Docudharma Times Tuesday February 5

This is an Open Thread: have i run too far to get home

Tuesday’s Headlines: Housing Crisis Casts a Cloud Over Sun Belt: Low on hope, but they’ll still vote: China cracks down on irreverent Websites: Colombians protest rebel kidnappings: Scotsman kicks for glory in Super Bowl: Arab education ‘falling behind’

As 24 States Vote, a Grab for Delegates, and an Edge

Brace yourself.

Forty-three presidential nominating contests in 24 states. Channel upon channel of the commentators talking about exit polls. The biggest prize of the night – California – being decided well after most viewers have headed for bed. A total of 3,156 delegates allocated under arcane rules on what could be the most significant night of the 2008 campaign to date.

This is a guide of things to look for on Tuesday night- key states, trends, interesting demographic developments, campaign-ending or campaign-extending developments – starting from when the first polls close (Georgia at 7 p.m.) to when the voting is completed in California at 11 p.m. Eastern time.


Housing Crisis Casts a Cloud Over Sun Belt

In Once-Booming Areas, Help Could Be Too Little, Too Late

PHOENIX — When residents of Maricopa, Ariz., south of Phoenix, vote in the presidential primaries Tuesday, it will be against a backdrop of vacant storefronts and sprawling, terra-cotta-roofed subdivisions that are studded with for-sale signs as far as the eye can see.

The state government is staring at a billion-dollar shortfall in its $11 billion budget. Forecasters expect a region that grew 7 percent in 2006 to contract this year. Retail sales, which rose 16 percent in 2006, are dropping. Dennis Hoffman, an economics professor at Arizona State University, said he had never seen such a sharp turnabout in 25 years studying the local economy.

Low on hope, but they’ll still vote

Despite a glum outlook about the nation, students say they want to have a voice.

ALBUQUERQUE — College senior Brian Schreiber works as a janitor until 1 a.m. most nights, cleaning day-care centers so he can send home money to pay his father’s hospital bills.

He’s 21 years old and $22,000 in debt from his studies at the University of New Mexico. His father, an environmental chemist, is bankrupt because his insurance didn’t cover a recent surgery. His mother teaches high school students who can barely read.

“I look at the country and think, ‘Wow. The government really doesn’t care,’ ” Schreiber said, sounding more defeated than angry.


China cracks down on irreverent Websites

Video of a scorned woman’s accusations fall under new Internet restrictions

BEIJING — When the wife of a popular sportscaster grabbed the microphone at a pre-Olympics reception and blabbed about her husband’s infidelity, the inevitable happened.

An audience member with a cellphone captured the whole embarrassing episode, including the mortified husband trying to hush his wife and security guards fluttering about helplessly, and posted footage worthy of “The Jerry Springer Show” on, a Chinese clone of YouTube.

All sorts of irreverent footage ends up on Tudou and other Chinese video sites — spoofs of public figures, off-beat animated films, Taiwanese music videos and real-life street scenes that display the spontaneity and edge missing from state-run television.

UN human rights supremo joins campaign to save Pervez

By Jerome Starkey in Kabul and Anne Penketh

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

The UN’s most senior human rights official has added her clout to the international campaign being waged to save the life of the jailed Afghan student journalist Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, it emerged yesterday.

It is understood that Louise Arbour, the UN high commissioner for human rights, wrote to senior Afghan officials last weekend, including President Hamid Karzai, concerning the fate of Mr Kambaksh, who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy after distributing a document from the internet that commented on Koranic verses about women’s rights. Her Geneva-based staff did not provide details on her letter, apparently seeking to avoid publicity for fear that the mounting public pressure on the Afghan president to pardon Mr Kambaksh might prove counter-productive.

Latin America

Colombians protest rebel kidnappings

Marches across the country and around the world target leftist guerrillas. Some captives’ relatives boycott the effort.

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA — Hundreds of thousands of people marched in cities across Colombia and around the world Monday to protest continued abductions carried out by leftist guerrillas in the South American nation.

But the massive outpourings in Colombian cities and the scattered gatherings in Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Madrid and elsewhere were shunned by relatives of some captives. Opposition politicians in Colombia who said President Alvaro Uribe had overly politicized the day reluctantly took part.

That the event, weeks in the planning, was having an impact seemed evident in the timing late last week of the announcement by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, that it would release three more political hostages.

Brazil samba group finale frenzy in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Dancers dressed as slaves pushed a parade float decked out as the ship that brought the Portuguese royal family to Brazil two centuries ago, marking the final night of Rio’s annual carnival parade.

Donned in golden conquistador outfits, hundreds of drummers from the Mocidade de Independente samba group beat time Monday night to propel its 4,500 members down the Sambadrome stadium’s half-mile long parade ground.

Fans cheered from packed stands, waving flags with the group’s signature green and white colors as fireworks exploded overhead, and the parading continued into Tuesday’s pre-dawn darkness.


Scotsman kicks for glory in Super Bowl

Scots have been responsible for many major contributions to the American way of life. Television, golf, the telephone, the US navy, penicillin and President Bush’s terriers, Barney and Beezie, spring to mind. Now yet another can be added to the Caledonian role of honour: Lawrence Tynes. The Scots-born kicker has just played a vital part in Sunday’s victory of the New York Giants over the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Italy heads for general election

Tom Kington Rome

Tuesday February 5, 2008

The Guardian

The prospect of a general election in Italy in April grew stronger yesterday after an attempt failed to form an interim government in order to first change the voting rules.

Senate speaker Franco Marini had been asked last Wednesday, after Romano Prodi’s centre-left government lost a confidence vote last month, to find cross-party support for an interim government to legislate a change in elections so they produce a more decisive outcome.

Middle East

Arab education ‘falling behind’

The World Bank has said the quality of education in the Arab world is falling behind other regions and needs urgent reform if it is to tackle unemployment.

In a report, bank officials said Arab states had to make improving education their top priority, because it went hand-in-hand with economic development.

The region had not seen the increasing literacy and school enrolment witnessed in Asia and Latin America, they said.

Djibouti, Yemen, Iraq and Morocco were ranked the worst educational reformers.

Woman, 2 bombers die in Israel attack

DIMONA, Israel – Dr. Baruch Mandelzweig ran to the scene of the blast, ready to save lives. A suicide bomber’s ravaged body lay on the ground. A man, badly injured, lay nearby, moving his head. The Israeli doctor raced into action, clearing the victim’s airway.

Then he saw a sight that shocked him.

His “patient” was wearing a belt crammed with explosives. He, too, was a suicide bomber. Mandelzweig jumped away, and a police officer shot the bomber dead before he could detonate his explosives. The officer, Koby Mor, won a promotion, as well as accolades from Israeli TV stations, who called him the “hero of the day” as they played video of his exploits over and over.


Heavy fighting resumes in Chad’s capital

N’DJAMENA, CHAD – The third day of fighting in N’Djamena threatened to further destabilize an already violent swath of Africa that is home to hundreds of thousands of refugees and borders Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur region.

Hours after the rebels went back on the attack following an overnight retreat, the U.N. Security Council authorized France and other nations to help Chad’s government.Chadian rebels renewed their assault on the capital of this oil-rich central African country Monday, and tens of thousands of people fled as gunfire crackled and artillery shells exploded across the city.


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    • on February 5, 2008 at 13:57

    Can stand the suspense?

    • kj on February 5, 2008 at 18:03

    followed-up on the Sayed Pervez Kambaksh story:

  1. I just put up an essay about it.  The two go together nicely. Here.

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