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Showing posts from January 4, 2009

Republicans search for their 'Obama'

Where will the Republican Party go in the age of Barack Obama? The political swamps of Louisiana offer a clue, says Jim Gabour for openDemocracy. By Jim Gabour for Until the autumn of 2008 a political gambler would have been given major odds by any bookie in America against a major change in national and world government emerging from the corrupt backwaters of Louisiana. After all, this is the state that re-elected Representative William "Dollar Bill" Jefferson, even after he was caught by the FBI with US$90,000 in marked currency in his freezer. This is the state in which a city magnified the destruction of a cataclysmic hurricane by re-electing a mayor proved both incompetent and self-serving, a man still to this day able to stonewall wrongdoing by literally cursing anyone who questions his word or authority. This is the state served by Representative David Vitter, still holding a death-grip on his seat in Congress after years of paying for the il

SWAT:A civilisation at risk

Source: Dawn, Pakistan The unique, ancient and historic heritage of Swat is being destroyed in the name of religion By Khurshid Khan "Several renowned Buddhist scholars deliver Buddhist Philosophy as well as contemporary sciences in the valley. The Monasteries and schools are densely populated by uncountable students who have travelled here from far off lands. They are provided with accommodation and food," observed Sung Yun, the famous Chinese pilgrim who came to Swat in 519.A.D. He was overwhelmed by the heavenly peace, happiness and agricultural produce of the valley and wrote, "jungle fowls, deer and other wild animals openly roam the streets of the villages". Another traveller, Hiuen Tsiang (630 A.D) wrote about Swat's favourable climate and abundance of forests, flowers and fruit-trees. He spoke of 1400 monasteries on both sides of the River Swat. The rulers of Swat State were the true heirs of Gandhara civilisation. They transformed Swat into a cradle

The Great Gamble: The Soviet War in Afghanistan

Excerpt: 'The Great Gamble' by Gregory Feifer LISTEN NPR : LISTEN :, January 7, 2009 · According to at least one Soviet general staff officer, no one ever actually ordered the invasion of Afghanistan. Instead, between December 10 and 30, various units were given some thirty various directives to prepare for action. Defense Minister Dmitri Ustinov's lack of combat experience helps explain the absence of centralized implementation. A career spent building the military-industrial complex gave him scant knowledge of how to command the invasion of a sovereign state. Since it was beneath the marshal to ask subordinates for advice, staff activity remained largely uncoordinated. On December 13, 1979, one of Afghan President Hafizullah Amin's Soviet cooks slipped KGB-provided poison into a lunch prepared for the new president and his nephew. The chemicals

Ukraine: A key geopolitical battleground between Russia and the West

by Jose Miguel Alonso Global Research, January 9, 2009 The countdown for Ukraine’s presidential election, to be held on January 31 2010, has already started. The much-anticipated electoral process will be decisive due to its deep geopolitical implications. Its result will have a considerable impact on the world’s balance of power. A fierce battle on Ukrainian soil approaches and it will be fought, once again, between pro-Western and pro-Russian forces. During the so called ‘Orange Revolution’ a pro-Western coalition headed by former Ukrainian Central Banker Viktor Yushchenko came out victorious over the Party of Regions, lead by Viktor Yanukovich and prone to pro-Russian positions. Shortly afterwards, Kiev distanced itself from Moscow in order to become of the staunchest American allies in the post Soviet space (along with Mikheil Saakashvili’s Georgia). Since then, Ukrainian foreign policy has persistently sought membership in both the EU (European Union) and NATO (North At


POST MUMBAI 9/11: INDIA PARALYZED BY PAKISTAN’S SUPERIORITY IN “BATTLE OF PERCEPTIONS” By Dr. Subhash Kapila Introductory Observations Pondering agonizingly over India’s paralysis in not striking back credibly against Pakistan in response to the Pakistan Army and its ISI-sponsored “war of terror” assault on India’s sovereignty at Mumbai on November 26, 2008, this Author came across a feature in “The Jerusalem Post” written against the back drop of the assaults on Israel’s sovereignty by Hezbollah earlier and Hamas presently and why Israel strikes back forcefully. The point that caught attention in this feature was that currently, the Israeli Defense Forces in their senior commanders training lays emphasis on how modern warfare is conducted. Israel believes that emphasis today should not be on which side conquers more territory or loses more fighters and fighter aircraft – as was the case in conventional battles such as the 1967 Six War, “but rather on perceptions. In other wo

Harnessing space energy

11:59 | 06/ 01/ 2009 MOSCOW. (Yury Zaitsev, for RIA Novosti) - European Union leaders agreed during the Brussels summit on global warming to cut 1990 levels of carbon dioxide emissions 20% by 2020. However, some researchers theorize that global warming is ending and that world temperatures will cool in the foreseeable future. Naturally, this does not mean that the world must scrap programs for cutting toxic emissions into the atmosphere. Humankind will face an environmental disaster if the volume of harmful substances continues to increase. Although alternative sources of energy, now generating only 1-2% of all power worldwide, could solve the problem, even industrial countries are in no hurry to use them. This can be explained by a number of factors. Alternative-energy sources are expensive. Traditional energy giants which do not want to lose their profits are pressuring governments not to implement them. It is also believed that our conservative society would find it h

The current crisis was predicted 30 years ago

16:10 08/ 01/ 2009 MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti economic commentator Vlad Grinkevich) - The current economic crisis came as a bolt from the blue for most. In the meantime, experts warned in the early 1970s that the world economy was heading for a crisis in the first decades of the 21st century. In the 1960s, Western countries concluded that oil-stained beaches, smoggy megalopolises, and heavy pollution of major European rivers were too high a price for the benefits of mass production. In 1968, a group of industrialists, politicians, and scientists set up the Club of Rome in the Italian capital. They had enough money to conduct a series of studies with the participation of prominent scientists, and the use of tested methods. Computer-predicted disaster The Club's first report, which had the tell-tale title " Limits to Growth ," caused a shock. It was compiled by a group of scientists headed by Dennis L. Medows, who decided to create a cybernetic model of global development