Wednesday 28th of February 2024

from Russia, with love...


from the Moscow Times

Over the past 18 months, Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev have reinvigorated a U.S.-Russian relationship that had become moribund if not downright dangerous in the last year of George W. Bush’s presidency. The signing of the New START treaty in April, increasing cooperation in Afghanistan, and a United Nations Security Council agreement over new sanctions on Iran all testify to the growing rapprochement between Moscow and Washington. Even Russian television commentators of the U.S.-Slovenia World Cup match on Friday agreed that the U.S. team had been robbed of victory by a terrible call by the referee.

reflecting poor judgment

bad call...

From the Washington Post

KABUL -- The top U.S. general in Afghanistan apologized Tuesday for a magazine article that portrays him and his staff as flippant and dismissive of top Obama administration officials involved in Afghanistan policy.

The profile in Rolling Stone magazine, titled the "Runaway General," is certain to increase tension between the White House and Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

It also raises fresh questions about the judgment and leadership style of the commander Obama appointed last year in an effort to turn around a worsening conflict.

of the planet's relative moments...


picture by Gus

As the sun rose at 4.52am, a cheer went up from those gathered overnight at the stone circle on Salisbury Plain. The crowds were treated to clear views of the sunrise – whearea previous years have seen the spectacle obscured by mist and cloud.

Last year a record 36,500 people attended, causing traffic chaos and road closures. It was announced last week that £10m of funding for a proposed visitor centre at the prehistoric site had been axed by the Government, putting the plans on hold indefinitely.

mene mene tekel upharsin …..

mene mene tekel upharsin  …..

I am one of the remaining veterans of the Haganah, who had served in the British Army and thereafter were among the initiators of the Ha'apala [illegal immigration] of Holocaust survivors, struggling with the forces of victorious Great Britain for the right to arrive at the shores of this country.

racists for god...


More than 100,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews took to the streets across Israel yesterday for a showdown between religious and secular society over the way the Jewish state runs its education system.

The protests brought central Jerusalem to a standstill as a group of religious parents prepared to go to prison for defying a court order demanding their daughters attend classes with girls of different ethnic origin.

borrowing cojones...


The Spanish government's cost of borrowing has hit a new record amid renewed concerns over the state of its economy and public finances.

The interest rate Spain is being asked to pay by investors is now 2.23 percentage points higher than that being demanded of Germany.

This widening gap in the bond market marks a drop in confidence in Spain's ability to repay its debts.

The Spanish cabinet has also approved unpopular changes to labour rules.

"It is a necessary labour reform," said Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa de la Vega. "One of the most important reforms of the last 20 years."

no profit tax, just some kickbacks...



WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

the cost of carpetbagging .....

the cost of carpetbagging .....

from Crikey .....

Afghanistan: another 30 years for the sake of the alliance

Jeff Sparrow writes:

republik in the ranks...


THE Coalition has begun talks with the Australian Republican Movement about potential changes to Australia's constitution, despite Tony Abbott, a staunch monarchist, being at its helm.

Frontbencher Joe Hockey has led the negotiations. He has taken over from Malcolm Turnbull as the torchbearer for republican sentiment inside the Liberal Party.

Mr Hockey indicated it was unlikely the Coalition would take a party position on a republic, but would allow individual MPs to take a position according to their beliefs.

conspiracy theories

conspiracy theories

He has a radio show that is the toast of conservative America and his extremist rants accusing President Barack Obama of being anti-white and a closet socialist have made him a star on Fox News. His speaking tours sell out like a rock star's and his published political diatribes are bestsellers.

crank call...

crank call

Government ministers have been careful not to get drawn into a debate about Barack Obama's comments on BP.

In the words of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg - they did not want to allow the issue to spiral into a "tit for tat political diplomatic spat".

It is hardly surprising they saved the discussions for a weekend phone call between David Cameron and the president.

The question is: what exactly was said in that call? Different points were emphasised by different sources.

classified foreign policy

Pentagon rushes to block release of classified files on Wikileaks

By Jerome Taylor


It has the ingredients of a spy thriller: an American military analyst turned whistleblower; 260,000 classified government documents; and rumours that the world's most powerful country is hunting a former hacker whom it believes is about to publish them.

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