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Showing posts from July, 2014

Israeli Wonder Woman

The new Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice : an ex-Israel Defense Forces soldier/Miss Israel I loved Wonder Woman back when I was a girl. Back in the day, it was Linda Carter who was her face and the body, and she represented a pro-American view of the world. How things have changed. In light of everything that is going on now, Gal Gadot is a good choice. Related link: Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman: A Hamas-Bashing, Ex-IDF Soldier and Former Miss Israel ~ The Daily Beast

Putin is waging war while the West is talking sanctions

While our news media is focused on a small conflict in Palestine, a far more dangerous, expanding war is being fought between Russia and Ukraine: Staunton, July 27 – Having taken the measure of the West and found it wanting, Vladimir Putin has expanded his aggression from the military occupation of Crimea to the organization of irredentist insurgencies in eastern Ukraine to the shooting down of the Malaysian jetliner to the shelling of Ukrainian targets from the territory of the Russian Federation. All these steps are acts of war. But in response, Western leaders have done nothing Putin cannot live with. On the one hand, the sanctions regimes they have imposed or talked about have not hurt him. Instead, they have allowed him to deflect attention from his own failures at home. And if anything, they have contributed to his popularity there. ... If the West continues with economic sanctions being the only thing on the table and with those being leaky and incomplete at best as the

Putin's "sinister, lonely life"

More than a week after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 , the world's attention remains focused on Russian president Vladimir Putin. Despite his leading role on the world stage, Putin has remained much a mystery. Now, interviews with members of his inner circle, done over the course of more than three years and revealed in Newsweek's recent cover story , portray much more about the life he leads beyond the public eye, CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reports. In public, Putin is known for his icy stare, seemingly impenetrable, much like the life he leads. "He doesn't talk," one interpreter told Newsweek writer Ben Judah. "He feels no need to smile." Related link: Putin's inner circle sheds light on his "sinister, lonely life"

Poland is stepping up her defence spending

I wonder why. No, not really. It's just that it seems like it's irony time over here. It's either that or serious madness. POLAND spent $4.7 billion on 48 American-built F-16 fighters, but in the event of a conflict with Russia, the safest place for the warplanes would be on a German airfield, quips a defence analyst. Threadbare Soviet-era air defences would be unable to protect Poland against an attack. With neighbouring Ukraine in turmoil, Warsaw is more acutely aware of its vulnerability than at any moment since the end of the cold war... A similar sense of pressure for rapid results is guiding Poland’s multi-year 140 billion zloty ($46 billion) military modernisation programme, one of the largest investments in new military kit by any European NATO member. The original plan called for a tender on supplying about 30 attack helicopters to begin only in 2018. But replacing Poland’s ageing Soviet-era Mi-24 “Hind” helicopters has now been pushed forward to 2016; pos

Russia is firing missiles into Ukraine

I wonder how this will be covered up? No, its not us. It's those other people in that parallel dimension that are firing missiles, making them look like they are coming from Russia. We would never do that. Or, it's the Ukrainian military somehow making it look like missiles are coming from Russia by sending their secret agents over here. Or something like that. WASHINGTON—The U.S. believes Russia is firing artillery across its border at Ukrainian military positions, the State Department said on Thursday, an assertion that Moscow is playing a more direct role in the Ukrainian conflict. The latest accusations show U.S. officials raising pressure on Moscow and more closely examining Russian activities near the rebel-held portions of eastern Ukraine since the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which Washington blames on pro-Russian separatist fighters. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf also said the U.S. has evidence that Russia intends to deliver powerful r

Woman who was condemned to death in Sudan for leaving Islam meets Pope Francis in Rome

This is fantastic news. I know everyone who is condemned to death in Islamic countries for the ridiculous reason of leaving Islam cannot be saved, but at least this one woman was. Vatican City, Jul 24, 2014 / 06:44 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A Sudanese woman spared of a death sentence for refusing to renounce her Christian faith arrived in Rome with her family Thursday, where they met with Pope Francis a few hours after landing. ... According to Vatican Radio, Ibrahim and her husband Daniel Wani, a U.S. citizen, as well as their two children, 1-year-old Martin and 2-month-old Maya, who was born in prison, met the Roman Pontiff in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse at 1:00 p.m. local time. ... In May, the 27-year-old woman was charged with abandoning Islam under Sudanese law. Because her father was a Muslim, Ibrahim was legally considered a Muslim even though her mother raised her as a Christian after her father left the family when she was 6 years old. Despite pressure and m

Now rebel leader admits the pro-Russian separatists may have shot down MH-17 [UPDATE and then denies it]

... but whatever the case, it was Ukraine's fault the passenger plane was shot down. In an interview with Reuters, Alexander Khodakovsky, commander of the Vostok Battalion, acknowledged for the first time since the airliner was brought down in eastern Ukraine on Thursday that the rebels did possess the BUK missile system and said it could have been sent back subsequently to remove proof of its presence. ... "I knew that a BUK came from Luhansk. At the time I was told that a BUK from Luhansk was coming under the flag of the LNR," he said, referring to the Luhansk People’s Republic, the main rebel group operating in Luhansk, one of two rebel provinces along with Donetsk, the province where the crash took place. "That BUK I know about. I heard about it. I think they sent it back. Because I found out about it at exactly the moment that I found out that this tragedy had taken place. They probably sent it back in order to remove proof of its presence," Khodak

Russian Wikipedia Tampering

From The Interpreter : Russians Scramble To Edit Wikipedia So The Kremlin’s Claims Make Sense 16:24 (GMT) As we reported earlier, the Kremlin now says that flight MH17 was “tailed” by a Ukrainian military Su-25 aircraft during much of its flight over Ukraine. As we pointed out, this claim may be physically impossible since Russia says that the Su-25 was consistently between 3 and 5 kilometers away from MH17, but the Su-25 can’t fly high enough to have this claim make any sense. Well, today the Su-25 has been given some significant upgrades — at least on Wikipedia . Several IP addresses that track back to central Moscow appear to have edited the maximum altitude of the Su-25 from 7 kilometers to 10 kilometers to match the flight path of MH17. One such IP address that made such a change appears to use the “ROSNIIROS” ISP (Russian Institute for Public Networks) and, according to one IP tracking service, is associated with an organization called “JSK IT. Information Technolog

Totally against binding Citizen's Initiated Referenda

Arghh, what is Colin Craig thinking? Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says he would not form a Government with National unless it agreed to introduce binding referenda . Mr Craig confirmed the party's bottom line for potential coalition talks at its annual meeting in Auckland this afternoon, attended by around 120 delegates. In his keynote speech, he said: "We are not playing a mystery game. We are being upfront with the electorate. "The thing that we want, that will be required if a party wants our support, is that they are going to need to agree to a change whereby that the people of this country have the right on those rare occasions ... to tell the government where to go and what to do." Oh well, they won't be going into coalition with National, then. I'm personally against making citizens initiated referenda binding the Government. The closest thing I would support would be a Voter Veto on Parliament's conscience votes. That would m

Where is the Polish Foreign Minister in this current crisis with Russia?

The Economist's Eastern Approaches Blog asks, Where is Radek ? Radek being the Polish Foreign Minister, RadosÅ‚aw Sikorski , who has effectively been sidelined as a voice for Ukraine by the release of tapes of a private conversation from earlier this year where he said that the alliance with the US was basically useless for Poland. Yet, he has always been the most direct and clear headed about what is actually going on with Ukraine and Russia and the whole situation. AT THE start of the Ukraine crisis Poland’s foreign minister, Radek Sikorski (pictured), was a central figure in formulating a European response to Russia's actions in Ukraine. Yet as the crisis in Poland’s neighbouring country is escalating Mr Sikorski seems to have been sidelined from Europe’s diplomatic efforts. Mr Sikorski travelled to Kiev earlier this week to meet with top Ukrainian officials. His solitary journey was a marked contrast to his trip to the Ukrainian capital in February, when he was acc

Escalation in Ukraine has been happening for weeks and now the world is paying attention

Why Putin Let MH17 Get Shot Down ~ The Daily Beast Russia has been escalating its war in Ukraine for weeks. The urgency to win turned to recklessness. President Putin has been recklessly escalating the crisis in eastern Ukraine since he was embarrassed and outmaneuvered by the Ukrainian president three weeks ago. Allowing a passenger jet to be shot down is the act of an increasingly desperate man. The Kremlin ordered tanks, heavy weapons and Russian fighters to pour over the border stoking up the crisis until tragedy struck. We should have seen it coming; on Wednesday morning the front page of Foreign Policy magazine had a headline that should have sent shockwaves through the geopolitical landscape: Russia Is Firing Missiles At Ukraine . The story followed several Russian citizens posting videos to social media which they said show GRAD rockets being fired from Russian territory toward Ukraine. By triangulating the different camera angles , my team at The Interpreter

Thanks to all who are still reading

I have the flu, or something like it. Anemia and flu is not fun, but I have been eating my red meat this week and recovering from that time of month and I don't have to cook dinner tonight, so I just thought I'd say thanks to those that commented on my previous post on my Personal Update . My boys have been sick for weeks, now. My oldest son has recovered, but the youngest, who became sick nearly three weeks ago now, is still not well. He has a sore chest and is still coughing. I have become the mother who asks for medical certificates every time we visit the doctor in anticipation of the school getting antsy. I've already used some for my older boy as he is at NCEA level and has been missing deadlines for assignments due to illness. It's a funny thing, that I've noticed over the years. Many times I've posted about an achievement or something I'm trying to do, and whammo, after that post I fail miserably in continuing whatever it is I was doing. I

Stupidity reigns supreme in rebel held area of Ukraine where a Malaysian passenger plane has been shot down [UPDATE]

Looks like the pro-Russian rebels in the east of Ukraine have made a huge blunder: A social media page that Ukrainian media frequently attribute to Igor Girkin, a Russian citizen who describes himself as a rebel military leader in Donetsk, appeared to claim responsibility for the downed plane shortly after it went missing . “We have just shot down an AN-26 plane in the Torez region, it is lying somewhere near the Progress mine,” read a post at 5:50 p.m. Moscow time on the social media site VKontakte. “We have warned emphatically: Do not fly in ‘our sky.’” The post then offered “video confirmation” of the crash. The post was removed Thursday evening, shortly after reports confirmed that the crashed aircraft was a commercial airliner. The initial post suggested that pro-Russian rebels mistook the aircraft for a Ukrainian military transport plane. Earlier this week, an AN-26 was brought down over the Luhansk region. Two crew members were reported killed. ... The Ukraine Secur

Labour wants to ban cosmetics and make all children learn Maori

I have to wonder if this is some sort of joke - the Labour Party think that banning all cosmetics that have been tested on animals is some sort of election winner. Have they forgotten being turfed out of power after trying to ban light bulbs and high volume shower heads? Many years ago I tried using more natural cosmetics, and the damn things went mouldy and gave me a skin infection. Now I stay away from them, but do prefer foundation without sunscreen, which is very difficult to find as just about all foundations have sunscreen added. And now Labour wants to take away what choice I have in the cosmetics I buy? Stuff that. Then there's their quiet policy of compulsory Maori language for all school children . I have no problem with the Maori language being available as an elective, as it is in the college my boys go to. However, not everyone wants to learn a language, no matter the advantage, and a second language has limited advantage, unless is it one of the top three l

A personal update

Hello readers, Those that are left, forlornly checking this site in the hope that a new post will appear. My apologies for the lack of blogging. A while back, I hit that crisis point where I no longer believed my opinion was better than anyone else's. That certainly made it difficult, but not impossible to blog. A few months ago, Russia invaded Ukraine and stole Crimea. That has created a rift between Andrei and I that has widened into a chasm. While I still like and respect him, his opinions on this matter cause me a great deal of pain, and so I avoid the conversations. Therefore, what I would like to discuss is weighed against the angst it might create, and so blogging has limped to a crawl. Added to all that, I've been coping with anemia, which I didn't know I had. Kind of makes sense, though. No wonder I have no energy for two weeks out of every four. Also, my son has been having issues with Year 12 Mathematics. I used to be very good at Maths, but I&

Supermodel Kathy Ireland On Abortion

Supermodel Kathy Ireland appeared on the Mike Huckabee show and talked about becoming a Christian and on how her stance changed from Pro-Choice to Pro-Life. Her defence of unborn life is very cogent and easy to understand. I dove into the medical books [...] What I learned is, at the moment of conception, a new life comes into being. The DNA - the genetic blueprint - is there, the sex is determined, the blood type is determined, the unique set of fingerprints is there. And, I picked up the phone, called Planned Parenthood, 'help me out here, give me your best argument!' And, the best arguments, 'well, it's just a clump of cells if you get it early enough. It doesn't even look like a baby.'  We're "clumps of cells" and that unborn human being does not look like a baby, the same way a baby does not look like a teenager; a teenager does not look like a senior, but that unborn human being looks EXACTLY the way unborn human beings are supposed