Docudharma Times Tuesday April 28

Republicans Filibuster

HHS Nominee Seleblius Over An Issue

That Has Nothing To Do With The

Cabinet Post In Question. Flu Epidemic?  

Not Important. Playing Politics More Important    

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Racial disparities persist in higher-paying jobs

Sri Lanka to end use of heavy weapons in war against Tamil Tigers

Pakistan snubs Brown in terror bust-up

The sunny corner of the Adriatic that is casting dark clouds over Europe

EU studying mission to Ukraine, Steinmeier says

After Iraq’s civil war, lessons in civility

Sick Gazans victims of Hamas-Fatah power struggle

Somali kidnappers free aid staff

Telecom sale tests Zimbabwe’s privatisation plans

Latin America Appears to Warm to IMF

Mexico outbreak traced to ‘manure lagoons’ at pig farm

From The Times

April 28, 2009

Chris Ayres in Mexico City

The first known case of swine flu emerged a fortnight earlier than previously thought in a village where residents have long complained about the smell and flies from a nearby pig farm, it emerged last night.

The Mexican Government said it initially thought that the victim, Edgar Hernandez, 4, was suffering from ordinary influenza but laboratory testing has since shown that he had contracted swine flu. The boy went on to make a full recovery, although it is thought that at least 148 others in Mexico have died from the disease, and the number is expected to rise.

News of the infected boy is expected to create controversy in Mexico because the boy lived in Veracruz state, home to thousands of farmers who claim that their land was stolen from them by the Mexican Government in 1992. The farmers, who call themselves Los 400 Pueblos – The 400 Towns – are famous for their naked marches through the streets of Mexico City.

Borders Are Tightened as Flu Cases Rise


Published: April 28, 2009

Countries around the world began tightening their border and immigration controls Tuesday as the number of confirmed cases of swine flu continued to rise.

The number of deaths believed attributable to swine flu climbed to as many as 152 on Tuesday – all of them in Mexico – as news agencies reported the number of confirmed cases of infection in the United States stood at 50 after further testing at a New York City school.

Other cases have been reported in Ohio, Kansas, Texas and California. In addition, The Associated Press reported that preliminary tests by health officials in New Jersey had identified five “probable” cases – four people who were recently in Mexico and one who had been in California.


U.S. Tries to Broker Sale Of Chrysler’s Loan Arm

Takeover by GMAC Is Meeting Resistance

By David Cho, Binyamin Appelbaum and Peter Whoriskey

Washington Post Staff Writers

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Treasury Department is racing to engineer the sale of Chrysler’s financing arm in a move the administration deems vital to saving the troubled automaker, but other federal agencies have not given their support, sources familiar with the matter said.

The Obama administration wants the nation’s largest auto-financing company, GMAC, to buy Chrysler Financial, which is the primary source of lending for Chrysler dealerships and car buyers, industry officials said. But GMAC needs a new round of backing to buy its longtime rival, sources said.

Treasury officials have not yet obtained the agreement of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve, sources said.

Racial disparities persist in higher-paying jobs

Blacks, Hispanics lag behind whites in largest rates in about a decade

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Blacks and Hispanics lag behind whites for higher-paying jobs at the largest rates in about a decade as employment opportunities dwindled during the nation’s economic woes and housing slump.

Census data released Monday show an increasingly educated U.S. work force whose earnings didn’t always seem to match up with its potential.

“The lesson of most economic downturns is minorities are the last hired, first fired. They lose jobs more quickly, and they will be the last to recover,” said Roderick Harrison, a demographer at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a think tank that studies minority issues.


Sri Lanka to end use of heavy weapons in war against Tamil Tigers

• No sign of any let-up in fighting in no-fire zone

• Military had previously denied using air strikes

Gethin Chamberlain

The Guardian, Tuesday 28 April 2009

The Sri Lankan government yesterday announced it was ending the use of air and artillery strikes in its war with the Tamil Tigers, after weeks of denying that it was using such tactics.

Under intense international pressure to end the fighting, the government claimed combat operations had reached their conclusion and it would now concentrate on rescuing civilians. However, there was no sign of an end to the fighting, which has claimed the lives of at least 6,000 civilians in the last three months.

The statement appeared to contradict previous claims by the military that it had not been using heavy weapons.

It came a day after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) announced a unilateral ceasefire, allegedly to allow civilians to leave the no-fire zone, a tiny coastal strip no larger than four square miles, where tens of thousands of people remain trapped by the fighting.

Pakistan snubs Brown in terror bust-up

Arrest of Pakistani students and Prime Minister’s rebuke put relations under strain

By Omar Waraich in Islamabad and Michael Savage  

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Rising political tensions between Britain and Pakistan were exposed yesterday after President Asif Ali Zardari pulled out of a joint press conference with Gordon Brown, in an apparent protest at the Prime Minister’s demand that Islamabad act more decisively against militancy and the arrests of 11 Pakistani students this month who were later released without charge.

He was replaced by Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, with President Zardari only meeting Mr Brown behind closed doors afterwards. Downing Street denied the change of plan was a deliberate move to embarrass Mr Brown, but it came amid a growing rift between the two countries after the arrest of 11 students from Pakistan as part of a terrorism investigation two weeks ago.


The sunny corner of the Adriatic that is casting dark clouds over Europe

Border dispute with Slovenia over Bay of Piran threatens Croatia’s EU bid

By Vanessa Mock in Brussels

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

It is a sliver of coastline between two of the smallest states in Europe, boasting breathtaking views across the Bay of Piran and towns full of winding cobbled streets and Venetian Gothic architecture, but this picturesque corner of the Adriatic is casting a shadow over EU expansion plans.

Slovenia and Croatia are at loggerheads over their border and the diplomatic stand-off is threatening to derail Croatia’s hopes of joining the EU.

The dispute dates to the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, when both countries laid claim to the Bay of Piran, a seven-square-mile expanse of the Adriatic sea.

EU studying mission to Ukraine, Steinmeier says

The European Union could send a mission to Ukraine to help the country deal with a political deadlock hindering the country’s response to the economic crisis, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said.

UKRAINE | 28.04.2009

The fact-finding mission would be aimed at establishing how the 27-nation bloc can help the country from sliding further into political and financial instability, Steinmeier told journalists after talks with EU counterparts in Luxembourg on Monday.

“Developments there are worrying … We must try such a mission to help find the national consensus needed to overcome the crisis in Ukraine,” he said.

He said there was “a broad consensus” among EU states for such a move, which was proposed jointly by Germany and Poland, and that EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana would now discuss the idea with Kiev.

“It is timely to explore how we can best assist the country in tackling its current difficulties,” Steinmeier said.

Earlier, the top adviser to President Viktor Yushchenko said Ukraine’s economy would likely shrink by 8-10 percent ths year, rather than the 0.4 percent growth forecast by his government, Reuters news agency reported.

Middle East

After Iraq’s civil war, lessons in civility

New academy gives free music and etiquette lessons to teens, in a bid to boost tolerance and promote peace.

By Jane Arraf | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the April 27, 2009 edition

BAGHDAD – The bass notes of a cello waft down the staircase. In a room off the second floor balcony, the brass instruments are tuning up. And in a crowded makeshift classroom in what used to be an embassy reception hall, teacher Ghada al-Taiy is trying to restore one of the many things that have suffered during the war: manners.

Ms. Taiy, who moves with the grace of the ballet teacher she normally is, has taken on the task of teaching etiquette – an important part of the new Peace Through Art academy for children and teenagers opened by the director of Iraq’s symphony orchestra.

The classes, free of charge, are intended to teach students from all backgrounds everything from dining etiquette to the art of conversation. But the real lesson in a country emerging from civil war is how manners can help Iraqis get along with one another.

“After a year, your whole life is going to change,” director Karim Wasfi tells parents and students at the recent opening of the center he hopes will become a haven for young people as diverse as Iraq itself. “There is no politics here – no Sunni, no Shiite, no Christian…. This is a place to leave your problems behind.”

Sick Gazans victims of Hamas-Fatah power struggle


By DIAA HADID and IBRAHIM BARZAK, Associated Press Writers

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Hundreds of Palestinian patients have been trapped in the Gaza Strip, unable to travel abroad for crucial treatment for cancer and other diseases, because of political infighting between Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers and their Palestinian rivals.

Eight Gazans who were waiting to travel abroad have died since the crisis began in March, when the dispute shut down a medical referral committee that helps sick residents find treatment outside of Gaza, according to the World Health Organization.

Others are hanging on, waiting. Ten-year-old Ribhi Jindiyeh, a lymphoma patient, lies in bed at home, skinny and jaundiced, too weak to move. He underwent chemotherapy last year in an Israeli hospital, and when he returned home in January, he seemed better. But in March, he began urinating blood.

Gaza doctors can’t find the problem and give him infusions every two days to keep him alive.


Somali kidnappers free aid staff

Two European aid workers with Medecins Sans Frontieres who were abducted by gunmen in Somalia nine days ago have been released.


The two men were kidnapped in their car with their Somali bodyguards in Hudur, Bakol region, on 19 April.

The Belgian doctor and Danish nurse had reportedly been carrying out a nutrition study.

Sheikh Aden Yare, of the Islamist al-Shabab, told Reuters news agency the pair had been freed without condition.

“This will not happen again,” he was quoted as saying.

‘Tough talks’

The BBC Somali Service says al-Shabab controls the area where the aid workers were seized, but the kidnappers were local gunmen, not thought to be affiliated to any group.

Hassan Mohamed, an elder involved in the negotiations, told AFP news agency: “After days of tough talks, we finally succeeded in freeing the hostages and now they are in the hands of the elders.”

The Horn of Africa nation is one of the world’s most dangerous places for relief workers.

The UN estimates 35 aid staff were killed last year and 26 abducted in Somalia, which has not had a functioning government since 1991.

Telecom sale tests Zimbabwe’s privatisation plans


by Godfrey Marawanyika – Tue Apr 28

The sale of Zimbabwe’s state-owned mobile phone operator NetOne — a first key test for the new government’s massive privatisation plan — is generating huge interest, the company’s CEO told AFP.

“Since September 15, when the power sharing agreement was signed, there has been an increase in inquiries from the UK, Canada, Italy, looking for opportunities,” NetOne chief executive Reward Kangai said in an interview.

NetOne is the second biggest operator in the country and competes with two privately owned companies for the Zimbabwe market, which has only 1.4 million mobile phone users but is seen as having strong potential for growth.

The sale is part of a broader effort to bring in much-needed funds for an economy riven by hyperinflation, political strife and disease. State assets in the oil sector, air transport and railways are also planned for privatisation.

The unity government, which only took office this February following disputed elections in March 2008, says it needs more than 8.5 billion dollars (6.4 billion euros) over three years to haul the country out of economic ruin.

Latin America

Latin America Appears to Warm to IMF

Economic Crisis Forces Many Countries to Turn to Once-Shunned Organization

By Juan Forero and Joshua Partlow

Washington Post Foreign Service

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

QUITO, Ecuador — Few guests have felt so unwanted in Ecuador as the International Monetary Fund.

The country’s president regularly vilifies the Washington-based multilateral organization as an arm of imperialism, and the fund’s representative here left after being declared persona non grata.

But with Ecuador hit hard by the worldwide economic crisis, the government has quietly resumed talks with IMF officials, mirroring a trend in Latin America as one country after another overlooks the fund’s sometimes ignominious reputation in the region to seek its assistance.

Ecuador still publicly shuns the IMF as President Rafael Correa’s government openly seeks help from China and small multilateral lenders.

Ignoring Asia A Blog


    • on April 28, 2009 at 13:40

    Who cares! Its a day off

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