Docudharma Times Thursday Nov. 29

This is an Open Thread: All voices are welcome.

Headlines for Thursday November 29:Manila rebel soldiers surrender :GOP Debate :Foes Use Obama’s Muslim Ties to Fuel Rumors About Him: Public questions inspire combative GOP debate: Amid affair, Giuliani billed city for security: 6,000 Sunnis join pact with US in Iraq: Arabs return from summit uneasy and skeptical

Manila rebel soldiers surrender

Military rebels who were barricaded in a luxury hotel in Manila have surrendered, following an assault on the building by Philippine troops.

The rebels, some with their hands in the air, were led out of the Peninsula hotel onto a bus by police.

Earlier the rebel leader, Sen Antonio Trillanes, said they were ending their siege to save the lives of civilians and journalists inside the hotel.

Many of the rebels are currently on trial over a failed mutiny in 2003.

USA

Public questions inspire combative GOP debate

Romney and Giuliani quickly set the tone at the CNN-YouTube forum, trading barbs on illegal immigration.

By Peter Nicholas and Joe Mathews, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

November 29, 2007

WASHINGTON — In an animated, fast-paced debate marked by personal attacks between the candidates, Republican presidential hopefuls Wednesday night sparred over illegal immigration, torture, gun control, abortion — and even whether the Bible should be taken literally.

The unconventional debate sponsored by CNN and YouTube featured often raw and emotional questions from the public, in the form of 33 videos. Questions came from a gay general from Northern California, a black father and son from Atlanta worried about crime, and a young white Texan asking the candidates for their views on flying the Confederate flag.

Foes Use Obama’s Muslim Ties to Fuel Rumors About Him

By Perry Bacon Jr.

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, November 29, 2007; Page A01

In his speeches and often on the Internet, the part of Sen. Barack Obama’s biography that gets the most attention is not his race but his connections to the Muslim world.

Since declaring his candidacy for president in February, Obama, a member of a congregation of the United Church of Christ in Chicago, has had to address assertions that he is a Muslim or that he had received training in Islam in Indonesia, where he lived from ages 6 to 10. While his father was an atheist and his mother did not practice religion, Obama’s stepfather did occasionally attend services at a mosque there.

Amid affair, Giuliani billed city for security

A political website reported yesterday that as New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses while he was starting an extramarital affair.

The Politico said it had obtained previously undisclosed government records under New York’s freedom of information law that show the expenses had nothing to do with the functions of the agencies and show three summers of visits to the Long Island town where Judith Nathan, who is now his third wife, had an apartment. At the time, Giuliani’s office refused to explain the accounting to city auditors, citing “security,” The Politico reported.

Middle East

6,000 Sunnis join pact with US in Iraq

HAWIJA, Iraq – Nearly 6,000 Sunni Arab residents joined a security pact with American forces Wednesday in what U.S. officers described as a critical step in plugging the remaining escape routes for extremists flushed from former strongholds.

The new alliance – called the single largest volunteer mobilization since the war began – covers the “last gateway” for groups such as al-Qaida in Iraq seeking new havens in northern Iraq, U.S. military officials said.

U.S. commanders have tried to build a ring around insurgents who fled military offensives launched earlier this year in the western Anbar province and later into Baghdad and surrounding areas. In many places, the U.S.-led battles were given key help from tribal militias – mainly Sunnis – that had turned against al-Qaida and other groups.

Arabs return from summit uneasy and skeptical

Leaders who have a lot to lose for going to talks with no clear gains must win over their public.

By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

November 29, 2007

CAIRO — This week’s Middle East conference in Annapolis, Md., has highlighted Arab unease over the ability and will of a weak U.S. president to deliver peace. At the same time, it has stoked fears that Israel has scored a public relations coup while refusing to concede on such core issues as Palestinian refugees and the fate of Jerusalem.

Arab nations, most notably Syria and Saudi Arabia, had been reluctant to attend the U.S.-sponsored talks, which are meant to set the framework for future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Now, with their prestige on the line, Arab officials are returning to their capitals with two tasks: convincing their populations that the summit was a crucial step toward a Palestinian state and keeping pressure on the U.S. and Israel to deliver on that goal.

Europe

World faces “cyber cold war” threat: report

LONDON (Reuters) – A “cyber cold war” waged over the world’s computers threatens to become one of the biggest threats to security in the next decade, according to a report published on Thursday.

About 120 countries are developing ways to use the Internet as a weapon to target financial markets, government computer systems and utilities, Internet security company McAfee said in an annual report.

Intelligence agencies already routinely test other states’ networks looking for weaknesses and their techniques are growing more sophisticated every year, it said.

Russia’s Election Is for Parliament, but the Real Vote Is on Putin

MOSCOW, Nov. 28 – His valor is extolled on billboards across the nation, and his daily feats dominate the television news. At a keynote election speech last week, his handlers even showcased a shimmying girl band singing an ode to that heartthrob in the Kremlin: “I want a man like Putin, full of strength!”

Thousands of candidates are vying on Sunday for seats in the next Parliament, but the election is really about only one politician, President Vladimir V. Putin. After steadily securing control over Russia since taking office in 2000, Mr. Putin has transformed the election into a vote of confidence on his leadership and on the nation’s economic recovery, and he is throwing the full weight of his government and party machine into the fight.

Latin America

Chavez seeks expanded power in charter

CARACAS, Venezuela – Hugo Chavez could have a shot at becoming president for life if voters approve a sweeping overhaul of the constitution Sunday that would give him unchecked power to reshape Venezuela’s government, economy and society.

Some polls show Chavez faces considerable resistance in the referendum. His primary impediment seems to be voters like Vanessa Meneses, a 27-year-old single mother who has backed Chavez in past elections but now fears he could become another Fidel Castro.

“Supposedly he wants to make Venezuela like Cuba and stay in power forever. It’s scary,” Meneses said. “He wants to be the only one like in Cuba, and I don’t like it.”

Central Americans See Peril in Bush’s Anti-Drug Priorities

By Manuel Roig-Franzia

Washington Post Foreign Service

Thursday, November 29, 2007; Page A13

MEXICO CITY, Nov. 28 — The funding imbalance in the Bush administration’s new anti-drug plan, which would send 10 times as much aid to Mexico as to all seven Central American nations combined, is generating anxiety in Central America.

A packet of six documents obtained by The Washington Post shows that no Central American nation would receive more than $10 million and most would get less than $3 million, in contrast to $500 million proposed for Mexico. Central American political leaders and activists expressed concerns that if most of the money goes to Mexico, drug cartels will shift their operations to countries such as Guatemala and El Salvador.

Africa

Ogaden locals allege abuses by soldiers

KEBRIDEHAR, Ethiopia – In the desert stretches of eastern Ethiopia, locals accuse soldiers fighting an insurgency of burning villages to the ground, committing gang rape and killing people “like goats.”

The allegations have drawn the attention of international human rights campaigners to this remote corner of a key U.S. ally.

Ethiopia’s prime minister says his troops are fighting against a separatist movement in the region known as the Ogaden, and he denies that soldiers have committed such atrocities.

Sudan charges Briton with inciting hatred over ‘Mohamed’ teddy bear

By Amol Rajan

Published: 29 November 2007

A British teacher jailed in Sudan for letting her class of seven-year-olds name a teddy bear Mohamed, has been charged with insulting religion and inciting hatred.

Gillian Gibbons, 54, was also charged with showing contempt for religious beliefs and could face up to 40 lashes and six months imprisonment under Sudan’s sharia law.

The Foreign Office confirmed yesterday that Ms Gibbons, from Liverpool, was charged under Article 125 of the criminal code following an investigation by the Khartoum North prosecution unit.

Asia

China condemns Dalai Lama’s referendum idea

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Foreign Ministry condemned the Dalai Lama on Thursday for suggesting that his successor as Tibet’s spiritual leader might be chosen by referendum, saying that would “violate religious rituals.”

The Dalai Lama has been considering options for choosing his successor, saying that senior lamas could follow Vatican practice and elect one of their number to succeed him, or that Tibetans might want to do away with the institution altogether.

He has also mooted a referendum.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said that while China respected religious freedom, it could not accept the Dalai Lama’s referendum idea.

Musharraf says an emotional farewell

· Pakistan President finally quits army after 43 years

· Western nations urge swift return to democracy

Declan Walsh in Islamabad

Thursday November 29, 2007

The Guardian

Bowing to international and domestic pressure, President Pervez Musharraf resigned as Pakistan’s army chief yesterday, trading his uniform for hopes of another five years in power as a civilian. In a short ceremony at army headquarters in Rawalpindi, a grave-faced Musharraf handed a gold-tipped baton to his successor, General Ashfaq Kiyani, symbolising control of the nuclear-armed military that has dominated power in the country for the past 60 years.

1 comment

    • mishima on November 29, 2007 at 1:58 pm
      Author

    Time to enjoy the weekend.

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