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Old 2009-12-12, 06:30   Link #5001
MrTerrorist
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Why eco-light bulbs aren't what they seem
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Old 2009-12-12, 16:22   Link #5002
Shadow Kira01
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China's Xi vows to boost strategic ties with Japan

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On the North Korean nuclear issue, Xi said China will continue to play a ''constructive role'' toward a resumption of the stalled six-party denuclearization talks involving the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.

''China consistently supports denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and a peaceful solution (to the issue) through dialogue,'' he said.

Xi said Beijing will seek to address Japanese consumers' concerns about Chinese-made food through a bilateral initiative aimed at ensuring food safety.

He was referring to a ministerial framework that Hatoyama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in October agreed to set up in the wake of a case involving tainted Chinese-made frozen dumplings that made people ill in Japan.

Xi voiced hopes of developing ''friendly, neighborly ties'' with Japan. ''We would like to further develop our friendly, neighborly cooperative ties,'' he said.
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Old 2009-12-12, 19:57   Link #5003
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Originally Posted by MrTerrorist View Post
They do lower the electrical bill by a noticeable amount though.
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Old 2009-12-12, 23:05   Link #5004
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anyone here keeping up with tiger woods news?
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Old 2009-12-13, 00:59   Link #5005
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Originally Posted by mg1942 View Post
anyone here keeping up with tiger woods news?
Actually, I'm trying my best to avoid the circus of piranha feeding frenzy. Part of me views the energy being spent on it as diversionary from actual important topics... part of me thinks it shows how lazy and incompetent the media is.

The last part of me thinks "Well, Zaphod... he's just this guy, you know?"
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Old 2009-12-13, 06:05   Link #5006
monir
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I lol'ed hard when he announced that he was taking indefinite leave from the game. I'm sure he is saying inside, "take that biatches." I also loled when someone said the game of golf is bigger than one player. Duh. It is. But it's also true the rating goes wayyyyy up when he is in there. But at the same time, sugercoating the obvious with notion of nobility doesn't hide the fact that he made a lot of people filthy rich. I'm sure if those people want to keep getting richer, then they will ascertain the lazy/stupid portion of the media will let this go. All that said, got to really feel for the wifey.
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Old 2009-12-13, 11:37   Link #5007
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It's a long opinion-editorial, even after I've taken the liberty of abridging it as far as I can. Follow the link to the full version on the NYT website.

To beat Al-Qaeda, draw lessons from Indonesia
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By Scott Atran (Dec 12)

IN TESTIMONY last week before Congress, the American ambassador to Afghanistan, Mr Karl Eikenberry, insisted that President Barack Obama's revised war strategy will "build support for the Afghan government", while General Stanley McChrystal, the top American commander there, vowed that it will "absolutely" succeed in disrupting and degrading the Taliban.

Confidence is important, but we also have to recognise that the decision to commit 30,000 more troops to a counterinsurgency effort against a good segment of the Afghan population, with the focus on converting a deeply unpopular and corrupt regime into a unified, centralised state for the first time in that country's history, is far from a slam dunk. In the worst case, the surge may push Gen McChrystal's "core goal of defeating Al-Qaeda" further away.

Al-Qaeda is already on the ropes globally, with dwindling financial and popular support, and a drastically diminished ability to work with other extremists worldwide, much less command them in major operations. We're winning against Al-Qaeda and its kin in places where anti-terrorism efforts are local and built on an understanding that the ties binding terrorist networks today are more cultural and familial than political. Consider recent events in South-east Asia.

In September, Indonesian security forces killed Noordin Top, implicated in the region's worst suicide bombings — including the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton bombings in Jakarta on July 17 this year. He headed a splinter group of the extremist religious organisation Jemaah Islamiyah, which he called Al-Qaeda for the Malaysian Archipelago.

Research by my colleagues and me, supported by the National Science Foundation and the Defence Department, reveals three critical factors in such groups inspired by Al-Qaeda, all of which local security forces implicitly grasp but American counterintelligence workers seem to underestimate.

Three factors
What binds these groups together? First is friendship forged through fighting: The Indonesian volunteers who fought the Soviet Union in Afghanistan styled themselves the Afghan Alumni, and many kept in contact when they returned home after the war.

The second is school ties and discipleship: Many leading operatives in South-east Asia come from a handful of religious schools affiliated with Jemaah Islamiyah. Out of some 30,000 religious schools in Indonesia, only about 50 have a deadly legacy of producing violent extremists.

Third is family ties.

Understanding these three aspects of terrorist networking has given law enforcement a leg up on the jihadists. General Tito Karnavian, the leader of the strike team that tracked down Noordin, told me that "knowledge of the interconnected networks of Afghan Alumni, kinship and marriage groups was very crucial to uncovering the inner circle of Noordin".

So, how does this relate to a strategy against Al-Qaeda in the West and in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Al-Qaeda's main focus is harming the United States and Europe, but there hasn't been a successful attack in these places directly commanded by Osama bin Laden and company since 9/11. The American invasion of Afghanistan devastated Al-Qaeda's core of top personnel and its training camps.

Rather, the real threat is home-grown youths who gain inspiration from Osama but little else beyond an occasional self-financed spell at a degraded Al-Qaeda-linked training facility.

The 2003 invasion of Iraq encouraged many of these local plots, including the train bombings in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005. In their aftermaths, European law and security forces stopped plots from coming to fruition by stepping up coordination and tracking links among local extremists, their friends and friends of friends, while also improving relations with young Muslim immigrants through community outreach.

Protect your guests
Now we need to take this perspective to Afghanistan and Pakistan — one that is smart about cultures, customs and connections. The present policy of focusing on troop strength and drones, and trying to win over people by improving their lives with Western-style aid programmes, only continues a long history of foreign involvement and failure.

A key factor helping the Taliban is the moral outrage of the Pashtun tribes against those who deny them autonomy, including a right to bear arms to defend their tribal code, known as Pashtunwali. Its sacred tenets include protecting women's purity (namus), the right to personal revenge (badal), the sanctity of the guest (melmastia) and sanctuary (nanawateh). Among all Pashtun tribes, inheritance, wealth, social prestige and political status accrue through the father's line.

And according to this code, hospitality trumps vengeance: If a group accepts a guest, all must honour him, even if prior grounds justify revenge. That's one reason American offers of millions for betraying Osama fail.

After 9/11, the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, assembled a council of clerics to judge his claim that Osama was the country's guest and could not be surrendered. The clerics countered that because a guest should not cause problems for his host, Osama should leave. But instead of keeping pressure on the Taliban to resolve the issue in ways they could live with, the US ridiculed their deliberation and bombed them into a closer alliance with Al-Qaeda. Pakistani Pashtuns then offered to help out their Afghan brethren.

American-sponsored "reconciliation" efforts between the Afghan government and the Taliban may be fatally flawed if they include demands that Pashtun hill tribes give up their arms and support a Constitution that values Western-inspired rights and judicial institutions over traditions that have sustained the tribes against all enemies.

Riding over local values
Outsiders who ignore local group dynamics tend to ride roughshod over values they don't grasp. My research with colleagues on group conflict in India, Indonesia, Iran, Morocco, Pakistan and the Palestinian territories found that helping to improve lives materially does little to reduce support for violence, and can even increase it if people feel such help compromises their most cherished values.

The original alliance between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda was largely one of convenience between a poverty-stricken national movement and a transnational cause that brought it material help. American pressure on Pakistan to attack the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in their sanctuary gave birth to the Pakistani Taliban, who forged their own ties to Al-Qaeda to fight the Pakistani state.

In fact, it is the US that holds today's Taliban together. Without us, their deeply divided coalition could well fragment, and it wouldn't be surprising if the Taliban were to sever ties to Osama if he became a bigger headache to them than America.

- THE NEW YORK TIMES

Scott Atran, an anthropologist at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, John Jay College and the University of Michigan, is the author of the forthcoming Listen to the Devil.
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Old 2009-12-13, 14:02   Link #5008
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Permanent residents of Japan may be granted the right to vote in local elections.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/p...idents-in-2010

May sound radical even from a Western perspective, until you look at the reasons why it's necessary.
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Old 2009-12-13, 20:58   Link #5009
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Emperor's exceptional meeting with Chinese VP stirs controversy

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''If we can still call it off now, we should,'' said Watanabe, adding that countries should always be treated equally regardless of their size, economic power or political power.
Quote:
''There are many people, even within the Democratic Party of Japan, who regard it as a poor decision,'' Watanabe said, emphasizing that the meeting should kept to a one-time exception if it cannot be canceled.

Members of the two other parties in the ruling coalition -- the Social Democratic Party and the People's New Party -- also spoke out against the hastily arranged meeting.

''It shouldn't be granted even as an exception,'' SDP lawmaker Tomoko Abe said on the same program, while PNP lawmaker Akiko Kamei said she shared the Imperial Household Agency's concern over political manipulation of the throne.

Nobutaka Machimura, a former chief Cabinet secretary and a member of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, also said when he was asked to arrange a similar meeting by an ambassador he knew, he turned the request down ''according to the rules.''
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Old 2009-12-14, 00:11   Link #5010
saya_leviathan
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Attacker hurls statuette, bloodies Berlusconi face

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ROME – An attacker hurled a statuette at Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, striking the leader in the face at the end of a rally Sunday and leaving the stunned 73-year-old media mogul with a broken nose and bloodied mouth.

Police said the 42-year-old man accused of attacking Berlusconi as he signed autographs in Milan was immediately taken into custody. The Italian leader was rushed to a hospital where he was being held overnight.
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Old 2009-12-14, 05:28   Link #5011
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Originally Posted by saya_leviathan View Post
Just heard about it this morning. I'm actually impressed. As much of a basterd as Berlusconi is, this was a little too much. You have to give him credit for having been in power of the most stable political party in charge of Italy since Mussolini, so there has to be something he's doing right compared to his predecessors. I was also impressed by his actions following the attack, saying he was ok and insisting (in vain) to be discharged from the hospital early. I have to admire him for his perseverance.
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Old 2009-12-14, 06:18   Link #5012
Narona
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Hmm...the first minority "black" president is a bad president. hard to swallow.
Hey hey, don't bury him already. He has still the time to do some good things. Plus, while a part of the americans see him, for example, as bad president because of his healthcare reform, another part of the americans and many people from europe (like france) think it's something really good.
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Old 2009-12-14, 06:22   Link #5013
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Originally Posted by Narona View Post
Hey hey, don't bury him already. He has still the time to do some good things. Plus, while a part of the americans see him, for example, as bad president because of his healthcare reform, another part of the americans and many people from europe (like france) think it's something really good.
That's true, but I have doubts that he will be re-elected when the time comes because of this. After all, it's not the French who will decide America's next president, but the Americans. He does have potential to do things, and would manage to do them if he would be re-elected, but I doubt he'll be able to before his first terms is up.
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Old 2009-12-14, 06:27   Link #5014
Narona
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Originally Posted by Yoko Takeo View Post
That's true, but I have doubts that he will be re-elected when the time comes because of this. After all, it's not the French who will decide America's next president, but the Americans. He does have potential to do things, and would manage to do them if he would be re-elected, but I doubt he'll be able to before his first terms is up.
Well, it's just one of the cause, but the fact that american medias are free to spread the worse lies ever (like saying obama is the new hitler without any good reasons nor fact) doesn't help.

Last edited by Narona; 2009-12-14 at 06:49.
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Old 2009-12-14, 06:31   Link #5015
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Originally Posted by Narona View Post
Well, it's just one of the cause, but the fact that american medias are free to spread the worth lies ever (like saying obama is the new hitler without any good reasons nor fact) doesn't help.
That's where the problem is. To me, it looks like the media's against Obama because he's bringing changes to things that the general society was _forced to get_ used to, like this health reform. Because it's different, the media doesn't like it because it goes against the idea of capitalism, self-preservation and achievement (you don't deserve it if you don't work for it, even if it's something every human has a right to have regardless), and tells the people that it's bad. I doubt there are a lot of people who don't like the changes. The sad truth is how support from the people is worthless, but support from the media is everything. Because of this, I doubt Obama will get re-elected and have time to change the US for the better.
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Old 2009-12-14, 08:44   Link #5016
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That's where the problem is. To me, it looks like the media's against Obama because he's bringing changes to things that the general society was _forced to get_ used to, like this health reform. Because it's different, the media doesn't like it because it goes against the idea of capitalism, self-preservation and achievement (you don't deserve it if you don't work for it, even if it's something every human has a right to have regardless), and tells the people that it's bad. I doubt there are a lot of people who don't like the changes. The sad truth is how support from the people is worthless, but support from the media is everything. Because of this, I doubt Obama will get re-elected and have time to change the US for the better.
Unfortunately, his detractors don't realise that America's power comes from its stance on freedom, but with great power comes great responsibility.

The world's most effective military force means nothing if the mere civilian does not help set things straight inside the country while brave souls just lose their life projecting the former's ideals. What Obama was trying to do is to clean up the economic and diplomatic mess the war of terror has left behind, thus his rather "socialist" policies. He did that because time is not on the side of the Americans.

I bet my harem that 30 years down the road, not just the older Americans, but the rest of the world will be grateful for what he has done.
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Old 2009-12-14, 08:51   Link #5017
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Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
Unfortunately, his detractors don't realise that America's power comes from its stance on freedom, but with great power comes great responsibility.

The world's most effective military force means nothing if the mere civilian does not help set things straight inside the country while brave souls just lose their life projecting the former's ideals. What Obama was trying to do is to clean up the economic and diplomatic mess the war of terror has left behind, thus his rather "socialist" policies. He did that because time is not on the side of the Americans.

I bet my harem that 30 years down the road, not just the older Americans, but the rest of the world will be grateful for what he has done.
I especially agree with that last part. America does promote freedom, yes, but the way Bush did it was wrong, by stamping democratic views on Iraq against its will and causing a war that could easily have been avoided. What you say is theoretically true, but giving too much freedom to the people causes disorder. If everyone is out for themselves, their gain will inevitably be someone else's losses. Some Americans would view Obama's strategy as socialist, but that's an extreme way of putting it becase there is a position between the two, where some parts of the economy are regulated because they need to be, such as health, education and public transport, while other more product-orientated industries like car manufacturing can be privatized. That's where America is wrong imho. Too many things are privately owned and end up being underprovided more often than not. That's what the problem with health insurance was. Not everyone could benefit from it fully.
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Old 2009-12-14, 12:06   Link #5018
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Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
Unfortunately, his detractors don't realise that America's power comes from its stance on freedom, but with great power comes great responsibility.

The world's most effective military force means nothing if the mere civilian does not help set things straight inside the country while brave souls just lose their life projecting the former's ideals. What Obama was trying to do is to clean up the economic and diplomatic mess the war of terror has left behind, thus his rather "socialist" policies. He did that because time is not on the side of the Americans.

I bet my harem that 30 years down the road, not just the older Americans, but the rest of the world will be grateful for what he has done.
1. Hindsight is 20/20.
2. I'm sure you'd notice Lee Kuan Yew's call to US to stay involved in Asia, to "counterbalance" China. Effectively, what the Sage of Asia is letting up is that China and US are now equal, so it isn't the case anymore that US is the largest military power now. What Obama should do now is to plan, by 2012, to not only exit Iraq, but Afghanistan as well, and stop draining the resources of their allies, especially those in Asia (effectively just Singapore, Japan and South Korea) as all three have their own sensitive borders (Malaysia for Singapore, China for Japan and DPRK for South Korea).
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Old 2009-12-14, 12:19   Link #5019
Vexx
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Keep in mind that the majority of American media is owned by extremely large corporations that prefer the status quo. Those corporations are controlled by an incredibly small group of ultra-wealthy. Progressive change (or even small government conservatism on the other side) doesn't assist them in their short term profiteering interests.

The "left right" ideology debate is a sham in this context -- corporatism isn't "left right", its whatever maximizes the profit for the very few at the top. "Free market" to them only means they have free reign -- not that there is healthy competition thanks to fair regulation. The attempts in the US to change how healthcare costs are handled (e.g. to share the costs amongst the whole tribe) are a direct assault on the pocketbooks of the "vampires" The attempts to regulate the financial sector so they don't keep imploding the economy are met with the most outrageous nonsensical claims (because it reduces that short-term maximizing in favor of long term investment).

You can list each of the major challenges the US and other countries face and in each case -- it is a group of the artificial puppet entities we call "corporation" as manipulated by a very few that stands as an obstacle to affecting the best solution for the most people.
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Old 2009-12-14, 12:38   Link #5020
Narona
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You can list each of the major challenges the US and other countries face and in each case -- it is a group of the artificial puppet entities we call "corporation" as manipulated by a very few that stands as an obstacle to affecting the best solution for the most people.
At worse it will end up as usual



The people will have enough and will cut heads
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