Docudharma Times Monday March 2

To Big To Fail

How Much More

Must The U.S. Taxpayer Give?

Monday’s Headlines:

Older soldiers find a niche in new Army

Summit fails to heal EU’s divisions over recession

EU leaders warned to beware new ‘Iron Curtain’

Chinese bidder can’t pay, won’t pay for YSL auction statues

Bangladesh: mutiny dealt serious blow to country’s security

Guinea-Bissau military chief killed in grenade attack

As Once-Admired Schools Wither, Zimbabwe’s Young Are Left Idle

Israeli limits stymie Gaza rebuilding

Despite hopes of Hollywood visit, Iran’s leaders stick to the same script

A side of Cancun not seen during spring break

U.S. Is Said to Offer $30 Billion More to Help A.I.G.

The United States is planning its fourth round of aid to the American International Group, the giant insurer. The government already owns nearly 80 percent of the insurer’s holding company.


Published: March 1, 2009

The federal government agreed Sunday night to provide an additional $30 billion in taxpayer money to the American International Group and loosen the terms of its huge loan to the insurer, which is preparing to report a $62 billion loss on Monday, the biggest quarterly loss in history, people involved in the discussions said.

The intervention would be the fourth time that the United States has had to step in to help A.I.G., the giant insurer, avert bankruptcy. The government already owns nearly 80 percent of the insurer’s holding company as a result of the earlier interventions, which included a $60 billion loan, a $40 billion purchase of preferred shares and $50 billion to soak up the company’s toxic assets.

Israel may face war crimes trials over Gaza

• Court looks at whether Palestinians can bring case

• International pressure grows over conflict

Peter Beaumont and agencies

The Guardian, Monday 2 March 2009

The international criminal court is considering whether the Palestinian Authority is “enough like a state” for it to bring a case alleging that Israeli troops committed war crimes in the recent assault on Gaza.

The deliberations would potentially open the way to putting Israeli military commanders in the dock at The Hague over the campaign, which claimed more than 1,300 lives, and set an important precedent for the court over what cases it can hear.

As part of the process the court’s head of jurisdictions, part of the office of the prosecutor, is examining every international agreement signed by the PA to decide whether it behaves – and is regarded by others – as operating like a state.



Mine waste trips up Alaska gold rush

A plan to dump mine tailings into a lake, taking advantage of a Bush administration regulatory change, is before the Supreme Court. Environmentalists say it could gut the Clean Water Act.

By Kim Murphy

March 2, 2009

Reporting from Berners Bay, Alaska — Sitting like a turquoise gem in a bowl of hemlock, Sitka spruce and ice, Berners Bay has long been a jewel of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.

In the spring, swarms of tiny eulachon rush in to spawn, and the bay floods with hundreds of killer whales, humpback whales and sea lions in hot pursuit, along with eagles and seabirds by the thousands. Fishermen flock to its herring, salmon and Dungeness crab. Its chilly, tranquil waters are a favorite destination for kayakers.

Berners Bay also has become one of the epicenters of a new Alaska gold rush. High in the snowy peaks at the top of the bay, miners struck an estimated 1.4 million ounces of gold — a prize that is looking better every day as investors flee the stock market.

An Idaho-based mining company has pledged to rescue southeast Alaska’s crippled timber and fishing economy by opening an industrial-scale mine above the bay. The problem is how to do it.

Older soldiers find a niche in new Army

‘GI Jorge,’ a father, grandfather and struggling property appraiser, is becoming a soldier at 40 to secure his family’s financial future.



As the South Florida real estate market disintegrated and the number of jobless rose, 40-year-old Jorge Gil Muela made a young man’s decision.

The five-foot-seven, 235-pound property appraiser walked into a recruiting center in a Kendall strip mall in December to join the Army. He was told to shed 50 pounds. It’s a small price, he said, for the job security and pay, family health insurance and new career as a cargo handler.

A 185-pound Muela will report for duty at Fort Sill, Okla., next month, leaving his wife, children and grandchildren behind in Miami.


Summit fails to heal EU’s divisions over recession

• Emergency meeting addresses protectionism

• Eastern countries fear west is looking after itself

Ian Traynor and David Gow in Brussels

The Guardian, Monday 2 March 2009

European leaders sought yesterday to banish the spectre of protectionism stalking the EU, responding to the financial crisis by underlining the sanctity of Europe’s single market.

But despite the attempt to radiate unity in the face of the worst crisis of their political careers, the heads of government from the EU’s 27 member states remained deeply divided.

The Czech Republic, currently holding the EU presidency, called an emergency summit in response to industrial bail-out moves from France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, deemed to be protectionist and discriminatory. The summit concluded with common affirmation that the EU’s single market was part of the solution to the economic crisis sweeping Europe.

EU leaders warned to beware new ‘Iron Curtain’

 Fears that protectionism will divide Continent dominate Brussels summit

By Ben Russell, Home Affairs Correspondent

Monday, 2 March 2009  

European leaders have insisted that trade protectionism would not create a new economic “iron curtain” across the continent as they declared that the free market would help pull the member states out of recession.

They rejected moves yesterday to restrict the single market, despite reports of a split between the union’s largest economies and the poorer states of eastern and central Europe.

EU nations agreed that governments should make sure that bailouts for banks or car makers should not be protectionist or hurt the economies of other members in the 27-nation bloc. A French scheme for a €6bn (£5.3bn) package of state loans to its carmakers in return for guarantees that they will not shift production elsewhere has prompted fears that EU governments will rush to protect their own industries at the expenses of others.


Chinese bidder can’t pay, won’t pay for YSL auction statues

 From Times Online

March 2, 2009

Jane McCartney, China correspondent

A Chinese bidder who said he had bought at auction two looted bronze imperial sculptures once owned by Yves Saint Laurent announced today that he would not – or could not — pay for the treasures.

The two pieces, the head of a rat and the head of a rabbit that were designed by Jesuit priests as part of a 12-head Chinese zodiac fountain for an imperial pleasure palace in the 18th century, were bought for €15,745,000 (£13,917) each by a telephone bidder last week.

Bangladesh: mutiny dealt serious blow to country’s security

Prime Minister Hasina revoked an amnesty for rebel soldiers as the Army announced Sunday that it was deploying across the country to apprehend fugitives.

By David Montero | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the March 2, 2009 edition

DHAKA, BANGLADESH – They were found lying in ditches by the dozens. Many were bound at the hands and feet. On their uniforms they bore the marks of their crime: the badges and stripes of colonels, majors, and lieutenants of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR).

Over the weekend, police in Bangladesh discovered 50 bodies in three mass graves at the BDR headquarters in Dhaka, bringing the total death toll of officers killed in last week’s mutiny to 63. Among the dead were Maj. Gen. Shakil Ahmed, the head of the Bangladesh Rifles, a paramilitary border security force, and his wife, who lived on the headquarters premises. Four days after the armed uprising, more than 72 officers are still missing. They are feared dead as well.

Reacting to the scale of the tragedy, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina rescinded the general amnesty she had earlier offered rebellious BDR soldiers, warning that those responsible would be subject to exemplary punishment. Heightening fears of possible clashes, the Army on Sunday announced that it was deploying across the country in an operation to apprehend fugitive BDR soldiers, while police filed a case charging six lower-level BDR personnel with leading 1,000 men in the uprising.


Guinea-Bissau military chief killed in grenade attack

From Times Online

March 2, 2009

Times Online

Guinea-Bissau’s armed forces chief of staff was killed and several other officers injured when their military headquarters was blown up on Sunday.

General Batista Tagme Na Wai, long time chief of staff of the tiny West African country’s military, had served in a military junta that overthrew ruler Joao Bernardo “Nino” Vieira in the 1990s. After Mr Vieira was returned to power in 2005 elections, General Na Wai had been outspoken in his criticism of the President.

“It is confirmed that he was killed,” a diplomat said early on Monday after an explosion rocked the armed forces headquarters late on Sunday.

As Once-Admired Schools Wither, Zimbabwe’s Young Are Left Idle

Half of Public System Is Closed; Parents Must Pay Fees for Teachers

By Karin Brulliard

Washington Post Foreign Service

HARARE, Zimbabwe — On many weekdays last year, Kundai Kanyemba, 16, donned his high school uniform, sat in the library and studied textbooks titled “Geography Today,” “Focus on English” and “General Mathematics,” tattered volumes he hoped would prepare him for year-end exams. There was no one to ask whether he had selected the right books — teachers were on strike because their salaries had become pittances.

This year, Kundai has not attended school at all, like many Zimbabwean children. Half of public schools are closed, while teachers at others have returned only if parents pay fees in U.S. dollars, which Kundai’s family cannot afford.

Middle East

Israeli limits stymie Gaza rebuilding

Without a shift in the Israeli policy that doesn’t allow building materials into Gaza, much of the $2.8 billion that Palestinians hope to raise at a donors’ conference Monday will be limited to humanitarians needs.

 By Ilene R. Prusher | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

from the March 2, 2009 edition

EAST JABALIYA, GAZA STRIP – Maamon Khozendar, chairman of Khozendar and Sons Company Ltd., is one of Gaza’s most successful industrialists. He’s a petroleum importer, and executes major construction projects around the Palestinian enclave.

What he’d most like to do now is help his fellow Gazans recover from the devastating 22-day war that came to an uncertain pause in late January. But rebuilding and rehabilitating Gaza requires the basics of the construction industry – cement and steel – that Israel will not allow in through their border crossings.

His dilemma presents a window into a core challenge faced by Palestinians and international donors as they gather in Egypt on Monday to pledge funds for postwar reconstruction.

“I have almost everything I need, except for gray cement and white cement,” Mr. Khozendar says. “Without those two elements, you can’t produce.”

Despite hopes of Hollywood visit, Iran’s leaders stick to the same script

By Nazila Fathi Published: March 2, 2009

TEHRAN: An official delegation of Hollywood actors and filmmakers met with their Iranian counterparts in Tehran over the weekend, the first such visit to a country that banned American movies 30 years ago.

But the Iranian government quickly crushed any cinematic illusion of an Obama-era thaw in relations, denouncing the meeting on Sunday and demanding that Hollywood apologize for its “insults and accusations against the Iranian nation.”

The nine members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who arrived in Tehran on Friday as cultural ambassadors were apparently unaware of the official reaction as they sought to improve ties between the nations’ film industries.

“Today is my birthday, and I cannot think of any other place I wanted to be other than here,” Phil Alden Robinson, best known as the writer and director of the baseball fantasy “Field of Dreams,” said Sunday.

Latin America

A side of Cancun not seen during spring break

The killing of a newly-hired security official and two others raises questions about the drug trade’s impact on the popular resort, especially with suspicions falling on the ex-police chief.

By Ken Ellingwood

March 2, 2009

Reporting from Cancun, Mexico — The suspect cruised around in an SUV that had been reported stolen. He toted corrido music glorifying drug smugglers and hit men, and allegedly helped them operate in this beach resort.

And until a few weeks ago, he was Cancun’s police chief.

Now Francisco Velasco is in custody in Mexico City while federal authorities investigate whether he took part in the killing last month of a retired army general who had been hired to revamp the city’s police force.

The 57-year-old Velasco, who was in his fourth stint as Cancun’s police chief, has not been charged. But federal officials say they believe he protected seven people accused of kidnapping and killing Gen. Mauro Enrique Tello and two others.

1 comment

  1. CIA destroyed 92 interrogation tapes

    New documents show the CIA destroyed nearly 100 tapes of terror interrogations, far more than has previously been acknowledged.

    The revelation Monday comes as a criminal prosecutor is wrapping up his investigation in the matter.

    The acknowledgment of dozens of destroyed tapes came in a letter filed by government lawyers in New York, where the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit seeking more details of terror interrogation programs.

    “The CIA can now identify the number of videotapes that were destroyed,” said the letter by Acting U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin. “Ninety two videotapes were destroyed.”

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