Docudharma Times Saturday September 19

Saturday’s Headlines:

G.O.P. Checks for a Pulse, and Finds One

In media blitz, Obama says vitriol isn’t racism-based

Settlements row throws Middle East peace talks into doubt

Ahmadinejad faces test of strength as fresh protests sweep Iran

Stop passing the buck on terror, Pakistan tells UK

Japan’s death penalty effectively scrapped with arrival of Keiko Chiba

Spanish music maestro in £2.7m swindle

Angry French farmers dump millions of litres of milk by Mont Saint-Michel

Trafigura targets Greenpeace over toxic allegations

Nigeria ‘offended’ by sci-fi film

Mexican woman wrongly imprisoned is freed — 3 years later

Inquiry Into CIA Practices Narrows

Ex-Agency Directors Urge Administration To Drop Investigation

By Carrie Johnson, Jerry Markon and Julie Tate

Washington Post Staff Writers

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Justice Department’s review of detainee abuse by the CIA will focus on a very small number of cases, including at least one in which an Afghan prisoner died at a secret facility, according to two sources briefed on the matter.

On Friday, seven former CIA directors urged President Obama to end the inquiry, arguing that it would inhibit intelligence operations in the future and demoralize agency employees who believed they had been cleared by previous investigators.

Finding Humor In Postwar Woes

Ramadan TV Comedies Offer Relie

By Nada Bakri

Washington Post Foreign Service

Saturday, September 19, 2009

BAGHDAD — T he domino stones were scattered on the table in front of Saif Mohammad, a 17-year-old school dropout at a sidewalk cafe on a busy Baghdad street.

It was almost 8 p.m., and his game had ended. Mohammad waved at the waiter to change the embers on his water pipe. He inhaled gingerly, testing it. Then he adjusted his posture to gaze straight ahead at a small television 12 feet away. It was time for “Dar Dour,” one of more than a dozen Iraqi TV shows that run only during Ramadan, the month when Muslims fast from dawn until sunset.


G.O.P. Checks for a Pulse, and Finds One



Published: September 18, 2009

WASHINGTON – Less than a year after an election that nearly wiped them out politically, conservatives are showing signs of life.

They are still searching for new leaders and new ideas. Their victories have been more about taking advantage of President Obama’s missteps than advancing an agenda that can recapture large numbers of voters.

But they have shown in recent weeks that they can have at least some influence as the voice of the opposition – and in the process energize what remains of their movement. The more upbeat mood was evident in Washington on Friday at a jubilant and crowded Values Voter Summit that brought together some of the most passionate social conservatives.

In media blitz, Obama says vitriol isn’t racism-based

He’ll be all over the Sunday talk shows to promote his healthcare plans.

By Mark Silva

September 19, 2009

Reporting from Washington – Fear of “big changes” and of the growing role of government — not racism — are behind much of the criticism that the White House faces, President Obama said during a sweeping series of television interviews to air Sunday.

His media blitz is intended to promote his healthcare plans. But he confronts much more than that issue in the interviews, which will dominate Sunday morning’s news shows.

Excerpts were broadcast Friday evening.

In an interview with CBS News, he dismissed skeptics who think higher taxes are inevitable to support his healthcare overhaul.

Middle East

Settlements row throws Middle East peace talks into doubt

• US envoy fails to get deal ahead of Obama meeting

• Palestinians insist on total freeze on construction

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem and Chris McGreal in Washington, Friday 18 September 2009 19.18 BST

A high-stakes meeting between President Barack Obama and the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to restart peace talks was yesterday in doubt after the US envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, failed to win an agreement on a halt to Jewish settlement construction.

In the last four days Mitchell has met Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, four times seeking an agreement to stop settlement building in the Palestinian territories. Israel offered a freeze, but only with broad caveats. The Palestinians, taking an unusually firm line, said that was not enough.

Obama had hoped to bring Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas together at a meeting at the UN in New York next Wednesday.

Ahmadinejad faces test of strength as fresh protests sweep Iran

From The Times

September 19, 2009  

Martin Fletcher

The Islamic Republic has seldom seen such scenes. President Ahmadinejad had to cut short an interview on state-controlled television because chants of “Ahmadi! Ahmadi! Resign! Resign!” could clearly be heard in the background.

After two quiescent summer months, huge new protests erupted across Iran yesterday, with popular anger at the alleged theft of June’s presidential election inflamed by the subsequent killing, torture, rape and show trials of opponents of the regime.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, 68, the former Prime Minister and de facto opposition leader, had to abandon plans to join the huge anti-government demonstrations in Tehran when hardliners attacked him and his car.


Stop passing the buck on terror, Pakistan tells UK

You must be more sensitive to our difficulties in fighting Islamic extremism, says Foreign Minister

By Katherine Butler, Foreign editor

Saturday, 19 September 2009

The British Government should stop “passing the buck” by repeatedly blaming Pakistan for home-grown terror plots targeted at the UK, the country’s Foreign Minister has warned.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan could offer the West crucial help in ending the war in Afghanistan but stressed that, to achieve a lasting settlement in the region, Britain in particular, had to demonstrate “more sensitivity” to the political difficulties Pakistan faces in maintaining domestic support for its fight against Islamist extremism.

In an interview in London to The Independent, Mr Qureshi claimed recent military victories against the Taliban in the Swat Valley were a sign Pakistan was managing to “turn the tide” against the insurgency.

Japan’s death penalty effectively scrapped with arrival of Keiko Chiba

From The Times

September 19, 2009

Richard Lloyd Parry

Capital punishment has been unofficially scrapped in Japan with the appointment of a left-wing justice minister who is an outspoken opponent of the country’s controversial system of secret executions.

Keiko Chiba, 61, a lawyer and former member of the Japan Socialist Party, has the final say in signing execution orders for the country’s 102 death-row inmates. Although she has declined to say explicitly whether or not she will authorise them, her 20-year record as an active death penalty abolitionist means that hangings will be put on hold after surging in the past three years.


Spanish music maestro in £2.7m swindle

Former Barcelona concert hall director admits stealing funds over 30-year period

By Elizabeth Nash in Madrid

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Catalonia’s high-minded cultural elite, renowned for its exquisite taste and probity, has been shocked to discover that the former director of Barcelona’s Palace of Music, a symbol of regional identity and an architectural jewel, had swindled the concert hall out of more than €3m (£2.7m).

Felix Millet has admitted misappropriating millions from the city’s artistic flagship for his own benefit over 30 years. The most scandalous example was the sale, one day before the police came knocking with a search warrant, of one of his own properties to the music hall for €1.5m.

Mr Millet outlined details of his spectacular fraud in a letter to a Barcelona judge, written on his lawyer’s advice, whose contents became public this week. The 74-year-old was forced to resign in July when details of the suspected fraud began to emerge. Tax authorities had become suspicious of the vast quantities of €500 notes Mr Millet was shovelling into his accounts, at least one reportedly in Switzerland, and they alerted the police.

Angry French farmers dump millions of litres of milk by Mont Saint-Michel

Angry French farmers dumped millions of litres of fresh milk next to one of France’s most famous tourist sites on Friday to denounce the slumping cost of milk and an EU plan to end production quotas, which could further drive prices down.

APLI, a small dairy farmer’s union that organised the protest, said over 1,000 farmers and 300 tractors took part in the event, pouring 3,5 million litres (925,000 gallons) of milk onto fields next to the famed Mont Saint-Michel.

The Medieval island monastery is one of the most visited sites in France and is next to the Normandy and Brittany regions, which are both big milk producers.

While the European Union strongly subsidises agriculture, milk farmers’ groups say world prices have sunk so much they are having to sell their milk at about 20 euro cents per litre -or about half its production costs.

The crisis has driven many EU farmers into a “milk strike,” with thousands refusing to deliver milk to the industrial dairy conglomerates that produce anything from skimmed milk to processed cheese. But because cows have to be milked every day anyhow, some farmers have been dumping the overflow in protest.


Trafigura targets Greenpeace over toxic allegations

Trafigura, the international oil trader, has accused Greenpeace of targeting it with a high-profile campaign of unsupported allegations over a toxic waste dump in Ivory Coast.

by Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent

Published: 7:00AM BST 19 Sep 2009

Greenpeace has petitioned a Dutch court to bring criminal charges against Trafigura executives after hundreds of tons of “slops” from a ship it had hired, the Probo Koala, to process petroleum products were allegedly dumped near Abidjan, the African country’s commercial capital, by a subcontractor.

“It’s an organised campaign by Greenpeace,” said Eric de Turckheim, a director of the company. “We don’t know why they are attacking us on this subject. We want to have a discussion with them on the scientific fundamentals but they have not wanted to co-operate.”

Trafigura admits that there was “real toxicity” at the site but has commissioned a number of scientists who have concluded that the material could not have taken on a gaseous form.

At least 15 people died and thousands were sickened by toxic waste, according to a United Nations report released this week but its findings were also disputed by the company.

Nigeria ‘offended’ by sci-fi film

 Nigeria’s government is asking cinemas to stop showing a science fiction film, District Nine, that it says denigrates the country’s image.

The BBC  Saturday, 19 September 2009

Information Minister Dora Akunyili told the BBC’s Network Africa programme that she had asked the makers of the film, Sony, for an apology.

She says the film portrays Nigerians as cannibals, criminals and prostitutes.

An actor from the film said that it was not just Nigerians who were portrayed as villains.

The Malawian actor, Eugene Khumbanyiwa, plays a gang leader with the nickname of Obasanjo, also the surname of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The film is about alien refugees who set up home in a South African shanty town called District Nine.

Latin America

Mexican woman wrongly imprisoned is freed — 3 years later

Middle-aged woman jailed on charges of kidnapping six federal police officers is released without apology. Her case illustrates the failings of a judicial system that seems stacked against the poor.

By Tracy Wilkinson

September 19, 2009

Reporting from Mexico City – The charges, her defenders maintained, were absurd from the start: An unarmed middle-aged indigenous woman who stood barely 5 feet tall was accused of kidnapping six federal police officers.

Jacinta Francisco Marcial said she was innocent and had been railroaded. This week, after spending three years in prison, she was set free. The Mexican judiciary that had handed her a 21-year sentence decided she probably wasn’t guilty after all.

She received no apology, and was bundled out of prison Wednesday before dawn on Mexican Independence Day, when much of national attention was diverted by holiday frolic.

Ignoring Asia A Blog

1 comment

    • Edger on September 19, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    To Eric Mukasey?

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