Wednesday, September 30, 2009
On Aug. 31, staffers learned the full story: None of them would be making the beds and cleaning the showers any longer. All of them were losing their jobs. The trainees, it turns out, were employees of a Georgia company, Hospitality Staffing Solutions, who were replacing them that day.
The move to outsource the jobs of about 100 housekeeping employees at the Hyatt Regency Boston, Hyatt Regency Cambridge, and Hyatt Harborside at Logan International Airport is unusual in the hospitality industry, which counts on the housekeeping staff to help make sure hotel guests are comfortable." (boston)
"Inside a Saudi palace, the scene was the bloody aftermath of an al Qaeda attack in August aimed at killing Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef, head of Saudi Arabia's counter terrorism operations.
To get his bomb into this room, Abdullah Asieri, one of Saudi Arabia's most wanted men, avoided detection by two sets of airport security including metal detectors and palace security. He spent 30 hours in the close company of the prince's own secret service agents - all without anyone suspecting a thing.
How did he do it?
Taking a trick from the narcotics trade - which has long smuggled drugs in body cavities - Asieri had a pound of high explosives, plus a detonator inserted in his rectum.
This was a meticulously planned operation with al Qaeda once again producing something new: this time, the Trojan bomber.
The blast left the prince lightly wounded - a failure as an assassination, but as an exercise in defeating security, it was perfect. " (abcnews)
It introduces a new dimension to the common phrase "shoving it up your ass".
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
"EFFORTS to curtail Iran’s nuclear programme will gather pace in Geneva on Thursday October 1st. The six countries negotiating with Iran—America, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany—want Iran to come clean about its nuclear ambitions and to cease enriching uranium, which could be used to construct an atomic bomb. The last such talks, in 2008, broke down after Iran refused to admit that enrichment was going on. This time America has threatened “crippling sanctions” if talks collapse. Russia, usually indulgent of Iran, may be willing to support sanctions, especially after revelations that Iran has been secretly building a new enrichment plant." (Economist)
After being busted for hiding a nuclear related facility from the international community last week by US, France and Britain, Iran is facing an increasing pressure not just from the six negotiating countries but also from the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) to come clean and let intrusive inspection regime to commence. As a stick, there will be buck loads of crippling international sanctions being prepared to whoop dinner jacket's ass.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
"Indian U.N. envoy Krishna Menon holds the record for the longest speech in the history of the U.N. Security Council. In total it lasted over eight hours. Menon actually collapsed from exhaustion partway through and had to be hospitalized. He returned later and continued for another hour while a doctor monitored his blood pressure." (Foreign Policy)
Saturday, September 26, 2009
"I just can’t take it any more," Khadafy’s interpreter shouted into the live microphone – in Arabic.
At that point, the U.N.’s Arabic section chief, Rasha Ajalyaqeen, took over and translated the final 20 minutes of the speech.
"His interpreter just collapsed – this is the first time I have seen this in 25 years," another U.N. Arabic interpreter told The Post." (NY Post)
"The leaders pledged to rethink their economic policies in a coordinated effort to reduce the immense imbalances between export-dominated countries like China and Japan and debt-laden countries like the United States, which has long been the world’s most willing consumer.
The United States will be expected to increase its savings rate, reduce its trade deficit and address its huge budget deficit. Countries like China, Japan and Germany will be expected to reduce their dependence on exports by promoting more consumer spending and investment at home.
The ideas are not new, and there is no enforcement mechanism to penalize countries if they stick to their old habits. But for the first time ever, each country agreed to submit its policies to a “peer review” from the other governments as well as to monitoring by the International Monetary Fund." (NY Times)
This is pretty cool.Who would have thought that G-20 can actually come up with substantive steps - they cover from the IMF voting structure to policy coordination to giving emerging economies more say at global economic affairs by shifting G-7 discussions of global economy permanently to G-20.
They have set themselves as the new overseers of the new world economic order. Good work guys/gals.
Read the full communique here yourself. It's awesome.
Reuters has more analysis of the communique as well.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
France Telecom, which operates under the Orange brand, has come under public scrutiny after 22 workers committed suicide and another 13 attempted to kill themselves since the start of 2008.
Pellissier said some employees were clearly feeling a lot of pressure due to the privatization of France Telecom, but he added that this was compounded by new technologies that cause work to encroach increasingly on personal lives.
That was the original story. The couple got a surprise yesterday
"Charles called me as soon as the meeting had ended to tell me that the VA had apologized for delaying resolution of his case for so long. He said they told him he would start receiving full benefits within a matter of weeks, including an initial check that would cover backpay for the past 18 years since his retirement.
"Are you sitting down?" Charles asks. "Yes," I say. "They say they'll be sending me a check for $972,000," he replies. " (The Atlantic)
"The owner was fed up with the 'bad manners' of Korean tourists, so he decided to reject everyone from their country."
"The marine garbage problem has been getting a lot of Japanese media attention, as Tsushima isn't the only area being hit by a flood of junk with Korean writing on it."
"A small group of Japanese welcoming South Korean tourists to Tsushima with cries of 'Go back to Korea!!' They use the term "chosenjin" when referring to the Koreans, apparently because it is considered an offensive term in Korea."
"On his first visit to the US, and in his maiden address to the UN general assembly, Gaddafi fully lived up to his reputation for eccentricity, bloody-mindedness and extreme verbiage.
He tore up a copy of the UN charter in front of startled delegates, accused the security council of being an al-Qaida like terrorist body, called for George Bush and Tony Blair to be put on trial for the Iraq war, demanded $7.7tn in compensation for the ravages of colonialism on Africa, and wondered whether swine flu was a biological weapon created in a military laboratory. At one point, he even demanded to know who was behind the killing of JFK. All in all, a pretty ordinary 100 minutes in the life of the colonel.
To be fair, this was a man suffering from severe sleep deprivation. The US state department, New York city council and Donald Trump had prevented him from laying his weary head in an air-conditioned tent in New Jersey, Central Park and Bedford respectively, and the resulting strain was evident.
"I woke up at 4am, before dawn!" Gaddafi lamented about an hour into his speech, adding for the benefit of the jetlagged diplomats seated stony-faced in front of him: "You should be asleep! You're all tired after a sleepless night!"" (Guardian)
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Wow. As concepts go this one is refreshing, is ahead of the curve and does not ape Mac OSX. The form factor is sexy, the UI is intuitive and the practical applications are limitless. Add wireless charging and you get .. wait for it ..a truly awesome Microsoft product.
Don't know if/when this product will go to market. But if there's one thing that could make switchers switch back, this could be it.
Courier : First Details of Microsoft's Secret Tablet (Gizmodo)
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Cooks – French
Managers – German
Lovers – Italian
Police – British
Cooks – British
Managers – French
Lovers – German
Police – Italian"
"in heaven the French are the cooks, the Germans are the engineers, the British are the police, the Swiss are the bankers, and the Italians are the lovers whereas in hell the French are the bankers, the Germans are the police, the British are the cooks, the Swiss are the lovers, and the Italians are the engineers."
"Canada was in the unique place to receive the best of French cooking, British culture, and American technology. Instead, it received British cooking, American culture, and French technology."
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
"Mabes Polri memastikan gembong teroris yang paling diburu, Noordin M Top, tewas dalam penyergapan di Kampung Kepuhsari, Mojosongo, Solo, Jawa Tengah. Kepastian itu disampaikan Kapolri Jenderal Polisi Bambang Hendarso Danuri dalam konferensi pers di Mabes Polri, Jakarta Selatan, Kamis (17/9).
Menurut Kapolri, kepastian itu didapatkan setelah aparat melakukan identifikasi di Rumah Sakit Pusat Polri di Kramatjati, Jakarta Timur. Dari identifikasi aparat menemukan 14 titik kesamaan sidik jari jenazah di Solo dengan sidik jari kiri-kanan Noordin M Top yang diterima dari keluargan gembong teroris itu di Johor, Malaysia. " (Metro TV)
"ASIAN terror mastermind Noordin Mohammed Top was among four people who died in a raid on a militant hideout in Indonesia's Central Java province today, the country's police chief said.
Asked by reporters after meeting President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono if Top died in the raid, national police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri said: "Yes, yes ... the details are with national police headquarters."
A decapitated corpse now identified as Top's was among four bodies recovered after the early morning raid on a village house in Central Java, an officer of the elite Special Detachment 88 anti-terror squad told AFP.
Loud explosions and gunfire were heard as police raided the rented house at around 7:00 am after a nine-hour siege on the outskirts of Solo city, a stronghold in Central Java of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) radical network. " (AFP)
"Mr Bambang said police from Special Detachment 88 launched the raid after interrogating two Noordin acolytes arrested nearby on Wednesday afternoon.
'Despite repeated warnings to surrender there was a firefight. A motorcycle was hit, caught fire and they took refuge by huddling in the bathroom,' Mr Bambang said. 'But our men breached the wall as morning prayers came, at around 5 or 6 am we carried out a quick operation in three hours and we managed to disable them.'
He said those killed along with Noordin were 'expert bomb-maker' Bagus Budi Pranoto, alias Urwah, close Noordin associate Ario Sudarso, alias Aji, and the renter of the house, Susilo. He said two men were also arrested and Susilo's wife, who was wounded in the raid, was also in custody." (straits time)
"The US is to abandon its plan to develop a missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic, according to the Wall Street Journal." (BBC)
Not even our air force cadet can fly a goddamn plane.
Introducing the amazing torture chair.
And we busted yet another safe house in the process of unraveling the cell that attacked the hotels in Jakarta.
The peculiar part of Indonesia's anti terror tactics is allowing media to cover operations and siege like this on live television. And this news from Metra TV indicates that one of the dead dude is Noordin M Top based on the preliminary finger print match - visual identification was not possible because the dead body face was fucked up due to suicide bomb. We were wrong last month so it pays to treat this development with a tub of salt. Let's wait for the DNA test result.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
"Martin Mozny of the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute and his team have concluded that climate change is bad for beer. How now?
The quality of the hops has gone downhill in recent years, NewScientist reports. At least for the delicate Saaz hops used to make pilsner lager, the climatologist has found. Increased air temperature is to blame." (National Post)
"Smokers in the "land of the free" are finding themselves increasingly less free to pursue their habit.(Guardian)
New York City officials are the latest to consider banning smoking in their parks and outside spaces – and where the US leads, the UK often follows.
Having driven smokers outside their workplaces and enclosed public places, city authorities are considering limiting the options for a quick puff.
The possibility of extending smokefree legislation was outlined in a public health policy document (pdf). However the mayor, Michael Bloomberg – who has championed anti-smoking programmes but is up for re-election – appeared to qualify the extent of the restrictions. He wanted "to see if smoking in parks has a negative impact on people's health", the New York Times reported today, suggesting it "might not be logistically possible to enforce a ban across thousands of acres"."
" When the global financial crisis was at its height last November, Indonesia's Century Bank faced a severe liquidity crisis. Spooked depositors ran on the mid-sized consumer-oriented bank, depleting its capital base and raising fears financial contagion would have a domino effect on other wobbly financial institutions.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his team of technocrats responded by providing Century Bank a financial lifeline soon after its management declared the bank was insolvent on November 21, 2008. The initial 700 billion rupiah (US$70.9 million) cash infusion was designed to allay depositor fears and provide sufficient liquidity for normal operations.
But subsequent government funds funneled through the bank drove the total bailout bill to over 6.76 trillion (US$677.4 million), four times the amount approved by parliament.
That's raised questions among analysts and opposition politicians why a middle-sized bank required so much capital to be stabilized.
Not a single one is in America.
Let’s see: five are in Germany, four are in China, one is in Spain, one is in India, one is in Italy, one is in Taiwan and one is even in Abu Dhabi. I suggested a new company motto for Applied Materials’s solar business: “Invented here, sold there.”
" (NYT - Tom Friedman)
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
"There are, however, four big reasons for optimism. The first is demographic. Over the next few years, thanks to a combination of a young population and a falling birth rate, Indonesia will see a surge in the ratio of its working population to the number of dependants. Next year, for the first time, more than half the population is likely to be living in urban areas, implying a further boost to consumption, the country’s main source of economic growth.
Click to enlarge
Second, fiscal restraint in recent years has left the government with the resources to spend more on Indonesia’s deficient infrastructure and public services. Having withstood the slump of the past year remarkably well, Indonesia is well placed to maintain solid growth rates for years to come. Considered a basket-case not so long ago, it is now seen as an extra “I” in the BRIC group of big, fast-growing emerging markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China).
Third, Mr Yudhoyono’s re-election in July gives him a mandate for the reforms Indonesia needs. His victory probably owed much to his reputation as a doughty warrior against corruption, and to his policy of giving cash handouts to the poor. In the election campaign he and his running-mate, Boediono, a well-respected former central-bank governor, were attacked as “neo-liberals” by opponents playing the card of anti-foreign economic nationalism, but many voters simply seem to have shrugged this off.
And that leads to the fourth reason for optimism. Despite serious flaws in the electoral system and in the mishmash of parliamentary and presidential constitutions Indonesia has designed for itself, it seems likely to enjoy a period of political stability. Democratisation has been a mess, and much needs fixing. But Mr Yudhoyono now has the breathing-space to try."
Growing up in the 90's, Patrick Swayze's Ghost introduced me to the multiple viewing crowds in junior high - long before the Titanic craze. I would know people that went to cinemas multiple time to see oh, the sooo beautiful movie and being bombarded by "Unchained Melody" in radio stations. I could not understand why would anyone bother to pay to see a movie they have seen before. At some level now I still don't but anyway, here's to the man that dominated the Gulf War I period of last century.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Norman Borlaug was a hero to, some say, over 1-billion people when he orchestrated the green revolution and in an emergency move was able to provide double-season wheat seed to Pakistan and India during times of famine in the 1960's. He was a Nobel Peace Prize, Presidential Medal of Honor and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.
Jürgen Hopf fits the stereotype of a Bavarian beer-maker, with his traditional felt hat, rosy cheeks, and proudly protruding beer-belly. But Hopf has given Germany's favorite drink an unlikely twist, creating libido-enhancing beer.
And the potion which he created almost seven years ago, has gone from strength to strength. Sales of the bottles adorned with a picture of a woman removing her top now make up more than a tenth of all the beer brewed in his village.
But his invention came about by chance, Hopf says. "I work at a brewery where all the processes are automated. One night though, the system failed and I was called up to try and fix it as I live just over the road," he told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "It was the middle of the night and there wasn't a soul in sight so I crossed the road wearing just my little boxer shorts and slippers."" (Spiegel)
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
More awesomeness here at CBS News.
"The oversight group’s report said guards worked in a “ ‘Lord of the Flies’ environment,” where they and their supervisors groped and urinated on one another. They cite photographs that suggest guards have drawn Afghans into activities forbidden in a conservative Muslim country." (NY Times)
Urinating on one another? You don't say.
And this happens in a war zone. In the good old days, you get shot for doing these activities.
The US State Department is aware of this problem and decided to do nothing.
Lehman was sacrificed to the blood thirsty god of Wall Street and he seemed to be content for now.
Friday, September 11, 2009
"Turing was a quite brilliant mathematician, most famous for his work on breaking the German Enigma codes. It is no exaggeration to say that, without his outstanding contribution, the history of the Second World War could have been very different. He truly was one of those individuals we can point to whose unique contribution helped to turn the tide of war. The debt of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that he was treated so inhumanely." (Telegraph)
9/11 hijackers: motherfuckers.
Shoe bomber: Everytime you have to take off your shoes for travelling, curse this dude.
UK Liquid bomb plot: Yup, these guys are the reasons why you are not allowed to bring liquid on board while travelling internationally.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
"Through the centuries, Moorish spices, French pastries and Spanish citrus have left lasting impressions on Mexico's cuisine. Now Japanese fast-food noodles, first imported here in the 1980s, are filling pantries across the country.(LA Times)
Time-pressed school kids, construction workers and office drones have helped turn Mexicans into Latin America's largest per-capita consumers of instant ramen. Diners here slurped down 1 billion servings last year, up threefold since 1999, according to a Japanese noodle association."
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
"Yet spending on health care, by families and by the government, is crowding out spending on almost everything else. As a nation, we now spend almost 18 percent of our GDP on health care. In 1966, Medicare and Medicaid made up 1 percent of total government spending; now that figure is 20 percent, and quickly rising. Already, the federal government spends eight times as much on health care as it does on education, 12 times what it spends on food aid to children and families, 30 times what it spends on law enforcement, 78 times what it spends on land management and conservation, 87 times the spending on water supply, and 830 times the spending on energy conservation. Education, public safety, environment, infrastructure—all other public priorities are being slowly devoured by the health-care beast." (The Atlantic)
"By what mechanism does society determine that an extra, say, $100 billion for health care will make us healthier than even $10 billion for cleaner air or water, or $25 billion for better nutrition, or $5 billion for parks, or $10 billion for recreation, or $50 billion in additional vacation time—or all of those alternatives combined?"
"Perhaps the greatest problem posed by our health-insurance-driven regime is the sense it creates that someone else is actually paying for most of our health care—and that the costs of new benefits can also be borne by someone else. Unfortunately, there is no one else.
For fun, let’s imagine confiscating all the profits of all the famously greedy health-insurance companies. That would pay for four days of health care for all Americans. Let’s add in the profits of the 10 biggest rapacious U.S. drug companies. Another 7 days. Indeed, confiscating all the profits of all American companies, in every industry, wouldn’t cover even five months of our health-care expenses."
Read this long article and one would get mad, really mad of the idiosyncrasies that made health care in the US so expensive and out of reach for so many of its own citizens.
"A wasteful insurance system; distorted incentives; a bias toward treatment; moral hazard; hidden costs and a lack of transparency; curbed competition; service to the wrong customer. These are the problems at the foundation of our health-care system, resulting in a slow rot and requiring more and more money just to keep the system from collapsing."
Monday, September 07, 2009
"A controversial German health education campaign, focused on the prevention of HIV/AIDS, features Adolf Hitler having sex. It has been criticized around the world as tasteless and inappropriate -- but the campaign's makers don't see what the problem is." (Spiegel De)
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying. " (Obambi)
Saturday, September 05, 2009
i would like to take some of y'all's time to present a documentary showing the beneficial effects of my favorite tea biscuit, Parle G. (the G is for genius)
when you look for Parle G biscuits outside of India, make to insist on EXPORT-labeled packages, because there are many counterfeits.
Friday, September 04, 2009
It followed Mexico's decision to stop prosecuting people for possession of relatively small quantities of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs. Instead, they will be referred to clinics and treated as patients, not criminals. (link)