Sarah Palin has hinted she might take on a wider political role in the US, one day after abruptly announcing she was resigning as governor of Alaska.
“I am now looking ahead and how we can advance this country together,” she wrote on her Facebook page.
The former Republican vice-presidential candidate said earlier she would resign as Alaska governor on 26 July.
There have been speculation that she might be preparing to make a bid for the White House in 2012.
But the fact Mrs Palin did not reveal what she intended to do after leaving office, and did not give an explicit reason for her decision not to run for re-election, prompted speculation there might be another reason for her stepping down.
One report on NBC news suggested that Mrs Palin intended to get out of politics “for good”.
In her Facebook posting, Mrs Palin said she urged Americans to “join me” in looking how “we can advance this country together with our values of less government intervention, greater energy independence, stronger national security, and much-needed fiscal restraint”.
Sourced from The BBC
|The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global flu pandemic after holding an emergency meeting, according to reports.
It means the swine flu virus is spreading in at least two regions of the world with rising cases being seen in the UK, Australia, Japan and Chile.
The move does not necessarily mean the virus is causing more severe illness or more deaths.
The swine flu (H1N1) virus first emerged in Mexico in April.
It has since spread to 74 countries.
Official reports say there have been 28,000 cases globally and 141 deaths and figures are rising daily
It is the first flu pandemic in 40 years – the last in 1968 with Hong Kong flu killed about one million people.
The current pandemic seems to be moderate and causing mild illness in most people.
One factor which may have prompted the move to a level six pandemic was that in the southern hemisphere, the virus seems to be crowding out normal seasonal influenza.
It is thought the move was not prompted by the situation in any one country but the reports of several pockets of community spread.
There have been almost 800 cases in the UK with some areas of Scotland being particularly hard hit.
The government has been stockpiling antivirals such as Tamiflu and has ordered vaccine, some doses of which could be available by October.
Chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson said the WHO declaration of a pandemic would not significantly change the way the UK was dealing with swine flu at the moment.
But he added there could be some minor changes to who received antivirals.
“The declaration of a pandemic per se doesn’t make a big difference to the to the way we are handling the outbreaks we have.
“We are going to continue to investigate every case that occurs and treat their contacts with antivirals even though they may not be ill.
“The difference is that the Health Protection Agency has learnt a lot about approaching this question of antiviral prophylaxis and they are going to be treating the closer contacts of the cases, rather than the more far-flung contacts, because they feel that that is supported by what they know so far about how the disease is transmitting.
He added: “These flu viruses can change their pattern of attack, so when we come into the flu season in the autumn and winter in this country, when we expect a big surge of cases, we need to watch very carefully to see if the character of the virus is changing.”
Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said a move to level six means that countries need to be ready to implement pandemic plans immediately but the UK was already operating at a “heightened state of readiness”.
But it could affect the speed at which the UK gets pandemic vaccine supplies but that had been factored into pandemic planning.
Flu expert Professor John Oxford, said people should not panic as the outbreak was milder than others seen in the past century.
“It is global and fulfilling the requirements of a pandemic but I don’t think anyone should worry because nothing drastic has happened between yesterday and today.”
Amidst the high wired elections fever, tensions flared in Tehran last night as thousands of protesters marched to the state television centre, enraged by the discovery that President Ahmadinejad was being given far more airtime than his opponents.
The demonstration came as a leading conservative accused reformists of fomenting a “velvet revolution”. Yadollah Javani, a leader of the hardline Revolutionary Guards, said that reformists were going to claim vote-rigging if their candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, loses in tomorrow’s presidential elections. He vowed to crush any post-election violence.
In another remarkable intervention, about 50 clerics from Qom, Iran’s religious nerve-centre, also rebuked Mr Ahmadinejad, stating in an open letter that “accusing people in a session when they are not present is contrary to our religion.” Such conduct would “spread disappointment among the people and make our enemies happy”.
These developments expose deep splits within a ruling establishment that never normally airs its disagreements in public and come on the eve of a landmark election in which Mr Mousavi, a relative moderate, could become the first challenger to defeat an incumbent president in the Islamic Republic’s 30-year history.
There are no reliable opinion polls in Iran, but Mr Mousavi has visibly gained momentum in recent days and his exuberant supporters have flooded on to the streets of Tehran in huge numbers. The usual restrictions on dissent have been largely swept aside as the regime has loosened — or lost — its grip ahead of the election.
The election has also exposed the deep divide within Iranian society. Mr Mousavi’s candidacy has galvanised the urban middle-classes, and he also has the support of Mohammed Khatami, the popular reformist President from 1997 to 2005, and Hojatoleslam Rafsanjani, who was defeated by Mr Ahmadinejad in the presidential election of 2005.
Mr Ahmadinejad enjoys strong support among the rural poor and religiously devout, and is thought to have the backing of the Supreme Leader as well as the Revolutionary Guards and the volunteer Basij militia.
Rightly or wrongly, they adore this man who presents himself as the champion of the oppressed, the scourge of Iran’s corrupt elite with its loose morals, a leader who has stood up to the bullying West and restored their country’s pride. Even though the rampant inflation and chronic unemployment have made their lot much worse; he is their man.
Sixteen bodies pulled from the Atlantic Ocean Tuesday were taken to Fernando de Noronha for transportation Wednesday afternoon by helicopter to the air base in Recife, Brazil.
The 25 bodies previously found were put aboard a Brazilian frigate.
Searches for the remaining bodies will continue overnight, the navy and aeronautical command said in a written statement.
The Airbus A330 crashed in the Atlantic Ocean June 1 en route from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Paris, France, carrying 228 passengers and crew.
The first bodies were recovered about 320 kilometers (200 miles) northwest of the Brazilian archipelago of Saint Peter and Saint Paul; Tuesday’s recoveries were 80 kilometers (50 miles) away. It was not clear whether the bodies had drifted in the 1-2 knot currents or whether their separation suggested that the jet may have broken apart in the air.
Meanwhile, the French, who are leading the investigation, were increasing their naval efforts. The nuclear submarine Emeraude was expected to reach the search area Wednesday to search for wreckage, including the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder. And the French sent two tugs towing 40 tons of recovery equipment, a surveillance ship and a ship equipped for amphibious operations.
The United States is also sending equipment to help with the search.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown will remain at the helm of Britain’s ruling Labour Party after beating back a rebellion by members unhappy over its worst-ever defeat in voting for the European Parliament.
Confronting dissidents at a two-hour closed-door meeting in Parliament in London late yesterday, Brown won the support of most Labour lawmakers by promising to make unspecified changes to his leadership style and agenda.
“I know I need to improve,” Brown told the meeting, according to his spokesman. He shrugged off calls for his resignation, saying, “You solve the problem not by walking away but by doing something about it.”
Although Brown’s supporters warned that a leadership fight would prompt a general election that Labour would almost certainly lose, the prime minister’s hold on power remains fragile. The wounds inflicted may be reopened if the party’s poll ratings don’t improve or if Brown presses ahead with controversial plans to clamp down on welfare benefits and sell a stake in the postal service.
Tomorrow, lawmakers vote on a motion proposed by opposition parties calling on Brown to hold a general election immediately instead of waiting until the deadline a year from now. If a handful of Labour lawmakers rebel or neglect to show up, Brown, who has a 63-seat majority, could lose the vote.
Former ministers Charles Clarke, Stephen Byers and Fiona Mactaggart yesterday joined a list of 19 Labour lawmakers saying Brown should step down after the party finished third in elections for the European Parliament.
The size of the mutiny was too small to trigger a leadership contest, and the challenge unified both the Cabinet and most of the party in backing Brown. While six ministers have walked out of the government, none followed James Purnell in calling for Brown to step aside.
Unless the prime minister quits, 70 Labour members of Parliament would have to publicly call for him to go before the party could consider replacing him. More than 300 attending the meeting in a packed committee room banged tables and cheered for Brown when he arrived to speak.
Brown’s standing has withered as disclosures of lawmakers’ personal spending combined with the effects of a deepening recession and rising unemployment. The British National Party, whose constitution permits only whites to join, won its first two seats in the European Parliament.
The challenge to Brown from his allies is the toughest for a sitting premier since John Major called a leadership contest to face down rebels in his Conservative Party in 1995.
This time, the opposition to Brown centers on his personality and leadership style. Caroline Flint quit as Europe minister last week, saying Brown didn’t take her seriously and didn’t include her in Cabinet discussions.
An opinion poll by ComRes Ltd. showed that Home Secretary Alan Johnson would be more popular than Brown, 58, and could deprive the Conservatives of the votes they need to command a majority in Parliament.
With Johnson as Labour leader, the opposition would fall six seats short of a majority. Against Brown, Conservatives would have 74 seats more than all rival parties combined, according to ComRes, which finished its poll of 1,001 adults on June 7th.
A Brazilian search team has recovered a large tail section of the Air France jet that crashed a week ago over the Atlantic with 228 people on board.
The Brazilian military released photos of divers securing the tail fin, which was painted with Air France colours.
Meanwhile the US is sending two sophisticated listening devices to help search for black boxes from the plane.
Brazilian officials said 24 bodies had now been recovered, an increase from the previous total of 16.
Bodies and debris from the plane have been found some 1,000km (600 miles) north-east of Brazil’s Fernando de Noronha islands, where the Airbus disappeared.
Sourced from The BBC
LoveWorld News room.
Monday, June 8th, 2009.
SEOUL – North Korea’s top court has convicted two American journalists and sentenced them to 12 years in a prison, intensifying the reclusive nation’s confrontation with the United States.
The sentencing came amid soaring tensions fueled by the North’s latest nuclear and missile tests. Many believe Pyongyang is using the journalists as bargaining chips as the U.N. debates a new resolution to punish the unpredictable country for its latest military threats.
In a cryptic report, the state news agency said Laura Ling, 32, and Euna Lee, 36 were sentenced after the five-day trial ended today. They were guilty of a “grave crime” against the nation and of illegally crossing into North Korea. The court “sentenced each of them to 12 years of reform through labor,”
Ling and Lee, working for former Vice President Al Gore’s California-based Current TV, cannot appeal because they were tried in North Korea’s highest court, where decisions are final. The court “sentenced each of them to 12 years of reform through labor.”
Some analysts however believe negotiations will now begin that will likely lead to the journalists’ release. North Korea refused to release them ahead of a court ruling because such a move could be seen as capitulating to the United States, said an informed observer who is a Professor of international relations and an expert on North Korea at the University of Shizuoka in Japan.
But now “North Korea may release them on humanitarian grounds and demand the U.S. provide humanitarian aid in return,” he said. “North Korea will certainly use the reporters as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the United States.”
Tensions have been running high since the North held its second underground nuclear blast May 25th and followed it up with several missile tests. U.S. officials have said the North appears to be preparing to test another long-range missile at a new launch pad.
The circumstances surrounding the trial of the two journalists and their arrest March 17th on the China-North Korean border have been shrouded in secrecy, as is typical of the reclusive nation. The trial was not open to the public or foreign observers, including the Swedish Embassy, which looks after American interests in the absence of diplomatic relations.
The two were reporting the trafficking of women at the time of their arrest, and it’s unclear if they strayed into the North or were grabbed by aggressive border guards who crossed into China.
Another American who was tried in North Korea in 1996 was treated more leniently. Evan C. Hunziker, apparently acting on a drunken dare, swam across the Yalu River — which marks the North’s border with China — and was arrested after farmers found the man, then 26, naked. He was accused of spying and detained for three months before being freed after negotiations with a special U.S. envoy.
The North Koreans wanted Hunziker to pay a $100,000 criminal fine but eventually agreed on a $5,000 payment to settle a bill for a hotel where he was detained.