Docudharma Times Tuesday March 18

I see you slither away with your skin and your tail,

Your flickering tongue and your rattling scales

Like a real reptile.

Tuesday’s Headlines: Plunge Averted, Markets Look Ahead Uneasily: Obama speech will try to defuse race issue :  State TV switches to non-stop footage of Chinese under attack: 1,000 Tibetans arrested in Chinese crackdown: President Robert Mugabe ‘raises the dead’ to secure electoral victory in Zimbabwe: Ghanaian fashion accessory is plastic fantastic: UN forces face grenade and gun attacks from Serbs in Mitrovica: The Big Question: What is the role of the EU President:  Vatican in Saudi talks on building churches: Egypt army to tackle bread crisis: Mexican leftist’s ally appears to win party helm

Arrests after governor’s threat to deal harshly with resistance

Thousands of paramilitary police were massing in Lhasa and other Tibetan areas of unrest last night ahead of an ultimatum to protesters to hand themselves in.

Witnesses reported that arrests had begun long before a midnight deadline passed in the capital, and authorities in other provinces were cracking down both on protests and those who report them.

Hong Kong journalists were ordered to leave Lhasa, and foreign reporters have been turned away or ordered to leave Tibetan areas in the Qinghai, Sichuan and Gansu provinces in the past two days.

Tibet’s governor, Qiangba Puncog, said that protesters who turned themselves in would be “treated with leniency within the framework of the law … Otherwise, we will deal with them harshly.”


Plunge Averted, Markets Look Ahead Uneasily

With the Dow Jones industrial average up slightly more than 21 points by the end of trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, it may have looked like a calm day on Wall Street.

But under the surface, the scene was far from serene. After policy makers hastily arranged a sale of the embattled investment bank Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase over the weekend, stocks and other financial instruments fluctuated wildly during much of the day as investors started worrying about who and what would be next in the line of fire.

Obama speech will try to defuse race issue

· Democratic frontrunner to speak in primary state

· Pastor’s views disowned as ‘stupid’ and a ‘distraction’

Barack Obama will today make his strongest attempt so far to defuse the race row scarring the Democratic presidential race when he tackles the issue head on with a speech in Pennsylvania, scene of next month’s hotly contested primary.

The Obama campaign said the speech in Philadelphia will address “race, politics, and how we bring our country together at this important moment in our history”.

It comes after a week in which he has taken a battering from Hillary Clinton’s campaign team, particularly over incendiary remarks by his pastor about the US and discrimination.

In interviews last night previewing today’s speech, Obama described as “stupid” remarks about the US and whites by the preacher at his church in Chicago, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and admitted that the focus on race over the last week had been “a distraction”.


State TV switches to non-stop footage of Chinese under attack

China has begun to fight back against criticism of its handling of the Tibetan protests, launching a sustained publicity offensive as well as blocking foreign broadcasters and websites and denying journalists access to areas of unrest.

After days of ignoring and then playing down protests, the media suddenly switched course yesterday. TV channels aired hours of Friday’s anti-Chinese riots in Lhasa and the aftermath.

Employees at the state television service CCTV’s English service were instructed to keep broadcasting footage of burned-out shops and Chinese wounded in attacks. No peaceful demonstrators were shown.

1,000 Tibetans arrested in Chinese crackdown

Close to 1,000 Tibetans have been detained in two days of sweeps across the capital, Lhasa, by paramilitary police hunting down those who took part in last week’s deadly anti-Chinese riots.

Sources in the city said around 600 people had been detained on Saturday and another 300 had been picked up on Sunday. They said it was not clear where those rounded up were being detained because the main Drapchi prison in Lhasa is already believed to be virtually full.

Those detained could be taken to the old Number One prison in the Sangyip district in the northeast of Lhasa that is currently not believed to be in use.


President Robert Mugabe ‘raises the dead’ to secure electoral victory in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has the highest proportion of elderly voters in the world, according to the voters’ roll being used for elections next week. A glance at one page of the roll yesterday for a ward in the Mount Pleasant suburb of Harare turned up a Fodias Kunyepa, who was born in 1901. Over the page was Rebecca Armstrong, born 1900.

Somewhat younger was Desmond Lardner-Burke, born 1909, who was the notorious Minister for Justice in the rebel Rhodesian Government and responsible for the harassment, arrest and detention without trial of tens of thousands of black nationalists, including President Mugabe, fighting against white rule in the 1960s and 1970s.

Ghanaian fashion accessory is plastic fantastic

“Our bags are complete trash” may not strike you as the perfect sales pitch. But one Ghanaian entrepreneur would beg to disagree. His Trashy Bags venture is turning the scourge of discarded plastic that litters this corner of west Africa into a cool fashion accessory.

Plastic bags are a ubiquitous feature of the African landscape not seen in coffee table books or travel magazines. In Ghana they line roads, hang from palm trees, float in the sea and gather in drifts on the white sandy beaches.


UN forces face grenade and gun attacks from Serbs in Mitrovica

Violence erupted in a flashpoint city in northern Kosovo yesterday when hundreds of Serb protesters forced the withdrawal of United Nations police in the worst clashes since the province broke away from Serbia a month ago.

The toll of injuries on both sides rose during a day of bloody unrest, in which Nato and UN forces reported grenade attacks and automatic weapon fire and responded with teargas and warning shots.

Tensions had been building for days in Kosovo after the relative calm that followed the declaration of independence, and Western diplomats now fear that the territory could be heading towards de facto partition between the Albanian-dominated south and Serbian north.

The Big Question: What is the role of the EU President, and who are the leading candidates?

Why are we asking this question now?

Why are we asking this question now?

A President of the European Council will be appointed next year. According to an opinion poll, most citizens in almost every large European Union country want the job to go to a political big-hitter – such as a Tony Blair or an Angela Merkel – rather than to someone relatively unknown. More surprisingly, 50 per cent of Britons agree with them, according to the survey for The Financial Times.

Middle East

Vatican in Saudi talks on building churches

· Pope’s spokesman hopeful of ‘historic’ agreement

· Secret negotiations follow King Abdullah’s Rome visit

The Vatican has been holding secret talks with the Saudi Arabian authorities on building churches in Muhammad’s homeland, according to one of Pope Benedict’s most senior Middle East representatives. Archbishop Paul-Mounged El-Hashem said: “Discussions are under way to allow the construction of churches in the kingdom. We cannot forecast the outcome.”

But, speaking to the news agency Agence France-Presse, the Lebanese prelate, the Pope’s envoy in the Gulf, added: “There are around three or four million Christians in Saudi Arabia, and we hope they will have churches.”

Egypt army to tackle bread crisis

Egypt’s president has ordered the army to increase the production and distribution of bread, in an attempt to cope with serious shortages.

Rising prices and alleged corruption have sparked recent clashes at bakeries in poorer neighbourhoods, leading to several deaths.

Hosni Mubarak said eradicating bread queues was “imperative”.

The army and interior ministry control numerous bakeries normally used to supply bread for troops and police.

Mr Mubarak issued his order to the army at a meeting of cabinet ministers on Sunday that was called to address the growing crisis, his spokesman said.

Latin America

Mexican leftist’s ally appears to win party helm

Such an outcome could deal a setback to conservative President Felipe Calderon and efforts to privatize the state oil company.

MEXICO CITY — Leftist firebrand Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador appeared to cement his hold over Mexico’s main opposition party Monday after a key ally declared himself the winner of a bitterly fought leadership race.

Alejandro Encinas, a former deputy to Lopez Obrador, claimed victory in the campaign to be president of the left-leaning Democratic Revolution Party, or PRD, based on samplings of Sunday’s vote conducted by two polling companies hired by the party.

The contest pitted adherents of Lopez Obrador’s confrontational style of politics against moderates represented by Encinas’ main rival, former federal lawmaker Jesus Ortega.


    • on March 18, 2008 at 1:46 pm
    • Mu on March 18, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    The yellow(words)-on-white(background) is a bit difficult to read.


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