Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Happy Christmas (?)

  • Present to the needy [in the nearly forgotten genocide]:
    -— Sudan 'to accept UN Darfur force'.
    This is a possible beginning of UN peacekeeping forces in Darfur, After so many years, is a bright light finally looming on the horizon for those suffering in the Darfur genocide — that much of the US media has basically ignored? Let's hope this positive step may help.

  • Present to the world [of foreign policy]:
    -— End of the core of the traditional neoconservative movement in the US [for now]. About time!

  • Present to the deserving and distraught [Palestinians]:
    -— Palestinians get a little Christmas present: some of their tax money back from Israel — with one usual hindering caveat.
    -— Some good news for West Bank residents.
    Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz has announced an easing of restrictions on Palestinians, including dismantling roadblocks in the West Bank.

  • Present to the global balance (or, rather, imbalance):
    -— Iran gets slammed with sanctions by UN Security Council. See, it can happen. Iran got what was coming to it, and the government knew that. Ahmadinejad rejects the sanctions. What else is new?

  • Present to NYT op-ed/free speech/transparancy/news source haters:
    -— CIA redacts parts of New York Times op-ed piece by former government employees. Redacted information was sources available to all (e.g. news articles available online) say the op-ed writers. Interesting, nearly Orwellian news. Just to clarify, the article went through a publishing review process that exists to censor out classified information. In this case the information taken out was seemingly not classified at all. The piece was on Iran and the US policy with Iran. The authors' explanation of the redaction was also published.
    National security must be above politics. In a democracy, transparency in government has to be honored and protected. To classify information for reasons other than the safety and security of the United States and its interests is a violation of these principles. It is for this reason that we will continue to press for the release of the article without the material deleted.

  • Present to the Daniel Denett, Sam Harris, et al of Britain:
    -— Religion more bad than good, poll says. perfect news for the holidays.
    More people in Britain think religion causes harm than believe it does good, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published today. It shows that an overwhelming majority see religion as a cause of division and tension - greatly outnumbering the smaller majority who also believe that it can be a force for good.
    The poll also reveals that non-believers outnumber believers in Britain by almost two to one. It paints a picture of a sceptical nation with massive doubts about the effect religion has on society: 82% of those questioned say they see religion as a cause of division and tension between people. Only 16% disagree. The findings are at odds with attempts by some religious leaders to define the country as one made up of many faith communities.
    The UK is much more liberal in a cultural and religious sense than the United States — which has seen an increasing rise in far right-wing religious politics. In the US, about half are religious in the traditional sense and believe in creationism (i.e. the Earth was created by God about 6,000 years ago; men lived alongside dinosaurs; humankind started in an enchanted garden with a talking snake). Also, about one forth of Americans are evangelicals, quite conservative Christians backing the religious right.

  • Present to death [penalty advocates]:
    -— Saddam Hussein to be executed 'within 30 days'. His appeal had failed as expected (see background).
    -— Japan executes four on death row; first executions since new prime minster Shinzo Abe took office. ( See this and this post. Correction to previous posts: Japan and US two developed capital punishment countries; US not sole industrialized nation that has capital punishment.)

    Technorati technorati tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • No comments: