My sister wasn’t sure that China was blocking searches for Egypt and news on the ongoing revolution, so I quickly headed over to Sina’s twitter clone to verify. A quick search for tag term Egypt (埃及) shows a message “根据相关法律法规和政策，搜索结果未予显示” or “According to relevant laws, these search results have not been shown.”
BoingBoing has a story up called How China censors Egypt news, and why the story is so sensitive in China which speculates that the current ban is to avoid memories of the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989:
The filtering of search result and the blocking of search term “Egypt” in social media websites is to prevent certain interpretation of the political situation in Egypt. The scenes of Tanks moving into the city center, the confrontation between the people and the soldiers are very likely to recall Chinese people’s memory of the June 4 incident back in 1989 and the criticism of the authoritarian government in Egypt can easily turn into a political allegory in China.
For the best news on Egypt and the middle east, we recommend Aljazeera’s ongoing coverage.
US President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice approved a controversial measure to remove the nation of North Korea from the official terrorism blacklist, the so called “axis of evil” last weekend after Korea agreed to verification inspection procedures for its nuclear plants. In exchange, North Korea will resume disabling its Yongbyon atomic complex.
According to U.S. removes N. Korea from terror list, the decision is not universally accepted:
Removing North Korea from the list was immediately criticized by some conservatives who said it goes too far and sends a bad signal to other U.S. adversaries, notably Iran. Hill, a lightning rod for conservative criticism on the issue, was noticeably absent at the State Department announcement.
Critics pilloried the development because they said it is not adequate to address its involvement in spreading nuclear weapons technology or its alleged uranium enrichment activities.
“By rewarding North Korea before the regime has carried out its commitments, we are encouraging this regime to continue its illicit nuclear program and violate its pledge to no longer provide nuclear assistance to extremist regimes,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Still remaining in the “axis of evil” are Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Libya, and Syria. The only question is if this classification actually accomplishes any good, besides denying modernization to nations which so desperately need it.
The Onion probably has the most entertaining and reasonable look at the whole Tibet / China situation going on right now with Olympic Torch Used To Ignite Tibetan Protesters:
BEIJING—A universally recognized symbol of goodwill, the Olympic torch was used to immolate hundreds of Tibetan protesters during its journey across mainland China last week, in what is being called a stirring display of competitive spirit and Chinese nationalism.
Given all of the things in the mix–Tibetans rioting, the Chinese army shooting Tibetans, various protests, the Olympic torch-snuffing, heat from the Dali Lama, the Chinese government photoshopping photos–what needs to happen is for people to step back, calm down, and go about their normal lives. Here, and in Tibet and China. That way we’ll have a lot less political mess, death, and suffering in the eastern parts of the world.
This just seems like the wrong thing to do. Our favorite Sinablog Shanghaiist has the scoop about how Iceland’s famous singer embarrassed herself:
Björk closed out the set with the anthemic ‘Declare Independence,’ chanting the name of a huge piece of real estate west of Sichuan and Yunnan amongst a hail of streamers. [Bjork] shouted “Tibet, Tibet!” followed by “Raise your flag!” towards the end of her final song, “Declare independence.”
Today is the UN’s landmine awareness day. If you don’t know what a land mine is, read the Wikipedia article. The problem is that numerous 3rd world countries have their ground heavily seeded with the things during times of war, which just persist to the current day. Last year ~20,000 people died to land mines. I don’t know if that number includes soldiers.
Creating machines to automatically detect and defuse land mine fields isn’t a hard problem, but just an expensive one. And, as land mines continue to be used around the world, the problem will persist indefinitely. We need to be aware of the dangers of landmines and stop making them. Perhaps if the supply atrophies they will disappear entirely.