of the notorious
Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.
 

Saudi women shop at a market stall in RiyadhBut for the average citizen, this perfect world can be suffocating. Just getting into a shopping mall for a single young man is a wonder unless you happen in to be in the one of the liberalised enclaves like Jeddah or Khobar. Getting to know nembers of the opposite sex can be difficult unless you move among the affluent sectors of society or have the chance to infiltrate the world of foreigners.

from UK News:

Is the housing package enough?

housing.jpgThe government proposes to stimulate the housing market by scrapping stamp duty for a year on purchases of homes worth less than 175,000 pounds.

At the moment, the no-tax threshold is 125,000 pounds.

The government also plans to offer cheap loans of up to 30 percent of the purchase price of a house for first-time buyers. Households earning less than 60,000 pounds a year will not have to pay interest for five years on the loans, providing they buy newly built properties.

Weathering the storm: If the canal breaks

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(Charles Abbyad, 58, is the maitre d’ at Arnaud’s, a classic creole restaurant in the center of New Orleans. With his wife, Jill, he keeps a guesthouse called The Chimes in the city’s historic Garden District. While thousands of residents are packing their cars and fleeing Hurricane Gustav, Abbyad is staying behind with Reuters reporters Matt Bigg and Tim Gaynor to ride out the storm.)

4.30 a.m.

“When we went to bed last night I had a good feeling about the storm. Maybe it was a false good feeling Charles Abbyadbut when Katrina was approaching we started feeling the effects way before the storm made landfall.”

When push comes to shove: Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy

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Posted by Jeffrey Heller

 With the clock winding down on his scandal-plagued tenure as Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert wanted to get perhaps a final message across in his talks this weekend with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

 Catching the usually taciturn Palestinian leader off-guard at a so-called photo opportunity at the start of their Jerusalem meeting, Olmert locked Abbas in a handshake, gestured emphatically with his other hand and boomed: “We have to
complete the Annapolis process this year — this year.”

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Mergers, Afghan style

salesman2.jpgThe way Nisar Ahmad sees it, the war in Afghanistan has been pretty good to him. The 19-year-old runs a shop stall on a British military base in Helmand selling knock-off cigarettes, sunglasses, carpets and other assorted trinkets to young soldiers eager to spend their cash. On a good day, he takes in anywhere between $300 and $400 as the nicotine-hungry snap up 10-packs of Chinese-made, fake Marlboro cigarettes for just $5 a pop, or a pair of fake designer shades for $15. Sometimes he's feeling generous and knocks them down to $10. Even with the cost of buying the merchandise in Kabul and driving it down to the far south of the country, into Taliban country and frequently through militant checkpoints, he still reckons he takes anywhere between $80 and $100 a day in profit.
 
"It's good money, very good money," he says with a broad grin, showing off a gappy, yellowing smile. "I didn't go to school but everybody he go to school he not make money same as me," he explains in his faltering English, learnt during six years of working on British and American bases.

In fact, Ahmad is a case-study in how market economics can take hold even in a war zone, and how mergers and acquisitions are a part of life wherever you happen to be, even in Afghanistan's volatile southern deserts.
 
So successful was Ahmad that he effectively got taken over by Abdallah, 30, and his business partner Ismailah who run similar shops on five other bases and decided to 'acquire' Ahmad's stall. He now works for a wage of $500 a month while he reckons Abdallah makes "$2,000 or $3,000, I don't know, good money." He's not unhappy about the takeover, he says, because he'd rather have a regular wage and he's only 19, so there's time for other businesses. But in order to give himself a sense of rising up the ladder, he's taken on a side-kick called Jasnour who doesn't speak much English and does the dirty work of packing and unpacking the goods and handling the money. Ahmad just sits back.
 
On any military base in Afghanistan there are signs of business and globalisation at work. Pizza Hut, Burger King and Subway all run concessions on major bases, feeding troops hungry for food from home. The Pizza Hut on the British base is run by an Indian. The military supplies shop -- which sells 10 packs of name-brand cigarettes for the regular price of $30  -- is run by a Bosnian. Filipinos help with the laundry. Everybody wants a sliver of the fat economic pie that the British, Americans, Canadians and other nations serving in Afghanistan have thrown on the table. The problem is the entrepreneurial, money-making impulse is mostly taking root only on secure camps where foreign troops are based. It's not happening outside the wire, where 24 million Afghans are longing for business investment and a better life.
 

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