Docudharma Times Sunday June 14

Ahmadinejad hailed the vote, saying it was a “great ordeal” but one that pointed “the way to the future.”

“The people of Iran inspired hope for all nations and created a source of pride in the nation and disappointed all the ill wishers,” Ahmadinejad said in his television address. “This election was held at a juncture of history.”

Ahmadinejad The Man Racing Towards Not

The Future But The Middle Ages

Sunday’s Headlines:

Some projects raise question: Where’s the stimulus?

Greek fury at Elgin marbles ‘loan deal’

Happy birthday, Harry Patch: Last veteran of the trenches turns 111

Kurds lay claim to oil riches in Iraq as old hatreds flare

Iraq gets ready for the Yanks to go home

Afghan villagers slain as they took cover

NKorea warns of nuclear war amid rising tensions

Death of a village outside Luxor that lived off ancient tombs

In Mexico, the U.S. Downturn Hits Home

Some in Palau are worried about Guantanamo detainees

The laid-back island republic is unaccustomed to geopolitics, and some question why the U.S. is sending them Chinese Muslims. But others say their culture is welcoming to foreigners.

By John M. Glionna

June 14, 2009

Reporting from Koror, Palau — Sipping guava juice under cover from a steamy tropical downpour, Tommy Remengesau Jr. says he’s always considered his Pacific island home a refuge from the troubles of the outside world.

“While the rest of the planet was in conflict, waging its wars, we remained a little piece of paradise,” the former Palauan president said as his pet fruit bat swayed upside down in a nearby cage. “Now, the world’s headaches have come home to roost in Palau.”

This isolated republic of more than 300 scattered islands, set amid a vast stretch of aquamarine ocean 4,500 miles southwest of Hawaii, had its reverie rocked last week when officials here announced that they would accept several Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Palau’s decision to offer refuge to more than a dozen ethnic Uighurs once suspected of terrorism was hailed by the Obama administration, which is eager to disperse Guantanamo detainees as part of a plan to close the notorious prison early next year.

Riots erupt in Tehran over ‘stolen’ election

Shock as Ahmadinejad claims victory as rival calls poll ‘dangerous charade’

Ian Black and Saeed Kamali Dehghan in Tehran, Saturday 13 June 2009 22.09 BST

Iran faces political turmoil after hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was confirmed today as the winner of the presidential election and outraged supporters of his chief rival took to the streets to protest against a “dangerous charade” after a record 85% turnout.

Tonight riot police in Tehran confronted thousands of demonstrators shouting “death to dictatorship” amid shock and confusion after the official result backed Ahmadinejad’s claim to have won, made barely an hour after polls closed last night.

The moderate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who had been widely expected to beat the controversial incumbent if there was a high turnout – or at least do well enough to trigger a second round – insisted he was the victor and appealed against the result to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.

Robert Fisk: Iran erupts as voters back ‘the Democrator’

A smash in the face, a kick in the balls – that’s how police deal with protesters after Iran’s poll kept the hardliners in power

Sunday, 14 June 2009

First the cop screamed abuse at Mir Hossein Mousavi’s supporter, a white-shirted youth with a straggling beard and unkempt hair. Then he smashed his baton into the young man’s face. Then he kicked him viciously in the testicles. It was the same all the way down to Vali Asr Square. Riot police in black rubber body armour and black helmets and black riot sticks, most on foot but followed by a flying column of security men, all on brand new, bright red Honda motorcycles, tearing into the shrieking youths – hundreds of them, running for their lives. They did not accept the results of Iran’s presidential elections. They did not believe that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won 62.6 per cent of the votes. And they paid the price.


Obama’s Spending Plans May Pose Political Risks

Concern Mounts in White House as 2010 Elections Loom

By Scott Wilson

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, June 14, 2009

After enjoying months of towering poll numbers, legislative victories and well-received foreign policy initiatives, the White House has become increasingly concerned that President Obama’s spending plans, which would require $9 trillion in government borrowing over the next decade, could become a political liability that defines the 2010 midterm elections.The concern was reflected in the aggressive response from administration officials to criticism that money from Obama’s stimulus plan is arriving too slowly to help the languishing economy, as well as in the president’s public endorsement of “pay as you go” legislation, which would require Congress to make room for new non-discretionary spending with equivalent cuts to other parts of the budget. Yesterday, Obama also outlined billions of dollars in savings that would be used to pay for his health-care reform proposal.

Some projects raise question: Where’s the stimulus?

As President Obama moves to accelerate the flow of federal funds intended to rev up the economy and energy efficiency, public officials are voicing concerns about the merit of some plans.

June 14, 2009

Reporting from Washington — It is a six-mile stretch of guardrail near a manufactured lake in a desolate patch of the Oklahoma Panhandle. There’s little reason for anyone to visit. Weeds are overgrown; the lake bed is virtually dry.

Yet repairing the guardrail is on a list of projects developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to tap into President Obama’s $787-billion economic stimulus program.

As Obama moves to accelerate the flow of federal stimulus funds, public officials are voicing concerns that some of the projects being devised are of dubious merit.

Obama spoke of the stimulus as a mechanism to create jobs, drop money into a struggling economy and reposition the U.S. as a more energy-efficient nation. So far, those goals are proving difficult to meet.

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is putting out a report early this week that will raise questions about the validity of certain projects.


Greek fury at Elgin marbles ‘loan deal’

Queen turns down invitation to opening of major new museum in Athens built to house Acropolis treasures

Helena Smith, Athens

The Observer, Sunday 14 June 2009

A bitter new row over ownership of the Elgin marbles has erupted, threatening to eclipse the inauguration this week of a major new museum in Athens designed to house the contested masterpieces.

Just days before the opening of the €130m (£110m) New Acropolis Museum, officials in Athens and London were this weekend engaging in barbed exchanges over the classical treasures.

The dispute, which has indirectly dragged in the Queen, the Greek-born Duke of Edinburgh, and Gordon Brown, re-erupted when Hannah Boulton, the British Museum’s spokeswoman, told an Athens radio station that it would consider a loan request from Greece provided that it acknowledged, as is customary with all borrowing institutions, that London owned the pieces. The sculptures, she said, could be displayed in the New Acropolis Museum for three or four months, “the length of time for an average loan of objects”.

Happy birthday, Harry Patch: Last veteran of the trenches turns 111

As the First World War shifts from memory into history, David Randall meets the former Private Patch, still bearing witness to the hell of Passchendaele

Sunday, 14 June 2009

On the night of 22 September 1917, near Langemarck in Belgium, a German gun crew fired a shell in the general direction of the British lines. It hit three men serving with a Lewis gun team. None of their remains were ever found. Had it landed a few yards away, it would have removed, just as comprehensively, the body and life of No 29295, Private Henry John Patch, aged 19, of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. What – if anything – was left of him would have been buried in a Flanders field; and, in due course, into the limestone of the war memorial in Combe Down, Somerset, his name would have been chiselled, above that of his boyhood friend Charlie Wherrett, and beside that of his cousin, Fred. And that would have been that.

Middle East

Kurds lay claim to oil riches in Iraq as old hatreds flare

Sitting on vast untapped oilfields, the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk has the natural resources to become one of the wealthiest places in the Middle East. But a standoff has developed between local Kurdish leaders and Baghdad over rights of ownership. And in Kirkuk itself, ethnic tensions are rising

Martin Chulov in Kirkuk

The Observer, Sunday 14 June 2009

In mid-2003, as Baghdad fell, Simzad Saeed, 39, returned to Kirkuk to build a house on land he did not own and to stake a claim in a new homeland. He did not mean Iraq. Ever since the Iraqi central government has paid Saeed’s salary but, like roughly 200,000 other returned Kurds, he pays his dues to ‘Kurdistan’.

“I feel at home,” he said from his new lounge. “I was forced to leave after the first Gulf war [in 1991] and we didn’t return to our original home six years ago because my father still lives there.”

Across town in a ramshackle suburb built on a dried-up swamp, Faisal Mathor Mohammed, a 69-year-old Arab retired army officer from Baghdad, sat sweating in his mud-brick house, which he says was promised to him 22 years ago. He laid down his roots with a government grant.

Iraq gets ready for the Yanks to go home

American forces will soon start to withdraw, leaving a power vacuum that Sunnis, Shias and Kurds hope to fill

By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad

Sunday, 14 June 2009

There are few American patrols on the streets of Baghdad and soon there will be none. In just over two weeks, on 30 June, US military forces will withdraw from Iraqi cities. The occupation which began six years ago is ending. On every side there are signs of the decline of US influence.

When the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, held a meeting with 300 top military commanders last week a US general who tried to attend was asked to leave. “We apologise to you, but this is an Iraqi meeting and you’re not invited,” he was told.

Mr Maliki, who was put into power by the US in 2006, spoke of the departure of the troops as if he had been leading an insurgency against them.


Afghan villagers slain as they took cover

From The Sunday Times

June 14, 2009

Jon Swain

Tears streaming down her face, the Afghan woman sat in a corner of a room with no roof and broken windows, mourning 19 of her closest and dearest relatives. “They were parts of my heart,” she said.

Six weeks after American warplanes bombed her village in Farah province, on Afghanistan’s remote western border, mistakenly killing dozens of innocent women and children, the terror of the moment when the bombs fell and the ground erupted, turning one mud-walled house after another into rubble, still lives in her mind.

“I lost them all at a glance. Why am I still alive?” the 62-year-old woman asked.

The dead men, women and children, many of them her relatives, now lie in graves. The survivors still wonder why their families were wiped out by American airmen with whom they had no quarrel.

NKorea warns of nuclear war amid rising tensions

SEOUL, South Korea (AP)


North Korea’s communist regime has warned of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula while vowing to step up its atomic bomb-making program in defiance of new U.N. sanctions.

The North’s defiance presents a growing diplomatic headache for President Barack Obama as he prepares for talks Tuesday with his South Korean counterpart on the North’s missile and nuclear programs.

A commentary Sunday in the North’s the main state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, claimed the U.S. has 1,000 nuclear weapons in South Korea. Another commentary published Saturday in the state-run Tongil Sinbo weekly claimed the U.S. has been deploying a vast amount of nuclear weapons in South Korea and Japan.

North Korea “is completely within the range of U.S. nuclear attack and the Korean peninsula is becoming an area where the chances of a nuclear war are the highest in the world,” the Tongil Sinbo commentary said.


Death of a village outside Luxor that lived off ancient tombs

From The Times

June 13, 2009

James Hider in Luxor

Just outside the Valley of the Kings a set of ancient tombs has created a very modern controversy.

Western archaeologists accuse the Egyptian Government of forcibly displacing thousands of people from a unique local community to open up the site as a new tourist attraction, while the authorities say that the villagers have damaged tombs and stolen mummies.

The village of Qurna, on the outskirts of Luxor, arose more than a century ago when farmers on the banks of the Nile fled seasonal flooding and moved into the shelter of pharaonic tombs that dot the rocky bluffs above the river. People built elaborate houses of mud brick and wood around the caves and, with the advent of tourism, made a living showing visitors their in-house tombs and selling souvenirs.

Latin America

In Mexico, the U.S. Downturn Hits Home

Poor Towns Especially Hurt as Immigrants’ Money Transfers Drop Sharply

By William Booth

Washington Post Foreign Service

Sunday, June 14, 2009

EL ARENAL, Mexico — When Jesus Barrera Lopez had a sweet job laying tile floors in Phoenix, he did what every migrant from his home town in central Mexico does: He sent home money, bundles of it.

“Before the economic recession started, I usually sent $300 or $400 every two weeks to my family. But when the crisis came, I only sent like $100,” said Barrera who recently returned here to the hot, rocky hills in the state of Hidalgo after the construction industry in Arizona imploded and work became nearly impossible to find.

And now? “There’s nothing,” said Barrera, 29, hanging out in his half-finished house and remembering the boom times, when he and 50 migrant workers from El Arenal sent money home at Christmas to host a party for the whole town.

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1 comment

    • dkmich on June 14, 2009 at 13:58

    Where does Detroit sign up?  

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