Obulala an Amani

Missing girl found after 18 years

phillip Garrido
Jaycee Lee Dugard (left) aged 11 was kidnapped by Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy 18 years. She was found living in their backyard in California. She has two children aged 15 and 11 by Mr Garrido. Her abduction rings paralle with that of Josef Fritzl, the jailed Austrian fiend who abducted his own daughter and confined her in the family's basement siring seven children by her in the process.

By our correspondent, Aug 28 2009
US woman found after being abducted as a girl in 1991 gave birth to two children fathered by her alleged kidnapper - the first when she was 14. Jaycee Lee Dugard and her daughters, 11 and 15, were kept in a "hidden backyard within a backyard", police say. Alleged kidnapper Phillip Garrido, 58, and his wife Nancy Garrido, 54, are being held in custody in California. DNA tests are being done to confirm Ms Dugard's identity, but meanwhile she has been reunited with her mother. "She was in good health, but living in a backyard for the past 18 years does take its toll," El Dorado County Undersheriff Fred Kollar said. More...

Henry Louis Gates: Déjà Vu All Over Again

Henry Louis Gates and Oprah Winfrey
Henry Louis Gates, the Harvard professor at the centre of a racial storm and legendary talk show host, Oprah Winfrey in solidarity embrace.

By Stanley Fish, New York, July 28 2009
I’m Skip Gates’s friend, too. That’s probably the only thing I share with President Obama, so when he ended his press conference last Wednesday by answering a question about Gates’s arrest after he was seen trying to get into his own house, my ears perked up.

As the story unfolded in the press and on the Internet, I flashed back 20 years or so to the time when Gates arrived in Durham, N.C., to take up the position I had offered him in my capacity as chairman of the English department of Duke University. One of the first things Gates did was buy the grandest house in town (owned previously by a movie director) and renovate it. During the renovation workers would often take Gates for a servant and ask to be pointed to the house’s owner. The drivers of delivery trucks made the same mistake.

The message was unmistakable: What was a black man doing living in a place like this?

At the university (which in a past not distant at all did not admit African-Americans ), Gates’s reception was in some ways no different. Doubts were expressed in letters written by senior professors about his scholarly credentials, which were vastly superior to those of his detractors. (He was already a recipient of a MacArthur fellowship, the so called “genius award.”) There were wild speculations (again in print) about his salary, which in fact was quite respectable but not inordinate; when a list of the highest-paid members of the Duke faculty was published, he was nowhere on it.

The unkindest cut of all was delivered by some members of the black faculty who had made their peace with Duke traditions and did not want an over-visible newcomer and upstart to trouble waters that had long been still. (The great historian John Hope Franklin was an exception.) When an offer came from Harvard, there wasn’t much I could do. Gates accepted it, and when he left he was pursued by false reports about his tenure at what he had come to call “the plantation.” (I became aware of his feelings when he and I and his father watched the N.C.A.A. championship game between Duke and U.N.L.V. at my house; they were rooting for U.N.L.V.)

Now, in 2009, it’s a version of the same story. Gates is once again regarded with suspicion because, as the cultural critic Michael Eric Dyson put it in an interview, he has committed the crime of being H.W.B., Housed While Black.

henry loius gates
In chains: Henry Louis Gates under arrest for breaking in his own house.

He isn’t the only one thought to be guilty of that crime. TV commentators, laboring to explain the unusual candor and vigor of Obama’s initial comments on the Gates incident, speculated that he had probably been the victim of racial profiling himself. Speculation was unnecessary, for they didn’t have to look any further than the story they were reporting in another segment, the story of the “birthers” — the “wing-nuts,” in Chris Matthews’s phrase — who insist that Obama was born in Kenya and cite as “proof” his failure to come up with an authenticated birth certificate. For several nights running, Matthews displayed a copy of the birth certificate and asked, What do you guys want? How can you keep saying these things in the face of all evidence?

He missed the point. No evidence would be sufficient, just as no evidence would have convinced some of my Duke colleagues that Gates was anything but a charlatan and a fraud. It isn’t the legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate that’s the problem for the birthers. The problem is again the legitimacy of a black man living in a big house, especially when it’s the White House. Just as some in Durham and Cambridge couldn’t believe that Gates belonged in the neighborhood, so does a vocal minority find it hard to believe that an African-American could possibly be the real president of the United States.

Gates and Obama are not only friends; they are in the same position, suspected of occupying a majestic residence under false pretenses. And Obama is a double offender. Not only is he guilty of being Housed While Black; he is the first in American history guilty of being P.W.B., President While Black.

Source: New York Times

12,000 dead in China quake

china quake
Caught between a rock and a hard place, a Chinese survivor in a devastating earthquake that killed upto 12,000 people

By our correspondent, May 13 2008
The death toll in the devastating Chinese earthquake climbed to nearly 12,000 today and officials said that 5,000 more are feared buried in the city of Mianzhu. A British travel company announced that 19 of its customers had gone missing on a panda-watching tour in Sichuan province, although Abta said that 100 other British tourists were accounted for and had survived the massive quake.

Kuoni Travel said that the 19 tourists, with a local guide and driver, were travelling from coach from Chengdu, the provincial capital, to the Wolong nature reserve when the quake hit yesterday afternoon. More>>>

120,000 dead in Burma

By a correspondent, May 13 2008
Meanwhile, the death toll in Burmese cyclone disaster has reached over 120,000 people with the military junta still shielding evidence from the rest of the world as its people die. More>>>

22,000 dead as cyclone disaster tests Burma's military junta

By Andrew Buncombe, May 7 2008
The numbers continue to soar. Officials today raised the estimated death toll from Burma's devastating storm to nearly 22,500. But no one really knows how high the figure could rise when the full horror of Cyclone Nargis's destruction is made clear.

The secretive military junta that has ruled the impoverished nation for two decades took the unprecedented step yesterday of issuing an urgent appeal for international help.

Earlier in the day, state-controlled media said that close to 4,000 people were known to have died and 3,000 were missing. That death toll rose later to 10,000 and state television today said that figure was now nearly 22,500 and that a further 41,000 people are missing.

Aid agencies, struggling to assess the full extent of the damage caused by the category 3 storm that swept the country at the weekend, were preparing last night to send urgent supplies of food, water and medicine. "We have received a long list of things that are needed, including shelter material, food, water-purification stuff, tarpaulins and things like that," said Carsten Voelz, the operations manager for the charity Care. "Given the scale of what has happened, we would certainly have to beef up our personnel that are in the country."

What has made the challenge for international organisations even tougher is that power and communications appear to be all but out, even in the country's largest city, Rangoon. Some of Burma's towns, especially those in the area close to the Irrawaddy delta, appear to have been virtually flattened. The result has been an already desperately poor population scrabbling for survival.

"How many people are affected? We know that it's in the six figures," Richard Horsey, of the UN disaster office in neighbouring Thailand, told Reuters. "We know that it's several hundred thousand needing shelter and clean drinking water, but how many hundred thousand we just don't know." More>>>


Deadliest recent storms

Hurricane Katrina, 2005, US - at least 1,836 dead

Orissa cyclone, 1999, northern India – at least 10,000 dead

Typhoon Thelma, 1991, Philippines – 6,000 dead

Bangladesh cyclone, 1991 – about 138,000 dead

Hurricane Mitch, 1998, Central America – at least 11,000 dead

Benazir Bhutto who was killed by a suiide bomber in Islamabad today

Like her father, Bhutto pays ultimate political price

By Naween A. Mangi and Khalid Qayum, Islamabad, Dec 27 2007
Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan's former prime minister, died of injuries sustained in a suicide bomb attack on an election rally in Rawalpindi. She was 54. ``She's dead,'' a Bhutto aide, Imran Hayat, said as he sobbed in a telephone interview from Rawalpindi General Hospital, where she was treated after the blast. At least 15 people were killed in the bombing and more than 60 injured, police said.

The opposition leader survived an assassination attempt on the night of her return to Pakistan in October after eight years in self-imposed exile. At least 136 people died when suicide bombers attacked her welcome procession on Oct. 19 in Karachi, where thousands of supporters had gathered to receive her. More>>>

Iraq war drives Tony Blair out of office

Tony Blair is Leaving Home

London, Wednesday June 27 2007
Tony Blair exited the world stage as the second most powerful leader of the free world haunted by the ghosts of the ill-judged Iraq war today. In an emotional speech at the Houses of Parliament, Mr Blair admitted mistakes and apologised for the war but insisted that he did what he had to do as the Prime Minister.. Arrogant or Poodle? Read More>>>

The passing of a Russian legend: Boris Yelstin

London, Monday, 23 April, 2007
Boris Yeltsin, the former President of Russia who died today aged 76, led Russians away from the bondage of Communism, but was never to see the promised land of a thriving market economy and a state ruled by law.
He took control of a Russia in chaos and left it in a different kind of chaos when he suddenly resigned on the last day of 1999.
During his time in office two very different Yeltsins etched themselves on the world’s consciousness. There was Yeltsin the fighter, who climbed on top of a tank in August 1991 to raise the standard of liberty against the Soviet putschists who wanted to restore Communism.
And there was the later version, another broken-down Brezhnev, puffy-cheeked, stiff gaited, who disappeared from view when most needed, paralysed by heart disease, a fondness for the bottle and bouts of depressive indecision.
Yeltsin thrived in opposition, but aged visibly in power.

His finest hour was his campaign in 1991 to unseat the last Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, in the course of which he killed off the Soviet superpower and ushered in the modern Russian state. MORE>>>
Boris Yelstin