Democrats vowed Tuesday to keep alive questions about President George W. Bush's Vietnam-era National Guard service despite the admission by CBS that it could not authenticate documents at the center of a report on his service. But the party instead spent much of the day explaining contacts between Senator John Kerry's campaign and the former National Guard officer who gave the network the documents. \nThe political jockeying over CBS' admission marked a sharp change from a week ago, when the White House was trying to answer questions about the documents and Democrats were accusing Bush of avoiding his service requirements. \nOn Tuesday, Republicans went on the offensive and used reports that the former officer, Bill Burkett, had talked by telephone with Joe Lockhart, a senior strategist to Kerry, shortly before the CBS report, to question whether there had been collusion between the news organization and the campaign. \n"I think it is time Senator Kerry came clean about all the contacts between CBS, his campaign and Bill Burkett," Ed Gillespie, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, said on Fox News. \nMichael McCurry, a press secretary to former president Bill Clinton who recently signed on as an adviser to Kerry, told reporters traveling with Kerry that the campaign was trying to determine who in its ranks had been in contact with Burkett. \nMcCurry said that Lockhart had approached Mary Beth Cahill, Kerry's campaign manager, in the last few days to tell her that he had had a brief telephone conversation with Burkett. Cahill, he said, told Kerry, who did not think anything needed to be done in response. \nMcCurry said that he believed the only other contact was a telephone conversation between Burkett and former Senator Max Cleland of Georgia, a prominent supporter of Kerry's among veterans. Burkett and Cleland have both said that Burkett called Cleland to push for a stronger response to a group of veterans who had taken out advertisements criticizing Kerry's Vietnam service. \nBurkett told USA Today in an interview published on Tuesday that he had agreed to turn over the documents -- appearing to be from the personal file of Bush's squadron commander -- if the network would arrange a conversation with the Kerry campaign. CBS officials said they did not believe there was any such deal. But the network said Tuesday in a statement that it was against its standards "to be associated with any political agenda" and that the matter would be investigated. It also publicly rebuked the 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes for putting Burkett in touch with Lockhart. Burkett has said that the documents were not discussed, and that he wished only to make his case for a more aggressive strategy to defend Kerry's military service. \nLockhart echoed that on Tuesday in a daylong round of interviews and appearances on cable television. In an interview, he said that Mapes called him the Saturday before Labor Day amid rumors in Washington that CBS was preparing a major report casting new criticism on Bush's Guard service. Mapes said that Burkett had been helpful and asked whether Lockhart could call him. Lockhart said he and Burkett spoke for "three minutes," during which Burkett told him he thought Kerry should give a speech "putting Vietnam in perspective." \n"I told him he wasn't the only one that thought that," Lockhart said. \nAn array of Republicans called the explanation insufficient. Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, noted that the Democratic National Committee had started an Internet advertisement shortly after the CBS report and had also begun a campaign to press questions about Bush's service. \nLockhart and other Democrats insisted they would not be deterred from pushing questions about Bush's record.
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Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,