Docudharma Times Thursday January 24

This is an Open Thread: Welcome To The Machine

Thursday’s Headlines: F.D.A. Requiring Suicide Studies in Drug Trials: Negotiators Grappling With Stimulus Plan: Gaza embargo ‘will not be crisis’: Robert Fisk: A lesson in how to create Iraqi orphans.: Slovenia’s debut EU presidency marred by row over press freedom: Police in 3 Mexico cities disarmed

Olympic Teams Vying to Defeat Beijing’s Smog

COLORADO SPRINGS – As the lead exercise physiologist for the United States Olympic Committee, Randy Wilber has been fielding one bizarre question after another from American athletes training for the Beijing Games.

Should I run behind a bus and breathe in the exhaust? Should I train on the highway during rush hour? Is there any way to acclimate myself to pollution?

Mr. Wilber answers those questions with a steadfast, “No.”

“We have to be extremely careful and steer them in the right direction because the mind-set of the elite athlete is to do anything it takes to get that advantage,” he said.

The environmental effects of pollution in China is not contained therein. North and South Korea, Japan along with various Pacific Islands feel the effects of this problem throughout spring.


F.D.A. Requiring Suicide Studies in Drug Trials

After decades of inattention to the possible psychiatric side effects of experimental medicines, the Food and Drug Administration is now requiring drug makers to study closely whether patients become suicidal during clinical trials.

The new rules represent one of the most profound changes of the past 16 years to regulations governing drug development. But since the F.D.A.’s oversight of experimental medicines is done in secret, the agency’s shift has not been announced publicly.

Negotiators Grappling With Stimulus Plan

White House, Hill Strive to Maintain Bipartisanship

The White House and congressional leaders struggled yesterday to preserve their newfound alliance on the economy in the face of revolts in both parties over the shape of a potential stimulus package and of debates over issues such as health care and warrantless surveillance.

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) neared agreement last night on a tentative plan aimed at reinvigorating a battered economy. Pelosi met last night with committee chairmen while Paulson was running the tentative agreement by the White House ahead of what could be a final meeting this morning.

Middle East

Gaza embargo ‘will not be crisis’

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said he will not let his country’s blockade of the Gaza Strip turn into a humanitarian crisis.

But he said he could not allow Gazans to live normal lives while people in southern Israel were under rocket fire.

He was speaking hours after tens of thousands of Palestinians surged into Egypt to buy supplies as the border wall was partly destroyed.

Egypt has said it will not use force to send them back.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said the border would be closed again when all the Palestinians had returned.

Robert Fisk: A lesson in how to create Iraqi orphans. And then how to make life worse for them

Thursday, 24 January 2008

It’s not difficult to create orphans in Iraq. If you’re an insurgent, you can blow yourself up in a crowded market. If you’re an American air force pilot, you can bomb the wrong house in the wrong village. Or if you’re a Western mercenary, you can fire 40 bullets into the widowed mother of 14-year-old Alice Awanis and her sisters Karoon and Nora, the first just 20, the second a year older. But when the three girls landed at Amman airport from Baghdad last week they believed that they were free of the horrors of Baghdad and might travel to Northern Ireland to escape the terrible memory of their mother’s violent death.


Afghan journalist’s death sentence blamed on warlords

· Real target is brother who revealed abuse scandals

· 23-year-old reporter denies mocking Islam

Julian Borger, diplomatic editor

Thursday January 24, 2008

The Guardian

An Afghan reporter was sentenced to death for blasphemy by a court yesterday for allegedly questioning the prophet Muhammad’s respect for women’s rights.

The case has raised concerns over declining press freedom in Afghanistan and the growing power of militia commanders and ultra-conservative clerics.

Sayed Parwez Kaambakhsh, a 23-year-old reporter for the Jahan-e-Now daily, was tried behind closed doors and without a lawyer in the northern town of Mazar-i-Sharif after allegations by university classmates that he had mocked Islam and circulated an article that argued the prophet Muhammad had ignored the rights of women. Kaambakhsh denied writing the article, saying his name was added after it was printed, but he was found guilty.

Turning Japanese: the first foreign geisha

She comes from Australia and her real name is Fiona Graham, but to her customers she is Sayuki and her aim is to educate the world in a unique national tradition. David McNeill met her

Thursday, 24 January 2008

If you want to make Sayuki angry, mention the 2005 movie Memoirs of a Geisha, or worse, the bestseller on which it was based. “It is a ludicrous, totally fictional book that came out of a white, middle-aged American male’s imagination. I hope you’re not going to write about that!”

Unfortunately for Sayuki, who claims she is Japan’s first-ever foreign geisha, contemporary Western perceptions of the so-called flower and willow world have been deeply shaped by Arthur Golden’s four-million-selling kimono-fest, and the exquisitely packaged but trite Zhang Ziyi movie it spawned.


Slovenia’s debut EU presidency marred by row over press freedom

By Anne PenkethDiplomatic Editor

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Taking over the revolving presidency of the European Union was meant to be a diplomatic passing-out parade for the tiny Balkan state of Slovenia. Instead it has become an embarrassment as it has been embroiled in a damaging dispute over press freedom.

Two journalists who launched a petition at the end of last year accusing the government of political meddling, which was signed by 571 Slovenian journalists, said yesterday that they still want an independent inquiry. Their campaign has been backed by the International Press Institute (IPI) and the European Federation of Journalists, which said in a statement: “Slovenia has failed the first test of leadership in Europe by failing to show that it is prepared to deal openly and honestly with serious questions over its own record on dealing with media and journalism.”

Romano Prodi holds on for confidence vote

Romano Prodi, the embattled Italian Prime Minister, appeared determined last night to face a confidence vote in the senate today despite fast-crumbling support for his coalition.

In a day of high political drama, the fate of Mr Prodi’s 20-month-old centre-left coalition appeared sealed when three Liberal senators, led by Lamberto Dini, a former Prime Minister, said that they would not back it in the senate. Mr Prodi had already been deserted by the Christian Democratic UDEUR party, which has three senate seats.


Robert Mugabe’s reforms are ridiculed after police crackdown on Zimbabwe rally

Zimbabwean police fired teargas yesterday and charged several hundred demonstrators who were demanding a democratic constitution, water, electricity and the right to draw money from banks without queueing.

The leader of the Opposition was detained, ten demonstrators were treated in hospital and dozens were arrested, lawyers said.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was released later to address supporters on a vacant lot next to a stadium on the outskirts of the Zimbabwean capital, where the rally had been scheduled to take place.

Strife Laps at Gates of Kenya’s Privileged

NAIROBI — With tear gas falling elsewhere in the city, John Mburu, a lawyer in a pinstriped suit, walked into a sleek coffee shop here the other day and ordered a double latte.

Police were battling demonstrators downtown, merchants were closing their shops, and protesters in another part of the Kenyan capital were pulling apart a railway line.

Latin America

Police in 3 Mexico cities disarmed

Officers in the border towns are removed from duty by troops and searched for evidence that might link them to drug cartels.

MEXICO CITY — Local police were relieved of duty Tuesday in the border cities of Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros and Reynosa as army troops disarmed the officers and searched for evidence that might link them to drug traffickers.

In Nuevo Laredo, soldiers surrounded police headquarters at 8 a.m. and ordered officers to remain inside. Federal troops conducted a similar operation in Tijuana last January, at the beginning of an offensive against Mexico’s drug cartels and their allies in the police.

During the first 14 months of his rule, President Felipe Calderon has sent federal troops to at least half a dozen states, including Michoacan in the south and Veracruz on the Gulf. Calderon has vowed to break the power of the traffickers, who wield wide influence over local authorities and intimidate local news media.


    • on January 24, 2008 at 13:55
  1. … made some HTML changes in the past 6-8 weeks?  

    I hadn’t posted an essay in some time and tried to post one last night.  I kept getting errors — even after using the suggested href=” tags.

    Question: why does the system sometimes accept brackets for links and, at other times, it doesn’t? And for images, the HTML tags are the same as Daily Kos, correct?  

    Clarifications, anyone?

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