I think the reports of my survival may be exaggerated. I’m in Babo Amr. Sickening, trying to understand how the world can stand by and I should be hardened by now. Watched a baby die today. Shrapnel, doctors could do nothing. His little tummy just heaved and heaved until it stopped. Feeling helpless. As well as cold! Will keep trying to get out the information.
Frontpage: Thursday, Feb 16th
- Congress Reaches Deal on Payroll Tax: Congressional negotiators reached a deal on a $150 billion plan that will extend a payroll tax holiday for 10 months and unemployment benefits through the end of the year.
- Karzai: Talks With Taliban Have Begun: “There have been contacts between the U.S. government and the Taliban, there have been contacts between the Afghan government and the Taliban,” Afghan President Hamid Karzai said.
- U.N. to Hold Symbolic Syria Vote: A day after the Syrian president promised reform, his troops launched an attack on the cities of Deraa, Hama, injuring an estimated 50 people. The U.N. General Assembly will vote Thursday on the symbolic resolution condeming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s brutal crackdown.
- Santorum Releases Tax Documents: He’s no Mitt Romney when it comes to income, but presidential candidate Rick Santorum has been doing OK lately. The former senator from Pennsylvania released four years—more than any other candidate—of tax returns, covering 2007 to 2010.
- OK Senate Passes Personhood Act: Oklahoma legislators moved a step closer to in their attempted to outlaw abortion on Wednesday as the state Senate passed the Personhood Act, 34-8. The bill now moves to the House where pro-life Republicans outnumber democrats two-to-one.
Frontpage: Wednesday, Feb. 15th
- Fake Cancer Drug Hits U.S. Market: The pharmaceutical company Roche is telling hospitals that there’s a fake version of its cancer drug Avastin floating around American markets. This was discovered after counterfeit vials were shown to have none of the active ingredients that combat cancer.
- Iran to Reveal Nuke Steps: Uh oh. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will announce “key nuclear achievements” Wednesday. Iranian news reports that the progress will probably be that the uranium enrichment plant, Fordo, located inside a mountain, is “fully operational.”
- Romney Rushes to Defend Michigan: With Rick Santorum surging ahead of Mitt Romney in the polls, the former frontrunner is returning to defend his home state. Romney’s campaign bought nearly $1.3 mil in airtime.
- Biden Lectures Chinese VP: Leave it to Vice President Biden to give a straight-talking toast to China’s vice president, and likely future leader, Xi Jinping. “As Americans, we welcome competition,” Biden said during a State Department lunch. “But cooperation, as you and I have spoken about, can only be mutually beneficial if the game is fair.”
- Syria’s Assad Sets Referendum Date: President Bashar al-Assad says Syria will hold a referendum on a new constitution on Feb. 26, but even as he made this seeming concession, his forces increased their bombardment of opposition towns.
Photo: “Untitled” by Weaam El-Masry, a fiery Egyptian artist whose nudes are risqué by almost any standards. She says she is worried about the prospect of an Islamist-dominated government. “They don’t think. They don’t use logic,” she says. “They think art is forbidden.” See more of her work and read Ty McComrick’s piece on Egyptian artists and government censors.
Frontpage: Tuesday, Feb 14th
- Poll: Romney and Santorum Tied: Mitt Romney’s lead in the Republican primary race has been erased. According to a new poll by The New York Times, he and Rick Santorum are effectively tied.
- Syria Forces ‘Shelling Randomly’: Nine people were reportedly killed Tuesday in Syria as opposition activists said that government snipers were randomly shelling civilians in Homs.
- China’s VP Visits White House: China’s Vice President Xi Jinping is visiting the Oval Office today in a closely watched diplomatic mission. It’s Xi’s first major step onto the international stage, a test run for when he takes over the presidency in March 2013.
- Apple Factories to Get Outside Audit: Following recent reports and protests over inhumane working conditions at its Chinese suppliers, Apple has asked an outside organization to audit its plants. Until recently the company has strongly resisted divulging information about its suppliers.
- Bombing Rocks Thai Capital: Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has ordered police and the National Intelligence Agency to probe three explosions that occurred Tuesday in Bangkok’s Klongton district, with the Foreign Ministry assigned to talk to Iran because a suspect seriously injured in the blasts was believed to be Iranian.
Photo: Standard Poodle Sophie gets groomed for the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. (Craig Ruttle)
Frontpage: Friday, Feb 10th
- Rep. Bachus in Ethics Probe: The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama over possible insider-trading violations, the Associated Press reported.
- Bombs Kill 25 in Syria: In the worst violence to hit the northern city of Aleppo yet, twin bomb blasts stuck Syrian military and security compounds on Friday, killing 25 people and wounding 175. No one has claimed responsibility.
- Obama Backs Down on Contraception: According to the Associated Press, the administration has backed down from a fight over requiring religiously affiliated employers to provide birth control for women free of charge under its health care plan.
- Santorum Clarifies ‘Emotions’ Comment: Rick Santorum attempted to clarify yet another controversial remark he made Thursday on CNN, this time saying that he had “concerns” about women serving in combat because of “other types of emotions that are involved,” after the Pentagon announced that frontline roles will be available to both sexes.
- Greeks Start 48-Hour Strike: Just as the European Union breathed a sigh of relief that Greek politicians reached a deal to pass austerity measures needed for an EU bailout and avoid default in March, angry Greek workers on Friday kicked off a protest against new measures in a 48-hour-long general strike all across the country.
Photo: Because it’s Friday (via).
Frontpage: Thursday, Feb. 9th
- Obama’s Economic Approval Rises: Just last summer President Obama’s economic approval rating was a very low 26 percent. Obama must be doing something right, or at least it must appear that way to more people, because now 38 percent of Americans are happy with the way he’s handling the economy.
- Greek Leaders Strike Deal on Cuts: Greek leaders on Thursday reached a deal for deep austerity cuts, a government official has confirmed. By enacting austerity cuts, Greece is now eligible to receive bailout funds from the European Union—and thus will avoid defaulting on its debt.
- U.S. to Approve New Nuke Plants: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is set to approve two new nuclear reactors, to be built in Georgia.
- U.N. Mulls Syria Observer Mission: The U.N. is expected to consider an Arab League proposal for a joint monitoring mission in Syria, while the U.S., Turkey, and other countries are creating a “Friends of Democratic Syria” as a way to support the opposition.
- States Reach $26 Billion Mortgage Deal: The five largest banks in the U.S. agreed to a $26 billion settlement for the roles they played in the mortgage meltdown.
Photo: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men take part in a feast on arbor day in Jerusalem. (Bernat Armangue / AP Photo)
Frontpage: Wednesday, Feb. 8th
- Santorum Sweeps Three Primaries: Do GOP voters have a new favorite non-Romney? Rick Santorum won a stunning three-state victory last night, beating his rivals in the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses and in a nonbinding primary in Missouri.
- Homs Shelling Redoubles: So much for the Russian envoy. Bashar al-Assad’s forces redoubled their shelling of the Syrian city of Homs, killing at least 40 people, according to activists. Residents say it’s the heaviest bombardment yet. EXTRA: Shocking Photos & Video From Syria.
- Ron Paul Takes Second in Minnesota: Last night was a good one for Rick Santorum, but Ron Paul also got a bump, beating out Mitt Romney to come in second place in Minnesota. Paul got 27 percent of the vote in Minnesota, 10 points more than Romney.
- Earmarks Linked to Family Ties: More than a dozen members of Congress send earmarks to organizations affiliated with members of their immediate family, according to a Washington Post investigation.
- Greece Meets to Avoid Default: After yesterday’s “crunch meeting” was postponed because of missing paperwork, Greece is meeting again in an attempt to agree on reform that would save the country from default.
Watch: John Avlon asks, Can Santorum Upset Romney? in the latest installment of Campaign Chronicles.
Photo: Jyoti Amge, 18, the world’s ‘shortest woman living (mobile),’ sits in a car while campaigning for a local right-wing political party. (Punit Paranjpe / AFP / Getty Images)
Frontpage: Tuesday, Feb 7th
- Santorum Poised for Primary Wins: Mitt Romney may be the GOP frontrunner, but Rick Santorum is all set to have a great night in Tuesday’s primaries. Santorum leads in polls in Missouri and Minnesota.
- Arab League Pulls Monitors: The Arab League announced Tuesday that it will pull its monitors from Syria.
- Komen VP Resigns Over Funding Flap: Karen Handel, an executive at the Susan G. Komen Foundation, resigned on Tuesday. Handel, a former Republican candidate for governor, had been suspected as being the root of the breast cancer charity’s controversial decision last week to pull funding from Planned Parenthood.
- Greeks Go on Strike: After failing to meet yet another EU deadline yesterday, Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is continuing to negotiate the terms of an austerity package—and now he has a strike on his hands, too.
- Earmarks Flow Near Lawmakers’ Property: More than $300 million in taxpayer money has gone to projects within two miles of property owned by 33 members of Congress, according to a Washington Post investigation.
Photo: Giants quarterback Eli Manning celebrates his victory with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. (Gene Duncan / Gene Duncan)
Watch: On Newsbeast, our writers discuss whether Keith Olbermann can save Current TV.
Frontpage: Tuesday, Jan 31st
- Officials: Iran Willing to Attack U.S.: U.S. intelligence officials said in a report Tuesday that Iran is increasingly willing to attack on U.S. soil in response to American threats.
- U.N. Meets on Syria: World leaders are in New York on Tuesday to discuss a plan to end the violence in Syria, which continues to worsen as President Bashar al-Assad’s troops retaliate against gains made by rebels over the weekend.
- Romney Has Early Lead: Polls have been open in Florida for 4 hours, but Romney already has reason to be confident. Analysis of 632,000 early votes put him up by at least 60,000 votes.
- Italy Ends Shipwreck Search: Rescue has become too dangerous to continue at the Costa Concordia site, says Italy’s Civil Protection Agency.
- Occupy D.C. Vows to Flout Ban: Occupy D.C. protesters said Tuesday that they planned to remain in two parks near the White House despite an order by the U.S. National Park Service to stop camping in McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza.
Photo: Backstage at the Miss Brazil Plus-Size Beauty contest. (Nacho Doce)
Watch our most recent broadcast of Newsbeast, in which our writers discuss how Madonna really feels about Lady Gaga.
Frontpage: Jan. 30th
- Romney Widens Lead: With one day left before the Florida primary, Mitt’s got a 12 point lead in the state, according to a Reuters poll on Sunday.
- Syrian Forces Seize Damascus Suburbs: The day after the Arab League said it was abandoning its monitoring mission, Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad on Monday raided Damascus suburbs that have been under the control of opposition fighters.
- Occupy D.C. Faces Eviction: After a violent protest in Oakland and a solidarity march in New York where 12 were arrested, occupy protesters in DC have until noon today before police try to evict them.
- U.S. Embassy in Cairo Hides Expats: In a sign that the relationship between the United States and Egypt continues to worsen, the American Embassy in Cairo took the unusual step of opening its doors to U.S. citizens working for nongovernmental organizations. Can’t help but think of that scene in The Saint.
- Bain Capital Raises $600M Fund: The venture capital wing of Bain Capital announced Monday that it had raised $600 million for a new fund—its largest to date.
Photo: Novak Djokovic celebrated his victory over Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open men’s final. (Ryan Pierse, Pool, EPA / Landov)
Frontpage: Friday, Jan 27th
- Romney Pummels Gingrich: In last night’s debate in the key state of Florida, Romney slammed Gingrich after Newt accused Mitt of being “anti-immigrant.”
- U.S. Economy Grows at 2.8 Percent: Its fastest rate in over a year and half.
- UN Shrinks from Syria Sanctions: An advanced draft of a UN Security Council resolution obtained by Reuters shows the body will not call for sanctions on Syria.
- Candidates: Repeal Obama Health Plan: The four Republican candidates were all in agreement on the need to repeal Obama’s health-care plan at Thursday night’s Republican debate.
- Ford Posts Profit for Third Year: The Detroit auto company reported a $20.2 billion profit for 2011, the third straight year it has made money.
Photo: Officials announced the UK economy shrank by 0.2% during the last quarter of 2011. (Matt Cardy / Getty Images)
- Romney Paid 13.9 Percent Tax in 2010: A release of a preview of his tax returns shows Romney had an income of $21.7 million in 2010, and $20.9 million in 2011. None of the money was from wages.
- ‘Hugo,’ ‘The Help’ Rule Oscar Nods: The Help, The Descendants, and Hugo picked up the most nods, and favorite comedy Bridesmaids scored two major nominations.
- Gulf States Pull Syrian Observers: The Arab League observer mission in Syria is set to lose six more member countries on Sunday, as the Gulf Cooperation Council prepares to withdraw.
- Campaign Gets Nasty in Florida: After getting drubbed by Newt Gingrich in South Carolina, Mitt Romney is redoubling his attempt to bury him in negative advertising. Romney’s super PAC spent another in $5 million in airtime yesterday, bringing total investment in Florida to $13 million.
- Ex-CIA Agent Charged With Leaks: The Justice Department has charged a former CIA officer John Kiriakou, 47, with leaking classified information about the capture and interrogation of alleged terrorists, including al Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah. Kiriakou gave an an interview with ABC about the brutal interrogation technique of waterboarding.
Photo: Ron Paul in Nashua, NH on January 6th. (Charles Ommanney for Newsweek)
Frontpage: Monday, Jan 23rd
- Obama to Go Populist in Speech: If President Obama’s third State of the Union address sets the tone for his campaign, expect to hear a lot more about jobs, class struggle, and equality.
- Newt Opens Up Lead in Florida Poll: Looks like Gingrich has some solid momentum going into Florida— a new poll puts him 8 points ahead of Romney.
- Syria Rejects Arab League Plan: Sunday, the Arab League called on Syria’s President Assad to peacefully resign and hold elections for a national unity government. Syria immediately rejected the plan.
- EU Adopts Iran Embargo: In the latest attempt to step up pressure on Iran, the European Union adopted an oil embargo against Iran and froze the assets of the country’s central bank.
- Blackberry CEOs Step Down: Just get an iPhone already.
Photo: Chinese folk artists in Beijing prepare to celebrate the Lunar New Year of the Dragon. (Feng Li / Getty Images)
Frontpage: Thursday, Jan 12th
- Romney Prepares Bain Counterattack: Facing several days of attacks on his record at Bain Capital, Mitt is preparing a series of ads featuring Bain employees speaking positively about the company.
- Karzai Condemns Taliban Abuse Tape: A disturbing video that appears to show U.S. Marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters was slammed as “inhumane” by Afghan President Hamid Karzai—but the Taliban says it won’t harm their new peace talks with the U.S.
- Obama Raises $68M at End of 2011: The figure surpasses his goal olf $60M for the 4th quarter.
- Second Syrian Monitor May Quit: The Arab League observer mission in Syria may be coming apart at the seams, with a second monitor threatening to quit. A day after Anwar Malek, an Algerian observer, told Al Jazeera that the mission was a “farce” and quit, another observer told Reuters that he was considering walking out as well.
- Newt: Moderate Can’t Beat Obama: A fourth-place finish in New Hampshire hasn’t deterred Republican candidate Newt Gingrich from going after Mitt Romney, only referring to him as “a moderate.” Sneaky.
Photo: Members of a military band perform at the opening plenary session of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress in Shanghai, China. (Aly Song, Reuters / Landov)