Posts Tagged ‘media matters’

In Copenhagen: The Guardian leaked a document known as the ‘Danish Text,‘ written by ‘the circle of commitment’ HwS(The US, UK, and Denmark). The document creates a rough outline for changes in climate policy that have offended the developing world and move away from the Kyoto Protocol. Instead of making rich countries responsible for financing emissions cuts, the World Bank would provide funds to developing nations on a conditional basis. In response, developing countries drafted another document to voice their concerns. They fear the Danish Text framework weakens th United Nations role in the debate, divides poorer countries into a new category of “the most vulnerable” to climate change, forces the developing world to adopt new standards, and would not allow poor countries to emit more than 1.44 tonnes of carbon per person by 2050- rich countries would be allowed 2.67 tonnes per person. The head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat Yvo de Boer tried to calm tempers by saying the Danish Text was outdated and irrelevant. “That text, and other texts that have been circulating, have not been on the table in a formal sense.”

National Public Radio higher-ups made a request to reporter Mara Liasson to stop appearing as a Fox News commentator, citing the political bias of the television network as cause for concern. Liasson, who joined Fox in 1997, was asked to watch the network for 30-days and gauge whether or not the network was growing increasingly partisan, but did not break her contract with Fox in the end.

Yesterday Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama announced that his country would delay a decision on the relocation of the American Futenma military facility in Okinawa, which the two countries discussed in 2006. The U.S. responded to this delay by putting off meetings that would strengthen U.S. ties to Japan until the fate of the base has been decided.The meetings were planned after Obama and Hatoyama met in November and, during a joint press conference, announced that bilateral cooperation between the countries would begin to extend past security issues to issues of public health and education.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley announced yesterday that 24% of power used by state and university buildings will be from solar and wind farms. The Governor is postioning the state as a major contract in Maryland’s small but growing renewable energy market. Last week, O’Malley made a decision to protect and re-build oyster sanctuaries in the Chesapeke Bay, which creates a symbiotic filtration and habitat system in the notoriously polluted body of water.  Read Governor O’Malley’s Clean Energy Announcement

Ugandan legislation threatening the death penalty for “active homosexuals” introduced last month has caused a chain of mixed reactions, including solidarity between gay activists and religious groups. While Uganda’s Ethics minister James Nsaba Buturo claims homosexuality “is not natural in Uganda,” he remains confident the death penalty clause will be repealed.  Critics say the aim is to divert attention from corruption and other political issues ahead of the 2011 national vote. Country reactions: Britain & Canada, Sweden, United States

Google has announced that it will post over 14,000 pictures of artifacts in the Iraqi National Museum online in early 2010. In 2003 the museum was ransacked during the Iraqi invasion. It contains objects from the Stone Age, as well as the Babylonian, Assyrian and Islamic period and will reopen to the public in February of 2010.

A total of 165 men and 39 women have been arrested in Iran for their part in Monday’s National Student Day anti-government protests. Intelligence ministry officials claim they have documents that prove specific students’ involvement, and that the government will inform the rest of countries students who is creating this “schism” so they can avoid the same fate.

Illinois lawmakers will review a proposal to sell the “largely vacant” Thompson Correctional Center to the federal government for the domestic detainment of terrorism suspects currently held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Drafted by Governor Pat Quinn’s administration, the proposal will go infront of a House-Senate panel on December 22nd. The Obama Administration expressed interest in the Thompson site in early November.

United Nations officials in Yemen say this will have to open a third camp to accommodate all of the internally displaced people fleeing the Saa’da province because of “Operation Scorched Earth”, the joint Saudi and Yemeni government offensive against Houthi rebels. The population of refugees has doubled in the past month.

After its citizens passed a medical marijuana law last month, the state of Maine held a task force panel discussion to determine “how, exactly, to help those with legitimate medical conditions get access to the drug without also making it easier for recreational users to buy” yesterday.

A Christie’s Old Masters and 19th Century auction set a category sales record in London last night.  This success comes during the first bounce-back in the art market since October 2008.

Raphael's sketch entitled "Head of Muse" sold for $47.9 million), the highest price ever paid for a drawing at auction.

Advertisements

Pakistan has been a nuclear power for two decades, and has an estimated eighty to a hundred warheads, scattered in facilities around the country. The success of the latest attacks raised an obvious question: Are the bombs safe? Asked this question the day after the Rawalpindi raid, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “We have confidence in the Pakistani government and the military’s control over nuclear weapons.” Clinton—whose own visit to Pakistan, two weeks later, would be disrupted by more terrorist bombs—added that, despite the attacks by the Taliban, “we see no evidence that they are going to take over the state.”

*

Pulitzer prize winning writer Seymour Hersh defends his article, “Defending the Arsenal” in this week’s New Yorker. The piece revealed that America has a security agreement with Pakistan allowing the U.S. military to maintain special forces set to act in the event that Pakistani nuclear arsenals are in danger.

He claims that there is a stand-by group of U.S. forces based in Pakistan that its government can call upon in the event of an incident that might endanger national security, specifically defenses around nuclear arsenals. The U.S. government has denied Hersh’s findings. “The US has no intention of seizing Pakistani nuclear weapons or material — we see Pakistan as a key ally in our common effort to fight violent extremists and to foster regional stability,” said State Department spokesman Ian Kelly.

Hersh responded to the State Department with more detail about the program. “There certainly is a rapid response force; I’ll take it a step further – it is called a ‘Tailored Fest’… I just wish they would not deny stuff that is actually publicly available if you know where to look for it. It is a force that [will act] in case of any nuclear incident or any other terrorism-related incident.”

The anniversary of the Peoples’ Republic of China, or National Day, has officially arrived.  In a few hours, pomp and circumstance will flood Chinese cities and towns, and even the bastion of American fly-ness — the Empire State Building — will mark the 60th by glowing red and yellow tonight.  In Beijing, the PRC’s military will parade their warheads, and patriotic, if not tacky, Chinese youth will sport their “Great Hall of the People” buzzcuts.

As customary with China, the more meticulous the facade, the more calculated the interior.  Last spring, Paramount Leader Hu Jintao released a list of National Day coverage rules to Chinese media outlets.  These “five points” include placing emphasis on “the leading position of the Chinese Communist Party” and “the strength of the socialist system.”  The China Media Project not only dissects the implications of these “five points,” but also outlines the conforming methods used by Chinese media outlets to field the propagandist orders.  Lest we forget the 60th National Day is not the only historic Chinese anniversary in 2009.

The stringent control of media and art is notoriously linked to Mao’s uprising and founding of the PRC.  BBC’s audio slide show, “Art and politics in China,” concisely covers the breadth of Chinese propaganda and art over the past 60 years. Katie Hill, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Chinese Art at the University of Westminster, explains the decade-by-decade transformation of Mao’s image from benevolent leader, to mythical center of a cult of personality, to icon.

According to a new report from the EU, while Georgia triggered conflict with Russia one year ago, it was Russia that broke international law by invading Georgia, and subsequently declaring war. (WSJ)

Monday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit told Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat in no uncertain terms that Iran’s nuclear plan was a danger for the Middle East. (Iran Focus)

Top American U.N. official is removed from his position in Kabul, this after he publicly campaigned against Afghanistan presidential election fraud.  (Reuters)

Now that the Senate Finance Committee has voted down two key Democratic public-option amendments to the health care bill, the fate of such reform lies in Obama’s hands. (Politico)

After years of increased government control, deep economic strife is causing Russia PM Vladimir Putin to push for privatization at the country’s big businesses. (WSJ)

The New York Times is still weighing pay-model options. The paper thinks it could make everyone happier if it could just figure out how to make money out of that new-fangled internet, but at this point they lack a clear proposal from any party. (New York Observer)

SAMOA BEARS BRUNT: Earthquake in the South Pacific triggers a deadly tsunami that rips through Samoa killing over 100 people.

The Age | Al-Jazeera | CS Monitor | Economist | NYT | Reuters | WSJ

Honduras’ de facto government attempts to curb protests and limit free speech, but fails with no congressional support. (NYT)

China is seeking to double its African oil reserves by bidding for up to 6 billion barrels of Nigerian crude, according to a leaked letter from the Nigerian president. (Telegraph)

A cash-rich China has used the global financial crisis as an opportunity for a strategic expansion in oil and other commodities that it needs to fuel its rapidly expanding economy.

While it won’t happen this decade, Time Warner is considering selling Time Inc., its media conglomerate. (Crain’s)

The Egyptians have presented a peace proposal to the two Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah… and they actually like it! The two groups will go to Egypt in October to discuss it more at length. (Al Jazeera)

A British 14-year-old girl dies just a few hours after receiving the vaccine for cervical cancer. (AP)

Shots still ring out in Conakry, the capital of Guinea, one day after 128 opposition protesters were killed in clashes with government forces. (News24)

Five months ago, swine flu anxieties caused Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to order all the country’s pigs be slaughtered. Now, the waste that was once their job to devour is piling up in the streets, causing a garbage crisis. (Bloomberg)

Iran says it’ll refuse to discuss a newly declared nuclear plant during forthcoming talks, and also warns it will avoid future cooperation if the West continues “past mistakes.” O-kay… (Reuters)

Staff