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					23 Abril de 2008
                                     PRENSA INTERNACIONAL
    PERIODICO      TITULAR
                   Clinton Wins Primary, Keeping Bid Alive

                   Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton scored a victory over Senator Barack Obama on Tuesday in
                   the Pennsylvania primary, giving her candidacy a boost as she struggles to raise money and
                   persuade party leaders to let the Democratic nomination fight go on.
                   The Pennsylvania race turned into a mammoth political battle in recent days, with both
                   candidates pouring millions of dollars into television advertising — much of it negative — and
                   criticizing each other relentlessly on the campaign trail. Mrs. Clinton questioned Mr. Obama’s
                   electability and attacked him for saying that struggling Americans were “bitter,” while Mr.
                   Obama tried to shave her lead in opinion polls.
                   Mrs. Clinton faces major challenges going forward: her campaign is essentially out of money,
                   with unpaid bills piling up, and she faces growing frustration among some Democratic
                   officials who would prefer her to end her campaign in recognition of Mr. Obama’s lead in the
                   overall popular vote of the primaries and caucuses so far, as well as his continuing edge
                   toward amassing the 2,025 delegates needed to secure the nomination.
                   With more than 80 percent of the electoral precincts reporting, Mrs. Clinton had 55 percent of
                   the vote to Mr. Obama’s 45 percent.
                   Clinton wins Pennsylvania primary

                   Hillary Clinton was on Tuesday night on course to win the Pennsylvania primary, although
                   results appeared to leave her short of the double-digit margin of victory necessary to
                   rejuvenate her prospects of securing the Democratic nomination.
                   With 84 per cent of the vote counted, she led her opponent, Barack Obama, by 55-45.
                   Earlier on Tuesday Mrs Clinton had sparked controversy when she said the US would
                   “obliterate” Iran if it used nuclear weapons against Israel.
                   If borne out by final results, her victory margin would be in danger of being too slim to
                   rekindle the flood of financial donations she would need to keep her campaign afloat for the
                   remaining six weeks of the primary calendar. It would also be too small to narrow
                   significantly Mr Obama’s 800,000-strong lead in the popular vote and 140-strong lead among
                   elected delegates.
                   Exit polls showed that Mrs Clinton performed strongly among blue-collar voters, women and
                   the elderly.
                   As expected, Mr Obama pulled in the overwhelming majority of African-American voters,
                   who are concentrated in Philadelphia, the state’s largest urban area, and had a strong lead
                   among educated white voters.
                   "Hay quebrantamientos de condena en masa. Estoy sobre un polvorín"
                   El juez que ejecuta las penas de maltratadores en Madrid denuncia el colapso

                   Eduardo López-Palop, el juez de Madrid que se ocupa en exclusiva de que los
                   maltratadores de mujeres cumplan sus condenas, se está planteando pedir el traslado a otro
                   juzgado. Las estanterías del órgano que dirige, el Penal 2 de Madrid, acumulan casi 7.000
                   sentencias de violencia de género pendientes de ejecución. "Estoy sentado sobre un
23 Abril de 2008
                   polvorín y fumando", ironiza el magistrado a EL PAÍS. Los expedientes no están parados,
                   pero requieren la máxima atención. No hay tiempo ni manos. El juez confiesa que no da
                   abasto.
                   López-Palop es un juez con un amplio bagaje profesional y muchos años de dedicación a la
                   magistratura que ya le han causado algún sinsabor que quiere evitar. Hace más de 15 años
                   fue expedientado por demoras en la tramitación de sentencias de su juzgado, uno más de
                   los muchos saturados de España.
                   Su trabajo, en una materia tan delicada como la violencia machista, es ahora un sinvivir.
                   "Cuando llego a casa por la noche y las noticias hablan de algún hombre que ha matado a
                   su esposa, se me encoge el estómago. Ya no puedo dormir esa noche pensando si será de
                   los míos y si habrá algún problema".
                   Clinton Defeats Obama In Pennsylvania Primary

                   Hillary Clinton kept her presidential candidacy alive with a decisive victory in Pennsylvania's
                   Democratic primary, but still faces long odds in her quest to overtake front-runner Barack
                   Obama on the road to the party's nomination.
                   The two candidates, badly bruised by a negative six-week campaign, already were moving
                   on to their next battlegrounds. Anticipating his loss, Sen. Obama last night was at a big rally
                   in Indiana, which votes in two weeks along with North Carolina. Sen. Clinton's campaign,
                   now struggling for cash, began airing a television ad in Indiana promising to fight for "your
                   jobs, your health care, your futures."
                   The Pennsylvania showdown was a must-win for Sen. Clinton, who trails in convention
                   delegates, numbers of contests won and total popular vote. Her campaign had hoped that a
                   big triumph would both cut into Sen. Obama's delegate lead and sow doubts about his
                   electability among the party leaders, or superdelegates, whose votes will effectively decide
                   the nominee.
                   It isn't clear whether her Pennsylvania victory will accomplish that. Tuesday night she held a
                   55%-to-45% majority, with about 94% of the vote reported -- short of the blowout many
                   strategists said she needed.
                   Clinton Defeats Obama in Pennsylvania

                   Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) claimed a much-needed victory over Sen. Barack Obama
                   (Ill.) in Pennsylvania tonight, her fourth victory in the last five contests in the Democratic
                   presidential race.
                   With more than 80 percent of precincts reporting, Clinton held a 10-point lead over Obama
                   after a campaign that turned highly negative in the final days, as Clinton questioned Obama's
                   readiness to lead the country and Obama portrayed the former first lady as a tool of
                   lobbyists.
                   "It's a long road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and it runs right through the heart of
                   Pennsylvania," Clinton said at a victory rally in Philadelphia tonight. "You know the stakes
                   are high and the challenges are great. But you also know the possibilities," she told the
                   assembled crowd who began chanting "Yes She Can", a takeoff on Obama's familiar "Yes
                   We Can" motto.
                   Clinton seemed determined to remain in the contest despite some Democratic calls for her to
                   abandon her candidacy, insisting that the American people were owed a "president who
                   won't quit" and predicted that "the tide is turning" in the nomination fight.
23 Abril de 2008

                               PRENSA INTERNACIONAL / REVISTAS *

    REVISTA        NOTA TITULAR
                   How to Win the War on Global Warming

                   Americans don't like to lose wars—which makes sense, since we have so little practice with
                   it. Of course, a lot depends on how you define just what a war is. There are shooting wars—
                   the kind that test our mettle and our patriotism and our resourcefulness and our courage—
                   and those are the kind at which we excel. But other struggles test those qualities too. What
                   else was the Great Depression or the space race or the construction of the railroads or the
                   eradication of polio but a massive, often frightening challenge that we decided as a culture
                   we ought to rise up and face? If we indulge in a bit of chest-thumping and flag-waving when
                   the job is done, well, we earned it.
                   We are now faced with a similarly momentous challenge: global warming. The steady
                   deterioration of the very climate of our very planet is becoming a war of the first order, and
                   by any measure, the U.S. is losing. Indeed, if we're fighting at all—and by most accounts,
                   we're not—we're fighting on the wrong side. The U.S. produces nearly a quarter of the
                   world's greenhouse gases each year and has stubbornly made it clear that it doesn't intend
                   to do a whole lot about it. Although 174 nations ratified the admittedly flawed Kyoto accords
                   to reduce carbon levels, the U.S. walked away from them. While even developing China has
                   boosted its mileage standards to 35� m.p.g., the U.S. remains the land of the Hummer.
                   Destination Martyrdom
                   What drove so many Libyans to volunteer as suicide bombers for the war in Iraq? A visit to
                   their hometown—the dead-end city of Darnah.

                   Even before he vanished, Abd Al-Salam Bin-Ali was an easy young man to miss. Pale, lanky
                   and blind in one eye, the unobtrusive 20-year-old didn't leave much of an impression in
                   Darnah, his hometown in eastern Libya. In school he had studied to become a veterinarian,
                   but after graduation he couldn't find a job. "The economic situation was terrible," recalls his
                   older brother, Abd al-Hamid. "He was looking for work every day." Sometimes Abd al-Salam
                   would set up a folding table in Darnah's Old City and hawk cheap perfumes.
                   Unmarried, with few prospects, he still lived with his mother. At home, for distraction, he
                   would sprawl in front of the family television and watch "Lion of the Desert," the 1981 epic of
                   Libyan resistance fighters starring Anthony Quinn. Abd al-Salam had seen it over and over.
                   As the war in Iraq dragged on, he also tuned in to Al-Jazeera. Nobody in the family had
                   supported the American invasion, but Abd al-Salam was particularly affected by the bloody
                   images he saw on the Arabic cable news channel. He sometimes teased his mother that he
                   wanted to run away to fight the Americans. Before she could protest too much, he always
                   backed down. "No, no, no—don't worry, Mom," he would say with a laugh.
                   The silent tsunami

                   Food prices are causing misery and strife around the world. Radical solutions are needed
                   Getty ImagesPICTURES of hunger usually show passive eyes and swollen bellies. The
                   harvest fails because of war or strife; the onset of crisis is sudden and localised. Its burden
23 Abril de 2008
                   falls on those already at the margin.
                   Today's pictures are different. “This is a silent tsunami,” says Josette Sheeran of the World
                   Food Programme, a United Nations agency. A wave of food-price inflation is moving through
                   the world, leaving riots and shaken governments in its wake. For the first time in 30 years,
                   food protests are erupting in many places at once. Bangladesh is in turmoil (see article);
                   even China is worried (see article). Elsewhere, the food crisis of 2008 will test the assertion
                   of Amartya Sen, an Indian economist, that famines do not happen in democracies.
                   Famine traditionally means mass starvation. The measures of today's crisis are misery and
                   malnutrition. The middle classes in poor countries are giving up health care and cutting out
                   meat so they can eat three meals a day. The middling poor, those on $2 a day, are pulling
                   children from school and cutting back on vegetables so they can still afford rice.
                   The Brothers Behind Ultimate Fighting
                   Matthew Miller 04.16.08, 6:00 PM ET
                   Billionaire brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta made their first fortunes in casinos. Then in
                   2001 they paid $2 million for a violent fighting outfit called Ultimate Fighting Championship--
                   and built it into a money machine. These days, UFC controls more than 90% of the "mixed
                   martial arts" industry, and is worth perhaps $1 billion.

                   Ultimate Cash Machine
                   Matthew Miller 05.05.08, 12:00 AM ET
                   Casino moguls Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta bought a violent fight club called Ultimate Fighting
                   Championship--and built it into a billion-dollar sports empire.
                   On the evening before the Super Bowl a mix of celebrities (including home run king Barry
                   Bonds and hip-hop impresario Jay-Z), high rollers and rabid fans crammed into the 12,000-
                   seat arena at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Like spectators at a gladiator fight, they were
                   there to witness the highly charged and bizarre spectacle of men bloodying each other in
                   what's known as mixed martial arts. It was the latest fightfest staged by Ultimate Fighting
                   Championship, a Las Vegas company that started as a smutlike fight club that's now worth
                   maybe $1 billion and is drawing competitors like flies to blood.
                   What Warren thinks...
                   With Wall Street in chaos, Fortune naturally went to Omaha looking for wisdom. Warren Buffett
                   talks about the economy, the credit crisis, Bear Stearns, and more.

                   (Fortune Magazine) -- If Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting, scheduled for May 3 this year, is
                   known as the Woodstock of Capitalism, then perhaps this is the equivalent of Bob Dylan playing
                   a private show in his own house: Some 15 times a year Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett invites a
                   group of business students for an intensive day of learning. The students tour one or two of the
                   company's businesses and then proceed to Berkshire (BRKA, Fortune 500) headquarters in
                   downtown Omaha, where Buffett opens the floor to two hours of questions and answers. Later
                   everyone repairs to one of his favorite restaurants, where he treats them to lunch and root beer
                   floats. Finally, each student gets the chance to pose for a photo with Buffett.
                   In early April the megabillionaire hosted 150 students from the University of Pennsylvania's
                   Wharton School (which Buffett attended) and offered Fortune the rare opportunity to sit in as he
                   expounded on everything from the Bear Stearns (BSC, Fortune 500) bailout to the prognosis for
                   the economy to whether he'd rather be CEO of GE (GE, Fortune 500) - or a paperboy. What
                   follows are edited excerpts from his question-and-answer session with the students, his
23 Abril de 2008
                   lunchtime chat with the Whartonites over chicken parmigiana at Piccolo Pete's, and an interview
                   with Fortune in his office.
                   The World's Most Innovative Companies
                   Smart ideas for tough times: The 50 companies that make up our annual ranking nurture cultures
                   that value creative people in good times and bad

                   Suddenly, innovation has a bull's-eye on its back. As the recession debate shifts from "what if" to
                   "how long," slashing research and development budgets just got a lot more tempting. That high-
                   risk product in your pipeline? It's about to get much more scrutiny. And the "chief innovation
                   officer" your CEO brought in last year to show his commitment to creativity? He'd better start
                   proving his worth. Outside consultants are starting to pick up on the effects of such belt-
                   tightening. "I'm seeing it in my business," says Jeneanne Rae, president of Alexandria (Va.)-
                   based consulting firm Peer Insight. "There's this sense of which shoe's going to drop next."
                   Others are seeing two camps emerge. "One is saying times are tough, so it's the most important
                   time for us to innovate," says Scott Anthony, president of Innosight, a consultancy founded by
                   Harvard Business School professor and innovation guru Clayton M. Christensen. "The other is
                   saying 'we simply don't have the ability to think about innovation right now.' There's a real
                   separation between the innovation haves and have-nots."
23 Abril de 2008
                                               INDICE GENERAL

               TEMA

                         City Asks For Muscle To Address 'Slumlords'                       WPost
                         Iraqi Women Take On Roles Of Dead or Missing Husbands             WPost
                         La izquierda se extiende en Suramérica                            El Pais
                         Armas, religión y desempleo en una región en declive              El Pais
                         Gaza, a punto de quedarse de nuevo sin luz                        El Pais
          ELECTRICIDAD   SURVEY: Mexico 1H April CPI Seen Easing On Power Subsidies                  WSJ
                         UPDATE: OIL DATA: Japan LNG Imports Surge On Coal Shortage                  WSJ
                         High coal prices hurt Huaneng Power                                         WSJ
                         Paraguay leader plans energy incentives to lure foreign investors           FT
                         All sides hail review of price control system                               FT
                         Ofgem launches Npower probe                                                 FT
                         Chancellor's tax defeat is déjà vu                                          FT
23 Abril de 2008


                                                         PRENSA INTERNACIONAL

    ELECTRICIDAD

    City Asks For Muscle To Address 'Slumlords'                                                                  By Debbie Cenziper
    Proposal Would Give City More Authority, Flexibility                                                         Washington Post      Staff
    Wednesday, April 23, 2008; B01                                                                               Writer


    D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is pressing for widespread changes that would give the city more power to
    punish landlords of neglected buildings, including the authority to quickly impose civil and criminal
    penalties when owners refuse to make repairs.

    Fenty (D) also wants to allow the city to conduct quicker housing inspections, make immediate repairs
    at poorly maintained properties and provide more aid to tenants displaced from unsafe buildings. The
    proposed changes to District law, submitted to the D.C. Council this week by interim Attorney General
    Peter J. Nickles, are the latest in a series of recent efforts by council members and the Fenty
    administration to crack down on abusive landlords.

    "We're not going to let loose," Nickles said. "This would broaden the ability of the city to deal in a
    comprehensive way with slumlords. . . . It permits the city council to get on board here -- not just make
    speeches, but rather do something that would be effective."

    The city filed a lawsuit this month in D.C. Superior Court against 23 landlords and asked to have 13
    problem properties put under the control of an independent officer, or "receiver," with broad authority to
    seek fines and penalties against the owners. Nickles amended the lawsuit this week, removing the
    names of several landlords who made repairs and adding others. He also named the D.C. Housing
    Authority as the receiver.

    Nickles said the proposal submitted to the council would give the city even more muscle to take on
    troubled buildings. He said he expects the council to discuss the amendments next month.

    Several council members said they support the latest proposal.

    "We have to take every step that is constitutionally available to us," said Council member Jack Evans
    (D-Ward 2).

    Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) agreed, saying, "We have a slice of property owners who
    have just flouted the law repeatedly. . . . What you need is a deeper set of tools to go after them, and
    that's what this is all about."

    In a series of articles published last month, The Washington Post reported that dozens of landlords
    eager to convert rental apartments to condominiums had allowed their buildings to fall into disrepair to
    force tenants to move. The Post found thousands of housing code violations, including a lack of heat
    or electricity, cracked walls, and bug infestations at newly emptied buildings.
23 Abril de 2008

    The city often failed to enforce housing codes, The Post found. Almost half of the 1,000 completed
    housing code cases that the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs took to court in the past
    three years were dismissed, often because of agency mishaps.

    The changes that Fenty and Nickles propose would extend the city's authority to make immediate
    repairs at poorly maintained buildings. Currently that is allowed only at buildings with documented
    housing code violations. The proposals would also make it easier for the city to place buildings under
    receivership if a judge agrees to court oversight.

    At the same time, DCRA would have more leeway to inspect buildings when landlords or tenants
    refuse to cooperate. The proposal would provide for some relocation and storage assistance to tenants
    forced to move from buildings the city is in the process of condemning; the city now can provide aid
    only after a building has been condemned, which can take months.

    The changes would give the city the right to impose both civil and criminal fines against unresponsive
    landlords. DCRA often has to choose between civil and criminal sanctions, and Nickles said the
    process is "unwieldy and unworkable."

    Nickles said he is planning to suggest more changes to protect the District's tenants, such as requiring
    DCRA to conduct regular inspections at apartment buildings. Now, the city inspects after complaints
    are lodged.

    "The legislation would eliminate the major loopholes these recalcitrant landlords have been using for
    decades to dodge our efforts to force them to repair the horrible conditions in their buildings," DCRA
    Director Linda Argo said.

    Iraqi Women Take On Roles Of Dead or Missing Husbands                                                      By Ernesto Londoño
    For One Mother, AK-47 Brings Some Comfort                                                                  Washington Post Foreign
    Wednesday, April 23, 2008; A01                                                                             Service


    BAGHDAD, April 22 -- Sabriyah Hilal Abadi began sleeping with a loaded AK-47 by her bed shortly
    after the war began.

    It was a comforting possession for a woman who had lost her home, her husband and, last weekend, a
    room in a dilapidated building she shared with 27 squatter families, most headed by women.

    The mother of four fought mightily to stay in the sparse, two-story building in the Zayouna
    neighborhood of Baghdad that once belonged to Hussein's Baath Party, but soldiers forced her out.

    Iraq's government is intent on proving it can enforce the law. But in its determination to rid the party
    building of its squatters, the women say, the government has plunged them deeper into homelessness
    and may have pushed others toward violence.

    Thousands of Iraqi women have in recent years embraced new roles as violence has claimed their
    men. For Abadi, 43, the turning point came when she accepted the powerful assault rifle from friends
23 Abril de 2008
    concerned about her welfare.

    "Before the invasion -- never," said Abadi, who oscillated between rage and sadness during three
    interviews. Speaking about the army, she waggled her finger. Speaking about her son in college, she
    looked dismal. Speaking about her old house, she began to weep.

    Times have changed, she said. "The women now take on the responsibilities of men and women."

    Nearly 1 million women in Iraq are widows or divorcees, or their husbands are missing, according to
    Samira al-Mosawi, a Shiite member of parliament who heads the women's affairs committee. She said
    the number, an estimate reached by several government agencies, includes women who became
    widows during Iraq's war with Iran in the 1980s.

    Mosawi said approximately 86,000 widows are receiving about $40 a month from the government. Aid
    organizations and government agencies are unable to help more widows because of a lack of funds
    and the challenges of doing social work in volatile neighborhoods.

    "Frankly speaking, there's not much attention paid to the social issues in the country," she said in an
    interview. "Attention goes to security and defense."

    Before U.S. troops strode into Baghdad in the spring of 2003, Abadi worked as a seamstress to
    complement the earnings of her husband, who worked at a government factory.

    She was optimistic during the days after the invasion. Her impressions of Americans, shaped largely
    by a news story she saw on television, gave her hope. The story was about an hours-long effort to
    rescue a cat stuck in a sewage pipe.

    "If those people are so good to the animals," she said, "I was expecting good things."

    But the invasion and its aftermath brought more troubles than blessings.

    When the family's rent rose from about $20 a month to more than $80, Abadi moved into the building
    that had housed Saddam Hussein's Baath Party after the structure had been looted and set ablaze.

    "During Saddam's time, no one had a right to raise rent on the people," she said. "After the invasion,
    the rules were gone."

    The building had no windows or doors, she said. Inside she found mounds of debris and ashes. "It took
    me one day just to clear a path so I could sleep," she said.

    Soon, 27 other Shiite families joined her, each occupying a small room. They got the electricity running
    and the water flowing and began operating like an extended family that included 43 children. Only
    eight of the families were led by men.

    After the invasion, crime became rampant in Baghdad. Then sectarian violence flared. Mass bombings
    became routine. And kidnappings occurred daily.
23 Abril de 2008
    Abadi's husband and a friend were taken in July 2005.

    "They entered an area they weren't supposed to enter," she said, sounding numb. "Armed men took
    them with their car."

    Betoul Jawad, 45, lost her husband in July 2006. Men called her and asked for prepaid phone cards as
    a condition to let her speak to her husband. She bought the cards but did not get him on the line. The
    men stopped calling.

    "We lost contact with him," she said. "We don't know anything."

    A third woman interrupted to provide the name of her husband. "Can you run his name through the
    computer?" she asked.

    The war in Iraq has displaced about 2.7 million residents, according to the International Organization
    for Migration, an intergovernmental organization. Hundreds have occupied government buildings, a
    situation Iraqi officials say is untenable.

    The campaign to evict squatters from these buildings was one of the cornerstones of a plan launched
    last year to improve security.

    Brig. Gen. Abdullah Abdul Karim Abdul Sattar, commander of the Iraqi army brigade responsible for
    Zayouna, said squatters have brought crime to neighborhoods. He said many rent out their own
    houses in other parts of the city.

    "Every government building should be empty from intruders," he said in an interview in his office, which
    is decorated with several photographs of him with Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in
    Iraq. "Many of these families have houses."

    The general said a member of the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia loyal to anti-American cleric Moqtada al-
    Sadr, lived in the building in Zayouna. Iraq's government, controlled by political parties at odds with
    Sadr's, has cracked down on the militia in recent weeks.

    Abadi acknowledged that the Mahdi Army member was a resident and said that she often urged him to
    leave the militia.

    Early this month, the residents were given two weeks to abandon the building. Initially, Abadi was
    defiant. "I will stay inside and have them destroy the building over my head," she said at the time.

    If they were forced out, she said, her son Muqdam, 19, an engineering student, might be forced to drop
    out of college to help support the family.

    "This is how you push young men to become terrorists," she said angrily, as her son stood quietly
    nearby, clicking on a cellphone, eyes downcast.

    The women in the building should lead the fight, Abadi decided. Shortly after the soldiers gave them an
    ultimatum, she packed the women into a handful of taxis and traveled to the military base where Abdul
23 Abril de 2008
    Sattar works.

    Soldiers at a checkpoint told the women the general was not inside. The women assumed he was lying
    and walked toward the building.

    "Shots were fired in the air," Abadi said.

    Instead of turning back, the women ran toward the base until soldiers pulled them away. As they left,
    dejected, she noticed that one of the soldiers was weeping.

    Abdul Sattar confirmed Abadi's account but denied that his men had fired their weapons.

    Days later, soldiers placed waist-high yellow cement blocks around the former Baath Party building.
    They cut off the power and knifed the water tanks, residents said.

    Abadi never used her AK-47 to defend her building. Iraqi soldiers confiscated it.

    She later noted, in a moment of levity, that she had fired it only once, when a stray cat sneaked into
    her room at night, making her think an intruder had broken in.

    Days after the yellow blocks were laid, a thicker wall was built around them and concertina wire was
    fixed on the roof. Soldiers told the residents that the men would be arrested if they didn't leave, Abadi
    said.

    The Mahdi Army member in the building warned soldiers the militia would retaliate, Abdul Sattar said.

    The residents decided that the men should leave, at least temporarily, thinking that the women might
    be better suited to stave off eviction.

    But soldiers rolled in on Friday and took over the building. One by one, the families left. Some called
    relatives and asked for shelter.

    Abadi moved in with her brother and his wife in Amin district, in eastern Baghdad, where they share a
    room. She is looking for a new place to stay. Amin is far more dangerous than Zayouna, she said, and
    her two sons now have longer commutes to class.

    An Iraqi army convoy driving toward the former Baath Party building was attacked with a roadside
    bomb over the weekend, Abdul Sattar said. He said it had probably been placed in retaliation for the
    eviction.

    When Abadi heard about the bomb, she asked whether it had killed anyone. "Thank God," she said,
    upon learning that no soldiers had been hurt. "They follow orders. They have not done anything
    wrong."

    La izquierda se extiende en Suramérica                                                                      JORGE MARIRRODRIGA -
    La región, excepto Colombia, queda en manos de reformistas y radicales                                      Asunción
    23/04/2008
23 Abril de 2008


    Con la victoria de Fernando Lugo en las presidenciales paraguayas del pasado domingo, el mapa
    político suramericano ha quedado, a excepción de Colombia, en manos de la izquierda. Pero las
    profundas diferencias que hay entre los dos modelos existentes -uno de corte socialdemócrata y otro
    populista revolucionario-, hacen necesario esperar a las primeras medidas que adoptará a partir del
    15 de agosto el nuevo presidente paraguayo para determinar en cuál de los dos modelos de izquierda
    se encuadra su país.
    En cualquier caso, la histórica derrota del Partido Colorado supone el hundimiento de un partido
    tradicional y su sustitución, con un amplio respaldo en las urnas, por una nueva fuerza surgida desde
    la izquierda. Igual que en los casos de Venezuela, Ecuador o Bolivia. El venezolano Hugo Chávez fue
    de los primeros en felicitar a Lugo nada más conocerse los primeros resultados, aunque el presidente
    electo paraguayo asegura que no sigue la línea del venezolano. "Soy una línea intermedia entre
    Chávez y Lula", declaró a este diario la semana pasada. Y hoy en la prensa brasileña asegura que se
    siente más identificado con el uruguayo Tabaré Vázquez.

    A la espera de ver qué rumbo adopta el nuevo Gobierno paraguayo, el brasileño Lula da Silva ya ha
    movido sus piezas, dando una de cal y otra de arena. Ha recibido a Lugo como candidato y ha sido de
    los primeros en felicitarle como presidente, pero al mismo tiempo ha subrayado que Brasil no
    renegociará el tratado que regula la distribución de la electricidad que genera la estratégica presa de
    Itaipú, fronteriza entre ambos países.

    En lo que a Brasil se refiere, la victoria de Lugo tiene el efecto de colocar definitivamente a Lula como
    el referente moderado de la región. Son las cosas de la política. Habría que recordar que el ex
    sindicalista empleó las dos semanas anteriores a su primera victoria electoral, en octubre de 2002, en
    tranquilizar a los mercados, empresarios e inversores preocupados por la inminente llegada del
    Partido de los Trabajadores al poder.

    También queda como referente moderado de la izquierda el Chile de la socialista Michelle Bachelet,
    quien gobierna con la Concertación, donde está presente la Democracia Cristiana. En este sentido, la
    presencia fundamental del Partido Liberal paraguayo en la coalición que lidera Lugo puede
    desempeñar un papel similar de freno en las políticas de izquierda. De hecho, el vicepresidente
    electo, Federico Franco, no oculta sus simpatías por José María Aznar.

    A estos dos países se unen Uruguay, con Tabaré Vázquez, y sobre todo Perú, con el socialista Alan
    García al frente. Entre los países de izquierda moderada, Perú es el único cuyo Gobierno ha
    protagonizado un violento choque dialéctico con el populismo revolucionario liderado por Chávez.
    Además de los insultos personales cruzados entre ambos mandatarios, las relaciones diplomáticas
    están rotas. Perú es una de las piezas clave del rompecabezas político latinoamericano, tanto que
    Washington ha ratificado rápidamente un Tratado de Libre Comercio con Lima, incluso antes del que
    tiene con su teóricamente mejor aliado en la región, Colombia, que todavía está pendiente de la
    ratificación estadounidense.

    Frente a ese modelo se sitúan Venezuela, Bolivia y Ecuador, con un patrón similar de llegada al
    poder, hundimiento de los partidos tradicionales, replanteamiento del orden constitucional, control
    estatal de los recursos energéticos y una política internacional que no elude el conflicto diplomático.
    En este aspecto, Lugo ha anunciado que en 2009 modificará la Constitución paraguaya y que se van
23 Abril de 2008
    a expropiar tierras y revisar el precio de la electricidad que el país exporta. Chávez y Evo Morales
    reivindican el marxismo y la revolución como forma de gobierno y de "liberación" de Latinoamérica.
    Correa es más moderado en las formas, pero sigue un guión similar.

    Con un pie en cada orilla de la izquierda está Argentina, donde el partido tradicional y hegemónico
    que es el peronismo se proclama de centro-izquierda y mantiene buenas relaciones prácticamente
    con todos los Gobiernos de la región. Sin embargo, se aprecia una deriva constante y mantenida
    hacia el populismo y los métodos autoritarios. Un hecho que se refleja en el empleo de la violencia
    política oficialista contra manifestantes opositores o las amenazas a la libertad de prensa apoyadas en
    informes académicos. La propia presidenta Cristina Fernández ha comenzado a definir a su Gabinete
    como "gobierno popular".

    Armas, religión y desempleo en una región en declive                                                       JAVIER DEL PINO -
    La recesión económica es la principal preocupación en Pensilvania                                          Filadelfia
    23/04/2008


    El aspecto actual de la Pensilvania industrial, con fábricas cerradas y una tasa creciente de
    desempleo, es la imagen de un Estado sumido en una depresión que no parece sólo económica, sino
    también psicológica. Éste es un territorio en el que la población envejece, los puestos de trabajo
    emigran a China y el salario es más bajo que en el resto del país. Que el petróleo alcanzara ayer el
    valor más alto de su historia es una casualidad del destino especialmente singular, porque recordó a
    los votantes su preocupación fundamental: llegar a fin de mes.

    Un comentarista político en la radio local decía que hay tres preocupaciones fundamentales en la
    mente del votante de Pensilvania: la economía, la economía y la economía. Una encuesta de
    Universidad de Quinnipiac revela que la situación financiera personal y del país es la inquietud
    prioritaria en la mente del 49% de los votantes. La guerra en Irak y la reforma del sistema sanitario
    aparecían a enorme distancia de la ansiedad que ha provocado aquí el enfriamiento de la economía y
    el declive industrial.

    Hasta hace una década, uno de cada ocho trabajadores de Pensilvania estaba empleado por el sector
    industrial, pero en los últimos siete años se ha perdido uno de cada cuatro de esos empleos.
    Pensilvania se ha convertido en poco tiempo en uno de los cinco Estados con mayor aumento del
    desempleo, y tiene más elementos para la depresión: el sueldo en la industria es de 43.000 dólares al
    año (28.000 euros), por debajo de los 53.000 dólares (35.000 euros) que se cobra de media en el
    resto del país. En otros sectores como el textil el número de puestos de trabajo es 20 veces inferior al
    de hace tres décadas.

    Y es, en efecto, un Estado en el que las armas y la religión están tan metidas en la cultura popular
    como las fiestas en las boleras los sábados por la tarde, algo que Barack Obama expresó con torpeza
    en esta campaña al vincularlo a la amargura de los desempleados.

    Con una pegatina de Obama en la solapa, Elizabeth Lynch, universitaria, dice que la gente de su edad
    está angustiada: "En Pensilvania ocurre como en otros Estados industriales: la gente joven abandona
    las zonas rurales e intenta buscar fortuna en las grandes ciudades. Pero éste es un Estado de clase
    trabajadora, y la gente sabe que Hillary Clinton no siempre ha estado con ellos". Se refiere en
23 Abril de 2008
    particular al voto favorable de Clinton a la Ley de Bancarrota que protegía a los empresarios a costa
    del sacrificio de empleos. Cuando preguntaron a Clinton por ese voto en un mitin reciente, la aspirante
    demócrata hizo un ejercicio incomparable de ambigüedad política al decir que ciertamente votó a
    favor, pero con la esperanza silenciosa de que la ley nunca se aprobara.

    Conscientes de que la clave de la victoria no es quién gana sino por cuánto gana, Clinton y Obama
    han recorrido intensamente el Estado con una promesa común: la creación de empleo. Los dos
    prometen aumentar los impuestos a las empresas que deslocalicen empleos y prometen revisar y
    renegociar el Tratado de Libre Comercio de Estados Unidos, Canadá y México. Ella quiere penalizar
    comercialmente a los países que inunden el mercado con productos de coste ridículamente bajo y él
    quiere potenciar la inversión laboral en la fabricación de biocombustibles.

    Esa opción es atractiva sobre el papel pero dudosa sobre el terreno. En Lancaster, en el corazón
    agrario del Estado, muchos campos de los amish están dedicados ya al cultivo de maíz para la
    fabricación de combustibles de origen vegetal. Con su barba y su atuendo tradicional, un miembro de
    esta religión -prefiere no dar su nombre- asegura que no ha visto a nadie hacer campaña en esa
    zona. Dado que no tienen electricidad, la única manera de hacer campaña es a la antigua usanza, a
    pie, un sacrificio que ahora es excesivo pero que puede ser necesario en noviembre cuando hasta el
    último voto sea imprescindible. Exentos de impuestos y seguridad social, sólo les preocupa la
    prohibición del aborto y la oposición a los derechos homosexuales. "Muy pocos votamos, y quienes lo
    hacen votan siempre republicano", dice.

    Para los demócratas, Pensilvania es uno de esos Estados indispensables. Ronald Reagan y George
    H. Bush fueron los últimos republicanos que ganaron aquí, lo cual certifica que es un territorio
    dispuesto a inclinarse hacia cualquiera de los dos lados. Después de votar en el cuartel de bomberos
    de la calle 10 en Filadelfia, Michelle Tan confiesa que su corazón es de Clinton, pero su cerebro es
    demócrata, y con Obama la victoria en noviembre es más factible: "Lo que necesitamos es una
    mayoría capaz de ganar en noviembre. Si Obama es el candidato, algunos republicanos votarán por
    él en noviembre, pero Hillary es una figura más polémica. La gente parece no recordar lo mucho que
    los republicanos odian a Hillary".

    Gaza, a punto de quedarse de nuevo sin luz                                                          EFE - Gaza
    La única planta eléctrica de la Franja cerrará mañana por la falta de combustible debido al bloqueo
    israelí
     22/04/2008


    La única planta de electricidad de la Franja de Gaza dejará de funcionar mañana por la falta de
    combustible originada por el bloqueo israelí, según el subdirector de la Autoridad de Energía
    palestina, Kanan Obaid. Las autoridades palestinas han denunciado que desde hace 13 días, Israel
    ha congelado el suministro de todo tipo de combustible, incluido el fuel necesario para la planta de
    electricidad.

    "Mañana por la tarde, se agotará el diesel industrial acumulado y la actividad de la planta cesará", ha
    informado Obaid, quien ha agregado que "el desabastecimiento total de electricidad en la Franja será

    del 35%, mientras que en la ciudad de Gaza se elevará
23 Abril de 2008

    al 50%".

    El pasado 9 de abril, Israel estrechó el cerco a Gaza, habitado por millón y medio de personas,
    después de que milicianos palestinos mataran a dos civiles israelíes en el paso fronterizo de Nahal
    Oz, terminal por la que se canaliza el combustible a la Franja. Hasta esa fecha, las autoridades
    israelíes permitían de forma limitada la entrada en la franja de cargamentos de combustible para la
    estación de electricidad, así como gas para cocinar.

    El bloqueo israelí se inició en junio de 2007 después de que el movimiento islamista Hamás se hiciera
    con el control de la Franja de Gaza tras enfrentarse a las fuerzas leales al presidente de la Autoridad
    Nacional Palestina (ANP) y líder del movimiento nacionalista Al Fatah, Mahmud Abbas.

    La planta de Gaza produce entre 50 y 80 megavatios de electricidad cuando cuenta con el suficiente
    combustible y funciona a pleno rendimiento. Además, Israel suministra 20 megavatios de luz a las
    poblaciones fronterizas y del norte de la franja mediterránea, mientras que Egipto aporta 20
    megavatios en la zona sur de este territorio.

    SURVEY: Mexico 1H April CPI Seen Easing On Power Subsidies                                                By Ken Parks
                                                                                                              Of DOW JONES
    DOW JONES NEWSWIRES                                                                                       NEWSWIRES
    April 22, 2008 1:58 p.m.

    Consumer Price Index
          1H-Apr 1H-Mar 1H-Feb 1HApr/07 2007
    Forecast -0.10% +0.16% +0.20% +0.10% ----
    Actual --- +0.48% +0.13% -0.21% +3.76%


    MEXICO CITY (Dow Jones)--Mexico's consumer price index probably eased during the first half of
    April, thanks to the start of summertime electricity subsidies.

    A Dow Jones Newswires survey of 20 economists produced a median estimate of a 0.10% decline in
    the CPI in the first two weeks of the month.

    Since the result would be less than the year-ago decline, the annual inflation rate would rise to 4.37%
    from 4.25% at the end of March.

    Lower prices for electricity "should have somewhat eased upward pressure emanating from
    agricultural prices on non-core inflation," research firm IDEAglobal said in a note.

    The federal government starts summertime electricity subsidies in several states, which are major
    electricity consumers, in April.

    The more closely watched core index - which excludes the cost of energy and fresh fruit and
    vegetables - is seen rising 0.14% in the first half of April, according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey
    of 19 economists.
23 Abril de 2008

    That would push the annual rate up to 4.39% from 4.34% at the end of last month.

    The Bank of Mexico has an inflation target of 3% as measured by the CPI, but considers a range of
    one percentage point on either side of its target to take into account temporary price shocks from
    volatile items such as fresh produce.

    Inflationary pressures from rising energy and food prices have proven a headache for policy makers
    since early 2007, when surging corn prices led to big jump in the cost of tortillas, a key staple of the
    Mexican diet.

    Since then other processed foods such as dairy products and bread have registered price increases as
    rising global economic growth and a growing biofuels industry have pushed up demand for grains and
    milk.

    The central bank Friday held the overnight rate at 7.5%, and warned that it sees growing risks to
    inflation in coming months as the costs of foodstuffs and raw materials have risen more than expected
    this year, while new taxes are also starting to affect some prices.

    As a result, the central bank said it will revise its inflation forecast on April 30.

    In its most recent forecast, the central bank said it expects inflation to run between 3.75% and 4.25%
    during the first quarter, accelerate to 4%-4.5% in the second and third quarters, before moving toward
    its target in late 2009.

    "The speed at which annual inflation falls from its maximum level could be slower than previously
    thought, which would lead the Bank of Mexico to hold back on lowering rates. In addition, recent
    pressures suggest that monetary policy should remain neutral," Ixe brokerage said in a note.

    The Bank of Mexico is scheduled to release its inflation report for the first half of April at 10 a.m. EDT
    (1400 GMT) Thursday.

    UPDATE: OIL DATA: Japan LNG Imports Surge On Coal Shortage                                                   DOW JONES
    April 22, 2008 11:04 p.m.                                                                                    NEWSWIRES

     (Adds outlook for LNG demand and coal supply, and analysts' comments.)

    TOKYO (Dow Jones)--Japan's liquefied natural gas imports rose sharply on year in March, as
    electricity producers struggled to secure enough coal in a tight Asia-Pacific market.

    The shift toward LNG will likely continue for the next few years, given China's rising energy demands,
    analysts said.

    Japan's LNG imports rose 19.4% on year to 6.3 million metric tons in March, while its coal imports in
    the same month fell 10.6% on year to 14.9 million tons, the Ministry of Finance said Wednesday.

    The large changes in on-year import volumes mainly resulted from China's temporary ban on coal
23 Abril de 2008
    exports during the month and disrupted coal mine operations in Australia due to bad weather.

    To cover reduced electricity output from coal-fired plants, utilities were forced to buy spot LNG
    cargoes, said Tomohiro Jikihara, analyst with Deutsche Securities Japan.

    Although coal deliveries from China appeared to be returning to normal this month, coal supplies will
    likely remain tight for a few years, said Jikihara, citing China's rising energy demand and the unclear
    outlook for Australian coal mines.

    Idemitsu Kosan Co. said Tuesday it will take about a year for output at its Ensham coal mine in
    Australia to return to full capacity after it declared force majeure earlier this year due to flooding.

    Japan's nuclear power plant operating rates are also expected to stay low, mainly due to the closure of
    the 8.2 gigawatt Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, boosting utilities' dependence on fossil
    fuels, said Hirofumi Kawachi, an analyst with Mizuho Investors Securities Co.

    High coal prices hurt Huaneng Power                                                                          By ARIES POON
    April 23, 2008                                                                                               THE WALL STREET
                                                                                                                 JOURNAL ASIA

    HONG KONG -- Huaneng Power International Inc., the largest listed Chinese power producer by
    capacity, said its first-quarter net profit fell 80% from a year earlier on higher coal prices.

    Surging coal prices have hit Chinese power producers, which have been unable to pass on the costs
    to their customers under a pricing regime tightly controlled by the Chinese government.

    Huaneng Power said net profit was 241.9 million yuan ($34.6 million), down from 1.21 billion yuan a
    year earlier, based on Chinese accounting standards.

    Last week, the company said it expected its first-quarter net profit to fall by more than 50% on higher
    coal costs, despite a 19% increase in electricity generation on the commissioning of new units and
    China's robust demand for power.

    Huaneng Power said its first-quarter revenue rose 20% to 13.53 billion yuan.

    Operating costs rose 36% to 12.32 billion yuan. The company didn't say by how much its unit fuel cost
    rose during the quarter.

    Huaneng Power said in late March that it expects its unit fuel cost to rise 18% this year, after a 10%
    increase in 2007.

    Beijing has frozen electricity tariffs since mid-2006 to control inflation, although it has a mechanism to
    allow for tariff increases if coal costs rise by 5% over a six-month period. Spot coal prices rose more
    than 10% last year and have increased by nearly 30% more so far this year.

    Pierre Lau, an analyst at Citigroup Inc., said before the results were announced: "Tariff hikes [for
    Chinese power producers] shouldn't be expected soon, as the government's priority is fighting inflation.
23 Abril de 2008
    As such, Huaneng's margin will remain [under] pressure."

    Huaneng Power said earlier that it hopes to lock in about 80% of the coal it needs for 2008 at contract
    prices.

    --Rose Yu in Shanghai contributed to the article

    Paraguay leader plans energy incentives to lure foreign investors                                           By Jude Webber in
    Published: April 23 2008 03:00 | Last updated: April 23 2008 03:00                                          Asunción


    Fernando Lugo, Paraguay's president-elect, is considering offering free energy to potential investors
    and selling stakes in public monopolies toboost economic development in a country held back by
    corruption.

    The 56-year-old former bishop, who takes office in August,said his priority was to turn the strong
    economic growth that Paraguay is enjoying thanks to the commodities boom into jobs and investment.

    One way of doing that, he said, could be to offer energy incentives to investors, giventhat Paraguay
    had the right to half the output of the Itaipú hydroelectric dam. The country has joint ownership of the
    dam with Brazil but only uses a fraction of its share of the energy. It sells the excess power to Brazil
    under a 1973 agreement that Mr Lugo claims is grossly unfair.

    "Transforming the country's agricultural-export model into an agricultural-industry model will be our
    task, and low taxes and cost-price energy . . . could be implemented for serious investors who want to
    create jobs here," Mr Lugo said.

    That could mean "free energy for a time, for say six months or a year".

    Mr Lugo said his Patriotic Alliance for Change - a broad coalition of leftist groups and liberals - would
    also study whether to impose export tariffs on soyabeans to keep a bigger share of the windfall profits
    of high commodities prices.

    Paraguay is the world's fourth-biggest soya exporter and the commodities boom helped boost the
    country's exports by 77 per cent last year. But analysts say only about a third of the crop is processed
    into pellets or oil inside the country, meaning the bulk is exported with no added value.

    Soya production is dominated by brasiguayos - Paraguayans of Brazilian origin - who are worried by
    Mr Lugo's pledges of land reform. Some smaller producers have said they will switch to other crops if
    export tariffs are applied to soya. Mr Lugo said that he would consider "either a tax or a serious
    invitation for soya to be industrialised in the country".

    Paraguay's $9bn ( £4.5bn) economy attracts little foreign investment and the biggest hurdle is its legal
    framework and corruption, which became entrenched during the 61-year rule of the Colorado party,
    defeated by Mr Lugo's alliance in elections on Sunday.

    Mr Lugo said foreign investment worth $600m was planned and that his government offered "moral
23 Abril de 2008
    authority and legal security" for companies to invest.

    He also envisaged sales of stakes in public companies, including those in the communications, water,
    electricity utilities and cement sectors. "More than privatisation, it would be capitalisation. [We could]
    sell stakes provided this guarantees efficiency," Mr Lugo said.

    All sides hail review of price control system                                                                 By Kevin Done, Aerospace
    Published: April 23 2008 03:00 | Last updated: April 23 2008 03:00                                            Correspondent


    Yesterday's announcement by Ruth Kelly, transport secretary, of a government review that should lead
    to a radical overhaul of the airport price control regime was welcomed by all sides - airlines, airports
    and the regulator.

    The challenge will be to put in place a system that can support investment in new airport capacity, at
    reasonable prices, while ensuring passengers are provided with a quality of services that will end the
    airport misery of recent years.

    While consumers want an end to "Heathrow hassle," the airlines ultimately expect the regulatory
    system to deliver a mechanism to hold the airports in check and moderate future increases in airport
    charges. They were stunned by the scale of the price rises recently approved by the Civil Aviation
    Authority, the economic regulator.

    Three airlines - Easyjet, Ryanair and BMI British Midland - and the International Air Transport
    Association are planning applications for a judicial review of the five-year charging regimes recently
    approved by the CAA for Heathrow and Gatwick airports. Ryanair says it intends to challenge charges
    at Stansted.

    BAA, the owner of all three London airports, believes that, on the contrary, the latest price settlement is
    squeezing its returns and fails to offer sufficient incentive to invest.

    Harry Bush, CAA director of economic regulation, said recently that the regulatory regime could be
    improved "by placing the interests of consumers unambiguously at the heart of the CAA's duties and
    by encouraging competition between airports and between airlines for their business".

    The present system seeks to reflect the often conflicting interests of airlines, airport operators and
    passengers. But in a clear warning to airlines angered by the scale of price increases at Heathrow and
    Gatwick, Mr Bush said it was "clear that regulatory reform is no magic bullet - airport investments and
    service quality will still need to be paid for".

    The Competition Commission has yet to make its mind up on what regulatory reforms are needed but
    said yesterday it was concerned the present system might adversely affect competition.

    Any changes to the regulatory system would not come into operation for at least six years, Ms Kelly
    said yesterday, in order not to change the price caps just agreed for Heathrow and Gatwick (and next
    year's settlement for Stansted) and to give investors at least some medium-term certainty on the
    financial outlook.
23 Abril de 2008

    The airport regime, put in place in 1986, is one of the oldest economic regulatory systems in the UK
    and Ms Kelly accepted there was an "urgent need" to consider how the framework could be updated.

    She said the government review would focus on how to provide incentives to improve the passenger
    experience, "encourage appropriate and timely investment in additional airport capacity to help deliver
    economic growth", and address the environmental impact of aviation on airport development.

    A panel of experts led by Professor Martin Cave, a regulatory economist and director of the centre for
    management under regulation at Warwick Business School, will be appointed to advise her. The CAA
    has already made clear that it wants the scope of its powers to be brought into line with those of the
    other independent utility regulators including Ofcom, Ofwat and Ofgem in the telecoms, water and
    electricity sectors.

    Currently, as the commission report pointed out yesterday, the CAA has only limited powers to
    intervene in an airport's business, once the price caps have been set for five years.

    In addition BAA, unlike other utilities, is not subject to a licence.

    Importantly there are no provisions to ring-fence the assets of any airport or for a special
    administration regime in the event that BAA was to get into financial difficulties.

    Ofgem launches Npower probe                                                                                 By Rebecca Bream, Utilities
    Published: April 23 2008 03:00 | Last updated: April 23 2008 03:00                                          Correspondent


    Energy regulator Ofgem yesterday launched an investigation into Npower, following allegations of
    misselling, which include signing up customers to energy supply contracts without their knowledge.

    Ofgem said it had started investigating "a potential breach by Npower of its licence obligations relating
    to marketing activities".

    Under the licences issued by Ofgem, gas and electricity suppliers must have "appropriate procedures"
    for selecting and training sales staff, make customers "fully aware" when they are entering into a
    supply contract, and contact the customer within 14 days to confirm they are happy to proceed.

    Ofgem said its decision to investigate "follows recent allegations that Npower sales representatives
    have been mis-selling energy contracts to customers".

    An investigation by the Sunday Times alleged that Npower staff made customers sign a form without
    revealing it was a contract, exploited people with poor English, lied about standing charges and
    pretended to be from "the electricity board". The newspaper alleged an Npower salesman, who
    claimed managers were aware of the tricks he used to win customers, admitted to persuading people
    to sign contracts by telling them they were only requesting more information.

    Npower said yesterday it would "co-operate fully" with Ofgem's investigation. The company, owned by
    RWE of Germany, said: "We were very concerned at the actions of a small number of individuals in a
23 Abril de 2008
    London sales team as reported in the Sunday Times.

    "We took swift action to take the team off the road and investigate the problem. Following an in-depth
    investigation by our audit team, disciplinary hearings have been scheduled for later this week. We
    cannot prejudge the outcome of these meetings but the penalty for fraudulent activity is dismissal."

    Npower said it had also taken steps to confirm that its systems for vetting sales teams were working
    effectively.

    Adam Scorer, director of campaigns at consumer group Energywatch, said it had written to Npower
    and Ofgem with details of more than 400 cases where consumers had complained about the
    company's sales tactics. "With the evidence suggesting Npower's sales staff were caught red-handed
    bullying, deceiving and harassing consumers, an example must be made of them," he said.

    Chancellor's tax defeat is déjà vu                                                                           By Sue Cameron
    Published: April 23 2008 03:00 | Last updated: April 23 2008 03:00


    An unlikely crumb of comfort for Alistair Darling, the beleaguered chancellor, from Tory former
    chancellor Ken Clarke. Mr Clarke feels Mr Darling's pain. He went down to defeat at the hands of his
    own backbenchers after his first Budget 15 years ago. The parallels are uncanny.

    Then as now the issue was a tax change. "The Tories imposed VAT on domestic fuel but it was not my
    idea, it was a leftover from my predecessor Norman Lamont's last Budget," Mr Clarke tells me. "Alistair
    can say that ending the 10p tax band, which is now causing turmoil, was not his idea but his
    predecessor Gordon Brown's." The similarities do not end there. As with the 10p tax, the VAT on
    domestic gas and electricity was meant to come into effect a year later.

    Says Mr Clarke: "We had put up benefits and pensions so most people would have been all right" - as
    with Labour today - "but the opposition went on and on about starving pensioners. Pensioners were
    about the only group not affected. The ones hardest hit were wealthy people with big houses and big
    utility bills."

    Mr Clarke brought the number of rebels "down below the danger level by dint of having long talks with
    them" yet on the night he still lost the vote. "What did for me is that a few days before, John Major, the
    prime minister, had withdrawn the whip from eurosceptics who had rebelled over the Maastricht Treaty
    and the whole bloody lot of them voted against me. Even" - his voice rises in indignation - "those who
    had been in favour of the measure."

    His revenge was swift. He had tried to help the Scotch whisky industry by being the first chancellor not
    to raise duty on spirits and his backbenchers loved him for it. Now he said that if they would not give
    him his fuel tax, he would raise the duty on spirits instead. He warns that if Mr Darling loses the 10p
    tax vote, he too will have to pay for it with higher taxes or spending cuts.

    Mr Clarke did at least try to brace people for a tough spending round and a tough Budget. "Like me,
    Alistair is facing a huge deficit and he should have faced it head-on but nobody dared to open
    Gordon's last Budget as he's now prime minister." Does he sympathise with Mr Darling?
23 Abril de 2008

    "I have a lot of sympathy for him. I faced a crisis in public finances. He faces a crisis in public finances.
    Of course I inherited an economy on the mend. He's inherited an economy facing a serious slowdown."
    He adds cheerfully: "If it's really bad all his revenue forecasts will be nonsense." The sympathetic Mr
    Clarke, who has been boning up on credit crunches with City people and academics, hopes to speak
    in the Commons debate next week. His attack will be an inside job.

				
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