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Current Topic: Current Events

Op-Ed Contributor - Dead-End Russia -
Topic: Current Events 5:20 am EST, Feb 11, 2010

President Dmitri Medvedev has publicly stated that Russia needs to change course if it does not want to end up as a third-world country. Igor Shuvalov, the first deputy prime minister, recently told investors that although Russia had suffered its worse recession in a decade, it would be transformed into a “new country” by 2020 through innovation and investment in “human capital.” He said the investment climate would be significantly improved within a year through a reduction of red tape and a clean-up of the court system.

The problem is that we’ve heard this before. When Vladimir Putin moved into the Kremlin a decade ago he promised to ensure the rule of law and to tackle corruption. But under his watch there has been no progress toward an independent judiciary, and the corrupt bureaucracy has been allowed to expand.

Op-Ed Contributor - Dead-End Russia -

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Medvedev blasts Stalin defenders
Topic: Current Events 2:31 pm EDT, Oct 30, 2009

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has made an outspoken attack on those seeking to rehabilitate former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.
Under Mr Putin, the order was given for school history books to be re-written, highlighting Stalin's achievements.
It would appear there is a split within the Russian leadership on this highly sensitive issue.

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Medvedev blasts Stalin defenders

Gunman, guard shot at Holocaust museum - Crime & courts-
Topic: Current Events 8:34 pm EDT, Jun 10, 2009

Law enforcement officials identified the suspect as James Wenneker von Brunn, born in 1920, from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, NBC News reported. NBC said he may have had connections to hate groups or anti-government groups.

For those who started something when the terror book came out about right wing groups, this and the Tiller murder are the sort of thing it was talking about. How many lefty attacks have there been? Oh that's right, none.

Reality does have a liberal bias, and it's because of people like these guys.

Gunman, guard shot at Holocaust museum - Crime & courts-

Op-Ed Columnist - The Quagmire Ahead -
Topic: Current Events 8:29 am EDT, Jun  2, 2009

The end result is that G.M. will not become more like successful car companies. It will become less like them. The federal merger will not accelerate the company’s viability. It will impede it. We’ve seen this before, albeit in different context: An overconfident government throws itself into a dysfunctional culture it doesn’t really understand. The result is quagmire. The costs escalate. There is no exit strategy.

Op-Ed Columnist - The Quagmire Ahead -

A 'Ticking Time Bomb' Goes Off -
Topic: Current Events 6:28 am EST, Feb 23, 2009

KUWAIT CITY -- After arriving here from Guantanamo Bay in November 2005, Abdallah Saleh al-Ajmi was transported by Kuwaiti security agents to a military hospital, where he was allowed to meet with his family. He was soon moved to the city's central jail and placed in a high-security wing.

Every few days, he was taken to a small interrogation room, this time by officials of his own government who wanted to know what he had been doing in Afghanistan. Ajmi insisted that he never traveled to Afghanistan, that he never fought with the Taliban -- that he had simply gone to Pakistan to study the Koran and that he was apprehended when he traveled toward the Afghan border to help refugees. He kept trying to steer the sessions toward a discussion of his nearly four years at Guantanamo and what had happened to him there.

After four months, a judge ordered him freed on $1,720 bail. He was later tried in a criminal court and acquitted of all charges.

Senior U.S. government officials were deeply disappointed -- they had hoped that Kuwait, an American ally, would find a way to detain Ajmi for years -- but they refrained from any public criticism. At the very least, the officials figured, Kuwaiti authorities would keep a close watch on him. And they expected Ajmi to move on, to put his Guantanamo experience behind him, to get a job and settle down after his time in one of the toughest prisons on the planet.

Ajmi chose a different path. Last March, he drove a truck packed with explosives onto an Iraqi army base outside Mosul, killing 13 Iraqi soldiers and himself. It was the denouement of a nihilistic descent that his lawyers and family believe commenced at Guantanamo.

A 'Ticking Time Bomb' Goes Off -

Thomas L. Friedman: No way, no how, not here - International Herald Tribune
Topic: Current Events 9:04 am EST, Feb 18, 2009

There are nine bodies - all of them young men - that have been lying in a Mumbai hospital morgue since Nov. 29. They may be stranded there for a while, because no local Muslim charity is willing to bury them in its cemetery. This is good news.
If suicide-murder is deemed legitimate by a community when attacking its "enemies" abroad, it will eventually be used as a tactic against "enemies" at home, and that is exactly what has happened in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The only effective way to stop this trend is for "the village" - the Muslim community itself - to say "no more." When a culture and a faith community delegitimizes this kind of behavior, openly, loudly and consistently, it is more important than metal detectors or extra police. Religion and culture are the most important sources of restraint in a society.

That's why India's Muslims, who are the second-largest Muslim community in the world, after Indonesia's, and the one with the deepest democratic tradition, do a great service to Islam by delegitimizing suicide-murderers by refusing to bury their bodies. It won't stop this trend overnight, but it can help over time.

Thomas L. Friedman: No way, no how, not here - International Herald Tribune

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Clerics urge new jihad over Gaza
Topic: Current Events 12:57 am EST, Feb 18, 2009

At a weekend meeting in Istanbul, 200 religious scholars and clerics met with senior Hamas officials to plot a new jihad centred on Gaza.
The choice of Turkey was significant. Arab hardliners were keen to put aside historic differences with the Turks.

As one organiser put it: "During the past 100 years relations have been strained but Palestine has brought us together."

Many delegates spoke appreciatively of the protest by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who stormed out of a Davos debate on Gaza two weeks ago.
"Gaza is a gift," the Saudi religious scholar Mohsen al-Awajy told me. He and other delegates repeatedly referred to the Gaza war as "a victory".

"Gaza," he continued, "gives us power, it solves our differences. We are all now in a unified front against Zionism."

In closed meetings after sessions delegates focussed on the creation of a "third Jihadist front" - the first two being Afghanistan and Iraq. The intensity of the Israeli attack had "awakened all Muslims," Mr Awajy claimed.

"Palestine is a legitimate theatre of operations for jihad (holy war)," he added.

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Clerics urge new jihad over Gaza

Op-Ed Columnist - The Open-Door Bailout -
Topic: Current Events 6:48 am EST, Feb 11, 2009

Leave it to a brainy Indian to come up with the cheapest and surest way to stimulate our economy: immigration.

Op-Ed Columnist - The Open-Door Bailout -

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | First gay PM for Iceland cabinet
Topic: Current Events 12:18 pm EST, Feb  1, 2009

Iceland has announced a new government that will be headed by the modern world's first openly gay leader.

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | First gay PM for Iceland cabinet

Economic downturn may threaten Putin's power - International Herald Tribune
Topic: Current Events 8:00 am EST, Feb  1, 2009

Over the last eight years, as Vladimir Putin has amassed ever more power, Russians have often responded with a collective shrug, as if to say: Go ahead, control everything — as long as we can have our new cars and amply stocked supermarkets, our sturdy ruble and cheap vacations in the Turkish sun.

But now the worldwide financial crisis is abruptly ending an oil-driven economic boom here, and the unspoken contract between Putin and his people is being thrown into doubt. In newspaper articles, among political analysts, even in corners of the Kremlin, questions can be heard. Will Russians admire Putin as much when oil is at $40 a barrel as they did when it was at $140 a barrel? And if Russia's economy seriously falters, will his system of hard, personal power prove to be a trap for him? Can it relieve public anger, and can he escape the blame?

Economic downturn may threaten Putin's power - International Herald Tribune

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