Docudharma Times Sunday June 15

As Good As That Morning Cup Of Coffee

OK, Probably Not Just Pretend

That It Is

Sunday’s Headlines:

Private bills can halt deportation, but rarely bring resolution

We won’t be Berlusconi’s scapegoats, say Gypsies

What now for Europe? The EU’s Irish problem

Young author gives a voice to China’s rebel generation

Million flee south Chinese floods

Hamas and Gaza emerge reshaped after takeover

Iraq violence takes toll on gold artisans

Mugabe: if I lose the poll, we will wage war

Al-Qaida branch claims recent attacks in Algeria

Drugs cartel led by woman turns Mexican town into shooting gallery

Nuclear Ring Reportedly Had Advanced Design


Published: June 15, 2008

WASHINGTON – American and international investigators say that they have found the electronic blueprints for an advanced nuclear weapon on computers that belonged to the nuclear smuggling network run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the rogue Pakistani nuclear scientist, but that they have not been able to determine whether they were sold to Iran or the smuggling ring’s other customers.

The plans appear to closely resemble a nuclear weapon that was built by Pakistan and first tested exactly a decade ago. But when confronted with the design by officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency last year, Pakistani officials insisted that Dr. Khan, who has been lobbying in recent months to be released from the loose house arrest that he has been under since 2004, did not have access to Pakistan’s weapons designs.


The Bubble

How homeowners, speculators and Wall Street dealmakers rode a wave of easy money with crippling consequences.

By Alec Klein and Zachary A. Goldfarb

The Washington Post

Sunday, June 15, 2008; Page A01

The black-tie party at Washington’s swank Mayflower Hotel seemed a fitting celebration of the biggest American housing boom since the 1950s: filet mignon and lobster, a champagne room and hundreds of mortgage brokers, real estate agents and their customers gyrating to a Latin band. On that winter night in 2005, the company hosting the gala honored itself with an ice sculpture of its logo. Pinnacle Financial had grown from a single office to a national behemoth generating $6.5 billion in mortgages that year. The $100,000-plus party celebrated the booming division that made loans largely to Hispanic immigrants with little savings. The company even booked rooms for those who imbibed too much.

Private bills can halt deportation, but rarely bring resolution

By Vanessa Colon and Michael Doyle | McClatchy Newspapers

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein intervened in 2003 to help Nayely Arreola of Porterville, Calif., and her family avoid deportation to Mexico, answering her prayers. But Arreola now thinks it was a mixed blessing.

The legislation Feinstein introduced on Arreola’s behalf — a so-called private bill — has languished in committee and might never be approved. Feinstein has reintroduced it to keep it alive and could do so again in January.

As long as the bill is pending, the Arreola family can stay in the United States. But until it passes, they remain in limbo, knowing that one day they may have to leave.

“It has been helpful,” said Arreola, who graduated in May from Fresno Pacific University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. But she added: “It’s very nerve-racking for my parents, who have to sit and wait. … It’s like a roller coaster.”


We won’t be Berlusconi’s scapegoats, say Gypsies

Tom Kington in Rome meets families evicted by the city’s new right-wing mayor at their isolated camp and hears them demand ‘a few rights’

Tom Kington in Rome

The Observer,

Sunday June 15 2008

In a desolate field just beyond the Rome ring road, a single line of caravans is a stark sign of the times in the new and increasingly anti-immigrant Italy. The vehicles are the modest homes of 25 Gypsy families, who have become the first victims of a campaign waged by the city’s new right-wing mayor to crack down on foreign criminals and illegal Gypsy camps.

Oblivious to their parents’ distress, children laugh and duck behind cars, squirting water pistols at each other as the adults contemplate an uncertain future. But the white sheets waving on clothes lines seem to symbolise a mood of surrender and gloom. Police, accompanied by dogs, have just chased this community from the city centre site it had occupied for 20 years.

‘We work for a living, but in a couple of hours, everything we had created, the relationship we had built with locals over decades, was wiped out,’ said Alessandro, 36.  

What now for Europe? The EU’s Irish problem

Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty raises fears of a constitutional crisis – and could lead to a two-tier union of nations

By David McKittrick and Jane Merrick

Sunday, 15 June 2008

The Irish Republic woke up yesterday with a severe collective political hangover, in the wake of the voters’ rejection of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty. Neither Dublin nor Europe as a whole appears to have a clear idea of how to proceed, following the referendum result which has changed the European landscape.

With France about to take up the European presidency, the dominant item on the agenda is how to prevent the Lisbon impasse developing into a full-blown crisis after Ireland voted 53.4 per cent to 46.6 per cent against the treaty.

Most of the EU’s 27 countries have already ratified the Lisbon Treaty, and opinion in London, Paris, Brussels and elsewhere clearly favours continuing with this process.


Young author gives a voice to China’s rebel generation

A bestseller turns the spotlight on moody middle-class teenagers, reports Jason Burke in Beijing

Jason Burke

The Observer,

Sunday June 15 2008

He is sullen, brooding, 15 years old and now among China’s bestselling authors. Tang Chao’s paperback, Give Me Back The Dream, a dark tale of unrequited teenage love, conflict with parents and adolescent suicide, reached the top of the bestseller lists last week, a success confirming the coming of age of what has been dubbed the country’s ‘Generation Z’.

‘I just tell the story of people I know,’ Tang said in a telephone interview from his home in the central Chinese city of Chengdu. ‘We are the post-Nineties generation and society doesn’t understand us.’

Such sentiments might be the staple of sulky adolescents in the West, but they are new in China. If the country’s Generation X grew up in the aftermath of the devastating Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, and Generation Y enjoyed the extraordinary economic growth of the Eighties and Nineties, ‘Generation Z’ has a different teen spirit.

Million flee south Chinese floods


Flooding in southern China has killed at least 55 people and forced more than one million to flee their homes, the government says.

Torrential downpours have affected nine provinces, China’s civil affairs ministry says. More rain is expected in the coming days, forecasters warn.

Among those provinces badly hit is Sichuan, which is still reeling from last month’s massive earthquake.

Some 87,000 people were killed or missing after the 12 May earthquake.

Farm land submerged

China’s civil affairs ministry says nearly 1.3 million people have now fled their homes in the hardest hit regions as the bad weather continues.  

Middle East

Hamas and Gaza emerge reshaped after takeover

By Ethan Bronner

Published: June 15, 2008

Cursing God in public here – a fairly common event in this benighted and besieged strip of Palestinian land – can now lead to prison. So can kissing in public. A judge ruled last week that a bank could not collect its contracted interest on a 10-year-old loan because Islam forbids charging interest.

One year ago, gunmen from Hamas, an Islamist anti-Israel group, took over Gaza, shooting some of their more secular Fatah rivals in the knees and tossing one off a building. Israel and the West imposed a blockade, hoping to squeeze the new rulers from power. Yet today Hamas has spread its authority across all aspects of life, including the judiciary. It is fully in charge. Gazans have not, as Israel and the United States hoped, risen up against it.

“The Palestinian criminal code says there should be no improper behavior in the streets,” the new chief justice, Abed al-Raouf Halabi, explained in an interview, pulling the code book from his breast pocket.

Iraq violence takes toll on gold artisans

By Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

June 15, 2008

BAGHDAD — In a narrow store wedged between vendors hawking vegetables and cheap clothing, Adnan Walid lovingly shapes sheets of gold into delicate leaves and flowers to make a necklace.

Walid has lost count of the number of friends who have fled the violence of recent years. His own shop was reduced to a charred shell two years ago when a car bomb exploded across the street. He keeps two pistols under his counter, just in case.

Still, Walid, a round-faced man with a cheery smile, welcomes each customer who arrives searching for the right piece of gold jewelry.

“Iraqis have loved gold since ancient history,” he said. “Even when there are explosions, people buy gold.”

Although sales of gold jewelry remain strong, goldsmithing is a disappearing art in Iraq, a land where it has been practiced for nearly 5,000 years


Mugabe: if I lose the poll, we will wage war

Thousands flee rural areas as regime steps up intimidation of voters before presidential run-off

Tracy McVeigh and Alex Duval Smith, Cape Town

The Observer,

Sunday June 15 2008

A defiant President Robert Mugabe yesterday vowed he would ‘go to war’ if he lost the presidential run-off due to take place in less than two weeks.

Describing the opposition as ‘traitors’, he claimed Zimbabwe would never ‘be lost’ again. Speaking at the burial of a veteran of the independence war, Mugabe said he would never accept the Movement for Democratic Change taking over. ‘It shall never happen … as long as I am alive and those who fought for the country are alive,’ he said. ‘We are prepared to fight for our country and to go to war for it.’

The threat was seen as an angry response to the pressure mounting on the government from other African leaders over the regime’s harassment of the MDC leadership and supporters in the run up to the 27 June election.

Al-Qaida branch claims recent attacks in Algeria


CAIRO, Egypt (AP) – Al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa claimed responsibility in an Internet posting Saturday for a recent attack on an Algerian train station that killed a French engineer.

The statement also claimed responsibility for an attack on a military barracks and another at a cafe on June 4 and a roadside bombing June 5.

The authenticity of Saturday’s statement could not be independently verified, but it was signed by Al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa and appeared on a Web site commonly used by Islamic militants.

Two bombs in quick succession at the Beni Amrane train station on June 8 killed 13 people, according to an Algerian security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity on the day of the attack. The official said the dead included a French engineer, his driver, and eight soldiers and three firefighters who responded to the scene of the first blast.

Latin America

Drugs cartel led by woman turns Mexican town into shooting gallery

From The Sunday Times

June 15, 2008

John Harlow in Tijuana, Mexico

It was a quiet Wednesday night in the Tijuana city morgue: only eight murder victims were on ice, including two young Mexican women shot through the back of the head and dumped on waste ground.

These are the latest victims of the United States’ seemingly insatiable demand for cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, which has sparked the bloodiest drugs war in the Americas and cost more than 4,000 lives in the past 18 months.

The war has pitted the Mexican government, with American help, against a ruthless drugs cartel led by a Mexican female mastermind who has a degree in business administration. The victims in the mortuary may have been smugglers who ran into a rival faction. Their stories are unknown: undertakers do not have time to find their relatives. “They’ll find us,” said one.


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