Docudharma Times Saturday May 29




Saturday’s Headlines:

Options studied for a possible Pakistan strike

Mercury, Edsel Ford’s creation, might shudder to a halt after 71 years

USA

Stock-market roller coaster is hard on the economy’s stomach

BP ‘systemic failure’ endangers Gulf cleanup workers

Europe

New! More unseen photographs from the First World War

Euro plunges as Spain’s debt downgraded

Middle East

Israel vows to halt flotilla aiming to break blockade

UN talks back conference on nuclear-free Middle East

Asia

China faces pressure to act over North Korea at summit

Japan’s Hatoyama, weakened by Okinawa base decision, sacks deputy

Africa

Rwanda: Kagame stands firm. Rights? Yes, but put food on the table first

Blood diamonds: the illicit trade propping up the Mugabe regime

Latin America

Colombia elections: Border town frets about Hugo Chávez trade threats

 

Options studied for a possible Pakistan strike



By Greg Miller

Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, May 29, 2010


The U.S. military is reviewing options for a unilateral strike in Pakistan in the event that a successful attack on American soil is traced to the country’s tribal areas, according to senior military officials.Ties between the alleged Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, and elements of the Pakistani Taliban have sharpened the Obama administration’s need for retaliatory options, the officials said. They stressed that a U.S. reprisal would be contemplated only under extreme circumstances, such as a catastrophic attack that leaves President Obama convinced that the ongoing campaign of CIA drone strikes is insufficient.

Mercury, Edsel Ford’s creation, might shudder to a halt after 71 years



By Peter Whoriskey

Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, May 29, 2010


To the list of automobile brands abandoned during the economic crisis, historians might soon add the storied Mercury.

The cars once carried James Dean in “Rebel Without a Cause” and Jack Lord in “Hawaii Five-O.”

But Mercury sales have crashed, its ’50s-era mojo has disappeared in the rearview mirror and Ford is considering a plan to ditch the brand, according to a company official who declined to be named because the matter has not been finalized.

USA

Stock-market roller coaster is hard on the economy’s stomach

Turmoil on Wall Street erodes the confidence needed to speed up hiring and growth.

By Tom Petruno and Walter Hamilton, Los Angeles Times

May 29, 2010


The global surge in financial markets last year boosted hopes that the recession was ending. But now tumbling stock prices and wild volatility on Wall Street are undermining some of the pillars supporting the economic recovery.

Stocks fell again Friday, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average down 122 points to 10,136. For all of May the blue-chip index slid 7.9%, its biggest monthly drop since February 2009.

BP ‘systemic failure’ endangers Gulf cleanup workers



By Marisa Taylor and Erika Bolstad | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON – Federal regulators complained in a scathing internal memo about “significant deficiencies” in BP’s handling of the safety of oil spill workers and asked the Coast Guard to help pressure the company to address a litany of concerns.

The memo, written by a Labor Department official earlier this week and obtained by McClatchy, reveals the Obama administration’s growing concerns about potential health and safety problems posed by the oil spill and its inability to force BP to respond to them.

Europe

New! More unseen photographs from the First World War



By John Lichfield Saturday, 29 May 2010

A year ago this month, the haunting faces of unknown British and Commonwealth soldiers of the Somme emerged from the mists of time and battle to gaze from the pages of The Independent Magazine. The lost Somme photographs – 400 glass negatives of Tommies, Aussies and Canadians of the period 1915-16 rescued from a rubbish heap in northern France – generated extraordinary interest all over the world. The images were by far the most visited item on The Independent website in 2009 – and over the past 12 months, these “unknown soldiers” have been viewed online more than 1,700,000 times.

Euro plunges as Spain’s debt downgraded

From Times Online

May 28, 2010


Gráinne Gilmore, Economics Correspondent

The euro plunged and US stock markets dived last night after Spain was stripped of its top-level credit rating by a leading rating agency over concerns about its economic growth.

In the latest blow to the eurozone, which is struggling to cope with the fallout from the Greek fiscal crisis, Fitch Ratings downgraded Spain’s sovereign credit rating – a measure of how easily it can meet the interest payment on its debt – by a notch from the top AAA rating to AA+.

Standard & Poor’s, another ratings agency, downgraded Spain’s rating for the second time to AA last month but Moody’s, the other leading agency, has maintained the rating at AAA.

Middle East

Israel vows to halt flotilla aiming to break blockade  



By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem

Saturday, 29 May 2010


Israeli warships were yesterday on full alert in the Mediterranean to prevent an eight-vessel flotilla carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists and an estimated 10,000 tons of humanitarian supplies reaching the coast of Gaza.

Naval vessels were expected to confront the flotilla of cargo and passenger ships later today with the intention of diverting it to the Israeli port of Ashdod and away from its intended destination of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

The flotilla is the largest attempt yet to circumvent the three-year-old Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

UN talks back conference on nuclear-free Middle East

Signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) have agreed to work towards a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East.

The BBC Saturday, 29 May 2010

The members, meeting at the UN in New York, called for a conference in 2012 attended by Middle Eastern states – including Iran – to establish the zone.

The unanimously agreed document also said that Israel should sign the NPT.

US President Barack Obama backed the deal but said he was “strongly opposed” to Israel being singled out.

The US says the reference could jeopardise efforts to persuade the Israelis to attend the 2012 talks.

Asia

China faces pressure to act over North Korea at summit

China is to face renewed pressure from South Korea to censure North Korea over the sinking of one of the South’s warships, amid rising tensions.

The BBC Saturday, 29 May 2010

Seoul is hosting a three-way summit with China and Japan as it steps up its diplomatic efforts over what it says was a torpedo attack by the North.

Beijing has so far refused to condemn North Korea, but has said it would assess the evidence objectively.

Pyongyang has fiercely denied the allegations.

South Korea says an investigation involving international teams uncovered indisputable evidence that North Korea fired a torpedo at the ship.

Japan’s Hatoyama, weakened by Okinawa base decision, sacks deputy

North Korea tensions are reportedly behind Japan Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s unpopular decision to keep the US base on Okinawa. But the move will damage his party’s prospects in the July election.

By Justin McCurry, Correspondent / May 28, 2010

Tokyo

Japan’s coalition government was thrown into turmoil Friday after the prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, sacked a cabinet minister because of sharp differences over the fate of a controversial US airbase on the southern island of Okinawa.

The dismissal of Mizuho Fukushima, the consumer affairs minister, fueled speculation that her tiny left-of-center Social Democrats would flee the three-way coalition with Hatoyama’s Democratic party and the People’s New party after just eight months in office. While the government would still retain its majority in both houses of parliament, a Social Democrat defection would further damage Mr. Hatoyama’s already bleak prospects in upper house elections in July.

Africa

Rwanda: Kagame stands firm. Rights? Yes, but put food on the table first

Sixteen years on from the genocide, Rwanda is thriving and prosperous, beloved of donor nations but its president is accused of stifling dissent

Sarah Boseley in Kigali

Paul Kagame sits at the head of a vast polished oval table in his lush presidential compound in Kigali, an apparently fragile figure, rake-thin, his dark suit hanging loose. The wire-framed glasses above jutting cheekbones give him an austerely academic look.

Rwanda’s president is a thoughtful man, who listens attentively and speaks slowly with an occasional almost self-deprecatory half-laugh, but the steel in the former general who brought genocide to an end 16 years ago is evident in his words.

Blood diamonds: the illicit trade propping up the Mugabe regime



From Times Online

May 29, 2010


 

Bayo, a burly Guinean also known as Mr Big, threw the contents of the small plastic bag on to the bare wooden table. A handful of rough diamonds twinkled in the half-light of the shabby office.

“Put the light on,” shouted Demba, one of several “associates” squeezed into the back room of a residential home. Someone flicked the switch on a desk lamp and he pointed at the gems. “Look at this quality – very good, boss, very good. Tell me which type you want and I’ll bring them over.”

The Times played it cautiously. “We’re not experts but our friend is and we’re coming back with him soon. We think we do a lot of business,” we said.

Latin America

Colombia elections: Border town frets about Hugo Chávez trade threats

Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez threatened to shut down trade if Colombian presidential candidate Juan Manuel Santos wins the May 30 Colombia elections.

By Jeff Farrell, Correspondent / May 28, 2010

On the face of it, it is just another backwater dusty town in Colombia´s north eastern frontier with Venezuela. But beyond the potholed main street, dotted with cactus plants and rubbish, lies a thriving market town.

Arab traders sell electronic goods such as TVs and refrigerators shipped in from Panama. Colombian merchants trade in clothes as well as jewelery with gold and precious stones. Native Way’ùu indians sit in doorways knitting traditional dresses for artesan shops.

Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez last month threatened to cut trade with Colombia if presidential candidate Juan Manuel Santos wins Sunday’s May 30 elections. If elected, Mr. Santos, Colombia´s former defense minister under President Alvaro Uribe, had talked about chasing FARC over the border into Venezuela .

Ignoring Asia A Blog

1 comment

    • TMC on May 29, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Parish official: BP shipped in workers for president’s visit

    (CNN) — A Gulf Coast official accused BP of shipping workers into Grand Isle, Louisiana, for President Barack Obama’s visit to the oil-stricken area Friday and sending them away once the president left the region.

    Early Friday morning, “a number of buses brought in approximately 300 to 400 workers that had been recruited all week,” Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts told CNN’s “Situation Room.”

    Roberts said the workers were offered $12 an hour to come out to the scene at Grand Isle and work in what he called a “dog and pony show.”

    But, when Obama departed, so did the workers, he said, adding that he’s never seen more than 20 workers at the Grand Isle cleanup site since the effort started.

    Thank you for the link to the Independent and those wonderful pictures from WW1. We must never forget them.

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