Docudharma Times Friday March 21

Sometimes you dream, sometimes it seems

Theres nothing there at all

You just seem older than yesterday

And youre waiting for tomorrow to call

Friday’s Headlines: Slump Moves From Wall St. to Main St.: Iran a Nuclear Threat, Bush Insists: Saudis to retrain 40,000 clerics : Penniless migrant becomes a maths superstar: Abkhazia, the country that doesn’t exist, prepares to follow Kosovo’s example:  Death of the Reeperbahn: Hamburg’s streets of shame: China mobilises more troops to crush spreading Tibetan unrest: Storm clouds gather as Pakistan prepares for a new dawn: Robert Mugabe grip on power rocked by surging opposition

Police ‘shot at Tibet protesters’

Chinese police opened fire and wounded four protesters “in self-defence” last Sunday in a Tibetan area of Sichuan province, the Xinhua news agency says.

It is the first time China has admitted injuring anyone since anti-Chinese protests in Tibet began last week.

Xinhua said police opened fire in Aba county – the same place that Tibetan activists said eight people were killed during protests near Kirti monastery.

Activists released graphic photos of dead bodies showing bullet wounds.

China has said that only 13 people have been killed during the protests, and that all were innocent and killed by “rioters” in Lhasa.


Slump Moves From Wall St. to Main St.

In Seattle, sales at a long-established hardware store, Pacific Supply, are suddenly dipping. In Oklahoma City, couples planning their weddings are demonstrating uncustomary thrift, forgoing Dungeness crab and special linens. And in many cities, the registers at department stores like Nordstrom on the higher end and J. C. Penney in the middle are ringing less often.

With Wall Street caught in a credit crisis that has captured headlines, the forces assailing the economy are now spreading beyond areas hit hardest by the boom-turned-bust in real estate like California, Florida and Nevada. Now, the downturn is seeping into new parts of the country, to communities that seemed insulated only months ago.

Iran a Nuclear Threat, Bush Insists

Experts Say President Is Wrong and Is Escalating Tensions

President Bush said Thursday that Iran has declared that it wants to be a nuclear power with a weapon to “destroy people,” including others in the Middle East, contradicting the judgments of a recent U.S. intelligence estimate.

The president spoke in an interview intended to reach out to the Iranian public on the Persian new year and to express “moral support” for struggling freedom movements, particularly among youth and women. It was designed to stress U.S. support for Iran’s quest for nuclear energy and the prospects that Washington and Tehran can “reconcile their differences” if Iran cooperates with the international community to ensure that the effort is not converted into a weapons program

Middle East

Saudis to retrain 40,000 clerics

Saudi Arabia is to retrain its 40,000 prayer leaders – also known as imams – in an effort to counter militant Islam.

Details of the plan were revealed in the influential Saudi newspaper Al- Sharq al-Awsat.

The plan is part of a wider programme launched by the Saudi monarch a few years ago to encourage moderation and tolerance in Saudi society.

The ministry of religious affairs and new centre for national dialogue will carry out the training, the paper said.

The centre was created five years ago to disseminate a moderate interpretation of Islamic tradition.

Penniless migrant becomes a maths superstar

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem

Friday, 21 March 2008

A 63-year-old mathematician who worked as a labourer and night-watchman when he first migrated to Israel from Russia has solved a problem which has taxed the world’s leading experts in his field for more than a generation.

Avraham Trakhtman has ended the mystery of the Road Colouring Problem by proving the theory of a “universal map” which allows a journey to end at a certain destination whatever the starting point by following the same instructions.

Professor Trakhtman of Bar-Ilan University managed to jot down the proof in pencil on eight pages of paper.


Abkhazia, the country that doesn’t exist, prepares to follow Kosovo’s example

By Shaun Walkerin Sukhumi, Abkhazia

Friday, 21 March 2008

Underneath the red, white and green Abkhazian flag, border guards check documents on the bridge over the river Psou, just outside the Russian city of Sochi.

“Welcome to Abkhazia,” says a hirsute official, wearing military fatigues and smoking a slimline cigarette. “Enjoy your stay in our country.”

Abkhazia has a president, a flag, a national anthem and even a visa system for foreign visitors but the country doesn’t appear on any maps. Officially, this small piece of sub-tropical Black Sea coastline with a population today of about 170,000, is a province of Georgia.

Death of the Reeperbahn: Hamburg’s streets of shame

Times are changing in Germany’s most famous red-light district – and the brothels that thrived for decades are closing their doors. Tony Paterson reports ona sexual revolution

The inner sanctum of Hamburg’s “Mile of Sin” looks as if it has been built to withstand a terrorist attack. Twelve-foot-high barricades block off both ends of the notorious Herbertstrasse brothel and large signs warn visitors: “Under 18s and women – Verboten!” Adult males have to squeeze through narrow doglegs in the barriers just to get into the street.

Past the barricades, about a dozen prostitutes in full pornographic regalia sit perched in narrow shop windows on shiny swivel chairs covered with Playboy towels. They look like kinky Barbie dolls. Each one has a little glass porthole in her window to help her negotiate with clients.


China mobilises more troops to crush spreading Tibetan unrest

Thousands of Chinese troops and paramilitary police fanned out across Tibet and neighbouring provinces as the Government acknowledged for the first time that pro-independence unrest in Lhasa had spilled into other far-flung corners.

The challenge facing those security forces was underscored by running protests that have been erupting daily for nearly a week in counties with large ethnic Tibetan populations. Schoolchildren have hurled rocks, students staged public vigils of mourning and nomads on horseback ripped down the Chinese flag.

Journalists who evaded police cordons to enter provinces surrounding Tibet proper described columns of military trucks, sometimes several miles long, winding up mountain roads towards the Himalayan plateau.

Storm clouds gather as Pakistan prepares for a new dawn

· Bhutto’s son to name PM after weeks of wrangling

· Threats to success of fragile coalition mount

Benazir Bhutto’s teenage son and political heir, Bilawal, will announce the identity of Pakistan’s next prime minister by the end of this weekend, his party said yesterday, ending weeks of backroom wrangling and setting the stage for a confrontation between the new government and the embattled president, Pervez Musharraf.

The 19-year-old Oxford history student was brought home by his father and party co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari, who has been at the heart of contentious negotiations over the prime minister’s job.

A party spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, said Bilawal would announce the winner on Sunday night or Monday morning, when Musharraf has promised to facilitate the formation of a new four-party coalition government dominated by the Pakistan People’s party and Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League.


Robert Mugabe grip on power rocked by surging opposition

With elections only eight days away, President Mugabe looks like being overwhelmed by a wave of support for the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as the 84-year-old leader’s grip on power falters.

Mr Tsvangirai’s formidable backing in Zimbabwe’s urban areas has been consolidated since the election campaign began five weeks ago and now, after a series of forays into the poverty-stricken rural areas where the ruling Zanu (PF) party has hitherto held control, it is clear that Mr Mugabe has a fight on his hands there, too.

On Wednesday Mr Tsvangirai pushed into Mashonaland West, Mr Mugabe’s home province, to draw mostly large crowds of exultant peasants responding to his chant of chinja! – Shona for change – in a region where until very recently it would have been almost impossible for his faction of the Movement for Democratic Change to campaign.

S.Africa backs big electricity price increase

South Africa’s government on Thursday backed a plan to raise electricity prices more than 50 percent to tackle a power crisis hitting vital mines, despite fears it could fan inflation in Africa’s biggest economy.

State-owned power utility Eskom [ESCJ.UL] earlier this week asked South Africa’s energy regulator for approval to hike electricity tariffs by 53 percent this year, angering consumers and raising concerns about inflation.

Latin Ameica

‘Under the Same Moon’

Better bring along a hankie for the effectively heart-tugging ‘Under the Same Moon.’

“Under the Same Moon” hasn’t been on screen for more than five minutes before one of its characters bursts into tears. If you are in the mood to cry, it won’t be long before you, too, will want to get into the act.

A crowd-pleaser when it premiered at Sundance 2007 under the title “La Misma Luna,” this largely Spanish-language film brings on the waterworks because its core story is undeniably affecting. The whole movie, however, would be more convincing if the elements around that vital core were more multidimensional and less contrived.


    • mishima on March 21, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Just arrived home from Saitama

    • dkmich on March 22, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    The yellow is harder to read.  

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