China
♦ Ostensibly this post at Xinjiang Watch is about Chinese education policy, but its real function is to make you aware of the way that news is manufactured at specific distribution points.  One decision at Associated Press shapes the cultural expectations of the rest of the world.  So, okay, China’s rough on females.  That’s all we need to know, right? 
♦ They found Slave labor at Shanxi brickworks.  The pictures tell it all.
♦ At the G-8, China agrees with climate change measures, with reservations, calling better environmental standards a “development issue”.  I wouldn’t focus as much on China’s small steps as U.S. failure to walk that walk at all: the two are directly related.

Former Soviet Union
♦ At the G-8, they wanted to talk about Africa, Climate Change, and HIV/AIDS.  Well, maybe they wanted to talk about energy, too; and someone wanted to discuss new missile defense arrangements:  Putin weighs in on NATO missile defense systems–a joint effort in Azerbaijan?  The latest: put them in Iraq.  I know that’s where I would like them to be.

Middle East
♦ The British Academics’ University and College Union (UCU) is boycotting Israeli academics.  That’s definitely who we should pick on over in Israel. 
♦ Apparently air power is more egregious than the suicide bomb:  The Taliban has decided to take the moral high ground as well as the Afghanistan countryside, denouncing ISAF forces for civilian casualties and calling for an international investigation.  All hypocrisy aside, we need to consider the use of air power as the predominant cause of Afghanistan’s civilian antipathy to NATO efforts.
♦ Iran gets more sanctions from the G-8 over the N-capability. but the UN Security Council isn’t united over the state’s condemnation.  Five U.S. citizens now in captivity in Iran. . . . 
♦ Turkey shells Dohuk Province in Iraq, who protested.  June 8: Fifty died, in separate attacks.  The real news is that every day the headline is the same, whether al-Jazeera or the Washington Post: only the numbers change.  But defeat is a bad idea.  Certainly no one can say it is a good idea?  Well, apparently. . .

U.S. Foreign Policy
♦ FPA War Crimes features ghost detainees, from a report compiled by 6 different human rights groups.  It’s not as long as you’d think it would be–because–it was damned difficult for them to get as much information as they did.  Most chilling: people who drop off the threat list without explanation.  And the children who are being detained in order to betray their parents.  This is not what we do in this country–no, unfortunately, it is now what we do.  To whom do we speak about the rule of law now?  What children’s advocate are we now?
♦ General Casualties:  Newest changes: General Pace has not been recommended by Secretary Gates to continue on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, because Congress would get to re-visit our bright shining moments in Iraq.  Approvals will then be sought for Admiral Mullen–and currently–Lieutenant General Lute will be the new “war czar”, pending Congressional approval.  Since he has primary oversight over Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, plus a lot of military advice, some people are wondering why we need a Joint Chiefs of Staff–or National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. 

Energy:
♦ Oil prices per barrel, June 8, 2007: Brent Crude, USD 70.83; West Texas Intermediate, USD 66.56.  Up from last week due to: forecasted summer consumption; cyclone Gonu over Oman, Iran; continued lack of resolution in Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, and increased tension in Venezuela.  Oh yeah.
♦ The Energy Blog discusses all sorts of fuels in great detail.  For instance: Brazil’s going to beat us all on development of cellulosic ethanol.  Oh, and the new wireless technology at MIT–that’s the laptop I want.

Cultural Rambling:
Elkhoury Photo♦ Time Magazine’s feature on the world’s food choices/resources for a week.
♦ The Venice Biennale opens today.  Something nice: Lebanon has a pavilion for the first time in the Biennale’s 112 year history, featuring five of that country’s artists: Lamia Joreige; Fouad Elkoury; Walid Sadek; Akram Zaatari; and Mounira Al Solh.  Featured here: Mr. Elkoury.
 

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