Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ill effects of disasters in Japan reach America

Ill effects of the catastrophic earthquake'-tsunami-nuclear disaster in Japan early last year are still being encountered in the USA': fish with radiation is found off California and debris piles up on Alaska's shore. It is not immediately clear if or how other nearby areas are impacted. While the heartbreaking event in Japan in 2011 has clearly shown the highly admirable social discipline of the people in that country, 'it has also revealed some pretty questionable responses of the government. There is now a deep division in the Japanese society over whether to restart the nuclear power plants 'that have already been switched off.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Europeans look for greener pastures in Russia

According to a news report, the number of Europeans looking for jobs in Russia has increased as the crisis in Eurozone widens and deepens. Russia's economic situation is said to be relatively stable, although it is also argued that the base needs to be reformed for new challenges. Meanwhile, Germany is also a popular destination for many economic migrants from other European countries, like Italy, Greece and Spain. Younger Spaniards are also moving to the Spanish-speaking republics in Latin America, like Argentina, for jobs and business opportunities. The effects of Eurozone crisis on human emotions and conditions are multi-faceted as millions have lost their jobs, businesses and houses.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Impact of Eurozone Crisis on human emotions

From BBC's documentary The Great Euro Crash, we can sense how the Eurozone crisis has impacted on the emotions of ordinary people. The documentary also tells the Eurozone 'story' 'in a historical perspective. Whether the anger, bitterness and'/'or sense of frustration will result in more xenophobic incidents and resurgence of fascism should be of concern to the broad left, liberals and self-enlightened conservatives.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Future of Scotland (& Britain) for exploration

Some 'Scots 'have reportedly begun to pretty actively and passionately campaign for an independent and sovereign Scotland. Recently, Spain and Argentina 'have also resumed their challenges to the positions 'of Britain on Gibraltar and Falkland Island (a.k.a 'Malvinas) respectively. Meanwhile, 2012 marks the 200th birthday of English novelist Charles Dickens and 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth 'II. Of course, 'London is going to host the Summer Olympics pretty soon. Very few Britons seem to worry very much about the end of the world even though it is now 'in recession and Russia has tested a new ICBM which can break through the shield' operationalised recently by NATO.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

In deeper memory of Robin Gibb (1949-2012)

Robin Gibb ('1949-2012') has passed away but his unforgettable songs like Saved by the Bell will surely live on. Gibb's Bee Gees is one of the most effective soft powers that keeps the English-using world as one, in spite of the changes in the world around us 'since 1960s and 1970s. The common love for Bee Gees' songs have been enabling many of us to keep on talking as friends in spite of some differences in opinions.

No-woman team ready for Olympic Games ...

A UK report has observed that Saudi Arabia "looks set" to send an all-men or no-woman team to the Olympic Games to be held pretty soon. As there is no popular poll in Saudi Arabia ('as in Iran'), 'it is not clear at all why the 'reformists' (among the princes) fear the conservatives. It is fairly noteworthy that no other Muslim-majority country on earth follow the model of Saudi Arabia which sees itself as the purest of all.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Eurozone Crisis & strategic balance in Eurasia

If the Eurozone crisis continues without solutions for the next several years, 'it could, 'like it or hate it, 'critically alter the strategic balance between USA-led NATO and Russia in an imperceptible shift of power.

Search for solution to Eurozone Crisis still on

The G-8 Summit and an informal meeting of EU leaders are over, 'but the Eurozone crisis is expected to "drag on". 'There is no specifics on what is a 'balance' 'between economic growth and financial 'discipline'. Meanwhile, suicide rates have reportedly increased in some Eurozone countries pressed extremely hard by the austerity package, that have also caused other socioeconomic disorders and political uncertainties.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Russia has new missile to crack NATO's shield

Russia does not only oppose to NATO's missile shield in Europe. It has also just tested a new missile which is said to be capable of ''piercing' the system. To neutralise Russia's new defence technology, NATO has to upgrade its own. Given the still quite powerful base of science and technology in Russia as well as renewed will to stand up for itself, the question to ask is whether it can economically sustain the arms race'?

Britain bans entry of rights abusers for Games

The UK Government has reportedly decided to ban the entry of human rights abusers into the country for the Olympic Games. However, it is not immediately clear if anyone from Bahrain has been blacklisted; or if banning women and girls from sports is defined as rights' violation. There is indeed a fairly pressing need for these points to be clarified.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Russia's women ready for Olympics in London

Athletes in Russia are reportedly ready for the London Olympics to be held soon. Whether Russia is ruled by Joseph Stalin or Vladimir Putin, Russia's women and girls have always been fairly prominent in sports.

Soviet set standard of sports for Saudi Arabia

That the USSR is no longer in existence is a fact. However, it had set a standard of social progress Saudi Arabia has yet to achieve in 2012. Women in 'USSR had already been trained as pilots for the airforce as early as mid'-1930's and many of them joined the Great Patriotic War later to resist the invasion of' Nazi Germany and also liberate Europe.

Russia still opposes to NATO's missile defence

After NATO had announced the first stage of operationalisation of its missile shield in Europe, 'Russia also reiterated its strong opposition. Russia fears that its security could be weakened by the NATO system, which was set up because NATO feels threatened by Russia's missiles. Iran is believed to have been factored into the system''s final version which is scheduled to be fully activated by 2020, or 8 years from now. NATO seems to be still united in the assessment of threats, although there are now differences in approach to manage the Eurozone crisis.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

NATO operationalises missile shield in Europe

In spite of its own financial constraints and Russia's strong objection, NATO 'has begun to operationalise a missile shield in Europe. 'It is an issue which divides Russia on one hand and USA'-Europe on the other. Also, 'there is an observation that the missile shield has Iran in mind. A third school of thought 'reasons that 'NATO will eventually build and operate a full system of missile defence against both Russia and Iran. To what extent the economic conditions in America and the Eurozone would impact on the development of the system is a critical question. Will the determination ('and pace) to build and operate the full shield exacerbate the financial disorders in the Eurozone and'/'or 'adversely affect the still very fragile process of economic recovery in America ?

In memory of singer Robin Gibb ( 1949-2012 )

Robin Gibb, a member of the Bee Gees, departed two days ago at 62. Gibb's songs and voice form an indelible part of the happy memory of many of us who grew up 'with the passion for folkish songs in English. Thank you very much for the good songs, Robin. Please rest in peace. Without doubt, our prayers and thoughts are now with Robin''s family.

Monday, May 21, 2012

US president for "jobs & growth" in Eurozone

While leaders and people 'in the Eurozone is debating on the pros and cons of austerity, USA's president Barack Obama reportedly argued at the G8 Summit that the Eurozone must focus on jobs and growth.The view 'has been construed as an endorsement for France''s new stance. Germany and Britain 'are seen to be on the opposite side of the view. Also, 'NATO is said to be concerned with the impacts of the Eurozone crisis that could further diminish resources available for defence and security within the geographical scope of the US-ledmilitary alliance.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Persian Gulf Arab 'union' idea now for studies

The Saudi Arabia-sponsored and Bahrain-backed 'union' of Persial Gulf Arab states has met strong reservations and resistance. 'Would Saudi Arabia and Bahrain give up the idea ? If they persist and proceed with the effort, how would they do it  ? 'Future development 'is noteworthy for 'observers and analysts of 'inter-state relations of the Gulf region.

2 questions on social progress in Saudi Arabia

Will 'Sauds' Arabia be finally persuaded to send at least one woman to compete symbolically at the London Olympic Games '? 'Are school girls in the Arab kingdom going to be allowed to do sports '? These are two issues which should interest people who are concerned with the speed of social progress in the oil'-rich but highly conservative Arab society.

Saudi Arabia restricts use of English language

According to a report in the Dubai-based Gulf News, Saudi Arabia has banned the use of English and also the Gregorian calender for official transaction. Also, it was reported in other media three days ago that the 'British government was still working to persuade Saudi Arabia to allow a woman to compete at the Olympics to be held in London soon.

Critical question for Persian Gulf affairs buffs

Quite clearly, Oman is not as 'Iranophobic' as Bahrain. Oman is also a Gulf Arab state and neighbour of Saudi Arabia like Bahrain. 'Why '? 'It is a critical question for observers of (Persian) Gulf's regional affairs.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saudi Arabia's regional 'union' plan under fire

Tens of thousands of people in Bahrain publicly demonstrated against the Saudi Arabia-Bahrain 'union' plan. Yesterday, massive rallies were also held in Tehran and other cities in Iran to denounce the initiative. Besides hosting a fairly well-known foreign military base and 'inviting' foreign troops to 'restore' internal order, 'Bahrain now also employs a foreign police 'adviser' as well as policemen, 'who use lethal and non'-lethal instruments imported from foreign countries for crowd control.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Guests of UK royal lunch under open scrutiny

According to news, the Diamond Jubilee lunch 'of Queen Elizabeth for other monarchs has been controverted further. Earlier, the Queen of Spain had called off her trip over the rows on Gibraltar's sovereignty. Britain-Spain and Britain-Bahrain relationships are pretty noteworthy these days for observers of Europe''s as well as Middle East''s politics. Anyhow, it has been observed that, as a very well-known personality, Queen 'Elizabeth''s image is still very good around the world on earth, although her 90'-year old spouse Philip is fairly well known for gaffes.

Monk in ROK criticised for justifying gambling

Reportedly, 'a monk in South Korea has come under fire for justifying gambling. 'Earlier, six top monks 'were caught gambling and drinking. Reportedly, 'the scandal is growing as more monks have been caught. It is highly unlikely that the now fairly controversial Jeongnyum would be appointed to head any disciplinary body to investigate the scandal.

Batang Kali case under spotlight in M'sia & UK

The Batang Kali case has certainly aroused widespread media interest in Malaysia, Britain and many other parts of the world on earth. Many people can now follow it online in Malaysia's and Britain's newspapers. As many of Britain''s colonial records on the case are "still missing" or have been destroyed, Slaughter and Deception at Batang Kali has thus become an extremely useful source book for contextualising the incident. The book has also been translated and published in Chinese.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Queen of Spain cancels UK trip over Gibraltar

Reportedly, Spain''s Queen Sofia has cancelled her trip to Britain over the Spain-Britain territorial dispute on Gibraltar. Also, 'Argentina has been challenging Britain's claim of the Malvinas ('or 'Falkland') Islands. Many people in Scotland 'nowadays also want to be free from England.

Observations on Eurozone Crisis from London

Reportedly, Britain's PM David Cameron has said that the Eurozone is facing the possibility of breaking up. Britain's economy is reported to have also been 'adversely affected by the disorder in its neighbors in Europe although it is not a member of the Eurozone. However, 'there is the observation within Britain that its own economic downturn has its domestic causes which include the drop of global competitiveness and over-spending in military committments in Afghanistan and Iraq. How to keep its global power and influence without over-spending on the military has been a big problem for Britain since the end of WW1.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Merkel & Hollande meet over Eurozone Crisis

Germany's Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande have met and agreed to keep the 'Eurozone in place with a strategy for 'growth'. However, the diplomatic consensus is still short of details and a time frame. Can diplomacy catch up with the fast-changing conditions and emotions on the grounds 'where rates of unemployment are soaring ? Greece is holding another election and its departure or exit from the Eurozone is now not unthinkable as folk's livelihood becomes harsher. Latest figure shows that the jobless rate in Greece has reached 22'%. Politically, there is also a pressing task for social democrats, liberals as well as enlightened conservatives in Europe to unite and also join forces against the resurgence of ethno- and religio-nationalist Right.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Francois Hollande now in as French president

France''s newly elected president Francois Hollande has been sworn in amid an intensification of the Eurozone crisis. Earlier, his supporters reportedly sharpened tone against Germany for its hardline austerity. Germany''s chancellor Angela Merkel has also reaffirmed the policy of tough fiscal 'discipline'' even after her ruling party lost a key election. President 'Francois Hollande has not shown any sign of backing down. French socialists' platform seems to reflect 'the strong sentiments of many non'-'French peoples hit hard by austerity all over the Eurozone. Seen in this light, ''President Hollande can certainly afford to be firm. In other words, France can provide an antithesis to Germany's thesis.

World shifts focus to Germany over Eurozone

Greece is still in political deadlock and it may even withdraw from the Eurozone. Meanwhile, another Big Thing to be followed is the national elections in Germany next year. Germany is certainly at the central of the world's attention on the Eurozone crisis and debate on economics. The contest between pro- and anti-austerity forces in Europe is about a clash of two Big Ideas that has nothing to do with 'any petty politics of personal differences and similarities between Merkel and Hollande. Hegelians 'believe that clashes of grand ideas move mankind forward in a world-historic and dialectical process, which also surges upwards.

Chancellor Merkel stands firm on fiscal policy

Like it or hate it, the pro-austerity ruling party in Germany has lost a key election. 'However, 'Chancellor Merkel still maintains the position on fiscal 'discipline'. 'European politics has become 'interesting' again as France's new president Hollande's anti-austerity position seems to be shared by millions of people not only in France 'but also in Greece, Spain, Italy and other Eurozone countries hit hard by the fiscal policy. How will the pretty clear shift of economic thinking in Europe impact on the debates in the United Kingdom and United States of America ?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fiscal 'discipline' policy also divides Germany

Reportedly, Germany's ruling party is facing tough test in a state poll. Not all Germans support the policy of fiscal 'discipline' which has been resisted by many people in the Eurozone, notably 'France and 'Greece. The economically hard hit and pressed masses in Europe are angered, particularly, by the loss of jobs and 'cuts' in education and healthcare. It is clear that Spain is additionally burdened by a profligate monarch.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Michael Portillo investigates Eurozone's crisis

Michael ('Denzil Xavier') Portillo's field report on the Great Euro Crisis is certainly fairly timely and also very thoughtful. It''s worth watching. Politically, two pretty critical issues are noteworthy : (1)  relationship between anti'-austerity France and pro'-austerity Germany and '(2) 'if Germany-unfriendly feeling would rise or intensify among people who are hard hit and pressed in their everyday lives all over the Eurozone. Germany has not shown any sign of compromise over its fiscal policy.

Red Square Parade 2012 now in video record

The fairly colourful and musical Red Square Parade held in Moscow on 9 'May '2012 can now be watched through a full video recording of RT. President Vladimir Putin was present and 'he made an official 'speech. The Victory Day Parade is now an annual event in Russia to mark and remember the great victory of the Soviet Union over Nazis'Germany. Like it or not, 'it is a historical fact that the Supreme Commander of the Soviet Union's army at that time was Joseph Stalin ('1879'-'1953').

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Monarch in Spain under media spotlight again

Spainish monarch Juan Carlos is again under media''s spotlight for his relationship with his wife, Sofia. In Spain now, nearly one out of four employable men and women are out of works amid an austerity drive.

'Battle' to okay sports for girls in Saudi Arabia

According to an English-language media in Iran, a school in Saudi Arabia has decided to encourage sports for female students. ´╗┐The family-based Gulf Arab state is going to be the only country that sends a men-only  team of athletes for the Olympic Games in London.

Six monks in ROK caught drinking & gambling

6 top Buddhist monks in South Korea were reportedly caught drinking and gambling. In 2008, 'a Buddhist monk in Hong Kong was convicted and 'jailed for keeping child 'porns in the monastery. 'Needless to say, there are also many other Buddhist monks who are verifiably descent. There are also many atheists who don't drink, gamble or watch porns.

Dinosaurs' extinction & two related questions

Why didn't the causes which led to dinosaurs' disappearance also wipe out or kill off other animals on earth ? What were the creatures which also became extinct at the same period of dinosaurs' disappearance ?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Process of dinosaurs' extinction under probes

Some paleontologists have reportedly suggested that dinosaurs might have already been ''on the road'' to extinction before an asteroid from ahigh crashed into the earth and ''finished the job''. 'In the process of decomposition, the many dead bodies of the mammoth animals must have released a huge quantity of toxic materials and 'polluted the air. Some of the fairly toxic substances - in addition to the flatulence the beasts passed out while they were still alive -might have also caused climate change that, in turn, led to even more deaths of the animals.

Four accounts of 'disappearance' of dinosaurs

According to one synopsis, there are so far four "theories" which tries to explain 'or account for the 'extinction of dinosaurs. 'It appears that the disappearance of the prehistoric creatures was not a single event but a process which occurred over a period of time. 'If it is a process, then could it be that 'more than one single factors were responsible '? In other words, 'the extinction of dinosaurs may not be a monocausal event but a multifactorial process. 'Meanwhile, it cannot be ruled out that 'even more 'theories' could be advanced by researchers in future.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Olympics' flame lit for London Games of 2012

The Olympic flame has been lit in Greece for the Games to be held in London. The weather was reportedly fine. It is the duty of all nations on earth 'to make the forthcoming' Games in London 'a great success. 2012 also marks the 200th birthday of great novelist Charles Dickens.

Very new hypothesis on dinosaurs' extinction

In Scotland, there is now a new hypothesis which attempts to account for the extinction of dinosaurs. The  disappearance of the prehistoric animals has been subject to 'many science discourses for many years.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Krugman's observation on austerity in Europe

America's economist Dr. Paul Krugman shares his thoughts in the New York Times on the 'revolt' in Europe against the austerity policy 'which has resulted 'in a very deep divergence between Germany and France. In Spain, 'nearly a quarter of employable people are out of works now.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

France & Germany deeply split over austerity

France''s new 'president Francois Hollande was elected for his position which is anti-austerity. 'Now that Germany has rejected any rewriting of the fiscal pact, the pressure is now on France: how will France deal with Germany which is more powerful and ''disciplined'' economically '? But, France is not alone or isolated as there are many other countries and millions of non-French Europeans share the anti-austerity stance. Hollande''s' platform may even enjoy support among Social Democrats and other non-conservative or progressive folk within Germany itself. To be sure, ideological and political conservatives in France may still agree with Germany''s current official position which is pro'-austerity.

Germany faces pressure over austerity policy

Now, how would Germany respond to the anti-austerity sentiments as manifested in the election of Hollande as the new French president  ?  The voters in France are certainly not alone as there are also, among other peoples in Europe, 'Greeks and Spaniards who are hard pressed 'by the measure. Suicide rate, for 'example, has noticeably increased in 'some countries in Europe. 'Political protests and social discontent, expressed in various forms, have also evidently multiplied in Europe. Public funds for preserving or 'protecting sites of cultural heritage of the Western 'world 'in Greece and Italy are said to be 'in short supply. Whether the 'cuts' 'in education would affect the quality of education which would, in turn, decelerate and halt the development in science and technology of Europe, is also of concern to researchers of trends.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Vladimir Putin now back as Russia's president

Putin has been sworn in as 'Russia''s' President for the next six years. The Next 'Big Thing to watch is the 'Red Square Parade in Moscow to mark the defeat of Nazi Germany in WW'II by the Soviet's' Red Army. Amid the 'Eurozone crisis, 'Russia''s economy is said to be doing well. Reportedly, the opposition to Putin''s presidency is strong and active.

Asia-Pacific faces poverty & hunger challenge

At a meeting of the Board of Governors held in the Philippines, Asian Development Bank ('ADB') observes that the Asia-Pacific region 'faces the serious challenges of poverty and hunger in the next fourty years. Also, some zones in the vast region are affected by natural disasters. It is said to be experiencing a certain degree of geostrategic tension that has led to a pretty drastic increase in expenditure on armament. But, 'the region is still 'growing on the whole by measurement of GDP. Other socio-economic indicators which can present a better picure of more holistic development include Gini Coefficient and Literacy Rate. Provision of sufficient input of nutrition to children is also important for the achievement of sustainable and people'-centred development.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

'Lost' files shed light on killings in Batang Kali

According to an UK news report, 'the recently released 'lost' files 'have revealed that the colonial authorities "tried to legitimise" 'the killings of '24 villagers by UK soldiers in Batang Kali in on 12 December, 1948. A scholarly work which can provide the historical context is  Dr. T. 'N. Harper' s 'The End Of Empire And The Making Of Malaya ( Cambridge University Press, 1999 ). A focussed examination of the 1948 case is Slaughter And 'Deception At Batang Kali  ( Singapore, 'Media Masters, 2008 ) authored 'by veteran journalists 'Ian Ward and Norma Miraflor.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Friday, May 04, 2012

Wall built in Philippines' capital to hide slums

A wall has been built in Manila "to conceal" the urban slums.  Demand for minimum wage was rejected two days ago by President Aquino III. The Philippines is a Catholics-majority ex-colony of Spain and the US. Japan's occupying forces also ruled the Philippines from 1942 to 1945. Many studies have been conducted by Filipino as well as international scholars, from different schools of thoughts of social sciences, on the gap between rich and poor in the country but a common perception is that 'corruption, 'nepotism and cronyism of the elites are the sources. The Philippines is also frequently troubled by natural disasters, power struggles among politicians, insurgencies and/or military indiscipline. Mainstream politics in the Filipino society is personality'-'centred and dominated by established families while big landlords and their thugs still exploit and tyrannise rural people who are mostly undereducated.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Post-WW II German nation changed for better

To be sure,  there is no sign of any right-wing mass movement being formed or in the process of ascendancy in Germany now. The country has changed, for the better, after WWII as it has learned the lessons. In many parts of the world, many industrial and engineering products from Germany are always trusted for ultility, reliability and durability. Increasingly, German music and arts are loved by many young Asians, although there is still a need for its all'-dimensional 'soft power' to be promoted more actively for the enrichment of the multicultural world.

German economy said to face risk of inflation

Although the economy of Germany is performing better than most 'of her European neighbours, such as Britain and France, it is, according to an analysis, facing the risk of inflation 'or rise of the general level of prices of goods and services. 'Inflation, that acts to erode, 'in real term, purchasing power of  households, 'could also lead to instability. A period of uncontrollable rise of the general price level happened 'in Germany during the interwar years ('1919-1939') 'that caused the fall of the Weimar Republic and ascendance of a mass'-'based 'Nazi Party whose many cerita'-'cerita hantu are now pretty familiar to the world. The introspection of Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892-1984) on the rise of Nazism is also remembered by many people, particularly Germans.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Workers' rallies mark May Day 2012 in Europe

Yesterday, thousands of working people rallied in, 'among many other places on earth, Europe, to mark the May Day'which has its origin in the workers' 'struggle for better lives in the United States of America. Meanwhile, 'it is noteworthy that the Eurozone crisis has impacted on France's politics which is witnessing a resurgence of rightwing forces. However, 'the not-so-romantic economic conditions have also caused more working people as well as their families to rally around the Left. No mainstream party in France's politics advocates the restoration of the monarchy as a solution to their predicaments in the 21'st century.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

PM Cameron: Eurozone crisis has years to run

Reportedly, Britain's PM David Cameron said that the Eurozone has to go through '"years"' before the debt crisis can be overcome. 'Britain is not an Eurozone member, but it has also been confronting with a not-rosy-at-all economic situation. In October 2010, the UK slashed public spending on, 'among other items, military and also royal expenditure.