Docudharma Times Saturday May 17

Unlike A Flopping Fish Politician The News Here Is As It Should Be

Straight Forward

Saturday’s Headlines:  Obama Strikes Back at Bush On Diplomacy    Razor-sharp concertina wire installed at U.S.-Mexico border     Burma ‘guilty of inhuman action’   Beijing open to foreign aid and scrutiny in wake of tragedy    68% of Italians want Roma expelled – poll   EU may force car makers to reveal emissions in adverts    How picture phones have fuelled frenzy of honour killing in Iraq    Lebanese leaders gather in Qatar    Displaced Kenyans balk at government push to go home   Famine Looms as Wars Rend Horn of Africa    Shakira, other Latin American stars sing for their cause — ALAS

U.S. Planning Big New Prison in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon is moving forward with plans to build a new, 40-acre detention complex on the main American military base in Afghanistan, officials said, in a stark acknowledgment that the United States is likely to continue to hold prisoners overseas for years to come.

The proposed detention center would replace the cavernous, makeshift American prison on the Bagram military base north of Kabul, which is now typically packed with about 630 prisoners, compared with the 270 held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Until now, the Bush administration had signaled that it intended to scale back American involvement in detention operations in Afghanistan. It had planned to transfer a large majority of the prisoners to Afghan custody, in an American-financed, high-security prison outside Kabul to be guarded by Afghan soldiers.


Obama Strikes Back at Bush On Diplomacy

WATERTOWN, S.D., May 16 — Sen. Barack Obama pushed back Friday against President Bush’s implicit criticism of his approach to foreign policy, condemning his administration for not capturing Osama bin Laden and blaming its Iraq war policy for strengthening and emboldening Iran.

An animated Obama, cheered on by a crowd gathered on the floor of a livestock arena, said he would be delighted if the presidential race turned into a conversation about which party is better suited to guide the nation’s foreign policy.

Razor-sharp concertina wire installed at U.S.-Mexico border

The U.S. says its use on an eventual 5-mile stretch of existing fence is to protect agents. But critics say it disregards immigrants’ safety.

SAN DIEGO — — The U.S. Border Patrol is installing razor-sharp concertina wire atop border fencing between San Diego and Tijuana, marking a major shift in approach along a frequently violent stretch of the frontier.

The triple-strand wire, meant to keep smugglers from attacking agents, will stretch five miles when completed this summer — the longest expanse of this type of wire ever used on the Southwest border.

Federal authorities in the past have avoided using fortifications with such negative symbolism. Hundreds of miles of barriers going up in other areas have had to meet “aesthetically pleasing” federal design standards.

Critics say the new approach is inhumane and could leave illegal immigrants bloodied.

Border officials in San Diego say it was necessary and already is proving effective.


Burma ‘guilty of inhuman action’

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has condemned Burma’s military government for not allowing international aid to reach the victims of Cyclone Nargis.

Mr Brown told the BBC that a natural disaster had been turned into a “man-made catastrophe” because of the negligence of the ruling generals.

There is growing condemnation of Burma’s response to the 2 May cyclone, said to have killed at least 78,000.

France has said Burma is on the verge of committing a crime against humanity.

France and the US both have ships carrying large consignments of aid waiting off the Burmese coast, but so far the government has refused to allow relief aid arriving by sea directly to the worst affected areas.

Beijing open to foreign aid and scrutiny in wake of tragedy

The earthquake could accelerate liberalisation by China’s government, which has been more open to domestic criticism and foreign help than in previous natural disasters, Chinese officials said yesterday.

For the first time, Beijing has accepted aid from abroad and invited rescue teams from Japan, Russia, South Korea, Singapore and even Taiwanese charities. US offers of direct assistance were declined but China’s embassy in Washington encouraged Americans to send cash and supplies, a distinct break with the past.

Western journalists have been waved through police checkpoints around the epicentre, another sharp contrast to the practice 10 years ago when thousands of Chinese villagers were killed by flooding of the Yangtze river. Then, western journalists were turned back, and the government suppressed casualty figures.

This time, the government has provided speedy updates on casualties and Chinese leaders have toured the areas worst hit by the earthquake, in a hands-on style more commonly associated with western politicians.


68% of Italians want Roma expelled – poll

· Government accused of stoking racial tension

· Yobs boast of ethnic cleansing after attacks

Sixty-eight per cent of Italians, fuelled by often inflammatory attacks by the new rightwing government, want to see all of the country’s 150,000 Gypsies, many of them Italian citizens, expelled, according to an opinion poll.

The survey, published as mobs in Naples burned down Gypsy camps this week, revealed that the majority also wanted all Gypsy camps in Italy to be demolished .

About 70,000 Gypsies in Italy hold Italian passports, including about 30,000 descended from 15th-century Gypsy settlers in the country. The remainder have arrived since, many fleeing the Balkans during the 1990s.

Another 10,000 Gypsies came from Romania after it joined the European Union in January 2007, according to an Italian human rights organisation, EveryOne, part of the approximately half million Romanians believed to be in Italy.

EU may force car makers to reveal emissions in adverts

The European Union is preparing to introduce tough new rules on car advertising, forcing manufacturers to include conspicuous and easily understood information about petrol consumption and emissions.

The new line follows the EU’s decision to exert ever-greater control on the way that tobacco, alcohol and food products can be advertised, counterbalancing the claims and sales lines of advertisers with warnings about the health implications of their products.

Details of the proposal to compel car manufacturers to own up to the carbon footprint of their vehicles will be unveiled by the end of the month, after which the politicians and car industry representatives will discuss them for the first time. As well as spelling out the environmental implications of the cars, the draft regulations are said by Der Spiegel magazine to require manufacturers to put a brake on the prose and the images used to imprint the desirability of their latest models. Any reference to sportiness will apparently be frowned on.

Middle East

How picture phones have fuelled frenzy of honour killing in Iraq

By Patrick Cockburn in Sulaymaniyah

Saturday, 17 May 2008

A dark pool of dried blood and a fallen red scarf mark the place where Ronak, who had fled to a woman’s shelter in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah when she was accused of adultery by her husband, was shot three times by a man hiding on the roof of a nearby building.

Ronak was wounded by bullets in the neck, side and leg and only survived after a four-hour operation. She was the latest victim of a huge increase across Iraq in the number of “honour” killings of women for alleged immorality by their own families.

Many are burnt to death by having petrol or paraffin poured over them and set ablaze. Others are shot or strangled. The United Nations estimates that at least 255 women died in honour-related killings in Kurdistan, home to one fifth of Iraqis, in the first six months of 2007 alone.

Lebanese leaders gather in Qatar

Lebanon’s rival political leaders have begun talks in the Gulf state of Qatar aimed at pulling the country back from the brink of civil war.

Fighting between pro-government groups and the Hezbollah-led opposition last week left at least 65 people dead.

After the Lebanese government reversed moves aimed at curbing Hezbollah, the group agreed to join talks on the formation of a unity government.

A deal on Wednesday ended the clashes and paved the way for Friday’s talks.


Displaced Kenyans balk at government push to go home

Kenya has begun a move to resettle the tens of thousands of people who fled ethnic clashes months ago.

Eldoret, Kenya – Row after row of white tents bustle with life. Women wash clothes in foaming buckets, smoke from cooking fires wafts into the air, and children play in the narrow alleys between the shelters.

But it is not supposed to be like this. A week into a government program to return home thousands of Kenyans who fled ethnic clashes that killed more than 1,500 in the wake of Kenya’s disputed Dec. 27 elections, the sprawling camp in the Rift Valley town of Eldoret should be emptying.

Rachel Wanjiru Njuguna speaks for many when she says she has no intention of going home despite the arrival of rains that make life in the camp miserable.

Famine Looms as Wars Rend Horn of Africa

DAGAARI, Somalia – The global food crisis has arrived at Safia Ali’s hut.

She cannot afford rice or wheat or powdered milk anymore.

At the same time, a drought has decimated her family’s herd of goats, turning their sole livelihood into a pile of bleached bones and papery skin.

The result is that Ms. Safia, a 25-year-old mother of five, has not eaten in a week. Her 1-year-old son is starving too, an adorable, listless boy who doesn’t even respond to a pinch.

Latin America

Shakira, other Latin American stars sing for their cause — ALAS

MEXICO CITY — Not so long ago, Latin American artists who spoke up for social causes often risked prison, exile or far worse.

What a difference a generation makes. On Thursday, a phalanx of Spanish-speaking pop artists headed by Colombian superstar Shakira and Spanish-Italian singer Miguel Bosé gathered here to promote a new initiative to aid Latin America’s millions of poor, malnourished and undereducated children. They were joined by the world’s second-richest man, a top U.S. philanthropist and an international mob of reporters drawn by a potent cocktail of celebrity, money and power, laced with an emerging social conscience.

Swathed in showbiz glamour, the philanthropic-promotional project will culminate this afternoon with two free all-star concerts, one in the Zócalo, or massive central plaza, of the Mexican capital, the other in the Costanera Sur, an ecological reserve on the edge of downtown Buenos Aires.


  1. What a way to begin a gorgeous Saturday: gigantic prison permanent replica of Guantanamo in Afghanistan (3 times the size of “Classic” Gitmo) and as if that weren’t enough, miles of concertina wire on the border.  It’s not enough that there are 2 million + incarcerated in this country, the US has to export incarceration to other countries and at the same time build a fence that’s designed to keep us from leaving keep Mexicans out.  It looks and feels like a revolting fixation of locking, locking up/locking down/locking out.

    Maybe what Oscar Wilde said about the Queen applies here.  When he saw convicts outside a train window while he was being transported to Reading, Wilde is reported to have said, “Well, if that’s how the Queen treats her prisoners, she doesn’t deserve to have any.”


    • RiaD on May 17, 2008 at 3:02 pm


    • on May 17, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Have a fine Saturday

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