Docudharma Times Saturday June 28

What’s the Difference?

…Between A Blood-Sucking Leech…

…And A Hedge Fund Manager?

The Leech Hasn’t

Been Arrested,Yet.

Saturday’s Headlines:

Political Maneuvers Delay Bill After Bill in Senate

Iraqi officials outraged by U.S. raid in prime minister’s hometown

In the tunnels of Gaza, smugglers risk death for weapons and profit

Cabby fights for a clean ride in smoker-friendly Japan

North Korean nuclear deal may signal internal shift

Ink-stained finger voters hope will keep them alive

 US finally passes bill to remove Mandela’s ‘terrorist’ tag  

MPs to give Berlusconi temporary immunity  

First meeting of Kosovo assembly

Memories of 1978, good and bad, roil Argentina

U.S. and Europe Near Agreement on Private Data


Published: June 28, 2008

WASHINGTON – The United States and the European Union are nearing completion of an agreement allowing law enforcement and security agencies to obtain private information – like credit card transactions, travel histories and Internet browsing habits – about people on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

The potential agreement, as outlined in an internal report obtained by The New York Times, would represent a diplomatic breakthrough for American counterterrorism officials, who have clashed with the European Union over demands for personal data. Europe generally has more stringent laws restricting how governments and businesses can collect and transfer such information.

Report: Iran will use oil as weapon if attacked

Military chief warns of controls on route where two-fifths of oil is shipped

MSNBC News Services

updated 6:33 a.m. ET June 28, 2008

TEHRAN, Iran – The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said the country would impose controls on shipping in the vital Gulf oil route if Iran was attacked, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

Fear of an escalation in the standoff between the West and Iran, the world’s fourth-largest oil producer, have been one factor propping up sky-high oil prices. Crude hit a record level on international markets near $143 a barrel on Friday.

Envisioning a world of $200-a-barrel oil

As forecasters take that possibility more seriously, they describe fundamental shifts in the way we work, where we live and how we spend our free time.

By Martin Zimmerman : times staff writer

June 28, 2008

The more expensive oil gets, the more Katherine Carver’s life shrinks. She’s given up RV trips. She stays home most weekends. She’s scrapped her twice-a-month volunteer stint at a Malibu wildlife refuge — the trek from her home in Palmdale just got too expensive.

How much higher would fuel prices have to go before she quit her job? Already, the 170-mile round-trip commute to her job with Los Angeles County Child Support Services in Commerce is costing her close to $1,000 a month — a fifth of her salary. It’s got the 55-year-old thinking about retirement.

“It’s definitely pushing me to that point,” Carver said.

The point could be closer than anyone thinks.


Bust, boom or treading water? What’s up with the economy?

 By Kevin G. Hall | McClatchy Newspapers  

 WASHINGTON – Everywhere you turn, the news on the economy seems dire. Oil prices are through the roof, home prices are through the floor, the stock market’s plunging and the entire U.S. economy seems shaky. Here’s a look at what’s going on, why and when we’ll know things are turning around.

Q. What’s hurting the U.S. economy now?

A. There are three big drags on our economy: the slumping housing market, the sustained rise in oil prices and an increasingly fragile banking system. Combined, they’re socking it to the economy.

Political Maneuvers Delay Bill After Bill in Senate

By Lori Montgomery and Jeffrey H. Birnbaum

Washington Post Staff Writers

Saturday, June 28, 2008; Page A01

The Senate went home yesterday for the Fourth of July holiday to face voters, having failed repeatedly to address critical economic issues from skyrocketing gas prices to climate change to the nation’s housing crisis.

Leaders in both parties have vowed to tackle those problems. Yet the Senate has been unable to move forward even when there is broad agreement about what to do.

Take the housing rescue bill that collapsed this week: On a test vote, 83 senators supported provisions intended to halt the steepest slide in home prices in a generation. Still, the measure stalled, undone by a dispute over whether to add tax breaks for renewable energy production, an idea supported by 88 senators.

Middle East

Iraqi officials outraged by U.S. raid in prime minister’s hometown

By Hannah Allam | McClatchy Newspapers

 BAGHDAD, Iraq – Outraged Iraqi officials demanded an investigation into an early morning U.S. military raid Friday near the birthplace of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, saying the operation violated the terms of the handover of Karbala province to Iraqi security forces.

Karbala Gov. Oqeil al Khazaali said U.S. forces killed an unarmed civilian and arrested at least one person in the raid in the southern town of Janaja. The governor’s brother, Hassanein al Khazaali, said late Friday that the Iraqi killed in the operation was a relative of the U.S.-backed prime minister.

The U.S. military command in Baghdad had no comment. Two senior aides to Maliki weren’t available for comment; one was still in a meeting with the prime minister after midnight. The governor is said to belong to the prime minister’s Dawa Party.

In the tunnels of Gaza, smugglers risk death for weapons and profit

From The Times

June 28, 2008

Paul Martin in Rafah

The “eye” of the tunnel was a small, square hole sunk between shiny kitchen tiles in an abandoned house in the Gaza Strip. To get in was a matter of grabbing hold of a rope emerging from the darkness and jumping into the opening.

Twenty five feet below the ground a narrow passageway, barely 3ft wide, stretched half a mile under the border into Egypt.

Scrabbling through on hands and knees – sand spilling from the roof, caking hair and face with grime – the greatest fear was that, with no struts or roof supports, it would cave in and bury us.


Cabby fights for a clean ride in smoker-friendly Japan

The number of smoke-free cabs has surged since a 2005 ruling in a case brought by Koichi Yasui.

By Takehiko Kambayashi  | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the June 27, 2008 edition

TOKYO – In a country once dubbed a smoker’s paradise, Koichi Yasui’s decades of tireless efforts to promote smoke-free taxis haven’t always been easy.

Twenty years ago, his was the first government-approved smoke-free cab to troll Tokyo’s streets. But rather than follow suit, his cab-driver colleagues got angry – as did customers and officials from the government and the industry association.

“Some people were yelling at me to be ashamed of this action and get lost,” he recalls. “Others crushed my car garage and broke my apartment’s door lock. I was so fearful I would put a wooden sword next to the pillow and go to bed.”

But times are changing.

North Korean nuclear deal may signal internal shift

By Norimitsu Onishi and Jim Yardley

TOKYO: North Korea’s deal over its nuclear program with the Bush administration could strengthen the hand of reformers in the isolated nation, though any further steps forward in denuclearizing, or opening up the country, will be painstakingly slow.

People with knowledge of North Korea’s leadership said that its long-delayed nuclear declaration Thursday – followed by its destruction Friday of a massive concrete cooling tower at its Yongbyon nuclear reactor – did not signal a broad shift in its approach to the outside world or a clear renunciation of its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Instead, they said the North’s concessions – in return for its long-sought removal from the United States’ list of state sponsors of terrorism – amounted to one important step made possible by the Bush administration’s decision to engage in full-fledged negotiations in early 2007.


Ink-stained finger voters hope will keep them alive  

· Zimbabweans forced to vote by militia

· Some made to show ballot papers

Chris McGreal in Harare

The Guardian,

Saturday June 28, 2008

The young man who gave his name only as Wilson wanted just one thing from yesterday’s presidential election in Zimbabwe: the indelible red ink on his little finger to show he had voted.

“They said they would come to see if we voted,” he said after casting his ballot in a tent in a Harare suburb. “They know if we went to vote we would have to vote for the president. They were watching.”

Who are “they”?

“The ones who made us go to the meetings at night. The ones who told us we must be careful to correct our mistake.”

Wilson voted for Robert Mugabe yesterday, against his will but judging that it was the best way to save himself from a beating or worse.

US finally passes bill to remove Mandela’s ‘terrorist’ tag

Arun Kumar, Indo-Asian News Service

Washington, June 28, 2008

Fourteen years after Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s president after its first democratic elections in 1994, the US Congress has passed a bill to remove his name from its lists of terrorists.

Passed Thursday night after an agreement between the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Congress is now sending the legislation to President George W. Bush to finally erase the government-imposed stigma against association with the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa.

When signed into law by Bush, the legislation will remove from US databases any notation characterising the ANC and its leaders, including former South African president Mandela, as terrorists. After that, ANC membership alone will no longer trigger additional investigation into an individual’s application for a visa to the US.


MPs to give Berlusconi temporary immunity

· Italian PM’s bribery trial likely to be suspended

· Opposition leader warns of ‘sweet dictatorship

Tom Kington in Rome

The Guardian,

Saturday June 28, 2008

Silvio Berlusconi is on course to end his problems with Italy’s courts after his cabinet launched a bill yesterday giving him immunity from prosecution while he remains in office.

The Italian prime minister’s majorities in both houses of parliament are likely to ensure the bill becomes law, suspending his trial in Milan for allegedly paying a bribe to British lawyer David Mills in return for favourable evidence in previous trials. Both men deny wrongdoing.

Berlusconi, 71, has been involved in 1,000 hearings in 17 different trials in Italy, according to his lawyer Nicolo Ghedini, who helped frame the bill.

First meeting of Kosovo assembly

By Helen Fawkes

BBC News, Mitrovica

An assembly set up by Kosovo Serbs is due to hold its first session in the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica.

Its inaugural meeting takes place on the day Serbs remember their defeat by invading Ottoman forces in 1389.

The 53 seat assembly has been organised in defiance of the Kosovo government and the United Nations.

The assembly has been formed by hard line Serb politicians in Kosovo and was set up to act as a co-ordination body with the Serb authorities in Belgrade.

Latin America

Memories of 1978, good and bad, roil Argentina

The country’s first soccer World Cup victory 30 years ago brought an outpouring of national pride that some say was manipulated by the brutal dictatorship of the time to increase its hold on power.

By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

June 28, 2008

BUENOS AIRES — It was June 1978, the worst of times for a nation in the vise of dictatorship. And the best of times for soccer-obsessed Argentines.

Argentina won its first championship 30 years ago this month, in the only World Cup tournament to be played here. The victory caused a torrent of nationalist pride in a country beaten down by repression.

But the biggest winners probably were the junta leaders, who scored a massive propaganda coup that set back fledgling international efforts to expose their bloody excesses. For Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla and other junta chiefs, futbol was a convenient means to switch the conversation away from the mounting number of victims casually labeled “the disappeared”– then a catchy new rhetorical surrogate for mass murder

1 comment

  1. The Argentina futbol story is a must read.  It’s got everything, including Henry Kissinger visiting the military junta.

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