Archive for the ‘The New York Times’ Category

‘Killing Fields’ survivor Dith Pran dies

March 30, 2008
By RICHARD PYLE, Associated Press Writer 

NEW YORK – Dith Pran, the Cambodian-born journalist whose harrowing tale of enslavement and eventual escape from that country’s murderous Khmer Rouge revolutionaries in 1979 became the subject of the award-winning film “The Killing Fields,” died Sunday. He was 65.

New York Times photographer Dith Pran, sits with his wife Ser ...
New York Times photographer Dith Pran, sits with his wife Ser Moeun on the lawn outside the Beverly Hills Hotel, in this Tuesday, March 26, 1985, file photo in Beverly Hills, Calif. Dith Pran’s death from pancreatic cancer was confirmed Sunday, March 30, 2008, by journalist Sydney Schanberg, his former colleague at The New York Times. Pran was 65.(AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)

Dith died at a New Jersey hospital Sunday morning of pancreatic cancer, according to Sydney Schanberg, his former colleague at The New York Times. Dith had been diagnosed almost three months ago.

Dith was working as an interpreter and assistant for Schanberg in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, when the Vietnam War reached its chaotic end in April 1975 and both countries were taken over by Communist forces.

Schanberg helped Dith’s family get out but was forced to leave his friend behind after the capital fell; they were not reunited until Dith escaped four and a half years later. Eventually, Dith resettled in the United States and went to work as a photographer for the Times.

It was Dith himself who coined the term “killing fields” for the horrifying clusters of corpses and skeletal remains of victims he encountered on his desperate journey to freedom.

The regime of Pol Pot, bent on turning Cambodia back into a strictly agrarian society, and his Communist zealots were blamed for the deaths of nearly 2 million of Cambodia’s 7 million people.

“That was the phrase he used from the very first day, during our wondrous reunion in the refugee camp,” Schanberg said later.

With thousands being executed simply for manifesting signs of intellect or Western influence — even wearing glasses or wristwatches — Dith survived by masquerading as an uneducated peasant, toiling in the fields and subsisting on as little as a mouthful of rice a day, and whatever small animals he could catch.

After Dith moved to the U.S., he became a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and founded the Dith Pran Holocaust Awareness Project, dedicated to educating people on the history of the Khmer Rouge regime.

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Report: JPMorgan could up Bear offer

March 24, 2008

NEW YORK – JPMorgan Chase & Co. was discussing a deal that would increase fivefold its offer for Bear Stearns Cos. to $10 a share, The New York Times reported Monday.

The talks Sunday were an attempt to satisfy Bear Stearns stockholders upset over JPMorgan’s offer of $2 a share for the struggling investment bank, the newspaper said on its Web site, citing people involved in the negotiations.

The original price for Bear Stearns was part of a deal struck last week at the urging of the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department.

The Fed, which would need to approve any change in the agreement, was balking at the new price, the Times said. Such opposition could postpone the new agreement or derail it entirely.

In an attempt to speed majority shareholder approval, Bears board was trying to authorize the sale of 39.5 percent of the firm to JPMorgan, the Times said. State law in Delaware, where the companies are incorporated, allows a company to sell up to 40 percent without shareholder approval.

A spokeswoman for JPMorgan declined to comment Sunday night, the Times said. A Bear Stearns representative could not be reached.

A spokesman for the Federal Reserve would not comment on the central banks involvement in the negotiations, but denied it had directed the original sale price, the newspaper said.


JPMorgan Negotiating for Bear Stearns?

The New York Times
March 24, 2008
JPMorgan Chase was in talks on Sunday night for a deal that would quintuple its offer for Bear Stearns, the beleaguered investment bank, in an effort to pacify angry Bear shareholders, according to people involved in the negotiations.

The sweetened offer is intended to win over stockholders who vowed to fight the original fire-sale deal, struck only a week ago at the behest of the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department.

Under the terms being discussed, JPMorgan would pay $10 a share in stock for Bear, up from its initial offer of $2 a share — a figure that represented a mere one-fifteenth of Bear’s going market price.

The Fed, which must approve any new deal, was balking at the new offer price on Sunday night after several days of frantic, secret negotiations, these people said. As a result, it was still possible the renegotiated deal might be postponed or collapse entirely, said these people, who were granted anonymity because of their confidentiality agreements.

If the Fed were to reject the new proposal, it could set off a furor among shareholders of both firms that the government was preventing them from making a fair deal.

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Cheney In Baghdad

March 17, 2008

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Vice President Dick Cheney, an architect of the U.S-led invasion of Iraq, made an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Monday, just days before the fifth anniversary of the war.

Vice President Dick Cheney swept into Baghdad on an unannounced ...
Vice President Dick Cheney departs from Andrews Air Force Base.  Cheney swept into Baghdad on an unannounced visit Monday, looking to highlight security gains and promote elusive political progress days before the war enters its sixth year.(AFP/Paul J. Richards)

Cheney, who last visited Baghdad in May, made Iraq the first stop of his nine-day Middle East tour that will also take him to Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, the Palestinian territories, Turkey and Oman.

He arrived amid an upsurge in violence since January, including a number of suicide bombings that the U.S. military has blamed on al Qaeda.

General David Petraeus
ABC News reported that Vice President Cheney was meeting with the General in the Green Zone for a “classified briefing.”

But military commanders say this does not represent a trend and that attacks are actually down 60 percent from the middle of last year.

Cheney, a strong supporter of sending an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Iraq last year, has warned critics that a premature U.S. withdrawal would spark chaos and further bloodshed.

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in a photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, Vice President Dick ...
In a photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, Vice President Dick Cheney, center, is seen at Baghdad’s Sather Air Base visiting U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, Monday, March 17, 2008.
(AP Photo/U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. And y Dunaway)

The New York Times reported:
Cheney landed at Baghdad International Airport, then flew by helicopter into the dusty, heavily secured Green Zone for talks with U.S. military and diplomatic officials and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. It is Cheney’s third vice presidential trip to Iraq where 160,000 American troops are deployed and the U.S. death toll is nearing 4,000.

Cheney’s first meeting was a classified briefing with U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq who met him at the airport. Crocker and Petraeus are scheduled to travel to Washington next month to give a status report on the war.

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Economy: Dismal. Recession: Here.

March 8, 2008
If history is a reliable guide, the recession of 2008 is now unavoidable.
The dismal jobs report released Friday showed overall employment to be lower than it was three months ago. Every time such a slump has occurred since the early 1970s, a recession has followed — or already been under way.And if the good times have really ended, they were never that good to begin with. Most American households are still not earning as much annually as they did in 1999, once inflation is taken into account. Since the Census Bureau began keeping records in the 1960s, a prolonged expansion has never ended without household income having set a new record.

For months, policy makers and Wall Street economists have been predicting, and hoping, that the aggressive series of interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve would keep the economy growing, despite the housing bust. But the possibility seemed to diminish almost by the hour on Friday.

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China: Tainted Drugs Remain Threat to Life

January 31, 2008
January 31, 2008
BEIJING — A huge state-owned Chinese pharmaceutical company that exports to dozens of countries, including the United States, is at the center of a nationwide drug scandal after nearly 200 Chinese cancer patients were paralyzed or otherwise harmed last summer by contaminated leukemia drugs.
Chinese drug regulators have accused the manufacturer of the tainted drugs of a cover-up and have closed the factory that produced them. In December, China’s Food and Drug Administration said that the Shanghai police had begun a criminal investigation and that two officials, including the head of the plant, had been detained.Read the rest: 

Pakistan: Militants kill 8 tribal elders

January 7, 2008
By SADAQAT JAN, Associated Press Writer 

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Suspected Islamic militants fatally shot eight tribal leaders involved in efforts to broker a cease-fire between security forces and insurgents in Pakistan‘s volatile northwest, authorities said Monday.

The men were killed in separate attacks late Sunday and early Monday in South Waziristan, a mountainous region close to Afghanistan where al-Qaida and Taliban militants are known to operate, a security official and the military said in a statement.

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Muhammad Reports from Pakistan, January 6, 2008

January 6, 2008

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

I do not know why, but today I have been feeling great pain as at the moment our areas is in the grip of cold waves. I hope you and your team will be alright.

Today I have read an interesting story in The New York Times about a covert operation by CIA and Pentagon in the tribal areas. [For Peace and freedom Readers, the essay Muhammed refers to can be found by scrolling down on this site.]

Pakistan rejecting reports of the US administration considering granting the CIA right to carry out US operations in its tribal region said it is not up to the US administration to make such decisions as the Pakistan government is responsible for security in the country.

Talking to French news agency Chief military spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad said that there are no overt or covert US operations being carried out inside Pakistan. “Such reports are baseless and we reject them.” Arshad also dismissed comments from US White House hopeful Hillary Clinton that she would propose a joint US-British team to oversee the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal if she was elected president. “We do not require anybody’s assistance. We are fully capable of doing it on our own,” he said.

I want to bring in your kind notice that the people of tribal areas will cooperate with the US forces in their bid for arresting or killing the terrorists.

Dear Sir, in the report it was mentioned that thousands of people will support Baitullah Mehsud, a dreaded warlord of Waziristan tribal region. According to my assessment the people of tribal areas this time will not support Mehsud as he is involved in the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Actually some officials of Pakistan have still been extending support to terrorists in the tribal areas. I am also living in tribal areas and the people know about my relations with you and other officials, but still they have been supporting me.

Please Sir, demand a role for Peace and Freedom in the tribal areas as the people of tribal areas have great regard and respect for you.

Thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan

Our Medical System Often Fails Lost Souls

January 5, 2008

 By Colbert I. King
The Washington Post
January 5, 2008; Page A17

Excerpts from the transcript of a videotaped deposition of a former Howard University Hospital emergency room physician, conducted Aug. 3, 2007:

Physician: “When I came upon him, I asked what was wrong with the patient to a nearby nurse, and where is the chart, and looked at the chart rack. The nurse had not seen a chart and there was no chart on the chart rack.”

Question: What did she say to you at that point?

He is just an alcoholic, and I don’t know where the chart is or something close to that, but I remember her telling me that he was an alcoholic.

Tell me about the conversation you had with this nurse about the [Emergency Medical Services] stretcher?

I just asked why was the patient there on that stretcher in the hallway and not-[sic] entered into a dialogue about him having vomit on his clothing.What did you say about the vomit on his clothing?

It is hard for me to recall specifically what I said. I just remember the general conversation, that this patient should not be on that stretcher, and cleaned up, if indeed he is an alcoholic, you know.

Do you remember anything that the nurse said back to you about either the stretcher or the vomit?

Specifics, no, but she basically did not want to help to transfer the patient because she was busy doing other things. You know, they were short staffed.

Do you remember anything she said that gave you that impression?
She said she wasn’t able to transfer him right now, that he was just an alcoholic.

Tomorrow is the second anniversary of an event that some folks in the District would just as soon let pass without notice. It’s not gonna happen.On the evening of Jan. 6, 2006, a man was brutally attacked and robbed in a Northwest neighborhood. He died two days later from a massive head injury. Between his savage beating and the moment of his death, that critically injured man was subjected to government incompetence and medical malpractice of the first order. District police and fire and emergency medical services workers as well as Howard University Hospital staff members cavalierly dismissed him as a drunken “John Doe.”

His name was David E. Rosenbaum. He was a reporter for the New York Times. But his job was not the reason he became the subject of several columns I wrote over the past two years.

The columns attacked the veil of secrecy that was initially draped over John Doe’s death, the lies woven to protect the negligent and the indifferent, the rotten work ethic that runs rampant in our city, and inept government oversight by District leaders.

Today, the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department is led by a new chief, Dennis Rubin. Pushed by Rosenbaum’s survivors, the city claims to have made changes in the department. Firefighters and EMS workers are to be cross-trained. Teamwork and professionalism are the department’s new watchwords.

The deposition cited above, which was not received from David Rosenbaum’s adult children or their lawyer, was taken in connection with a lawsuit the Rosenbaum family filed against Howard University Hospital. The hospital recently settled with Rosenbaum’s adult children.

That takes the slain journalist out of the news.

But it doesn’t eliminate the conditions that threaten the quality of life of all who live in this city: criminals roaming the streets in search of human prey; an apathetic and complacent government workforce; nonproducers ensconced in high places; and elected leaders who fall for snow jobs.

Would that Fire and Emergency Medical Services was the only D.C. agency in need of a makeover. The list is long, with some departments, such as Youth and Rehabilitation Services, operating as fiefdoms.

At the heart of the problem is a government that has outgrown — and outfoxed — the leaders elected to oversee it, namely the 13-member D.C. Council.
This isn’t a knock against the ability of council members, although some are more able than others.

Truth is, the council is confronted with a nearly $10 billion government enterprise run by 32,000 career workers who constitute a $2 billion payroll. Without a powerful investigative arm of its own, the council is like a pussycat pitted against a python.It’s a sad day when the council must turn to outsiders to investigate a scandal in the D.C. tax office.

To meet its responsibilities under the Home Rule Act and to improve the accountability of city government, the council should have at its disposal the equivalent of Congress’s independent, nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. The D.C. auditor’s office is too small and limited in scope. The D.C. inspector general is administratively within the mayor’s office, operates with a budget beyond the council’s reach and basically sets its own agenda.

The council needs its own watchdog agency staffed with accountants, lawyers, policy analysts and program specialists to support aggressive legislative oversight.

Otherwise, prepare for more hand-wringing over government foul-ups as city bureaucrats continue doing whatever they please.

Pakistan: Eye Witness Account from Muhammad, December 26, 2007

December 26, 2007

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

Hoping you and your team will be alright. Today I have read a report carried by various newspapers in Pakistan. The US aid plan for Pakistan’s tribal areas is in jeopardy as there are concerns about the lack of an adequate system to keep track of the money, according to The New York Times.

The plan calls for $750 million to be used in the areas over a five-year period, but some say it’s unrealistic to think that the money could be targeted properly in a lawless region where the government has little, if any, influence and there is no US troop presence, the report published on Tuesday added.The civilian aid programme would provide jobs and schooling, build 600 miles of roads and improve literacy in an area where almost no women can read.

Some US lawmakers are concerned that a rush to spend could lead to some of the same problems that were experienced in Iraq, particularly since the plan for Pakistan would also heavily rely on private contractors that can “eat up as much as half the budget.”

As of now, the programme is scheduled to start slowly and will eschew mention of its American origins since there is so much anti-US sentiment in the region.

“My sense is they are ready to start, but who is going to be responsible for management?”  Congressman John F. Tierney asked.

Mr Tierney, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is one of several members of Congress who have begun pushing the State Department for details of how the civilian aid will be monitored.

They said they had not received satisfactory answers.

The importance of the issue, they said, was underlined by the scores of investigations into corruption connected with huge amounts of money and equipment for reconstruction and strengthening Iraq’s army and police forces that cannot be accounted for. “We’re not quite certain about it,” Mr Tierney said. “I have concerns that it not be a repeat of situations in Iraq.”

The new programme is meant to start slowly, with about $350 million to be made available for bidding initially. Among the handful of companies invited to bid are DynCorp International and Creative Associates International Inc, both of which won substantial contracts in Iraq. How effective they will be in the tribal areas is equally uncertain.The Pakistani authorities have ruled out using foreign non-profit groups, known as NGOs, shorthand for nongovernmental organizations. But neither do they approve the American choice of private contractors. They would like the money to go through them.

“We are living in times when NGOs are considered to be all out to convert tribesmen,” Javed Iqbal, until recently the additional chief secretary of Fata told the Times.

“To deal with the tribesmen, you have to understand the tribes,” Mr Iqbal said.  “You cannot ask a woman how frequently she takes contraception, which was one of the questions on an NGO questionnaire. The first reaction is going to box you in the face, and then tell you to get lost”

But Mr Iqbal said he was convinced that the for-profit companies would take a disproportionate amount of the programme money. “Forty-eight per cent of the programme money goes to consultants,” he said.

Dear Sir, I want to bring in your kind notice that Peace and Freedom can deliver positive result in the tribal areas if the task was given to it. It has been enjoying the support of people of tribal areas. The corrupt Pakistani officials should be ignored in this plan.

According to report from other parts of tribal areas, Violence spread to more areas in the Kurram Agency on Tuesday amid reports of infiltration of militants from nearby areas, sources said.

Four people were killed and 10 others were injured in clashes during the day, raising the death toll to 12 in three days. Doctors said that 32 injured people had been admitted to the agency headquarters hospital in Parachinar. However, the exact casualty figures could not be ascertained.Political Agent Zaheerul Islam confirmed only seven casualties in three days of clashes.

A senior official told Dawn in Peshawar that the Civil Secretariat, Fata, had sought more army troops to cope with the situation. “The authorities have formally requested the 11 Corps Headquarters to send more troops to the agency to control the situation,” the official said.

The ISPR’s Director-General, Maj-Gen Waheed Arshad, however, said that an adequate number of troops had already been deployed in the region. If local authorities needed reinforcements, the army would take their demand into consideration, said Maj-Gen Arshad.

A security official, Shakil Qadir, confirmed that skirmishes continued in different parts of the agency and there was a likelihood of reconvening the peace jirga to broker a ceasefire.A 15-member jirga from Hangu had left the area after it failed to broker a truce. It was constituted by the NWFP governor.

Heavy clashes were reported from Sadda, Balishkhel, Alizai, Tangai, Anzeri and Shashu. Security was tightened in Parachinar city and authorities did not relax curfew restrictions on Tuesday.

In the Balishkhel area, rival groups set houses on fire, displacing a large number of people.

Dear Sir, thank you very much again!

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan

Mrs Clinton’s résumé factor: Those 2 terms as first lady

December 26, 2007
By Patrick Healey
The New York Times
December 26, 2007
This is part of a series of articles about the life and careers of contenders for the 2008 Republican and Democratic presidential nominations.

As first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton jaw-boned the authoritarian president of Uzbekistan to leave his car and shake hands with people. She argued with the Czech prime minister about democracy. She cajoled Roman Catholic and Protestant women to talk to one another in Northern Ireland. She traveled to 79 countries in total, little of it leisure; one meeting with mutilated Rwandan refugees so unsettled her that she threw up afterward.

But during those two terms in the White House, Mrs. Clinton did not hold a security clearance. She did not attend National Security Council meetings. She was not given a copy of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. She did not assert herself on the crises in Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda.

US Democratic presidential hopeful New York Senator Hillary ...
AFP/Getty Images/File

And during one of President Bill Clinton’s major tests on terrorism, whether to bomb Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, Mrs. Clinton was barely speaking to her husband, let alone advising him, as the Lewinsky scandal sizzled.

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