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The essence of evil

In March 1945, Leatherneck Magazine, an official organ of the United States Marine Corps, published a brief, ostensibly humorous article describing a parasite named Louseous Japanicas. It included an illustration of a grotesque creature with stereotypically Japanese features. The accompanying text tells us that:

To the Marine Corps, especially trained in combating this type of pestilence, was assigned the gigantic task of extermination… Flame throwers, mortars, grenades and bayonets have proven to be an effective remedy. But before a complete cure may be effected the origin of the plague, the breeding grounds around the Tokyo area, must be completely annihilated.

Later that same month, US warplanes dropped 2,000 tons of incendiary bombs on the city of Tokyo. The stench of burning flesh was so intense that fighter pilots reached for their oxygen masks. Over the next five months, at least half a million Japanese men, women and children were, in the words of the US Air Force General Curtis LeMay, ‘scorched and boiled and baked to death’ in the firebombing of 67 Japanese cities. And then there were Hiroshima and Nagasaki…

via The essence of evil — aeon.co.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2014 in Reportages

 

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Tunisia: The Arab world’s full-fledged democracy?

The spoils of the Arab Spring have been divided among many. If the most obvious beneficiaries have been the old guard, Arab autocrats and their foreign allies, who have an equal interest in keeping the region firmly under their thumb, they have not been the only ones. Al-Qaeda’s share of the spoils has been substantial.

It had watched helplessly from a dark distant corner as ordinary Arab men and women rose up to topple the corrupt despots who had crushed them for decades. As the mass popular movements of protest came to occupy the centre stage of history, its grandiose exhibitionist spectacles of violence and devastation looked more absurd than ever. Its claims about the impossibility of change except through bombs, bullets and blood rang hollower than empty drums. Never did al-Qaeda seem more isolated and less relevant.

via Tunisia: The Arab world’s full-fledged democracy? — www.aljazeera.com.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2014 in Africa

 

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The Kobani riddle

The brave women of Kobani – where Syrian Kurds are desperately fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh – are about to be betrayed by the “international community”. These women warriors, apart from Caliph Ibrahim’s goons, are also fighting treacherous agendas by the US, Turkey and the administration of Iraqi Kurdistan. So what’s the real deal in Kobani?

via The Kobani riddle — www.atimes.com.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2014 in Middle East, Revolution

 

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The Afghan Girls Who Live as Boys

Mehran, age 6, first arrived at her kindergarten in Kabul as Mahnoush, in pigtails and a pistachio dress. When school shut down for a break, Mahnoush left and never returned. Instead a short-haired, tie-wearing child with the more masculine-sounding name of Mehran began first grade with the other children.

Nothing else changed much. Some teachers were surprised but did not comment except to one another. When the male Koran teacher demanded Mehran cover her head in his class, a baseball cap solved the problem. Miss Momand, a teacher who started her job after Mehran’s change, remembers being startled when a boy was brought into the girls’ room for afternoon nap time but realizing, as she helped Mehran undress, that she was a girl. Mehran’s mother Azita later explained to Miss Momand that she had only daughters, and that Mehran went as the family’s son. Miss Momand understood perfectly. She herself used to have a friend at school who was a family’s only child and had assumed the role of a son.

via The Afghan Girls Who Live as Boys – The Atlantic.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2014 in Asia

 

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Inside the Fast-Food Labor Protests

For the customers, nothing has changed in the big, busy McDonald’s on Broadway at West 181st Street, in Washington Heights. Promotions come and go—during the World Cup, the French-fry package was suddenly not red but decorated with soccer-related “street art,” and, if you held your phone up to the box, it would download an Augmented Reality app that let you kick goals with the flick of a finger. New menu items appear—recently, the Jalapeño Double and the Bacon Clubhouse, or, a while back, the Fruit and Maple Oatmeal. But a McDonald’s is a McDonald’s. This one is open twenty-four hours. It has its regulars, including a panel of older gentlemen who convene at a row of tables near the main door, generally wear guayaberas, and deliberate matters large and small in Spanish. The restaurant doesn’t suffer as much staff turnover as you might think. Mostly the same employees, mostly women, in black uniforms and gold-trimmed black visors, toil and serve and banter with the customers year after year. The longtime manager, Dominga de Jesus, bustles about, wearing a bright-pink shirt and a worried look, barking at her workers, “La linea! La linea! ”

via Inside the Fast-Food Labor Protests.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2014 in North America

 

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El juicio a Peña Nieto

¿Por qué tanto escándalo con el caso de Iguala, en el estado de Guerrero, si cada semana hay asesinatos en México?, preguntó en un tono que parece cínico un reportero italiano durante una entrevista en este país europeo.No es el único que se plantea la cuestión desde la normalización de la violencia extrema. Propios y extraños repiten por allí esa frase de que México no tiene remedio.

via El juicio a Peña Nieto -Por Lydia Cacho – emeequis.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2014 in South America

 

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Why did Turkey lose in the UN vote?

The Turkish government is understandably trying to play down its defeat in the United Nations vote for the Security Council’s temporary seats.To secure one of those seats during the 2015-16 term had been a very important target for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his Prime Ministry period. It has been a major target for not only the Foreign Ministry but also for a number of public agencies. For the last few years, the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency TİKA built schools and opened water wells in distant African and South Asian countries, Turkish Airlines THY established new direct flight routes to capitals without giving much priority to profitability – and nobody knows the amount of money from the secret budget of the prime minister formerly Erdoğan, then Ahmet Davutoğlu for this purpose – expecting that poorer countries would then vote for Turkey when the day comes.

via Why did Turkey lose in the UN vote? – MURAT YETKİN.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2014 in Middle East, Reportages

 

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¿Recambio en Uruguay? El predominio del Frente Amplio, en riesgo

Falta sólo una semana para las elecciones en Uruguay, y el Frente Amplio (FA) tiene, a simple vista, todo a favor para quedarse una vez más con la presidencia por los próximos cinco años: una base electoral a prueba de fuego, crecimiento sostenido de la economía, reducción de la pobreza y reconocimiento en el exterior. Una elección aburrida y un resultado cantado podrían creer muchos.

via ¿Recambio en Uruguay? El predominio del Frente Amplio, en riesgo – 19.10.2014 – lanacion.com  .

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2014 in South America

 

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Modi and Jokowi: Why the World Should Take Notice

For India and Indonesia, the world’s largest and third-largest democracies, 2014 is a watershed. It is the year that powerful political dynasties, a long-term feature of the region’s electoral landscape, were finally supplanted by a new breed of popular leader.That is why the twin elections — of Narendra Modi in India and of Joko Widodo in Indonesia — are both landmarks.The two leaders come from outside of what are the traditional bastions of political power in their countries. Modi, whose family ran a tea stall, has risen from the near bottom of India’s caste and class hierarchies to become Prime Minister.Jokowi, as Widodo is universally known in Indonesia, came from a similarly underprivileged background. The son of a carpenter, he was a furniture seller, before becoming Mayor of Solo, a mid-sized city in central Java.In elections earlier this year, both Modi and Jokowi took on political opponents who were the very embodiments of the entrenched political establishment. Modi squared off against Rahul Gandhi, scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family that has led India’s Congress party since Indian independence.Jokowi’s main rival was Prabowo Subianto, a former son-in-law of military dictator Suharto, and the head of the country’s Special Forces in the years before Suharto’s downfall in 1998.With their strong grass-roots support, clean personal reputations and reformer credentials, Modi and Jokowi have raised hopes for change within their nations.The story of their rise and the dynamism they represent has also given investor sentiments around the globe a boost.

via Offnews.info | Inteligencia y Seguridad, Terrorismo Internacional, Transparencia, Corrupcion, Politica y Economia.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2014 in Asia

 

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Rule of law must be the foundation of Chinese governance

China’s top leaders have been meeting this week on how to strengthen the rule of law. At the fourth plenum of the Communist Party’s 18th Central Committee, which concludes on Thursday, the focus has been to improve the institutions that safeguard the abuse of power. Further, it is hoped that the crackdown on corruption will lead China to modernise its governance.

via Rule of law must be the foundation of Chinese governance | South China Morning Post.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2014 in Asia

 

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