Docudharma Times Thursday January 8

Will Peace Ever Come To


No One Seems In A Hurry To Provide Such An Outcome  

Thursday’s Headlines:

Melting Causes Heavy Flooding in Washington

Medical teams find ‘unbelievable’ horror amid rubble

Bombs rain down as peace deal accepted ‘in principle’

Europe’s heating goes off

Anti-Semitic attack on teenage girl in Paris

‘Kill them’: transcripts of Mumbai terrorist calls emerge

Pakistan sacks security adviser

Senegal court jails nine gay men

Ghana’s new president: Africa’s symbol of a working democracy

Narcotraffickers attack Televisa, Mexico’s top TV network

Rockets fired from Lebanon hit northern Israel

Israeli forces return fire after four rockets land near Nahariya, raising fears Gaza conflict could spread

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem, Thursday 8 January 2009 07.54 GMT

At least four rockets were fired from Lebanon into northern Israel today, leading the Israeli army to return fire and raising fears that the conflict in Gaza could spread.

The exchanges came as Israeli air strikes destroyed several houses in the town of Rafah, on Gaza’s southern border, today after what Palestinians said was one of the heaviest nights of bombing since the conflict began 13 days ago.

Intense artillery strikes and waves of aerial bombardment, were reported across the Gaza Strip.

China’s dairy industry took deadly shortcuts to growth

Milk was an unpopular product only a generation ago, and then business executives and the government pushed its consumption. Some couldn’t compete and cheated.

By Barbara Demick

January 8, 2009

Reporting from Xingtang, China — Like many Chinese peasants of his generation, 53-year-old Wang Zhengnian had never seen a cow until he reached adulthood. He certainly never drank a glass of milk.

The fact that Wang now spends his days tending 400 cows on a farm near Beijing says a lot about the way China created a dairy industry out of thin air. But in their haste, the Chinese made mistakes that left six babies dead and hundreds of thousands ill from tainted milk.

Milk is not part of the traditional Chinese diet. Most Chinese adults are lactose-intolerant and many are repelled by the smell of dairy products.

But in the 1990s, economic planners decided that dairy cows were a quick way to improve rural incomes, particularly in northern provinces such as Hebei, Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang with cool climate, flat terrain and lack of other economic prospects. To encourage consumption, the propaganda machine spread the word that children needed to drink milk to grow as strong and tall as Westerners.



Lawmakers and Financial Experts Question Obama’s Tax Cuts

By Shailagh Murray

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, January 8, 2009; Page A02

At least two tax cuts that are part of Barack Obama’s stimulus package have been criticized by lawmakers, tax experts and economists for being potentially too expensive and ineffective, signaling that they are likely to face resistance on Capitol Hill as congressional leaders begin direct negotiations with the president-elect’s team.

Both Democrats and Republicans have questioned a provision that would provide a $3,000 tax credit to companies for every job created and, possibly, for every job spared. They contend that the idea would be ripe for abuse and difficult to administer.


Melting Causes Heavy Flooding in Washington


Published: January 8, 2009

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. (AP) — Rain and high winds lashed Washington state Wednesday, causing widespread avalanches, mudslides, flooding and road closures as the heavy snowfall that has buried parts of the state began to rapidly melt.

More than 30,000 people were told to leave their homes in flood-endangered areas across western Washington as authorities warned of heavy flooding.

”This is going to be a memorable flood event,” said Andy Haner, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Seattle.

Fire trucks rolled through Orting, about 10 miles southeast of Tacoma, with loudspeakers advising everyone to leave the town and surrounding valley, home to about 26,000 people. Sandbags were placed around many downtown homes and businesses as the Puyallup River neared record levels. It was forecast to crest Thursday.

Middle East

Medical teams find ‘unbelievable’ horror amid rubble

Rory McCarthy on Israel-Gaza border, Hazem Balousha in Gaza City

The Guardian, Thursday 8 January 2009

Ambulances were able to drive to some of the most heavily shelled areas in Gaza for the first time to collect the dead and injured yesterday, as Israel paused its military offensive for three hours to allow in aid, amid growing international pressure to call a ceasefire and ease the humanitarian crisis.

A team of medics and volunteers from the Palestinian Red Crescent took advantage of the lull in fighting to drive to Zeitoun, the scene of an Israeli attack on a house on Monday that was known to have killed nine members of the Samouni family. It was the first time medics had been able to reach the scene.

Bombs rain down as peace deal accepted ‘in principle’

Residents in southern Gaza told to leave homes as Israel prepares to widen offensive

By Donald Macintyre at the Gaza-Israel border and David Usborne in New York

Thursday, 8 January 2009

The first tentative hope of an end to the war in Gaza came yesterday when Israel said it accepted “the principles” of a French-backed Egyptian peace plan providing for international action to stop Hamas militants smuggling arms.

Israel, nevertheless, resumed its 12-day-old offensive against Hamas last night, which Palestinian medics say has killed 688 Palestinians, after halting it for three hours to allow humanitarian and medical aid into Gaza. The military said it may halt ground operations for three hours a day.


Europe’s heating goes off

Hundreds of thousands of people in Balkans left exposed to sub-zero temperatures as gas row hits home

By Daniel McLaughlin in Budapest, Linda Popic in Sarajevoand Vanessa Mock in Brussels

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Russia has shut down all gas flowing to Europe, sparking fear and anger in the bitterly cold Balkans, where hundreds of thousands of people were forced to weather sub-zero temperatures without heating, schools were closed and firms shut down production.

One of the worst-affected countries was Bulgaria, where at least 45,000 households had no central heating as power plants switched from gas to other fuels. The Mayor of the capital Sofia demanded the cabinet’s resignation, as heating was shut down on public transport and gas-powered buses and taxis ground to a halt.

Anti-Semitic attack on teenage girl in Paris

From The Times

January 8, 2009

Adam Sage, in Paris

Fears that the conflict in Gaza could spark violence between Jews and Muslims in France have been heightened as three teenagers were arrested yesterday for an alleged anti-Semitic attack on a 15-year-old girl.

An inquiry was launched after the victim said she was insulted, knocked to the ground, kicked and punched by a gang of 10 youths as she left Leon Blum school in Villiers-le-Bel north of Paris.

Three of her alleged attackers – aged between 13 and 15 and all from her own school – were arrested on suspicion of ‘aggravated violence and anti-Semitic insults’, according to a police source.


‘Kill them’: transcripts of Mumbai terrorist calls emerge

From The Times

January 8, 2009

Rhys Blakely in Mumbai

Chilling telephone conversations between the Mumbai gunmen and their handlers emerged yesterday from an Indian dossier of evidence linking the attacks to Pakistan.

During the atrocities a gunman in the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai told his commander, believed to have been in Pakistan: “We have three foreigners, including women.” The response was plain and brutal: “Kill them.”

Gunshots than rang out, followed by cheers, according to a leaked transcript of the intercepted call.

Pakistan sacks security adviser>

Pakistan has sacked its national security adviser as tensions continue between Islamabad and India over November’s attacks in Mumbai.


Mehmood Ali Durrani was officially accused of showing “irresponsible behaviour” and a “lack of coordination” on security matters.

A BBC correspondent says the main accusation appears to be that he failed to share information with politicians.

Islamabad has confirmed the only gunman to survive Mumbai is a Pakistani.

More than 170 people died when 10 gunmen attacked Mumbai on 26 November.


Senegal court jails nine gay men

Nine gay men in Senegal have been sent to jail for “indecent conduct and unnatural acts”.


Homosexuality is illegal in Senegal but lawyers for the men said the sentence was the harshest ever handed down to gay men in the country.

The judge added three years to the maximum five-year sentence after ruling that the men were also members of a criminal organisation.

Most of them belonged to an association set up to fight HIV and Aids.

“This is the first time that the Senegalese legal system has handed down such a harsh sentence against gays,” said Issa Diop, one of men’s four defence lawyers.

Ghana’s new president: Africa’s symbol of a working democracy

John Atta Mills took the oath of office Wednesday after a closely contested race.

By Tristan McConnell | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the January 8, 2009 edition

ACCRA, GHANA – Thousands of Ghanaians packed Independence Square in the capital Wednesday to welcome their new president after an election so close that one small rural constituency held the key to victory for opposition candidate John Atta Mills.

Ghana’s orderly transition of power is a bright spot after a dismal year for democracy in Africa. More than 1,000 Kenyans died in violent attacks that followed a disputed election 12 months ago. Kenya’s crisis was followed by Zimbabwe’s flawed elections, which resulted in a power-sharing agreement that has yet to be implemented. In Mauritania and Guinea, the military seized power from the elected governments.

“The election in Ghana is very important because the year started so badly with the violence in Kenya,” says analyst Tom Cargill, assistant head of the Africa Program at the Chatham House, a research group in London. He points out that successful elections were held in Zambia last year, and in Sierra Leone in 2007. “The general trend is in a positive direction and Ghana is a continuation of that,” he says.

Latin America

Narcotraffickers attack Televisa, Mexico’s top TV network

Freedom of press is under siege in Mexico. Calls grow for a new law to make such attacks on the media a federal crime.

By Sara Miller Llana | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

from the January 8, 2009 edition

MEXICO CITY – A grenade attack on Mexico’s top television station during the nightly news Tuesday is the latest – and most high-profile – threat against freedom of expression in Mexico since President Felipe Calderón launched a concerted offensive against drug traffickers two years ago.

Media watch groups consider Mexico among the most dangerous places for journalists to operate. Reporters on the drug beat are increasingly the victims of intimidation as warring drug traffickers vie for power and lucrative routes into the US market.

Some 5,700 Mexicans were killed last year in drug-related violence – more than double the total from the record reached the year before. The majority of violence is between drug traffickers, but civil society – from businesses owners to bystanders, prosecutors to reporters – are increasingly victims. Many journalists now write without bylines – if they report on drug trafficking at all. And the attack on the TV station in the bustling, northern town of Monterrey, a manufacturing hub, is the latest sign that narcotraffickers don’t want anyone covering their activities.


  1. Marisa Taylor of McClatchy’s D.C. bureau reports:

    Former Justice Department attorneys John Yoo and Jay Bybee are known for their memos on torture, but little was known about their role in the lead-up to war with Iraq. Until now.

    Memo Use of Military Force PDF

    UN Security Council Resolution PDF

    Further Material Breach PDF

    Protected Persons PDF

  2. Not too long ago, Barack Obama would have found when he moved his family to Washington that his daughters couldn’t attend the same schools that white children could. They couldn’t try on clothes or shoes at most local department stores or eat at downtown lunch counters. They couldn’t see a play at the National Theatre or a movie just a block or two from the White House.

    If a family pet died, it would have to be buried at a blacks-only cemetery.

    “The owner stated that he assumed the dogs would not object, but he was afraid his white customers would,” said a 1948 report on “Segregation in Washington.”

    Washington was largely a segregated city until the mid-1950s, a place where new students at Howard University were “briefed on what we could and couldn’t do,” recalled Russell Adams, who’s now a professor emeritus of Afro-American studies.

  3. It is possible to be pro-peace, pro-Israel and pro-Palestine all at the same time.

    Hesham Hassaballais a physician and writer living in Chicago

    The ground assault on Gaza continues to rage along, with no end in sight. The death toll of civilians caught up in this crisis – on both sides – continues to mount as the humanitarian situation for Gaza residents continues to deteriorate. Shortages of food, fuel and water continue to strain an already strained infrastructure, especially hospitals, and populace. And Hamas rockets – which were purportedly the reason the offensive was launched in the first place – continue to rain down on the villages and towns of southern Israel.

    To what end is this horrific spiral of violence? Where will this lead both Israelis and Palestinians, who surely in their hearts know that they eventually will have to learn to live together in peace? There must be a way to solve this crisis besides rockets, bombs, missiles and mortars.

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