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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Friday, June 03, 2011

It's been the bloodiest day so far in Syria.. reports are that as many as 70 protesters have been killed by government troops in Hamas.. Thousands have taken to the streets to protest the killing of children during the ten week uprising against President Assad.. further reports have a group of 150 thousand in the streets today in the northern city of Maarat an-Numan..mind you those figures are unconfirmed..
One must wonder.. It took much less to get NATO involved in the removal of Mohammar from Libya.. What's keeping the international community impotent in this Syrian struggle..
Might it be, that so many terrorist organizations have bases in Syria, and Assad has managed to keep some sort of leash on them..?
Could it be a case of the Devil we know, against the Devil we don't..?

Israel is bracing for more Arab Spring showers this Sunday, as Palestinians plan to mark the June 5 anniversary of the 1967 war with a new round of protests.
That war left Israel occupying East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza (it also won control of Sinai, but returned that to Egypt under the 1979 Camp David agreement)..which could be the focus of Sunday's actions.
Just two weeks ago.. on May 15.. "Nakba Day' demonstrations saw Palestinian refugees trying to breach Israel's borders in protest against the confiscation of their families' homes in 1948 after the war that accompanied Israel's creation.. As many as 16 Palestinians were killed in that day's protests, and the Israeli security forces hope to avoid a repeat, well aware of the political damage they suffer by firing on unarmed challengers..

A mention of Ratko.. When he appeared before the Court in the Hague today, he refused to enter a plea to the 'appalling' crimes he was accused of..As the Bosnian Serb army commander during the 1992 to 1995 war, Mladic is accused of orchestrating atrocities including the killing of 8,000 men and boys in Srebrenica.. the worst massacre in Europe since the second world war..
As expected, Mladic declined to enter pleas to the 11 charges set out in a 37-page indictment.. saying they are "obnoxious charges levelled against me".
The circus continues..

Analysts are pondering the fate of the Eurozone and the single currency with some concentration.. The system, as set out in the beginning, simply ignored the fact the future of such an European State, as it has become, would only be as financially as strong as that of it's weakest member..
The need for more centralised intervention in the economies of the Eurozone was offered in a lecture this week by Jean-Claude Trichet, the President of the European Central Bank... Trichet argued that a “union of tomorrow” should give European institutions a power of veto over budgetary decisions by member states, and establish a single European finance ministry.. Effectively, calling for a central government would be the next logical step.. We already have the Courts in the Hague..
But this would, of necessity, be a Republican entity, this United States of Europe..
And we here in Britain, need a strong Europe.. they're our biggest trading partners.. We can also thank our government for remaining somewhat Euro-sceptic.. reflecting the mood of the country.. and staying clear of the single currency..

A surprise announcement from Moody's has American legislators heading back to the bargaining table, so a budget can be drawn up that will realistically make a dent in the country's trillion dollar debt..
The credit rating agency said it would be reviewing the rating of the States in July.. threatening a downgrade unless there is some agreement reached between the Democrats and the Republicans..
Nothing like lighting a fire under then, to get them to jump..

Still with the US economy.. While Barack's waiting to announce this until tomorrow.. his government is going to sell off Chrysler to Fiat.. leaving about $1.8 billion dollars of the total handed to that company to keep it afloat, unpaid..
In fact.. a report by the White House National Economic Council this week projected that the government will fail to recoup about $14 billion of the $80 billion it put into rescuing the auto industry.
Not now.. not ever.. There's the financial 'black hole' we mentioned months ago..

And with a look to what will soon be our competition.. India's economic growth rate slowed again in the first three months of the year, to 7.8% year on year.. This isn't expected to deter the central bank from its policy of raising interest rates to tackle inflation...
Considering the size of their consumer base, inflation's not much of a surprise..
But a growth rate slowing to 7.8%.. it must give some pause to European Finance Ministers who're looking at 3.5% at Germany, and it's by far the best among all..
And the Directors of the Bank of England will be wondering just how far they can go in bumping our rates..

It's a hot topic.. one which causes a fair amount of contention in these British Isles.. The issue of asylum seekers..
MP's are saying the government is so far behind in processing amnesty claims, that it's allowing those looking to stay the right to do so without proper scrutiny.. Opposition MP's are shouting 'amnesty' as though it were a curse, saying that due courses are being ignored for the sense of expediency..
And they may well be right too.. there are currently some 450 thousand cases to be reviewed.. tens of thousands more have been 'shelved'.. and those involved now free to take citizenship.. and that means, according to those who're afraid of being over-run by foreigners, they're now free to not only to bring their relatives over, but also eligible to collect social benefits..
But that is not the real issue.. It is perhaps, that this economic bust we're crawling through is making everybody suspicious of anyone who hasn't a British accent.. for fear they might take a job a true Brit would never consider..
This is a small island, and the room for expansion is limited, especially in this 'recession'.. and regardless of how enlightened most would profess to be, we're leery of our generosity being taken advantage of..
Ands still, the refugees come..

Yesterday it was an entirely new strain of E-coli sweeping the continent.. and by the way the figures of those displaying symptoms is on the increase..
But today, it's a new strain of MRSA..'Mad Cow Disease'.. the infection that decimated British herds and kept British beef off Continental shelves for some 18 months a couple of years ago.. This new bug has the ability to infect humans as well as our bovine friends..
Researchers are saying there are no 'additional' threats to our consuming milk and meat.. which begs the question, what risks have we been exposing ourselves to on an everyday basis..?
Now.. MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a drug-resistant form of a usually harmless bacterium which can be deadly when it infects wounds.. Its discoverers have dubbed it "New MRSA"... They're not much for originality at the research center where the bug was isolated..
Of course, environmentalists have blamed this mutation on farmers.. saying they're feeding their beasties far to many antibiotics..
It's a case of damned if you do.. damned if you don't..

Now we're back to the E-coli outbreak.. Germany has appealed for blood, as the number of cases has swolen in two days by two hundred.. 1730 cases so far, and rising..
This new strain has killed 17 people in Germany, and one in Sweden, but the infestation has been spread as far as the States, carried by a tourist returning from Hamburg.. There is a need for blood, because treatment of some patients requires multiple transfusions, and stocks of whole blood and plasma are running short in northern Germany..
As mentioned earlier, Russia has banned all exports of vegetables from the EU.. and in spite of pleas from EU Ministers, he remains firm.. Russia is the largest agricultural market in Europe..

An option other than Sarah Palin for Republican voters in the States has popped up today.. Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts has thrown his hat in the ring for next years Presidential election.. Romney blamed Barack for the economic woes frustrating voters, the likes of federal spending and unemployment..
Now we mentioned this yesterday.. that no American President has ever managed to be re-elected, with unemployment over 7.3%.. Barack's boys are looking at fresh unemployment figures, which show a full 9% of the American workforce idle..
Now, there are those who will say 'but Barack got Osama'.. and hold that up as a trophy worth another 4 years in the White House..
Maybe not.
Economics, and a concrete plan to pull the States out of the huge hole it's in, is the main concern of the man on the street.. They may not understand how they got there, and they may not understand how they can get out.. But they know who bailed out the banks and the important trading houses.. and that was Barack..
Meanwhile.. Republican Presidential hopefuls will be heading to Washington for the 'Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference'.. The event, hosted by coalition Chairman Ralph Reed, will bring together some of the most influential conservative activists in the country — an important constituency for those seeking the GOP nomination..
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said the current platforms of the candidates will be just as important as their past records.
"They have to understand the interconnections between the fiscal issues that are at the forefront of the debate and the underlying social issues that contribute to our fiscal problems," he said..
Such is the lot of a right wing politician in the States.. association with 'moral majority' groups..
And one more issue for Barack to contend with.. As gas prices rise across the United States, there is some worry that they may start to threaten the fragile economic recovery..
In his weekly radio address, Obama acknowledged the growing price of gas, and told listeners that he "feels their pain," but he added, "There's no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away."
One of the perks of being President.. he doesn't have to fill up, at $5US per American gallon..

It comes with the job.. but research by the Hansard Society would indicate that the 200 or so new MP's elected last year, are working close to 70 hours a week.. what with their duties both in the House and their Constituencies..
This report suggests that in many cases, it's putting a strain on home life..
Perhaps it would be best, if it were introduced into Law, that MP's must be single men or women.. the responsibilities take up more of a Members time than can be imagines prior to being elected..
Now this problem was addressed to some extent back in 2005.. the House sits earlier on some days, amid complaints of sessions that continued past midnight..
But apparently it's not been enough to ease the pressure of balancing being an MP with being a husband/wife and a father/mother..

Here in Scotland.. Finance Secretary John Swinney laid out the plans the SNP has to take this country forward..
The Finance Secretary explained that a "jobs agenda" would be at the heart of their programme for government... As expected, he said ministers were committed to tackling unemployment, particularly amongst those aged 18-24 which he said remained "unacceptably high."
No joke there, they say..
John said it was private sector growth which would be the "principal driver of job creation in Scotland."
And good luck with that John..
He explained the government's short term focus would be on trying to secure more economic levers for Holyrood such as more capital borrowing powers and control over corporation tax and the crown estate..
And that's not encouraging.. his emphasis should be on drawing in foreign investment.. not aiming towards a Keynesian scenario..
The SNP is a young Party.. and has never before had such a plurality in the Assembly.. One has to hope against hope that Alex Salmond and his boys and girls don't drag us down into irreversible debt..

A mention must be made here, to mark the passing of one of the first to openly defend euthanasia, and as a medical practitioner, helped many to end their suffering..
'Doctor Death'.. Jack Kevorkian, has died at the age of 83.. a coronary embolism caused by the breaking of a blood clot in his leg..
Jack helped at least 130 terminally ill patients take their own lives.. and served eight years in prison for it..

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