Docudharma Times Monday May 5

“this dream never ends” you said

“this feeling never goes

the time will never come to slip away”

“this wave never breaks” you said

“this sun never sets again

Monday’s Headlines: Few Details on Immigrants Who Died in U.S. Custody: Fiscal Pressures Lead Some States to Free Inmates Early: Thais sued by Tesco deny that firm contacted them: Sinking without trace: Australia’s climate change victims: Curry houses test Europe’s eastern promise: Zimbabwe run-off vote may face year delay: AfDB adds $1 bln in loans for Africa food crisis: US-backed plan sees shiny future for Green Zone in Iraq: The Best of Buddies, Amid Dust and Danger: Bolivian province votes for autonomy

Aid effort for cyclone-hit Burma

Some aid is beginning to reach victims of the cyclone that hit Burma on Saturday, killing hundreds of people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

Both Burmese officials and international agencies are working to assess the scale of the disaster, with five regions declared disaster zones.

More than 350 people were killed and thousands of buildings destroyed by the storm, state media said.

But a referendum on a new constitution will still go ahead on 10 May, it said.

“The referendum is only a few days away and the people are eagerly looking forward to voting,” the government said in a statement carried by state media.

Burma’s leaders say the referendum will pave the way for multi-party elections in 2010, but critics say the charter is aimed primarily at further entrenching military rule.


Democrats do have a nominee

By Muhammad Cohen

HONG KONG – Hundreds of thousands of Democrats will vote in the United States presidential elections in Indiana and North Carolina on Tuesday, and those results won’t matter. But the reason the final tally won’t matter is different from the reason the vote didn’t matter in Pennsylvania two weeks ago.

Senator Hillary Clinton’s win in the Pennsylvania primary didn’t change the calculus in fashion back then: Senator Barack Obama still led in pledged delegates, overall delegates, popular vote, and

states won, and thus remained the prohibitive favorite for the nomination.


Few Details on Immigrants Who Died in U.S. Custody

Word spread quickly inside the windowless walls of the Elizabeth Detention Center, an immigration jail in New Jersey:

A detainee had fallen, injured his head and become incoherent. Guards had put him in solitary confinement, and late that night, an ambulance had taken him away more dead than alive.

But outside, for five days, no official notified the family of the detainee, Boubacar Bah, a 52-year-old tailor from Guinea who had overstayed a tourist visa. When frantic relatives located him at University Hospital in Newark on Feb. 5, 2007, he was in a coma after emergency surgery for a skull fracture and multiple brain hemorrhages. He died there four months later without ever waking up, leaving family members on two continents trying to find out why.

Fiscal Pressures Lead Some States to Free Inmates Early

NEW YORK — Reversing decades of tough-on-crime policies,

including mandatory minimum prison sentences for some drug offenders, many cash-strapped states are embracing a view once dismissed as dangerously naive: It costs far less to let some felons go free than to keep them locked up.

It is a theory that has long been pushed by criminal justice advocates and liberal politicians — that some felons, particularly those convicted of minor drug offenses, would be better served by treatment, parole or early release for good behavior. But the states’ conversion to that view has less to do with a change of heart on crime than with stark fiscal realities. At a time of shrinking resources, prisons are eating up an increasing share of many state budgets.


Thais sued by Tesco deny that firm contacted them

· Leahy’s assertion rejected by three facing libel writs

· Company says it was forced to take legal action

Three Thais being sued by Tesco for huge libel damages say they were not contacted and asked to apologise to defuse the row, despite the supermarket chain’s assertion that it repeatedly tried to persuade them to do so before issuing the writs.

In an effort to deflect criticism from a group of leading British authors who labelled Tesco’s tactics “deeply chilling”, Sir Terry Leahy, the global grocer’s chief executive, said in a letter to the Times that Tesco had tried “time and again” to engage with critics of its rapid expansion .

But Jit Siratranont, a vice-general secretary of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, who faces two years in jail and a fine of £16.6m, said he had never been contacted except when he appeared in court.

Sinking without trace: Australia’s climate change victims

Like Kiribati and Tuvalu, the islands of the Torres Strait are slowly being submerged. But unlike their Pacific neighbours, the plight of their inhabitants is being overlooked.

Ron and Maria Passi, who operate Murray Island’s only taxi, were out driving the night the king tide struck. Neighbours flagged them down, asking for help, and so it was not until some time later that they saw their own grandchildren standing in the road. “They were shouting ‘Granddad, stop the car, the water is coming in the house’,” says Ron. “I just slammed on the brakes.”

The couple’s son, Sonny, was outside his fibro shack with his five children, watching the monster surf, lashed by north-west winds, rise ever higher. In the commotion, everyone had forgotten that Sedoi, the baby, was still inside. They heard her crying and found her in her cot, covered in sand. Water had surged in after a wave picked up a big wooden pallet and flung it through the front wall.


The confounding legacy of Yeltsin

A memorial to Boris Yeltsin was dedicated the other day in a central spot in Russia’s most illustrious cemetery, a landscape of earnest tributes to generals and composers, mathematicians and diplomats.

The veil was lifted, and there it was: a slab that brought to mind a giant, wobbly, tricolor birthday cake.

Many passersby do not know what to make of it, which seems fitting, given that it honors a man whose legacy these days remains just as confounding.

Yeltsin, who died a little more than a year ago, is still glorified by some as the founder of a Russia that rose from the debris of the Soviet Union, a visionary who spurned the old order and tried his best to lead his people through troubled times. Others scorn his name, holding his erratic style responsible for the deprivation, lawlessness and anxiety of those early years.

Curry houses test Europe’s eastern promise

EU workers try to leap cultural gap as restaurant bosses struggle to find staff

A framed review telling of “modern magic in the city suburb” hangs alongside the abstract artwork on the walls of the Monsoon Indian restaurant. Beneath it is a photograph of owner Mahmud Miah with a beaming David Cameron. The lighting at the eatery in Hollywood, a few miles south of Birmingham and its balti triangle, is minimalist; there is not a scrap of flock wallpaper to be seen.

In the kitchen there is another sign of the changing face of the British curry industry. Faced with a desperate shortage of staff after new immigration rules stopped restaurateurs bringing in workers from the subcontinent, Miah has heeded government advice and looked to eastern Europe to fill the gaps.


Zimbabwe run-off vote may face year delay

· Mugabe could hold power pending second round

· Intimidation campaign against voters continues

Zimbabwe’s ruling party has said that a second round of presidential elections could be delayed by up to a year in a move that would extend Robert Mugabe’s rule even though he admits to having lost the first round of voting five weeks ago.

The election commission is expected to meet soon to set a date for the run-off vote between Mugabe and the opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai. The law required it to have been held within three weeks of the original election, but the commission has the power to extend the period between the votes.

The deputy information minister, Bright Matonga, said at the weekend that the run-off might take place in three weeks, but could take up to a year, suggesting that Zanu-PF remains concerned at Mugabe’s ability to win, despite a state-sponsored campaign of violence and intimidation against the opposition

AfDB adds $1 bln in loans for Africa food crisis

TUNIS (Reuters) – The African Development Bank (AfDB), the only multilateral development body specifically devoted to Africa, will add $1 billion to its portfolio of agricultural loans to help address the food crisis in African countries, the bank said on Saturday.

Bank President Donald Kaberuka said the bank would also restructure some of its agriculture lending to provide a rapid disbursement facility to the tune of $250 million.

Middle East

US-backed plan sees shiny future for Green Zone in Iraq

BAGHDAD – Forget the rocket attacks, concrete blast walls and lack of a sewer system. Now try to imagine luxury hotels, a shopping center and even condos in the heart of Baghdad.

That’s all part of a five-year development “dream list” – or what some dub an improbable fantasy – to transform the U.S.-protected Green Zone from a walled fortress into a centerpiece for Baghdad’s future.

But the $5 billion plan has the backing of the Pentagon and apparently the interest of some deep pockets in the world of international hotels and development, the lead military liaison for the project told The Associated Press.

The Best of Buddies, Amid Dust and Danger

THE DUST SMELLS LIKE CHALK. HEAVY AND STILL, the air is orange-tinted. Breathable until it hits your chest, causing a stuttering cough.

In the Karrada neighborhood of Baghdad, Hussein Abbas, 10, and Zaid Alaa, 12, head first to a pharmacy for surgical masks. Cousins, but more like brothers. Inseparable best friends, looking for any opportunity to go outside, even during dust storms.

Kicking rocks and avoiding puddles of sewage, they have been sent to find a nurse who lives in an apartment a few blocks away. Zaid’s sister is sick with the flu and needs medicine.

Latin America

Bolivian province votes for autonomy

Supporters of the measure declare victory, with official results still pending. Federal officials cite irregularities, and scattered violence is reported.

SANTA CRUZ, BOLIVIA — Two opposing visions of Latin America’s future collided in Bolivia on Sunday as residents of Santa Cruz province apparently voted in landslide fashion against President Evo Morales and his leftist agenda.

Although complete official results were not immediately available, proponents of regional autonomy publicly declared victory, citing exit polls and initial official tallies showing that more than 80% had cast ballots in favor of greater self-government.

“Today we begin in Santa Cruz a new republic, a new state,” Gov. Ruben Costas, an autonomy advocate, told a cheering crowd. “Today in Santa Cruz democracy has triumphed.”

Morales had called the vote an illegal act that threatened to divide the nation. Autonomy advocates deny any intent to split from Bolivia.


    • on May 5, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Welcome to a brand new week. Good Luck

  1. … that deaths in Burma are in the thousands:

    At least 4,000 people are now believed to have been killed and about 3,000 more are missing after cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar, the country’s state media has reported.

    The death toll from the cyclone that hit over the weekend has officially reached 3,969 but with so many people missing is expected to rise, state television said on Monday.

    This is from Al Jazeera.  I also noticed it on aol when I logged in.

    And a horrible feeling in my mind over this — were all those thousands part of the junta crackdown and are they using the cyclone as an excuse to cover their murder?

    So difficult not to be paranoid over the accuracy of the reports out of Burma.


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