Docudharma Times Friday April 18

kick out the blues

tear out the pages with all the bad news

pull down the mirrors and pull down the walls

tear up the stairs and tear up the floors

oh just burn down the house!

Friday’s Headlines: Workers Get Fewer Hours, Deepening the Downturn: How Obama and the radical became news: Japan temple rejects torch relay: India pulls off a peaceful Olympic torch relay, by banning the public: Guggenheim sues ex-finance boss who admitted stealing £400,000: Dmitri Medvedev votes were rigged, says computer boffin: ‘Softly-softly’ Thabo Mbeki is urged to quit over tolerance of Robert Mugabe: Mugabe set to mark independence: Israel closes off West Bank, Gaza for Passover: Carter in Damascus to meet Hamas: Rural fires choke Buenos Aires with smoke

Amid blasts, Baghdad embassy declared ready

Rocket attacks force completion of costly, controversial compound

The troubled effort to build the giant U.S. Embassy in Baghdad seemed to be months away from completion when a team of top State Department officials flew to Iraq on March 20 to meet with senior staff from the prime contractor, First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting. But as insurgent rockets began to rain down on the flimsy trailers housing diplomats inside the Green Zone, the two sides suddenly found ways to settle many of the major issues dividing them.


Workers Get Fewer Hours, Deepening the Downturn

Not long ago, overtime was a regular feature at the Ludowici Roof Tile factory in eastern Ohio. Not anymore. With orders scarce and crates of unsold tiles piling up across the yard, the company has slowed production and cut working hours, sowing worry and thrift among its workers.

“We don’t just hop in the car and go shopping or get something to eat,” said Kim Baker, whose take-home pay at the plant has recently dropped to $450 a week, from more than $600. “You’ve got to watch everything. If we go to town now, it’s for a reason.”

How Obama and the radical became news

Story highlights the path from blog to mainstream

It began as a blog entry in 2005 from a woman to the left of Barack Obama. It turned into a conservative cause célèbre. Then it entered the mainstream consciousness in a prime-time debate on ABC.

more stories like this

And that’s when political emotions erupted on the campaign trail.

The sudden national focus on the connection between the Democratic presidential hopeful and a Vietnam-era radical named William Ayers – a onetime fugitive from justice who told The New York Times, “I don’t regret setting bombs” – set the political world abuzz. The news that Obama held a campaign event at Ayers’s home in 1995, and served with Ayers on a Chicago community board, was either damning or innocuous, a worthy disclosure or a sure sign of the decline of political journalism.


Japan temple rejects torch relay

A major Buddhist temple has withdrawn from plans to host Japan’s opening stage of the Olympic torch relay.

Zenkoji Temple, in the city of Nagano, had been due to serve as the starting point for the parade on 26 April.

An official said the monks were worried about safety but also linked the decision to concern over recent unrest in Tibet.

Meanwhile the torch has arrived in Thailand in preparation for a parade through the capital city, Bangkok.

The relay has been dogged by protests over Tibet, with chaotic scenes in London, Paris and San Francisco.

India pulls off a peaceful Olympic torch relay, by banning the public

The backdrop was stunning, the celebrities (apart from the cricketer Sachin Tendulkar who pulled out at the last minute citing a groin injury) waved and smiled, and the politicians were on hand to make warm speeches. All that was lacking as the Olympic torch was run through Delhi yesterday were some people to see it.

Such were the concerns of the Indian authorities about demonstrators disrupting the event that the two-mile relay through the centre of Delhi effectively took place in private. The only people who managed to get a glimpse of the torch were the 15,000 police, the politicians and a couple of hundred specially selected schoolchildren.


Guggenheim sues ex-finance boss who admitted stealing £400,000

By Elizabeth Nash in Madrid

Friday, 18 April 2008

Spain’s cultural world is reeling with shock and dismay after the announcement that Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum is suing its finance director for embezzling €500,000 (£400,000).

Robert Cearsolo, 48, who controlled the financial operations of the renowned cultural landmark until he was sacked this week, confessed his misdeeds in a soul-baring letter to the museum’s director and long-time collaborator, Juan Ignacio Vidarte.

Dmitri Medvedev votes were rigged, says computer boffin

Up to a third of votes cast for Dmitri Medvedev to be Russia’s next President were likely to have been rigged, a comprehensive new study of the election results has found.

Millions of votes for the Kremlin’s favoured candidate were the product of mass fraud or the use of “administrative resources” by government officials to pressure state employees into supporting Mr Medvedev, the study states.

The results inflated Mr Medvedev’s margin of victory and the overall turnout, making it appear that he enjoyed massive popular support as Vladimir Putin’s chosen successor.


‘Softly-softly’ Thabo Mbeki is urged to quit over tolerance of Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwe’s opposition leader called yesterday for President Mbeki of South Africa to stand down as international mediator in the Zimbabwean post-election crisis, condemning him for inaction in the face of an escalating emergency.

Morgan Tsvangirai’s damning call – his first explicit attack on Mr Mbeki – came as international pressure continued to grow not only on the Zimbabwean Government, but also on Africa as a whole to bring an end to the crisis.

The South African Government, in a clear repudiation of its President’s softly-softly policy, labelled the situation “dire”, while Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, called on Africa to “step up” to the “abomination” of President Mugabe’s rule.

Mugabe set to mark independence

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is due to make his first major speech since last month’s disputed elections.

Mr Mugabe is scheduled to speak at a rally at a stadium in Harare to mark 28 years since independence from Britain and the end of white minority rule.

He has made few public comments since the presidential election, which the opposition says Morgan Tsvangirai won.

Meanwhile, South African dock workers are refusing to unload a shipment of arms from China destined for Zimbabwe.

Middle East

Israel closes off West Bank, Gaza for Passover

JERUSALEM – Israel closed off the West Bank and Gaza for the Jewish Passover holiday on Friday, a day after Gaza militants attacked a vital crossing, raising the possibility of a large-scale Israeli offensive within weeks.

The closure, which went into effect in the early morning, was to last until the end of the holiday on April 26, according to a statement from the military. Palestinians are banned from entering Israel, except for doctors and lawyers and in humanitarian cases, it said.

The military regards the holiday period “as a highly sensitive time, security wise,” the statement said. The military “will increase its alertness … while preserving, to the best of its ability, the daily life of the Palestinian population,” it said.

Carter in Damascus to meet Hamas

Former US President Jimmy Carter is in Syria, where he is due to meet exiled Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal.

Mr Carter is on a tour of the region and has met Hamas officials in Egypt and Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Correspondents say Mr Carter has been snubbed by other senior Israeli leaders because of the meeting with Mr Meshaal.

But Israeli industry minister Eli Yishai has told Mr Carter he is willing to meet Hamas leaders to negotiate the release of prisoners held by the group.

His spokesman said Mr Yishai had passed the proposal to Mr Carter ahead of his trip to Syria, saying he was “ready to meet with all necessary Hamas members” – including Mr Meshaal – for talks.

Latin America

Rural fires choke Buenos Aires with smoke

Residents report eye and throat irritations. An official blames ‘a disaster caused by man.’ Farmers routinely use blazes to clear fields.

BUENOS AIRES — A curtain of smoke from burning rural fields settled over this Argentine capital Thursday, delaying flights, shutting roads and leaving residents coughing.

The influx of smoke blown toward the capital by prevailing winds also reignited hard feelings between the government and the nation’s powerful farming industry, which recently suspended a three-week strike against new taxes on grain exports.

“We are facing a disaster caused by man with lamentable consequences,” Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo said.

The smoke originated from hundreds of fires consuming more than 150,000 acres of grasslands about 120 miles northwest of the city, officials said. Farmers in South America routinely use fires to clear land for new plantings and to remove scrub. But authorities said some fires were now burning out of control.


    • mishima on April 18, 2008 at 1:44 pm
  1. It’s good to know that the empire has completed it’s crown jewel.


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