Docudharma Times Friday September 4

Advisers to Obama Divided on Size of Afghan Force


Published: September 3, 2009

WASHINGTON – The military’s anticipated request for more troops to combat the insurgency in Afghanistan has divided senior advisers to President Obama as they try to determine the proper size and mission of the American effort there, officials said Thursday.

Even before the top commander in Afghanistan submits his proposal for additional forces, administration officials have begun what one called a “healthy debate” about what the priorities should be and whether more American soldiers and Marines would help achieve them.

Leading those with doubts is Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has expressed deep reservations about an expanded presence in Afghanistan on the grounds that it may distract from what he considers the more urgent goal of stabilizing Pakistan, officials said.

Hundreds March in Chinese City Hit by Riots in July

By Christopher Bodeen

Associated Press

Friday, September 4, 2009

BEIJING, Sept. 3 — Hundreds of Chinese protested deteriorating public safety Thursday after a series of mysterious syringe attacks further unnerved residents in the western Chinese city of Urumqi, where ethnic rioting in July killed nearly 200 people.

People living near the city center reached by telephone said hundreds, possibly thousands, of members of China’s Han majority marched peacefully in the city center. They waved Chinese flags, confronted local Communist Party leaders to demand they step down, and shouted “Severely punish the hooligans” — a reference to the July 5 rioters.


The Unwitting Birthplace of the ‘Death Panel’ Myth


By Alec MacGillis

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, September 4, 2009

LA CROSSE, Wis. — This city often shows up on “best places to live” lists, but residents say it is also a good place to die — which is how it landed in the center of a controversy that almost derailed health-care reform this summer.

The town’s biggest hospital, Gundersen Lutheran, has long been a pioneer in ensuring that the care provided to patients in their final months complies with their wishes. More recently, it has taken the lead in seeking to have Medicare compensate physicians for advising patients on end-of-life planning.

The hospital got its wish this spring when House Democrats inserted that provision into their health-care reform bill — only to see former Alaska governor Sarah Palin seize on it as she warned about “death panels” that would deny care to the elderly and the disabled. Despite widespread debunking, those warnings have led lawmakers to say they will drop the provision.

Recording the sounds of the West

Two archivists aim to catalog the soundscapes of Western states — birds, rattlesnakes, bats — before the racket of modern life drowns them out

By Thomas Curwen

September 4, 2009

Reporting from Range Creek, Utah – A synthesized cellphone melody pulls Jeff Rice from his sleep.

De-de da-de-de da-de-de da-de. De-de da-de-de da-de-de da-de.

Rice hits the alarm. It’s 4:30, still dark. He clicks on his headlamp and dresses in the confines of his tent.

The nylon zipper shrieks — zzzzzzzzzzzpp — as he opens the flap and steps outside. A few clouds have rolled in. The remaining stars poke through the sky like shards of light. Beyond the cottonwoods, the creek is a steady babble, the crickets nonstop and the bats an occasional tcheee, tcheee, tcheee.


Nato air strike in Afghanistan kills scores

At least 90 dead, including 40 civilians, in strike on fuel tankers hijacked by Taliban, officials say

James Sturcke and agencies, Friday 4 September 2009 08.44 BST

At least 90 people, including 40 civilians, have been killed in northern Afghanistan after Nato launched an air strike on two fuel tankers hijacked by the Taliban, officials said today.

Militants seized the two trucks, which were delivering jet fuel to Nato forces, around midnight. The alliance launched the strike in Kunduz province as the Taliban fighters tried to drive the vehicles across a river, the police chief Gulam Mohyuddin said.

Afghan officials said the attack had killed 90 people, including 40 civilians. The provincial governor, Mohammad Omar, told Reuters the dead included villagers who had gathered to collect fuel from the tankers.

North Korea claims final stage uranium enrichment


Friday, 4 September 2009

North Korea said Friday that it is in the final stages of enriching uranium, a process that could give the nation a second way to make nuclear bombs in addition to its known plutonium-based program.

North Korea informed the UN Security Council it is forging ahead with its nuclear programs in spite of international calls to abandon its atomic ambitions, the official Korean Central News Agency said in a report early today.

The dispatch said plutonium “is being weaponized,” and that uranium enrichment – a program North Korea revealed in recent months – was entering the “completion phase.”

The US and North Korea’s neighbors had been negotiating for years with North Korea to dismantle its plutonium-based nuclear program, which experts say has yielded enough weaponized plutonium for at least half a dozen atomic bombs.

Middle East

How Holocaust survivor Yevgeny Bistrizky ended up on Israel’s streets

From The Times

September 4, 2009

Sheera Frenkel in Givatayim

Tucked away in the closets of Yevgeny Bistrizky’s new flat is a worn and dirty blanket – for nearly eight months it was the only bedding that the 71-year-old Holocaust survivor possessed.

Until two weeks ago Mr Bistrizky was homeless on the streets of Tel Aviv, living in a dog park, using several benches as a makeshift bed and relying on residents for food.

He slept there despite his dislike of dogs. One of his only memories of the Holocaust was watching dogs feed on the bodies near the killing fields of Babi Yar, where 33,771 Jews were shot in September 1941. Their bodies were thrown in a gorge outside Kiev in one of the largest massacres of the Holocaust.

Mr Bistrizky said: “I never thought that I would again be with nothing. I kept hoping that things would get better but I didn’t know what to do.”

Gaza sewage ‘a threat to Israel’

The UN and international aid agencies say Israel must relax its blockade of the Gaza Strip to allow urgent repairs to the water and sewage systems.


In a joint appeal, the bodies say the hazards to health and the environment threaten not only Gaza but Israel too.

More than 13m gallons (50m litres) of raw or partially treated sewage flows into the sea every day from Gaza because of a lack of treatment plants.

The cross-border aquifer is low and raw sewage floats back to Gaza and Israel.

Deadly flash flood

The UN says about 10,000 Gazans have no access to a water network – while about 60% of the 1.4m population receive water only intermittently.

Water consumption in the Strip is less than a third of that of Israelis living just a few kilometres away.

Israel, and Egypt on its south-western side, have kept Gaza largely sealed since a violent takeover of the territory by the Islamic militant Hamas group in 2007.


Russia uses tough anti-terror tactics in tinderbox Ingushetia republic


From The Times

September 4, 2009

Tony Halpin in Nazran

The death squad called at the family home shortly after breakfast. Masked soldiers dragged Shamil Makhloyev, 21, from his mother, sister and pregnant wife and killed him in a chicken shed in the backyard.

His family do not know who the soldiers were or why they killed him. For the Kremlin Mr Makhloyev was another dead “terrorist” in its dirty war in Ingushetia.

This tiny Muslim republic, swept up in kidnap, torture, arbitrary killings and suicide bombings, is the new front line in Russia’s struggle to contain a growing anti-government insurgency in the North Caucasus.

Nicolas Sarkozy bullet death threat: 11 men arrested

Police on Thursday arrested 11 people suspected of sending envelopes stuffed with death threats and bullets to President Nicolas Sarkozy and other mainly Right-wing officials.

By Henry Samuel in Paris

Published: 6:14PM BST 03 Sep 2009

The 11 men were detained in the southern Hérault region.

The suspects include a dentist, an architect, a notary and a former soldier who had already been detained in connection with the case in August and released without charge.

The ex-legionnaire, who runs a tobacco shop, shouted: “Red revolution, long live the social republic,” when leaving his shop flanked by police.

Several of the detainees are anti-wind farm activists. The first recipient of the threats was the mayor of the southwestern town of Béziers, which has a large wind farm.

Letters signed by an unknown group – “The Combatants of Cell 34” – have been sent to Mr Sarkozy and eight of his ministers and political allies since late 2008.


‘Climate change is here, it is a reality’

 As one devastating drought follows another, the future is bleak for millions in east Africa. John Vidal reports from Moyale, Kenya

John Vidal, Thursday 3 September 2009 22.44 BST

We met Isaac and Abdi, Alima and Muslima last week in the bone-dry, stony land close to the Ethiopia-Kenya border. They were with five nomad families who have watched all their animals die of star vation this year in a deep drought, and who have now decided their days of herding cattle are over.

After three years of disastrous rains, the families from the Borana tribe, who by custom travel thousands of miles a year in search of water and pasture, have unanimously decided to settle down. Back in April, they packed up their pots, pans and meagre belongings, deserted their mud and thatch homes at Bute and set off on their last trek, to Yaeblo, a village of near-destitute charcoal makers that has sprung up on the side of a dirt road near Moyale. Now they live in temporary “benders” – shelters made from branches covered with plastic sheeting. They look like survivors from an earthquake or a flood, but in fact these are some of the world’s first climate-change refugees.

Is Mugabe losing control of Zimbabwe?

Court documents show two ministers are defying President Robert Mugabe in a power struggle over control of a mining company.

By a correspondent

from the September 3, 2009 edition  

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – As leader of Zimbabwe since liberation in 1980, President Robert Mugabe has ruled with an iron fist, using a North-Korean trained brigade to put down a rebellion; eliminating rivals through show trials or allegedly via mysterious car crashes; and, during elections, intimidating opposition supporters, journalists, and human rights advocates with state-sponsored violence.

But is Mr. Mugabe actually still in charge?

A civil court case, launched by a Zimbabwean businessman to get back assets that were nationalized under Mugabe’s government, raises serious questions about who really controls the levers of power in Zimbabwe today and whether any promises made by Mugabe would be honored by the ministers and generals in his own government.

Documents – including private cellphone text messages from senior Mugabe ministers – obtained by the Monitor from public court records in the case brought by businessman Mutumwa Mawere in the Zimbabwe Supreme Court in Harare, indicate that the authority of the 85-year-old Mugabe is being directly undermined by two of his closest confidants, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Latin America

Did film director die for his art?

Christian Poveda made a documentary about the brutal gangs of El Salvador, then was found shot through the head in the front seat of a car

By Guy Adams

Friday, 4 September 2009

He was face down on the steering wheel, with a bullet wound in the back of his head. The car windows were smashed. Blood was smeared over its seats and dashboard. When police identified the victim as 52-year-old Christian Poveda, they confirmed what onlookers already suspected: this wasn’t just random murder, it was a gangland execution.

Poveda, a French documentary-maker, was gunned down in the early hours on Wednesday as he drove through Tonacatepeque, a semi-rural area 10 miles outside San Salvador. It was a senselessly violent end to a career spent exposing the senseless violence that has for years plagued El Salvador for years.

The killing was also predictable. Poveda had made himself a marked man, thanks to his film La Vida Loca (Crazy Life), which chronicled daily life among the 30,000-odd gang members whose activities have turned the tiny Central American nation of 5.5 million into one of the most dangerous places in the Western hemisphere, outside of a war zone.

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    • RiaD on September 4, 2009 at 14:38

    thank you for todays news.


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