Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Coming to terms with Poland’s disaster

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Candles and flowers are pictured on a square near the Presidential Palace in Warsaw April 13, 2010. Officials said a memorial service for all 96 victims of the plane crash that killed President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and dozens of high-ranking officials would be held on Saturday and that a state funeral for Kaczynski and his wife could take place either on the same day or on Sunday. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Candles and flowers are pictured on a square near the Presidential Palace in Warsaw April 13, 2010. Officials said a memorial service for all 96 victims of the plane crash that killed President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and dozens of high-ranking officials would be held on Saturday and that a state funeral for Kaczynski and his wife could take place either on the same day or on Sunday. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

When she got a tip-off on Saturday morning that something might
have happened to President Lech Kaczynski, one of our Warsaw
reporters grabbed her mobile phone to call a reliable government
source. No answer. Hmm, perhaps something really had happened.
Perhaps the president had fallen sick and the source was
attending an emergency meeting. A few minutes later she called
again, still no answer. The source always answered his mobile to
her. Then came the terrible news that the military plane
carrying the president and 95 other people, including much of
Poland’s military and political elite, had crashed in thick fog
in a Russian forest, killing all on board. Her source had been
among them.

At the office later, I hurriedly sifted through business cards
looking for numbers of contacts who could help us try to make
sense of the unprecedented disaster engulfing Poland. I
realised, with a jolt, that some of the cards belonged to people
whose names now featured in the grimly long list of the dead
scrolling down the television screen.

Nearly a week after the crash, Warsaw is still numb with shock.
Thousands of people throng the area near the president’s
residence, queuing for up to 18 hours to view the closed coffins
of the First Couple inside or just taking photos of the
impromptu shrine made up of candles, flowers, crucifixes and
portraits of the deceased that has sprung up at the palace gate.

Turkey’s EU bid meets another Cyprus roadblock

Negotiating Turkey’s accession to the European Union hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing. But it may be about to get tougher still.

Europeans are already divided over the prospect of inviting a largely Muslim nation into their club of 27 states.  And while some are attracted by Turkey’s huge economic potential, that’s  frequently shadowed by its much-criticised human rights record.

from Tales from the Trail:

Nobel award to Obama required lengthy U.S. Constitution check

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When President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize last October it caught most by surprise and sent his lawyers scurrying to quietly make sure that the president could receive the prestigious award without running afoul with the U.S. Constitution or federal law.

NOBEL-OBAMA/A provision in the Constitution, known as the Emoluments Clause, bars the receipt of any present, emolument, office or title of any kind from a "King, Prince or foreign State".  When the Nobel prize was established more than a century ago, Alfred Nobel's will specified that the recipient of the peace award was to be chosen by a committee of five people elected by the Norwegian parliament known as the Storting.

from Environment Forum:

Oil sands and ethical investing at a price

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A greenpeace activists protests outside the BP Canadian offices in downtown Calgary, April 15, 2010. The Greenpeace activists were "greenwashing" a tar sands sign outside in protest while similar protests were happening in London.At BP’s AGM on Thursday, ethical investors including the Co-Op and Calpers failed in their effort to convince BP to review its biggest planned investment in Canada’s oil sands.

Nonetheless, 9 percent of investors voted in favour of a review -- a much bigger venting of shareholder angst about a single project than oil companies are used to hearing.

from Afghan Journal:

You got to do more, Pakistan tells United States

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(Standing guard during a night operation in Kunar -  Carlos Barria)

(Standing guard during a night operation in Kunar - Carlos Barria)

The shoe's on the other foot. The Pakistani army is saying that it's being let down by U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan just when it has made hard-fought gains against militants along its stretch of the border.

Some 700 militants have fled a successful military offensive in Pakistan's Bajaur tribal agency to the Afghan province of Kunar just over the border but no action had been taken against them, according to a Reuters report from the area.

from Tales from the Trail:

Holbrooke hits the airwaves in new push

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When President Barack Obama snuck into Afghanistan unannounced last month, a notable omission on Air Force One was his special representative for the region, veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke. OBAMA-AFGHANISTAN

Leaving out the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan on Obama's very first trip to Kabul as president raised a few eyebrows.

EU asks public what it thinks of CAP reform

EU Commissioner Dacian Ciolos

EU Commissioner Dacian Ciolos

The European Commission’s agriculture department launched a public debate this week on the future reform of Europe’s common agricultural policy (CAP) from 2014. It wants everyone – not just farmers and politicians – to have their say on how the European Union should support agricultural production.

It’s odd then that the only question that’s off limits in the debate, according to EU Farm Commissioner Dacian Ciolos, is the one on everybody’s lips: how much taxpayers’ money should the CAP get?

from Tales from the Trail:

Obama to World Cup? Well, if U.S. team reaches the finals….

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BASEBALL/

President Barack Obama has said he might make the trip to this summer's soccer World Cup in South Africa -- but won't commit unless the U.S. team reaches the finals, according to South Africa's foreign minister.

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, at the State Department to formally launch the new U.S.-South Africa "strategic dialogue" agreement, said Obama had indicated he might be lured to the World Cup, which begins on June 11 and holds its final at Soccer City in Johannesburg on July 11.

from Afghan Journal:

Kandahar’s street without women

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Afghan women wearing traditional burqas stand in the street in Kandahar November 7, 2007. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly

Afghan women wearing traditional burqas stand in the street in Kandahar November 7, 2007. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly

Where women really stand in Afghan society didn't hit home to me until I walked down a busy market street in Kandahar without seeing a single woman. The birthplace of the Taliban, Kandahar is conservative even by Afghan standards.  It is also the focus of NATO's next big military offensive in Afghanistan,  and I spent a couple of days last week embedded with a U.S. military police unit there to report on plans for the offensive and the mood on the ground

If Greece’s debt dam breaks, who gets wet?

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The 16 countries that share the euro single currency have agreed they will help Greece out if it needs. So far so good. But only now is the nitty-gritty of how member states will go about paying for their contributions being hammered out. And suddenly things are getting a little complicated.

Italy announced on Tuesday it would have to issue government bonds — known as BTPs –  to raise funds for its part in any Greek assistance. 

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