Archive | May 22nd, 2011



Subject: Parking problems

Hello Alex – you will recall I emailed you sometime ago regarding the possibility of your police officers having a stronger presence around the school at peak times like 8.45am and 3.30pm.

Like me, a few parents are really worried about the safety of our pupils. They are talking about putting a petition together to take to the Police Head office and to present to the local politicians. I don’t want them to do that. Hence I am asking you if you can please do your absolute best to send officers round Heath Mount School – to Wenman Road entrance as well as the Mary Street entrance on a regular basis.

I appreciate that you have so many bigger and worse issue to deal with but we are looking at prevention rather than wating for an accident to happen before we deal with it.

Many thanks

Fwd: RE: Parking problems

—– Forwarded Message —–

From: Alex Gibson <>

Sent: Fri, 20 May 2011 

Subject: RE: Parking problems


Thank you for you e-mail. Unfortunately West Midlands Police has had another restructure, which has affected us locally. We now have an even smaller neighbourhood team, which is stretched across Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook up towards the Stratford Road. On most shifts there are at most 4 Police officers, and 4 PCSO’s on duty, so we have to prioritise our patrols. I will try my best to get down to the school on earlies, however this will not always be possible.

I will make officers on my team aware, and hopefully we will be able to cover the school on earlies.

Kind Regards

PC Alex Gibson

Please let me have your response.


The Rich, The Powerful And Diplomatic Immunity.


The Guardian has a good piece on the misuse of diplomatic immunity and the terrible treatment of domestic workers by diplomats and those in positions of power:

“Still, a recent case of domestic abuse in a diplomatic household set an encouraging precedent. Vishranthamma Swarna, a maid to former Kuwaiti UN diplomat Badar Al-Awadi, claimed to have suffered sustained mistreatment, including rape, when she was not cooking, cleaning and caring for the diplomat’s children in New York. Swarna was isolated: she spoke no English and was banned by her employer from leaving the house. She also inhabited a legal black hole: since her employer, who brought her in on a special visa, had diplomatic immunity, he could not be prosecuted in the United States for his actions.

With help from the ACLU, Swarna was able to take her case to the federal district court of New York, where the judge ruled that her work did not have a “direct … benefit to diplomatic functions” and that Al-Awadi could subsequently not be protected from prosecution under the Vienna conventions (pdf). The decision means that a diplomat can now be held liable for mistreating a domestic worker, but not for sexually abusing a secretary or intern, whose work is arguably vital to the embassy or consulate’s work. It remains to be seen whether victims like Swarna will begin speak up. But even then, their alleged abusers can conveniently relocate. Al-Awadi has since moved to Paris.

Women who work at international organisations also face sex discrimination and harassment, and the more highly ranked their harassers, the less likely they are to get justice.

In 2004, Ruud Lubbers, the high commissioner for human rights, reportedly grabbed Cynthia Brzak, an American employee, and pressed his groin against her buttocks in full view of other UNHCR staff. Brzak and many other female employees report that it is normal to be treated in such a way at the UN and other international organisations. But since filing a complaint is seen as a career-killer, most sexual harassment incidents go unreported. Victims have very little legal recourse, and must go through the UN’s complex internal justice system. Brzak pressed charges because she was tired of the permissive culture. “I just wanted a message sent that you cannot keep jumping on women at three in the afternoon,” she says today.” “

Posted in WorldComments Off on The Rich, The Powerful And Diplomatic Immunity.

A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter


Obama given Zionist history lesson at White House

Posted: 21 May 2011


Aluf Benn in Haaretz argues that the Israeli Prime Minister wants to frame himself as a saviour of the Jewish people but in fact he only wants to defend occupying the Palestinians forever:

Benjamin Netanyahu’s whole career as a diplomat and politician prepared him for that moment: the moment he, as the Jewish people’s senior lobbyist, stands before the leader of the world and demands him to stop the approaching holocaust.

This is what happened at the meeting with Barack Obama on Friday. The prime minister came to the White House to lecture the U.S. president on 4,000 years of Jewish history, on persecution, expulsions, pogroms and the murder of millions, and to warn him against a peace based on illusions that could lead to another catastrophe. “History will not give the Jewish people another chance,” said Netanyahu, probably imagining himself as a modern-day Moses or Herzl.

Obama wants to establish an independent Palestine, in recognized borders and with territorial contiguity. He doesn’t strive to resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict or achieve an overall Middle East peace. He buried the Arab peace initiative, which he mentioned in his Cairo speech two years ago but ignored completely on Thursday. By doing so, he took away one of the Israeli left’s most important banners.

The disagreement between Obama and Netanyahu isn’t a personal quarrel. They clearly can’t stand each other, but this is the smaller problem. What matters isn’t the body language, but the values. Obama is a revolutionary who wants to give power to the masses. Netanyahu is a conservative, sticking to the status quo and fearing change.

To Netanyahu, Israel has a right to rule the territories and settle there as much as it likes, and at most it could throw some bones to the Palestinians to satisfy their supporters in the West, who, like Obama, simply don’t understand what it’s all about and blindly support a bunch of inciters and murderers.

To Obama, the Israeli occupation is an ongoing wrong that should be stopped. He’s not ready for a situation in which the settlers in Psagot enjoy every right possible, while their Palestinian neighbors in Ramallah wait at a checkpoint, lacking self-determination. This is what he is fighting for.

John Mearsheimer on why Obama failed to address Palestinian rights

Posted: 21 May 2011

He’s right:


Barack Obama gave a major speech on the Middle East on Thursday, May 19, and it is clear from the subsequent commentary that he impressed few people. The main reason for this is that he did not say much new or indicate that there would be any serious changes in US policy in the region. It was essentially more of the same with some tweaking here and there. Nevertheless, he did manage to anger some people. For example, Israel’s hard-line supporters were outraged that he said: “Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.” For them, the 1967 borders are “Auschwitz borders” and thus can never serve as a basis for negotiations.

Many Palestinians, on the other hand, did not like Obama’s assertion that it made little sense for them to go to the UN General Assembly this September and win recognition for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. Surely they also noticed that shortly after saying “every state has the right to self-defence, and Israel must be able to defend itself,” the president said that the Palestinians would have to be content with “a sovereign non-militarised state,” which means that they would not be able to defend themselves against Israel – or any other state for that matter. Hypocrisy appears to be wired into the DNA of US foreign policy makers.

Obama’s failure to impress and move US Middle East policy in new directions raises the intriguing question: Did he blow an opportunity to give a truly important speech at what appears to be a plastic moment in history? I think not. The sad fact is that Obama has remarkably little manoeuvre room on the foreign policy front. The most important item on his agenda is settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and there he knows what has to be done: Push both sides toward a two-state solution, which is the best outcome for all the parties, including the United States. Indeed, he has been trying to do just that since he took office in January 2009. But the remarkably powerful Israel lobby makes it virtually impossible for him to put meaningful pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is committed to creating a Greater Israel in which the Palestinians are restricted to a handful of disconnected and impoverished enclaves. And Obama is certainly not going to buck the lobby – with the 2012 presidential election looming larger every day.

Netanyahu in denial about his country’s occupying future

Posted: 21 May 2011


But what kind of pressure will the US really impose on Israel apart from a few stern words? The Arab world is moving, evolving into something far more inclusive and democratic and yet Israel is going in the opposite direction. The Daily Beast:

Something tells me that this time, the pressure will mount more on Bibi than Barack. His behavior these last 48 hours has verged on, if not been, petulant. A foreign leader (no less one of a state whose existence depends on the United States) isn’t supposed to talk like that to a president. Add to the bargain: Obama’s a stronger president now on foreign affairs than he was in 2009, partly because of the bin Laden coup and partly because the speech was generally well received across the American political spectrum. The criticisms of Obama on the borders statement have been entirely partisan, led byRepublican presidential candidates. That has had the effect of cheapening the criticism of Obama and making it more dismissible: Do Americans, and Israelis and Palestinians, really care what Tim Pawlenty thinks about the situation? The Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman, never shy about criticizing the administration on these matters, came out Friday toThe Washington Post’s Greg Sargent and judged the speech a defense of Israel: “The speech indicated to me that this administration has come a long way in better understanding and appreciating the difficulties facing both parties, but especially Israel in trying to make peace with the Palestinians.” This may be a sign that the usual cordon won’t hold around Bibi this time. Oh, he’ll receive a thunderous welcome from Congress Tuesday, mostly from Republicans who want to embarrass Obama by backing the prime minister. But the applause will only mask temporarily what everyone knows—that he is in total denial about the future.

Israel, of course, has legitimate security concerns, especially in light of the recent Fatah-Hamas entente. And there’s nothing, really, to prevent Netanyahu from running out the clock if that’s what he wants to do. But things have changed. Two years ago, politically speaking, time was on his side. Now it’s against him. Having thrown this tantrum, it seems unlikely that he can come back in two weeks, or two months, or a year, and say gee, the ’67 borders with swaps is actually a good idea after all. It seems like the peace process will have to wait for a new prime minister. And he may have hastened that day, too.

America and Israel on real collision course? Hardly

Posted: 21 May 2011

As if:


President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent most of the afternoon in discussions on Friday, after which Netanyahu told his staff that he felt better about the U.S.-Israeli relationship than when he went in.

“Look, I went into the meeting with concerns and I came out of the meeting encouraged,” Netanyahu said after emerging from the marathon session at the White House, according to one Israeli official who was part of Netanyahu’s briefing.

The meeting went on so long that the working lunch that Obama and Netanyahu had scheduled with their respective staffs was cancelled; the two leaders had food brought in, and the other officials and staffers went to eat on their own. The U.S. officials present included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, NSC Senior Director Dennis Ross, incoming Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, and the State Department’s Acting Middle East Envoy David Hale.

But there was some disagreement between the two leaders. In Obama and Netanyahu’s public remarks following the meeting, the Israeli prime minister declared that Israel “cannot go back to the 1967 lines — because these lines are indefensible.” The Israeli official insisted that Netanyahu was not lecturing Obama in his statement, but simply felt it necessary to publicly state clear Israeli positions on major issues.

“This is not a personal issue,” the Israeli official said. “[H]e wanted to go on record in public and state what Israel’s red lines are, what is imperative for Israel’s security needs.”

Those red lines include that Israel cannot accept a return to negotiations based on the 1967 lines, as Obama said was U.S. policy on Thursday; Israel cannot accept the return of Palestinian refugees; and Israel cannot negotiate with any government that includes the participation of Hamas.

Netanyahu called Clinton on Thursday morning, prior to Obama’s address on U.S. policy toward the Middle East, to try to convince her to take the contentious lines out of his speech. The official described it as a “tough conversation.”

But there was also a lot of agreement inside the Obama-Netanyahu meeting. The two leaders talked about Syria, Iran, and Israel’s defense needs. Obama tried to explain to why he decided to make his policy announcement about the 1967 borders on Thursday, and he clarified the U.S. position on Hamas and the Palestinian right of return, where there is largely bilateral agreement.

On a conference call with Jewish leaders on Thursday, a recording of which was provided to The Cable, National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes also tried to clarify Obama’s remarks.

“The president reiterated our support for core principles and he also stated the U.S. position on issues of territory and security that can be the foundation for future negotiations, specifically a Palestinian state based on 1967 lines with swaps,” he said. “It can provide a basis for negotiations as the parties address security and territory as well as the very emotional issues of Jerusalem and refugees.”

Of course Arabs see that Obama shows too much love for Israel

Posted: 21 May 2011


Posted in Middle EastComments Off on A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter

NHS “listening exercise”


“When we tell him his plans aren’t working, he doesn’t seem to want to hear what

we’re saying.”

Dr Hamish Meldrum, Chair of the British Medical Association, May 2011

Will Lansley listen?

Dear All, 

There are just ten days of health minister Andrew Lansley’s NHS “listening exercise” left. It’s pretty clear what he’d like to happen next. He wants to use his stage-managed exercise as an excuse to claim he’s listened – before ploughing ahead with his reckless NHS changes.

YouGov research paid for by 38 Degrees members has found that 95% of the public have no idea how to get involved with the “listening exercise”. [1] That suits Lansley down to the ground!

By working together we can expose this sham and stop the listening exercise being used as cover to push through Lansley’s plans. If we club together, we can buy full-page adverts in national newspapers to sound the alarm about Lansley’s phoney listening exercise. We can tell the millions of people Lansley wants to ignore how to join the Save Our NHS campaign.

38 Degrees members have already donated £30,000 for ads in The Times, The Mail and The Guardian next week. If we reach £50,000 we can get into other papers like the Daily Mirror as well, and reach millions more people. Please help sound the alarm by making a secure donation now:

Andrew Lansley’s “listening exercise” has been carefully stage-managed. Most events have been closed to the public. In Sheffield last Friday, 38 Degrees members handing in our massive petition discovered that a “listening exercise” event had been held nearby hours earlier – but was kept secret until it was over. That’s not the only reason it’s a sham. Behind the scenes, health officials have been told to carry on with Lansley’s original plans [2].

The next ten days are critical. These adverts will help sound the alarm and stop Andrew Lansley using this listening exercise as cover for pushing through his plan. But we can only run them if enough of us chip in.

Please donate now to help sound the alarm and get our adverts in newspapers next week:

Doctors, nurses, and patients’ groups have been queueing up to say how dangerous Lansley’s NHS plans are. [3] Last week, the Royal College of GPs said they could “unravel” the NHS. And last Sunday, The Observer revealed that one of Lansley’s top advisers told private health companies to expect big profits when the NHS moves to a US-style “insurance system”.

We can’t let that happen. We all rely on the NHS sooner or later, to take care of us and our loved ones. It’s not perfect, but that’s no excuse for ignoring the advice of the real experts and pushing through these huge, untested changes. To stop these plans, 38 Degrees members are contacting and meeting MPs up and down the country. We’re building a huge petition showing the extent of public concern.

So now let’s put these adverts all over the papers – and make sure everyone knows they can get involved with our growing campaign to stop these dangerous NHS changes.

Please make a secure donation and help get the ads in the papers now:

Thanks for getting involved, 

Johnny, Marie, Cian, Hannah, David, Becky and the 38 Degrees team

Quote from Dr Hamish Meldrum:$21388805.htm
[2] Letter ‘shows pause on NHS reform is stunt’

Posted in Health2 Comments

Nazi Settlers Attacks Palestinian’s


Video: Palestinian testimonies about settler attack in Tuba


Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has released a video of Palestinian testimonies about the recent settler invasion in the village of Tuba. On 16 May, shortly before midnight, Israeli settlers invaded Tuba, damaged property, and stole and injured several sheep belonging to the Ali Awwad family.

Members of the Ali Awwad family reported that they counted seven masked settlers, who entered the village throwing rocks with slingshots. Besides stealing seven sheep, the settlers beat the sheep and injured several, including one which lost an eye. Two of the sheep were so badly injured that the family had to slaughter them the next morning. In addition, the settlers overturned three large water tanks, damaged fences and a goat pen, punctured a storage tent and three sacks of yogurt, and destroyed the ventilation pipe of an outhouse.

Although the family called the Israeli police the night of the attack, the police did not come to Tuba until two days later. Tuba residents saw Israeli soldiers near the village immediately following the settler invasion. But when the Palestinians tried to speak with the soldiers, the soldiers were not able to communicate in Arabic and left the village.

Christian Peacemaker Teams and Operation Dove have maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and the South Hebron Hills since 2004.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Nazi Settlers Attacks Palestinian’s

‘Obama knows Zio-Nazi’s won’t retreat to ’67 lines’


American officials tell Washington Post US president opted to shift negotiations’ starting point, but is fully aware that end point might remain unchanged

Sources in the American administration said that despite the comments made during his speech, US President Barack Obama – just like his predecessor George W. Bush – knows that Israel will not withdraw to 1967 lines as part of any peace agreement signed between the Jewish State and the Palestinians.

Quoted by the Washington Post, the officials noted that Obama opted to apply pressure and shift the starting point of the negotiations in order to pull them out of a standstill – even though he fully realizes that the final result, if and when an agreement is signed, will probably remain the same.

Obama’s statement, saying that the 1967 lines must be the basis for negotiations between the sides, became the main bone of contention during the Friday meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the American president.

Netanyahu bluntly told Obama that Israel will not retreat to pre-Six-Day War lines because they are ‘indefensible,’ adding that demographic changes along the border will not allow full withdrawal.

Following their White House meeting, which lasted much longer than scheduled, Obama made no further comment on his previous statement, only saying that the main disagreements with Israel remain over how to achieve peace in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Shaath said the Palestinians will move ahead with seeking UN recognition of a state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, despite Obama’s warning that it would be pointless.

Shaath said late Friday that Netanyahu’s statements make it clear the Israeli leader is not a partner for peace. Shaath says that “we will escalate our diplomatic effort to get recognition” of a state.

Posted in USAComments Off on ‘Obama knows Zio-Nazi’s won’t retreat to ’67 lines’

Netanyahu, Obama share little chemistry’




Tense White House meeting between US president, Israeli PM makes headlines in British, American newspapers. Wall Street Journal calls leaders’ photo-op ‘most undiplomatic moments of international diplomacy ever offered for cameras’

The tension during US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s White House meeting on Friday was the focus of American and British media reports, after Netanyahu slammed Obama’s speech, saying Israel will not retreat to the 1967 lines because they are “indefensible.”

Under the title “Netanyahu’s outrage at Obama’s Middle East speech is synthetic,” British newspaper the Guardian’s Middle East Editor Ian Black claimed that Obama’s statement about Israel’s need to return to 1967 lines “is more about Israeli anxieties and spin than a substantive US policy shift.

Sources privy to political atmosphere prior to US president’s Mideast policy speech say tension between White House, Jerusalem hit new high

“American presidents from Bill Clinton onwards have used identical language. It was the basis for talks between Clinton, Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat at Camp David in 2000. It also formed the basis for George W. Bush’s talks with Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert,” he wrote.

Black noted that “Netanyahu’s outraged rejection of Obama’s words thus appeared both tactical and synthetic.

“The accompanying notion of ‘mutually agreed swaps’ allows in principle for Israel to retain settlement blocs it has built illegally in the West Bank and around east Jerusalem,” he wrote, adding that “the row reflects Netanyahu’s dislike of Obama as well as mounting alarm that Israel’s diplomatic position is being eroded by a combination of international impatience and the changes of the ‘Arab spring’ – especially in an Egypt now pursuing a less pro-American foreign policy.”

Awkward moments. Netanyahu, Obama at White House (Photo: Reuters)

Black concluded that “Netanyahu’s anger would have been genuine had Obama insisted simply on a return to the 1967 borders. That would have been a major shift in US policy.”

British newspaper the Independent took a harsher stance against Israel, writing that the disagreements between the US president and the Israeli prime minister were too visible to conceal.

Under the title “Netanyahu shoots down Obama’s peace plan at the White House,” the paper’s US Editor David Usborne wrote, “Any artifice of unity between the leaders evaporated when they came before the television cameras at the White House to report on their talks.

“It has become clear that the men share little personal chemistry, the right-wing Israeli premier more at home with the Republican Party, which is generally more supportive of Israel’s demands vis-à-vis the Palestinians.”

The American press also commented on the strained atmosphere during the leaders’ on-camera talk. The Wall Street Journal stated that “Netanyahu delivered a rare public rebuke of President Barack Obama at the White House, declaring that Israel would never accept the terms of his proposal to resume peace talks with the Palestinians.

“Friday’s 15-minute Oval Office photo-op with President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might go down as one of the most undiplomatic moments of international diplomacy ever offered for the cameras,” the newspaper added.

Posted in USAComments Off on Netanyahu, Obama share little chemistry’

U.S. official to Haaretz: Netanyahu focus on 1967 borders missing the point



Senior U.S. official says Netanyahu’s reaction to Obama’s Mideast speech may lead to a situation in which 187 countries vote for the recognition of a Palestinian state at the General Assembly and two oppose.


A senior U.S. State Department official told Haaretz Friday that U.S. President Barack Obama is disappointed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaction to his Middle East policy, faulting Netanyahu for focusing on the issue of 1967 borders instead of looking at his policy as a whole and especially the alternative he proposed to the unilateral declaration of the Palestinian state at the United Nations.

“There were plenty of things in support of Israel,” the official told Haaretz, citing Obama’s wariness of the recent reconciliation of Hamas and Fatah, his condemnation of terror perpetrated by Hamas and his call for Palestinians to halt unilateral steps toward recognition. The official added that Obama recognized Israel as a Jewish state, saying that focusing on issue of 1967 borders was missing the point.

Netanyahu firmly rejected Obama’s call for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians based on 1967 borders in statements on Thursday and Friday, saying such territorial lines are “indefensible” in light of the current demographic and security reality.

The official acknowledged that the U.S. president expressed frustration over the way the peace process developed, saying Obama has presented his vision as a way of getting started, and a way to avoid in September a repeat of the situation that happened in February, in which the UN Security Council voted on the condemnation of settlements and the U.S. vetoed the resolution.

“This time we might end up at the General Assembly with 187 countries voting for the recognition of the Palestinian state and two against it,” he said, adding “it’s bad for Israel and its bad for the United States. Netanyahu’s reaction has aggravated the situation and frankly I don’t know how he will get down from this tree.”

The official clarified that Obama mentioned 1967 borders with territory swaps as a basis for negotiations – not as a final point.

“We don’t see Hamas any differently than Israel does,” the official said, adding that the U.S. recognizes that it is a terror organization and is wary of the recent Hamas-Fatah reconciliation.

He added, “we cannot exclude an option of negotiation with the Palestinian Authority,” pending they accept the Quartet conditions.

When asked about whether the United States feels they still have leverage over Palestinians who have chosen to circumvent negotiations with Israel and turn to the international community, the official responded that the “Palestinians are clearly disappointed, but they should realize that the UN resolution doesn’t produce a state,” adding “they realize they cannot achieve it on their own, without using the United States’ connection with Israel.”

The official said that Obama is clear about both the Palestinian and the Israeli responsibility to bring about peace, adding that while Netanyahu’s and the Palestinians’ reactions to Obama’s speech were not surprising, the United States is disappointed.

The official added that it was paramount that the United States expresses where it stands together with its disappointment. The objective, he said, is to present an alternative to unilaterally declaring a Palestinian state, for this will not resolve the conflict.

“President Obama’s speech should be seen in its entirety, with 1967 borders and the swap of territories as the starting point for negotiations, not the final outcome,” said the official.

Posted in USAComments Off on U.S. official to Haaretz: Netanyahu focus on 1967 borders missing the point

Strauss-Kahn released from jail on $1 million bail



Fallen IMF chief to stay at ‘temporary location’ in New York leading up to trial; France’s Lagarde leads race for new IMF chief while emerging nations want end to Europe’s grip on top job.


Fallen IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn left jail on Friday and was expected to be whisked to a safe house in lower Manhattan where he will be kept under armed guard and electronic monitoring.

The race to succeed him in the top job in global finance was being led by French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. Developing countries kept up pressure on Europe and the United States not to cut a backroom deal.

Strauss-Kahn, indicted for allegedly trying to rape a New York hotel maid last Saturday, was originally expected to be taken to an apartment on New York’s wealthy Upper East Side.

The plan was changed when news of the location leaked.

“The reason that we had to move is because members of the press attempted to invade his private residence,” defense lawyer William Taylor said.

The New York District Attorney’s office said the French politician and economist would be “going to a temporary location upon his release.”

Efforts to find a location where he could stay under strict surveillance during the months of legal process leading up to his trial hit a bump on Friday.

Residents of a tony Upper East Side apartment building objected to the rental by his wife, Anne Sinclair, of two apartments for the duration out of concern about the media onslaught that has followed his case, a court official told The New York Times.

Strauss-Kahn, once seen as a possible next president of France and who played a central role in tackling the global financial crisis of 2007-09, denies the charges and has vowed to prove his innocence.

Lawyers representing him posted $1 million in bail and a $5 million insurance bond.

His resignation has triggered a contest among the world’s leading economies to come up with a replacement.

France’s Lagarde was in pole position to take over his job as many of Europe’s capitals rallied behind her.

She has been praised for her role in tackling the European debt crisis and her experience, with France this year chairing the Group of 20, in handing the often conflicting economic demands of advanced and developing economies.

The International Monetary Fund has always been run by a European.

The challenge for emerging economies to break Europe’s grip on the job got tougher when the most widely tipped potential candidate from among their ranks ruled himself out.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel all but endorsed Lagarde, telling a Berlin news conference: “Among the names mentioned for the IMF succession is French Minister Christine Lagarde, whom I rate highly.”

But diplomats said some European Union countries questioned whether the well-regarded corporate lawyer, who would be the first woman to head the IMF, could be anointed before a special court decides next month if she should be investigated in a French legal case.

Since Strauss-Kahn resigned on Wednesday, EU governments have rushed to find a European replacement before emerging nations, which have long demanded a bigger say in running the Washington-based global lender, can mount a bid for the job.

Emerging nations seek candidate

Asian, Middle Eastern and African diplomats at the IMF headquarters in Washington said emerging nations were seeking a consensus candidate.

That task was made harder when former Turkish economy minister Kemal Dervis, seen as the front-runner among potential non-European contenders, ruled himself out.

“Speculation about succession at the IMF has included me in the group of persons with relevant experience. But I have not been, and will not be, a candidate,” he said in a statement.

The New York Times reported that Dervis had an affair with a subordinate when he was a senior World Bank executive. Asked to comment, his office at the Brookings Institution in Washington said he would have no further statement.

European and U.S. officials want to move quickly to replace Strauss-Kahn but they also risk angering developing economies if they are seen to do a deal for Europe again.

Mexico sent a letter to the Group of 20 rich and emerging nations urging that the next IMF head be selected on merit, echoing calls from other emerging economies such as China whose clout in the world economy has grown in recent years.

“We are consulting broadly with the fund’s shareholders from emerging markets, as well as advanced economies,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, stressing that the process should be open and move quickly.

“We are prepared to support a candidate with the requisite, deep experience and leadership qualities, and who can command broad support among the fund’s membership.”

The United States and European nations jointly hold more than half of the IMF’s votes, giving them enough power to decide who leads it.

Diplomats said European Council President Herman van Rompuy, who chairs summits of the 27-nation EU, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso were trying to secure a deal on Lagarde after the three biggest European powers – Germany, France and Britain – threw their weight behind her.

Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs euro zone finance ministers, and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi endorsed her on Thursday.

“It has to be a quick decision. It would be best to have consensus before going to the G8,” one diplomat said.

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Iran arrests 30 people suspected of spying for the U.S.




Washington has had no diplomatic presence in Iran since the 1979 revolution; arrests come two days after Obama made a speech reiterating that the U.S. views Tehran as a sponsor of terrorism.


Iran has arrested 30 people it said were spying for the United States, official media reported on Saturday.

“The Intelligence Ministry’s active and pious forces, in their ardent confrontations with the agents of the CIA … arrested 30 people who were spies for America,” state television’s lunchtime news announced.

According to the semi-official Fars news agency, the suspects had passed information to U.S. officials at embassies and consulates in third countries, including Malaysia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

It said Iran had identified 42 U.S. intelligence officers in such countries, saying: “they engage in collection of information regarding Iran’s nuclear, aerospace defense and bio-technology fields,” among other areas of interest.

Spying in Iran can carry the death penalty.

Washington has had no diplomatic presence in Iran since the 1979 revolution which deposed the U.S.-backed shah and was followed by the lengthy occupation of the U.S. embassy.

Diplomatic cables published by the WikiLeaks website showed the United States operated information-gathering desks on Iran in neighboring countries where diplomats would seek to glean intelligence from travelling Iranians.

The announcement of the arrests comes two days after U.S. President Barack Obama made a speech on the Middle East, reiterating Washington’s view that Tehran sponsors terrorism and is seeking nuclear weapons, charges Iran denies.


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