EU is at a turning point

Los Angeles Times: EU is at a turning point

In Britain and Poland in the last month, nationalistic parties uneasy with integration into the European Union have scored major advances. The EU constitution, rejected last year by France and the Netherlands, is dead in the water. Economic nationalism and protectionism are surging. The French, Italian, Spanish and Polish governments recently have taken steps to protect national industries from foreign takeover.

On a continent that dreamed of eliminating national borders, hostility toward immigrants — especially those from Muslim countries — is causing national boundaries to spring back to life.

In short, political life across Europe is being renationalized, plunging the enterprise of European integration into its most serious crisis since World War II.

NOAA Ocean Explorer: Submarine Ring of Fire 2006

NOAA Ocean Explorer: Submarine Ring of Fire 2006
The 2006 Submarine Ring of Fire expedition is the third in a series of explorations of the submarine volcanoes lying along the Mariana Arc, extending from south of the island of Guam northward more than 800 nautical miles (1450 km). We discovered some amazing places in 2004, including an erupting volcano (NW Rota-1), liquid CO2 venting (NW Eifuku), the shallowest yet discovered “black smoker” chimneys (East Diamante) Click on the link for links to their videos.

Iraq Is the Republic of Fear

Iraq Is the Republic of Fear
Under the reign of Saddam Hussein, dissidents called Iraq "the republic of fear" and hoped it would end when Hussein was toppled. But the war, it turns out, has spread the fear democratically. Now the terror is not merely from the regime, or from U.S. troops, but from everybody, everywhere.

The world wonders if Iraq is on the brink of civil war, while Iraqis fear calling it one, knowing the fate such a description would portend. In truth, the civil war started long before Samarra and long before the first uprisings. It started when U.S. troops arrived in Baghdad. It began when Sunnis discovered what they had lost, and Shiites learned what they had gained. And the worst is yet to come.

Won’t Get Judged Again – Pete's Diary – 27 May 2006
Won't Get Fooled Again has been listed in the UK Independent Newspaper as the number one song with – as I understand it – the political message most often misunderstood – in this case the message is said to be 'conservative', a word that may mean different things in the UK and USA.

Of course the song has no party-allied political message at all. It is not precisely a song that decries revolution – it suggests that we will indeed fight in the streets – but that revolution, like all action can have results we cannot predict. Don't expect to see what you expect to see. Expect nothing and you might gain everything.

The song was meant to let politicians and revolutionaries alike know that what lay in the centre of my life was not for sale, and could not be co-opted into any obvious cause.

Iran’s president redefines power politics at home

Iran’s president redefines power politics at home International Herald Tribune
In Iran’s theocratic system, where appointed religious leaders hold ultimate power, the presidency has been a relatively weak position. In the multiple layers of power that obscure the governance of Iran, no one knows for certain where the ultimate decisions are being made. But many of those watching are in near disbelief at the speed and aggression with which the president is seeking to accumulate power. They assume that he is operating with the full support of Khamenei.

Ahmadinejad, elected in June 2005, is trying to outpace the challenges buffeting Iran, ones that could undermine his presidency and conservative control. The economy is in shambles, unemployment is soaring, and the president has so far failed to deliver on his promise of economic relief for the poor.

Not only medieval mentality, but also medieval communication means!

Azzaman in English

No mobile phones, no landlines, no Internet – that is the message anti-U.S. rebels have recently received from their commanders.

The message is believed to have even spread in neighboring states as part of the package of instructions foreign fighters receive before heading to Iraq.

“You are not to use electronic communication or even land lines when communicating,” said a leaflet which the groups distributed recently.

The instructions are apparently a response to what are described as ‘moderate successes’ U.S. troops have achieved in the past few weeks in their fight to flush out rebel cells. Continue reading “Not only medieval mentality, but also medieval communication means!”

Chocolate may boost brain power

Chocolate may boost brain power | Health |
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Chocolate lovers rejoice. A new study hints that eating milk chocolate may boost brain function.

“Chocolate contains many substances that act as stimulants, such as theobromine, phenethylamine, and caffeine,” Dr. Bryan Raudenbush from Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia noted in comments to Reuters Health.

“These substances by themselves have previously been found to increase alertness and attention and what we have found is that by consuming chocolate you can get the stimulating effects, which then lead to increased mental performance.” Continue reading “Chocolate may boost brain power”

This is a Saudi textbook. (After the intolerance was removed.)

This is a Saudi textbook. (After the intolerance was removed.)
Religion is the foundation of the Saudi state’s political ideology; it is also a key area of Saudi education in which students are taught the interpretation of Islam known as Wahhabism (a movement founded 250 years ago by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab) that is reflected in these textbooks.

Scholars estimate that within the Saudi public school curriculum, Islamic studies make up a quarter to a third of students’ weekly classroom hours in lower and middle school, plus several hours each week in high school. Educators who question or dissent from the official interpretation of Islam can face severe reprisals. In November 2005, a Saudi teacher who made positive statements about Jews and the New Testament was fired and sentenced to 750 lashes and a prison term. (He was eventually pardoned after public and international protests.)

The passages below — drawn from the same set of Saudi texts proudly cited in the new 74-page review of curriculum reform now being distributed by the Saudi Embassy — are shaping the views of the next generation of Saudis and Muslims worldwide. Unchanged, they will only harden and deepen hatred, intolerance and violence toward other faiths and cultures. Is this what Riyadh calls reform? Continue reading “This is a Saudi textbook. (After the intolerance was removed.)”