Quicklinks 2009.11.27

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei May Be Iran’s Last Supreme Leader? (Newsweek) Emirates, K.S.A., Kuwait Push for Nuclear Power (UPI) Piracy in Full Swing and Swings Wider (New York Times) Brazil: Industrialized Nations Should Pay to Save the Amazon (Terra Editors,...

Measuring Global Happiness

How do you measure global happiness? If you go by Marcellus, who tells Horatio “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” then you would have never guessed that Danes are the happiest people on Earth. That’s according to Professor Ruut Veenhoven...

Why U.S. Counterterrorism Efforts Are Misguided

Tennessee believes Osama bin Laden will attack the Mule Day Parade. Indiana thinks its popcorn factory is a target. To fight the “war on terrorism,” the U.S. Air Force has given away US$450,000 to a group of scientists to study blogs. Early conclusions are...

Kofi Annan: ‘A Bit Envious of FIFA’

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan wishes the whole world could unite around diseases, poverty and human rights like it did around the 2006 World Cup. In a frank interview with Spiegel on wide-ranging subjects, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he is “a bit...

Israel Caught With Its Pants Down

It’s time for Israel to eliminate Hezbollah since no one else, including the U.N. and the U.S., is willing to do it. (Photo:Courtesy Israel Defense Forces) The Israeli military let its guard down, giving Hezbollah and Hamas the perfect opportunity to test the...

South African “Taxi War”

It’s not a case of road rage. It is a real war that claimed the lives of thousands of real, innocent people. It involved hit men, Molotov cocktails, assault rifles and corrupt fat cats vying for routes. This violent war resulted from poor or lack of oversight of...

Dilapidated S. Africa Not Ready for World Cup

Can South Africa pull off the 2010 World Cup without a hitch? Even locals have doubts. South Africa’s aging or nonexistent infrastructure, corruption and violence, not to mention “taxi wars” and “highway stoning,” make the country a...

Failed States Index 2006 Shows Countries At Risk

Failed States Index 2006 shows which countries are at risk of going belly-up. Sudan topped the second annual Failed States Index [FSI], published by The Fund for Peace and the Foreign Policy journal. Zimbabwe, however, saw the steepest slide in the index. We’ve...

Libya’s Gadhafi Finds New Enemy

Colonel Moammar Gadhafi, who recently lost his job as the anti-U.S. terrorism supporter, has found a new enemy. In a scathing letter, he defines FIFA as the symbol of everything that is wrong with this world. Times have changed since the colonel was the go-to man for...

L.R.A.: Uhm, We’re Done. Let’s Talk Peace?

Joseph Kony, the kooky and brutal leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army [LRA], claims he wants peace and Ten Commandmants. (Photo: Sam Farmar via The Times) When was the last time Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony gave an interview or allowed...

Children Suffer From English Fatigue Syndrome

Overzealous Korean parents are driving their children insane by forcing English down their throats, Chosun Ilbo reports. While this craze is not new, there is now a medical term associated with the nervous breakdown the kids suffer as a result. English Fatigue...

Kim Jong-Il: Help! I’m Going Ballistic!

How fast can a glimmer of hope disappear? (Photo: U.S. Department of State) Iran has been receiving much attention, including a proposal for détente, from the Europeans and the U.S. Envious of that kind of play, “Dear Leader” declared he was going...

Development Stats for World Cup

Visual presentation of global development data has become an art form. To a lay person, mounds of data compiled by a graduate student have little meaning. Gapminder helps us “visualize human development,” turning complex data into easy-to-use tools....

Bloated FIFA ‘Occupies’ Germany

Namibia recently took orders from Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Now Germany is taking orders from FIFA, the “occupying power” Germans and others are beginning to hate. Cash-hungry FIFA and its Executive Committee (“Excomm”) have turned the...

Globalization and FIFA World Cup 2006®

From loss of productivity in Australia to imported turf, the international sporting event that comes around every four years has direct and indirect economic consequences worldwide. Corruption and bribery scandals also show that FIFA officials may have manipulated...

‘Noah’s Ark’ for Seeds Launched

In case of extinction, a “doomsday vault” for three million seeds will be built on Svalbard, a very cold island about 966 kilometres (604 miles) south of the North Pole. The seed vault will be guarded by polar bears. Five Nordic prime ministers attended...

Hugo Chávez Helps Needy Americans

Hugo Chávez offers poor Americans free eye care, bus passes and discounted heating oil. (Photo: UNDPI) Hugo Chávez, the irascible president of Venezuela, is sticking it to the Bush administration in a big way by offering free eye surgery, bus passes and heating oil...

For Bolivia, Socialism Is a Coca-Leaf Cake

What would you give Fidel Castro for his 80th birthday? “A cake made from coca leaves,” said Bolivian President Evo Morales who wants to be just like “Che” Guevara. Mr. Castro, who used to speak at Wagnerian length with a stogie in hand, is an...

Timor-Leste: Trouble in Paradise

This paradise could go up in flames again without long-term international help. (Photo: Courtesy Timor-Leste Tourism Ministry) East Timor is another lesson for the United Nations as well as Australia that stability and democracy do not develop overnight — even...

WHO: Stop Female Genital Mutilation

A new study calls for an end to this horrible practice that puts young girls women and their babies at risk. The World Health Organization-sponsored study on Female Genital Mutilation [FGM] deplores the “medicalization” (when done by trained physicians) of...