Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, takes office today, Japan Times. Profile of Japan’s new first lady, Miyuko Hatoyama, BBC News. Key cabinet figures, BBC News.
In a move designed to separate himself from Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, President Dmitry Medvedev has issued a plan to clean up Russia’s corrupt political and economic systems. Medvedev and Putin are both eying the upcoming 2012 presidential election, Guardian.
The subject of Monday’s terror raids in Flushing, Queens, New York, says he is puzzled by his place at the center of the investigation. Najibullah Zazi, 24, who is a Pakistani national, recently returned to New York City, where he was previously a food cart vendor, to visit friends. Zazi is currently an airport shuttle driver in Denver. Police stopped Zazi in New York and searched his car, then tailed him to the neighborhood in Queens. Zazi’s wife still lives in Pakistan and he returns often to visit her so a recent visit could have sparked interest in Zazi. No arrests have been made in the case, Associated Press.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter says opposition to President Barack Obama may be heightened by racism. Yesterday, Representative Joe Wilson from South Carolina was formally rebuked by the House of Representatives for yelling out “You Lie” in response to President Obama saying health care reform would not cover illegal immigrants during last week’s joint session of Congress , USA Today.
The Sri Lankan government is reporting that thousands of people have escaped from a war zone where they were being held as human shields by the Tamil Tiger rebels in a disputed area of Sri Lanka. A UN spokesman confirms the report. Sri Lanka has launched a major offensive against the Tamil Tigers this year, leaving tamil civilians in the crossfire. Sri Lanka has given the group 24 hours to surrender, BBC News. The Tamils had already scheduled protests in capital cities around the world for tomorrow at 9am. A Tamil spokesman said that as many as 25,000 protesters could be bussed to Ottawa from Montreal and Toronto, Canoe. We’ll be covering the event live from Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Fallout from the UN racism conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the only world leader to attend the event. After he had dinner with Switzerland’s president last night, Israel withdrew its ambassador to Switzerland in protest. Ahmadinejad has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has made inflammatory comments about wanting to wipe Israel off the map said that he doesn’t believe that past wrongs against Jews justify Israel’s current policies and that “his regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history”, CNN. [See this Guardian article for a fascinating account of how Ahmadinejad’s intent can be subject to the vagaries of translation.]
Today marks the 10 year anniversary of the Columbine school shooting that resulted in thee death of 13 students and one teacher as well as the two shooters who committed suicide in Columbine, Colorado in 1999, AFP. ABC News has more on the psychology of the shooters as well as reports on what some of the victims who survived on doing now. Meanwhile, gun sales are strong, Seattle Times editorial.
The European Union has started an anti-trust investigation of airlines, including Luftansa, AirCanada, Continental, and United. The airlines are part of an alliance that the EU suspects may result in price fixing, the Star.
BREAKING NEWS: CanJet hijacking in Jamaica ends. Military police stormed the plane after negotiations broke down. None of the crew were harmed, National Post. Globe and Mail has a video report of the hijacking from a passenger on the plane.
More information on the missed warning signs from gunman who killed 13 people at an immigrant services center in Binghamton, New York. Jiverly Wong came to the U.S. from Vietnam as a refugee. He was jailed for using a forged check in California but was still granted citizenship a few years later. In response to an application for a gun permit, Mr. Wong’s father told police he did not think his son should have access to a weapon, but the permit was granted. Wong was also suspected in a bank robbery but was never charged, USA Today.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who, as it was widely reported, shook hands with President Obama at the Summit of the Americas a few days ago, has announced he will restore Venezuela’s ambassador to the US. The US is expected to reciprocate. Relations between the US and Venezuela have been strained since Chavez was elected. In response to a reporter’s question about his first meeting with Obama, Chavez said, “I think it was a good moment… I think President Obama is an intelligent man, compared to the previous US president.” BBC News.
A UN conference on racism may fall apart as the US and other western nations refuse to participate. The US fears the proposed language of the conference statement singles out Israel in that it likens Zionism, the desire for an Israeli state, to racism. The US also has concerns that the proposed condemnation of “incitement to religious hatred” could have free speech implications, BBC News.
Journalism schools struggle to find relevance in the changing news industry, the New York Times.