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“White House officials said they provided extraordinary access for the seven-page cover story, ‘Leader of the Pack’, because they believe it will burnish Bush’s image with Americans who don’t follow politics.” The Washington Post reports on the forthcoming cover story for Runner’s World. I’m glad the White House has its priorities straight.

“I try to go for longer runs, but it’s tough around here at the White House on the outdoor track,” the president told the magazine. “It’s sad that I can’t run longer. It’s one of the saddest things about the presidency.”

A spoonful of sugar 

The Guardian sent its correspondents to a sugar beet farmer in England and a sugar cane cutter in Mozambique. The result is a revealing portrait of the inequities of current agricultural regimes.

Joao gets paid 99 pence for a nine-hour day cutting cane (above Mozambique’s minimum wage), while Matthew made £34,000 from his 30 hectares of beets, thanks to the EU’s price-fixing regime. Mozambique is one of the world’s low-cost producers of sugar, but quotas mean that it can only export about 10% of its current crop to the EU and US. In fact, Europe exports some of its surplus sugar to Africa.

The English farmer claims, “Consumers can afford to pay these prices. I’m entitled to a decent standard of living.” According to Oxfam, the European sugar regime alone costs European consumers about $800 million a year in extra costs. And it closes a natural market to Africa.

Writing in the middle of conflict 

I hadn’t come across the Electronic Intifada before, but Arjan El Fassed, one of its creators, has started a personal weblog. The Jerusalem Post includes El Fassed in an article about blogs on both sides of the Israel-Palestine divide (since the Post requires registration, I’ve linked to El Fassed’s posting of the article).

Whatever your stance on the conflict, it’s revealing to read direct, personal accounts from the middle of a conflict. It’s a different perspective to the one received watching the BBC, CNN or Al Jazeera.

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