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

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It was only a matter of time..
Serbia arrested the last major war crimes suspect from the 1990s Yugoslav conflicts on today, closing what its president called a "burdensome" page in the country's history .. while incidentally boosting its hopes of joining the European Union..
Goran Hadzic, a Croatian Serb wartime leader indicted for crimes against humanity during the 1991-95 Croatian war.. was seized by Serb forces in the Fruska Gora National Park region north of Belgrade..
The arrest of the 52-year-old is key for the European union future of Serbia because it removes the shadow of war crimes that has plagued Belgrade's bid for membership..
"I will be looking our European counterparts in the eye and seeing whether they make good on what they have promised.." Serbian President Boris Tadic told reporters..
Again, nothing really unexpected here..

Obama summoned top Democratic lawmakers back to the White House today to resume negotiations on averting a potentially crippling government default.. as attention focused on a new bipartisan budget plan emerging in the Senate..
The White House also indicated Obama would be willing to sign a short-term debt limit increase.. an option he's turned away from up to this point long as it's seen to be a temporary stop-gap measure to allow time for a much broader, long term plan to be worked out.. something to at least keep the dogs at bay..
Barack's desperate to get something in the works, which will give him something solid to campaign on in a years time.. something that obviously couldn't be finished by the August 2d deadline to increase the government's borrowing limit.. but could offer a framework for the future..
The announcement Tuesday of a possible deal by the Senate "Gang of Six" was seized on by Obama as a possible breakthrough. Now the job ahead for the President, if he is to build momentum behind the plan, includes overcoming GOP opposition to tax hikes involved and selling members of his own party on the cuts to entitlement programs that it embraces..
"We are in the 11th hour," said White House press secretary Jay Carney, repeating what Obama had said Wednesday.. "We need to meet, talk, consult and narrow down in fairly short order what train we're riding into the station.."
Carney also indicated that the President would be willing to support a short-term extension as a stop-gap measure...
Carney said Obama would not support a short-term extension, "absent an agreement on a larger deal..
"If both sides agree on something significant we will support the measures necessary to finalize the details," Carney said..
And all going well, that's basically the deal done..

Just doesn't have quite the right ring to it.. But give the journalists who specialise in such keywords another few days..
Regardless of what you call it.. has battered Rupert Murdoch's media empire, rocked Scotland Yard to its foundations and dominated the UK news agenda for weeks.. Today.. the scandal came knocking on the door of 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister Cameron attempted to extricate himself from the web of scandal that is threatening to seriously undermine his Premiership..
And what a picayune little clench of a scandal to do such damage..Cameron cut short a trip to Africa in order to rush back to Britain to deliver an emergency statement to Parliament and ready to offer the closest he has yet come to an apology for appointing Andy Coulson, the former editor of 'The News of the World' at the center of the phone hacking affair, as his Communications Chief in 2007.. and taking him into Downing Street after the election in 2010..
Coulson quit the job in January 2011 as the scandal and questions over his alleged role in it refused to die down despite his persistent denials he was aware of the practice..
A highly-unusual sitting of the House of Commons, which should have closed for legislators' Summer Break the day before, the Prime Minister faced an opposition Labour party which smells blood.
"With 20/20 hindsight and all that has followed," said Cameron, "I would not have offered [Coulson] the job and I expect he wouldn't have taken it. But you don't make decisions in hindsight you make them in the present. You live and you learn and, believe me, I have learnt." He added.. "Of course I regret, and I am extremely sorry, about the furore it has caused..".
For two weeks Opposition Party Leader Ed Miliband has made as much hay as can possibly be made while this political sun shines.. boosting his own wobbling leadership by focusing on the scandal.. and demanding action and answers from the government..
One of his key political demands.. beyond calls for judicial inquiries and a media and police clean-up.. has been for Cameron to confess to a "catastrophic error of judgement" in appointing Coulson, and ignoring a series of warnings from colleagues and advisers over the appointment..
This 'Mea Culpa.. Mea Maxima Culpa' came close today..
"If it was found Coulson had lied about his ignorance of hacking.." said Cameron.. "that would be a moment for a profound apology and in that event I can tell you I will not fall short."
Coulson was one of several individuals arrested by the police over recent days and questioned over the affair..
What an immense tempest in a tiny teacup..

An amazing technology being used these days in China.. the micro societies which have sprung up dealing with China's waste..
In fact.. China's capital has grown so huge that it now has seven peripheral roads.. It is also becoming encircled by garbage..
This is both a poignant metaphor and serious dilemma..
Wang Jiuliang, a photographer, was the first to expose the city's little-known Seventh Ring Zone garbage dumps in his documentary video and photos entitled 'Besieged by Garbage..'
Wang illustrates the scope of the problem by marking the 400 sites in yellow on a Google map, forming a dense ring, effectively encircling Beijing.. The image is shocking, of a city besieged..
Wang has visited all 400 refuse heaps.. "When you walk around these landfills, you can hear the sound of money flowing everywhere.. Behind each dumping site lies interests," he says, his voice charged with emotion.. one of these dumping grounds near Xiaozhangwan village, 3km south of Beijing's Sixth Ring Road..
Scavengers were separating cloth, metal and plastic out of the garbage, then putting the remaining waste into a more distant pit..
According to villagers, the pit with an area of about 300 acres, was formerly a sandpit around 6 to 7m deep. It has been contracted to private individuals since 2009, and is now almost completely full. A thin layer of earth covers the pit. Above it are lines of shanties for those who work on the site..
The illegal dump is not within Beijing's sanitary-monitoring system..
Contractors have simply paid the village to operate their garbage-recycling business..
Heading west from Xiaozhangwan village for another 2km.. to find, sheltered behind a forest, another bigger refuse dump housing much of the same activity..
One of the subcontractors, from Xinyang in Henan province, said he moved here from another dump last year, and that most of the people working here were his compatriots from Xinyang.. "The operators are all local people. They rent the pits from their village and then subcontract them to us.." .
Wang encountered serious trouble while making his documentary.. Some people chased him with knives or dogs. Others would warn him.. "You are looking for trouble..".
He was once encircled by a dozen young men who threatened to break his camera. Finally they let him go after deleting the images he had taken..
After the release of his documentary, Wang revisited the dumping sites he had seen. Fifty percent of them had been dealt with by the city government. Some had been cleaned up, only for people to restart the dumping. Thirty percent of them are not yet dealt with..
One has to wonder, how much of this, our garbage, is being recycled and resold to us in any number of ways..
It may well be, that to have one's Capital City surrounded by rubbish.. is unpalatable at say the least.. But the salient point is, that there are those working.. making money.. off the sorting and re treatment of this waste..
That micro-socieities have grown up around a world bounded by garbage, and recycling..
It also brings the immensity of China, and the numbers of people populating it, into focus.. That they have such a huge wordforce willing to do which to us would be 'odious', and that they have an internal market.. beyond the global.. to sell that which they re-claim..
There's an old Yorkshire saying.. "Where's there's muck, there's money"

Muammar could stay in Libya if he gives up power, France said today.. this signaling a new effort to find a diplomatic solution to a five-month-old war that has failed to oust the resilient leader..
The United States said Gaddafi must quit, but whether he remained in Libya after that would be up to the Libyan people..
"He needs to remove himself from power ... and then it's up to the Libyan people to decide.." White House spokesman Jay Carney said when asked if Washington shares France's view..
However, Gaddafi's Foreign Minister swiftly dismissed the French proposal, saying Gaddafi's departure after 41 years in power was not a matter for discussion..
Not yet, and not without the factor of his frozen assetts raised, and dealt with..
And to add for that, is the possibility of the eventual martyrdom of his youngest son in a move to re-establish his eldest in any political race..
An Old Arabic saying.."when you kill your enemy, kill his family.. otherwise his granchildren will be a threat.."

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