Docudharma Times Monday April 6

That Missile Went

For A Swim


Monday’s Headlines:

The dirty truth: They’re smuggling soap in Spokane

Belarus squirms as son follows in dictator’s steps

Knights Templar hid the Shroud of Turin, says Vatican

Iraqi babies for sale: people trafficking crisis grows as gangs exploit poor families and corrupt system

The Muslim guardian of Israel’s daily bread

Presidency in sight for Zuma after multiple corruption charges dropped

Reburial for Rwanda genocide dead

North Korea’s rocket didn’t reach orbit, but Kim’s in another world

Flogging probe begins in Pakistan

In sunny Turks and Caicos, ‘political amorality’ forces Britain to retake control

At Least 27 Are Dead as Buildings Fall After Quake in Italy


Published: April 6, 2009

ROME – At least 27 people died and thousands were left homeless when an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 shook central Italy early Monday morning, seriously damaging buildings in the mountainous Abruzzo Region east of Rome, officials told Italian news media.

The epicenter was in L’Aquila, a picturesque Medieval fortress hill town, where eight people died and more were trapped under rubble, officials said.

The situation is “extremely critical, as many buildings have collapsed,” Luca Spoletini, a spokesman for Italy’s Civil Protection Agency, told the ANSA news agency. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi declared a state of emergency in the region.

UN divided on North Korea rocket launch

By Jon Herskovitz and Louis Charbonneau, Reuters

Monday, 6 April 2009

The United Nations failed to agree on a response to North Korea’s long-range rocket launch despite pressure from Washington and its allies for action, while regional powers weighed the extent of the new security threat.

Analysts said Sunday’s launch of the rocket – which flew over Japan during its 3,200 km (2,000 mile) flight – was effectively a test of a ballistic missile designed to carry a warhead as far as the US state of Alaska.

They said an emboldened North Korea would use the first successful launch of its Taepodong-2 missile to extract concessions for showing up at any future round of six-party talks on ending its nuclear programme. It could also seek to water down obligations it signed onto under previous negotiations.

“With this capability, North Korea is equipped with the infrastructure to play the nuclear game and raise the stakes in the six-way talks,” said Kim Tae-woo, a nuclear and weapons expert at the Korea Institute for Defence Analysis.

“As a result, more will have to be given to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear programme.”


Blacks at Odds Over Scrutiny of President

By Krissah Thompson

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, April 6, 2009; Page A01

Jeff Johnson knows how to make his audiences squirm. The young, black radio and TV political commentator waits for the discussion to turn to the topic being talked about ceaselessly, incessantly, ad nauseam: the meaning of the barrier-breaking election of Barack Obama.

Then, in his laid-back style, he says, “The real issue for me is that history is not enough.” That’s when the mood becomes tense.

“Black folks, in particular, get irritated,” says Johnson, who travels the lecture circuit, hosts a half-hour show on Black Entertainment Television and has a weekly spot for social criticism on a radio program popular with black listeners.

The dirty truth: They’re smuggling soap in Spokane

Spokane County’s limits on the sales of phosphates in dishwasher detergent has slowed the flood of pollutants into the Spokane River — but sped the flood of shoppers into Idaho to get the strong soap

By Kim Murphy

April 6, 2009

Reporting from Spokane, Wash. — By day, Patti Marcotte is a working mom — dealing with the balancing act created by a 5-year-old daughter, a demanding job, a split-level house and a willful boxer puppy.

Come the post-dinner hour, however, Marcotte begins operating in the shadowy world of smuggled soap.

Spokane County in July adopted a near total ban on sales of water-softening phosphates in dishwasher detergent — the first in the nation — in an attempt to slow the flood of pollutants that is sucking oxygen out of the endangered Spokane River, smothering its fish.

The problem, Marcotte and many of her neighbors say, is that most low-phosphate detergents are wimps when it comes to fighting greasy pots and spaghetti-crusted plates. So she has become a detergent outlaw, driving 45 minutes across the Idaho state line to pick up secret stashes of the old, bad dish cleansers: the brutish Cascades, the muscular Electrasols.


Belarus squirms as son follows in dictator’s steps

Tom Parfitt in Moscow

The Guardian, Monday 6 April 2009

He has greeted presidents wearing a tie and natty waistcoat, inspected troops in full military regalia and cast a vote in Belarus parliamentary elections. In most respects, Lukashenko jr is a model statesman in waiting. There is only one problem: he’s four years old.

Nikolai – or Kolya as he is known for short – is the blond-haired son of Alexander Lukashenko, the autocratic president of Belarus, who is provoking increasing consternation by bringing his son to meetings with high ranking officials, generals and heads of state.

Observers say Lukashenko, 54, described by the US state department as “Europe’s last dictator”, may be using Kolya to shatter his hard-man image as Belarus attempts to forge closer ties with the EU.

Knights Templar hid the Shroud of Turin, says Vatican

From The Times

April 6, 2009

Richard Owen in Rome

Medieval knights hid and secretly venerated The Holy Shroud of Turin for more than 100 years after the Crusades, the Vatican said yesterday in an announcement that appeared to solve the mystery of the relic’s missing years.

The Knights Templar, an order which was suppressed and disbanded for alleged heresy, took care of the linen cloth, which bears the image of a man with a beard, long hair and the wounds of crucifixion, according to Vatican researchers.

The Shroud, which is kept in the royal chapel of Turin Cathedral, has long been revered as the shroud in which Jesus was buried, although the image only appeared clearly in 1898 when a photographer developed a negative.

Middle East

Iraqi babies for sale: people trafficking crisis grows as gangs exploit poor families and corrupt system

• At least 150 children a year sold for £200 to £4,000

• Some bartered youngsters become sex abuse victims

Afif Sarhan in Baghdad

The Guardian, Monday 6 April 2009

Corruption, weak law enforcement and porous borders are compounding a growing child trafficking crisis in Iraq, according to officials and aid agencies, with scores of children abducted each year and sold internally or abroad.

Criminal gangs are profiting from the cheap cost of buying infants and the bureaucratic muddle that makes it relatively easy to move them overseas. Accurate figures are difficult to obtain because there is no centralised counting procedure, but aid agencies and police say they believe numbers have increased by a third since 2005 to at least 150 children a year.

One senior police officer said at least 15 Iraqi children were sold every month, some overseas, some internally, some for adoption, some for sexual abuse. Officials believe at least 12 gangs are operating in Iraq, offering between £200 and £4,000 per child, depending on its background and health. The main countries in which they are sold are Jordan, Turkey, Syria and some European countries including Switzerland, Ireland, the UK, Portugal and Sweden.

The Muslim guardian of Israel’s daily bread

For more than a decade, an Arab hotel manager has helped Orthodox Jews to observe the Passover – by buying up forbidden foods. Ben Lynfield reports

Monday, 6 April 2009

When Jaaber Hussein signs an agreement with Israel’s Chief Rabbis tomorrow, he will be inking the only Arab-Jewish accord sure to be meticulously observed by both sides. The deal will make him the owner for one week of all bread, pasta and beer in Israel – well a huge amount of it anyway. The contract, signed for the past 12 years by the Muslim hotel food manager, is part of the traditional celebrations ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Jews are forbidden by biblical injunction to possess leavened bread, or chametz, during Passover and ironically an Arab is needed to properly observe the holiday. The agreement with Mr Hussein offers a way of complying with religious edicts without having to wastefully destroy massive quantities of food.


Presidency in sight for Zuma after multiple corruption charges dropped

From The Times

April 6, 2009

Jonathan Clayton in Johannesburg

South African state prosecutors will drop corruption and fraud charges today against Jacob Zuma, the country’s most controversial politician, setting the seal on his political comeback.

Mr Zuma, leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), can now assume the presidency of the nation after polls on April 22, free from the shadow of a corruption scandal that has dogged him for eight years.

The ruling by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is certain to be met with anger and incredulity from opposition parties.

The authority, which is said to be split over the issue, decided to drop the 16 charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering after Mr Zuma’s lawyers presented extra information, widely reported to include secret tapes allegedly showing that the former President, Thabo Mbeki, and his allies were involved in a conspiracy against him.

Reburial for Rwanda genocide dead

The remains of thousands of victims of the Rwandan genocide are to be reburied in mass graves in Uganda, 15 years after the killings began.


Some 800,000 people were killed during the genocide, with many of the bodies thrown into Rwandan rivers.

Nearly 11,000 of them were eventually recovered from Lake Victoria in Uganda and buried by villagers in temporary graves.

They will now receive proper burials in three permanent mass graves.

“We have decided to accord a decent burial to those genocide victims,” said Rwanda’s Ambassador to Uganda, Ignatius Kamali.

“We want the exercise done within 100 days from today.”

Ugandan officials said that they welcomed the plan.

The genocide began on 6 April 1994, after a plane carrying Rwandan Hutu President Habyarimana was shot down.


North Korea’s rocket didn’t reach orbit, but Kim’s in another world

The Dear Leader insists the launch was successful. “Kim Jong Il doesn’t care about what the rest of the world thinks,” says one expert.

By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

12:53 AM PDT, April 6, 2009

Reporting from Seoul – Who cares if the whole world is calling North Korea’s weekend space launch a dud – that the regime’s vaunted communications satellite probably now sits somewhere on the Pacific Ocean floor?

Self-proclaimed Dear Leader Kim Jong Il still insists that his crack staff of rocket scientists boldly launched a craft into orbit Sunday. And no one is going to tell him any differently.

A release from North Korea’s state-run press today said Kim watched the launch at the nation’s Satellite Control and Command Center and has deemed the effort “successful.”

“It is a striking demonstration of the might of our Juche-oriented science and technology that our scientists and technicians developed both the multistage carrier rocket and the satellite with their own wisdom and technology [and] 100 percent and accurately put the satellite into orbit at one go,” the Korea Central News Agency quoted Kim as saying.

Such proclamations have analysts scratching their heads, asking the perhaps impolite question: What planet is this guy living on?

Flogging probe begins in Pakistan

A court hearing has begun in Pakistan over a video in circulation showing the public flogging of a teenage girl in north-western Swat valley.


The hearing was called by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

He had summoned police and officials from North West Frontier Province to the Supreme Court and ordered them to get the girl to testify.

The film shows apparent Taleban members holding her down and hitting her with a strap as she cries out in pain.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has condemned the incident as “shameful”.

Local sources said the girl had been accused of illicit relations with a man and that the flogging took place about a month and a half ago.

Since then, the provincial government in North West Frontier Province has agreed to implement Sharia law as part of a peace deal with militants there.


Justice Chaudhry has called the flogging a “cruel violation of fundamental rights”.

Latin America

In sunny Turks and Caicos, ‘political amorality’ forces Britain to retake control

Michael Misick resigned as prime minister of the Caribbean island on Mar. 23 amid corruption allegations. He calls Britain’s return to direct rule ‘modern-day colonialism.’

By Colin Woodard | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS – Michael Misick, who until recently was the prime minister of this British overseas territory, has a lot to show for his nearly six years in government.

Providenciales, the commercial hub of this archipelago, 600 miles southeast of Miami, has gone from a sleepy tropical backwater to a sprawling suburban landscape of strip malls, five-star resorts, and red-tiled villas connected by a four-lane highway. Many outer islands have been turned into exclusive resorts attracting the attention of celebrities such as Bruce Willis, who got married at one last month.

But on Mar. 23, Mr. Misick resigned following the release of the initial results of an official corruption investigation which concluded there were clear signs of “systemic venality,” “political amorality and immaturity,” and “chronic ills collectively amounting to a national emergency.”

The report, headed by retired British Lord Justice Sir Robin Auld, recommended the urgent suspension of the territorial constitution and the imposition of direct rule from London.

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