WikiLeaks barred by the Great Firewall of China:
Links to the WikiLeaks website were blocked within China on Wednesday amid potentially embarrassing claims made in leaked U.S. diplomatic cables posted to the site.
Attempts to access wikileaks.org and cablegate.wikileaks.org were met with a notice saying the connection had been reset. That's the standard response when a website is being blocked by Chinese authorities who exert rigid controls over Internet content.
It wasn't clear when the blocks were imposed, although a vast swath of the Internet is inaccessible behind China's firewall, including social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Human rights and political dissent-themed sites are also routinely banned, although technologically savvy users can easily jump the so-called "Great Firewall" with proxy servers or other alternatives.
WikiLeaks may have been singled out because of some of the assertions made in the leaked cables, including some sent from the U.S. Embassies in Seoul and Beijing focusing on China's ally North Korea.
Related (because it is funny):
And where are the intelligence agencies on which we lavish $80 billion a year? Assange has gone missing. Well, he's no cave-dwelling jihadi ascetic. Find him. Start with every five-star hotel in England and work your way down.
South Korea needs to wear its Big Boy Pants. Now:
South Korea's next defence chief threatened Friday that jets would bomb the North if it stages another attack like last week's deadly shelling as he outlined a tough new military policy toward the rival neighbour.
President Lee Myung-bak's government is suffering intense criticism that its response to North Korea's Nov. 23 barrage on a South Korean island was weak, and over the stunning revelation that the South's spy chief dismissed information in August indicating the North might attack the front-line island of Yeonpyeong.
Lee's nominee, Kim Kwan-jin, told a parliamentary confirmation hearing that further North Korean aggression will result in airstrikes. He said South Korea will use all its combat capabilities to retaliate....
Despite the bold declarations, questions have been raised about Lee's readiness — and even willingness — to stand up to the North. The president has been criticized for leading a military whose response to the attack was seen as too slow and too weak. The North fired 170 rounds, compared with 80 returned by South Korea.
Satellite photos showed only about 10 South Korean rounds landed near North Korea's army barracks along the west coast, according to the office of lawmaker Kwon Young-se, who said he saw the images provided Thursday by the National Intelligence Service.
Despite the pressure, Lee must balance calls for a harsh response with the knowledge that Seoul — a city of more than 10 million people and the economic heart of the country — lies only 30 miles (50 kilometres) from the Koreas' heavily militarized border and within easy range of North Korean artillery.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported Friday that North Korea has recently improved its ability to hit the capital: North Korea now has 5,200 rockets, about 100 more than it used to, the agency said, citing an unidentified South Korean military source. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said it could not confirm the report because it involves military intelligence.
There should be no reason for slow responses. North Korea needs to understand the immediate ramifications of unprovoked shelling do not include resuming aid and six-party talks.
Kim Jong-Il is a monster:
It's all that global warming and tar sands and such:
The death toll from a deep freeze in Poland has increased to 30 with a dozen more deaths overnight, officials said Friday, while some of the worst floods in a century devastated parts of the Balkans.
Many of those who died in Poland are drunks or homeless people and police canvassed the streets in the hopes of preventing more from freezing to death. Temperatures across most of Poland were around -15 C (5 F).
Authorities, meanwhile, declared a state of emergency in three Balkan countries — Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro — and evacuated hundreds of people after heavy rainfall caused severe flooding along the Drina River — the worst in 104 years. But floodwaters receded significantly overnight in Bosnia, leaving a trail of mud and debris in many areas.
Bosnian authorities used rafts to rescue people Thursday from apartments in Foca, and on the other side of the river, hundreds of people were evacuated in Serbia and Montenegro as the Drina flooded farms and roads. Schools were closed, many people had no electricity or heat, and water supplies were contaminated along the river in all three countries.
Thousands of people and livestock were also evacuated from northwestern Albania after severe floods. A state of emergency was declared in the city of Shkodra, which remains isolated from the rest of the country by days of heavy rain.
The frigid weather has also caused travel chaos across parts of Europe with airport closure reported in several countries Thursday.
Notorious daughter-killer cannot counsel the disabled:
And now, a dog on