China Communist elder issues bold call for democracy

BEIJING (Reuters) – In a bold jab before a key meeting of China’s Communists, a 90-year-old former secretary to Mao Zedong has urged the Party to embrace democracy, saying that only political freedom can end instability and corruption.

In the October edition of the outspoken magazine, Li said his country could be dragged back into past decades of chaos unless long-delayed democratisation catches up with three decades of market reforms, ending the Party’s “privileged status”.

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Angst and Unhappiness in Iran

Information coming out of Iran indicates that the military there is very dismayed at how ineffective new Russian anti-aircraft systems were during the Israeli September 6th air strike on a Syrian weapons development facility near the Iraqi border. Syria and Iran have both bought billions of dollars worth of the latest Russian anti-aircraft missile systems. Apparently the Israelis were able to blind these systems electronically. Syria isn’t saying anything, nor are the Israelis, but Iranian officers are complaining openly that they have been had by the Russians. The Iranians bought Russian equipment based on assurances that the gear would detect and shoot down Israeli warplanes.

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U.S. Focus on Ahmadinejad Puzzles Iranians

“The United States pays too much attention to Ahmadinejad,” said an Iranian political scientist who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. “He is not that consequential.”

Mr. Ahmadinejad’s power stems not from his office per se, but from the refusal of his patron, Ayatollah Khamenei, and some hard-line leaders, to move beyond Iran’s revolutionary identity, which makes full relations with the West impossible. There are plenty of conservatives and hard-liners who take a more pragmatic view, wanting to retain “revolutionary values” while integrating Iran with the world, at least economically. But they are not driving the agenda these days, and while that could change, it will not be the president who makes that call.

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Beneath Booming Cities, China’s Future Is Drying Up

For three decades, water has been indispensable in sustaining the rollicking economic expansion that has made China a world power. Now, China’s galloping, often wasteful style of economic growth is pushing the country toward a water crisis. Water pollution is rampant nationwide, while water scarcity has worsened severely in north China — even as demand keeps rising everywhere.

There’s no uncertainty, said Richard Evans, a hydrologist who has worked in China for two decades and has served as a consultant to the World Bank and China’s Ministry of Water Resources. The rate of decline is very clear, very well documented. They will run out of groundwater if the current rate continues.

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As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes

But just as the speed and scale of China’s rise as an economic power have no clear parallel in history, so its pollution problem has shattered all precedents. Environmental degradation is now so severe, with such stark domestic and international repercussions, that pollution poses not only a major long-term burden on the Chinese public but also an acute political challenge to the ruling Communist Party. And it is not clear that China can rein in its own economic juggernaut.

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Ecuador: Is Correa Following Chávez Down the Road to Serfdom?

More than 60 years ago, Dr. F.A. Hayek brilliantly described the final destination of all people living under socialism: serfdom in a cruel totalitarian state. Venezuela is heading in that direction under the leadership of Fidel Castro’s star pupil, Dictator-President Hugo Chávez. On Sunday, September 30, voters in Ecuador will decide whether to authorize their President, Rafael Correa, to walk the same path.

Rafael Correa is a U.S.-trained, Ph.D. economist and a radical leftist.

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Google Earth Forces the Navy to Do Some Remodeling

The Naval Base Coronado near San Diego has gone unnoticed since it’s groundbreaking in 1967. Then Google Earth had to come in and ruin everything. The satellite mapping site revealed to the public that, from the air, the structure was shaped like a swastika (oops!). Turns out that the Navy knew about this all along, but since the airspace over the Navy yard is restricted they thought no one would ever notice. Well, the Anti-Defamation League did. According to the New York Times:

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Google Earth changes our perceptions Agoravox
Google Earth Helps Spot Swastika-Shaped Building Gizmodo.com
‘Swastika’ base to get makeover Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Fort Worth Star Telegram – Core77.com
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South America embraces Bush’s arch enemy

South America embraces Bush’s arch enemy
Guardian Unlimited, UK - 4 hours ago
The leaders of Bolivia and Venezuela embraced Mr Ahmadinejad and blessed Iran’s nuclear programme, underlining how much influence Washington has lost over a
Ahmadinejad shores up support in Bolivia, Venezuela AFP
Iran Strengthens South America Ties The Associated Press
Ahmadinejad and Chavez: Brothers in nukes New Europe
Reuters – Monsters and Critics.com
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Pakistan, Russia ‘vulnerable to N-theft’

Pakistan, Russia ‘vulnerable to N-theft’
Pakistan Dawn, Pakistan - 23 hours ago
By Anwar Iqbal WASHINGTON, Sept 27: A new report by a prestigious Washington think-tank claims that Pakistan and Russia are the most vulnerable to nuclear
Alert over nuclear theft Gulf Daily News
Report Warns of Nuclear Threat Harvard Crimson
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