Docudharma Times Thursday November 6

The Regional Republican Party

What A Shame

Not Really  

Thursday’s Headlines:

Hispanic Activists Cite an Uptick in Threats of Violence

Ceasefire under threat as six die in Gaza raid

British interpreter Daniel James found guilty of spying for Iran

Turkey accuses Duchess over orphanages ‘smear’

EU to embrace Croatia despite reports of gang crime and corruption

Adventures on the Great Wall

China, Taiwan expand ties via trade

What Obama means for Africa

Kenya celebrates Obama’s success

Mexican crash could set back drug war

For Obama, No Day to Bask as He Starts to Build His Team for Transition


Published: November 5, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama began moving Wednesday to build his administration and make good on his ambitious promises to point the United States in a different direction, as his commanding victory reordered the American political landscape and transfixed much of the nation and the world.

A day after becoming the first African-American to capture the presidency, Mr. Obama announced a transition team and prepared to name an ally as his White House chief of staff in his first steps toward assuming power. President Bush vowed to work closely with Mr. Obama to ensure a smooth transition in the first handover since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Critics alarmed as Medvedev reveals plan to extend Russian presidential term to six years

• Putin expected to benefit from constitutional reform

• New nuclear missile site to ‘neutralise’ US shield

Luke Harding in Moscow

The Guardian, Thursday November 6 2008

President Dmitry Medvedev moved yesterday to entrench the current Russian leadership’s grip on power by proposing a presidential term that would extend the stint in office from four to six years.

Medvedev said the extension was necessary to guarantee stability and help Russia deal with massive global challenges. But critics said the proposal was further evidence of Russia’s alarming and rapid drift towards authoritarianism.

In his first state of the nation address, Medvedev also said he was deploying nuclear missiles in western Russia to “neutralise” the Pentagon’s missile defence system – and lambasted the US for its “arrogant course” and “unilateralism”.



U.S. to cut troop levels in Iraq this month

The cut to 14 brigades comes at least two months earlier than planned

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Spurred on by a continued decline in violence, the U.S. military will reduce its presence in Iraq to 14 combat brigades this month – at least two months earlier than originally planned.

Military officials say two brigades from the 101st Airborne Division will leave Iraq this month and only one will be replaced. A brigade is roughly 3,500 soldiers. Initially the 3rd Brigade, 101st Division, was scheduled to leave this month, and the 2nd Brigade, 101st Division, was to leave by February.

Hispanic Activists Cite an Uptick in Threats of Violence


By Darryl Fears

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, November 6, 2008; Page A02

Andrea Bazán said she has thick skin and is not easily frightened by death threats. But when the Hispanic activist arrived home one day to find her voice mail packed with profanity, and when she noticed a man watching her house in Durham, N.C., from a white commercial van with no license plates, her heart started to pound.

On a recent Monday night, she said, an unidentified man pounded on the front door of her house, frightening her. About a month earlier, on Labor Day, her house was broken into, and the smoke detectors were removed.

Middle East

Ceasefire under threat as six die in Gaza raid

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem

The Guardian, Thursday November 6 2008

A four-month-old ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza was in jeopardy yesterday after Israeli troops killed six Hamas gunmen in a raid into the territory.

Hamas responded by firing a volley of rockets into southern Israel, although no one was injured. The violence represented the most serious breach in a ceasefire agreed in mid-June. Despite the bloodshed, both sides suggested they wanted to return to a period of calm.

Israeli troops crossed into the Gaza Strip late on Tuesday night near the town of Deir al-Balah. The Israeli military said the target was a tunnel it claimed Hamas was planning to use to capture Israeli soldiers positioned on the border fence 250 metres (820ft) away. Four soldiers were injured in the raid, the Israeli military added

British interpreter Daniel James found guilty of spying for Iran

From The Times

November 6, 2008

Michael Evans, Defence Editor

An Iranian-born British Army interpreter who had a reputation for being a fantasist with ideas above his station was found guilty yesterday of spying for Iran while serving with the senior military commander in Afghanistan.

Corporal Daniel James, 45, who had been in the Territorial Army for 18 years, was convicted at the Old Bailey of one offence under Section 1 of the 1911 Official Secrets Act, of communicating with a military attache at the Iranian Embassy in Kabul in 2006. The maximum sentence is seven years in prison.

He is facing two further charges: breaching the Official Secrets Act for collecting information likely to be useful to an enemy – relating to the discovery of two “Nato-confidential” military situation reports stored on a USB computer memory stick – and an offence of wilful misconduct in public office. He denied all the charges


Turkey accuses Duchess over orphanages ‘smear’

Documentary shows children tied to their beds or lying helpless in corridors

By Nicholas Birch in Istanbul

Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Turkish authorities are threatening Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, and ITV with legal action for a producing an undercover documentary about state-run homes for mentally handicapped children.

Accompanied by ITV reporters carrying hidden cameras, the Duchess of York donned a black wig and headscarf to document poor conditions in two institutions in Ankara and Istanbul earlier this year.

Footage leaked to Turkish television shows children tied to beds, and others lying helpless in corridors. The documentary airs on ITV1 tonight.

EU to embrace Croatia despite reports of gang crime and corruption

From The Times

November 6, 2008

David Charter in Brussels and Suna Erdem in Istanbul

An increase in criminal gang violence and killings has done little to delay Croatia’s accession to the European Union, raising fears that another Eastern European country will be admitted before it brings organised crime under control.

The country was told yesterday that it was still on track for membership and was given a timetable to complete the entry process by the end of next year, with another year for ratification by the 27 EU states. The news came despite an annual review into EU hopefuls stating that corruption and organised crime were still widespread in Croatia.

The rush to embrace Croatia is causing alarm that the EU will repeat the mistakes it made over Bulgaria and Romania, both of which were allowed in last year despite the continued influence of organised crime that is now holding up millions of euros in development aid.


Adventures on the Great Wall

A British historian inspired by the first man to explore the famous landmark from end to end is teaching the Chinese about their greatest archaeological treasure. Clifford Coonan reports

?Thursday, 6 November 2008

This is a tale of two Williams, their lives separated by more than a century but whose destinies are intertwined through their abiding fascination with one of the pinnacles of human achievement, the Great Wall of China.

William Lindesay, “Young William”, is British, and one of the world’s leading authorities on the Wall, while William Geil, “Old William”, was an American and the first man to explore the Great Wall from one end to the other.

China, Taiwan expand ties via trade>

Beijing’s envoy will also discuss financial links and present pandas in historic visit.

By Jonathan Adams | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the November 5, 2008 edition

TAIPEI, TAIWAN – Longtime rivals Taiwan and China inked a new round of economic pacts Tuesday in Taipei, amid rising protests from the island’s pro-independence camp.

The two sides closed deals on direct air, shipping, and postal links, further integrating Taiwan with China’s booming economy, after on-and-off talks dating back to the early 1990s. But political negotiations have been put off until next year at the earliest.

The progress on trade, but not political, ties reflects the island’s ambivalence toward China: Polls show that a majority of Taiwanese see China as “unfriendly” and oppose unification. But a majority also back closer commercial links.

Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou took office in May on the promise of cross-strait detente, after a decade of defiant Taiwan nationalism. Mr. Ma had won with a convincing majority and soon initiated talks with Chinese representatives.


What Obama means for Africa

 The continent is celebrating Obama’s win as its own, but he will have to prove his commitment to its poor is deeper than his predecessors’, writes S’thembiso Msomi

Published:Nov 06, 2008

It was the legendary intellectual WEB Du Bois who, in 1903, wrote that the “problem of the 20th century is the problem of the colour line”.

Barack Obama’s historic victory in the US presidential election yesterday proved that the US and the world have made significant progress since the distinguished African-American wrote those words more than a century ago.

In a country where the vast majority of the electorate is white, Obama’s skin colour did not prevent him from ascending to the White House. Not even the fact that his father was an immigrant from Kenya turned the American voters against him.

Kenya celebrates Obama’s success

Villagers celebrate victory for ‘son of the soil’

 By Daniel Howden in Kogelo, Kenya

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Dawn broke in this tropical hamlet to the news that “one of their own” had completed the incredible journey from rural Kenya all the way to the White House. The partying hordes had never contemplated defeat, but now it was all over and the son of Barack Obama Snr had won. Wild chants broke out of “We’re going to White House!” and the campaign favourite: “Yes we can!”

The Obamas emerged from their night-long vigil at the family homestead led by Sarah Onyango, the President-elect’s surviving grandmother. Beaming her priceless smile, her head wrapped in a brilliant red scarf, Granny Sarah left the talking to a younger generation, while someone stood behind her clutching the cardboard cutout of her grandson that she normally keeps by the sofa. “It’s unbelievable,” shouted Obama’s half-brother Malik, leading his family in chanting, “Obama’s coming, make way!”

Latin America

Mexican crash could set back drug war

A jet crash Tuesday in Mexico City killed the interior minister and former deputy attorney general.

By Sara Miller Llana | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

from the November 6, 2008 edition

MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s battle against drug traffickers received a colossal setback Tuesday night, when two high-level officials leading the effort to stem narcotrafficking violence were killed in a plane crash.

The Learjet carrying Interior Minister Juan Camilo Mouriño and José Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, the former Deputy Attorney General, crashed in the middle of rush-hour traffic in an upscale neighborhood of Mexico City, killing all eight on board, many on the ground, and injuring dozens of others driving along the busy roadway.

Mexican transportation Secretary Luis Tellez said the crash appeared to be an accident. But the loss of Mr. Mouriño and Mr. Vasconcelos is a decisive blow to President Felipe Calderón’s antinarcotics apparatus.

Mr. Calderón has sent thousands of officials across the country to weaken trafficking cartels that are becoming more ruthless and brazen by the day. Some 4,000 people have been killed this year in incidents related to drug violence.

Increasingly, the victims are high-ranking police officials, prosecutors, and soldiers.


2 pings

    • Edger on November 6, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    From Jeralyn Merritt @ Talkleft yesterday:

    Three lawsuits were filed [Wednesday] in California courts seeking to have Proposition 8, banning gay marriage, declared invalid.

    The principal argument is that Proposition 8 is a constitutional revision that cannot be accomplished by constitutional amendment.

       [One] suit filed with the high court in San Francisco this afternoon argues that the California Constitution´s equal protection provisions do not allow a bare majority of voters to use the amendment process to divest politically disfavored groups of constitutional rights. Such a sweeping redefinition of equal protection would require a constitutional revision rather than a mere amendment, the petition argues. Article XVIII of the California Constitution provides that a constitutional revision may only be accomplished by a constitutional convention and popular ratification, or by legislative submission to the electorate.

    That lawuit was filed by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and Santa Clara County Counsel Anne C, on behalf of San Francisco, Santa Clara County and the City of Los Angeles [More..]

    A second suit was filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights on behalf of same-sex couples. The third was filed by Gloria Allred on behalf of a lesbian couple.

    City Attorney Herrera further explained the grounds:

       The issue before the court today is of far greater consequence than marriage equality alone,” Herrera said. “Equal protection of the laws is not merely the cornerstone of the California Constitution, it is what separates constitutional democracy from mob rule tyranny. If allowed to stand, Prop 8 so devastates the principle of equal protection that it endangers the fundamental rights of any potential electoral minority- even for protected classes based on race, religion, national origin and gender. The proponents of Prop 8 waged a ruthless campaign of falsehood and fear, funded by millions of dollars from out-of-state interest groups. Make no mistake that their success in California has dramatically raised the stakes. What began as a struggle for marriage equality is today a fight for equality itself.

    • RiaD on November 6, 2008 at 5:43 pm

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