August 11, 2009

By United Press International  |  Aug. 11, 2009 at 9:32 AM
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Eunice Shriver dies:

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, younger sister of President John Kennedy and founder of the Special Olympics, died Tuesday in a Cape Cod, Mass., hospital. She was 88.

Pushed by love for her developmentally disabled sister, Shriver devoted much of her life to raising funds for and awareness of people with mental disabilities.

The 1984 Presidential Medal of Freedom winner was admitted to the hospital's intensive care unit last week for an undisclosed reason.

Shriver, the mother of broadcaster and California first lady Maria Shriver, is the wife of Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Peace Corps, a former U.S. ambassador to France and the 1972 Democratic vice presidential candidate. They married in 1953.

The fifth child of America's powerful and enigmatic Kennedy family, Shriver was born July 10, 1921, in the family's home on Naples Avenue in Brookline, Mass.

In 1968, she founded the Special Olympics for handicapped athletes, the first systematic effort to provide sports training and athletic competition for individuals with mental retardation.

Shriver is survived by her husband, five children, brother Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and a sister, Jean Kennedy Smith.

"I am Secretary of State:"

Hillary Clinton bristled visibly when asked a question apparently about what her husband Bill Clinton thought.

"You want me to tell you what my husband thinks?" she asked, stiffening and pulling her translation earpiece out of her ear. "My husband is not secretary of state, I am."

She was taking questions at a public forum in Goma, Congo, as part of a seven-nation African tour. But something was lost in translation.

A local student asked about a recent trade deal between China and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He wanted to know what President Obama thought of it but the translator asked her what "Mr. Clinton" thought.

Perhaps it was simply the strain of a long trip, 11 days in all, but Mrs. Clinton was clearly irritated. Her tour of African countries is her first major overseas visit as secretary of state.

Last week her husband received massive media coverage of his trip to North Korea to meet its leader Kim Jong Il. The trip resulted in the freeing of two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who had been sentenced to 12 years hard labor for entering the country illegally.

Myanmar's Suu Kyi sentenced:

Nobel peace prize winner and pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to an additional 18 months house arrest by a court in Yangon, Myanmar (formerly Rangoon, Burma). Her conviction, widely expected, drew international condemnation.

Suu Kyi, 64, was convicted of violating state security laws after American John Yettaw swam across a lake to her home to visit her, uninvited and unannounced. Yettaw was sentenced to seven years, four at hard labor.

Suu Kyi was already under house arrest that would have expired on May 27 when the case was brought. As a result of the 18 month extension she will be unable to campaign publicly in Myanmar's 2010 elections.

French president Nicholas Sarkozy called on the European Union to impose new sanctions on Myanmar. The EU said it would "respond with additional targeted measures against those responsible for the verdict. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had called for Suu Kyi's release last month at a regional meeting of southeast Asian countries in Thailand.

No jets for Congress:

House leaders will not be flying as much as they might have liked now that plans to buy more business jets for Congress have been dropped in the face of public and bipartisan political criticism. Congressional leaders will have to drive or take the train like the automaker chief executives, who were so roundly criticized for flying to Washington in their corporate jets earlier this year.

Congress had boosted an item in the Defense Appropriation bill for four planes at a cost of $220 million to eight at $550 million. The additional planes, Gulfstreams and modified Boeing 737s, had not been requested by the Pentagon.

Purchasing the planes, for use by senior government officials as well as lawmakers, would have forced the Pentagon to make cuts in items it had sought.

"Once we get saddled for additional planes we didn't ask for, then we have to find where in the budget we can cut to fund their operations," Pentagon spokesperson Geoff Morrell said.

Growing criticism from both sides of the aisle finally doomed the project. The Wall Street Journal quoted Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who called it "evidence that some of the cynicism about Washington is well placed."

Russia's reach expands:

A bill sent to the Russian Duma by President Dmitry Medvedev expands the authority of the military for overseas intervention. The bill, expected to become law in September, would allow military intervention to prevent aggression against another state, to fight off aggression against foreign militaries and to protect Russian citizens abroad.

Medvedev made clear the measure was aimed at Georgia, which was invaded by Russian troops in a brief war last year. Russia has signed military cooperation pacts with the Georgian breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which were at the heart of last year's conflict.

Russia has recognized the two provinces as independent states and also granted Russian citizenship to large numbers of their inhabitants.

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