Public option

Honduras’ interim President Roberto Micheletti announced the formation of a new government without Manuel Zelaya, Honduras’ elected President who was ousted from office this summer. Now talks to form a democratic government have once again fallen through. Stalemate.

The International Atomic Energy Association will ask Iran to explain evidence that it has experimented with a nuclear warhead design known as a “two-point implosion.” This design is officially a state secret in the U.S. and Great Britain. Israel has responded to the evidence by threatening to take military action against Iran’s nuclear program.

“The one who’s bluffing is Iran, which is trying to play with cards they don’t have. All the bravado that we see and the testing and the very dangerous and harsh rhetoric is hiding a lot of weaknesses,” said Israeli Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.

The previously unpublished dossier that revealed Iran’s experimentation with this design is called “Possible Military Dimensions of Iran’s Nuclear Program.” It is drawn in part from reports submitted to it by western intelligence agencies. “It’s remarkable that, before perfecting step one, they (Iran) are going straight to step four or five … To start with more sophisticated designs speaks of level of technical ambition that is surprising,” said James Acton, a British nuclear weapons expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The Nation paints a grim vision of two different groups of recession-era young people. While the piece accepts that all young people have been effected by a collective loss of 2.5 million jobs, it points out that the well-educated and white do not face the same harsh realities as less educated minorities (African Americans 16-19 are unemployed at a rate of 40.7%). The study also addresses the rising cost of university level education, the fact that government stimulus measures are targeted at older workers, and the steady decline in the standard of living of less educated individuals since the 1970s.

“What we’re looking at is a situation where young people entered the recession already feeling the brunt of thirty years’ worth of pretty gradual but nonetheless dramatic economic and social changes,” says Nancy Cauthen, director of the Economic Opportunity Program at Demos. “The recession just made a bad situation worse.”

Their solution is a stimulus targeted at young people, which includes job training and partial subsidies or tax credits to companies hiring them.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is taking the heat from all sides, domestic and foreign, for his country’s corruption problems. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned Karzai that the British people and their government would not support a corrupt government. Though Brown reiterated Great Britain’s part in the Afghan conflict, he also declared that the Afghan government had become a “byword for corruption.”

On the domestic front, Karzai is facing harsh criticism from Atta Mohammad Noor, the only Afghan governor that supported Karzai’s former opponent, Abdullah Abdullah. Abdullah took himself out of the race for president, but Atta believes that to mend fences Karzai must prominently include Abdullah and his team in Afghanistan’s government. Atta is very popular in his province, and if Karzai removes him, there could be blood. “All the people of Mazar will be in the streets if Atta is removed — and some will bring the weapons with them,” said Munir Ahmad, a 21-year-old student in Mazar-e-Sharif, the provincial capital and the bustling economic hub of northern Afghanistan. An army Major stationed in Atta’s province has noted evidence that his supporters are arming themselves in preparation for a fight. “People trust and respect [Atta],” said Hamid, a 25-year-old businessman who, like many Afghans, goes by one name. “But if he’s gone, they will turn to backing the Taliban, as it happened in other provinces.”



    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


    Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: