Over Easy: Around the World

Kensington Palace Orangery serves easy eggs, you see
Kensington Palace Orangery serves easy eggs, you see

(Picture courtesy of Herry Lawford at flickr.com.)

Welcome to Thursday’s Over Easy, a continuation of Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner and its tradition of giving an overview of news our everyday media doesn’t cover, issues that we ought to consider outside the U.S. scene.   Now, I am back from that world and view, and glad of it though there are things I miss.  It’s been really hard to get back onto schedule for me, hope you are all patient with me.

The UAE announced that fuel subsidies will be cut, which will bring regular fuel to 24% more in cost than it has shown for drivers there.   The move is meant to encourage drivers to cut back on their profligacy in use of petroleum products and pollution.

“It’s not a huge increase,” said Mashfique Chowdhury, the editor of UAE-based motoring site DriveArabia. “People who can afford gas guzzling cars should still be able to afford them. It might hit the low-income groups more if commuting costs double.

Mohamed Noweir, the managing director of UAE car classifieds site Carmudi, said that the higher prices could spur on sales and availability of hybrid vehicles – currently a rarity in the Gulf.

“Who knows, maybe we’ll see hybrids picking up in the UAE. There could be a chance for you to see as many Teslas in Dubai than you see in California,” added Noweir, referring to the all-electric sports cars produced by the upstart U.S. automaker.

Always good to have an appearance by former Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley, who resigned after describing the imprisonment and maltreatment of Bradley Manning – for releasing information about U.S. surveillance – as ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.

As journalists quizzed US state department spokesman John Kirby earlier this week about the fight against the so-called Islamic State, one simply asked, “Who is shooting at whom?”

It is actually a good question and a major problem as the United States tries to convert significant tactical effort on multiple fronts into a workable long-term strategy. As we approach the one-year anniversary of the US-led international effort to “degrade and ultimately destroy” IS, just how effective the coalition has been remains unclear.

(snip)

As a practical matter, while the US has established a training programme for the moderate opposition, the graduation rate has been so modest that it is likely to be months if not years before those forces can make a difference.

Sadly, there is probably time. If the analogy of the Thirty Years War is accurate, this complex Middle East conflict is far from over.

 

Never.Give.Up.

Over Easy: Around the World

Kensington Palace Orangery serves easy eggs, you see
Kensington Palace Orangery serves easy eggs, you see

(Picture courtesy of Herry Lawford at flickr.com.)

Welcome to Thursday’s Over Easy, a continuation of Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner and its tradition of giving an overview of news our everyday media doesn’t cover, issues that we ought to consider outside the U.S. scene.   Yes, still from Over There in London, and I’m still showing the palace over easy eggs.  Next week, however, I’ll be back in PA and posting from there.

Should anyone wish to do a post for Friday’s Over Easy please let me know, otherwise I’ll leave another placeholder one as I will be out all day, a trip to Avebury’s stone circle and Stonehenge are on my schedule.

While events NASA has engineered aren’t from the outside in themselves, our new images from Pluto do seem to be extraterrestrial enough to qualify as foreign – and al Jazeera is another outside source, nice that we share these photos.

A zoom-in of Pluto reveals an icy range about as high as the Rockies — but Pluto, according to NASA, “cannot be heated by gravitational interactions with a much larger planetary body.” This means some other process must be building these mountains.

“This may cause us to rethink what powers geological activity on many other icy worlds,” said a New Horizons mission scientist, John Spencer.

The mountains, NASA said, are not more than 100 million years ago. A NASA press release called them “mere youngsters in a 4.56-billion-year-old solar system.”

Greece reached an agreement to provide the European Union with what it demands, in return for a bank bailout, and demonstrations against the capitulation washed through the streets.

Greece’s parliament has taken a crucial step towards a third bailout, by approving the economic measures required by its lenders.

With 229 MPs voting yes, and just 64 voting no, Athens has now given the green light to the plan — even though the prime minister himself admitted many of the “harsh” measures would hurt the Greek economy.

This means that other European parliaments can now vote on the plan too. And it should encourage the eurozone to finalise a $7bn bridge loan later on Wednesday.

The military exercise known as Jade Helm is providing a lot of fun for RT, where theresulting paranoia is seen as another outbreak of the result of U.S. involvement in surreptitious operations.

…some have taken the lack of media access to Jade Helm seriously. While the military has allowed reporters to cover drills in the past, Army Special Operations Command spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria said they would not be permitted to follow troops this time. A select number of reporters may be allowed to observe parts of the operation later, but that has yet to be determined.

(snip)

Meanwhile, a group of hundreds of people has formed the “Counter Jade Helm” operation, during which volunteers will try to tail military participants, observe their actions, and report on their locations. While group surveillance leader Eric Johnston said he’s not concerned about Texas falling under martial law, he told the Houston Chronicle that he wants to maintain checks on the government.

“If a team member sees two Humvees full of soldiers driving through town, they’re going to follow them,” Johnston said. “And they’re going to radio back their ultimate location.”

The Large Hadron Collider has proved itself, finding a new particle called the pentaquark, such a good name for particle to follow Higgs Boson.

It was first predicted to exist in the 1960s but, much like the Higgs boson particle before it, the pentaquark eluded science for decades until its detection at the LHC.

(snip)

“There is quite a history with pentaquarks, which is also why we were very careful in putting this paper forward,” Patrick Koppenburg, physics co-ordinator for LHCb at Cern, told BBC News.

“It’s just the word ‘pentaquark’ which seems to be cursed somehow because there have been many discoveries that were then superseded by new results that showed that previous ones were actually fluctuations and not real signals.”

Never.Give.Up.

Over Easy: Around the World

 

Kensington Palace Orangery serves easy eggs, you see
Kensington Palace Orangery serves easy eggs, you see

(Picture courtesy of Herry Lawford at flickr.com.)

Welcome to Thursday’s Over Easy, a continuation of Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner and its tradition of giving an overview of news our everyday media doesn’t cover, issues that we ought to consider outside the U.S. scene. As today you’re hearing from Over There direct, we have a couple of changes, and the computer doesn’t want to reproduce my eggs so we’ll see what picture goes up.

Yesterday I was visiting Kensington Palace, which to my surprise, and Avedon‘s, you can now walk right up to and into, and can use the great spread of castle and grounds as scenery for your dining pleasure.   This is a great use of public expenditure, imho, and it was quite wonderful to visit the Serpentine Gallery on the Kensington Gardens grounds also.

Now I see that Buckingham Palace is falling down, in pieces, and realize that the proceeds from all those tourist dollars for the gift shops and tours, and cafes on the grounds, help pay for those lovely ceremonial sweeps.   Not the worst way to fund the monarchy.

On a visit to the British Museum, it was a pleasure to view treasures from Nimrud.   These are the ones that the Brits took back home with them, which is a little bit overbearing, but I can’t help being relieved that they were not left to be smashed by the religious fanatics that are at war with their own past, and the cultures of the ages.

ISIL needs to be stopped from destroying such accomplishments, ones its own people are proud to have produced.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group says it has destroyed two ancient shrines close to the Syrian city of Palmyra, seized by the armed group a month ago. Photographs posted online appeared to show the shrines, 4km from Palmyra, being blown up and reduced to rubble on Saturday. It was the first reported damage to ancient sites since ISIL captured Palmyra, known as Tadmur in Arabic and famed for its UNESCO-listed Roman ruins. Pictures showed smoke rising from the hilltop tomb of Mohammed Bin Ali, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad’s cousin, Imam Ali.

Success bringing suit against government for its failure to give the governed a decent life may be coming back to the fore, after bringing about civil rights gains in previous history.

…world leaders have failed to protect the most basic of human rights – to exist.

But today, thanks to 886 Dutch citizens who decided to sue their government, all of that may change. We may not have to wait for the politicians to save us – the lawyers may step in instead. In the first successful case of its kind, a judge in the Hague has ruled that the Dutch government’s stance on climate change is illegal and has ordered them to take action to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a hefty 25% within five years.

Coming from RT, this is a bit suspect for its advocacy, but IMF backing of the perilous Ukraine economy is a puzzle.

…despite Ukraine hurtling towards bankruptcy, the IMF remains willing to lend. There may be American background influence through their 17 percent shareholding.At the same time, Ukraine has the advantage of being such a basket case that some structural IMF medicine could deliver measurable improvement. A better organized public sector, with a sound, fair legal framework to promote private property and grassroots commerce could deliver great progress in Ukraine. Underdeveloped Ukraine contrasts with a Greece which zealously guards a dysfunctional post war status quo, wanting to have its cake and eat it, despite Athens’ magic money tree having lost the power to generate cash, let alone bake. The IMF choosing to keep funding Ukraine may have some shady US overtones of influence but at the same time, the Washington based international lender is deploying a pragmatism which sends out a chilling message to Brussels. Even while yet another Europhile European politician leads the development bank, in truth, the IMF has seen through the simply dismal EU track record. True, past performance is no guide to future outcomes as investment small print always attests. However, with nothing but relative decline to show for Europe’s lost decade, the IMF is now decoupling from riding sidesaddle alongside Brussels’ aloof incompetent delusion.

Never.Give.Up.

Over Easy: Around the World

Welcome to Thursday’s Over Easy, a continuation of Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner and its tradition of giving an overview of news our everyday media doesn’t cover, issues that we ought to consider outside the U.S. scene.

Prime Minister Tsipras calls forEuropean reality consciousness as Greek debt talks kick off to resolve the crisis occasioned by a €330 MN due in payment on Friday.

It is a dispute about whether the eurozone’s creditors will release funds so that they can pay themselves and avoid having to call Greece in default.

Or to put it another way, it is all about whether the IMF and eurozone can keep up the pretence that Greece is a sound and solvent debtor.

Reaching its full energy level for the first time, the Hadron Collider in Switzerland began yesterday its epochal experiment in researching matter itself.

After nearly two years of maintenance and repair, as well as several months of recommissioning, the experiments at the world’s largest particle accelerator are ready to take data at the unprecedented energy of 13 tera-electronvolts (TeV) – almost double the collision energy of the LHC’s first three-year run.

It is hoped the development will mark the start of season two at the LHC, opening the way to new frontiers in physics.

In May scientists achieved test collisions between protons at 13TeV for the first time. The stage is now set for data to be collected from collisions within the LHC’s giant detectors.

Negotiations that have the prospect of lifting sanctions on Iran and bringing about a new orientation with the western world have shown great appeal for the citizens of that country.

Iran remains a theocracy in which citizens have only limited political rights. Most people I met said they would prefer a government that reflects the aspirations of a young and globalized population. Few, however, expect that the lifting of sanctions would produce a more democratic society anytime soon.

“It will have an economic effect, and life will be easier, but there won’t be a political effect,” an art student predicted. Then, like almost every other Iranian I met, he hastened to tell me how much he admires the United States. “Let me tell you a fact. Iranian people love American people,” he said. “Those people you see on TV yelling ‘Death to America’ are paid to do that. Anyone who says he doesn’t like America is either working for the regime or afraid to say what he really believes.”

Americans traveling in Iran are repeatedly surrounded by ecstatic Iranians. Many excitedly snap pictures of themselves with their new friends.

Never.Give.Up.

Over Easy: Around the World

Welcome to Thursday’s Over Easy, a continuation of Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner and its tradition of giving an overview of news our everyday media doesn’t cover, issues that we ought to consider outside the U.S. scene.

A raid by Swiss justice officers on the Zurich headquarters of FIFA, worldwide governing body of the sport the U.S. calls soccer, kicked off a corruption crackdown that has been assisted by Charles Blazer, the former head of Concacaf, working undercover..

Amid the U.S. indictments released Wednesday, Swiss authorities indicated that they were separately investigating the processes by which the 2018 and 2022 World Cup host country sites were secured. The United States narrowly lost out on hosting the latter competition to Qatar, whose securing of the tournament has been overshadowed by concerns over alleged human rights abuses of its migrant labor force.

According to SIU law professor Dervan, part of the reason the DOJ may have launched its investigation into FIFA is because of the widely held belief that corruption influenced the body’s decision to award Qatar the World Cup — thus negatively impacting U.S. commerce and legal norms.

Representatives of the two tribes with members  in the legislative body, Penobscots and Passamaquoddies, withdrew from the Maine legislature as a protest of state attitudes injurious to the tribes’ interests.

As Dana and Mitchell were leaving, a number of lawmakers accompanied them and joined a protest held in the statehouse courtyard.

“The Passamaquoddy and Penobscot people will always have a place in the Maine House,” said House speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick.

”I hope they will reclaim their seats,” he added without elaborating how it may come about.

Technology that can meddle with the DNA of human embryos has been opposed by world bodies that are concerned about its implication for the future of the species.

The technique allows researchers to artificially insert or remove parts of the DNA.

Nascent work in the field has already led to fierce patent battles between start-up companies and universities that say it could prove as profitable and revolutionary as recombinant DNA technology, which was developed in the 1970s and 1980s and launched the biotechnology industry.

But CRISPR has also brought ethical concerns. Use of the technology provoked strong criticism from some scientists last month, after it was employed in China to alter the DNA of human embryos.

Never.Give.Up.

Over Easy: Around the World

Welcome to Thursday’s Over Easy, a continuation of Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner and its tradition of giving an overview of news our everyday media doesn’t cover, issues that we ought to consider outside the U.S. scene.

In an effect that might have been anticipated, the side effect/peripheral damage of our first world big crackdown on human trafficking is producing abandoned cargo folks.  The European Union asked for U.N. approval for a plan to board and destroy human trafficking boats in Libyan and international waters. (more…)