Monday, December 12, 2011

December 12

"People do fall in love."

--Los Angeles resident Jenny Messam, whose husband (Jamaican and 15 years younger than she) was denied a visa to the U.S.; cited in Paloma Esquivel, "Visa regulations keep American woman and Jamaican husband apart," Los Angeles Times; image from article

VIDEOS: Singin' Dips: Australian and American Cultural Diplomacy

(1) Australian

(2) American


Modern Diplomacy - Karen Sommer Shalett, DC magazine: "Who knew there was an entity deeply ensconced in the U.S. Department of State that was started by the Museum of Modern Art, codified by Jackie Kennedy and now reaches nearly 200 U.S. Embassies across the globe? Well, major Clinton fundraiser

Beth Dozoretz, for one, and with her leadership the Art in Embassies program will celebrate its 50th anniversary with major exhibitions at home and abroad throughout 2012. Hoping to create a global visual arts program, MoMA began organizing and curating artist loans for U.S. embassies all over the world in 1953. President Kennedy, at the urging of his highly cultured better half, formalized the program within the federal government 10 years later. Five decades since making the State Department home, the AIE has become a destination for major American contemporary art from the likes of Jeff Koons, Maya Lin, Shahzia Sikander, Carrie Mae Weems, Frank Stella, Cy Twombly, Lorna Simpson, Francesco Clemente, Vija Celmins, Pedro Reyes, and Cai Guo-Qiang. It’s also created cross-cultural exchanges with the purchase of works by art stars from other countries. However, it’s the integration of artists from inside and outside the U.S. working together that most excites the country’s first governmental arts organization right now. ... 'It’s what Hillary Clinton calls ‘smART power,’' says Dozoretz, who was offering suggestions to fill the position of director of the AIE to U.S. Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall when her husband Ron suggested his wife for the job. ... Dozoretz points to the post-World-War-II era as just one example in our country’s history when art played a diplomatic role. 'After doing research on the topic,' she says, 'I believe seeing such innovative art (by Americans) helped the world see that the United States is a creative and open society with the right of freedom expression.' Festivities surrounding the celebration focus even closer to home when the AIE teams with the Department of Defense to recruit for and jury an exhibition based on Americans serving abroad, both in the foreign service and military." Via ACP III on facebook. See also John Brown, "A Modest Proposal: Make the Pentagon Our Very Own Ministry of Culture!," Huffington Post (2009) and "Arts Diplomacy: The Neglected Aspect of Cultural Diplomacy," in William P. Kiehl, ed., America's Dialogue with the World (Public Diplomacy Council (2006). Uncaptioned image from article.

Bureau of International Information Programs Coordinator Dawn L. McCall Travels to Florida and Canada
- Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC: "Bureau of International Information Programs Coordinator Dawn L. McCall will travel to Key Biscayne, Florida from December 12-13 to address the semi-annual meeting of the U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on International Judicial Relations. The Coordinator will discuss how the Committee and the State Department can work together to promote rule of law programs and express the Department’s gratitude to the Federal Judiciary for its sustained involvement in its public diplomacy programs. On December 14, Coordinator McCall will travel to Toronto, Canada to meet with Canadian digital media industry experts."

Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) - Written by kuldeep bansal, "The Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) is the State Department’s public diplomacy (PD) communications bureau, leading the Department’s support for U.S. Embassy PD efforts and engagement with overseas audiences. IIP creates and supports the ways and places for the U.S. to have sustained conversations with foreign audiences provides the products that enable our posts to have those conversations and manages the infrastructure to support it all. Where innovation, policy, and public diplomacy intersect, IIP programs engage international audiences in sustained, meaningful interaction on the full spectrum of U.S. policy objectives. On January 18, 2011, President Obama signed Executive Order 13563 'Improving Regulations and Regulatory Review'. The purpose of the EO is to ensure that Federal regulations seek more affordable and less intrusive means to achieve policy goals. The President also issued a memorandum to the heads of Executive Agencies and Departments calling for more transparency and accountability in regulatory compliance and the need to reduce burdens on small businesses whenever possible. As part of our immediate implementation of this strategy, this web page is created to make Department of State information publicly available, easily accessible, downloadable, and searchable online. Implementing the Plain Writing Act of 2010 On October 13, 2010, the President signed into law the Plain Writing Act of 2010. The Act calls for writing that is clear, concise and well-organized. In his January 21, 2009, Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, President Obama emphasized the importance of establishing 'a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration.' The Department of State recognizes that plain writing is a courtesy to our readers and is our standard for written communications. The Department of State recognizes the importance of public participation and collaboration. Our goal is to write more clearly and to provide the opportunity for regulatory review and comment through this Internet site. We ask you to use the links of this site for our periodic retrospective review of our existing significant regulations and for our proposed rules."

Literary diplomacy - One Steppe at a Time: Exploring Kazakhstan and post-Soviet Central Asia: "While in the US, I had a very interesting conversation with a French professor of immigration law and history and a former employer of mine, Patrick Weil. His idea: the US government should take all (or even a significant fraction) of the millions it spends on 'public diplomacy' and use that sum to buy books from American publishers and distribute those books to foreign countries. I know, I know, this plan reeks of 'redistribution,' 'government subsidies' for a flagging industry, and, dare I put it in type, even socialism - but I think it’s genius . ... [T]here is a real need for books in post-Soviet Central Asia, and in Kazakhstan, at least, many people really want English-language books in particular. Therefore, with regards to American national interests, it makes both political and economic sense to reorient America’s considerable budget for public diplomacy towards the export of our many wonderful academic, artistic, literary and cultural publications.

What better way to illustrate our diversity of interests and views and the accomplishment of our academics and cultural figures than to ship their books abroad?" Image from article

Don't let Voice of America broadcasts go static: Voice of America (VOA), the jewel in America's public diplomacy effort abroad, is set to be streamlined. Some programs can be downsized. But VOA is in the national interest, especially as Russia, China, and Iran expand state-supported media. Cuts should be handled with care - John Hughes, "With specially targeted sister radio broadcasts all over the world, VOA has become the jewel in America’s public diplomacy effort. The US government’s international broadcasting operation is estimated to reach 187 million people in 59 languages. But many Americans are unaware of it – and of proposed changes that are in prospect. These days, radio, especially shortwave, is not only facing the competition of television in countries around the world but also the challenge from the Internet and social media. Western government-supported radio services such as the British BBC have been having a hard time of it with budget cuts and staff layoffs, while countries like Russia, Iran, and China have been spending millions of dollars to expand their state-sponsored media. Little Qatar has made great audience inroads with its Al Jazeera TV operation. The Broadcasting Board of Governors, the part-time board headed by distinguished journalist Walter Isaacson that oversees US government broadcasting, believes all this demands a major shake-up and streamlining. The BBG’s strategic plan calls for 'innovation and integration,' and reaching an audience of 216 million by 2016. The BBG has hired Deloitte consultants to work out the details. ... The major changes being planned should get the careful attention of legislators, journalists, and practitioners of public diplomacy. Retuning America’s voice may be desirable. It should be handled with care. John Hughes, former editor of the Monitor, was director of Voice of America in the Reagan administration and later chaired two presidential and congressional commissions recommending the direction of US government international broadcasting."  On Walter Isaacson characterizing the Declaration of Independence as being "in effect, a work of propaganda -- or, to put it more politely, an exercise in public diplomacy intended to enlist other countries to the cause," see his New York Times article, "A Declaration of Mutual Dependence" (2004)

China’s State-Sponsored Tweeters And Their Paid Tweets – B. Raman, On December 9,2011, "Radio Free Asia ... disseminated a report attributed to the Agence France Presse (AFP) regarding how China has been trying to counter criticism of the State and the Communist Party of China and spread of undesirable 'rumours' through the Internet by micro-bloggers and other netizens."

The JET program and US Public Diplomacy - "This week’s readings revolved around the discipline of Public Diplomacy. Most appropriately, Joseph Nye’s piece, Public Diplomacy and Soft Power was assigned. ... Nye ... evaluates various types of public diplomacy worldwide from all three dimensions

and makes recommendations for the US’ future course of public diplomacy. One of these recommendations is practicing isomorphism in regards to Japan’s JET program and others like it, where the Japanese government invites foreigners to spend a paid year in Japan teaching their language and culture. Nye believes that the alumni of a similar program hosted in the US would create groups of informal US cultural ambassadors across the world, which could remain connected via the Internet. As the US receives harsh criticism and negative public opinion from around the world it seems an opportune time to engage in a US version of Japan’s JET program."  Nye image from

Slovenia: Pol-Mil Ooutlook for 2006 - 10febbraioDetroit: Giornata del Ricordo in memoria delle vittime delle foibe, dell'esodo giuliano-dalmata, delle vicende del confine orientale - "¶7. (C) The difficulty in finding billets for civilian demining/EOD trainers has led the GOS to explore the option of sending military trainers. We have been assured that Slovenia is capable of providing military demining/EOD trainers and expect a decision to be announced in January, pending full political support from all four parties in the governing coalition. An op-ed placed by COM in the national print daily 'Vecer' on December 14 (on the eve of the Iraqi elections) inaugurated Mission’s public diplomacy campaign to develop broader public support for such a deployment. Initial reactions to the idea in the national press have been largely positive. (C) In Afghanistan, Slovenia is not likely to increase its troop contributions in 2006 beyond current levels, according to MOD Defense Policy Director Tadej Burgar. ... ¶10. (C) The difficulty in finding billets for civilian demining/EOD trainers has led the GOS to explore the option of sending military trainers. We have been assured that Slovenia is capable of providing military demining/EOD trainers and expect a decision to be announced in January, pending full political support from all four parties in the governing coalition. An op-ed placed by COM in the national print daily “Vecer” on December 14 (on the eve of the Iraqi elections) inaugurated Mission’s public diplomacy campaign to develop broader public support for such a deployment. Initial reactions to the idea in the national press have been largely positive."

American TV Stars visit Israel – Jerusalem - From press release by Jason Pearlman of Steinreich Communications: “As Israel gears up to welcome the many tourists and pilgrims due to arrive in the country for the festival of Chanukah and the busy Christmas period, America's Voices in Israel is hosting this week a delegation Hollywood celebrities.

During the week-long visit, the delegation will experience Israel in a tailor-made tour that is both high impact and tailored to the group’s interests. The visit by the American Voices in Israel delegation is in coordination – and with the assistance of – the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministy. ... America’s Voices in Israel is a pioneering program founded over a decade ago to bolster Israel’s image in the United States by bringing both traditional and 'new media' figures, high profile sports personalities and entertainers, key opinion molders, moderate Muslim leaders, diplomats, and other influential personalities whose first-hand experiences in Israel can provide an wider and deeper understanding of Israel and combat increasingly hostile views to Israel.” Image from article, with caption: America's Voices in Israel celebrities pose for photos with Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister, Yuli Edelstein, during a visit to Israel to acquire a wider and deeper understanding of the country. Jerusalem, Israel. 12th December 2011.

Mustafa Tamimi is buried, Gaza is attacked, again - "The British Consul-General in Jerusalem Vincent Fean deplored the death of Mustafa Tamimi, after being fatally wounded in the head by a gas canister during a Friday demonstration in Nabi Saleh village, north of Ramallah, Saturday said a press release by British Consulate-General in Jerusalem. Fean said, 'On behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom, I express our deepest regret at the tragic death of Mustafa Tamimi of Nabi Saleh, killed by a tear gas canister during the weekly demonstration against

systematic attempts by settlers from the illegal settlement of Halmiss to expropriate the water spring belonging to the villagers of Nabi Saleh.' ... In the aftermath of the murder of Mustafa Tamimi, Israel’s Ministry of Hasbara (that IS what they call it in Hebrew, in English it’s called the Min[is]try for Public Diplomacy) last night issued an unprecedented statement acknowled[g]ing for the first time that the worst delegitimzer of Israel in the world today is not the BDS movement, nor the New Israel Fund, nor even Iran. The worst delegitimizer is the IDF itself." Image from article, with caption: Mustafa Tamimi carried through the streets of Ramallah

China’s peaceful rise and the good neighbor policy - Maria Dolores Cabras, "Since 2003, Beijing began on one side to concentrate the efforts on the dimension of public diplomacy, bound by the multilateral coordination, and also to

pursue a peaceful rise, without seeking hegemony. ... In fact, Beijing needs to strengthen collaborative and non-confrontational relationships, to neutralize the risk of an unexpected growth-br[e]aking. ... Maria Dolores Cabras is a passionate sinologist." Cabras image from article

Dedicated to peaceful growth jx - moncler-sito-ufficiale-it'blog: "Though still hindered along inconsistencies amid merits and social institutions, the goodwill and cooperative intentions China constantly sends out apt the world through public diplomacy are there as forever

to discern as China namely committed apt enhancing humanistic cooperation with other countries." Blogger image "baiping3145" from entry

South Korea - Interagency Delegation Visits Panama to Seek Cooperation - "In Panama ... the delegation held a ROK-Venezuela Cooperation Forum at Intercontinental Hotel, Panama City, on December 7 with some 30 officials and experts from Panama’s Foreign and Education Ministries, energy agency, and Presidential Commission in charge of commemorating the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the Pacific Ocean. In the Forum, the two sides exchanged views on matters of mutual concern, including sharing their experience in economic development, e-government, ways to increase cooperation in education and investment, energy, culture and public diplomacy."

Lavrov harnesses civil society diplomacy - "International diplomacy can be successfully conducted by internationally-minded civil society groups, as well as by professional diplomats. Russia’s groups if this kind include The Russian World Foundation. The Gorchakov Foundation for Supporting Public Diplomacy, The Russian International Affairs Council and the incipient Foundation for Supporting Ethnic Russians Abroad.

All work under the overall umbrella of the federal Rossotrudnichestvo agency. At the first ever joint session of the Board of the Foreign Ministry and the Public Chamber in Moscow Monday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sought the support of these and similar groups for building productive partnerships with Ukraine and countries in the South Caucasus and also for advancing integration within Russia’s union with Belarus and Kazakhstan." Lavrov image from article

Moscow to host CIS youth forum - "Moscow will host a forum 'CIS youth – future of public diplomacy'. Delegations of public youth organizations, members of Unions of Writers and Poets, leaders of youth parties, teachers and writers, journalists and historians and specialists in culture and cultural heritage are arriving for the forum. A total of 130 people are expected."

Mikheil Saakashvili - "The meeting is still planned, and the parties are awaiting a more opportune moment. Mikheil Saakashvili believed that the contacts with the Russian side should refrain until after Russia will not make the first steps towards' de-occupation of Georgian territory. Jim Donovan Goldman brings even more insight to the discussion. 'But according to an alternative point of view, the efforts of public diplomacy should not be terminated. This in itself is reasonable, but at the official level for the Georgian side, apparently, is now seen not too practical sense in this case – given the stated position of the Russian leadership, not deliberate decision to reconsider the recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Not to mention the fact that the present regime, Moscow is not going to negotiate. Nevertheless, the normalization of relations with Russia is necessary, but Saakashvili did not wish to place it, this was done more because it turns out that someone's climbing across Batko in hell ', correcting against his will that he blew it."

Europe Acknowledges Arab Civilization as Wonderful, Interview - "Gema Martin Munoz is well-known Spanish Author and a professor of Islamic Studies as well as an activist of Arab and Islamic world issues. She is Director General of Casa Arabe 'Arab House' and it is an International Institute of Arab and Muslim World Studies. She reveled secrets about relations between Islam and the West beside distinguished relations between Spain and some Arab co: untries particularly Morocco. She has also praised the resolutions of Arab Spring across the region. Mohamed Ali Fazari of Sudan Vision interviewed her for more information on Casa Arabe goals, challenges and future prospects. ... : Q: Gema could you tell us about Casa Arabe and what is it for? A: Casa Arabe (Albeit Arabi). It is a public Spanish institution created by Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs as it is widely believed the importance of having good relation between Spain and Arab countries. We are working from Madrid to Gortoba. We focus on the tool of foreign affairs public diplomacy as the main means of access to Arab countries. We receive visits from distinguished people from university professors, intellectuals, etc. Also we strengthen relations with Spain economic fields and with businessmen to contact between Spanish companies and Arab countries; besides having a big programme for knowledge for knowledge among Arab countries.

There is a very good knowledge about Arab countries through different actions. We organized elections, roundtable sometimes academic people, NGOs will take part. We open the debate between Spanish people and other different people with their different affiliations. There are cultural programmes and the contemporary arts. We are not specialized institution everybody in Europe acknowledges that the Arab civilization is wonderful. We invite people of different tendencies to attend cultural event to come to Spain. Q: What about people of media and press? A: The media shall be very important. We have different relations with journalists and media in addition we work in education with schools in intellectual programme to know what diversity Islam is. In Casa Arabe include topic about Islam and about Muslims of the world. We also are developing projects and organize think-tank publications." Uncaptioned image from article

Durban climate talks: media in China and India cautiously upbeat - Jonathan Watts, "In China and India – the world's two biggest developing nations – the media reaction to the Durban climate talks agreement was cautiously upbeat. ... China's priority is stable economic growth, but the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases is also keen to show that it is playing its part in global efforts to move to a low-carbon economy.

Government officials were clearly shocked by the criticism China received after the Copenhagen conference in 2009 and have adjusted their public diplomacy and negotiating tactics to avoid being painted as intransigent this time. Elements of the Indian media struck a more nationalistic and triumphalist tone." Image from article, with caption: The Durban climate talks 'offer a glimmer of hope', said China Daily.

The New Silk Road: The TAPI Pipeine - "The importance of the TAPI pipeline as central to the New Silk Road strategy ( though never mentioned explicitly as such due to 'Public Diplomacy' ) was outlined by Joshua Kucera for EurasiaNet ( Central Asia: Iran Left Out of the New Silk Road, November 22). 'Ancient Per[s]ia was a heavily trafficked corridor on the Silk Road, the transcontinental trade route between China and the West that flourished centuries ago. But in Washington’s imagining of a 21st century version of the Silk Road, Iran seems set to be bypassed. [']"

Copeland on Canada’s turn away from internationalism - "Former Canadian diplomat Daryl Copeland laments the Canadian government’s retreat from an internationalist foreign policy (Daryl Copeland, 'A retreat from the world stage,' Ottawa Citizen, 5 December 2011): ... As Canada’s relative power and influence inevitably declined with the recovery of Europe and Asia and the emergence of China, India, Brazil and others, the scale of Canadian activism was down-sized. Our enthusiasm for joining others in the pursuit of long-term goals such as eradicating poverty and bringing peace to the world gradually gave way to to smaller, 'niche' projects such as the landmine ban, conflict diamonds and the construction of innovative new doctrines such as the Responsibility to Protect. The nature of Canadian internationalism changed with the times, and public diplomacy was mobilized to advance the likes of the Human Security Agenda, but a core commitment to internationalism endured."

Slovak experience guides Bosnians‎ - Tobias Hill, The Slovak Spectator:  “'Immediately after the Dayton agreement we had two main political goals: full membership in the EU, and full membership in NATO,' said Fuad Šabeta, currently director of the Department of Peace and Security within Bosnia’s Foreign Ministry. Šabeta has worked in the Foreign Ministry since 1992 and attended its first session following the signing of the Dayton Accords. He is clear on the benefits that joining NATO in particular would bring Bosnia. ... Persuading the inhabitants of Republika Srpska will require Bosnia and Herzegovina’s officials to utilise skills beyond effective government administration. ... 'I want to concentrate on public diplomacy,' he said. 'We have to explain to people in Republika Srpska that NATO is not a military organisation, NATO is a civil organisation. Ambassadors in NATO are creating decisions, not soldiers.

The military is only a part of NATO.' According to Šabeta, it is important that politicians from parliament understand enough about the issues to give a positive and persuasive speech. 'If we have cooperation with Slovakia, this will help inform our politicians and strengthen their arguments,' Šabeta said. He added that Bosnia’s media could also benefit from collaboration with Slovakia." Image from article, with caption: Sarajevo was under siege from 1992 to 1996.

Finland and the OPCW – prisoners of success? - "Measured by many indicators, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the its implementing body, the OPCW, are success stories. Finland has supported the scheme from the start, but what can be done to correct the mutual lack of visibility? ... Despite its success, however, the organisation is poorly known. Üzumcü [Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)], says he noticed that himself already when applying to work there. 'Increasing awareness of the organisation, public diplomacy, was a key element of my campaign for the post of Director-General.'”

Doha Alliance of Civilization Forum Continues - "Deliberations of Doha Alliance of Civilization Forum continued for the second consecutive day. The forum, which continues till tomorrow (Tuesday), is being organized at Qatar National Convention Centre under the theme of 'Cultures Dialogue to Serve Development'. ... The Sultanate is taking part in this forum by a delegation headed by Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed A'Salmi, Awqaf and Religious Affairs Minister. ... Sub-sessions will be held during the second day on the reality of Islamic-Western relations after ten years from September 11th in the United States and what is related to the future of the digital freedom, public diplomacy and an alternative vision for the conflict, dealing with the past to build better future, the role of teaching history and the current rising generation, a generation of active citizens. There will be a number of work networks to discuss a number of themes related to building centers and museums networks for tolerance, diversity and integration when the companies' policies conflict with states' laws and traditions, among others."

9/11 and LLRC Reports: Rambukwella’s ignorance bane for Rajapaksa regime - Daya Gamage, "Summoning whatever little he knows in the area of public diplomacy and public affairs and endeavoring to counter international and domestic political opposition charges about the delay in making the LLRC report public, Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s public affairs spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella displayed his utter ignorance of the stark differences between the US 9/11 report and Sri Lanka’s LLRC [Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission appointed to scrutinize terrorism and its fallouts) report."

A package from Texas for the rescue baby… - "I always believe that personal touches are the most effective ways of attracting the other nations’ hearts. Today is the day that we all witnessed a package was received by an earthquake victim; this incident was occurred in city of Van two months ago. The package was sent from Texas to a 2 month old baby who was rescued after two days from the earthquake. We called her 'Miracle Baby'. The package is full of presents and clothes. This story is being broadcasted by all TV channels today. The person who sent this package just knew the name of the baby and the city. At the end, thanks to Turkish Mail Company, it was received by the family at the end. ... I think governments must consider encouraging its people to understand the other nations. More, they should let them to show their feelings. There were probably no effort of PD office, but this thoughtful and naïve gift is forgettable for thousand of people in Turkey. Consequently, I would say that individuals of the countries are most valuable employee of the public diplomacy offices. I believe that public has the power to attract others’ hearts, governments are there to organize and encourage its people." Image from entry


NATO to end its training mission in Iraq - By Slobodan Lekic, Associated Press, Washington Times: NATO will permanently shut down its military training mission in Iraq and withdraw all of its soldiers from the country by Dec. 31, the alliance said Monday.

Talks on extending the mission had stalled over NATO’s request for legal immunity for the foreign trainers — an issue that earlier torpedoed plans to keep a residual U.S. military presence in the country. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had requested the alliance extend the eight-year training mission until the end of 2013, but insisted that all NATO troops in the country be subject to Iraq’s laws and judicial system. Image from article

A new mirage in the Iraqi desert - Kimberly Kagan and Frederick W. Kagan, Washington Post: An independent, stable and responsible Iraqi state is critical to U.S. interests in the Middle East. A substantive policy toward that end can result from a combined insistence that Iraq adhere to international laws and norms, pressure on Iraqi leaders to deepen the political settlements under such stress, and the positive incentives of genuine military cooperation.

Newt Gingrich slammed for peddling 'Israeli propaganda' - Leading Palestinian officials have rounded on the US's Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich for his description of Palestinians as an "invented" people and "terrorists," saying the GOP frontrunner's claim that children are taught to kill in textbooks is based on Israeli propaganda.

Diplomacy and propaganda: ‘Media must help build Pak-India friendship’
- Independent media in India and Pakistan can play an important part in cooling tensions between the two countries, which are the only impediment to a prosperous and stable South Asian region, said speakers at a seminar at the University of Management and Technology on Saturday.

The seminar, titled ‘Role of media for a stable and prosperous South Asia’, was held in connection with the 26th anniversary of the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Image from article

Challenging the Kremlin: Russians show their unhappiness with Putinism - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: Mr. Putin played the same anti-American card he and Mr. Medvedev used before the parliamentary vote. Mr. Putin said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "gave a signal" to the political opposition, which must have been a dog whistle, and that the West spent "hundreds of millions of dollars" to influence the vote. It's time for President Obama to drop the illusion of his "reset" with Mr. Putin and speak up for Russians who want more political freedom.

North Korea warned South Korea of "unexpected consequences" if it displays Christmas lights near the tense border - The South's defence ministry said earlier it was considering a request by a Seoul church group to put up Christmas lights on a steel tower shaped like a tree atop a military-controlled hill near the border.

The North's official website, Uriminzokkiri, called the plan "a mean attempt for psychological warfare" against the communist state and threatened to retaliate immediately if the lights are switched on. The 155-metre hill in the South, about three kilometres from the border, is within range Playing the Grinch: North Korea has warned South Korea to turn off its Christmas lights, a symbol the north believes is an attempt to spread 'Christian propaganda.'  Image from article

Seoul project design criticized for evoking Twin Towers disaster
- John M. Glionna, Even at first glance, the design renderings for the soon-to-be-built pair of apartment towers here pack a wallop: They evoke New York’s World Trade Center towers in mid-explosion in the terrifying moments after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. But wait.

The Dutch designers say the images have nothing to do with debris flying off two towers that have just been rammed by a pair of commercial airliners. It’s more like a dreamy cloud formation inspired by a gaze up at the sky. Netizens aren’t buying the explanation. Image from article


"Then there are the affluent — annual incomes of $250,000 or more a year is as good a benchmark as any — who, before the recession, were doing better and better for reasons no one was entirely sure of, but that they personally had nothing to do with."

--Michael Kinsley

"Nuclear-armed democracies are not threats to world peace."

--Mark Palmer and Patrick Glen

1 comment:

kuldeep bansal said...

People do fall in love." --Los Angeles ...