Guardian Unlimited OnLine June 21 2007
Renewable revolution is here, says UN report June 21 2007
Report sees energy mix turning greener sooner - 'Great news' but 'still peanuts', says Greenpeace
A gold rush of new investment into renewable power over the past 18 months has led the United Nations to conclude that clean energy could provide almost a quarter of the world's electricity by 2030.
More than £35bn was injected into wind and solar power and biofuels in 2006, 43% more than the preceding year. Sustainable energy accounts for only 2% of the world's total but the UN says 18% of all power plants under construction are in this sector.
The findings, outlined in the Global Trends in Sustainable Development annual review, represent a challenge to the received wisdom among energy experts that green power is likely to play only a marginal part in the energy mix until at least the second half of the century.
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Times OnLine June 21 2007
British hostages held by ‘Iran-backed’ killers June 21 2007
Richard Beeston in Baghdad
A group funded, trained and armed by Iran was responsible for kidnapping five British civilians in Baghdad last month, according to the commander of US forces in Iraq.
General David Petraeus told The Times yesterday that he believed that the men, four security guards and a consultant, were alive and added that there had been repeated attempts to free them. No demands have been made for their release.
Commandos searching for the hostages have staged a series of raids on suspected terrorist hide-outs. “There have been several operations to try to rescue them, we just have not had the right intelligence,” General Petraeus said. “There is a very intensive effort ongoing to try to locate and rescue them.”
The remarks are the first official acknowledgement of secret hostage rescue efforts that the British authorities refuse to comment on. They are also likely to inflame relations with Iran further. The general said that the terrorist cell responsible had very close ties to the Iranian authorities, but he fell short of accusing Tehran of complicity.
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Independent OnLine 'Indy' News June 21 2007
Two words sum up why I cannot accept my MBE: Tony Blair June 21 2007
An exclusive report by Joseph Corre, co-founder of Agent Provocateur
I am not a politician. I am not a political commentator. I have never been a Conservative, on one hand, or a hippie on the other. I have certainly never hated the Labour Party. I'm simply a businessman who co-founded a company called Agent Provocateur, which makes knickers and has had the good fortune to be successful.
Three weeks ago, I was sent a letter saying that I'd been nominated for an MBE. I thought it was a nice gesture and signed a form saying that I would be happy to accept. But after news of the MBE came out in the press, the idea began wrestling with my conscience. Yesterday, I decided that I cannot accept this honour.
My reason for turning down the MBE can be summed up in two words: Tony Blair. In 1997, I voted for Mr Blair. It was a time of hope and I was hopeful that he would be a good prime minister. To a degree, his party did good things in office. I agreed with the minimum wage, and I have admired his tax regime, which created an environment in which my business could thrive.
However, I believe that the way and the methods with which Tony Blair took Britain to war in Iraq and Afghanistan alongside George Bush were dishonest. They were based on a lie. We did not enter these conflicts for moral reasons; we entered them for economic ones. That much has now become clear.
I would have admired Tony Blair, or at least respected him, if he'd have told me that we were going to war because he thought it would be good for our economy, regardless of the human cost. I would have respected that honesty, even if I strongly disagreed with him. But instead, Mr Blair dreamt up this thing called spin, which is effectively organised lying, to convince the British public that his reasons were just.
The result has been that hundreds of thousands of people have now suffered intolerably. They have suffered death and torture, and they now live in hopeless situations as a direct result of Tony Blair's invasion. What is going on daily in Iraq is a tragedy. I have seen the death and the sheer human misery. I have seen pictures of whole families being blown to pieces. It is the greatest scandal of our time.
Someone has to be held responsible for that. Someone has to stand up and hold up their hand and say sorry for the lies, and sorry for that dodgy dossier. Instead, we have had silence. The UK has become a more dangerous place, and a bigger target for terrorists. Whole communities have been alienated and still nobody from Tony Blair's government has said sorry
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BBC OnLine News June 21 2007
Brown offered Ashdown Cabinet job June 21 2007
Prime Minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown offered former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown the Cabinet post of Northern Ireland secretary, the BBC has learned.
Lord Ashdown said the offer was made on Wednesday - after Lib Dem Leader Sir Menzies Campbell said no member of his party would join Mr Brown's government.
The peer said he could not have considered taking a Cabinet post without Sir Menzies' approval.
And he said that he would not have been in favour of the proposal anyway.
BBC political editor Nick Robinson said a meeting on Monday between Sir Menzies and Mr Brown included discussions about junior roles for Lord Ashdown and another Lib Dem peer, Baroness Neuberger.
'Could not conceivably consider'
He said the Lib Dem leader had not been aware that a direct offer of a Cabinet post was being made to Lord Ashdown.
It would have been unprecedented in modern times for a government with a clear majority, as Labour has, to give a Cabinet job to a member of other parties.
BBC OnLine Full Story
BBC OnLine History June 21 2007
June 19 1945: US troops take Okinawa
The Japanese island of Okinawa has finally fallen to the Americans after a long and bloody battle.
The island, situated 340 miles (550km) south of the Japanese mainland, will now provide the Americans with an invaluable air and naval base from which to launch a sustained and forceful attack on the mainland.
It is estimated more than 90,000 Japanese troops were killed in the 82-day conflict.
BBC OnLine Full Story