Docudharma Times Saturday November 8

Wall Street Goes To K Street

There Goes The Neighborhood

Saturday’s Headlines:

Wall Street Decamps to K Street for Work on Bailout

‘The soldiers didn’t ask any questions. They just shot him’

Congo rebel leader Nkunda vows to keep fighting

Judge orders exhumations from Franco basilica

Psychological tests for priests to screen out homosexuals

New personality tests for seminarians criticised by gay rights groups

US troops find a new tactic to thwart suicide bombs in Iraq

Syrians stare terror in the face

North Korea ‘is being run by Kim Jong Il’s brother-in-law’

Retracing the Path Toxic Powder Took To Food in China

Living on the frontline of the new cold war

Russians in Baltic enclave on EU’s doorstep endorse challenge to US missiles

Luke Harding in Kaliningrad, Saturday November 8 2008 00.01 GMT

The Soviet-era radio station is visible from the road. Rising above a forest of tall pines and birches, the radio masts near the town of Bolshakova were a listening post during the cold war. Up the road is Lithuania. In the other direction is Poland.

Two decades later, the Soviet Union has gone. But the town with its pretty German cottages and gardens full of geese is now on the frontline of a new cold war. On Wednesday Russia’s president, Dmitry Medvedev, said he would deploy Iskander nuclear missiles in Kaliningrad – the small Baltic Sea chunk of Russian territory encircled by what are now Nato countries.

The Button Man of France obsesses in sets of 12

At Paris’ Puces de Vanves flea market, Eric Hebert offers a mind-boggling array of yellowing cards covered in vintage buttons. Please don’t ask how many he has.

By Geraldine Baum

November 8, 2008

Reporting from Paris — Her fingers ran over the smooth red buttons with flecks of gold and the wavy sea-green buttons and the black buttons with ridges that made them look like miniature fans. Yoshini Kondo admired them all — buttons sewn in lots of 12 on yellowing cards, buttons in every color and size, buttons in Bakelite, casein, ceramic, shell, wood, even silk thread.

But did she need old buttons in her life?

Does anybody need old buttons, or, for that matter, rusted old keys or 1930s posters advertising butter or tarnished brass cheese knives lined up in threadbare velvet boxes?

Kondo, a 40-year-old tourist from Japan, had come to the puces (literally, “fleas”) on the edge of Paris to poke around for old vases for her florist shop outside Tokyo, but she was distracted by the treasure-trove of the Button Man of France



G.M. Says U.S. Cash Is Its Best Hope


Published: November 7, 2008

DETROIT – The rapidly deteriorating finances of General Motors are forcing the federal government to decide whether to bail out the largest American automaker or face the prospect that it might go bankrupt.G.M. said Friday that its cash cushion had been dwindling by more than $2 billion a month recently and that it could run short of money by mid-2009 unless it got emergency federal assistance.

It also said it had suspended merger talks with Chrysler to focus on its own increasingly urgent problems, brought on by higher gas prices, a weakening economy and tight credit – a combination afflicting the entire auto industry, but hurting G.M. the most.

Wall Street Decamps to K Street for Work on Bailout


By Dana Hedgpeth

Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, November 8, 2008; Page A01

For the past three years, Larry Wolk commuted four days a week on the Acela train from his home in Potomac to New York, where he drew up contracts and loan documents for multimillion dollar real estate deals.But with the New York real estate market suffering, his business has come to a standstill. So instead of commuting to New York, the Holland & Knight attorney is now driving to his firm’s office on Pennsylvania Avenue where he’s part of a new team that’s advising clients on how to deal with the federal government’s $700 billion bailout plan.


‘The soldiers didn’t ask any questions. They just shot him’

Witnesses tell of the systematic slaughter of civilians by Nkunda’s Tutsi rebels

Chris McGreal in Kiwanga, Saturday November 8 2008 00.01 GMT

The Guardian, Saturday November 8 2008

Jumy Kasereka told his mother the Tutsi rebel soldiers would not harm him. After all, he was a schoolteacher, not a fighter, and they would see he was too sick from malaria to move. Kasereka begged his mother to leave with the tens of thousands of others who Laurent Nkunda’s rebels ordered out of the town of Kiwanga after they seized it from Hutu fighters. But Felista Maska refused to go. Hours later, one of Nkunda’s soldiers arrived at the door of the small earth and wicker home, pushed his way in, and, without a word, dragged the 26-year-old teacher out. He shot Kasereka through the head.

“The soldiers didn’t ask any questions. They just shot him,” said Maska as her son was lifted on to a blanket and carried for burial yesterday. “I think the object of the mission was to finish off all the young men. He was a teacher. I tried to tell them. They still shot him.”

Congo rebel leader Nkunda vows to keep fighting

By MICHELLE FAUL, Associated Press Writer

TEBERO, Congo – High in the mist-shrouded Mushaki mountains, amid a drenching tropical storm, the rebel leader swept into the crumbling brick farmhouse, his sinewy frame swathed in a red-and-black shawl – dutifully followed by a pet lamb called Betty.

Gen. Laurent Nkunda, extolled by supporters as a gift from God, beamed a toothy smile as he shook hands and exuded charm during an interview with The Associated Press.

The lamb was meant as a symbol of peace – meshing with the image Nkunda has tried to show the world: that he is a responsible, compassionate leader whose only ambition is to bring freedom to his people in the mineral-rich Congo


Judge orders exhumations from Franco basilica

Giles Tremlett Madrid, Saturday November 8 2008 00.01 GMT

A judge investigating the human rights crimes of dictator Francisco Franco has ordered the exhumation of bodies from Spain’s most controversial monument, the underground basilica and mausoleum known as the Valley of the Fallen.

In a new move in his investigation into abuses committed by Franco’s regime, Baltasar Garzón has ordered the exhumation of eight corpses which lie inside the warren of niches at the mausoleum 36 miles north-west of Madrid.

The bones of some 40,000 people who died during the Spanish civil war were deposited there after Franco’s favourite monument, topped by a 150-metre high granite cross, was finished in 1958

Psychological tests for priests to screen out homosexuals

New personality tests for seminarians criticised by gay rights groups

By Andy McSmith

Saturday, 8 November 2008

The Catholic Church is to vet all candidates for the priesthood to eliminate anyone suspected of “deeply seated” homosexuality.

After being hit by a series of sex scandals, the Vatican has given the seal of approval to the psychological screening to test for evidence of personality disorders or serious doubts about aptitude for the priesthood.

Controversially, the head of the Vatican committee that made the recommendations has made it clear they should be used to screen out homosexuals, even if they are celibate, because homosexuality is “a type of deviation” that disqualifies a priest from exercising “spiritual paternity”.

Middle East

US troops find a new tactic to thwart suicide bombs in Iraq

?From The Times

November 8, 2008

Deborah Haynes in Baquba

US special forces stand guard, rifles raised, as soldiers lug two stretchers into a building in this restive city northeast of Baghdad.

Not long ago the stretchers might have carried the dead and wounded from the latest suicide bomb attack or bloody skirmish with insurgents. Now, however, they hold nothing more sinister than colourful strips of dressmaking material for an Iraqi women’s conference. Pieces of fabric are given to each woman who attends the meeting in Baquba.

Providing security at a women’s morning contrasts with the more action-packed image associated with special forces operations, but it illustrates one of a range of softer tactics also being employed to crack the insurgency. The hearts-and-minds mission is particularly important in Diyala province, the scene of most of the 32 female suicide bombings in Iraq this year.

Syrians stare terror in the face >

By Sami Moubayed

DAMASCUS – Syrian television aired much-awaited interviews on Thursday evening with the terrorist cell responsible for an attack in Damascus in September that left 14 people dead and 65 injured.

State television showed what it said were 12 members of the Islamist militant group Fatah al-Islam, confessing that they had helped plan the suicide car bombing.

The interview sent shivers down the spine of most Syrians, who were horrified to hear that there was something called a “Syria branch” for al-Qaeda. These people looked like ordinary Syrians. They came from places like Aleppo, Homs and Damascus. One was a 24-year-old smuggler of gasoline between Syria and Lebanon. Another was a dental expert, while a third was an information technology expert.


North Korea ‘is being run by Kim Jong Il’s brother-in-law’


 From The Times

November 8, 2008

Richard Lloyd Parry in Seoul

The nuclear armed dictatorship of North Korea is being governed by the brother-in-law of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Il, who succumbed to serious ill health three months ago, South Korean experts have concluded.

Government officials and academic North Korea watchers have received intelligence suggesting that Chang Sung Taek, a 62-year old who runs the totalitarian state’s secret police, is making key decisions while the “Dear Leader” convalesces.

They believe that Mr Kim is conscious and probably capable of walking, but that he remains weak after what appears to have been a sudden stroke suffered in the middle of August.

Retracing the Path Toxic Powder Took To Food in China

By Maureen Fan and Ariana Eunjung Cha

Washington Post Foreign Service

Saturday, November 8, 2008; Page A01

SHIJIAZHUANG, China — Xue Jianzhong never posted a sign on his ground-floor shop, but somehow everyone knew what he was selling. Customers from all over this dairy farming region in the northeastern province of Hebei flocked to Xue’s dusty street to buy special concoctions that he said would make milk more nutritious — and more marketable.

Advertised as a “protein powder,” the substance was sold in 44-pound bags and was tasteless, odorless and white, like talc. It wasn’t cheap, about $1 a pound, but it could be mixed into inferior milk or even with specially treated water and the result would be a milklike liquid that would pass government quality tests.

1 comment

    • RiaD on November 8, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    our girl is here for the weekend, so my schedule is wonky.

    thank you for bringing me the news!


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