Recently in International Category

Uncensored China

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New York Times

News of the quake has dominated Chinese television. The state-controlled media have been especially aggressive in their coverage, with reporters fanning out across the stricken region. Home video, cellphone images and commentary have been flowing uncensored onto Web sites.
Quite the contrast with Myanmar, isn't it. I can't help but wonder if China sees the international communities response to that crisis and realize it would be better to be open and cooperative, ask for assistance, and show they care about their citizens.

This really is a level of openness for China that is unprecedented.

And here I thought China made a habit of not interfering with other countries internal politics. Huh, I guess not.

AP

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — A shipment of weapons to Zimbabwe may be returned to China, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday, after the troubled southern African nation's neighbors prevented the cargo from being unloaded.

The Chinese freighter arrived in South Africa last week, and human rights groups and others said they feared the mortar grenades and bullets onboard could be used by President Robert Mugabe's regime to clamp down on its opposition.


The News Tribune

Studies: Iraq costs U.S. $12B per month
By CHARLES J. HANLEY ; AP Special Correspondent
Published: March 9th, 2008 02:07 PM | Updated: March 9th, 2008 05:02 PM

The flow of blood may be ebbing, but the flood of money into the Iraq war is steadily rising, new analyses show. In 2008, its sixth year, the war will cost approximately $12 billion a month, triple the "burn" rate of its earliest years, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and co-author Linda J. Bilmes report in a new book.

Beyond 2008, working with "best-case" and "realistic-moderate" scenarios, they project the Iraq and Afghan wars, including long-term U.S. military occupations of those countries, will cost the U.S. budget between $1.7 trillion and $2.7 trillion - or more - by 2017.

Christ, I can't make the monthly mortgage without facing the prospect of getting my heat shut off. How the hell am I suppose to pay for my portion of this God forsaken clusterfuck?

McClatchy

BAGHDAD -- At least 40 Shiite pilgrims were killed and 60 injured in a suicide bombing south of Baghdad Sunday in what was once known as the Sunni triangle of death.

The bombing in Iskandariyah came as hundreds of thousands of Shiites took to the streets to walk the 50 miles to the holy city of Karbala for Arbaeen. The ceremony on Thursday commemorates the anniversary of the 40th day following the martyrdom of Hussein, the grandson of the prophet Mohammed, a venerated figure in Shiite Islam.

As pilgrims stopped for water and food at a tent set up to serve them along their journey, a suicide bomber walked into the crowd and detonated, killing and wounding many of the pilgrims, said Muthanna Ahmed, spokesman for the police in Babil province. He expected the death toll to rise.

Explain to me again how the I&O* of Iraq has improved Iraqi lives? If we meant to give them the same standard of living and the same level of security as we are blessed to have,,,,,,, well, I guess that means we must have the same number of killings by suicide bombers at Christmas mass, or Easter mass, unless mass is canceled due to strain on the electrical grid causing a shutdown.

Seriously, BushCo™, screwed the pooch when it comes to Iraq. Other than to fatten the pockets of Halliburton and company, this has been a monumental failure.

* Invasion & Occupation

Raúl Castro Named Cuba's New President - New York Times
HAVANA --The Cuban National Assembly voted Raúl Castro as its new president on Sunday, the first time the country has had a new leader since his brother Fidel seized power in 1959.
Old boss, same as the new boss.

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Musharraf Accepts Defeat

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Musharraf's Party Accepts Defeat - New York Times

LAHORE, Pakistan -- Pakistan appeared to be heading for a transition to an elected civilian government Tuesday after President Pervez Musharraf told visiting United States senators that he accepted the resounding defeat of his party in elections, and would work with a new Parliament.
You mean his efforts at rigging the election in Pakistan didn't pan out? I am shocked, Shocked! I tell you. How could such a despicable situation befall a gallant ally in the GLOBAL WAR AGAINST TERROR?

Poor, poor President Bush. First the Protect America Act lapses, now Musharraf loses the election. He stands alone, does our quacker of a president.

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Castro Resigns

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Castro resigns as president, state-run paper reports - CNN.com
HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) -- Fidel Castro announced his resignation as president of Cuba and commander-in-chief of Cuba's military Tuesday, according to a letter published in the state-run newspaper, Granma.
Well, son of a bitch! I guess being a communist dictator can lead to a long life, ending in retirement. I wonder if technical colleges will be developing courses for budding communist dictators.

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Something To Think About

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New York Times

RAWALPINDI, Islamabad — An attack on a political rally killed the Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto near the capital, Islamabad, Thursday. Witnesses said Ms. Bhutto was fired upon before the blast, and an official from her party said Ms. Bhutto was further injured by the explosion, which was apparently caused by a suicide attacker.
This will have long lasting implications for stability in the region, and the world. The GWOT just entered a new and darker phase.

They Just Don't Stop

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So, the NIE of last January actually states Iran stopped their Nuclear Weapons program as far back as 2003. Interesting. Yet, for the last 11 months we have heard non-stop from the White House about Iran's threat to our security. Well, you have to give the White House some credit. At least they are rattling their sabers at a country that stopped their weapons program within the last half decade. The first time, the country they claimed was developing nuclear weapons, stopped their program over 10 years earlier.
The New York Times

SYDNEY, Nov. 24 — Prime Minister John Howard of Australia suffered a comprehensive defeat today, with a coalition led by his Liberal Party losing its majority in parliament.
Okay, is anyone else losing sleep over this? Well, I have to admit I'm not. Actually, the better question would be is any one surprised by John Howard's loss? Lord knows I'm not surprised. When you attach your international policy to the Childish President, you are going to lose. Blair proved that.

Hell, I bet even Israel politicians aligned with the Bush administration will find they are going to lose.
New York Times

PARIS, Oct. 18 — For President Nicolas Sarkozy, a day does not get much darker than this.

On Thursday, Mr. Sarkozy, the 52-year-old French leader, was reeling from blows on two different domestic fronts: a wave of strikes that swept through France and an official announcement that his 11-year marriage had come to an end.

Shortly after a presidential spokesman, David Martinon, told a hastily called news conference that he had absolutely no comment about his boss’s marriage, the Élysée Palace dropped the bombshell that Mr. Sarkozy and his wife, Cécilia, “announce their separation by mutual consent.” The palace later clarified that the couple “had divorced.”

Looks as if France has their own version of G.W. in office. A new Miserable Failure in the works?

However, I'll take issue with the New York Times headline; I think the marital crises is over, there already having been a divorce.

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