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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Twitter must Die, Afghan race becomes cliffhanger, Why the world needs a United Nations army, Baluchistan unrest threatens drive against Taliban

By ostentatiously distancing itself from former ally President Hamid Karzai in recent days, the United States has sent a clear signal that its preferred candidates in next week's Afghan election are former finance minister Ashraf Ghani and ex-foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah. Inside Afghanistan, there is a growing conviction Washington is fixing the election to suit its geopolitical priorities. Afghan race becomes Karzai's cliffhanger

All of this points to the need to create a proper UN force on permanent stand-by. Such a force need not be a conventional army, with its own barracks and personnel. It would be better to get countries to give the UN first call on a certain number of their troops, for a specific period of time. National sovereignty could still be respected by allowing countries to opt out of missions, if they inflame national sensitivities. Creating a permanent UN capability would mean that the UN could intervene much more quickly. It would also make it more likely that forces assigned to the UN follow the same military doctrines. It would also help address chronic shortages of equipment. Why the world needs a United Nations army

Bomb blasts in Pakistan’s south-western province of Baluchistan that killed one and injured 10 people on Friday served as a grim reminder that the northern Swat valley is by no means the only security challenge facing the nuclear-armed nation. The continuing unrest has prompted China to suspend plans to build Pakistan’s largest oil refinery in Gwadar, where Beijing has financed the construction of a deep-water port. Baluchistan unrest threatens drive against Taliban

Media Watch

Publisher bans images of Muhammad in new book

It's time to hand out emergency poetry relief

Naming and Shaming at the NYT

Sweet or Sour?

Dave Winer, the pioneering programmer and blogger who runs, has been arguing for months that Twitter is untenable in its current form. Winer likes Twitter—or, at least, he likes the idea of Twitter. Short status updates could well succeed e-mail as the dominant mode of wired communication. But having one company manage the entire enterprise is technically fragile, he argues. Twitter went down last week due to a distributed denial-of-service attack aimed at a single Twitter user—millions of zombie computers had been directed to cripple the user's social-networking pages (apparently as part of ongoing cyberwarfare between Russian and Georgian hackers). The rest of us were collateral damage—Twitter went down for you because of a beef between people on the other side of the world. Does this make sense? Winer doesn't think so. If Twitter worked more like e-mail or the Web—a system managed by different entities that were connected by common Web protocols—a hit like last week's wouldn't be crippling. A denial-of-service attack would have brought down some people's status updates, but Twitter would still work for most of the world. Twitter Must Die...Long Live Twitter


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