Docudharma Times Sunday October 11




Sunday’s Headlines:

Lobbyists Fight Last Big Plans to Cut Health Care Costs

A Family’s Journey and a Girl’s Dream

Steep Losses Pose Crisis for Pensions

Obama renews pledge to gays to end ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

Monsoon threatens Sri Lankan refugees with ‘humanitarian disaster’, warns UN

China jails corrupt government offical

Ukraine fears for its future as Moscow muscles in on Crimea

Nuclear terror suspect is top physicist

Jordan to refill shrinking Dead Sea with salt water

Captured insurgent in Iraq: `I will fight again’

‘SoleRebels,’ Ethiopian answer to ‘Nike’

Honduras further restricts freedoms of broadcasters

Lobbyists Fight Last Big Plans to Cut Health Care Costs



By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

Published: October 10, 2009


WASHINGTON – As the health care debate moves to the floor of Congress, most of the serious proposals to fulfill President Obama’s original vow to curb costs have fallen victim to organized interests and parochial politics.

And now the last two initiatives with real bite that are still in contention – a scaled-back “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health plans and a nonpartisan Medicare budget-cutting commission – are under furious assault.

Most economists’ favorite idea for slowing the growth of health care spending was ending the income tax exemption for employer-paid health insurance to make lower-cost plans more attractive.

A Family’s Journey and a Girl’s Dream



By ADAM B. ELLICK October 11, 2009

Desperate circumstances can force people to stray away from their most firm principals.

That’s what I observed during the six months I spent following a family from Pakistan’s Swat Valley who live under the influence of the Taliban. I’ve told their story as I observed it in a two-part documentary for The New York Times.

In Part I titled “Class Dismissed,” the father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, owns a girls’ school that went bankrupt in January when the Taliban forced him to shut it down. His 11-year-old daughter, Malala, lost her education.

USA

Steep Losses Pose Crisis for Pensions

Two Bad Choices for Funds: Cut Benefits Or Take Greater Risks to Rebuild Assets

By David Cho

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, October 11, 2009


The financial crisis has blown a hole in the rosy forecasts of pension funds that cover teachers, police officers and other government employees, casting into doubt as never before whether these public systems will be able to keep their promises to future generations of retirees.

The upheaval on Wall Street has deluged public pension systems with losses that government officials and consultants increasingly say are insurmountable unless pension managers fundamentally rethink how they pay out benefits or make money or both.

Obama renews pledge to gays to end ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

He says he will work for ‘full equality’ but does not give a timetable for his initiatives, which include changing the military policy and a federal ban on gay marriage.

By Katherine Skiba

October 11, 2009


Reporting from Washington – President Obama made sweeping pledges Saturday before gay and lesbian activists, promising to end the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and work to undo the law that prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

Obama, addressing a gala dinner hosted by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest advocacy group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, said he would work for “full equality” across the board. Although there have been advances in gay rights, Obama said, there are “still laws to change and hearts to open.”

Asia

Monsoon threatens Sri Lankan refugees with ‘humanitarian disaster’, warns UN

Refugees held in internment camp said to be ‘at serious risk of flooding’ as monsoon season approaches

Gethin Chamberlain, in Delhi

The Observer, Sunday 11 October 2009


Tens of thousands of detained refugees from the war in Sri Lanka are threatened by the imminent arrival of monsoon rains in the north of the country, according to an internal United Nations document.

The UN believes that about 66,000 people held in the vast Menik Farm internment camp since May face a humanitarian disaster when the rains start, bringing the spectre of disease. Officials have urged the government to move those whose tents are most likely to be flooded by a mixture of rain and sewage.

China jails corrupt government offical

From Times Online

October 11, 2009


Jane Macartney in Beijing

A government official whose taste for expensive cigarettes and very large cars triggered an online furore in China has been sent to jail for corruption.

The sentencing of Zhou Jiugeng is testimony to the growing importance of the Internet in China as a forum for open debate in a country where all other media are much more closely controlled and censored by propaganda mandarins.

Mr Zhou, a former director of the property management bureau of a district in the southern city of Nanjing, was convicted of accepting 1.07 million yuan (£100,000) and 110,000 Hong Kong dollars in bribes from contractors and other officials. He was sentenced to 11 years in jail.

Europe

Ukraine fears for its future as Moscow muscles in on Crimea

As Ukraine prepares for its first presidential election since the Orange Revolution, there are signs that its giant neighbour to the east will not tolerate a pro-western outcome. Luke Harding reports from Yalta

Luke Harding

The Observer, Sunday 11 October 2009


From the terrace there are views of the Crimean peninsula, with fir trees, dark green cypresses and a shimmering bay. Inside – through a pleasant Italian courtyard – is the room where Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt sat together around a wooden table and divided up postwar Europe.

But almost 65 years after the “big three” met in the Crimean seaside resort of Yalta – now in Ukraine – the question of zones of influence has come back to haunt Europe. Russia has made it clear that it sees Ukraine as crucial to its bold claim that it is entitled to a zone of influence in its post-Soviet backyard.

Nuclear terror suspect is top physicist

Was a leading scientist working on Cern’s Large Hadron Collider plotting with al-Qa’ida to sabotage sites in France? John Lichfield in Paris reports

 Sunday, 11 October 2009

The scientist suspected of plotting terrorist attacks on nuclear sites in France is a brilliant, internationally known physicist who has worked on research projects in Britain and the US, it emerged yesterday.

Adlène Hicheur, 32, who currently works on the “Big Bang” Large Hadron Collider experiment on the Swiss-French border, was once a research fellow at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Chilton, Oxfordshire. His name is attached to dozens of research papers presented at universities and nuclear research centres all over the world.

Mr Hicheur, and his brother, Zitouni, or Halim, also a highly qualified scientist, were arrested at their parents’ home on a suburban council estate at Vienne, south of Lyons, on Thursday.

Middle East

Jordan to refill shrinking Dead Sea with salt water

Jordan is to refill the shrinking Dead Sea with salt water despite concerns from environmentalists about the threat to its unique eco-system.

By Richard Spencer in Amman

Water levels in the lowest and saltiest body of water on the planet are falling by more than four feet a year, giving rise to quips that the Dead Sea is dying.

The government in Amman has said it is planning to extract more than 10 billion cubic feet a year from the Red Sea 110 miles to the south, feed most of it into a desalination plant to create drinking water, and send the salty waste-water left over to the Dead Sea by tunnel.

Similar plans are already the subject of a two-year feasibility study agreed by the Jordanians, Israelis and Palestinians in a rare example of cross-border Middle East co-operation.

But the Jordanians have decided they cannot wait any longer. “Jordan will start with the first phase with the help of donor countries and private investors,” its minister for water, General Maysoun Zu’bi, said this week.

Captured insurgent in Iraq: `I will fight again’

BAGHDAD

By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA and BRIAN MURPHY, Associated Press Writers – Sun Oct 11

He told his family he was going on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Instead, the second-year college student packed a vinyl travel bag and left home in Saudi Arabia for a trip that would take him on a smuggling route across the Syrian border and into the heart of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq.

So began the underground life of safe houses, aliases and hit-and-run attacks of another Islamic foot soldier recruited to battle the U.S. military and its Iraqi allies.

The story – recounted to The Associated Press in a rare interview with a captured foreign fighter – is not one of extraordinary daring or singular cunning. It’s about one of the anonymous trigger-pullers in alleys or roadsides – in this case, an ordinary history major who became a rank-and-file gunslinger for insurgent commanders.

Africa

‘SoleRebels,’ Ethiopian answer to ‘Nike’

ADDIS ABABA (AFP)

by Emmanuel Goujon

Ethiopian shoemaker Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu sees her eco-friendly “SoleRebels” brand of footwear, made of recycled tyres and traditional woven fabric, as Africa’s answer to Nike.

In her workshop in Addis Ababa’s Zenabework neighbourhood, a constant patter and the stench of glue fill the air as 40 cobblers hammer, trim tyres and stitch fabric to make the zero carbon emission footwear.

Launched in 2005, the SoleRebels brand features trainers, sandals and other trendy open shoes which are sold in the United States and Europe. It also provides livelihoods to at least 75 suppliers.

“For a long time, used tyres have been used here to make traditional sandals, so I decided to take the idea and develop it in Ethiopian traditional factories using organic cotton and local leather,” the 30 year-old entrepreneur said.

Latin America

Honduras further restricts freedoms of broadcasters

The interim government targets reports that ‘attack national security.’

Associated Press

October 11, 2009


Tegucigalpa, Honduras – Honduras’ interim leaders put in place new rules Saturday that threaten broadcasters with closure for airing reports that “attack national security,” further restricting media freedom after the closure of two opposition stations.

The latest decree is sure to anger supporters of ousted President Manuel Zelaya and appears to be a challenge to the Organization of American States and a team of regional diplomats who were in the country Thursday to push for a resolution of the crisis.

A statement released by the OAS delegation urged the coup-installed government to, among other things, allow the resumption of operations at the two broadcasters, which backed Zelaya’s return to office.

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1 comment

    • RiaD on October 11, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    for bringing me so much news each day

    ♥~

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