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The day the war came home

Forty years ago, on May 4, 1970 soldiers opened fire on a student anti-war protest on the campus of Kent State University, nestled around the small, sleepy Ohio town of Kent.

The number of dead - four students, two of them simply heading to class - does not compare to the number of American soldiers ultimately killed in Vietnam: some 57,000.

And the death toll cannot begin to compare to the number of Vietnamese civilians who lost their lives: between 700,000 and 2 million, according to estimates.

But those student deaths were momentous.

"May 4th represented the war coming home to America. And in many ways it was. It was soldiers firing at unarmed people," said Jerry M. Lewis, who was just a young professor at the time of the shootings, an eyewitness who is still troubled by what happened, four decades on.

Turning point

Of the Kent State killings, President Richard Nixon's adviser Richard Haldeman wrote in The Ends of Power that the 67 rifle bullets fired that day would, metaphorically, ricochet right back into the White House.

"Kent State, in May 1970, marked a turning point for Nixon, a beginning of his downhill slide toward Watergate," Haldeman writes.

Four days before the killings, Nixon had announced that the American war in Southeast Asia was spreading from Vietnam to Cambodia - where the Communist Viet Cong had set up operational bases.

That announcement, a stunning reversal from Nixon's election promises of a "secret plan to end the war," sparked the initial protests in Kent, on April 30.

But the demonstrations at Kent State on May 4 were also meant to voice anger at the presence of Ohio National Guard soldiers, who had come to occupy the university campus and impose a curfew.

The troops had been sent in by Ohio's tough-talking law-and-order governor, as he campaigned for election to the US senate: during the first protests there had been some vandalism in the town of Kent, and an arson attack on the campus' military officer training centre.

But Kent State was much more than a turning point in the tragicomic story of Richard Nixon, who was kicked out of office because of a break-in organised to spy on the Democratic National Committee, ensconced at Washington DC's Watergate apartment complex.

Public outrage

Four students were killed, including Elaine Holstein's son, Jeffrey Miller

The killings, and the public outrage which ensued, helped accelerate the end of the war.

"Here were kids who had been brought up to believe that America was different because we had freedom of speech," says Elaine Holstein, whose son Jeffrey Miller was killed.

She remembers how her son had promised her on the phone that nothing would happen to him that day, and how terribly wrong he was.

"I called Jeff's apartment and it rang and rang for quite a while, and some kid picked up, and I said let me talk to Jeff, and he said 'Jeff is dead'," she told us in her small Queen's apartment, her hands trembling as the emotion came flooding back with the memories.

Holstein would teach herself to pretend that Jeff was "just sleeping" in the photographs that were endlessly reprinted in newspapers and magazines, and even displayed in art shows.


The heart-rending snapshot of 14-year-old runaway Mary Ann Vecchio, screaming in anguish, was taken by student photographer John Filo. It would help mobilise some four million outraged students in the nation's first and only nationwide student strike, just days after the killings.

"That clearly had a powerful impact on congress, they started seriously to end the war in Vietnam, they started to cut off the funding" said Alan Canfora, a survivor of the shootings, and an activist who wants Barack Obama, the US president, to open a new investigation into the events of that day.

Despite hundreds of photographs, hundreds of metres of film, and audio recordings of the events, no-one went to jail.

Nine years of lawsuits ended in a carefully-worded expression of regret by the soldiers and the state of Ohio, and a meager financial settlement.

Still, demonstrators against today's American wars told us that Kent State remains an inspiration.

Talking in front of the White House at an anti-war rally in March, 20-something Ryan Smith said: "Back then they were doing it for Vietnam, today we're doing it for Iraq and Afghanistan. All we can say to them [is] that it lives on - the spirit lives on."

And that is how Elaine Holstein feels.

The mother who needs to pretend her son is sleeping just so that she can bear to look at the famous photograph memorialising his death, still feels Jeff's spirit and still sees the ghost of Kent State, when she sees students anywhere in the world stand up to the state.

U.S. Has 5,113 Nuclear Warheads

The United States has 5,113 nuclear warheads in its stockpile and "several thousand" more retired warheads awaiting the junkpile, the Pentagon said Monday in an unprecedented accounting of a secretive arsenal born in the Cold War and now shrinking rapidly.

The Obama administration disclosed the size of its atomic stockpile going back to 1962 as part of a campaign to get other nuclear nations to be more forthcoming, and to improve its bargaining position against the prospect of a nuclear Iran.

"We think it is in our national security interest to be as transparent as we can be about the nuclear program of the United States," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters at the United Nations, where she addressed a conference on containing the spread of atomic weapons.

Malcom X still lives on

Thomas Hagan, the only man who admitted his role in the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X, was freed on Tuesday, a day earlier than planned.

The New York State Department of Correctional Services said that his early release was because the paperwork was processed more quickly than anticipated.

Hagan, 69, had been partially free on work release for the last 22 years, although he was still required to spend two nights a week at a low-security Manhattan prison, that was located at the intersection of West 110th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard.
He was a member of the Nation of Islam movement on February 21, 1965, when he shot Malcolm X at the Audubon Ballroom in New York.

"I have deep regrets about my participation in that," Hagan said last month.
"I don't think it should ever have happened."

Hagan, assisted by two accomplices who created a distraction in the audience, shot Malcolm X in front of a crowd of hundreds, including his young children, as the civil rights leader began a speech.

Oil giant BP has said that it will pay for all the cleanup costs from a ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico that could continue spewing crude oil for at least another week.

The British company issued a statement on its website on Monday, saying that it took responsibility for the Deepwater Horizon spill and would pay compensation for legitimate claims for property damage, personal injury and commercial losses.
"We are responsible, not for the accident, but we are responsible for the oil and for dealing with it and cleaning the situation up," Tony Hayward, BP's chief executive, said on Monday on the TV show, Good Morning America.
He said that the equipment that failed on the rig and led to the spill belonged to a company called Transocean, and not BP.

Guy Cantwell, a Transocean spokesman, said that they would not speculate but rather wait for all the facts before drawing a conclusion.

Times Square: Failed Terror Attack

So much for a beautiful day at Times Square,A friend was around those areas when they were told to clear out. Wow.... she admits it was quite a scare.

So here is the latest:

Faisal Shahzad is believed to have bought the vehicle (CASH) found in Times Square,thanks to technology this man was found trying to board a Dubai-bound flight. US law enforcement officials said Shahzad, a 30-year-old naturalised US citizen of Pakistani origin, would appear in court later in the day to face charges "for allegedly driving a car bomb into Times Square on the evening of May 1".

Iran, US take their nuclear dispute to UN stage

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad brought his nuclear showdown with Western powers to New York on Monday, turning a U.N. treaty conference into a stage for the long-running confrontation over Iran's uranium enrichment program.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, opening the monthlong review of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), directly challenged Tehran.
"The onus is on Iran to clarify the doubts and concerns about its program," the U.N. chief told the delegates from 189 nations.

He called on the Tehran government "to fully comply with Security Council resolutions" demanding that it halt enrichment, which Washington and others contend is meant to produce the nuclear fuel for bombs in violation of Iran's NPT obligations.

Ahmadinejad, the only head of state participating in the session, was scheduled to speak later Monday morning.
Departing Tehran on Sunday, the Iranian leader made clear he would assail U.S.-led efforts to impose a new round of U.N. sanctions on his country. "Under the pretext of prevention of nuclear weapons proliferation, they impose heavy pressures on independent countries," Ahmadinejad complained to reporters.

He is also expected to counter with a denunciation of the United States and other nuclear-armed nations for their slow movement toward disarmament. "The atomic bomb has become a tool for bullying, domination and expansionism," he said Sunday.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, following Ahmadinejad to the U.N. stage later Monday, suggested over the weekend he was coming to New York "to divert attention and confuse the issue."

"We're not going to permit Iran to try to change the story from their failure to comply" with the NPT, she said on Sunday's "Meet the Press" on NBC.

While delegates assess the state of the NPT in U.N. conference halls, American and European diplomats will be working elsewhere to reach agreement with the sometimes reluctant China and Russia on a fourth round of U.N. Security Council economic penalties to impose on Iran.

Although Ahmadinejad's presence meant the first-day agenda was dominated by the Iran issue, it was only the beginning of a four-week diplomatic marathon meant to produce a consensus final document pointing toward ways to better achieve the NPT's goals of checking the spread of nuclear weapons, while working toward reducing and eventually eliminating them.

The treaty is regarded as the world's single most important pact on nuclear arms, credited with preventing their proliferation to dozens of nations since it entered into force in 1970. It was a grand global bargain: Nations without nuclear weapons committed not to acquire them; those with them committed to move toward their elimination; and all endorsed everyone's right to develop peaceful nuclear energy.

The 189 treaty members gather every five years to discuss new approaches to problems, by agreeing, for example, that the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear inspection agency, should be strengthened. The only countries that are not treaty members are India, Pakistan, North Korea, all of which have nuclear arsenals or weapons programs, and Israel, which has an unacknowledged nuclear arsenal.

But the NPT conference cannot easily "name and shame" an alleged treaty violator, such as Iran, since as a member state its delegation would block consensus.

At three of seven past conferences, delegates failed to produce a declaration, including in 2005, at a time when the U.S. administration, under President George W. Bush, was unenthusiastic about arms control talks.

President Barack Obama has steered the U.S. back onto a negotiating track, including with a new U.S.-Russian agreement to reduce their thousands of long-range nuclear arms. Despite that, Libran N. Cabactulan, the Philippine diplomat who is president of this 2010 NPT conference, said he finds the No. 1 goal of many treaty nations is to press the NPT nuclear powers — also including Britain, France and China — to move more rapidly toward disarmament.

In his opening remarks, the U.N.'s Ban listed "real gains for disarmament" as his first "benchmark for success."

To that end, the Nonaligned Movement of 118 developing nations has submitted to the conference a detailed "plan of action" for moving toward global nuclear disarmament by 2030. One its earliest steps is full ratification and entry into force of the 1996 treaty banning all nuclear tests.

In the first concrete step associated with this 2010 meeting, Indonesia announced last week it would ratify the test-ban treaty. Obama has pledged to push for U.S. ratification of the pact, which was rejected by the Republican
majority in the U.S. Senate in 1999


Hugo Chavez (1954 - ) is a former Army Lieutenant Colonel and the current President of Venezuela. A populist, Chávez has instituted what he calls a “Bolivarian Revolution” in Venezuela, where key industries have been nationalized and oil revenues are used in social programs for the poor. Hugo Chávez is a vocal critic of the United States of America, in particular former President George W. Bush, who he once famously and publicly called a “donkey.” He is very popular with poor Venezuelans, who in February of 2009 voted to abolish term limits, allowing him to run for re-election indefinitely.

Early Life:
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías was born on July 28, 1954 to a poor family in the town of Sabaneta in the province of Barinas. His father was a schoolteacher and opportunities for young Hugo were limited: he joined the military at the age of seventeen. He graduated from the Venezuelan Academy of Military Sciences when he was 21 and was commissioned as an officer. He attended college while in the military but did not get a degree. After his studies, he was assigned to a counter-insurgency unit, the start of a long and noteworthy military career. He also served as head of a paratrooper unit.
Chávez in the Military :
Chávez was a skilled officer, moving up in the ranks quickly and earning several commendations. He eventually reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He spent some time as an instructor in his old school, the Venezuelan Academy of Military Sciences. During his time in the military, he came up with “Bolivarianism,” named for the liberator of northern South America, Venezuelan Simón Bolívar. Chávez even went so far as to form a secret society within the army, the Movimiento Bolivariano Revolucionario 200, or the Bolivarian Revolutionary Movement 200. Chávez has long been an admirer of Simón Bolívar.
The Coup of 1992:
Chávez was only one of many Venezuelans and army officers who were disgusted by corrupt Venezuelan politics, exemplified by President Carlos Pérez. Along with some fellow officers, Chávez decided to forcibly oust Pérez. In the morning of February 4, 1992, Chávez led five squads of loyal soldiers into Caracas, where they were to seize control of important targets including the Presidential Palace, the airport, the Defense Ministry and the military museum. All around the country, sympathetic officers seized control of other cities. Chávez and his men failed to secure Caracas, however and the coup was quickly put down.
Prison and Entry Into Politics:
Chávez was allowed to go on television to explain his actions, and the poor people of Venezuela identified with him. He was sent to prison but vindicated the following year when President Pérez was convicted in a massive corruption scandal. Chávez was pardoned by President Rafael Caldera in 1994 and soon entered politics. He turned his MBR 200 society into a legitimate political party, the Fifth Republic Movement (abbreviated as MVR) and in 1998 ran for president.
Chávez was elected in a landslide at the end of 1998, racking up 56% of the vote. Taking office in February 1999, he quickly began implementing aspects of his “Bolivarian” brand of socialism. Clinics were set up for the poor, construction projects were approved and social programs were added. Chávez wanted a new constitution and the people approved first the assembly and then the constitution itself. Among other things, the new constitution officially changed the name of the country to the “Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.” With a new constitution in place, Chávez had to run for re-election: he won easily.
Venezuela’s poor loved Chávez, but the middle and upper classed despised him. On April 11, 2002, a demonstration in support of the national oil company’s management (recently fired by Chávez) turned into a riot when the demonstrators marched on the presidential palace, where they clashed with pro-Chavez forces and supporters. Chávez briefly resigned and the United States was quick to recognize the replacement government. When pro-Chavez demonstrations broke out all over the country, he returned and resumed his presidency on April 13. Chávez has always believed that the United States was behind the attempted coup.
Political Survivor:
Chávez has proven to be a tough and charismatic leader. His administration survived a recall vote in 2004, and used the results as a mandate to expand social programs. He has emerged as a leader in the new Latin American leftist movement and has close ties with leaders such as Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo. His administration even survived a 2008 incident when laptops seized from Colombian Marxist rebels seemed to indicate that Chávez was funding them in their struggle against the Colombian government.
Chávez and the US:
Much like his mentor Fidel Castro, Chávez has gained much politically from his open antagonism with the United States. Many Latin Americans see the United States as an economic and political bully who dictates trade terms to weaker nations: this was particularly true during the George W. Bush administration. Ever since the coup, Chávez has gone out of his way to defy the United States, establishing close ties to Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua and other nations recently unfriendly towards the US. He has often gone out of his way to rail against US imperialism, even once famously calling Bush a “donkey.”
Administration and Legacy:
Chávez is a complicated political figure who has done much for Venezuela, both good and bad. Venezuela’s oil reserves are among the largest in the world, and he has used much of the profits to benefit the poorest Venezuelans. He has improved infrastructure, education, health, literacy and other social ills from which his people suffered. Under his guidance, Venezuela has emerged as a leader in Latin America for those who do not necessarily think that the United States is always the best model to follow.

Chavez’s concern for Venezuela’s poor is genuine. The lower socioeconomic classes have rewarded Chávez with their unwavering support: they supported the new constitution and in early 2009 approved a referendum to abolish term limits on elected officials, essentially allowing him to run indefinitely.

Not everyone thinks the world of Chávez, however. Middle and upper-class Venezuelans despise him for nationalizing some of their lands and industries and have been behind the numerous attempts to oust him. Many of them fear that Chávez is building dictatorial powers, and it is true that he has a dictatorial streak in him: he has temporarily suspended Congress more than once and his 2009 referendum victory essentially allows him to be President as long as the people keep electing him.

Venezuelan elections are rarely squeaky-clean and Chávez certainly has the power to pull off any number of crooked elections, even if the people decide to stop re-electing him. He has cracked down on the press, greatly increasing restrictions as well as punishments for slander. He drove through a change in how the Supreme Court is structured, which allowed him to stack it with loyalists.

He is widely reviled in the United States for his willingness to deal with rogue nations such as Iran: conservative televangelist Pat Robertson once famously called for his assassination in 2005. His hatred for the United States government occasionally seems to approach the paranoid: he has accused them of being behind any number of plots to remove or assassinate him. This irrational hatred has driven him to pursue counter-productive strategies, such as supporting Colombian rebels, publicly denouncing Israel (resulting in hate crimes against Venezuelan Jews) and spending enormous sums on Russian-built weapons and aircraft.
Rgrds SB
{ I just got this today, thought I might also share with you because i'll be tied up at this time, for those who are interested }

Hi Sheila!!

My name is Lian Ping. I am a student ambassador to the first Global Scholars & Leaders Conference 2010 (for high school and university students), to commence on August 08 - 15, 2010 at Republic of Singapore. I am promoting this event and wish to inform you that the nomination process to this conference is open now! (Visit to find out more!)

Admission to this conference is merit-based. If you are interested to represent your country and your school in this international conference, you need to file a teacher's recommendation as supporting document. (

You will then be given Scholar ID and Enrolment Code to apply online. Enrolments are then based on academics, leadership, character and service. If you are successfully admitted, the conference will fully sponsor your return air tickets (round trip - both ways) for you to attend the conference. You need to pay for your own accommodations and fees.

**Please note that this is NOT an official invitation! If you wish to verify the authenticity, please contact the office of admissions directly. You are reminded of the Defamation Act before posting any malicious questions online. Please read now:

You may wish to contact my ambassador leader, his name is Peisen, and his profile is available at, all his personal contacts are there, you may wish to give him a call too!). Nonetheless, if you are not interested in the abovementioned event, then you may wish to ignore this message. Thank you!!!!

Cheers and regards
Lian Ping


African International Model United Nations
Oh yes, I had attended my first ever MUN and what an experience i had. So we started on the 27th of April with our first inauguration of AIMUN at the UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The opening ceremony was smoothe, and we had our first ever general plenary meeting. Then we had our informal session back at USIU with the youth session alongside the Kenyan Girl Guides Association. And what a long day it was. Day one was over, from the 28th up until the 30th of April. We were divided into Committees and as a representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya I was assigned into the Third Committee, "Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Committee". What great fun we had coming up with resolutions. It wasn't easy trust me as everyone came in with their own opinions and views, with all that confusion and debates we had it. Phewwww
In the final General Assembly we had to pass these resolutions including those from the 1st Committee (Disarmament and International Security), 2nd Committee (Economic and Financial Council), the 4th Committee (Special Politics and decolonization). And the best news was that our resolutions will be viewed at the UN Headquaters in New York. YEEEIIIIIII
Great work guys
I learnt so much and i can't wait for the many MUN's that will come my way.
A house that clearly bears Louis Vuitton in Maxicali, Mexico. Either they are fans or they are crazyyyy fans. They might be expecting a call from the Designers lawyers, it is illegal isnt it?
Im a major Louis fan, but not to that far extent.
Rgrds SB

Fresh hive

New hobby and i cant wait to start!.
Hope you guys will enjoy it and your feedback will make it even more interesting.