Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime friend of Hillary Clinton gave her advice on issues ranging from British politics to Afghanistan and Iran while she was secretary of state even though he was not employed by the US government, according to emails released on Tuesday.

    The emails from 2009 show informal adviser Blumenthal, whose ties to the Clinton family date back to former President Bill Clinton's White House years, actively trying to shape the early months of Hillary Clinton's time as America's top diplomat.

    Clinton's close links to Blumenthal could rebound on her as she runs for the Democratic nomination for the 2016 presidential election.

    Republicans in Congress have sought to put a spotlight on his influence over Clinton on Libya as it descended into chaos in 2011. A former journalist, Blumenthal sent her lengthy memos about the north African country, many of them containing intelligence reports from a former Central Intelligence Agency officer.

    The emails released by the state department showed that the issues on which Blumenthal gave advice went far beyond Libya. He gave Clinton information on other sensitive issues as early as 2009.

    He seemed to be a middle-man between Clinton and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the Northern Ireland peace process, according to an email he sent on June 14 that year.

    "Gordon Brown called me today to convey his very best to you," Blumenthal wrote to Clinton. He mentioned her possible involvement in a meeting between Brown, Irish Republican leader Martin McGuinness and a man named Shaun, who appears to be Britain's former Northern Ireland secretary Shaun Woodward.

    "I said that he and Gordon should let me know before Wednesday whether your involvement is essential and what they request. That is fine with them and Shaun will get back to me," Blumenthal wrote.

    Controversy over Clinton's emails has dogged the start of her campaign for the White House in November, 2016 after she acknowledged using a personal email account rather than a government one for State Department business.

    The emails released on Tuesday are among some 30,000 work emails that she handed over to the State Department in December that a judge has ordered to be released in batches.

    Blumenthal was barred from a job at the state department by aides to President Barack Obama because of lingering distrust over his role advising Clinton's run against Obama in the acrimonious 2008 Democratic primary, according to The New York Times.

    Blunt advice

    But in July 2009, he gave the former first lady blunt instructions ahead of a speech she gave at the Council on Foreign Relations think-tank in Washington.

    "For most policy speeches a generic tone and workmanlike prose are acceptable. But for this one it's not. This speech can't afford to be lackluster," he said in an email, offering her a possible draft copy of the speech.

    On June 23, Blumenthal emailed Clinton around 10pm with the subject line, "Hillary: if you're up, give me a call. Sid." In the preceding days, he had sent her detailed memos on Iran's 2009 election crisis with media clips.

    Later that year, Blumenthal wrote to Clinton that delay in announcing a strategy for US forces in Afghanistan was putting serious strains on Washington's relations with close ally Britain.

    "Consensus across the board in Britain - center, right, left- is that the Atlantic alliance - the special relationship -the historic bond since World War II - is shattered," he wrote.

Education, health sectors to be top priorities

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Dec 07, 2012 00:42 IST

To improve the lot of its schools, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) has decided to tap the funds earmarked by private corporate houses for social causes.

The EDMC is planning to begin a new scheme in which NGOs and private companies will be allowed to adopt schools and pay for their infrastructure.

“It is mandatory for all big companies to spend a portion of their profits on social causes. By adopting our schools, the companies can fulfill their corporate social responsibility and also help educate children better,” said east Delhi Commissioner SS Yadav,

Claiming to make education its top priority in 2013-2014, the East Corporation has earmarked one-fourth of its total budget of Rs. 1,947 crore towards this sector.

One of the schemes in the R486.92 crore budget earmarked for education includes the ‘Smart Kids Project’. This project is expected to rehaul the municipal school system in east Delhi by introducing computerised education. Handing out Akash tablets to students of class IV and V, new sports facilities and classroom furniture, new classrooms, hiring teachers for students with special needs are a part of this big exercise.

Then there are a few projects such as the proposed teacher training institute at Dilshad Garden that will rope in the services of educational trusts and multi-national companies to educate teachers periodically. The institute will be equipped with the latest educational tools and equipment to aid in a better teaching scenario at schools.

The corporation will spend a lot of funds on the health sector. It is planning to establish an International Inoculation Centre to provide vaccination against yellow fever, meningitis and other diseases at a cost of Rs. 80 lakh. Municipal dispensaries, which at present are open only during the day, will have to provide evening OPDs.

The will also be provided basic investigation facilities.

A new 200-bedded multi-specialty hospital is also expected to come up at Karawal Nagar.

 

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