Monday, 11 February 2008

Sunday, 10th February, 2008


Russia on Sunday proposed a new strategic dialogue with the United States with the aim of re-starting arms control talks and establishing closer cooperation in combating terrorism.
The proposals, outlined in a speech by Sergei Ivanov, Russia's deputy prime minister and a former defense minister, marked a shift in tone and content, compared with a speech last week by President Vladimir Putin and a speech Putin delivered at the Munich Security Conference here a year ago.

"I am concerned that many people on this Continent may not comprehend the magnitude of the direct threat to European security," Gates said. "For the United States, Sept. 11 was a galvanizing event, one that opened the American public's eyes to dangers from distant lands."
In a hall filled with government officials, legislators and policy analysts from around the world, Gates added: "So now I would like to add my voice to those of many allied leaders on the Continent and speak directly to the people of Europe. The threat posed by violent Islamic extremism is real and it is not going to go away."...
While many NATO governments "appreciate the importance of the Afghan mission, European public support for it is weak," Gates said, adding: "Many Europeans question the relevance of our actions and doubt whether the mission is worth the lives of their sons and daughters."
But they "forget at our peril that the ambition of Islamic extremists is limited only by opportunity," he continued.

Israeli cabinet ministers pressed Sunday for sharper military action in Gaza after a rocket attack by Palestinian militants the night before seriously wounded two brothers, 8 and 19, in the border town of Sderot...
The attack Saturday caused an uproar in part because of the age of the boys who were wounded. The rocket caught them out in the street; the alert system sounded, but did not give them enough time to take cover. The younger boy has had part of one leg amputated, but his doctors said the condition of both brothers had stabilized by Sunday. About 40 rockets were launched Friday and Saturday, army officials said.

At least 23 people were killed Sunday after a car bomb exploded north of Baghdad at a checkpoint run by the police and citizen patrols of Iraqis who have turned against the insurgency, Iraqi officials said.

A military panel on Sunday sentenced a U.S. Army Ranger to 10 years in prison for killing an unarmed Iraqi detainee and planting a machine gun near his body to mislead investigators, Solomon Moore reported from Camp Liberty, Iraq.
Sergeant Evan Vela has already served 225 days in Kuwait, and will receive a dishonorable discharge. The government had sought a prison term of at least 15 years, and Vela could have received a life sentence.
The eight-member military panel deliberated for three hours before reaching the verdicts on the third day of the court martial. The trial was the third related to the killing of Genei Nesir Khudair al-Janabi, a taxi driver and farmer who stumbled, along with his son, Mustafa, 17, into Vela's sniper hideout.
Vela and his squad leader, Staff Sergeant Michael Hensley, held the father and son captive for about 30 minutes. Then they released the boy, and Vela shot Janabi in the head with a 9-millimeter pistol, killing him.
Vela, who was trained in the field to be a sniper, testified that the point-blank shooting was his only confirmed kill.
Prosecutors argued in their closing statements that Vela "aided and abetted" the planting of the gun and then made false statements to investigators about the killing.
" 'Are you ready?' Those are the words that Sergeant Hensley said to Sergeant Vela," said a military prosecutor, Major Charles Kuhfahl. "Sergeant Vela was at a crossroads. He had two choices. He could have taken a hard right." Instead, Khufahl argued, Vela "chose the easy wrong and he killed him."
"You know it was murder, plain and simple," he said. "United States soldiers do not kill unarmed, detained individuals."

VIEWS: INCREDIDBLE INDIA - THE DARK REALITY (Siddharth Dube and Mohan Guruswamy)
The mood among affluent and middle-class Indians as the country marks its 58th year as a republic is unabashedly celebratory. Everywhere they look there is evidence that India is finally being taken seriously as an economic and political powerhouse
So it is little wonder that prosperous Indians increasingly think of their country as "Incredible India!," the tag line of the government's global advertising campaign...
While there is some welcome truth to these new images, the defining reality of India is that it remains the land of mass poverty, scarcely less so than before its economy began to take off 15 years ago.
The government's latest survey of living standards reports that the number of extremely poor Indians, those chronically unable to consume even the minimum calories needed for full functioning, is an astonishing 301 million, just 19 million less than in 1983. At this rate, it would take India 300 years to lift all its people out of even the most extreme levels of poverty. The survey's results suggest that extreme poverty has fallen no faster, and possibly more slowly, in the past 15 years of spectacular economic growth than in earlier periods, challenging the popular notion that money "trickles down" to all.
Moreover, the true scale of poverty and deprivation is far greater than that suggested by even the huge ranks of the extremely poor. A recent report by the prominent economist Arjun Sengupta, chairman of a key government commission on labor conditions, emphasized that another 50 percent of India's people, over 500 million in all, live on less than 20 rupees a day, which puts them above the official poverty line but still leaves them "in abject poverty and excluded from all the glory of a shining India." Twenty rupees is about 50 U.S. cents, but adjusted for purchasing power falls somewhat below the $2 a day international poverty line. While the proportion of Indians living in such poverty has being falling slowly, their absolute numbers have risen by 100 million in the past 15 years alone.
Poverty has never been high on India's political agendas. The interests of India's business elite and growing middle classes dominate media attention. Celebrations of prosperity, typified by the "Incredible India!" campaign, drown out the ubiquitous evidence that the vast majority of Indians lead desperate lives. The view from middle-class India today is that theirs is a land of wealthy and middle-class people, with a small and shrinking minority of impoverished people. No wonder: In a interview with the BBC earlier this year Chidambaram, a key architect of narrow business-friendly reforms, asserted, "I'm confident we can wipe out poverty by 2040."
What will it take to transform India's newfound dynamism and prosperity into a meaningful reduction in poverty?...
And, even more critically, it requires rural prosperity through ending the disastrous neglect of agriculture, rural infrastructure (particularly state-provided irrigation), and rural industries. The lobbyists from trade, finance and business - who have been embraced too closely by almost all of India's political parties - have little interest in these areas.

On Sunday, in a meeting of two teams that lost in the opening round, England, who threw away its first game in the last 20 minutes, nearly did the same thing again but clung on to beat Italy, 23-19, in Rome.
Jonny Wilkinson, much criticized for his role in the collapse against Wales a week earlier, made the last pass before Paul Sackey and Toby Flood scored England's two tries in the first 15 minutes. When he converted the second, Wilkinson reached 1,000 points for England.

"Just about anything you can think of has some sort of major topping pattern that was building last year," said Nicole Elliott, an analyst at Mizuho Corporate Bank. "Most have tested or broken through some sort of key level. The next move is a large move lower."
She added: "It will take months. I don't think there will be a sudden 'whoosh' to get there. But on the other hand, when things unravel, they usually do fast."..
"Finance is the ultimate global industry," said Elliot. "Literally at the push of a button, I can put money wherver I want into just about any instrument I can think of, and there is no cheap money any more. It's gone. Investors now should really not worry too much about investment returns, but rather they should spend their time and energy on capital preservation."

ANAHEIM, California
An animatronic figure with an estimated $1 million price tag will sing songs and interact with guests as they wait. Employees dressed as "Toy Story" characters will stroll among the crowds.
"There's an erosion of patience," said Bruce Vaughn, chief creative executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, the company's development group. "People's tolerance for lines is decreasing at a rapid rate."

Peter Kolb has a bird's eye view on the globalization of the European telecommunications industry. On Jan. 15, he was one of 2,300 workers at Nokia's mobile phone factory in Bochum, Germany, to learn he would probably lose his job this summer as the Finnish company transferred production to Romania.
In northwest Germany, where Nokia makes a range of cellphones for the global market, the average worker earned about €30,000 a year, or nearly $45,000, said Kolb, a member of the workers' council in Bochum. At Nokia's new factory in Cluj, Romania, Kolb said, workers will earn only a third as much.
Ten days after breaking the bad news in Bochum, Nokia had an upbeat message for investors. Profit soared 44 percent in the fourth quarter to €1.84 billion, Nokia said, as sales surged 34 percent and its market share reached 40.2 percent.

Love makes us do the craziest things. Like wishin you a Happy Valentine in a business setting.
P.S. Don't forget to call your loved ones.

Services on two of the three broken undersea cables providing Internet services to parts of the Middle East and Asia have been restored and repairs on the third were nearly complete Sunday, the cables' operators said...
More than 95 percent of transoceanic telecommunications and data traffic is carried by submarine cables, and the rest by satellite, according to the International Cable Protection Committee, an association of 86 submarine cable operators.

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