Docudharma Times Saturday December 13

Republicans Tell Blue Collar Workers

Go Straight To Hell  

Saturday’s Headlines:

Senate Republicans seek to delay hearings on Holder as attorney general

Arundhati Roy: Mumbai was not our 9/11

Founder of Japan’s Red Army in final appeal for freedom

Gulag files seized during police raid on rights group

EU Leaders Unite on Climate Plan and Lisbon Treaty

Victims of Zimbabwean diamond crackdown to be dumped in mass grave

Sierra Leone: Government Must Meet Human Rights Obligations

Iraq official says U.S. troops might be needed for a decade

Cairo is no winter wonderland

Viva la revolucion? Cuba fifty years on

Questions Are Raised in Trader’s Massive Fraud


Published: December 12, 2008

For years, investors, rivals and regulators all wondered how Bernard L. Madoff worked his magic.

But on Friday, less than 24 hours after this prominent Wall Street figure was arrested on charges connected with what authorities portrayed as the biggest Ponzi scheme in financial history, hard questions began to be raised about whether Mr. Madoff acted alone and why his suspected con game was not uncovered sooner.

As investors from Palm Beach to New York to London counted their losses on Friday in what Mr. Madoff himself described as a $50 billion fraud, federal authorities took control of what remained of his firm and began to pore over its books.

Are the Greek riots a taste of things to come?

Greece’s riots are a sign of the economic times. Other countries should beware, says Peter Popham in Athens

Saturday, 13 December 2008

After firing 4,600 tear-gas canisters in the past week, the Greek police have nearly exhausted their stock. As they seek emergency supplies from Israel and Germany, still the petrol bombs and stones of the protesters rain down, with clashes again outside parliament yesterday.

Bringing together youths in their early twenties struggling to survive amid mass youth unemployment and schoolchildren swotting for highly competitive university exams that may not ultimately help them in a treacherous jobs market, the events of the past week could be called the first credit-crunch riots. There have been smaller-scale sympathy attacks from Moscow to Copenhagen, and economists say countries with similarly high youth unemployment problems such as Spain and Italy should prepare for unrest.



White House Moves Toward Auto Bailout

Program to Rescue Banks Could Expand to Carmakers

By Steven Mufson

Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, December 13, 2008; Page A01

The Bush administration yesterday moved to pull Detroit’s automakers back from the brink, saying it would drop its opposition to tapping the $700 billion financial industry rescue package to help General Motors and Chrysler survive through year’s end.

The White House said it would explore all financing options, including drawing on the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, which until now has been used exclusively to aid banks and other financial firms. The automakers and some members of Congress were also hoping that the Federal Reserve would make a loan to aid the firms and preserve tens of thousands of jobs.


Senate Republicans seek to delay hearings on Holder as attorney general

Obama’s Justice Department nominee was initially met with bipartisan praise. Now the GOP is raising concerns about pardons and more.

By Josh Meyer

December 13, 2008

Reporting from Washington — President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee for attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., is now coming under fire from Senate Republicans, who have asked to delay what was expected to be a swift and easy confirmation over concerns about his role in some controversial Clinton-era pardons and other matters.

Obama’s selection of Holder initially was greeted with near-universal acclaim on Capitol Hill after Obama tapped him Dec. 1.

Prominent Senate Democrats and even some Republicans rushed to voice their support for the 57-year-old former judge, prosecutor and senior Justice Department official. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday scheduled the confirmation hearing to start Jan. 8, saying Holder needed to get to work immediately to restore credibility to a Justice Department tainted by years of scandal and politicization.


Arundhati Roy: Mumbai was not our 9/11

The author on the Mumbai terror attacks and India’s response

Arundhati Roy, Friday 12 December 2008 20.21 GMT

We’ve forfeited the rights to our own tragedies. As the carnage in Mumbai raged on, day after horrible day, our 24-hour news channels informed us that we were watching “India’s 9/11”. Like actors in a Bollywood rip-off of an old Hollywood film, we’re expected to play our parts and say our lines, even though we know it’s all been said and done before.

As tension in the region builds, US Senator John McCain has warned Pakistan that if it didn’t act fast to arrest the “Bad Guys” he had personal information that India would launch air strikes on “terrorist camps” in Pakistan and that Washington could do nothing because Mumbai was India’s 9/11.

But November isn’t September, 2008 isn’t 2001, Pakistan isn’t Afghanistan and India isn’t America.

Founder of Japan’s Red Army in final appeal for freedom

• ‘Empress of terror’ serving 20 years for role in siege

• Faction was behind deadly attacks and hijackings

Justin McCurry in Tokyo

The Guardian, Saturday 13 December 2008

The founder of one of the most feared terrorist organisations of the 1970s has called on the Japanese government to grant her freedom and end its pursuit of the radicals who once sought its violent overthrow.

Fusako Shigenobu, who founded the Japanese Red Army in Lebanon in 1971, is serving a 20-year prison term for orchestrating the 1974 siege of the French embassy in The Hague.

She was arrested in Osaka in November 2000 after secretly returning to Japan using a false passport and checking into a hotel disguised as a man.

Once described as “the empress of terror” whose aim was a global socialist revolution, Shigenobu was suspected of being behind a string of hijackings and hostage seizures at the height of the cold war.


Gulag files seized during police raid on rights group

From The Times

December 13, 2008

Catriona Bass and Tony Halpin

Russia’s Constitutional Court, which recently transferred from Moscow at Vladimir Putin’s command, is lit more brightly than any other building on St Petersburg’s beautiful English Embankment at night.

At the offices of the leading human rights group Memorial, however, a daylight raid by masked men speaks of a darker Soviet tradition of state power. Police confiscated computer hard drives containing 20 years’ work documenting victims of Stalin’s Terror and political persecution in the Soviet Union.

Education programmes, human rights work and research on the still secret graves of an estimated 2.7 million Leningraders were all taken from the research and information centre. So too was material for one of Memorial’s most important and potentially most powerful projects – a “Virtual Museum of the Gulag”.

EU Leaders Unite on Climate Plan and Lisbon Treaty

European Union leaders have approved a set of laws on fighting climate change, a plan for rescuing the economy from recession and a way out of the impasse caused by Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon treaty.


“This is historic what is happening here. You will not find another continent in the world that is giving itself such binding targets” on climate change, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who chaired the summit in Brussels, said Friday, Dec. 12.

“Europe has passed its credibility test. We mean business when we speak about climate,” European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said.

Key to clinching a climate deal on Friday was an agreement to boost the funding of experimental power stations which would pump their greenhouse gases underground, officials close to the talks told DPA news agency.

Sarkozy had proposed gifting such stations 200 million permits to emit carbon dioxide (CO2, the main greenhouse gas). But after Britain objected, that figure was raised to 300 million — a cash value of 4.5 billion euros ($5.9 billion) at current prices.


Victims of Zimbabwean diamond crackdown to be dumped in mass grave

From The Times

December 13, 2008

Jan Raath in Mutare

Nearly 80 people apparently murdered by the Zimbabwean Army in its campaign to take control of a diamond field near the eastern city of Mutare are to be dumped in a mass grave.

A telephone call on Thursday from the top government official in the district to the city’s deputy mayor is the firmest evidence yet of reported massacres in the Chiadzwa diamond fields in the past month.

Admire Mukovera, deputy mayor in Mutare – where the city council is controlled by the opposition MDC – said yesterday that the district administrator had called him to “ask for space for a mass grave for 78 people who were killed in Chiadzwa”. Mr Mukovera added: “He never mentioned who killed them [but] obviously it is the army and police because they are the only people allowed to go there. “He told me [the bodies] were in the mortuary but I don’t know which one – there is nothing in the Mutare general hospital’s mortuary.”

Sierra Leone: Government Must Meet Human Rights Obligations >

Concord Times (Freetown)

Ibrahim Jaffa Condeh and Bryna Hallam

Freetown – On the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, civil society and human rights groups in Sierra Leone called on government to deliver on its human rights promises.

“Despite progress in many areas, impunity still persists,” said Brima A. Sheriff, the national director for the international human rights organization Amnesty International. “The government makes promises and adopts laws but fails to deliver.”

Sheriff was speaking as part of the celebration of International Human Rights Day yesterday. The programme was postponed from December 10, when the rest of the world celebrated International Human Rights Day, due to the Mano River Union heads of state meeting.

This year also marked the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the General Assembly in 1948.

Middle East

Iraq official says U.S. troops might be needed for a decade

By Adam Ashton | McClatchy Newspapers

BAGHDAD – Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki last month sold the Iraqi people on a security pact with the U.S. that he called a “withdrawal agreement” to end the presence of American forces in his country by the beginning of 2012.

His top government spokesman, Ali al Dabbagh, undercut that claim this week, however, when he said in Washington that the U.S. might be needed in Iraq for another 10 years, a statement that reverberated with political leaders in Baghdad, renewing criticism of the deal.

“We expected something odd,” said Alaa Maki, a member of a Sunni Muslim political bloc that’s forced Maliki to put the security agreement before voters as a referendum next year. “That is the reason we pushed for the referendum.”

The security agreement, which takes effect Jan. 1, doesn’t allow U.S. personnel to remain in Iraq after Dec. 31, 2011. Iraq and the U.S. could negotiate another agreement to keep Americans in the country after that date, however.

Cairo is no winter wonderland

There are tinsel, a Santa and someone selling Christmas trees — misfits on the edge of the desert.

By Jeffrey Fleishman

December 13, 2008

Reporting from Cairo — Here we are in the coming winter of hard skies. Cairo. Men in tunics coil turbans, sniffles in their noses. Fires burn, garbage smokes. Stones grip the night’s chill. Delivery boys pedal through morning and girls in white linen hijabs hurry over train tracks.

Gruff dudes sell Christmas trees in the roundabout, but the silver tinsel and the pop-up cardboard Santa seem like misfits against the palms at the desert’s edge. It’s as if they fell off a truck on their way to someplace else. Someplace far away. A friend called from Los Angeles. Happy holidays.

Latin America

Viva la revolucion? Cuba fifty years on

Half a century after Fidel Castro swept to power in January 1959, Cuba is an island still divided between those clinging to the revolution’s ideals and those hoping ever more desperately for change. Leonard Doyle reports

Saturday, 13 December 2008

When optimists talk of the changes taking place across Cuba now that the great helmsman of the revolution Fidel Castro has been parked in a retirement home to be replaced by his 77-year-old brother Raul, I think back to my friend Carlos and his family.

They live a few hundred yards from the historic downtown area of Havana where pedestrians stroll at all hours and the streets are thronged with cultural tourists from Europe as well as those who have come for the cheap sex. To reach the tiny flat, I have first to check that no one is following before ducking through a doorway to a dank courtyard. Then it’s up an ancient flight of stairs, open to the elements, to reach his home.

Care is needed because the Specialised Police are everywhere in Havana. They seem to have two functions. The first is to ensure that nothing disturbs the flow of tourist dollars to government-owned hotels. The second is to ensure that ordinary Cubans are kept as far as possible from the visitors who might give them ideas about human rights.


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    • mishima on December 13, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    When Ronald Reagan assumed the Presidency in 1980 the war on Organized Labor began. The casualty was BALCO the air traffic controller’s union and has continued unabated ever since.  Yet if it was for Labor Unions protecting the rights of American workers what would Americas place in the world be? If it wasn’t for actions like the Flint Sit Down Strike Americans labor force would almost certainly be closer to slavery.

  1. Finds officer Rachel Cubbitt realized the skull might contain a brain when she felt something move inside the cranium as she was cleaning it, Hall said. She looked through the skull’s base and spotted an unusual yellow substance inside.

    “unusual yellow substance”

    “unusual yellow substance”

    Which also now Explains the ‘chickenhawk 101st kombat keyboard brigade’s’ long history!!!!

    • Edger on December 13, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Researchers from Japan’s ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories have developed new brain analysis technology that can reconstruct the images inside a person’s mind and display them on a computer monitor, it was announced on December 11. According to the researchers, further development of the technology may soon make it possible to view other people’s dreams while they sleep.

    The scientists were able to reconstruct various images viewed by a person by analyzing changes in their cerebral blood flow. Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, the researchers first mapped the blood flow changes that occurred in the cerebral visual cortex as subjects viewed various images held in front of their eyes. Subjects were shown 400 random 10 x 10 pixel black-and-white images for a period of 12 seconds each. While the fMRI machine monitored the changes in brain activity, a computer crunched the data and learned to associate the various changes in brain activity with the different image designs.

    Then, when the test subjects were shown a completely new set of images, such as the letters N-E-U-R-O-N, the system was able to reconstruct and display what the test subjects were viewing based solely on their brain activity.

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