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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Media Watch World: Rising Prices in Egypt and Pakistan, Arthur C Clark, Anthony Minghella, Hilary, Obama, Congress and more

The news from Egypt has relevance for Pakistan. Few know the length of the "state of emergency" in Egypt. Its Presidents are American surrogates, winning "elections" by a 95+ plurality regularly. But the worldwide increase in prices of commodities cannot be absorbed any more. What the Egyptian masses now will do now will be mirrored in Pakistan too.

The only difference is Pakistan's problems will be dealt with by an elected coalition. The second story is about the disparity in riches. Ordinary people starve and fight over bread, and the rich get richer.

Soaring food prices anger Egyptians

Rising food and oil costs have been prompted a wave of discontent across Egypt in recent weeks.

Textile workers, teachers, doctors and accountants have all threatened to strike as many foods, such as meat, have become too expensive for ordinary Egyptians.

The cost of foodstuffs has increased by more than 26 per cent over the past year, and with one in five Egyptians living on less than $2 a day the poor are worst hit.

Al Jazeera's Amr El-Kakhy said that Cairo's markets were noticeably quieter as shoppers struggled to afford basic items.

"Chicken, what chicken? I can't even afford a drumstick. What are people going to do, eat pebbles," one woman said to Al Jazeera.

The World's Billionaires: A New Count, a New Record By Sam Pizzigati,

That warning, we can now safely say, hasn't exactly scared the world's greediest straight. The latest Forbes international billionaire list, released earlier this month, reveals a global concentration of wealth that has reached truly staggering proportions.

Forbes now counts 1,125 billionaires worldwide, up 179 from last year. Their total combined net worth: $4.4 trillion, up 26 percent from the total wealth of last year's billionaires.

Arthur C. Clarke, Premier Science Fiction Writer, Dies at 90 - Gerald Jonas

Arthur C. Clarke, a writer whose seamless blend of scientific expertise and poetic imagination helped usher in the space age, died early Wednesday in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he had lived since 1956. He was 90.

Rohan de Silva, an aide to Mr. Clarke, said the author died after experiencing breathing problems, The Associated Press reported. Mr. Clarke had post-polio syndrome for the last two decades and used a wheelchair.

BBC report on Arthur C Clarke here.

Director Anthony Minghella dies at 54 by Jill Lawless

LONDON (AP) -- Anthony Minghella, a screenwriter, opera director and the Oscar-winning filmmaker of "The English Patient," died of a hemorrhage Tuesday at age 54. Minghella's death came five days before the British TV premiere of his final film, "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency."

Spokesman Jonathan Rutter said Minghella died early Tuesday at London's Charing Cross Hospital. Rutter said Minghella underwent surgery last week for a growth in his neck. He said the operation "seemed to have gone well. At 5 a.m. today he had a fatal hemorrhage."

Germans 'feel shame' over Holocaust

From his detailed forecast of telecommunications satellites in 1945, more than a decade before the first orbital rocket flight, to his co-creation, with the director Stanley Kubrick, of the classic science fiction film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Mr. Clarke was both prophet and promoter of the idea that humanity’s destiny lay beyond the confines of Earth.

Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, has told Israel's parliament that her countrymen are "filled with shame" over the Holocaust of the Jews.

In a speech delivered in German, Merkel pledged on Tuesday that her country would stand with Israel against any threats, particularly from Iran.

"The mass murder of six million Jews, carried out in the name of Germany, has brought indescribable suffering to the Jewish people, Europe and the entire world," Merkel said.

Why Does Congress Leave War to the President By Sean Gonsalves,

Let there be light -- even if it's just a sliver of sunshine to chase away the shadows cast over the Constitution -- the explicit source of authority to "declare war ... raise and support Armies," as well as the implicit power of overseeing military matters.

These are powers that America's constitutional authors saw fit to invest in Congress; not the President (see Article I, Section 8).

And that's why the first ever U.S. Congressional investigative committee was established to probe the 1792 military engagement against this continent's indigenous people in the "Northwest Territory." U.S. forces were under the command of General Arthur St. Clair and Congress wanted to know how the hell a bunch of "backward" Indians managed to wipe out half the General's army.

Charles Stevenson, a former longtime professor at the National War College and now with the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University, tells us that for the next century or so about half of all Congressional investigations were related to military activities. But in the second half of the 20th century, only about 10 percent of all congressional hearings involved defense or foreign policy issues.

Obama Finally Puts Race on the Table By Jon Robin Baitz,

Today we saw and heard a preview of our brightest possible American future in Senator Barack Obama's glorious speech. This, then, is what it means to be presidential. To be moral. To have a real center. To speak honestly, from the heart, for the benefit of all. If there was any doubt about what we have missed in the anti-intellectual, ruthlessly incurious Bush years, and even the slippery Clinton ones (the years of "what is is"), those doubts were laid to rest by Barack Obama's magisterial speech today. A speech in which he distanced himself from a flawed father figure, Reverend Wright, and did so with almost Shakespearian dignity and honor. [Full Text HERE]

Hillary Clinton's Campaign IEDs (Insinuations, Exaggerations and Distortions) By Stephen Pizzo,

What are you going to do if Hillary Clinton succeeds bagging the Democratic Party nomination for President by playing dirty?

I've begun thinking about that more and more over the last couple of weeks. The Clintons have built their entire political lives on the premise that, if they can't win pretty, they'll settle for winning ugly.

Which is why things have gotten so ugly lately. Once it became clear she could not beat Obama in a fair fight they switched tactics. IED's (Insinuations, Exaggerations and Distortions) are now the weapons of choice for the Clinton campaign. Hardly a day goes by now when one of these IEDs doesn't explode into the news.

"Is Obama a Muslim." Hillary was asked on 60-Minutes. "No. Not as far as I know," she replied.


Canada recognizes Kosovo, Serbia pulls ambassador

Canada followed the lead of about 30 other countries Tuesday and formally recognized Kosovo, a former Serbian province that declared its independence last month.

The move prompted the recall of Serbia's ambassador from Ottawa, who is returning to Belgrade temporarily for consultations.

"We know that a significant number of countries, including our G7 partners and many of Canada's close allies, have already recognized Kosovo," Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier told CBC News.

"So what we did today, we joined the international community and recognized Kosovo as a new state."


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