British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in a Sunday newspaper interview, said that despite the "lumps" of his job, he fully intends to seek re-election for a third term in Downing Street. \nSpeaking with the News of the World newspaper, Blair said he wants to stay in power despite experiencing one of his worst months in office since he first led his Labour party to victory in May 1997. \n"You have people kicking lumps out of you, but you can live with it, and I do," he told the mass circulation Sunday newspaper. \n"Whatever the problems and pressures this is an immensely enjoyable and fulfilling job and I intend to carry on doing it. I will be putting myself forward." \nPolitical analysts expect Blair -- who won re-election in 2001 -- to call an election in the first half of 2005, though Labour's current five-year term doesn't expire until 2006. \nBlair's popularity in the opinion polls has slipped since the Iraq war, and last month his government escaped serious criticism from a judicial inquiry into the suicide of Iraq weapons expert David Kelly. \nKelly, who killed himself in July last year, was the source of a BBC news report two months earlier which alleged that Blair's inner circle embellished intelligence in the run-up to the March 2002 US-led invasion of Iraq. \nBlair also narrowly survived a parliamentary vote last month on plans to increase university tuition fees, an idea opposed by many members of parliament within his own Labour party. \nIn an opinion poll for The Independent newspaper, published Feb. 6, 51 percent of respondents agreed when asked if the time had come for Blair to resign and hand over the reins of power to someone else. \nDespite his slump in popularity, Blair's Labour government continues to enjoy a lead in the polls over the main opposition Conservatives. \nBlair's interview with the News of the World was his first since Lord Brian Hutton's findings into the Kelly affair, released on Jan. 28, in which the judge concentrated his criticism on the BBC.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year