THE WASHINGTON POST
Hillary Clinton’s memoir
“Hillary Rodham Clinton is rushing to finish a memoir of her time as secretary of state, something friends see as an urgent mission to frame a key part of her legacy as she readies for a possible presidential campaign,” writes Philips Rucker. He adds that in a parallel move, though, Clinton’s Republican critics are preparing a “massive opposition-research effort” designed to challenge her version of events and undermine the book’s credibility. Clinton’s tenure as the top American diplomat will be hotly debated in the months ahead of a potential 2016 campaign. “For Clinton, the political imperative is clear: to lay claim to key accomplishments in foreign policy and short-circuit persistent attacks on her decisions,” writes Rucker. Republicans, meanwhile, are stepping up criticism of Clinton’s handling of the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, especially after the Senate report said last week the assault was preventable. Besides, Clinton’s successor John Kerry is winning praise for diplomatic breakthroughs on Iran and other issues she couldn’t achieve. According to the author, Clinton plans to use her book — to be published by summer — to showcase her role in the Arab spring, the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, and the killing of Osama bin Laden, among other events, and hence set the stage for 2016.
Palestine’s Oscar entry
Omar, a film directed by Palestine’s Hany Abu-Assad, has been nominated for the 2014 Academy Awards in the best foreign-language film category. Journalist Jihan Abdalla visited a packed theatre in Jerusalem that was screening Omar. One of those present there told her, “It’s easy to see why the film got an Oscar nomination. It’s incredibly powerful and honest.” The film tells the story of Omar, a young Palestinian baker from the West Bank, who is involved in the killing of an Israeli soldier. He is then forced to collaborate with Israeli agents to try to save himself and his friends — while trying to work his way through a web of lies and betrayal. An elated Abu-Assad told Al-Monitor, “It’s a beautiful feeling. It (the Oscar nomination) means a lot to me personally, but this is also a big win for the actors, the crew and the Palestinian people,” he said. The film explores the theme of collaboration with Israel, a taboo topic in Palestinian society. “For Palestinians, collaborators are the enemy within. They are ostracised by society and disowned by their families, and at times, executed in public as a means of deterrence,” writes Abdalla. The film, shot in Nazareth and the West Bank, won the Jury Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. There was also another, different kind of victory for Abu-Assad. The Academy mentioned Omar as an entry from “Palestine”, dropping the “territories” from the reference it has used in the past.
The clean-tech crash
Author Will Oremus punches holes in a recent episode of 60 Minutes, a news magazine programme broadcast on CBS which showed reporter Lesley Stahl investigating “The Clean-tech Crash”. Stahl told the story of how the Obama administration and Silicon Valley venture capitalists backed a bevy of alternative-energy startups, only to see the sector implode, leaving taxpayers holding the bag. Oremus finds the exposé rather clichéd, as it has been all over the media for over two years. He also points out that the “clean-tech crash” has turned out to be a myth. Many alternative-energy startups have run into serious trouble. But a few have seen success. Some technologies have failed and been abandoned, but others are booming. Solar power was the biggest recipient of those federal loan guarantees that 60 Minutes portrayed as losing bets. However, massive solar-power plants are sprouting across the desert Southwest and gearing up to supply clean, renewable energy to millions. Meanwhile, residential solar-panel installations are booming: Americans installed more solar panels in 2013 than in the past 20 years combined.