Docudharma Times Thursday June 18

Every night in Tehran millions of people stand on their balcony and support Sea of Green by chanting ‘Allah Akbar’ – #Iranelection

Thursday’s Headlines:

In Poll, Obama Is Seen as Ineffective on the Economy

Alexander Lebedev: coming in from the cold with British media plans?

Northern Ireland: further racist attack against Romanians in Belfast

Robert Fisk: Secret letter ‘proves Mousavi won poll’

Iraqi Oil Minister accused of mother of all sell-outs

Pakistan tries to turn tribesmen against Taleban leader with trade blockade

China and Russia pressure N Korea

Top Somali warlord: willing to talk?

Gun flow south is a crisis for two nations

Iran treads lightly in a culture of martyrs

A Tiananmen-style massacre there would create a new set of heroes for the protest movement.

By Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim

June 18, 2009

Reporting from Tehran — Neither side can drown out the other. Both so far are exercising a measure of restraint. But as authorities try to rein in Iran’s most serious unrest since the Islamic Revolution, they face a diverse opposition united in its rejection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his policies.

After days of ignoring or dismissing the criticism, authorities appear to have recognized that they’re unable to use their hold over electronic communications networks and state-controlled broadcasting to quell the protests over Friday’s election. They have started implementing a softer approach in public. But they may not understand the depth of the problem they face.

Global Insurance Fraud By North Korea Outlined

Government Has Collected Millions Of Dollars on Large, Suspicious Claims

By Blaine Harden

Washington Post Foreign Service

Thursday, June 18, 2009

For Kim Jong Il’s birthday, North Korean insurance managers prepared a special gift.

In Singapore, they stuffed $20 million in cash into two heavy-duty bags and sent them, via Beijing, to their leader in Pyongyang, said Kim Kwang Jin, who worked as a manager for Korea National Insurance Corp., a state-owned monopoly.

Kim said he helped arrange the shipment and watched in February 2003 as the cash was packed. After the money arrived, Kim Jong Il sent a letter of thanks to the managers and arranged for some of them to receive gifts that included oranges, apples, DVD players and blankets, Kim said.

“It was a great celebration,” he said.

The $20 million birthday present and the gratitude of its recipient, who is known as the Dear Leader, were annual highlights of a sophisticated global insurance fraud that North Korea has concocted to provide its communist leadership with hard currency, said Kim, who spent five years as an executive of the state insurance company in Pyongyang and worked for a year at its banking subsidiary in Singapore before defecting to South Korea.


Gay Couples Express Hope Over Benefits Extension

By Steve Vogel

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, June 18, 2009

As Candy Holmes eyes retirement after 33 years of work for the Government Accountability Office, a major worry clouds her outlook.

Her partner, a clergywoman with limited health insurance, is not covered by the health or retirement benefits that Holmes receives from the federal government.

“I’ve been without benefits for my partner the entire time,” said Holmes, an information technology manager at the GAO. “Thank God we have not had any major illness. If we had, I’m not sure how we could manage.”The presidential memorandum signed yesterday afternoon by President Obama extends some benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers, among other things allowing them to be included in the long-term-care insurance program. But it still leaves them without federal health and retirement benefits. That will require the passage of legislation now before Congress.

In Poll, Obama Is Seen as Ineffective on the Economy


Published: June 17, 2009

A substantial majority of Americans say President Obama has not developed a strategy to deal with the budget deficit, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, which also found that support for his plans to overhaul health care, rescue the auto industry and close the prison at Guant√°namo Bay, Cuba, falls well below his job approval ratings.A distinct gulf exists between Mr. Obama’s overall standing and how some of his key initiatives are viewed, with fewer than half of Americans saying they approve of how he has handled health care and the effort to save General Motors and Chrysler. A majority of people said his policies have had either no effect yet on improving the economy or had made it worse, underscoring how his political strength still rests on faith in his leadership rather than concrete results.


Alexander Lebedev: coming in from the cold with British media plans?

Oligarch lining up bid for Independent titles has received cold shoulder in Russia, but has received warm reception in London

Luke Harding in Moscow, Thursday 18 June 2009 07.12 BST

It was a typically glamorous bash, attended by a host of British celebrities. There was JK Rowling, resplendent in a blue frock, Vanessa Redgrave, Simon Le Bon and Boris Johnson. Other guests included Sarah Brown – Gordon couldn’t make it – and Lord Rothermere, the man who until recently owned the London Evening Standard.

The host of the charity event the weekend before last at Hampton Court Palace was none other than Alexander Lebedev, the Russian tycoon and the London Evening Standard’s new owner-boss. Every June Lebedev throws a party in the gardens to raise money for children with cancer. This year his efforts netted ¬£1.7m. Lots included dinner with Mikhail Gorbachev and a Damien Hirst installation.

In Britain, Lebedev receives a warm, comradely welcome from the country’s movers and shakers. In Russia, however, the billionaire tycoon is still something of a marginal figure.

Northern Ireland: further racist attack against Romanians in Belfast

A group of Romanians has again been attacked in Northern Ireland as politicians are due to meet to discuss racist offences against immigrants.

Published: 7:08AM BST 18 Jun 2009

In the latest incident, the home of a Romanian family came under attack in east Belfast at about 11pm on Wednesday night, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said.

A police spokesman said it was being treated as a hate crime.

The attack came after a gang allegedly broke into two homes in the university area of the city and vandalised the properties, made Nazi salutes and chanted slogans linked with the far-right group Combat 18.

One hundred migrants were left homeless as they moved out, fearing further attacks.

Dr Mihai Delcea, Romania’s consul general, has asked for to meetings in Northern Ireland and is expected to meet Margaret Ritchie, the Social Development Minister, at the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont.

Police have said they do not believe paramilitaries were involved in orchestrating the attacks, which led to around 20 families leaving their homes.

Middle East

Robert Fisk: Secret letter ‘proves Mousavi won poll’

Thursday, 18 June 2009

They were handing out the photocopies by the thousand under the plane trees in the centre of the boulevard, single sheets of paper grabbed by the opposition supporters who are now wearing black for the 15 Iranians who have been killed in Tehran – who knows how many more in the rest of the country? – since the election results gave Mahmoud Ahmadinejad more than 24 million votes and a return to the presidency. But for the tens of thousands marking their fifth day of protests yesterday – and for their election campaign hero, Mirhossein Mousavi, who officially picked up just 13 million votes – those photocopies were irradiated.

For the photocopy appeared to be a genuine but confidential letter from the Iranian minister of interior, Sadeq Mahsuli, to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, written on Saturday 13 June, the day after the elections, and giving both Mr Mousavi and his ally, Mehdi Karroubi, big majorities in the final results. In a highly sophisticated society like Iran, forgery is as efficient as anywhere in the West and there are reasons for both distrusting and believing this document. But it divides the final vote between Mr Mousavi and Mr Karroubi in such a way that it would have forced a second run-off vote – scarcely something Mousavi’s camp would have wanted.

Iraqi Oil Minister accused of mother of all sell-outs

To public fury, the country is handing over control of its fields to foreign companies

By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Furious protests threaten to undermine the Iraqi government’s controversial plan to give international oil companies a stake in its giant oilfields in a desperate effort to raise declining oil production and revenues.

In less than two weeks, on 29 and 30 June, the Iraqi Oil Minister, Hussain Shahristani, will award service contracts to the world’s largest oil companies to develop six of Iraq’s largest oil-producing fields over 20 to 25 years.

Senior figures within the Iraqi oil industry have denounced the deal. Fayad al-Nema, the director of the South Oil Company, which comes under the Oil Ministry and produces most of Iraq’s crude, said on the weekend: “The service contracts will put the Iraqi economy in chains and shackle its independence for the next 20 years. They squander Iraq’s revenues.” Mr Nema is reported to have since been fired because of his opposition to the contracts, which he says is shared by many other officials in Iraq’s state-owned oil industry.


Pakistan tries to turn tribesmen against Taleban leader with trade blockade

From The Times

June 18, 2009

Jeremy Page in Islamabad and Rehmat Mehsud in Peshawar

Pakistan has imposed an economic blockade on the mountain stronghold of Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taleban, in an effort to turn his tribesmen against him and encourage civilians to flee before a planned ground offensive, according to local officials.

Authorities are also arresting dozens of Mehsud tribesmen and shutting down the businesses of others on the fringes of South Waziristan – thought to be the hiding place of Osama bin Laden – under a draconian “collective responsibility” law which was introduced in the British colonial era.

Britain imposed the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) in 1901 in an effort to control the local Pashtun tribes, whose strict honour code obliges them to give sanctuary to anyone who requests it, including, since 2001, many Afghan Taleban and al-Qaeda leaders.

China and Russia pressure N Korea

Russia and China have urged North Korea to return to the negotiating table over the future of its nuclear programmes.

The BBC  Thursday, 18 June 2009

In a joint statement the two powers expressed “serious concern” about tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Their move came after North Korea had threatened a “thousand-fold” retaliation against the US and its allies if Pyongyang were provoked.

China and Russia have already signed a United Nations resolution approving tougher sanctions against North Korea.

The reclusive state held a nuclear test and launched missiles in May, has torn up peace agreements signed after the Korean War in 1953, ejected international nuclear energy monitors, and threatened more tests.

China and Russia issued their joint statement after a series of meetings in Russia. Nine out of 14 pages focused on economic issues.

These included a deal for Russia to supply China with oil for 20 years, and cooperation agreements in coal and natural gas production.


Top Somali warlord: willing to talk?

The fiery Sheikh Dahir Aweys may be ready to hash out a peace deal, following weeks of fighting the moderate government of Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.

By Scott Baldauf | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – After weeks of fighting, Somalia’s moderate Islamist government and its militant rivals appear close to starting peace talks.

This week, top militant Islamist leader Sheikh Dahir Aweys told reporters that he had submitted to the pressure of Somali clan elders to stop his punishing fight against the transitional government of Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and begin talks.

“We took the correct step, which is to accept and to participate in the peace process,” Sheikh Aweys told reporters in Mogadishu, according to Garowe news service.

Another of Aweys’s supporters, Malaaq Ali Malaaq Showri, also confirmed that Aweys and his Hizbul Islam militia were prepared to end the fighting and to start talking with the Sharif government.

Fighting between the Sharif government and an alliance of radical Islamist militias has had a devastating effect on the wartorn country, killing hundreds and sending at least 122,000 Somali citizens from their homes, and making them reliant on aid agencies for their survival.

Latin America

Gun flow south is a crisis for two nations

A report says the U.S. failure to curb smuggling has strengthened drug cartels.

By Josh Meyer

11:19 PM PDT, June 17, 2009

Reporting from Washington — The United States lacks a coordinated strategy to stem the flow of weapons smuggled across its southern border, a failure that has fueled the rise of powerful criminal cartels and violence in Mexico, a government watchdog agency report has found.

The report by the congressional Government Accountability Office, the first federal assessment of the issue, offered blistering conclusions that will probably influence the debate over the role of U.S.-made weaponry as violence threatens to spill across the Mexico border.According to a draft copy of the report, which will be released today, the growing number of weapons being smuggled into Mexico comprise more than 90% of the seized firearms that can be traced by authorities there.

The document also cited recent U.S. intelligence indicating that most weapons were being smuggled in specifically for the syndicates — and being used not only against the Mexican government but also to expand their drug trafficking operation in the United States.

Ignoring Asia A Blog


    • RiaD on June 18, 2009 at 15:20

    YOU are the BEST!


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