Iran

After much fuss and muss, the “Irani govt. finally admitted to election fraud”:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/23/world/middleeast/23iran.html?_r=1&ref=global-home&pagewanted=all:

bq. Iran’s most powerful oversight council announced on Monday that the number of votes recorded in 50 cities exceeded the number of eligible voters there by three million, further tarnishing a presidential election that has set off the most sustained challenge to Iran’s leadership in 30 years.

The interesting part about the whole protesting the elections bit is how little the country actually listens or even respects their leaders. “Khomeni”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khomeni must be turning over in his grave.

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The dark side of Dubai

A great article on the worlds capital to globalization and slavery: “The Dark side of Dubai: Dubai was meant to be a Middle-Eastern Shangri-La, a glittering monument to Arab enterprise and western capitalism. But as hard times arrive in the city state that rose from the desert sands, an uglier story is emerging. Johann Hari reports:”:http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/the-dark-side-of-dubai-1664368.html

bq.. … “The thing you have to understand about Dubai is – nothing is what it seems,” Karen says at last. “Nothing. This isn’t a city, it’s a con-job. They lure you in telling you it’s one thing – a modern kind of place – but beneath the surface it’s a medieval dictatorship.”

…There are three different Dubais, all swirling around each other. There are the expats, like Karen; there are the Emiratis, headed by Sheikh Mohammed; and then there is the foreign underclass who built the city, and are trapped here. They are hidden in plain view. You see them everywhere, in dirt-caked blue uniforms, being shouted at by their superiors, like a chain gang – but you are trained not to look. It is like a mantra: the Sheikh built the city. The Sheikh built the city. Workers? What workers?

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The endless boredom of Saudi Arabian youth

What do you in in a country where a king and his not-so-royal family owns everything, and gives the entire population a stipend so they go off somewhere and don’t bother the king? “Go drag racing!”:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/world/middleeast/08drift.html?ref=world

bq.. This may be the most popular sport of Saudi youth, an obsessive, semilegal competition that dominates weekend nights here. It ranges from garden variety drag racing to “drifting,” an extremely dangerous practice in which drivers deliberately spin out and skid sideways at high speeds, sometimes killing themselves and spectators.

For Saudi Arabia’s vast and underemployed generation of young people, these reckless night battles are a kind of collective scream of frustration, a rare outlet for exuberance in an ultraconservative country where the sexes are rigorously segregated and most public entertainment is illegal. *They are, almost literally, bored out of their minds.*

“Why do they do it?” said Suhail Janoudi, a 27-year-old sales clerk who was watching the races from the roadside with a faint smile around 1:30 a.m. *”Because they have nothing else to do. Because they are empty.”*

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Yet another corruption list

!http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/images/2006/parking.gif! “What makes officials corrupt?”:http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200610/primarysources _Disentangling law and culture is a tricky business, but a pair of economists have come up with an ingenious way to do it: studying the frequency of parking violations committed by diplomats in New York City. Since, as their study reports, there is “essentially zero legal enforcement of diplomatic parking violations,” the authors hypothesized that any cross-national variation in parking-violation rates should flow from culture alone. And sure enough, diplomats from countries with high levels of corruption were significantly more likely to incur parking tickets, suggesting that cultural factors rather than legal norms drive a great deal of official misconduct._ (via “kottke.org”:http://kottke.org)

More interestingly, the number of parking tickets of diplomats from corrupt countries increased with their stay in New York, implying that the diplomats took some time to make sure they weren’t going to get caught, then went all out. So, a deterrent would lower corruption, even if it can’t stop it.

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Blog Day 2006

“Blog Day August 31, 2006”:http://www.blogday.org/

bq. In one long moment In August 31st, bloggers from all over the world will post a recommendation of 5 new Blogs, Preferably, Blogs different from their own culture, point of view and attitude. On this day, blog surfers will find themselves leaping and discovering new, unknown Blogs, celebrating the discovery of new people and new bloggers.

I hate internet memes, but this one is a good idea. So here goes:

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The ISI blocks blogs in India

India is reporting that blogspot blogs are blocked and that they have no idea why this has happened.

Someone in the know (you know, the people who go by “they”) informed a friend’s uncle that it was the insidious ISI, who has infiltrated the -BJP- Congress govt. at the highest echlons and got them to block them blogs! “iFaqeer”:http://ifaqeer.blogspot.com/ put it best: _Who else would support something so obviously against the interests of the Indian people?_

So, in the left corner, we have the “Bloggers Against Censorship”:http://censorship.wikia.com/wiki/Bloggers_Against_Censorship while in the right we have the “Indian Government”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_India, fronting for the “ISI”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inter-Services_Intelligence.

As everyone knows, all things bad in India are done by Pakistani agencies. The Americans, as usual, say that “there is no evidence of Pakistani involvement”:http://www.dawn.com/2006/07/18/top1.htm, but little do they know. Hell, they’re too busy selling more planes & air-to-air missiles to shoot down storks delivering Indian babies to worry about a few loose bombs on the ground!

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Indian automakerTata to launch $2,000 car

The giant “Tata Group”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tata_Group is “launching a 100.000 rupee car in 2008”:http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1726576,00020010.htm:

bq.. Tata Group Chief Ratan Tata told shareholders that the launch of the car would create a new paradigm in low-cost personal transport, carve out a new market segment and reach a broader base of the pyramid.

“The styling and designing of the car have been completed and prototypes are being tested in the plant. It will be a rear engine, 4-5 seat, four-door car with about a 30 horsepower engine,” Tata said in the company’s annual report for 2005-06.

The car will be launched in early 2008 and we believe it will be extremely attractive to the Indian consumer, particularly younger families, at a price level of about Rs one lakh, Tata said.

p. If lauched at that price, for even a few hundred dollars more, this will change the entire country.

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An Inconvenient Truth

“!(big)http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/images/2006/An_Inconvenient_Truth.jpg 490×135 (The Early Days)!”:http://www.climatecrisis.net/

A film on the dangers of global warming. It’s basically Al Gore presenting a very slick slideshow, but there is no more important subject. It’s ‘illuminating, fascinating and sometimes frightening.’:http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/reviews/2006-05-23-inconvenient-truth_x.htm:

bq.. Gore’s point is a simple one: We have a moral imperative, as individuals and as a nation, to do something about global warming, the dramatic, precipitous rise of world temperatures in the atmosphere, on land and in bodies of water, caused by greenhouse gases.

Gore has a gift for making scientific data digestible, understandable and intriguing. He is so consumed by the subject and impassioned in his efforts to change minds that it is hard not to get caught up in his fervor.

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Reporters Without Borders: Freedom of the Press in 2006

From the introduction: …Pakistan remains attracted to control and censorship. Omnipresent military secret services continue to harass investigative journalists, while the Urdu-language press is closely watched. Under an onslaught from the Jihadists, the president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has stepped up pressure on the most radical media.At the same time he has closed an FM radio accused of relaying a BBC World Service Programme on last October’s earthquake.

Download the complete report: “Reporters WIthout Borders: Freedom of the Press Worldwide in 2006”:http://www.rsf.org/IG/pdf/report.pdf. The page on Pakistan is excerpted below:

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Why Do You Work So Hard?

Interesting article on work: “Why Do You Work So Hard? Is it maybe time to quit your safe job and follow your path and infuriate the establishment?”:http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/gate/archive/2005/07/08/notes070805.DTL

In Pakistan, the term work used to have different connotations that in the West. That is slowly changing, with much of the corporate sector demanding employees adhere to the American work ethic, but minus the american pay.

Of course, much parts of the Pakistani work sector still function at their own pace. The public sector is stuck way back in the colonial ages – the major difference being that the english had natives to do their work, and got them to do it – now that the natives are the colonials there is no one left to do any work!

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