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Sep 02nd
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Musharraf Walked a Tightrope PDF Print E-mail


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A commando at heart, and a man of often impetuous decisions, Pervez Musharraf ended Pakistan’s support of the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan after 9/11 and pledged to help the United States, becoming one of Washington’s most crucial allies in the campaign against terrorism.

It was a bold stroke that boosted the Bush administration in its immediate war against Al Qaeda, and allowed the United States to work with Pakistani intelligence to arrest senior Qaeda operatives inside Pakistan. Mr. Musharraf also gave Washington permission to strike at Qaeda targets in his nation’s lawless tribal areas.
Showdown at Saddleback PDF Print E-mail


While normal people were out having fun Saturday night, I was home in front of the TV. But I wasn’t enjoying the Olympics. Your diligent columnist was dutifully watching Barack Obama and John McCain answer the Rev. Rick Warren’s questions at Saddleback Church. Virtue is sometimes rewarded. The event was worth watching — and for me yielded three conclusions.
First, Rick Warren should moderate one of the fall presidential debates.
Free trade breakdown PDF Print E-mail

Protectionist rhetoric and global fears about free trade leave our planet at risk of missing out on extraordinary benefits

Björn Lomborg

Last month, the Doha negotiations, promising freer trade, broke down, ostensibly over a small technicality in safeguard rules. In reality, the talks collapsed because nobody – not Europe, not the United States, China, India, or the other main developing countries – was willing to take the political short-term hit by offending inefficient farmers and coddled domestic industries in order to create greater long-term benefits for virtually everyone.
This is a tale of US expansion not Russian aggression PDF Print E-mail

War in the Caucasus is as much the product of an American imperial drive as local conflicts. It's likely to be a taste of things to come

Seumas Milne

The outcome of six grim days of bloodshed in the Caucasus has triggered an outpouring of the most nauseating hypocrisy from western politicians and their captive media. As talking heads thundered against Russian imperialism and brutal disproportionality, US vice-president Dick Cheney, faithfully echoed by Gordon Brown and David Miliband, declared that "Russian aggression must not go unanswered".

Iím Singiní in Beijing PDF Print E-mail


Did you realize the Chinese Communist Party was that much into cute?

The world knows now that the adorable little girl we saw warbling “Ode to the Motherland” at the Olympics opening ceremony was not really singing. She was a Potemkin performer. A Trojan tyke. Lin Miaoke, 9, was fronting for Yang Peiyi, 7, the girl with the best voice but imperfect teeth.
Bush rebuking Russia? Putin must be splitting his sides PDF Print E-mail

Moscow has to take some of the blame. But it is the west's policy of liberal interventionism that has fuelled war in Georgia

Simon Jenkins

One thing is for sure. This week's operation in Georgia has displayed the failure of the west's policy of belligerence towards Vladimir Putin's Russia. The policy was meant to weaken Russia, and has strengthened it. The policy was meant to humiliate Russia with Nato encirclement, and has merely fed its neo-imperialism. The policy was meant to show that Russia "understands only firmness" and instead has shown the west as a bunch of tough-talking windbags.
Text the Vote PDF Print E-mail



SOMETIME between now and the convention, Barack Obama, just like the cool kid in study hall, will surreptitiously send a text message announcing his pick for vice president. The ploy may seem silly — the fad candidate adopts the latest tech fad — but it’s an important part of one of Mr. Obama’s most under-recognized campaign efforts.
The regeneration game is up PDF Print E-mail

There's no altering geography, and some of our towns just aren't in the right place any more. We should expand those that are

Tim Leunig

There is no doubt that the gap in living standards between places like Basingstoke and Blackburn is huge. And there is no doubt that Labour is committed to regeneration: no surprise, with recent Labour cabinets including MPs for Hull, Stockton, Blackburn and so on.
The Pandora's box of sovereignty PDF Print E-mail

Supporting only some independence movements can have disastrous consequences for the world.

By Thomas Meaney and Harris Mylonas

For the coolest composure while going to war, the gold medal goes to Vladimir Putin. The Russian prime minister maintained his characteristic calm during Friday's Olympic opening ceremony in Beijing -- giving a firm salute to the Russian athletes marching by -- while he arranged for another kind of march into the disputed territory of South Ossetia. It's clear that Putin considers this payback time, not only for Georgia, Russia's meddlesome neighbor to the south, but for President Bush.
Eighth in the world: could be worse PDF Print E-mail

Tom Daley and Blake Aldridge have fallen out over their 'poor' performance at the Olympics. Boys, you needn't worry

Carrie Quinlan

Kids today, eh? If they're not bunking of school to drink cider in parks, they're ruining our Olympic medal chances. Wasn't like that when I was a teenager. I may have bunked of school to drink cider in Nonsuch Park, but I never let it affect my synchronised diving. Largely because I avoided synchronised diving at all costs. Tom Daley made the opposite choice, bless him. It's hard not to feel sorry for him this week. Not only has he chosen a sport which, though undoubtedly incredibly hard work, comes across as a bit camp, but now he's being blamed by his partner, Blake Aldridge, for a poor performance.
Russia Blames the Victim PDF Print E-mail



RUSSIA is portraying its war in Georgia as a legitimate response to Georgia’s incursion last week into its breakaway region of South Ossetia. Many in the West, while condemning the disproportionate nature of Russia’s response, are also critical of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili for his attempts to bring South Ossetia back under Georgian rule, and of the United States for supposedly encouraging Mr. Saakashvili’s risk-taking by pushing NATO membership for Georgia.

An Empty Promise PDF Print E-mail


Senator John Kerry was on the phone and the words were coming in a rush.

“It’s a completely fraudulent argument,” he said. “It’s misleading. It’s snake oil salesmanship of the worst order.”

He was talking about the latest smoke screen in the presidential election, the bogus contention that lifting restrictions on offshore oil drilling would somehow, in the foreseeable future, bring down the price of gasoline for American motorists.
Why China loves the Olympics PDF Print E-mail

With the Chinese wearing their national pride on their sleeves, public criticism like George Bush's simply bolsters Beijing

Muhammad Cohen

It was easy to spot in Sichuan, and it will undoubtedly be prominent as the Olympics unfold. When the Olympic torch toured the earthquake-ravaged province just days ahead of the games, thousands of onlookers sported identical "I (heart) China" T-shirts. The shirts aren't just a fashion statement in this Olympic moment, but a political statement.
When banks were banks PDF Print E-mail

Yesterday's granite, gilding and mosaics were more financially reassuring than today's stucco storefronts and cheery little branches

Mark Kendall

Imiss Southern California's old, rock-solid banks. The ones sheathed in enough granite to survive a missile strike. The ones with lobbies decked out with marble and mahogany and statuary to rival an Old World palace. Their ornate trappings brought a sense of splendor to L.A.'s Pop-Tart suburbs. More important, whatever the true state of their balance sheets, their financial-fortress architecture conveyed strength and stability. They were built to last.
A big surprise on gas PDF Print E-mail

You may not believe it, but fuel is more affordable than it was during the early '60s

Indur Goklany

Barack Obama thinks the government should intervene on gas prices to "give families some relief," and last week called for releasing 70 million barrels of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. John McCain proposes an end to the ban on offshore drilling and has pushed for a gas-tax holiday because "we need it, we need it very badly."

But both candidates and the public are evidently unaware of a basic fact: Gasoline is more affordable for American families now than it was in the days of the gas-guzzling muscle cars of the early 1960s. Prices are beginning to come down somewhat, but this was true even when the national average was at its summer peak.
The west can no longer stand idle while the Russian bully wreaks havoc PDF Print E-mail

The clashes with Georgia follow years of aggressive Kremlin policy. Moscow needs to be told its G8 place is not uncondition

David Clard

EU foreign ministers meeting in emergency session today to discuss the situation in Georgia should begin by asking why it took the outbreak of war to focus their attention. They had no cause to be surprised. The warning signs had been apparent for at least a year, and the Georgian government had made strenuous efforts to raise the alarm. This time last summer a Russian jet violated Georgian airspace and dropped a missile north of Tbilisi in what appeared to be a botched attack on a Georgian radar installation. Russia denied involvement, but two separate independent investigations found otherwise. Despite this, Georgia's plea for diplomatic support fell almost entirely on deaf ears.
I spy a little Olympic crack in Chinaís wall PDF Print E-mail

Simon Jenkins

When China won the contract to host the Olympics, the official Xinhua press agency declared it “another milestone in China’s rising international status and a historical event in the great renaissance of the Chinese nation”. Nobody watching Friday’s start to $40 billion of public expenditure, in what is still one of the world’s poorest nations, could be in any doubt of that. Let us hear no more about the Olympics being about sport.
Flush With Energy PDF Print E-mail


The Arctic Hotel in Ilulissat, Greenland, is a charming little place on the West Coast, but no one would ever confuse it for a Four Seasons — maybe a One Seasons. But when my wife and I walked back to our room after dinner the other night and turned down our dim hallway, the hall light went on. It was triggered by an energy-saving motion detector. Our toilet even had two different flushing powers depending on — how do I say this delicately — what exactly you’re flushing. A two-gear toilet! I’ve never found any of this at an American hotel. Oh, if only we could be as energy efficient as Greenland!
Whatever the Result, Sharif is Likely to Win PDF Print E-mail

News of potential impeachment of President Pervez Musharraf means further political instability for Pakistan(4C)s
The news of the potential impeachment of President Pervez Musharraf means further political instability for Pakistan - at least in the short term.

Though a deal has finally been done between the Pakistan People's party (PPP), effectively led by the late Benazir Bhutto's husband, Asif Zardari, and Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), this indicates a very temporary coincidence of interest rather than a new solidarity. However, the beleaguered president's decision not to go to China for the opening ceremony of the Olympic games shows he is taking the threat seriously.
Setting the record straight PDF Print E-mail

By Yousuf Nazar

THE PPP government made a faux pas in trying to bring the ISI under its control and it is probable that the move may have come under great pressure to do so after the recent bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul.

But let it be clear that the notion the ISI spends most of its time on external defence is false and that civilians should therefore not bother about it is an equally flawed argument. History does not support this view.
The greatest Olympics ever PDF Print E-mail

By Dave Barry

BEIJING: In ancient times, a Westerner had to journey for months, even years, to reach China. Today, thanks to modern air travel, it takes much longer. I estimate that the plane I was on flew around the entire earth three times before we got here.

But now that I've showered, I'm excited to be here for these historic Olympic Games, the first ever hosted by this proud and ancient culture, which has given the world so many important inventions, including gunpowder, paper, fireworks, Chinese checkers, gravel, celery, nitrogen, the pyramids, instant replay and The Twist. But despite its storied past, China is not a museum:

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