Afghan president escapes Taliban assassination attempt in Kabul
during the 16th anniversary celebration of the final Soviet defeat.
** AFGHAN PRESIDENT KARZAI ESCAPES TALIBAN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT IN CAPITAL CITY. Afghan President Hamid Karzai today escaped an assassination attempt by a Taliban hit squad. The strike came in the middle of Kabul, during the 16th anniversary celebration of the final defeat of the Soviet-backed regime.
At least two people, including one member of the national parliament, were killed by the Taliban, who attacked with automatic weapons and rocket fire. Three Taliban fighters were killed by government security forces.
The attack sent the assorted dignitaries in the grandstand, including the American and British ambassadors, scrambling for their lives, as seen in the video above. The Afghan fight has been going increasingly poorly over the past two years, as frequently discussed on NWN.
** WHERE THEY ARE TODAY.
Barack Obama is in Indianapolis, Indiana and Chicago.
John McCain is in Coral Gables, Florida.
Hillary Clinton is in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Bill Clinton is in Hartford City, New Castle, Shelbyville, and Martinsville, Indiana.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opens wide
in less than a month.
** NEWSWEEK NATIONAL POLL: OBAMA HAS A SIGNIFICANT LEAD OVER CLINTON. This should be no surprise. In a poll taken April 24-25, Barack Obama leads Hillary Clinton nationally, 46% to 38%.
** U.S. CONSUMER CONFIDENCE AT 26-YEAR LOW. Let’s review. Crashing property values. A worldwide credit crunch. Wall Street bailouts. Record oil prices. Record gasoline prices. Rising unemployment. The dollar at a record low against the euro. And so we have the lowest level of consumer confidence in the US since 1982.
I’m now paying $4.10 a gallon for gas. (Premium, yes, but the regular gasoline, which is not good for my car, is not that much lower.) The big wholesale outlets around me are rationing rice. (?!) But why worry?
** ROMNEY DOES RENO. Mitt Romney speaks to the Nevada Republican Convention today at the Peppermill in Reno on behalf of John McCain. Romney won the lightly-contested Nevada Republican caucuses, on the strength of Mormon voters, a contest totally overshadowed by the big Democratic fight between Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards. Does this mean the former moderate Masschusetts governor-turned-great-right-hope will be McCain’s running mate? Well, you might want to make a small bet on that in Reno, the “Biggest Little City In The World.”
But I wouldn’t take that to Vegas if I were you.
** OBAMA ON FOX NEWS. This should be interesting. Barack Obama will appear for the first time on Fox News Sunday, the conservative cable outlet’s attempt to compete with the likes of Meet The Press. Its host is Chris Wallace, son of CBS legend Mike Wallace, who got into a notorious 2006 smack-down with former President Bill Clinton over what he did, and did not, do to catch Osama bin Laden.
Obama has pretty much stayed off of Fox News since the channel popularized a completely erroneous report from a right-wing web site that he was educated in a hardcore Islamic school in Indonesia. The Democratic frontrunner did appear on the Fox show Hannity & Colmes during the the Rev. Jeremiah Wright firestorm. I’m told he was going to be interviewed live by the hosts, conservative Sean Hannity and liberal Alan Colmes, but Hannity went off the deep end insisting that Obama’s career was over and that he would have to resign his seat in the Senate. Thus, in real time, disqualifying himself from conducting an interview with the frontrunning presidential candidate. Correspondent Major Garrett conducted it instead.
Wallace, meanwhile, a few weeks back went on the early morning chatfest Fox and Friends — which did not see fit to air John McCain’s important speech at the U.S. Naval Academy, mind you (let’s guess, vets on that show, zero?) — to criticize the hosts for their continual Obama-bashing. He ended up walking off the set after the exchange became heated. (This, incidentally, is the show which repeatedly invoked the fake story about Obama’s Muslim education. The story originated on a web site run by a religious cult, that of the Rev. Moon.)
Tomorrow’s appearance should be quite interesting.
Incidentally, I think it would be good for hyperpartisans of all stripes to get past their McCain Derangement Syndrome and Obama Derangement Syndrome.
** SPORTS THIS WEEKEND: F1 AND NFL DRAFT. Along with the National Football League Draft of top college players, the first two rounds of which are on Saturday, with the remaining five rounds on Sunday, there is the fourth race in the 18-race, globe-spanning season of Formula One racing. The F1 circuit takes us to Europe, for the Spanish Grand Prix. Defending F1 world champion Kimi Raikonnen is locked in a duel with 2007 rookie runner-up Lewis Hamilton. And in the team championship, defending champion Ferrari, BWW Sauber, and McLaren Mercedes are all within two points of one another.
The F1 Spanish Grand Prix starts at 5 AM Pacific Sunday on the Speed TV channel. In the front row of the grid are Raikonnen and Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Renault, winner of the 2005 and 2006 world driving championships.
** BROWN CHANGES STATE POLICY ON D.N.A. Former Governor-turned-Attorney General Jerry Brown has changed California state policy on the use of DNA testing to nab criminals. Previously, only an exact match would be used to pursue so-called “cold cases,” those which have proved impervious to less high tech forms of crime solving. Now, Brown will use the State of California’s DNA databank to look for close matches. Which can mean imperfect renderings of the original data or close relatives. Using the close match approach will enable investigators to zero in on potential perpetrators who might not be in the system as convicted criminals themselves.
Brown, a two-time runner-up for the Democratic presidential nomination, unveiled the policy change before the California District Attorneys Association, which, naturally, was appreciative.
Releasing partial matches raises privacy and due process issues that have yet to be tested in the courts, Brown acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press. Doing so has the potential to focus a criminal probe on an individual who did not commit the crime. But he said there are protections built into the state Department of Justice’s new policy. It would be used rarely, only after extensive double-testing and when all other leads have been exhausted, he said.
“It’s a step forward in prosecuting very serious cases,” Brown told a meeting of the California District Attorneys Association conference, referring to the use of DNA analysis. Later Thursday, he announced the policy shift in a bulletin to law enforcement agencies statewide.
California’s 1 million DNA samples is the world’s third largest DNA database of criminal offenders, after the national databases in the U.S. and Great Britain. It will greatly expand next year, when DNA will be collected from anyone arrested for a crime, regardless of whether they are convicted.
The state’s database has produced more than 5,000 matches, when all DNA collected from a crime scene matches the 26 markers from a particular individual’s DNA. Under the new policy, local law enforcement investigators also would be told when 15 or more of the 26 genetic markers match.
An additional test would then be performed on the DNA’s Y chromosome, a requirement that limits the tests only to males. A statistical analysis would be used to predict whether the suspect is likely to be a close relative — a brother, father, son or grandfather. The policy permits using an even lower standard than 15 matches in cases such as serial killings or rapes in which investigators have exhausted other leads.
The name linked to the partial match would be revealed to investigators only if Brown’s office concludes they have no other clues. The number of such cases is likely to be quite limited. “In a very serious case, this might be the only tool that would allow you to identify the suspect,” Brown said. “It points you in the right direction, but then you’ve got to prove it.”
** MY NEW PODCAST. The road ahead for the Democrats post-Pennsylvania, since she mentioned Obama acquaintance Bill Ayers here is Hillary’s not-so-secret radical background (per the ultra-knowledgeable Tom Hayden), and John McCain working on getting it together.
** WHERE THEY ARE TODAY.
Barack Obama is in Marion and Anderson, Indiana.
Hillary Clinton is in Fort Wayne and South Bend, Indiana.
Bill Clinton is in Junction City, Albany, Monmouth, McMinnville, Oregon City, and Portland, Oregon.
John McCain is off the trail.
There is a new Bond Girl on hand for the currently filming Quantum
of Solace, former supermodel Olga Kurylenko.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the new Russia Today channel.
You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti.
While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, which I know as a former DemRussia advisor, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND U.S. ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Crude oil closed at $119.70 per barrel on Friday. Energy markets are closed on the weekend.
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