Docudharma Times Friday March 14

And what you say about his company

Is what you say about society.

Friday’s Headlines: Economy Hammered by Toxic Blend of Ailments: Ozone Rules Weakened at Bush’s Behest: Body of kidnapped archbishop found in Iraq: Islamic Jihad resumes rocket attacks on Israel after brief lull: How to spot a mafioso: a tourist’s guide:  EU presses ahead with substantial cuts in emissions: China admits sending in troops to quell Tibetan monk demos: Victory for Kazemi as Home Secretary halts deportation to Iran: Maria Barragan wants her parents jailed:  Questions about Venezuela as Rice arrives in Brazil: Chad and Sudan make peace

Iraq: teachers told to rewrite history

MoD accused of sending propaganda to schools

By Richard Garner, Education Editor

Friday, 14 March 2008

Britain’s biggest teachers’ union has accused the Ministry of Defence of breaking the law over a lesson plan drawn up to teach pupils about the Iraq war. The National Union of Teachers claims it breaches the 1996 Education Act, which aims to ensure all political issues are treated in a balanced way.

Teachers will threaten to boycott military involvement in schools at the union’s annual conference next weekend, claiming the lesson plan is a “propaganda” exercise and makes no mention of any civilian casualties as a result of the war.

They believe the instructions, designed for use during classroom discussions in general studies or personal, social and health education (PSE) lessons, are arguably an attempt to rewrite the history of the Iraq invasion just as the world prepares to mark its fifth anniversary.


Economy Hammered by Toxic Blend of Ailments

Almost everything seems to be going wrong for the American economy at once. People are buying less, but most things are costing more. Mortgage rates are rising, the dollar is falling and prices of key commodities like oil are leaping from one record high to the next.

On Thursday, the dollar plumbed new lows against the Japanese yen and several other major currencies; the price of an ounce of gold jumped above $1,000 for the first time; and lenders raised home loan rates once again. Government figures showed retail sales fell in February as consumers cut back on cars, furniture and electronics.

Ozone Rules Weakened at Bush’s Behest

EPA Scrambles To Justify Action

The Environmental Protection Agency weakened one part of its new limits on smog-forming ozone after an unusual last-minute intervention by President Bush, according to documents released by the EPA.

EPA officials initially tried to set a lower seasonal limit on ozone to protect wildlife, parks and farmland, as required under the law. While their proposal was less restrictive than what the EPA’s scientific advisers had proposed, Bush overruled EPA officials and on Tuesday ordered the agency to increase the limit, according to the documents.

Middle East

Body of kidnapped archbishop found in Iraq

· Pope leads outcry after shallow grave discovered

· 18 killed by car bomb near Baghdad green zone

Iraq’s unending violence claimed one of its most high-profile victims yesterday when a Catholic archbishop abducted last month was found dead.

It was not clear if Paulos Faraj Rahho, 65, of the Chaldean church, Iraq’s largest Christian community, had died as a result of poor health or was killed by his captors. His decomposing body was discovered half-buried in a shallow grave in the northern city of Mosul. The Pope immediately condemned the death as “an act of inhuman violence that offends the dignity of the human being”, the Vatican said.

“I cry for Iraq,” said Shlemon Warduni, the bishop of Baghdad. “I have no other feelings. We were brothers, now we are divided.”

The archbishop was seized from his car on February 29, just after he had celebrated mass, by gunmen who killed his driver and two guards.

Islamic Jihad resumes rocket attacks on Israel after brief lull

The tacit ceasefire between Hamas and Israel ended yesterday when Palestinian militants launched a volley of rockets and Israel responded with an air raid on Gaza.

After seven days of relative calm between Hamas and Israel, rival Palestinian groups indicated they would no longer support Hamas’s proposal for a ceasefire. Islamic Jihad, a group backed by Iran, said it had launched 17 rockets from Gaza as an “initial response” to Israel’s raid in the West Bank the night before, in which four fighters were killed.

The fresh violence came within hours of Hamas’s announcement on Wednesday that it and other groups, such as Islamic Jihad, were seeking a ceasefire with Israel through Egyptian-mediated talks. But Hamas has yet to clarify whether it would withdraw from the US-sanctioned negotiations.


How to spot a mafioso: a tourist’s guide

A Sicilian tour guide who got fed up with answering the same questions about the mafia has written a pocket-sized book he thinks visitors will be unable to refuse.

The Mafia Explained to Tourists – which has been published in Italian, English, Japanese, German, Spanish and French – tackles questions such as: what a mafioso looks like, whether the mafia will exist forever and “why haven’t we seen a shoot-out in our 10 days here?”

“I included the 10 questions I am always asked, so from now I can just hand out the book,” said Augusto Cavadi, a Palermo-based guide and mafia scholar.

EU presses ahead with substantial cuts in emissions

EU leaders are likely to push ahead with plans for substantial cuts in “greenhouse” emissions in Europe over the next 12 years at the end of their summit in Brussels today.

Despite efforts by some governments to weaken the targets, and complaints from green pressure groups that the EU is aiming too low, leaders are expected to promise legislation by next March to cut the 1990 level of carbon dioxide emissions by one-fifth by 2020.


China admits sending in troops to quell Tibetan monk demos

By Clifford Coonan in Beijing

Friday, 14 March 2008

Chinese troops and police have been deployed at important monasteries in Tibet to quell the biggest protests by Tibetan Buddhist monks in the Himalayan region for nearly 20 years.

Witnesses have reported trucks full of troops surrounding Drepung monastery in Lhasa, while Sera monastery was ringed by hundreds of police.

These two sites have strong symbolic significance, as they were the training grounds for the monks who led Tibet before the People’s Liberation Army came in 1950 and ousted the Dalai Lama.

Victory for Kazemi as Home Secretary halts deportation to Iran

A gay teenager who faces the death penalty if he is forced to return to Iran has won a temporary reprieve after the Home Secretary halted his planned deportation and agreed to reconsider his case.

The Government’s surprise intervention yesterday follows an international outcry over the plight of Mehdi Kazemi, 19, who lost his asylum claim in Britain even though his former boyfriend had been arrested by the Iranian state police and executed for sodomy.

Mr Kazemi later fled to the Netherlands from Britain, but this week lost his final legal battle to force the Dutch government to allow him to seek refugee status there. He is being held in a Rotterdam immigration detention centre, awaiting transfer to Britain in the next few days.

Latin America

Maria Barragan wants her parents jailed

Mirta Barragán was six months pregnant when Argentina’s military regime imprisoned her and her husband, Leonardo Sampallo, in December 1977 as left-leaning dissidents. They were never seen again, but the regime sent their daughter to be brought up with another family which hid her real identity and her parents’ demise.

Now 30 years old, Maria Eugenia Sampallo Barragán is pressing charges against her adoptive parents, who face up to 25 years in prison for falsifying adoption documents and concealing her past.

Ms Sampallo is one of hundreds of people who were snatched from their parents or born in captivity during the country’s 1976-83 dictatorship, but she is the first to face her adopted parents in court. The verdict is expected on April 4.

Questions about Venezuela as Rice arrives in Brazil

She says U.S. will act accordingly if Chavez is found to have aided Colombian rebels. Bogota says it has evidence he funded FARC.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL — U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declined to say Thursday whether the Bush administration would move to designate Venezuela a state sponsor of terrorism after new revelations about the country’s alleged links to Colombian rebels.

“We will watch the situation and the U.S. will act accordingly,” Rice said during a news conference in Brasilia.

She arrived in Brazil on Thursday as the first high-level U.S. emissary to Latin America since the crisis that erupted after Colombia launched a raid March 1 into Ecuador targeting an encampment of the FARC rebel group.

The crisis, which briefly threatened to escalate into a regional war, cooled after Latin American leaders met in the Dominican Republic last week and Colombia apologized for the cross-border raid.


Chad and Sudan make peace

DAKAR (Reuters) – Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and Chadian President Idriss Deby signed a peace agreement on Thursday designed to end cross-border rebel attacks in a region which includes Sudan’s conflict-ravaged Darfur area.

The signing, witnessed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) head Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, also aims to revive a string of past pacts that have failed to end fighting on both sides of the Chad-Sudan border.

“We solemnly pledge to ban the activities of all armed groups and to prevent the use of our respective territories to destabilize one or other of our states,” said the agreement, brokered by Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.


    • mishima on March 14, 2008 at 1:40 pm

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