Docudharma Times Monday July 13

Hearings Not Just About Sotomayor

Judicial Confirmation Process Could Be a Partisan Platform and a Barometer

By Michael D. Shear

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, July 13, 2009

When Sonia Sotomayor takes her seat today in front of the 19 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, she will finally add her own voice to those that have been arguing publicly for confirmation of the first Latina Supreme Court justice.

How she answers the questions of Republican panel members — both the substance of her comments and how she handles herself in the spotlight — will help determine whether charges from her critics persist about her ability to apply the law fairly, without a bias toward any group.

Philippine bombings: No one is a suspect and everyone is to blame

A series of blasts on Mindanao has left 12 dead and 100 injured. No one has taken responsibility, but most every group on the troubled archipelago is being blamed. Some even suspect President Arroyo.

By John M. Glionna

July 13, 2009

Reporting from Manila — The first bombs exploded outside two Catholic cathedrals on the restive southern Philippine island of Mindanao. They were followed by a series of blasts two days later that raised the toll to 12 dead and 100 injured.

The wave of violence last week in this religiously divided and politically troubled archipelago has made residents skittish even in Manila, the capital some 500 miles to the north, where a bomb damaged a government office in June and several others were found.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has beefed up an anti-terrorist command center and troops have been placed on high alert. Bomb-sniffing dogs patrol the airport and weapons checkpoints have sprung up throughout the metropolitan area of 12 million residents.

So far, no group has taken responsibility for the attacks — fueling speculation in the press, on the streets and among opposing government factions.

Everyone seems to agree on this: Most every group is suspect.


Republican pundits open fire on Sarah Palin

Their harsh views conflict with those of grass-roots GOP voters, revealing a serious split within the party.

By Mark Z. Barabak

July 13, 2009

Since announcing her resignation, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been pummeled by critics who have called her incoherent, a quitter, a joke and a “political train wreck.”

And those were fellow Republicans talking.

Palin has been a polarizing figure from the moment she stepped off the tundra into the bright lights last summer as John McCain’s surprise vice presidential running mate. Some of that hostility could be expected, given the hyper-partisanship of today’s politics.

What is remarkable is the contempt Palin has engendered within her own party and the fact that so many of her GOP detractors are willing, even eager, to express it publicly — even with Palin an early front-runner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Controlling wily coyotes? Still no easy answers

Researchers working on nonlethal methods to deal with the predators

Associated Press

MILLVILLE, Utah – Coyotes are often unwelcome guests, whether they’re prowling city parks, stalking the prairies or roaming the modern American suburb. Usually they forage for food, snarf down a rodent or two and disappear into the night.

Each year, U.S. government agents shoot, trap and poison about 90,000 of the ones suspected of killing livestock or causing other problems. But they’re still trying to figure out how to turn the less troublesome coyotes back from neighborhoods and ranches – without killing them.


Kim Jong-il ‘has life-threatening cancer’

By Jack Kim, Reuters

Monday, 13 July 2009

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has life-threatening pancreatic cancer, South Korean broadcaster YTN said today, citing information gathered from Chinese and South Korean intelligence sources.

The report fueled speculation about Kim’s health while raising questions about the future of Asia’s only communist dynasty and who will make decisions about its nuclear programmes. It also comes after a gaunt Kim, who was suspected of suffering a stroke a year ago, made a rare public appearance last Wednesday at a memorial for his father and state founder Kim Il-sung. The stark figure he cast heightened speculation the 67-year-old leader was still ill.

Taro Aso calls snap election for Japan

From Times Online

July 13, 2009

Richard Lloyd Parry in Tokyo

Japan lurched towards one of its biggest post-war political upsets this morning, as the Prime Minister, Taro Aso, called a snap election that is almost certain to result in the defeat of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party for only the second time in more than half a century.

Mr Aso’s decision came after the LDP suffered a humiliating defeat in elections yesterday for the Tokyo metropolitan assembly. The results confirm the trend suggested all year by opinion polls and by-elections – that the LDP, which has dominated post-war Japanese politics, is heading for a historic defeat.

The opposition Democratic Party of Japan won 54 out of 127 seats in the assembly, compared with 38 seats for the LDP which, even with the support of its coalition party, New Komeito, loses its majority in the city assembly.


European countries sign up for Nabucco deal to break Russia’s gas monopoly

From The Times

July 13, 2009

David Charter in Brussels

With memories of freezing houses, schools and offices still looming large, five countries will sign up to an ambitious pipeline project intended to break Russia’s grip on European gas supplies.

The Nabucco project, a 2,000-mile (3,300km) pipeline to pump gas from Azerbaijan to Europe via Turkey, has been given extra urgency by the ongoing payment dispute between Russia and Ukraine, which saw supplies to a dozen EU countries suspended in the depths of last winter.

Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria will sign a transit agreement today to give Nabucco – which has hit investment problems during the recession – fresh impetus and increase credibility with suppliers.

A year on, Mediterranean Union has made little progress

The Union for the Mediterranean, launched a year ago, was meant to revive cooperation between the EU and countries bordering on the Mediterranean. But little progress has been made on pressing issues in the region.

EUROPEAN TIES | 13.07.2009

For almost 14 years now, the member states of the European Union have been working with 16 partners across the Southern Mediterranean and the Middle East on regional projects. This network used to be known as the Barcelona Process, but in 2008, it was re-launched as the Union for the Mediterranean, or Euromed, by the ever-industrious French President, Nicolas Sarkozy at the time of his European presidency.

Euromed is the only EU body in which both Israel and Arab states are represented, and if Sarkozy had prevailed, it would have only counted countries with a Mediterranean coastline among its members.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel protested against this exclusive “Club Med” and eventually, she got her way. Sarkozy opened his Mediterranean Union to all 27 EU member states. At a short summit in Paris on July 13, 2008, 43 members officially joined Euromed.


Taylor starts war crimes defence

 Lawyers for Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia on trial for crimes against humanity, have begun his defence.

The BBC  Monday, 13 July 2009

He denies 11 charges, including murder, rape and torture, at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague.

Prosecutors say he controlled rebels who carried out atrocities during Sierra Leone’s decade-long civil war.

Mr Taylor, who denies the charges, is expected to give evidence in his own defence on Tuesday.

He is the first African leader to be tried by an international court.

Claire Carlton-Hanciles, of the court’s defence office, told the BBC that Mr Taylor was ready to defend himself.

Africans reflect on Obama’s ‘tough love’ message

The president used his first African visit – to the democratic bastion of Ghana – to signal a harder-line US approach to dealing with corrupt African leaders.

By Drew Hinshaw | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor

from the July 12, 2009 edition

ACCRA, GHANA – President Obama’s international tour, which ended Sunday, raised a question that will rattle in the minds of Africans for some time: Do African leaders have more to fear from America’s first black president than they have to gain?

Mr. Obama, a popular hero to the continent, enjoys at least surface adoration of its leaders, too. Politicians in South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, and elsewhere have positioned themselves as allies, friends, and kindred spirits to the US president. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, a vehemently anti-Western autocrat, even offered to meet with Obama.

Yet the president used his first African visit – to the democratic bastion of Ghana – to send a critical message to Africa’s leaders: It’s time for the corrupt old ways to end. The “tough love” message is one that Obama is uniquely qualified to deliver, and it signals a new, harder-line US strategy that may ruffle some feathers.

Middle East

Shards of stories, blank spaces at spy memorial

By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writer – Mon Jul 13,

GLILOT JUNCTION, Israel – Near a multiplex cinema and a nondescript highway junction outside Tel Aviv is the place where Israel’s secrets go when they get old.

The names and stories are carved into limestone walls and arranged in binders at a sleepy clump of buildings known by a misleadingly dull name – the Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center. They offer a unique, if fragmentary, glimpse into the exploits of the Mossad agents and intelligence operatives who have waged this country’s shadow wars.

Here, on a memorial wall, you can encounter names like Shalom Dani, a Holocaust survivor who became the Mossad’s master forger. Dani honed his skills under cover in North Africa, taking part in the Mossad’s effort to spirit thousands of Moroccan Jews to Israel before being dispatched to Argentina in 1960. There, he counterfeited the documents that allowed a team of agents to smuggle Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Nazi genocide, to his trial and eventual hanging in Israel.

Latin America

China’s big move into Latin America

Brazil’s largest trading partner is no longer the US – it’s China. Beijing is investing billions of dollars and filling a vacuum left by the United States.

By Tyler Bridges | McClatchy Newspapers

from the July 12, 2009 edition

RIO DE JANEIRO – All but invisible in Latin America a decade ago, China now is building cars in Uruguay, donating a soccer stadium to Costa Rica, and lending $10 billion to Brazil’s biggest oil company.

It’s supplanted the United States to become the biggest trading partner with Brazil, South America’s biggest economy.

China has moved aggressively to fill a vacuum left by the United States in recent years, as the US focused on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the global economic crisis sapped its economy.

“China is rising while the US is declining in Latin America,” Riordan Roett, a professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University, said by telephone while São Paulo. “China is all over this region. They are following a state-driven policy to expand their peaceful presence.”

Ignoring Asia A Blog


    • RiaD on July 13, 2009 at 14:24

    hope you had a lovely weekend & a stress free monday!


    we recently found we have coyotes living near us. they come to our pond to drink. i don’t mind that. or that they keep the rabbit & turkey population down. but i don’t want them coming any closer than the pond…not up in the yard or out by the barn or chicken houses.

    they seem to be fairly scarey animals…run off quickly.

    thanks for all you do!


    • Adam on July 14, 2009 at 00:16

    In my Firefox 3.5 browser, the text of the top headlines from blue box runs out over the bottom of the box  drapes over the articles beneath.

    No issues with IE 8 or Google Chrome 2.

    Thanks 🙂

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