Archive for the ‘cultural’ Category

Mitch McConnell: Washington’s most important Republican and second-most consequential elected official

November 13, 2008

“I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.

Abraham Lincoln

Which is how discerning conservatives felt while waiting to see if, in Election Day’s second-most important voting, Kentuckians would grant a fifth term to Mitch McConnell, leader of the Senate Republicans. They did, making him Washington’s most important Republican and second-most consequential elected official. This apotheosis has happened even though he is handicapped by, as National Review rather cruelly says, “an owlish, tight-lipped public demeanor reminiscent of George Will.”

Mitch McConnell

That disability is, however, a strength because it precludes an occupational hazard of senators — presidential ambition. Besides, McConnell, 66, is completely a man of the Senate. At 22, he was an intern for Sen. John Sherman Cooper and went from law school to the staff of Sen. Marlow Cook. Because McConnell has been so thoroughly marinated in the institution’s subtle mores and complex rules, he will wring maximum leverage from probably 43 Republican votes.

Which is why Democrats spared no expense in attempting to unhorse him, recruiting a rich opponent and supplementing his spending with $6 million from the national party. McConnell, to his great credit, had made himself vulnerable by opposing the “Millionaires’ Amendment” to the McCain-Feingold law restricting political speech. That amendment punished wealthy, self-financing candidates by allowing their opponents to spend much more than the law otherwise allows. Last summer, the Supreme Court struck down the amendment for the reasons McConnell opposed it, including this one: Government has no business fine-tuning electoral competition by equalizing candidates’ abilities to speak.

Read the rest:


Britain in for long haul in Pakistan: Foreign secretary

April 21, 2008

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) – Visiting Foreign Secretary David Miliband Sunday said Britain wanted a long-term partnership with Pakistan to end militancy in its tribal area bordering Afghanistan.
Miliband was in Peshawar city in northwestern Pakistan, close to the Afghanistan border, for talks with new local government leaders. He is due to meet Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in Islamabad on Monday.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband (seen here earlier this year) ... 
Foreign Secretary David Miliband has visited Peshawar city in northwestern Pakistan, close to the Afghanistan border, for talks with new government leaders.(AFP/Shaun Curry)

“Britain is going to be a partner for a long term. We are not here for a quick fix,” Miliband told a press conference later.

“We are here for a long-term partnership with the country with whom we have very strong cultural, economic and political ties.”

In Peshawar Miliband met provincial governor Owais Ghani and chief minister Amir Haider Hoti to discuss security issues and ongoing cooperation over development in Pakistan’s tribal areas, officials said.

A new government comprising secular parties has replaced the Islamist-led administration of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal which ruled the rugged and lawless North West Frontier Province between 2002-2007.

Britain is providing development aid for Pakistan, especially in its troubled tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, a known hideout for Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

Read the rest:

Vietnam to restore Hanoi ancient citadel ruins

September 9, 2007

by Frank Zeller

HANOI (AFP) – Vietnam plans to restore the ruins of an ancient imperial city in central Hanoi dating back to the seventh century with help from Japan and the UN cultural organisation, heritage officials say.

Work is expected to start next year to preserve the old citadel ahead of the capital’s 1,000th birthday in 2010 and would strengthen Hanoi’s chances of having its historic cultural heart declared a World Heritage site in future.

Read it all at: