From his leftist or "statist" perch, Bo has been challenging the "opening and reform" side of the political consensus that Deng Xiaoping secured three decades ago. Wen Jiabao, meanwhile, who plays the role of a learned, emphatic, and upright Confucian prime minister, has been challenging the other half of Deng consensus -- absolute political control -- from the liberal right. He has continuously articulated the need to limit government power through rule of law, justice, and democratization. To do this, he has drawn on the symbolic legacies of the purged reformist leaders he served in the 1980s, particularly Hu Yaobang, whose name he recently helped to "rehabilitate" in official discourse. As every Communist Party leader knows, those who want a stake in the country's future must first fight for control of its past.
Until last month Bo appeared to hold the cards, with his networks of princelings -- the children of high cadres -- and the gravitational force of his "Chongqing Model" pulling the nation toward him, while Wen's efforts had produced few practical results. Bo earned his reputation as a rising star until Feb. 6 when his police chief and right-hand man, Wang Lijun, drove to an appointment at the local British consulate to shake his official minders and then veered off and fled for his life down the highway into the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu. He carried with him allegations of sordid tales of Bo family criminal behavior including in relation to the death of British businessman Neil Heywood, according to Western government officials. In Beijing's eyes, this was the highest-level known attempted defection in 40 years, and it occurred on Bo's watch. Wang "betrayed the country and went over to the enemy," said President Hu Jintao, according to a Chinese intelligence official. Foreign Policy
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
Ms. Fateh said she left Karachi in the second half of 2002 for Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, where she was reunited with her husband. The American pursuit of Bin Laden was running high: Qaeda operatives had attacked an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya and nightclubs in Indonesia, and with C.I.A. intelligence resources not yet diverted to Iraq, the search was firmly focused on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area.
Bin Laden, according to his wife, took his family deep into rural mountain areas of northwest Pakistan — but not, notably, into the tribal belt where much Western attention was focused. First they stayed in the Shangla district in Swat, a picturesque area about 80 miles northwest of the capital, Islamabad, where they stayed in two different houses for eight to nine months.
Then in 2003 they moved to Haripur, a small town even closer to Islamabad, where they stayed in a rented house for two years. Here, Ms. Fateh gave birth to a girl, Aasia, in 2003 and a boy, Ibrahim, in 2004 — both of whom were delivered in a local government hospital. The police report states that Ms. Fateh “stayed in hospital for a very short time of about 2-3 hours” on each occasion. A separate document states that she gave fake identity papers to hospital staff.
Finally, in mid-2005, according to Ms. Fateh, Bin Laden and his family moved to Abbottabad, 20 miles east of Haripur, where she gave birth to another two children: Zainab in 2006 and Hussain in 2008. (NY Times)He had been in Pakistan all along since 9/11.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Israel has been granted access to air bases in Azerbaijan on Iran's northern border, Foreign Policy reports, quoting senior U.S. diplomats and military intelligence officials. "The Israelis have bought an airfield," a senior U.S. administration official told Foreign Policy's Mark Perry, "and the airfield is called Azerbaijan." HaaretzThey are smart. Now that they have an airfield in Azerbaijan, they cut their journey to attack Iran nuclear sites by more than half. Remember also that ethnic Azeri makes about 16-25% of Iranian population. It may will be that all those assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists come from this large minority ethnic group.
FP broke news.
House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Pramono Anung has criticized proposals to ban short skirts in Indonesia, saying the state had more important things to do.
“The state or the government should not be concerned with skirts. Our public appreciates differences and we don’t denigrate women,” Pramono said in Jakarta on Thursday.
“What we need to take care of are mini-brains and mini-morals. I disagree with regulation on miniskirts,” the opposition politician added.
Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali has triggered fresh controversy on Tuesday after saying the government was considering regulating how women should dress, including that skirts should not be above the knee.(The Jakarta Globe)So not all of our politicians are insane.
An Egyptian court has ruled in favour of banning porn in the country, after an initial call for the move came from one member of parliament, followed by confirmation from the Ministry of Telecommunications that it had begun to explore options on how to implement the ban. The Next Web
We shall see in the next couple of months whether the multi decade effort to reform US byzantine health care system will end up in taters.
Amid all the three-day psychodrama, it’s easy to get confused about what’s happened and what hasn’t. Court watchers seem to generally agree that the individual mandate is in real peril and will rise or fall with Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy. Court watchers also agree that 19th-century tax law—while generally adorable—will not prevent the justices from deciding the case by July. And they also agree that they may have counted five justices who appear willing to take the whole law down, along with the mandate, and the Medicaid expansion as well.
But the longer they talked, the harder it was to say. A lot of today’s discussion started to sound like justices just free-associating about things in the law they didn’t like. That doesn’t reveal all that much about the interplay between the four separate challenges—what happens when they all have to be looked at together—or anything at all about what will happen at conference or in the drafting of opinions. Could the five conservative justices strike down the entire health care law, and take us into what Kagan described this morning as a “revolution”? They could. Will they? I honestly have no idea anymore. As silent retreats go, this one was a lot less enlightening than I’d hoped. Slate
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
A construction boom is under way here, concrete proof of the economic revolution in Mozambique. Growth hit 7.1% last year, accelerating to 8.1% in the final quarter. The country, riven by civil war for 15 years, is poised to become the world's biggest coal exporter within the next decade, while the recent discovery of two massive gas fields in its waters has turned the region into an energy hotspot, promising a £250bn bonanza. Guardian
Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali says he is considering a regulation that women’s skirts should pass their knees as a follow-up to the recent establishment of the government’s anti-porn task force. The Jakarta GlobeThis new piece generates a firestorm on the comment section.
This is another sign that his ministry has nothing better to do and should just be liquidated.
You know what, the whole religious affairs ministry should be disbanded all together. It's not doing anything that make sense and as it been stated a while back, full of corrupt "religious" bureaucrats. I mean, why focus on the short skirts if the problem is with the perverted mind of men? Idiots.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Are you from a Visa Waiver country, and are considering a visit to the US, and you don't know how to check the question about whether you've ever been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude? Wikipedia has a helpful chart giving some examples of criminal convictions that do and do not constitute moral turpitude.
This doesn’t quite make Rahm the control freak of popular imagination. “He wants to do the right thing, desperately,” says Garry McCarthy, his superintendent of police. “People like that are sometimes prone toward micromanagement. He does not micromanage me. He tells me what he needs, [but] doesn’t tell me how to do it.” McCarthy is learning how Rahm—in Congress, the White House, or City Hall—often practices government-through-newspapers. “He’ll read something in the paper and call me up and say, ‘What is this? I didn’t know about it.’” His M.O. illuminates how crucial a vigorous press is to problem-solving in the public sector. It’s the positive side of his obsession with publicity. (The Atlantic)This is an interesting (and very long) article about Rahm Emmanuel, the new Chicago Mayor and a useful premier on all the mechanisms of a city government. Me heart Chicago.
Posted by The Dode at 10:12 AM
If you haven't read Teju Cole's Atlantic post on Kony2012 and Nick Kristof, well, you're the only one. Read it, it's very interesting, and it brought to mind a conversation I had with a U.S. Agency for International Development contractor years ago in Uganda. We were both staying at the Sheraton in Kampala, which was (and maybe is, I haven't been there in years) a very nice hotel on a hill, surrounded by gardens.
The contractor was working to promote democracy in Uganda on behalf of the U.S. government, and I asked her how much time she spent in Uganda (I assumed, because she was staying at the Sheraton, that she was there for only a week or two at a time). She told me that she spent six months in Uganda, in the hotel, and in an office nearby, and then the next six months at home in California, near Carmel, not working, but living off the money she made the previous six months. I noted that this was quite a fortuitous arrangement, and I joked that she better not bring about democracy too quickly. She answered me quite earnestly: "Yes, I know, I would lose this job." (Goldberg)I have seen these type of NGO workers who wouldn't be caught dead staying in a lesser hotel than a five star and work as consultants to whatever cause. The international NGO market though is just like another 'industry'. It has full spectrum of people and motivation from real do gooders to title peddlers.
Posted by The Dode at 9:48 AM
Monday, March 26, 2012
The director of Titanic and Avatar used a specially designed submarine to dive nearly seven miles (11km). He spent time exploring and filming the trench, about 200 miles south-west of the Pacific island of Guam, according to members of the National Geographic expedition.GuardianIt's coming to the nearest IMAX to you.
Posted by The Dode at 9:23 AM
Wrong. The best estimates for global poverty come from the World Bank’s Development Research Group, which has just updated from 2005 its figures for those living in absolute poverty (not be confused with the relative measure commonly used in rich countries). The new estimates show that in 2008, the first year of the finance-and-food crisis, both the number and share of the population living on less than $1.25 a day (at 2005 prices, the most commonly accepted poverty line) was falling in every part of the world. This was the first instance of declines across the board since the bank started collecting the figures in 1981 (see chart).
Posted by The Dode at 9:17 AM
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
More than 2,500 police dressed in traditional black-and-white batik sarongs guarded the island to ensure there was no activity in the streets on the day of reflection, known as Nyepi.
Bali’s international airport in Denpasar was also shut, with almost 300 flights cancelled over a 24-hour period. Around 35,000 passengers normally fly into Denpasar each day, airport officials said.
Vehicles were not allowed on the streets, and TV and radio were cut off. (The Jakarta Globe)
When you visit The New American Academy, an elementary school serving poor minority kids in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, you see big open rooms with 60 students and four teachers. The students are generally in three clumps in different areas working on different activities. The teachers, especially the master teacher who is floating between the clumps, are on the move, hovering over one student, then the next. It is less like a factory for learning and more like a postindustrial workshop, or even an extended family compound. Brooks
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
When it comes to labor laws, even the toughest Italian reformers can lose their courage. For decades the government has tried to change them, but issues like easing stringent legislation that makes it difficult to fire workers hardly lend themselves to fame and honor in Rome. The opposition from the left-wing camp is simply too great.
But now, a decade after Monti's predecessor Silvio Berlusconi backed down in the face of protests, the overhaul of labor laws is back on Italy's political agenda. Monti is conducting talks this week with labor unions and workers. And as with previous rounds of labor market discussions, the issue of loosening employment protection laws will be a key sticking point.(Spiegel)When I worked in Italy a decade ago, my boss biggest complaint was that he couldn't fire anybody, even the wrong hires.
Posted by The Dode at 9:24 AM
All in HD
The images are fantastic. A mammoth elephant seal, protecting his claim to a female, engages in a furious, bloody fight with an encroaching male. And if he's successful, he has to fight again — almost once an hour for several days, each time battling a fresh, determined rival. At the end, we see a dazed, bloody, obviously exhausted elephant seal making his way back to his mate. He may not be wondering whether she was worth it all — but I sure was.NPR
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Mr. Cameron sees his craft — built in secrecy in Australia over eight years — as greatly expanding the power of scientists to explore the abyss. On the Challenger Deep expedition, he is working with the National Geographic Society, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the University of Hawaii and other scientific groups. NY Times
Monday, March 19, 2012
Indonesian police shot dead 5 terrorism suspect in Bali
The raid happened to prevent imminent attacks on touristic targes
A police source at the scene confirmed members of the group were believed to have been raising funds for terrorism via armed robberies.
“The five people are part of the group that masterminded the 2010 CIMB NiaThga bank robbery in Medan (North Sumatra). We have tailed them for months before we make the raids,” the field operative, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Post on Sunday. The Jakarta PostGood riddance.
The raid happened to prevent imminent attacks on touristic targes
More than 5000 Australians are currently holidaying in Bali and one of the targets named by Indonesian authorities was a late night bar called La Vida Loca that is frequented late at night by young Australians.
According to tourist websites the crowds don't get to the bar until after 2am when it "packs them in for vodka drinks, with a great live band nightly, playing mostly Latino grooves". "Bring your sunglasses as well as your salsa moves as most La Vida Loca's party till sunrise,'' it says.
Police sources said attacks were planned for Thursday night, which is the eve of the annual Nyepi or day of silence to mark the Balinese Hindu new year. News.com.auAccordingly the rest of the island's security efforts have been stepped up.
- The police has monitored the group for a couple of months.
- There were two raids. 5 suspects were killed.
- They discovered weapons in one of the raid location.
- One of the killed terrorist has been in the most wanted list in Indonesia.
- The raid was done by Detachment 88, the special anti terrorist unit set up after the aftermath of Bali 2002 bombing. It's a police unit funded by the US which works closely with the Australian Federal Police.
- Usually Detachment 88 does more snatch and grab instead of shoot to kill.
Posted by The Dode at 8:25 AM
Sunday, March 18, 2012
The Espresso takes up 25 square feet of floor space and, in its latest version, is about five feet tall and seven feet wide. The license for the machine, conceived by Jeff Marsh, a St. Louis inventor, is held by OnDemand Books, in collaboration with Xerox. Jason Epstein, long-time editorial director of Random House's trade book division, is the chairman and intellectual visionary of the enterprise. His dream is that every book would be available on call (and millions of public domain titles that have been digitized by Google already are in the database, along with a growing number of out of print titles, and very recently, much of the backlist of HarperCollins). Some stores have bestowed nicknames upon their machines-in-residence, such as Opus at Politics and Prose in Washington and Paige M. Gutenborg at the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Atlantic
Posted by The Dode at 9:12 AM
Saturday, March 17, 2012
The self-made Thai billionaire who created the renowned Red Bull energy drink three decades ago has died, according to the country's state media. He was 89.
Thai state television broadcaster MCOT said Chaleo Yoovidhya died of natural causes on Saturday. It cited an executive at the Thai Beverage Industry Association.(Guardian)I bet you didn't know that Red Bull was invented in Thailand. Well here's to Mr. Yoovidhya for a world changing contribution.
Posted by The Dode at 9:16 AM
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Throughout 2011, his wife appears to have kept up regular correspondence with the Qatar emir's daughter, Mayassa al-Thani. But relations appear to have chilled early this year when Thani directly suggested that the Syrian leader step down.
"My father regards President Bashar as a friend, despite the current tensions – he always gave him genuine advice," she wrote on 11 December. "The opportunity for real change and development was lost a long time ago. Nevertheless, one opportunity closes, others open up – and I hope its not too late for reflection and coming out of the state of denial." Guardian
Thani has some good sense.
Posted by The Dode at 9:19 AM
Mr. Bo’s troubles began last month when his handpicked police chief, Wang Lijun, sought refuge in the United States Consulate in Chengdu, about 210 miles from Chongqing. Mr. Wang, who had come under scrutiny in a corruption inquiry, spent the night in the consulate before being escorted to Beijing by security officials. He was also removed from his post, according to state media.
The drama that spread from Chongqing to Beijing in recent weeks has riveted the nation and emboldened Mr. Bo’s many critics, who assailed a populist governing style that included an out-of-control assault on criminals and political enemies alike. Tall, charismatic and unusually loquacious for a Chinese official, Mr. Bo, 63, had led a “red” campaign in the teeming mountain city that called on its citizens to sing Mao-era songs. While popular among the city’s 32 million residents, Mr. Bo’s style unnerved many who said his tactics threatened to revive the destructive leftist ways of the past.NY Times
Chongqing municipality governs roughly 29 million people. That's larger than most countries in Europe.
Posted by The Dode at 9:14 AM
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Amnesty International said it had observed an increase in the reported use of shabeh - where the victim is suspended, from a raised hook, handle or door frame, or by manacled wrists, so that the feet hang just above the ground or so the tips of toes touch the floor. The individual is then often beaten.
Electric shock torture appears to be widely used in interrogations. Former detainees described three methods: dousing the victim or cell floor with water, then electro-shocking the victim through the water; the “electric chair”, where electrodes are connected to parts of the body; and the use of electric prods.
Gender-based torture and other crimes of sexual violence appear to have become more common in the last year. "Tareq" told Amnesty International that during his interrogation at the Military Intelligence Branch in Kafr Sousseh, Damascus in July 2011 he was forced to watch the rape of another prisoner called "Khalid":
"They pulled down his trousers. He had an injury on his upper left leg. Then the official raped him up against the wall. Khalid just cried during it, beating his head on the wall." Amnesty
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Lawmakers are asking questions over the anti-pornography task force recently established by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, suspecting it may be a tool to distract the public from the fuel price hike plan. The Jakarta PostThis is the stupidest idea ever implemented in modern Indonesia history.
Posted by The Dode at 8:49 AM
Monday, March 12, 2012
Children playing with matches has led to a fire gutting one of Slovakia’s most important medieval castles on Saturday. Krasna Horka, which was built in the 14th century, has suffered extensive damage, with the castle’s roof, the exposition in the Gothic palace and the bell tower were completely destroyed. The heat from the flames even melted down three bells from the bell tower. (Medevialists)
Posted by The Dode at 9:25 AM
I didn't know they have such ministry but there you go.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: If you include the transfer costs, then German unity cost more than €1 trillion -- much more than your planned fund.
Yu: Of course it may turn out that we will need five times the amount contained in the fund just in the first year. But this isn't just about money -- it's about the desire for unity. If people see others standing in line to give money -- as happened when (South Koreans) voluntarily collected gold in 1998 to help us successfully combat the economic crisis together -- then the symbolic value is immeasurable, even for people in the North. It would show that we are serious about this. (Spiegel)
Posted by The Dode at 9:04 AM
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Apparently tomato juice tastes better 1000 meters up.
But in the kitchen, science is still working against airlines. To crack the taste code, Lufthansa, the German airline, went as far as enlisting the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, a research institute near Munich. Among other things, the airline wanted to know why passengers ordered as much tomato juice as beer — about 423,000 gallons of each annually. The answer was that for many passengers, tomato juice apparently has a different taste in different atmospheric conditions. (NY Times)
Posted by The Dode at 2:34 PM
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
This is going to be interesting.
They call their state Cyrenaica. That's a cool name.
Civic leaders in eastern Libya have declared semi-autonomy for their oil-rich region at a meeting in Benghazi (BBC)I think it's a great idea. After 40 years of iron fist rule from Tripoli, the power structure in Libya should be decentralize. Let them become a federation and rebuild the country.
They call their state Cyrenaica. That's a cool name.
Last week, a group of senior Obama administration officials met to finalize a package of options for aiding both the internal and external Syrian opposition, to include providing direct humanitarian and communications assistance to the Syrian opposition, two administration officials confirmed to The Cable. This meeting of what's known as the Deputies Committee of the National Security Council set forth a new and assertive strategy for expanding U.S. engagement with Syrian activists and providing them with the means to organize themselves, but stops short of providing any direct military assistance to the armed opposition.
For now, riskier options, such as creating a no-fly zone in Syria, using U.S. military force there, or engaging directly with the Free Syrian Army, are all still off the table. But the administration has decided not to oppose, either in public or in private, the arming of the rebels by other countries, the officials said. (Foreign Policy)
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Not eating for 12-16 hours can help people quickly reset their sleep-wake cycle, according to a study from the Harvard Medical School. This discovery can drastically improve a person's ability to cope with jet lag or adjust to working late shifts. (wisebread)
Although the term “Vitruvian Man” first appeared in print in 1500, it lingered in obscurity until the worldwide phenomenon of Dan Brown’s potboiler The Da Vinci Code (2003), in which the first murder victim is found spread-eagled and naked like the subject of Leonardo’s drawing of ideal human proportions, preserved in the Venetian Gallerie dell’Accademia. For evident reasons of marketing, the title of Toby Lester’s Da Vinci’s Ghost persists in Brown’s error of mistaking Leonardo’s place of origin for his surname (he didn’t have one), and Lester, like Brown, has a knack for deploying information in a way that keeps his readers hooked. But the resemblances end there. Lester’s Leonardo is a real person, Lester himself is a real writer, and the story he has to tell is true. This is an enthralling book about a famous drawing and its equally famous creator, who becomes disarmingly, even heartbreakingly human in the author’s sympathetic hands.(American Scholar)
Posted by The Dode at 7:46 AM
Monday, March 05, 2012
Iceland's former prime minister will appear in court to answer charges over his role in the 2008 financial crisis.
Geir Haarde became a symbol of the get-rich bubble for Icelanders, many of whom lost their jobs and homes after the country's main commercial bank collapsed, sending inflation soaring and its currency into a nosedive. Haarde is accused of negligence in failing to prevent the financial implosion from which the island country is still struggling to emerge.(Guardian)I am not aware of any other public officials in the world who were put on trial to account for their fuckups in the 2008 financial meltdown.
Posted by The Dode at 8:38 AM
In 19th century America, production and consumption were typically interrelated. The family on its farm was a production team as well as a consumption unit. They didn’t just play together and watch TV together; they worked together to feed and clothe themselves. Loyalty to your spouse was about much more than not cheating; it was about pulling your share of life’s load as you worked together on a common project. Your partner was really your partner then: the person you married was the person you worked with. (The American Interest)This still applies to a lot of entrepreneurial families now.
Posted by The Dode at 8:24 AM
Sunday, March 04, 2012
A linguistics professor in Bamberg is considered the most powerful member of Germany's burgeoning Pirate Party, even though he holds no office. Martin Haase engages in politics almost exclusively through the Internet using the party's Liquid Feedback software. The platform is flattening the political hierarchy and is unique among German political parties.(Spiegel)
I’ll just say here that at first, the results seemed really exciting. We had five women and five men in our study, and performance on the RTEs after the alcohol was significantly different between the sexes. Averaged together, the women did 22 percent better on the RTE after they’d drank the alcoholic beer. Men, on the other hand, did 21 percent worse.(Lastwordonnothing)
Posted by The Dode at 8:13 AM
Friday, March 02, 2012
Bahrain's 10-0 victory over a weakened Indonesia team in a World Cup qualifying match will be studied in a "routine" investigation, FIFA said Thursday. Bahrain's win raised suspicions because it needed to make up a nine-goal deficit on rival Qatar in the group standings to have a chance of advancing to the next round. (The Jakarta Post)I mean, WTF, our goalkeeper was sent off the field just after 2 minutes. It smells stinks like a match fixing I tell ya.
Posted by The Dode at 5:14 PM