Through The Static

August 9, 2008

1,500 Reported Killed in Georgia Battle

Filed under: War,World News — disciplepete @ 9:29 am

What’s up people, I’ve been lagging a bit lately, but I have a good excuse! Anyways, drama in the Caucasus…NYT:

GORI, Georgia — The conflict between Russia and the former Soviet republic of Georgia moved toward all-out war on Saturday as Russia prepared to land ground troops on Georgia’s coast and broadened its bombing campaign both within Georgia and in the disputed territory of Abkhazia.

The fighting that began when Georgian forces tried to retake the capital of the South Ossetia, a pro-Russian region that won de facto autonomy from Georgia in the early 1990s, appeared to be developing into the worst clashes between Russia and a foreign military since the 1980s war in Afghanistan.

Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili, declared that Georgia was in a state of war, ordering government offices to work around the clock, and said that Russia was planning a full-scale invasion of his country…

…The fighting had wide international implications, as both Russian and Georgian officials placed it squarely in the context of renewed cold war-style tensions and an East-West struggle for influence on Russia’s borders

…Attending the Olympic Games in Beijing, President Bush directly called on Russia on Saturday to stop bombing Georgian territory, expressing strong support for Georgia in a direct challenge to Russia’s leaders.


August 6, 2008

Bush to Urge China to Improve Human Rights

Filed under: White People!,World News — disciplepete @ 10:10 pm

NY Times:

BANGKOK — On the eve of the Olympic Games in Beijing, President Bush said that he had “deep concerns” about basic freedoms in China and criticized the detention of dissidents and believers, even as he praised the extraordinary gains China has made since he first visited more than three decades ago, according to remarks released by the White House on Wednesday.

Mr. Bush’s remarks, part of a speech on Asia to be delivered in Bangkok on Thursday, distilled and recast previous statements critical of China’s record on human rights. But released only hours before he was to fly to Beijing on Thursday evening, they represented a rebuke to China’s leaders, though a measured one.

“I have spoken clearly, candidly, and consistently with China’s leaders about our deep concerns over religious freedom and human rights,” reads Mr. Bush’s draft speech, which the White House released early in part to draw attention to them, according to a spokesman. “And I have met repeatedly with Chinese dissidents and religious believers.”

“The United States believes the people of China deserve the fundamental liberty that is the natural right of all human beings,” says the draft of the speech, which mentions neither the Olympics nor specific abuses that have drawn new international criticism of the Chinese government. “So America stands in firm opposition to Chinas detention of political dissidents, human rights advocates, and religious activists.”

Japan’s females are longest living in world

Filed under: Health,World News — disciplepete @ 10:24 am


TOKYO (Reuters Life!) – Japanese girls born last year can expect to live until they are 86 years old, which would make them the longest survivors in the world, a report from the country’s health ministry showed.

Boys born in 2007 can expect to live to the age of 79.2, ranking third after Iceland and Hong Kong, the report said.

Japan’s females have topped the world’s longevity ranks for 23 years, something researchers have attributed to their healthy diet and tight social ties, among other reasons.

This bodes well for the elder porn industry previously blogged about

August 5, 2008

US denies forging Iraq document

Filed under: Eeeeep!,Government,World News — disciplepete @ 2:07 pm

Al Jazeera:

The Bush administration has denied claims made in a new book that it ordered the CIA to fabricate a letter showing links between Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi leader, and the September 11 attacks.

The Way of the World, by Ron Suskind, says the White House gave George Tenet, the former CIA director, a letter saying Iraq had hosted Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker of planes in the attacks.

The letter was to be rewritten as if it had been written by Tarir Jallil Habbush, a former Iraqi intelligence chief in CIA protective custody after the 2003 US invasion, to Saddam Hussein.

“The notion that the White House directed anyone to forge a letter from Habbush to Saddam Hussein is absurd,” said Tony Fratto, the White House deputy press secretary.

Suskind wrote: “The idea was to take the letter to Habbush and have him transcribe it in his own neat handwriting on a piece of Iraqi government stationery to make it look legitimate.

“CIA would then take the finished product to Baghdad and have someone release it to the media.”


August 4, 2008

Iran steadfast on nuclear programme

Filed under: World News — disciplepete @ 12:55 pm

Al Jazeera:

Iran has said it will not back down “one iota” with respect to the continuation of its nuclear programme.

Tehran has voiced defiance on the day of an informal deadline set by Western nations to halt its work…

…The West accuses Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian power programme. Tehran denies the charge.

Iran faces a fourth set of sanctions if it rejects incentives offered to it by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany to suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing programme.

July 29, 2008

Japan’s Booming Sex Niche: Elder Porn

Filed under: OMGZCUTE,Sex,SeXiNeSS,World News — disciplepete @ 12:02 am

Ok folks, I think I’ve found how I want to spend my golden years. Time:

Besides his glowing complexion, Shigeo Tokuda looks like any other 74-year-old man in Japan. Despite suffering a heart attack three years ago, the lifelong salaryman now feels healthier, and lives happily with his wife and a daughter in downtown Tokyo. He is, of course, more physically active than most retirees, but that’s because he’s kept his part-time job — as a porn star.

Shigeo Tokuda is, in fact, his screen name. He prefers not to disclose his real name because, he insists, his wife and daughter have no idea that he has appeared in about 350 films over the past 14 years…the country has seen a surge in demand for pornography that has turned adult videos into a billion-dollar industry, with “elder porn” one of its fastest-growing genres…

…”People of my age generally have shame, so they are very hesitant to show their private parts,” Tokuda says. “But I am proud of myself doing something they cannot.” Still, he says, laughing, “That doesn’t mean that I can tell them about my old-age pensioner job.”

So this next thing kinda blew my mind…they’re talking about how it’s cheaper to produce porn with “mature” women:

A popular young actress can earn up to $100,000 per film, while a mature actress is paid only $2,000.

100 grand per film?? Damn.


July 24, 2008

China Presses Hush Money on Grieving Parents

Filed under: Government,Politics,World News,WTF — disciplepete @ 10:50 am


Local governments in southwest China’s quake-ravaged Sichuan Province have begun a coordinated campaign to buy the silence of angry parents whose children died during the earthquake, according to interviews with more than a dozen parents from four collapsed schools. Officials threaten that the parents will get nothing if they refuse to sign, the parents say.

Chinese officials had promised a new era of openness in the wake of the earthquake and in the months before the Olympic Games, which begin in August. But the pressure on parents is one sign that officials here are determined to create a facade of public harmony rather than undertake any real inquiry into accusations that corruption or negligence contributed to the high death toll in the quake.

Officials have come knocking on parents’ doors day and night. They are so intent on getting parents to comply that in one case, a mayor offered to pay the airfare of a mother who left the province so she could return to sign the contract, the mother said.

The payment amounts vary by school but are roughly the same. Parents in Hanwang, a river town at the foot of mist-shrouded mountains, said they were being offered the equivalent of $8,800 in cash and a per-parent pension of nearly $5,600.

July 23, 2008

CHINAHHHHH: Beijing Hamburguesas, Rice Sticks, and Banana Caramel McFlurries

Filed under: Economics,Eeeeep!,Food,Oh,World News,WTF — bobbleheadedbob @ 7:08 am

Obviously this is not the taste of authenticity.  OBVIOUSLY.  But in the spirit of the Five Rings to Rule Them All, the BobbLebot brings you innerestingly caLoric burger news via A Hamburger Today:

To celebrate the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, McDonald’s is beefing up its menus around the world. The “China Menu” in Colombia and Argentina will offer the Beijing Burger—a patty topped with chop suey and ginger sauce on a bun speckled with black and white sesame seeds—along with fried “rice sticks” in lieu of fries, and caramel-and-banana sundae instead of the McFlurry.

Beijing Burger—a patty topped with chop suey and ginger sauce on a bun speckled with black and white sesame seeds—along with FRIED RICE STICKS in lieu of fries, and caramel-and-(Beijing?)banana sundae.

Beijing Burger—a patty topped with chop suey and ginger sauce on a bun speckled with black and white sesame seeds—along with FRIED RICE STICKS in lieu of fries, and caramel-and-(Beijing?)banana sundae.

Australia will feature five different burgers as a part of the “Flavor of the Games” promotion: The American, The Euro, The African, The Asian, and The Australian.

Unfortunately, Stateside folks won’t get anything nearly as global—just Olympic athletes on the packaging for the Southern Style Chicken. Russia also gets the short end of the stick: ho-hum chicken and fish sandwiches and a shrimp salad as part of the “McFresh” line. Maybe we should just get Chinese takeout? [via Goodies First]

Om nom?  Me’s liking the FRIED RICE STICKS.  GENIUS!!!  Nothing says RiceEATER like “sticks de arroz.”

IroniCs that ze BobbLebot has yet to taste chop suey — being an American invention.  Ah, if only ah livesed in Colombia.  If only!


July 22, 2008

British study links IMF loans to tuberculosis

Filed under: Economics,Eeeeep!,Government,Health,World News — disciplepete @ 10:19 am


LONDON (Reuters) – Austerity measures attached to International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans may have contributed to a resurgence in tuberculosis in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, researchers said on Tuesday.

Governments may be reducing funding for health services such as hospitals and clinics to meet strict IMF economic targets, the British researchers said.

The study, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine, found that countries participating in IMF programmes had seen tuberculosis death rates increase by at least 17 percent between 1991 and 2000 — equivalent to more than 100,000 additional deaths. About one million new cases were recorded during the same period.

Nations that received money from other institutions with less restrictive economic conditions attached had seen a nearly 8 percent drop in tuberculosis death rates, David Stuckler and colleagues at the University of Cambridge said.

“IMF lending did not appear to be a response to worsened health outcomes; rather, it appeared to be a precipitant of such outcomes,” they wrote.

But an IMF spokesman questioned whether the study took into account the instability following the break-up of the Soviet Union, and said it takes time for the disease to develop so the mortality rates could be linked to something previously…

…Even when considering population changes, war, inflation and other factors that can lead to new cases, the researchers found that rising TB rates correlated closely to when IMF funding began.

July 20, 2008

Nepal holds presidential run-off

Filed under: Eeeeep!,Elections,Government,Politics,World News — disciplepete @ 11:38 pm

Al Jazeera:

Nepal’s governing assembly has begun voting in a run-off to elect the country’s first president.

The selection of the first head of state since the abolition of a 240-year-old Hindu monarchy could bring the ruling Maoist politicians a step closer to forming a coalition government.

Political parties have squabbled for weeks over who should get the largely ceremonial post…

The country has been stuck in political limbo since the assembly sacked King Gyanendra and abolished the monarchy in a meeting on May 28.

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