Body Worlds

on August 31, 2006 with 0 comments » | ,

Andrea Shea, WBUR’s new arts reporter, has just reviewed the touring exhibition “Body Worlds 2,” that opened at Boston’s Museum of Science this past Sunday. - via

A few days back, Amit Verma wondered why Westerners spelled Gandhi as Ghandi. I think it is just a case of a wrong-becoming-a-right simply because it was repeated often enuf... error being cast as a variation (or metathesis) of the norm - the kind of broohaha that one sees in the case of Bush (and many others like him) pronouncing nuclear as nu-cu-lear...or whatever it is Bush says and his supporters justify!! (And don't get me even started on other Bushisms and verbal gaffes)

anyways, just read Scott Adams (yes..him, of Dilbert fame) justifying the spelling because of a silent H .. much hilariy ensues :)

A silent h can be put anywhere you want, precisely because it is silent. So for example, it is equally proper to spell it Gandih, Gahndi, hGandi and even Gandhhhhhhhi.

and more fun later..

In Viking days, not only was the h totally noisy, but the Norsemen used them in practically every word. This caused a lot of confusion. The most common phrase in Viking became "Whhaht? I cahn't hunhderstand! Get the h out!" But it all came to a head one day when Eric the Artistic carved a wooden chair out of a tree stump and was showing it off to friends. That's when Allen the Insensitive said, "Nice Chairh, hEric. I thinkh I'll shit on it" Well, the next thing you know, swords are drawn and limbs are flying. And that was the day that the Vikings decided to stop talking in English and go discover the United States, which they called America.



haha.. Waiting for the day when "misunderestimated" and "subliminable" becomes a legit word :)



via Monkeyfilter:

Do you speak American? PBS put together a site to go along with its broadcast special (premiered in January) that's chock full of linguistic goodness! Take a quiz or check out the dictionary.

Everything you wanted to know about our crazy language - from Slayer Slang to New York Speak to Women Talking Too Much to Artificial Voices in Technology. There's also a nice list of commonly mispronounced words. Some people will just never learn.

Death be not proud - 2

on August 28, 2006 with 0 comments » |

Pakistani cricketer, Wasim Raja dies from a heart attack while playing cricket
Obituary - The good die young Dileep Premachandran - Cross-border hero Gideon Haigh - A breathtaking strokeplayer

Veteran filmmaker Hrishikesh Mukherjee, feted with the Dadasaheb Phalke award and Padma Vibhushan, and director of several Hindi movies that continue to be enjoyed by me time and again, including Anand, Golmaal, Chupke Chupke, and other classics like Abhimaan and Khubsoorat, died at age 84 at the Leelavati hospital in Mumbai after a fight with a series of illnesses recently. His last work was Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate starring Anil Kapoor and Juhi Chawla, released in 1998....which I have not seen. Other fans pay tribute here..

Pati patni aur woh

on August 25, 2006 with 0 comments » |

Some spouses perhaps empathize more than others on this one :)

Laptop slides into bed in love triangle
As electronic devices get smaller, people tote their technology around the house more than ever. And as the number of home wireless networks also grows, laptops — along with Treos, BlackBerries and other messaging devices — are migrating into the bedroom and onto the bed. The marital bed has survived his-and-her book lights and the sushi-laden bed tray. Can it also survive computers that tether their owners to the office or make the bed the workplace itself? In the morning Larry Smith edits his online magazine in bed while his wife, Piper Kerman, tries not to lose sleep over it.
This part was hilarious..
She also lies in bed and exchanges instant messages with her husband, who is elsewhere in the house on his own computer.

Killer Lakes

with 0 comments »

Apparently, Geysers spewing sand and dust hundreds of feet into the "air" have been discovered on Mars. Images from a camera orbiting Mars on the Mars Odyssey probe have shown the 100mph jets of carbon dioxide erupt through ice at the planet's south pole.The geyser debris leaves dark spots, fan-like markings and spider-shaped features on the ice cap. The scientists said geysers erupted when sunlight warming the ice turned frozen carbon dioxide underground into high-pressure gas.

(In a bizzare coincidence, I saw a documentary on Science Channel yesterday on the 'killer lakes' of Africa - where a huge cloud of CO2 emanated from the bottom of the lake and killed 1800+ people around Lake Nyos in Cameroon in 1986. Had never heard of this huge tragedy before and moreso also that such a thing was possible on earth! Interesting how scientists went about deciphering what happened and also how to degass the lakes to prevent future disasters - although p
er this 2005 article, efforts to prevent the release of deadly clouds of toxic gas from two African lakes appear to be failing.)

Death be not proud - 1

on August 22, 2006 with 0 comments » |

Perusing through a list of people who died in 2006 on wikipedia (no..no morbid fascination about death - just happened to reach that page after reading the wiki entry on Bismillah Khan)..and read about 3 deaths in the last 4 days of July ...

  1. Akbar Mohammadi - 34, Iranian student dissident, heart attack following a hunger strike and torture.
  2. Sunil Kumar, 34, Bhopal disaster campaigner against Union Carbide and founder of Children Against Carbide, found hanged.
  3. Jessie Gilbert, 19, British chess player, youngest Women's World Amateur Championship winner, fall.

I had not read about their deaths nor even ever heard of these 3 people ever until today and still rue their loss today - perhaps more than I mourn the loss of a maestro like Bismillah Khan.

Update: Confused writes about how life can be a bitch!

David Grossman is one of Israel’s foremost novelists and peace activists.He is perhaps best known for his 1987 novel Yellow Wind. Though, he was initially supportive of the Israel-Lebanon war, recently he came out strongly against the 11th minute expansion of the ground war. Israel has pushed thousands of troops in the last days of war to score some brownie points against the Hezbollah before the ceasefire set in. One of them was Grossman’s 20 year old son Staff Sgt. Uri Grossman. Grossman’s opposition to expansion of the war was prescient. Today, on the last day of war, his son was killed in Lebanon.

Note: "Death be not proud" is a reference to the famous poet, John Donne's poem by the same name.

DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
More quotes from his work here.

two blogposts by Amit Varma today lead me to two very interesting articles.

1. Adam Gopnik writes in the New Yorker (via India Uncut)

As “Camus at Combat,” a new collection of his editorials—he was a working journalist—makes plain, the experience, first, of the Nazi occupation of France, and then of the struggle of Algerian independence against France led him to conclude that the “primitive” impulse to kill and torture shared a taproot with the habit of abstraction, of thinking of other people as a class of entities. Camus was no pacifist, but he deplored the logic of thinking in categories. “We have witnessed lying, humiliation, killing, deportation and torture, and in each instance it was impossible to persuade the people who were doing these things not to do them, because they were sure of themselves and because there is no way of persuading an abstraction, or, to put it another way, the representative of an ideology,” he wrote. Terror makes fear, and fear stops thinking.
2) In an essay on John Updike's Terrorist, and on terrorism in general, Theodore Dalrymple
writes:
It is not the personal that is political, but the political that is personal. People with unusually thin skins ascribe the small insults, humiliations, and setbacks consequent upon human existence to vast and malign political forces; and, projecting their own suffering onto the whole of mankind, conceive of schemes, usually involving violence, to remedy the situation that has so wounded them.
Updike’s Terrorist has much in common with Conrad’s The Secret Agent, published 99 years previously. In both books, a double agent tries to get a third party to commit a bomb outrage; in both books, the secret agent ends up slain. In both books, the terrorists operate in a free society unsure how far it may go in restricting freedom to protect itself from those who wish to destroy it. The terrorists in Conrad are European anarchists and socialists; in Updike they are Muslims in America: but in neither case does the righting of any “objective” injustice motivate them. They act from a mixture of personal angst and resentment, which easily attaches itself to abstract grievances about the whole of society, thus disguising the real source of their consuming but sublimated rage.
Read more at Amit's original post

Grigori Perelman, the Russian who in 2002 solved the Poincare Conjecture, one of the hardest problems in mathematics, has declined the top prize in Mathematics, the Fields Medal.

The
Fields medal (Mathworld link) is awarded every four years on the occasion of the International Congress of Mathematicians to recognize outstanding mathematical achievement for existing work and for the promise of future achievement. The Field Medals, often said to be the Nobel Prize of Mathematics, were first proposed at the 1924 International Congress of Mathematicians in Toronto, where a resolution was adopted stating that at each subsequent conference, two gold medals should be awarded to recognize outstanding mathematical achievement. Professor John Charles Fields , a Canadian mathematician who was secretary of the 1924 Congress, later donated funds establishing the medals which were named in his honor, with the International Congress of Mathematicians adopting the proposal at the 1932 Zurich Congress and the first Fields Medals were awarded at the 1936 Congress in Oslo to Lars Valerian Ahlfors (Harvard University - for research on covering surfaces related to Riemann surfaces of inverse functions of entire and meromorphic functions. Opened up a new ideas in analysis) and Jesse Douglas (Massachusetts Institute of Technology - for work of the Plateau problem which is concerned with finding minimal surfaces connecting and determined by some fixed boundary. ) Note: List of Fields Medallists since then.

The Fields Medal is made of gold, and shows the head of Archimedes together with a quotation attributed to him: "Transire suum pectus mundoque potiri" ("Rise above oneself and grasp the world"). The reverse side bears the inscription: "Congregati ex toto orbe mathematici ob scripta insignia tribuere" ("the mathematicians assembled here from all over the world pay tribute for outstanding work"). - adapted from the Mathworld link mentioned above.



Other References (via Wolfram Research)

Albers, D. J.; Alexanderson, G. L.; and Reid, C. International Mathematical Congresses, An Illustrated History 1893-1986, rev. ed., incl. 1986. New York: Springer Verlag, 1987.

Fields Institute. "The Fields Medal." http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/aboutus/jcfields/fields_medal.html.

International Mathematical Union. "Fields Medals and Rolf Nevanlinna Prize." http://elib.zib.de/IMU/medals/.

Joyce, D. "History of Mathematics: Fields Medals." http://aleph0.clarku.edu/~djoyce/mathhist/fieldsmedal.html.

Lopez-Ortiz, A. "Fields Medal: Historical Introduction." http://www.cs.unb.ca/~alopez-o/math-faq/mathtext/node19.html.

Lopez-Ortiz, A. "Why Is There No Nobel in Mathematics?"

MacTutor History of Mathematics Archives - The Fields Medal.

Monastyrsky, M. Modern Mathematics in the Light of the Fields Medals. Wellesley, MA: A. K. Peters, 1997.

Technische Universit├Ąt Berlin. "The Four Fields Medallists and the Nevanlinna Prize Winner of The International Congress of Mathematicians, Berlin 1998." http://www.tu-berlin.de/presse/pi/1998/pi182e.htm.


Other Links to Perleman (from the wiki entry)


Rickshaw race

with 0 comments »


Adventure racing on auto-rickshaw
...


Teams from around the world have begun racing across the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu in three-wheeled auto-rickshaws.

The 1,000km (590-mile) race, which kicked off in Madras (Chennai), will end in Kanyakumari, the southern-most tip of India, on 27 August. Participants come from as far as the UK, US, Hungary, Armenia and Russia. The Indian Auto-rickshaw Challenge is strictly fun, without any prize at the end of the race, the organisers say.

Colourfully named teams like Tamil Devils and Curry in a Hurry will get a first-hand experience of Indian roads. The Indian Auto-rickshaw Challenge is strictly fun, without any prize at the end of the race, the organisers say.


The Gods must be crazy

on August 21, 2006 with 0 comments » | ,

The Gods must be crazy...not the people :) effing idiots... damn ignoramuses fall for the same phenomenon again! Unbelievable..

Apparently, the Gods are drinking milk again.. :)

(Like the last slide in above link says:
"So the next time milk goes missing from your kitchen, don't blame the cat. Hail the Lord, look heavenwards and call it divine intervention!" :))

Osama gets horny

with 0 comments »

... Whitney (and her hubby) might need a bodyguard afterall!

Read more here.
Al-Qaeda chief and the world’s most dreaded terrorist, Osama bin Laden had a crush on singer-cum-actress Whitney Houston and wanted to make her his wife after killing her husband Bobby Brown.

Sudanese poet and novelist Kola Boof (37), who claims to have once been Osama's sex slave, writes this in her autobiography - Diary of a Lost Girl.
“He told me Whitney Houston was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. He would say how beautiful she is, what a nice smile she has, how truly Islamic she is but is just brainwashed by American culture and by her husband - Bobby Brown,” Page Six quoted her as saying.

Maybe he mis-interpreted her crooning of I'm every woman by taking them literally ;)

Whatever you want
Whatever you need
Anything you want done baby
I´ll do it naturally
Cause I´m every woman
It´s all in me
It´s all in me

I´m every woman
It´s all in me
Anything you want done baby
I do it naturally


Shehnai king Bismillah Khan dead - Video

Ustad Bismillah's unfulfilled dream

Profile

Remembering legendary shehnai player Bismillah Khan

Falstaff pays tribute... Bidai (found this link via Amit Varma's post, where he rightly expresses indignation at the UP government "declared a one-day mourning and closure of all government schools, colleges and offices" to mourn the maestro's death.)

Bismillah Khan is one of the few legends of Indian classical music that I have had the good fortune of listening to live... (On second thoughts, more than a handful, coming to think of it - Zakir Hussain (twice - once with his father Allah Rakha, and the 2nd time with his brother, Fazal Qureshi and Vikku Vanayakaram on the ghatam), Hariprasad Chaurasia, Shiv kumar Sharma, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt ...who else..hmm.. will have to dig deeper to think.. aah yes.. the dance maestro, Baiju Maharaj... hmm...

Trivia (via wikipedia article on Bismillah Khan)
  1. He was the third classical musician to be awarded the Bharat Ratna (in 2001), the highest civilian honour in India and is one of the few people (how many have this honor? any one know?) to be awarded all the top four civilian awards.
  2. He performed Raga Kafi from the Red Fort on the eve of India’s first Republic Day ceremony, on January 26th, 1950.


American Masters

on August 18, 2006 with 0 comments »

American Masters is a great show, playing various episodes on WGBH & other PBS stations recently. I had seen a little bit of the show on James Dean last weekend...but today saw the entire hour of Albert Einstein: How I See the World .

More about the show at the link above, but here is a preview: Expelled from high school, unable to find a teaching job, and stuck working at a government patent office, Albert Einstein (1879–1955) went on to become one of the greatest scientific thinkers of all time. He used his free time at the Swiss Patent Office to develop his groundbreaking theories on the nature of time and space. He won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1921 for his theory that light is made of waves as well as particles. Although his early theories paved the way for the atomic bomb, Einstein later became a peace activist, saying, "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." By the time he died, Einstein was considered not only the most important scientist but the smartest man of his time.


I could write a lot of things about the dismal levels that journalism (tabloidism or as Amit Varma calls it ' purplocity and verniness') has sunken to in India and how even TV gets worse day by day (though, admittedly my exposure to TV in India is negligible and I couldn't write much about it except to say that the little exposure I have to Hindi soaps during visits back home certainly did not whet my appetite). However, understandably, like in the US, TV aka the idiot box has garbage most of the time since the channels need to fill the 24 hours with something! However, this one crosses a line and should be strongly condemned by everyone in the TV/entertainment industry in India.

Amit Verma blogs about this Reuters report:

A group of Indian television journalists gave a man matches and diesel to help him commit suicide in order to get dramatic footage which was later broadcast on the news, police said on Thursday.The man died from severe burns to his body in hospital in Gaya town in the eastern state of Bihar on August 15, India's Independence Day.

OUTRAGEOUS!!!

Bollywood - 1

with 0 comments »

Exhausting & Awesome - Two contrasting Bollywood movies

Rediff review - KANK is an exhausting watch:
I feel older. A showing of Karan Johar's mammoth 22-reel Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna has left me unbelievably exhausted. I walk out of the hall feeling my cheeks for stubble, wondering if my clothes are suddenly dated and my hair's grey. For this is no ordinary 3.5-hour film. It is a saga that stretches on and on -- imagine, if you will, a Balaji Telefilms soap running for several seasons, time leaps and all. Yes, I've lost a sizeable chunk of my life, and you will too.

and ends...

"Damn, it still hurts. Think it'll take a couple more viewings of another film with a limping leading man to soothe the pain."

The film that blew (the reviewer's) mind being Omkara (official site), based on Othello, a great movie directed by Vishal Bharadwaj, director of Maqbool (which I have not seen but was based on Macbeth, it seems)...


Amit Varma blogs about the movie and refers us to a good review of Omkara by Baradwaj Rangan and also Jai Arjun Singh's raving blog post praising
the movie, although apparently Falstaff is most unimpressed with Omkara.

Also, read an interview with the director, Vishal Bharadwaj, who started in Hindi movies as a music composer but after seeing the great acclaimed Polish director & Master of Cinema,
Krysztof Kieslowski's Dekalog was inspired into making films.

Poets - 1

with 0 comments »

Poet's New Work Chronicles a Couple's Love
On PBS's Newshour poetry series, Arizon'a poet lauerate, Alberto Rios reads from his latest book of poetry "The Theater of Night" which follows a couple in a U.S.-Mexico border town through their youth, marriage and thoughtful old age. Rios was recently a finalist for the 2002 National Book Award for his last book of poems.

“Let us create a future we would want to speak in any language.”—Alberto Rios interviewed on NewsHour.

PBS's Profile: Alberto Rios
Rios' Web site at Arizona State University


Some other books by Rios include:
Teodoro Luna's Two Kisses: Poems
Five Indiscretions
Petalos; Poemas, Biligual Edition with Richard D. Mahoney
Lime Orchard Woman
The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body
The Iguana Killer: Twelve Stories of the Heart
Capirotada: A Nogales Memoir
Whispering to Fool the Wind
The Curtain of Trees: Stories

The longlist for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2006 is as follows:

Carey, Peter Theft: A Love Story (Faber & Faber)
Desai, Kiran The Inheritance of Loss (Hamish Hamilton)
Edric, Robert Gathering the Water (Doubleday)
Gordimer, Nadine Get a Life (Bloomsbury)
Grenville, Kate The Secret River (Canongate)
Hyland, M.J. Carry Me Down (Canongate)
Jacobson, Howard Kalooki Nights (Jonathan Cape)
Lasdun, James Seven Lies (Jonathan Cape)
Lawson, Mary The Other Side of the Bridge (Chatto & Windus)
McGregor, Jon So Many Ways to Begin (Bloomsbury)
Matar, Hisham In the Country of Men (Viking)
Messud, Claire The Emperor’s Children (Picador)
Mitchell, David Black Swan Green (Sceptre)
Murr, Naeem The Perfect Man (William Heinemann)
O’Hagan, Andrew Be Near Me (Faber & Faber)
Robertson, James The Testament of Gideon Mack (Hamish Hamilton)
St Aubyn, Edward Mother’s Milk (Picador)
Unsworth, Barry The Ruby in her Navel (Hamish Hamilton)
Waters, Sarah The Night Watch (Virago)

Update: The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai is the surprise winner!

Spammers

on August 17, 2006 with 0 comments »

No wonder we get so much spam - apparently spammers (the good ones) can make up to 600,000$ per month!! Enough that AOL seriously believes this guy was loaded with gold and platinum, huh? :) And even funnier that AOL really wants to actually dig and get the Au and Pt allegedly hidden in the spammer's parents backyard as compensation for the court case they won against the spammer.

AOL in treasure hunt to settle spam case


Incredulous stuff..sounds like its from the Onion or something! ;)


1-800-INDIA

on August 16, 2006 with 0 comments » | ,

Second Place 'Silver Screen Award' at the 2006 US International Film and Video Festival Awards in the documentary category: 1-800-INDIA

Over the past decade, India has emerged as the leader in the global market for
white-collar "outsourcing" jobs -- a notable component of India's rapid economic
growth. A dramatic and personal film, "1-800-INDIA" explores the experience of
young Indian men and women who have been recruited into these new jobs requiring
long hours, late-night shifts, and Westernized work habits. The film reveals the
human and cultural impact of a sweeping global trend, exploring its effect on
Indian family life, on the evolving landscape of Indian cities and towns, and on
the aspirations and daily lives of young Indians, especially women, entering the
work force.
Director Safina Uberoi is best known for her documentary, MY MOTHER INDIA, about her Australian mother's love affair with India. The film won 11 major international awards, including the NSW Premier's Award, and had a highly successful theatrical release in Australia. Recently Uberoi directed a documentary on British Asian writer, Meera Syal, for the BBC 2 series, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE. Her other documentaries include THE BRIDES OF KHAN, a half-hour portrait of a Sydney wedding photographer that was part of the HYBRID LIFE series on SBS TELEVISION.
It is running right now (6-7 pm) on WGBH (PBS)'s Wide Angle programand will re-run again 9-10pm. May also be running on one of your PBS stations; if so, maybe you can watch it.

1. Yet another reason to get bigger boobs - Terrorism, writes Amit Varma.

2.
Straight men of the world, beware that committed relationships can be bad for your sex life.

3. Not Hmmm... but "Wha..wha...wha...what? Why!!!!!" in this case! (Found via Madmanweb Links)

Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe will appear naked on the London stage next year, playing a stable boy who has an erotic relationship with his horses. -
4. Interesting Headline - Woman loses sex appeal - for this story:
A Shanghai court has rejected a woman's claims for compensation for her sex life, which was ruined when her husband hit his genitals on the corner of some audio equipment at a shopping center. Wei Suying, 31, whose husband has suffered from erectile dysfunction since the 2003 workplace accident, filed suit in a court asked for 220,000 yuan. - from Simon World, via India Uncut

A detailed wiki account of the current Lebanon-Israel conflict is already up at Wiki!! Also get a historical timeline & maps of Arab/Palestine-Israel conflicts here

I am continuously updating this thread instead of posting multiple posts on the same topic. However, there is no way I am going to be able to keep pace with daily updates of the carnage, death, and destruction.



July 13, 2006: Middle-East seems set for a disastrous breakdown.... I just dont understand the logic of precipitating such a situation... 2 soldiers were kidnapped by the Hezbollah and Israel starts bombing the hell out of Lebanan.. killing many civilians, losing some of their own soldiers in the retaliation by the Hezbollah... there is no sense of magnitude of the response!! And ofcourse, Shrubya has to defend Israeli response*!! When Palestine does this (fight back), they get deemed as terrorists...but it is somehow the Israeli response is somehow ok?

Israel blasts Lebanon airport, air bases

Bush defends Israel's attacks in Lebanon


July 18, 2006:
Holy s***.. this is how he thinks - Ask Syria to pressurize Hezbollah to stop this s***. As simple as that! Read more about Bush's thoughts on the crisis.. Middle East: Reaping what Bush sowed
- Washington's ideological hubris and practical incompetence have succeeded in setting the region ablaze.

At crossroads
, Hezbollah goes on the attack

Hezbollah's unexpected firepower


July 19, 2006:

A week later...who stands where
!

Almost
more than a week of endless air-pounding of Lebanon, the Israeli army is also now involved on the ground as Israel adds ground troops to their assault....

The analysis below reflects exactly my stance ever since this began! The mercilessness (Disclaimer: graphic images) with which Israel has gone after Lebanon is unbelievable... all in the name of retaliation for 2 of its soldiers being kidnapped!! Like the Lebanese PM said today, Israel is 'opening the gates of hell and madness' in his country! Forget about getting the kidnapped soldiers back alive now...after causing such mayhem and causing endless suffering and grief for civilians on both sides. Lebanon is getting a taste of what Palestinians endure routinely...

News Analysis: A question of proportion
The
asymmetry in the death tolls is marked and growing: about 230 Lebanese dead, to 25 Israeli dead, since July 12. Most of the Lebanese were civilians, but half of the Israelis. In Gaza, since June 28, about 103 Palestinians have died in the fighting, 70 percent of them militants. One Israeli soldier died, from friendly fire. The cold figures, combined with Israeli air attacks on civilian infrastructure like power plants, electricity transformers, airports, bridges, highways and government buildings, have led to accusations by France and the presidency of the European Union, echoed by some nongovernmental organizations like Human Rights Watch, that Israel may be guilty of 'disproportionate use of force' in Gaza and Lebanon and of 'collective punishment' of the civilian population.

Op-ed by Juan Cole at The Salon- Israel's maximal option Part of Israel's war strategy may be to push the Shiites out of Lebanon's south. That would be a humanitarian disaster -- and it won't work.


July 26th, 2006:

Israel pounds South Lebanon
Israel launched a heavy air and artillery bombardment of south Lebanon on Thursday after nine Israeli soldiers were killed in the Jewish state's worst 24 hours for casualties in a 16-day-old conflict against Hizbollah. Israeli warplanes destroyed communication masts north of Beirut and attacked three trucks carrying medical and food supplies to the east, security sources said. They said two truck drivers were killed.



Right from when this latest crisis started, the only explanation I have for the disproportionate
, merciless, and intemperate use of force by Israel in response to two freaking soldiers being kidnapped (since the WAR began, they have lost many more soldiers than two in addition to civilian loss and suffering!) is that this was in some ways pre-planned. Call it a consipracy theory if you will... but thanks to the continued mess that is Iraq, the US cannot attack Syria or Iran directly but by provoking Lebanon (and maybe Syria soon), they hope to escalate action against these countries soon - all part of the neo-con agenda. And reading something just now in the above wiki article above merely confirms my suspicions even more...

According to Reuters and the New York Times, the Bush administration authorized the expedited processing and shipment of precision-guided bombs to Israel
(already allotted for sale in 2005) to support the Israeli campaign, but did not announce the increased haste publicly.) As the campaign in Lebanon began, on 14 July, the US Congress was notified of a potential sale of $210 million worth of jet fuel to Israel. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency noted that the sale of the JP-8 fuel, should it be completed, will "enable Israel to maintain the operational capability of its aircraft inventory." and "The jet fuel will be consumed while the aircraft is in use to keep peace and security in the region." It was reported on 24 July that the United States was in the process of providing Israel with "bunker buster" bombs, which would allegedly be used to target the leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrilla group and destroy its trenches. [ref]

US 'knew of Israel bombing plan', writes Seymour Hersh. "Israel had devised a plan for attacking Hezbollah, and shared it with Bush administration officials, well before" 12 July, Seymour Hersh, the famed Vietnam's My Lai massacre, writes in the New Yorker. He does not claim that the US put Israel up to attacking Hezbollah.

July 27th, 2006:

Little too late after most of the damage has been done (ofcourse, it could be worse - the suffering and
death that war can bring has no upper limit!)..

Israel decides not to expand offensive
Israel's government decided Thursday against expanding its offensive against Hezbollah but called up at least 30,000 troops to begin training for duty in Lebanon.

And it probably will get worse, going by this..
Al-Zawahri warns that al-Qa'ida will not stand idly by
Al-Qaida calls for holy war against Israel
Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader issued a worldwide call Thursday for Muslims to rise up in a holy war against Israel and join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza until Islam reigns from "Spain to Iraq."

oh well.. with this
cycle of revenge and an eye for an eye policy on both sides, the whole Middle-east can soon go blind or rather dead! 16 days and 400+ Lebanese civilian deathsmessier and worse than the sordid-mess-that-has-been-and-continues-to-be-Iraq!!

Speaking of Iraq,
Car bomb and mortars kill 27 in Baghdad
Saddam: 'If I'm to be executed, please make it by firing squad'
and someone finally asks..
Why Is the US in Iraq?


July 30th, 2006

:( What a start to Sunday morning...

Israeli air attack kills dozens of civilians in Lebanon

Photographs: Deadly attacks continue.

This is GRIEF!.. innocent victims of war!!!

July 31st, 2006

A collective failure in the Middle East
The lack of global leadership in the face of the violence in Israel and Lebanon affecting hundreds of thousands of civilians is appalling.

Paul Krugman: Israel's bombs make its enemies stronger (subscription needed)



August 3rd, 2006:

News Analysis: How 'winning' might be defined

Audio & photos Interactive graphic via IHT

August 8th, 2006:
Even as vacuous talk about resolutions and accord goes on, the senseless carnage goes on..

Israeli bombs killed 14 civilians in Lebanon and cut a vital aid lifeline to the south today as the UN Security Council failed to agree on a resolution to end Israel's 27-day-old war with Hezbollah guerrillas.

Noam Chomsky on Israel, Lebanon and Palestine

War Creates Humanitarian Crisis in Lebanon

The Israeli Propaganda War by Diana Mukkaled,
who is a prominent and well respected TV journalist in the Arab world, thanks to her phenomenal show "Bil Ayn Al Mojarada" (By The Naked Eye), a series of documentaries around controversial areas and topics which airs on Lebanon's leading local and sattelite channel "Future Television". Diana also is a veteran war corrependent, covering both The War in Iraq and in Afghanistan, as well as the Isreali "Grapes of Wrath" massacre in southern Lebanon. Daring to do superb investigative work in Afghanistan, Iran, Yemen and Iraq (prior to the collapse of the Saddam's regime) and dedicating entire episodes of "Bil Ayn Al Mojarada" to issues such as "Honour Crimes" in Jordan, Diana has gained world wide recognition and was named one of the most influential women in a special feature that ran in Time Magazine in 2004. Diana writes a weekly coloumn for Asharq Al Awsat Media's Supplement, where she discusses current affairs in Arab and world media.



A welcome halt to the madness..howsoever temporary or fleeting this is going to be..

Background

News Analysis
First the truce, then the test

The fate of the cease-fire may lie in whether the Lebanese regard the conflict as a victory or blame Hezbollah for the destruction. Thousands of Lebanese returned home after the cease-fire began.

Ceasefire, but conflict unresolved
Fragile truce holding in Lebanon Israel's truce with Hezbollah remains intact despite sporadic violence overnight in south Lebanon.

Lebanese return to a broken land

Graphics: The attacks The toll
Returning to Ruins -
Photographs
The aftermath - Photographs
An uneasy truce -
Photographs
Ask Lebanese villagers about their lives as they return home

Oped: Start talking to Hezbollah
If the United States and other key countries could see the conflict in Lebanon through a different lens, there could be a real chance for peace.

A Shaken Landscape With a cease-fire in place between Israel and Hezbollah, it's in neither party's interest to resume the fight. The reasons why amount to a dangerous new reality for Israel



Photographing War - NPR
New York Times
photographer Tyler Hicks has spent the past 2 1/2 weeks in Tyre, Lebanon. Although covering a war story comes with a grave risk, Hicks has been able to get up close to the action, capturing images that are hauntingly intimate. Hicks has covered conflicts across the globe: He explains what's different about this assignment.

Also read about his experiences photographing the wars in
Afghanistan and in Iraq, which he has published a book about - Histories Are Mirrors: The Path of Conflict through Iraq and Afghanistan.

DISCLAIMER: Some reports
& blogposts about a taxonomy of fraud' in the photocoverage from Beirut have arisen.

Unexploded cluster bomb litter homes, gardens and highways in south Lebanon, the U.N. said Friday, as the State Department reportedly investigated whether Israel's use of the American-made weapons violated secret agreements with the United States.

Between Hope and Fear

on August 15, 2006 with 0 comments » | ,

Great journalism from Kevin Sites, who blogs at Yahoo!'s Hotzone. He leads quite a life - full of experiences that very few (or no one) in the world has probably had.. and thus reading his posts make for fascinating reading - not to mention it provides a unique perspective to the on-goings in some of the most troubled spots in the world including the Middle East and recently Kashmir and India.

Here are the a few reports from the Indian sub-continent

Nepal: I Am a Dog
The roads before me blend from one into the next, but the drive is comforting.

Kashmir: Missed Chance: Oh Hello, Dalai!
What do you do when one of the world’s pre-eminent religious leaders sits behind you on the plane? Dish on China? Share your iPod? Pretend to levitate? Or maybe, nothing at all?

Between Hope and Fear

Kevin Sites blogs about Afghans, still struggling with violence, poverty and constant power shortages. He wonders if the memory of the past keep them moving forward

Kashmir: The Soccer War