Docudharma Times Friday June 26

Bad day for Gen X

‘These people were on our lunchboxes,’

said fan Gary Giovannetti

Friday’s Headlines:

Governor Mark Sanford under pressure to quit over affair

Children forced to mine Zimbabwe diamonds

U.S. sending arms aid to Somalia

‘Bribes and bombs’ scandal returns to haunt Sarkozy

Cleared men face retrial over murder of Anna Politkovskaya

China ‘to block’ Hummer takeover

Pakistani Taliban claim Kashmir attack

Iranians mourn slain woman as power struggle continues

At Least 9 Die as Bombing Wave Continues in Iraq

For Haitians deported from the US, an unlikely welcome-home committee

Object of Acclaim, Curiosity, The ‘King of Pop’ Dies in L.A.


By Hank Stuever and Matt Schudel

Washington Post Staff Writers

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson, 50, died yesterday in Los Angeles as sensationally as he lived, as famous as a human being can get. He was a child Motown phenomenon who grew into a moonwalking megastar, the self-anointed King of Pop who sold 750 million records over his career and enjoyed worldwide adoration.

But with that came the world’s relentless curiosity, and Mr. Jackson was eventually regarded as one of show business’s legendary oddities, hopping from one public relations crisis to another.

In the end there were two sides to the record: The tabloid caricature and the provocative, genre-changing musical genius that his fans will always treasure. There were those whose devotion knew no bounds, who visited the gates of his private ranch north of Santa Barbara, Calif., arriving at Neverland on pilgrimages from Europe and Asia, and who were among the first to flock to UCLA Medical Center as news of his death spread yesterday afternoon. Those were the same kind of fans who camped out at the Santa Barbara Superior Courthouse, to show their support during his 2005 trial. They released doves and wept when he was acquitted.

Miscalculations abound in Iran

By Shahir Shahidsaless

Twenty-eight years ago, on June 20, 1981, after almost two years of friction between the Mujahideen Khalq Organization (MKO) – a militant revolutionary group – and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini – the Iranian leader of the 1979 revolution – the dispute escalated into armed conflict. The ayatollah attacked the MKO leaders and followers as non-believers and “monafeq” (hypocrites hidden inside Islamic society). He encouraged people to confront the movement. The MKO was driven underground, but the fierce campaign, which cost the lives of hundreds of the MKO’s followers, crushed and rooted the organization out of the country.

Now, history is repeating its terrible self. However, misleadingly, while the two events look similar on the surface, there are fundamental differences.

Threatened by supporters of the defeated presidential candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as part of the ruling elite, delivered an unambiguous message during last Friday’s prayer sermon.


Senate panel OKs funds for jailing illegal immigrants

Compensation for state and local governments may be continued, despite Obama’s call to end such payments. California could receive less money than last year.

By Richard Simon

10:41 PM PDT, June 25, 2009

Reporting from Washington — Congress appeared poised Thursday to continue compensating state and local governments for incarcerating illegal immigrants convicted of crimes, ignoring President Obama’s call to eliminate such payments.

That would spare strapped California from another hit on its budget.The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to provide $228 million nationwide next year, acting a week after the House voted to allocate $400 million, the same as this year.

Once the full Senate acts, negotiators from both chambers will meet to reconcile their differences.

California, which receives about 40% of the money, still could end up with less than it received this year.

“That’s better than nothing,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

The funds are included in the annual bill funding the Justice and Commerce departments and science programs.

Governor Mark Sanford under pressure to quit over affair

A prominent Republican governor is under pressure to resign after a tearful press conference in which he confessed to flying secretly to Buenos Aires to spend a week with his Argentine mistress.

By Toby Harnden in Washington  

Governor Mark Sanford, 49, a conservative former congressman viewed as a strong contender for the White House in 2012, had disappeared from his state of South Carolina, telling aides he was going hiking in the Appalachian mountains.

Instead, the married father of four was 5,000 miles away in Argentina with a glamorous divorcee named by local newspapers as Maria Belen Chapur, 43, said to be a commodities trader with Bunge and Born, a grain trading corporation. She is believed to have studied at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, and is fluent in English, Portuguese and Mandarin.Excerpts from torrid emails between Mr Sanford to his lover were released by The State newspaper in South Carolina. At one point he told her he wanted to say “that I love your tan lines or that I love the curves of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself in the faded glow of night’s light”.


Children forced to mine Zimbabwe diamonds

Robert Mugabe’s army is compelling villagers to dig for gems, and the revenue is being funnelled off by senior Zanu-PF lieutenants, Human Rights Watch claims

David Smith in Johannesburg, Friday 26 June 2009 08.15 BST

Hundreds of children are being forced by Zimbabwe’s army to dig for diamonds to bankroll senior lieutenants of President Robert Mugabe, a Human Rights Watch investigation has found.

Researchers believe that revenue from illegal trading of the gems is being funnelled to Mugabe’s senior lieutenants in his Zanu-PF party, as well as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which has underwritten some military operations. The money could prove a lifeline for Zanu-PF as it regroups ahead of the next election, expected in two years’ time.

The report, published today, claims the army is torturing and beating villagers on the diamond fields of Marange district in eastern Zimbabwe. The atrocities follow a massacre last year in which more than 200 people were killed when troops seized control of mining and trading.

U.S. sending arms aid to Somalia

The military support and stepped-up humanitarian assistance are aimed at helping to sustain a transitional government under pressure from Islamic militants. The U.S. hopes others will follow suit.

By Paul Richter

4:45 PM PDT, June 25, 2009

Reporting from Washington — The Obama administration has begun sending arms aid to the beleaguered government of Somalia, officials said Thursday, in an escalation of its commitment to one of the world’s most troubled states.

State Department officials said the support is intended to help sustain a transitional government that is steadily losing ground to Islamic militants amid a spreading humanitarian catastrophe. The administration also is stepping up humanitarian aid to the country, said officials, who declined to disclose how much will be spent.

“We are concerned,” said Ian Kelly, a State Department spokesman, speaking about the Somali government’s stability.

The money would help “repel the onslaught of extremist forces which are intent on . . . spoiling efforts to bring peace and stability to Somalia,” Kelly said.

The move is a signal that the administration wants to broaden its commitment to sub-Saharan Africa, going beyond the counter-terrorism programs that were the Bush administration’s primary focus, officials said.


‘Bribes and bombs’ scandal returns to haunt Sarkozy

Families of 11 engineers murdered in Karachi in 2002 point finger of blame at French government

By John Lichfield in Paris

Friday, 26 June 2009

A political scandal is gathering pace over claims that 11 French submarine engineers were murdered in a bomb attack in Karachi seven years ago to punish France for the non-payment of arms contract “commissions” to senior Pakistani officials.

Lawyers for the French victims’ families believe the attack, allegedly carried out by Islamist terrorists, was in fact part of a web of financial chicanery and political manoeuvring which may yet severely embarrass senior figures, including the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari.

Two French magistrates investigating the bombing of the engineers’ bus in May 2002 have ruled out the possibility that it was an attack by al-Qa’ida on Western interests.

Cleared men face retrial over murder of Anna Politkovskaya

From The Times

June 26, 2009

Tony Halpin

The Russian Supreme Court has ordered a retrial of three men who were cleared of being involved in the murder of the journalist and Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya.

It overturned the acquittal of two Chechen brothers, Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov, and a former Moscow policeman, Sergei Khadzhikurbanov.

All three were found not guilty in February after a trial in which supporters of Ms Politkovskaya criticised the prosecution for making a poorly argued case. The Supreme Court ordered a fresh trial after granting a prosecution appeal that the judge had violated procedures.

The acquittal provoked a storm of criticism for prosecutors from Russian newspapers and embarrassment in the Kremlin over the failure to secure a conviction in the high-profile murder case.


China ‘to block’ Hummer takeover

A Chinese firm’s bid to buy the gas-guzzling Hummer car brand will be blocked on environmental grounds, according to Chinese state radio.

The BBC Friday, 26 June 2009

Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery emerged as the surprise buyer for the brand earlier this year.

But China National Radio said Hummer is at odds with the country’s planning agency’s attempts to decrease pollution from Chinese manufacturers.

The acquisition from General Motors would need Chinese regulatory approval.

‘Lacks expertise’

The value of the bid was not disclosed at the time, but analysts say that GM would have made about $100m (£61m) from the sale.

National Development and Reform Commission will also block Sichuan Tengzhong from buying Hummer because the Chinese construction equipment maker lacks expertise in car production, state radio added.

Pakistani Taliban claim Kashmir attack

Associated Press  ISLAMABAD

A Pakistani Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for a suicide attack against Pakistani security forces in Kashmir that has broadened the group’s anti-government campaign.

A suicide bomber blew himself up Friday near an army vehicle, killing at least two soldiers in the first such assault in Pakistan’s part of the divided Himalayan territory.

Hakimullah Mehsud, a deputy of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, told The Associated Press the attack was launched to prove that Mehsud had not been weakened by more than a week recent strikes on his suspected hideouts in northwest Pakistan.

Mehsud’s group is blamed for a series of deadly suicide attacks in Pakistan to avenge military operations in the volatile region.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Middle East

Iranians mourn slain woman as power struggle continues

By a McClatchy special correspondent and Jonathan S. Landay | McClatchy Newspapers

TEHRAN, Iran – Defying an official ban, hundreds of people held a graveside tribute Thursday for the woman who’s become a symbol of the Iranian opposition after she was killed while protesting the country’s disputed election.

Witnesses said the crowd gathered around 5 p.m. Thursday at the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery, an hour’s drive south of Tehran, for a memorial service for Neda Agha-Soltan, the 26-year-old woman who allegedly was shot dead by a member of the pro-government Basij militia during a massive protest in the capital on June 20.

“Her grave was covered with white and red roses,” said a young man who was present, but who requested anonymity to avoid government retribution.An amateur video showing Soltan bleeding to death in the street was seen around the world after it was posted on the Internet, transforming her into a symbol of the opposition movement ignited by charges that the government had rigged Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s landslide re-election.

At Least 9 Die as Bombing Wave Continues in Iraq


Published: June 26, 2009

BAGHDAD – At least nine people were killed and 25 injured Friday when a suicide bomber on a motorcycle detonated explosives in a Baghdad market area, the Interior Ministry said. The bombing was the eighth in two days as American troops prepare to withdraw from Iraqi cities by Tuesday.The insurgents appear to be testing the Iraqi security forces’ ability to handle the situation without American backup.

There were seven bombings on Thursday, making targets of both Shiites and Sunnis, civilians and Iraqi security forces, and American soldiers. There were at least five attacks in Baghdad. One, at a bus station, killed two people and wounded 30 in the late morning, security officials said, though witnesses at the scene said the toll was higher.

Latin America

For Haitians deported from the US, an unlikely welcome-home committee

Haitian volunteers, including former criminal deportees, help new arrivals in a land many find hard to negotiate.

By Amy Bracken | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

PORTAUPRINCE, HAITI – For a moment, it feels like a family reunion. Two buses drive from the airport to a nearby parking lot, where several young men are waiting. They throw their arms up and yell, “Welcome!” as heads poke out of the bus windows.

But this is no picnic – it’s the police station that processes criminal deportees from the US.

After a lull – when the US suspended deportations to Haiti – deportees are now again flowing in at a rate of about 100 a month. But the US-funded program to integrate new arrivals remains on hold indefinitely, and without explanation. So those now helping deportees are an unlikely group of volunteers – including former deportees themselves.

The six volunteers gathered at the police station are all members of a group called CARDH, the French acronym for Support Center for the Rehabilitation of Haitian Deportees, an association of former criminal deportees that provides temporary housing and logistical, employment, and moral support for newcomers.

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1 comment

    • RiaD on June 26, 2009 at 14:41

    the news is certainly making me feel very old lately.

    lunchboxes indeed!

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