Docudharma Times Friday March 7

Sprawling on the fringes of the city

In geometric order

An insulated border

In between the bright lights

And the far unlit unknown

Friday’s Headlines:Democrats Try to End Impasse Over Delegates: Fired U.S. attorney says colleague told him politics was behind his ouster: Attack won’t halt talks – Israel:  :Japan’s concrete ceiling: Karachi left powerless over unpaid electricity bills: Bid to restore Iron Cross divides Germany : Poll puts Zapatero ahead (but don’t tell the Spanish): Colombian Rebels’ Ties to Chávez Come Into Focus: No Quick Fix for What Still Ails Kenya

8 killed in Jerusalem school attack

JERUSALEM: A gunman entered a prominent Jewish seminary in the heart of Jerusalem on Thursday night, killing at least eight students and wounding at least nine others, three of them seriously, the Israeli police said.

In a scene of havoc and confusion while the students prayed, the gunman killed two people at the entrance to the Mercaz Harav yeshiva and then entered the first-floor library, spraying the religious students with gunfire from a Kalashnikov rifle, according to the Israeli police.

The gunman, who was killed at the scene, was thought to be either a Palestinian or an Israeli Arab living inside Jerusalem. He has not been identified. The dead were thought to be mostly between 20 and 30 years of age.


Democrats Try to End Impasse Over Delegates

WASHINGTON – With the two Democratic presidential candidates in near-deadlock and battling for every delegate, party leaders and the rival campaigns started searching in earnest on Thursday for a way to seat barred delegations from Florida and Michigan. But they remained deeply divided over how to do so.

After weeks in which the issue hovered in the background, it shot to the forefront of the Democratic race as it became apparent that the delegates at stake could be vital in influencing whether Senator Barack Obama or Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the nomination.

Fired U.S. attorney says colleague told him politics was behind his ouster

WASHINGTON – A longtime protege of President Bush told former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias that he was fired for political reasons and that he shouldn’t fight his ouster, Iglesias says in a new book.

“This is political,” Iglesias recalls Texas U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton telling him shortly after he was ousted. “If I were you, I’d just go quietly.”

Iglesias, a former U.S. attorney in New Mexico, is one of eight federal prosecutors whose firings triggered a yearlong controversy at the Justice Department and led to the resignations of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and 11 other Justice Department officials.

Iglesias cites the exchange with Sutton in his upcoming book, “In Justice,” as further evidence that he was forced out because Republicans were displeased with his refusal to prosecute Democrats.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing: a U.S. attorney all but admitting that a colleague was being hung out to dry for reasons that had nothing to do with performance or professionalism,” he wrote in a draft of the book, which McClatchy obtained.

Middle East

Attack won’t halt talks – Israel

The killing of eight people at a Jewish religious college by a Palestinian gunman will not derail peace talks, the Israeli government has said.

The gunman was shot dead after opening fire with an assault rifle inside a crowded library at the Mercaz Harav seminary in West Jerusalem.

According to the Israelis, he was a resident of East Jerusalem.

Its foreign ministry said talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who condemned the attack, would continue.

Gunfire erupted across the broken road of bomb craters and barbed wire in northern Iraq, sending a scruffy group of street children running for shelter.

An Iraqi soldier in his watchtower signalled to several American troops that he had fired the warning shots at a possible insurgent outside their camp, one of many joint outposts that are being put up across this ancient but volatile city.


Japan’s concrete ceiling

‘Glass ceiling’ hardly does justice to the sexism rife in Japanese business life. Anne Penketh reports on the battle for equality

The scene is a fifth-floor cafe in Tokyo’s neon-lit Electric City district. It is one of the breed of “maid cafes” that have sprung up to lure the Japanese capital’s introverted geeks away from their laptops.

The customer is greeted by a phalanx of heavily made-up young waitresses wearing stockings, mini-skirts and pigtails. “Welcome home, master,” they squeal in unison, tongue firmly in cheek of course.

A woman’s place has traditionally been in the home in Japan, the only leading industrialised nation where women are still struggling for equal rights in the workplace.

Karachi left powerless over unpaid electricity bills

Pakistan’s national electricity provider shut off power to Karachi, the country’s largest city, yesterday because of an unpaid bill, leaving more than 15 million people without electricity for much of the day, officials said.

The Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) pulled the plug at around 8am because of the money owed it by the local municipal power authority, and by mid-afternoon about 70% of the city was still waiting to be reconnected.

“We were hoping that Pepco would go for curtailment, but they opted for disconnection. We are trying to get things back to normal,” said Syed Mohammed Amjad, the chief executive of the municipal power authority, Karachi Electric Supply Corporation.

Pepco began restarting supplies after the government intervened.

KESC promised to restore electricity across the city by 8pm last night.


Bid to restore Iron Cross divides Germany

By Tony Paterson in Berlin

Friday, 7 March 2008

Germany has launched an anguished and widening debate over proposals to reintroduce the Iron Cross – virtually in its original form – as a military decoration that could be awarded throughout the armed services in recognition of “outstanding bravery”.

The Iron Cross still rates as Germany’s most famous military insignia, but its role has been reduced to that of a black and white emblem on the aircraft, tanks and warships of the post-war armed forces. It was dropped as a medal in 1945.

Poll puts Zapatero ahead (but don’t tell the Spanish)

The Spanish Prime Minister is set to clinch re-election on Sunday by a narrow margin, according to the results of a poll commissioned by The Times.

The survey, conducted by the Spanish polling company Sigma Dos, shows José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s Socialist Party beating its conservative rivals by 3.8 percentage points. That result would give the Socialists enough seats in Parliament to form a government but place them short of an absolute majority.

Spanish media are barred from publishing opinion polls in the five days leading up to the election but political parties and business groups continue to commission them. The results are traded widely among political and business elites but until now have been kept from ordinary Spaniards.

Latin America

Mexico Senate approves judicial reform

MEXICO CITY – Mexican senators on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a sweeping judicial reform that would introduce public, oral trials and guarantee the presumption of innocence.

The Senate voted 71 to 25 in favor of the measure, after a clause that would have let police search homes without warrants was deleted from it.

The constitutional amendment, which must still be approved by at least 17 of Mexico’s 31 states, would replace closed-door proceedings in which judges rely on written evidence with U.S.-style open trials based on arguments presented by prosecutors and defense lawyers.

Colombian Rebels’ Ties to Chávez Come Into Focus

Computer Files Found In Raid Detail Efforts To Gain Arms, Money

BOGOTA, Colombia, March 6 — A trove of correspondence recovered during a raid on a guerrilla camp is providing a rare window into how Colombia’s largest rebel group has drawn closer to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in an effort to acquire money, arms and the political recognition the organization craves.

If authentic, the documents would make clear for the first time that Chávez’s affinity for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, has translated into more than rhetoric on its behalf.


No Quick Fix for What Still Ails Kenya

Political Accord Skirts Huge Issue Of Land Reform

ELMENTEITA, Kenya — After reaching a power-sharing deal last week, Kenya’s rival political leaders are now confronting one of the most explosive issues underlying the post-election crisis, and one that every Kenyan government since independence has managed to avoid: land reform.

The country’s political class, monied families and their associates have all acquired vast tracts of land under dubious circumstances over the years, which they stand to lose if serious reforms are undertaken.


    • on March 7, 2008 at 1:44 pm
  1. when it’s 10pm here, it must be about 11am where you are??? if so, i think you should do a writing in the raw some Thursday (it posts here at 10pm EST)

    it’s a good way to get to know each other… i’d like to know more about you.

    what do you say???

    btw… i’m moving to Leiden, The Netherlands in the third week of April. Let me know if you’re ever in NL… must get together for dinner or lunch or drinks or something.

    let me know if you’d like to take a guest host spot in any event.

    warm regards… pf8

  2. I have started looking forward to your opening lines even more!

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