Docudharma Times Tuesday December 23

There Should Be Investigations

No One Is Above The Law  

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Amid the economic wreckage, some sectors still hiring

Iran’s unpopular president is favored to win re-election

The new Iraq: The bombing goes on, but the building has begun

El Gordo brings £2bn sparkle to Spain

Bulgaria needs time to defeat corruption, says Sergei Stanishev

Independent Appeal: Modern face of slavery

East Timor on brink of anarchy admits UN

Military takes control in Guinea

Kenyans will be home for Christmas — at a cost

Soldiers beheaded as Mexican drug cartels step up terror to protect $15bn-a-year trade<

Clinton Moves to Widen Role of State Dept.


Published: December 22, 2008

WASHINGTON – Even before taking office, Hillary Rodham Clinton is seeking to build a more powerful State Department, with a bigger budget, high-profile special envoys to trouble spots and an expanded role in dealing with global economic issues at a time of crisis.

Mrs. Clinton is recruiting Jacob J. Lew, the budget director under President Bill Clinton, as one of two deputies, according to people close to the Obama transition team. Mr. Lew’s focus, they said, will be on increasing the share of financing that goes to the diplomatic corps. He and James B. Steinberg, a deputy national security adviser in the Clinton administration, are to be Mrs. Clinton’s chief lieutenants.

Nominations of deputy secretaries, like Mrs. Clinton’s, would be subject to confirmation by the Senate.

European Countries May Take Detainees

Under Bush, Nations Refused to Resettle Guantanamo Prisoners

By Peter Finn

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, December 23, 2008; Page A01

European nations have begun intensive discussions both within and among their governments on whether to resettle detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a significant overture to the incoming Obama administration, according to senior European officials and U.S. diplomats.

The willingness to consider accepting prisoners who cannot be returned to their home countries, because of fears they may be tortured there, represents a major change in attitude on the part of European governments. Repeated requests from the Bush administration that European allies accept some Guantanamo Bay detainees received only refusals.



America’s stop-and-go energy plan

Today’s cheaper gas is no reason to lose focus on reducing oil imports, activists and executives say.

By Jim Tankersley

December 23, 2008

Reporting from Washington — Breaking America’s foreign-oil addiction was all the rage on Capitol Hill when gas cost $4 a gallon. Now that it’s under $2 and falling, history suggests that the enthusiasm for alternative fuels and more efficient cars will subside. It did that in the mid-1970s and again in the 1980s and 1990s.

But this time could be different.

A sense of urgency may still remain, according to congressional leaders and environmental groups, because of a confluence of factors including broad anxiety over global warming, enthusiasm for green elements in economic stimulus packages and President-elect Barack Obama’s repeated vows to act.

And in any case, few consumers are convinced that low gas prices will last.


Amid the economic wreckage, some sectors still hiring

By Jack Chang | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON – The U.S. economy is sinking deeper into recession and companies are shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs, but the technology firms that Santa Fe, N.M., venture capitalist Trevor Loy invests in haven’t stopped growing.

In fact, they’re still adding to their payrolls, and they plan to continue doing so next year. The firms that Loy is funding are developing products such as state-of-the-art water purification systems and the next generation of construction site surveying cameras.

They’re part of a select swath of the U.S. economy that’s been protected – so far – from the bad economic weather.

Middle East

Iran’s unpopular president is favored to win re-election

By Warren P. Strobel | McClatchy Newspapers

TEHRAN, Iran – In many other countries it would be a slam-dunk for the opposition: The president is increasingly unpopular, his economic policies are blamed for 30 percent annual inflation and his foreign policy has left the country more isolated than at any time in recent memory.

However, this is Iran, where things are never simple. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be the subject of incessant grumbling and the butt of jokes zinging from cell phone to cell phone via text message. Yet with presidential elections six months away, he’s still the man to beat.

The new Iraq: The bombing goes on, but the building has begun

Exiles returning to a calmer Iraq are finding a country with a $22bn annual surplus but little guarantee it will secure their future

Martin Chulov in Baghdad

The Guardian, Tuesday 23 December 2008

The day Dr Sabah left Baghdad she stepped over a corpse sprawled at her front gate. The grim discovery as she fled two years ago merely reinforced her fear that the same fate awaited her family had they stayed in the wasteland that was their home.

“I don’t want to remember those days,” she says, a couple of weeks after moving back to the city. “When we left for work we would see bodies on the streets all the time. People were too scared to pick them up.”

By the time the US army collected the body that blocked their departure, the family had been scattered to opposite sides of the Arabian peninsula. “I went to Abu Dhabi because my brother was there,” Sabah says.


El Gordo brings £2bn sparkle to Spain

• Thousands share world’s biggest lottery jackpot

• Fat One lifts mood for many after lean year

Giles Tremlett in Madrid

The Guardian, Tuesday 23 December 2008

What with the global financial crisis and the collapse of the property market, it has been a lean year in Spain. But for those lucky enough to win a share of the massive lottery prize known as El Gordo, or The Fat One, Christmas started with a sudden dose of cheer yesterday.

The Fat One showered €2.15bn (£2.02bn) in prize money across the country. It brought tears of relief to some winners and champagne-soaked pledges to pay off mortgages and meet debts from others.

The world’s biggest lottery payout has ushered in the Spanish Christmas season for almost two centuries since it was first drawn in 1812.

Rarely has the prize money, spread among tens of thousands of people, been so eagerly welcomed. “Everybody says they are going to use it to get themselves out of problems,” said Madrid lottery seller Rosario Rueda.

Bulgaria needs time to defeat corruption, says Sergei Stanishev

From The Times

December 23, 2008

David Charter, Europe Correspondent

The leader of Europe’s most corrupt country has pleaded for it not to be judged by the same high standards as established EU states, after being told to speed up reforms or lose funding.

Sergei Stanishev, the Bulgarian Prime Minister, told The Times that it was unfair to expect his country to have reached the same levels as Sweden after only two years as a member of the European Union.

With critics suggesting that Bulgaria was allowed to join the EU too hastily to avoid its turning back towards Russia, José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President, said that he would not tolerate any second-class states. He called for evidence in the next few months that reforms to the judicial and police systems in Sofia were delivering results.


Independent Appeal: Modern face of slavery

They are lured by the promise of money and training, but end up as domestic workers who endure abuse and beatings at the hands of their masters.

By Andrew Buncombe

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

She came to Delhi dreaming of a new start, of escape from a life of poverty and hardship. Yet when she arrived, Sushma Kumari quickly realised she had been tricked.

Far from being trained in the skills of acupuncture, for two years she was forced to work as an unpaid domestic help in the home of the “doctor” supposed to be teaching her. She toiled from 5am to midnight, seven days a week. She was abused and mistreated. Almost certainly she was brought to Delhi by a professional trafficker; what is beyond doubt is that once she got here she lived the life of slave.

For a woman who has the right to burn with anger, Sushma talks in little more than a whisper. “I really wanted to go home but I was not allowed to talk to my father,” she says. “I felt desperate, cheated.”

East Timor on brink of anarchy admits UN>

From Times Online

December 23, 2008

Anne Barrowclough, Sydney

East Timor remains on the brink of anarchy and could easily slide back into the violence that fractured the country in 2006 according to a UN report.

The country’s dysfunctional police force, divided political leadership and weak economy has left it vulnerable to rapid political collapse said the report by the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

Warning that a “precipitous fall” in oil revenue threatened to bring more social unrest to Asia’s youngest nation, which has been independent from Indonesia for only six years, the report said urgent international intervention was needed to ensure the country’s stability.


Military takes control in Guinea

Guinea’s army has announced that it has dissolved the country’s government and suspended the constitution, hours after the death of President Lansana Conte.


In a state radio statement, Capt Moussa Dadis Camara said a “consultative council” of civilian and military leaders would be set up in their place.

State institutions were “incapable of resolving the crises which have been confronting the country”, he said.

Mr Conte had ruled the West African country with an iron fist since 1984.

The precise circumstances of the president’s death are not yet known, but he had been suffering from diabetes.

Prime Minister Ahmed Souare earlier appealed for “calm and restraint” and declared 40 days of national mourning.

Kenyans will be home for Christmas — at a cost

For Nairobi urbanites, the traditional seasonal trip means a return to mud huts, rural foods and relatives who expect holiday handouts of their city-slicker salaries. But it’s family.

By Edmund Sanders

December 23, 2008

Reporting from Nairobi, Kenya — Those aren’t chestnuts roasting on the open fire; it’s goat. And rather than Santa Claus and tree ornaments, ’tis the season here for fermented porridge and summer evening strolls.

But there’s one Christmas tradition that Kenyans share with much of the world: the annual trek home for the holidays, and all the stress that entails.

Each year at Christmastime millions of Kenyans crisscross this predominantly Christian nation, leaving their jobs in Nairobi, the capital, and returning to ancestral homelands.

For many, the trip “upcountry” is like a journey back in time. They leave modern city comforts, such as running water, paved roads and electricity, and spend a few days or weeks living much as their great-grandparents did, in mud-brick huts with dirt floors, straw mattresses and oil lamps.

Latin America

Soldiers beheaded as Mexican drug cartels step up terror to protect $15bn-a-year trade

From The Times

December 23, 2008

Tom Baldwin in Washington

The discovery of a dozen decapitated bodies scattered across a city in Mexico has become the latest symbol of the terrifying price this country is paying for drug consumption in America.

Nine of the corpses were found on a busy street in Chilpancingo, an hour’s drive from the tourist resort of Acapulco, yards from where the Governor of Guerrero state was later to participate in a religious procession.

A bag containing their heads, some gagged with tape, was found nearby, with a sign declaring: “For every one of mine you kill, I will kill ten.” Three more decapitated bodies were found later in a village outside the city.

Eight of the victims, some of whose bodies showed evidence of torture, were identified as soldiers from a local army base. “They are trying to scare the military,” the Defence Ministry said.


    • dkmich on December 23, 2008 at 14:03

    Now that it’s under $2 and falling, history suggests that the enthusiasm for alternative fuels and more efficient cars will subside. It did that in the mid-1970s and again in the 1980s and 1990s.

    They got burnt in the 70s and never got over it. We need an energy policy to maintain a market for fuel efficient vehicles.    

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