Docudharma Times Sunday March 16

You can’t help being hard up

Can’t trust the gods we trusted

Don’t think that’s any insurance

Sunday’s Headlines: For Democrats, Increased Fears of a Long Fight: D.C.’s Gun Ban Gets Day in Court: Iran’s young women find private path to freedom: Militant’s death unites Bethlehem:  Scores of civilians and US military staff feared dead as huge Albanian arms dump explodes: Britain’s refugee shame: Taiwanese to rally over China law:  New Pakistan parliament set to convene: Leftist Mexico party in danger of split: Official: 4 Belgians freed in Guatemala: In His Own World of Denial

Beijing locks down Lhasa as crisis grows

At least 10, possibly dozens, killed as violence spreads and international protests mount

China flooded the streets of Lhasa with riot police, yesterday, as the international community urged an end to the bloodshed in Tibet that has already claimed at least 10 – possibly dozens more – lives.

Security forces were also used to regain control of a second community yesterday as a protest in Xiahe, Gansu province, followed the worst riots in Lhasa in almost 20 years. Thousands of protesters smashed government offices in Xiahe after marching through the streets chanting support for the Dalai Lama, according to overseas support groups. Observer correspondent Tania Branigan said the crowd was dispersed with tear gas, but quickly regrouped.


For Democrats, Increased Fears of a Long Fight

WASHINGTON – Lacking a clear route to the selection of a Democratic presidential nominee, the party’s uncommitted superdelegates say they are growing increasingly concerned about the risks of a prolonged fight between Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, and perplexed about how to resolve the conflict.

Interviews with dozens of undecided superdelegates – the elected officials and party leaders who could hold the balance of power for the nomination – found them uncertain about who, if anyone, would step in to fill a leadership vacuum and help guide the contest to a conclusion that would not weaken the Democratic ticket in the general election.

D.C.’s Gun Ban Gets Day in Court

Justices’ Decision May Set Precedent In Interpreting the 2nd Amendment

Despite mountains of scholarly research, enough books to fill a library shelf and decades of political battles about gun control, the Supreme Court will have an opportunity this week that is almost unique for a modern court when it examines whether the District’s handgun ban violates the Second Amendment.

The nine justices, none of whom has ever ruled directly on the amendment’s meaning, will consider a part of the Bill of Rights that has existed without a definitive interpretation for more than 200 years.

Middle East

Iran’s young women find private path to freedom

A headscarf pushed back to show off a new haircut, a tight jacket worn over traditional dress, expensive make-up … the challenge to the hardline clerics is taking place in bars and cafes, not in the polling booth, as the youth of Tehran push the boundaries of self-expression

On the wall of the Nadiri coffee house in Jumhoori Avenue, Tehran, a place where the young congregate, a sign reads: ‘Our respected customers are kindly requested to take care of their hijab.’

Shareh Beik, 27, a travel agent, sitting with her boyfriend, Mehdi Sayed, is struggling with hers. The pretty Venetian wool wrap that she wears as her headscarf – bought by Mehdi as a Valentine’s Day present – is slipping off her short, fashionable feather cut and on to her shoulders. She tugs it back but it slips down again and then again.

The problem is that she likes to wear her headscarf far back on her head to show as much of her hair as possible.

Militant’s death unites Bethlehem

Stalled peace process fuels support for Hizbollah

Outside Betlehem’s Nativity Church, Christians yesterday queued not to celebrate the birth they believe happened here but to mourn a death – that of a Palestinian militant with close links to neighbouring Lebanon’s Islamic militia, Hizbollah.

Mohammed Shehadeh was one of four Palestinians shot in an Israeli undercover ambush here last week, killings that have fuelled support for Hizbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, among Christians and Muslims alike.

School principals, teachers and students from the Bethlehem School, the Catholic School and the Greek Orthodox School paraded to the mourning tent outside the church chanting and waving placards praising the Palestinian ‘martyr’.


Scores of civilians and US military staff feared dead as huge Albanian arms dump explodes

By David Randall

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Scores of people, including US military staff, are feared to have died after a Soviet-era munitions dump exploded at an Albanian army base yesterday. The blast injured more than 240 people, including many children – and the country’s Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, said he believed the death toll could be considerable.

The initial blast at the depot at Gerdec village, about six miles north of the capital, Tirana, set off a series of explosions, and ammunition continued to detonate for hours. The blast was felt 12 miles away and was heard at a distance of more than 30 miles.

Britain’s refugee shame

Gordon Brown has strongly criticised Robert Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe, but now ministers are seeking to expel 1,000 desperate people back to Harare on the grounds that there is ‘no general risk’ to them. Emily Dugan and Robert Verkaik investigate

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Ministers are preparing to expel hundreds of failed asylum-seekers back to the brutal regime of Robert Mugabe, seriously undermining Gordon Brown’s publicly declared tough stance on Zimbabwe.

The Government has started a mass removal programme that could affect more than 1,000 Zimbabweans who have enjoyed protection in the UK under a moratorium on deportations.

Letters sent by the Home Office to failed asylum-seekers last week inform the recipients that they are at “no general risk” in Zimbabwe and encourage them to leave the UK voluntarily.


Taiwanese to rally over China lawHundreds of thousands of people are expected to take part in rival political rallies across Taiwan.

What is known as Super Sunday is the last chance for big weekend rallies before polls to elect a new president.

The events, organised by the two main political parties, are also aimed at expressing public opposition to China’s anti-secession law.

Passed three years ago, it legalises the use of force against Taiwan if the island formally declares independence.

China regards the island as part of its territory.

New Pakistan parliament set to convene

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan’s new parliament convenes Monday, setting the stage for a power struggle between U.S.-backed President Pervez Musharraf and a new coalition government that has vowed to assail his already diminished powers.

At stake are the future course and political stability of this nuclear-armed nation of 160 million people, which is struggling with economic problems and rising Islamic militancy at a time when the U.S. is counting on its assistance in the war on terror.

On Saturday, a bomb exploded in the back garden of an Italian restaurant crowded with foreigners in the capital, Islamabad, killing a Turkish woman and wounding 12 others, including five Americans. Such attacks have led many Pakistanis to question Musharraf’s alliance with the U.S.

Latin America

Leftist Mexico party in danger of split

Former presidential contender Lopez Obrador’s PRD is to elect a new leader. Analysts say a loss for his allies would weaken his hold.

MEXICO CITY — Less than two years after Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador nearly won Mexico’s presidency, a nasty leadership struggle in his party could decide whether the fiery leftist remains its standard-bearer.

Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor, will not be on the ballot when his Democratic Revolution Party selects new leaders today. But analysts say a loss for his allies would weaken his hold on the party’s organizational machinery and money, and could augur a split in the leading opposition party.

Stakes are high for the party and for Lopez Obrador, who has yet to concede defeat in the July 2006 election, won by conservative Felipe Calderon. In the balance is the political future of a charismatic populist adored by millions as a champion of the poor but reviled by many other Mexicans as a reckless demagogue.

Official: 4 Belgians freed in Guatemala

PUERTO BARRIOS, Guatemala – Four Belgian tourists held hostage by protesting farmers were released late Saturday after security forces in boats and helicopters located the group in Guatemala’s eastern jungle, officials said.

The four Belgians, their Guatemalan guide and a boat operator were traveling in a tourist area 155 miles northeast of Guatemala City when they were abducted Friday by farmers demanding the release of their jailed leader.

Authorities had been negotiating with the kidnappers, while at the same time 150 police officers in boats and soldiers in helicopters searched the jungle area for the hostages to mount a rescue mission if talks failed, officials said.


In His Own World of Denial

Author’s Interview With Mugabe Reveals a Boastful, Isolated Leader Unwilling to Recognize Zimbabwe’s Economic Collapse or Accept Blame

JOHANNESBURG — Author Heidi Holland’s route to her interview with one of the world’s most notorious dictators was a travelogue of decay, down crumbling streets, past half-empty stores, through neighborhoods where hawkers touted goods in an increasingly desperate bid to survive a once-proud nation’s collapse.

But when she arrived at Zimbabwe’s State House in Harare, the capital, that December morning, a massive banner outside the office of President Robert Mugabe made clear she would find little reflection — or contrition — inside.


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    • on March 16, 2008 at 14:05
    • RiaD on March 16, 2008 at 15:44

    i couldn’t even read your headlines today 🙁

    all the news is sooo horrible. i think the world has gone mad, crazy-mad. the only sane people left come here to blog…

  1. I also wanted to let you know we appreciated your cross-post to eenrblog.

    It is hard to comment on so much dissension and trouble in the world.  And there are signs of hope in that people still express their wishes and dreams and struggle against tyranny.  

  2. call your representatives in congress and ask them to pressure China to start recognizing Tibetan rights. If China wants to be part of the civilized world, it must start acting that way.

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