Docudharma Times Saturday March 21

You will be shocked to know, Keith,

that Franklin Delano Roosevelt appeared on radio.


Saturay’s Headlines:

Bonus backlash hits Wall Street

In Darfur, fault lines intersect and inflame

The DJ who has become Africa’s youngest president

‘I took a picture to show my dentist’ – the first package tourists arrive in Iraq

Iran plays it cool as Obama offers a ‘new beginning’

Met: G20 protesters will stretch us to our limit

EU, Ukraine Set to Overhaul Gas Network as New Gas Row Looms

British forces train Pakistan’s Frontier Corps to fight al-Qaeda

Chinese soldier shot dead outside camp in Chongqing

Toxic Asset Plan Foresees Big Subsidies for Investors

This article is by Edmund L. Andrews, Eric Dash and Graham Bowley.

WASHINGTON – The Treasury Department is expected to unveil early next week its long-delayed plan to buy as much as $1 trillion in troubled mortgages and related assets from financial institutions, according to people close to the talks.

The plan is likely to offer generous subsidies, in the form of low-interest loans, to coax investors to form partnerships with the government to buy toxic assets from banks.

To help protect taxpayers, who would pay for the bulk of the purchases, the plan calls for auctioning assets to the highest bidders.

The Calais ‘Guantanamo’

French and British ministers in talks to open dockside holding centre for illegal immigrants and asylum-seekers

By John Lichfield in Paris and Ben Russell

Saturday, 21 March 2009

The British and French governments are discussing the creation of a new immigrant holding centre within the Calais docks which would be “inside Britain” under immigration law and allow cross-Channel asylum-seekers to be shipped back to their home countries easily.

Although no details have yet been agreed, the idea is to exploit the ambiguous legal status of a British “control zone” of the Calais port, created in 2003, to cut through the mesh of legal difficulties which prevent asylum-seekers from being expelled to their countries of origin.

The idea – discussed by the British and French immigration ministers last month – seeks to turn the tables on the asylum-seekers and the gangs who smuggle them into northern France. At present, the immigrants gathered in Calais, mostly from Afghanistan, Kurdistan and the Horn of Africa, can exploit contradictions and grey areas in European and international law on immigration and asylum to evade expulsion from France. They can be arrested repeatedly only to be freed to try to enter Britain illegally again.


Minn. Senate Race Is In Judges’ Hands Now

Decision Could Come Within Days

By Peter Slevin

Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, March 21, 2009; Page A03

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Nearly five months after 2.9 million voters cast ballots, the Senate race between Al Franken (D) and  Norm Coleman (R) is in the hands of a three-judge panel here after first one candidate and then the other declared victory.

Until the judges rule, perhaps within days, Franken officially has a 225-vote lead, the U.S. Senate has 99 members and Minnesota has a reality show that feels as though it’s already in reruns.

“It’s way too drawn out,” property appraiser Kurt Ophus, 48, said this week. “The people of Minnesota are just really tired of listening to it.”

Bonus backlash hits Wall Street

Congress may undo a decades-old compensation system, alarming bankers but pleasing those who believe ‘financial buccaneers’ deserve payback.

By Walter Hamilton and Tom Hamburger

March 21, 2009

Reporting from Washington and New York — As Washington’s anti-bonus zeal intensified Friday, alarm spread across Wall Street that the government’s sudden taxation fervor could ensnare thousands of workers and affect every major financial firm.

Although the fast-moving legislative campaign was born of frustration with the bonuses paid to workers at ailing American International Group Inc., employees at comparatively healthy investment banks fretted about the steep tax hikes they could face if the legislation became law.

A bill passed Thursday by the House would impose a 90% levy on bonuses paid to workers whose household incomes top $250,000 by firms that received more than $5 billion under the government’s financial rescue package. That would encompass much of Wall Street, including such marquee-name firms as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

And new proposals sprouted Friday on Capitol Hill as some lawmakers said the measure passed the day before didn’t go far enough.


In Darfur, fault lines intersect and inflame

The battle over Muhajeria in southern Darfur, which saw rebel rivalry, tribal tension as well as government intervention, points to the impunity in the region and the complexity of the conflict.

By Edmund Sanders

March 21, 2009

Reporting from Muhajeria, Sudan — One side of Muhajeria is a ghost town. The only sign of life is the occasional animal left behind when thousands of people fled last month. Most huts have been plundered; hundreds have been reduced to ashes. Straw fences lie tumbled in ruins as wind blows through emptied streets.

Not far away are the “winners” in the recent fighting here. At first glance, their side of town seems equally dismal. Families live under scraps of plastic sheeting with limited food and water. All around are half-destroyed homes.

Yet they consider themselves the happiest people in Darfur. They were chased away three years ago and now are back.

“I may have nothing, but it still feels great,” beamed Adam Mousa, 40, a father of seven who arrived two days earlier.

The 20-day battle for Muhajeria, one of the biggest clashes in Darfur in recent years, is a window into the complexities of the Darfur conflict and the difficulty of resolving it. Its facets include rebel factionalism, government manipulation, tribal tensions, an environment of impunity — and at times, disregard for the suffering of thousands of people.

The DJ who has become Africa’s youngest president

Carnival of sound to herald the inauguration of Andry Rajoelina in Madagascar

Christina Corbett in Antananarivo

The Guardian, Saturday 21 March 2009

He is the disc jockey politician, a charismatic, fresh-faced entrepreneur who swapped the turntables and nightclubs of Antananarivo for a movement that this week has culminated in the ousting of Madagascar’s twice-elected president.

So when Andry Rajoelina, 34, is inaugurated as Africa’s youngest president today, expect a carnival of sound. His supporters have taken to blaring out Malagasy pop music to get crowds in the mood. This may even be the first African coup with its own soundtrack.

Images of the man this week have appeared incongruous: a sharp suit and baby face amid the sharpshooters in army fatigues, an unlikely alliance between the soldiers who have seen it all before and the 34-year-old who has got it all to come.

Middle East

‘I took a picture to show my dentist’ – the first package tourists arrive in Iraq

• Four Britons on 17-day visit to war-torn country

• Iraqi Tourism Board hopes to lure many more

Martin Chulov in Baghdad

The Guardian, Saturday 21 March 2009

When tourism chiefs in Basra were assessing the prospects for western visitors four years ago, their verdict was not encouraging. “There is,” they said, “a 70% to 80% chance you will be OK.”

Things must have improved because yesterday the first group of western package tourists to visit Iraq’s capital and second city finally arrived in Baghdad – tired, uninsured and a little exasperated, but happy – after a 17-day tour that would have been unthinkable 12 months ago.

On the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the irony was compelling: the last group of western foreigners to arrive outside the Sheraton hotel in Baghdad were invading US marines. Six years on, the assembled group of four Britons, a Russian who lives in London, two Americans and a Canadian wielded nothing more menacing than suitcases and dogeared tourism guides.

Iran plays it cool as Obama offers a ‘new beginning’

President calls for dialogue and plays down military option in video message

By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic editor

Saturday, 21 March 2009

President Barack Obama has reached out to Iran in an unprecedented video appeal for a “new beginning” that would turn the page on three decades of bad blood and mistrust between the two states.

The initial reaction from Iranian officials to the latest overture was cool, with an aide to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad saying that Tehran wanted to see “practical steps” from the Obama administration.

Mr Obama’s three-and-a-half-minute speech, timed to coincide with the Nowruz new year celebrations in Iran, was long on flattery and, despite being short on detail, marks a significant change of tone from his predecessor, President Bush.


Met: G20 protesters will stretch us to our limit

From The Times

March 21, 2009

Sean O’Neill, Crime and Security Editor

Scotland Yard issued a stark warning of violent disorder in the City of London on the eve of the G20 summit, with the police stretched to their limit in the middle of an extraordinary week of public protest.

Anarchists, environmentalists and anti-globalisation groups are collaborating to mount an “unprecedented” sequence of demonstrations across London and police chiefs fear that they will be playing cat and mouse with militants.

The cost of the operation to protect the City and the summit on the first two days of April could hit £10 million, more than five times the cost of the 2001 May Day demonstration. At least 1,000 anti-capitalist demonstrators plan to converge on the Bank of England and will be met by 2,500 uniformed police, many equipped with riot gear.

EU, Ukraine Set to Overhaul Gas Network as New Gas Row Looms

The European Union and Ukraine are set to agree on a program of political reforms and physical repairs to the former Soviet state’s gas network, officials said. But if Ukraine can’t pay, Europe may not get any gas.

ENERGY | 21.03.2009

On Monday, March 23, Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko — currently feuding ahead of presidential elections — are set to meet the head of the EU’s executive, Jose Manuel Barroso, and officials from the World Bank, European Investment Bank and energy companies in Brussels.

They are expected to sign a joint declaration committing Ukraine to reforming the rules for operating its gas network. That should pave the way for Western and Russian donors to invest in the renovation of the network, EU diplomats told DPA news agency.

Huge investments needed

One fifth of all the natural gas consumed in the EU flows through Ukraine’s 13,500-kilometer (8,400-mile) network of gas pipelines. Some experts have said that the network will need some 2.5 billion euros ($3.4 billion) in investment over the next six years just to keep the pipes and pumping stations in working order.

Analysts say that Ukrainian monopoly Naftogaz, which runs the pipeline system, is having difficulties attracting the necessary investment due to a perceived lack of transparency both in its management and in Ukraine’s top political leadership.


British forces train Pakistan’s Frontier Corps to fight al-Qaeda

From The Times

March 21, 2009

Jeremy Page in Islamabad

The Viceroy of India founded the Frontier Corps in 1907 to control unruly tribesmen in the mountains that now form the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Also known as the Scouts, the corps united the Khyber Rifles and other militias recruited from the Pashtun tribes but was trained and led by British officers in search of adventure.

For the first time since Pakistan’s independence in 1947, British soldiers are training the Frontier Corps again in an effort to transform it into a strike force against al-Qaeda and Taleban militants on the Afghan frontier.

“A small team of conventional British military personnel is working in a Frontier Corps training school, conducting mutual co-operation training to assist the Frontier Corps in enhancing its capability,” a spokesperson for the High Commission in Islamabad told The Times.

Chinese soldier shot dead outside camp in Chongqing

Chinese officials say they are investigating the attack as possible terrorism.

By Barbara Demick

March 21, 2009

Reporting from Beijing — A soldier on guard duty outside an army camp in central China was shot to death and another soldier wounded in a bold attack that Chinese authorities say is being investigated as a possible act of terrorism.

The shooting Thursday night was especially shocking for Chinese officials because it took place in downtown Chongqing, a city of 5 million. After killing the soldier, identified in the official Chinese press as 18-year-old Han Junliang, the assailants also stole his submachine gun.

Chongqing residents said Friday that the city was under heavy security as police searched for the assailants. Roadblocks were set up around downtown.

“They are searching all over the city. They are inspecting cars, especially taxis. People are in a big panic,” said Chen Jun, a taxi driver interviewed by telephone. He said rumors had been circulating for days before the attack that suicide bombers had infiltrated the city.

1 comment

    • RiaD on March 21, 2009 at 16:13

    is ignoring asia your site?

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