Docudharma Times Thursday March 6



Relax.

I need some information first.

Just the basic facts:

Thursday’s Headlines: Democrats fear an ugly end to race: Top Iraq contractor skirts US taxes offshore: UK fears Iran still working on nuclear weapon: Sanctions causing Gaza to implode, say rights groups: A life or death decision: Public sector strike brings chaos to Germany: Egyptian police hold leading Islamists in crackdown: A Mexican rebel in Ecuador?

National Dragnet Is a Click Away

Authorities to Gain Fast and Expansive Access to Records

Several thousand law enforcement agencies are creating the foundation of a domestic intelligence system through computer networks that analyze vast amounts of police information to fight crime and root out terror plots.

As federal authorities struggled to meet information-sharing mandates after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, police agencies from Alaska and California to the Washington region poured millions of criminal and investigative records into shared digital repositories called data warehouses, giving investigators and analysts new power to discern links among people, patterns of behavior and other hidden clues.

USA

Democrats fear an ugly end to race

Without a clear-cut delegate leader, party activists worry the outcome will turn off the losing side’s voters.

WASHINGTON — Leading Democrats scrambled Wednesday to prevent the closest, most riveting presidential contest in decades from tearing the party apart, as the odds rose that neither Hillary Rodham Clinton nor Barack Obama could clinch the nomination without angering large blocs of voters.

Anxiety within the party swelled after Clinton’s victories Tuesday staved off elimination and gave her fresh momentum, yet did little to eat into Obama’s lead among delegates — the people who will formally pick the nominee at the Democratic National Convention in August.

Top Iraq contractor skirts US taxes offshore

Shell companies in Cayman Islands allow KBR to avoid Medicare, Social Security deductions

CAYMAN ISLANDS – Kellogg Brown & Root, the nation’s top Iraq war contractor and until last year a subsidiary of Halliburton Corp., has avoided paying hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicare and Social Security taxes by hiring workers through shell companies based in this tropical tax haven.

More than 21,000 people working for KBR in Iraq – including about 10,500 Americans – are listed as employees of two companies that exist in a computer file on the fourth floor of a building on a palm-studded boulevard here in the Caribbean. Neither company has an office or phone number in the Cayman Islands.

Middle East

UK fears Iran still working on nuclear weapon

· Senior diplomat sceptical of US intelligence findings

· No evidence programme has been halted, he says


The British government said yesterday that Tehran could still be developing a nuclear weapon, and called into question a key American intelligence finding that work on building an Iranian bomb had stopped in 2003.

For the first time, a senior British diplomat cast doubt on the US National Intelligence Estimate published last November which reported “with high confidence” that Tehran’s nuclear weapons programme had been halted in autumn 2003. The NIE also judged “with moderate confidence” that the programme had not been restarted.

The intelligence report blocked momentum towards US military action and delayed the passing of a third sanctions resolution against Tehran – a mild version of which was approved this week in an effort to persuade Iran to suspend enrichment of uranium. But the senior British diplomat claimed there was no serious evidence that Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear weapon had halted

Sanctions causing Gaza to implode, say rights groups

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are living through their worst humanitarian crisis since the 1967 war because of the severe restrictions imposed by Israel since the Islamist movement Hamas seized power, a report says today.

Movement is all but impossible and supplies of food and water, sewage treatment and basic healthcare can no longer be taken for granted. The economy has collapsed, unemployment is expected to rise to 50%, hospitals are suffering 12-hour power cuts and schools are failing – all creating a “humanitarian implosion”, according to a coalition of eight UK humanitarian and human rights groups.

The data was collated before the recent escalation in Hamas rocket fire and Israel’s incursion, which saw 106 Palestinians, at least half of them civilians, killed in five days alone. One Israeli civilian and two soldiers were killed in the same period.

Europe

A life or death decision

Mehdi Kazemi is a gay teenager from Iran. He sought sanctuary in Britain after his boyfriend was hanged for homosexuality. So why is Britain so determined to send him back to Tehran – to almost certain execution?

A gay teenager who sought sanctuary in Britain when his boyfriend was executed by the Iranian authorities now faces the same fate after losing his legal battle for asylum.

Mehdi Kazemi, 19, came to London to study English in 2004 but later discovered that his boyfriend had been arrested by the Iranian police, charged with sodomy and hanged.

In a telephone conversation with his father in Tehran, Mr Kazemi was told that before the execution in April 2006, his boyfriend had been questioned about sexual relations he had with other men and under interrogation had named Mr Kazemi as his partner.

Public sector strike brings chaos to Germany

Hundreds of flights were cancelled at airports throughout Germany yesterday and several towns and cities including Berlin faced traffic chaos after thousands of the country’s two million public sector workers went on strike, demanding pay increases.

The walkouts were the first serious industrial action faced by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s grand coalition government of conservatives and Social Democrats this year and were expected to be followed by a countrywide strike by train drivers from Monday. The action coincides with growing public concern about a widening gap between Germany’s rich and poor.

Asia

Indian families offered cash to stop abortion of girl foetuses

By Andrew Buncombe in Goa

Thursday, 6 March 2008

India has launched a dramatic initiative to stop the widespread practice of poor families aborting female foetuses by offering cash incentives for them to give birth to the girls and then bring them up.

Families can expect to earn around £1,500 per girl under a government scheme announced this week.

In many parts of India, especially in remote and rural areas, male babies have long been the preferred child of expectant parents. Such is the perceived cost of marrying off a daughter and the contrasting anticipated benefits of having a male child that millions of daughters are often killed before they are born.

Teracotta tourists safe after hostage siege

A trip to see China’s famed Terracotta Army took a terrifying turn for a group of Australian tourists when they were taken hostage by a man claiming to be carrying explosives.

The drama unfolded yesterday as the ten men and women, all travel agents on an education tour, visited the Drum and Bell Tower Square in the heart of the ancient city of Xi’an, near one of the last old low-rise districts that has escaped the developers’ bulldozers.

A Chinese man boarded their bus and took the group hostage, telling their translator that he had explosives strapped to his body.

Police arrived and the man, identified as Xia Tao from the Yanliang district of the city, said he wanted to negotiate.

Africa

Kenyan power-sharing era to begin

The state opening of Kenya’s parliament is due to take place in Nairobi.

It comes a week after President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga agreed to share power.

They signed a deal to form a coalition following weeks of bloodshed – some of it said to have been state-sanctioned – after December’s disputed elections.

Kenyan MPs’ first duty in the next few days is expected to be voting on legislation that will put into effect the power-sharing deal.

Egyptian police hold leading Islamists in crackdown

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian police detained three leading members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood on Thursday as part of a crackdown which the Islamists say is meant to disrupt their plans for local elections in April.

Mahmoud Ghuzlan, a member of the Brotherhood’s Guidance Office, was taken from his Cairo home at 2 a.m. (7:00 p.m. EST Wednesday), said Mohamed Habib, the deputy leader of the organization.

Two other senior officials, Hamdi Ibrahim and Maged el-Zumur, were taken from their homes in the north Cairo suburb of Shubra, Habib told Reuters.

Latin America

A Mexican rebel in Ecuador?

Friends and family say that contrary to media reports, a 26-year-old woman wounded in Ecuador is just a student, not a guerrilla.

MEXICO CITY — Lucia Morett survived the attack Saturday by the Colombian military on a rebel base in Ecuador, an act that has brought three South American countries to the brink of war.

Since then, many have wondered what the 26-year-old Mexican drama student was doing in a base led by the No. 2 commander of Colombia’s largest guerrilla group.

On Wednesday, Morett remained in a hospital in Quito, Ecuador, recuperating from wounds suffered in what appeared to be an aerial bombing, she said. Her public statements have shed little light on the mystery.

Her story is being cast in Mexico City as an espionage tale involving Mexican students and local support networks sympathetic to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

7 comments

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    • mishima on March 6, 2008 at 1:38 pm
      Author

    Here in Japan anyway.

  1. For those of you who kinda follow MMA, Sengoku ran their first show yesterday and Josh Barnett beat Yoshida Hidehiko with an ankle lock in round three, while (more importantly in my mind) Gomi Takanori (????), the world’s #1 lightweight fighter, defeated Duane ‘Bang’ Ludwig in the first round by busting up Ludwig’s nose.

    How’s the Democratic Party’s nomination process being seen in Japan?

  2. 9/11 – what a bonanza it has been for the authoritarians.

  3. This story popped up at 2 am on Yahoo News last night and was nowhere to be found this morning, the guy running the “health clinics” was a major contributor to the current republican Governor of Nevada.  He had told his workers to re-use needles , vials, syringes, in order to “cut costs”.

    http://www.capecodonline.com/a

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