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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Romney Tape Reveals Candidate’s Views on Democratic Electorate, Middle East

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has appeared in a secretly-filmed video making disparaging remarks about those who would vote for U.S. President Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate for reelection, at the presidential election in November. “There are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon the government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you-name-it”. Romney went on to say that his role was “not to worry about these people” and that he would never convince this segment of the electorate to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives”. The video was posted at the website of liberal investigative magazine Mother Jones. It was taken at a fundraiser in Florida and leaked by the grandson of former president Jimmy Carter, James Carter IV, according to New York Magazine’s Daily Intel blog. A second clip, released on Tuesday, showed Romney telling his donors that peace between Israel and the Palestinians would “remain an unsolved problem” and that his administration’s strategy would be to “kick the ball down the field”. He added that Palestinians were “committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel” and that they had “no interest whatsoever in establishing peace”. Another segment showed the Republican candidate suggesting that Iran could give some fissile material to Shia Muslim militant group Hezbollah, who would then “carry it to Chicago or some other place” and blackmail the U.S. into submission.

Two Manchester Police Killed After Gun and Grenade Attack

Two female police officers were killed in what has been described as “routine” call-out in Manchester that led to the arrest of one of the U.K.’s most wanted criminals. Police Constables Nicola Hughes, 23 years of age, and Fiona Bone, 32, suffered fatal injuries after they were attacked with a gun and a grenade. Dale Cregan, 29, was arrested shortly after the incident. He handed himself in at a police station in Hyde, in the outskirts of Manchester. He had been wanted in connection with fatal gun and grenade attacks against a father and a son in Manchester in early August and had been subject of a nationwide search with a £50,000 reward offered for any information on his whereabouts. Police officers are rarely killed in the line of duty in the United Kingdom. The last death occurred in July, when a police constable was killed after intervening in a dispute in Clacton-on-Sea.

NATO Curbs Joint Patrols with Afghan Forces, British Opposition Protests Policy Shift

NATO’s decision to restrict patrol operations with Afghan security forces following a string of deadly attacks on its personnel by Afghan soldiers has triggered accusations by the opposition that the British government had changed its strategy on Afghanistan. Joint patrol operations by Afghan soldiers and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) officers would only happen at battalion level or above, while smaller patrols would be signed off on an individual basis. The policy shift had become effective on Friday, according to reports by the BBC, but U.K. Defense Secretary had addressed Parliament on Monday and said that “we cannot and will not allow the strategy to be derailed” by the deadly attacks. Later, during a hearing in the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Labour MP Denis MacShane said that the Defense Secretary had not mentioned the policy shift. “He came to the Commons about these deaths and he didn’t mention this at all. Either he knew about it and was hiding it, which I don’t think is the case, or frankly the Americans aren’t even bothering to tell their biggest ally”.

Egypt Orders Trial of U.S.-Based Copts, Community Fears Renewed Backlash

An Egyptian public prosecutor ordered the trial of seven U.S.-based Egyptian Copts over their role in the production or distribution of the anti-Islam film that sparked a wave of rioting in the Muslim world. Coptic Christians make up approximately 10% of the country’s population and there is fear of renewed repression among the community. At least 24 people were killed and more than 200 injured in Cairo after an attack on a church last October. The public prosecutor accused the seven Copts of “insulting the Islamic religion, insulting the Prophet and inciting sectarian strife”. No trial date has yet been set by the Egyptian authorities.

China Fires Back at U.S. Auto Industry Case, Files Complaint with WTO

China filed a counter-complaint against a lawsuit registered by the U.S. at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The initial complaint made by the U.S. said that China had subsidised its national auto industry, hurting the prospects of American automakers. In its counter-complaint, China listed nearly 30 products that had been targeted by U.S. duties, including steel, tires, magnets, chemicals, kitchen appliances, wood flooring and wind towers. A U.S. government official interviewed by Reuters said the move “was not completely unexpected” and that the U.S. would contest the claims. Although there have been suggestions that the lawsuit was an electoral move by the Obama administration to gather votes from areas hit by Chinese competition, litigation at the WTO can take years and no decisions would be made before the November elections.

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