Saturday, January 15, 2005

The end of the world

War Blogs from Iraq: Invaluable Source of News, via. From the same source, 'Through a Crystal Ball, Darkly - A Journalist Waxes Future Visions' by Amir Taheri. Anthony Cordesman has a new study on Iraq for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (via the FT, 8 Jan)...

 Something I heard on BBC WS a couple of days ago, though maddeningly I couldn't find anything online: Iran and Russia have agreed a deal with Tajikistan  to develop its electricity-generating capacity. I did though come across this, which I remember reading at the time: 'What is to be done?' from Mar 2004.

13 Jan - Bernard Guetta was talking about this this morning : Facing Facts About Iraq's Election . It is a long editorial. Here are the two concluding paragraphs:
Mr. Bush does not need to call for a postponement of elections himself. He simply needs to take the pressure off the Iraqi authorities, and let them know they have the power to make whatever decision is best for their country. Some members of the interim government, including people close to Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, have shown some interest in putting off the voting if there is a chance of winning more Sunni participation, and others are said to be leaning that way in private.

The run-up to the election is taking place at a time when there's speculation about whether President Bush intends to use the arrival of a new, elected government as an occasion to declare victory and begin pulling out American troops. If such an idea is lurking in even the most remote corner of Mr. Bush's mind, he should at least do everything within his power - including welcoming a postponement - to prevent those elections from being something more than just the starting gun for a civil war.
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Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti in The Guardian ...
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The southbound junction of the M42 and M6 toll in England: if you arrive at most times of the day, you won't see a problem, but at peak times it's a bottleneck. Obviously, everything has been done to favour the private (toll-paying) side over the public (toll-free) side, but in some ways it is self-defeating. A concrete barrier between the two extends so far that, with traffic trying to merge left towards the M42 and traffic trying to merge right towards the M6, there is not enough time for it to sort itself out before queues are met at another junction on the M42 further on. It still saves time though if you are heading for M6 south / east.

The Channel Tunnel experience has disabused us of the idea that privately financed projects could magically solve the problem of major infrastructure improvements costing more or taking longer than planned. What they really do is allow them to be de-politicised - so that decisions to build new roads are made solely on the basis of commercial considerations.
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Only heard about this at second hand -BBC2's Horizon on the dimming effect. Sounds like the end of the world in a hundred years or so. Or at least the end of human life on this planet. At least for almost all of us. Link here. ... Thinking about a mail-shot we do - use email where possible and reduce use of paper. More junk mail received -  straight to recycling.

15 Jan - the Horizon programme's on again tonight 20:10.

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