Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Mr. Kim worked for a trading company that supplied the US army. Despite his pleas, begging for his life that appeared on television and on the internet, Mr. Kim was beheaded by Iraqi militants who demanded Korea to pull its 3000 troops out of Iraq. Is death ever justified? Can one single life ever be eliminated against its will, whether for country, or freedom, or anything? This isn't news, but both sides in this war show just how degerate humanity can be.

Too disgusted for words.
Roh firm on sending more troops to Iraq :

"South Korea president Roh Moo-hyun said on Wednesday in a televised address that his government was determined to send more troops to Iraq despite the beheading of a South Korean hostage by Islamist militants.

In his first public response to the death of 33-year old Kim Sun-il, Mr Roh told a nation deeply divided over the country's involvement in Iraq that his government condemned acts of terrorism and was determined to fight against them in cooperation with the international community.

His comments echoed those of George W. Bush, US president, who said on Tuesday night that the US would not be intimidated by Iraqi militants. "They want us to cower in the face of their brutal killings, and the United States will not be intimidated . . . because we believe strongly in freedom and liberty."

Mr Kim, a fluent Arabic speaker, was seized last week near Falluja while working for a Korean trading company supplying the US military. He was killed on Tuesday night in spite of efforts by Iraqi clerics to secure his release."

And on the other side, US approved use of dogs in interrogations::

"The White House on Tuesday released documents showing the US had for a period approved the use of dogs in the interrogation of prisoners. But it said the practice was later withdrawn and it denied ever sanctioning torture.

"I have never ordered torture. I will never order torture," President George W. Bush said from the Oval Office.

Seeking to contain a growing scandal over prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan, the White House took the unusual step of releasing a trove of documents that it said reflected thorough and agonising policy deliberations over how to treat detainees in the war on terror.

White House lawyers conceded that some legal theories in the documents could be construed as "controversial"."
Monday, June 21, 2004
Pretty strong title for a Financial Times story:

UN slams US over spending Iraq funds:

"United Nations-mandated auditors have sharply criticised the US occupation authority for the way it has spent more than $11bn in Iraqi oil revenues and say they have faced "resistance" from coalition officials.

In an interim report, obtained by the Financial Times, KPMG says the Development Fund for Iraq, which is managed by the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority and channels oil revenue into reconstruction projects, is "open to fraudulent acts".

The auditors criticise the CPA's bookkeeping and warn: "The CPA does not have effective controls over the ministries' spending of their individually allocated budgets, whether the funds are direct from the CPA or via the ministry of finance."

The findings come after US complaints about the UN's administration of the oil-for-food programme under Saddam Hussein."
Saturday, June 12, 2004

Trade conference becomes more pragmatic

Delegates to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) this weekend in São Paulo will be surprised by the shift in focus from the anti-establishment rhetoric of yesteryear to pragmatic, free-market economics.

Representatives, mostly from developing nations, will learn how to combat poverty by slashing capital costs and meeting consumer preferences in wealthy nations. Forty years after its foundation, Unctad is preaching supply-side economics.

"We don't have the least problem with the idea of [a] market economy but for it to work you need to create a supply-side capability," Rubens Ricupero, secretary- general of Unctad, told the FT. "Unctad is still seen as a 1970s organisation but we have changed a lot. Today we are more pragmatic and emphasise export-led devel opment."

This week the Group of Eight summit said it accepted that developing countries should be allowed to liberalise at their own pace.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004
"American interrogators can legally violate a US ban on the use of torture abroad as part of President George W. Bush's fight against terrorism, US government lawyers have said.

The lawyers concluded in a draft report drawn up last year at the request of senior military commanders overseeing prisoners at Guantanamo Bay that legal statutes against torture could not override Mr Bush's inherent powers.

The revelations are bound to increase international concerns about how the US has conducted its interrogation of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq and Afghanistan, and at what level any abuses may have been authorised."

Financial Times
Saturday, June 05, 2004
Bad news outweighs the good for Brazil, FT.com:

Brazil's financial markets lost ground after Opec announced a lower-than-expected output increase, heightening fears that rising oil prices could derail a worldwide economic recovery.

Currently high oil prices took the shine off approval by the lower house of Congress of a conservative rise in Brazil's minimum wage. The vote was seen as a test of the government's legislative clout and ability to keep to a fiscally sound package.

Civil servants' pensions are pegged to the minimum wage and any rise has a direct impact on public coffers. Investors were paying close attention to the vote for assurance that IMF-agreed budget goals would not be put at risk.