Docudharma Times Saturday January 24

How Much Do The Republicans

Love Torture?

A Lot  

Saturday’s Headlines:

Google ready to pursue its agenda in Washington

Desperate Children Flee Zimbabwe, for Lives Just as Bleak

Rumours persist of uranium smuggling at Shinkolobwe mine in Katanga

Culture clash: Kashmiri militant takes on Bollywood

Tamil Tigers’ leader Vellupillai Prabakharan vanishes in army assault on last stronghold

Iran in scramble for fresh uranium supplies

Israel admits using white phosphorous in attacks on Gaza

Some Analysts Believe Europe at an Economic Turning Point

Britain on the brink of an economic depression, say experts

Mexico man ‘dissolved 300 bodies’

Downturn Accelerates As It Circles The Globe

Economies Worse Off Than Predicted Just Weeks Ago

By Anthony Faiola

Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, January 24, 2009; Page A01

The world economy is deteriorating more quickly than leading economists predicted only weeks ago, with Britain yesterday becoming the latest nation to surprise analysts with the depth of its economic pain.

Britain posted its worst quarterly contraction since 1980 on the heels of sharper than expected slowdowns reported from Germany to China to South Korea. The grim data, analysts said, underscores how the burst of the biggest credit bubble in history is seeping into the real economies around the world, silencing construction cranes, bankrupting businesses and throwing millions of people out of work.

Children of Gaza: stories of those who died and the trauma for those who survived

Rory McCarthy reports from Gaza City on the individual stories of some victims and the physical and psychological toll on an estimated 350,000 youngsters,

Amira Qirm lay on a hospital bed today with her right leg in plaster, and held together by a line of steel pins dug deep into her skin. For several days after her operation Amira, 15, was unable to speak, and even now talks only in a low whisper.

In her past are bitter memories: watching her father die in the street outside their home, then hearing another shell land and kill her brother Ala’a, 14, and her sister Ismat, 16, and then the three days that she spent alone, injured and semi-conscious, trying to stay alive in a neighbour’s abandoned house before she could be rescued last Sunday.

Ahead of her, she has a long recovery. First there is an imminent flight to France for the best possible medical treatment, many more operations and then months of rehabilitation and psychiatric care.



Firms That Got Bailout Money Keep Lobbying


Published: January 23, 2009

WASHINGTON – The financial giant Bank of America says it is no longer lobbying the federal government about its unfolding bank bailout. After receiving $45 billion in bailout money, lobbying was just too unseemly.”We are very sensitive to the fact that we have taxpayer money,” said Shirley Norton, a spokeswoman for the company.

Citigroup, recipient of another $45 billion, made the opposite call. While trying to keep a low profile, the company is still fielding an army of Washington lobbyists working on a host of issues, including the bailout. In the fourth quarter, it spent $1.77 million on lobbying fees, according to its lobbyists’ filings.

Google ready to pursue its agenda in Washington

Its employees supported Obama and four Googlers served on his transition team. Now the Internet giant hopes to win support for so-called network neutrality and expanding high-speed Internet access.

By Jim Puzzanghera and Jessica Guynn

6:18 PM PST, January 23, 2009

Reporting from Washington — Another inauguration took place in Washington this week — Google Inc. officially became a political power player.

In October, Google was only hours from being sued by the Justice Department as a Web-search monopolist. Today, less than three years after it made its first Washington hire, the Internet giant is poised to capitalize on its backing of President Obama and pursue its agenda in the nation’s capital.

Google’s executives and employees overwhelmingly supported Obama’s candidacy, contributing more money than all but three companies or universities. And only DreamWorks employees gave more toward inauguration festivities.

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt campaigned for Obama and was one of four Googlers on his transition team. He is now as likely as any corporate chieftain to get his calls to the White House returned.


Desperate Children Flee Zimbabwe, for Lives Just as Bleak


Published: January 23, 2009

MUSINA, South Africa – They bear the look of street urchins, their eyes on the prowl for useful scraps of garbage and their bodies covered in clothes no cleaner than a mechanic’s rags.

Near midnight, these Zimbabwean children can be found sleeping outside almost anywhere in this border city. A 12-year-old girl named No Matter Hungwe, hunched beneath the reassuring exterior light of the post office, said it was hunger that had pushed her across the border alone.Her father is dead, and she wanted to help her mother and younger brothers by earning what she could here in South Africa – within certain limits, anyway. “Some men – men with cars – want to sleep with me,” she said, considering the upside against the down. “They have offered me 100 rand,” about $10.

Rumours persist of uranium smuggling at Shinkolobwe mine in Katanga

From The Times

January 24, 2009

Robin Pagnamenta and Jonathan Clayton

In the red soil of the southern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) lies one of the world’s richest mineral deposits – and a site that has troubled Western governments for decades.

The Shinkolobwe mine in Katanga province is a treasure trove of high grade ores: of platinum, copper, cobalt and, most infamously, the uranium used to produce the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.

The mine, which was closed officially in 1960, continues to support thousands of “artisan” miners, mainly through the small-scale production of a mineral known as hétérogénite.


Culture clash: Kashmiri militant takes on Bollywood

Activist threatens legal action over film in which she is played by sex symbol

Maseeh Rahman in Delhi

The Guardian, Saturday 24 January 2009

Think of it as the fundamentalist meets the femme fatale. In court. Daggers drawn.

In one corner, Asiya Andrabi, the leader of Dukhtaran-e-Millat, the Kashmiri women’s morality brigade, a woman so committed to Kashmiri separatism that her sons are already pledged as martyrs to the cause. In the other, the Bollywood star Bipasha Basu, a woman whose first name means “fetterless, unbound”, and whose sultry films have lived up to that billing.

In a move that has critics intrigued and Kashmiri separatists appalled, the actor is to play Andrabi in the film Lamhaa, which seeks to dissect the Kashmiri Muslim movement in India.

Tamil Tigers’ leader Vellupillai Prabakharan vanishes in army assault on last stronghold

From The Times

January 24, 2009

Jeremy Page in Colombo

It was 8.35pm on Wednesday when a Sri Lankan navy ship spotted what looked like the lights of a small aircraft flying at high altitude over Mullaitivu – the last outpost of the Tamil Tigers.

When the air force reported the same thing there was a buzz of excitement at military HQ. Commanders knew that after 25 years of conflict Vellupillai Prabakharan, the Tigers’ leader, was facing defeat, with government forces closing in on all sides.

They also knew that they had not found the Tigers’ fleet of at least three Czech-made Zlin 143 single-engine aircraft, although they had captured five of the rebels’ six airstrips. So was Mr Prabakharan trying to escape?

Middle East?

Iran in scramble for fresh uranium supplies

From The Times

January 24, 2009

Robin Pagnamenta, Michael Evans and Tony Halpin in Moscow

Western powers believe that Iran is running short of the raw material required to manufacture nuclear weapons, triggering an international race to prevent it from importing more, The Times has learnt.

Diplomatic sources believe that Iran’s stockpile of yellow cake uranium, produced from uranium ore, is close to running out and could be exhausted within months. Countries including Britain, the US, France and Germany have started intensive diplomatic efforts to dissuade major uranium producers from selling to Iran.

Before Christmas, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office sent out a confidential request for its diplomats in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Brazil, all major uranium producers, to lobby governments not to sell uranium products, specifically yellow cake, to Iran.

Israel admits using white phosphorous in attacks on Gaza>

From The Times

January 24, 2009

James Hider in Jerusalem and Sheera Frenkel in Gaza City

After weeks of denying that it used white phosphorus in the heavily populated Gaza Strip, Israel finally admitted yesterday that the weapon was deployed in its offensive.

The army’s use of white phosphorus – which makes a distinctive shellburst of dozens of smoke trails – was reported first by The Times on January 5, when it was strenuously denied by the army. Now, in the face of mounting evidence and international outcry, Israel has been forced to backtrack on that initial denial. “Yes, phosphorus was used but not in any illegal manner,” Yigal Palmor, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told The Times. “Some practices could be illegal but we are going into that. The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) is holding an investigation concerning one specific incident.”

The incident in question is thought to be the firing of phosphorus shells at a UN school in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on January 17.


Some Analysts Believe Europe at an Economic Turning Point

Some financial analysts believe that Europe might have reached its economic low point, with recovery on the way. But economists say they are waiting for some key statistics which will be released next week.

ECONOMY | 24.01.2009

The 16-member euro zone might still be in the grip of a severe economic slump, but signs have emerged that the downturn that has engulfed the currency bloc in recent months could be reaching its low point.

The latest batch of evidence that the round of hefty global interest rate cuts, falling oil prices and government stimulus packages are helping to raise hopes of an economic pickup later in the year came Friday, Jan. 23, with the release of two key euro-zone indicators.

Better times ahead?

The purchasing managers’ indices (PMIs) for the euro zone’s manufacturing and service sectors posted surprise increases in January. Additionally, Belgium’s key economic sentiment indicator rose slightly this month, ending four months of steep falls. Analysts had forecast a decline in the indicator.

Britain on the brink of an economic depression, say experts

Britain is heading for economic depression for the first time since the 1930s, economists have warned.

By Edmund Conway, Economics Editor

Last Updated: 8:22AM GMT 24 Jan 2009

Families must brace themselves for a slump of far greater severity and longevity than the recessions of the 1980s and 1990s, they warned. They said the current crisis will be of a scale to rival the biggest peace-time crisis in modern history – the Great Depression.

The warning was delivered by economists and politicians after the Office for National Statistics revealed that the economy shrank by 1.5 per cent in the final three months of 2008 alone.

The contraction follows a 0.6 per cent fall in gross domestic product (GDP) – the most comprehensive measure of Britain’s wealth generation – during the previous three months. This means Britain fulfils the criteria for a technical recession – two successive quarters of negative output.

Latin America

Mexico man ‘dissolved 300 bodies’

A man arrested by Mexican police says he disposed of 300 bodies for a drugs gang over the past decade by dissolving them in chemicals.


Santiago Meza, called the “stew maker”, said he was paid $600 (£440) a week to dissolve the bodies of murdered rival gang members in caustic soda.

He was presented to the media by the Mexican army after being arrested on Thursday near the city of Tijuana.

Over 700 people died in the US border city last year in an ongoing drugs war.

The Mexican army says it believes Mr Meza’s claims are true.

“They brought me the bodies and I just got rid of them,” Mr Meza told journalists at a construction site where he disposed of the bodies over a 10-year period. “I didn’t feel anything.”

1 comment

  1. It’s a little-known story about the financial crisis. During the frenzied events of the fall, Henry Paulson rewrote a piece of the tax code to expedite mergers. The quiet alteration amounts to an estimated $140 billion windfall for big banks. Some critics say Paulson’s move was too autocratic, others argue that it was much more than that-that it was downright illegal. Will Tim Geithner and the Democrats attempt to correct the wrong?

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