Category Archives: World

British Cuts To Military Concern U.S. Officials

Plans by the British government to make significant cuts in defense spending have spurred concerns among American military experts about Britain’s ability to carry out its role as the United States’ most dependable ally.

Read more: Uk, British Government, Uk Military, Britain, Afghanistan War, World News

Yoani Sanchez: El Dorado and the Left of the 21st Century

Today’s guest post is from Claudia Cadelo, from her blog, Octavo Cerco.

El Dorado and Left of the 21st Century
by Claudia Cadelo

2010-09-25-eldorado.jpgMy only certainty is that I am not a communist, the rest I’m not that sure about. I have trouble defining myself politically. It could be the result of having been born into a system different from the rest of the world — outside its definitions of right and left — into a system based on one man and above all, on his whims. I love listening to people when they explain their political positions to me (including the orthodox, of course), and it disappoints me not to be drawn to any. Beyond the rights and freedoms of man, there is no cause I feel committed to.

But one reads, is informed, and strives to understand the world, especially the ideologies that move it. Rather than get on a plane, the four hundred pages of a book — nearly destroyed by its great many readers — or a documentary on a flash memory, tell me the story of humanity beyond the sea. In general, I have decided to establish margins for a minimum comparison so as not to drive myself crazy. It is not very useful, from my point of view, to try to compare a democracy with a system of State capitalism, or a dictatorship with a developing country. I can compare the United States with Europe, Mexico with Argentina, Chile or Haiti; Cuba with the former countries of the Soviet Union, with Iran, with the Chile of Pinochet, the Spain of Franco, and even North Korea. Any other comparison, Cuba versus Uruguay for example, is tainted by a primary antagonism: Totalitarian Society versus the Rule of Law.

Thus, when a European unionist tries to convince me of “the achievements of the Cuban Revolution,” it makes me want to cry. First, because there are no unions in Cuba, at least not what would historically be known as a workers’ union, whose function is to enforce the rights of the worker versus the boss, the company or the State. It would be healthy to get to the root of the concept, to respect the meanings of nouns so as not to fall into ambiguity; as my friend Reinaldo Escobar says, “Bread means bread and dictatorship means dictatorship.”

On this point, the paths of the left, unfortunately, tend to greatly confuse me. So I find people who condemn all the dictatorships in the universe except for the one in my small country, and who are insulted when they hear Franco spoken of with respect, yet they venerate Fidel Castro. Others hate the western press for its sensationalism, but don’t criticize that a single party controls our newspapers. There are those who are sure that the politics of the United States are interventionist and hegemonic, but they served as soldiers in Nicaragua, Angola and Ethiopia. There are even those who protest on the streets of New York against the war in Iraq with a three-by-three-foot poster of Ernesto Guevara. People, in short, who call the government of my country, “The Revolution.”
Claudia Cadelo

Yoani’s blog, Generation Y, can be read here in English translation.
Translating Cuba is a new compilation blog with Yoani, Claudia, and other Cuban bloggers in English.

Read more: Uruguay, Totalitarianism Pinochet, Che Guevara, Mexico, Chile, War in Ethiopia, Labor Unions, Haiti, Fidel Casto, Franco, War in Angola, Reinaldo Escobar, Ernesto Guevara, War in Nicaragua, Argentina, Iraq War, Cuba, Spain, North Korea, World News

India bids to ease Kashmir crisis

Release of stone-throwers and re-opening of schools are among steps announced by the Indian government to defuse tension in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Pentagon Mission: Buy And Destroy Controversial Book

The Defense Department is attempting to buy the entire first printing – 10,000 copies – of a memoir by a controversial former Defense Intelligence Agency officer so that the book can be destroyed, according to military and other sources.

Read more: Pentagon, Controversy, Cia, Pakistan, Operation Dark Heart, Book Burning, Fbi, Middle East, Controversial Book, Defense Department, Banned Book, Books News

Electric Vehicles Face One Crucial Hurdle: Where To Plug In?

Now a new generation of drivers is set to embark on a similar kind of experiment. Until recently, most electric vehicles, or EVs as they are often known, have had a range of just a few dozen miles, limiting their usefulness and appeal. That’s a big reason the long-talked-about era of electric vehicles has been, well, talked and talked about for so long with little real-world progress.

Read more: Hsbc, J.D.Power Automotive, Tesla Motors, Tesla Roadster, J.D. Power and Associates, Cars, Electric Vehicles, Mitsubishi, Japan, Ford, Ford Motel T, Business News

Christopher Lydon: Namita Gokhale: the revolution will be written! (AUDIO)

Listen to the conversation here:

NEW DELHI — Namita Gokhale — novelist, publisher, sparkplug of the annual Jaipur Literature Festival — says the essential (maybe the only) revolution in India today is literary. She’s envisioning something like a galactic explosion outward from a Sanskritic big bang of three or maybe five thousand years ago. Abetted by digital technology, in deep sync with the info-tech surge in the Indian economy, her Indian literary supernova today is a force for liberating language communities, women and what used to be “untouchable” or “unhearable” voices. “Many languages, one literature” is the stand-by mantra of Indian writers. “Simultaneous” and “subversive” are the contemporary tags on a booming Indian literary space that she says is “beginning to see itself in its own mirror.”

It is the multiplicity of voices. It’s the spaces both democratic and technological — you’ve had a very stratified society for thousands of years. People are breaking out into an individual and individuated understanding of themselves. It’s a big deal for women to be able to be given new spaces, for people from different castes, different repressive backgrounds to be given new spaces and equal opportunities.

There’s huge collateral damage … but it is a new India in the hope that many people bring, with education, with the right to assert themselves. Of course all this hope is surrounded by hopelessness and damage. But there is a new India, fighting for its voice through many, many languages, through many literary traditions coming together to speak not as one voice, because in India we would never speak as one voice. Not in an orchestra either, because an orchestra is not an Indian concept. But in what is called a jugalbandi. Jugalbandi is when two people sing and perform together in a way that has complex classical structures, but is completely improvised in that moment. That is a Jugalbandi…

Namita Gokhale in conversation with Chris Lydon in New Delhi. July, 2010

Read more: Literature, India, Publishing, Indian Languages, Jaipur-Literary-Festival, Radio Conversation, Christopher Lydon, Brown University, Namita Gokhale, World News

Obama pleads for Koran row calm

US President Barack Obama warns Americans they must not turn on each other in the row over a pastor who wanted to burn the Koran, following a day of angry protests across Afghanistan over the stunt.

Charles Karel Bouley: Enough About the Nut Bag In Florida; the Noise Is Dangerous

OK, now this has gone too far.

Enough of all this fake protest over the nut-bag in Florida with less followers than I had guests at my last dinner party; the one that wants to burn the Muslim holy book. All this global outrage, including a comment from the United States President, at this media created hysteria has now got to end before it hurts someone.

Because no matter what anyone will ever tell me, burning a few books does not endanger our troops, outrage any more or cause any worse ripple effect then launching two illegal occupations of Muslim homelands, sustaining those occupations for seven and nine years (and counting), respectively, and a refusal to acknowledge the Islamaphobia created by George W. Bush as he terrorized a nation and world for eight years — unstopped by Congress (including the Democratic led Congress since 2006) — with his NeoCon Right Wing Evangelical propaganda. That President told people he was preparing the Middle East for the return of Biblical angels; a statement by a Christian President with occupying forces in Muslim land, a statement backed up with things like “shock and awe.”

And as horrible as the nut-bag’s actions in Florida are, due simply to the disrespect of it all, I still believe blowing up neighborhoods with collateral damage called children, women, innocents whose only crime was living in a region deemed a danger by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and all the other unprosecuted war criminals is far worse. Killing people at a birthday party on camera and enjoying it is far worse. Asking our troops to go door to door in foreign lands with no clear goal is far worse.

We have destroyed the country of Iraq, period, end of story. It does not exist. There is a shell where a country once was with no real working government, inadequate defenses, infrastructure and the vast resources benefiting a small few and not the nation (please don’t say it sounds like here, or was that the plan?). It will be three countries one day, perhaps, or the starting place of a bigger conflict with Iran. Whatever it will be, it’s broken now, and is no way a unified, democratic peaceful ally or nation.

Afghanistan has been exploited by regimes that come in, and then realize, usually after bankrupting the nation, that the commitment is far beyond what any nation can actually commit to and afford, because the nation needs a complete and total revamp, rebuild, and needs a revolution (internal) to solve its problems. But the fact is, it’s broken, too, and our presence isn’t helping because our mission is still unclear. So, another broken country, broken before we found it, and it will be worse after we leave it.

These actions, and our foreign policy endangers our troops. Deeply ingrained hatred and misconceptions endangers our troops (on both sides). Allowing your President to deploy troops where there should be none, and attack strangers who are not our enemy endangers our troops and our security. Running a black ops torture chamber known an Guantanamo endangers our troops. Waterboarding with impunity endangers our troops. Not impeaching that President endangered our troops. Not forcing this one to completely withdraw (out means out) endangers our troops. And yes, Bashing Muslims in this country, be it stabbing a cabbie or protesting a Mosque, say it with me, endangers our troops (oh ya, and burning their Holy book).

But stop all the denouncing. Every major Christian leader should fly to Florida, form a human chain between this nut and the burn pile, and tell him No! We Christians know this is wrong and hateful and we stop you in the name of our Lord! Let them police their own crazies. But stop condemning and get up and do something. Go there, stop him. Put yourself in between. Show the Muslim world good Christians will stand up for them even to one of their own. But No. They’ll condemn and moan and groan but say “we have to let him, it’s his right in America…” Yup, it’s his right, but nope, you don’t have to let him. It’s your right to go there, and stop him. Show up, join arms, block the burn pile.

Or, in a show of solidarity, burn the Bible on Saturday as well to show that any God can withstand a good bonfire. Make s’mores, because only God can make a S’more, from the heat and be joyous that your God is more powerful than a small bonfire and that His Word has withstood much worse than a crazy guy in Florida. Burn your bibles to show the Muslims that it’s all just books being burned, not Gods or faiths (or religious leaders as the Catholics once did) but just pulp returning to ash. Show them your book and theirs are equal and that you both mourn the stupidity that day.

Or shut the hell up; Because the NOISE about it all is what is dangerous, not the act itself. I talk to thousands a day, my columns are read by more than 50 people. If I burned a Bible on Saturday would it start worldwide condemnation and protest? Would Obama comment about Karel. I doubt it. It would be seen as a radio stunt, like Beck’s rally, an entertainer doing a PR move.

So why isn’t this? This guy wanted press, that’s all, and he’s clearly crazy. With Snooki and Lindsay and others we have enough Crazy in the news. We don’t need Christian Crazy, any more than we have it already.

There are insane people like this guy in Florida all over America with agendas as bigoted, as phobic, as ridiculous as him. Media does not cover them because it leads to no productive end, and bigotry and racism isn’t new or newsworthy.

He’s a miscreant. Don’t focus on him.

Our actions as a nation have been far more offensive to the Muslim world than this. Bush’s illegal occupation of Iraq and our failed mission in Afghanistan (wasn’t it to get Osama Bin Laden, then, we failed) have only harmed us more. Guys like the one in Florida and things like the Mosque in NYC will end as soon as we get our troops out of harms way all together when it is not necessary.

The Muslim world, and most Americans agree, neither Iraq or Afghanistan are necessary. Start with that, and forget the preacher. Wars endangers troops more than bonfires.

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Russia suicide bomber murders 16

A suicide bomber has killed at least 16 people and wounded one hundred others at a market in Vladikavkaz in southern Russia, officials say.

India to hold caste census in 2011

India’s first caste-based census since 1931 will take place next year, the cabinet announces.