Sold for £20: just two of India’s million stolen children

In a country with 11 million abandoned children, the fate of those from loving homes who are kidnapped to order goes unnoticed. Many are sold for adoption, often to Westerners; others are trafficked into slavery or the sex trade – yet the police rarely care. Gethin Chamberlain in Delhi reports


Sunita holds up a picture of her son, Rajesh, who was 14 when he disappeared from near their home in Nebsarai Village, south Delhi, last year. Photograph: Gethin Chamberlain

Rajesh was 14 when he disappeared. Beneath a mop of jet black hair, his clear brown eyes glance sideways out of the picture that is all his family have left of him.

Read moreSold for £20: just two of India’s million stolen children

Vladimir Putin set to bait US with nuclear aid for Tehran

Russia is considering increasing its assistance to Iran’s nuclear programme in response to America’s calls for Nato expansion eastwards and the presence of US Navy vessels in the Black Sea delivering aid to Georgia.

The Kremlin is discussing sending teams of Russian nuclear experts to Tehran and inviting Iranian nuclear scientists to Moscow for training, according to sources close to the Russian military.

Moscow has been angered by Washington’s promise to give Georgia £564m in aid following the Russian invasion of parts of the country last month after Tbilisi’s military offensive. Kremlin officials suspect the US is planning to rearm the former Soviet republic and is furious at renewed support for attempts by Georgia and Ukraine to join Nato.

Read moreVladimir Putin set to bait US with nuclear aid for Tehran

Qatar warns against attacking Iran


Qatari emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani

The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, has warned that Doha will not allow any country to turn the Persian Gulf into a war zone.

His remarks on the subject come in an environment of long-standing US and Israel threats to launch an attack against Iranian nuclear installations under the pretext that Tehran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is planning to secretly weaponize its civilian use nuclear program.

The international nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has strongly denied the charge with. IAEA chief Mohammad elBaradei stating he would resign if Iran is attacked on this pretext.

Tehran insists that its program is purely for electricity generation.

Read moreQatar warns against attacking Iran

Record bail-out in US of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

THE US TREASURY will today announce a rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two giant American mortgage banks, in what is likely to be the biggest financial bail-out of recent history.

The move may trigger a bounce in global stock markets tomorrow. However, analysts warn that some of the uncertainties that plagued the markets last week, including worries over the duration of the credit crunch, will persist.

Read moreRecord bail-out in US of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Russia accuses West of provocation in Georgia

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accused the United States on Saturday of provoking Moscow by using warships to deliver relief aid to its ally Georgia, with which Russia fought a brief war last month.

“I wonder how they would feel if we now dispatched humanitarian assistance to the Caribbean, suffering from a hurricane, using our navy,” Medvedev said, adding that a whole U.S. fleet had been dispatched to deliver the aid.

Russia has also accused U.S. warships of rearming Tbilisi’s defeated army, a charge dismissed as “ridiculous” by Washington.

NATO in turn has rejected talk of a buildup of its warships in the Black Sea, saying their recent presence in the region was part of routine exercises.

Read moreRussia accuses West of provocation in Georgia

200,000 civilians flee fighting in north Pakistan

Intense fighting in the Bajaur tribal district in north Pakistan has forced more than 200,000 people to flee their villages, an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) official has said.

“There is a real war shaking the Bajaur region at the moment,” said Pascal Cuttat, the head of the ICRC Pakistan delegation, with government forces “facing heavy opposition.”

Pakistan’s forces have launched a number of major military offensives in recent weeks against militants in the Bajaur district, which is thought to be an Al-Qaeda stronghold.

Read more200,000 civilians flee fighting in north Pakistan

Asif Ali Zardari, widower of Benazir Bhutto, elected president in Pakistan

Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of the assassinated former prime minister, Benazir Bhuttto, has been elected president by the country’s parliament and regional assemblies.


Mr Zardari is a shrewd politician. He has taken firm control of Bhutto’s ruling Pakistan People Party Photo: EPA

According to an unofficial tally, Mr Zardari secured at least 458 out of 702 electoral college votes, including over 280 votes in the parliament.

“It’s not only a victory for Mr Zardari and the Pakistan People’s Party but it’s a victory for … Benazir Bhutto’s dream of a democratic political system,” said Farzana Raja, the party’s spokeswoman as Mr Zardari’s supporters chanted “long live Bhutto”.

Members of Pakistan’s national assembly, senate and four provincial assemblies were seeking to replace Pervez Musharraf, who resigned as president last month.

Read moreAsif Ali Zardari, widower of Benazir Bhutto, elected president in Pakistan

Pakistan cuts supply lines to NATO troops in Afghanistan

In a move seen as the latest fallout from Wednesday morning’s US attack on South Waziristan, the Pakistani government has ordered that supply lines to NATO troops in Afghanistan be immediately severed for an indefinite period of time.

The move comes as thousands of protesters marched through South Waziristan’s capital of Wana chanting “death to America”. Officials cited repeated attacks which had made it difficult to provide security for transportation across the only border crossing, but Pakistani media cited other sources who said the move came as the government feared retaliation from South Waziristan tribesmen if they didn’t respond to the US attack.

Read morePakistan cuts supply lines to NATO troops in Afghanistan

People should work until they are incapacitated

Britain’s workforce should keep working until they are no longer physically able to do so, according to former cabinet minister David Blunkett.


In a speech to the Counsel and Care charity in London, he said people should stop assuming that the Government had “prime responsibility” for supporting them through “the ever increasing years of retirement”.

The former Work and Pensions Secretary said people should be prepared to use equity release schemes to pay for their care in retirement, rather than protecting the value of their inheritances to their families.

Read morePeople should work until they are incapacitated

Bush Extends 9/11 National Emergency Yet Again

Though few Americans realize it, Cheney and Rumsfeld worked through the 1980s and 1990s on emergency nuclear-response plans which allegedly suspended the American constitution and also Congress.[1] (Through these decades Rumsfeld was CEO of a major pharmaceutical firm, and in the later 1990s Cheney was CEO of Halliburton; but their private status did not deter them from continuing to exercise a supra-constitutional planning power conferred on them by Ronald Reagan.)

Even fewer Americans know that these rules, originally dealing with a nuclear attack on America, were extended by Reagan Executive Order 12656 to cover “any occurrence, including natural disaster, military attack, technological emergency, or other emergency, that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States.”[2] And few Americans realize that at least some of these rules, known technically as Continuity of Government or COG rules, were invoked before 10:00 AM on September 11, 2001.[3]

As he did in 2007, President Bush has again, on August 28, 2008, continued for another year the national emergency first officially proclaimed on September 14, 2001, along with “the powers and authorities adopted to deal with that emergency:”

Notice: Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Certain Terrorist Attacks

Consistent with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency I declared on September 14, 2001, in Proclamation 7463, with respect to the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, New York, New York, the Pentagon, and aboard United Airlines flight 93, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States.

Because the terrorist threat continues, the national emergency declared on September 14, 2001, and the powers and authorities adopted to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond September 14, 2008. Therefore, I am continuing in effect for an additional year the national emergency I declared on September 14, 2001, with respect to the terrorist threat.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.

GEORGE W. BUSH

THE WHITE HOUSE,

August 28, 2008.[4]

Read moreBush Extends 9/11 National Emergency Yet Again