Docudharma Times Tuesday April 14

 Tea Party

Protest Against?

Bush’s Tax Policies

These People Are

Incredibly Stupid


Tuesday’s Headlines:

On-location film and TV shoots in L.A. hit lowest levels on record

North Korea to boycott nuclear weapons talks after UN condemns rocket launch

Tamil Tigers call for ceasefire talks

Italy earthquake focus shifts to saving Abruzzo’s heritage

Rama Yade: The political star who’s eclipsing Sarko

Pirates promise to take their revenge against US

Will pirates join forces with Islamist militias in Somalia?

US universities expand in the Middle East

Journalist goes on trial in Iran

Thai protest leaders call halt after deadly clash


The Associated Press

Tuesday, April 14, 2009; 2:35 AM

BANGKOK — Leaders of demonstrations that plunged the Thai capital into chaos said Tuesday that they were calling off their protests following rioting and clashes that left two dead and more than 120 injured across Bangkok.

About 2,000 die-hard protesters began to abandon their encampment around the seat of government, as combat troops ringed the demonstrators’ last stronghold making preparations for a crackdown.

“We have decided to call off the rally today because many brothers and sisters have been hurt and killed.

Allied Militants Threaten Pakistan’s Populous Heart

This article was reported by Sabrina Tavernise, Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Eric Schmitt and written by Ms. Tavernise.


Published: April 13, 2009

DERA GHAZI KHAN, Pakistan – Taliban insurgents are teaming up with local militant groups to make inroads in Punjab, the province that is home to more than half of Pakistanis, reinvigorating an alliance that Pakistani and American authorities say poses a serious risk to the stability of the country.

The deadly assault in March in Lahore, Punjab’s capital, against the Sri Lankan cricket team, and the bombing last fall of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, the national capital, were only the most spectacular examples of the joint campaign, they said.


America’s hidden unemployment crisis

Temp workers easily cast aside but have little safety net


Over the past decade, U.S. businesses increasingly have relied on contract workers as a way to keep a lid on health care and retirement benefit costs and to give them more flexibility to adjust payrolls as conditions change. Now, with the American economy flashing code red, companies from Wall Street to Silicon Valley are casting off temporary workers and freelancers left and right, typically without any severance pay.

While the ability to shed contingent workers helps protect corporate profits, economists say it’s a net negative for the economy. That’s because while companies may save on labor costs, they aren’t likely to use those savings to boost investment with the economy so weak, preferring instead to rebuild their balance sheets.

On-location film and TV shoots in L.A. hit lowest levels on record

The recession and incentives from other states have caused location work in the region to fall to the lowest levels on record, a FilmL.A. report to be issued today shows.

By Richard Verrier

April 14, 2009

Location filming for movies and TV commercials on the streets of Los Angeles, once as prevalent as the corner taco truck, is rapidly fading to black. Double whammies of the recession and out-of-state economic incentives for producers have caused on-location film shoots in the Los Angeles area to fall to their lowest levels on record.

Since the collapse of Southern California’s aerospace industry a decade ago, the labor-intensive entertainment industry, in which hundreds of people are needed to make a single movie or TV commercial, has picked up the slack in the local economy. But as Hollywood and Madison Avenue respond to lower consumer spending by reining in production of movies and commercials, the pullbacks are having a dire effect on workers in the industry.

Despite a strong start to the year at the box office, studios are reducing the number of movies they produce and laying off thousands of employees in response to weakening DVD sales, declining local TV ad revenue and diminishing sources of financing.


North Korea to boycott nuclear weapons talks after UN condemns rocket launch

North Korea says it will restart nuclear programme dismantled under international deal

Associated Press, Tuesday 14 April 2009 07.45 BST

North Korea said today it will boycott international talks on its atomic weapons programme in protest at the UN security council’s condemnation of the country’s rocket launch.

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it “resolutely condemns” the action by theUN, which it said infringes upon the country’s sovereignty and devalues the dignity of its people.

The country also said it would restart nuclear facilities it had begun to dismantle under an international deal.

“We have no choice but to further strengthen our nuclear deterrent to cope with additional military threats by hostile forces,” the statement said. It also hinted that the North would conduct more satellite tests, saying it will “continue to exercise its sovereign rights to use space”.

Tamil Tigers call for ceasefire talks

From Times Online

April 14, 2009

Rhys Blakely in Mumbai

The Tamil Tigers offered today to negotiate a ceasefire with the Sri Lankan Government as a precursor to talks aimed at reaching a political settlement in Asia’s longest-running civil war.

The offer, which was immediately rejected by the Government, came amid mounting international concern over the fate of an estimated 150,000 civilians caught in the combat zone, where the Government’s offensive is due to begin again tomorrow after a 48-hour pause. Countries including Britain, the United States, Japan and Norway called last week for an an end to the “futile” fighting.

The rebels have suffered a sring of defeats in recent months and are now pinned down in a narrow strip of coastline in the northeast.

In a statement the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said that the two-day halt in fighting, which was imposed on Monday, was insincere.


Italy earthquake focus shifts to saving Abruzzo’s heritage

Tom Kington in Rome

The Guardian, Tuesday 14 April 2009

A 100-strong culture ministry team yesterday began a full inventory of churches, historic buildings and their contents in the Italian region of Abruzzo, after rescue workers called off their search for survivors of the devastating earthquake.

A week after the quake struck, killing 294 and leaving thousands homeless, a culture ministry official said that at least 500 historic churches had been damaged or razed to the ground.

“We are now shifting paintings, confessional booths and other objects from damaged churches to a depositary to start restoration work,” said Anna Maria Reggiani, regional director for the ministry.

Augusto Cicciotti, an architect working with the ministry team amid the collapsed buildings in L’Aquila, said restoration costs could reach €100m. Culture minister Sandro Bondi said restoration work would be “gigantic”.

Rama Yade: The political star who’s eclipsing Sarko

Rama Yade is tall, elegant and, unusually for one of the French President’s protégées, outspoken – which may explain why the Minister for Human Rights has fallen foul of the Elysée Palace. John Lichfield reports

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Rama Yade grins broadly and shrugs modestly. How, she has been asked, can she explain her overwhelming popularity after only two years in French politics? Is it because she is both “belle et rebelle” – strikingly beautiful and the only minister to have stood up publicly to President Nicolas Sarkozy?

“Is that what people are saying? Ah, you British,” she said coyly. “Honestly, I am not the person who is best placed to answer that question. Obviously, it is touching to be so popular but, then again, you have to tell yourself that popularity can come and go. I try not to think about it too much.”

Mme Yade, 32, tall and black, and elegantly power-dressed in all-black, was talking to a group of foreign correspondents about her job as the first ever French minister for human rights, about her optimism for the future of her native Africa, about her own future and political career.


Pirates promise to take their revenge against US

Mortars fired at congressman on mission to Somali capital as tensions rise following armed rescue of sailor

By Daniel Howden, Africa correspondent

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Somali pirate groups were vowing to take revenge on the United States after navy snipers killed three of their countrymen in an operation to save an American hostage. With two dramatic armed rescue operations – the first by France and the second by the US – killing at least six Somalis in three days, experts were warning that piracy off the Horn of Africa was entering a new and dangerous phase.

In a sign of increasing tensions, mortars were yesterday fired at US Congressman Donald Payne, as he became the first senior American official to visit the battle-scarred Somali capital, Mogadishu, in more than a decade.

A battery of warnings were issued yesterday from towns up and down Africa’s longest coastline as the stakes were clearly raised for any future incident involving the US.

Will pirates join forces with Islamist militias in Somalia?

Escalation of violence could lead pirate gangs to join radical militants, including those with ties to Al Qaeda, say analysts.

By Scott Baldauf | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

from the April 13, 2009 edition

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – The four-day hostage ordeal, with Somali pirates holding a US merchant ship captain in a lifeboat, ended in a hail of sniper fire Sunday and the safe return of the captain to his crew.

But the twin rescues this past week by the French and American navies off Somalia are unlikely to end the problem of piracy. Quite the opposite, say analysts. The pirates, they say, are likely to increase their use of violence, and that could lead them into the arms of Somalia’s small but powerful Islamist militias for protection and support.

As the crew of the Maersk Alabama celebrated the return of Capt. Richard Phillips Sunday, Somalia’s radical Islamists praised the dead or captured pirates as mujahideen, or “holy warriors.” Meanwhile, self-described pirates told reporters by cellphone that they would be more violent with hostages next time.

“Every country will be treated the way it treats us,” Abdullahi Lami, one of the pirates holding a Greek ship in the central Somali port of Gaan, told the Associated Press by phone. “In the future, America will be the one mourning and crying. We will retaliate for the killings of our men.”

Middle East

US universities expand in the Middle East

Columbia Global Center, just opened in Amman, Jordan, is raising that city’s status in the region.

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

from the April 13, 2009 edition

AMMAN, JORDAN – If a few professors from New York came to Jordan, collaborated with a cadre of students on cutting-edge research projects, and were able to share – in real time – their findings with a similar team in China, what would that look like?

It would look a lot like the future of education. Or so says Columbia University. The university recently opened the first two Columbia Global Centers: one here in Amman and the other in Beijing. Possible future locations include Brazil, Argentina, India, and Tanzania.

“The center is really a hub with bridges throughout the Middle East,” says Safwan Masri, director of the new center here and a Columbia Business School faculty member for the past two decades. What’s significant, he says, is that the center could cover myriad ideas and topics, and go in multiple directions. “That’s what’s so exciting.”

News of Columbia’s opening here is lifting Amman’s status in the region. Already, the once-sleepy city has grown into the destination of choice for United Nations agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) seeking a safe base from which to serve the Middle East, especially Iraq.

Journalist goes on trial in Iran

An Iranian-American journalist accused of spying in Iran went on trial this week and a verdict is expected soon, an Iranian official has said.


“The first trial meeting on Roxana Saberi was held yesterday [Monday],” judiciary spokesman Ali Jamshidi told a news conference in Tehran.

“I think the verdict will be announced soon, perhaps in the next two or three weeks,” the official added.

Ms Saberi, 31, is being held in Evin prison near Tehran.

The journalist, 31, worked briefly for the BBC three years ago. She has also worked for the American public radio network NPR and the TV network Fox News.

She has been in custody in Tehran since late January.


Ms Saberi originally faced the less serious accusations of buying alcohol, then working as a journalist without a valid press card, but last week Iranian prosecutors accused her of spying for the US.

Ignoring Asia A Blog


    • RiaD on April 14, 2009 at 16:03

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