July 29, 2010

 Posted 10:10 CDT

MEXICO - Happy but wary about the Arizona injunction.  Union leaders denounce the entire nation and our "state-run persecution policies," even as Amnesty International calls the pervasive abuse of migrants in Mexico "a human rights crisis."

FRANCE - Building the Sun:  $21 billion budget for the Iter nuclear fusion reactor.

CHINA via GERMANY - Excluding America from international conferences, including tyrants in international business deals.  Establishing 500 Confucian Institutes worldwide, increasing scholarships at Chinese Universities 10-fold.  Military buildup, sophisticated diplomacy: "China is in the process of outmaneuvering the West everywhere."

 Note: VPNews returns August 2nd

NETHERLANDS - Infidels behaving:  Taliban in Afghanistan congratulates the Dutch for withdrawing: "We would like to wish the citizens and government of the Netherlands all the best."

Stephane Peray, The Nation, Bangkok, Thailand

GERMANY - City officials, festival organizers: Laying blame for the Love Parade.

SOUTH AFRICA - Seemingly global phenomenon:  Protection of Information Bill is debated in Parliament, making it obvious that "many of the MP’s had no clue about what the Bill intended to do or would in fact achieve."

POLAND - Discussing an increase in the VAT, currently at 22%.

UKRAINE - IMF approves $15 billion loan.

NORWAY - Honoring St. Olav, the nation's patron saint.

ICELAND - 183 million cubic yards of Eyjafjallajökull ash now on Icelandic soil.

Old sayings contain no lies (Spain).

A woman walks by burning barricades set up during a protest in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, against the government’s lack of help in rebuilding after a January earthquake (Ramon Espinosa/AP).

July 28, 2010

Posted 08:20 CDT

IRAN - Loving those WikiLeaks.

GERMANY - Julian Assange interview: "WikiLeaks does not exist in outer space.  We are people who exist on Earth."

AUSTRALIA - People who exist on Earth but hail from outer space:  "Your laws don't apply to me."

NORTH KOREA via CANADA -  Dear Leader Divinity School:  "A kindergarten teacher reports that the hardest part of her job was watching her pupils die of starvation."

Stephane Peray, The Nation, Bangkok, Thailand

MEXICO - Preparing for the return of 400,000 citizens.  Reporters ignore Arizona's amended statute, and hysterics proclaim that SB1070 "degrades the entire human race."  Hasn't anyone read this bill?

RUSSIA - Note to White House:  President Medvedev considers modernization to include "curbing the state's involvement in the economy."

ESTONIA - Less is Less:  Eastern Europe's minimum wage averages $250/month.

TURKEY - Prime Minister Cameron declares Turkish-UK relations to be in a "golden age" as he takes a few digs at Israel and travels east, because that's where the "economic power is shifting."

GREECE - No fuel, no produce, no tourists:  Truckers still on strike.

NETHERLANDS - Court decides that sailing alone around the world won't harm the social development of a 14-year-old girl.

SWEDEN via AUSTRIA - The Swinging Cow Brush makes them happy, healthy and 3.5% more productive.

Joy and courage make a handsome face (France).

He who looks too hard at the outside gets clumsy on the inside.
-- Zhuangzi  circa 300 BC (Watson: Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings  1964).

Cleaning up Yellow Sea oil spill near Dalian Port, China, yesterday (Reuters).

July 27, 2010

 Posted 07:00 CDT

NORWAY - Defence Department finds errors in Wikileaks "both with regard to facts and time/date."

CAMBODIA via GERMANY - Khmer Rouge killer could conceivably leave prison at the age of 86.  Will the war crimes tribunal become "a lavish farce"?

SOUTH KOREA - A rather impressive show of force in the East Sea.  What will Dear Leader do? 

Patrick Chappatte, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Switzerland

UGANDA via ITALY - African Union to send 2,000 additional peacekeeping troops to Somalia.

CHINA - Second flood crest at Three Gorges Dam expected tomorrow.

UK - Free market adjectives:  Tony replaced by Dudley as BP's losses tally $17 billion.

DENMARK - Majority of Danes support drug injection cabins.

BANGLADESH - Sugar prices will drop 0.029 cents/kilo for Ramadan.

WALES - 1835 lighthouse for sale.

RUSSIA - Record heat in Moscow

PERU via AZERBAIJAN - Record cold in Peru.

Wait, remind me: when is weather climate?  Ah yes: when global warming enthusiasts say it is.  Last year's cool summer doesn't count; this year's hot summer does.
-- Alpheus  "Flippantly Fisking Friedman"  Athens and Jerusalem  7/25/2010

All the wealth of the world is in the weather (Scotland).

Hindu devotees travel to the Guru Purnima Festival in Mathura, India, yesterday (Zuma).

July 26, 2010

 Posted 07:00 CDT

AUSTRALIA - Wikileaks founder went into hiding six weeks ago, but surfaces to defend his secret data dump as "good journalism."

CAMBODIA via AL JAZEERA - Marxist Utopia:  Verdict expected today in the trial of Khmer Rouge prison chief accused of overseeing the murder of 14,000 people.  Considering the many millions slaughtered under communism, his "terrified bureaucrat" defense may carry some weight.

Frederick Deligne, Nice-Matin, France

GERMANY - The Love Stampede:  Over one million people in a venue approved for 250,000.

NETHERLANDS - Talks about talks about forming a governing coalition.

DENMARK - Steep decline in immigrant birthrate possibly due to the 2002 law that naturalized citizens must wait 24 years before bringing a spouse into the country.

TURKEY - Opposition leader warns of increasing isolation: “The Gaza incident took place under the knowledge of the government” although the ruling party continues to block inquiry into the incident, along with thousands of websites.

ISRAEL - Prime Minister Netanyahu ready to begin direct talks next week.  Palestinian Authority prefers the indirect method.  And the US State Department pouts that Israel is impeding the transfer of AK-47s into the region.

BELGIUM - Banning the vuvuzela.  [Here's why].

FRANCE - Quelle horreur!Members of Parliament must show up for work or be fined.

GREECE - Real horror:  Murdered journalist possibly the victim of a nihilistic sect devoted to Sergey Nechayev whose aim was simply "chaos and destruction."

The revolutionary knows that in the very depths of his being, not only in words but also in deeds, he has broken all the bonds which tie him to the social order and the civilized world with all its laws, moralities, and customs, and with all its generally accepted conventions.  He is their implacable enemy, and if he continues to live with them it is only in order to destroy them more speedily.
-- Sergey Nechayev  The Revolutionary Catechism  1869

You may know a carpenter by his chips (England).

A professor in St. Peter, MN, returns to work after students covered everything in his office with foil during his vacation (John Cross/AP/Mankato Free Press).

July 23, 2010

 Posted 08:30 CDT

CHINA via AL JAZEERA - Three Gorges Dam reaching its limit: "This rain keeps coming and coming and coming."

RUSSIA - Bombings in the Caucasus may lead to firings by the President.

GEORGIA - Knowledge of Czars:  Constitutional amendment underway to limit executive power.

POLAND - On track for a robust economic recovery.  No joke.

UKRAINE - The new egg billionaire: "There is nothing more effective than private capital."

CHINA - Beijing's population approaches 20 million.

Arend van Dam, Netherlands

KOSOVO via RADIO FREE EUROPE - Serbia and Russia reject Kosovo's declaration of independence ruled legal yesterday under international law.

DENMARK - Money for nothing no more:  Foreign aid will depend on results.

BULGARIA via US EUROPEAN COMMAND - Bulgaria placed on excessive deficit watch list by the European Union.

UK - The so-called far-right British National Party leader Nick Griffin is barred from a soirée hosted by the Queen owing to "potential discomfort." 

A brief skim through British National Party manifesto literature brings to light proposals for the following: large increases in state pensions; more money for the NHS; improved worker protection; state ownership of key industries.  Under Griffin, the modern-day far right has positioned itself to the left of Labour.
-- Goodman and Ford  "The BNP's Breakthrough"  New Statesman  4/16/2009

When rats infest the palace a lame cat is better than the swiftest horse (China).

Police destroy video games in Kunming, China, yesterday (Zuma).

July 22, 2010

 Posted 09:15  CDT

BALKANS via FRANCE - International Court of Justice will rule on the legality of Kosovo's independence from Serbia today.

NETHERLANDS - Gate:  Former Conservative Prime Minister brought in to assist with the dammed Parliament.

GREECE - Check:  Cyprus still on the geopolitical chessboard after 47 years.

CUBA - Plan to attend:  The National Day of Rebelliousness, July 26th.

HONDURAS - Public, private and charitable sectors come together to fight dengue fever, which is moving toward the US as well.

John Sherffius, Boulder Daily Camera, USA

SWITZERLAND - Money coming in:  Credit Suisse has received $50 billion in fresh client investment since January.

NEW ZEALAND - Carbon going out:  Highest mileage belongs to the Chair of the Environmental Management Committee.  Perhaps her title is considered an offset.

GERMANY - Sheltering homeless reptiles in Munich.

USA via UK - Headed for the Protocol Gift Unit:  Cameron gave the President's kids colorful Hunter wellies, and the President's wife some Miller Harris candles.  What does it all mean?

CANADA - Needs health care reform:  Only half of urgent cancer treatment is delivered on time and basic access to primary care in Ontario is the worst, despite the ever-increasing billions needed to fund it.  No efficient, high-quality options to the south anymore, either.

They are fools who make their doctor their heir (France).

I think Macbeth is a great play about someone whose immense ambition has an ethically inadequate object.
-- Bill Clinton   In: Greenblatt "Shakespeare and the Uses of Power"  NY Review of Books  4/12/2007

Ugandan soldier sits outside the 15th African Union Summit site in Kampala yesterday.  Most African Heads of State will attend the summit beginning July 25th (Dai Kurokawa/European PA).

July 21, 2010

 Posted 08:00 CDT

AFGHANISTAN via GERMANY - Kabul Conference:  Karzai gets more control over billions in aid, and additional millions to give the Taliban jobs.  Whether his half-brother gains lucrative control over the country's security may be answered in 2014.  "With the announcement of its plan to withdraw, the West has finally robbed itself of the one means it still had left for applying pressure in Afghanistan."

Moir, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

SWEDEN - Government allows terminally ill woman access to her own money.

NETHERLANDS - Leftists fail to form a governing coalition due to sharp disagreements over taxes.  The Queen has been asked to let conservatives and centrists give it a try.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - More oil than energy:  Continuing power cuts in Sharjah.

CANADA - More oil:  Undersea border dispute with Newfoundland.

GREECE - Circling:  Turkish fighter jets violate Greek airspace for the fourth time in three weeks, and  research vessels in the Aegean are also viewed as "provocative."

JAPAN - Community:  Preventing kodokushi.

CHINA - Worst flooding in 180 years in Sichuan province.

SWITZERLAND - The Kafka papers come out of the vault, and may travel to Tel Aviv via the "world's most alienating airport" [Onion Video].

EGYPT - Buildings collapsing in Cairo.

An important part of cultural understanding is to understand that not all cultures progress.
-- P.J. O'Rourke  "Letter From Egypt"  The Atlantic  September 23, 2002

To always win brings suspicion, to always lose brings contempt (Germany).

A cleaning vessel removes floating garbage yesterday in front of China’s Three Gorges Dam before flood gates open (Zuma).

July 20, 2010

 Posted 08:00 CDT

CANADA - Body Mass Index Police: National Health Service bluntly informs parents that their kid is fat and might get cancer.  Parents fume, kids stop eating: "What's wrong with me?"

SWITZERLAND - Child rapist remains in Gstaad while pot grower starves in a prison.  What to do with a hippie who won't eat?

USA via AUSTRALIA - Navy to demonstrate laser defense system this week at the Farnborough Air Show.

UK - Coalition to simplify tax code: "Tax regulations increased from 3,000 to 11,000 pages under the last Labour government."

Taylor Jones, El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico

AFGHANISTAN via AL JAZEERA - Karzai wants complete control of security, more control over foreign aid, and "jobs and cash for Taliban members" if they promise to behave.

GREECE - Investigative reporter gunned down in Athens.

SCANDINAVIA - Genetics:  Still happy up North.

INDONESIA - Muslim clerical body determines that beans eaten by "nocturnal critters and then fermented in their stomachs before being excreted and roasted" make good coffee.  Although interfaith marriage is still forbidden.

CHINA - Three Gorges Dam holding up.

IRAN - Point Taken:  Iranian Parliament declares the United Nations corrupt.

BULGARIA via US EUROPEAN COMMAND - Yes, you may tunnel through our country if you lower the price of our gas.  Russian pipeline deal moves forward.

One never falls but on the side towards which one leans (France).

Regulators will likely approve an 8% increase for periodicals, as requested by the US Postal Service.  Catalog rates will rise 5.1%.  Parcel Post is going up 7%.  Bulky envelopes -- those containing CDs, DVDs, apparel or other merchandise -- will cost a whopping 23.3% more.  The price of a first-class stamp will go up two cents, while business mail -- bills, solicitations and the like -- will cost senders 5% more.
-- The Kiplinger Washington Letter  7/9/2010

Police officer stands guard outside a market closed during a strike in central Sringar, India, yesterday.  Kashmir has been rocked by protests and strikes for nearly a month (Farooq Khan/European PA).

July 19, 2010

 Posted 08:55 CDT

UK - Redistribution of power:  Cameron delivers his "Big Society" speech.  Live blogging on the day's developments here.

CHINA - Three Gorges Dam braces for largest influx of water since beginning operation.

PAKISTAN via AL JAZEERA - Big box:  Five-year, $7.5 billion US aid package ready to open

Yaakov Kirschen, Jerusalem Post, Israel

TURKEY - Government can block 7,000 websites, protesters can only block one street.

RUSSIA - Protesters rally despite efforts to prevent them, including "closing the square for construction, distributing fliers with false information, closing down the town's web site, and printing a special issue of a local newspaper with appeals not to attend."

NORTH via SOUTH KOREA - Dictators love to wear bronze.

NORWAY - One in three Conservative Norwegians agree to higher taxes in addition to the 25% VAT and punitive fees on items considered "luxurious, polluting or unnecessary."

GREENLAND via DENMARK - Selling glacier water to Dubai at $52 per bottle.

GERMANY - Hitler's remains:  Baltic Sea pipeline workers contend with poison gas grenades and 2,000-pound bombs.

GREECE - Medical experts determine that 200 policemen are psychologically "unfit" to carry guns.  Perhaps they are "unfit" to be policemen.

FRANCE - Travel planning:  Air traffic controllers on strike this week.

UK - National Health Service patients left on operating tables as hospitals run out of vital supplies.

I am romantic about the National Health Service.  I love it.
-- Donald Berwick  In: "The Berwick Evasion"  Wall St. Journal  7/8/2010

People hold photographs of 1994 Jewish Community Center bombing victims during a ceremony in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last Friday (Leo La Valle/European PA).

July 16, 2010

 Posted 09:10 CDT

IRAN - Thirty-year oil deal inked with Russia: "Sanctions will not hinder us in our joint cooperation," declares the Russian Energy Minister.

CUBA via CARIBBEAN - Not Gitmo:  Freed journalists and dissidents reveal loathsome conditions in Cuban prisons.

SAUDI ARABIA - First passenger flight into Iraq in 20 years.

USA via KENYA - Is Obama interfering in Kenya's constitutional referendum?

SOUTH AFRICA - Government procurement:  Healthcare facilities in Port St. Johns have no toilet paper and no food.

ARGENTINA via CHILE - Majority rules, sometimes:  Polls showed that roughly 60% of Argentines supported same-sex marriage -- roughly the same percentage of Americans who opposed healthcare reform.

 J.J. McCullough, Canada

RUSSIA - President of Bashkortostan is granted a retirement pension of $24,500/month.  And promptly retires.

GREECE - Deadline for conforming to a waste management mandate has passed, and Greece now faces a daily, multimillion-dollar environmental fine imposed by the European Union.

NETHERLANDS - Vacation planning:  EU decides it's OK to ban tourists from Dutch cannabis cafes.

FRANCE - National website launches, crashes.

SWITZERLAND - Preparing for rabid foxes entering from Italy.

TURKEY - Exporting light, waterproof, earthquake-resistant minarets to Europe.

Do not blame God for creating the tiger, but thank Him for not giving it wings (Ethiopia).

Almost all Arab neighbors have a hostile relationship with the Islamic Republic. Saudi Arabia suspects Iran of stirring up the Shiite minority in its eastern provinces.  The Arab Emirates accuse Iran of occupying three islands in the Persian Gulf.  Egypt has not had regular diplomatic relations with Iran since a street in Tehran was named after the murderer of former Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat.  Jordanian King Abdullah II warns against the establishment of a "Shiite crescent" between Iran and Lebanon.  And Kuwait, fearing the Iranians, installed the Patriot air defense missile system in the spring.
-- "A Quiet Axis Forms Against Iran in the Middle East"  Der Spiegel  7/16/2010

A man feeds his donkey in New Delhi, India, yesterday.  City government plans to phase out the use of horse and donkey driven carts (Saurabh Das/AP).

July 15, 2010

 Posted 08:45 CDT

FRANCE - Rain of Terror:  Bastille celebrations hit with violent storms.

NORWAY - The State Railway has become so bad that passengers are engaging in "threats and even physical attacks against the conductors."

CHINA via JAPAN - The Revolution Mao couldn't foresee:  Information that stimulates grassroots movements.  Coupled with continuing labor unrest and shifts in social values "the Party is governing a different country, where the old rules no longer apply."

ITALY - Strikes to follow:  Senate approves austerity budget that includes public sector salary cuts.

SWITZERLAND - Votes to follow:  Trade unions and center-left politicians campaign against unemployment reform.

UK via GERMANY - Cameron's austerity budget quite painful.  "Even the famously icy hand of former Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher in the 1980s felt gentle by comparison."

Hassan Karimzadeh, Tehran, Iran
UK - Violent crimes up, acquisitive crimes down:  A record low crime rate of 9,600,000.

CANADA - Residential housing sales fall sharply.

BELGIUM - Expensive homes in Brussels surge in sales.

CHINA - GDP rose 11.1% in the first half of 2010, and inflation remains "mild."

EUROPEAN UNION - "So let China save the trembling European economies."

DENMARK - Not for the faint of:  Examining a 440-pound whale heart.

It is not enough for people to know how to ride; they must know how to fall (Mexico).

It is not possible to live pleasantly without living prudently, honorably and justly; nor to live prudently, honorably and justly without living pleasantly.
-- Epicurus  In: Laërtes Lives of the Philosophers (10; Maxims 5)  circa 300 BC

The French Army parades in torrential rain on Bastille Day (Horacio Villalobo/European PA).

July 14, 2010

 Posted 07:45 CDT

NORWAY - Health care unions ordered back to work after a two-week strike causes “immediate danger to life and health.”

IRELAND - Not everyone loves a parade:  Third night of rioting in Belfast.

SOUTH KOREA - Iron Man:  Security robots with high-speed machine guns patrolling the DMZ.

ISRAEL - Iron Dome:  Updating missile defense along the Gaza strip.

Cameron Cardow, Canada

SPACE - Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 heads to the edge of the solar system.

INDIA via JAPAN - Officials debate whether a citizen's social caste should be included in census data.

TIBET via CHINA - Students get one-month of "fungus leave" each Spring to search for medicinal molds, smuts and mushrooms [Photo essay].

CANADA - Toronto taxpayers subsidizing private golf clubs.

HUNGARY - Park your car in Budapest with the Wöhr Multiparker 730 [Video].

UK - Ban big tea cups, sterilize poor people, quit stealing countries:  The British public weighs in on the government's Spending Challenge.

It is not economical to go to bed early to save the candles if the result is twins (China).

Unfortunately, the desire to escape from convention is itself a convention.
-- Theodore Dalrymple  In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas  2007

A boy with henna-dyed hair eats a popsicle near Islamabad, Pakistan, yesterday (Faisal Mahmood/Reuters).

July 13, 2010

 Posted 08:15 CDT

SWITZERLAND - Media weigh in on Polanski decision.  Was it logical and brave?  Or just another demonstration that "not everyone is equal."

RUSSIA - Not every tee-shirt is equal:  Officials consult "sociology and linguistics experts" to determine if an extremist Christian tee-shirt can incite religious hatred.

GREECE - The number of civil servants is currently unknown.  A census begins, a website crashes.

NETHERLANDS - Salary caps for medical specialists.

FRANCE - Mais, bien sûr:  "Before I was elected there were taxpayers who paid 100% -- they earned €1,000 and paid €1,000.  They all left the country."

Luojie, China Daily, Beijing

ITALY - Thousands of police participate in massive Mafia round up.

NORWAY - Arctic fox makes a comeback.

IRELAND - Endless:  Riots in Northern Belfast.

CUBA - Castro reappears to inform us that a joint Israeli-US attack on Iran is "imminent."

PAKISTAN - The Punjab Assembly unanimously condemned the media for "damaging the democracy" last Friday.  Today, quite democratically, they took at all back.

Der Spiegel:  Are democracy and Islam really compatible?
Mohamed ElBaradei:  In one sura in the Koran, it says that a ruler must consult his people, only then can he rule justly.  One can start there.   At the end of the day, Islam, like any religion, is what you make out of it.

On going into a church, leave the world behind the door (Spain).

A man waits outside a hospital to learn the fate of victims injured in bombings in Kampala, Uganda.  Suspected Somali Islamists carried out the attacks, killing at least 74 people watching the World Cup final on TV Sunday (Xavier Toya/Reuters).

July 12, 2010

 Posted 07:50 CDT

UGANDA via AL JEZEERA - Transparency:  Somalian Islamist leader comments on terrorist attacks: "Uganda is one of our enemies.  Whatever makes them cry, makes us happy."

USA via ISRAEL - "Hard to believe this is the same Obama."   And most Israelis don't.

FRANCE - Sharp increase in structural deficit.

SOUTH AFRICA - As predicted:  Burning and looting of shops owned by foreigners.

Jonathan Shapiro, Johannesburg Mail and Guardian, South Africa

IRAN - Feeling good about themselves: The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution assures the people that the West is waning: "The current condition of the US, in comparison to the past, is evidence of this.”

SCOTLAND - Rationing:  Free home health care for the elderly likely to be axed as one-third of the population exceeds the age of 60.

ISRAEL - It is forbidden for a woman to hold a Torah at the Western Wall.   One did, one arrested.

DENMARK via ICELAND - Pacific oysters are invading Danish waters.  Just like parrots did 55 million years ago.

GREECE - Inevitable:  Seven out of 10 Greeks are depressed.

UK - Early release of violent criminals may need to be "accepted" by British citizens.  Consider it a "benefit" in terms of government savings.

The beauty of a loan is repayment (Russia).

Does Israel's government trust Obama?  Of course not.  Israelis in general are under no illusions about Obama’s view of their country, his willingness to battle revolutionary Islamists, or his general reliability and toughness.
-- Barry Rubin  "The Region: Behind the Praise"  Jerusalem Post  7/12/2010

Residents stand in rubble from a suicide bomb blast in northwestern Pakistan last Friday; over 55 people were killed (K. Parvez/Reuters).

July 9, 2010

 Posted 08:15

GREECE - Another nation-wide strike today.  And a media blackout -- journalists are striking, too.

IRAN - Feeling good about themselves:  Iran to launch another satellite into space.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES via USA - Unequivocal Concern:  "Our military ... wake up, dream, breathe, eat, sleep the Iranian threat.  It's the only conventional military threat our military plans for, trains for, equips for, that's it, there's no other threat, it's only Iran."

IRAN via SAUDI ARABIA -  Still feeling good!   "Nuke Plant Set for Launch."

Matador, Columbia

SWEDEN - New Rules:  Swedish troops in Afghanistan allowed to use their weapons.

CANADA - Surprise!  A new tax shows up on sales receipts:  The unannounced "eco fee."

CHINA - Air traffic diverted around a UFO hovering in the east.

SOUTH KOREA - China heats up its rhetoric on South Korea's upcoming joint military exercise with the US.

NORWAY - Fighting terrorists and journalists:  Head of intelligence agency admits that arrests were made under pressure to avoid the next newspaper leak.

DENMARK - Immigration targeting Filipino nannies as their numbers have increased 356% in 5 years.

UK - London couple insist their children are fully capable of walking themselves to school.  School refers them to social services.

Under trees it rains twice (Switzerland).

The Swiss export more than twice as much per capita to the EU as the British do.  Yet they control their own trade policy, foreign policy, borders, home affairs and employment law.  Being outside the EU, they are free to disperse power through cantonalism, referendums and competing tax jurisdictions.  Result?  They are the wealthiest people in Europe.
-- Daniel Hannan  "Britain Should Rejoin EFTA"   The Telegraph  7/7/2010

Police officers survey from the hills near Rothbury, England, as the manhunt continues for Raoul Moat who is believed to have shot three people, killing one (Christopher Furlong/Getty).

July 8, 2010

 Posted 07:40 CDT

SWITZERLAND - It took 50 engineers and 100 scientists 7 years and $88 million dollars to get The Solar Impulse to fly through the night at about 35 mph.

SOUTH KOREA - China Advises:  Stop those joint naval exercises with the US military.

GERMANY - The Embryo Protection Law is challenged.

INDIA - Insult Islam, lose a hand.

CANADA - Justice vs. Deterrence:  A Muslim immigrant is convicted of killing her daughter.  The judge wrings his hands and wonders if that's such a bad thing. 

BELGIUM - Record unemployment hits Brussels: 21.7%.

Cameron Cardow, Canada

USA via UK - Alvin Greene, Narcissist Economist:  "Another thing we can do for jobs is make toys of me, especially for the holidays.  Little dolls.  Me."

CHINA - Former police official executed for corruption.

#1 Somalia - Topping the Failed States Index three years running, Somalia is a political and humanitarian disaster.   Largely controlled by two Islamist militant groups, its pirates have become both infamous and effective, earning $89 million in ransom last year (Mohamed Dahir/AFP/Getty).

The median age in Somalia is 17.  Life expectancy is 50.

No one is informed but those who inquire (Wales).

The loss of an ability to think clearly and express these thoughts perceptibly is no trifling matter.  It makes our younger generation, and possibly those generations that succeed them, susceptible to boilerplate thinking and ultimately manipulation by others.  A speechless society, or one that can no longer enunciate its will clearly and with a large register of distinctions, is reduced to an ant heap.
-- Wolfgang Grassl  "Loss of Language, Loss of Thought"  Inside Catholic  7/2/2010

Firefighters observe a minute of silence yesterday in London’s Tavistock Square to mark the fifth anniversary of the suicide bombings that killed 52 commuters (Toby Melville/Reuters).

July 7, 2010

 Posted 07:50 CDT

INDIA via JAPAN - Comprehensive plans to boost land, air and naval power "to counter China’s rising military prowess."

CHINA - American geologist sentenced to 8 years for spying.

AFGHANISTAN via USA - Claiming our 17 acres:  Department of Defense to build Special Ops complex near Mazar-i-Sharif.

NETHERLANDS -  Orange Crush:  Celebrating the World Cup win over Uruguay by leaping into canals, climbing lampposts, and getting arrested.

Stavro, Al Balad, Lebanon

SOUTH KOREA - Russian experts inspected all evidence surrounding the Cheonan explosion.  What they found, nobody knows.

BELGIUM via GERMANY - The Green Death:  Flemish Association of Undertakers hopes to submerge the Dearly Departed in a bath of caustic potash, reducing them to liquid and mineral ash to "help protect the environment."

PAKISTAN - The new comedy Tere Bin Laden is "the story of an imaginative young television journalist who turns an encounter with a lookalike of Laden into his ticket to fame" and his visa to America.

GREECE - Pension reform looking increasingly like pension redux.

A worn-out boat still has 3,000 nails in it (China).

The point we must start from is the classical demand; that the state ought to treat all people equally in spite of the fact that they are very unequal.  You can't deduce from this the rule that, because people are unequal, you ought to treat them unequally in order to make them equal.  And that's what social justice amounts to.
-- Friedrich von Hayek  "Is There a Case for Private Property?"  Firing Line  11/7/1977

Too smelly to handle by the time they make it to Zimbabwe, dollar bills were washed and dried in Harare yesterday (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP).

July 6, 2010

 Posted 07:50 CDT

FRANCE via UK -  France now officially the nation of "psychologically violent" criminals [Background].

CYPRUS - Neat Trick:  Escaped member of the Russian spy ring promised to return to court, paid in advance for a two-week stay at the Hotel Achilleos, hung a “Do Not Disturb” sign on his door and disappeared.

Sergei Tunin, Russian Newsweek

GREECE - Government wants to expand healthcare services.  Physicians, insisting the new laws would be "completely and fundamentally unenforceable," strike for back pay, adequate stores of hospital pharmaceuticals, and lab equipment that does not disappear into the vans of unpaid suppliers.

He who adds to what he has, will keep off bright-eyed hunger; for if you add only a little to a little and do this often, soon that little will become great.
-- Hesiod  Works and Days  circa 750 BC

DENMARK - Witness:  When government officials are looking, home-healthcare workers are brilliant.  When hidden cameras are rolling, they lie, cheat and collude on their time-sheets.

UK via SPAIN - Score:  Immediately following the World Cup lose to Germany, dating-website traffic for British men shot up by 187%.

NORWAY - Big Government Project:  Vastly over-budget, doesn't work.

ICELAND - Angry protests outside the Central Bank over foreign currency loans.  An attendant folk singer clarifies the economic reasoning:  They were "unreasonable" and we were "wronged."

UK - Stock Rhetoric:  Government to cap benefits for laid off state workers because of "the huge deficit we inherited."

SCOTLAND - Over half of college graduates unlikely to find a job.

The world spends $4 million on oil every minute of every day, every day of every year, amounting to $2 trillion bought and sold annually.
-- Mark Mills  "Notes from Underground"  Wall Street Journal Bookshelf  7/2/2010

Boys jump into Chiemsee Lake near the village of Chieming, Germany, last week (Christof Stache/Agence FP/Getty).

July 5, 2010

 Update 17:20

Milky Way over Pulpit Rock, Cape Schank, Australia (Alex Cherney/Terrastro).

 Posted 06:45 CDT

MEXICO - Votes are still being counted in yesterday's 14-state election, and the US Consulate has issued a Security Alert.  In the past three years, drug wars have killed 23,000.  Violence is "part of the daily landscape of Mexico," and is moving toward scenic Arizona.

GUATEMALA and HONDURAS via USA - Two countries in big trouble:  In 2007, 1% of South American cocaine moved through Central America.  Today, it's about 80%.  "Every time I go to Guatemala, I find a dead body."

GERMANY - The radical Left proves even creepier than suspected.

SWITZERLAND - Secret Service illegally captures data on 200,000 citizens.  Twenty years ago there were loud demonstrations in the streets.  Today, citizens are quietly updating their internet profiles with the news.

NETHERLANDS - Many Square Pegs in one collective Round Hole:  The Dutch try to smoosh a new government together.

PORTUGAL - Austerity:  Free streets become toll roads, and both VAT and income taxes increase.  As do the numbers of security systems installed.

Cameron Cardow, Canada 

UNITED NATIONS via USA - President Castro kept chickens in his hotel suite and called President Kennedy "illiterate and ignorant."  Historic crazy-talk at the UN.

The one who strikes first, strikes twice (Belgium).

BIRTH OF THE DAY:  July 5, 1889
The ability to burst out laughing is proof of a fine character.
--  Jean Cocteau   The Difficulty of Being  1947

With significantly lower revenues and higher outlays, debt would reach 87 percent of GDP by 2020, CBO projects.  After that, the growing imbalance between revenues and noninterest spending, combined with spiraling interest payments, would swiftly push debt to unsustainable levels.  Debt as a share of GDP would exceed its historical peak of 109 percent by 2025 and would reach 185 percent in 2035.
-- Congressional Budget Office  "The Long-Term Budget Outlook"  June 2010

Wife and child of a man killed in a twin suicide attack sit near his body in Lahore, Pakistan, last Friday. At least 42 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in blasts at a Sufi shrine (Mani Rana/Reuters).

July 3, 2010

 Posted 07:30 CDT

Words and Music by W. E. Howard, 1915 (Library of Congress)

INDONESIA via DENMARK - Plot to bomb Danish embassy in Jakarta exposed; concerns mount that "prisons have become terrorism schools."

UK - Easy to be Green when you're Rich:  The Prince does not use chemicals for unsightly blight in his bushes.  He simply summons his 11 gardeners, tears out the blighted hedge, and plants a bloody big new one.

NORWAY - Big Government:  Construction of "monster masts" along the glorious Hardanger Fjord gets the bureaucratic nod.  Bergen needs more energy.

SWEDEN via ICELAND - More Big Government:  Over 1,000 primary schools -- mostly rural -- may soon merge or close.  Government claims that the smaller the class size, the worse the intellectual outcome "costing the government extra."

Christo Komarnitski, Bulgaria

IRELAND - Flashback from '69:  "Police Attacked During Belfast Riot."

GREECE - Patriarchy!  Misogyny!  Etc!  Female civil servants forced to retire at age 65.  Even mothers!

Many playwrights who like to think of themselves as anti-Establishment are, in truth, quintessentially Establishment figures.  The Left-liberal values that they imagine to be radical are, of course, utterly orthodox.-- Daniel Hannan  "The Tories' Champ"  London Telegraph  6/13/2007

Fireworks above the Ottawa Peace Tower on Canada Day last Thursday night (Darren Brown/QMI).

July 2, 2010

 Posted 06:00 CDT

GREECE via BELGIUM - Bribes paid out by Greek citizens exceed $1 billion/year.

UK - Steampunk:  "It manages to be both conservative and progressive, backward-looking and forward-looking at the same time."

Luojie, China Daily, Beijing

SWITZERLAND - Photo Journal:  Building a railway in the mountains in 1906.

NETHERLANDS - Yes, it's still going on:  Thousands of Dutch fans take to the streets to watch the World Cup match against Brazil today.

TURKEY - Public announcement of secret talks with Israel.

MONGOLIA via USA - Pitiless winter killed 18% of the country's cattle.  Herders move to the cities, nomads contemplate vegetable gardens.

RUSSIA - Whatever:  Inside the muddy mind of a relativist.

CANADA - More Mud:  G20 protesters regroup in Montreal.  Although the Anticapitalist Convergence Network spokesman notes that "police state and economic violence are closely linked," it's doubtful this insight will lead to his abandonment of Communism.

Fixed on the idea that the good of the people would be served by a White Sea Canal, Stalin ordered its construction, and was apparently forever undisturbed by the corpses of tens of thousands of its laborers buried unmarked on its bottom and in its banks.  The power of ideas is not to be underestimated.
-- Mark Helprin  Digital Barbarism  2009

Those who have free seats at a play hiss first (China).

The Santa Catarina River overflows in Monterrey, Mexico, yesterday (Kristian Lopez/Reuters).

July 1, 2010

 Posted 07:25 CDT

AFGHANISTAN via JAPAN - Former CIA Chief articulates history's best military strategy:  Genghis Khan "killed all the Afghan fighters and their families he encountered, built mountains of their skulls to remind Afghans that Mongols are not to be trifled with and then got his army out of the country to India as quickly as possible"

CHINA via SOUTH KOREA - What happens with capitalism:  China's 100 largest firms spent nearly $34 billion on Research and Development in 2008.  Its Nebulae supercomputer ranked #2 at a recent international conference, and Huawei, a communications company, ranked #1 in international patent applications.

CHINA - More free market:  Small businesses recovering nicely since government cut their corporate taxes by 50%.

JAPAN - Easing visa regulations for Chinese tourists.

GREECE - Fundamental Rights shift from shared humanity to specified crowds:  Unions take their grievances to court “to protect the fundamental rights of citizens and of social groups."

Shekhar Gurera, The Pioneer, India

FIJI - The sugarcane crush.

SWITZERLAND - Considering stalking laws.

NETHERLANDS - A university professor freely expresses his belief that "expressing ideas and beliefs has gone too far."

The clock ticks nowhere as it ticks at home (Netherlands).

Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well.
-- Proverbs 5:15 circa 950 BC

Sea lions at a zoo in Frankfurt, Germany, yesterday (Marius Becker/Agence FP/Getty).