Home > News > News in Brief: 14 August 2007

News in Brief: 14 August 2007

A brief list of news for the day:

Prices for key foods are rising sharply. The Labor Department’s most recent inflation data showed that U.S. food prices rose by 4.1 percent for the 12 months ending in June, but a deeper look at the numbers reveals that the price of milk, eggs and other essentials in the American diet are actually rising by double digits. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said in its June inflation report that egg prices are 19.5 percent higher than they were in June 2006. Over the same period, according to the department’s consumer price index, whole milk was up 13.3 percent; fresh chicken 10 percent; navel oranges 19.8 percent; apples 11.7 percent. Dried beans were up 11.5 percent, and white bread just missed double-digit growth, rising by 9.6 percent. (McClatchy)

India: PM-Left stand-off over nuclear deal persists. The stand-off between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Left parties today showed no signs of easing despite a breakfast meeting between him and Prakash Karat, leader of the CPI(M) which still demanded that the Indo-US nuclear deal should not be operationalised. After the acrimony in Parliament yesterday during which the Opposition members chanted slogans and the Left parties walked out while Singh was defending the deal, the unscheduled breakfast meeting at Prime Minister’s residence assumed considerable significance. (The Hindu)

Top Bush aide to leave White House. Mr Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s close friend and chief political strategist, plans to leave the White House at the end of August, joining a lengthening line of senior US officials heading for the exits in the final 1 1/2 years of the administration. On board with Mr Bush since the beginning of his political career in the state of Texas, Mr Rove was nicknamed “the architect” and “boy genius” by the President for designing the strategy that twice won him the White House. Critics call Mr Rove “Bush’s brain.” Mr Rove became one of Washington’s most influential figures during Mr Bush’s presidency. (The Statesman/AP)

Turkish presidential pick sets up clash, again. Turkey’s governing party has chosen Abdullah Gul, an economist and a practicing Muslim, as its candidate for president, officials said Monday, a move that places the party and its pious followers on a collision course with Turkey’s secular elite. The country’s secular establishment blocked Gul’s candidacy for the same job this spring, saying that he was too religious to take Turkey’s highest secular post. The move precipitated early elections last month. (International Herald Tribune)

Labanon: ‘Army Torturing Palestinian Refugees’. Palestinians displaced by the fighting at the northern Lebanese refugee camp Nahr al-Bared have accused the Lebanese Army of torturing and abusing civilians. As the fighting between the Sunni Islamist group Fatah al-Islam and the Lebanese army enters its 12th week, thousands of Nahr al-Bared residents have sought refuge in the nearby Baddawi camp. Many give detailed descriptions of days spent in detention under harsh interrogation. (IPS)

Taleban frees two S Korea hostages. The Taleban have freed two members of a group of South Korean hostages abducted in Afghanistan. They were said to have been released partly because they were in poor health and partly as a goodwill gesture after talks with South Korean officials. Two of the 23 South Koreans captured three weeks ago have been killed. (BBC)

Ahmadinejad’s first Afghan visit ruffles US feathers. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, audaciously signalled his determination to counter US global power today by meeting his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, in open defiance of Washington’s wishes. The trip is intended to put the seal on a range of Iranian-led reconstruction projects as well as consolidate areas of cooperation such as combating drug traffickers. Iranian aid – worth a total of £125m – has been provided for three projects, a water research centre, a dental college and equipment for Kabul’s medical university. (Guardian)

Iraq Moves to Send More Oil to Turkey, Iran. In Tehran, Iranian and Iraqi oil officials signed a deal to send crude to a refinery in Iran, which would send the products back to Iraq. Iraq’s reserves are the third largest in the world, but it suffers from a severe fuel shortage. It produces about 2 million barrels per day of oil, selling more than three-fourths of it. Meanwhile in Ankara, where Shahristani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visited last week as well, the two sides agreed on long-term projects for electricity and natural gas. Turkey is a major supplier of Iraq’s fuel purchases as well. (IraqSlogger)

Wolfowitz ‘tried to censor World Bank on climate change’. The Bush administration has consistently thwarted efforts by the World Bank to include global warming in its calculations when considering whether to approve major investments in industry and infrastructure, according to documents made public through a watchdog yesterday. On one occasion, the White House’s pointman at the bank, the now disgraced Paul Wolfowitz, personally intervened to remove the words “climate change” from the title of a bank progress report and ordered changes to the text of the report to shift the focus away from global warming. (The Independent)

Russian Extends Its Claws By Air, Sea, Land. The latest reminder came this week when Russian strategic Tu-95 bombers flew over the Pacific to within a few hundred kilometers (miles) of the U.S. military base on the island of Guam — and, according to a Russian general, exchanged grins with U.S. fighter pilots sent to intercept. On August 2 Russian explorers descended 4,261 metres (13,980 feet) under the Arctic to plant a flag on the sea bed and demonstrate in a theatrical fashion Moscow’s contested claim to the mineral-rich territory under the North Pole. On August 9 and 10 troops were sent to China’s remote province of Xinjiang for international exercises with Chinese and Central Asian forces, 6,000 of whom will next week be hosted on Russian soil for large-scale drills involving artillery, aircraft and paratroopers. (Defense News)

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