Saturday, 19 January 2008

A Place in the Auvergne, Thursday, 17th January, 2008


A senior UN official says the Algerian government ignored repeated requests to close off the streets outside the organization's building in Algiers in the months before the suicide car bombing there last month killed 17 staff members.
"They didn't say no, they simply didn't respond," said official, Kemal Dervis...

The net loss [for Merrill Lynch] was $9.83 billion for the fourth quarter, compared with earnings of $2.35 billion a year earlier.

In a survey of 55 hospitals financed by a World Bank project in Orissa, investigators "observed problems in 93 percent of them...
India is the bank's largest borrower with 75 active projects worth a total commitment of $15.2 billion.

"Our budget is not dependent on foreign funding," said Alfred Mutua, a government spokesman. "The government cannot be blackmailed."
"Your are here as our development partners, you are not here to blackmail and threaten us," he said referring to foreign donors....
The United States gives the country more than $600 million in aid each year.

The federal government has released $450 million to help low income homeowners struggling with the rising cost of heating their homes.

Just days after being told that milk and meat from cloned livestock appeared to be safe, Europeans were warned that cloning causes suffering to the animals themselves.

Recent inmates included a 15-year old girl, Yosra, whose family said she had been raped by her 22-year old cousin. Four male relatives were in jail with her - endangered by accusations that they failed to promptly inform the head of the family of the rape and subsequent pregnancy - while the male cousin is free.
Yosra gave birth to a baby girl after the rape, but her brother "threw away" the newborn, according to the women and nobody knew where to find the baby.

Witnesses said that moments before the blast, a policeman seized the bomber and shouted "Stranger! Stranger!," but was too late to stop the explosion which killed both men [and at least 11 others].

We are all engaged in wilful self-deception: We try to convince ourselves that things are getting better, while Afghanistan - and our hopes for stability in the region - recede further and further into the distance.

We're just a couple of weeks into the New Year and already the terrorists have scored two notable victories...
First the authorities in Belgium cancelled the traditional New Year's Eve fireworks in Brussels because of security concerns linked to terrorism. Then, a few days later, the Paris-Daka Rally was cancelled for the first time since its inception in 1979.

In only 80 years, Kenya's population had jumped from 2.9 million to 37 million. Had America grown at the same rate since 1928, when it had 120 million people, it would now have 1.56 billion citizens.
Kenya belongs to a group of some 40 countries that have extremely high population growth - rates of increase that I call "demographic armament." In a typical nation of this group, every 1000 males aged 40-44 are succeeded by at least 2,500 boys aged 0 to 4. In Kenya there are 4,190 boys.
By contrast...Britain with just 677 boys between 0 and 4 replacing every 1,0000 males 40 to 44, in the category of "demographic capitulation."

Their apartment has a combined living room and dining room, a kitchen, an office, four en suite bedrooms, maid's quarters and a service area. On the terrace, they have added a black-tile swimming pool with a waterfall and fiber optic cable lighting as well as a second kitchen and eating area. The pool's glass bottom doubles as a skylight, and an amusing leg observatory, in the living room.

Until now, the only outsiders allowed to view the vast erotica collection of about 2,000 works [at the National Library] were legitimate researchers. Certainly the public has responded. The exhibition is one of the most popular in years. It takes an hour to get in.

Louis Vitton came up with a novel idea: Forget the soundtrack and the rock 'n' roll excitement and have a guy playing soothing stuff on a piano.
The music mogul Pharrell Williams love, love, loved it - the piano that is...The piano was created in the graphic check of the luxury house's iconic Damier design.
Branding and customizing a piano! You can be sure that there will be someone out there who will buy it.

"Reform died. Long live revolution.
"We think the regime is a capitalist regime and Ahmadinejad is a true fascist."

Credit Suisse Group bucked a financial industry trend Thursday, announcing a worldwide expansion plan for its flagship private banking arm...
It said it planned to add 1,000 bankers to serve wealthy clients by 2010, taking the total to around 4,100.
The Swiss group said it expected net new assets in its wealth-management division to rise by more than 6 percent a year and that long-term growth prospects for the wealth management industry were intact...

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