Docudharma Times Monday July 21


And Voting

Machines In

America A

Regular Magical

Mystery Tour

Monday’s Headlines:

For ‘Surge’ Troops, Pride Mingles With Doubt

Gypsy girls’ corpses on beach in Italy fail to put off sunbathers

Mystery plague set to wipe out France’s crop of baby oysters

World Focus: Iran’s stalling on nuclear compromise will only hand ammunition to hawks

Mideast facing choice between crops and water

Two dead in Chinese bus blasts  

Bombay slum dwellers’ makeover by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill

Is it the beginning of greater commitment to lasting democracy in Africa or the deepening of hypocrisy?

The ‘problem’ with Bashir is that he’s a better suspect than Taylor

Plea deal unlikely before Gitmo war crimes trial

World warned over killer flu pandemic

By Ben Russell, Political Correspondent

Monday, 21 July 2008

The world is failing to guard against the inevitable spread of a devastating flu pandemic which could kill 50 million people and wreak massive disruption around the globe, the Government has warned.

In evidence to a House of Lords committee, ministers said that early warning systems for spotting emerging diseases were “poorly co-ordinated” and lacked “vision” and “clarity”. They said that more needed to be done to improve detection and surveillance for potential pandemics and called for urgent improvement in rapid-response strategies.

Threat of mass starvation looms in Zimbabwe after latest harvest fails

· Five million will need help within months, warns UN

· Families flee as many reduced to one meal a day

Chris McGreal in Harare

The Guardian,

Monday July 21, 2008

Millions of Zimbabweans are threatened with starvation after the widespread failure of the latest harvest brought on by the government’s disastrous mishandling of land redistribution, and food shortages in the shops caused by hyperinflation.

The United Nations says hundreds of thousands of people require food aid immediately because they have harvested little or nothing in recent weeks. It has warned that up to 5 million will need assistance in the coming months. A third of the population is chronically malnourished.

But attempts to assist them are blocked by a ban on foreign aid agencies working in rural areas after President Robert Mugabe said they were fronts for “regime change” by Britain and the US.


Influx of Voters Likely to Test New Machines


Published: July 21, 2008

With millions of new voters heading to the polls this November and many states introducing new voting technologies, election officials and voting monitors say they fear the combination is likely to create long lines, stressed-out poll workers and late tallies on Election Day.

At least 11 states will use new voting equipment as the nation shifts away from touch-screen machines and to the paper ballots of optical scanners, which will be used by more than 55 percent of voters.

For ‘Surge’ Troops, Pride Mingles With Doubt

Soldiers Leave a More Secure Iraq but Are Unsure if Hard-Won Gains Will Hold

By Ernesto Londoño

Washington Post Foreign Service

Monday, July 21, 2008; Page A01

BAGHDAD — This time last year, Capt. Wes Wilhite’s men were getting ready to move into an abandoned house in western Baghdad wedged between cells of Sunni insurgents to the south and strongholds of Shiite militias to the north.

Violence in the Iraqi capital seemed unstoppable. U.S. military vehicles were getting attacked with armor-piercing roadside bombs almost daily, and a raging sectarian war was Balkanizing once-mixed neighborhoods.


Gypsy girls’ corpses on beach in Italy fail to put off sunbathers

· Incident raises questions about attitude to minority

· Civil rights group calls for inquiry into ‘drowning’

John Hooper in Rome

The Guardian,

Monday July 21, 2008

Questions about the attitude of Italians to their Roma minority were again being asked yesterday after photographs were published of sunbathers continuing as normal with a day at the beach despite the bodies of two Gypsy girls who had drowned being laid out on the sand nearby.

A civil liberties group said it had asked for talks with the authorities to shed light on the circumstances of the girls’ death. The incident took place outside Naples, where a Roma encampment was burned to the ground this year after its inhabitants had been evacuated for their own safety.

Mystery plague set to wipe out France’s crop of baby oysters

By John Lichfield in Paris

Monday, 21 July 2008

Baby oysters are dying in their millions along the French coast from Normandy to the Mediterranean, puzzling scientists and plunging France’s shellfish industry into crisis.

On some parts of the Norman and Mediterranean coast, the entire one-year-old “class” of juvenile oysters, due to be eaten by Christmas 2009, has died in the space of a few days.

A number of theories have been put forward by marine biologists and oyster farmers, mostly linked to a slight rise in the temperature of the seas around western Europe this summer. Has some form of toxic algae reached French waters?

Middle East

World Focus: Iran’s stalling on nuclear compromise will only hand ammunition to hawks

By Anne Penketh

Monday, 21 July 2008

Iran has handed ammunition to American and Israeli hawks by delaying its response to a Western offer of technological and political incentives intended to curb Iranian nuclear ambitions. At the highest-level meeting involving US and Iranian officials in almost 30 years held in Geneva on Saturday, Iran dashed expectations of a compromise that would avert the imposition of further sanctions and possible military confrontation.

Instead of giving a clear answer to the proposals from the big powers, the Iranian delegation head, Saeed Jalili, skirted round the issue continuously, according to diplomats at the talks. Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief who led the delegation of senior officials from Britain, the US, France, Germany, Russia and China, unsuccessfully pressed Mr Jalili for a response over lunch.


Mideast facing choice between crops and water

By Andrew Martin

Published: July 21, 2008

CAIRO: Global food shortages have placed the Middle East and North Africa in a quandary, as they are forced to choose between growing more crops to feed an expanding population or preserving their already scant supply of water.

For decades nations in this region have drained aquifers, sucked the salt from seawater and diverted the mighty Nile to make the deserts bloom. But those projects were so costly and used so much water that it remained far more practical to import food than to produce it. Today, some countries import 90 percent or more of their staples.

Now, the worldwide food crisis is making many countries in this politically volatile region rethink that math.


Two dead in Chinese bus blasts

Two explosions on buses in the south-western Chinese city of Kunming have left at least two people dead and 14 injured, according to reports.

The blasts happened within about an hour during the morning rush hour in Yunnan’s state capital.

TV pictures showed a gaping hole in the side of one of the buses and glass scattered in the street.

Police said the blasts seemed to have been deliberate, and set up checkpoints in the area to try to find suspects.

The first explosion took place at about 0705 at the bus stop in Panjiawan, said the official Xinhua news agency.

Bombay slum dwellers’ makeover by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill

From The Times

July 21, 2008

Rhys Blakely in Bombay

It may just be the world’s most extreme property makeover: 125,000 Bombay slum dwellers are about to have their homes rebuilt by one of the world’s hippest architects.

Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) is renowned for building monolithic skyscrapers. Its works in progress include the Freedom Tower, which will occupy the World Trade Centre site in New York, and the £2 billion Burj Dubai, which, at 818 metres (2,684ft), will be the world’s tallest man-made structure when it is completed next year.


Is it the beginning of greater commitment to lasting democracy in Africa or the deepening of hypocrisy?

2008-07-21 08:57:14

By Felix G.N. Mosha

In a recent visit to my former dentist in New York to attend to an emergency tooth problem (she had been my dentist for over 20 years from the time I started at the UN in New York), the first question she asked me (incidentally she is in her early 70s) was “What is this thing about Mugabi.“ I then told her that the name is actually Robert Mugabe.

“Whatever the name,“ she shouted back, “he should get the hell out of there.“ Her reaction pretty much represented a prevailing international position and shows the extent or the success to which Robert Mugabe has now been demonised.

The ‘problem’ with Bashir is that he’s a better suspect than Taylor


There were two very different and significant developments in Eastern Africa in the last few days.

The International Criminal Court of Justice’s prosecutor Morenzo-Ocampo announced that he was moving to seek a warrant of arrest against Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir for genocide and war crimes.

At about the same time in Rwanda, the country which faced one of the worst genocides of the 20th century in 1994 (nearly one million were killed), a law was passed to amend the constitution to provide that a former president cannot be prosecuted on charges for which he was not put on trial while in office.

Latin America

Plea deal unlikely before Gitmo war crimes trial

By MIKE MELIA, Associated Press Writer  

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – A last-minute plea deal could halt the first war crimes trial at Guantanamo Bay on Monday, but military lawyers and observers say that appears extremely unlikely at this late stage. The Pentagon already has brought witnesses to the U.S. Navy base in Cuba and assembled a jury pool of American military officers, preparations that had not been made before a plea deal that ended the case against Australian David Hicks in March 2007.

Military prosecutors are also eager to use the case of Salim Hamdan, a former driver and alleged bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, to showcase a tribunal system that has seen repeated legal setbacks


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    • RiaD on July 21, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    your dying baby oyster story~ i immediately thought ‘warming oceans!’…and then wondered about ALL the sealife….O my! big changes are coming!

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