Bernard Kerik, New York City's former top cop, withdrew his name from consideration to be US President George W. Bush's homeland security secretary, a victim of the embarrassing "nanny problem" that has killed the nominations of other prominent officials. \nThe surprise move late Friday sends Bush back in search of a Cabinet official to help guard the nation against another terrorist attack. \nWhile assembling paperwork for his Senate confirmation, Kerik said he uncovered questions about the immigration status of a housekeeper-nanny that he employed. As homeland security secretary, Kerik would oversee the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. \n"I am convinced that, for personal reasons, moving forward would not be in the best interests of your administration, the Department of Homeland Security or the American people," Kerik said in a letter to Bush. \nHe said he could not allow personal matters to "distract from the focus and progress of the Department of Homeland Security and its crucial endeavors." \nKerik -- the bald, mustachioed former New York City police commissioner -- was among a small cadre of leaders who became the face of the response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, often directing Manhattan's response alongside of then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. \nWhen Bush announced Kerik's nomination last week, he won early support in Republican and some Democratic quarters. \nBut others questioned whether Kerik had the management experience to continue the nearly two-year-long effort to meld the Homeland Security Department's sprawling bureaucracy, made up of more than 180,000 employees from 22 federal agencies. \nDemocrats also were focusing on Kerik's recent windfall, which he made by exercising stock options in a stun gun company that does business with the Department of Homeland Security. \nKerik's announcement marked an unusual disruption in the White House's normally well-choreographed personnel moves. But he is not the first prominent government official to fall victim to the "nanny problem." Similar issues killed the nominations of three candidates for top administration posts in the Clinton administration. \nWhen Bush set up his first Cabinet in 2001, conservative commentator Linda Chavez also stepped aside as the nominee for labor secretary after it was disclosed that she had given money and shelter to an illegal immigrant who once did chores around her house. \nKerik's personal lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said it was Kerik's call to withdraw. "It was Bernie Kerik who uncovered this on his own. He brought it to the White House," said Tacopina, who described Kerik as "distraught." \nWhile Kerik confided in a close circle of associates, the announcement came as a surprise to many government insiders. \nOne administration official helping prepare Kerik for Senate confirmation, speaking on condition of anonymity, said his decision shocked senior Homeland Security leaders. This official said Kerik still had not filled out all his ethics filings -- which would detail his sources of income and financial liabilities -- and said the FBI background investigation of Kerik was still incomplete.
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
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCC) yesterday said that reporters in the territory were experiencing “highly unusual” visas problems, and called on the US and China to stop using the media as a political weapon. Journalists have been caught up in US-China tensions, with both sides placing limits or expelling reporters from their territories in the past few months. Now the spat is filtering into Hong Kong, a regional press hub nominally in charge of its own immigration policies. The FCC said in a statement that multiple media firms had reported delays getting visas in recent months. “The delays have affected journalists