Monday, 28 January 2008

A Place in the Auvergne, Saturday, 26th January, 2008


Warning that the United States faces an economic crisis, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, urged his Latin American allies to withdraw their billions of dollars in international reserves that they have in U.S banks...
"We shoud start to bring our reserves here. Why does that money have to be in the north?"

A large U.S. spy satellite has lost power and could hit Earth in late Febuary or early March, government officials said. It was not known where on the planet it might come down.


The minister of civil affairs, Li Xueju, said the government began paying "subsidies" to nuclear test veterans last year, Xinhua, the state run news agency, reported Saturday. It was the first public acknowledgement of the benefit.

China conducted 45 nuclear tests at its remote Lop Nur site in the western region of Xinjiang - 23 of them in the atmosphere - between 1964 and 1996, when it signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban. There have been reports of increased incidences of cancers and other diseases in the population around the test site.

SANA, Yemen
[In 2002] Saleh hit on an idea that he hoped would satisfy both his American and Islamist partners: "al hiwar al fikri," or intellectual dialogue. This was an effort to inculcate the idea that Islam, properly understood, does not condone terrorism. Sessions began with hundreds of former jihadists who remained in prison with charges.


Dr. George Habash, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a hard-line Marxist group that shocked the world with a campaign of airline hijackings and bombings in the late 1960s and early 1970s, died Saturday of a heart attack in Amman...

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, ordered three days of mourning and flags lowered to half-staff in the Palestinian territories.


In other violence, a former city official was fatally stabbed along with his wife and daughter in their home in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in north eastern Baghdad...

The attackers stormed the two story house late Saturday, killing Ahmed Jwad Hashim, his wife and their daughter, and leaving a visiting nephew seriously wounded.

COMMENTARY (Roger Cohen)
GREENVILLE, South Carolina
Something is going on in America. Even in this depressed corner of the country, a place where trains no longer stop and poor families get water from shallow wells, you feel it. A political campaign has become a movement with Barack Obama at its head.

DAVOS, Switzerland
Four speakers debate the future of design
[Paola Antonelli of MoMa] also believes that the yearning for privacy - or Existenzmaximum, as she calls it - will be an increasingly important issue for designers in the future.

The mainstream music industry is coming to recognize a price for a digital song that might be good enough to compete with the underground exchange of tunes on the Internet: free.

Last year, a Tehelka reporter spent six months undercover in the western state of Gujarat, where more than 2,000 Muslims were killed during a pogrom in 2002. The undercover footage showed Hindu nationalists confessing to murder and rape. The transcripts were published in November. The next issue, headlined "India Writes Back", contained only reader mail, most expressing deep shock. Nonetheless, the chief minister of the State, Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist who was implicated in the sting, was re-elected last month.

But even these [contagious] ideas don't really spread until chatter grows on the Internet. So some agencies are now willing to go directly to the Web even with a mainstream campaign like Nescafe videos in France.
"It proved that online can be a mass strategy, that ordinary people can be your media strategy," said Julien Braun, the founder of Blogbang.

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