Docudharma Times Friday June 5

Rush Limbaugh Falls

Further Down The Abyss

Of Hate    

Friday’s Headlines:

Healthcare overhaul effort moves forward without Kennedy

Anti-immigrant right win 15% of Dutch vote in European elections

The unhappy bedfellows of Arnhem bridge

We wanted a world leader. We saw only a US president

Iran: 20 years after Ayatollah Khomeini

Pakistan arrests senior Islamists

N.Korea silent on fate of US journalists

South Africa: Zapiro – ‘Zapping’ for Democracy

11 bodies found inside abandoned car in Mexico

Ailing, Banks Still Field Strong Lobby at Capitol



Published: June 4, 2009

WASHINGTON – As he often does, President Obama took the opportunity in a bill-signing ceremony last month to remind Congress “to do what we were actually sent here to do – and that is to stand up to the special interests, and stand up for the American people.”

But Mr. Obama did not mention that the measure he was signing, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, was missing its centerpiece: a change in bankruptcy law he once championed that would have given judges the power to lower the amount owed on a home loan.

It had been stripped out three weeks earlier in a showdown between Senate Democrats and the nation’s banks, including many that are getting big government bailouts.

Sri Lanka doctors ‘to be tried’

A group of doctors who worked in Sri Lanka’s rebel-held war zone are being held on suspicion of collaborating with Tamil rebels, the government says.

The doctors could be in detention for a year or more before being tried.

With journalists banned from the conflict zone, they became an important source of news about the fighting during the final bloody months of war.

There has been no word from the doctors, whose work was praised by the US and UN, since they were detained.

Last month the Sri Lankan government defeated Tamil Tiger rebels fighting for a separate homeland.

Government infuriated

During the final phase of the war, the group of doctors treated wounded and ill patients admitted to the makeshift health posts in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)-held zone encircled by government forces.

Two of them were senior local health directors and the United States has said they “helped save many lives” while the UN called them “heroic”.


Using New Language, President Shows Understanding for Both Sides in Middle East


By Glenn Kessler and Jacqueline L. Salmon

Washington Post Staff Writers

Friday, June 5, 2009

There was no mention of “terrorists” or “terrorism,” just “violent extremists.” There was the suggestion that Israeli settlements are illegitimate and the assertion that the Palestinians “have suffered in pursuit of a homeland.” There were frequent references to the “Holy Koran” and echoes of Muslim phrases.

President Obama, who aides say spent many hours “holed up” in the past week revising his Cairo speech, clearly believes in the power of his oratory to win people to his point of view. In many ways, he used his address to promote American values, but his efforts to use new language to recast old grievances have already prompted debate and consternation in some quarters.

At the same time, he avoided specific complaints about the lack of freedoms in the Muslim world. Instead, he spoke of the need to obtain concrete political goals, such as the fair administration of justice. He made no mention of his host, President Hosni Mubarak, a snub surely noticed by Egypt’s autocratic ruler of nearly three decades.

Healthcare overhaul effort moves forward without Kennedy

Senate Democrats are weighing his clout against their ambitious timeline. He is being treated for cancer.

By Noam N. Levey

June 5, 2009

Reporting from Washington — Senate Democrats and the White House are stepping up preparations to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system without the ailing Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), a politically and emotionally fraught move that could dramatically alter the course of what is expected to be a titanic legislative struggle.

While battling a malignant brain tumor, the 77-year-old Kennedy — who has devoted much of his 46-year Senate career to advocating for better healthcare — spent months working on a sweeping bill that Democrats hope will help lay a foundation for the most ambitious health overhaul in generations.

And lawmakers in both parties were counting on Kennedy’s stature and deal-making skills to help craft the kind of bipartisan compromise that many believe will be necessary if a major health bill is to pass the House and Senate.


Anti-immigrant right win 15% of Dutch vote in European elections

• Exit polls predict Freedom party to take second place

• Leader Geert Wilders faces prosection for hate speech

Ian Traynor in Brussels, Friday 5 June 2009 00.47 BST

The Dutch anti-immigrant maverick, Geert Wilders, scored his biggest victory yesterday, seizing 15% and second place in European elections for the Netherlands, according to exit polls last night.

The bleached blond populist, barred from Britain and facing prosecution at home for hate speech, led his Freedom party to win four of the Netherlands’ 25 seats in the European parliament at the first attempt, pushing the Labour party of the coalition government’s finance minister, Wouter Bos, into third place.

Wilders wants the European parliament abolished, Bulgaria and Romania kicked out of the EU, the mass deportation of immigrants from the Netherlands, and a minimum say for Brussels over Dutch policy. The virulence of his anti-Islam and anti-immigrant activities saw him barred from entering Britain earlier this year, while the Dutch authorities are prosecuting him for inciting hatred.

The unhappy bedfellows of Arnhem bridge

Prostitutes and drug addicts are ruining war memorial, campaigners say

By Robert Verkaik in Arnhem

Friday, 5 June 2009

A key heritage site commemorating one of the most famous campaigns fought by British soldiers during the Second World War has become a battleground between residents of the Dutch town of Arnhem and hordes of prostitutes and drug addicts who share the location with visiting veterans.

The dispute centres on the town’s famous bridge where hundreds of British paratroopers died defending the crossing from repeated German attacks. Campaigners say that prostitutes and drug addicts using a drug rehabilitation boat have begun accosting coach parties of war veterans and their families who visit the town.

Middle East

We wanted a world leader. We saw only a US president

Obama’s long-awaited speech demonstrated little to suggest America will pursue any course beyond its own interests

Ahdaf Soueif, Friday 5 June 2009 07.00 BST

This is hard. It’s hard because we so need to believe that Obama is about change, that he’s wise, that he’s good, that he has the interests of the world – rather than just the interests of the United States – at heart.

The 3,500 invited guests were told they’d have to be in their places by 10.30. But Obama would speak at one. An odd time for everyone, it would seem: for us in Cairo, where the cool of the evening is the preferred time for any event, and for people in America, who wouldn’t yet have woken up. I dress with my eye on the television screen: the loop of Obama touching cheeks with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, his hand resting for a companionable minute on the old monarch’s arm. Just before I leave the house I glimpse the prancing horses that make up part of Obama’s procession into Cairo.

Iran: 20 years after Ayatollah Khomeini

Presidential campaign politics intrude on the anniversary of Islamic republic’s founder.

By Scott Peterson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

TEHRAN, IRAN – Twenty years to the day after the death of the founder of Iran’s Islamic revolution, devotees gathered on Thursday at the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

They were there to remember what to many was a divine loss – and recall the most frenzied funeral in Iran’s living memory.

Gorban-Ali Baqrzadeh’s grief back then carried him 25 miles, barefoot.

He arrived to a scene of millions of black-clad Iranians beating their chests, throwing dirt on themselves, and passing out in the extreme heat – despite fire-trucks dousing the churning masses.

Dozens died in the melee, thousands were injured, and in the crush even Ayatollah Khomeini’s body had to be retrieved, prepared again, and brought back by helicopter.

“We cried,” recalls Mr. Baqrzadeh, his beard now white, but his devotion undiminished. “We cried a lot for this person who was an exceptional, very religious person, who was so close to God, and worked for the success of Islam.”

The 1979 revolution wrought by Khomeini, he says, “was a light that shone across all the world, under the flag of Islam. He was the savior of the oppressed.”


Pakistan arrests senior Islamists

Pakistan’s army says it has arrested several senior associates of the Islamist cleric, Sufi Mohammed.

The BBC Friday, 5 June 2009

Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said six men, including Sufi Mohammad’s deputy Maulana Mohammed Alim, had been detained.

The arrests took place during a raid on a religious seminary following a tip-off security forces received.

Sufi Mohammed is the father-in-law of the Taliban leader in the troubled Swat region, Maulana Fazlullah.

See a map of the region

He is also the founder of a banned militant group, Tehrik Nizam Shariat Mohammadi (TNSM).

He negotiated the peace deal imposing Islamic law in Swat, which fell apart when Taliban fighters moved into neighbouring districts.

N.Korea silent on fate of US journalists


North Korea stayed silent Friday on the fate of two US women journalists who went on trial the previous day on charges that could send them to a labour camp for years.

Since a terse announcement Thursday that the hearing would start at 3:00 pm (0600 GMT) that day, the communist state’s official media has carried no update on proceedings against Laura Ling and Euna Lee.

The case has further raised tensions with Washington following the North’s nuclear test last week and its reported plans for another long-range rocket launch.

The TV reporters were detained by North Korean border guards on March 17 while researching a story about refugees fleeing the North.

Pyongyang has previously said they would face trial for “hostile acts” and illegally entering the country. South Korean analysts say “hostile acts” are punishable by a minimum five years’ detention and hard labour.


South Africa: Zapiro – ‘Zapping’ for Democracy


Annar Cassam

Jonathan Shapiro, or Zapiro, is a well-known and much admired Cape Town cartoonist whose daily cariacatures in S.Africa’s major newspapers are widely read all over the country. His reputation in some quarters is such that the great and the good from all walks of life deeply appreciate being lampooned by him. The one exception is President Jacob Zuma who has started legal proceedings against Zapiro for some extremely offensive cartoons about Zuma’s appearances in court on rape and corruption charges in 2008.

Zapiro’s work includes comments on the recent general elections of April 2009. The first cartoon in this series (Mail & Guardian, 23 April 2009) shows what he thinks lies ahead for the majority of voters who queued up to vote for the ANC because of what the leadership – here symbolised by the snake’s head – has promised them. The second cartoon, Ballot Box Blues (Sunday Times,19 April 2009) depicts Zapiro’s own personal angst after having ‘lost faith’ in the ANC.

Latin America

11 bodies found inside abandoned car in Mexico

By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press Writer – Fri Jun 5

MEXICO CITY – Mexican police found 11 bodies – most with their hands and feet cut off – inside an abandoned car in the border state of Sonora Thursday in violence attributed to drug traffickers battling for control of the region.

Sonora’s state prosecutors said in a statement that the bodies were discovered inside a sport utility vehicle on a road between the towns of Caborca and Sonoyta along with a threatening message. The SUV had been stolen in Arizona.

Prosecutors did not reveal what the message said or the identities of the bodies. They said the killings are linked to a fight between local drug traffickers and another group trying to move in.

Police are investigating whether the killings are tied to an attack on the village of Plutarco Elias Calles where four people were abducted and assailants opened fire on the police station Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, federal police said Thursday they have captured two of 53 inmates who escaped from a prison in northern Mexico last month as its guards apparently stood by.

I apologize for there being no Docudharma Times yesterday which occurred because of computer problems.    

Ignoring Asia A Blog

1 comment

    • RiaD on June 5, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    i hope your computer troubles are over!!


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