Sunday, May 31, 2009
Berlusconi tries to prevent the release of photographs depitcing topless women taken in his villa.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
"On the contrary,” he said. “The principle that should guide the
Obama administration is to work with the Israeli government, not against
it. Israel holds over 50 percent of the problem and over 50 percent of
the solution, because it has the West Bank. You cannot persuade Israel
to make concessions by increasing its risk. Obama is not waving a club
over Netanyahu, but starting from Condoleezza Rice’s tenure, the opinion
has taken root here that establishing a Palestinian state is an American
interest. From that moment, the question is not only what is good for
Israel, but what serves US interests."
Mr. Obama’s words echoed — albeit less bluntly — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s brusque call on Wednesday for a complete freeze of construction in settlements on the West Bank. In expansive language that left no wiggle room, Mrs. Clinton said that Mr. Obama “wants to see a stop to settlements—not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions.”
Her comments took Israeli officials by surprise.
Mr. Obama had said something similar during private talks with Mr. Netanyahu at the White House last week, and Mr. Netanyahu had responded that he could crack down on outposts, but not on natural growth, according to American and Israeli officials.
The administration then took the quarrel public — laying down the marker that natural growth would not satisty the United States and administration officials would not limit themselves to the diplo-speak of the past that simply said settlement expansion was “unhelpful.” The decision left the two allies hurtling towards their first public fight. " (NY Times)
This is how to be an honest broker. Some balls and straight talks.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
So what if Betty was a blonde, loyal and kind- when it came to popping the question Archie chose the raven-haired, charming and rich Veronica.
After 67 years of being in a dilemma, Archie is all set to tie the knot with the vixen-a choice that left many Archie comic fans in gasps.
Archie Comic Publications announced on May 27 that the flighty redhead from Riverdale picked Veronica over Betty Cooper.
Goes to show - good girls never win.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
A powerful car bomb outside the main police station in the Pakistani city of Lahore has killed at least 23 people and injured scores, police say.
The blast on the Mall Road destroyed a police emergency response building and TV stations are showing a collapsed building and gutted vehicles.
A car driven by a suspected suicide bomber smashed through a barrier and exploded, officials said...
Can Lahoris message in to confirm if all are ok?
"As she wiped her blood-soaked fingers with a tissue, Jean explained her support for Canada's traditional Inuit seal hunt and trade, which some fear will be devastated by a European ban on seal products."
What has your head of state done for you lately?
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the most interesting man, in marketing terms, is his ambivalence toward the advertised product. "I don't always drink beer," he says. Whaa? "But when I do," he adds, almost offhandedly, "I prefer Dos Equis." Double whaa? Generally, a brand icon will be an all-out cheerleader. Imagine Tony the Tiger admitting that he doesn't always eat cereal for breakfast, but that when he does, he tends to eat Frosted Flakes, like, most of the time. Doesn't have quite the same impact as "They're Grrrrrrreat!"
(Slate, with links to video clips)
I would prefer Pam Karlan of Stanford, but Sotomayor looks like a good pick as well.
Monday, May 25, 2009
North Korea just detonated a second nuclear test.
- Emergency meeting at UNSC will be called.
- Unanimous condemnation will be issued.
- Sanctions will be imposed.
- After 3 months, international community will beg North Korea to return to negotiation table.
- North Korea will ask for more aids.
- They will receive it.
- Detonate another nuclear test
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
The famous Sufi dance.
One story from Somalia
"From men of peace, the Sufi clerics suddenly became men of war.
Their shrines were being destroyed. Their imams were being murdered. Their tolerant beliefs were under withering attack.
So the moderate Sufi scholars recently did what so many other men have chosen to do in anarchic Somalia: they picked up guns and entered the killing business, in this case to fight back against the Shabab, one of the most fearsome extremist Muslim groups in Africa." (NY Times)
and the other from Pakistan
"The blast in March was the most high-profile in a recent spate of attacks against Pakistan's homespun, tolerant brand of Islam by hard-liners trying to replace it with the more austere version espoused by the Taliban, al-Qaida and other Sunni extremist groups.
"This hurts deep in my heart," said Ihasan ul-Haq, as he looked through a rainstorm onto the ruins of the once ornate, whitewashed tomb on the outskirts of Peshawar, a main northwestern town coming under the influence of the extremists. "And to think they do this in the name of Islam."" (MSNBC)
Sufi dance in front of the tomb of Rumi, a great classical Sufi poet
And I was interviewed by three young Egyptian women who asked serious, educated questions, and I asked myself - I have to repeat this question - whether the Egyptians were not better educated than I had remembered, and that perhaps Mohamed Hussainein Heikal, with our old memories, had not got Egypt wrong. I drove back to Cairo with Mohamed (yes, the old Aswan Mohamed) and I asked him to point out to me the Pyramids. And there they emerged, on the right of the car, the Pyramids of Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus, and there they were, brilliant against the sunshine, full of life and power and danger, and I stared at them in great awe and love and wondered why I ever got tired of Egypt.
Friday, May 22, 2009
The Tamil Tiger rebellion is a nasty conflict that has plagued Sri Lanka for more than three decades. They pioneered the use of suicide bombers (a pretty useful 'innovation' to terrorize general population which then copied many times over by various conflict groups around the world).
Now the Tamil Tiger has been defeated. It's nasty leader has been killed and the long road to recover and bring the Tamil population to integrate back to the Sri Lanka's society begins. They better not screw this golden opportunity up.
"Marvell Technology Group is counting on an army of computer engineers and hackers to answer that question. It has created a “plug computer.” It’s a tiny plastic box that you plug into an electric outlet. There’s no display. But there is an Ethernet jack to connect to a home network and a U.S.B. socket for attaching a hard drive, camera or other device. Inside is a 1.2 gigahertz Marvell chip, called an application processor, running a version of the Linux operating system." (NY Times)
“After all,” Lane says, “adventure isn’t just flying airplanes or climbing mountains. It’s what happens anytime you step out of what’s known and comfortable into a place where your footing is a little uncertain, the outcome is a little unpredictable, but—and this part is really important—the possibilities are suddenly wide open.”" (nomapnoguidenolimits)
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Tycoon Hisham Talaat Mustafa was found guilty of paying $2m to ex-policeman Muhsin Sukkari to kill the singer. "
The guy owned Four Season franchise in Egypt and several other mega companies.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
No messy alliances, no political instability, no murky back-room deals to secure power. Just a straight-up victory for the United Progress Alliance in the world's biggest democratic exercise.
This means a lot. With the Congress party (which leads the UPA) alone winning so many seats, it means Indian voters actually placed national issues over local ones and national stability over petty communal divisions.
Of course, I couldn't be happier that we have a Prime Mtinister who is probably one of the brainiest world leaders out there.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Most of them know they are plunged into a new world of stringent accountability and transparency, but they have not grasped yet quite how different it will be.
The oceans churn again. The collapse of the financial markets last autumn marked one historic sea change, of a kind not seen since the late 1970s. But a tidal wave is breaking that for now swamps even the economic issues that have been so dominant. The last few days will be studied for centuries to come – from the choreography of a single newspaper holding puny elected representatives in its thrall, to the revelations themselves, which show what happens when an institution functions in the dark.
There has not been more than one sea change; the disparate events are part of a single storm. The immediate consequences are still being played out, as some voters decide how they will wreak their revenge on MPs. In the longer term, Britain might become a fairer place as institutions and individuals that have stumbled greedily in the darkness are subjected to a critical attentiveness that will sweep away the cosy arrangements of the past.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
"A court in Cairo has issued a ruling that bans pornographic websites in Egypt, state news agency Mena reports.
The Administrative Court in Cairo has ordered the government to block the "venomous and vile" sites in response to a case filed by a Muslim lawyer.
Nizar Ghorab had argued that the "electronic dens of vice" were destroying Egyptian social values." (BBC)
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The Next Big Thing (Foreign Policy)
1) A New You
12) More of the Same
13) A Bigger Bang
Also recommended -
2) US National Intelligence Council's - Global Trends Report 2025
Monday, May 11, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
The evacuation of the Carteret Islands have begun. This morning I stood on black volcanic sand, pressed up right against the jungle, and watched a small white boat powered by a single outboard engine run in against the shore. On board were five men from the Islands, the fathers of five families, who have come to finish building houses and gardens already begun in a cleared patch of jungle at Tinputz, on the east coast of Bougainville. When these homes are ready the five will return to the Carterets, to fetch their wives and children back. Life, they hope, will be better for them here. On the Carterets, king tides have washed away their crops and rising sea levels poisoned those that remain with salt. The people have been forced to move." (The Ecologist)
One project is called CACTUS (Civic Action Ukrainian Style). They have posted on a site, Global Giving, that will make a match if 50 people can donate $4,000. Right now, they are more concerned about making the 50 people then the amount. If you can put $10 in, I will pay you back and you could halp them enormously. They already have over $1,000! and another couple thou from other fundraising.
Here are a couple of videos to let you know more about the project. Unfortunately, it has no immediate emotional pull (I mean, how exciting is 'civil society'???) except that they are 'our' kids, and insist it is possible. Of course they would :) Hey, they even think they can change the world! Deadline is this Friday. If you can, pass it on--we can reimburse the $10 for friends too!"
YouTube (reflections): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byXq6JFRXyY
YouTube (description): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyf4AmmLscU
"Tata, the Indian company that made worldwide headlines with its $2,000 Nano car, now plans to build 1,000 tiny apartments outside Mumbai that will sell for $7,800 to $13,400 each. The company plans to roll out low-cost projects outside other major cities."(Business Week)
Saturday, May 09, 2009
"Pink Chaddi (Pink Panty) is "A Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women" with a mission to send the Ram Sena and its Chief Pramod Muthalik a Pink Chaddi. "
"Join Nirbhaya Karnataka this Saturday and Sunday (International Women's Day) to register your strong protest against the recent series of attacks inflicted on women in the name of 'morality', cultural policing or religious intolerance, attacks that are escalating as women resist and fight back."
Friday, May 08, 2009
"Australia is known around the world for its large and deadly creepy crawlies, but even locals have been shocked by the size of the giant venomous spiders that have invaded an Outback town in Queensland.
Scores of eastern tarantulas, which are known as “bird-eating spiders” and can grow larger than the palm of a man’s hand, have begun crawling out from gardens and venturing into public spaces in Bowen, a coastal town about 700 miles northwest of Brisbane.
Earlier this week locals spotted an Australian tarantula wandering towards a public garden in the centre of town where people often sit for lunch. They called in a pest controller, but not before using a can of insect spray to paralyse the spider.
Audy Geiszler, who runs Amalgamated Pest Control in Bowen, said that the spider was a large male with powerful long fangs and was so big that when he placed it – dead – in the palm of his hand its legs hung over his fingers." (Timesonline)
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
"The Durand Line was demarcated by the British and signed into a treaty in 1893 with the Afghan ruler Amir Abdur Rehman Khan. The treaty was to stay in force for a 100-year period. According to Afrasiab Khattak, a political analyst, the areas from the Khayber Agency Northwards to Chitral, however, remained un-demarcated.
This disputed land was legally to be returned to Afghanistan in 1993 after the 100 year old Durand Treaty expired, similar to how Hong Kong was returned to China. Kabul has refused to renew the Durand Line treaty since 1993 when it expired, Throughout the last nine years, Pakistan has tried to get Afghan Warlords and Taliban to sign a renewal contract of the Treaty, and thankfully they didn’t not fall for the treachery of Pakistan. One of the reasons Pakistan faced problems with the Kabul rulers right from its inception was Kabul's claim over the North West frontier Province. (NWFP) Kabul never accepted that line or the fact that the NWFP is part of Pakistan. This was one of the main policy planks used by President Daoud Khan's government when it tried to foment trouble by Pashtoons nationalists in the NWFP on the issue of greater Pashtoonistan." (Afghanistans)
Khushal Khan also said that the authorities in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) had issued an appeal for help to house tens of thousands of refugees fleeing the fighting between government troops and Taliban fighters in Buner." (Al Jazeera)
I almost choke on my coffee when I read this. Finally, a change in approach from Hamas. Read the article. It's a smart thing for them to do now that Israel is staffed with mad duos, Nentayahu and Lieberman. But again talk is cheap and this is the Middle East after all - we shall see what the future brings.
Monday, May 04, 2009
In terms of this, powerful political slots will be offered to the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) group. In principle, former premier Sharif has agreed to the terms and will add his party's weight to the battle against the Taliban. Alternatively, if either the PML-N or the PPP refuses to accept the formula, a technocratic interim government under the auspices of the Pakistani armed forces might take over. (Asia Times)
When banks were crumbling they had no way to get information they needed to survive.
They couldn’t get status, data, evidence, hell even accounting records because…
the “Enterprise Class” systems and the worthless programmers that code them couldn’t do it fast enough.
An example: Bear Stearns had a 10000% increase in the number of failed trades the 3 days before it died.
No, that’s not a typo: ten-THOUSAND percent increase. Some say it was even 20000%.
You think somebody would know right? Nope.
While Bear was dying, the CEO was off in Florida at some stupid conference.
I bet he didn’t even get an email.
Hell, nobody really knew how bad it was until after the company died.
Where was the Enterprise when Bear needed them most?
Where was the realtime updates to the CEO blackberry from key systems?" (ZedShaw)
Sunday, May 03, 2009
So who would be Berlusconi's Carla Bruni?
Saturday, May 02, 2009
"Should life exist elsewhere, it would not be surprising if it used at least some of the same amino acids we do. Simple sugars, lipids and nucleobases might also be shared. Our analysis suggests that the first genetic code was a stripped down version of our present code, one whose simpler structure reflected the limited set of available amino acids in the prebiotic environment. Although there are countless ways that the code could have developed from those origins, the combined actions of thermodynamics and subsequent natural selection suggest that the genetic code we observe on the Earth today may have significant features in common with life throughout the cosmos." (Paul G. Higgs and Ralph E. Pudritz, 2009)
Friday, May 01, 2009
The survey, revealed Thursday, showed Indonesia topped Nielsen’s global consumer confidence index with 104 points, followed by Denmark (102 points) and India (99 points)." (The Jakarta Post)