Docudharma Times Sunday April 6





Sunday’s Headlines: Army Worried by Rising Stress of Return Tours to Iraq: Texas officials remove 183 from polygamist compound: Drought ignites Spain’s ‘water war’: France debates Beijing boycott as Olympic torch reaches London: Army faces new torture claims over arrest of Shia leader: Iran joined militias in battle for Basra: China struggles to quell Tibet rebels: Afghans Battle Drug Addiction: Beatings and abuse give Mexico’s emo teens plenty to feel anguished about: Thousands flee floods in Brazil: Zimbabwe on the brink: War or Peace?

Bush Listens Closely To His Man in Iraq

In White House Deliberations on War, Gen. Petraeus Has a Privileged Voice

For months, a debate raged at the top levels of the Bush administration over how quickly to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. But the discussion shut down soon after President Bush flew to Camp Arifjan, a dusty Army base near the Iraqi border in Kuwait, in January for a face-to-face meeting with the man whose counsel on the war he values most: Gen. David H. Petraeus.

During an 80-minute session, the president questioned his top commander in Iraq on whether further troop reductions, beyond those planned through July, would compromise security gains.


Army Worried by Rising Stress of Return Tours to Iraq

WASHINGTON – Army leaders are expressing increased alarm about the mental health of soldiers who would be sent back to the front again and again under plans that call for troop numbers to be sustained at high levels in Iraq for this year and beyond.

Among combat troops sent to Iraq for the third or fourth time, more than one in four show signs of anxiety, depression or acute stress, according to an official Army survey of soldiers’ mental health.

The stress of long and multiple deployments to Iraq is just one of the concerns being voiced by senior military officers in Washington as Gen. David H. Petraeus, the senior Iraq commander, prepares to tell Congress this week that he is not ready to endorse any drawdowns beyond those already scheduled through July.

Texas officials remove 183 from polygamist compound

Among them are 137 children. Authorities seek a 16-year-old girl and the 50-year-old man said to have abused her.

HOUSTON — Texas child welfare officials said Saturday that they had removed 183 people — including 137 children — from an isolated polygamist compound in southwestern Texas after allegations that a 16-year-old girl there had been sexually abused.

Investigators from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services were still inside the YFZ Ranch — a guarded, self-sufficient compound of large dormitories built around an imposing white temple — on Saturday evening, two days after they began examining allegations that scores of girls may have been abused.

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a 10,000-member sect that broke away from the Mormon Church in the 1930s, began building the compound on the former exotic game preserve four years ago. YFZ stands for “Yearning for Zion.”


Drought ignites Spain’s ‘water war’

After months of low rainfall, parched Catalonia has had to appeal to Madrid for help – and now ecologists fear the costs of a long-term solution

There is a common saying in Spain that during a drought, the trees chase after the dogs. Now it is ringing true as the country struggles to deal with the worst drought since the Forties: reservoirs stand at 46 per cent of capacity and rainfall over the past 18 months has been 40 per cent below average.

But months before the scorching summer sun threatens to reduce supplies to a trickle, a bitter political battle is raging over how to manage Spain’s scarcest resource – water.

Catalonia, in the parched north east, has been worst affected, with reservoirs standing at just a fifth of capacity.

France debates Beijing boycott as Olympic torch reaches London

But Gordon Brown confirms he will attend opening ceremony, despite ongoing Tibet crackdown

By John Lichfield in Paris

Sunday, 6 April 2008

The prospect of one of the world’s leading political figures boycotting the Beijing Olympic Games over Chinese actions in Tibet was raised and then seriously qualified yesterday in a sign that the invitation to China in August is causing severe differences within Western governments.

The French minister for human rights, Rama Yade, was quoted in Le Monde newspaper as saying that President Nicolas Sarkozy will boycott the opening of the games unless China agreed to two conditions: releasing political prisoners and holding talks with the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet. But last night, the minister said the paper had misquoted her. “The word ‘condition’ was never used,” she said.

In the past, the President has said he cannot rule out the possibility that he might boycott the opening ceremony if China continues its crackdown in Tibet.

Middle East

Army faces new torture claims over arrest of Shia leader

The testament of a respected Shia elder, aged 70, suggests brutal treatment of civilians is still continuing, writes Robert Verkaik

Sunday, 6 April 2008

The British Army faces new allegations of torture and abuse over the arrest and detention of a Shia tribal leader and his family who claim they were hooded and beaten by soldiers based at Basra airport last year.

The allegations could prove highly damaging as they come just days after the Government said that abuses committed by British soldiers had been limited to 2003 and 2004 and involved only a “very small minority” of servicemen.

In the new claims, which are being prepared for legal action in the UK courts, Jabbir Hmoud Kammash, 70, the leader of a sub-division of the Albu-Darraj tribe in southern Iraq, alleges that a group of 20 soldiers raided his home in Al-Gzaizah, Basra, in the early hours of the morning in April last year.

Iran joined militias in battle for Basra

RANIAN forces were involved in the recent battle for Basra, General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, is expected to tell Congress this week.

Military and intelligence sources believe Iranians were operating at a tactical command level with the Shi’ite militias fighting Iraqi security forces; some were directing operations on the ground, they think.

Petraeus intends to use the evidence of Iranian involvement to argue against any reductions in US forces.

Dr Daniel Goure, a defence analyst at the Lexington Institute in Virginia, said: “There is no question that Petraeus will be tough on Iran. It is one thing to withdraw troops when there is purely sectarian fighting but it is another thing if it leaves the Iranians to move in.”


China struggles to quell Tibet rebels

A PICTURE is emerging of desperate and prolonged Tibetan resistance despite the huge scale of China’s military operation across the mountainous region that one ancient poet called “a place where snow lions dance”.

The Chinese press focused yesterday on a campaign to whip up resentment against the foreign media as reports outside China spoke of at least eight unarmed Tibetans shot dead by paramilitary police.

Scraps of evidence collected by exiles, campaigners, military analysts and daring witnesses inside Tibet all point to the conclusion that China can subdue the Tibetans but cannot win the spiritual war.

Afghans Battle Drug Addiction

Treatment Centers for Women Reflect Increasing Opium Use

KABUL — The first days were so painful that Mina Gul could barely sit upright. Thin and lanky with wide brown eyes, she rubbed the back of her neck ceaselessly with fingers stained reddish black by an opium pipe. She couldn’t shake the nausea. The light was almost blinding in the clean, white-walled medical clinic, where she lay crumpled in bed for days.

Before that, opium had been about the only thing keeping Gul afloat. It started four years ago with the headaches. A relative told her to try a bit of opium as a cure. “I tried it once a little — then the next day more, then more again, and then I was addicted,” Gul said.

Latin America

Beatings and abuse give Mexico’s emo teens plenty to feel anguished about

Beto stares with defiant melancholy from behind a jet-black fringe that both covers his eyes and identifies him as a member of one of Mexico’s fastest growing and most hated urban tribes: ‘They beat me up because I’m emo.’

The 15-year-old describes his harrowing few minutes curled up on the pavement waiting for four members of a different subculture to get bored with kicking him. ‘But I’m not going to change for them. Pain doesn’t bother me anyway.’

Burgeoning anti-emo sentiment exploded here last month when hundreds of young people in the central city of Querétaro heeded a call to rid the central square of the kids with the hair, drainpipes, eye makeup and angst-ridden aura who listen to hardcore music about personal anguish.

The baying brutality of the mob was captured on mobile phone cameras and relayed on national TV and posted on YouTube. It ended when the police intervened.

Thousands flee floods in Brazil

Flooding in north-eastern Brazil has killed at least 15 people and driven tens of thousands from their homes, civil defence officials have said.

The victims drowned when the River Paraiba burst its banks and the walls of a medium-sized dam cracked in the normally arid state of Paraiba.

The flood waters, caused by torrential rains, have also destroyed corn and bean crops, and washed away roads.


Zimbabwe on the brink: War or Peace?

After a week of talks and rumours, the gloves are off over the disputed presidential poll. Ian Evans in Harare and David Randall in London report

They’ve had an election; now the fight for Zimbabwe begins. Yesterday, the strange, shadowy week of meetings behind closed doors, whispers, rumours, and speculation seemed to be at a close as both President Robert Mugabe and his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai started to talk, and act, tough.

Opposition leader Mr Tsvangirai, in combative mood at a news conference, accused Mr Mugabe of preparing “a war against the people”, and deploying loyal forces, including liberation war veterans, ahead of a presidential run-off vote. “Militants are being rehabilitated,” he said, adding that the central bank was printing money “for the finance of violence”. Calling Mr Mugabe a lame-duck president, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader said he “must concede to allow us to move on with the business of rebuilding and reconstructing the country”.


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    • on April 6, 2008 at 15:05

    Its a very good movie and quite eye opening.

    • Mu on April 6, 2008 at 15:53

    in the fall of ’84.  “Learning to Crawl” had come out earlier in the year and had been part of my personal “soundtrack” for living in Japan (along with REM’s “Reckoning”).  It was, indeed, incredible.  

    Mu . . .

    • Pluto on April 6, 2008 at 20:32

    Thanks, Mishima.

    The crawl is great, too. — Are you able to format it? Color and size? (Too lazy to look at the code.)

    • RUKind on April 6, 2008 at 23:33

    This beats my Sunday dead trees (NYT, Boston Globe). Thanks.

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