The Global Note: Jolie & Syria’s Refugees…Bibi’s Warning…Where Is Xi?…Andy Murray & Dunblane’s Horror

By Tom Nagorski

Sep 11, 2012 10:00am

SYRIA’S WAR

-JOLIE VISITS REFUGEES…The U.N. refugee agency’s special envoy, actress Angelina Jolie, is touring a refugee camp in Jordan for Syrians who fled the civil war in their country. The Hollywood star arrived on Tuesday morning in the Zaatari camp accompanied by U.N. refugee chief Antonio Guterres and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh. Guterres said the “camp needs massive international funding” and that its “conditions are still not acceptable.” (This is the same camp Alex MARQUARDT visited – with less fanfare – Monday).

-REBELS WARNED OVER EXECUTIONS…The New York Times reports that top United Nations human rights officials warned opposition fighters in Syria that they would not be immune from prosecution for atrocities, as videos from Aleppo appeared to show a mass execution by rebel fighters of bound and blindfolded Syrian government soldiers. As the Telegraph notes, a rebel brigade took responsibility for the worst of the killing.

-TLAS SAYS FRENCH SECRET AGENTS AT WORK…The BBC reports that Syrian defector General Manaf Tlas has hinted that French secret agents helped him flee Syria in early July.

IRAN, ISRAEL + U.S.

-BIBI’S WARNING…From Alex MARQUARDT: Prime Minister Netanyahu is upping the pressure today for US to set red lines. “The world tells Israel to wait because there is still time and I ask – wait for what? Until when? Those in the international community who refuse to set a red line for Iran have no moral right to set one for Israel.” This after he told CBC: “I don’t think that they (Iran) see a clear red line, and I think the sooner we establish one, the greater the chances that there won’t be a need for other types of action.”

-NEW INTEL ON NUKE WORK…Speaking anonymously and exclusively to the AP, diplomats say the U.N. atomic agency has new intelligence that Iran has advanced its work on calculating the destructive power of a nuclear warhead, a step toward building such a weapon. The diplomats say the information — from the U.S., Israel and at least one other country — alleges the research was done within the past three years. But the International Atomic Energy Agency gives credence to the suspicions and says it cannot disprove them unless Iran starts cooperating with its probe of the allegations.

-TEHRAN TALKS WITH CAIRO ON OIL SALES…Iran is in talks to sell oil to Egypt, officials on both sides say, part of a broader push to make up for lost European Union sales and a renewed engagement between the two countries. Tehran has approached Cairo to sell two million barrels of oil—valued at more than $200 million—that are part of a stock of unsold Iranian crude, reports the Wall Street Journal. 

YEMEN: DEFENSE MINISTER SURVIVES ATTACK; QAEDA #2 KILLED

Nasser ATTA reports: Yemen’s defense minister has survived a bomb attack in Sanaa that killed several of his guards. The attack comes one day after the reported killing of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) second in command Said al Sharri in southern Yemen. The defense minister was leaving a weekly government meeting.

9/11…IN KABUL

From Muhammad LILA: The embassy in Kabul held a solemn ceremony today commemorating 9/11.  Both Ambassador James Cunningham and General Allen spoke, the latter quoting from an Afghan poem that says “where there is ruin, there is the hope of treasure.” It’s quiet in Kabul today.  Flags at ISAF HQ and the US Embassy are flying at half mast.  Some embassies, schools, and government buildings are closed.  There are no extra troops patrolling the streets, or zones of the city that have been cordoned off.  The stillness is a bit eerie.  But then, for Afghans used to decades of war, today has become just another day.

SCIENTIST WHO HELPED TRACK BIN LADEN: U.S. SEEN AS “WORST ENEMY”

Pakistan’s powerful spy agency regards America as its “worst enemy,” and the government’s claims that it is cooperating with the US are a sham to extract billions of dollars in American aid -thats according to the CIA informant jailed for his role in hunting down Osama bin Laden. In an interview with Fox News, Shakil Afridi, the medical doctor who helped pinpoint bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound before last year’s raid by SEAL Team 6, described brutal torture at the hands of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, and said the agency is openly hostile to the U.S. “They said ‘The Americans are our worst enemies, worse than the Indians,’” Afridi, who spoke from inside Peshawar Central Jail, said as he recalled the brutal interrogation and torture he suffered after he was initially detained. “I tried to argue that America was Pakistan’s biggest supporter…but all they said was, ‘These are our worst enemies. You helped our enemies.’”

CHINA MYSTERY DEEPENS: WHERE’S XI?

From Gloria RIVIERA in Beijing: Xi Jingping, China’s presumed next leader, was last seen in public on Sept. 1st. Last week, a previously scheduled meeting with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was abruptly cancelled. This week a photo op open to the press with a visiting Danish dignitary was also called off without official explanation. Speculation on why is running rampant on China’s microblogs. Published reports vary from a bad back to a car crash orchestrated by a political enemy (the latter was eventually retracted). China watchers guess he probably has a few more days before the question over his whereabouts reaches a fever pitch, but searches for his name both in English and Chinese were blocked online as of Monday. It certainly doesn’t do the government any favors to add even this bit of mystery to the dialogue leading up to the transition of power expected to be announced later this fall.

MORE LABOR ISSUES AT FOXCONN

As Apple prepares to unveil the latest iPhone this week, the company’s manufacturing partner in China, Foxconn Technology, is coming under renewed criticism over labor practices. The  New York Times reports that Foxconn has acknowledged using student “interns” on manufacturing lines, but says they are free to leave at any time. But two worker advocacy groups said Monday that they had spoken with students who said they had been forced by their teachers to assemble iPhones at a Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, in north-central China.

BEFORE SCANDAL, DOUBTS OVER LIBOR

In a 2008 meeting with Bank of England officials, the head of the British Bankers’ Association, Angela Knight, suggested that Libor had become too big for her organization to manage, but her suggestion went nowhere reports the Wall Street Journal. Furthermore, even as Libor’s deep flaws became apparent, regulators continued to resist a greater oversight role.

FOR CHINA’S ELITE, POSH JAILS

When Gu Kailai, wife of disgraced Chinese leader Bo Xilai, is sent to prison following her conviction for the murder of a British businessman, she’s likely to end up in an exclusive jail that has cells with sofas and private bathrooms. Tucked in the hills an hour’s drive north of Beijing, Qincheng Prison has for a half-century housed miscreants from the political elite: purged Communist Party rivals, corrupt politicians, newspaper editors critical of the government, leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy movement, Chairman Mao’s power-hungry widow.

MOST SMOKERS IN THE WORLD

Indonesian men rank as the world’s top smokers, with two out of three of them lighting up in a country where cigarettes cost pennies and tobacco advertising is everywhere. A survey released Tuesday found that 67 percent of all males over 15 years old smoke.

NEWFOUNDLAND GEARING UP FOR BIG STORM

Tropical Storm Leslie is expected to make landfall Tuesday in Newfoundland, and may become a hurricane.

KATE AND WILLIAM BEGIN ASIA-PACIFIC TOUR

Prince William and the former Kate Middleton kick off their second international tour since their wedding. The young royals are representing Her Majesty to mark her Diamond Jubilee of 60 years on the throne and will visit Singapore, Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and tiny Tuvalu, one of the most remote inhabited spots on the globe, about halfway between Hawaii and Australia. ABC’s Bob WOODRUFF covering.

EPIC MATCH BREAKS U.K. DROUGHT

As The New York Times writes, “Late Monday night at the United States Open, Sean Connery danced and Kevin Spacey clapped and the capacity crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium stood and roared in unison. Andy Murray, Scotland’s perennial tennis bridesmaid, covered his mouth with both hands, suspended in disbelief. The crowd cheered for Murray, for Britain, for the tennis history it witnessed for nearly five hours. When the match ended, after Novak Djokovic’s service return sailed long, Murray had become the first British man to capture a Grand Slam singles championship since Fred Perry in 1936.  The final score was 7-6 (10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2. All of Britain, or so it seemed, heaved a sigh of relief…” The match lasted 4 hours 54 minutes, tying the record for the longest Open final. (The 1988 version, between Mats Wilander and Ivan Lendl, Murray’s coach, lasted exactly as long). For those who missed it during Wimbledon earlier this summer — ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi filed a fantastic piece on Andy Murray’s childhood and the Dunblane shooting Jean writes about.  Beautifully shot, worth a look.

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