In my links of the day I try to find the links under the wire, articles all the top blogs miss. I'm not afraid to go to Al Jazeera, Kurd Media or to the Pakistan student movement page to bring the real daily news to you.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Links of the Day 3/4/2008 Cleveland Vote Kucinich Today!


If the democrats fold and give the telecoms immunity we could see a lot of democratic voters staying home come November. And I could be one of them.

What is the point in voting for change if with that change I am still denied my Constitution Rights.

Screw all the politicians who give law breaking corporations immunity!

Glenn Greenwald

Monday March 3, 2008 06:13 EST

House Democratic leadership: not just complicit but also self-destructive

The signs are unmistakably clear that what was always inevitable -- full compliance by the House Democratic leadership with Bush's demands on warrantless eavesdropping and telecom amnesty -- is now imminent. House leaders spent the week floating their specific proposals for how they intend to comply in full, and yesterday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes went on CNN with Wolf Blitzer, refused to criticize the President or the Senate FISA bill, and repeatedly and meekly expressed his willingness "this week" to give what he called full "blanket immunity" to telecoms (C&L has the video of Reyes' astoundingly weak and incoherent answers in response to Blitzer's Bush-mimicking questions).

This is, of course, everything except surprising. No rational person who has watched Congressional Democrats since they took over Congress could possibly have expected them to do anything but what they always do: namely, whatever they're told to do by the White House. The last thing they were ever going to do was stand their ground over Americans' basic liberties and the rule of law, concepts about which they couldn't possibly care less.

The whole drama they started when they refused to pass the Senate bill by the deadline was never about anything substantive. They were just throwing a little petulant tantrum because they felt they were being treated unfairly again because they were given only a few days to comply with the President's orders, when they wanted a couple of weeks to comply.

And their irritation wasn't even directed at the President as much as it was at the Senate for being so unfair in waiting until the deadline to pass a FISA bill, thus giving the House only a small amount of time to capitulate in full (on CNN, Chairman Reyes refrained almost completely from criticizing the White House, instead reserving his criticism for the Senate over this procedural insult). The only "principle" the bulk of Congress believes in is the preservation of their own ceremonial customs. That's all this drama was ever about.

There's very little point anymore in writing about how the Congressional Democratic leadership is complicit in all of the worst Bush abuses, or about how craven they are. All of that is far too documented and established at this point to be worth spending any time discussing. They were never going to take a stand against warrantless eavesdropping or the destruction of the rule of law via telecom amnesty for one simple reason: many of them don't actually oppose those things, and many who claim to oppose them don't actually care about any of it. That's all a given.

But what is somewhat baffling in all of this is just how politically stupid and self-destructive their behavior is. If the plan all along was to give Bush everything he wanted, as it obviously was, why not just do it at the beginning? Instead, they picked a very dramatic fight that received substantial media attention. They exposed their freshmen and other swing-district members to attack ads. They caused their base and their allies to spend substantial energy and resources defending them from these attacks.

And now, after picking this fight and letting it rage for weeks, they are going to do what they always do -- just meekly give in to the President, yet again generating a tidal wave of headlines trumpeting how they bowed, surrendered, caved in, and lost to the President. They're going to cast the appearance that they engaged this battle and once again got crushed, that they ran away in fear because of the fear-mongering ads that were run and the attacks from the President. They further demoralize their own base and increase the contempt in which their base justifiably holds them (if that's possible). It's almost as though they purposely picked the path that imposed on themselves all of the political costs with no benefits.

Even with their ultimate, total compliance with the President's orders, they're still going to be attacked as having Made Us Less Safe -- by waiting weeks to capitulate, rather than doing so immediately, they opened up critical intelligence gaps, caused us to lose vital intelligence, made us less safe, etc. But now, they have no way to defend themselves against those accusations because, at the end of the day, they are admitting that the President was right all along, that telecom amnesty and warrantless eavesdropping are good and important things that the President should have had all along. So why didn't they just give it to him before the law expired? It was a loss for them on every level.

I doubt there are very many Americans who expect at this point that the Democratic leadership will take a stand against the President due to any actual beliefs. But shouldn't politicians be at least a little bit shrewd about their own political self-interest? As craven and ugly as their capitulation will be, the political "strategy" they chose is actually just more self-destructive than it is anything else. Obviously, they have no real political principles, but don't they have any strategic instinct at all?


Bill Clinton admits 'regret' on crack cocaine sentencing

By DeWayne Wickham

PHILADELPHIA — It was an expression of regret that didn't seem to register with the knot of journalists who came to cover the event — an apology that deserves more than fleeting attention.

In a keynote address last week at a University of Pennsylvania symposium commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Kerner Commission report on the causes of racial disturbances in the 1960s, Bill Clinton did what many politicians find hard to do: admit he made a big mistake.

"I regret more than I can say that we didn't do more on it," he said about his administration's failure to end the disparate sentencing for people convicted of crack and powder cocaine offenses. "I'm prepared to spend a significant portion of whatever life I've got left on the earth trying to fix this because I think it's a cancer," the former president said of the devastating impact this sentencing imbalance has had on blacks.

And, indeed, it is a cancer. Since they were first enacted in 1986, the federal sentencing guidelines have mandated the same prison terms for people convicted of selling 5 grams of crack cocaine as someone found guilty of selling 500 grams of powered cocaine.

Blacks impacted most

This disparate treatment of cocaine offenders has had a stark racial element to it since blacks are disproportionately more likely to be incarcerated for selling crack cocaine than whites and Hispanics who are more likely to be convicted of selling powered cocaine.

In 1995, when the U.S. Sentencing Commission first recommended eliminating the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity, President Clinton opposed that change. Two years later, during a White House meeting with members of The Trotter Group, an organization of black columnists, Clinton said he would support a reduction in sentencing ratio.

The following month, his administration urged Congress to narrow the crack-to-powder sentencing disparity down to 10-to-1. But federal lawmakers refused to do so, an inaction that has left black drug offenders to linger behind bars — serving nearly as much time in federal prisons as whites who were incarcerated for violent crimes.

Congressional inaction

Last year, the Sentencing Commission issued guidelines that will give judges the power to order a small reduction in the sentences of people imprisoned for selling crack cocaine. But Congress has shown little inclination to wipe out the sentencing guidelines.

When I asked Clinton during an onstage interview after his speech whether he regretted not eliminating the sentencing disparity, he said that while it was "politically impossible" to get the reduction he sought through Congress, he now believes the 1986 guidelines were a mistake that have taken a heavy toll on blacks.

"We sentenced with a shotgun instead of a rifle," he said of the congressional act.

In addition to calling on Congress to end this disparity, Clinton said there also needs to be "an aggressive effort to pass federal legislation to restore voting rights to people as soon as they get out of jail." Blacks, who are just 13% of the nation's population, were 41.6% of state and federal prisoners in 2006 and as a result far more likely to be hurt by state laws that deny convicted felons the right to vote.

While this was not the first time Clinton called for an elimination of the crack-to-powder sentencing disparity — he did so in a November 2000 Rolling Stone interview — it's the first time he has done it so unequivocally and forcefully.

Of course, it's a good bet that what Clinton said last week won't sit well with many critics, who will say this is too little, too late. But I don't think his apology — or his pledge to help repair the damage done by the sentencing disparity — should be summarily dismissed.

Of this nation's 43 presidents, Bill Clinton is one of a handful who has forged a meaningful bond with blacks. And I think the apology he offered last week is proof of his desire to maintain this friendship.

DeWayne Wickham writes on Tuesdays for USA TODAY.


Russian riot police clash with vote protesters

Mon Mar 3, 2008 6:07pm EST

By Chris Baldwin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian riot police clashed on Monday with opposition protesters who tried to hold an unauthorised rally in Moscow against the election of President Vladimir Putin's protege, Dmitry Medvedev.

More than 300 riot police, sometimes using batons, detained scores of activists and dragged protesters to police buses, Reuters reporters at the scene said.

Some of the protesters lit flares spreading scarlet smoke across the square in central Moscow, screaming "your election is a farce" and "Fascists! Fascists!"

"It is my duty to come down here and express my opposition after these pre-planned and falsified elections," Yelizaveta, a protester in her 50s, told Reuters as riot police arrested people around her. "Now they are dragging us away one by one."

The leaders of Russia's small and splintered liberal opposition have called a series of rallies to protest against the election of Medvedev, who official figures show won just over 70 percent of the vote.

Opposition leader Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion who attended a separate rally in the northern city of St Petersburg, said 250 people had been detained in Moscow. A spokesman for Moscow's police declined to comment.

Western observers have criticized Sunday's election as not fully democratic but Putin said the vote was held in strict accordance with the constitution.

Independent opposition candidates were either barred from running or refused to take part in protest.


"We need to ensure that this regime is recognized as illegitimate," said Kasparov, who in December dropped his bid to run in the presidential election, saying obstruction by the authorities made it pointless.

"The authorities have stopped paying any attention even to the formalities of democracy," he said, adding that the opposition would call an assembly of opposition parties before Medvedev's May 7 inauguration as president.

Police at the Moscow rally detained Nikita Belykh, leader of the small free-market Union of Right Forces party, and Lev Ponomaryov, a prominent human rights activist.

"Yesterday they were shouting Heil Putin ... on Red Square to celebrate their victory," Alla Petrova, a pensioner who was wrapped up warmly against the driving snow, told Reuters. "Today they are beating innocent people. Shame on them."

In St Petersburg, about 2,000 activists chanted "Revolution, Revolution" and "Russia without Putin".

The meeting had official permission, but Maxim Reznik, head of the Yabloko opposition party in St Petersburg, was detained late on Sunday, opposition worker Olga Kurnosova said.

"He was accused of not obeying police orders. He called me this morning and said his coat had been torn and his forehead bruised," she told Reuters.

Police confirmed the detention, saying Reznik was detained after he had attacked another man -- a charge Kurnosova denied.

(Additional reporting by Maria Golovnina in Moscow and Denis Pinchuk in St Petersburg; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Tim Pearce)


Sudan: War of Words After Scores Killed in Abyei

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

3 March 2008
Posted to the web 3 March 2008


Fresh clashes between Sudan People's Liberation Movement units and fighters from the Misseriya community in the oil-rich Abyei region have left scores dead and the two sides trading blame over who was responsible for the latest skirmishes.

At least 70 people were killed in the violence which occurred on 1 March in south Al-Mayram, aid workers in the Southern capital of Juba said.

The UN's Radio Miraya quoted the head of the Abyei Liberation Front, Mohammed Omer Al-Ansari, as saying the clashes were in retaliation for recent SPLM attacks. But the SPLM Secretary in Abyei, Chol Chan, instead accused the Sudanese government in Khartoum of arming the Misseriya.

A senior SPLM leader and minister for presidential affairs in the government of Southern Sudan, Luka Biong, said the attacks were carried out by a group he named as the Popular Defense Forces, supported by the Sudan Armed Forces. He called for investigations into the clashes.

The weekend battles were only the latest in a series of incidents that have raised tensions in Abyei. In December 2007 and January 2008, violent clashes between the SPLA and the Misseriya resulted in the deaths of at least 75 people.

In a report to the UN Security Council on 19 February, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan, warned that Abyei, which lies between North and South Sudan, was a possible troublespot from which conflict could resume.

Abyei has experienced an administrative and political vacuum after disagreements over its status since a comprehensive agreement was signed to end the civil war three years ago.

The people of Abyei, Qazi said, had been denied the dividends of peace since the signing of the agreement and had been deprived of an administrative structure and basic services related to the provision of security, education, health and employment.

nalysts have warned that no area in Sudan is perhaps more volatile and carries more implications for the country's future than Abyei. According to the International Crisis Group, the risk of a return to war is rising because of the Abyei stalemate.

SPLM leaders say the North has ignored its proposals over Abyei because of oil revenues from the region - estimated at US$529 million in 2007. The government in Khartoum denies the claims.

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]


LRA Truce Extended to March 28

New Vision (Kampala)

2 March 2008
Posted to the web 2 March 2008

By Milton Olupot Juba

The Government and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) have agreed to extend the cessation of hostilities to the end of March, when the final peace agreement is expected to be signed.

The truce expired on Friday.

"The cessation of hostilities agreement is extended until the ceasefire comes into force, and in any event not later than March 28, by which date the final peace agreement shall have been signed," the addendum, signed on Saturday, reads. It was the sixth time the cessation of hostilities agreement was extended since it was first signed in August 2006.

The Government delegation led by internal affairs minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda had vehemently opposed the extension, arguing that a permanent ceasefire had already been signed.

David Nyekorach-Matsanga, leading the LRA delegation, walked out of the negotiations on Friday, hurling abuses at the government delegation, calling them thieves and liars, when they opposed the extension.

He, however, apologised to the delegation and the chief mediator, Riek Machar, the following day.

Capt. Chris Magezi, the spokesperson for the Government team, accused the LRA of unnecessarily delaying the signing of the final pact.

"All that is left is to append our signatures on the final peace agreement. Why are they dragging their feet?" he asked.

The negotiations have broken off until March 12, when the teams are expected to reconvene to iron out the remaining issues and fix the date of signing. Several African presidents have been invited to witness the ceremony.

"If we have to respect this document, we have to sign before March 28," Machar stressed.

"The date should be fixed when we meet. I will then go to Ri-Kwangba and meet Kony. I also want to organise a meeting between Kony and the religious leaders."

Rugunda said: "We have walked a long journey, through thorns and slippery ground. We have even crossed rivers with sharks. I have no doubt that we shall reach."

He urged the LRA delegation to ask Kony to talk on radio, reassure the people about his commitment and urge them to return to their homes.

Matsanga said the break would give his team breathing space and allow them organise themselves for the signing ceremony. He promised that Kony would speak to the people of northern Uganda on radio.

He reiterated his concerns about the indictments against Kony and his top commanders by the international Criminal Court (ICC).

Matsanga said Kony would not go to Juba when he is still being hunted by the ICC.


Chavez A "Barking Dog That Doesn't Bite"?

Analysis: War Rhetoric Between Venezuela, Colombia Worrying, But Likely Just Words

BOGOTA, Colombia, March 4, 2008

AP) This analysis story was written by the Associated Press' chief of Andean news, Frank Bajak, in Bogota.

Judging by the fever-pitch rhetoric, the Andes region was girding for war on Monday. The leftist presidents of Venezuela and Ecuador recalled ambassadors from Bogota and began moving tanks and troops to reinforce their borders with Colombia.

But will this political theater lead to war? Probably not.

Relations have clearly hit a new low between President Alvaro Uribe and his leftist neighbors. President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela warned darkly that Colombia and its U.S. military backers may trigger "war in South America" with commando raids like the one that killed a key leftist rebel commander across the border in Ecuador.

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa called Colombia's "a foul and lying government that doesn't want peace." And even the ailing Fidel Castro weighed in, writing that "The trumpets of war are being heard in our continent's south as a result of the genocidal plans of the Yankee empire."

But there is little appetite for armed conflict in the region, despite Chavez's recent purchases of $3 billion in Russian arms, including 53 military helicopters, 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles and 24 SU-30 Sukhoi fighter jets.

The economic costs, to begin with, are far too high.

Too many people depend on cross-border trade worth $5 billion a year, most of it Colombian exports sorely needed by Venezuelans already suffering milk and meat shortages. Ecuador depends on some $1.8 billion in trade with Colombia.

And militarily, Colombia has become a formidable foe, thanks in large part to $5 billion in aid from Washington since 2000. U.S. military advisers are sprinkled throughout Colombia's military, and Washington could quickly ramp up support if war broke out.

Chavez's critics say his saber-rattling is intended to deflect attention from mounting domestic woes.

"You can't keep playing with the future of this country," said Venezuelan opposition leader Manuel Rosales, whom Chavez defeated handily in the last presidential election. He accused Chavez of trying to "stir up nationalist sentiment to hide the truth of this country, which is falling to pieces."

Chavez's cause also wasn't helped by Colombia's discovery of what it described as damaging documents in three laptop computers seized at the jungle camp of Raul Reyes, the slain spokesman for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Reyes was the rebels' main interlocutor with foreign governments and other emissaries, reporting directly to the FARC's seven-man ruling secretariat, of which he was a member.


Now what is Al Jazeera saying?

Colombia diplomatic spat deepens

Venezuela has ordered the "immediate expulsion" of Colombia's ambassador and embassy officials from its capital, Caracas, the foreign ministry has said. The move follows Ecuador's announcement it had broken diplomatic relations with Colombia following Bogota's raid on a Farc rebel base inside Ecuador.

The Venezuelan foreign ministry said it made the decision "in defence of the sovereignty of the fatherland and the dignity of the Venezuelan people". Ecuador and Venezuela ordered armed forces to their borders with Colombia after the raid in which leader Raul Reyes and several other rebels died.

War of words Colombia later said it had found documents in the rebel camp indicating that Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, had given the Farc group $300m.

t said other documents indicated Reyes had ties to an official allied with Rafael Correa, the Ecuadorean president.

Venezuela and Ecuador angrily denied the allegations, with Francisco Suescum, the Ecuadorian ambassador withdrawn from Bogota, saying: "This is a lie. Neither the government of Ecuador or President Correa has ever had such an attitude." Correa himself said there was "no justification" for the raid, and appeared to reject a Colombian apology for the incursion.

"The government of Ecuador energetically rejects these accusations which cynically add to the hostile attitude shown in the recent violation of our sovereignty," his government said. Correa said on Monday that he planned to travel to Venezuela on Wednesday for talks with Chavez on the crisis.

Al Jazeera's Teresa Bo, reporting from Colombian capital Bogota, said there had been no Farc response to the raid so far, although many Colombians feared revenge attacks against military targets or against hostages being held by the group.

Seeking support

For now though, Alvaro Uribe, Colombia's president, is enjoying strong support from his people for his tough tactics against the Farc, Bo said.

Uribe appeared to be seeking international support for his government's actions too, with Bogota saying it would present its case to the United Nations and the Organisation of American States. The US, which supports Colombia's fight against the Farc rebels, urged the countries to resolve the ongoing spat through diplomatic means.

"I don't think anybody, at this point, ought to be talking about military action," Tom Casey, the US state department's deputy spokesman, said on Monday. Brazil also urged calm on all sides but condemned Colombia's raid on Saturday as a "territorial violation".

Betancourt contact killed

Meanwhile France, which has been hoping to negotiate the release of French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, said on Monday that Reyes had been their contact during delicate negotiations for her release.

"It is bad news that the man we were talking to, with whom we had contacts, has been killed," Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister, told French radio on Monday.

Betancourt has been held by the Farc, along with about 40 other foreign hostages, for more than six years, along with hundreds of Colombian hostages.

Following the release of four Farc hostages last week - in a move brokered by Chavez with the rebel group - one of the freed hostages said Betancourt was gravely ill and had not much longer to live.


Good Luck Dennis! Cleveland would be crazy to replace you now that it looks like the House will get a veto proof Majority.

Cleveland to Dennis Kucinich: Phone home

Back in Ohio, the left's favorite long shot is paying the price for his presidential ambitions. Calling him out of touch, four Democrats will try to take his House seat Tuesday.

By Edward McClelland

March 3, 2008 | CLEVELAND -- Dennis Kucinich wanted to take part in a debate on the campus of Cleveland State University last week. But not this one. Kucinich wanted to be at the Wolitzer Center on Tuesday, with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, putting forth his antiwar message on national TV. Instead, he was in a school concert hall on Friday, defending his congressional seat against a city councilman, a nonprofit executive, a suburban mayor and a Gold Star mother. He faces all four in a Democratic primary March 4.

Most Clevelanders were proud of their irrepressible congressman when he ran for president in 2004. He spoke out against the Iraq war when it wasn't politically safe to do so, and if he reveled too much in the spotlight -- appearing in a "Dating Game" skit with Jay Leno, for example -- well, the rest of America was just getting a look at their Dennis, an eccentric but iconic Cleveland character.

The second time around, though, Kucinich's White House bid looked like pure ego trip, especially to voters who had thought they'd heard him promise not to run for president again. Cleveland is leading the nation in home foreclosures, they grumbled, while Dennis is out West with crunchy celebrities. Then Kucinich claimed to have seen a UFO. Cleveland is touchy about its image, and Dennis, they said, was making the city look like a joke again.

Kucinich was a few minutes late for the debate, creeping down the auditorium stairs and smoothing his forelock as a local talk-radio host introduced the candidates. Once he took his seat, though, he looked like the soberest man in the room. Kucinich's hair is still dark, his suit was baggy, but it's hard now to see the Boy Mayor in his gnarled, deep-set, 61-year-old features. Every once in a while, his face twinkled when he caught sight of his wife, Elizabeth, sitting in the third row, but most of the time, he looked like a worn Balkan judge, doggedly taking notes with a felt-tip pen.

Before Kucinich even had a chance to speak, his main rival, City Councilman Joe Cimperman, unloaded on him. Cimperman is the first serious challenger Kucinich has faced in his 12-year congressional career; his half-million dollar war chest forced Kucinich out of the presidential race, and back home to Cleveland.

"I feel very passionately about the fact that our congressman has been absent," Cimperman said. "We wouldn't have this group up here today if someone hadn't run for president twice, and that person is Mr. Kucinich."

Kucinich was unapologetic. National issues are Cleveland issues, he countered.

"I led the effort in the United States Congress in challenging this administration's march into this illegal war," he said. "Is this war not an issue for Cleveland? This war has cost every household already $16,000. We've lost brave young men and women from Cleveland. I made that war an issue in the presidential campaign. Is healthcare not a Cleveland issue, with one-third of Clevelanders uninsured and underinsured? I'm proud to represent Cleveland, and I've represented it with honesty and integrity, in a career that goes back a long way, starting on this campus."

He spoke slowly and gravely, not like the excitable rat dog of his local legend, but like the near-elderly antiwar sage he has become. One of the few times Kucinich raised his voice was when an opponent pointed out that he has passed only two pieces of legislation in 12 years -- one to allow a local museum to show a government film.

"In a Republican Congress!" Kucinich snapped.

After the debate, Kucinich told Salon that his presidential runs had nothing to do with putting four opponents on that stage. He never promised not to run for president -- "I said that I had no intention of running, and what happened was the Democrats decided they were going to continue to fund the war, and I felt it was important to challenge that."

Kucinich, a lifelong master at firing up his supporters with us-vs.-them campaigns, said his opponents are funded by Cleveland developers who have hated him since he was mayor in the late 1970s.

"These interest groups have a lock on the politics of this city, but they've never had a lock on me," he said. "I beat them years ago, and they see this as an opportunity to just grab this congressional seat for the purposes of their own moneyed interests."

Dennis Kucinich has been Cleveland's most polarizing politician for nearly 40 years, since he was elected to a city council seat at age 23. In a single two-year term as mayor, he fired his police chief on live TV, drove the city into default by refusing to sell the public electric utility, Municipal Light, and survived a recall by 231 votes. After losing reelection, and a race for governor, he spent several years in New Mexico on "a quest for meaning," reemerging in 1994 to win a seat in the Ohio state Senate. Defiantly, he ran on his City Hall record. Keeping the utility in public hands saved Clevelanders millions of dollars, so his campaign button was a light bulb with the slogan "Because He Was Right."

Even Kucinich's detractors admire his idealism, but they say he's more interested in grandstanding and self-righteous crusades than passing bills that would ease the economic woes of Cleveland, which has twice been named "poorest city in America."

Kucinich voted against expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program, because it didn't cover children of immigrants. (He later voted to override President Bush's veto of the same bill.)

"He gives up the good in order to get the perfect," primary opponent Rosemary Palmer, who got involved in politics after her son was killed in Iraq in 2005, told Salon. "That's wonderful to have someone to rally the troops if you have someone else to bring home the bacon."



CARMA is a great interactive site where you can type in your address and see how much carbon is emitted from your electric company.

This will be the third time I’ve posted the CARMA link.

Have some fun and pass on the link.

Highest CO2 Emitting Power Plants in the World

What is CARMA?

CARMA reveals the carbon emissions of more than 50,000 power plants and 4,000 power companies in every country on Earth.


Aww gees their going to use coal and nuke power. All that sun in Africa going to waste.

S Africa grants $4bn power deals

Eskom, the South African electricity company, has awarded two contracts worth more than $4bn for a coal-fired power station to be completed by 2017. The public utility said in a statement on Friday that it had awarded an about $2.5bn contract for the construction of the power plant's boilers to the Hitachi unit, Hitachi Power Africa.

A $1.7bn contract to construct turbines at the new power station in the province of Mpumulanga was awarded to French engineering company Alstom. The Alstom deal was signed during a business summit attended by Thabo Mbeki, South African's president and his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy.

South Africa has been gripped by a power shortage as Eskom struggles to meet demand. The country's mining industry ground to a halt for five days in January as rolling blackouts intensified and millions of homes were left without power.

'Victim of own success'

Sarkozy vowed to help South Africa overcome an acute electricity shortage, saying: "You are victims of your own success." A team of French engineers will arrive next week to advise the government and Eskom on possible solutions.

South Africa's sustained economic growth is partly responsible for the electricity shortage but South Africa's government concedes it ignored calls 10 years ago for more investment in power-generating facilities. Eskom wants to double generating capacity by 2011 by bringing three mothballed power stations back into production and building new power stations.

It plans to spend about $46bn increasing its generating capacity over the next five years. Eskom said first activity on the Bravo site in South Africa's Mpumalanga province is expected in 2008. The first generating unit is due for completion late in 2013 and other units would come into operation at eight-month intervals.

Alstom signed a separate turbine contract last November for a new power plant in the northern province of Limpopo. South Africa is dependent on coal powered stations for more than 90 per cent of its electricity. However, it wants to expand its nuclear power generating capacity with the construction of a second nuclear power station.


There’s 4 video’s on the Good Bye Weapon here.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Ray Gun

It's no longer the stuff of science fiction: the Pentagon has a real-life ray gun! It's officially called the "Active Denial System" and it shoots out a 100,000 watt beam of invisible radio waves which stops a person in their tracks. Correspondent David Martin experiences its stopping power first hand.


US election crosses the border

By Ioan Grillo in Mexico City

As the US state of Texas and Ohio prepare to vote in the latest round of presidential primaries, Al Jazeera examines how the candidates' campaigns are having an effect across the border in Mexico.

The US presidential primary battle for Texas and Ohio has not only sent shockwaves across the US, but also over the Rio Grande and into Mexico.

Interesting take on our US Election from Al Jazeera


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Bush' Way of Bringing the Troops Home
If Not Now When?

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