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--Barry Asmus

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

World News!

  • In "Ministry of Love" news, the state of Victoria is about to approve a new law that will allow police to levy fines of up to Aus$240 on people who use "offensive words or phrases" in public.
  • In "KLEINBOM Portable Explosives" news, small bombs detonated at IKEA stores in Ghent (Belgium), Lille (France) and Eindhoven (the Netherlands).  No serious injuries have been reported, and no motive has been determined.
  • Officials involved in the negotiations between Greece, the rest of the EU, and the IMF say that a second bailout for Greece is likely to be agreed on by the end of June, following a lot of political displays.  "Expect an aggravation of the stress relationships between all partners - international institutions, national governments and domestic players in Greece - between now and the European summit," said one of the officials.  "There will be public statements that will raise tensions.  The communication will get much worse before it gets better."  The officials expect the agreement to be a three year program worth 65 billion euros, that also gives a supervisory role over the privatization of Greek state assets.
  • Ambassadors of NATO's 28 member states unanimously agreed to extend NATO's attacks on Libya for another 90 days.
  • Moussa Ibrahim, a spokesman for the Libyan government stated that "Since March 19, and up to May 26, there have been 718 martyrs among civilians and 4,067 wounded - 433 of them seriously."  When pressed for details, including pictures or other evidence of mass civilian casualties - Mr. Ibrahim stated that the casualties were scattered across the country.
North Korea Crazy[1]
  • In "apparently a thousand adults aren't important" news, the (alleged) torture and murder of a 13-year-old boy by Syrian authorities has prompted Kevin Rudd, the Australian Foreign Minister, to announce "I believe it is high time that the Security Council now consider a formal referral of President Assad to the International Criminal Court."  The Syrian government has not yet stated whether they have taken the official position that the boy was an "armed terror gang".
  • President Bashar al-Assad has issued a decree of general amnesty "for all crimes committed before 31 May.  The pardon includes all those who belong to political movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood."  Syrians who are not part of the government expressed skepticism about the utility (and, indeed, the sincerity) of the offer.
United States
  • In "we're trying to find a way to justify staying involved in Libya now that we're past out 90 day limit" news, General Carter F. Ham told a news conference that "There is a very real concern for all the regional partners, and the United States shares this concern, about the proliferation of weapons from Libya to other places, including those under the control of al Qaeda and others."[2]
  • Once again, the House of Representatives has voted (318-97) against a bill to raise the US debt limit without limitations.
  • In further "Screaming Fist" news, the Pentagon is preparing a report that will allow the US to categorise cyber-attacks as acts of war.  "A response to a cyberincident or attack on the US would not necessarily be a cyber-response.  All appropriate options would be on the table....  We reserve the right to use all necessary means - diplomatic, informational, military, and economic - as appropriate and consistent with applicable international law, in order to defend our nation, our allies, our partners and our interests," said Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan.
[1]  Back on the charts with their cover of Billy Idol's "Neuromancer".
[2]  This  may just be my opinion, but it seems like invoking al Qaeda as an excuse to attack (excuse me, "militarily intervene in") another nation is less and less credible as a genuine national security issue and more and more like Godwin's Law.

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