Japan will launch a lunar satellite within three weeks, it represents the beginning of the largest moon project since the American Apollo mission in the sixties. Japan intends to orbit satellites around the moon and hopes within a decade to have a manned mission in operation. China will have a lunar launch before the end of the year. The Chinese raised eyebrows a few years ago when they blasted an old satellite out of the sky by firing some land-based missiles.
Forty years ago, America reached the moon, and then turned its back on that entity to divert resources to a shuttle program. Many experts believe it was a tragic mistake since human destiny lies in the stars. Forty years later, China and Japan are zooming past America which apparently is confused as to future directions in space.
Udo Voight, leader of Germanys’ far right NPD party proposed during a speech that former Nazi leader, Rudolf Hess, be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. T Hess died about twenty years ago and after being a devoted Nazi surprised people by flying to England in an effort to persuade the English government to surrender. He was not executed after the war, but spent his remaining life in jail. Mr. Voight now faces the prospect of spending a few years in jail for inciting racial hatred. It is difficult to determine which of the two men has more bizarre ideas — Voight or Hess.
There are reports Shia militia, who are loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, have taken over the Basra police compound seizing computers and even cars. British soldiers are in the process of leaving and are now concentrating forces at two bases — Basra palace and the Basra Airport. As the British depart, Shiite militia forces will take over sections of the city once guarded by the British. There is indication some of the 5,500 British troops may be redeployed to Afghanistan. Most likely, about 3000 American troops will be sent to replace the British in Basra.
The ironic aspect of this episode in which British troops are leaving Iraq to go to Afghanistan is that critics argued four years ago to focus on Afghanistan, not Iraq.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned effective September 17, 2007. This poses a difficult situation for President Bush. If he appoints an individual with high integrity, the president runs the risk of an independent investigator being appointed to check into some of the Cheney/Bush activities that might pose problems of impeachment. If he doesn’t appoint a person of integrity, Bush will create a nasty situation at the confirmation hearings in the Senate. Democrats will insist a new Attorney General promise to investigate things like the firings of federal district attorneys. Bush’s only way out of this dilemma is finding someone who could rise about partisanship. Former, Senator John Danforth of Missouri might be such an individual although his age would be a factor. Or, Bush could pull a fast one and name a Democrat who supports the Iraq war and would be hesitant to push investigations too far. The fun and games have just begun in the Senate.
Two opposing forces of the French farm industry clashed over the weekend as small farmers led by Jose Bove launched attacks on crops found on large farms where GM genetically modified crops are being grown. Police had to use tear gas to break up the growing conflicts as two opposing views on farming interact. Small farmers are more organically minded while the large French farm federation, FNSEA prefers a more scientific oriented approach to farming and relies on GM seeds.
Throughout French history, farmers have played a key role in the nation’s history and they continue being influential into the new century. As the size of the French farm population decreases, groups led by men like Jose Bove may well represent the past rather than the future.
A group of about black clad young men stormed a concert being offered to fight against racism in Sweden. They were waving sticks and broken bottles as they attacked members of the audience. Neo-Nazi groups are active in Sweden as their nation continues accepting immigrants from all parts of the world. They have expressed hatred for Muslims and those coming from African nations. A half century after the death of Hitler his memory lives on in the minds of these unthinking young men. Perhaps, it points up a lack of teaching concerning the meaning of Nazism.
Over 10,000 Congolese this past week fled to the sanctuary of Uganda. They were mainly women and children. The Congo is still feeling the aftermath of the Rwanda massacres of the 1990s. Thousands of Tutsis fled to the Congo to escape the Hutu genocide. When the Tutsi army was finally able to capture Rwanda and end Hutu rule, thousands of Hutus fled to the Congo to escape revenge on the part of the Tutsis. It is now nearly two decades later and Tutsi and Hutu armies are embedded in the Congo fighting one another and also abusing the people of the Congo who are caught in the middle. The UN thus far has been unable to halt the constant massacres and brutality.
I was reading a story in the New Statesman of England which urged a world boycott against Israel for its policies toward Palestinians. I have yet to uncover a New Statesman story urging boycotts related to the killing of over 1,000,000 people in the Congo. I am often fascinated how some in the Western press decide which are the “important” and which are the unreported stories. The Israel-Palestinian conflict which has witnessed the death of several thousand in the eyes of the New Statesman is the most vital story, but the death of millions in the Congo is obviously of no importance to these crusaders for peace.
Senator Warner returned from a trip to Iraq urging the recall of at least 5,000 troops by Christmas as a symbolic gesture. He apparently has grown weary of failures on the part of Iraqi political leaders to make progress on forming a truly unified government and creating an effective fighting force. Warner’s comments angered fellow Republican senators. James Inhofe said Warner’s remarks were “premature and irresponsible” while John Comryn said, “It’s a little curious to me that people are proposing a change in strategy when in fact the current strategy appears now to be working.”
Warner argued he had to speak up before Bush made up his mind in September in order to alert the president to the reality of the situation in Iraq. His response to fellow Republicans was, “I’ve always said politics be damned.” One can only wonder if Bush will now go around the nation urging the defeat of Senator Warner in next year’s election on ground Warner is betraying the American people– that was the argument against Democrats who raised objections. I guess when Republicans want to cut and run it differs from when Democrats want to cut and run. As for Inhofe,,let’s not forget he claims evolution is an unproven theory.
The terrorist campaign against India continues with the latest destruction occurring in Hyderabad where at least 42 were killed and hundreds wounded. The west continues ignoring that terrorism is more widespread in southeast Asia than in the Middle East. Since 2004, 3,674 have been killed in India plus thousands more in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, and other areas. Southern Thailand is the scene of a Muslim led rebellion which has resulted in over 2,000 deaths over the past few years.
Despite violence in India, it is still remarkable that its vast Muslim population has remained supportive of the national government and has turned deaf ears to pleas from terrorists to engage in violence. A major concern is now with Pakistan where Musharraf has bungled the job of president.
A new German law requires that a Turkish woman seeking to join her spouse in Germany must first prove knowledge of how to speak the German language. According to Claudia Roth of the German Green Party: “A Turksih woman has to demonstrate a basic knowledge of German to join hr partner in Germany but an American manager or a Japanese banker does not.” She called for putting aside the new law.
Turkey is experiencing profound changes as a Muslim will shortly become its president and there are differences within the Justice and Development Party about pursuing membership in the European Union. Prime Minister Erdogan wants to proceed, but such legislation only strengthens the power of anti EU elements within his party. The law is clearly discriminatory against those of Turkish background.