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THE Islamic Reformation:
Iran is also the theatre of very optimistic developments. Hashem Aghajari is an Islamic revolutionary-turned-history-professor. He was one of the student activists of 1979 who later fully participated in the brutal repression after Khomeini’s coming to power. He is now challenging the infallibility of the ruling mullahs and calls upon Iranians to think for themselves instead of blindly accepting whatever is preached in Friday sermons, a piece of advice for which he has been sentenced to death. But he is now supported by the students and professors at most of the country’s universities and thousands of ordinary citizens, workers, and cultural leaders.
Where Aghajari wants to reform Islam; the students want a total separation between mosque and state. He wants an Islamic Reformation, but the demonstrators are interested in the creation of a secular civil society. He is a reformer, but they are revolutionaries.
GLOBAL warming is just a theory. Right:
Miklós Zágoni isn’t just a physicist and environmental researcher. He is also a global warming activist and Hungary’s most outspoken supporter of the Kyoto Protocol. Or was..
FAKES: “So the fake memoir—currently in the news with the daily-double outing of Love and Consequences and Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years—is by no means a phenomenon that originated with James Frey. In fact, the history of autobiography is full of them.”
YOU’VE read that Daylight Saving Kills The Planet Faster.
Global warming has killed off two of the four seasons; Nigel Kennedy endures.
EXTREME Mortman looks at The Wire, The Sun And The Death Of Newspapers:
In Wolfe’s sprawling big city drama, the people on top — no matter how crooked or how lying, and no matter whether their stated purpose is to do the public good or harm — always finish on top. In “The Wire” conclusion, the ending appears upbeat — lots of smiling faces, lots of individual accomplishment, peppy music. But the folks who succeeded are, for the most part, crooks and liars.
The point was driven home — actually, bludgeoned home — by the Sun paper winning a coveted Pulitzer Prize, for essentially knowingly lying. David Simon (and did our eyes deceive us, or was that Simon himself in a brief cameo sitting at a cubicle with a sticker that says “Save The Sun”) has the paper winning an award for public service that they most certainly did not deserve. That comes after Haynes, in a newsroom rant, cites journalistic luminaries Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass.
The irony is that today, in real life, newspapers are being done in by the Internet, by bloggers. In Simon’s “Wire,” the Internet is acknowledged — but it’s not the reason for the newspaper’s black eye. It’s their own fault. It’s trampling on the truth, and disinterest in fact checking if it means missing a prize.
THE HERALD: “Will the PM listen to the Home Office or to the experts?
The Scottish Government must be heartily commended for its decision to resist the imposition of compulsory national ID cards on Scottish airport workers and students. In doing so, it serves well the clearly and repeatedly expressed will of the Scottish Parliament. Compulsory ID cards and the associated database are not welcome here.
THE TIMES: “High-flown nonsense over terror – US has a right to airline information.”
When was the last time you let a bunch of potential terrorists into your house? Indeed, when was the last time you let any group of strangers walk around your house without asking them what they wanted or where they were from?
WRITES Alex: “Maggie is resting at home after spending the night in hospital after a health scare. Thatcher, at 82 years, is the same age as porn and property baron Paul Raymond, who died last week, though the number of people he is believed to have fucked over the course of his life is thought not to number into the millions.”
THE Budget: 2The Iraq and Afghanistan wars will cost approximately $12 billion a month — triple the rate of their earliest years — Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and coauthor Linda J. Bilmes report in a new book.”
“CLIMATE change may spark conflict with Russia, EU told,” announces the Guardian.
This front-page story appears alongside the report: “Darling plans Labour’s greenest budget yet.”
Can the two tales be linked? Is this green budget delivered with a nod to Russia?
PRINCE Harry has been waging the War On Terror. Tally-ban.
The plans is simple. Read it here: Prince Harry Leads The Ronald McDonald Army To Victory in Iraq…
All part of the plan, of course. Harry arrives. The Army stick red wigs on their own heads and atop each passing camel. The enemy charges about firing at everything. And they are picked off.
We win. Ronald McDonald gets a foothold in Iraq. And all is right with the world.
BJORJK makes her childish point about Tibet and leaves the mess behind:
HANGHAI (Reuters) – China will tighten its controls over foreign singers and other performers after Icelandic singer Bjork shouted “Tibet! Tibet!” at a Shanghai concert last weekend, the Ministry of Culture said on Friday.
POLAND president Lech Kaczynski has markd the 40th anniversary of his country’s anti-Semitic purge. Says he: “All of those who left then, and were forced to give up their citizenship, will have their citizenship returned to them if they want it.”
THE AGE (Aus): “Shoppers could face $1 plastic bag fee.”
Shoppers could have to pay up to a dollar for a plastic grocery bag as the Rudd government moves to protect the environment. Environment Minister Peter Garrett has been in talks with grocery retailers about the proposed bag fee, News Ltd reports.
The fee could be as low as 25 cents a bag, but supermarkets said even that would cost families an extra $156 a year for the dozen bags used in an average weekly shop.
“Reports today that the federal government will introduce a levy of up to $1 per plastic bag are incorrect,” Mr Garrett said.
Labor went to last year’s election promising to phase out plastic bag use but Mr Garrett said a levy was not the way to achieve this.
“All environment ministers, state, territory and commonwealth, will meet in April to consider a range of options in the phasing out of plastic bags,” said Mr Garrett.
“The federal government will not support or promote any option for a Federal Government levy to achieve this objective.”
But we can agree on one thing: public enemy number one – the plastic bag.
THE TIMES: “‘Sexed-up’ numbers should not always be accepted as science”
Mike Hulme is a professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia. Says he:
In the recent flurry of moves to ban plastic bags a frequently cited statistic is that more than 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die each year from entanglement in, or ingestion of, plastic bags.
The original scientific study upon which this estimate relied actually attributed these deaths to fishing tackle in the oceans, not plastic bags. Yet the terms “100,000 marine deaths” and “plastic bags” now circulate happily through our public discourse, solidified as established fact.
THE SCOTSMAN: “Scientists rubbish killer plastic bag claims”
CLAIMS that plastic bags are responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of animals every year have been dismissed by leading scientists and environmentalists. The comments contradict efforts to stop supermarkets from handing out billions of the bags every year.
A senior spokesman for Greenpeace said: “It is unlikely that many animals are killed by plastic bags. The evidence shows just the opposite.”
Plastic bags save animals.
Lord Taverne, chairman of Sense about Science, a charitable trust, said “The Government is irresponsible to jump on a bandwagon that has no basis in scientific evidence.
“This is one of many examples where you get bad science leading to bad decisions which are counter-productive.
And: “Attacking plastic bags makes people feel good but it does not achieve anything.”
Of course: “It has been claimed that the bags take up to 1,000 years to break down.”
WINNIPEG SUN: “Stop making excuses and ban plastic bags already.”
We can’t expect consumers to break years of habit when they have little to gain or lose in doing so. That’s about as likely as all smokers butting out in public restaurants on their own accord without an indoor smoking ban to persuade them.
The dangers of second-hand smoke were known long before Manitoba’s indoor smoking law arrived to protect non-smokers.
In situations like these, when habit and convenience lure consumers to avoid thinking about the consequences of their actions, an outright ban can eliminate excuses that lead us to take the easy way out.
KNOW: “Environment Canada officials say single-use plastic bags take nearly 400 years to decompose in the landfill.”
STUFF (NZ): “Make a difference: Say no to plastic bags
My family’s plastic horror story lurks under the kitchen sink: a frothy volcano of supermarket shopping bags spewing over the sides of a wait for it commodious green eco bag…
So in a week where this newspaper is asking New Zealanders to join the international chorus demanding action over “plastic poison” starting with the ubiquitous plastic shopping bags it seems fair that the editor should expose her eco sins.
Sinner. Plastic bags are against God.
BELFAST TELEGRAPH: Viewpoint: Time we said no to plastic bags”
For anyone who is yet to be convinced that non-degradable plastic is a menace, the statistics are frightening.
The average shopper gets through eight bags a week, and although they are normally used for five minutes, they will take at least 500 years to decompose. Either they form an impermeable layer in landfill sites or they are scattered to the four winds, littering hedges, rivers, and even oceans, where they kill aquatic life.
Kill the bag. Ban the bag users. Bag the bag.
THESE are the world’s 50 most powerful blogs, as gussed at by the Guardian:
1. The Huffington Post
Least likely to post ‘I’m so over this story – check out the New York Times’
2. Boing Boing
Least likely to post ‘Has anyone got a stamp?’
Least likely to post ‘YouTube? It’ll never catch on’
Least likely to post ‘Look at this well wicked vid of a dog on a skateboard’
Least likely to post ‘I like babies but I couldn’t eat a whole one’
Least likely to post ‘Log on tomorrow for Kofi Annan’s live webchat’
7. Talking points memo
Least likely to post ‘Barack is so, like, gnarly to the max’
Least likely to post ‘Actually, dogs are much more interesting…”
9. Beppe Grillo
Least likely to post ‘Sign up to our campaign to grant Silvo Berlusconi immunity’
Least likely to post ‘We can only wish Rupert Murdoch well with his new venture’
11. The Drudge Report
Least likely to post ‘Oops, one sec – just got to check the facts…’
12. Xu Jinglei
Least likely to post ‘Why Plastic Bags rock’
Least likely to post ‘The internet is, like, so over’
Least likely to post ‘Paris is a metaphor for Third World debt’
Least likely to post ‘An iWhat?’
Least likely to post ‘Is it just me or is Romney getting cuter?’
18. Chez Pim
Least likely to post ‘Chocolate’s my favourite flavour of Pop Tart’
19. Basic thinking
Least likely to post ‘Mein heim, mein gott – I need to get a life’
20. The Sartorialist
Least likely to post ‘Sometimes you need to chill in a shellsuit’
21. Students for a free Tibet
Least likely to post ‘Hey guyz, any hotties in the Nepal region?!’
Least likely to post ‘How To Look Skinny While Pleasing Your Man!’
Least likely to post ‘Anyone seen these charming croquet mallets?’
24. Girl with a one-track mind
Least likely to post ‘I’ve got a headache’
Least likely to post ‘But why don’t you just phone them up?’
26. Greek tragedy
Least likely to post ‘Enough about me – what’s your news?’
27. Holy Moly
Least likely to post ‘What do you think of the new Hanif Kureishi?’
28. Michelle Malkin
Least likely to post ‘That Obama’s got a lovely smile, hasn’t he?’
29. Cranky flier
Least likely to post ‘There’s nothing wrong with a well-conducted cavity search’
30. Go fug yourself
Least likely to post ‘Oprah looked great in those stretch jeans’
31. Gaping void
Least likely to post ‘This product really sells itself’
32. Dirtydirty dancing
Least likely to post ‘Revellers at the Earl of Strathdore’s hunt ball’
33. Crooked timber
Least likely to post ‘Did anyone see Casualty last night?’
Least likely to post ‘Make mine a Happy Meal’
35. The offside
Least likely to post ‘Check out Ronaldo’s bubble butt’
36. Peteite Anglaise
Least likely to post ‘J’ai assez parle de moi, qu’est-ce que vous pensez?’
37. Crooks and liars
Least likely to post ‘So just what is a caucus?’
38. Chocolate and Zucchini
Least likely to post ‘Just add instant mash’
Least likely to post ‘I’d say it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other’
40. The daily dish
Least likely to post ‘Sorry, I can’t think of anything to say’
41. The F word
Least likely to post ‘What’s the difference between a woman and a condom?’
42. Jonny B’s private secret diary
Least likely to post ‘OMG, I saw Jessica Simpson in Lidl and she signed my bum!’
Least likely to post ‘I prefer Pierre Boulez’s interpretation of Mahler’s third’
44. Waiter rant
Least likely to post ‘The customer is always right’
Least likely to post ‘If you can’t say anything nice…’
Least likely to post ‘Who fancies a game of space invaders?’
47. Angry black bitch
Least likely to post ‘I’m off to anger-management’
Least likely to post ‘I even wear my Ugg boots in bed’
Least likely to post ‘George Clooney – I wouldn’t kick him out of bed’
ANORAK gets more traffic than many of those blogs. It is more popular than many of thsoe blogs. It’s just less visible. But palns are afoot…
A SOLIDER is said to have tried to sell pictures of Prince Harry in Afghanistan to The Sun. The paper declined to publish them until Harry was on his way home:
British media, including The Observer, agreed not to report Harry’s deployment throughout his time in Afghanistan. ‘Obviously people in theatre knew about it, and it was extremely unlikely that no one would attempt to try to leak stuff. There were never any guarantees,’ said one source. ‘But all in all it went pretty well.’
Troops serving alongside Harry were warned not to tell their families at home about the royal in their midst. Harry himself later admitted that there had been a couple of occasions when the deal might not have held without behind-the-scenes help from the British media in alerting officials to potential leaks.
One soldier. One. A united army. A united media. Things mgiht not be so bad…
DID you know that daylight saving boosts energy use?
NICK COHEN: Why Brits don’t fall over Obama…
Style over substance?Mawkish sentimentality? Because we have Bob the Builder…
How we grow nostalgic for those halcyon days when four seasons made a year.
As the Mail noted: “Designers and fashion experts fear the increasingly unpredictable weather could see the back of the industry’s traditional, seasonal collections…
British designer Katherine Hamnett said: “The entire clothing industry is upside-down right now and has been for some time. “We have bikinis being sold in January, and fur coats beign sold in August. It’s bonkers.”
Reports the Telegraph: “Traditional seasons ‘no longer exist’.”
Play up Nigel. Those were the days, my friend…
THE Al Goreans are coming: Could Gore Be The Nominee?
SALIM MANSUR says Multiculturalism Cannot Survive…
Times Online has got the builders in. We’ve closed for a couple of hours to make some improvements to the site.
That’s the image.
Make it greeneer – or else. Go Green Team.
A former University of Colorado student who left academia for the clandestine world of environmental extremism was a key witness against an activist with the Earth Liberation Front in a trial that ended Thursday.
Jennifer Kolar, 34, who now lives in Seattle, described to jurors a double life of yacht racing and environmental terrorism with the same shadowy, loose-knit group that torched buildings at the Vail Mountain Ski Resort in 1998.
Kolar testified against Briana Waters, telling jurors that her former friend helped her and three others set a massive fire at the University of Washington.
Kolar also admitted to trying in 1998 to burn down the Wray Gun Club in Wray, one of four arsons she confessed to in her deal with prosecutors. Her testimony against Waters was part of her deal.
Arsonists for global warming! Ya-hay!!
SMOKE the peace pipe Hillary…
Hillary Clinton had no direct role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland and is a “wee bit silly” for exaggerating the part she played, according to Lord Trimble of Lisnagarvey, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former First Minister of the province.