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Daily Archives: September 20, 2008

Russian minister rules out war with the United States

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Yakovenko said yesterday there was no possibility of a war with the United States and the European Union should guarantee security in Georgia.
"Regarding the possibility of war between the United States and Russia, this possibility is ruled out," Yakovenko told reporters in Moscow.
"We hope that the European Union will guarantee security" in Georgia.
Yakovenko also criticised the United States for acting in "bad faith" by not granting visas to representatives of the disputed Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia — the scenes of a military conflict last month.
"The US has been blocking the issuing of visas. We consider this bad faith in carrying out its obligations as a government that undertakes to organise the United Nations. We think visas… must be given," Yakovenko said.
Russia recognised the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia after the war in Georgia. No other country except Nicaragua recognises the territories, which broke away from the rest of Georgia with Russian support in the 1990s.
The Russian minister also said that the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), the main guarantor of a ceasefire in Abkhazia, should have its name and mandate changed or move out of the disputed territory.
"It's logical to move it to the territory of Georgia, since the main threat to stability comes from there," Yakovenko said, referring to UNOMIG which has headquarters in the Georgian capital Tbilisi and separatist Abkhazia.

McCain, Obama battle for votes on US Spanish-language media


by Mauricio Rabufetti*

In the close fight for the White House every vote counts — and Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are trying to reach Hispanic voters by airing commercials on Spanish-language US media.
Polls have repeatedly said that Hispanic voters, a key bloc in the November 2008 election, are just as interested as others in mainstream issues such as the economic downturn, jobs and health care.
Yet both campaigns are focusing their Spanish-language media ads on immigration, a sensitive issue for Hispanics because the overwhelming majority of undocumented workers in the United States are from Mexico or other Latin American nations.
Obama's campaign has aired Spanish-language TV ads in New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado, three US states where Hispanic voters could have potential to tip a close race when US voters choose a new president November 4.
The ad charges that McCain has "two faces" when talking about immigration reform, lying to get Hispanic votes while he really just wants to follow "failed policies" of President George W. Bush.
The message, with starts with Obama speaking in Spanish and approving the message, urges voters to steer clear of Republican dirty tricks.
Democrats charge that McCain, who represents Arizona in the US senate and supported immigration reform bills in 2006 and 2007 that ultimately failed, gives Hispanic voters one message and tells his Republican conservative base another.
"McCain is only too happy to please his right-wing anti-immigration base, at the same time he is saying to Latinos in Spanish that he is a champion of immigrants' rights," said Federico Pena, an Obama campaign co-chairman and former energy and transportation secretary under president Bill Clinton (1993-2001).
McCain slammed back with a tough statement delivered by Cuban-American Republican lawmaker Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
"It is offensive and dishonest for Barack Obama to lie about John McCain's record on immigration and years of support for the Hispanic community, when it was Barack Obama himself who voted for 'poison pill' amendments that killed the effort at immigration reform," Diaz-Balart's statement said.
The failed immigration reform measures would have given a path to citizenship for some 12 million undocumented migrants living in the United States. Hard-line conservative Republicans blocked its approval in Congress.
In 2007, McCain had a less visible role in defending the initiative, but both he and Obama supported the measure. Both senators still say they favor immigration reform.
Since the reform proposal failed polls show Hispanics increasingly throwing their support to the Democrats. The move coincides with an increase in high-profile roundups of undocumented workers, with thousands arrested by federal authorities since December 2006.
In 2004, when George W. Bush was reelected, 44 percent of Hispanic voters cast their ballots for Republicans. Surveys now show Hispanics favoring Obama over McCain almost two to one.
Both parties are feverishly trying to gain the support of the nine million potential Hispanic voters spread out across the United States, many living in key swing states.
It will be an uphill battle for McCain. Most Hispanic voters are keenly aware that conservative Republicans oppose immigration reform. And many of those voters have friends and relatives eagerly awaiting immigration reform.