"World" Archive


After much fuss and muss, the Irani govt. finally admitted to election fraud:

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 must be turning over in his grave.

Continue reading "Iran"
June 23, 2009 | World | Comments

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:

... "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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April 8, 2009 | World | Comments

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!

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."

Continue reading "The endless boredom of Saudi Arabian youth"
March 8, 2009 | World | Comments

Yet another corruption list

What makes officials corrupt? 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)

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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October 3, 2006 | Pakistan , World | Comments

Blog Day 2006

Blog Day August 31, 2006

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:

Continue reading "Blog Day 2006"
August 31, 2006 | World | Comments

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 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 while in the right we have the Indian Government, fronting for the ISI.

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, 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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July 19, 2006 | Pakistan , World | Comments

Indian automakerTata to launch $2,000 car

The giant Tata Group is launching a 100.000 rupee car in 2008:

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.

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

Continue reading "Indian automakerTata to launch $2,000 car"
June 29, 2006 | World | Comments

An Inconvenient Truth

The Early Days

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.:

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.

Continue reading "An Inconvenient Truth"
May 26, 2006 | America , Movies , World | Comments

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. The page on Pakistan is excerpted below:

Continue reading "Reporters Without Borders: Freedom of the Press in 2006"
May 5, 2006 | Censorship , Pakistan , World | Comments

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?

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!

Continue reading "Why Do You Work So Hard?"
March 18, 2006 | America , Pakistan , World | Comments

Email on Iraq

Slightly contradicting the Iraqi presidents rosy opinions, as written by the White House.

A letter emailed to friends about the nightmarish situation in Iraq by Farnaz Fassihi, a Wall Street Journal correspondent in Iraq.

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October 2, 2004 | World | Comments

Iraq: Things keep getting worse

Weve lost this war. We've literally lost entire swaths of Iraqi territory to the insurgents. We've empowered Al Qaida and Islamist militants with new recruits and pictures of prison torture and rape to fuel their cause. We''ve stretched our military thin, hurt recruitment, made it impossible to respond to actual threats.

In short, this is the biggest political and military blunder this country has faced since -- I'll let the historians decide when. But as things are going, this is going to have worse repercussions for our nation than Vietnam ever did.
>> Daily Kos

Or as a Newsweek headline put it, Its worse then you think.

Continue reading "Iraq: Things keep getting worse"
September 19, 2004 | World | Comments

Some cows have it good

For the developing world, farm subsidies are slow-motion weapons of mass destruction. Yesterday�s WTO agreement is the first multilateral deal in a decade that pledges reductions. If it holds, much could change � but it could also mean new pressures for adherence to international IP laws.

In 1994 developing countries made a deal at the WTO. In exchange for TRIPS (the Trade Related Intellectual Property Agreement), they were supposed to get major reductions in agricultural and textile subsidies.

It was a bad deal. The world got TRIPS, but it didn't get much of the agricultural reform that was promised. Europe, the United States, and Japan have mostly moved backward on agriculture since 1994. The average European cow lives on $2.50 a day subsidy when 3 billion people live under $2 a day. The average Japanese cow, meanwhile, lives on a healthy $7.50 a day1, rather like a college student.

But yesterday's deal is a new hope. It agrees most prominently to reductions in cotton subsidies. We in the U.S. pay out $4 billion a year to 25,000 cotton farmers who then produce $3 billion a year in cotton. That's $160,000 per farmer -- we'd save alot of money by just opening a federal amusment park that employs everyone in the cotton industry.
>> Lawrence Lessing: An agreement that may change the world

Continue reading "Some cows have it good"
August 2, 2004 | World | Comments

Iraq Update

The US has managed to bumble its way up shit creek in Iraq spectacularly, as predicted many months earlier. Just about every report in the NYTimes coverage of Iraq is negative. The NYTimes is supposed to be somewhat 'left leaning', so to balance that lets see say about 4500 other news sources to get a broader overview of the whole Iraq/US mess. Nope, not a single positive news item anywhere as far as the eye can see. Hell, even Fox News, that bastion of goodness, freedom and American Pie has been bashing Bush and co. softly, with padded sticks, but it's a start nonetheless.

Continue reading "Iraq Update"
May 6, 2004 | World | Comments

the Iraq misadventure

>Can I ask you a question about what is happening over there.
>As of today, there is more horrific mayhem in Iraq.
>What do you folks make of this? I really do not trust our media
>to represent the truth. How do the Pakistan people in general
>feel about the US being there? If you have time to respond,
>it would be appreciated. If others there have comments they
>also would be appreciated. Thanks, Dave

Continue reading "the Iraq misadventure"
April 10, 2004 | Pakistan , World | Comments


Long ago, in centuries gone past, England was famous for its fish and chips. No more! Balti shops have stormed the maignot line and taken over in Birmingham. It takes a brave soul to venture into a Balt shop, for the recipe for making Balti is basically to chuck whatever meat is at hand into, you guessed it, a Balti with lots of ghee/oil and spices and stir it for 20 minutes. Voila, its the poor mans karahi! Some Many people claim its a Kashmiri dish, but thats just a attempt to give this fast food atrocity an exotic sounding lineage.

So we went hunting for fish and chips, and in between the hundred's of balti shops finally came across a few. But as I said to MO, if the fish and chip shop is also selling donor kebabs and cheeseburgers, its just not cricket. Fish and chips was just about the only enduring worthwhile British tradition, so it's a sad loss. I know they have all these funny superstitions and rituals involving this old woman in a big house, but I figure it must be some strange tribal custom which they'll outgrow as Britain integrates into the world. But damnit, why the fish!

Continue reading "Birmingham"
March 7, 2004 | World | Comments

John Kerry

John Kerry seems to have become the Democratic canidate for president. Anyone who could make this speech back in '71 has my vote:

...We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country, we could be quiet, we could hold our silence, we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel, because of what threatens this country, not the reds, but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out.

...We are asking Americans to think about that, because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

...We are here to ask, and we are here to ask vehemently, where are the leaders of our country? Where is the leadership? We're here to ask where are McNamara, Rostow, Bundy, Gilpatrick, and so many others? Where are they now that we, the men they sent off to war, have returned? These are the commanders who have deserted their troops. And there is no more serious crime in the laws of war.
>> Democracy Now: John Kerry Then: Hear Kerry's Historic 1971 Testimony Against the Vietnam War

If you change Vietnam to Iraq, and the names of the officials to Rumsfield and co. then this speech could have been written for today's war. At the most a para needs to be deleted.

Continue reading "John Kerry"
March 1, 2004 | World | Comments

You see, the trouble is, Im not actually American ...

Articulates brilliantly what people all over the world have been feeling about the American preoccupation with terror and their ham fisted way of dealing with it. Sometimes it seems like this entire war on terror is just a big pacifier for the so called American people. To call it a blinkers like they have on horses is plain wrong, for not only don't they see either side, they also don't see straight ahead...

But you see, the way my life runs, the security of the American people, even those I know and love, is not a constant and present consideration. I don't get up in the morning and think 'gee, what can I personally do to improve the security of the American people today.' Yes, I think about it from time to time, and seriously, but honestly it figures fairly low on my daily agenda. Consequently, if I'm to be fingerprinted, photographed, iris-scanned, weighed, poked, prodded, stripped naked, denied access to sanitation, handcuffed if I so much as raise my voice to complain, and generally humiliated because of your government's Patriot Act, I do not anticipate that I will be comforting myself with the thought that, hey, it's okay because I'm doing my bit to ensure the security of the American people. No, really, I won't.

I realise this is very unAmerican of me but, you see, I'm not actually American...

...Yours used to be a fine country, Mr Government Affairs Spokesman; I liked the straightforward way most people went about their business, and the 'how can we make things work for you' attitude. It was invigorating and I got a real buzz out of visiting. Now I'm not so sure I want to come and visit. I can stay at home and experience administrative paranoia; I don't need to see that your country can do it bigger and better than anyone else. I feel uncomfortable trying to deal with an administration that feels so threatened, without being able to define what that threat really is, that it has to tell itself bigger, ever more bizarre stories about perceived threats in order to justify its reactions to what are now effectively pieces of fluff moving in the breeze. This is not healthy. The USA is no longer a healthy country, and this is clearly demonstrated in the way it deals with the rest of the world. 9/11 was a terrible thing, in and of itself, but so was bombing Afghanistan and Iraq because your administration thought the perpetrators might be hiding there, even though it had few grounds for thinking so, and even fewer now that weapons of mass destruction are providing elusive.

So, Mr Government Affairs Spokesman, you'll excuse me if I don't get all excited about your conviction that knowing I'm ensuring the security of your people will somehow make everything better, because, actually, it won't.
>> You see, the trouble is, I'm not actually American ...

January 21, 2004 | World | Comments

U.S. Rejects Iraqi Plan to Hold Census by Summer

The U.S. seems to have exported Catch-22 to Iraq:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 3 : Iraqi census officials devised a detailed plan to count the country's entire population next summer and prepare a voter roll that would open the way to national elections in September. But American officials say they rejected the idea, and the Iraqi Governing Council members say they never saw the plan to consider it.

The practicality of national elections is now the subject of intense debate among Iraqi and American officials, who are trying to move forward on a plan to give Iraqis sovereignty next summer. As the American occupation officials rejected the plan to compile a voter roll rapidly, they also argued to the Governing Council that the lack of a voter roll meant national elections were impractical.

The American plan for Iraqi sovereignty proposes instead a series of caucus-style, indirect elections.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most influential Shiite cleric, is calling for national elections next June, not the indirect balloting specified in the American plan for turning over control of the country. But American officials, and some Iraqis say the nation is not ready for national elections, in part because the logistics are too daunting.

No census, no voter rolls, no voter rolls, no direct elections. What's the story? Aren't there enough Diebold machines available yet to produce the outcome the Bush Administration desires in Iraq?

It's amazing when the puppet-master doesn't even trust the puppet. First, the Governing Council wasn't given any advance input on how to spend the $20 billion U.S. taxpayers are contributing to reconstructing Iraq. Now we learn that the IGC was never consulted about holding a census.

Not content with their general record in the employment arena, the Bush Administration seems determined to put satirists out of work as well.
via Daily Kos: Remind Us Again What the Governing Council Supposedly Does ...

Iraq under Saddam, like all other police states, had extremely detailed records on the Iraqi people, and managed to conduct polls, rigged as they were. Not only that, there are other records still available:

There apparently is an up to date population enumeration: the Oil for Food Progam household ration information. Apparently it is intact and quite accurate. Some IGC person suggested it be used instead of a full census in order to handle that all-important first election in a timely manner.

Of course the idea was rejected by the Occupation Office of All Things.

December 5, 2003 | World | Comments

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