Thursday, January 29, 2009


Terrorism is just not senseless jihadi violence directed against government targets and civilians. There is no universal definition of terrorism as of yet. The passage of time has created an amorphrous definition of terrorism. Terrorism can also be found in religious, social, political, cultural and economic spheres. Not all terrorism leads to loss of life - terrorism also instills fear.

Is this not a form of terrorism?

1. An elite military unit under government order to 'remove' a known subversive from a sovereign country.
2. A military power over powering a small nation over supposed infractions - but more to impose dominion in the region.
3. The Cultural Revolution.
4. Rwanda? Dafur? Gaza?
5. What George Soros did in 1997.
6. The Crusades.

Critical views are welcomed.

Terrorist Use of Media

European Foundation for Democracy (EFD) Applauds Germany’s Ban of Hezbollah’s Al- Manar TVBan order says Al-Manar supports, advocates and calls for the use of violence Nov 26, 2008 - The European Foundation for Democracy (EFD) applauds the German Federal Ministry of the Interior for issuing a German-wide ban of the operations of Al-Manar TV, the satellite channel of the Iranian-funded terrorist organization, Hezbollah. “We commend Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble... More

Hezbollah’s al-Manar television glorifies terrorism on Indonesia Telkom television Apr 9, 2008 - Washington, DC -- The Coalition Against Terrorist Media today called on Indonesia Telkom to cease its broadcasts of al-Manar, Hezbollah’s television station, widely known for its glorification of suicide bombings and incitement to violence.“Indonesia is widely regarded as a role model for its commit... More

CATM Praises Thaicom for Ceasing to Broadcast Hezbollah's Terror TV Jan 15, 2008 - CATM Praises Thaicom for Ceasing to Broadcast Hezbollah's Terror TVCoalition also applauds USG for designating Al-Zawra TV as a terrorist entity Washington, DC (January 15, 2008) -- The Coalition Against Terrorist Media (CATM) praised the Thailand-based satellite company Thaicom for ceasin... More

Hamas’s Murderous “Mickey Mouse” Broadcast Globally by Three Satellite Providers May 10, 2007 - With terrorist group Hamas refusing to back down from its use of a Mickey Mouse-like character who teaches children to hate and murder, the Coalition Against Terrorist Media (CATM), a project of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, today renewed its call on satellite providers to immediately ... More

Coalition Against Terrorist Media Calls on Egypt, Saudi Arabia to Stop Broadcasting Terrorist Television Feb 28, 2007 - Following Egypt’s decision to pull an Iraqi television station accused of supporting terrorism from its NileSat satellite system, the Coalition Against Terrorist Media – a project of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies – today called on Egyptian and Saudi officials to remove two other st... More

Hezbollah's Al-Manar Television Station Legitimate Target of Israeli Response Jul 13, 2006 - FDD's Coalition Against Terrorist Media (CATM) today said that Hezbollah's al-Manar television station is a legitimate communications target in Israel's response to an act of war. “Hezbollah uses al-Manar to recruit terrorists, incite violent attacks, conduct operational surveillance, raise fun... More

FDD's Coalition Against Terrorist Media Congratulates Satellite Companies for Removing Hezbollah’s Terrorist Radio Apr 5, 2006 - The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), and its Coalition Against Terrorist Media (CATM), congratulates France Telecom's GlobeCast satellite distributor and the Spanish satellite provider Hispasat for removing Hezbollah's al-Nour radio from broadcast over three satellites reaching Latin Ame... More

Treasury Department Deals Major Blow To Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV and Its Iranian Sponsors Mar 23, 2006 - The Coalition Against Terrorist Media (CATM) today praised the U.S. Treasury Department for naming Hezbollah’s al-Manar Television, as well as al-Nour Radio and the Lebanese Media Group, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entity. Al-Manar runs programming designed to recruit terroris... More

Companies Stop Advertising on Hezbollah's al-Manar Television at CATM's Request Feb 22, 2006 - In the last year, the Coalition Against Terrorist Media (CATM) contacted some of the world’s largest corporations that were advertising on al-Manar, the Iranian-supported, Hezbollah-operated television station. In most cases, company headquarters were unaware of their ad buys on al-Manar and not... More

CATM Praises the Netherlands for Banning Iranian-Backed Terrorist Broadcasts Jan 31, 2006 - The Coalition Against Terrorist Media (CATM) today praised the Netherlands for banning two Iranian-funded television stations – Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV and Iranian Sahar TV1 – after concluding that both sought to spread hatred and inspire acts of terrorism. “As Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Do... More

Friday, January 23, 2009

Big Mac Index

Check it out folks! The Big Mac index is out. I'm sure BK are none to happy about it. Maybe Wall Street can name something after BK - Have it Your Way Index of Financial Fraud and Bailouts. Starbucks tried to float an index of their own some years back, but Ronald beat them hands down. The Starbucks Virgin is no match for Rumbling Ronald. Even the Colonel and Long John are mum about it.

A multi-country survey done a few years ago listed recognition of the golden arches even ahead of the cross (of Christ). Go figure!


Zimbabwe's central bank will introduce a 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar banknote, worth about US$33 on the black market, to try to ease desperate cash shortages. Prices are doubling every day, and food and fuel are in short supply. A cholera epidemic has killed more than 2,000 people and a deadlock between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition has put hopes of ending the crisis on hold.

Hyper-inflation has forced the central bank to continue to release new banknotes which quickly become almost worthless. There is an official exchange rate, but most Zimbabweans resort to the informal market for currency transactions. In addition to the Z$100 trillion dollar note, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe plans to launch Z$10 trillion, Z$20 trillion and Z$50 trillion notes. Previous issues of new banknotes have done little to curb the cash crunch faced by Zimbabweans, who often line up for hours outside banks to withdraw barely enough to buy a loaf of bread.

Keynes would be rolling in his grave now.


Europe is undergoing two major transitions. On the demographic front, many European countries are undergoing rapid population aging as their Baby Boom generations enter retirement, senior citizens live longer and fertility rates remain well below the population replacement level.

On the economic front, 15 European countries have adopted the euro as a common currency, eliminating the ability to use monetary policy to achieve country-specific economic goals. Both transitions will place tremendous, conflicting pressures on the domestic national budgets of European countries.

As a result, all European countries have large unfunded liabilities, the difference between the projected cost of continuing current government programs and net expected tax revenues. In general:
  • The average EU country would need to have more than four times (434 percent) its current annual gross domestic product (GDP) in the bank today, earning interest at the government's borrowing rate, in order to fund current policies indefinitely.
  • At the low end, Spain would need to have almost two and one-half times (244.3 percent) its annual GDP invested.
  • At the high end, Poland would need to have 15 times its GDP invested in real assets, forever!

No EU government has made the necessary investment. As an alternative, the next-best option is for these countries immediately to gradually but significantly increase saving and investment. In particular, the average EU country could fund its projected budget shortfall through the middle of this century if it put aside 8.3 percent of its GDP each and every year. Despite this adjustment, a budget shortfall is likely to emerge after 2050, requiring additional fiscal reforms.
What will happen if EU countries do not set aside these funds? Unless they reform their health and social welfare programs, they will have to meet these unfunded obligations by increasing tax burdens as the larger benefit obligations come due.

Spending already averages 40 percent of GDP today:

  • By 2020, the average EU country will need to raise the tax rate to 55 percent of national income to pay promised benefits.
  • By 2035, a tax rate of 57 percent will be required.
  • By 2050, the average EU country will need more than 60 percent of its GDP to fulfill its obligations.

Looks like the brightest and best minds in Europe will have to think fast on what remedial measures should be in place, least the whole continent breaks into uncontrollable riots.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009



Belgians, like many Europeans, are entitled to extensive or even unlimited sick leave and they tend to stretch the definition of the word. Government employees have been known to call in sick in droves to pack before vacations and to sleep off holiday hangovers. Some government departments were averaging 35 days of paid sick leave per employee each year, more than most western countries.

Europe has long suffered from sick-day disease, and many European governments are trying to fix the problem.

Half of all Belgians on medical leave say they suffer from depression. The country has Western Europe's highest suicide rate.

Source: John W. Miller, "Belgians Take Lots of Sick Leave, And Why Not, They're Depressed," Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2009.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Contemporary Topics in GP

  • What do scientists do?
  • How does science affect society?
  • What makes a humane society?
  • Should the punishment fit the crime?
  • Is it nature or nurture that best explains human behaviour?
  • Where do our values and opinions come from?
  • Mass media; representation or reality?
  • Do the arts challenge or reflect society?
  • Is your country really a democracy?
  • Does the world have to change?
  • How do new ideas come about?
  • How have inventions affected society?
  • How do changes in social attitude come about?
  • How and why do we measure change in society?
  • Do we need religious beliefs?
  • Should everyone have the same moral responsibilities?
  • How do we decide what is right and wrong?
  • Why do people do what they do?
  • How should art be valued?

Some worthy website
Women and Gambling Conference Highlight Report
Women & Gambling Conference
Women & Gambling conference
Women and UK National Lottery Play 2007
Gender and the jackpot 2007 - Ethics - Genetics Engineering
Greenpeace exists because this fragile earth deserves a voice. It needs solutions. It needs change. It needs action.Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace by: Catalysing an energy revolution to address the number one threat facing our planet: climate change. Defending our oceans by challenging wasteful and destructive fishing, and creating a global network of marine reserves. Protecting the world’s ancient forests and the animals, plants and people that depend on them. Working for disarmament and peace by tackling the causes of conflict and calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons. Creating a toxic free future with safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals in today's products and manufacturing. Campaining for sustainable agriculture by rejecting genetically engineered organisms, protecting biodiversity and encouraging socially responsible farming.
Welcome to, for Gen-Yers everywhere! Designed to encourage dialogue, provide articles that can be a resource for professional "Gen-Wire's" & serve as an insight to all visitors - English history and heritage guide - Explore complex links between media and identities - Online encyclopedia - Social Sciences pages of Intute

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Something to think about.


The regulation of airlines is still a hot topic. Supporters claim that deregulation worked: fares fell dramatically as new entrants clamored to serve competitive markets. Critics point to numerous bankruptcies, industry upheaval and the increasingly miserable experience of passengers as evidence of its failings. Indeed, the United States' first large-scale experiment with private airport ownership began just a few months ago, when Chicago's Midway Airport was sold for $2.5 billion to a consortium.

Yet, in "Aviation Infrastructure Performance: A Study in Comparative Political Economy," several authors explore aviation privatization in other countries:

In Australia, where airports are privately owned in order to optimize efficiency; however, airport operators "under pressure from regional interests" have incentives to make "excessive investments."

Canada's major airports are owned by nonprofit corporations designed to boost airport investment; their investment objectives have been largely achieved, but the nonprofit model has led to higher airport fees than might otherwise prevail.

China's 6 largest airports are publicly listed in order to improve airport efficiency.

However, the UK's big experiment in aviation infrastructure privatization was a failure; privatized in 1986, BAA plc owns London's 3 largest airports, Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted which together comprise 91 percent of passenger traffic in the southeast of England, but this common ownership has had anticompetitive effects. Moreover, BAA is only capable of handling 1 major project at a time, leaving its other airports and London travelers to languish.

These results affirm that competition, choice and proper incentives are the essential components of a safe and efficient aviation infrastructure sector. U.S. policymakers and airline executives ought to pay close attention.

Source: Evan Sparks, "Should We Privatize Airports?" The American, December 5, 2008.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Multilateral Free Trade: The Obama Letdown"

Jagdish Bhagwati is disappointed with Obama’s position on multilateral trade, and with his "failure to balance his protectionist appointments with powerful trade proponents that would produce a 'team of rivals'":

There were several reasons why one could be optimistic that Obama would follow a pro-trade policy despite “prudential” protectionist talk on the primaries circuit. But his eloquent silence on key trade issues, and his failure to balance his protectionist appointments with powerful trade proponents that would produce a “team of rivals” require that we abandon these illusions and sound an alarm.

Consider Obama’s support for the multilateral trading system. At the outset, it must be admitted that the Doha Round is on hold, and Obama could not move it forward even if he so desired. A principal problem is that its completion turns critically on the US making further reduction in its distorting agricultural subsidies. But the issue has become even more difficult with the collapse of commodity prices and hence increases in support payments. Besides, history shows that the freeing of trade is nearly impossible to manage in times of macroeconomic crisis.

But Obama (unlike Prime Minister Gordon Brown, whose fulsome support for trade is in strong contrast) missed the opportunity, provided by the G20 affirmation of the importance of trade, to affirm resoundingly that he attaches the highest priority to closing the Doha Round and will work on this urgent task throughout the first year of his Administration.

More important, Obama has missed the bus on the question of preventing a slide back into protectionism. His pronouncements on the auto bailout disregard the lessons of the early 1930s when the Smoot-Hawley tariff was legislated in 1930 and a competitive raising of tariff barriers ensued. We learnt then that tariffs and trade restrictions could indeed increase our national income by diverting a given amount of insufficient world demand to our markets. But then others could do the same to divert our demand to their goods, so that the end result was reduced trade and deepened depression. Far better to keep markets open and to increase aggregate world demand instead. So, the architects of the GATT (merged in 1995 into the WTO) built into it institutionalised obstacles to such a destructive outbreak of mutually harmful trade policies.

But really Jagdish, isn't it a bit too early to judge the guy?

Cooking Indian Style

HOW do you convince 250,000 shareholders, a board including four professors, and a “big four” accounting firm that you have over $1 billion in cash that does not in fact exist? India is still rubbing its eyes in disbelief at the audacious illusion conjured by B Ramalinga Raju, the founder of Satyam, which was once India’s fourth-biggest IT company and is now its most spectacular corporate scandal. He claims to have inflated Satyam's profits over “several years”, cooking the books slowly like the best biryanis. But others think perhaps Satyam’s cash did exist until recently. Now, they conjecture, the money is probably buried in a “land bank”, invested in real estate and property deals that may, or may not, have gone sour.

Economists have shown some ingenuity in detecting the tell-tale signs of private fraud in public data. Most pertinent to the Satyam case may be a paper by Marianne Bertrand, Paras Mehta and Sendhil Mullainathan, which found evidence of “tunnelling” in India in the 1990s. Tunnelling is a term coined in the Czech Republic to describe the transfer of assets out of a company (as if by an underground tunnel) to the detriment of minority shareholders.

In India, the tunnels run through business groups arranged into “pyramids”. The top of the pyramid is a firm controlled by a business family or corporate “promoter”. That firm will then hold controlling stakes in a number of other businesses, which will, in turn, own stakes in a third tier of firms at the base of the pyramid. In this way, the promoters can control the entire pyramid, even though they own the lower tiers of firms only at one or two removes.

What really perplexes me is that despite already having millions, these cavalier business icons who have been entrusted with 1000's of lives, continue to play the market as if it were a game of monopoly. What use is it, if the wealth of the wealthy cannot help others, but be the seed of ruin for thousands.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Resolution for 2009

We all make one, so why shouldn't the world.

1. Climate-change deal by the end of the year.

2. Lift the embargo on Cuba.

3. Piracy be wiped out in S.E.Asia and in Gulf of Aden.

4. Scaled down operations by coalition forces in middle-east.

5. Solve the financial mess.

Anything else?