Docudharma Times Monday January 5

So, George H. W. thinks Jeb Should Be President.

Enough I Say.

One Is All The World Can Take.  

Monday’s Headlines:

Commerce Pick Richardson Withdraws, Citing N.M. Probe

Paris opens door to author fleeing Islamist threats

Greek policeman shot as riot unit targeted

Gaza: The death and life of my fathe

End of Lebanon war may show way out for Israel

Fists fly at parliament as MPs try to block ‘evil laws’

Mumbai evidence given to Pakistan

UN chief commends Ghana on vote

Mugabe set to form government in February: report

Mexico’s Subcomandante Marcos makes a rare appearance

Israeli troops and Hamas fighters clash in Gaza City

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem, Monday 5 January 2009 07.20 GMT

Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants fought gun battles in the streets of Gaza City for the first time this morning,with Israeli troops going house to house searching for Hamas fighters.

The fighting came as Israeli tanks and troops seized control of large parts of the Gaza Strip, dividing the territory and forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes as the death toll mounted under relentless artillery and gunfire.

Some of the heaviest fighting was reported to be east of Gaza City, in the Zeitoun district, where three Palestinian children were killed by an Israeli tank shell. Several others were wounded, according to Palestinian medical officials.

In Eastern Europe, Lives Languish in Mental Facilities



Published: January 4, 2009

PRAVDA, Bulgaria – The name of this isolated spot in the lush Danube plains means justice or, in Russian, truth.

But little of either seems to have penetrated the home for men with mental disabilities and illnesses here, a bleak establishment reached most easily by a bone-jarring, six-hour ride from Sofia, the capital.

In the Communist era, this is where authorities hid the mentally ill from public view. Today, the Pravda Social Care Home for Men with Mental Disorders, a small complex of scrappy, two-story buildings, is still a favored destination for city folk to send away relatives with a mental illness or disability – and not worry about hearing from them again, employees and residents here say.



Senate Appointee in Illinois Vows to Fight On


Published: January 4, 2009

CHICAGO – In a raucous sendoff at a church on this city’s South Side, Roland W. Burris, the contested appointee for the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama, vowing on Sunday night to cordially but aggressively fight efforts to block him from joining the chamber when he arrives in Washington this week.

Senate leaders have said they intend to prevent the seating of Mr. Burris, given his appointment last week by this state’s embattled governor, Rod R. Blagojevich. Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, said on Sunday that the Senate had the legal right to bar Mr. Burris from the new session, which begins Tuesday.

As Senate leaders continued to weigh their options over what they say is an appointment tainted by Mr. Blagojevich, a two-term Democrat who was charged last month in part with trying to sell the Senate seat, Mr. Burris’s allies here stood firmly behind him.


Commerce Pick Richardson Withdraws, Citing N.M. Probe

By Michael D. Shear and Carol D. Leonnig

Washington Post Staff Writers

Monday, January 5, 2009; Page A01

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, chosen by President-elect Barack Obama to be commerce secretary, withdrew from consideration yesterday, citing an ongoing federal “pay-to-play” investigation involving one of his political donors as a significant obstacle to his confirmation.

Richardson, 61, who competed unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination last year, becomes the first political casualty in Obama’s Cabinet, and his withdrawal marked the first visible crack in what had been one of the smoothest presidential transitions in modern history.


Paris opens door to author fleeing Islamist threats

Angelique Chrisafis in Paris

The Guardian, Monday 5 January 2009

The award-winning feminist writer Taslima Nasreen, who is under death-threat from Islamist extremists, is to be housed in an artist’s studio paid for by the city of Paris, more than a decade after she was forced into exile from her native Bangladesh.

Nasreen’s outspoken stance on what she calls the inherent misogyny of conservative Muslim society in Bangladesh has sparked protests, riots and warrants for her arrest as well as a cash reward for her decapitation by religious fundamentalists.

In 1994, the former doctor was accused of blasphemy over her novel Lajja (Shame), which described the life of a Hindu family persecuted in Muslim-majority Bangladesh. The book was banned for offending Muslim religious sentiments.

Greek policeman shot as riot unit targeted

By Elena Becatoros, AP

Monday, 5 January 2009

Gunmen attacked a riot police unit in Athens today, seriously wounding a 21-year-old policeman in an escalation of violence after the fatal police shooting of a teenager last month sparked Greece’s worst riots in decades.

The pre-dawn attack was aimed at a riot police unit stationed outside the Culture Ministry in the centre of the capital, police spokesman Panagiotis Stathis said, adding that the policeman is in a serious condition in hospital.

The policeman was being treated for two gunshot wounds, one to the thigh and one near the shoulder, and was undergoing surgery in a central Athens hospital, Panos Efstathiou, head of the Health Ministry’s operations centre, said on state television.

Middle East

Gaza: The death and life of my father

For Fares Akram, The Independent’s reporter in Gaza, the Israeli invasion became a personal tragedy when he discovered his father was one of the first casualties of the ground war

By Fares Akram in Gaza

Monday, 5 January 2009

The phone call came at around 4.20pm on Saturday. A bomb had been dropped on the house at our small farm in northern Gaza. My father was walking from the gate to the farmhouse at the time. It was our beloved place, that farm and its two-storey white house with a red roof. Nestled in a flat fertile agricultural plain north-west of Beit Lahiya, it had lemon groves, orange and apricot trees and we had recently acquired 60 dairy cows.

It was the closest farm to the northern border with Israel. Ironically, we always thought the biggest danger there was not from Israeli troops, who usually went straight past if they were mounting an incursion, but from stray Hamas rockets aimed at the Israeli towns north of us.

End of Lebanon war may show way out for Israel

Just as a strong UN border force has stopped the rocket attacks by Hezbollah, it could bring peace to Gaza

From The Times

January 5, 2009 James Bone: Commentary

The world is watching a rerun of the 2006 Lebanon war in Gaza. That conflict was regarded widely as a calamity for both Lebanon and Israel. Yet it would not be the worst outcome for the Gaza war to end the same way, with the injection of a robust multinational force.

In Gaza, as in Lebanon, Israel faces an implacably hostile Islamist group mounting cross-border attacks on its territory.

As in Lebanon, Israel has responded with massive – critics say disproportionate – force.

Despite howls of protest, Arab leaders stand to benefit from Israel dismantling the Islamist group. Hamas, like Hezbollah, has no friends at the United Nations except Iran.


Fists fly at parliament as MPs try to block ‘evil laws’

From The Times

January 5, 2009

Leo Lewis

Seoul’s National Assembly building – the seat of South Korea’s explosive brand of democracy – is braced for a week of mayhem and violence as a key parliamentary deadline looms and opposition politicians dig in for a siege.

The stand-off within the precincts of the assembly comes as South Korean leaders attempt to use the last few days of the current parliamentary session to ram through legislation aimed partly at alleviating the worsening economic crisis in the country.

With a majority in parliament, the ruling Grand National party of Lee Myung Bak has all the seats it needs to ensure that the laws are passed. The complex package of 85 Bills, however, has inflamed the anger of the main opposition bloc, whose members have resorted to physically preventing any vote taking place.

Mumbai evidence given to Pakistan>

India has handed over evidence to Pakistan linking the Mumbai (Bombay) attacks to “elements” in that country, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee says.


Pakistan must act on the evidence and implement the bilateral commitments it has made to India, Mr Mukherjee said.

Gunmen stormed buildings in Mumbai in November, killing at least 173 people.

India blames Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for the attacks. LeT and the Pakistani government have denied any involvement.

Pakistan’s government says it has received the dossier and is reviewing its contents.


UN chief commends Ghana on vote

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has praised the presidential election in Ghana as a democratic achievement and an example to others.


He congratulated the people and government for the orderly outcome of the vote which saw a narrow victory for opposition candidate John Atta Mills.

But losing candidate Nana Akufo-Addo is considering whether to challenge the result in the courts.

He told the BBC that results from some areas were questionable.

He said that intimidation had stopped his party, the ruling New Patriotic Party, from campaigning freely.

Mr Atta Mills has said he will be “a president for all”.

Officials say there was no evidence of vote-rigging.

Mugabe set to form government in February: report

HARARE (Reuters)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is expected to form a new government by the end of February despite stalled talks with the main opposition party, the state-run Herald newspaper said Monday.

The veteran leader, who started a month-long holiday this week, began preparations for a new administration last week when he fired nine ministers and three deputies who lost seats in last year’s parliamentary election.

The move was seen as the clearest sign yet he had lost patience with talks on forming a power-sharing government with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

The Herald said a senior ruling ZANU-PF party official, Nicholas Goche, met Sydney Mufamadi, the representative for mediator Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s former president, on Saturday to discuss ways of ending the impasse.

Latin America

Mexico’s Subcomandante Marcos makes a rare appearance

At a Chiapas conference, rebel leader Marcos, in his signature ski mask, holds forth on Mexico’s war on drugs, the bloodshed in Gaza, even the perceived shortcomings of President-elect Barack Obama.

By Tracy Wilkinson

January 5, 2009

Reporting from Mexico City — Who was that masked man?

Fifteen years after his uprising shocked Mexico’s status quo, and a year after he more or less dropped out of public view, Subcomandante Marcos had made a comeback appearance.

At least, it seemed to be Marcos. He was, after all, wearing his trademark black ski mask.

Followers were convinced. They listened over the weekend as Marcos ticked off complaints and critiques — of Mexico’s war on drugs, the events in the Gaza Strip, even the perceived shortcomings of President-elect Barack Obama.

Apparently a year out of the limelight had given Marcos lots to say.

“We came to know each other in war, and in war we continue,” he said.


  1. U.S. Supplied, Israel Uses WMD’s

    Israel rains fire on Gaza with phosphorus shells

    Israel is believed to be using controversial white phosphorus shells to screen its assault on the heavily populated Gaza Strip yesterday. The weapon, used by British and US forces in Iraq, can cause horrific burns but is not illegal if used as a smokescreen.

    As the Israeli army stormed to the edges of Gaza City and the Palestinian death toll topped 500, the tell-tale shells could be seen spreading tentacles of thick white smoke to cover the troops’ advance. “These explosions are fantastic looking, and produce a great deal of smoke that blinds the enemy so that our forces can move in,” said one Israeli security expert. Burning blobs of phosphorus would cause severe injuries to anyone caught beneath them and force would-be snipers or operators of remote-controlled booby traps to take cover. Israel admitted using white phosphorus during its 2006 war with Lebanon.

    The use of the weapon in the Gaza Strip, one of the world’s mostly densely population areas, is likely to ignite yet more controversy over Israel’s offensive, in which more than 2,300 Palestinians have been wounded.

    Depleted uranium found in Gaza victims  

    Medics tell Press TV they have found traces of depleted uranium in some Gaza residents wounded in Israel’s ground offensive on the strip.

    Norwegian medics told Press TV correspondent Akram al-Sattari that some of the victims who have been wounded since Israel began its attacks on the Gaza Strip on December 27 have traces of depleted uranium in their bodies.

  2. Molten Lead in Gaza

    JUST AFTER MIDNIGHT, Aljazeera’s Arabic channel was reporting on events in Gaza. Suddenly the camera was pointing upwards towards the dark sky. The screen was pitch black. Nothing could be seen, but there was a sound to be heard: the noise of airplanes, a frightening, a terrifying droning.

    It was impossible not to think about the tens of thousands of Gazan children who were hearing that sound at that moment, cringing with fright, paralyzed by fear, waiting for the bombs to fall.

    As a matter of fact, the cease-fire did not collapse, because there was no real cease-fire to start with. The main requirement for any cease-fire in the Gaza Strip must be the opening of the border crossings. There can be no life in Gaza without a steady flow of supplies. But the crossings were not opened, except for a few hours now and again. The blockade on land, on sea and in the air against a million and a half human beings is an act of war, as much as any dropping of bombs or launching of rockets. It paralyzes life in the Gaza Strip: eliminating most sources of employment, pushing hundreds of thousands to the brink of starvation, stopping most hospitals from functioning, disrupting the supply of electricity and water.

    Those who decided to close the crossings – under whatever pretext – knew that there is no real cease-fire under these conditions.

    That is the main thing. Then there came the small provocations which were designed to get Hamas to react. After several months, in which hardly any Qassam rockets were launched, an army unit was sent into the Strip “in order to destroy a tunnel that came close to the border fence”. From a purely military point of view, it would have made more sense to lay an ambush on our side of the fence. But the aim was to find a pretext for the termination of the cease-fire, in a way that made it plausible to put the blame on the Palestinians. And indeed, after several such small actions, in which Hamas fighters were killed, Hamas retaliated with a massive launch of rockets, and – lo and behold – the cease-fire was at an end. Everybody blamed Hamas.

    Uri Avnery’s Column of Gush Shalom

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