09 Mar

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective



Oklahoma fraternity’s ‘racists and bigots’ condemned as campus protests grow

David Boren says Sigma Alpha Epsilon would not be welcome on campus after video emerged of fraternity members chanting racial slurs against black people

Members of one of the largest fraternity groups in the US were condemned on Monday by the the University of Oklahoma president, David Boren, after students were caught hurling racist epithets towards black Americans in a video published online.

Boren, a former US senator who also served as the state’s governor, called the students’ behaviour sickening, and said Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) would not be welcome on the University of Oklahoma campus again.

“This is not who we are,” said Boren in a Monday press conference. “Those students will be out of that house by midnight tomorrow night, the house will be closed, and as far as I’m concerned it won’t be back – at least not as long as I’m president of the university.”

The university is conducting an investigation into the incident and could expel students involved. It has revoked the chapter’s permission to operate on campus.

“Would I be happy if they left the university, and were no longer our students? Yes, I’d be happy,” said Boren. “We don’t have room for racism and bigots at this university.”

SAE representatives said the footage, apparently featuring Oklahoma students chanting about lynching and using racist epithets against black people, left it embarrassed and disgusted…………………


Hamid Karzai, centre, arrives at parliament in Kabul on Saturday.

Hamid Karzai, centre, arrives at parliament in Kabul on Saturday. Photograph: Pool/Reuters

Hamid Karzai: Afghanistan in danger of sliding ‘under thumb’ of Pakistan

Former president tells the Guardian of his concern over Afghanistan’s tilt towards Pakistan and Ashraf Ghani’s gamble on brokering a peace deal with the Taliban

Afghanistan’s historic struggles against British imperialism and Soviet invasion will have been in vain if the country succumbs to pressure from neighbouring Pakistan, Hamid Karzai has warned in an interview with the Guardian.

The former president of Afghanistan made his remarks at a time when his successor, Ashraf Ghani, has overturned the country’s traditionally hostile relationship with Pakistan in the hope of enlisting its help in brokering a peace deal with the Taliban.

Several once-unthinkable concessions made to Pakistan in recent months have horrified Karzai and many of the men who helped him rule for more than a decade.

“We want a friendly relationship but not to be under Pakistan’s thumb,” he said.

It is a view many think Ghani cannot afford to ignore, given how many people agree with Karzai, a familiar and charismatic figure who remains in the thick of Afghan politics……………….


senator tom cotton arkansas

Senator Tom Cotton and 46 others have written an open letter to Iran which the White House calls part of ‘a partisan strategy to undermine the president’s ability to conduct foreign policy’. Photograph: Danny Johnston/AP

Republicans threaten Iran nuclear deal may not survive Obama tenure

  • Letter from 47 senators says nuclear accord needs congressional backing to last

  • White House accuses Republicans of ‘rush to war’ with Iran

Forty-seven Republican senators warned on Monday that any agreement the Obama administration strikes with Iran to limit Tehran’s nuclear programme may be short-lived unless Congress approves the deal. The White House accused the Republicans of advocating a “rush to war”.

In an open letter to Iranian leaders, freshman Senator Tom Cotton and 46 other Republicans said that without congressional approval any deal between Iran and the US would be merely an agreement between President Barack Obama and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen,” they wrote, “and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”


Lebanese TV presenter stands up to sexist Islamist scholar in live debate – video

A female Lebanese TV presenter stands her ground during a debate with a London-based Islamist cleric, after he becomes riled by her questioning. Rima Karaki was interviewing Hani al-Sebai for Lebanon’s Al Jadeed channel when she ended up asserting her authority as he grew increasingly irate and told her to shut up


Other News & Analysis

Hillary Clinton and Obama exchanged emails through her private account

Wisconsin Students protest police shooting of unarmed Madison teenager

White House ‘Deeply concerned’ Obama imposes sanctions on Venezuelan officials

McDonald’s Chain finds lovin’ in short supply as sales fall for ninth straight month

Swedish frustration with Saudis over speech may jeopardise arms agreement

‘Do mention the war,’ Merkel urges Japaneseuntitled


  • For the past 40 years, politicians have been in thrall to the world of business.

  • For the past 40 years, politicians have been in thrall to the world of business. Photograph: Alamy

  • Politics was once about beliefs and society. Now it’s a worship of money

  • Remember when elections were about society, health, literacy, welfare? All bow now to the god of business

    As elections draw near, the discussion shrinks to one simple question: are you better off now than you were five years ago? Maybe we don’t need a TV debate after all. Other issues come out for an airing but in the end, no matter how passionate you are about the NHS, devolution, immigration or the environment, if you can’t talk competently about money, you’re nothing.

    If instead, as Green party leader Natalie Bennett showed us recently, you go on the radio to outline your spending plans but have a brain fade or a touch of tongue-stroke or whatever it is she called that jumble of mouthfarts that came out as policy – if you do this, you’re cast to one side as an inadequate buffoon. This is no country for the uncosted.

    Money is the root of all politics. It sounds so obvious it’s hardly worth writing down. Yet I was amazed by how shocked and surprised we were meant to be at that footage of Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind selling their services and talking hourly rates. The film made them look like two hungry foxes backed into a pile of brambles, a bunch of feathers in each mouth: but really, this was no different from what Rifkind and Straw’s bosses do all the time.

    Suppose, instead, the secret filming had been of David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and the entire government and opposition front benches sitting down in a dowdy, but very crowded, hotel room with a group of generous CEOs. Suppose also they started saying things like: “Look, I’m not promising anything but I can get you access to, well, me. I can have you sitting next to me at a dinner, if you like. If you can’t afford that I’ll certainly contrive to bump into you in a corridor or meet at a private party. But be assured I can have a word with my policy team about those tax penalties. I’m sure we could ‘simplify’ them a bit.” That footage wouldn’t be too far off what happens…………………..


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