Monday, 17 March 2008

Sunday, 16th March 2008


After "Sarko the American," the fiery reformer who won the presidency on an ambitious platform of change, and "President Bling Bling," whose public romance with a former model and open penchant for luxury cost him the trust of his core electorate, Sarkozy could edge closer to the sober and paternal image of a classic French president, officials say.

"At this time of economic difficulty for many French people, it is important that the president is in phase with them," said an adviser, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the press.

As Tibetan riots spread, China blocks access to YouTube

Two former Serbian security officers were to go on trial Monday charged with directing murder and ethnic cleansing by Serb paramilitary gangs in Bosnia and Croatia, where hundreds of non-Serbs were executed and thousands were expelled from their villages.

Their indictment lists village after village raided by paramilitary forces where residents were rounded up, ethnic Serbs released and the rest killed.
In October 1991 Arkan's Tigers entered the police lockup in the Croatian town of Dalj, shot 28 Croats who had been detained there, and dumped their bodies in the Danube River, in just one of dozens of incidents listed in the indictment.

RIGA, Latvia
Thousands marched through the capital Sunday under heavy police protection to honor countrymen who fought in a German combat unit during World War II.
Protesters jeered as the procession of some 3,000 people — a few surviving members of the Waffen SS unit known as the Latvian Legion among them — arrived at the Freedom Monument in downtown Riga.

Nearly 80,000 Jews in Latvia — 90 percent of the prewar Jewish population — were killed during the Nazi occupation. Thousands of Russian prisoners of war also died in Nazi prisoner of war camps.
Most Latvian Jews were killed in 1941-42, two years before the formation of Latvia's Waffen SS — which some Latvians claim shows the unit could not have played a role in the Holocaust. But an unknown number of Latvian Waffen SS soldiers may have been involved in the murder of Jews as auxiliary police, years before they entered the front-line unit.

At least one member of the Knesset will absent himself when Merket speaks Tuesday. Arye Eldad said he could not listen to the German language in that setting.

If elected, Obama would be the first genuinely 21st-century leader. The China-Indonesia-Kenya-Britain-Hawaii web mirrors a world in flux. In Kenya, his uncle Sayid, a Muslim, told me: "My Islam is a hybrid, a mix of elements, including my Christian schooling and even some African ways. Many values have dissolved in me."

A former Israeli prime minister filed a lawsuit Sunday against a broadcaster that reported he ran up a huge tab in London while Israel was at war.
The Channel 10 report claimed Benjamin Netanyahu spent more than $50,000 while on a six-day public relations tour during Israel's war against Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon in the summer of 2006. The tab included staying with his wife at the Connaught Hotel — one of London's finest — first class airfare, bar bills, meals, dry cleaning and $3,170 for theater tickets, the report said.
The report portrayed Netanyahu, Israel's opposition leader and the current front-runner in national polls for the country's top job, and his wife, Sarah, as spending money lavishly while the country was at war.


Hostage-takers who seized two Austrian tourists last month in Tunisia have extended a deadline for their demands to be met, Austria's Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

A group called al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa had given an initial deadline of midnight Sunday. It said last week it would free the two Austrians if some of its members were released from jails in Tunisia and Algeria, but it was not clear if that remained their demand after the new message.


Iran's Culture Ministry on Sunday announced the closure of nine cinema and lifestyle magazines for publishing pictures and stories about the life of "corrupt" foreign film stars and promoting "superstitions."

In the world of superyachts, bigger is better
"When a yacht is over 328 feet, it's so big that you lose the intimacy," said Tork Buckley, editor of The Yacht Report. "On the other hand, you've got bragging rights. No question, that's a very strong part of the motivation."

"People want more toys to play with. That's something that drives it," said Wim Koersvelt, director of Icon Yachts in the Netherlands. "Gyms were unusual 20 years ago, and no yacht is being built now without a gym. They're buying two- to four-person submarines, have four Jet Skis and little sailboats stored on board, as well as helicopter landing pads."

Future advances in artificial intelligence and simulation technologies will determine the development of the next generation of games. "The hope is that one day we'll be able to simulate authentic characters who can engage in believable conversations with the player, and who'll react and respond authentically," said Blackman. "We're still a long, long way from that, but every successive project will be a little bit better and add something new."

Does This Latte Have a Funny Mainstream Taste to You?
For music fans, Starbucks initially conveyed “a promise that ‘we’re going to be bringing you something special, unique,’ ” said David Sonenberg, a talent manager who has guided the careers of acts including the Fugees and John Legend, who had a CD carried by Starbucks.
“I don’t have the sense that there is any longer a culture and purpose to their musical endeavors,” said Mr. Sonenberg, who has had a dispute with the company over its handling of a new band, Low Stars. “It’s lost its sense of purpose.”

For nearly six months, Erwin Giesbers has gazed every day at the cheerful company flags flapping in the breeze and pondered the hazards of choosing official corporate colors in a screaming shade of magenta.
His company, Compello - an information technology firm in the Dutch town of Zwolle - is locked in a legal struggle with the German giant, Deutsche Telekom, which is pressing the company to get rid of the vivid hues because it claims trademark rights to the color magenta.
"When I first heard of it, I thought it was a joke, but in the last month I've had so much pressure," said Giesbers, the chief executive of Compello, which he started in 1997. "In my opinion, colors are free where you make your own form and format."

Dusting Off the Archive for the Web

As magazines and newspapers hunt for the new thing they need to be to thrive in the Internet era, some find that part of the answer lies in the old thing they used to be.

Publications are rediscovering their archives, like a person learning that a hand-me-down coffee table is a valuable antique. For magazines and newspapers with long histories, especially, old material can be reborn on the Web as an inexpensive way to attract readers, advertisers and money.

Fair Game
Rescue Me: A Fed Bailout Crosses a Line

What are the consequences of a world in which regulators rescue even the financial institutions whose recklessness and greed helped create the titanic credit mess we are in? Will the consequences be an even weaker currency, rampant inflation, a continuation of the slow bleed that we have witnessed at banks and brokerage firms for the past year?
Or all of the above?
Stick around, because we’ll soon find out. And it’s not going to be pretty

Treasury secretary says government will 'do what it takes' to stabilize chaotic markets
Paulson, in a series of news show appearances, defended the Federal Reserve's extraordinary step Friday to provide emergency financing to one of Wall Street's most venerable firms, Bear Stearns Cos. The central bank's intervention was "the right decision," he said.
The treasury chief sidestepped questions about what would have happened if the Fed had not ridden to the rescue, whether other firms are on shaky ground and the possibility of additional bailouts similar to Bear Stearns'.
At the same time, however, Paulson sought to send a calming message that the administration is on top of the turbulent situation. "The government is prepared to do what it takes to maintain the stability of our financial system," he said. "That's our priority."

Police have arrested four British Broadcasting Corp. journalists and several Irish Republican Army dissidents in an operation against a suspected propaganda stunt for Easter.


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