Docudharma Times Monday June 8

  Media attempts to contact

MIC to establish why it was taking

an apparently defiant stance were rebuffed,

but the Guardian managed to grill MIC’s marketing

president, John McNelis.

“I would think [Burger King] would run from any form of controversy

kinda like cockroaches when the lights get turned on,”

said Mr McNelis. “I’m not aware of any direction

that they gave the franchisee and

I don’t think they have the authority to do it.”    

Monday’s Headlines:

For U.S. Autoworkers, Future Hinges on Adaptability

Zimbabwe regime verdict: must do better

Gabon president Omar Bongo Ondimba dies

Lebanon’s ruling coalition claims election victory over Hezbollah

Mud, mud, glorious mud. Nothing quite like it for beating the Israeli blockade

Opus Dei lets film director in on some of its secrets

Stunning reversal of fortunes for Ireland’s Fianna Fáil

‘Pakistan has awakened’: Locals fight back against Taliban

Putting the Brakes on India’s Young Consumers

Acapulco Gun Battle Leaves 18 Dead

U.S. Weighs Intercepting North Korean Shipments


Published: June 7, 2009

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration signaled Sunday that it was seeking a way to interdict, possibly with China’s help, North Korean sea and air shipments suspected of carrying weapons or nuclear technology.The administration also said it was examining whether there was a legal basis to reverse former President George W. Bush’s decision last year to remove the North from a list of states that sponsor terrorism.

The reference to interdictions – preferably at ports or airfields in countries like China, but possibly involving riskier confrontations on the high seas – was made by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

N. Korea sentences U.S. journalists to 12 years

Country’s top court convicts Laura Ling and Euna Lee of ‘grave crime’

Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea said its top court convicted two U.S. journalists and sentenced them to 12 years in labor prison Monday, intensifying the reclusive nation’s confrontation with the United States.

The North’s Central Court tried American TV reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee during proceedings running from last Thursday to Monday and found them guilty of a “grave crime” against the nation, and of illegally crossing into North Korea, the country’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said.

It said the court “sentenced each of them to 12 years of reform through labor.” The KCNA report gave no other details.


U.S. Will Let Some Banks Repay Aid

Move Doesn’t Signal Economic Recovery, Officials Caution

By Binyamin Appelbaum and David Cho

Washington Post Staff Writers

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Obama administration plans to announce as soon as today that some of the nation’s largest banks can repay billions in federal aid, but some officials caution that the show of progress is being underwritten by multiple layers of less visible government support.

Through cheap loans, debt guarantees and a promise that big banks will not be allowed to fail, these officials say the government has created an artificial environment in which profits and stock prices have rebounded, helping banks in recent weeks to raise about $50 billion from private investors.

For U.S. Autoworkers, Future Hinges on Adaptability

By Michael Leahy

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, June 8, 2009

WARREN, Mich. If the electric car he is working on at this moment represents General Motors’ hopeful vision of its changing direction, then Tom Goddard may be the new face of the American autoworker, someone who after 24 years at GM takes nothing for granted, sees his job as tenuous and prides himself on building his skills in hopes of survival.Two years ago, Goddard took stock of the ailing corporation and the precariousness of union jobs here in Michigan and asked whether he might be able to work on the Chevrolet Volt, GM’s much ballyhooed electric car, still in the pre-production stage and not scheduled for sale until late 2010. In response, one of his supervisors wondered whether they ought to be part of the Volt project, voicing skepticism about the vehicle’s long-term chances.


Zimbabwe regime verdict: must do better

Things are getting a little better, Tsvangirai tells US and Europe. At home they’re not so sure

David Smith in Harare, Sunday 7 June 2009 23.34 BST

Three months ago Davison Makhado took his first job, as a teacher, to play his part in reopening Zimbabwe’s schools. The 35 boys in Makhado’s class at Ellis Robins school in Harare are eager to learn about African history, but only have a single textbook between them, so before each lesson Makhado makes extensive notes that he then painstakingly dictates.

“It’s very difficult to teach,” the 25-year-old said. “The children complain about it a lot.”

The stuttering revival of the education sector is a litmus test of Zimbabwe’s faltering and fragile progress since President Robert Mugabe and prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s inclusive government was formed in February.

Gabon president Omar Bongo Ondimba dies

From Times Online

June 8, 2009

Times Online

Africa’s longest serving leader, Gabon president Omar Bongo Ondimba, has died aged 73, according to reports in France.

Mr Bongo, who had ruled the former French colony in west Africa since 1967, had been in a clinic in Barcelona, Spain for a medical check-up amid reports that he was being treated for advanced cancer.

His death was not officially confirmed by either Gabon or France’s foreign ministry. But shops, restaurants and bars in Libreville, the capital, closed as news of the president’s passing was broadcast via French radio and television channels.

“We closed the restaurant since the announcement,” said one employee, adding on condition of anonymity, “People are scared.”

Middle East

Lebanon’s ruling coalition claims election victory over Hezbollah

• Saad Hariri expected to become prime minister

• Vote deemed fairest in country’s history

Hugh Macleod in Beirut

The Guardian, Monday 8 June 2009

Jubilant supporters of Lebanon’s US-backed ruling coalition took to the streets last night, claiming a decisive election victory. It marks a dramatic reversal of fortunes after polls showed it losing its slim majority to a Hezbollah-led coalition backed by Syria and Iran.

Fireworks streamed from the Beirut home of Saad Hariri, leader of the governing coalition and the top Sunni politician who is now expected to become prime minister. The post was held five times by his father, whose assassination in 2005 triggered a prolonged crisis.

“We extend our hand to work together seriously and in earnest for the sake of Lebanon … to build a strong and sovereign state,” Hariri told supporters in the early hours of the morning. “Long live democracy.”

Mud, mud, glorious mud. Nothing quite like it for beating the Israeli blockade

With cement imports banned, one Gazan has fallen back on an ancient method of building

By Donald Macintyre

Monday, 8 June 2009

On the one hand it’s the ultimate in “de-development.” But on the other it’s a testament to Gazan ingenuity which has somehow been undimmed by three bloody weeks of war and two years of total economic blockade.

Certainly there is no prouder home-owner in southern Gaza than Jihad al Shaer, as he sits on his palm-lined verandah looking out on his desert garden, its path neatly fenced with half buried tyres, and already blooming with water melon, tomatoes and aubergines. But it’s the three-room family house itself which he completed within weeks of the end of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in January that is the source of his pride. It’s built almost entirely with mud.


Opus Dei lets film director in on some of its secrets

New film to explore history of controversial Catholic sect and its leader

By Elizabeth Nash in Madrid

Monday, 8 June 2009

The British film-maker Roland Joffe, who made his mark with his religious drama The Mission about crusading Jesuits in the Brazilian jungle, is to tackle an even more controversial chapter in the history of Catholicism: Opus Dei. Joffe is to recreate the life and miracles of Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer, the Spanish priest who founded one of the most influential and secretive organisations within the Catholic church, and was canonised in 2002. The film seems set to stir up more controversy, following in the wake of several screen hits tapping into public fascination with tales of Opus-inspired crimes and conspiracies, which have set Vatican chasubles aflap.

The Opus furiously condemned the blockbusting Da Vinci Code in 2006, and its sequel Angels and Demons currently topping the bestseller lists.

Stunning reversal of fortunes for Ireland’s Fianna Fáil

From The Times

June 8, 2009

David Sharrock, Ireland Correspondent

Fianna Fáil, the most successful political party in Western Europe, was facing up to its worst electoral performance in its history last night with the likelihood that it would lose a European Parliament seat in Dublin.

The party’s woes were compounded by disastrous results in local council elections and two Dublin by-elections.

Another loser last night appeared to be Declan Ganley, founder and leader of Libertas, which brought the Lisbon Treaty ratification process to a standstill when it spearheaded the No vote in last year’s Irish referendum.


‘Pakistan has awakened’: Locals fight back against Taliban

A new militia is targeting militants in revenge for a mosque bombing Friday. Some say it could be a turning of the tide in public sentiment, driven by recent Army successes.

By Issam Ahmed | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

LAHORE, PAKISTAN – As the Pakistani military cracks down on Taliban forces in the Swat Valley, hundreds of villagers in the country’s troubled northwest region are themselves taking up arms against the insurgents. They have formed a militia and are fighting back the Taliban to avenge the bombing at a mosque on Friday that killed at least 40 people.

Some view the uprising as part of an ongoing local conflict, but others hail the move as a turning of the tide in public sentiment against the Taliban – driven in part by the military’s recent successes.

“Once the Army moves in like it has, at some point in time you’ll see people gathering courage and standing up against these people,” says security analyst Mahmood Shah, a former governor of Pakistan’s tribal areas. “I think the nation has decided that these militants must be driven out of the territory of Pakistan and they must be punished.”

It may be precisely because the military is driving the Taliban out of the Swat Valley that locals are running them down in the nearby Dir Valley, a crossing point between Swat and Afghanistan.

Putting the Brakes on India’s Young Consumers

Banks Slash Account Limits for the Country’s First Credit Card Generation

By Rama Lakshmi

Washington Post Foreign Service

Sunday, June 7, 2009

NEW DELHI — Three weeks ago, Geetanjali Bahl opened her monthly credit card statement to find a letter tersely announcing that her credit limit had been slashed by more than half — to just a little over $500.

Bahl, a 35-year-old public relations professional in the capital, is on maternity leave. She said she feels insulted because the letter gave no reason for the cut.

“What can I possibly do with this small amount? This is worth almost nothing,” she said angrily. “I am pregnant. You never know when you may need to rush to the hospital.”

Latin America

Acapulco Gun Battle Leaves 18 Dead

Soldiers Confront Cartel Suspects In Tourist Zone

By William Booth

Washington Post Foreign Service

Monday, June 8, 2009

MEXICO CITY, June 7 — Suspected drug traffickers trapped in a safe house fought a furious gun battle with Mexican soldiers early Sunday in the beach resort city of Acapulco. As terrified residents and tourists cowered in their rooms, the firefight raged for two hours, leaving 16 gunmen dead. Two soldiers were also killed and several bystanders were wounded.

The gunmen, suspected members of one of Mexico’s major cartels, threw as many as 50 grenades at the advancing soldiers, and both sides fired thousands of rounds from assault rifles.

After the battle ended, soldiers found at the house nearly 50 guns, two grenade launchers, 3,500 rounds of ammunition, luxury cars — and four bound and gagged state police officers who said they had been kidnapped earlier.

Ignoring Asia A Blog


  1. I know it’s only PBS but blowing away the 911 official fallacy topples the corporate house of cards.

  2. Here is the money quote on the ‘pay back’ article in Wa Post that  you list, Mishima

    [I]ndependent experts warn that the government’s relationship with the industry is entering a precarious new phase. As with mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government will no longer share in the banks’ profits, but it still stands ready to absorb losses.

    “It’s good from an individual investor point of view, it’s great for the banks, but from a system point of view it’s very dangerous,” said Simon Johnson, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund.

    meaning banks are merely paying back funds that allowed gov to exert influence over some of their out-of-control practices, while taxpayers remain on the line for banks’ bad debt

    Why we are in trouble: Geithner’s jobs figures – which formed the basis for his stress tests on which banks might fail – were way off the mark.

    Articles on the unemployment stats such as this one:

    “US Unemployment Rate Gallops Ahead of Expectations”

    note WH acknowledging that those figures are

    worse than the Obama administration had anticipated just a few months ago. The somber admission follows the latest jobless report

    So the administration’s conclusions about which banks might fail are fatally flawed since the foundational premises by the Geithner-Summers’ duo  – unemployemnt figures is a worst case scenario – wasn’t even close.

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