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Mar 19th
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Retailers in the line of fire PDF Print E-mail

Retail sales suffered their worst slump since 1986 in June, official figures revealed yesterday, piling the pressure on leading stores and chains. James Thompson reports on the 10 retailers feeling the pinch most acutely, as the consumer slowdown continues to bite

There have already been a plethora of retail administrations this year and more are set to follow. The retailers that have hit the buffers span a variety of sectors, but the furniture and value fashion sector have claimed more victims than most.
The Oil Man Cometh PDF Print E-mail


There he is, the sound of money in a wizened Texas drawl, the tired realist looking a bit like the John Huston character from "Chinatown" as he warns in national television ads that we should just listen here and do as he says.

And what the 80-year-old T. Boone Pickens says, in a $58 million campaign, is that we can't drill our way to lower gas prices. By implication, anybody who tells you otherwise — including the fellow Texan he helped put in the White House — is a fraud.
Karadzic and War's Lessons PDF Print E-mail



After covering a war, a friend said, buy yourself a house. I did. I came to this French village where church bells chime the rhythm of the days, married here, raised children and parked Bosnia somewhere in a corner of my mind.

I had to forget. I had to write a book, so the horror would never be forgotten, in order to forget just enough to go on. There is always a measure of guilt in survival when so many have died. There are faces, in death and bereavement, that can never be eclipsed.
Tough Love for Israel? PDF Print E-mail


On his visit to the Middle East, Barack Obama gave ritual affirmations of his support for Israeli policy, but what Israel needs from America isn't more love, but tougher love.

Particularly at a time when Israel seems to be contemplating military strikes on Iranian nuclear sites, the United States would be a better friend if it said: "That's crazy" — while also insisting on a 100 percent freeze on settlements in the West Bank and greater Jerusalem.
Marcus Tanner: With Karadzic in the dock, the Bosnians he terrorised may finally be given closure PDF Print E-mail

How frustrated Carla del Ponte must feel. The former chief prosecutor of the Hague war crimes tribunal was desperate to see Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic in the dock before she stood down. "I want my fugitives!" she would declaim on her tours of European capitals, tirelessly fighting off moves by Brussels to give Serbia the chance of EU membership before the handover of the court's two most wanted men.

Flagship reforms PDF Print E-mail

By Lizzy Davies

Nicolas Sarkozy narrowly avoided a critical political defeat Monday night when his flagship proposals to give the French constitution its biggest overhaul in half a century were passed by a margin of just one vote.

The president, who has made the reform of key institutions a priority of his premiership, scraped to victory as 539 politicians came out in support of the changes, while 357 voted against. He had needed a majority of three-fifths — or 538 votes — for the reform to go through.
Brigadier Ben Barry: I saw disturbing evidence of dark crimes all around me PDF Print E-mail

Over Christmas 1995, Second Battalion, The Light Infantry, deployed into western Bosnia, territory that had spent most of the war under Bosnian Serb control. All over our area we saw shocking evidence of ethnic cleansing that had taken place in 1992 as hardliners and paramilitaries worked their evil trade. We lost count of the number of houses, villages and even whole towns that had been destroyed. Houses were burnt out or blown up, with gaunt timbers poking at the sky. Most of this ethnic cleansing seemed to have been directed by Bosnian Serbs against Muslims and Croats.

Don't forget the home front, Barack PDF Print E-mail

Obama's tour of Europe will consolidate his overseas support. But the real battle for power will be won in small-town America

Jean Hannah Edelstei

It feels a bit like waiting for Santa Claus: the collective excitement over the anticipation that the great man will be making a personal appearance here in Europe, albeit one that is fleeting.
It has taken me a while to wholeheartedly commit my support to Barack Obama, due to the inveterate cynicism towards my home country that has grown during my near-decade of living as an expat.
Can Serbia now deliver Mladic to The Hague? PDF Print E-mail

Radovan Karadzic's arrest is testament to Boris Tadic's office, but progress towards EU accession depends on delivering more

Ian Bancroft

The arrest of Radovan Karadzic, the wartime leader of the Bosnian Serbs, announced last night by the office of the Serbian president, Boris Tadic, is a significant development for Serbia and the wider region. While the exact time and location of Karadzic's apprehension remains unknown, the involvement of the Serbian security services demonstrates both the patronage and influence of Tadic's pro-EU coalition, and Serbia's continuing transition towards civilian control over the state's security infrastructure.
For McCain, the surge is a losing strategy PDF Print E-mail

Its success in quieting Iraq may make it easier for voters to choose Obama

Jonah Goldberg

'Sen. Obama didn't support the surge, wanted to pull out, said that it would fail. I supported it when it was the toughest thing to do. I believe that my record on national security and keeping this country safe is there. And the American people will examine our records, and I will win."

Oil on the boil PDF Print E-mail

The current oil shock, the fourth of its kind in the past three-and-a-half decades, and the deadliest so far, shows every sign of continuing for a long, long stretch.

When will it end, this crushing rise in the price of gasoline, now averaging $4.10 a gallon at the pump? The question is uppermost in the minds of American motorists as they plan vacations or simply review their daily journeys. The short answer is simple as well: "Not soon."

In the private sector, utilities promptly slashed by half their investments in energy efficiency. President George H.W. Bush, an oil man, followed Reagan's lead. And his son, George W. (along Vice President Dick Cheney, former chief executive of energy services giant Halliburton) has done absolutely nothing to wean Americans away from their much talked about "addiction to oil."

Q&A: The Doha Round of World Trade Organisation PDF Print E-mail
What is the point of the talks?
The Doha Round of World Trade Organisation talks is aimed at liberalising global trade to make importing and exporting cheaper and easier, with a special emphasis on improving the economies of developing countries
What would a deal look like?
The Europhiles are not the future, Mr Obama PDF Print E-mail
Most US Presidents share the common American view that Europe will naturally evolve into a United States of Europe

William Rees-Mogg

It begins to look as though the real presidential election in the United States may have been the primary battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Senator Clinton's passionate fight for the nomination will still be remembered in a generation's time. As a result, Senator Obama, having defeated Mrs Clinton, looks almost unbeatable in the presidential race itself.
Big business can and should make ethical investments PDF Print E-mail

Norway's Sovereign Wealth Fund has proven that big money can be invested in ethical ways. Others should follow suit

Gwladys Fouché

Many people think ethical investments are a worthy but inconsequential sideline away from the business of making big money – an indulgence for do-gooders. But the example of the second largest sovereign wealth fund (SWF) in the world, after Abu Dhabi's, may give them food for thought. Norway's Government Pension Fund, worth a dizzying £203bn, frequently flexes its ethical muscles.
Given a shovel, digging deeper into debt PDF Print E-mail

Gwladys Fouché writes about the Nordic countries for the Guardian and other media

By Gretchen Morgenson, Herald Tribune

The collection agencies call at least 20 times a day. For a little quiet, Diane McLeod stashes her phone in the dishwasher.

But right up until she hit the wall financially, McLeod was a dream customer for lenders. She juggled not one but two mortgages, both with interest rates that rose over time, and a car loan and high-cost credit card debt.

Eyes Off the Price PDF Print E-mail


Durham, N.C.

AS I stand at the gas station filling my tank, the meter tallies how much it's going to cost me. At this station, a gallon is $4.26, and as the meter passes the $20 mark, then the $30, I realize that I am paying too much attention to the price of gasoline. I bet you are too.
Europe waits for Obama PDF Print E-mail

By Shadaba Islam

BRUSSELS: This column should really be about the decision by Yves Leterme, Belgium's prime minister, to tender his resignation, thereby plunging his country into another political crisis.

After all, this correspondent is based in Brussels and the future of Belgium — its very survival — is, once again, at stake.
Rebuilding Afghanistan, One Book at a Time PDF Print E-mail


Kabul, Afghanistan

SINCE 2001, when the Taliban were dislodged from power in Afghanistan, the international community has spent many billions of dollars toward the nation's reconstruction. Yet not much progress can be seen. Poor management and lack of coordination among aid agencies are the major reasons for this dismal record, but another very simple problem has been a failure to make sure that the Afghan people have access to books and other printed materials with the information they need to move forward.
Iran: a crucial meeting PDF Print E-mail

By Julian Borger

WHAT will happen at Saturday's (July 19) meeting? The EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, will head a delegation of diplomats from six countries to meet Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, in Geneva. Jalili is supposed to present Iran's final response to an offer of international economic and technical help in building a civilian nuclear industry, in return for suspending Iranian enrichment of uranium.
Prosecuting Genocide PDF Print E-mail


Many aid workers and diplomats suffered a panic attack when the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court sought an arrest warrant this week for the president of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, for committing genocide. They feared that Mr. Bashir would retaliate by attacking peacekeepers and humanitarian workers.
But instead of wringing our hands, we should be applauding. The prosecution for genocide is a historic step that also creates an opportunity in Sudan, particularly if China can now be induced and shamed into suspending the transfer of weapons used to slaughter civilians in Darfur.
Obama at the Gate PDF Print E-mail


ANGELA MERKEL, Germany's chancellor, has made known her displeasure at the possibility that Barack Obama might use an appearance before the Brandenburg Gate here to present himself to the world as a politician of balance and integrity. Such an event would doubtless be heavy with symbolism as well as heavily attended, and one should always be wary meddling in another nation's elections.
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