Docudharma Times Sunday May 17

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Sunday’s Headlines:

From a Theory to a Consensus on Emissions

Sri Lankan army pushes on with final assault on cornered Tamils

Tribe wants newly elected politicians to ‘keep their word’

Riot police arrest Tatchell at gay march in Moscow

A who-wunnit: family fight over crime writer’s fortune

History made in Kuwait as women elected to parliament

Israel PM ‘may back two states’

Eritrea denies Somali involvement

Zimbabwean girls seek opportunity in South Africa

Guatemala in uproar after lawyer predicts own murder

Afghan civilian deaths: Who is to blame?

Commanders and villagers give conflicting accounts of the attack that Afghan officials say killed 140 civilians, a toll disputed by the U.S. But injured girls make clear the costs for two families.

By Laura King

May 17, 2009

Reporting from Qale Zaman, Afghanistan — The road to Bala Baluk district stretches arrow-straight ahead, with heat-shimmered cucumber fields on either side. But determining exactly what transpired nearly two weeks ago in a hamlet called Garani takes a far more twisted path.

A battle raged. Bombs fell. Afghan officials say at least 140 civilians died, two-thirds of them children and teenagers, in what may prove the most lethal episode of civilian casualties since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Days of interviews with U.S. and Afghan commanders, mourning villagers and jittery provincial authorities, doctors and human rights activists about the fighting of May 4 yielded accounts that could be likened to a series of linked circles; some elements overlap while others appear irreconcilable.

Villagers consistently told of a bombardment that came at least 90 minutes after the Taliban had melted away from Garani, a village just 22 miles from the provincial capital, Farah City.

How Neanderthals met a grisly fate: devoured by humans

A fossil discovery bears marks of butchering similar to those made when cutting up a deer

Robin McKie, science editor

The Observer, Sunday 17 May 2009

One of science’s most puzzling mysteries – the disappearance of the Neanderthals – may have been solved. Modern humans ate them, says a leading fossil expert.

The controversial suggestion follows publication of a study in the Journal of Anthropological Sciences about a Neanderthal jawbone apparently butchered by modern humans. Now the leader of the research team says he believes the flesh had been eaten by humans, while its teeth may have been used to make a necklace.

Fernando Rozzi, of Paris’s Centre National de la Récherche Scientifique, said the jawbone had probably been cut into to remove flesh, including the tongue. Crucially, the butchery was similar to that used by humans to cut up deer carcass in the early Stone Age. “Neanderthals met a violent end at our hands and in some cases we ate them,” Rozzi said.


Gay-Marriage Issue Awaits Court Pick

Same-Sex Unions Supplant Abortion As Social Priority for Conservatives

By Shailagh Murray

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, May 17, 2009

As President Obama prepares to name his first Supreme Court justice, conservatives in Washington are making clear that his nominee will face plenty of questions during the confirmation process on the legal underpinnings of same-sex marriage.

In addition to shedding more light on the nation’s most contentious unfolding social drama and legal frontier, Senate Republicans say the debate could provide a road map to an Obama nominee’s judicial philosophy.

“It may reflect the degree to which they think that they’re not bound by the classical meaning of the Constitution, and that they may want to let a personal agenda go beyond what the law said,” said  Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

From a Theory to a Consensus on Emissions


Published: May 16, 2009

WASHINGTON – As Congress weighs imposing a mandatory limit on climate-altering gases – an outcome still far from certain – it is likely to turn to a system that sets a government ceiling on total emissions and allows polluting industries to buy and sell permits to meet it.

That approach, known as cap and trade, has been embraced by President Obama, Democratic leaders in Congress, mainstream environmental groups and a growing number of business interests, including energy-consuming industries like autos, steel and aluminum.

But not long ago, many of today’s supporters dismissed the idea of tradable emissions permits as an industry-inspired Republican scheme to avoid the real costs of cutting air pollution. The right answer, they said, was strict government regulation, state-of-the-art technology and a federal tax on every ton of harmful emissions.


Sri Lankan army pushes on with final assault on cornered Tamils

Government defies calls for halt to fighting and UN accusations of bloodbath

Gethin Chamberlain in Delhi, Saturday 16 May 2009 15.25 BST

The violence in Sri Lanka was close to a bloody conclusion last night as the country’s armed forces sought to destroy the last pocket of Tamil Tiger fighters in defiance of international pleas for a halt to the fighting and accusations from the UN that they had triggered a bloodbath.

While leaders of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were reported to be preparing to kill themselves rather than be captured, explosions reverberated around the tiny coastal strip where as many as 80,000 civilians remained trapped alongside the cornered rebels.

Humanitarian aid workers were in despair as sporadic reports filtered out of thousands of civilians killed inside the “no fire zone”, the government-designated haven where non-combatants were supposed to be able to escape the fighting.

Tribe wants newly elected politicians to ‘keep their word’

Indian mountain people fight court decision to let a UK company mine bauxite on their ancient land

By Emily Dugan

Sunday, 17 May 2009

An Indian tribe which has lost its five-year battle to save its sacred home from destruction by a British FTSE-100 mining company earlier this month, only discovered its fate on Friday. The Dongria Kondh have been living for centuries on the remote Niyamgiri Mountain in eastern India, worshipping the hill god Niyam Raja and living off the land. But an Indian Supreme Court ruling means that Vedanta, a mining company owned by the London-based Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal, can begin mining on the mountain.

Vedanta’s subsidiary, Sterlite, has been given permission to begin mining bauxite, the most important aluminium ore, on land considered sacred by the tribe. Previous studies by academics, government bodies and charities have shown that an open-pit mine would destroy the habitat that has been its home for generations, destroy the forest, and cause water sources to dry up, threatening endangered animals and ecosystems.


Riot police arrest Tatchell at gay march in Moscow

Protest to coincide with Eurovision is banned to prevent ‘moral degradation’

By Shaun Walker in Moscow

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Riot police in Moscow ruthlessly broke up a peaceful gay rights protest yesterday, at times using violence to detain the participants. The city authorities had banned the march, timed to coincide with the supposedly gay-friendly Eurovision Song Contest, but around 30 activists decided to protest anyway, changing the venue at the last minute.

They gathered near Moscow’s main university, chanting slogans and unveiling banners protesting against homophobia in Russian society. Most of the demonstrators, including the organiser, Nikolai Alexeev, and British gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, were bundled into police vans and driven away. The city’s mayor has previously referred to gays as “Satanists” and the authorities claimed the march had been banned to prevent “moral degradation”.

A who-wunnit: family fight over crime writer’s fortune

The girlfriend and father of the Swedish novelist Stieg Larsson are locked in a feud over his £10m estate

From The Sunday Times

May 17, 2009 Matthew Campbell

RELATIVES of Stieg Larsson, the bestselling Swedish novelist whose posthumous international appeal has made him the toast of the publishing industry, are locked in a bitter dispute over an inheritance worth millions and a laptop computer.

The legal battle between Larsson’s girlfriend and his father and brother could have been plucked from the pages of his three crime novels and is stirring just as much passion in Sweden, where at least one in three people has read them.

For months the nation’s attention has been focused on the plight of Eva Gabrielsson, a 54-year-old architectural historian. She lived with Larsson for 30 years until his death in 2004 but has inherited none of the estimated £10m he has earned since because they were not married.

Middle East

History made in Kuwait as women elected to parliament

From Times Online

May 17, 2009

Times Online

Kuwaiti women have achieved another historical milestone by winning their first ever seats in the oil-rich Gulf state’s parliament.

US-educated liberal Aseel al-Awadhi and Rula Dashti were declared among the first 10 winners in the third district, according to official results released today. Awadi came in second position while Dashti was in seventh place.

Former health minister Massouma al-Mubarak, who became the first Kuwaiti woman minister in 2005, and another female candidate, Salwa al-Jassar, also secured seats in parliament.

Ms Awadhi was expected to win a seat, but no one predicted she would come in second place.

Ms Awadhi is a professor of political philosophy at Kuwait University. She received her doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.

Israel PM ‘may back two states’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be prepared to endorse a peace process leading to an independent Palestinian state, his defence minister has said.


Ehud Barak, a long-time rival now part of Israel’s governing coalition, spoke ahead of Mr Netanyahu’s first meeting with US President Obama in Washington.

He told Israeli TV a regional deal could be struck within three years.

Mr Netanyahu has so far been unwilling to discuss a two-state solution, saying only he wants a “fresh approach”.

He recently made his first visits out of Israel since taking office, travelling to Egypt and Jordan during the past week.

A two-state solution based on independent Palestinian statehood is a goal strongly backed by the US and by Jordan and Egypt, Israel’s only allies among Arab states.

‘Fresh approach’

President Obama is expected to push Benjamin Netanyahu on the issue when they meet for talks at the White House on Monday.

Mr Barak, the Labour leader, says his long-time rival is ready to take a pragmatic approach to peace negotiations.


Eritrea denies Somali involvement

Eritrea has denied reports that it has been supplying Islamists in Somalia with weapons and ammunition.


The Eritrean ambassador to the UN, Araya Desta, told the BBC that the claims were “totally false”.

Both the US and the UN Security Council have voiced concern over reports of Eritrean involvement.

Several Somali Islamist groups operated from Eritrea after being ousted from the capital Mogadishu when Ethiopian troops entered Somalia in 2006.

Meanwhile the British ambassador to the UN, John Sawers, has said that the UN Security Council has not ruled out the idea of a UN peacekeeping force in Somalia, but has not decided to commit one as yet.

Zimbabwean girls seek opportunity in South Africa



MUSINA, South Africa (AP) – It’s easy to miss the two girls. They are so small they seem to disappear amid the dozen Zimbabwean boys crowded around them along the trash-choked drain.

Sofia Chimhangwa, a 14-year-old in a denim skirt, lies on the concrete under a filthy blanket. Her 15-year-old friend sits next to her, braiding a legless Barbie’s hair. Sofia says she survives because the other girl’s 19-year-old boyfriend helps feed them both when the coins they beg don’t stretch far enough.

“We shouldn’t be here on our own. I know that,” Sofia said. Her big sister helped her get to the border from Zimbabwe’s capital Harare. After eight months in this border town, Sofia is not ready to go home because she cannot yet take money back to her widowed father.

She is among an increasing number of young Zimbabweans setting out on their own to escape their homeland’s economic ruin, bringing both a child’s naive sense of invincibility and a grown-up desire to help their families.

International aid group Save the Children says some 500 Zimbabwean youngsters are in Musina today, compared to about 50 five years ago. But those committed to helping these children are increasingly anguished over one question: Where are the girls?

Latin America

Guatemala in uproar after lawyer predicts own murder

Isabel Hilton in Guatemala City

The Observer, Sunday 17 May 2009


World news


Guatemala in uproar after lawyer predicts own murder

Isabel Hilton in Guatemala City

The Observer, Sunday 17 May 2009

Article history

Rodrigo Rosenberg, a middle-aged Guatemalan lawyer, has become an unlikely YouTube star in macabre circumstances. In a video recorded last Friday at the offices of a friend, he sits behind a desk and talks at the camera for 15 minutes.

“If you are hearing this message,” Rosenberg begins, “unfortunately, it is because I have been murdered by the president’s private secretary, Gustavo Alejos, and his partner, Gregorio Valdez, with the approval of Álvaro Colom and Sandra de Colom [Guatemala’s president and first lady].”

Two days later, on Sunday, Rosenberg was shot while riding his bicycle in Guatemala City. He died on the street.

“I do not want to be a hero,” Rosenberg says at one point during the sensational video that was distributed at his funeral on Monday, but he has now become a martyr in a nation weary of drug running, money laundering and corruption, and with one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Ignoring Asia A Blog

1 comment

    • RiaD on May 17, 2009 at 15:10

    the one about Neanderthals makes perfectly good sense to me.

    & maybe that’s where the ‘mean, fighting gene’ originally came from?

    the sri-lanka stories really upset me.

    i wish i could do something to help those caught in the middle.

    i hope you had a pleasant weekend…..

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