Docudharma Times Saturday August 23

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About Something Important Today

Saturday’s Headlines:

Boeing threatens not to bid on tanker contract

Diyala raid was rogue operation, Iraqi government says

Israel declares Gaza protest boats will not reach their destination

Banned artist misses Delhi’s first art show

Afghans accuse coalition forces of killing 76 civilians in air strike

Honour for restaurant that doesn’t exist

We will not be the next on Russia’s hitlist, vows defiant Ukraine

An American adventurer’s death in El Salvador

Despite Pullout, Russia Envisions Long-Term Shift


Published: August 22, 2008  

MOSCOW – As the Russian Army withdrew most of its forces from Georgia, it was becoming ever more clear on Friday that Moscow had no intention of restoring what once was – either on the ground or diplomatically.The West wants a return to early August, before an obscure territorial dispute on the fringes of the old Soviet empire erupted into an international crisis. But Russia’s forces are digging in and seizing ribbons of Georgian land that abut two breakaway enclaves allied with Moscow, effectively extending its zone of influence.

Guards’ Lapses Cited in Detainee Suicides

Probe Also Faults Lenient Policies At Guantanamo

By Josh White

Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, August 23, 2008; Page A01  

As the lights flickered off above them, more than two dozen detainees began to raise their voices in prayer and other songs, a din the guards dismissed as harmless. Three of the detainees furtively stuffed water bottles and toilet paper under their bedsheets to create the illusion of sleeping bodies, and they each strung up walls of blue blankets in their metal-mesh cells, seeking cover from their captors’ glances.

Then, with strips of white sheets, T-shirts and towels wound into nooses, the three detainees in Guantanamo Bay’s Camp 1, Block Alpha, hid behind the blankets and hanged themselves, their toes dangling inches above the floor while their bodies became blue and rigid. For hours, the guards failed to notice the first deaths to occur at the controversial U.S. military detention facility.


Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke sees unemployment and weak growth as bigger problems than inflation

The central bank chief says he and other Fed members believe inflation will ease on its own.

By Maura Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

August 23, 2008

WASHINGTON — Prices may be rising unpleasantly fast, but what really worries the Federal Reserve is the weak economy, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said Friday.

Using careful language, the central bank chief said the Fed’s forecasts suggested that if energy costs and other commodity prices held their recent declines and the dollar stabilized, inflation would moderate by the end of this year.

Bernanke’s comments at a Fed conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., were widely seen as a signal that the bank intended to keep its benchmark interest rate at 2%, a low level by historical standards, for much of this year and possibly into 2009.

The remarks, along with a more than $6-a-barrel drop in oil prices, fueled a rally in the stock market Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average surged 197.85 points, or 1.7%, to close at 11,628.06.

Boeing threatens not to bid on tanker contract


By Les Blumenthal | McClatchy Newspapers  

WASHINGTON – Boeing’s chief executive, James McNerney, told a top Pentagon official this week that his company might not compete for a $35 billion contract to build Air Force refueling tankers unless it gets an additional four months to prepare a bid.

Accompanied by James Albaugh, head of Boeing’s defense unit, McNerney met face to face with Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England for a half-hour on Thursday at the Pentagon, Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., said Friday. Industry and defense sources confirmed the meeting. England is the department’s second ranking official, behind only Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The meeting came as the Defense Department prepared to issue a final request for proposals next week on the tanker contract. Boeing said a version released several weeks ago favored a European aerospace company and its American partner.

Middle East

Diyala raid was rogue operation, Iraqi government says

By Nicholas Spangler | McClatchy Newspapers

BAGHDAD – The Iraqi paramilitary unit that stormed a government complex in Iraq’s Diyala province earlier this week usually is directed by the prime minister’s office, but was acting without its orders in this case, the Iraqi government said Friday.

Abdul Karim Khalaf, an Interior Ministry spokesman who’s serving as the interim commander of police in Diyala, described the emergency response unit as a counterterrorism force that’s nominally under Interior oversight but with its own chain of command. The name of its leader and the size of its force are classified, he said.

A spokesman for the Iraqi Islamic Party challenged the assertion that the unit was acting without orders, days after a prominent member was arrested in one of the raids.

Middle East: Israel declares Gaza protest boats will not reach their destination

Rory McCarthy

The Guardian,

Saturday August 23 2008  

Israel last night warned an attempt by peace activists to sail two wooden boats to the Gaza Strip was a “provocation” and said it would prevent them reaching their destination.

A group of 46 activists set sail yesterday morning from Cyprus and were hoping to reach Gaza later today to challenge the economic blockade Israel has imposed on the strip and to deliver a cargo of 200 hearing aids for a deaf school and 5,000 balloons. Among those on board is a Catholic nun, aged 81, the British journalist Yvonne Ridley and Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of Tony Blair.

“I’ve been nervous, but today I’m excited,” said Booth, 41, shortly before the boats sailed. “It’s not about our fear, it’s about the people waiting in Gaza, you can’t think about anything else.”


Banned artist misses Delhi’s first art show

Randeep Ramesh in Delhi

The Guardian,

Saturday August 23 2008

He may be India’s most famous living artist, but Maqbool Fida Husain was conspicuous by his absence from the country’s first art fair which opened yesterday in Delhi. Backed by Sotheby’s and the government, the Indian Art Summit is a sign of how quickly attitudes to art have changed in the country, while political views have not.

Prices of Indian art have skyrocketed in the past five years with paintings by Husain easily fetching $1m (£538,000)- staggering for a country where average incomes are less than $1000 a year.

But Husain has just spent his 93rd birthday in self-imposed exile, forced out by threats from Hindu groups enraged by his paintings of nude gods and goddesses.

Afghans accuse coalition forces of killing 76 civilians in air strike


By Sharafuddin Sharafyar in Kabul

Saturday, 23 August 2008  

American-led coalition forces killed 76 Afghan civilians in western Afghanistan on Friday, the interior ministry said.

“Seventy-six civilians, most of them women and children, were martyred today in a coalition forces operation in Herat province,” the statement said.

Coalition forces bombarded the Azizabad area of Shindand district in Herat province on Friday afternoon, the ministry said. Nineteen victims were women, seven were men, and the rest were children under 15, it said.

However, the coalition denied killing civilians. It said 30 militants had been killed in an air strike in Shindand district in the early hours of Friday and no further air strikes had been launched. Air strikes took place between 1am-2am after Afghan and coalition soldiers were ambushed by insurgents while on a patrol targeting a Taliban commander in Herat, the US military said in a statement.


Honour for restaurant that doesn’t exist

By Cahal Milmo, Chief Reporter

Saturday, 23 August 2008  

With a menu boasting roast piglet with foie gras and grilled prawns on an aubergine crisp, and a wine cellar containing no fewer than 2,100 bottles, the Osteria L’Intrepido on Via Filipetti in central Milan seemed a fitting addition to the list of centres of gastronomic excellence featured in the oenophile’s bible, Wine Spectator.

Indeed the magazine, which boasts two million readers worldwide, this month added the Osteria L’Intrepido to its list of global restaurants worthy of its Award of Excellence. The only problem was that the Osteria L’Intrepido – along with its roast piglet and impressive list of Chiantis and Brunellos – did not exist.

For it emerged yesterday that the high-flying restaurant was an illusion cooked up by a wine writer to expose what he claimed was a lack of rigour in the granting of many food and drink awards.

We will not be the next on Russia’s hitlist, vows defiant Ukraine >

The invasion of Georgia means that Nato must quickly expand eastwards, the Ukrainian President tells The Times

From The Times

August 23, 2008

Roger Boyes in Kiev

Viktor Yushchenko, the Ukrainian President, was in a fierce and defiant mood yesterday as he urged Nato to respond to the Russian invasion of Georgia by moving quickly to expand the frontiers of the alliance eastwards.

In an exclusive interview with The Times Mr Yushchenko asserted that the fundamentals of international politics had changed. Ukraine had to do everything in its power to ensure it was not going to be next on the Kremlin hitlist

Latin America

An American adventurer’s death in El Salvador

Joe Sanderson traveled the world for years until his death amid leftist rebels fighting El Salvador’s U.S.-backed military regime. More than 25 years later, a diary he kept reveals details about his l

By Héctor Tobar, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

August 23, 2008    

PERQUIN, EL SALVADOR — Joe Sanderson left his Midwestern hometown in his 20s with a backpack, a notepad and a dream of being a writer.

Starting in the mid-1960s, he crossed the Pacific on a freighter, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and kept going, for two decades in all, traipsing across more than 60 countries. Everywhere he went, he kept a diary and wrote to Mom and Dad back home in Urbana, Ill.

Shortly after arriving in this Central American country in 1979, Sanderson pulled off his most audacious feat yet: He joined a guerrilla army.

“Not much cover in the rocks, and the bullets, as they say, came thick and fast,” Sanderson wrote in his diary, describing a helicopter attack against his column of rebel fighters. “Sounded like little kids trying to whistle after eating cracker crumbs. Pfffittt! Pfffittt!”