Docudharma Times Sunday May 18

It’s All About The Maps

From The Flat Earth Society

Sunday’s Headlines:  Drilling for Defeat?    Obesity Threatens a Generation    China’s agony as quake parents cling to hope   Karma chameleon: He charms the West, but can the Dalai Lama save Tibet?   Sistine set-up: the 500-year-old art mystery    Jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky ‘framed’ by key Putin aide     Hezbollah’s actions ignite sectarian fuse in Lebanon    Fledgling Rebellion on Facebook Is Struck Down by Force in Egypt    Aid vessel hijacked off Somalia    ANC votes to rename streets after party activists     Resentment grows in Paraguay over hydroelectric dam

Burmese children ‘facing death’

Thousands of children in cyclone-hit Burma will starve to death within weeks unless food reaches them soon, UK charity Save the Children has warned.

The charity said 30,000 under-fives in the Irrawaddy Delta were malnourished before Cyclone Nargis hit on 2 May.

It says energy-rich food now needs to reach them “before it is too late”.

The warning comes as a UN envoy is due in Burma to join international efforts to try to persuade the ruling junta to grant more access to relief workers.

Humanitarian envoy John Holmes will carry a letter from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to Burma’s leader, Than Shwe, who has refused to answer Mr Ban’s calls.


Drilling for Defeat?

Nearly two decades ago, Republicans won the West by linking Democrats to environmentalists, who supposedly cared more for the spotted owl and other favored species than they did for the jobs of loggers or miners. But now, as a boom in natural-gas drilling reshapes the region, Western Democrats have found success recasting environmentalism as a defense of threatened water supplies, fishing spots and hunting grounds. As a result, the party may hold the advantage this fall in the region’s key Congressional races. The simultaneous rise of Western energy production and the Western Democrat is no coincidence.

The Rocky Mountain drilling boom has been aided by the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which was once considered a partisan political masterstroke.

YOUNG LIVES AT RISK Our Overweight Children

Obesity Threatens a Generation

‘Catastrophe’ of Shorter Spans, Higher Health Costs

An epidemic of obesity is compromising the lives of millions of American children, with burgeoning problems that reveal how much more vulnerable young bodies are to the toxic effects of fat.

In ways only beginning to be understood, being overweight at a young age appears to be far more destructive to well-being than adding excess pounds later in life. Virtually every major organ is at risk. The greater damage is probably irreversible.

Doctors are seeing confirmation of this daily: boys and girls in elementary school suffering from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and painful joint conditions; a soaring incidence of type 2 diabetes, once a rarity in pediatricians’ offices; even a spike in child gallstones, also once a singularly adult affliction. Minority youth are most severely affected, because so many are pushing the scales into the most dangerous territory.


China’s agony as quake parents cling to hope

As the number of confirmed deaths rose to nearly 30,000 amid a powerful aftershock yesterday, with another 20,000 feared dead, Tania Branigan reports from Mianyang on how the regime is handling its worst crisis

The motorcade swept down the mountain from the stricken town of Beichuan. Behind a darkened window was China’s President, speeding past the flattened houses, rock falls and waiting survivors.

Later that day state television’s wall-to-wall earthquake coverage would show Hu Jintao reassuring the injured and spurring rescuers on to greater efforts.But those who sat at the roadside in the baking Sichuan heat barely registered the startling presence of their leader on this devastated soil.

Nor did they register the unprecedented show of emotion from cabinet spokesman Guo Weimin, who had to stop to compose himself as he read from an updated casualty report which put the death toll so far at 28,881.

Karma chameleon: He charms the West, but can the Dalai Lama save Tibet?

Celebrities will be queueing up to meet the Dalai Lama when he visits Britain this week. But what is it about this self-proclaimed ‘simple monk’ that makes him such a star magnet? And will all that glad-handing actually help him save Tibet?

They took two knucklebones from a yak and put them at the temples of a man called Lungshar. They were bound in place with a tourniquet, which was tightened until his eyeballs popped out. That was the theory, at any rate. But this was the ancient Tibetan punishment of blinding and it had been outlawed by the 13th Dalai Lama, so no one was quite sure how to do it. The executioners proceeded on oral accounts handed down from those who had seen the penalty exacted in a previous age. They didn’t get it quite right and one of the eyes had to be gouged out with a knife before the sockets were cauterised with boiling oil.


Sistine set-up: the 500-year-old art mystery

Jealous rivals plotted in vain to humiliate Michelangelo. Alistair Fraser uncovers a 500-year-old art world mystery

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel has inspired and enthralled millions but none who has craned in admiration of the “divinely inspired” work realises it was born out of base rivalry and petty jealousy.

Five centuries after the artist signed the contract to decorate the Pope’s personal chapel in the Vatican with scenes from the book of Genesis, the true story of how Michelangelo came to create one of his greatest works can be told.

The artist was awarded the commission unaware that he was the target of a conspiracy hatched by Donato Bramante, the architect of St Peter’s Basilica, and the painter Raphael, who persuaded Pope Julius II to oblige Michelangelo – a sculptor with little painting experience – to take on the commission. They believed that, faced with a work on such a vast scale, he was bound to fail and be humiliated.

Jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky ‘framed’ by key Putin aide

THE former Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, now serving an eight year prison sentence, has accused one of prime minister Vladimir Putin’s most senior aides of plotting to have him arrested and stripping his oil company of billions.

Khodorkovsky, jailed on fraud and tax evasion charges, accused Igor Sechin, a former KGB officer who became deputy prime minister this month, of plundering his oil company “out of greed”.

Sechin, 48, a secretive figure, was formerly Putin’s deputy chief of staff and heads Rosneft, the state oil company which took over most of the assets once owned by Yukos, Khodorkovsky’s oil giant.

Middle East

Hezbollah’s actions ignite sectarian fuse in Lebanon

MENIEH, Lebanon: For two and a half days, Hussein al-Haj Obaid lay on the floor of a darkened warehouse in west Beirut, blindfolded and terrified. Militiamen loyal to Hezbollah had kidnapped him at a checkpoint after killing his nephew right in front of him.

Throughout those awful days, as his kidnappers kicked and punched him, applied electrical shocks to his genitals and insulted him with sectarian taunts, he could hear the chatter of gunfire and the crash of rocket-propelled grenades outside, where Hezbollah and its allies were taking control of the capital.

He returned to this northern village only after family members won his release just over a week ago by threatening the kidnappers with retaliation. By that time Obaid, a Sunni Muslim, had gained a whole new way of seeing his Shiite countrymen and his native land.

Fledgling Rebellion on Facebook Is Struck Down by Force in Egypt

CAIRO — At 1:49 a.m. in an Internet cafe only then quieting after Cairo’s daily rumble, 27-year-old Ahmed Maher worked at a computer. He wore the same shirt he had had on for two days. The essentials of his life on the run lay splayed out next to his keyboard — car keys, cigarettes, prepaid cellphone.

Maher pursed his lips, typing intently. His dream of a people’s uprising organized on Facebook was beginning to slip through his scrabbling fingers.


Aid vessel hijacked off Somalia

East African maritime officials say pirates have hijacked a Jordanian ship off the coast of Somalia.

The Victoria, sailing from India with 4,000 tonnes of sugar donated by Denmark on board, was seized early on Saturday as it neared Mogadishu.

It has a crew of 12 from Pakistan, India, Tanzania and Bangladesh.

The seas off Somalia have some of the highest rates of piracy in the world, with a dozen vessels attacked this year, and three in recent weeks.

Last month the United States and France proposed a UN resolution allowing countries to chase and arrest pirates in Somalia’s territorial waters.

ANC votes to rename streets after party activists

RW Johnson, Durban

DURBAN council, which provoked riots last year after it tried to rename its main streets after revolutionaries, faced an opposition walkout after it announced fresh plans to change the street names of some of the city’s all-white suburbs.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) group, which had attempted to name the main road to the airport after the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, voted to strip away more than a century of colonial history in favour of ANC activists.

The city’s famous Marine Parade becomes O R Tambo Parade, after Oliver Reginald Tambo, the former president of the ANC.

The council decided that it should not rename Kensington Drive after Fidel Castro, the former Cuban leader; instead it becomes Adelaide Tambo Drive, after Tambo’s widow.

Latin America

Resentment grows in Paraguay over hydroelectric dam

The new president says a sweetheart deal yields power at cut-rate prices for Brazil, which responds that it’s part of the partnership treaty.

ITAIPU, PARAGUAY — In a region where nationalism often trumps cross-border cooperation, the engineering marvel known as Itaipu was a triumph of teamwork: Paraguay and its giant neighbor, Brazil, collaborated on a colossal project to reroute the mighty Parana River, dam its waters and create the world’s largest hydroelectric plant.

Thirty-five years after the two nations began the project, Itaipu is a vital source of cheap electricity and patriotic pride — especially in Paraguay, a landlocked nation better known abroad for contraband, corruption and crooked politics. The plant provides more than 90% of the country’s electricity and about 20% of Brazil’s.

But resentment toward Brazil has grown since the election last month of Fernando Lugo as Paraguay’s president. He accuses his nation’s huge neighbor of benefiting from a sweetheart deal that yields power at cut-rate prices. Brazilians in turn say they are being unfairly painted as profiteers, their early financial and technical contributions to the project ignored.


    • RiaD on May 18, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    i enjoyed the Dalai Lama & Michaelangelo stories very much!

    • on May 18, 2008 at 2:53 pm

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