Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration: President Barack Obama’s Message to Israel

In his Presidential inauguration address today, Barack Obama explicitly addressed Muslims and said:

“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. ”

It was definitely a gesture of goodwill to the Muslim world in general, at least in words.

Then he added:

“To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.”

As for who are these ‘leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict’ – the first name that comes to mind is the state of Israel – as it has shown by its three weeks of brutal serial-murdering spree of 1300 men,women and children in Gaza, that its leadership believes in conflict and destruction as the means to continue its occupation and subjugation of Palestine and Palestinians.

If you are wondering if Obama had anything more to say to Israel, How about this:

“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Or this:

“and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”

Now, you may or may not agree whether Obama’s speech-writer Jon Favraeu had Israel in mind when he wrote these lines, but Ponder this….who else has terrorized and slaughtered unarmed and innocent people in recent days except Israel?

No one.

Mr. Obama’s choice of George Mitchell as a Special envoy to Middle-east is a welcome step , at least he did not choose someone like Pro-Israeli Dennis Ross, which would have been a non-starter.

So Mr. Obama, If you want to help Israel unclench its bloody fists – Be tough and not be swayed by the Pro-Israel lobby of Washington and the servants of Israel in the Congress.

Because, they are ready as always to obstruct your efforts as they have done with other Presidents in the past.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Gaza Massacre: Israel’s failed war against Iran

As CNN and other News channels in the US spent most of yesterday showing its viewers an empty US Airways Airbus 320 floating in the Hudson river, the citizens of Gaza ran for their lives from the indiscriminate bombing by the Israeli forces. But in a place as small as Gaza, there is not much place to run and hide from the firepower of Israeli forces..

So the weak and the hopeless of Gaza continue to succumb to Israeli bullets in their homes, mosques, hospitals and streets as the world looks the other way.

Among the bombed last two days are the UN headquarter and main relief center in Gaza and a crowded Red-crescent Hospital. Number of dead in last 48 hours: over 200 – at least half of them are women and children.

An enraged UN chief Ban Ki Moon, currently visiting Israel, asked for an explanation from his host Prime minister Olmert — for the bombing of the UN headquarter in Gaza . Olmert’s reply was that Israeli soldiers were fired upon from the UN compound.

Does Mr. Olmert think that the world is so gullible that it will believe his repeated lies?

Mr. Olmert’s assertion is tantamount to saying that UN headquarter has become the headquarter of Hamas and Ban Ki Moon didn’t verify facts before asking him for an explanation.

Not unexpected from Israel — as it is in the habit of repeated affront to the UN and conscience of the world as this brutal and ongoing murder of civilians in Gaza shows — despite a UN resolution to stop the atrocities immediately.

A few days ago Israel bombed refugees living in a UN-run school designated as safe-house and used the same lie tactic – “incoming fire from the school” – to justify, although Israeli soldiers themselves later denied ever having been fired upon from that school where more than 30 unarmed men,women and children were slaughtered.

As this one-sided ‘war’, as most biased news channels here in the US like to call it – enters its 21st day – Israel is engaged in an elaborate charade of ceasefire “talks” – by sending their officials to Cairo to talk with the Egyptian mediators as their Army, Navy and Air-force intensifies attacks on Gaza population. As reported by Gideon Levy of Israeli daily Haaretz:

“It may seem as though the cabinet hasn’t decided on the “third stage” of the war yet, Amos Gilad is discussing a cease fire in Cairo, the end of the fighting seems close - but all this is misleading. The streets of Gaza Thursday looked like killing fields in the midst of the “third stage” and worse. Israel is arrogantly ignoring the Security Council’s resolution calling for a cease-fire and is shelling the UN compound in Gaza, as if to show its real feeling toward that institution.”

The ‘third stage’ being pushing people from northern Gaza and Rafah border area to the major population enclaves in Gaza city to isolate them further.

The desperation of the population of Gaza is reported by Mr. Levy of Haaretz:

“In the streets, people are running back and forth in panic, holding children and suitcases in their hands, helpless as the shells fall around them. Nobody in the diplomatic corridors is in any hurry to help those unfortunates who have nowhere to run.”

One can rightfully ask, Why is Israel behaving like a mad dog?

Is it fulfilling what late Israeli Defence minister General Moshe Dayan once said : ’Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.’ ?

Or is Israel making good on former Prime minister Golda Meir’s degenerate comment : “We can forgive you for killing our children but we can never forgive you for making us kill your children”

But when did the Gazans kill Israeli children? Only 10 israelis died between 2001 and 2007 by Hamas rockets and none of them were children.

So it is not a mad dog act without a motive, even though it may seem like one.

The most plausible explanation may be that it is in fact the beginning of Israel’s war on Iran - as explained by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach of Center for Research on Globalization :

“Perhaps the massive military onslaught, which has killed over 800 Palestinians and wounded thousands, has nothing to do with Kassam rockets. Perhaps it is not a tactical military operation by Israel, but a strategic decision on the part of Israel’s Anglo-American backers, whose ultimate aim is war against Iran. Perhaps the military calculations in Tel Aviv are that continued massive pounding of Gaza by air and in house-to-house fighting, will take such a ghastly toll on the Palestinian civilian population, that Iran, touted as the backer of Hamas, will be forced to move into the conflict. Perhaps that is precisely the reaction Israel desires, in order to justify launching its war against the Islamic Republic, a war which has been on the drawing boards of the Israelis and their neocon sponsors for many years.”

This motive is all the more believable with outgoing Vice-President Richard Cheney’s endorsement of the attack as written by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach :

“The neocon faction, led by outgoing Vice President Cheney, is viewing the Gaza war as a preparation for aggression against Iran, and the spark that ignites regional conflict. John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., and one of the most outspoken among the neocon war party, announced on December 31, that the Gaza war was the first step towards an attack against Iran, which he deemed necessary. “I don’t think there’s anything at this point standing between Iran and nuclear weapons other than the possibility of the use of military force possibly by the United States, possibly by Israel,” he was quoted by Fox News. “So while our focus obviously is on Gaza now,” he went on, “this could turn out to be a much larger conflict. We’re looking at potentially a multi-front war.”

The timing of the attack itslef had a lot to do with lame-duck status of US presidency before Barack Obama’s inauguration on January 20.

Israeli politicians knew very well that George Bush would not interfere in their misdeeds in his last days as president and Obama would have no power to intervene as he is not the president yet — shows an example of Israel’s calculated affront to the American public and their government even though it gets an official 3 billion dollar charity from the American taxpayers each year and not to mention those F-16s, Apaches and bombs that are being used to kill the Gazans.

Essentially, Israeli ploy to involve Hezbollah of Lebanon and Iran into the conflict by killing Gazans indiscriminately has failed miserably. The world has seen through the lies of the state of Israel and is unanimous against its brutality and barbarism in Gaza and there is demand all over the world of war crimes trial of Israeli leaders.

Whether or not Israel will stop Gaza attack before Barack Obama’s inauguration, it is certain that Barack Obama will have plenty of things to ponder and decide on his first day in office. It remains to be seen if Barack Obama can fulfill his election promise of ‘Change’ and can finally become an American president who can take a tough stand against Israel if need be as it is now, and become an honest broker of peace in the Palestine-Israel conflict.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Pouring iron powder into ocean to fight global warming

A team of Indian and German scientists have started a 70-day ocean expedition to find out if pouring iron powder into ocean can trap greenhouse gas, CO2 from atmosphere and can keep it long enough under water to make a difference in global warming situation, according to a report by Times of India.
The scientists leaving from Cape Town, South Africa in a research ship towards a region in Antarctica plan to pour 20 tonnes of iron powder in an ocean area of approximately 300 sq km.
The idea is to stimulate a rapid blooming of phytoplankton, a microscopic algae that grows on the ocean surface.
Like all plants, phytoplankton sucks up CO2 from air and converts it to carbon-based compounds like carbohydrates.
The plant quickly dies and starts sinking, taking the carbon with it.
The team plans to observe if the dead plant sinks down enough in the ocean to make the process scientifically viable.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Is it time for US to review 'Special Relation' with Israel?

By now, rational folks everywhere across the globe are disgusted by one more episode of disproportionate and excessive use of force by Israel in Gaza that has killed many innocent men,women and children and injured many.
What if anything Israel is achieving through this reckless violence but breeding another group of hopeless youths ready to take over the violent struggle of their dead comrades? ..Only time will tell if southern Israel is spared the home-made rocket attacks in future.In the meantime, Israel continues to defy the conscience of the world and continues with the attacks..Bush, for his part - is in no mood to stop this massacre. His evangelist soul would probably feel guilty if he stopped Israel from doing what it is doing.Obama so far has stood behind his 'One President at a time' mantra but his coronation is less than two week's away and he will have to take a position sooner or later.
One wonders if it will be business as usual 'special relation' with Israel or he will stand up to this heavy-handed Israeli action on the Palestinians?Can he take an even-handed approach in the treatment of both parties of the conflict and be an honest broker to mediate peace?

Friday, November 28, 2008

All terrorists in Mumbai attacks came from Pakistan

Terrrorists in the Mumbai attacks were all pakistani nationals trained by Lashkar-e-Taiba according to a report by Times of India:

The gang of terrorists who wreaked mayhem in Mumbai for three days were made to believe by their Lashkar bosses that they were not being sent on a suicide mission and that they would be coming back alive.

Ajmal made another important disclosure: that all terrorists were trained in marine warfare along with the special course Daura-e-Shifa conducted by the Lashkar-e-Taiba in what at once transforms the nature of the planning from a routine terror strike and into a specialized raid by commandos.

Battle-hardened ATS officials are surprised by the details of the training the terrorists were put through before being despatched for the macabre mission. This was very different from a terrorist attack, and amounted to an offensive from the seam, said a source.

Ajmal has revealed the name of his fellow jihadis all Pakistani citizens as Abu Ali, Fahad, Omar, Shoaib, Umer, Abu Akasha, Ismail, Abdul Rahman (Bara) and Abdul Rahman (Chhota).

The account of Ajmal also strengthens the doubt of the complicity of powerful elements in the Pakistani establishment. According to him, the group set off on November 21 from an isolated creek near Karachi without the deadly cargo of arms and ammunition they were to use against the innocents in Mumbai. The group received arms and ammunition on board a large Pakistani vessel which picked them up the following day. The vessel, whose ownership is now the subject of an international probe, had four Pakistanis apart from the crew.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Bangladesh newspaper cartoon sparks protest by islamists

A 24 year old cartoonist from Bangladesh news daily - Prothom Alo, was arrested a few days earlier when his cartoon sparked protest rallies by islamists across the country who alleges the cartoon was published to dishonor prophet Muhammad.
Bangladesh authorities swiftly arrested the cartoonist and put him in jail.
Meanwhile many Bangladeshi bloggers are protesting the arrest of Arifur Rahman.
Here is the cartoon with english translation:


Name by Arifur Rahman

(First picture)
Mullah: Hey boy, what is your name?
Boy: My name is Babu

(Second picture)
Mullah: Before you say your name you need to say Muhammad

(Third picture)
Mullah: What is your father's name?
Boy: Muhammad Abu

(Fourth picture)
Mullah: So what are you holding there?
Boy: Muhammad Cat

Monday, October 01, 2007

Three found dead, volcanic eruptions continue on Yemen island

HODEIDAH, (Yemen)- A source in the Yemeni Naval Forces in Hodeidah said that three people were found dead and one survivor was found out of the eight reported missing earlier after a volcanic explosion that rocked the tiny Yemeni island on the Red Sea - Jabal al-Tair on late Sunday.

Abdul-Bari Shamsan told Yemeni News agency that the survivor is in a good health and he was moved to the Military Hospital in Hodeidah for medical check-up.

According to Shamsan, almost 47 people have been rescued, one of them is in a critical condition and others are safe. He said rescue teams are looking for other missing soldiers.

Shamsan said that volcanic eruptions going on all over the island and that lava covers the isle as a whole.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Volcano erupts in a tiny island off Yemen

A volcano erupted today on a tiny island off Yemen - according to a report by Canadian Navy.
Ken Allan,a Navy spokesman, said a NATO fleet just outside the territorial waters of the tiny Yemeni island reported seeing a "catastrophic volcanic eruption" at 7 p.m. local time. The 2-mile-long island is about 70 miles off the coast of Yemen.
"At this time, the entire island is aglow with lava and magma as it pours down into the sea. We do not have confirmation of how many people were on this island at the time of the eruption," Allan said in an e-mail.

"The lava is spewing hundreds of feet into the air, with the volcanic ash also (rising) a thousand feet in the air," Allan said.

The Canadian Armed Forces said they are trying to locate nine people believed to be at sea after the Yemen coast guard requested help.

The NATO fleet was sailing toward the Suez Canal when it spotted the eruption. The government of Yemen asked NATO to assist in the search for survivors and the closet ship, the HMCS Toronto, is heading toward the island.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mynamar: Video of place minutes before Japanese journalist Kenji Nagai was shot by soldiers

This video clip was taken by a civilian journalist on September 27, 2007 north of Sule Pagoda in Rangoon where Japanese journalist Kenji Nagai was shot in the chest by Burmese soldiers. It was filmed minutes before he was killed nearby.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Myanmar: The crisis is likely to get worse

The crisis in Burma (or Myanmar as renamed by the military junta) is getting worse by the hour.
The military junta has cut off internet links to the outside world as amateur videos and pictures flooded the internet showing brutal repression by the military authorities since the crackdown started.
What are the chances of military regime giving up power?
The answer in my opinion is: no chance at all
yes, unless the UN security council passes a resolution that it will bomb the military installations of the junta unless it leaves the people of Burma alone.
But that is not likely to happen as China, Russia,India and many other smaller players have an eye on Burma's energy resources - oil and off-shore gas fields. These countries will not take any steps that will jeopardize their economic relations with the regime. And the regime knows this very well.

So this will probably be another business as usual crackdown on the monks and populace of Burma.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bush administration has set up team to perfect plan for Iran strike

TimesOnline is reporting that Bush administration has set up a team to pefect plans to attack Iran:

THE United States Air Force has set up a highly confidential strategic planning group tasked with “fighting the next war” as tensions rise with Iran.

Project Checkmate, a successor to the group that planned the 1991 Gulf War’s air campaign, was quietly reestablished at the Pentagon in June.

It reports directly to General Michael Moseley, the US Air Force chief, and consists of 20-30 top air force officers and defence and cyberspace experts with ready access to the White House, the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

Warnings of a massive and prolonged recession

If you have wondered about what is going on in the financial markets and World economy in general recently, you will probably find this interesting.
Satayajit Das is one of the leading credit derivatives analysts in the world. His analysis and predictions for the future is dire: The world is heading into a prolonged recession.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

US is preparing to reject climate change proposals in upcoming Group of Eight summit

According to comments written by US officials on a draft document which was handed over to Greenpeace international by undisclosed sources,US officials expressed serious concerns about the draft document:
"The US still has serious, fundamental concerns about this draft statement," the notes on the document read. "The treatment of climate change runs counter to our overall position and crosses multiple 'red lines' in terms of what we simply cannot agree to."

All 27 EU members have agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 - building on Kyoto - and by 30% if a broader international agreement can be reached.
United States is the only developed country that has not ratified the Kyoto protocol which calls for developed countries to cut emissions by 5% below their 1990 level by 2012.

The United States has refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol because of concerns about damage to the American economy. Bush administration officials have also balked because China and India are not part of it.

German chancellor Angela Merkel, who will be hosting the Group of Eight summit has been pushing hard along with outgoing British PM Tony Blair in private talks with President Bush to accept the proposals of the draft.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Clinton benefactor Vinod Gupta sued by infoUSA shareholders

CEO and founder of infoUSA Vinod Gupta was sued by the company shareholders for providing the Clintons corporate jets on different occasions to fly the former president and Hillary Rodham Clinton on business, personal and campaign trips as ABC News reports:

The supporter, Vinod Gupta, also secured contracts worth more than $3 million for Bill Clinton to provide consulting services to Gupta's Nebraska-based company, infoUSA, from 2003 through 2008, according to the suit.

The lawsuit brands the use of jets as wasteful company spending.

So how is this going to affect Hilary Clinton's Presidential aspirations?

Bush continues his lies about Iraq in his Memorial day speech

Once again Mr.Bush lied through his teeth to the American people in his memorial day address :

"Our troops are helping them build democracies that respect the rights of their people, uphold the rule of law and fight extremists alongside America in the war on terror" Bush said.

It is well known that the primary motive for Iraq occupation is oil:

"President Bush's Cabinet agreed in April 2001 that 'Iraq remains
a destabilising influence to the flow of oil to international markets
from the Middle East' and because this is an unacceptable risk to
the US 'military intervention' is necessary."

AS the U.S. celebrates Memorial Day on May 28, commemorating war dead, this will be the sixth Memorial Day in a row with the nation at war.

Since the beginning of US invasion of Iraq 3,433 U.S. personnel have died and more than 25,500 have been wounded, Pentagon figures show. In Afghanistan, 387 U.S. troops have been killed and 1,250 wounded since October 2001.

Iraq civillian casualites stand as many as 70471 according to a database compiled by Iraqbodycount.org.

In the US, the majority of the population is favor of pulling out of this war and the last Congressional elections saw both houses go back to Democratic majority.

It was only last thursday a divided US Congress finally approved $100 billion (€74.4 billion) to keep fighting the war in Iraq. Mr. Bush had earlier vetoed a bill drafted by democrats which tied funding with troop pullout date.

So when does Mr. Bush realize folly of his Iraq venture and do something to end it?
Probably never because that would mean admitting the wrongs he has done to the Iraqi people and the American people.
The world will likely have to wait till another American President is elected in 2008.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lebanon standoff at a turning point -- Violence could spread to rest of the country

Refugees fleeing from the besieged Palestinian refugee camp in Tripoli, Lebanon said anger over the Lebanese army's indiscriminate shelling had reached boiling point and sympathy was growing for the militant group Fatah al-Islam holed up inside the camp:

"The army have been killing us, they were hitting anything that moved," said 27-year-old Maher, who had left the camp the previous night for the relative sanctity of the nearby camp of Badawi. "Nobody can step out of their house without being shot at. Even inside the houses it isn't safe from the bullets."

Abu Ali, 45, added: "We have never experienced violence like this. Not even the Israelis behaved like this."

There were heavy exchanges of gunfire late on Thursday between Lebanese troops and militants inside, breaking a two day truce. Prime Minister Fuad Saniora vowed in a speech to wipe out the militants as reported by Associated Press:

"Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said in a televised address Thursday that Fatah Islam was "a terrorist organization." He blamed the group for "attempting to ride on the suffering and the struggle of the Palestinian people."

"We will work to root out and strike at terrorism, but we will embrace and protect our brothers in the camps," Saniora said, insisting Lebanon has no quarrel with the 400,000 Palestinian refugees who live in the country."

All of this started earlier this week when Lebanese police ended up inside the refugee camp while chasing bank robbers and got into a firefight with the well-armed Fatah Islam militants who are among many other groups who control the refugee camp. They are in no way unique among other similar groups and Fatah Islam has existed in the camp with the quiet acquiescence of the Lebanese government.
The firefight started because of intelligence failure and Lebanese army realized quickly how deeply the militants were entrenched in the camp.
Neither side wanted this fight in the first place, but now both are stuck in a standoff as the army refuses to back off without a complete surrender which Fatah Islam has refused to give and vows to fight till the last bullet:

Abu Salim Taha, a spokesman for the militants, countered on al-Jazeera television from inside the camp by saying it was the army that opened fire. He said the group's fighters remain committed to the truce.

However, Taha repeated that they will never surrender or flee. "This is impossible. We will fight until the last moment, the last drop of blood and the last bullet," he said.

The fleeing familes feel they are once again caught -- they have been refugees from Israeli occupation of Palestine and now they are refugees driven from their refugee camp.
So how this is likely to end?
Despite all the posturing by Lebanese Prime Minister, the Lebanese people dont have appetite for a protracted fight with this Palestinian group or any other as the government is already mired in fight with Hezbollah with no end in sight.
The stand-off is likely to continue for a long time with some kind of deal in the end.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

60 year old New Jersey woman gives birth to twin boys

When asked what she had to say to women of her age, she said:

"Don't get a dog, get a baby."

Frieda Birnbaum gave birth to "Baby A" at 12:44 p.m. and "Baby B" a minute later by Caesarean section at Hackensack University Medical Center.
Birnbaum, a psychologist from Saddle River, underwent in-vitro fertilization last year in Cape Town, South Africa, at a center that specializes in older women. She and her husband, Ken, a New York attorney, have been married for 38 years and have three other children - sons ages 6 and 33 and a daughter, 29.

According to Mrs.Birnbaum age is redefined all the time:
"Age is being redefined all the time," the mother, Frieda Birnbaum, told a television reporter attending the birth.

"I don't feel like 60."

Her daughter (aged 29) apparently thinks her mother is crazy:

"My daughter feels I should be living in Florida having a good life," Birnbaum told Fox News after the birth. "I hope when she's older, she'll see this and understand she has choices. I don't feel like I'm 60."

Hospital officials believe Birnbaum may be the oldest woman to give birth to twins in the United States.

Goodluck to the mother and her newborns.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Major diplomatic row looms between UK and Russia over extraditon of Litvinenko's Killer

Russian authorities rejected demands by Tony Blair last night to extradite from Russia, Andrei Lugovoi, the man accused of murdering the former security service agent Alexander Litvinenko in London last November.
Britain's Crown Prosecution service said police had gathered sufficient evidence to charge Andrei Lugovoi with murder and demanded that he be extradited to stand trial in Britain for an "extraordinarily grave" crime.
Russian authorities immediately rejected any possibility of extradion of Lugovoi:

In a swift response, Russia said there was no chance of Mr Lugovoi being sent to stand trial in Britain, and warned of a political backlash. Marina Gridneva, a spokeswoman for the Russian prosecutor general's office, said: "Under Russian law, a citizen of the Russian Federation cannot be handed over to a foreign country."

The announcement from Number 10 Downing Street to seek extradition comes exactly 6 months after Litvinenko died from radiation poisoning in a London Hospital and marks a resolve of the British Government not to bend under economic and diplomatic pressure from Russia:

Mr Blair's spokesman said: "Murder is murder - this is a very serious case. Nobody should be under any doubt as to the seriousness with which we are taking this case.

"Obviously we have political and economic connections with Russia, and Russia clearly plays an important role in international affairs.

"However, what that doesn't in any way obviate is the need for the international rule of law to be respected and we will not in any way shy away from trying to ensure that happens in a case such as this. That is the basis on which we proceed."

Prosecutors stopped short of any accusations against the Russian state, but officials in Moscow quickly made clear Lugovoi would not be handed over to face British justice.

That leaves the possibility of a show-trial in which Lugovoi may be used to shift the blame to enemies of the Kremlin.

On his deathbed, Litvinenko accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being involved in his death. Litvinenko's widow, Marina, thanked the British police and made it clear yesterday she would not welcome a trial in Russia:

She said an extradition would be the clearest way for President Putin to prove there was no state involvement in the death of her husband.

Mrs Litvinenko had a 40-minute meeting with the Russian ambassador, Yuri Fedotov, and told him Russia's co-operation "would prove there wasn't state involvement".

Earlier, Mr Fedotov, had been called in to see Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary. Afterwards, Mrs Beckett said: "We expect full co-operation from the Russian authorities in bringing the perpetrator to face British justice."

The decision to seek the extradition of Lugovoi, a former member of the KGB, has been taken at the highest level and in full awareness of the row it would create.

What all this means is a prolonged diplomatic standoff between Russia and Britain as chances of handing over Lugovoi to Britain is highly unlikely because Lugovoi could give British authorities sensitive information that would potentially implicate Putin in the Murder or at least damage his political career seriously.
As for Tony Blair, this could be his Jihad for Legacy before leaving office as Prime Minister.

Monday, May 21, 2007

China to invest $3 billion in US private equity Blackstone

Careful to avoid the kind of political opposition that resulted from its 2005 unsuccessful bid to buy US oil company UNOCAL, Chinese government this time has agreed to buy only 9% stake( 10% would have automatically made it eligible for a congressional inquiry.) in US private equity company Blackstone Group LP for $3 billion. Experts agree:
Its Blackstone interest will be just under 10 percent and is part of a trend, Blackstone co-founder Stephen Schwarzman said, of China's investment plans.

China will learn how to structure and value private equity deals, as well as gaining a network of well connected people, said James Oberweis, president of Oberweis Asset Management Inc., who oversees an $800 million China fund.

"The Blackstone deal is as much about education on how to invest as it is about the actual investment itself," Oberweis said. "From the perspective of Blackstone, what better way to increase your penetration into the fastest-growing, major economy in the world than to have that government invested in you?"

The Blackstone stake may be the beginning of a trend of buying binge by China in US companies.
The Chinese insisted that they do not want any voting power in the Blackstone board.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Carter: Bush had overseen an "overt reversal of America's basic values"

Former President Carter is known for calling spade a spade and he was no different this time as he described Bush administration as "the worst in history" in international relations in an interview with Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

During a telephone interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette from the Carter Center in Atlanta, the ex-president also accused the current White House occupant of eliminating the line between church and state and of abandoning “America’s basic values.”

“I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history. The overt reversal of America’s basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including [those of] George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me,” Carter said.

Hear part of the interview here.

Telling that the son went against the values of his father certainly warranted a stinging response from the White house and it did as White House on Sunday dismissed former President Jimmy Carter as "increasingly irrelevant" :

"I think it's sad that President Carter's reckless personal criticism is out there," White House spokesman Tony Fratto responded Sunday from Crawford, where Bush spent the weekend.

"I think it's unfortunate," Fratto said. "And I think he is proving to be increasingly irrelevant with these kinds of comments."

President Carter did not spare the outgoing British Prime Minister Blair either. He called Blair “Abominable. Loyal. Blind. Apparently subservient” as GlobeandMail reported:

Mr. Carter also offered a harsh assessment for the White House's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which helped religious charities receive US$2.15 billion in federal grants in fiscal year 2005 alone.

“The policy from the White House has been to allocate funds to religious institutions, even those that channel those funds exclusively to their own particular group of believers in a particular religion,” Mr. Carter said. “As a traditional Baptist, I've always believed in separation of church and state and honoured that premise when I was president, and so have all other presidents, I might say, except this one.”

Douglas Brinkley, a Tulane University presidential historian and Carter biographer, described Mr. Carter's comments as unprecedented.

“This is the most forceful denunciation President Carter has ever made about an American president,” Mr. Brinkley said. “When you call somebody the worst president, that's volatile. Those are fighting words.”

Mr. Carter also lashed out Saturday at British prime minister Tony Blair. Asked how he would judge Mr. Blair's support of Mr. Bush, the former president said: “Abominable. Loyal. Blind. Apparently subservient.”

“And I think the almost undeviating support by Great Britain for the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq have been a major tragedy for the world,” Mr. Carter told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

One can only wish that despite the public rebuke of President Carter by the White House, George Bush would find a private moment to reflect on what President Carter has said.

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