Diaspora Digest 2015
Last Update: May
DDnotes: more specialized for the Diaspora, Franciscans & Friends...
NB. Some internet links to various magazines, newspapers, articles, etc. may be broken due to a lack of maintenance.
May 20th 2015: Iran's Khamenei rules out interviews with scientists : Iran's Supreme Leader was speaking at Imam Hossein University (Daneshgah-e Jam-e Emam Hossein) which opened in 1986, seven years after Iran's 1979 revolution. It's basically a military university affiliated with Iran's Revolutionary Guard and associated with Iran's Ministries of Science, Research, Technology, Defense & Armed Forces. The first one to say "Iran won't allow inspection of Military sites " was probably General Qasem Suleiman, who runs the Quds Force (ie. a Special Forces unit of the Iran's Revolutionary Guard) and is supposedly very close to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Whatever, the curious nuance that Mr. Ali Khamenei gave was "We will never yield to pressure ... We will not accept unreasonable demands ... Iran will not give access to its (nuclear) scientists, We will not allow the privacy of our nuclear scientists or any other important issue to be violated." Khamenei, who has the final say for Iran on any deal, last month ruled out any "extraordinary supervision measures" over nuclear activities and said military sites could not be inspected. ref. Tehran Times & Reuters, (jds)
♦ Iran's Supreme Leader speaks out at Military University
cf. The Tehran Times, Reuters World NEWS & Wikipedia
TehranTimes_Iran won't allow inspections...
Reuters_Iran Nuclear Khamenei
Wikipedia_Imam Hossein University
May 19th 2015: ISIS seizes large weapons arsenal in Ramadi. And Iraqi News reports: "The Pentagon published a statement in which it accused the Iraqi army that it left behind, during its withdrawal from Ramadi, six tanks mostly usable, and a similar number of heavy guns, along with dozens of personnel carriers, and nearly 100 “Humvee” armored vehicles, in addition to unknown quantities of medium and heavy ammunition, etc.." At the same time the United Nations reported "that about 25 thousand people have fled the city of Ramadi in Anbar province after ISIS attacked the city..." and warned of possibly running out of adequate funds for aid operations in Iraq. So could it be that the United States government is more concerned about a handful of used tanks, armored vehicles, guns, ammunition and junk more than 50 thousand people who have already fled from Ramadi, leaving behind their own homes & livelihoods with nowhere to go but on foot 70 miles east to Baghdad..? Wasn’t the sack of Northern Iraq’s Mosul by ISIS last year adequate warning of the ruthless nature & evil of such despotic & religious sects or organizations...? And now Ramadi falls into the blood stained hands of such tyrants. ref. Iraqi News, UN & BBC WorldNews, (jds)
♦ Ramadi Refugees waiting to cross the Euphrates River Bridge to Baghdad
cf. Iraqi News & The BBC World News...
IraqiNews_Pentagon accused Iraqi Army of leaving Ramadi
IraqiNews_UN running out of funds for Iraqi Refugees
May 18th 2015: Charlie Rose interviews Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates : Not only is Mr. Gates among the most highly educated people who have served in the United States Government, but also one of the most experienced. He has served in the Air Force, the Strategic Air Command, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense and other various commissions during the terms of many different presidents. So when Robert Gates sits down with Charlie Rose for nearly an hour, it's certainly worth listening to what he has to say. ref. Charlie Rose & Wikipedia, (jds)
♦ Former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates
cf. Charlie Rose interview with Mr. Gates, Wikipedia & Mr. Gate's book "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War"
CharlieRose_Interviews Robert Gates
Wikipedia_Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War
May 17th 2015: Iraq's Ramadi falls to ISIS (Islamic State Iraq & Syria) : Ramadi, Iraq's capital of Ambar Province less than 70 miles west of Baghdad fell into ISIS's hands Sunday the 17th. Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al Abadi was forced into calling up Iranian-backed Shia militias again, the same who had been instrumental in recapturing Tikrit a month ago. Iraq unfortunately has become heavily dependent upon Shia militias, which for the most part are supported by Iran. The population of Ramadi is +/- 500 thousand, while the United Nations estimates at least 25,000 have already fled the city. The New York Times suggested a sandstorm facilitated the invasion of Ramadi by ISIS given that all aircraft had been grounded. ref. UN, BBC, Reuters & The New York Times, (jds)
♦ Iran's General Qasem Suleiman & Sunnis families fleeing Ramadi for Baghdad on foot...
cf. BBC World NEWS, Reuters, The New York Times & The United Nations News Center...
Reuters_US mideast crisis Iiraq
NewYorkTimes_ISIS attacks Ramadi during sandstorm
May 17th 2015: BBC reports on: "Bangladesh & Myanmar (Burma) refugee trafficking", which is as bad if not worse than Mediterranean migrant trafficking. The majority of refugees on the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea belong to an Islamic sect known as Rohingya (Sunni Islamic with elements of Sufism). They have often been described as “among the world’s least wanted” & “most persecuted minorities". They are fleeing from Bangladesh & Myanmar towards Thailand or Malaysia where they are being refused. An estimated thousands of migrants are adrift in Southern Asian waters having been denied permission to land. ref. BBC Asia, (jds)
♦ Asian Rohingya immigrants from Bangladesh & Myanmar with nowhere to go...
cf. BBC World NEWS Asia, Wikipedia Rohingya Islam, Bangladesh & Myanmar
BBC_WorldNews_Refugee Trafficking Update
May 16th 2015: This week's On The Media: Seymour Hersh on Osama bin Laden's murder, New York City's Nail Salons scandal & Ebola-Free Liberia, at last. Bob Garfield interviews Seymour Hersh on what he thinks really happened in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Generally it is known and accepted that "The United States had direct evidence that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief, Lt. General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, knew of bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad." Seymour Hersh contends that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had kept bin Laden under house arrest at Abbottabad ever since 2006.The White House apparently denied Hersh's report. Mr. Garfield also calls attention to The New York Times exposé on labor abuses and health risks for the City's mostly foreign manicurists and how it drew the public’s attention and outrage. Finally Brooke Gladstone recalls her visit to Ebola ridden, now free Liberia months ago. ref. Seymour Hersh, Wikipeda, & The New York Times. (jds)
♦ On The Media, Osama bin Laden, NYC's manicurists & Liberia's Ebola
cf. This week's On The Media, bin Laden's death, Seymour Hersh & The New York Time's "The Price of Nails"
ThisWeek's On The Media
Wikipedia_Death of Osama bin Laden
NewYorkTimes_The Price of Nails
May 15th 2015: President Obama called together The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman : But only two heads of State from Qatar & Kuwait actually showed up, the rest sent delegates. It goes without saying that the countries most concerned with Iran's nuclear development are not the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom & United States plus Germany) but the Gulf States. Whether or not Mr. Obama was able to assure the Gulf Cooperation Council of the United States continued support in matters of defense is a good question. It may well not have been adequately addressed at this conference, and may well not be again during President Obama's term..? (jds)
♦ President Obama & Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef
cf. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian & The White House's press release.
NewYorkTimes_Gulf Cooperation Council conference
WallStreetJournal_Gulf Cooperation Council summit
TheGuardian_Gulf leaders at Camp David summit
WhiteHouse_US Gulf Cooperation Council Camp David
May 14th 2015: Chrystia Freeland on post-Soviet "kleptocracy" : Everybody knows who President Vladimir Putin and his Little Green Men are, but maybe not who Chrystia Freeland is. She's a Ukrainian-Canadian and member of Canada's Parliament representing Toronto Centre in the House of Commons as well as journalist, author and editor. For BOOKINGS Ms. Freeland went all the way back to the breakup of the Soviet Union under Boris Yeltsin to the rise of Vladimir Putin and his little Green men who took over Ukraine's Crimea right after the Sochi Olympics last year. She calls it Putin's "kleptocracy" (from the Greek κλέπτης + κράτος) or the "rule by thieves". ref. BROOKINGS & Wikipedia. (jds)
♦ Chrystia Freeland, President Vladimir Putin & Russia's Little Green Men
cf. Chrystia Freeland "My Ukraine" A personal reflection on a nation's dream of independence and the nightmare Vladimir Putin has visited upon it & Wikipedia.
BROOKINGS_Chrystia Freeland My Ukraine
Wikipedia_Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation
May 13th 2015: Pakistan gunmen kill 45 on Karachi Ismaili Shia bus : BBC Asia reports: "At least 45 people have been killed and 13 injured in a gun attack on a bus carrying Ismaili Shia Muslims in the Pakistani city of Karachi. Police said "six gunmen on motorcycles had stopped the bus and fired indiscriminately at passengers. It is the second deadliest militant attack in Pakistan this year after 62 Shia Muslims were killed in a suicide bombing in January." Ismailism shares its beginnings with other early Shi‘ah sects that emerged during the succession crisis that spread throughout the early Muslim community. From the beginning, the Shi‘ah asserted the right of ‘Ali, Muhammad's cousin, to have both political and spiritual control over the community. This also included his two sons, who were the grandsons of Muhammad through his daughter Fatima az-Zahra. Today's Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan (IV) is considered the direct descendant of the Islamic prophet Muhammad through Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law Ali, the first Imam in Shia Islam. He's also considered as around the 10th richest man in the world, which unfortunately didn't help these 45 people from being killed on a bus in Karachi, Pakistan today. ref. BBC Asia NEWS, & Wikipedia. (jds)
♦ 45 Ismaili Shia killed on a Karachi bus in Pakistan...
cf. BBC Asia NEWS Karachi, Pakistan, Ismailism & Aga Khan IV
BBC_Asia_NEWS_Ismaili Shia Muslims killed on bus
Wikipedia_Aga Khan IV
May 12th 2015: BOOKINGS Michael O'Hanlon says Next steps in Iraq "beyond the 'easy part" : Mr. O'Hanlon talked with former Deputy Prime Minister Rafe al Issawi, one of Iraq's best Sunni politicians recently who had 3 important topics to highlight: 1) The Shia militias in Iraq are as brutal, corrupt & threatening to Iraq's future as ISIL. 2) Iraq's army and police have to be rebuilt equitably and 3) Iraq should develop a National Guard. The major problem is Iraq's Shia militias which are unruly, poorly trained and not likely to easily demilitarize. ref. BROOKINGS & Wikipedia. (jds)
♦ Iraq's former Deputy Prime Minister Rafe al Issawi
cf. BOOKINGS Michael O'Hanlon's article, Wikipedia Rafi al Issawi & List of private Shia militias in Iraq :
Wikipedia_Rafi al Issawi
Wikipedia_Private militias in Iraq
May 12th 2015: Another Earthquake (magnitude of 7.3) in Nepal AnotherEarthquakeTuesdayThe12th
May 10th 2015: This week's ON THE MEDIA, Nepal's earthquake mistakes, Patriot Act, Police body cameras, Veeps & Texas Takeover : Brooke Gladstone talks with Jonathan Katz of the New York Times who wrote "How Not to Report on an Earthquake" like Haiti's 2010 earthquake or Nepal's last month. University of Chicago's Geoff Stone examines NSA's Patriot Act, Bob Garfield talks about police cameras with Robinson Meyer of The Atlantic, about VEEP's with Armando Iannucci and with NPR's Wade Goodwyn about Texas. Fifty full minutes of this week's ON THE MEDIA from Katmandu to Washington DC to Texas. (jds)
♦ Katmandu, Nepal's earthquake offically at 8,452 dead & 19,000 injured
cf. This Week's On The Media, The New York Times Jonathan Katz's article on "How not to Report on an Earthquake" & The Guardian
This Week's OnTheMedia
TheNewYorkTimes_How not to Report on an Earthquake
TheGuardian_Nepal's Earthquake Village & everyone dead
May 9th 2015: Russia remembers WWII 70 years ago and 27 million dead : That's right, says Boris Makarenko of Moscow to PBS's Corey Flintoff; "Twenty-seven million Soviets died in World War II" which is the largest toll of any single nation during the war. As Russian jets flew through Moscow's clear blue sky, everyone looked up and saw 70, seventy years ago. And then came the parades of soldiers, tanks, missiles and whatnot for today's wars. (jds)
♦ 70 years ago 27 million Soviets dead in WW II
cf. BBC World Russia's WWII Parade, PBS's Corey Flintoff in Moscow & Wikipedida WWII casualties...
BBC_World Russia's WWII Parade
PBS_parallels_Russia's WWII remembrance
Wikipedia_World War II casualties
May 8th 2015: Charlie Rose interviews Ernest Moniz : Mr. Moniz is the United States Secretary of Energy working on the P5+1 commission (5 permanent United Nations Security Council members: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom & United States plus Germany) working to establish limits of Iran's Atomic Energy program. His main interlocutor is Iran's Ali Akbar Salehi who is the current head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI). Mr. Salehi proceeded and then later replaced Fereydoon Abbasi Davani as head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization in 2013. Fereydoon Abbasi Davani is the protégée of Iran's Revoutionary Guard General Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the acclaimed "Father" of Iran's Atomic Bomb efforts. The ongoing discussions between Mr. Moniz & Mr. Salehi are rather technical, but basically center around what is called a "breakout" time or point, which represents the amount of time needed to produce enough weapons grade uranium to make one nuclear bomb or weapon. Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Jarif already mentioned during an interview with Charlie Rose last month that Iran's AEOI (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran) had enough weapons grade uranium to make a handful of booms years ago, but didn't. Now that's a curious & good question and probably will never be answered except by Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Fereydoon Abbasi Davani and Iran's Revolutionary Guard who are apparently more interested in weapons than talks. (jds)
♦ U.S Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz on Charlie Rose
♦ Iran's 2 nuclear aces: Fereydoon Abbasi Davani & Ali Akbar Salehi
♦ Iran's Revolutionary Guard, "The Power behind Iran's Islamic Republic"
cf. Charlie Rose and Ernest Moniz, Iran's Breakout Time, Ali Akbar Salehi, Fereydoon Abbasi Davani, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh & Iran's Revolutionary Guard...
CharlieRose and Ernest Moniz
Washington_Institute_Iran's nuclear breakout time
Wikipedia_Ali Akbar Salehi
Wikipedia_Fereydoon Abbasi Davani
IranNewsUpdate_Khamenei hails Fakhrizadeh
Iran's Revolutionary Guards
May 8th 2015: David Cameron, 5 more years Prime Minister of Great Britain : After having visited Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace, David Cameron promised to make "Great Britain greater". The Conservatives (often referred to as Tories) won 331 seats, five more than needed for a House of Commons majority. And the run up to the election only took about 4 months, while America's mass media election has already gobbled up 4 months and is going to take another 18 more months before anybody casts a vote. Maybe we should change to a parliamentary system like the United Kingdom, hire a King or Queen and stop collecting, spending and wasting so much money on politics & politicians..? Maybe, yet highly unlikely..! (jds)
♦ David Cameron, Prime Minister of Great Britain re-elected 7th May 2015 for 5 more years...
cf. BBC's UK's election results, David Cameron & The Parliamentary System of Government.
BBC_UK's Election results
Wikipedia_Parliamentary system of Government
May 7th 2015: BBC Travel flew over North & South western American with Jeff Greenwald in a small open air plane not much bigger or heavier than a glider: That's an adventure, even for a photographer, journalist & author like Jeff Greenwald. The airplane is called an Aircam which comes in a kit that almost anybody can put together & fly who wants to learn and discover what North & South western America looks like from the sky. (jds)
♦ Jeff Greenwald flys over North & South western America taking pictures...
cf. BBC's Travel, Jeff Greenwald & Aircam airplanes
BBC_Travel Photos over North & South western America
Jeff Greenwald, photographer, journalist & author
Aircam airplanes in kits
May 6th 2015: BBC's World News updated 24 hours / day: The BBC (British Broadcasting Company) has a 1 minute World News Video summary that is updated 24 hours / day. Otherwise, the BBC's homepage delves into everything from News to Business, Sports, Entertainment, Arts, Health, Technology, Science, Environment, Autos, Culture, Future, Travel, etc..., which for the most part changes daily. Today's Earth article takes a close look at Ladybirds or bugs which apparently are not as cute & clean as imagined..! (jds)
♦ BBC's one minute World News summary
♦ BBC's Internet Homepage, which changes every day...
& ♦ BBC's Earth article on Ladybirds or bugs...
cf. BBC's One minute World News summary & BBC's International Homepage with Ladybirds or bugs...
BBC_One minute World News
BBC_Ladybirds or bugs
May 5th 2015: The New York Times reports: "Nepal Asks Foreign Rescuers to Leave as Hopes Fade" : The official death toll of Nepal's earthquake now exceeds 7,673 and 17,200 injured. So far foreign rescuers workers have saved 16 or more people, while the World Health Organization has saved hundreds of lives and injured. About half of the 4,000 foreign search & rescuer workers have already left Nepal given that chances of finding other people alive under the rubble are very slim, if any at all. The New York Times presents a series photos before and after April 25th quake, which visually presents the amplitude & destruction of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake now known as the "Gorkha earthquake". (jds)
♦ Nepal's April 25th 7.8 magnitude "Gorkha earthquake"
cf. The New York Times, photos, landmarks, maps & Wikipedia Gorkha earthquake...
NewYorkTimes_Nepal's earthquake Photos
NewYorkTimes_Nepal's earthquake Photos Before & After
NewYorkTimes_Nepal's earthquake Maps
Wikipedia_Nepal earthquake April 25th 2015
May 4th 2015: Three men on America's urban & social problems, Allport, Alinsky & Moyniham : Gordon Allport defined the Nature of Prejudice, Saul Alinsky held that the first obligation of a community organizer was to work his or her self out of the job and lastly Daniel Moyniham's 1965 "Moynihan Report" still remains a questionable truth. Best start with Gordon W. Allport's "The Nature of Prejudice", then look into Saul Alinsky's concept & tactics for organizing a community to take care of itself, and lastly the "Moyniham Report" that almost everybody disagrees with for one reason or another. American's poor inner cities don't need any more preachers, lawyers, politicians, gangs, or cops. What it needs is more brains, social respect & responsibility, which is what these three men (and others less well known) tried to help install decades ago. (jds)
♦ Gordon Allport (1897 - 1967)
♦ Saul Alinsky (1909 - 1972)
♦ Daniel Patrick Moyniham (1927 - 2003)
cf. Gordon Allport, Saul Allinsky & Daniel Patrick Moynihma ...
Wikipedia_Daniel Patrick Moynihan
May 3rd 2015: Reuters Moving Pictures Video of the last few months : From Syria to Flight 9525's (Barcelona to Dusseldorf) co-piolet's suicide crash in the Alps, to Mardi Gras and France's Charlie Hebdo from April, March, February & January 2015 and more, a true Kaleidoscope of mixed memories and images both good & bad, often forgotten and even unknown. (jds)
♦ REUTERS' Kaleidoscope of mixed memories...
cf. REUTERS Moving Picture Video of April, March, February, January & more...
REUTERS_Moving Pictures Video
May 2nd 2015: This week's On The Media : Brooke Gladstone talks with Tufts University's Peniel Joseph about Baltimore's current racial problems, then about US drone strikes with New York Times reporter Matt Apuzzo & California's House Representative Adam Schiff as well as the White House’s rather lax response to the Freedom of Information Act. Ms. Gladstone also talked with Eliyanna Kaiser & Rachel Aimee, two editors of the now defunct $pread magazine designed for and by sex workers. (jds)
♦ Professor Peniel Joseph of Tuft's University
cf. NPR's On The Media, Peniel Joseph, & wikipedia $pread
Professor Peniel Joseph
May 1st 2015: The Greek goddess Maia & month of May : Lots happens worldwide during the month of May from May Day celebrations to Constitution days, Liberation days, Independence days, Victory days, Revolution days, Memorial days, Religious, Mothers, Nurses and Children days, etc., etc., not to forget the Kentucky Derby, Indianapolis 500 and far more ancient Maypole celebrations. It all adds up to a bundle of holidays and a well-known Wall Street investment saying "Sell in May and go away". Whatever, maybe this May and summer months to come will be less troubled and more humane than past days, months & years (jds)
♦ May's Greek goddess Maia & Vulcan , the god of fire by Bartholomäus Spranger (1585)
cf. Jose Feliciano's "Light My Fire", Wikipedia The month of May, Greek goddess Maia & Vulcan, the god of fire.
YouTube_Jose Feliciano "Light My Fire"
Wikipedia_Month of May
Wikipedia_Greek goddess Maia
Wikipedia_Vulcan, Greek god of fire
April 30th 2015: This week Charlie Rose interviewed Iran's one and only Javad Jarif : which was a rather curious exercise & excursion into Iranian logic. What Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Jarif had to say was Iran "... wants mutual respect & mutual trust", which is all fine and good. Yet on the other hand he says "We (Iran) don't trust anybody". Now how Iran can arrive at mutual respect & trust from everybody without respecting or trusting anybody is a good question. But curiously enough it's pure & simple Iranian logic; certainly not Aristotle's or anybody else's for that matter. In Part II of the interview Mr. Jarif accuses Israel as the major problem in the Middle East. Obviously Israel will never trust Iran's present regime and Iran's present government will never trust Israel. Prior to 1979 more than 100,000 Jews lived in Iran, today far less than 20 thousand. Furthermore Mr. Jarif admits that over the past 8 years Iran had enough enriched uranium to build 8 nuclear bombs, but never did. Seeing is believing, though Iran's Foreign Minister seems to want the P5+1 to believe without seeing. Anyway, following Mr. Zarif's curious and rather adamant interview, Charlie Rose rebroadcast a previous interview with Mohammad Javad Larijani, the eldest son of Iran's most powerful Larijani family. There was an expression in Iran before 1979 that said "They ruined Iran to build Tehran" which today seems more likely "They ruined Iran to build an Islamic Republic's of Iran", which brings to a mind a dear past friend of mine, Terence O'Donnell who years ago wrote "The Garden of the Brave in War". Below is a brief selection from the preface to Terry's book, which is not only a literary treasure, but also profound & humane. Terry believed 1979's "fanaticism of their revolution will be short-lived", but as an old Iranian friend once told him "A foreigner may live here a hundred years, but he will never really understand us". (jds)
♦ Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Jarif
♦ Mohammad Javad Larijani from Iran's most powerful family.
♦ Garden of the Brave in War by Terry O'Donnell
cf. Charlie Rose Interviews of Javad Jarif & Mohammad Larijani and Terence O'Donnell's "Garden of the Brave in War"
CharlieRose_interviews Javad Jarif Part I
CharlieRose_interviews Javard Jarif Part II
Amazon_Garden of the Brave in War by Terence O'Donnell
Sections from the preface to "Garden of the Brave in War" by Terence O'Donnell
"There are two motifs in the revolution that decidedly do not appear in these pages for the reason that they are so uncommon as to be aberrations. One is puritanism of the religious regime. Iranians are voluptuaries and delight in the flesh. Their conversation, their poetry (which means everything to them after their God and sometimes before), their folklore, and their traditions – all reflect a love of earthly pleasures. The execution of prostitutes following the revolution could only have horrified the ordinary, susceptible, forgiving Iranian heart. The second aberration, a cousin to the first, is fanaticism. From the beginnings of Iranian history, from the times of Cyrus, toleration has again and again been the hallmark of the Iranian state and also one of the most pronounced and common traits in the individual Iranian. Nonetheless, and however much an aberration, fanaticism certainly played a part in the revolution. Perhaps revolutions cannot take place without it.
However from all that I know of the Iranians, I believe that the fanaticism of their revolution will be short-lived. I can think of no better support for this than the nature of Iranian pilgrimage and shrines which are its object. Iranians are much prone to pilgrimage, for though they love the flesh, they love the spirit too – perhaps not quite the contradiction that some in the West might think. And they certainly have much opportunity for pilgrimage since Iran is covered with shrines, everything from little wayside places to the great edifices in the holy cities – some of the latter among the most dazzling buildings in the East. Not one of these thousands of shrines honors a soldier or a political figure. All are dedicated to either saints or poets. In the end, these, rather than the bullhorns, are the voices that the Iranians heed and venerate. In the meantime what, it might be asked, will be the effects of the revolution on the kinds of country places and country people described in this book? There is an old tag in the East that says that the emperor’s writ ends at the village gate. So does the revolution’s. By and large, who rules will not make much difference to these people and places – whether it be a shah, an ayatollah, a president or a commissar. What does, and will make a difference slipped through the village gate some years ago – a tandem to two simple, mundane things: the transistor radio and the motorbike. These, more than all the edicts of parties, councils, and rulers, will transform the countryside, not only of Iran but of all the Middle East, transform it by ending that isolation which fosters and protects the traditional life.
This brings me to the reason for this book. Isolation and the traditional life have by no means disappeared from the Iranian countryside, but they are on their way. In many respects this will be for the best. On the other hand, there are certain features of the traditional life of Iranians that I believe good and that I have loved with all my heart. Watching these things pass, I suppose it seemed to me that the only way to keep them – for myself and perhaps for others – was to gather them together into a book of recollection such as this. I hope it is a just recollection. A westerner in Iran inevitably misunderstands the country to some degree; his past and present are too different from those of the Iranian. “A foreigner may live here a hundred years, but he will never really understand us,” an old Iranian once said to me. And by then I knew enough to know that he was right. This leads me to make an apology to the Iranians, my kind hosts for many years. Surely in some of the things I say about them I shall be wide off the mark; I hope they will forgive me." Terence O'Donnell, "Garden of the Brave in War"
April 28th 2015: "Louie Louie, oh no !" Kingsmen's Jack Ely said "we gotta go" : Jack Ely of the 1960's Kingsmen died Monday in Redmond, Oregon. His 1963 rendition of Richard Berry's 1955 "Louie Louie" broke all records and even inaugurated an International "Louie Louie Day" that's celebrated April 11th every year. But song's lyrics were so muddled up under the drums & guitars that the FBI actually investigated the song's track looking for something either obscene or anti-American and naturally found nothing other than a waste of Director J. Edgar Hoover's time. (jds)
♦ Jack Ely (1943 - 2014)
cf. BBC's Kingsmen "Louie Louie", Wikipedia's Jack Ely & Richard Berry and YouTube "Louie Louie"...
BBC_Kingsmen Jack Ely "Louie Louie"
YouTube_Kingsmen's Louie Louie
Louie Louie, oh no
Sayin' we gotta go, yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah
Said Louie Louie, oh baby
Said we gotta go
A fine little girl, she waits for me
Catch a ship across the sea
Sail that ship about, all alone
Never know if I make it home
Louie Louie, oh no no no
Sayin' we gotta go, oh no
Said Louie Louie, oh baby
Said we gotta go
Three nights and days I sail the sea
Think of girl, all constantly
On that ship I dream she's there
I smell the rose in her hair
Louie Louie, oh no
Sayin' we gotta go, yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah
Said Louie Louie, oh baby
Said we gotta go
Okay, let's give it to 'em, right now!
See, see Jamaica, the moon above
It won't be long, me see me love
Take her in my arms again
I'll tell her I'll never leave again
Louie Louie, oh no
Sayin' we gotta go, yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah
Said Louie Louie, oh baby
Said we gotta go
I said we gotta go now
Let's take this on outta here
April 28th 2015: Baltimore street riots : The population of the city of Baltimore is over 600 thousands of which 63% are Black, 29% White and 8% others. Since Blacks (Afro Americans) represent only about 13% of United States' overall population the city of Baltimore's population is highly disproportionate. Most other big cities are a little less disproportionate than Baltimore when it comes down to racial and ethnic populations. For example: Chicago: Whites 45%, Blacks 32%, and 23% others (Hispanics, Asians, etc.). New York City: Whites 44%, Blacks 25%, and 31% others (Hispanics, Asians, etc.). So maybe someone should invent a formula for proportional urban civility & stability in which the more a city represents the overall population of the United States the better off socially & economically it can become. Baltimore sure needs a formula like that, otherwise it may well become another "Tale of Two Cities" in Baltimore, Maryland. (jds)
♦ Baltimore Maryland yesterday, Monday April 27th
♦ Baltimore Maryland's average Afro-American Income < 35 thousand. (US Census Bureau)
♦ Baltimore Maryland's & Washington, D.C.'s Afro-American population > 63%. (US Census Bureau)
cf. BBC World News, The New York Times, US Census Bureau & Baltimore, Maryland...
NewYorkTimes_Baltimore Police & minors
April 27th 2015: Nepal's 7.8 magnitude Earthquake, Saturday 25th of April at 11:41AM Nepal Standard Time : The death toll is expected to rise. Nepal's population is + 26 million, Kathmandu the most populated city (+ 1 million) and Pokhara the second largest ( + 260 thousand). To date the most devastating earthquake to hit Nepal was 1934's 8.2 magnitude Nepal–Bihar earthquake, which reached a death toll of nearly 12 thousand in Nepal and more than 7 thousand dead in India's northeastern boarding state of Bihar. So far the International humanitarian response to Nepal's present earthquake has been overwhelming positive. (jds)
♦ The Earthquake’s epicenter was approximately 60 km Northwest from Kathmandu, Nepal's vibrant capital ...
UPDATE 29th April : Nepal's Earthquake survivores in urgent need of food & water, and more than 5,000 counted dead already.
cf. BBC's Nepal's earthquake, Wikipedia Nepal's 2015 & 1934 earthquakes, and Nepal
BBC_World_Nepal's Earthquake Update
Wikipedia_Nepal's Earthquake 2015
Wikipedia_Nepal's Earthquake 1934
April 26th 2015: Turkey’s President Erdogan slams nations recognizing Armenian 'genocide' : Mr. Erdogan said: "They (other nations) should first, one-by-one, clean the stains on their own histories", which is certainly a good point and obviously even a good idea for Turkey and its past Ottoman Empire's history with Armenians. The term 'genocide' was developed by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer who immigrated to the United States in 1941. The term combines the Greek word "genos" (meaning family, race or tribe) and Latin word "cide" meaning to kill. So far the Holocaust, Armenia's "Medz Yeghern" or Great Crime, Rwandan & Bosnia's Srebrenica and Zepa are considered genocides by the world community. At present Turkey refuses to accept the term "genocide" for what the Ottoman Turks did to the Armenians 100 years ago. Regardless, Peter Kenyon, NPR's International Correspondent in Istanbul discovered some "hidden Armenians" emerging in the ancient city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey, and even heard ringing church bells from St. Giragos, an Armenian Church restored & reopened only 4 years ago in 2011... (jds)
♦ Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
cf. NPR's Hidden Armenians, Todays Zaman Newspaper on Erdogan & diplomatic measures and Wikipedia on genocide:
NPR_parallels Hidden Armenians emerge from hidding
TodaysZaman_Erdogan slams nations recognizing Armenian genocide
TodaysZaman_Turkey to take diplomatic measures against countries recognizing genocide
April 25th 2015: To The Best of Our Knowledge (TTBOOK.org) on "The Quantified Self" : Gadgets galore to keep track of one's self from Benjamin Franklin's autobiography to Apple Watches and back again to Nicholas Felton "annual reports" & Sarah Manguso 20 years of keeping a diary. (jds)
♦ Benjamin Franklin's 1791 autobiography & Sarah Manguso's 20 years diary
cf. To the Best of Our Knowledge (TTBOOK.org), Nicholas Felton's "annual reports", Franklin's autobiography & Sarah Manguso's diary...
TTBOOK.org_The Quantified Self
Wikipedia_Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography
Sarah Manguso 20 years diary
April 24th 2015: Edwin Hubble, his Universe & Telescope : Until 1929 a near majority of astronomers were more or less convinced that stars & planets were all within our Milky Way Galaxy. Edwin Hubble was not so sure and went to California’s Mount Wilson Observatory in 1919 where with his assistant Milton Humason he determined that some nebulae (ie. interstellar clouds of dust, hydrogen, helium & ionized gases) were actually galaxies outside of the Milky Way. After measuring the distance and Doppler shift or effect of these newly discovered galaxies Hubble & Humanson determined that these galaxies were moving away from us, so in 1929 Edwin Hubble wrote an article to announce that the Universe is Expanding. Ever since then numerous astronomers have confirmed Hubble’s discovery and 25 years ago the Hubble Space Telescope took its place in the Universe looking out into deep space. (jds)
♦ Edwin Hubble (1889 - 1953)
cf. Space Telescope Edwin Hubble, Carnegie Science, TheNewYorkTimes Science Video & BBC Science Photos :
TheNewYorkTimes_Science Hubble Telescope Videos
BBC_Science Hubble Telescope Photos
April 23rd 2015: Armenia 'commemorates' & Turkey 'celebrates' : Tomorrow, Friday April 24th Armenia commemorates 1915's "Medz Yeghern" (Great Crime) while Turkey celebrates the victory over WWI's allies Russia, Britain & France at the Battle of Gallipoli, often referred to as the Dardanelles. Both Armenia's commemoration and Turkey's celebration have to do with the Ottoman Empire's alinement with Germany during WWI. The WWI defense of Constantinople (today's Istanbul) is worthy of sincere remembrance & thought, while the Ottoman Empire's massacre of Armenians was a Great Crime and a disgrace to civilization. Apparently, the Turkish government moved the date for celebrating the 100 year anniversary of defending Constantinople to April 24th for the purpose of avoiding too much mention of Armenia’s commemoration of "Medz Yeghern", that is the Great Crime of the Ottoman Empire. (jds)
♦ Ottoman soldiers defending Gallipoli (the Dardannelles) during WW I
♦ Yerevan, the Capital of Armenia at the foot of Biblic Mount Ararat.
cf. The Ottoman Empire's defense of Constantinople, The "Medz Yeghern" Great Crime against Armenians & Yerevan, the Capital of Armenia
Wikipedia_Battle of Gallipoli for Constantinople
Wikipedia_Yerevan the Capital of Armenia
April 22nd 2015: Charlie Rose interviewed Michael Vickers, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence : Secretary Vickers goes all the way back to Charlie Wilson's War and worked for CIA's Gust Avrakotos. He plans to retire form governmental service this April, but before leaving he sat down with Charlie Rose and talked about the Middle East & Russia as few know as well as he does. (jds)
♦ Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers
cf. Charlie Rose's 1st interview with Michael Vickers, a Washington Post article & Wikipedia
TheWashingtonPost_Michael Vickers back in Defense Dept.
April 21st 2015: Meet Our Man in Tehran : His name is Thomas Erdbrinkm. He's from the Netherlands, lives with his wife Newsha in Tehran and is bureau chief for The New York Times. Mr Erdbrink and Roel van Broekhoven, director of the series on Dutch television channel VPRO have filmed 7 Episodes about living & reporting in Iran, all of which present Iranians from somewhat different vantage points than most of us are accustom to seeing. (jds)
♦ Thomas Erdbrinkm & his wife Newsha
cf. The different Episodes of Our Man in Tehran (the 6th & 7th Episodes will be online April 28th & May 5th rsepectively) :
TheNewYorkTimes_Episode #1 Our Man in Tehran
TheNewYorkTimes_Episode #2 The Martyr’s Daughter
TheNewYorkTimes_Episode #3 Big City Life
TheNewYorkTimes_Episode #4 Mr. Big Mouth
TheNewYorkTimes_Episode #5 An Eye for an Eye
April 20th 2015: Jason Rezaian faces "Iranian spy trial" : Mr. Rezaian is a U.S. & Iranian citizen by birth and the Tehran correspondent for the Washington Post. He has been accused of "collaborating with hostile governments" & spreading "propaganda" and will be tried this May in Iran's infamous Revolutionary Court by an even more infamous Judge called Abolghassem Salavati. Mr. Rezaian has already spent 9 months in prison without council, his lovely wife Saleh was released from prison after 3 months. Aside from the outrageous accusations of supposedly collaborating with hostile governments etc.., the spreading of "propaganda" may refer to an Iranian version of Pharrell Williams's "Happy", which also got some fun loving young Iranians into trouble. It should be noted that there are two Irans today, one of 1979's Islamic Revolution and the other of 2009's rigged re-election of Ahmadinejad when thousands upon thousands of young Iranians took to the streets & rooftops of Tehran to protest against their government's abuse of power. Unfortunately even today the 1979 Islamic crew is still aboard and in place running Iran's government, television & radio media, elections, courts, revolutionary guards, military, etc. with steel fists, which most likely explains why so many "Happy Iranians" may not be so happy today..! (jds)
♦ Jason Rezaian was only 3 years old when Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution broke out ..!
cf. The Washington Post, The New Yorker, YouTube "Happy Iranians" & Wikipedia on Jason Rezaian ...
TheWashingtonPost_Jason Rezaian jailed
TheNewYorker_Why Jason Rezaian
YouTube_"Happy Iranians" not so happy now
April 20th 2015: The Tehran Times quotes Iran's General Qasem Suleimani as saying : "Not only will we not grant foreigners the permission to inspect our military sites, we will not even give them permission to think about such a subject..." Well now that's rather clear, but if everybody has to start asking General Suleimani for "permission to think about such a subject" then something is wrong either in the General's head or his military sites. (jds)
♦ General Qasem Soleimani : Iran’s rising star...
cf. The Tehran Times, Iran's rising star & Wikipedia on Qasem Soleimani...
TheTehranTimes_General Qasem Suleimani
BBC_World_Iran's rising star Qasem Suleimani
April 19th 2015: Sunday's CBS 60 minutes: "A Crime Against Humanity, TED Talks & Basketball Hoop Dreams" : Crimes Against Humanity recounts Bashar al Assad's use of lethal sarin gas in Syria, Ted Talks (Technology, Entertainment, Design), a global set of conferences is how to "stir your curiosity" and Basketball Hoops, an unquenchable imagination of a man who's memory forgets nothing. Aside from an endless floppy of advertising commercials sandwiched between each segment, this Sunday's 60 minutes touches upon unforgivable war crimes, Ted Talks global "Ideas Worth Spreading" and Bob Petrella's fantasies, imagination & memory. (jds)
♦ 60 minutes: from sarin gas to Ted Talks to Basketball Memory
cf. 60 Minutes Syrian sarin gas, Charlie Rose, Basketball Hoops and TED Talks, Bob Petrella & Wikipedia 60 Minutes...
CBS60minutes_Bashar al Assad's Crime Against Humanity
CBS60minutes_Charlie Rose on TED Talks
CBS60minutes_Basketball Hoops & Dreams
TED_(Technology Entertainment Design) Talks
BobPetrella_Memory Imagination Fantasy
April 19th 2015: North African Migrant Boat disaster in the Mediterranean : A boat of possibly 700 migrants from North Africa capsized in the Mediterranean last night around midnight GMT. So far only 28 people are reported as having been rescued. Since January an estimated 900 other migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean. This disaster will bring the number of migrants lost at sea this year to well over a thousand. The Mediterranean in late Spring & Summer is usually calmer than now, yet the vessels being used by migrants are overcrowded and not sea worthy. (jds)
♦ BBC NEWS: "Boat disaster in the Mediterranean"
cf. BBC NEWS Europe & TheGuardian ...
BBC_NEWS_Europe_Migrant boat disaster
TheGuardian_Migrants feared dead worst yet
April 18th 2015: NPR's parallels on Syria's minorities & Greek WWII reparations : NPR's Alison Meuse explains how Syria is controlled by Bashar al Assad's Alawite community (an offshoot of Shiite Islam) which represents about 10% of Syria's population. Other Syrian minorities are Christians, Druze and Ismaili that all together add up to about another 10% of Syria's population. That leaves 65% of Syria's population to Sunni Arabs and around 15% to Kurds, who for the most part are Sunni also. After 4 years of civil war & conflict almost half of Syria's population (10 million) has been displaced and nearly 4 million sought refuge in neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. As for Greece the recently elected government is claiming 303 billion dollars of WWII war reparations from Germany, which is about 61 billion dollars more than Greece's own Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As someone whom PBS's Joanna Kakissis interviewed said, "you could forgive but we cannot forget". Greece's problem is not forgiving or forgetting or WWII. It's pure and simple economics & politics today, and not 70 some years ago. (jds)
♦ Syria & Greece: two 21st century unsolved problems...
cf. NPR's (Nation Public Radio) parallels on Syria's minorities & Greece's forgive & forget ...
NPR_parallels Minorities in Syria
NPR_parallels Greek & German reparations
April 18th 2015: This week's "ON THE MEDIA" discusses : 2016's presidential candidates and their quirks, cameras recording police & Washington DC's "nerd's prom" or annual red carpet Correspondents' dinner which takes place next Saturday the 25th of April. On The Media's Bob Garfield actually "goes (or rather went) to Washington DC" Correspondents' dinner and made a video of what it was like, a nerd's red carpet prom in Washington DC..! (jds)
♦ On The Media goes to Washington...
cf. This week's ON THE MEDIA & Bob Garfield in Washington, DC...
YouTube_Bob Garfield On The Media goes to Washington
April 18th 2015: Deutsche Welle: "Inside Europe" This week's DW radio "Inside Europe" remembers Günter Grass who died last Monday, the 13th of April, Russia supplying anti-aircraft rocket systems to Iran, Europe & North Africa working together to fight terrorism, etc... (jds)
♦ Günter Grass (1927 - 2015)
cf. Deutsche Welle "Inside Europe", Salman Rushdie's NewYorker's article on Günter Grass & Wikipedia's biography...
TheNewYorker_Salman Rushdie on Günter Grass
April 17th 2015: PBS's NATURE lances a 3 part series on "Animal Homes", where birds & animals live and reproduce. : With spring why not take a break from our world's human troubles and appreciate some other somewhat simpler creatures like birds, animals or even insects. They've all been around as long if not longer than we have and can teach us a lot, like how to build a home, hatch an egg & raise a family. The first Episode of PBS NATURE "Animal Homes: The Nest" came out April 8th, the second April 15th and the third premiers next week April 22nd. All of PBS NATURE's Episodes can be viewed online by simply clicking on the pictures below or on TV by referring to your local PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) schedule... (jds)
♦ PBS Animal Homes: "The Nest" Episode #1
♦ PBS Animal Homes: "The Location" Episode #2
♦ PBS Animal Homes: "The City" Episode #3
♦ PBS Animal Homes: "Behind the Scenes" in a New Haven, Connecticut warehouse"
cf. Episode 1, "The Nest", Episode 2: "The Location", Episode 3 "The City" & Behind the Scenes: in a New Haven Connecticut warehouse
PBS_NATURE_The Nest Episode #1
PBS_NATURE_The Location Episode #2
PBS_NATURE_The City Episode #3
PBS_NATURE_Behind The Scenes
April 17th 2015: Charlie Rose interviews Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al Abadi who says what he really needs is support, support that is consistent & that he can rely upon. (jds)
♦ Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al Abadi
cf. Charlie Rose interviews Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al Abadi & Wikipedia
CharlieRose & Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al Abadi
April 16th 2015: Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash Fragments from eastern Ukraine : Jeroen Akkermans a RTL (Radio Television Luxembourg) reporter from the Netherlands visited the site of July 17th 2014 Malaysian Airliner crash in eastern Ukraine serval times and after months of seeing small metal fragments left on the ground took a few back home to be examined. After months of investigation, British defense analysts at IHS Jane's (named after founder Fred Janes) linked a fragment found in the wreckage to a 9N314 warhead, which arms at least one type of Russian made Buk system's missiles. (jds)
♦ MH17's wreckage & 2 mm. fragment of what hit the Airliner marked with the Cyrillic (Russian) letter Ц
cf. BBC World NEWS, RTL, Metabunk.org & Wikipedia Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur
RTL_Flight MH17 taken down by buk missile
Metabunk.org on MH17 BUK missile Fragment
Wikipedia_Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17
April 16th 2015: Russian President Vladimir Putin's 13th TV telephone marathon lasted only 4 hours..! What an accomplishment, Mr. Putin solved nearly all of Russia's current problems in four short hours. First of all, "there are no Russian troops in Ukraine" and then cane some advice to business leaders and farmers that "We need to use the situation to reach a new level of development" & "the growth of internal agricultural production is inevitable" given that the economy is in actual recession. Mr. Putin also mentioned that the assassins of Boris Nemtsov who was shot dead last February will probably never be found. Well he's the one who should know...! (jds)
♦ President Vladimir Putin's 4 hour long TV marathon...
cf. BBC's World NEWS, REUTERS & Russia's Sputnik International News
BBC_WorldNews_President Putin's TV marathon
REUTERS_U.S. Ukrain Russia crisis
April 14th 2015: Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al Abadi comes to Washington : Kenneth Pollack of BROOKINGS highlights the importance of the Iraqi Prime Minister's visit to Washington D.C. today. Iraq is in serious need of military, political & economic assistance and unless forthcoming the country may well fall back into disarray. The U.S.'s 2010 premature withdrawal from Iraq reopened closed doors to civil unrest & sectarian violence. These doors have to be closed once again, which is why Iraq's Prime Minister is here in Washington D.C. today. Also that's why Mr. Pollack wrote an excellent article for today on what Washington D.C. should do... (jds)
♦ Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al Abadi ...
cf. BROOKINGS Kenneth Pollack's article, TheNewYorkTimes & Wikipedia on Haider al Abadi ...
BROOKINGS_Haider al Abadi in Washington DC
TheNewYorkTimes_Iraqi Prime Minister in Washington
Wikipedia_Haider al Abadi
April 13th 2015: Russia to arm Iran with S-300 missiles A Russian presidential decree concerning S-300 missile systems "...lifts the ban on transit through Russian territory, including airlift, and the export from the Russian Federation to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also the transfer to the Islamic Republic of Iran outside the territory of the Russian Federation, both by sea and by air, of air defense missile systems S-300...”. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented that Moscow’s voluntary embargo on S-300 deliveries was no longer necessary, due to the progress in Iran’s nuclear talks made in Lausanne last April 2nd, adding that the S-300 missile systems is uniquely for air defense missile and “will not put at risk the security of any state in the region, including Israel..." What this apparently means is that Russia needs the money and Iran is willing to pay the price to prevent anybody from blowing up their nuclear sites. Maybe it's time the p5+1 go down to a P4+1...? (jds)
♦ Russian S-300 missile defense system on its way to the Islamic Republic of Iran
cf. Russia Today, BBC's World News, Yahoo, Reuters Blog & Wikipedia on Russia's S-300 missile system
RussiaToday_s300 missiles delivery to Iran
BBC_WorldNews_Russia lifts Iran Missile Ban
YahooNews_Israel slams Russian decision to lift Iran missile ban
REUTERS_Russia's S-300 & Israel
Wikipedia_S-300 missile system
April 13th 2015: Taxes & Inequality by David Wessel : BROOKINGS' David Wessel explains the 5 classes or quintiles of income in United States and the amount of Federal taxes each group pays. With April 15th only a few days away Mr. Wessel's Legos illustrate how unequal U.S. personal income or revenue is before taxes and how the Federal tax code sort of equals things out. Nothing is perfect, but Federal taxes are far better than States with sales taxes which make few if any distinctions concerning income. (jds)
♦ Legos & Incomes & Taxes ...
cf. BROOKINGS David Wessel and Thomas Jefferson on Taxation & Fiscal Responsibility and Wikipedia on State Sales Taxes
BROOKINGS_David Wessel on Income & Taxes
Thomas Jefferson on Taxes & Fiscal Responsibility
Wikipedia_State Sales Taxes
April 12th 2015: BROOKINGS' Suzanne Maloney questions Iran's intentions concerning "The Big Deal" : Ms. Maloney writes "In the absence of an official text beyond the leading negotiators' brief statement, it was apparent that there were major inconsistencies between the American narrative of what had been concluded in Lausanne and that articulated by Iranian officials. Yesterday's remarks by Khamenei, as well as a separate speech by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, only deepened the gulf between the dueling two sides' interpretations on several key issues, most notably sanctions relief. " (jds)
♦ The Office of the Supreme Leader of Iran's Islamic Republic, Sayyid Ali Khamenei
cf. BROOKINGS's Suzanne Maloney's article & The Supreme Leader's Web page and Wikipedia...
BOOKINGS_Suzanne Maloney on US & Iran inconsistencies
IRAN_Office of the Supreme Leader
April 12th 2015: IRAQI NEWS: ISIS destroys Assyrian city of Nimrud : Iraqi News shows the Video ISIS released of Nimrud's destruction. The ancient city of Nimrud near Mosul was first louted, statues & monuments broken then destroyed by barrels of explosives. Near nothing remains now above ground of the 13th century BC city once known as Kalh. (jds)
♦ in front of barrels of explosives & murals an ISIS vandal threatens the world ...
cf. Iraqi News, The Daily Mail, BBC World News & Wikipedia on Nimrud's ancient history
IRAQI_NEWS_ISIS destroys Nimrud
TheDailyMail_Video of ISIS destroys Nimrud
BBC_MiddleEastNews_ISIS destroys Nimrud
April 11th 2015: Reuters: "Photos of the Week" : two little girls who survived a recent rocket attack by Bashar al-Assad's forces in Aleppo, Syria. Now what have they done to merit such terror and so many other children who have suffered from Syria's civil war over the past 5 years..? Nothing..! Children don't merit wars, only adults do...! (jds)
♦ two frighten little girls in Aleppo, Syria after a rocket attack ...
cf. Syria's civil war, Reuters Photos of the Week & History of Syria ...
Wikipedia_Syrian Civil War
Reuters_Photos of the Week
April 10th 2015: Charlie Rose interviews Philip Mudd: Mr. Mudd worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for 20 years and then became Deputy Director of the FBI's National Security Branch from 2005 to 2010 after which he left governmental service. His new book, “The Head Game: High Efficiency Analytic Decision-Making and the Art of Solving Complex Problems” may not be for everybody but obviously of great interest to those who work within the fields of National Intelligence & Security. (jds)
♦ Philip Mudd former CIA Intelligence Officer & FBI Deputy Director of National Security.
cf. Charlie Rose's interview with Philip Mudd & The New America Foundation..!
CharlieRose inverviews Philip Mudd
April 9th 2015: Iran's Ali Khamenei says : "I have never been optmistic about negotiations with America..." : Well that's too bad, but what he really means is that he wants far more concessions out of America than America and the P5+1 are prepared to give him. Ali Khamenei has been the "Supreme Leader" of Iran for 26 years (1989 - 2015). Maybe he ought to be called the "Supreme dictator" instead of "Leader". His predecessor Ruhollah Khomeini who started Iran's Islamic Republic was Iran’s Supreme Leader for about 10 years (1979 - 1989). So maybe it's about time Ali Khamenei step down and Iran start becoming a simple Republic instead of some kind of mullah's thingamajig. Religions, mullahs, priests, preachers, monks, etc. belong in holy places like mosques, churches & temples and not in governments that are elected by all kinds of people of all kinds of faith. (jds)
♦ Seyyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader for the last 26 years...
cf. Wikipedia Ali Khamenei, on Twitter, Iran's Leader, TheGuardian & NewYorkTimes photos of Tehran by Newsha Tavakolian...
NewYorkTimes_Photos from Tehran
April 8th 2015: Don McLean and "American Pie" It is hard to find lyrics the likes of Don McLean's "American Pie" or his "Vincent" Starry Night. They are dated in time but everlasting in memory. The 60's & 70's were a wonderful world of music all to itself, nuanced with hints of wisdom and values. Good memories for those of us growing older in todays troubled waters. (jds)
♦ Don McLean back in the 70's with an "American Pie"
cf. YouTube "American Pie" by Don McLean, The Washington Post , WND Diversions, Wikipedia on American Pie & Don McLean ...
YouTube_Don McLean & American Pie
WashingtonPost_Meaning of Don McLean's America Pie
WND_Diversions_American Pie by Don McLean
Wikipedia_American Pie by Don McLean
They were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die"
April 8th 2015: President Putin said: "Greece did not seek financial aid from Russia" : But Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must have gotten something he wanted from President Putin else why would he have openly called for an end to the "vicious cycle of sanctions" imposed upon Russia by the European Union..? Manos Karagiannis, a Greece-born specialist on Russian foreign policy at King's College, London said "My feeling is that the Greek government is playing the 'Russian card' in order to improve its bargaining position in the current negotiations". Whatever, Greece has to repay the IMF (International Monetary Fund) 448 million Euros tomorrow, Thursday the 9th of April. If Greece can't pay the 448 million Euros then they'll probably blame Germany for not paying WWII war reparations that they recently & quite outrageously claimed to be 279 billion Euros. (jds)
♦ Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras & Russian President Vladimir Putin
cf. BCC World Europe News, Reuters & BBC.s last update on Greece :
BBC_EuropeNews_Greece & Russia
REUTERS_Russia & Greece
BBC_Update Greece & Russia
April 7th 2015: FRONTLINE: "The Fight for Yemen" : Not only is Yemen one of the poorest & most divided countries in the middle east, but also one of the most corrupt. Safa Al Ahmad, a young woman born and raised in Saudi Arabia started reporting on Yemen in 2010 and her work has been aired as "The Fight for Yemen" by PBS's FRONTLINE. (jds)
♦ A group of hardened Sunni warriors stand against Yemen's Shia Houthis
cf. FRONTLINE "The Fight for Yemen", Who's who in Yemen's fight, Days go bad to worse & Safa al Ahmad ...
PBS_FRONTLINE_The Fight for Yemen
PBS_FRONTLINE_Who's who in the Fight for Yemen
PBS_FRONTLINE_Yemen from bad to worse
PBS_FRONTLINE_Safa al Ahmad
April 6th 2015: Charlie Rose interviews Garry Wills : Garry Wills in his new book “The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis” contends only by examining the history of the church can one understand Pope Francis's challenges today. (jds)
♦ Garry Wills & the challenges facing the Catholic Church today...
cf. Charlie Rose's interview with Garry Wills, “The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis” & Garry Wills
CharlieRose_Garry Wills interview
Amazon_Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis
April 6th 2015: Henry J. Arron of BROOKINGS found 4 ways to reduce U.S. deficit. : Mr. Arron suggests finding and punishing "...fraud, tax evasion, and plain old bureaucratic mistakes..." : 1) Nearly 10% of Medicare's budget is lost in "improper payments" (ie. +/- $60 billion). 2) As for outright fraud Florida's Miami-Dade County is the nation's capital for overly expensive and not needed medical equipment and home health care. 3) Then comes taxes with $540 billion owed and not paid, which if collected & paid would cover more than 2015's projected deficit of $468 billion 4) Lastly Disability Insurance which often is continuously paid even when the actual disability has vanished. Why, because there are 13 million people with disabling conditions and the Social Security Administration does not have enough staff to review their conditions. (jds)
♦ US Debt Clock
♦ How to reduce US Debt by Henry J. Arron of BROOKINGS Institute
cf. The US Debt Clock, BROOKINGS' Henry Arron on Deficit reduction & Henry Arron at BROOKINGS :
BOOKINGS_Henry Arron on Deficit reduction
April 5th 2015: Hadron Collider restarts after 2 years: This is a bit more complicated than Easter egg hunting, but the objectives are basically the same, finding something..! A Hadron is "a composite particle made of quarks held together by a strong force" (ref. Lev Okun, a Russian theoretical physicist). A Collider is a collider. So the CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) after having confirmed by collisions the Higgs Boson, now plans on colliding more particles (protons) together at near speed of light to discover & learn more about the universe we live within. (jds)
♦ The CERN's Large Hadron Collider restarts ..!
cf. The BBC's Science, Hadron Collider's Accelerators, & the CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research).
CERN_Hadron Collider's Accelerators
CERN_European Organization for Nuclear Research
April 5th 2015: Easter Sunday's Easter Eggs: Surprisingly enough the tradition of decorating Easter eggs dates back to pre-Christian times. The Christian custom of using dyed or painted chicken eggs became official in the early 17th century. Today's Easter egg hunts are made up of children running to find chocolate eggs, candies, jelly beans and goodies. There are also many games like egg rolling, egg tapping or whatnot to celebrate Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday is by far the most important day of the Christian calendar, and the chocolate eggs for little kids. (jds)
♦ Easter eggs in a basket & Easter Sunday
cf. Easter Eggs & Easter Sunday...
April 4th 2015: NYT's Thomas Friedman interviews President Barak Obama on "Nuclear Deal with Iran" : Listening to the full interview & reading Thomas Friedman's NYT article on the interview is an adventure into the president's way of thinking & reasoning. When asked about a so called "Obama Doctrine", the President said "We are powerful enough to test a proposition without putting ourselves at risk". That’s fine & good, but what about everybody else in the middle east being at risk...? (jds)
♦ Thomas Friedman interviews President Obama
cf. The New York Time's Video & interview with President Obama :
NYTinterview_Thomas Friedman & President Obama
April 4th 2015: Charlie Rose interviewed Admiral Michael Mullen & White House communication advisor Ben Rhodes : The difference between Admiral Mullen & Ben Rhodes is not only experience and age but the way they wear their rose ties. Seriously, both interviews are of interest. Mr. Rhodes speaks for the White House with conviction while Admiral Mullen from experience somewhat less convinced that we as a nation always make the best decisions in the world. (jds)
♦ Admiral Mellon & Ben Rhodes on Charlie Rose
cf. Charlie Rose interviews of Admiral Michael Mullen, Ben Rhodes and Wikipedia Michael Mullen & Ben Rhodes
April 4th 2015: The real Isis was an Egyptian goddess : not ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq & Syria) or anywhere else for that matter..! She (Isis of Egypt) was the ideal mother and wife, a patroness of nature and magic, a friend to slaves, sinners, artisans and the downtrodden as well as goddess of children and protector of the dead. The problem here is the difference between states and religions. Religions are for people, states for governing. Throughout history whenever religions started governing people problems usually arose. And still do every time one uses the name of God, Allah, Buddha, Yahweh, Ahura Mazda or whatever out of context of our universe and origin so vastly beyond the limits of human conception, science, reason and imagination. So here's to Isis, the Egyptian goddess. Upon her head is a throne, possibly a symbol that leaders, nations & religions should learn more from humanity's past virtues & failures. (jds)
♦ Egyptian goddess Isis, unquestionably prettier & more virtuous than ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq & Syria)
cf. The Egyptain goddess Isis, Ancient Egypt & Egyptian hieroglyphs
Wikipedia_Egyptian goddess Isis
April 3rd 2015: Good Friday in the Katholikon (assembly room) of Greece's Holy Trinity Monastery in Meteora.
♦ The Katholikon of Holy Trinity Monastery in Meteora, Greece
cf. Good Friday & Greece's Monastery
Wikipedia_Holy Trinity Monastery in Meteora, Greece
April 3rd 2015: BROOKINGS's Suzanne Maloney takes a close look at yersterday's "BIG DEAL" "It is not a final deal — not by a long shot — but the framework announced on Thursday was far more substantive than many had been expecting..." Suzanne Maloney wrote. The remaining hurdles to cross are many. Ms. Maloney stated: "One of the biggest red flags about today’s announcement is that while Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini issued a brief and relatively vague joint statement, there was no official text released that outlines any actual agreement among the seven parties..." until news of the deal began to trickle out in Iran & the White House. The basic problem is that the official narratives of Iran and the White House differ, which of course could be expected given that each nation has its own unique population to “placate” (for lack of a better word). (jds)
♦ Iran's Mohammad Javad Zarif Tehran homecoming "Victory Parade"
cf. BROOKINGS Suazanne Maloney, The TehranTimes & The Guardian
BROOKINGS_Suzanne Maloney The Deal not Done yet
TehranTimes_Iran's Nuclear Deal Framework
TheGuardian_Mohammad Zarif's Victory lap
April 2nd 2015: 'Framework' for the final deal of Iran nuclear talks supposedly reached at Lausanne, Switzerland... So maybe everybody can go home now for Easter & Iran's 13th day after the New Year "Nou Ruz" نوروز called "Sizdah be dar" سیزده بدر and relax just until the next deadline of July 1st. Then maybe everybody can go back home again for summer vacation..? (jds)
♦ The P5+1 (US, UK, France, China, Russia plus Germany and the EU) vs. Iran
cf. BBC World News, Reuters & President Obama's "a good deal" ...
REUTERS_Prsident Obama says "a good deal"
April 1st 2015: Iraq declares Tikrit 'Victory': Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi parades on the streets of Tikrit with Iraq's flag held high after a month-long battle to recapture the city from ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq & Syria. Iraq's Interior Minister Mohammed al-Ghabban said "Most of Tikrit today is liberated, only small parts remain (outside our control)...". Meanwhile ISIS is parading tanks & weapons on the streets of Mosul while Iraq celebrates victory over Tikrit. (jds)
♦ Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (center) bearing the flag of Victory
cf. The BBC MiddleEast News, Reuters Iraq Crisis, Al Jazeera & Kurdish Rudah News...
BBC_MiddleEastNews_Iraq takes back Tikrit
Reuters_Mideast Iraq Crisis
AlJazeera_Iisil falls Iraq regains Tikrit
April 1st 2015: April 1st Fools' Day possibly dates back to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1392): He wrote in the "Nun's Priest's Tale "Since March began thirty days and two" which probably means 32 days after March (ie. King Richard II & Anne of Bohemia engagement anniversary) instead of April 1st and Chaucer's "The story of Chanticleer (a rooster) & the fox". Chaucer's story is about how Chanticleer, a rooster was caught by a fox and how Chanticleer tricks the fox to get free again. Whatever, from Chaucer and then on the 1st of April was solidy rooted in a Fools' Day and not Chaucer's tale of Chanticleer & the fox. Even a 16th century French poet (Eloy d'Amerval) made the 1st of April into a "Poisson d’Avril" (April Fish) day. Later on in 17th century John Aubrey, an English historian & natural science philosopher referred to April 1st as a "Fooles holy day". (jds)
♦ Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th century tale: "Chanticleer and the Fox"
cf. Wikipedia April Fools' Day, Chaucer's Chanticleer & the fox
Wikipedia_April Fools' Day
Wikipedia_Chaucer's Chanticleer & Fox Tale
March 31st 2015: Charlie Rose interviewed Evan Osnos of The New Yorker on China's President Xi Jinping. Mr. Evan Osnos lived in China during 8 years and wrote the "Letter from China" for The New Yorker magazine for a handful of years. Along with Charlie he shares some key insights into the strong personality and character of China's President Xi Jinping. (jds)
♦ Charlie Rose interviews Evan Osnos about China's Xi Jinping
cf. Charlie Rose's interview, Evan Osnos & Xi Jinping...
CharlieRose_Evan Osnos & China's Xi Jinping
March 31st 2015: "The Big Deal" flops so far...! : Bargaining with Iranians is a true art. It takes time and patience, lots of patience and time. And one should never let on a direr need for something, be it shopping in the bazar or nuclear discussions in Lausanne. Why, because you'll usually get what you want, but at a very high price to pay. (jds)
♦ The Big Deal & dealers...
cf. Talks continue after deadline, Bloomberg News, Key points of talks & What Iran's people want and The Tehran Times...
BBC_Nuclear Talks continue to Thursday
Bloomberg_Nuclear talks pushed to Wednesday
BBC_Nuclear Talks key points
BBC_What Iran's people want
March 29th 2015: Charlie Rose's interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Syria's President Bashar al-Assad during the interview with Charlie Rose mentions a few times that he's "human", which apparently is not the best compliment the human race has ever had. Assad also claimed the war in Syria is "... not a traditional war. It's not about capturing land and gaining land. It's about winning the hearts and minds of the Syrians. We cannot win the heart and minds of the Syrians while we are killing Syrians." Now that might be good logic, but why then has Bashar al-Assad, his family & cohorts been killing and torturing Syrians for over the past 4 years...? (jds)
♦ Charlie Rose interviews President Bashar al-Assad
cf. Charlie Rose's interview with Bashar al-Assad & discussion on CBS 60 Minutes :
CharlieRose & Bashar al-Assad
CBS_60 Minutes Charlie Rose & Bashar al-Assad
March 27th 2015: Children spend six hours or more a day on screens : Jane Wakefield of BBC's Technology reports: "Children aged five to 16 spend an average of six and a half hours a day in front of a screen... according to market research firm ChildWise in the UK." Screen time is defined as "watching TV, playing games consoles, using a mobile, computer or tablet." Whatever, 6 1/2 hours watching digitalized screens per day probably means lots of kids are going to be wearing glasses later on. A little less digitalized and obviously more constructive see Jane Wakefield's other article on Kids building robots from drinking straws. (jds)
♦ Kids & screens and hours known per day...
♦ Kids & straws and hours unknown per day...
cf. BBC Technology by Jane Wakefield, screens & straws and ChildWise reports...
BBC_Technology Kids & screens
BBC_Technology Kids & straws
UK's_ChildWise Research & Surveys
March 27th 2015: US Senator Harry Reid will not seek re-election : Senator Harry Reid has been the Democratic majority leader of the Senate for the last 9 years. At present he is minority leader. Mr. Reid served for 4 years (1983-1987) in the US House of Representatives, and so far 28 years in United States Senate (1987-2015). He will step down in 2016 with more than 30 some years of governmental service. (jds)
♦ US Senator Harry Reid steps down in 2016 ...
cf. BBC US News, USA Today, Senator Reid's government web site & Wikipedia Harry Reid :
BBC_US NEWS_ Senator Harry Reid announces
USA Today_Senator Harry Reid retires in 2016
SenateGovernment_ Harry Reid
Wikipedia_Senator Harry Reid
March 26th 2015: Yemen's Chaos Stretches Beyond its Borders : Greg Myre of NPR's parallels writes: "Yemen's downward spiral toward civil war is a disaster for the poorest country in the Arab world". A week or so ago when the US pulled out of Yemen Saudi Arabia proposed to "pull in" and has with a coalition far bigger in numbers than a handful of drones. Jeremy Shapiro of BROOKINGS wrote an article on "Why are 10 countries attacking Yemen..?" and quoted Mark Twain as having once said: "God created wars so that Americans could learn geography". Whatever, both Jeremy Shapiro & Mark Twain are well worth reading as "Yemen's Chaos Stretches Beyond its Borders". (jds)
♦ Young Houthi Yemenites backed by Iran and ready for battle ...
cf. BROOKINGS, NPR's parallels, BBC MiddleEast News & Reuters ...
BROOKINGS_Jeremy Shapiro on Yemen
Reuters_Yemen & USA security
March 26th 2015: Saudi Arabia launches air strikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen: The BBC reports Saudi jets targeted Houthi (Shia) positions, missile batteries and warplanes in Yemen's capital Sanaa overnight. Beforehand, Saudi Arabia had formed coalition with 7 countries: the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan with Egypt, Jordan, Sudan & Pakistan offering to take part in any eventual ground offensive in Yemen. Yemen is one if not the poorest country in the Middle East. The Houthi (Shia) rebels of Yemen have been actively supported by Iran. (jds)
♦ BBC's Breaking News: Yemen & Saudi Arabia crisis begins...
cf. BBC Middle East NEWS & Yemen
BBC_MiddleEastNews_Yemen & Saudi Arabia
March 26th 2015: Amnesty International says "Hamas rocket attacks amounted to war crimes" : Last summer's 50 day conflict between Gaza & Israel left at least 2,189 Palestinians dead compared to Israel's 73 (67 soldiers and 6 civilians). This enormous disparity in fatalities is due in part to tactics & weaponry. Israel's weapons and self-defense were by far superior to Hamas, but Hamas's public media tactics were more effective than Israel's. Nevertheless, Amnesty International accused Hamas of "flagrant disregard" for civilian lives and property during the 50-day war. Apparently Hamas was storing rockets and munitions in civilian and some United Nations buildings and firing them from there as well as from civilian shelters. This drew near immediate retaliation from Israel to the exact launching sites of Hamas's unguided missiles, which more than not caused many civilian casualties and deaths. According to data from the United Nations more than 4,800 rockets and nearly 2 thousand mortars were fired from Gaza towards Israel, yet only couple hundred or so supposedly hit Israeli residential areas. (jds)
♦ Rockets from Gaza to Israel from July 8th 2014 until August 26th 2014 ...
cf. BBC's Middle East Amnesty International & 2014's 50 day war's end...
BBC_MiddleEast_Amnesty vs Gaza's Hamas
BBC_MiddleEast_Hamas & Israel 50 day war's end
March 27th 2015: "co-pilot crashed jet deliberately" says prosecutor from Marseille, France (Reuters)
March 26th 2015: "co-pilot likely crashed jet deliberately", says prosecutor from Marseille, France (Reuters)
March 25th 2015: Pilot "locked out of cockpit" on Flight 4U 9525 : Hence, the other pilot in the cockpit took the lives of 149 people (children & adults)...(jds)
March 24th 2015: Flight 4U 9525 from Barcelona Spain to Dusseldorf Germany: The altitude graph is in feet & GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) pictured alongside the already recovered cockpit voice recorder. Citizens from Germany, Spain, the UK, Australia, Japan, Israel, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Denmark, the Netherlands, the USA, Belgium & Argentina are considered among the dead. In total 150 people lost their lives, (144 passengers, 4 cabin crew plus 2 pilots). (jds)
♦ Flight 4U 9525
UPDATE 27th March: "co-pilot crashed jet deliberately" (Reuters) (NYT) & (BBC)C)
cf. UPDATES: Reuters, The NewYorkTimes & BBC reportage of Flight 4U 9525 from Barcelona Spain to Dusseldorf Germany
Reuters_co-pilot likely crashed jet deliberately
TheNewYorkTimes_Update Flight 4U 9525
BBC_Flight 4U 9525 co-pilot
BBC_Flight 4U 9525
March 23rd 2015: Charlie Rose interviewed Lee Kuan Yew, former prime minister of Singapore in October 2000. Lee Kuan Yew was the first Prime Minister of Singapore and remained so during 3 decades (1959 to 1990). He is considered the founding father of modern Singapore and had a great influence upon Deng Xiaoping efforts to modernize China's economy. He was a man not afraid to say and do what he thought best for Singapore. (jds)
♦ Lee Kuan Yew (1923 - 2015)
cf. Charlie Rose's October 2000 interview with Lee Kuan Yew & his long life and influence ...
CharlieRose_Lee Kuan Yew
Wikipedia_Lee Kuan Yew
March 23rd 2015: Prior to meeting together, German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested to Greece's Prime Minister Alxeis Tsipras: "it's better to talk to - not about - each other..!" Greece's enormous debt, 25% loss in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and 60% youth unemployment are near insurmountable economic problems, especially given a somewhat radical socialistic concept of government. Apparently there seems to be no suitable solutions to Greece's economic and social dilemmas other than buckling down and redressing itself. Otherwise, both Greece and the European Union may well be at a great loss. (jds)
♦ Greece's Prime Minister Alxeis Tsipras & German Chancellor Angela Merkel
cf. BBC News, The NewYorkTimes, Alexis Tsipras, Greece's Debt & long History
BBC_NEWS_ Alxeis Tsipras & Angela Merkel
The NewYorkTimes_Alxeis Tsipras & Angela Merkel
Wikipedia_Greek debt crisis
March 22nd 2015: Two men who uncovered much of Iraq's Assyrian past 170 years ago by the BBC's Daniel Silas Adamson. Mr. Adamson describes how Austen Layard & Hormuzd Rassam worked together in Iraq's ancient cities of Mosul, Nineveh and Nimrud unearthing Iraq's Assyrian past and treasures. Much of what they discovered can be found in the British Museum or Iraq's National Museum in Baghdad today. Most important of all were the cuneiform tablets Hormuzd Rassam uncovered which opened up the door to Iraq's ancient past and records. Especially the Epic of Gilgamesh that George Smith, a brilliant young man was able to decipher. Mr. Adamson's article reads as an exciting adventure into the past, yet deeply troubled by the ignorant destruction of Iraq's rich past & heritage by current ISIS militants. (jds)
♦ Austen Layard (1817 - 1894) & Hormuzd Rassam (1826 - 1910)
♦ George Smith (1840 - 1876) & Epic of Gilgamesh
cf. BBC's Daniel Adamson's article, Austen Layard, Hormuzd Rassam, George Smith, Epic of Gilgamesh & Daniel Adamson's web page
BBC_Magazine_Daniel Adamson's article
Wikipedia_Austen Henry Layard
Wikipedia_/George Smith Assyriologist
Wikipedia_Epic of Gilgamesh
Daniel Silas Adamson's web page
March 22nd 2015: Young woman killed by mob in Kabul was innocent, says investigator: The young woman Farkhunda who'd been studying to become a teacher was killed for allegedly burning a copy of the Koran. A mob attacked her with sticks and stones and beat her to death before setting her body on fire. Aparently she was wrongly accused and entirely innocent General Mohammad Zahir of Kabul's interior ministry told Associated Press reporters. Only women carried Farkhunda's coffin to the grave, which entirely broke with Afghanistan's & normal Islamic funeral traditions. (jds)
BBC UPDATED 23rd of March: Farkhunda killed for arguing with a mullah who was selling worthless charms to women at a shrine...
♦ Afghanistan's women putting unjustly accused & killed Farkhunda to rest.
UPDATED 23rd of March: "... Farkhunda killed for arguing with a mullah selling wothless charms to women ..."
cf. BBC's Upadte, BBC Asisa NEWS & Today's Zaman News :
BBC_UPDATE_Afghan Young Woman & mullah
BBC_AsiaNews_Afgan Young Woman killed by mob
TodaysZaman_Afghan Young Woman killed by mob
March 21st 2015: Iran nuclear talks: "Deal can be reached", says Rouhani: Hamid Azimi, of the Iranian American Community of Northern California said "The Problem is the Mullahs, not the nukes". Well that’s probably true given that if there hadn't been Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution then there wouldn't be so many mullahs in governmental positions as there are today. They'd be in their mosques where they belong, instead of preaching politics, making nuclear bombs and commanding Revolutionary Guards & Quds Forces... (jds)
♦ Iran's Hassan Rouhani, deals & dreams & doubts...
cf. BBC's Middle East NEWS, Iran Focus, TehranTimes and Wikipedia Hassan Rouhani & Ali Khamenei ...
IranFocus_Problem is Mullahs
TehranTimes_Iran's Supreme Leader comments
March 20th 2015: David Petraeus: The Islamic State isn’t our biggest problem in Iraq: Liz Sly of The Washington Post interviewed David Petraeus about what happened in Iraq and what's happening today. Contrary to popular belief, ISIS is not the major problem in Iraq, Iran is. Liz Sly's interview with David Petraeus is remarkably blunt, to the point and well worth reading to better understand what’s really going on in the Middle East. (jds)
♦ Iran's General Qasem Soleimani & David Petraeus
cf. The Washington Post, Qasem Soleimani & David Petraeus:
TheWashingtonPost_David Patraeus on Iraq & Iran
TheWashingtonPost_David Petraeus on the Middle East
March 19th 2015: To The Best of Our Knowledge (TTBOOK.org): Anne Strainchamps interviews Hermione Lee on her book Penelope Fitzgerald A Life, rated among the 10 best books of year in 2014 by The New York Times Book Review. Penelope Fitzgerald herself was rated among the 50 greatest British writers since 1945. She stared writing in her late 50s and wrote 9 novels, 3 biographies and a few collections of short stories. (jds)
♦ Penelope Fitzgerald A Life (1916 - 2000) by Hermione Lee
cf. TTBOOK.org, Amazon & Wikipedia :
Amazon_Penelope Fitzgerald by Hermione Lee
March 19th 2015: Deutsche Welle: "Inside Europe": This week's program: Tensions between Greece & Germany, Anti-Semitism in Scandinavia, France's far right National Front party, Britain's teenage talent, Scotland sectarianism & Football, Turkey's atheists face threats & legal problems, Latvia & abortion, Ireland's Saint Patrick's Day and Prague's jukebox poetry. (jds)
♦ Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble & Greece's Yanis Varoufakis ...
cf. DW's "Inside Europe" & The Economist on Germany, Greece squabbles & history
Deutsche Welle: Inside Europe
TheEcononmist: Germany & Greece squabbles & history
March 19th 2015: Iranians Negotiate while President Obama sends "Nou Ruz" ( نوروز ) greetings ... The Persian feast of "Nou Ruz" (New Day) is rooted in ancient Zoroastrianism. It's the first day of spring or Equinox and beginning of the Persian calendar's new year. Iran's "Solar Hejri" calendar (SH) has been adapted to coincide with the Hijra of Muhammad from Mecca to Madina in 622 AD. Therefore today in Iran it's actually 1393 until Nou Ruz ushers in the New Year 1394. Afterwards comes 13 days of celebration visiting friends and family and on the thirteenth day everyone forgets the past and puts on the new, cloths, hopes, ideas, dreams, whatever and leaves the house and spends the day outdoors having a good time. It's obviously not the most appropriate time of the year to be talking about sanctions & bombs until after Iran's 13th day "Sizdah Be dar" ( سیزده بدر ) (jds)
♦ Iranians Zarif & Salehi argue while President sends greetings
cf. BBC World NEWS and Wikipedia Equinox, Nowruz, Solar Hijri calendar & Sizdah be dar...
BBC_WorldNews_President Obama & Iran
Wikipedia_Sizdah Be dar
March 18th 2015: BROOKINGS Institute: The impact of Sesame Street & Workshop around the world: Jenny Robinson & Daniela Petrova explain Sesame Street's Workshop, how it got started, why millions are interested, and how Sesame Street's Local approach, Research and data, Partnerships, Financing and Technology works. After 45 years of TV broadcasting Sesame Street has accomplished what nobody could have ever imagined, especially little kids. And all preschoolers (and their couch potato parents) need to know is "How to Get to Sesame Street" to see & learn more... (jds)
♦ "Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street ..?"
cf. Sesame Street, BROOKINGS, "Can you tell me How to Get to Sesame Street" & Wikipedia Sesame Street...
Sesame Street Home
BROOKINGS_Sesame Street & Workshop
Wikipedia_Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street
March 17th 2015: Saint Patrick's Day... Outside of folklore not much is known about Saint Patrick other than he dates back to the 5th century. Everybody has probably heard about the Shamrocks (3 leaf clovers) he used to preach with or all the snakes he chased out of Ireland. But that really doesn't explain all the Saint Patrick's Day parades, green ties and hats, bonnets and beer. What does is Lent, since if you gave up drinking, smoking, swearing, sweets or meats or whatever during lent you're dispensed on Saint Patrick's Day. Or at least that's what the Irish say, believe and do. (jds)
♦ Saint Patrick, Shamrock & wooden cane that took root.
cf. Saint Patrick, Saint Patrick's day & parades
Wikipedia_Saint Patrick Day Parades
March 17th 2015: "Iran and U.S. differ on Optimism about Nuclear Talks" says Michael Gordon of The New York Times. Aside from Secretary of State Kerry and Foreign Minister Zarif of Iran, two others have joined the Nuclear talks; Ernest Moniz, US Energy Secretary and Ali Akbar Salehi of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization. Ali Salehi has been around for a long time and held various academic, political & diplomatic positions for Iran. Mr. Moniz the same in the United States and both are nuclear physicists by profession, which adds another more technical dimension to the talks going on between Mr. Kerry and Mr. Zarif. The big deal seems to be no bombs, no sanctions or no sanctions, no bombs. It's kind of like a poker game when nobody wants to call the other's bluff. (jds)
♦ Monsieurs Ernest Moniz, John Kerry, Mohammad Javad Zarif & Ali Akbar Salehi
cf. The New York Times, Salehi, Zarif & Ernest Moniz...
Wikipedia_Ali Akbar Salehi
Wikipedia_Mohammad Javad Zarif
March 16th 2015: Kurds concerned over Iranian backed Shia militias in Iraq: Efforts to recapture Tikrit (140 km northwest of Baghdad on the Tigris River) from the Islamic State (IS) is being led by around 20 thousand Shia militias and 3 thousand Iraqi soldiers. Masrour Barzani, Chancellor of Kurdistan's Region Security is concerned that Shia militias may create some serious problems between Sunni & Shia Moslems in Iraq. The militias are being led by Iraqi General Jamal Jaafar Mohammed and General Qassem Soleimani of the Quds Force, a special forces unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Barzani is quoted as saying "... if revenge, retaliation between sects or religions, ethnic groups happens then this will become a much more difficult problem and its control is going to be even more difficult..." This may already be about to happen given that ISIS is held up in the center of Tikrit while Shia militias and Iraqi soldiers are positioned on the outskirts of Tikrit preparing to attack. Mr. Barani also complained that the Iraqi government in Bagdad is helping financing the Shia militias and Quds Force, but not at all the Kurdish Peshmerga. (jds)
♦ Masrour Barzani, Chancellor of Kurdistan's Security is worried ..!
cf. BBC Middle East News, The Washington Post on past Ethnic problems, and Wikipedia on Masrour Barzani, The Quds Force & Tikrit ...
TheWashingtonPost_Iraq's Ethnic problems
March 15th 2015: Russian President Vladimir Putin is back after Sunday's two and a half hour TV documentary on how & why he ransacked Ukraine's Crimean peninsula: The state owned Rossiya 1 TV station broadcast President Putin's documentary which appeared to be more of a two and half hour marathon in self-delusion and admiration than a factual account of his unquenchable appetite for land grabbing and power. So be it, since nobody outside of Russia seemed to pay much attention to Mr. Putin other than his absence from the media except for Ukraine, who came out with its own documentary and version of what really happened to Crimea. (jds)
♦ President Putin's back on the media again after days of absence ...
cf. The Russian & Ukrainian Crimean documentaries, Japan Times and how President Putin rose to Power...
JapanTimes_Version of Russia & Ukraine
YouTube_How Putin Rose to Power
March 14th 2015: John Kerry says "... it is possible to reach an interim deal with Iran ...": Everything may be possible but what is probable given that Iran recently appointed Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi an 83 year old hardliner to head Iran's powerful Assembly of Experts. Iran's Assembly of Experts is a bunch of mullahs who run the country like a Religious Supreme Court and appoint the Supreme Leader. Since the current 75 year old Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is supposedly not in the best of health, the appointment of Yazdi to head the Assembly of Experts is most likely a step backwards instead of forwards. Yazdi goes all the way back to Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, which was not the most glorious epoch of Iran's long history. (jds)
♦ Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi & Secretary of State John Kerry
cf. Reuters & The BBC Middle East News :
Reuters_John Kerry on Iran
March 14th 2015: This week's To The Best Of Our Knowledge (TTBOOK.org) on Race & Justice: Anne Strainchamps talks with Alex Gee, Erica Nelson, Charles Monroe- Kane, Jill Leovy, Bryan Stevenson & John Safran about Race and Justice. (jds)
♦ NPR's To The Best Of Our Knowledge
cf. NPR's TTBOOK.org broacasting out of Madison, Wisconsin
ToTheBestOfOurKnowledge_On Race & Justice
March 14th 2015: Pope's Financial Reforms Rattle Vatican's Old Guard: NPR's Sylvia Poggioli mentions how the "Vatican Bank closed down thousands of suspicious bank accounts, and signed cooperation agreements with countries for full transparency and exchange of information to combat tax evasion and money laundering." The Vatican's major financial reforms were the work of Cardinal George Pell from Australia. Pope Francis also recently mentioned in an interview that he planned on retiring from the papacy possibly in three or four more years. (jds)
♦ Pope Francis & Vatican's Financial Reforms
cf. NPR's Parallels with Syvia Poggioli, BBC Europe & Ireland's RTE news
NPR_parallels_Pope's Vatican Reforms
Ireland's RTE_Pope Francis anniversary
March 13th 2015: Deutsche Welle: "Inside Europe, The inside take on European affairs": This week who killed Boris Nemtsov..? pro-Moscow schools in Crimea, Syrian refugees in Turkey, London's red telephone booths, Berlin's Jewish community, Vatican excomunicates Mafia, and more... (jds)
♦ Deutsche Welle (DW): Inside Europe
cf. listen to DW Radio Inside Europe
DW_Radio Inside Europe
March 12th 2015: The Ideology of the Islamic State by Cole Bunzel: BROOKINGS introduction: "While the Islamic State dominates headlines through its brutal tactics and pervasive propaganda, there is little awareness of the unique ideology driving the group's strategy. Drawing from private correspondence, statements, speeches, and Islamic theology, Cole Bunzel unpacks the ideology of the Islamic State in a new analysis paper." ref. BROOKINGS Institution, NB. Cole Bunzel's paper is in PDF (Public Document Format) (jds)
cf. The Ideology of the Islamic State by Cole Bunzel and his arrticle on: "Jihadi leaders aren't billiard balls"
BROOKINGS_Jihadi leaders aren't billard balls
March 12th 2015: Albino murders: "More than 200 witchdoctors arrested" in Tanzania. BBC Africa reports in Tanzania: "More than 200 witchdoctors and traditional healers have been arrested in a crackdown on the murder of albinos." Across some parts of Africa, especially Tanzania & Malawi albinos are killed for their body parts, which are then sold to witchdoctors for rituals and potions. The superstition is that Albino body parts have special properties that assure wealth and wellbeing. In Tanzania Albinism occurs about one in 1,400 births while elsewhere about one in 20,000. Tanzania's high rate is possibly due to over inbreeding. (jds)
♦ Young albino boys lives threaten in Tanzania & Malawi
cf. The BBC's Africa News, The Daily Mail & Wikipedia on Albinism
BBC_Africa Young Albinos threatened
DailyMail_Africa's Albinos threatened
March 11th 2015: Churchill's plan to give Magna Carta copy to US: The United Kingdom this June will celebrate 800 years of the Magna Carte. "The Magna Carta was authorized the 15th of June 1215. It is considered one of the first steps towards parliamentary democracy. It included the principle that no one was above the law, including the King." Churchill planned to give the Lincoln Cathedral copy of the Magna Carta to the US to boost wartime support during WWII. The Magna Carta copy that Churchill wanted to give the United States ended up in Fort Knox until 1946 when it was properly returned to England. ref. BBC Arts, (jds)
♦ King John looks rather troubled, not even he was above the law...!"
cf. BBC Arts and Wikipedia Magna Carta & King John's reign (1199 - 1216)
BBC_Churchill & The Magna Carta
Wikipedia_ Magna Carta
March 11th 2015: Boris Nemtsov's murder suspects confessions 'forced': A member of Russia's advisory human rights council and a journalist visited the suspects of Boris Memtsov's murder in prison. They came to the conclusion there is reason to believe the two charged suspects (Zaur Dadayev & Anzor Gubashev) were forced into confessing to Nemtsov's murder. Furthermore in an interview with the BBC Nemtsov's daughter Zhanna said she holds President Putin 'politically' to blame for her father's death. So far there are many tangled and contradictory accounts of what exactly happened and why, which Reuters News Service attempts to untangle in a timeline of 13 days since the February 27th shooting of Boris Nemtsov. (jds)
♦ Zaur Dadayev behind bars & accused of Nemtsov's murder ...
cf. Reuters Timeline, The NewYorkTimes & BBC News of Nemtsov Affair ...
Reuters_Nemtsov's Investigation Timeline
TheNewYorkTimes_Murder Suspects Confessions
BBC_WorldNews_Boris Nemtsov Affair
BBC_WorldNews_Boris Nemtsov's Daughter
March 11th 2015: Greece threatens to seize German property as WWII compensation. Greece has been after Germany to pay WWII compensation ever since the war ended. Germany did in 1960 and then again in 1990 just before German reunification with East Germany. Nevertheless the issue is alive again today after having been before courts in Greece, Italy, Germany and The Hague. (jds)
♦ Greeks seeking Germany compensation for WWII crimes
cf. BBC World News, compensations & court decisions and Greece's Distomo massacre
BBC_EuropeNews_Greece court decisions
Wikipedia_WWII Distomo massacre
March 10th 2015: Wikimedia sues NSA over surveillance. "Wikimedia's non profit Foundation is taking action against the NSA's so-called "upstream" surveillance which targets communication with people not in the United States. NSA is apparently tapping into the Internet's principle data routes or hubs that Internet Service Providers (ISP) use as major transit points and therefore knows who goes where, when and how on the internet. Within the United States NSA has to have somekind of warrant for snooping around, but elsewhere it's the wild, wild West (or East). And that's what troubles Wikimedia's Foundation since people from all over the world are visitors and users of their encyclopedia, Wikipedia. (jds)
♦ Wikimedia v. NSA. U.S. District Court, District of Maryland, No. 1:15-cv-00662
cf. BBC Technology, Reuters, TheNewYorkTimes & Wikipedia J. Wales, L. Tretikov and list of countries & languages :
BBC_Technology Wikimedia vs. NSA
Reuters_Wikimedia vs. NSA
NewYorkTimes_Jimmy Wales & Lila Tretikov
Wikipedia_List of Countries & Languages
March 9th 2015: Apple's Watches, no tick tock only money honey ...! For those of us who love gadgets and fashionable things, this is paradise from $349 to $17,000. Seriously however, Apple continues to mimic its talented founder's most famous phrase "... and the price is only ... " (jds)
♦ "... and the price is only $349 to $17,000 ..."
cf. BBC Technology Reviews & Apple's online Publicity
BBC_Technology Apple's Watches
BBC_Technology Apple's Presentation
March 9th 2015: Putin reveals secrets of Russia's Crimea takeover plot. Speaking on a forthcoming TV documentary, Mr. Putin made it known that he ordered the plan to annex Crimea weeks in advance to the referendum on Crimea's (somewhat bogus) vote for self-determination. The full documentary will be broadcast soon on a Russian state-run TV channel called Rossiya-1, and no doubt will uncover more of Mr. Putin's plans for Ukraine, Donestk, Mariupol, Crimea and the rest of the world. (jds)
♦ President Vladimir Putin and how he pushed Ukraine's Crimea back into Russia ..!
cf. The BBC WolrdNews, TheGuardian & Wikpedia Crimean Crisis ..
TheGuardian_Mr. Putin's Crimea
Wikipedia_The Crimean Crisis
March 9th 2015: Greek's Finance minister says Greece may resort to a referendum or election if the European Union rejects the country's debt renegotiation plans. Then Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras tells his Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis to use "fewer words and more action". Apparently Greece is in for "A Hard Day's Night" of negotiations with the European Union today. (jds)
♦ Greece's vivacious Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis
Update March 9th: Greece told to "stop wasting time" over debt deal ...
cf. BBC Update, Deutsche Welle, The BBC Europe & Beatles "Hard Day's Night"
BBC_Update_Greece "Stop Wasting Time"
DeutscheWelle_Greece's Debt Plans
BBC_NewsEurope_Greece's Debt Plans
YouTube_Beatles Hard Day's Night
"It's been a hard day's night, and I been working like a dog"
"It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log"
"But when I get home to you I find the things that you do"
"Will make me feel alright..."
March 7th 2015: Chinese authorities removed Chai Jing's documentary "Under the Dome" from websites. Chai Jing’s film is more than a simple documentary. It's a hard-hitting account of China's air pollution that has been afflicting urban dwellers mercilessly for decades. (jds)
♦ "Under the Dome" of air pollution by Chai Jing
cf. The Guardian, YouTube, Wikipedia Under the Dome & Chai Jing...
TheGuardian_China air pollution documentary
YouTube_Under the Dome by Chai Jing
Wikipedia_Under the Dome
March 7th 2015: Two suspects in Boris Nemtsov's murder detained. Alexander Bortnikov, the director of Russia's FSB (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation) announced that two residents of Russia's Caucasus region have been detained "on suspicion of committing the crime". The two suspects of Chechen origin were charged with the murder of Boris Nemstov by a district court in Moscow Sunday, the 8th of March. Given Mr. Bortnikov's past KGB experience and current reputation at Russia's FSB, the case of who exactly killed Boris Nemtsov and why may have been solved even before it happened. (jds)
♦ Boris Nemtsov (1959 -2015)
Update March 8th: Russia court charges two men of Chechen origin with murder of Boris Nemtsov
cf. BBC's Update, Radio Free Europe, BBC Europe NEWS & Alexander Bortnikov
BBC_Upadte Chechen men charged with Nemtsov's murder
RadioFreeEurope_Boris Nemtsov's Assassination
BBC_EuropeNews_Boris Nemtsov's Assassination
March 6th 2015: Edward Snowden seeks asylum in Switzerland. In 2013 Snowden disclosed classified documents of global surveillance programs that he acquired while working as an NSA (National Security Agency) contractor. He fled and ended up in Russia with a temporary residency permit. He has been seeking asylum within the European Union ever since. While speaking via a video link to a Geneva audience from Russia, Snowden mentioned that he had requested asylum in at least 21 countries with little success, and added "I would love to return to Switzerland". He forgot to mention to his audience that he'd previously worked undercover for the CIA in Geneva. (jds)
♦ Edward Snowden from Russia with love for Geneva ...
cf. BBC World News, The International Business Times & Wikipedia on Edward Snowden...
BBC_WorldNews_ Edward Snowden
March 5th 2015: Islamic State militants bulldoze ancient city of Nimrud near Mosul, Iraq. There is nothing "Islamic" or "Stately" about destroying a nation's past history and culture. It's only blind ignorance & arrogant hatred of what others have accomplished that can foster such folly. Nimrud historically known as Assyrian Kahul has been around for thousands of centuries and will rise up again out of its own ruins to conquer such utter ignorance, vandalism & useless destruction. (jds)
♦ an old man shaking hands with the guardians of his nation's past ...
cf. Reuters, TheGuardian, BBC MiddleEast & Wikipedia Nimrud ...
March 5th 2015: Charlie Rose & Brain Series III on "Aggression": With David Anderson of the California Institute of Technology, Richard Tremblay of University of Montreal, Johanna Ray Vollhardt of Clark University, Emil Coccaro of University of Chicago, Adrian Raine of University of Pennsylvania, and Eric Kandel. The 1st Brain Series dealt with the Normal brain's perception, learning & memory. The 2nd dealt with some of the brain's Abnormalities such as Schizophrenia, Depression, Parkinson’s & Alzheimer's disease. Eric Kandel, the “brain” behind Charlie Rose's Brain Series explains the 3rd series will be concerned about various social issues, such as today's emission on aggression. (jds)
♦ Charlie Rose's Brain Series III episode 1 on "Aggression"
cf. The Brain Series III on Aggression :
CharlieRose_Brain Series III "Aggression"
March 4th 2015: Argentina accuses dead prosecutor of 'destabilizing' country . Not only did the government accuse the dead prosecutor Albert Nisam of destabilizing the country, but also took out ads in newspapers praising the judge who dismissed the case Nisam planned to present on the day he was found dead in his apartment with a bullet in his head. Then the day after the government's advertising campaign praising Judge Daniel Rafecas for dismissing Nisam’s case concerning the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires as without merit, another young prosecutor (Gerardo Pollicita) stood up and challenged the judge’s decision. It should be noted that de Kirchner's government controls about 80% of Argentina's media and isn't very apt at giving up anything, especially control of public opinion. (jds)
♦ Argentina President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner & Alberto Nisam (1963 - 2015)
UPDATE March 5th: Alberto Nisman's family say he was murdered (independent tests ruled out accident or suicide).
cf. The BBC breakings news, Deutsche Welle (DW), TheGuardian, BuenosAiresHerald & Wikipedia ...
BBC_Breaking News Alberto Nisman murdered
DeutscheWelle_Albert Nisam Case
BuenosAiresHerald_Alberto Nisam Case
Wikipedia_Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
March 4th 2015: US President Obama says "nothing new" in Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to Congress. Of course Israel's Prime Minister lives closer to Iran than the so called P5+1 does (ie. the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: US, Russia, China, UK & France plus Germany). So maybe Mr. Netanyahu knows a little more about Iran and its plans than the others do..? Whatever, getting Iran to agree and adhere to the UN's Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT) isn't going to be all that simple. (jds)
♦ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
cf. BBC's News & reactions, The China Daily & UN's Non-Proliferation Treaty
March 3rd 2015: Charlie Rose talks with Tom Friedman about Prime Minister Netanyahu visit to US Congress.
♦ Charlie Rose and Thomas Friedman on Iran & Israel
cf. Charlie Rose & Tom Freidman's interview & Wikipedia...
March 3rd 2015: Charlie Rose interviews James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence. Mr. Clapper has had his ups and downs when appearing before Congress, but had a much better time with Charlie Rose. This was a rare interview with the Director of National Intelligence & well worth watching. (jds)
♦ James Robert Clapper on Charlie Rose
cf. Charlie Rose's interview & James Clapper
March 2nd 2015: Precious Chinese artefacts stolen from France's Chateau de Fontainebleau Thieves, apparently professionals spent barely seven minutes in the Empress' Chinese Museum of Fontainebleau stealing 15 precious Chinese artefacts from one of the most secure and well equipped parts of the Chateau with surveillance devices & alarms. Among the stolen items was a replica of the King of Siam's crown (now Thailand) given to Emperor Napoleon III in 1861. (jds)
♦ Fontainebleau's Chinese Museum & Napoleon III's Siamese Embassy reception in 1861
cf. The BBC Fontainebleau Robbery, Chateau de Fontainebleau, Napoleon's auction
Wikipedia_Chateau de Fontainebleau
March 2nd 2015: Singapore remains world's most expensive city... Karachi, Pakistan the cheapest... Every year The Economist's Intelligence Unit (EIU) comes out with an estimation of the most and least expensive urban cities in the world. The survey is based on 133 major cities worldwide with New York City as the the major reference point. (jds)
♦ The World's most Expensive & Cheapest cities from Singapore to Karachi...
cf. BBC News, Channel News Asisa, Singapore's StraitsNewsAsisa & The Economist's Intelligence Unit ..:
BBC_Worlds Most and Least Expensive Cities
TheEconomist's Intelligence Unit
March 2nd 2015: Natalia Revuelta, a Cuban socialite & onetime mistress of Fidel Castro died at the age of 89 in Havana, Cuba. Married to a much older man, she became enamored by Castro and his cause. She lent him her home for meetings supporting his movement, gave him money and pawned her jewelry for his cause. He on the other hand gave her a child out of wedlock and refused to recognize her as his daughter for many years. Once Natalia Revuelta said "it took years to get him out of my heart", while her daughter Alina Fernández Revuelta who lives and works in Miami, Florida probably has had few problems getting her father, Fidel Castro out of her heart. Fidel Castro has 4 known children, Alejando & Antonio Castro Soto del Valle, Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart, and Natalia Revuelta's daughter Alina. (jds)
♦ Natalia Revuelta Clews (1926 - 2015)
cf. BBC Latin America, The Washington Post, LatinAmericanStudies & Wikipedia
LatinAmericanStudies_Fidel Castro Family
Wikipedia_Alina Fernandez Revuelta
March 2nd 2015: Iraq moves against Islamic State in Tikrit... Iraq launches an operation to recapture Tikrit (140 km northwest of Baghdad) from the Islamic State (IS) and its allies. Supposedly a force of about 30,000 troops & militia backed by Iraqi air strikes are involved in the offensive. Qasem Soleimani, and Iranian general & commander of Iran's Quds Force (a branch Iran's Revolutionary Guards) is also said to be active in the operation. (jds)
♦ Iran's Quds Force General Qasem Soleimani
cf. BBC's Middle East NEWS Operation Recapture Tikrit_1 & 2, Qasem Soleimani and Tikrit, Iraq ...
March 1st 2015: Sunday thousands marched in Moscow where Boris Nemtsov was shot dead 2 nights ago. Moscow's police were also present Sunday on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge where Mr. Nemtsov had been killed. Mr. Nemtsov after having served as Deputy Prime Minister under President Boris Yeltsin in the 90's became an outspoken critic of President Putin, Yeltsin's successor. One may rightfully anticipate that the odds of a fair and clear cut investigation into Mr. Nemtsov's murder are rather poor at present. (jds)
♦ The Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge's Demonstration & Police
cf. The BBC World NEWS, The Guardian, SkyNews & Boris Nemtsov Wikipedia ...
March 1st 2015: The month of March comes from the Latin "Martius" named after the Roman god "Mars". Within the Northern hemisphere March is the beginning of the season for both farming and warfare, which draws to an end come October at the harvest & Halloween. (jds)
♦ The early 15th century "Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry"
cf. Wikipedia The month of March & The Duc de Berry...
Wikipedia_Duc de Berry
February 28th 2015: NPR's new "parallels" remembers "The Relics and Rich History of Mosul before ISIS" NPR's Alice Fordham recalls her 2010 visit to Mosul's Museum with Ambassador Christopher Hill and other dignitaries. She remembers "...when I visited the Mosul museum in 2010, it was as cool and damp as any tomb. It was winter; the power was out and the lights were off..." But today far worse than her first visit to Mosul's Museum she states: "... despite claims to the contrary, the statues and friezes ISIS destroyed are all originals, thousands of years old ..." A former Museum employee mentioned to Ms. Fordham: "We expected this... they did what they want..." and destroyed thousands of years of ancient history & precious artifacts. Such fanatic ignorance and vandalism is unforgivable..! (jds)
♦ The Winged Assyrian Bull
cf. NPR's Alice Fordham, The Daily Beast Christopher Dickry, YouTube's ISIS Video and Mosul & Nineveh...
February 27th 2015: NPR's new "parallels" on Erbil, Kurdistan: NPR's Ari Shapiro points out that Erbil in Iraq's Kurdistan dates back to 6000 BC and is among one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The history of Erbil reads like an endless spool of conquests and the rise and fall of defunct dynasties. Yet the Kurds are still there and planning to rebuild and renovate Erbil's central citadel. Erbil in Arabic is pronounced as "Arbil" & in Kurdish "Hawler" or "Hewler"...(jds)
♦ The siege of Erbil's citadel by the Mongols (1258-59)
cf. NPR's parallels, audio & transcript and Wikipedia on Erbil...
February 27th 2015: Boris Nemtsov (former Deputy Prime Minister under Russian President Boris Yeltsin) shot dead in Moscow. He was gunned down near the Kremlin on a bridge heavily policed and with security cameras almost everywhere. Speaking earlier this month Mr. Nemtsov mentioned that there was reason to fear for his life, or rather that his mother feared for his life. Right away after the murder President Putin promptly sent a telegram to Nemtsov's mother saying: "Everything will be done so that the organizers and executors of this vile and cynical murder are punished..." One might well question the sincerity of such a message from the acting President of Russia..! Only too often President Putin says one thing and then does another. (jds)
♦ Boris Nemtsov (1959 - 2015)
cf. BCC World NEWS, The NewYorkTimes, SkyNews, The Telegraph & Wikipedia ...
February 26th 2015: The Islamic so called "state" destroys Mosul's ancient statues & books. Years ago in 2001 the world saw this same sort of ignorant vandalism when Taliban radicals destroyed Afghanistan's Buddhas of Bamiyan. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) called it a "crime against culture". It seemed more a crime against past civilizations. Iraq's civilizations and artifacts also go back a long way, even further than Afghanistan's 6th century Buddhas. So no good shall come out of destroying Mosul's heritage, only more ignorance and unforgivable vandalism. (jds)
♦ Ignorant unforgivable Vandalism
cf. BBC Middle East NEWS, The Guardian, Al Jazeera & The Buddhas of Bamiyan ...
February 26th 2015: Avijit Roy, an Amercian author of Bangladesh origin was hacked to death in Dhaka last night by a band of religious fanatics. Roy and his wife Rafida were returning home from Dhaka's Ekushe Book Fair on foot when they were attacked. He was hit and stabbed, his wife also and both were rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Roy's wife survived but he died of serious wounds soon after arriving at the hospital. A relatively unknown extremists' group called Ansar Bangla 7 claimed responsibility for the killing. Bangladesh is the world's 4th largest Islamic nation with Muslims making up nearly 90% of the country's 160 million population. Avijit Roy was an advocate of atheism, science, & naturalism. His recent book "Biswasher Virus" (The Virus of Faith) is possibly his most famous work. Today's translation of Avijit Roy's blog Mukto-Mona.com simply read: "We mourn, But we are not out" (jds)
♦ Avijit & Rafida Roy at Niagara Falls
cf. BBC's Asia NEWS, Dhaka Tribune, The Telegraph, Observer & Wikipedia...
February 26th 2015: Charlie Rose recently interviewed National security adviser Susan Rice & Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh. Ms. Rice was rather adamant defending the US government’s current position and efforts in Syria & Iraq, while Mr. Judeh expressed his government’s greater concern about the actual situation in the middle east. Already Jordan hosts more than 800 thousand refugees from Syria & Iraq. Also it goes without mention that the closer one is to a fire the hotter it gets. (jds)
♦ Susan Rice & Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh
cf. Charlie Rose's interviews with Susan Rice & Nasser Judeh and The Washington Post...
February 25th 2015: Google warns Blogger users over upcoming porn rules: Google affirms that blogs containing sexually explicit images and/or videos will be made private on the 23rd of March. That's a good idea because nobody can't get into a private blog unless accepted or invited by the owner or administrator. Public blogs are open to everybody, while private blogs are not. That doesn't resolve the problems of censorship but at least helps assure that little kids won't get caught up in such stuff. (jds)
♦ This is simply a pretty provocative picture, not a blog private or public or censored ...
UPDATE 27th: Google backs down over Blogger porn rule change:
cf. BBC's Technology NEWS, Google's New Blog Policy, ZD Net's opposition & Wikipedia on Pornography,
♦ Facebook, a world to itself...
cf. BBC's Technology, Belgium's Watchdog, Facebook's criticisms & skyrocket history...
February 24th 2015: "President Obama vetoes Congress's Keystone Oil Pipeline bill" This is not the best or most practical way for the US to treat its Northern Canadian neighbors, yet President Obama did for obvious political & somewhat fuzzy ecological reasons. Oil sands are simply bituminous rocks, more commonly called tar or asphalt. It's what we make streets, waterproofing, roofs, etc. out of just to mention a few applications. And it's very abundant. Naturally occurring crude asphalt (bitumen) in sedimentary rock is currently being used in Alberta, Canada for producing petroleum and other divers products. Canada actually has the world's largest supply of natural asphalt covering an estimated 140,000 square kilometere. Therefore Canada's oil reserves rank among the world's largest, either second or third to Venezuela or Saudi Arabia. The Keystone pipeline project was simply a way for Canada to get some of its production to the Gulf of Mexico and market, but the president said no. So Canada will have to do it by railroad, which is rather stupid, more costly & dangerous. (jds)
♦ President Obama & Canada's Prime Minister Harper
cf. BBC's US & Canada NEWS, Oil Sands, Asphalt, World's Oil Reserves & Canada's Prime Minister Harper...
February 24th 2015: Internet Neutrality: Mozilla (FireFox, etc.) reminds us that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) will vote on "Net Neutrality" the 26th of February. The term "Net Neutrality" meaning common carriers should treat all data on the Internet equally was coined by Tim Wu of Columbia University in 2003. The question is whether net neutrality should be required by law or not and Mozilla reminds us the FCC is scheduled to decide this Thursday. (jds)
♦ A visual representations of various routing paths of Internet traffic
cf. Mozilla, Mozilla Advocacy for Net Neutrality & Wikipedia
February 24th 2015: "Europe's finance ministers approve Greece's reform proposals & extended Greece's bailout 4 more months..." Then what do you get, another day older and deeper in debt..! (jds)
♦ Greece's Yanis Varoufakis & Germany's Wolfgang Schaeuble...
cf. BBC European NEWS, The NewYorkTimes, Bloomberg & Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons":
Tennessee Ernie Ford "Sixteen Tons"
Some people say a man is made outta mud
A poor man's made outta muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that's a-weak and a back that's strong
You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store
I was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shine
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine
I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal
And the straw boss said "Well, a-bless my soul"
You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store
If you see me comin', better step aside
A lotta men didn't, a lotta men died
One fist of iron, the other of steel
If the right one don't a-get you
Then the left one will
You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store
February 23rd 2015: Deadline looms for Greek fiscal reforms. Greece's national debt is at 175% of its GDP, unemployment at 50% for young people, 25% for older and the country has borrowed €240bn Euros from the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Today Greece's government is expected to say it will clamp down on tax evasion & smuggling of cigarettes and oil, increase taxes on the rich, collect lots of unpaid back taxes, etc. for a total of around €7.3bn Euros. That won't put a big dent into Greece's €240bn loan, but might buy the poor country some more time. Eventually Greece will have to pay up or shut up, and that's a real shame. (jds)
♦ Greece's new 40 year old Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras...
UPDATE February 24th: cf. BBC's European NEWS, Alexis Tsipras & Yanis Varoufakis and the Hellenic Republic of Greece
February 23rd 2015: Ukraine cannot withdraw from the Donetsk's Rebels or Russia's Russians. So far there is still no "ceasefire" in Ukraine after last weekend's summit in Minsk, Belarus between Vladimir Putin on one hand and Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande & Petro Poroshenko on the other. There is No immediate and full bilateral ceasefire, No withdrawal of all heavy weapons by both sides, No effective monitoring and verification regime for the ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons, No from day one of the withdrawal begin a dialogue on the holding of local elections, No pardon and amnesty by banning any prosecution of figures involved in the Donetsk and Luhansk conflict, No release of all hostages and other illegally detained people, No unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to the needy, internationally supervised, No restoration of full social and economic links with affected areas, No full Ukrainian government control will be restored over the state border, throughout the conflict zone, No withdrawal of all foreign armed groups, weapons and mercenaries from Ukrainian territory and No constitutional reform in Ukraine, with adoption of a new constitution by the end of 2015. So then what is really new... other than at least 5,000 Ukrainians dead and a million who have fled their homes..? Not much..! (jds)
♦ Rockets make more noise than words & ceasefires ...!
UPDATE February 24th: cf. The BBC European NEWS & Reuters ...
February 21st 2015: 50 years ago today Malcolm X was assassinated. He was a rebel with a cause and humble enough to learn from Islam during the Hajj, his pilgrimage to Mecca. After returning from the Mecca & Africa he broke with Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam and in 1965 was assassinated in Manhattan's Audubon Theatre and Ballroom, which now houses The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center. Malcolm X's daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz recently wrote a New York Times opinion article entitled "What Would Malcolm X Think...?" about today's civil rights problems & progress. (jds)
♦ Malcolm X (1925 - 1965)
cf. The New York Times, Malcolm X, his Autobiography & Assassination, The Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad & Louis Farrakhan
February 20th 2015: This week's On The Media examines: Language & terrorism, Chapel Hill shootings of 3 Muslim students, The French Revolution's history of the word "terror", American main stream media's "parking lot" story of Chapel Hill’s shootings and criticism of the President's evasive choice of words concerning terrorism... (jds)
♦ Words matter, and so do religions and people of sincere faith ...
cf. On the Media by Brooke Gladstone & Bob Garfield
February 20th 2015: NPR's "parallels: culture - politics & policy - conflict zones - marketplace - postcards, etc..." NPR's new parallels is a giant step forward in diffusion of news and information over the internet. It is remarkably well done and organized into audio renditions and transcripts of NPR's most important broadcasts. One can either read or listen to NPR's interviews & commentaries over the internet by day, month or even years. National Public Radio has become a virtual library of its own prized interviews, emissions & broadcasts, and is more than welcome... (jds)
♦ NPR's parallels: culture, politics, policy, conflicts, markets, postcards, etc...
cf. NPR's parallels: culture, politics, policy, conflicts, markets, postcards, etc...
19th February 2015: "The 2015 Economic Report of the President." In 2008 + 2009 the United States lost -722 thousand jobs and from 2010 to 2014 created +909 thousand jobs. It took 5 years to catch up with the jobs America lost in 2008 & 2009. Yet more troubling is the Labor Force's diminution from 2009 to 2014. Less and less people are looking for work, especially aging and residual workers... (jds)
♦ 2015's Economic Report
cf. The President's Economic Report...
19th February 2015: " Germany rejects Greek loan request. Germany has rejected a Greek request for a six-month extension to its Eurozone loan. A popular German tabloid called Bild showed Vladimir Putin & Alexis Tsipras with the headline: " The Russian or the Greek: who is more dangerous for us..?". Europe is confronted with two difficult problems, Russia's involvement in Ukraine and Greece's unwillingness to undertake financial & social reform. (jds)
♦ "The Russian or the Greek: who is more dangerous for us?"
cf. The BBC Europe NEWS & Reuters latest news...
February 18th 2015: "US White House spokeman accuses Israel of leaking information about Iran's nuclear negotiations...!" The US along with Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China are currently working on an interim agreement planned for the end of March. The talks originally had been scheduled to end in November 2014, but were extended to June 2015 after failure to reach a suitable agreement. (jds)
♦ Prime Minister Netanyahu & Iran's Rouhani
cf. The BBC's Middle East NEWS on negotiations with Iran & BBC's Nuclear Fuel Cycle demonstration...
February 18th 2015: "The Year of Sheep" The Lunar New Year for China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Tibet & Viet Nam start with January or February's new moon, this year being the 18th of February. Most other Asian or Middle Eastern countries have different dates for their Lunar New Year. Yet China tops all with hundreds of millions of people travelling home in what is called: "The World's Biggest Annual Human Migration". (jds)
♦ China's Lunar New Year: "The World's Biggest Annual Human Migration"
cf. China's New Year, The Lunar New Year & Lunar calendar..
18th February 2015: The United Nations estimates: The number of civilian deaths and injuries in Afghanistan rose by 22% in 2014. Since the UN began recording civilian casualties in 2009, it has recorded around 18,000 deaths and nearly 30,000 injuries. That means around: 3,000 deaths/year & 5,000 injuries/year. (jds)
♦ A little Afghan boy still recuperating from a roadside bomb blast...
cf. BBC UN report on Afghanistan & the recent assassination of Angiza Shinwari, a provincial council of north eastern Afghanistan.
February 17th 2015: Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said: "We are ready and willing to do whatever it takes" Sounds kind of familiar. Didn't Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank say "we'll do whatever it takes" years ago and ever since not much was done other than kicking Europe's financial can further down the road. As for Greece it's already the 17th of February and only 11 more days remain for Varoufakis to wiggle his way out of his country's financial problems or default. The BB's Theo Leggett wrote: "That doesn't mean a compromise is impossible. It simply means any deal (between Greece & the European Union) would have to be presented as both an end to current austerity program and a continuation of it." Now that might make everybody happy for a couple more months or a year or so, but there's no way out of debt other than pay up and shut up, or taking the consequences... (jds)
♦ Greece's rising star & Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis...
cf. The BBC, The New York Times & International Op-Ed Opinion, and Wikipedia Yanis Varoufakis
February 16th 2015: Iran's Jafar Panahi wins Berlin Film Festival's top prize for " Taxi " "Taxi is Panahi's third film. In “Taxi” Panahi plays a Tehran cab driver who films & talks with a diverse mix of passengers as they confide their woes, including the recent court case of a young Iranian woman jailed for trying to get into a men’s volleyball match. Since Panahi has been banned from traveling outside of Iran or making films, his young niece accepted the Berlin Film Festival's award for him. (jds)
♦ Jafar Panahi's niece accepting Taxi's Berlin Film Festival's award for him...
cf. BBC, The Guardian, Variety & Jafar Panahi Wikipedia...
February 16th 2015 US opens a three-day summit on countering violent extremism. On Wednesday, President Obama will address the conference and then on Thursday the 18th at the state department speak to a gathering from around 60 countries, including Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and France... ref. BBC, (jds)
♦ Vice President Biden & guests...
cf. BBC US News, The BOOKINGS Institute & The Washington Post on how to deal with extremism...
February 16th 2015: Michael Morell revisits Charlie Rose. While the White House hosts a summit on countering violent extremism former CIA Deputy Michael Morell talks with Charlie Rose about Iran's extremism. Unlike today's religious fanatics like ISIS (Daesh) or Boko Haram, Iran is a nation whose violent extremism and fanaticism goes back 40 years... (jds)
♦ Charlie Rose interviews Michael Morell, former CIA Deupty Director...
cf. Charlie Rose's interview with Micahel Morell, The New York Daily News & Capital New York
February 16th 2015: Iran's Supreme Leader tells his Foreign minister Javad Zarif to smile more at the nuclear talks....What next...? Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has never been known for smiling very much and all of a sudden he wants his Foreign minister Javad Zarif smile more often. Supposedly Khamenei said to Zarif: "... why do you shout at meetings? Smile as you do, and say what you have to say... speak with logic and don't argue". Translation from Farsi into plain & simple English "be sly & devious ..!" In the meantime the Supreme Leader actually started sending friendly letters to our President Obama. There's an expression in Persian (Farsi) which says "a stone is free, a crow is free". That means if you throw a stone up in the air maybe it will hit a crow. Or more simply put, what do you got to lose...? (jds)
♦ Iran's smiling Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, all set for the next round of nuclear talks ...!
cf. The BBC, Iran's Islamic Republic's News, The Wall Street Journal & Wikipedia's Javad Zarif...
February 15th 2015: The Drake Equation: N=R*=fp=ne=fl=fi=fc=L, meaning N = the number of civilizations in The Milky Way Galaxy whose electromagnetic emissions are detectable. R* = the rate of formation of stars suitable for the development of intelligent life. fp = the fraction of those stars with planetary systems. ne = the number of planets, per solar system, with an environment suitable for life. fl = the fraction of suitable planets on which life actually appears. fi = the fraction of life bearing planets on which intelligent life emerges. fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space. L = the length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space. "The Drake Equation is a simple, effective tool for stimulating intellectual curiosity about the universe, helping us to understand that life as we know it is the end product of cosmic evolution and that we are a part of that product... ref. SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, (jds)
♦ Dr. Frank Drake & his 1961 equation: N=R*=fp=ne=fl=fi=fc=L
cf. The Drake Equation, SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) & The Milky Way Galaxy
February 14th 2015: The week's Inside Europe (Deutsche Welle) is not very optimistic about the Minsk, Belarus ceasefire accords due take effect at 22:00 GMT today the 14th of February. The ceasefire peace accord was made up of 11 specific points: 1) Immediate and full bilateral ceasefire, 2) Withdrawal of all heavy weapons by both sides, 3) Effective monitoring and verification regime for the ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons, 4) From day one of the withdrawal begin a dialogue on the holding of local elections, 5) Pardon and amnesty by banning any prosecution of figures involved in the Donetsk and Luhansk conflict, 6) Release of all hostages and other illegally detained people, 7) Unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to the needy, internationally supervised, 8) Restoration of full social and economic links with affected areas, 9) Full Ukrainian government control will be restored over the state border, throughout the conflict zone, 10) Withdrawal of all foreign armed groups, weapons and mercenaries from Ukrainian territory and 11) Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with adoption of a new constitution by the end of 2015. All in all, a rather ambitious agenda for Russia, Donetsk People’s Republic and Ukraine. (jds)
♦ Alexander Lukashenko, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande & Petro Poroshenko .
UPDATE: Feb.17th cf. Inside Europe, BBC's Europe NEWS, The Guardian & Wall Street Journal International...
February 12th 2015: President Vladimir Putin got up earlier this morning and announced another ceasefire for Ukraine. Since the last one (September 2014) didn't work there's not much hope this one will either, given that Alexander Zakharchenko is still running Donetsk People’s Republic and Vladimir Putin running Russia. (jds)
♦ Russian President Putin & Donetsk's Zakharchenko
cf. Today's ceasefire agreement, its details, The Washington Post, Moscow Times & Alexander Zakharchenko
February 10th 2015: President Bashar al-Assad defends his actions against Syrians ever since 2011. BBC's Jeremy Bowen was granted an exclusive interview with President Assad who adamantly denied dropping bombs indiscriminately on rebel-held areas killing thousands of civilians. War is war he said as Syria's overall death toll has nearly reached 200,000 and homeless refugees in the millions.
♦ Syria's President Bashar al-Assad & his family's failed state...
cf. BBC's Jeremy Bowen interview of Bashar al-Assad & The Syrian conflict's story from 2011...
February 7th 2015: Al Sharpton by Eli Saslow of The Washington Post: Eli Saslow did an amazing job of following Al Sharpton around New York City from his office in Harlem to his Radio & TV stations, various meetings and strategy sessions as well to the penthouse of New York's exclusive 5th Street Grand Havana Room to relax and smoke a cigar. Reverend Sharpton runs a nationwide National Action Network for social justice with chapters in 38 States among other things. As Mr. Saslow suggests, Sharpton's power depends in part on publicity and the civil rights movement depends in part on upon Sharpton's power. Maybe the best Sharpton quote was “I’m dealing with the White House. I’m talking to the mayor. I’m on TV. I’m organizing the marches. If I didn’t exist, they’d have to invent me.”. Saslow recalls Sharpton when referring to Ferguson as saying “... if we lose this spotlight, then our whole opportunity here, our historic moment — it’s dead..!” One may well doubt such will be the case with Reverend Al Sharpton around and active. (jds)
♦ Al Sharpton, from Harlem to Radio & TV, to meetings & rallies, and cigar smoking penthouse...
cf. The Washington Post's article by Eli Saslow & Wikipedia on Al Sharpton
February 7th 2015: "Fethullah Gulen sees: Turkey’s Eroding Democracy" : Turkey's President Recep Erdogan continues to perpetuate an ongoing defamation & smear campaign against Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen" Gülen and the Hizmet movement that he inspired were recently targeted due to an op-ed article published in The New York Times. (jds)
♦ Istanbul supporters of Fethullah Gülen's Hizmet movement...
cf. The New York Times, The English version of Today's Zaman Newspaper & Wikipedia:
February 6th 2015: "Obama’s What-Me-Worry Social Security Plan": Jim McTague of Barrons shows how the President's budget leaves the country’s biggest, most pressing fiscal problems to his successor." Ever since 2012 the United State's total debt has been superior of 100% of the nation's GDP, which puts us in the same basket as countries like Greece. Italy and Japan also, but they do not rely heavily upon foreign investments like America. (jds)
♦ Social Security & Medicare are America's fiscals time booms ticking away each day...
cf. Barrons, The National Debt & Bowles-Simpson commission
February 5th 2015: PBS's On The Media's Bob Garfield looks into the measles outbreak... "and how the media, politicians, and even celebrities have quarantined the country in a vortex of paranoia & fear. A combination of false science & government distrust has given a pedestal to the irrational, and the self-evident necessity of vaccines has come under attack..." ref. OnTheMedia, (jds)
♦ Jenny McCarthy & Andrew Wakefield vs. Vaccinations ...
cf. On The Merdia, Web Medical, The Week & Wikipedia
February 4th 2015: National Security Advisor Susan Rice spent the week explaining the government's National Security Strategy. In so many words was quoted as saying: "... the United States cannot be buffeted by alarmism in nearly instantaneous news cycle..." and that "...it is vital not to lose sight of other challenges which are even more important, including climate change and non-proliferation...". As if that wasn't enough, she came up with “... what's missing here in Washington is a sense of perspective. Yes, there is a lot going on. Still, while the dangers we face may be more numerous and varied, they are not of the existential nature we confronted during World War II or during the Cold War...” Since Susan Rice was born in 1964 her memory of WWII, the Cold War and European existentialism may not be all that keen, which is understandable. No doubt she ran into history & philosophy courses throughout her brilliant academic career, but seriously existentialism is a rather curious confused concept. Existence and essence is like the chicken and egg. Whatever it really means and what came first is a good question. Simpler and more pertinent is our National Security framework. Imagine the whole population of Chicago evacuating the city, apartments, homes, schools, hospitals, stores, businesses, everything, etc... Then try to imagine more than 3 million Syrians refugees doing the same thing. That's far more people than Chicago's total population, and there's nothing "existential" or not about it. It's for real and is causing great suffering and hardship, not only in Syria, but in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Germany, Algeria, Sweden, Bahrain, Libya, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, etc... Even though this has nothing to do with our National Security Strategy, it certainly has something to do us and our nation... (jds)
♦ Susan Rice National Security Advisor
♦ Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche & Sartre
cf. Brookings, The Hill, Susuan Rice & Existentialism
February 2nd 2015: Vox Media Interviews President Barack Obama on his Domestic & Foreign Policies. Part two of the interviews with President Obama touches upon Foreign Policy and the President's original 2008 conviction & campaign promise to redraw from the conflict in Iraq and concentrate more upon Afghanistan. There were and still are disagreements concerning the President's Foreign Policy decisions, yet the large majority of Americans supported Mr. Obama during his first term and now. The Vox Media interview and transcript sheds light upon the President's thoughts and convictions concerning his administration's Foreign Policy decisions and actions. (jds)
♦ President Obama on his Administration's Foreign Policy...
cf. Vox Media's Obama Interviews & transcripts & FRONTLINE's "Losing Iraq"
February 1st 2015: Meskel Square in Addis, Abeba is the perfect place to learn how to drive "without having any accidents", guaranteed...! This came from Nahid Behnan, a dear friend of ours who lives & learned how to drive in Norway. (jds)
♦ Abeda's Addis Meskel Square Driving School, guaranteed safe without accidents...!
cf. Meskel Square in Abeda, seeing is believing...!
January 31st 2015: NPR's "parallels: culture - politics & policy - conflict zones - marketplace - postcards, etc..." NPR's new parallels is a giant step forward in diffusion of news and information over the internet. It is remarkably well done and organized into audio renditions and transcripts of NPR's most important broadcasts. One can either read or listen to NPR's interviews & commentaries over the internet by day, month or even years. National Public Radio has become a virtual library of its own prized interviews, emissions & broadcasts, and is more than welcome... (jds)
♦ NPR's parallels: culture, politics, policy, conflicts, markets, postcards, etc...
cf. NPR's parallels: culture, politics, policy, conflicts, markets, postcards, etc...
January 31st 2015: The "Swedish" Schindler who disappeared after WWII was Raoul Wallenberg from one of Sweden's most known families. He diappeared in 1945 when the Soviet Union captured eastern Budapest. Wallenberg was immediately detained by Soviet troops and was never seen again in public. During World War II Wallenberg had saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis only to be arrested in January 1945 by the Soviets and has never been seen since... (jds)
♦ Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish Schindler who saved tens of thousands Hungarian Jews ...
cf. BBC's article on Rauol Wallenberg, his biography & Wikpedia
January 30th 2015: Catching up on two of Charlie Rose's Interviews...
♦ Robert Worth, Gregory Johnsen and Matthew Waxman
♦ Bill & Melinda Gates
cf. The 4 year anniversary of the Arab Spring and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:
January 29th 2015: Itamar Rabinovich explores the complexity of Israel’s relationship with the Middle East leading up to this year's March elections."Itamar Rabinovich is an expert on the policies and politics of the Middle East, with a particular interest in Syria, Arab-Israeli relations, and the U.S.-Israel relationship. He served as Israel’s ambassador to the United States and as chief negotiator with Syria from 1992 to 1996. He holds distinguished positions on the boards of several international foundations and on the faculty of leading academic institutions, serving as professor emeritus of Middle Eastern history at Tel Aviv University" ref. BROOKINGS Institution, (jds)
♦ Itamar Rabinovich: "Israel & the Changing Middle East"
cf. Israel and the Changing Middle East, Itamar Rabinovich & "Waging Peace: Israel and the Arabs, 1948-2003" ...
January 28th 2015: Argentine's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner seems to be spinning tales faster than Argentine's press can print them concerning the death of special prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was found dead with a bullet in his head hours before presenting evidence before Argentine's Congress against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman concerning the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires. Supposedly, Mrs. de Kirchner and Mr. Timerman were involvement in a plan to cover up Iran's alleged role in a 1994 attack on a Jewish community centre which killed 84 people for the purpose importing oil from Iran at a very advantagous price. Alberto Nisman had spent years investigating the affair and the very day he was scheduled present his finding is found dead in his apartment. (jds)
♦ Argentine's President de Kirchner explaining away reality...
cf. BBC's Latin America NEWS...
January 27th 2015: "Si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more; si fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi" which means in so many words: When in Rome do as the Romans do, when elsewhere do as elsewhere. Obviously, a simple headscarf might have been more appropriate for the First Lady than not, since the occasion for the President & wife's visit to Saudi Arabia was to pay respect to King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud who died the 23rd of January as well as the peaceful succession to the throne of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz. It certainly wasn't a very opportune occasion to be preaching to the House of Saud even though you happen to be the wife of the President of the United States of America. Maybe some sort of discreet apology is due..? (jds)
♦ The President & First Lady in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia meeting the House of Saud...
cf. The Washington Post, King Abdullah, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz & The House of Saud...
January 26th 2015: US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Geneva.. and Iran's parliamentarians summoned and questioned Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for publicly walking with US Secretary of State John Kerry during the nuclear negotiations. The two top diplomats were seen strolling together in public in Geneva on 14 January during the international discussions over Iran's nuclear programme. The group of Iranian lawmakers have signed a petition calling for an explanation from Zarif, who has been spearheading the Iranian delegation to push for a permanent deal. ref. The International Business Times, (jds)
♦ Secretary of State John Kerry & Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
cf. International Business Times & Wikipedia on Iran's Nuclear Program ...
January 23rd 2015: This week's Inside Europe (Deutsche Welle) looks at Ukraine on the brink of further escalation, anti-Islamism in Denmark, France & Russia as well as tensions between Islamist and nationalist Kurds in Turkey and Greece preparing for elections, etc...
♦ Putin's Way...
cf. On the Media & FRONTLINE's Putin's Way
January 16th 2015: On the Media rexamines the double standards for free speech in France. "On Wednesday with the calls of “Je Suis Charlie” still echoing throughout France, French stand-up comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala was arrested for posting the message “I feel like Charlie Coulibaly” on Facebook. Coulibaly being the name of the terrorist who killed four people in the kosher supermarket last week. Brooke speaks to Celestine Bohlen, a columnist for the International New York Times, about how the cries of double standards are competing with those of free speech for all."
♦ Freedom of Speech "On The Media"...
cf. On The Media and Freedom of Speech ...
January 14th 2015: "Je suis Charlie Hebdo" ("I am Charlie Hebdo"). Charlie Hebdo is a French satirical weekly magazine, featuring cartoons, reports, polemics, and jokes. Irreverent and stridently non-conformist in tone, the publication describes itself as above all secular and atheist, far-left-wing and anti-racist publishing articles on the extreme right, religions, politics, culture, etc. According to its former editor Stéphane Charbonnier, the magazine's editorial viewpoint reflects "all components of left wing pluralism, and even abstainers". The magazine has been the target of two terrorist attacks, in 2011 and in 2015, presumed to be in response to a number of controversial Muhammad cartoons it published. In the second of these attacks, 12 people were killed, including Charbonnier and several contributors. Charlie Hebdo first appeared in 1970 as a successor to the Hara-Kiri magazine, which was banned for mocking the death of former French President Charles de Gaulle. In 1981 publication ceased, but the magazine was resurrected in 1992. The magazine's current editor-in-chief is Gerard Biard. The previous editors were François Cavanna (1969–1981) and Philippe Val (1992–2009). The magazine is published every Wednesday, with special some editions issued on an unscheduled basis. January 7th 2015, two Islamist gunmen forced their way into and opened fire in the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, killing twelve: staff cartoonists Charb, Cabu, Honoré, Tignous and Wolinski, economist Bernard Maris, editors Elsa Cayat and Mustapha Ourrad, guest Michel Renaud, maintenance worker Frédéric Boisseau and police officers Brinsolaro and Merabet, as well as wounding eleven others, four of them seriously. ref. Wikipedia, (jds)
♦ "Je suis Charlie, Tout est Pardonne..."
cf. Charlie Hebdo in French, English & at Wikipedia ...
January 13th 2015: FRONTLINE presents "Putin's Way" This is unquestionably the most damning documentary President Vladimir Putin has ever gotten and certainly merits. It tells the ambitious and devious story of how he maneuvers his way from his KGB post in East Germany after the collapse of the Berlin wall to Saint Petersburg (1990–1996) to advise Mayor Anatoly Sobchakand. Afterwards he moves to Moscow, becomes the prime minister (1996–1999) and eventually replaces Boris Yeltsin as president of Russia. This might at first glance appear as normal ambitious steps of a capable man towards power, but each step is often tarnished with dubious financial and quasi-military activity. He apparently knows no limits and rules with bribes and threats. As always, someday his past will catch up with him and Russia may once again have a chance at democracy instead of Vladimir Putin’s dictatorship. (jds)
♦ KGB's Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
cf. FRONTLINE "Putin's Way"
January 12th 2015: What did Peanut's Charlie Brown have to do with France's Charlie Hebdo..? Nothing...! Peanuts was a syndicated daily comic strip written and illustrated by Charles Schulz. It ran from October 1950 until February 2000, making it "arguably the longest story ever told by one human being". The main character, Charlie Brown was presented as meek, nervous, and lacking in self-confidence. Everybody loved him but nobody took him too serious... ref. Wikipedia, (jds)
♦ Yes, I'm Charlie Brown..!
cf. Peanuts & Wikipedia ...
January 11th 2015: World leaders march side by side in unity as millions rally for unity throughout France after the Charlie Hebdo attack January 8th.The BBC reports "More than three million people have taken part in unity marches across France after 17 people died during three days of deadly attacks in Paris." ref. BBC Europe, (jds)
♦ French President Hollande flanked by Chancellor Merkel & Malian President Keita, etc ...
cf. BBC NEWS Europe & The Paris Attacks ...
January 9th 2015: PBS's On the Media after the massacre at the French weekly Charlie Hebdo looks at the symbolic weight of French satire and the true meaning of freedom of speech. "Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government or society itself, into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society..." ref. Wikipedia, (jds)
♦ On The Media examines satire & freedom of speech ...
cf. PBS's On The Media about freedom of speech & Wikipedia on satire ...
January 9th 2015: This week's Deutsche Welle "Inside Europe" examines the shooting at Paris's Charlie Hebdo magazine and the shocks it caused throughout Europe and the world as well as the rise of anti-immigration movements in Denmark, Sweden and Germany and Turkey's role smuggling immigrants into western Europe, etc...
♦ Armed soldiers guarding the glass pyramid in the inner courtyard of the Louvre in Paris, France
cf. Inside Europe, Germany's award winning European news channel...
January 8th 2015: BBC recounts "Charlie Hebdo attack: As it happened" The BBC has put together a collection of 15 videos that try to show and explain what really happened and why. The roots of this outrageous slaughter are old and go down deep into the not forgotten past, which continues to haunt the present as some sort of incurable disease. (jds)
♦ Two days and too many people dead & wounded. For what, a cartoon ..?
cf. What really happened, How When, Where and Why ..?
January 7th 2015: Two (French Algerian born) Islamist forced their way inside the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo (a Parisian weekly satire newspaper), and killed 12 individuals: staff cartoonists, editors, guest, janitor, and police officers as well as seriously wounding eleven others... The motive of these two assassins was irrational outrage at the French publication's satire of the prophet Mohamed & Islam. One should recall the Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini who in 1989 issued a fatwa (legal opinion) calling for the execution of Salman Rushdie as well as all those involved in the publication of Rushdie's book (ie. novel) "The Satanic Verses". Khomeini created a serious and yet still unresolved dilemma between Western and Islamic cultures. The core Western value of freedom of expression advocates no one should face death for what they say or write while the wide spread Islamic opinion does not tolerate any insults or belittling of their Prophet Muhammad or faith. (jds)
♦ Charlie Hebdo, rue Nicolas Appert le XIe arrondissement, Paris France...
cf. The Charlie Hebdo shooting, lieu, consequences & 1989's origines ...
January 1st 2015: What next in the 21st century...? First of all it might be a good idea to correct the imagery of evolution a little bit. Obviously males had far less to do with the evolution of the human species than females. Secondly, anatomist Neil Shubin of the University of Chicago uncovered how our bodies have become the complicated, quirky, amazing machines they are today thanks to our ancient legacy of having once been fish, reptiles and primates. Of course the Bible's book of Genesis tells a far less complicated and more damning story of where we came from and how we so badly screwed up in the garden of paradise. Such colorful and well told stories like Genesis are certainly a lot easier to remember than the names and anatomy of Professor Shubin's ancient fish, reptiles and primates. So science & research often take the back door to popular myths and story telling... (jds)
♦ A rather simplistic graphic look at Human Evolution
cf. Your Inner Fish, Evolution & The Book of Genesis...
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