Thursday, March 31, 2011
Overlooked in the welter of fast-moving events throughout the Arab world was a Saudi Arabian call for transforming the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) into "an entity identical to the (27-nation) European Union" — plus nuclear weapons.
Saudi Arabia has grown impatient. "Waiting for Godot," Samuel Beckett's famous play, depicts the "meaninglessness of life," with its repetitive plot, where nothing much happens. In Saudi eyes, that's Iran and its secret nuclear weapons program. And eye-drop Western sanctions have done zip to deter Iran's aging theocrats.
Iran began nuclear research with French assistance in the 1960s. In 1972, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi told this reporter that Iran would one day be a nuclear power. Britain had relinquished all its geopolitical responsibilities east of Suez in 1968.
Under the Nixon Doctrine that followed the British withdrawal from the Persian Gulf, the Shahanshah ("King of Kings") became the "Guardian" (and gendarme) from the Strait of Hormuz to Kuwait.
Update: Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), who asked Clinton about the War Powers Act during a classified briefing, said Clinton and the administration are sidestepping the measure's provisions giving Congress the ability to put a 60-day time limit on any military action.
"They are not committed to following the important part of the War Powers Act," he told TPM in a phone interview. "She said they are certainly willing to send reports [to us] and if they issue a press release, they'll send that to us too."
The White House would forge ahead with military action in Libya even if Congress passed a resolution constraining the mission, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a classified briefing to House members Wednesday afternoon.
Clinton was responding to a question from Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) about the administration's response to any effort by Congress to exercise its war powers, according to a senior Republican lawmaker who attended the briefing.
The answer surprised many in the room because Clinton plainly admitted the administration would ignore any and all attempts by Congress to shackle President Obama's power as commander in chief to make military and wartime decisions. In doing so, he would follow a long line of Presidents who have ignored the act since its passage, deeming it an unconstitutional encroachment on executive power.
Other than that, the lawmaker said he learned nothing new during the classified briefing by Clinton, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
NATO's idea of humanitarian aid is 40 dead civilians
ROME (Reuters) - At least 40 civilians have been killed in air strikes by Western forces on Tripoli, the top Vatican official in the Libyan capital told a Catholic news agency on Thursday, quoting witnesses.
"The so-called humanitarian raids have killed dozens of civilian victims in some neighborhoods of Tripoli," said Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli.
"I have collected several witness accounts from reliable people. In particular, in the Buslim neighborhood, due to the bombardments, a civilian building collapsed, causing the death of 40 people," he told Fides, the news agency of the Vatican missionary arm.
Libyan officials have taken foreign reporters to the sites of what they say were the aftermath of Western air strikes on Tripoli but evidence of civilian casualties has been inconclusive.
A morbidly obese man is dead after he was found fused to a chair that he had been stuck on for two years.
The 43-year-old man from Bellaire, Ohio, was discovered unconscious on Sunday by his girlfriend.
Emergency crews had to pry him free, as his skin was stuck to the recliner with urine, feces and maggots.
Local reports say one officer threw away his uniform because the conditions were so putrid.
"The living room where the man lived in his chair was very filthy, very deplorable. It's unbelievable that somebody lives in conditions like that," Jim Chase, a code enforcer, told local news station WTRF.
A hole was cut in the wall of the home to remove the heavy man.
Officials said his girlfriend, who lived with him along with another roommate, told investigators she fed the man in his chair, as he complained of leg pain.
The unidentified man was transported to hospital in critical condition, where he later died.
While businesses are generally wary of the risks of using unpaid labor, companies that have used free workers say it can pay off when done right.
By Katherine Reynolds Lewis, contributor
FORTUNE -- With nearly 14 million unemployed workers in America, many have gotten sodesperate that they're willing to work for free. While some businesses are wary of the legal risks and supervision such an arrangement might require, companies that have used free workers say it can pay off when done right.
"People who work for free are far hungrier than anybody who has a salary, so they're going to outperform, they're going to try to please, they're going to be creative," says Kelly Fallis, chief executive of Remote Stylist, a Toronto and New York-based startup that provides Web-based interior design services. "From a cost savings perspective, to get something off the ground, it's huge. Especially if you're a small business."
March 31, 2011
It’s been nearly two weeks since the US entered Libya and there is still no clear indication on who the rebels really are. Webster Tarpley, an investigative journalist says the US is supporting al-Qaeda, and racists on the ground. The world should ask America, “What are you doing arming and promoting al-Qaeda fighters in Libya?” he said.
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will stay in the country "until the end" to lead it to victory against its enemies, a government spokesman said on Thursday.
Speaking after former Foreign Secretary Moussa Koussa defected and flew to Britain on Wednesday, the spokesman said Western air strikes against Libya had only united its top leadership against "a clear enemy."
"If this aggression did anything, it only rallied people around the leader and the unity of the nation," Mussa Ibrahim said in Tripoli. "Especially now. They see a clear enemy."
Asked if Gaddafi and his sons were still in the country, he said: "Rest assured, we are all here. We will remain here until the end. This is our country. We are strong on every front."