Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Construction of Mansugyo Soft Drink Restaurant Completed" (Korean News)

It's "fully furnished with modern equipment and sales conditions needed for the service of a variety of soft drink." The future is certainly rosy for the DPRK:
The Mansugyo Soft Drink Restaurant has been built on the bank of the River Pothong in Pyongyang.

The peculiar restaurant is a fashionable catering service base provided by the dear respected Kim Jong Un who is carrying out Generalissimos Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il's intention for believing in the people as in Heaven.

The restaurant with a total floor space of more than 3,000 square meters is fully furnished with modern equipment and sales conditions needed for the service of a variety of soft drink.

An inaugural ceremony took place on Tuesday.

Present there were Kim Jong Gak, Mun Kyong Dok and officials concerned, soldier builders and employees of the restaurant.

Mun Kyong Dok, alternate member of the Political Bureau and secretary of the C.C., the Workers' Party of Korea and chief secretary of the Pyongyang City Committee of the WPK, in his address said that the completion of the restaurant is a significant event bringing joy to the army and people of the DPRK.

He called upon the employees of the restaurant to make positive efforts to put the level of dietary life and food culture of the Korean people on a higher level in the spirit of serving the people and thus translate into reality the intention of Kim Jong Un.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

"Al-Qaeda manipulated by US, Israel: Analyst" (PressTV-Iran)

The "Analyst," turns out to be one Kevin Barrett. Wikipedia identifies him as a founding member of something called the "Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance" which this article refers to as the "Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth." Hmmm:
A political analyst says the al-Qaeda mercenaries in Syria are manipulated by the US and Israel into spreading sectarianism in the Middle East, Press TV reports.

“Al-Qaeda is really a manipulated group that serves to smear Islam. It’s created a negative brand name that only about seven percent of Muslims like, and the other 90 percent-plus don’t like. It’s destabilizing the Middle East on behalf of the Zionism and the US empire,” said author and Islamic Studies expert Kevin Barrett.

“These people are tasked by the Zionist and the [US] empire with spreading sectarianism in the Muslim world; that is breaking up Muslim countries into different sects and different nationalities,” he added.

Referring to the Syrian insurgents’ violation of the temporary ceasefire in the Arab country, Barrett said the al-Qaeda is trying to destabilize the situation by supporting the foreign-backed insurgents.

“That’s exactly the... Israeli plan, to destroy the Middle East by breaking it into tiny little pieces along ethnic and sectarian lines,” he said. “That’s exactly what these al-Qaeda people are working for. If one didn’t know better, one would think al-Qaeda was a brand invented by the Israelis themselves.”

The four-day ceasefire, which was brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), took effect on Friday.

The Syrian army has said that it is fully committed to the truce but will respond to attacks by armed groups that were in violation of the ceasefire. The Syrian army had repeatedly warned that it would react if armed groups carried out attacks or reinforced their positions, or if fighters crossed into the country.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the violence.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"Al-Qassam Brigades Vow to Retaliate against Israeli Aggressions" (Fars News-Iran)

This article refers, using standard Iranian Press rhetoric, to "Israeli air raids on the defenseless Palestinians," but the article certainly suggests that those killed were members of the Qassam and Al-Quds Brigades, which seems to be confirmed elsewhere. See this and this.
Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Hamas Movement, warned the Zionist regime against the dire consequences of its new aggressions against the Gaza Strip, stressing that the Palestinian resistance movement will not leave any Israeli aggression unanswered.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Al-Qassam Brigades reiterated that the Zionist regime will pay for its aggressions which killed two Palestinians and injured five others on Monday.

"The Zionist enemy continues its crimes and aggressions against the Palestinian territories and people and it does not stop shedding the blood of the Palestinians. It (the Zionist enemy) is trying to create a tense situation to project its crisis (to the outside world)," the statement read.

On Monday, Israeli fighter jets targeted the village of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip which killed two Palestinians and injured five others.

On October 14, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's Al-Quds Brigades also condemned the Israeli air raids on the defenseless Palestinians in the Gaza Strip which killed at least five Palestinians, and vowed that the attacks would be retaliated with a crushing response to the Zionist regime.

"Al-Quds Brigades is committed to taking revenge and supporting the children of the Palestinian nation irrespective of their political affiliations," Al-Quds Brigades Spokesman Abu Ahmad told Ma'an news agency.

He also reiterated that Al-Quds Brigades and the Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades of the Hamas Movement were both ready to respond to any stupid Israeli move against the Gaza Strip.

Spokesman of Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Obadiah, also said on Sunday that "carrying out joint military operations between Al-Quds and Al-Qassam Brigades indicates the high level of coordination between them."

Hamas officials, including its former Political Bureau Chief Khalid Mashaal have on many occasions stressed that resistance of Palestinian groups would continue until the ultimate removal of the Gaza siege and re-opening of crossings into the territory. [...]

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Tunisian Islamist leader says Salafis must not be demonized" (Maan News)

What are the alternatives to "demonizing" them? There is some interesting maneuvering in this article:
Demonizing ultra-conservative Salafi Islamists is a mistake that will only lead to them eventually winning power, said the leader of Tunisia's ruling Islamist Ennahda party, Rachid Ghannouchi.

Secular opposition politicians in Tunisia said last week that a leaked video of a secret meeting between Ghannouchi and puritanical Salafis showed the government was not the moderate Islamist force it claimed to be.

Dismissing those claims, Ghannouchi told French daily Le Monde that Tunisia should learn from past mistakes, when cracking down on opposition forces radicalized them and emboldened some to try to overthrow the government.

Some elements within Salafi movements should be allowed to participate in Tunisia's transition toward democracy as long as they act within the law.

"One must distinguish between the fundamentalists that turn to violence and the others," Ghannouchi said in remarks published on Thursday. "If we demonize the Salafis, then in 10 or 15 years they will be in power."

Tunisia, where an uprising against secular strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali provided the first spark in last year's "Arab Spring" revolts, is now ruled by an Islamist-led government that has promised not to impose strict Muslim rules and to respect women's rights.

Liberals say policies touted by Salafis threaten human rights in a country once seen as a beacon of Arab secularism, but which is now under siege from religious hardliners who have attacked cinemas and artistic performances, arguing that they violate Islam.

In a video aired last week, Ghannouchi is heard discussing which parts of the state have fallen into the hands of Islamists and advising Salafis on where they should focus their efforts to spread their influence further.

Ghannouchi said the recording had been taken out of context and manipulated by opposition parties to influence Tunisian and Western public opinion to destroy the idea that there could be a distinction between moderate Islam and radical Islam.

"They wanted to put the two in the same bag," he said, adding the meeting was an attempt to persuade Salafis to work peacefully for change within a political framework.

Salafis also led an attack on the US embassy in Tunis last month that killed four people, after an anti-Islam film made in California sparked anger across the region.

Human Rights Watch said Monday the government was failing to crack down on Islamist violence against advocates of secularism including journalists and artists.

Ghannouchi said that those events had been significant, but not enough to transform Tunisian political life.

"Despite what is said, there is no impunity," he said. "It's a dangerous and complex phenomenon that stems from a mix of religious, political and social factors."

"Republicans, Democrats attacking Americans in bipartisan push for savage austerity" (PressTV-Iran)

I must have missed this story:
By all indications, the US ruling class of Wall Street financiers is determined to follow Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Great Britain down the road to drastic austerity. The financiers of lower Manhattan are thus ignoring the evidence offered by these other countries showing that austerity policies reduce employment, lower production, cause severe mass privation, introduce powerful elements of chaos into society, and actually increase the government budget deficits in future years -- meaning that austerity fails even in its own terms.

Since the 1930s, it has been widely recognized that a policy of deflation with severe cuts in government spending and in expenditures for social services will plunge a country deeper into depression. Once the depression has hit, usually as the result of the collapse of a speculative bubble like the $2 quadrillion derivatives mania of 2000-2008, the private economy shrinks rapidly, leaving government spending as the principal form of economic activity. If the government budget is nevertheless cut, this lowers the overall rate of economic activity; working people paying taxes are turned into recipients of public assistance, and the budget deficit grows rapidly. The classic case is the German government of Chancellor Heinrich BrĂ¼ning in 1930-32, whose brutal austerity policies shrank the national economy by about 25% over the course of two years, but still could not prevent the German budget deficit from growing.

Despite all this, there is today a consensus between Wall Street and Washington that draconian austerity must be imposed in the United States. This will be the case no matter whether Obama or Romney wins the upcoming election. Romney has been very open about his determination to rule in the name of the top 1% of financiers and oligarchs, while imposing hardships and sacrifices on the rest of the population. Obama is somewhat more discreet, but he also has clearly signaled his desire for a sweeping austerity program to be agreed on by the two major US parties as soon as possible, probably before the end of this year.

Observers have noted that Obama and Biden, in their three debates held so far with their Republican rivals, have never mentioned the traditional Democratic Party platform planks of raising the minimum wage; preserving the funding of the food stamp program (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program of the US Department Of Agriculture) which keeps some 50 million Americans alive; maintaining and extending unemployment insurance payments to the jobless; or making it easier for trade unions to organize.

"Iranian FM Blames Israel for Beirut Terrorist Blast" (Fars News-Iran)

"[A}lthough the vigilance of the Lebanese people and parties who are aware of this plot will not allow Israel to obtain its goal":
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi blamed Israel for the Friday deadly blast in Beirut, and said the Zionist regime has carried out the terrorist attack in a bid to take the world's attention off its humiliation by a Hezbollah drone which penetrated deep into Israeli airspace earlier this month.

On October 12, Secretary-General of Hezbollah Seyed Hassan Nasrallah confirmed that the movement had sent a drone deep into the Israeli airspace, and stressed that the move demonstrated part of Hezbollah's capability.

The operation code-named Hussein Ayub saw Hezbollah's drone fly hundreds of kilometers into the Israeli airspace and getting very close to Dimona nuclear plant without being detected by advanced Israeli and US radars, Nasrallah said.

Salehi said the drone's penetration into Israel has caused deep fright among the Zionists.

"The (Hezbollah) drone which managed to penetrate into the occupied territories, frightened the regime and its weakness and inability was fully evident," Salehi said in a joint press conference with his Central African counterpart Antoine Gambi in Tehran on Sunday.

"Hence, it (Israel) committed such a big crime and martyred and injured a considerable number of the Lebanese citizens to divert the public opinion of the region from its weakness and inability to deal with its internal conditions," he continued.

Salehi warned that the Israeli plot "will make the regional conditions more complicated, although the vigilance of the Lebanese people and parties who are aware of this plot will not allow Israel to obtain its goal".

In relevant remarks on Saturday, a prominent Lebanese expert also took the Zionist regime responsible for the Friday blast in Beirut, calling it a plot to ignite civil war in the Middle-Eastern country.

Friday's blast left ten people dead and wounded dozens. It occurred in the mainly Christian district of Ashrafiya. Internal intelligence head Wissam al-Hassan was among those killed in the bomb explosion.

"Israel took revenge from Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan because of his active role in the many operations carried out to identify and arrest the Israeli Mossad spies," Professor of Beirut University Hassan Jouni told FNA on Saturday.

He underlined that the Friday blast in Beirut was meant to destabilize Lebanon and ignite sectarian strife in the country.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Ahmadinejad: Arrogant Powers Looking for Conflict among World Nations" (Fars News-Iran)

Some Irangrish:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out at the arrogant powers for their bullying policies, and said that these power seek to stir strife and conflict among other world nations.

"To continue their rule and dominance over the world, the arrogant powers are after sowing discord and conflict among (other) nations," Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Kuwait on Wednesday.

He stressed that if all the world powers want to make use of the apparatus that they have at hand against others, there will be no longer any trace of tranquility and security in the world.

The Sri Lankan president, for his part, reiterated his country's determination for expanding ties with Iran, and called for the removal of obstacles and problems blocking the path of broadened cooperation between the two countries in different fields, specially the energy sector.

President Ahmadinejad and the Sri Lankan president are in Kuwait for the first Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) summit. [...]

"Taking Iran channels off air is cultural terrorism, IRIB chief says" (PressTV-Iran)

Besides the world's cheapest use of the word "terrorism," how many examples of hypocrisy can you spot?
The head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has criticized the ban on Iranian TV and radio stations as “cultural terrorism.”

Ezzatollah Zarghami made the remarks at the 49th General Assembly of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) in the South Korean capital Seoul on Wednesday, Mehr news agency reported.

He called on international organizations, especially UNESCO, which do not have “deterrent laws for this type of cultural terrorism”, to adopt concrete laws to prevent such illegal actions.

Zarghami also said the ban on Iranian stations is meant to silence alternative media despite the fact that “the era of news censorship has come to an end.”

In a blatant violation of freedom of speech, European satellite provider Eutelsat SA ordered media services company, Arqiva, to take the Iranian satellite channels off one of its Hot Bird frequencies on Monday.

The channels include Press TV, al-Alam, Jam-e-Jam 1 and 2, Sahar 1 and 2, Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, Quran TV, and the Arabic-language al-Kawthar.

The decision followed months of jamming of Iranian channels by European satellite companies.

Following the move by Eutelsat, Press TV launched a Facebook petition to protect the news channel across Europe.

Observers say the illegal move by Eutelsat SA is a step to silence all alternative news outlets representing the voice of the voiceless. [...]
I have never heard a dictatorship described as "voiceless."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"Leader Asks People to Avoid Western Life Style" (Fars News-Iran)

In which we learn that the Islamic Republic is the "most important target of this invasion":
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei asked people to avoid the western life style, warning that the western culture annihilates the culture and identity of the host nations.

"Of course, we do not intend to fight the West (in every move and aspect) but we emphasize according to the researches and studies carried out (in this field) that imitating the West will take nations to nowhere," Ayatollah Khamenei said, addressing a large number of people in North Khorassan province on Sunday.

"Basically, the western culture is aggressive and if it (the western culture) prevails in any given country for any given reason, it will gradually annihilate that nation's culture and identity," he cautioned.

Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to such great sins as homosexuality, the collapse of family foundations and other deep crises and problems as among abnormalities in the West which have turned into norms in the western societies.

He cautioned about the prevalence of certain aspects of the western culture in Iran, and asked officials to promote Iranian and Islamic culture to gradually correct these certain aspects of life style in the Iranian society.

In relevant remarks in June 2011, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution had also called on the Iranian nation to keep vigilant against the enemies' cultural invasion.

"The extent of the cultural invasion of the arrogant powers encompasses all the countries in the world, but the most important target of this invasion is the system of the Islamic Republic because the Islamic system has stood up to the arrogant powers and has proven through its steadfastness that is capable of resisting and making progress," Ayatollah Khamenei said, addressing members of Iran's High Council for the Cultural Revolution at the time.

Ayatollah Khamenei said that given the significant developments in the field of communications, the cultural war has expanded into a complicated field with various dimensions.
Gotta stay vigilant.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

"MP: Zionists Buying Turkey's Bordering Areas with Syria" (Fars News-Iran)

"Zionists" could mean anybody:
Zionists have bought half of Turkey's bordering areas with Syria in Hatay province, a senior Turkish legislator revealed, warning that the move has posed a great danger to his country's national security.

Hatay Province's Representative at the Turkish parliament Mohammad Ali Adiboglu said that he discovered the danger after studying the documents in Hatay's Real State Registration Organization.

He further cautioned Turkey's Minister of Environment and Urbanization Erdogan Bayraktar that he'd better have a strong reasoning for selling the country's territories to the foreign nationals. [...]

Mondoweiss objects to calling Netanyahu "Bibi" because "A nickname humanizes a politician"

You can't make this stuff up:
The media should stop calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by his nickname, Bibi.

A nickname humanizes a politician. It makes them seem more affectionate. Very few if any politicians are referred to by their nicknames. Do the media call Prime Minister Cameron David? Do they say, Francois, the president of France? They don't.

When Joe Biden repeatedly called Netanyahu Bibi last night in the debate, yes it bothers me, because our politicians are way too soft on Israel. [...]
Isn't "Joe" a nickname for "Joseph"?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cool Wikipedia page: List of Jazz Contrafacts

A "contrafact" is a melody written based on the chord-changes of a different tune. The Flintstones Theme (according to this) is contrafact of the Gershwin tune "I Got Rhythm." (Many Jazz tunes, as a matter of fact, use these chord-changes, and they are known as "rhythm changes.")