Docudharma Times Tuesday March 25

Maybe, someday

Saved by zero

I’ll be more together

stretched by fewer

Thoughts that leave me

Tuesday’s Headlines: Genetic Testing Gets Personal:  Detroit mayor and aide charged with felonies: Army launches assault in Comoros: Who pays the price of platinum?: New Pakistani prime minister frees judges: Just like America, China is building a multi-ethnic empire in the west: Neil Aspinall, the ‘fifth Beatle’, dies aged 66: Berlusconi boosted by pessimism of young: Fatah and Hamas dismiss Yemen agreement on Palestinian unity: US Navy confirms Suez canal shooting:  Mexico leftists deadlocked in vote dispute

Bush Given Iraq War Plan With a Steady Troop Level

WASHINGTON – Troop levels in Iraq would remain nearly the same through 2008 as at any time during five years of war, under plans presented to President Bush on Monday by the senior American commander and the top American diplomat in Iraq, senior administration and military officials said.

Mr. Bush announced no final decision on future troop levels after the video briefing by the commander, Gen. David H. Petraeus, and the diplomat, Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker. The briefing took place on the day when the 4,000th American military death of the war was reported and just after the invasion’s fifth anniversary.

Fierce clashes break out in Basra

Heavy fighting has erupted in Iraq’s southern city of Basra amid a major pre-dawn offensive by Iraqi security forces against rival Shia militias.

Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki is in Basra overseeing the operation, a day after he vowed to “re-impose law” in the oil-rich city, the UK military said.

Eyewitnesses speak of plumes of smoke, explosions, tanks and artillery.

The British military, which returned control of Basra to the Iraqis in December, said it was not involved.

A spokesman for UK forces, now based only at Basra airport, said the operation was being directed entirely by Iraqi troops and that Mr Maliki was overseeing it from a military base at an undisclosed location in the city.


Genetic Testing Gets Personal

Firms Sell Answers On Health, Even Love

In January, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, movers and shakers lined up to spit into test tubes — the first step to having snippets of their DNA analyzed by 23andMe, a personalized gene-testing company that for $999 promises to help people “search and explore their genomes.”

Those wanting an even more complete analysis of their biological inheritance can turn to Knome, a Cambridge, Mass., company that, for $350,000, will spell out all 3 billion letters of their DNA code — an unparalleled opportunity, the company says, to “Know thyself.”

Detroit mayor and aide charged with felonies

Kwame Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff face perjury, obstruction and misconduct counts after steamy text messages appear to contradict their testimony denying an affair.

The civic soap opera engulfing Detroit Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick took a new plot twist Monday when a county prosecutor charged the onetime rising political star with obstruction of justice, perjury and misconduct in office, all related to a romantic relationship with his former chief of staff.

Facing political catastrophe and a long prison term, Kilpatrick defiantly vowed to fight the civil felony charges, which grew out of an $8.4-million settlement of a lawsuit against him by police officials and the leaking of steamy romantic text messages between the mayor and longtime aide Christine Beatty.

Kilpatrick and Beatty surrendered to authorities separately Monday. Kilpatrick was expected to face arraignment in a Detroit courtroom today.


Army launches assault in Comoros

A military operation is under way in the Comoros archipelago in the Indian Ocean to end a year-old rebellion on the island of Anjouan.

Defence chief of staff Mohamed Dosara said about 450 troops had landed at dawn, taking the airport and entering the main town, Mustamudu.

The island’s renegade leader, Mohamed Bacar, is believed to be holding out with several hundred armed police.

The Comoran troops are being supported by a 1,500-strong African Union force.

Who pays the price of platinum?

Mining giant Anglo American courts prime ministers and presidents, keen to be seen as leading the way in corporate responsibility.

But there are concerns that people are being forced off their land as the world’s third largest mining operation seeks huge profits from the increasing world demand for platinum.

The global drive for clean air is driving the market in platinum which is used to produce catalytic converters.

Nearly 90% of the world’s platinum reserves are in southern Africa with Anglo American’s mines proving to be highly productive and profitable.


New Pakistani prime minister frees judges

· Bhutto loyalist elected with huge majority

· New leader calls for UN inquiry into assassination

Pakistan’s new prime minister ordered the release from house arrest of the country’s former chief justice within minutes of coming to power yesterday, driving home how rapidly President Pervez Musharraf’s authority is ebbing.

Shortly after he was elected by a thumping majority by the new parliament, Yousaf Raza Gilani ordered the release of about 10 judges, headed by Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who have been illegally detained at home since November 3.

The Islamabad police had already received the message and lifted the barbed wire from around the judges’ homes less than a mile away. Activists flooded towards Chaudhry’s house, some scaling the low walls of what had officially been termed a sub-jail less than an hour earlier. The judge stood at the balcony with his wife and three children and addressed the raucous crowd squeezed into his garden. “I do not have words to thank you all,” he said as fistfuls of petals filled the air.

Just like America, China is building a multi-ethnic empire in the west

Tibet and Xinjiang have the misfortune of having resources the Asian giant wants, and being on the path to resources it needs

t is difficult to find a westerner who does not intuitively support the idea of a free Tibet. But would Americans ever let go of Texas or California? For China, the Anglo-Russian great game for control of central Asia was neither inconclusive nor fruitless, something that cannot be said for Russia or Britain. Indeed, China was the big winner.

Boundary agreements in 1895 and 1907 gave Russia the Pamir mountains and established the Wakhan Corridor – the slender eastern tongue of Afghanistan that borders China – as a buffer to Britain. But rather than cede East Turkestan (Uighurstan) to the Russians, the British financed China’s recapture of the territory, which it organised into Xinjiang (which means “New Dominions”). While West Turkestan was splintered into the hermetic Soviet Stans, China reasserted its traditional dominance over Xinjiang and Tibet, today its largest – and least stable – provinces.


Neil Aspinall, the ‘fifth Beatle’, dies aged 66

By Chris Green

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

He managed Apple records, sang in the chorus of “Yellow Submarine” and was known affectionately within the music industry as the “real fifth Beatle”. Few people had such an intimate knowledge of the world’s most famous band as Neil Aspinall, who died yesterday in a New York hospital after a short illness.

Aspinall, 66, was joined in his final moments by his long-standing friend Sir Paul McCartney, who flew from Britain on Sunday to be at his bedside. In a statement released by Apple Corps, McCartney and Ringo Starr described him as a great man. “As a loyal friend, confidant and chief executive, Neil’s trusting stewardship and guidance has left a far-reaching legacy for generations to come,” said the statement, which was also issued on behalf of Yoko Ono. “All his friends and loved ones will greatly miss him but will always retain the fondest memories of a great man.”

Berlusconi boosted by pessimism of young

The youth of Italy are increasingly gloomy about the future, according to a newspaper poll, and their despondency is helping Silvio Berlusconi consolidate his grip on the general election, due in less than three weeks.

The election slogan of the People of Freedom, the media magnate’s coalition, is “Rise Again, Italy!”, but a poll published by La Repubblica newspaper over the weekend indicates that it is dismal expectations rather than optimistic hopes that are driving voters under 30 into his camp.

Mr Berlusconi has maintained a steady lead of seven per cent or more over his centre-left rival, the outgoing Mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni, the head of his new Democratic Party.

Middle East

Fatah and Hamas dismiss Yemen agreement on Palestinian unity

Top officials in the rival Palestinian Fatah and Hamas factions dismissed talk of an impending reconciliation yesterday, less than a day after their envoys in Yemen signed a proposal to begin deliberations on a single, united Palestinian government.

Sources close to Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority and leader of Fatah, said that their envoy had signed the agreement only because of a mix-up. Hamas officials said that the importance of the proposal was exaggerated and unlikely to yield any results.

US Navy confirms Suez canal shooting

CAIRO, Egypt – An American cargo ship under contract to the U.S. Navy opened fire on a small Egyptian boat while moving through the Suez Canal, the Navy said Tuesday. Egyptian authorities said at least one man was killed.

The Global Patriot was heading in the direction of the Mediterranean after dark Monday when it was approached by several small boats, according to both Navy and Egyptian officials.

“The ship warned the small boats – via bridge to bridge radio and a series of warning steps – to turn away. One small boat continued to approach the motor vessel, which then repeatedly fired shots,” said the statement from the U.S. Fifth Fleet, which did not mention casualties.

Latin America

Mexico leftists deadlocked in vote dispute

Ballot counting in the PRD’s leadership election comes to a halt as two camps bicker and accuse each other of fraud.

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s main opposition party was in disarray Monday after failing to resolve a week-old dispute over the results of a leadership vote.

With the tabulation of votes unfinished, the Democratic Revolution Party’s top election official said bickering between the two main camps had made it impossible to continue the count.

Officials were expected to have announced results by Sunday, a week after nationwide balloting by the PRD, as the left-leaning party is known.

But the tally has been hampered by accusations of fraud from the party’s two main factions: hard-liners allied with firebrand Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and a more moderate wing.


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    • on March 25, 2008 at 12:54 pm
  1. And here’s some music!

    And here’s what happens when Miyavi’s friends stage an intervention! 🙂

    • Mu on March 25, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    This morning on Morning Edition, during Nina Totenberg’s (sp?) report on today’s Supreme Court oral argument on the U.S. Citizens in Iraq that we’re looking to turn over to the Iraqi government, the Bush Admin lawyer being interviewed said that we’ve got to hand these citizens over to the Iraqi government because the U.S. “can’t just trample on another country’s sovereignty and traditions” !!!!!

    Oh!  Oh!  Oh!  

    Just stunning.  Stunning.

    Mu . . .

    • documel on March 25, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    One of the biggest problems for bloggers is their dependence on the media for information.  Yet, we all rail  that the media spews out bullshit.  What we need is independent media–reader supported–I’m thinking along the lines of WBAI in NYC in the 1960s.  TPM’s Josh Marshall is a current example.

    Put another way, we need to fight FOXnews with a competitor–a fact checker–a network of Keith Obermann’s.  Air America isn’t a news source–and is never quoted by msm.  

    The Dem party has not performed up to my minimal expectations since it regained partial control of congress–thus I’d rather give money to good media than to bad (or weak) politicians.  Anyone here know if such a public media exists?

    • nocatz on March 25, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    But would Americans ever let go of Texas or California?

    • documel on March 30, 2008 at 12:29 am

    Love your name–too bad you’re not a Republican–but that would be too obvious.  Thinking about this old comment, how often does the news report on Darfur–or Somalia?  Schools aren’t the only suspects in the dumbing down of our citizen–the media is most responsible.  Not only the news programs–the reality show voyeurism is disgusting.  The home shows about flipping houses for big money helped grow the real estate bubble. The questions on Jeopardy are getting easier.

    And the number one way media is making us stupid is their news coverage.  The officials that fostered this economic collapse now get kudos from the press for devising phantom regulation.  The layers of obsfuscation boggles the mind.

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