Docudharma Times Saturday June 27

“No matter how you doctor it

or tailor it,” said Representative

Joe Pitts, Republican of Pennsylvania, “it is a tax.”

Commenting On The

Climate Change Legislation

Saturday’s Headlines:

Judge orders Madoff to forfeit $170 billion

The city where parking leads to a head-on collision in Jerusalem

Leading demonstrators must be executed, Ayatollah Khatami demands

ID cards planned for India’s 1.1 billion

North Korean state media news available on Twitter

Vodka kills as many Russians as a war, says report in The Lancet

Erdogan criticizes Germany, France for blocking Turkey’s EU bid

Guinea-Bissau holds elections Sunday

House Passes Bill to Address Threat of Climate Change


Published: June 26, 2009

WASHINGTON – The House passed legislation on Friday intended to address global warming and transform the way the nation produces and uses energy.The vote was the first time either house of Congress had approved a bill meant to curb the heat-trapping gases scientists have linked to climate change. The legislation, which passed despite deep divisions among Democrats, could lead to profound changes in many sectors of the economy, including electric power generation, agriculture, manufacturing and construction.

The bill’s passage, by 219 to 212, with 44 Democrats voting against it, also established a marker for the United States when international negotiations on a new climate change treaty begin later this year.

Jailed Iran reformists ‘tortured to confess foreign plot’  

Amnesty reports apparent attempt to implicate defeated presidential candidate in conspiracy to overthrow regime

 Robert Tait,

Jailed Iranian reformists are believed to have been tortured in an attempt to force them into TV “confessions” of a foreign-led plot against the Islamic regime.

According to Iranian websites, the “confessions” are aimed at implicating Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the defeated reformist candidates in this month’s presidential poll, in an alleged conspiracy.

Mostafa Tajzadeh, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh and Mohsen Aminzadeh, all Mousavi supporters, are reported to have undergone “intensive interrogation” sessions in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison since being arrested in a mass round-up of opposition figures following Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election.


White House Weighs Order on Detention

Officials: Move Would Reassert Power To Hold Terror Suspects Indefinitely

By Dafna Linzer and Peter Finn

ProPublica and Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Obama administration officials, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, are crafting language for an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.

Such an order would embrace claims by former president George W. Bush that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under the laws of war. Obama advisers are concerned that an order, which would bypass Congress, could place the president on weaker footing before the courts and anger key supporters, the officials said.

Judge orders Madoff to forfeit $170 billion

As sentencing nears, victims remain furious over massive Ponzi scheme news services

updated 12:37 a.m. ET June 27, 2009

Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff must forfeit $170 billion, a federal judge ordered Friday.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin entered a preliminary order of forfeiture, and Acting U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin released a copy of the order Friday night. Madoff was ordered to give up his interests in all property, including real estate, investments, cars and boats.

According to earlier court documents, prosecutors reserved the right to pursue more than $170 billion in criminal forfeiture. That represents the total amount of money that could be connected to the fraud, not the amount stolen or lost.

Middle East

The city where parking leads to a head-on collision in Jerusalem

Secular Mayor’s decision angers ultra-orthodox Jews

By Ben Lynfield in Jerusalem

Saturday, 27 June 2009

In most cities, parking facilities do not trigger violence. But in Jerusalem, police were gearing up yesterday for possible new clashes in the war between religious and secular Jews over parking on the Jewish sabbath. Hardline rabbis ordered a protest last month in which thousands of ultra-orthodox men tried to storm a municipality-owned garage, adjacent to City Hall, after it opened for the first time on the sabbath at the orders of the city’s new secular Mayor, Nir Barkat.

In scenes reminiscent of the first Palestinian uprising, Jewish demonstrators hurled rocks and bottles and screamed “Nazis” at police before they were pushed back to the nearby ultra-orthodox suburb of Mea Shearim.

Yesterday, ultra-orthodox leaders declined to call off prayer protests planned for this evening despite Mr Barkat’s move to lessen the perceived offence by opening a substitute site further from their homes.

Leading demonstrators must be executed, Ayatollah Khatami demands

From The Times

June 27, 2009

Martin Fletcher

A hardline cleric close to the Iranian regime demanded the execution of leading demonstrators yesterday as the opposition ended the week in disarray.

In a televised sermon at Friday prayers in Tehran, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami called on the judiciary to “punish leading rioters firmly and without showing any mercy to teach everyone a lesson”. He said that those leaders were backed by the United States and Israel. They should be treated as mohareb – people who wage war against God – and deserved execution.

In a clear warning to all other dissenters, he declared: “Anybody who fights against the Islamic system or the leader of Islamic society, fight him until complete destruction.”

The Ayatollah claimed that Neda Soltan, the woman shot during a demonstration last Saturday, had been killed by fellow protesters because “government forces do not shoot at a lady standing in a side street”.


ID cards planned for India’s 1.1 billion

Hi-tech entrepreneur will lead operation to create huge database

By Andrew Buncombe in Delhi

Saturday, 27 June 2009

India is to embark on an ambitious plan to provide each of its 1.1 billion-plus citizens with a national identity card and has picked an industrialist who helped to spearhead the country’s IT revolution to lead the project.

Nandan Nilekani, the entrepreneur who helped the best-selling author Thomas Friedman to coin the phrase and book title “The world is flat”, was asked by the government to help to create what would be the largest citizens’ database in a democracy. Only China has a larger scheme.

The government believes that the scheme, to be finalised over three years, will help in the delivery of vital social services to the poorest in society who often lack – or are at least told they lack – sufficient identification papers. The government has long complained that most of the money set aside for the neediest is diverted as a result of corruption, and it believes the cards could help to tackle identity theft and fraud.

North Korean state media news available on Twitter

News feeds from North Korea’s state-run media have begun appearing on Twitter, the micro-blogging website.

Published: 12:29AM BST 27 Jun 2009

A feed under the name “kcna-dprk” – acronyms of Pyongyang’s state Korean Central News Agency and the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – provides links to hundreds of the agency’s English-language stories. The background of the Twitter page for the feed shows the North’s red-and-blue national flag.

It is unlikely that the news agency itself is behind the operation; other Twitter users have operated similar news-relay feeds in the past, most notably for CNN. Even if KCNA is operating the feed, ordinary citizens in North Korea – one of the world’s most isolated nations – are unlikely to have access to Twitter.

The totalitarian regime bans nearly all of its 24 million people from accessing the internet in its attempt to control the flow of all outside information. Only high-ranking officials have access to the web.


Vodka kills as many Russians as a war, says report in The Lancet

From The Times

June 27, 2009

Tony Halpin in Moscow

The terrible cost of Russia’s love affair with vodka was laid bare in a study published yesterday. It blamed alcohol addiction for more than half of all deaths among Russians in their prime years and said that the scale of the carnage was comparable to a war.

The report, which appeared in The Lancet, said that three quarters of deaths among men and half of deaths among women aged 15-54 were attributable to alcohol abuse. The mortality rate in Russia in this age group was five times higher for men and three times higher for women than in Western Europe.

Professor David Zaridze, who led the international research team, calculated that alcohol had killed three million Russians since Mikhail Gorbachev tried and failed to restrict sales in 1987. He added: “This loss is similar to that of a war.”

Erdogan criticizes Germany, France for blocking Turkey’s EU bid

During a visit to Brussels to revive Ankara’s deadlocked EU accession talks, Turkish Premier Erdogan slammed Germany and France for opposing full EU membership for his predominantly Muslim country.

TURKEY | 26.06.2009

Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday accused Germany and France of stalling its European Union membership bid by offering Ankara a “privileged partnership” rather than full membership.

“Turkey cannot accept the position of Germany and France. A privileged partnership doesn’t exist in (European law),” Erdogan told journalists before attending a forum in Brussels, adding that Turkey’s goal is full membership and any alternative “is out of the question.”

Erdogan said French President Nicolas Sarkozy had been inconsistent, showing more openness to Turkey’s accession in private talks than in public.

“Our European friends unfortunately have a unilateral expectation which is rather populist and it saddens us. I hope we will overcome this,” he said.


Guinea-Bissau holds elections Sunday

Sat Jun 27

By FID THOMPSON, Associated Press Writer  

BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau – Guinea-Bissau, a West African country known for its political crises and coups, votes for a new leader on Sunday to replace the late President Joao Bernardo “Nino” Vieira, who was assassinated more than three months ago.

The ballot in the tiny country flanked by Senegal and Guinea is expected to be peaceful, but analysts say the real test for the former Portuguese colony will come afterward.

The military has held sway over the country’s top politicians for decades, and since the introduction of multiparty politics 15 years ago no president has completed the constitutionally mandated five-year term in office. The poor African country also has seen drug money flow to corrupt officials as smugglers pay bribes to use its coastline and remote airstrips for cocaine transshipments.

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