30 nov. 2009

Ripensare l'Honduras.


When Mr. Zelaya was deposed, Mr. Insulza dutifully took up his instructions sent from Caracas to quash Honduran sovereignty.
Unfortunately for him, the leftist claims that Honduras could not hold fair elections flew in the face of the facts. First, the candidates were chosen in November 2008 primaries with observers from the OAS, which judged the process to be "transparent and participative." Second, all the presidential candidates—save one from a small party on the extreme left—wanted the elections to go forward. Third, though Mr. Insulza insisted on calling the removal of Mr. Zelaya a "military coup," the military had never taken charge of the government. And finally, the independent electoral tribunal, chosen by congress before Mr. Zelaya was removed, was continuing with the steps required to fulfill its constitutional mandate to conduct the vote. In the aftermath of the elections Mr. Insulza, who insisted that the group would not recognize the results, presides over a discredited OAS.


President Obama came to office intent on a foreign policy of multilateralism. Perhaps this experience will teach him that freedom does indeed have enemies.

The outpouring of international support demonstrates that Hondurans were never as alone these past five months as they thought. A good part of the world backs their desire to save their democracy from chavismo and to live in liberty.
(In Elections, Honduras Defeats Chávez)

29 nov. 2009

Le (s)elezioni birmane.



Although Burma's military regime has announced no election law nor declared the date of the poll it plans to hold in 2010, preparations appear to have begun in Naypyidaw. Informed sources suggest that potential candidates for president, vice-president, commander-in-chief of the armed forces and defence minister have been chosen.
The current list may yet be modified before the election and some potential candidates on the list could be removed. All depends on the regime's leader Senior General Than Shwe, who still calls the shots.
Gen Than Shwe has reportedly already endorsed the junta's No.3 man, Gen Thura Shwe Mann, joint chief-of-staff in the armed forces, to become president of post-election Burma.

Gen Shwe Mann and his wife are close to the strongman's family on a personal level, undertaking shopping trips together to Singapore.

Gen Than Shwe's choice for one of the two proposed vice presidents, according to  informed sources, is Maj Gen Htay Oo, the minister of agriculture and irrigation and a key leader of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), the junta-backed mass organisation.

Maj Gen Tin Ngwe, who is commander of central command, is said by analysts to be the front-runner for the post of commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He recently accompanied Gen Than Shwe when he made an official visit to Sri Lanka.

According to the new constitution, the commander-in-chief will control the ministries of defence, border affairs and home affairs, exercising wide executive powers.

Analysts say Gen Than Shwe wants to make sure the 2010 election provides him and his family with a safe exit strategy. That entails leaving his trusted aides at the helm _ and that means the country will continue to be to run by the military.
 
(Selection time precedes election time)

27 nov. 2009

"No tiene entidad, no está...".



Videla, in conferenza stampa, parla dei desaparecidos.
Birmania. Aprite gli occhi/2.


The problem is that engagement with Burma has been tried many times before, and always without success. Nor is it the first time the regime has promised to free Suu Kyi, or that Suu Kyi has expressed her willingness to meet the generals. The patterns are all too familiar, the accommodating noises from the generals eerily similar to those uttered before.
The US sees the election as the opportune time to begin a process of democratic change. But, for the generals, the election is the culmination of nearly 50 years of running the country. They have no interest negotiating their own demise.
The generals want to tighten their grip on the country and they have moulded the constitution so that they can do just that. They have nobbled the media and they will not be in a hurry to free Suu Kyi so that she can arouse mass enthusiasm for another political party. And any younger army officers harbouring ideas of a more pluralistic society have been kept sweet with more privileges. The election will be a confirmation, if not a tribute, to the generals' own success.
(Burma engagement offers false hope)
Birmania. Aprite gli occhi.


Nowadays when I hear Burma pundits and “players” who counsel “pragmatism” and discuss the supposed potential for parliamentary space, the imagery that springs to mind is this: rows and rows of our MPs in their seats in the Hluttaw stealthily soiling their fine silk longyis, all robotically nodding and feigning attentiveness while Chairman Ne Win extolled the virtues and successes of  “the Burmese Way.”
Fast-forward to the post-2010 Pyithu Hluttaw.  Pliant democratic MPs who have made it in the military’s electoral process aren’t likely to fight for the people, within or without this talked-up “space.”  The regime will most certainly weed the defiant and assertive types out of its “discipline-flourishing democracy,”  by keeping them behind bars, under house arrest or in exile, barring their candidacy or even disqualifying their election wins on trumped-up legal grounds.


Now the US and Britain have publicly indicated that they are willing to tango with “Naypyidaw men,” providing that the latter take certain steps to make the roadmap’s last act "free, fair and inclusive."  Never mind that the regime has set the autopilot on “cheat” since its journey to “democracy” began.

It doesn’t appear to have a Plan B, though.
What can the opposition’s western supporters do if the 2010 elections are not fair, free or inclusive?


Concretely speaking, democratization is a multi-layered process and involves more than holding one-off political events such as elections or adopting a Constitution, or convening a parliament once or twice a year.  Without institutionalizing legal regimes of human rights to protect citizens' and communities’ socio-cultural rights, as well as economic and political freedoms, no polity can be labeled democratic.

Unfortunately for the people, the “Naypyidaw men” have grown accustomed to power, privileges, wealtha and State protection, as well as adept at control, manipulation and domination over the public, economy and the State.  As such, these men in the main are not going to be agents of change, regardless of whether engagement or isolation, sanctions or trade are pursued.

Burma’s sordid electoral history, the exceedingly illiberal nature of the ruling cliques and their unpredictable tactical teases—for instance, opaque talks of Aung San Suu Kyi’s release—should make pundits weary of the a-historical and deliberately naïve pro-election discourses.
When change does happen in Burma, for sure it will not be achieved through the generals’ elections.
(Beware of the Generals’ Elections)

26 nov. 2009

In colpevole ritardo, il filmato è bellissimo.

Pericolosi controrivoluzionari.


Chinese authorities have extended the detention of a jailed dissident writer for another two months, his lawyer said Wednesday.
Police took Liu Xiaobo away on Dec. 8, 2008, one day before the publication of a document he co-authored that called for more civil rights in China and an end to the Communist Party's political dominance.
Liu was held at a secret location for six months, then formally arrested in June on suspicion of "inciting to subvert state power" — a loosely defined charge that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.
Lawyer Mo Shaoping said police gave no reason for Wednesday's extension other than that the case was complicated.
(Detention of China dissident Liu Xiaobo extended)
(Charta 08. Un'analisi)

25 nov. 2009

E dopo le vittorie, il gulag.


Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader, has banned the World Cup from being shown in his country – unless they win.
The Supreme Leader has ordered state-run television not to broadcast live games, and to only screen highlights of North Korea's victories.
The ruling means that 99 per cent of the country's 29 million population will not be able to find out who wins the competition unless the 350-1, outsiders win it.
Games between other nations will be banned from the airwaves, while any highlights of North Korea's matches will be heavily edited to ensure that they look like the better team.
(Kim Jong-il bans World Cup coverage - unless North Korea win)
Agiografia di Barack/2


It is an old tradition, a White House dinner governed by ritual and protocol that happens to be this city’s hottest social event. But at their first state dinner on Tuesday night, President Obama and his wife, Michelle, made sure to infuse the glittering gala with distinctive touches.
They hired a new florist, Laura Dowling, who bedecked the tented outdoor dining room with locally grown, sustainably harvested magnolia branches and ivy. They selected a guest chef, Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit in New York, an American citizen who was born in Ethiopia, reared in Sweden and cooks up melting pots of flavors and cuisines.
They invited local students to witness the arrival of the guests of honor, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India and his wife, Gursharan Kaur, and presented a mélange of musical entertainment, including the National Symphony Orchestra; Jennifer Hudson, the singer and actress; Kurt Elling, the jazz musician from Chicago; and A. R. Rahman, the Indian composer who wrote the score to the movie “Slumdog Millionaire.”
And at the tables, the meatless menu included a mix of Indian and American favorites, including some African-American standards. Collard greens and curried prawns, chickpeas and okra, nan and cornbread were served to the 320 guests — including some well-known Republicans and prominent Indian-Americans — who started off with arugula from the White House garden and finished up with pumpkin pie tart. (After a tasting at the White House on Sunday, the Obamas gave the dishes their stamp of approval, Mr. Samuelsson said.)
(Modern Flourishes as Obamas Host State Dinner)

23 nov. 2009

Agiografia di Barack.


Obama said Monday that the U.S. needs to restore the nation's leadership in educating children in math and science to meet future challenges, and he announced a new Educate to Innovate Campaign.
(Obama pushes math, science education)

P.S. Sulla figuraccia dei global warmers nemmeno una riga, ma il tempo per una bella apologia del più grande presidente nero della storia americana la CNN lo trova sempre.
L'intervista impossibile.


The American side asked to arrange for a special interview of Obama by Southern Weekend.  Reportedly, Chinese Communist Party Secretary-General agreed.  But the Central Publicity Department knew full well that if they ordered Southern Weekend to delete sensitive contents after the fact, it would lead to American dissatisfaction and a diplomatic storm.  So they took pre-emptive action by preparing a "question list" that Southern Weekend had to use.  Although Southern Weekend is daring, it cannot bear the responsibility of diplomacy.  So it had to submit to the tsars of ideology.
It was rumored that senior officials of the Central Publicity Department were present during the Southern Weekend interview.  But the American embassy in China clarified that nobody from the Central Publicity Department was present at the hotel where Obama was staying and where the interview took place.  This was yet another tall trick from the Central Publicity Department which forced Southern Weekend into submission while creating evidence of absence at the scene.  So the Americans were tricked and even said good things for their victimizers.
(Obama’s China Interview Mystery (Updated))
Pazza idea.


General Fonseka is yet to reveal which party he will join or, indeed, whether he will contest at all. This week he said that he would make his decision public next week. But just two days before he had told journalists that he would reveal his plans in 48 hours. Sri Lanka’s first four-star general, it seems, is in a dither.
Many analysts feel that if he does decide to contest the election, General Fonseka will pose a formidable challenge to Mr Rajapaksa. Sanjana Hattotuwa, of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, a Colombo think-tank, says he will present himself as the architect of the victory over the Tigers and as a war hero. No other challenger could hope to boast as much.
(General intentions)

22 nov. 2009

Tutti fuori.


Sri Lanka will release next month the remaining 136,000 Tamil refugees still in the squalid and overrun government camps where they've been detained since the country's civil war ended six months ago, a top official said Saturday.
Some 300,000 war refugees were forced into the camps after fleeing the final months of the government's decades-long war with the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, which ended in May.


Basil Rajapaksa, a senior adviser to his brother, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said Saturday the refugees will be free to return to their villages after Dec. 1, and the camps will be completely closed by Jan. 31.
(Sri Lanka to release 136,000 Tamil war refugees)

21 nov. 2009

La canzone dei vecchi amanti.

Por el boulevard de los sueños rotos.

20 nov. 2009

Birmania. La festa dei bambini.


The Burmese military junta celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Universal Convention on Children’s Rights on Friday in Naypyidaw.

There are no official statistics on child labor in the country. However, the ILO has estimated that more than 1.1 million Burmese children are economically active. Child laborers are noticeable on the streets and in teashops and markets in Burmese cities.
Burma has one of world’s poorest health care systems. The UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has said that infant mortality in the country is unusually high, with one out of 10 live births resulting in death.
“Malnutrition is widespread among children under five with about one-third of children severely or moderately stunted and underweight,” according to UNICEF.
The UN says that less than 55 percent of children in Burma complete primary school.
Rights groups say Burmese children work as forced laborers in dangerous jobs in Thailand, China, Bangladesh, Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Korea, Macau and Japan. Oftentimes, the children are exploited in the sex industry.
(Children’s Rights Celebrated in Naypyidaw)
Nell'era della diplomazia dell'inchino/2.


A student leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests has been put on trial by China, one day after Barack Obama departed from Beijing.
Zhou Yongjun, 42, faces a third prison term in China after being handed over to the mainland by the police in Hong Kong.
Mr Zhou, who has lived in the United States since seeking political asylum in 1992, was arrested last September.
His subsequent transfer to the authorities in China, who have accused him of travelling on a false passport, has ignited fury in Hong Kong, which remains regulated by British law.
(Tiananmen Square protest leader put on trial)
Storia di un disertore.


Some experts have even speculated about the possibility of a Chinese sponsored coup d'etat should conditions catastrophically deteriorate.
When asked for his view on such speculation, Mr Kim said that he thought it unlikely, but he did suggest that there have been internal uprisings in North Korea.
"I am not an expert in that area - but from the experience of living in North Korea the chances of a military coup with the backing of China or any other forces is very small.
"In the past, I wouldn't say exactly military coups - but there have been similar incidents that have happened before, which have failed."
(Defector tells of life in North Korean army)

18 nov. 2009

Nessuno scrive al Colonnello.


Dicono inoltre le cronache che una ragazza è stata allontanata, perché giudicata troppo bassa e un’altra esortata a lasciare la compagnia (sarebbe meglio dire l’im­provvisato simulacro di un harem?) per­ché non del tutto compatibile con i canoni ideali della bellezza secondo il colonnello Gheddafi: in altre parole, perché bruttina. Ma c’è qualcosa di più feroce di un’esclu­sione dovuta esclusivamente per cause, per così dire, fisiche? Mica quelle ragazze erano state selezionate per un concorso di bellezza, o per il casting di una trasmissio­ne televisiva, o per allietare un evento mondano. No, erano state scelte per ascol­tare la parola di Gheddafi sull’Islam, sul crocifisso, sulle profezie, sulla virtù, sulla conversione. E allora che c’entrano la ta­glia 42 e il tacco di almeno sette centime­tri? Ma se non c’entrano, come mai si è im­provvisamente inaridito il fiume di discor­si e petizioni che in questi mesi si è impo­sto sulla degradazione del corpo delle don­ne, sulle ragazze ridotte e umiliate a stru­mento per allietare le serate dei sultani, al­l’imposizione di un canone convenzionale di bellezza che mortifica l’intelligenza del­le donne, che trasforma le ragazze in oche e veline sottomesse ai capricci dei potenti? E invece adesso c’è il silenzio. Il silenzio as­soluto.
(Tutti zitti sulle «lezioni» di Gheddafi)

17 nov. 2009

Ippopotamo mangia coccodrillo. Sequenza pazzesca.



(Le altre immagini)
Sotto il cielo di Praga.


Czechs and Slovaks are marking the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution - which brought down the Communist government of the then-Czechoslovakia.

"The march set history into motion," said Mr Havel to applause.
In a speech to the Czech senate earlier on Tuesday, Mr Havel paid tribute to the memory of those who had helped to bring down the Communist regime, including his late wife Olga.
"We often tend to forget our fellow colleagues, friends and the open-minded people in everyday life," he said, going on to name dozens who had died since the protests.
(Prague marks Velvet Revolution)

16 nov. 2009

La musica in un universo di plastica.


In 1970, the Communist government revoked the license for the Plastics to perform in public, forcing the band to go underground. In February 1976, the Plastic People organized a music festival in the small town of Bojanovice — dubbed “Magor’s Wedding” — featuring 13 other bands. One month later, the police set out to silence the musical rebels, arresting dozens. Mr. Janicek was jailed for six months; Mr. Jirous and other band members got longer sentences.
Mr. Havel, already a leading dissident, was irate. The trial of the Plastic People that soon followed became a cause célèbre.
(Czechs’ Velvet Revolution Paved by Plastic People)
(Musica della dissidenza)
Piccolo mondo antico.


Inside North Korea, all is orderly -- a "workers' paradise" for most of the 23 million residents, with no unemployment and little crime.
In this paradise, no one needs an alarm clock. Rather, each day at 5 a.m., in cities and rural areas, residents awake to patriotic music blaring through speakers, followed by a woman's haunting voice urging people to work hard, thereby enhancing the beauty and greatness of their society. And, of course, honoring "The Eternal President of the Republic," Kim Il Sung, and his son, Gen. Kim Jong Il, the current leader.
(A trip to North Korea offers curious sites)
Messaggio inviato al destinatario erroneo.


In somewhat more pointed remarks, Mr. Obama discussed more sensitive themes, saying the United States would push for freedom of expression (including no censorship of the Internet), political participation, respect for ethnic minorities and the empowering of women in society. He also said the United States would expand the number of American students studying in China to 100,000.
(Obama Pushes Rights With Chinese Students)

15 nov. 2009

Le promesse di Dmitry.


During his perfunctory election campaign, President Dmitry Medvedev made no mention of the need to modernize Russia, nor did he promise to become a popular video blogger or to set any world records for compassion by providing apartments to World War II veterans. No, Medvedev called for a battle against corruption and promised to do so much in establishing law and order that everyone would understand that he was not just keeping the presidential seat warm until Prime Minister Vladimir Putin returned to it in 2012.

However, Medvedev’s call to battle corruption has gone unheeded. All surveys, statistics and personal observations indicate that, during Medvedev’s 18 months in office, corruption has actually increased. Now the question is: Will Medvedev continue just talking about the problem or is he prepared to finally take action?
(Promises, Promises)
La locomotiva.


The private train North Korean leader Kim Jong-il uses on his trips either within the communist country or abroad consists of six around 90 carriages, and some 20 train stations have been built specifically for his own use. To defend Kim against attack, two separate trains precede and follow the main entourage, one handling reconnaissance and the other security.
(The Facts About Kim Jong-il's Private Train)
(Kim’s train stations (updated))
Di passaggio verso Pechino.


After less than 24 hours in Tokyo, Obama will spend three days in China, where he will discuss the yuan’s devaluation and call for more opportunities for U.S. exporters in its vast market.
(Obama in Japan: Reassuring an old friend)

9 nov. 2009

I migliori anni della nostra vita.













C'era una volta il Muro/4. Un autunno che sembrava primavera. Oltre il Muro verso la democrazia. Berlino com'era, com'è. La più grande menzogna mai raccontata. Dietro il Muro, per immagini. Non fu una vittoria di tutti.


I still sense the extraordinary and elementary spirit of liberation that we witnessed across East Europe in those years — in the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland; on Wenceslas Square in Prague; in Budapest; in Timisoara, Romania; at the barricades outside Moscow’s “White House,” and in so many other places.
To have been at these places, to have been at the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989, is to have known a moment when all the calculations of power and politics are overwhelmed by a single-minded quest.
Call it freedom.
(A Fateful Day, and the East Tasted Freedom)

8 nov. 2009

C'era una volta il Muro/3.

7 nov. 2009

Dove il Muro è ancora in piedi.


Cerca de la calle 23 y justo en la rotonda de la Avenida de los Presidente, fue que vimos llegar en un auto negro –de fabricación china– a tres fornidos desconocidos: “Yoani, móntate en el auto” me dijo uno mientras me aguantaba fuertemente por la muñeca. Los otros dos rodeaban a Claudia Cadelo, Orlando Luís Pardo Lazo y una amiga que nos acompañaba a una marcha contra la violencia. Ironías de la vida, fue una tarde cargada de golpes, gritos y malas palabras la que debió transcurrir como una jornada de paz y concordia.  Los mismos “agresores” llamaron a una patrulla que se llevó a mis otras dos acompañantes, Orlando y yo estábamos condenados al auto de matrícula amarilla, al pavoroso terreno de la ilegalidad y la impunidad del Armagedón.

Adentro ya estaba Orlando, inmovilizado en una llave de kárate que lo mantenía con la cabeza pegada al piso. Uno puso su rodilla sobre mi pecho y el otro, desde el asiento delantero me daba en la zona de los riñones y me golpeaba la cabeza para que yo abriera la boca y soltara el papel. En un momento, sentí que no saldría nunca de aquel auto. “Hasta aquí llegaste Yoani”, “Ya se te acabaron las payasadas” dijo el que iba sentado al lado del chófer y que me halaba el cabello. En el asiento de atrás un raro espectáculo transcurría: mis piernas hacia arriba, mi rostro enrojecido por la presión y el cuerpo adolorido, al otro lado estaba Orlando reducido por un profesional de la golpiza. Sólo acerté a agarrarle a éste –a través del pantalón– los testículos, en un acto de desespero. Hundí mis uñas, suponiendo que él iba a seguir aplastando mi pecho hasta el último suspiro. “Mátame ya” le grité, con la última inhalación que me quedaba y el que iba en la parte delantera le advirtió al más joven “Déjala respirar”.

Logré ver, no obstante, el grado de sobresalto de nuestros atacantes, el miedo a lo nuevo, a lo que no pueden destruir porque no comprenden, el terror bravucón del que sabe que tiene sus días contados.
(Secuestro estilo camorra)
C'era una volta il Muro/2.


Until recent weeks, Harald Jaeger, a Stasi officer at Bornholmer Strasse in north Berlin, held the undisputed mantle of the man who peacefully breached the Berlin Wall. But now Heinz Schafer, who was a colonel in the East German army in 1989, has declared that he was the first to open the barriers, at Waltersdorf in the far south of the city. Col Schafer, a 78 year-old who lives in a bleak suburb not far from the former crossing, only put forward his account in a talk to schoolgirls earlier this year.

"But by 8.30pm, and certainly by 9pm, I had given the order to allow people to cross. There was no word from my bosses. Normally, that is what I would have waited for but it was my own conviction to open it."

Col Schafer's claim has been ridiculed by German historians and border guards at other checkpoints. But it does explain years of rumours that East Germans were seen in southern Berlin much earlier than could be explained by standard accounts.
(East Germans may have arrived in West Berlin hours before previously thought)

6 nov. 2009

Un legame messo a dura prova, ma indissolubile.


For in the end, no matter what China’s leaders tell Mr Obama when he visits Beijing later this month, economic and political liberty are linked—not as tightly as people hoped 20 years ago, but still linked. Look forward, and China’s internet-obsessed emerging middle class will surely have an appetite for liberty beyond the purely economic. Change could happen as unexpectedly as it did in 1989. Even the most fearsome fortresses of repression can eventually be breached. Then it was Honecker and Ceausescu; tomorrow it might be Castro, Ahmadinejad or Mugabe; one day Chávez or even Hu.
(The Berlin Wall. So much gained, so much to lose)
Aspettando (seduti) che il più grande presidente nero della storia degli Stati Uniti faccia sapere da che parte sta.


Il movimento di opposizione sembra percepire la difficoltà in cui si barcamena Obama, e a sua volta, a suo modo, gli chiede di decidere: «Obama, Obama, o stai con noi o contro di noi!», hanno gridato ieri i dimostranti in piazza, insieme ad altri slogan significativi come «Morte al dittatore», «Khamenei assassino, la sua leadership è finita», «Ambasciata russa covo di spie» (un'accusa rivolta dal regime a quella americana) e, infine, anche «l'Iran verde non vuole una bomba atomica».

«Nonostante siano lodati come modernizzatori», Mousavi e i suoi due colleghi «sono profondamente leali agli ideali dell'ayatollah Khomeini, fondatore della Repubblica islamica, e sostengono un sistema politico teocratico». Loro sono leader riformisti, mentre il popolo è «sovversivo». Se Mousavi fosse diventato presidente, sostiene Khalaji, non avrebbe modificato la posizione dell'Iran sul nucleare, o la sua politica estera, limitandosi ad introdurre riforme economico-sociali, e non politiche, all'interno dei principi della Repubblica islamica. «Come sono arrivati questi moderati alla guida di una rivoluzione? Per caso», secondo Khalaji, perché - spiega - erano gli unici cui il regime aveva permesso di candidarsi in alternativa alla rielezione di Ahmadinejad, ma nessuno di loro aveva previsto che dalle proteste di massa a seguito delle elezioni presidenziali del 12 giugno sarebbe sorto un movimento popolare.

«I veri leader di questo movimento, dunque - osserva Khalaji - sono studenti, donne, attivisti per i diritti umani e attivisti politici che non hanno alcun desiderio di operare in un regime teocratico, all'interno della cornice legale dell'attuale Costituzione». E il movimento di oggi, fa notare, è molto più ampio di quello riformista di Khatami degli anni '90, che non portò mai in strada più di 50 mila persone. «Ecco perché non solo il regime, ma anche i leader riformisti che pretendono di guidarlo, temono il successo del movimento verde. La democrazia in Iran - conclude Khalaji su Foreign Policy - emergerà solo attraverso una rottura con gli ideali di Khomeini e l'ideologia islamica, concetti ai quali i leader 'per caso' del movimento verde sono ancora leali».
(Iran, i leader "per caso" del movimento verde)

Rimango scettico su molti aspetti del movimento ma sui falsi rivoluzionari (che avevano però ammaliato i liberali occidentali) e sulla conclusione di Khalaji non potrei essere più d'accordo. Provavo a spiegarlo qui qualche mese fa.
Il fatto che Obama non si schieri potrebbe non essere di per sé un errore, per una volta. Ma lo diventa quando alla base della sospensione del giudizio troviamo la solita tattica dello struzzo per tenersi buono il dittatore di turno.

4 nov. 2009

Due ore d'aria.


A senior American diplomat who completed a rare visit to Myanmar on Wednesday said that Washington would improve relations with the nation if its military government embraced reconciliation with Myanmar’s democratic opposition.

After a two-hour meeting on Wednesday with the leader of the country’s beleaguered democracy movement, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Mr. Campbell urged the government to allow her “more frequent interactions” with members of her own party, the National League for Democracy, which won elections in 1990 that were ignored by the ruling generals.
(U.S. Diplomat Allowed Rare Visit With Burmese Dissident)

3 nov. 2009

Tendi la tua mano, Barack.


North Korea has completed the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel rods to extract weapons-grade plutonium, according to its official news agency.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) added that "noticeable successes" had been made in turning the extracted material into weapons grade plutonium.
The statement comes one day after North Korea said it was ready for talks with the US on its nuclear programme.
(N Korea 'has extracted plutonium')
''Traditionalists'' in the People's Liberation Army and Communist Party hierarchy have recently gained the upper hand over those in China's Foreign Ministry and universities who favour a tougher line, says the report, based on dozens of interviews with scholars, diplomats and military officials in Beijing, Pyongyang and Seoul.
''China prioritises stability over denuclearisation due to a vastly different perception than the US and its allies of the threat posed by a nuclear North Korea,'' says the report, Shades of Red: China's Debate over North Korea.
(China softens North Korea nuclear stand)

2 nov. 2009

Chiamiamola America.


The map has been referred to in various circles as America's birth certificate and for good reason; it is the first document on which the name "America" appears. It is also the first map to depict a separate and full Western Hemisphere and the first map to represent the Pacific Ocean as a separate body of water.

A reported 1,000 copies of the 1507 map were printed, which was a sizeable print run in those days. This single surviving copy of the map exists because it was kept in a portfolio by Schöner (1477-1547), a German globe maker, who probably had acquired a copy of the map for his own cartographic work.
(The Map That Named America)