Monday, January 02, 2012

First Post of the New Year


Let's get this year started.

I'm not a mathematician but it's going to take A LOT of people given the area that needs to be covered.  Just saying:

North Korea called on its people to rally behind new leader Kim Jong-un and protect him as "human shields" while working to solve the "burning issue" of food shortages by upholding the policies of his late father, Kim Jong-il.

The North's three main state newspapers said in a policy-setting editorial traditionally published on New Year's Day that Kim Jong-un has legitimacy to carry on the revolutionary battle initiated by his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, and developed by his father, the iron-fisted ruler who died two weeks ago.

"Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of our Party and our people, is the banner of victory and glory of Songun (military-first) Korea and the eternal centre of its unity," the 5,000-word editorial carried by the North's state KCNA news agency said.

Asserting that the inexperienced young Kim, in his late 20s, is "precisely" identical to his father, the editorial said "the whole Party, the entire army and all the people should possess a firm conviction that they will become human bulwarks and human shields in defending Kim Jong-un unto death."

Notably, the editorial called North Korea's food problem "a burning issue" for the ruling Workers' Party to solve and build "a thriving country."

"Glorify this year 2012 as a year of proud victory, a year when an era of prosperity is unfolding, true to the instructions of the great General Kim Jong-il," the editorial said.

The destitute North has been suffering from chronic food shortages, relying heavily on outside aid. A U.N. report said in November the isolated communist state needs food assistance for nearly 3 million of its 24 million people in 2012.

Ah, the food shortages. What's the younger Kim's preference? Kobe beef? Whatever it is, I'm sure he will feast while his people starve AND will then blame both the US and Japan for it all.

Related:  if South Korea levelled Pyongyang after the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, there would be no need to "push for peace":

South Korea's president urged rival North Korea on Monday to use the transition of leadership after Kim Jong Il's death to usher in a new era of peace on the tense Korean peninsula, even as he warned the North against any provocations.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak reached out in his New Year's message to the North Korean government now led by Kim's son, Kim Jong Un, saying he has high hopes for a breakthrough this year in negotiations over the North's nuclear program.

However, Lee warned that Seoul would respond sternly to any North Korean provocations. Relations between the rival Koreas dropped to their lowest point in decades following the 2010 sinking of a South Korean warship that killed 46 sailors and North Korea's deadly shelling of a front-line island later that year.

Lee's comments in a nationally televised speech came a day after the North called on its citizens to rally around Kim Jong Un and transform themselves into his "human shields."

Lee said Kim Jong Il's death is "portending a sea change" for the fractured Korean peninsula. "If North Korea comes forward with a sincere attitude, it will be possible for us to work together to open a new era," he said.

The Korean peninsula remains in a technical state of conflict because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. North and South remain divided by a heavily fortified border, and their navies have traded deadly fire at their disputed maritime border over the years.

I'm not seeing how being "Westernised" is a bad thing. The Russians try this xenophobic nonsense yet certainly don't mind flocking to North America or enjoying Western movies:

Chinese President Hu Jintao has warned that "hostile" powers are seeking to "Westernise" the country and called for greater efforts to enhance China's cultural influence overseas.

Hu's remarks published in the latest edition of Communist Party magazine Seeking the Truth come after Beijing ordered the culture industry -- taken to include the media -- to lift its game as China pushes its "soft power" abroad.

"Hostile international powers are strengthening their efforts to Westernise and divide us," Hu wrote in the article, noting "ideological and cultural fields" are their main targets.

"We must be aware of the seriousness and complexity of the struggles and take powerful measures to prevent and deal with them."

Hu also called for greater efforts to develop Chinese culture to meet the "growing spiritual and cultural demands of the people" in China.

"The overall strength of Chinese culture and its international influence is not commensurate with China's international status," Hu said.

 "The international culture of the West is strong while we are weak."

Hu's comments are the latest in a series of directives from Communist Party leaders seeking to tighten their control over the Internet and media industry.

Do you know what would strengthen the spiritual resolve of the Chinese people, Hu? The Catholic Church you try suppressing.

Oh, I'm sure Obama can handle this:

Iran test-fired a surface-to-surface cruise missile Monday in a drill its navy chief said proved Tehran was in complete control of the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for one-sixth of the world's oil supply.

The 10-day naval manoeuvrs, which are scheduled to end Tuesday, were Iran's latest show of strength in the face of mounting international criticism over its nuclear program. Tehran has threatened to close the strait as possible retaliation to new U.S. economic sanctions.

The missile, called "Ghader," or "Capable" in Farsi, was described as an upgraded version of one that has been in service before. The official IRNA news agency said the missile "successfully hit its intended target" during the exercise.

An earlier version of the same cruise missile had a range of 124 miles (200 kilometres) and could travel at low altitudes. There were suggestions it could counter the U.S. naval presence in the Persian Gulf.

Remember- this man was elected with the least amount of scrutiny.

It's too bad "designer babies" end up in the rubbish:

A new controversial study suggests a stronger embryo may help a weaker one survive in twin pregnancies created by in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Spanish researchers found that the overall rate of survival to birth per embryo was 83 percent in twin pregnancies compared with 76 percent when women carried only one child.

In a statistical analysis, the number of double births in twin pregnancies was higher than the researchers would have expected if the embryos didn't somehow help each other.

By contrast, the number of single births was much lower than they expected.

As a result, the write in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, it would appear that feeble embryos that would fail on their own somehow receive support from their stronger twin.

While several studies have found that twin pregnancies result in higher live birth rates, the concept of "embryo assistance" -- still entirely theoretical -- met resistance from one expert not involved in the new study.

"The authors have offered an interesting hypothesis," Dr. Alan B Copperman, director of reproductive endocrinology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, told Reuters Health by email.

"But their data are not sufficient to overturn our current understanding that embryo implantation is independent, and we do not have evidence that individual embryos 'help each other' implant."

Babies conceived through IVF account for just one percent of U.S. births each year, researchers say, but the technique is responsible for 17 percent of twins.

Related: this is why I will not call this wretched movement "pro-choice":

The pro-abortion blog Jezebel has named as its woman of the year for 2011 a circuit riding abortion practitioner who works for Planned Parenthood and, last month, sent a woman to the hospital after nearly killing her in a failed abortion....

(With thanks)

Also related: note the maudlin way in which this story is handled. Normally  it would evoke some godawful demand for abortion. Because "choice" demands it!

Because she's Christie Blatchford:

When in court in Cayuga, Ont., two days before Christmas, a young native man was sentenced to less than two years in prison for the near-fatal beating of builder Sam Gualtieri, something called the Gladue decision was cited by the judge.

It mitigated the sentence given the young man, a 22-year-old named Richard Smoke, who was convicted of an aggravated assault the judge described as “just a notch below culpable homicide.”

It had something of the flavour of the person who kills his parents and then throws himself upon the mercy of the court as an orphan: Mr. Smoke, went this logic, nearly beat Mr. Gualtieri to death because of the pain he had suffered as a native person in a racist culture and therefore should qualify for a lighter sentence....

R. v. Gladue was a 1999 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada which formalized the principles judges must use in sentencing aboriginal offenders in line with changes made just three years before to the Criminal Code of Canada.

Those changes, brought in under then Liberal justice minister Allan Rock, were fairly sweeping. Among other things, they codified for the first time the purpose of sentencing, acknowledged the failure of prison to rehabilitate offenders and ushered in conditional sentencing (where sentences are served in the community, not jail) and enshrined in law the notion that judges must pay “particular attention to the circumstances of aboriginal offenders” in order to correct the over-representation of natives in the justice system.

Ontario Superior Court Judge Alan Whitten had no choice but to take into account the Gladue decision, which has been cited hundreds of times since the high court ruling. Judges who don’t are rapped on the knuckles.

Two-tiered justice in Canada.

And now, behold the glory of dogs who put their heads out of moving car windows.


Anne said...

Good round-up. Love the cat pic.

Too bad for North Korea, but change does not seem to be on the horizon. The hereditary Marxist dictatorship: who would have guessed?

Osumashi Kinyobe said...

If change does come it won't be pretty...