Docudharma Times Friday November 7


Hit Each Other With The Shinkansen

That’s Gotta Hurt

Friday’s Headlines:

A Butler Well Served by This Election

Record opium harvest in Afghanistan threatens new heroin crisis in Britain

Mustafa the movie divides Turkey with a portrait of the ‘real’ Ataturk

Tutsi rebels in Congo accused of murdering civilians

Robert Mugabe bank accused of stealing aid cash

In a desert camp, Iraqis find aid and zone of trust

Obama victory alters tenor of Iraqi politics

China’s ‘action plan’ on human rights met with skepticism

Malaysia blogger to be released

In Colombia, Army acknowledges civilian killings

Georgia Claims on Russia War Called Into Question


Published: November 6, 2008

TBILISI, Georgia – Newly available accounts by independent military observers of the beginning of the war between Georgia and Russia this summer call into question the longstanding Georgian assertion that it was acting defensively against separatist and Russian aggression.Instead, the accounts suggest that Georgia’s inexperienced military attacked the isolated separatist capital of Tskhinvali on Aug. 7 with indiscriminate artillery and rocket fire, exposing civilians, Russian peacekeepers and unarmed monitors to harm.

The accounts are neither fully conclusive nor broad enough to settle the many lingering disputes over blame in a war that hardened relations between the Kremlin and the West.

Emanuel to Be Chief of Staff

Obama’s Choice Could Signal Rapid Succession of Cabinet Picks

By Anne E. Kornblut and Karen DeYoung

Washington Post Staff Writers

Friday, November 7, 2008; Page A01

President-elect Barack Obama made the first appointment of his new administration yesterday, choosing Rep. Rahm Emanuel to serve as White House chief of staff when he takes office in January.

The selection of the fellow Illinois Democrat, a close Obama friend who embraces a sharp-edged approach to politics, could signal a rapid succession of appointments. Obama is expected to announce in the coming days that he will place two senior campaign aides, David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs, in key roles.



Retailers Report a Sales Collapse


Published: November 6, 2008

Sales at the nation’s largest retailers fell off a cliff in October, casting fresh doubt on the survival of some chains and signaling that this will probably be the weakest Christmas shopping season in decades.The remarkable slowdown hit luxury chains that sell $5,000 designer dresses as badly as stores that offer $18 packs of underwear, suggesting that consumers at all income levels are snapping their wallets shut.

Sales at Neiman Marcus, the luxury department store, dropped nearly 28 percent in October compared with the same month last year.

A Butler Well Served by This Election

?For 34 Years, Eugene Allen Carried White House Trays With Pride. Now There’s Even More Reason to Carry Himself That Way

By Wil Haygood

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, November 7, 2008; Page A01

For more than three decades Eugene Allen worked in the White House, a black man unknown to the headlines. During some of those years, harsh segregation laws lay upon the land.

He trekked home every night, his wife, Helene, keeping him out of her kitchen.

At the White House, he worked closer to the dirty dishes than to the large desk in the Oval Office. Helene didn’t care; she just beamed with pride.

President Truman called him Gene.


Record opium harvest in Afghanistan threatens new heroin crisis in Britain

• EU agency fears glut and reversal of deaths decline

• UK tops cocaine abuse table for fifth year in row

Alan Travis in Brussels, Friday November 7 2008 00.01 GMT

The Guardian, Friday November 7 2008

A glut of opium on the world market, fuelled by a record Afghan harvest, threatens a new heroin crisis in Britain, the European Union’s drug agency warned yesterday. The agency’s annual report also confirms that the UK remains at the top of the European league table of 27 countries for cocaine abuse for the fifth year in a row. The UK accounts for 820,000 of the 4 million Europeans who have “recently used” cocaine.

But the agency also reports that there are “stronger signals” of the declining popularity of cannabis across Europe, especially among British school students.

Nevertheless the drug experts say that a quarter of all Europeans – 71 million people – have tried cannabis at some time in their lives.

Mustafa the movie divides Turkey with a portrait of the ‘real’ Ataturk

National hero depictedas solitary hard drinker by documentary-maker

By Nicholas Birch in Istanbul

Friday, 7 November 2008

Turks venerate Ataturk, the founder of the republic and architect of arguably the most successful social modernisation programme of the 20th century. How much they really want to know him is questionable, however, judging from the furore that has erupted since a new documentary on his life was released in cinemas last week.

Directed by Can Dundar, a leading documentary-maker with an until now spotless secularist record, Mustafa is the first Turkish film to emphasise the private side of the man whose stern features preside over public buildings across the country.


Tutsi rebels in Congo accused of murdering civilians

• Bodies litter streets of former Hutu stronghold

• UN moves in armour and forces to halt killings

Chris McGreal in Rutshuru, Friday November 7 2008 00.01 GMT

The Guardian, Friday November 7 2008

Tutsi rebels in eastern Congo have been accused of summarily killing civilians as they seized a town that had been the stronghold of Hutu militias, and forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes. After two days of fighting, scores of bodies lay in the streets and homes of Kiwanja, a town adjacent to Rutshuru, which was seized by the Tutsi renegade general Laurent Nkunda last week. Residents claimed his forces shot unarmed civilians after accusing them of supporting Hutu militias.

As calm returned to Kiwanja yesterday, Nkunda’s forces seized at least two other villages in the area, Nyanzale and Kikuku. The UN said it was moving armoured vehicles and its forces into the area in an attempt to protect civilians and prevent further advances by the Tutsi rebels.

Robert Mugabe bank accused of stealing aid cash

From The Times

November 7, 2008

Jan Raath in Harare

An international aid agency froze its donations to Zimbabwe yesterday after President Mugabe’s central bank was found to have pilfered £4.5 million from funds meant to help millions of seriously ill people.

The missing money was part of a £65million grant from the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, one of the world’s largest private organisations dedicated to helping poor countries to combat disease.

Middle East

In a desert camp, Iraqis find aid and zone of trust

Camp Mittica gives average Iraqis access to international aid groups, such as Smile Train volunteers who treated about 100 children with cleft lips and palates.

?By James Hagengruber | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the November 7, 2008 edition

TALLIL, IRAQ – Mahdi Fadil wasn’t sure how his family could ever afford the operation to fix 6-year-old Husain’s cleft lip.

“We have no money. And there was nowhere else to go,” says Mr. Fadil. “In the 1970s, Iraq had the best medical system in the Middle East. Now we have the worst in the world.”

But late last month he sat next to his son, stroking his curly brown hair as he recovered from an operation in a southern Iraq military camp. He was among about 100 young Iraqis who were helped by the team of Italian volunteers from Smile Train.

The procedure has a big impact on children’s lives, but the team’s work also helps repair something much larger: trust. Camp Mittica is thought to be the only site giving average Iraqis easy access to international aid groups.

“This little facility allows us to leap ahead – years ahead – of what we would have otherwise been able to do,” says Mike Bunning, a US State Department official there

Obama victory alters tenor of Iraqi politics>

By Alissa J. Rubin Published: November 7, 2008

BAGHDAD: Barack Obama may have been elected only three days ago, but his victory is already beginning to shift the political ground in Iraq and the region.

Iraqi Shiite politicians are indicating that they will move faster toward a new security agreement about American troops, and a Bush administration official said he believed that Iraqis could ratify the agreement as early as the middle of this month.

“Before, the Iraqis were thinking that if they sign the pact, there will be no respect for the schedule of troop withdrawal by Dec. 31, 2011,” said Hadi al-Ameri, a powerful member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a major Shiite party. “If Republicans were still there, there would be no respect for this timetable. This is a positive step to have the same theory about the timetable as Mr. Obama.”


China’s ‘action plan’ on human rights met with skepticism

 Beijing’s announcement comes three months before a U.N. council is to review the status of human rights programs in the Communist nation. Critics call it a public relations ploy.

By John M. Glionna

Reporting from Beijing — Facing growing international criticism over human rights abuses, China is preparing a national “action plan” on such issues as torture and freedom of speech, but critics today were skeptical the move would bring much change.

Beijing’s announcement comes three months before the United Nations Human Rights Council makes a scheduled review of the status of human rights programs in the Communist nation.

China was also publicly embarrassed last month when a prestigious European human rights prize was awarded to Hu Jia, a dissident jailed for speaking out on AIDS issues and calling for environmental protection. Beijing had warned that the award would damage relations between China and the European Union.

Malaysia blogger to be released

A Malaysian judge has ordered the release of a prominent critic of the government, Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

The BBC  

Raja Petra, 58, editor of the website Malaysia Today, was being held under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

But the judge said the government had acted outside its jurisdiction when it issued a two-year detention order.

The government alleged that Raja Petra was a threat to national security having published articles that it said created racial tension.

He is due in court later in the day, and will then be freed, the state news agency Bernama reported.

Latin America

In Colombia, Army acknowledges civilian killings

The head of Colombia’s Army resigned Tuesday after 20 top military officials were fired.

By Sibylla Brodzinsky | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the November 7, 2008 edition

BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA – With the death of three senior Colombian rebel commanders, the bloodless rescue of 14 top hostages, and the seizure of thousands of guerrilla computer files, this should have been a triumphant year for Colombia’s military.

The Army’s successes, however, have been muted by a macabre revelation that the Colombian military reportedly killed civilians to inflate their rebel body count in an effort to appear more successful.

Although nongovernment organizations (NGOs) have tracked the practice for years, many in Colombia are just now waking up to news about the systematic killings. As Colombian government officials act to purge military officers implicated in the killings and create a monitoring program, the padded body counts have put the military’s methods under close scrutiny.


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  1. Coleman’s lead over Franken is down to 236 votes. WOWZA!!!!!

    I heard a story on Minnesota Public Radio yesterday that, regardless of a mandatory recount, this will likely go to the courts for resolution.

    • RiaD on November 7, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    thank you for the Eugene Allen story.


  2. that unemployment up to 6.5% – highest in 14 years.

    I have a hunch we’re just getting started.

    • Edger on November 7, 2008 at 2:43 pm


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