Monday, April 21, 2008

Overnight - A roundup of news items that you might have missed

Damned if you do, damned if you don't The 1400 year old Zenkoji Temple in Nagano has been defaced by vandals. The temple recently withdrew from taking part in the torch relay, citing as part of the reason the risk of vandalism by protesters. Police are investigating to determine if the vandalism is related to the abrupt decision by the administrators at the Buddhist temple to refuse to take part in the Japan leg of the torch relay.

Sales of U.S. Beef to Korea will increase
within days, and will face little or no regulation. Further opening the Korean market to U.S. beef imports - it is already the third largest market for U.S. beef - was one of the items on the laundry list of demands that the U.S. has for the new government.

Scores have been killed in Mogadishu
as rebels opposed to the transitional government clashed with Somali and Ethiopian troops. A human rights group blamed the high casualties on Ethiopian troops for shelling a residential area.

The U.S. Military in Afghanistan has been holding a German citizen since he was arrested at the beginning of the year. His crime? He tried to buy a shaver at a military supermarket. Not They have held him for four months, alleging he was on the post without authorization. The German foreign ministry is trying to inject some sanity and secure the release of their countryman from the Americans.

This is supposed to make me feel warm and fuzzy, but it doesn't
. Instead, it just pisses me off. I don't get a good feeling when I read that the children of National Guard soldiers are receiving grants to pay for their summer baseball league fees, because Guardsmen don't get the same access to resources as regular army personnel. They get killed just as dead - give them equal treatment. There are Guard units that are on their third and fourth deployments. Stop abusing them and start treating them right.

Opposition wins in Paraguay
, bringing an end to the 62-year reign of the Colorado Party. The new president is former Catholic Bishop Fernando Lugo, a populist and self-styled champion of the poor. Although he resists labels, he has leftist leanings that align him philosophically with South American leaders Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia.

Toddler rescued after wind blows stroller into Lake Michigan
A two year old was rescued after 15 minutes submerged in the frigid waters of Lake Michigan after a gust of wind blew the stroller his grandfather was pushing into the lake. The child was pulled from the water, unconscious but alive, by rescuers. The child is in critical condition at Children's Memorial, and the grandfather, who went in after him, was in stable condition at St. Joseph's.

Judges denying some crack convicts legal help with sentence reductions After the ruling that sentencing disparity between powder and crack cocaine should be rectified, the federal judiciary began the unprecedented task of determining which prisoners would have their sentences reduced. Now judges are telling many poor convicts that they will not be appointed lawyers. This means that they will be left to argue their own cases against skilled prosecutors.

Finding common ground with Iran That Moqtada al Sadr is an interesting fellow. In the interest of opposing him, Iran and the United States find themselves on the same side of an issue in Iraq - both parties are supporting the Maliki government.

Russian tabloid shut down within hours of running a story about Putin, alleging that he has quietly divorced his wife and plans to marry an Olympic gymnast. When asked about it in Sardinia, where he was meeting with Silvio Berlusconi, Putin reacted angrily, denouncing the article as prurient lies. Hours later the tabloid was shut down.