International news and events

    acanuck's picture

    True North, strong and free: a quiz

    Happy Canada Day, everyone. Snap quiz, if you're up to it:
    1. Exactly what are we celebrating the anniversary of?
    2. Who gets top billing as "Father of Confederation?"
    3. Name one other.
    4. Where exactly is the Canada-U.S. border (I mean the long straight part)?
    5. Why did Canadians decide they wanted a country anyway?
    6. What's the national anthem? Fairly easy one.
    7. What's the flag? Ditto.
    8. What's the national sport? What, another gimme?
    9. How many provinces are there? Territories?

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    North Korean Threat Generator ™

    BREAKING: Having issued a number of bellicose threats in recent weeks, the government of North Korea has run dangerously low on epithets and histrionic adjectives. Though North Korea is the world's leading producer of hyperbole, the prolific output of the government controlled Central News Agency has outstripped their supply. Analysts fear that without wrathful verbiage, North Korea will resort to military force and patriotic parades.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    North Korea threatens to "wipe out the aggressors once and for all"

    From the official Korean Central News Agency:

    "If the U.S. imperialists start another war, the army and people of Korea will ... wipe out the aggressors on the globe once and for all."

    A week ago, in response to U.S. threats to inspect cargo coming to and from North Korea, the same news agency vowed that North Korea would treat such actions as a declaration of war of promised a "100 or 1,000-fold retaliation with merciless military strike."

    Topics: 
    Michael Wolraich's picture

    North Korea's "1,000-fold" threats: They're bluffing

    The Kang Nam, a two-thousand ton North Korean freighter, is powering towards Southeast Asia. An eight-thousand ton American destroyer, the John S. McCain, trails behind it. As the two-ship mobile standoff crawls along the east coast of Asia, telephones have been ringing in Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo, as the leaders of the U.S., South Korea, and Japan scramble for a strategy to confront North Korea's weapons smuggling operations.

    Topics: 
    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Tweets from the Edge: an Iranian twitters as Tehran burns

    Follow the tragic experiences of an Iranian student on twitter as the protests in Tehran unfold: http://twitter.com/change_for_iran. I'll display the latest tweets on the right panel of this page. Here are some samples of recent tweets in chronological order:

    Topics: 
    acanuck's picture

    Iran: all tree, no forest

    For those of us who, like Mir Hosein Mousavi, are wondering what happened to our projected landslide green revolution, Josh Marshall links to an interesting Guardian article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jun/13/iranian-election

    Topics: 
    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Umbrella Warfare in Tiananmen Square

    At least they're not using tanks this time...

    Topics: 
    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Taliban Attack: Why Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)?

    When I read about yesterday's Taliban attack on the provincial headquarters of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), I raised my eyebrows. Why the ISI? It's not an easy target, and in fact the attack was repelled by guards. Nor would a successful attack have been an effective way to create instability. The ISI is not filled with sympathetic targets whose deaths would arouse the nation.

    Topics: 
    Michael Wolraich's picture

    History Lesson

    I took a walking tour of Westminster, London the other day. It was just drizzly enough to make you open an umbrella and at least windy enough to invert the umbrella once opened. English weather likes to tease visitors. The moment you think it's about to pour, it changes it's mind and goes all sunny. But as soon as you're ready to declare the rain past, it grays up and drizzles all over again.

    Topics: 
    Michael Wolraich's picture

    American Hegemony: What is it, Where is it going, and Who really cares anyway?

    There have been many sober pronouncements lately about the end American hegemony, both on this blog and elsewhere. Some have reacted with despondence, others with glee. It may be that the end is nigh--it has to end sometime--but we should keep in mind that the forecasters of doom emerge from their caves during every period of hardship.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Tamil Tigers: Let Your People Go

    Sri Lanka stands on the edge of a massacre. After 26 years of civil war, the Sri Lankan army has ousted ethnic Tamil separatists from vast territories they once controlled and trapped the remaining fighters on a 6-square mile strip of beach. With the fighters are an estimated 60,000 human hostages.

    Topics: 
    Michael Wolraich's picture

    At What Cost Justice?

    No, I am not referring to bankers. I'm speaking of the International Criminal Court's indictment of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on war crimes charges. Bashir is a force of evil in the world. His leadership has directly contributed to the suffering, murder, and genocide of millions. He deserves the most severe penalties we can in good conscience apply.

    Orlando's picture

    Should Free Speech Protect the Japanese Video Game RapeLay?

    RapeLay is a Japanese video game that has been around since 2006. You can read about the details in an incredibly disturbing review at HonestGamers.com. Although the game has never been for sale in the United States, it's existence became news last month when an individual put a copy for sale on Amazon.com.  After receiving complaints, Amazon.com removed the game from it's Web site and eBay followed suit.

    Orlando's picture

    Witch Hunts in Papua New Guinea: The Dark Side of Human Nature

    Before last week, all I knew about Papua New Guinea was that its capital was Port Moresby and that it was that island on top of Australia. But while I was searching the internet for examples of the country’s musical offerings, I was fascinated to learn that over 700 languages are spoken there, that most of the island doesn’t have access to television and can only be reached by airplanes, and that there is an incredible diversity of flora and fauna in the mountains and rainforests.

    acanuck's picture

    A one-, two- or three-state solution?

    Near the start of the military offensive against Hamas, Orlando sparked a spirited but civil debate with the question, "What is Israel thinking?" I argued one strategic goal was to drive a deeper wedge between the West Bank and Gaza, by forcing Egypt to open its Rafah crossing to refugees and wounded and take on the task of supplying food, fuel and medicine. If all Gaza's lifelines ran through Egypt, Israel could make the claim it is no longer the occupying power.

    Topics: 
    Orlando's picture

    What is Israel Doing?

    I used to watch The West Wing. In one of the very first episodes, the fictional president gets a briefing from the fictional Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in which the term “proportional response” is explained. The president is angry because terrorists shot down a military transport plane carrying someone with whom he had a personal relationship and he is ready to unleash the power of the United States military in retribution. The Chairman patiently explains that when they shoot down one of our planes, we take out a target that would be considered equitable.

    Topics: 

    Greek Riots

    Police CarsLast Saturday I got a call from my parents in Athens.  It was around seven o'clock here in Pittsburgh, so it must have been around two in the morning for them.  They were calling on their cell-phone.  They were trapped by riots in a tavern in downtown Athens.  But they were not frightened.  In fact, they sounded excited, and they held the cell-phone up for me, so that I could hear the chanting of protesters and the

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Korea, Madagascar, and Nouveau Colonialism

    Dagster Donal recently posted the news that a South Korea company is pursuing a deal with Madagascar to lease arable land equivalent to almost half of its currently farmed land for 99 years in order to grow crops for feed and biofuel. Chinese companies have been doing similar deals with a number of African countries but at much smaller scales.

    Pages

    Latest Comments