World view – Tuesday

Monday GMT


For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.


  1. Gezza

     /  December 25, 2018

    Interesting WaPo backgrounder on Jamal Khashoggi, referred to in an item I saw on Aljazeera tv last night:

    Underestimating the Saudis
    Khashoggi was an advocate for reform in his country, but he neither saw himself as a dissident nor believed in bringing radical change to a nation that has operated for the past eight decades as an absolute monarchy.

    He relished his newfound freedoms in the United States and the attention his writing got from a Western audience, but he often resisted appeals from associates to be more forceful in his criticism of the kingdom. He was by many accounts depressed by the separation from his country and the strain that his departure and work placed on his family.

    Even in exile, Khashoggi remained loyal to Saudi Arabia and reluctant to sever ties to the royal court. In September 2017, at the same time he was embarking on a new role as opinion columnist for The Washington Post, he was pursuing up to $2 million in funding from the Saudi government for a think tank that he proposed to run in Washington, according to documents reviewed by the paper that appear to be part of a proposal he submitted to the Saudi ministry of information.”

    • Gezza

       /  December 25, 2018

      • Gezza

         /  December 25, 2018

        I wonder if this is the first the Saudis have heard of this?

      • Gezza

         /  December 25, 2018

        There was no immediate comment from the Saudi government, which in October delivered $100m to the US, two months after pledging the sum to help stabilise parts of Syria and just as the international outcry over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Riyadh’s shifting narratives about his fate grew.

        ‘Who will get the money?’
        Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds, reporting from Washington, said the initial reaction to Trump’s announcement was “one of bafflement” as no other US officials had commented on his statement which also came on a day that the president was not scheduled to have a telephonic conversation with the Saudi leadership.

        “It came out of nowhere and there are more questions than answers, including how much money is he talking about. We know that the Saudis in October delivered $100m intended for Syria reconstruction but the president’s tweet seemed to imply that there was more money that is going to be forthcoming,” said Reynolds.

        “Also, how will this money be spent? When will it be disbursed? And most importantly, in a country that is divided into many different spheres of influence, who will get the money?”

  2. More trying to talk up a revolution/rebellion.

  3. Gezza

     /  December 25, 2018

    Utlima Thule has a circular (not elliptical) orbit & appears to have avoided any major collisions in the 4.6 billion years since the solar system formed.

    Three-and-a-half years after giving humanity its first close-up view of Pluto, and almost 13 years after launching from Earth, the New Horizons spacecraft will explore another new frontier: a reddish hunk of rock and ice known as Ultima Thule.

    The object – or, perhaps, pair of objects (it’s so far away astronomers aren’t sure) – is thought to be a pristine remnant of the early solar system, untouched for billions of years. Its nickname conveys its significance, meaning “beyond the known world.”

    Ultima Thule is 6 billion kilometres from Earth. New Horizons will reach it as the new year arrives on January 1, with a mission to collect as many images and as much data as possible while speeding past at 51,000 kilometres per hour.

    “This is pure exploration,” said Alan Stern, the mission’s principal investigator. “We are really flying toward something completely unknown, unlike any other object we’ve studied in the past.”

    The Ultima Thule fly-by is an encore for the New Horizons mission, led by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. The baby grand piano-sized spacecraft designed and managed for NASA on the lab’s Laurel, Maryland, campus zipped past Pluto – its primary mission – in July 2015, revealing craggy, icy surfaces and a wisp of an atmosphere around the dwarf planet.

    It will capture similar images and data as it passes even closer to Ultima Thule, itself about 32km across.

    Cool !

    • Gezza

       /  December 25, 2018

      Based around an obviously edited clip with remarks taken out of full context.
      Seems likely to be fake news Al.

      See if you can find the full interview and post it.

        • Gezza

           /  December 25, 2018

          “If you ascribe credit based on it happened on my watch, then absolutely” Obama deserves credit, Frank Verrastro, senior vice president and trustee fellow with the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told us in a phone interview. But there were a lot of factors that contributed to the increased production, including some that were Obama’s doing.”

          And that’s all he did.

          On the other hand, Trump as you know is personally responsible for everything that happens everywhere.

          • Gezza

             /  December 25, 2018

            Unless it’s bad stuff. And then he says he isn’t. But if its good stuff then he is. Or something. Give it up Al, Obama’s a has been. Let’s focus on the current loser in the White House. The Big Spoilt Rich Kid who throws endless tantrums. Let’s just keep an eye on his Twitter feed and watch what happens. Poor old Barak is gone so there’s no point trying to make him look bad. It doesn’t make Trump look any better.

  4. Gezza

     /  December 25, 2018

    Toblerone boycott by European far-right because of halal certification
    Europe’s far-right community is boycotting Toblerone chocolate after learning that the sweet is now halal.

    The certification that enables practicing Muslims to eat the well-known triangular chocolate actually came in April, but a social media post by a spokesman for the far-right Alternative for Germany party, known as AfD, brought it to the forefront last week. Then came the hashtag #BoycottToblerone, which has since spread to other countries, including England, France and the Netherlands.

    Extremists are pointing to the chocolate as an example of how Islam has seeped its way into Europe.

    “Islamisation does not take place – neither in Germany nor in Europe,” AfD spokesman Jorg Meuthen posted on Facebook. “It is therefore certainly pure coincidence that the depicted, known chocolate variety is now certified as ‘HALAL’.” Halal means a food has been prepared according to Muslim law. Among the rules are bans on pork products and alcohol. Food that is not halal is called haram.

    Mondelez International, which owns Toblerone, told CNN that the production process for the chocolate made in a factory in Bern, Switzerland, didn’t need to be adjusted to earn the halal certification.

    The anti-halal issue “is of those recurring Islamaphobic themes not only in this country, but around the world,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a US-based civil rights and advocacy group. “Food is something universal and that’s why the haters latch onto it. It’s something that touches everyone and they see this as a productive vehicle for their bigotry.”

    – USA Today
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    Hope nobody sent any to Corks for Chrissy.