We don’t just report off-beat news, breaking news and digest the best and worst of the news media analysis and commentary. We give an original take on what happened and why. We add lols, satire, news photos and original content.
DIZZY looks at social networjkign site Facebook.
We all know about the Facebook Revolution right? Whilst I’ve not said it on here, I don’t think Facebook will last as a major user proposition. There are a couple of reasons for this, like Second Life, I think it will be a platform that will see its user base increase, but see its active user base plateau. Like many things, it’s great initially but users eventually get bored and move on to the next fad.There is another problem that Facebook faces, it is, in 2007, what AOL was in 1994. What do I mean by that? Well I suggest reading Scott Heiferman’s blog to understand the point. He notes
AOL 94 vs. Facebook 07 While at Sony in 1994, I was sent to Virginia to learn how to build a Sony “app” on AOL (the #3 online service, behind Compuserve & Prodigy at the time) using AOL’s proprietary “rainman” platform.
Fast forward to Facebook 2007 and see similarities: If you want access to their big base of users, develop something in their proprietary language for their people who live in their walled garden. Strangely, many young facebookizens aren’t very net savvy (facebook *is* their internet) & they have little desire to go beyond the walled garden — just like the old AOL users. There’s even a proprietary Facebook messaging system (kids don’t use much open internet email)
AOL eventually dumped Rainman in favour of open standards as it started to face fierce competition globally, and whilst AOL Server went open source it’s usage remains quite limited. Facebook has in effect become a similar walled garden of activity. It’s fan will tell you it’s a great tool for communication and collaboration, but as kottke.org points out,
we already have a platform on which anyone can communicate and collaborate with anyone else, individuals and companies can develop applications which can interoperate with one another through open and freely available tools, protocols, and interfaces. It’s called the internet and it’s more compelling than AOL was in 1994 and Facebook in 2007.
Facebook is a fad right now, at some point though it will find itself competing against a superior and open version of itself, and unless it changes history will just repeat itself.
DOES it matter where you get shot? And do you blame him?
CBS) NEW YORK The death and destruction of U.S. troops fighting in Iraq seems to have become so rampant to one local soldier that he actually staged an attack on himself — allegedly hiring a hitman to non-fatally shoot him — so he wouldn’t be sent back for another tour of duty.
Now, 20-year-old Jonathan Aponte is under fire at home in the Bronx for his decision that may send him to prison.
“There are some people mentally that can handle it. There are some people who just can’t. You need to know when to say enough is enough,” Aponte told CBS 2 HD exclusively Friday.
For Aponte, that day was Monday, the very day he was supposed to go back for another tour of duty to serve ten months on the front lines. He admits to CBS 2, however, that he couldn’t face another tour of drama and devastation.
“Bullets being shot at me, almost being hit, with car bombs, burning flesh,” Aponte recalls of his first tour. Now the soldier, his mother, and lawyer all say his plot for pain proves he’s a victim of post traumatic stress disorder caused by the horrific memories of battle.
“I jokingly said that I should get shot in the leg … so that it can buy me some extra time away from Iraq,” he said.After his new wife text messaged a hitman who would do the job, Aponte admits, “I asked him what was a good price. He told me $500 would be fine.”
The shooting was set to happen under a bridge on Gunhill Road on the very day of the redeployment.
“I decided I wasn’t going to go back one way or another,” he said.
When Aponte arrived at the appointed time, he smoked a cigarette then closed his eyes because he didn’t want to see it coming, he told police. The next thing he knew, he had a gunshot wound to his right knee.
RELEASE the badgers:
British forces have denied rumours that they released a plague of ferocious badgers into the Iraqi city of Basra.
Word spread among the populace that UK troops had introduced strange man-eating, bear-like beasts into the area to sow panic.
But several of the creatures, caught and killed by local farmers, have been identified by experts as honey badgers.
The rumours spread because the animals had appeared near the British base at Basra airport.
UK military spokesman Major Mike Shearer said: “We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area.
Call in the squirrels:
According to IRNA, the official Islamic Republic news agency, the national Police chief has implicitly verified the news about the confiscation of a number of squirrels, equipped with eavesdropping devices, on the Iranian borders. He has declined to give any more details, but, reportedly, when asked about the confiscation of 14 spy squirrels, he stated, “I have heard about it, but I do not have precise information”. IRNA adds, “These squirrels were equipped by foreign intelligence services, but were captured two weeks ago by the Police”.
RIP Potter. Adult literacy will never be the same:
LONDON (Reuters) – Nearly a fifth of Harry Potter fans say they will skip straight to the last page of the final book to find out how what happens to the boy wizard, a survey showed on Saturday.
Fans’ web sites are buzzing with speculation over the possible ending of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, the seventh and final book in the series.
Author J.K. Rowling has fuelled the intrigue by saying that “more than two” characters will die but she has refused to name the victims or give any more clues.
According to the poll of 500 children for the Waterstone’s book chain, 17 percent of readers will flick to the end without ploughing through all 608 pages first.
But a third say they are prepared to stay up all night to finish the book after its July 21 release.
Girls will race through the novel quicker than boys, taking about 30 hours to finish.
Nine out of 10 think it will be sadder saying goodbye to Harry than Prime Minister Tony Blair, the survey said.
“There’s no doubt that Harry will be missed, he’s a hard act to follow,” said Waterstone’s spokesman Wayne Winstone.
FREEDOM to talk:
America’s first Muslim congressman has provoked outrage by apparently comparing President George W Bush to Adolf Hitler and hinting that he might have been responsible for the September 11 attacks.
Addressing a gathering of atheists in his home state of Minnesota, Keith Ellison, a Democrat, compared the 9/11 atrocities to the destruction of the Reichstag, the German parliament, in 1933. This was probably burned down by the Nazis in order to justify Hitler’s later seizure of emergency powers.
“It’s almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that,” Mr Ellison said. “After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it, and it put the leader [Hitler] of that country in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted.”
To applause from his audience of 300 members of Atheists for Human Rights, Mr Ellison said he would not accuse the Bush administration of planning 9/11 because “you know, that’s how they put you in the nut-ball box – dismiss you”.
Is Mr Ellison’s religion relevant to his views?
POLITICS is all spin and slickness, isn’t it? But there is a cure. Vote LibDem and get production valuess not glimpsed sinced Live TV was put down. (As the Croydonian points out, look for Sarah Teather’s off switch. (She’s a local friend of mine.))
FOOTBALL crazy for Sheffield United and West Ham:
GAWD bless ‘em:
Are you there, God? It’s me, Hillary: Time magazine this week ran a story explaining how the three leading Democratic presidential candidates—Clinton, Obama, and Edwards—are all rather outspoken about their religion. Metaphysics have been of greater service to some than to others, but all this liberal God talk has got Christians in cyberspace either doubtful of the candidates’ sincerity or pissed at their cynical manipulation of faith-based politics.
The snark precedeth the piety: “Of course, these voters think George W. Bush’s religious beliefs are twice as strong as any of these other nuts,” writes Pareene at Wonkette, “and now everyone hates him, so Hillary’s dismal showing (75% of voters think she is the antichrist) should be a good sign! Especially now that the two candidates considered to be the most religious are a crazy magic pajama-wearing Mormon and a Secret Closet Muslim, which is a sure sign of the end times.”
Voters polled by Time have all decided that Barack Obama is the most god-fearin’ god-lover running for President. After Mitt Romney (voters know he is very devout about his crazy nonsense that they hate and distrust), Obama is considered the most sincerely idiotic candidate with 24% of respondents calling him “strongly religious.” Even Republican votes think he’s closer to Yahweh than WALNUTS, Rudy, and Newt.
FROM Paulo Reis in Portugal:
After delivering some documents to Portuguese CID officers at Police headquarters in Portimão and spending almost 15 minutes in the bathroom, the Spanish “investigative journalist” Antonio Toscano went out and told the Press that those documents to Polícia Judiciária contained new elements to reinforce his theory that Madeleine McCann is alive and well, with people that is part of the “logistics” of a person known in European paedophile circles as “El Francés”.
Antonio Toscano was interviewed by “SOS Madeleine”, a French blog, and said that he “never identified ‘El Francés’ as Bernard Alapetite“, an adult movies producer who was sentenced, in 2000, to three years in jail for selling copies of pornographic movies with children, bought at an Eastern European country. Anyway, Antonio Toscano thinks that Bernard Alapetite “should be questioned by Portuguese and Spanish criminal Police about Madeleine McCann abduction” (…)”
Which make us wonder what Toscano knows and if he is intersted in the case and justice or concerned only in promoting his name and appearing on Spanish daytime telly. Is he a hoaxer? A ghoul? Is there a book in it?
And was Anorak’s man in Portugal right all along about Madeleine McCann’s Wearside Jack?
Weeks of reporting on the missing girl. But has it achieved anything other than turning the McCanns into celebrities, spreading anxiety and explotiating paedophila without advancing any argument or debate?
According to Wang Guanghe, director of the Weather Modification Department under the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, each of China’s more than 30 provinces and province-level municipalities today boast a weather-modification base, employing more than 32,000 people, 7,100 anti-aircraft guns, 4,991 special rocket launchers and 30-odd aircraft across the country.
“Ours is the largest artificial weather program in the world in terms of equipment, size and budget,” Wang said, adding that the annual nationwide budget for weather modification is between US$60 million and $90 million.
It is no coincidence that the world’s biggest such project is in China. The country’s leadership has never been cautious about harnessing nature, taking on a slew of what were once thought impossible engineering challenges, such as the Three Gorges dam, the world’s biggest hydroelectric project, and the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the world’s longest highland railroad.
For a largely agrarian country like China, the weather was thought of as far too important to be left to the whim of gods or nature. As a result, Chinese scientists began researching man-made rain as far back as 1958, using chemicals such as silver iodide or dry ice to facilitate condensation in moisture-laden clouds.
Wang says training programs and licenses have sharply curbed accidents in recent years, and the 135 farmers who comprise the on-call rainmaking force in Beijing go through intensive training, lasting several weeks, before they are let loose on the artillery. The farmers are paid about US$100 a month for their cannon and rocket-launching duties, which they perform about 40 times a year.
WHAT do you make of this?
German writer Günter Wallraff wants to stir things up in his hometown of Cologne. He is proposing reading the ‘Satanic Verses’ in a controversial new mosque. The religious foundation building the mosque says it’ll think about it.
Salman Rushdie poses with his 1988 book “The Satanic Verses.” German writer Günter Wallraff wants to read from the book in a Cologne mosque.
Salman Rushdie poses with his 1988 book “The Satanic Verses.” German writer Günter Wallraff wants to read from the book in a Cologne mosque.
Günter Wallraff doesn’t think of himself as a provocateur, he justs wants to get a dialogue going and to put the integration of Muslims in German society to the test. His method is somewhat radical. The well known German writer has said he wants to read aloud from “The Satanic Verses” in a Cologne mosque.
Wallraff denies that his proposal to read from a book regarded by many Muslims as blasphemous is a provocation. Rather, he says, he just wanted the Rushdie book to finally be discussed within the Muslim community.
ISN’T democracy great:
DETROIT (AP) – Democrats John Edwards and Hillary Rodham Clinton consider themselves among the top presidential candidates.
They were caught by Fox News microphones discussing their desire to limit future joint appearances to exclude some lower rivals after a forum in Detroit Thursday.
Edwards says, “We should try to have a more serious and a smaller group.”
Clinton agrees, saying, “We’ve got to cut the number” and “they’re not serious.” She also says that she thought their campaigns had already tried to limit the debates and say, “We’ve gotta get back to it.”
Revealed: Workers Guilt Free Over Office Theft
YouGov survey reveals more guilt over stealing 10p pens than illegal software worth thousands
Workers around Britain are pocketing office supplies totalling millions of pounds each year – and guilt is the last thing on their minds.
The results of the YouGov study, reveal that bosses better beware – if it’s not screwed down your staff are likely nab it.
The survey commissioned by The Federation Against Software Theft uncovered:-
Computer software and other digital downloads such as film, music and video are prime targets for 10% of those questioned.
- 62% of people admit to stealing pens and 42% take post-it notes from the office.
- Notebooks, printer-paper and blank cds prove too much of a temptation for 25% of workers
- 5% even fill their bags with office loo roll!
The survey went on to reveal that while 8% of those questioned feel an occasional stab of guilt over pocketing cheap office pens, just 2% considered that downloading illegal software was something to be ashamed of – the same level of guilt experienced by those stealing toilet paper.
John Lovelock, director general of The Federation said: “Just as we expected, people fail to recognise that theft is theft – whether it’s the act of physically taking something that doesn’t belong to you or downloading software that you haven’t paid for. Digital theft is costing the UK millions of pounds each year. You wouldn’t expect to walk out of PC World with a piece of software up your jumper and get away with it, would you?
He continued: “The same applies to downloading it online. Whether it’s software, film, music or games – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Downloading this material is illegal and you will get caught. What’s more if you get caught at work, your boss could be liable to ten years in jail.”
BORIS Johnson, Tory MP, will stand for London mayor. At least that’s what it says on Conservative home.
Boris will run. It says so here:
Boris Johnson will run as a candidate for London Mayor, as reported in The Telegraph this morning. More to come on this post later…
And here in the Telegraph:
Boris Johnson, the Tory MP, has decided he will run as a candidate in the London mayoral contest.An announcement from Mr Johnson, which could come as early as today, will electrify the race and pose the most serious challenge to Ken Livingstone’s hopes of winning a third term.
But he’s only “likely” to run here.
Which makes a change from when he was “definitely not a candidate” last week.
Decisions, Decisions. Decisions.
(I’d vote for him over that tosspot Livingstone.)
AL-Qaeda is not giong away fast:
The draft National Intelligence Estimate is expected to paint an ever- more-worrisome portrait of al-Qaida’s ability to use its base along the Pakistan-Afghan border to launch and inspire attacks against the United States over the next several years.
Yet, the government’s top analysts concluded that U.S. soil has become a harder target for the extremist network, thanks to worldwide counterterror efforts since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Among the key findings of the classified estimate, which is still in draft form and must be approved by all 16 U.S. spy agencies:
—The U.S. will face “a persistent and evolving terrorist threat” within its borders over the next three years. The main danger comes from Islamic terrorist groups, especially al-Qaida, and is “driven by the undiminished intent to attack the homeland and a continued effort by terrorist groups to adapt and improve their capabilities.”
—Al-Qaida is probably still pursuing chemical, biological or nuclear weapons and would use them if its operatives developed sufficient capability.
—The terror group has been able to restore three of the four key tools it would need to launch an attack on U.S. soil: a safe haven in Pakistan’s tribal areas, operational lieutenants and senior leaders. It could not immediately be learned what the missing fourth element is.
—The group will bolster its efforts to position operatives inside U.S. borders. In public statements, U.S. officials have expressed concern about the ease with which people can enter the United States through Europe because of a program that allows most Europeans to enter without visas.
ONE thing to say in Spears’ favour: she doesn’t preach.
14 looks at how Britney is getting along:
US Weekly recently presented compelling evidence that Britney Spears may be headed toward another apocalyptic public meltdown. The clues are there, and US Weekly was the first to warn the public of the impending disaster. The tabloid asked “experts” to observe Britney’s current behavior/fashion choices and compare the results with her pre-meltdown behavior/fashion choices. US even went and found real live doctors to test their hypothesis! Now that’s credible reportin’. Dr. Martin Pennington, a clinical psychologist with over 25 years of experience and Dr. Robi Ludwig, a psychotherapist/TV host gave their expert commentary on Britney’s condition and the prognosis doesn’t look good. Over the next few days, I’ll update this post with illustrated versions of their lab results:
3. Britney wears the same old pair of rotting boots every day. “It’s a form of rebellion,” says Ludwig of Spears’ tendency to wear the same boots over and over…She’s thumbing her nose at everyone.”
ULRICH Beck, professor of sociology at Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilian University and the London School of Economics, and author of Power in the Global Age, thinks about the bigger picture:
Gordon Brown needs to change the course of New Labour and replace the national agenda with a new cosmopolitan realism in order to tackle the challenges of terrorism, globalisation and climate change. To meet these goals, of course, he needs a strong European Union with the UK playing a major role in it. He also needs a strong alliance with civil society movements. Only then will he be able to get the new “global generations” on his side, those who have created networks across all manner of boundaries for the purpose of overcoming not capitalism as a system but neoliberalism. The left I see in my mind’s eye does not want its good old postwar agendas of nationalisation back. Nor is it neoliberal, and it is certainly not hunkered down in some xenophobic fortress. Rather, it is cosmopolitan. Its vision of a cosmopolitan future combines the concern for national and global justice with an interest in the survival of each individual. In other words, the idea of having roots and wings at the same time could replace the worn out ideas of communism, socialism, neoliberalism and old Labour. And this cosmopolitan left might make the improbable possible – namely the survival of humanity beyond the 21st century without lapsing back into barbarism.
If it used to be the case that power could be won only by giving up utopia, now the opposite is true: only by developing a new vision of a cosmopolitan future can New Labour be renewed and power retained.
TINTIN is banned. Dizzy writes:
I’ve never particularly liked Tintin stories, never really read them much and to be honest I always preferred the satirising of them in comics like Viz. However, it seems that the question over whether a specific Tintin book should be banned as been raised, and I have to admit I find the arguments in favour of such actions slightly worrying.
The book in question is Tintin in the Congo, a book that is, so the argument goes, racist in its entirety. Now I admit, here and now, that I have not read it all, you are therefore free to dismiss everything I about to write on that basis but I would say hear me out first.
I have seen one specific scene from the book, thanks to a reprint in this morning’s Times which shows Tin Tin dispensing quinine to a man who presumably has malaria and then being praised like a white God by the wife of the man who’s life has been saved meaning he can return to hunting.
I have searched this section a number of times and I am trying to figure out where the actual racism lies in it. To be honest with you I imagine some people might find the answer to such a question obvious, the last image of the scene is, after all, an African woman on her knees worshipping the white man and saying how wonderful he is.
However, I find myself wondering, what exactly would have happened all those years ago in a similar situation? David Livingstone, for example, was as I understand it, renowned for doing just this sort of thing with quinine. This makes me ask myself the following.
If I were a native African in the deepest “heart of darkness” as Joseph Conrad called it, and I lived in a pre-Enlightenment culture, what would be my reaction to a strange looking guy appearing, wearing odd clothes, who was also a completely different skin colour to me and miraculously saving the life of my spouse?
What I’m saying here is that, in at least the very specific cartoon I have seen, I don’t think the situation itself is entirely unbelievable, when contextualised into our historical and scientific understanding of Western medicine in comparison to the pre-Enlightenment culture of deepest Africa at the time.
So if the situation itself is not racist, could it be the translation into English of Herge’s characters? The African characters do, after all, speak in a manner that to some might appear negatively disparaging. There could be an implication that they’re in some way backward. However again I find myself thinking, you’re a western European, you’ve just stumbled upon people living in Africa in almost seclusion, are they likely to speak fluent English?
In fact, even today, the prevalence of Pidgin English around the world suggests that some people do indeed sound like the words in the speech bubbles. It doesn’t mean they are stupid though; it is just the nature of linguistic development. If you visit a vast number of African nations that were formerly British colonies you will find the most richest and diverse hybridisations of English anywhere.
One thing that could be offensive I imagine, but not because of race, is the Belgian connection. This is an historical point though rather than a racial one. It is pretty well documented that the Belgian Empire were, to say the least, complete bastards through and through. A quick look at the way the different European empires had carved up Africa and how Africa looks now exemplifies that fact. The British Empire, which is still held in negativity by many, tended to at least leave behind institutions of civil society, whilst the Belgian’s in the Congo sort of, well… just look at it.
As I say though, I’ve not read the whole book, and for all I know there may be scenes of mass slaughter in it, but in the part I’ve seen what I do see is a scenario that may well have happened and had the same effective outcome. True there may be a bit of positive Belgian spin on their time in Africa, but that is not about racism it’s about history and the accuracy/inaccuracy thereof.
If the book is banned though, what does that actually say about our attitude toward our place within linear history? If we ban something from sale because it no longer represents the views that we have today, then does that not imply that we perceive history itself as a static point in time? That our place in it is only ever in the now, and therefore views, ideas and thought must only ever be grounded in the now as well?
If we do that are we not actually, in effect, destroying the past and pretending that all roads that led us to where we are should be forgotten? Isn’t that what book banning on the grounds that it no longer fits our current views actually implies? Book editing too falls into this realm as well surely? The editing out of sexism in Enid Blyton for example, which – if you stood in a pub with five men or five women you’d soon discover isn’t dead at all – isn’t that an action by the ‘Ministry of Truth’ to control the present by destroying the past?
There are of course those who argue that such books, especially as they are targeted at children, reinforce racism. If we assume for a moment that the books are indeed racist as the critics say, is it the book that is at fault, or the failure of the parent and/or teacher to apply historical context to their reading? It’s worth noting of course that we hear no calls for books like Mein Kampf and certain Islamic literature to be banned though, is that simply because they do not appeal to children I wonder?
I wonder if, at some point in the future we will start to ban film on these kind fo grounds too? The question I wonder in those sort of cases is, which is worse, a film about the trenches of WWI with lots of racism in it. or a film about WWI where the trench is ethnically diverse and everyone lives in perfect racial harmony?* If the way in which we are calling for old books to be banned or edited is anything to go by, how long will it be before films start to go the same way, and we project the views of today dishonestly on to the events of the past?
Of course maybe we will indeed see this Tintin book along with others banned. I wonder though if it might just be easier to burn them instead. I mean, I realise it’s been done before but we’re more enlightened now… right?
* Before someone points out that there were mixtures of races in the trenches and thus damns the example, the purpose of the analogy is a general one about how applying our world view today to the world of the past is a dishonest manipulation of history.
SMOKE on water:
Listen to an iPod during a storm and you may get more than electrifying tunes. A Canadian jogger suffered wishbone-shaped chest and neck burns, ruptured eardrums and a broken jaw when lightning traveled through his music player’s wires.
Last summer, a Colorado teen ended up with similar injuries when lightning struck nearby as he was listening to his iPod while mowing the lawn.
Stick with Kylie:
Jason Bunch, 18, says it wasn’t even raining last July, but there was a storm off in the distance. Lightning struck a nearby tree, shot off and hit him.
Bunch, who was listening to Metallica while mowing the grass at his home in Castle Rock, Colo., still has mild hearing damage in both ears, despite two reconstructive surgeries to repair ruptured eardrums. He had burns from the earphone wires on the sides of his face, a nasty burn on his hip where the iPod had been in a pocket and “a bad line up the side of my body,” even though the iPod cord was outside his shirt.
“It was a real miracle” he survived, said his mother, Kelly Risheill.
Senior U.S. intelligence officials yesterday defended unsuccessful efforts to capture al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden who they say has eluded a global manhunt for years by hiding in tribal areas of Pakistan under the protection of local leaders.
“We share your frustration,” Thomas Fingar, deputy director of national intelligence, told Congress yesterday. “Being No. 3 in al Qaeda is a bad job. We regularly get to the No. 3 person.”
But capturing or killing bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, has been difficult because their security practices are “very good” and they are hiding in an area “that is more hostile to us than it is to al Qaeda,” Mr. Fingar told the House Armed Services Committee.
The BBC has apologised to the Queen for wrongly implying she walked out of a portrait session with photographer Annie Leibovitz during a documentary.
A trailer for the programme, unveiled on Wednesday, showed the Queen in an exchange with Leibovitz, followed by a clip of her apparently walking off.
The BBC said in a statement: “This was not the case and the actual sequence of events was misrepresented.”
JODIE Marsh lost a bet and allowed readers of Bizarre magazine to choose her new tattoo.
Jodie’s new husband can study it during auditions.
- Permanent snot drip under nostril
- Sperm with a perm on one side of the pelvic area and perhaps and egg with a dread on the other
- Her as a miniature foetus with umbilical cord coming from stomach
- A snake emerging from anus coming round to her front to lick her nipple
This is how she got it. Oh celebrity….
THIS isn’t good:
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded al-Qaida has rebuilt its operating capability to a level not seen since just before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, The Associated Press has learned.
The conclusion suggests that the network that launched the most devastating terror attack on the United States has been able to regroup along the Afghan-Pakistani border despite nearly six years of bombings, war and other tactics aimed at crippling it.
Still, numerous government officials say they know of no specific, credible threat of a new attack on U.S. soil.
A counterterrorism official familiar with a five-page summary of the new government threat assessment called it a stark appraisal to be discussed at the White House on Thursday as part of a broader meeting on an upcoming National Intelligence Estimate.
The official and others spoke on condition of anonymity because the secret report remains classified.
Counterterrorism analysts produced the document, titled “Al-Qaida better positioned to strike the West.” The document focuses on the terror group’s safe haven in Pakistan and makes a range of observations about the threat posed to the United States and its allies, officials said.
AS Dizzy notes:
According to this morning’s paper version of the Independent, John Hutton, the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, came back into Government under Gordon Brown after resigning from Blair Government’s in protest about the Iraq War.
MATTHEW Parris is reading Alistair Cambell’s diary. He sees this. It is “awful“:
“Sunday, January 6 . Gordon’s baby was clearly dying. TB and CB [Tony and Cherie Blair] were both genuinely upset.” “Genuinely.” A word you really hoped nobody would have thought necessary. A whole world of cynicism and spite, unwittingly encapsulated in one simple, subliminal, choice of adverb.
Five days later . . . “TB called me on his way back from the baby’s funeral to say it had been a nice service but he had been quite shocked to see how many journalists were there, including Dacre [the Editor of the Daily Mail]. I said I couldn’t imagine why they would have wanted anyone but really close friends there, and TB said different people react differently in grief.”