From the beginning of the year, US President George W. Bush has charted new ground in negative campaigning, starting with a US$80 million wave of attack advertisements directed at Senator John Kerry that began the moment he effectively won his party's nomination last spring. \nBut the scathing indictment that Bush offered of Kerry over the past two days -- on the eve of the second presidential debate and with polls showing the race tightening -- took these attacks to a blistering new level. In the process, several analysts say, Bush pushed the limits of subjective interpretation and offered exaggerated or distorted accounts of Kerry's positions on health care, tax cuts, the Iraq war and foreign policy. \nIn Michigan, Bush asserted that under Kerry the nation would have to "wait for a grade from other nations and leaders" before acting. Kerry has repeatedly said that he would not give up the right to act pre-emptively "in any way necessary to protect the United States," but has suggested that any president would need to demonstrate legitimate reasons for such an action. \nTo laughter, Bush said that Kerry would impose "Hillary care" on America, a massive national health care program that he said would impose federal control over health care decisions. \nKerry's health care plan is significantly larger than the one Bush has offered, and it includes increased reliance on Medicaid and state health insurance programs for the poor. But unlike what Hillary Rodham Clinton proposed in 1993, it would not create any big new federal bureaucracy and would retain the current employer-based system, and Kerry said he was averse to any kind of national health care plan. \nTo boos, Bush said that Kerry had set "artificial timetables" for pulling troops out of Iraq, which Bush warned would embolden the enemy and endanger troops. In fact, Kerry said that he could envision beginning to withdraw troops in as little as six months, but only if he succeeded in moving Iraq toward stability, and has declined repeatedly to set any timeline. \nAides defended Bush's statements. "The campaign's criticisms of John Kerry are meticulous and precise and most of the criticisms involve reading back John Kerry's own words," said Steve Schmidt, a Bush campaign spokesman. \nBut other analysts, including some Republicans, said Bush was repeatedly taking phrases and sentences out of context, or cherry-picking votes to provide an unfavorable case against Kerry. \n"So much of what they are indicting is taken out of context," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and author of a book on negative campaigning. \n"It's a matter of taking sentences out of context or parts of sentences out of context. And it's hard for journalists to write the context back in because it takes time," she said.
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,
An Australian graduate student arrested for spying and expelled from North Korea last year said that he was threatened with a firing-squad execution and told not even US President Donald Trump could save his “sorry arse.” Among the crimes Alek Sigley was accused of committing was posting a picture of a toy tank on Instagram, which his interrogators told him was military espionage. Sigley, 30, was studying for a master’s degree in Korean literature at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang when he went missing in June last year, sparking alarm. A fluent speaker of Korean, he had written articles for several publications