Docudharma Times Saturday April 26

Come with me

Into the trees

Well lay on the grass

And let the hours pass

Saturday’s Headlines: Party Fears Racial Divide: Detainees’ Mental Health Is Latest Legal Battle: In Beijing, No Answer to The Bulldozer: Country for sale: Scores arrested in police raid on MDC and poll monitors: Jacob Zuma: President in waiting: Spain’s military banned from websites showing models or giving sports results: Georgia steps up its diplomatic push for NATO membership: Militias ‘recruit child bombers’:   Questions Linger on Scope of Iran’s Threat in Iraq: Protest in Mexico’s Congress over PREMEX bill ends

U.S. Afghan supply lines depend on Islamic militant

BARA, Pakistan – The only thing standing between Pakistan’s Taliban and the lifeline for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan may be an Islamist warlord who controls the area near Pakistan’s famed Khyber Pass.

In an interview with McClatchy, Mangal Bagh, who leads a group called Lashkar-i-Islam, voiced his disdain for America but said he’s rebuffed an offer from the Taliban to join them.

Truckloads of food, equipment and fuel for NATO troops wind through the Khyber Pass daily to the bustling border at Torkham. Last month, Taliban fighters bombed fuel trucks waiting at Torkham to cross into Afghanistan, and last week, fighting between Bagh’s men and a pocket of Taliban resistance closed the highway for several days.


Party Fears Racial Divide

Attacks Could Do Lasting Harm, Democrats Say

The protracted and increasingly acrimonious fight for the Democratic presidential nomination is unnerving core constituencies — African Americans and wealthy liberals — who are becoming convinced that the party could suffer irreversible harm if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton maintains her sharp line of attack against Sen. Barack Obama.

Clinton’s solid win in the Pennsylvania primary exposed a quandary for the party. Her backers may be convinced that only she can win the white, working-class voters that the Democratic nominee will need in the general election, but many African American leaders say a Clinton nomination — handed to her by superdelegates — would result in a disastrous breach with black voters.

Detainees’ Mental Health Is Latest Legal Battle

Next month, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who was once a driver for Osama bin Laden, could become the first detainee to be tried for war crimes in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. By now, he should be busily working on his defense.

But his lawyers say he cannot. They say Mr. Hamdan has essentially been driven crazy by solitary confinement in an 8-foot-by-12-foot cell where he spends at least 22 hours a day, goes to the bathroom and eats all his meals. His defense team says he is suicidal, hears voices, has flashbacks, talks to himself and says the restrictions of Guantánamo “boil his mind.”

“He will shout at us,” said his military defense lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. Brian L. Mizer. “He will bang his fists on the table.”


In Beijing, No Answer to The Bulldozer

BEIJING, April 25 — Su Xiangyu realized his house would be the next to face the bulldozer when a beefy man pulled up a crate and sat down near Su’s front door last Friday. The man didn’t say anything. Just sat and smoked. Watched Su and waited.

“He showed up after Wang Lianmin’s house was demolished,” said Su, squinting as he scanned the field of dirt and rubble that used to be a community of more than 550 families.

Su, Wang and another neighbor were the last three holdouts to fight for their families’ homes against developers who own rights to this land, just across the street from the main Olympic park in Beijing. The three have now been forced to join the thousands of people — housing advocates say hundreds of thousands — whose homes have been plowed under in the rush of Olympics-related construction over the past seven years.

Country for sale

Almost half of Cambodia has been sold to foreign speculators in the past 18 months – and hundreds of thousands who fled the Khmer Rouge are homeless once more. Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark report

Sang Run, his hair stiff with sea salt, chugs out into the Gulf of Kompong Som in his weather-beaten turquoise boat, looking for blackling. He scours the shallow, blue water, waiting for a shoal to appear, before skimming his net across the water. He does the same every day, taking his catch to auction on Independence Beach in Cambodia’s southern port city of Sihanoukville.

It looks like a scene Sang Run was born into. But 20 years ago the beach was deserted, and he was a schoolteacher in Mondulkiri, a forested province hundreds of miles away in the east of the country. Back then, he could talk all day about palm sugar and betel nuts. He was something of an amateur botanist, but had never seen the sea – nor had any of the group who today gather around his silvery haul flapping in the sand on Independence Beach. Former nurse Srey Pov, who runs a Khmer restaurant along the beach, also came from a province many miles away.


Scores arrested in police raid on MDC and poll monitors

Riot police in Zimbabwe yesterday raided the offices of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change as well as those of independent election observers, seizing computers and documents and arresting scores of people in the biggest crackdown since last month’s disputed election.

Truckloads of officers surrounded the building in Harare during an operation that lasted several hours. MDC officials said police had taken away more than 100 people, including staff and party supporters who had fled to the capital to avoid a crackdown in the countryside.

Jacob Zuma: President in waiting

Beaten, tortured and exiled under apartheid, Jacob Zuma arrived in London this week to a hero’s welcome. He tells Ivan Fallon of his high hopes for South Africa

Jacob Zuma passed through London this week in a whirlwind of interviews, visits, and breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings. Everyone wanted to meet the man widely expected to be the next South African president, and meetings were heavily over-subscribed with businessmen and politicians almost standing in line.

A group of South African businessmen, representing wealth running into tens of billions, fought to be in the same room as him. He dropped in on Gordon Brown, met newspaper editors, was interviewed by Jon Snow and did the statutory bad-tempered session with the Today programme.


Spain’s military banned from websites showing models or giving sports results

When Spain’s Socialist leader appointed a pregnant Defence Minister the conservative Spanish military establishment mostly grinned and bore it. But many members of the armed forces are now angry about Carme Chacón’s first act in office – banning them from websites featuring football or naked women.

This week army, navy and air force personnel were blocked from accessing the websites of three publications: Interviú, which is famous for its covers featuring topless models, as well as Marca and As, the popular sports newspapers.

The Defence Ministry said that the ban on websites of a sexual or sporting nature was introduced to conserve internet bandwidth for military business.

Georgia steps up its diplomatic push for NATO membership

Officials from Georgia are embarking on a major diplomatic offensive in Europe, fearing that Russia will do everything possible to destabilize the country before NATO membership talks can begin in December.

David Bakradze, the Georgian foreign minister, who met Friday with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said his country was becoming caught in a bitter struggle between the West and Russia as it tried to anchor its political and security institutions solidly in Euro-Atlantic organizations and rid itself of Russian influence.

At stake in the coming months, Bakradze said, is whether the West will bow to Russian pressure and possibly trigger a domino effect or stand firm until Moscow backs down.

Middle East

Militias ‘recruit child bombers’

insurgent groups and militias in Iraq are recruiting children for attacks, according to a United Nations official.

The findings of the UN special representative for children and armed conflict echo concerns expressed by the US military about insurgent tactics.

In some cases children are paid to carry out attacks, the UN envoy, Radhika Coomaraswamy, told the BBC.

Last month, the US released footage of what it said was al-Qaeda propaganda showing children being trained.

The US says children are being taught how to use guns and carry out kidnappings in addition to other terrorist activities.

Questions Linger on Scope of Iran’s Threat in Iraq

This article is by Mark Mazzetti, Steven Lee Myers and Thom Shanker

WASHINGTON – The United States has gathered its most detailed evidence so far of Iranian involvement in training and arming fighters in Iraq, officials say, but significant uncertainties remain about the extent of that involvement and the threat it poses to American and Iraqi forces.

Some intelligence and administration officials said Iran seemed to have carefully calibrated its involvement in Iraq over the last year, in contrast to what President Bush and other American officials have publicly portrayed as an intensified Iranian role.

Latin America

Protest in Mexico’s Congress over PREMEX oil bill ends

The PRD ends its blockade, paving the way for a discussion of Calderon’s energy proposal that would give the state company more freedom to enter into contracts with foreign investors.

MEXICO CITY — President Felipe Calderon’s proposal to overhaul Mexico’s oil industry has revealed a rift in the rival Democratic Revolution Party, with leaders arguing over how to respond to the initiative.

On Friday, after days of talks between party moderates and self-described “radicals,” the PRD ended a two-week blockade of Congress that had prevented discussion of Calderon’s proposed changes.

Legislators from the PRD and two smaller leftist parties had shut down both houses on April 10 by taking over the daises in both. The PRD’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called it an act of civil disobedience to defend the state-owned oil giant Pemex from what he says is a bid to privatize it.

But some PRD leaders had opposed the blockade. And by Friday, leaders from across the political spectrum had made it clear that they wanted an end to the standoff.


    • mishima on April 26, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    will have its theatrical release here in Japan on June 21st

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