Docudharma Times Saturday May 3

Out on the streets, that’s where we’ll meet

You make the night, I always cross the line

Tightened our belts, abuse ourselves

Get in our way, we’ll put you on your shelf

Another day, some other way

Saturday’s Headlines: For Bush in Last Year, It’s the Principle: Love and death in the South’s deadliest prison: Elections 2008 London: In paintings by Monet and Manet we see how men’s hobbies begin: Quartet opens door to ending Hamas isolation: Palestinian forces deploy to West Bank town: Ivorian ex-rebels begin to disarm: Election body confirms Mugabe lost the vote: Pakistan coalition averts collapse with deal to restore ousted judges: Cuba puts first computers on sale to the public

After Hiatus, States Set Wave of Executions

HUNTSVILLE, Tex. – Here in the nation’s leading death-penalty state, and some of the 35 others with capital punishment, execution dockets are quickly filling up.

Less than three weeks after a United States Supreme Court ruling ended a seven-month moratorium on lethal injections, at least 14 execution dates have been set in six states between May 6 and October.

“The Supreme Court essentially blessed their way of doing things,” said Douglas A. Berman, a professor of law and a sentencing expert at Ohio State University. “So in some sense, they’re back from vacation and ready to go to work.”


For Bush in Last Year, It’s the Principle

As Influence Wanes, He Stays Resolute

After U.S. gasoline prices surged to a record high this week, President Bush strode into the Rose Garden to unveil his plans for coping with skyrocketing energy costs: drill for oil in Alaska, add U.S. refineries and build more nuclear plants.

Even the White House conceded that the ideas did not have a chance. Democrats howled, Republicans shrugged and Washington moved on.

Love and death in the South’s bloodiest prison

Two Black Panthers were convicted in the 1972 stabbing of a newlywed guard at Angola, in Louisiana. Now, his widow – and others – aren’t sure they did it.

JEANERETTE, LA. — Thirty-six years have passed since she saw him last, but Leontine Verrett has never forgotten the face of the man she still calls her true love. His name was Brent Miller. He was lean and cocksure and strummed his guitar a little too loud.

Their romance blossomed on the grounds of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, the plantation turned prison built along a bend of the Mississippi River. He came from a clan where men had served as prison guards for generations. She was one of 12 children who moved there when their father got a job running the prison’s sugar mill.

The lovers married on Feb. 5, 1972 — he was 23, she was just 16. Two months later, the bride nicknamed Teenie got a call that there had been “an accident” at Angola, as the prison is known. She was a widow.


Elections 2008

Boris Johnson has won the race to become the next mayor of London – ending Ken Livingstone’s eight-year reign at City Hall.

The Conservative candidate won with 1,168,738 first and second preference votes, compared with Mr Livingstone’s 1,028,966 on a record turnout of 45%.

He paid tribute to Mr Livingstone and appeared to offer him a possible role in his new administration.

Lib Dem Brian Paddick came third and the Greens’ Sian Berry came fourth.

In paintings by Monet and Manet we see how men’s hobbies begin

Britain invented the steam railway, but France has better pictures and more skilful engineers

A seated young woman with a lapdog looks up thoughtfully from her book. To the right of her, a girl in a pretty dress has turned her back to us and is staring downwards through some iron railings. A cloud of steam is rising from left to right below them. The girl seems to be looking towards the source of it. Given the picture’s title it can be only one thing: a steam locomotive.

Edouard Manet painted The Railway (Gare Saint-Lazare) in 1873 and it baffled the critics when it was accepted by the Paris Salon the next year. How were the people in the picture related – sisters or governess and pupil? – and what was its message? Manet was no help – he didn’t believe in explanations – but now the curators of a magnificent new exhibition, Art in the Age of Steam, have had another shot.

Middle East

Quartet opens door to ending Hamas isolation

The big powers have formally acknowledged for the first time that the policy of isolating Hamas through an economic blockade of Gaza is not working.

In a statement issued after talks at foreign minister level in London, the Quartet for Middle East peace opened the door to Egypt to find a “new approach” for Gaza, which was seized by the militant Islamic Hamas movement in June last year. The blockade, which was intended to provoke Palestinians into rejecting the Hamas leadership, has in fact proved counter-productive, and caused a humanitarian catastrophe for the majority of the 1.5 million population of the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian forces deploy to West Bank town

Hundreds of Palestinian security forces headed to the West Bank town of Jenin on Saturday in the latest extension of a territory-wide crackdown, a senior security official said.

General Thiyab al-Ali, commander of Palestinian security forces in the West Bank, told AFP that 600 police reinforcements had been dispatched from Jericho to Jenin and were expected to arrive by midday (0900 GMT).

“The security forces will carry out a campaign of imposing law and order in the Jenin governorate,” he said, in an operation called “Smiles and Hope” that will seek to disarm local gangs and militias.

“These forces will implement the orders of president Mahmud Abbas to serve the citizens, protect them, and end the security breakdown in the governorate,” he added.

Israel at the end of March approved the deployment of some 700 security forces to the town, the site of fierce clashes during the Palestinian uprising which broke out in 2000.


Ivorian ex-rebels begin to disarm

The former rebels in Ivory Coast who still control the northern half of the country have started to disarm with a ceremony involving 1,000 fighters.

After several false starts, the New Forces rebels say over the next five months all their soldiers will head to specially prepared sites to disarm.

They will then rejoin civilian life or join a new joint national army.

The conflict started in September 2002 when disgruntled soldiers took control of the north after a failed coup.

Cpl Nanu Djeniba was one of the first ex-fighters to receive her official certificate of disarmament, saying she was no longer part of the New Forces rebellion.

Election body confirms Mugabe lost the vote

· Commission says rival failed to avoid run-off

· Senior opposition chief threatened with arrest

Zimbabwe’s election commission yesterday confirmed that President Robert Mugabe lost the election held five weeks ago but that his opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, fell below the 50% of the vote required to avoid a run-off ballot between the two later this month.

The commission’s figures, giving Tsvangirai 47.9% to 43.2% for Zimbabwe’s leader since independence in 1980, are close to the numbers leaked by the ruling Zanu-PF earlier in the week.

However, the formal declaration of the results is still some days away as the count has to be approved by the contenders.


Pakistan coalition averts collapse with deal to restore ousted judges

By Andrew Buncombe, Asia Correspondent

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Pakistan’s fledgling civilian government appeared last night to have found a way out of the crisis threatening to pull it apart when it announced that the nation’s ousted judges would be restored this month.

The former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, whose Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) is the junior coalition party, said 12 May had been set as the date for the reinstatement of the 60 judges – including the ousted chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry – who were kicked out by President Pervez Musharraf last year.

Olympic torch begins relay in Chinese city Macau

MACAU – The Olympic torch began its relay Saturday past glitzy Las Vegas-style casinos and pastel colored colonial buildings in the Chinese city of Macau – the world’s most lucrative gambling center.

The flame was expected to get a warm patriotic welcome in the former Portuguese enclave that returned to Chinese rule in 1999. Protests are relatively rare in the tiny city on China’s southern coast – the only place in the country where casino gambling is legal.

The torch arrived from Hong Kong, where it completed a relay Friday that was not disrupted by protesters – a contrast from many other stops during the torch’s 20-nation tour. In several cities, the torch run was marred by pro-Tibet protesters and others demonstrating against China’s human rights record.

Latin America

Cuba puts first computers on sale to the public

HAVANA – Cubans are getting wired. The island’s communist government put desktop computers on sale to the public for the first time Friday, ending a ban on PC sales as another despised restriction on daily life fell away under new President Raul Castro.

A tower-style QTECH PC and monitor costs nearly US$780 (euro505). While few Cubans can afford that, dozens still gawked outside a tiny Havana electronics store, crowding every inch of its large glass windows and leaving finger and nose prints behind.

Inside, four clerks tore open boxes, hastily assembling display computers. By the time a sign went up listing the PCs specifications, more than a dozen shoppers were lined up to get in.


Skip to comment form

    • brobin on May 3, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    for the interesting morning reading.

    I love the Manet painting and it is quite and enigma.

    Cuba is beginning to open up under Raul Castro.  Cell phones and now personal computers!  Commuting the sentences of inmates on Death Row!  Allowing the citizens to stay at tourist hotels if they should choose to do so!

    Next thing you know, a democracy might break out without the use of American troops.

    • Mu on May 3, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Interesting.  Sounds like a term one would read coming out of North Korea, Saudi Arabia, or China.  Funny, isn’t it, how certain “Red-blooded Americans” seem so close to having fundamental mind-sets that so closely match those they themselves deem socially, religiously or politically repugnant.  Interesting, but not ironic — actually, it’s the natural way of things.

    Oh! the things that give Texas “good ol’ boys” hards-on.  A Good Execution, ahem, beats Viagra every time, when it comes to making the corpuscles swell and blood flow and brain become saturated with dopamine.

    Mu . . .


    • RiaD on May 3, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    how was your saturday??

    i liked the monet article… & the cuban computers!

    but i noticed the second USA article has no link 🙁

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