Docudharma Times Tuesday February 9

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Toyota orders global Prius recall

India to rule on future of aubergine as country’s first genetically modified food

Top House Republicans throw cold water on health-care summit

Hoarse Who Dat Nation savors Saints’ victory

Yuliya Tymoshenko under pressure to concede defeat in Ukraine poll

Irish paramilitary disarmament lauded

12-year-old Saudi girl in divorce battle with 80-year-old husband

Iran ‘ups nuclear fuel enriching’

Sri Lankan general held in crackdown

China jails investigator into Sichuan earthquake schools

Rwanda’s Kagame warns critical presidential rival

In Haiti, a rum everyone can agree on


Toyota orders global Prius recall

The order targets a brake problem. The action follows the recall of 9 million other vehicles over acceleration issues.

 By Jerry Hirsch and Coco Masters

February 9, 2010

Toyota is recalling its 2010 Prius and Lexus hybrids worldwide because of brake problems, marking another setback for a carmaker already plagued with recalls and suspended sales because of safety issues.

The recall will include 437,000 vehicles, including 133,000 Prius and 14,500 Lexus models in the U.S. to update software in their anti-lock brake systems.

In addition, the company is recalling about 7,300 of its 4-cylinder 2010 Camrys in the U.S., also for a possible brake-related problem. The cars will be inspected to check for the position of a hose that could burst, causing brake fluid leaks and loss of braking power.

India to rule on future of aubergine as country’s first genetically modified food

• Minister to make key decision on major crop

• Broad alliance takes on Monsanto subsidiary

Jason Burke in Delhi, Monday 8 February 2010 19.06 GMT

A fierce row over the future of the humble aubergine, staple ingredient of fiery brinjal curries for tens of millions of Indians, will reach a climax on Wednesday with a key government decision on the possible future commercial cultivation of genetically-modified strains of the plant. If permission is given, the aubergine will become the first GM foodstuff to be grown in India.

The decision will be taken by the environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, who pledged last year to end the heated argument over whether aubergines modified with a gene from the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis should be distributed to Indian farmers.


Top House Republicans throw cold water on health-care summit

By Michael D. Shear

Leading House Republicans raised the prospect Monday night that they might refuse to participate in President Obama’s proposed health care summit if the White House chooses not to scrap the existing reform bills and start over.

In a letter to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) expressed frustration at reports that Obama intends to put the Democratic bills on the table for discussion at the Feb. 25 summit.

“If the starting point for this meeting is the job-killing bills the American people have already soundly rejected, Republicans would rightly be reluctant to participate,” Boehner and Cantor wrote.

Hoarse Who Dat Nation savors Saints’ victory

Fans celebrate all night in French Quarter after first Super Bowl title

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS – People lined up by the hundreds to buy Monday’s Times-Picayune, which hollered “AMEN!” from its front page. The Saints’ Super Bowl victory was a prayer answered in this struggling city, and New Orleans itself seemed different for it.

Swarms of fans in black and gold greeted the players as they stepped off a chartered plane at the suburban airport, cheering them with “Who Dat!” chants. The Saints, cellar dwellers for decades, delivered not just their first Lombardi trophy but optimism for their city, a new sense that the unimaginable – better schools, less crime and even honest politicians – really is possible.


Yuliya Tymoshenko under pressure to concede defeat in Ukraine poll

From The Times

February 9, 2010

Tony Halpin

Yuliya Tymoshenko was under pressure to concede defeat in Ukraine’s presidential election after international monitors endorsed the results.

With 99 per cent of votes counted Viktor Yanukovych, her rival, retained a lead of about three percentage points with 48.69 per cent against 45.73 per cent for Mrs Tymoshenko. The difference was more than 720,000 votes, Ukraine’s Central Election Commission said.

She remained uncharacteristically silent throughout the day, twice cancelling press conferences at which she had been expected to declare whether she would challenge the result or recognise Mr Yanukovych as President.

Irish paramilitary disarmament lauded

The laying down of arms by another Irish republican paramilitary group has been hailed by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown as a defining moment in the Northern Ireland peace process.

By Rachel Brown for The World Today

The decommissioning comes just days after a deal to shift police and justice powers from Westminster to the region’s power-sharing governments.

The Irish National Liberation Army’s (INLA) announcement was made by former prisoner Martin McMonagle in Belfast.

“The INLA has disarmed through a joint facilitation group consisting of a local, national and international organisation,” he said.

“We hope that this move will further enhance the primacy of politics and that it will in time unite and advance the working class struggle in Ireland.”

Middle East

12-year-old Saudi girl in divorce battle with 80-year-old husband

From The Times

February 9, 2010

Hugh Tomlinson in Dubai

A 12-year-old girl fighting to divorce her 80-year-old husband in Saudi Arabia is to receive legal assistance from the Government in what could become a test case for banning child marriage in the kingdom.

The state-run Human Rights Commission has hired a lawyer to represent the girl when she takes her case to court in Buraidah, a conservative town near the capital Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia has no minimum legal age for marriage and it is common in poorer, tribal areas for girls to be married off. However, it is rare for a child bride to challenge the match.

Iran ‘ups nuclear fuel enriching’

Iran has started the process of enriching uranium to 20% in defiance of the West, Iranian state media says.

The BBC Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The process was begun at the Natanz plant in the presence of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors, al-Alam state television reported.

The move came after Western powers stepped up pressure for international sanctions against Iran.

China, a UN Security Council member, has called for further talks over Iran’s nuclear programme.

The US and its Western allies say Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon – a charge Iran denies.

Iran’s top nuclear official, Ali Akbar Salehi, was quoted by state news agency Irna as saying Iran “had started the 20% enrichment in a separate cascade in Natanz”.


Sri Lankan general held in crackdown

Defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka to face coup attempt charge as row over election result takes dramatic turn

Jason Burke, South Asia correspondent, and agencies, Monday 8 February 2010 19.42 GMT  

The defeated candidate in last month’s tense presidential election in Sri Lanka, General Sarath Fonseka, was arrested today at his office in Colombo and is to be charged with attempting a military coup to overthrow the government.

The sudden arrest of the 59-year-old former chief of Sri Lankan armed forces and the architect of their bloody but successful campaign against the Tamil Tigers last year, sparked fears of a widespread crackdown on opponents of the incumbent president, Mahindra Rajapakse.

A government spokesman confirmed that Fonseka had been arrested, saying he had been detained for “committing military offences”.

China jails investigator into Sichuan earthquake schools

Tan Zuoren jailed over Tiananmen Square article but supporters say detention owing to research into death of pupils in quake

Tania Branigan in Beijing and agencies, Tuesday 9 February 2010 08.21 GMT  

A Chinese activist who investigated the deaths of children in schools that collapsed in the Sichuan earthquake was today jailed for five years for subversion, his lawyer said.

The court in Chengdu sentenced Tan Zuoren over comments he made in online articles about the violent crackdown on Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. But he and his supporters believe he was detained owing to his research into the deaths of thousands of pupils. Charges related to his investigation were ignored in the verdict.

“The court was very smart. They took out any mention of the earthquake from the verdict because they are afraid of referring to it,” said his lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang.


Rwanda’s Kagame warns critical presidential rival

KIGALI (Reuters)

By Hereward Holland

Rwandan President Paul Kagame said an outspoken presidential aspirant could be prosecuted for inflammatory remarks about the 1994 genocide.

Victoire Ingabire, a Hutu who was living abroad during the 100-day slaughter, returned to Rwanda last month to launch a bid in the August presidential elections, in which analysts expect Kagame to win a second 7-year term.

“I think this individual is going too far in abusing the country’s goodwill and attempting to destroy the positive steps that have been established, but eventually the law will catch up with her,” he told reporters in Kinyarwanda on Monday.

Since her return Ingabire’s public comments, saying that the memory of Hutus killed during the genocide had not been fully acknowledged, have prompted heavy criticism from Rwanda’s largely pro-government media.

Latin America

In Haiti, a rum everyone can agree on

Rhum Barbancourt is a national tradition, surviving the tumult of the last century and a half. Whether it is weddings or holidays, or raising voodoo spirits, no other will do.

By Scott Kraft

February 9, 2010

Reporting from Port-Au-Prince, Haiti – When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt arrived here in 1934 to mark the end of America’s occupation of Haiti, he insisted on toasting the hand-over with local Barbancourt rum. Two decades later, the visiting Vice President Nixon personally mixed a Barbancourt rum collins for Haiti’s president (who was, ahem, a whiskey drinker).

And every voodoo priest and priestess in Haiti knows that soaking the ground with the golden rum — not the three-star version, mind you, but the five-star, aged twice as long — can raise the spirits of the dead.

“It’s what they drink,” Markendy Jean Batiste, a voodoo priest, said with a shrug as if explaining the obvious. “You’ve got to keep the spirits happy.”

Ignoring Asia A Blog


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    • RiaD on February 9, 2010 at 15:07

    if India says NO to GMO it will be a big step in the real food movement worldwide.

    i do not believe gmo crops are safe, no matter what monsanto funded scientists & studies say.

    seeds have been hybridized using natural methods for many hundreds of years & it worked just fine. i think if we changed farming practices we would see as big an increase in yields.

    • Xanthe on February 9, 2010 at 15:20

    I listen.  What else going on here is Monsanto patenting these seeds because they have changed the composition.  Thus, farmers cannot use the original seeds they’ve used for centuries because Monsanto holds a patent on the GM seeds.  It happened with the Neem trees in India – a kind of aspirin-like cure for many ills.  These are the “fruits” of globalization when a corporation like Monsanto (a transnational – not an “American’) stumbles into a centuries old farming culture and hacks it to death.  

    Vandana Shiva’s book:  Water Wars changed my life – and I now think about my own life in terms of my connection to the people of India, for instance, as well.  Indian farmers have been sold out – we’re all being sold out.  I hope Americans are beginning to get it.


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