Irish investors win battle of Hastings

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Iraqi PM to visit Saudi, Iran in diplomatic balancing act

first_imgThey are set to stay in NEOM, an area in the kingdom’s northwest that is currently under development, and are scheduled to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, with whom Kadhemi is known to have warm personal ties. Baghdad proposed a package of energy-focused development opportunities in Iraq to Saudi Arabia earlier this month, and the talks will likely focus on financing for those proposals, other infrastructure projects, and a reopening of the Arar border crossing between the two countries, the officials said.They said the delegation will then travel directly to Tehran late Tuesday, where Kadhemi is expected to meet Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Read also: Pandemic has silver lining for Iraq: food self-sufficiency Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi will travel to Saudi Arabia and Iran back-to-back next week, carefully balancing ties to regional rivals in his first foreign trip as premier, officials said Saturday.Baghdad has often found itself caught in the tug-of-war between Riyadh, Tehran and even Washington, which the premier is also set to visit within the next few weeks.On Sunday, Kadhemi will host Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Baghdad, before travelling with Iraq’s ministers of oil, electricity, planning and finance to Saudi Arabia the following day, Iraqi officials said. Kadhemi rose to the premiership in May after serving as the head of Iraq’s National Intelligence Service for nearly four years, which helped him form a close relationship with Prince Mohammed. He is also known to be respected by Iran’s intelligence services and government circles, which prompted speculation he could mediate between the two regional foes. And Kadhemi is well-liked in Washington, where he is expected later this month or in early August to pursue a strategic dialogue between Iraq and the US.It would be the first visit by an Iraqi premier to the White House in three years. US officials never extended an invitation to previous prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, whom they saw as too close to Iran.Tensions skyrocketed following a US drone strike on Baghdad in January that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.It appears Washington is now encouraging a rapprochement between Baghdad and Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia.Earlier this week, officials from Iraq, the US and the Gulf Cooperation Council discussed over teleconference an arrangement for Iraq to import electricity from Kuwait, a deal which was agreed last year but has yet to come into effect.Topics :last_img read more

Korger: Time for Badger Herald to improve

first_imgOne of the finer points in being a student-journalist comes with understanding where to draw the line.First off, when you read this know the biographical facts that shape my identity as a person. I am a fifth-year student at the University of Wisconsin and I grew up a life-long Badger fan.So, understand how incredibly difficult it has been for myself to shake off that personal bias and become an unbiased writer. The process was gradual, from my former Sports Editor Mike Fiammetta telling me as a sports writer I couldn’t have a Wisconsin logo background on my Twitter profile to finally dressing (at least, almost always) for interviews with a conscientious effort to not wear any Wisconsin clothing – an extremely hard task to accomplish, considering the color of red makes up half of my clothes.But, I can confidently tell you I have made it past those old views and become somewhat of a seasoned student journalist. After all, when you report for almost three years on seemingly every sport on campus you begin to let your bias and allegiance evaporate. Instead, what replaced my passion as a fan was a passion for athletes and the sports they play.There really is something to be said about the young men and women at this university who are full-time students, successful athletes and still find time to volunteer for various organizations and throughout the Madison community. And these young men and women are the reason I got into working at this paper in the first place. There are just some people you meet who make you want to become a better person.Something I’ve noticed in my time as a journalist is the fact there rarely is such thing as an unbiased writer. In fact, I even caught myself posting a “Go Badgers” status at the Rose Bowl. I’ve heard of writers who are friends with the athletes they write about, who go out to bars and such with them and enjoy a solid relationship.That’s all great and seriously, some of these athletes are the kind of people you wish you could hang out with, but at what point does the journalistic responsibilities of being a reporter trump your natural instincts as a peer to these student-athletes?Well, for starters, it’s important to stay professional. As much as I wish I could go around Facebook friend requesting athletes, I don’t, because it’s creepy. And, I guess I should keep the relationship between us as professionals. I just wish every person who writes, at every level, felt the same.Another difficulty I’ve noticed is the tendency we in the student press have to be all cream-puff over athletes and the Athletic Department. I’ll admit, it can be intimidating to write anything critiquing or questioning a tenured coach who has been successful, because you put yourself at risk of being alienated or shunned by the coach or, at least, feeling that uncomfortable awkwardness every time you ask a question. I mean, who wants to be criticized by some college student who hasn’t ever played the sport at the collegiate level?Part of being a successful sports journalist is knowing where to draw the line, where questioning goes too far, where claims and ideas go without proof. It’s important to keep respect for every person, no matter how much you disagree with them, and to stay professional at all times.One of the journalists I’ve come to respect during my time here in Madison is the Wisconsin State Journal’s columnist Tom Oates; mainly because Oates challenged former head coach Bret Bielema in a column entitled “Badgers’ knee-jerk firing of Mike Markuson the result of a poor hire” that ran Sept. 11, 2012.The column questioned Bielema’s remarks in response to the firing of his offensive line coach just two games into the season and seemed to raise the ire of the former Wisconsin head coach into a noticeable presence in the room, every time they were in the same room.For a guy just in his first year, I would never have dreamed of openly criticizing Bielema in a column, even though I was tempted to do the same following the football team’s third straight overtime loss in 2012. But, either out of cowardice or lack of confidence in myself as a columnist, I backed away.Now, looking back at the way Bielema bolted for Arkansas midseason, I feel nothing but regret that I tiptoed around outright questioning of the Badgers’ struggles in 2012 stemming from coaching. Sure, cleverly worded didactic literature in a column can veil criticism, but we as a sports department have backed away from critical analysis of the state of the athletic landscape at this prestigious campus.So, I make a pledge to you, fellow students. The Badger Herald Sports Department is done with being just your regular, run-of-the-mill sports section. Have a feature idea about a great/incredible aspect of an athlete’s life that has escaped recognition? Let us know. Have an idea for a story in general you’d like to see? Let us know. Think we’re still not being unbiased in our coverage? Let us know.If this is my last semester on campus as a student and my only as the sports editor at this paper, I’ll be damned if I don’t give everything I have (while maintaining my grades and law school hopes) to bring you a better sports section with the best and most well-rounded coverage in the country of all the wonderful aspects of athletic activity this city and college has to offer.These wonderful pages at The Badger Herald were formed as an experiment. Let’s get back to the lab this semester.Nick Korger is fifth-year senior and a history and English major. Have a story idea or something you’d like to see covered? Email him at [email protected] or [email protected]last_img read more