While plenty of attention has been given to the question of what would happen if Syrian President Bashar al Assad's massive -- and fairly well-guarded -- stockpile of chemical weapons fell into the wrong hands, not enough has been given to the danger posed by his army's thousands of shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, also known as Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS).
Earlier this week, Syrian rebels publicly appealed to Washington to deliver shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missiles, arguing that such weapons will make a key difference in how quickly the rebels, who are increasingly adept at fighting Assad's ground troops but have been suffering helicopter attacks with little recourse, can topple Assad's government. While the Obama administration has signaled that it may increase support to the rebels -- beyond the flak jackets, radios, medical gear, and (possibly) tactical training it is already giving them -- if they can carve out a safe haven from which to base their operations, it says that it has no plans to provide them with weapons.
The United States isn't in any hurry to arm the rebels with MANPADS for good reason; if just one modern shoulder-fired missile slipped into the wrong hands, it could be used to bring down a civilian airliner, killing hundreds of people.
Even the Syrian regime's aging stockpile of Soviet-made SA-7s could pose a threat to civilian planes, the Federation of American Scientists' Matt Schroeder told FP today. He pointed out that SA-7s have been used to shoot down several civilian planes. There was a famous incident in Baghdad in 2003 where an Airbus A300 cargo plane on contract to DHL was hit by an SA-7 and almost crashed. This incident prompted some commercial carriers such as FedEx to equip their jets with laser-countermeasures designed to defeat shoulder-fired heat-seeking missiles.
Videos have already emerged showing Syrian rebels armed with SA-7 units, though it is impossible to tell whether these were taken from Syrian government caches or if the weapons were smuggled into the country. (It should be noted that the weapons shown in the videos lack their grip stocks, meaning that they can't be launched as designed). While SA-7s do pose some threat, their effective shelf life is considered to be 10 to 15 years, according to Schroeder. While most Russian-made SA-7s are decades old, knockoffs have been made outside of Russia in recent years.
As the rebels become a more potent force, there is little doubt they will capture more government weapons or get them from military defectors. So it may only be a matter of time before they acquire some of the SA-18 MANPADS that Syria is thought to have purchased from Russia. The SA-18 is an updated version of the 1980s-vintage SA-16, a shoulder-fired missile that may have successfully downed a British Tornado fighter and an American F-16 during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and a French Mirage 2000D over Bosnia in 1996.
It remains to be seen if the United States has a plan to secure Syria's MANPADS in the event that the Assad government falls -- similar to the one NATO implemented in Libya to secure Muammar al-Qaddafi's stockpile of surface-to air-missiles.
"If the regime collapses suddenly and the weapons are dispersed among many different arsenals around the country and those arsenals are looted relatively rapidly, it'll be very, very difficult to contain it," said Schroeder. "If the regime falls slowly, the U.S. can get on the ground and start negotiating with those folks that, potentially, have access to them, then maybe they can secure more of them or more of them more quickly. There's so much that is not known, a lot of this is speculation."
We've put a call in to the Pentagon and White House to see what they have to say about this. We'll update when we hear back from them.
With general elections potentially on the horizon, a new party has burst onto the Israeli political scene. On Wednesday, the Pirates party, which according to Haaretz "champions ‘the freedom to copy' and ‘the pirating sector,'" applied for recognition as an official political party. Despite its name, the group, led by former Green Leaf party member Ohad Shem-Tov, does not belong to the Pirate Parties International (PPI) movement, which already has an established Israeli chapter. Though the party refuses to speak to non-pirate media, its goals apparently "range from the radical to the delirious," including "the freedom to divide and copy" and social justice.
Shem-Tov is best known for forming the Green Leaf Graduates party before the 2009 following his expulsion from the original Green Leaf party, which campaigns to decriminalize marijuana. During the general elections that year, the Green Leaf Graduates forged an unlikely alliance with the Holocaust Survivors Party, running advertisements espousing a hybrid pro-cannabis, pro-survivors benefits platform.
The Pirate creed is not new to the region. In 2011, PPI member Slim Amamou joined the new Tunisian cabinet as State Secretary of Youth and Sports. PPI also made significant inroads in May, when it won 8 percent of votes in Schleswig-Holstein during German general elections, in addition to 8.9 percent in Berlin and 7.4 percent in Saarland. Israel's Pirate party stands somewhat of a chance, since the election threshold for the Knesset is just 2 percent, but whether it asks the Jewish state to recognize the Church of Kopimism is more of a gamble.
Mitt Romney has already gotten in a spot of trouble in London for suggesting that Britain may not be quite ready to host the Olympic Games. Romney has walked back his comments, but it's not the first time the candidate has said some not-so-flattering things about the Sceptered Isle. In his book, No Apology, he writes:
England [sic] is just a small island. Its roads and houses are small. With few exceptions, it doesn't make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy. And if it hadn't been separated from the continent by water, it almost certainly would have been lost to Hitler's ambitions. Yet only two lifetimes ago, Britain ruled the largest and wealthiest empire in the history of humankind. Britain controlled a quarter of the earth's land and a quarter of the earth's population.
Its roads and houses are small? The trees probably aren't the right height either.
Oli Scarff/Getty Images
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has been attacked by malware once again.
In a letter made public on the company's website, an unknown Iranian scientist from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) contacted Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of Finnish security company F-secure, with an unusual complaint:
I am writing you to inform you that our nuclear program has once again been compromised and attacked by a new worm with exploits which have shut down our automation network at Natanz and another facility Fordo near Qom.
According to the email our cyber experts sent to our teams, they believe a hacker tool Metasploit was used. The hackers had access to our VPN. The automation network and Siemens hardware were attacked and shut down. I only know very little about these cyber issues as I am scientist not a computer expert.
There was also some music playing randomly on several of the workstations during the middle of the night with the volume maxed out. I believe it was playing 'Thunderstruck' by AC/DC.
Though Hypponen emphasized that he could not verify the attacks upon the Natanz Uraniam enrichment facility in central Iran and Qom, a research facility in an undisclosed section of southwest Tehran, he confirmed that the message was sent from the AEIO.
This sort of thing isn't new. Music was central to 1989's Operation Just Cause, in which U.S. soldiers attempted to coerce Panamanian President Manuel Noriega from his refuge in the Vatican embassy by blaring loud music at the building. In documents acquired by the National Security Archives, U.S. SOUTHCOM admitted U.S. military DJs took requests, blaring a playlist that ranged from Paul Simon's 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run and, an apparent favorite, AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long.
More recently, U.S. Psychological Operations Company (PsyOps) admitted to the use of heavy metal in Iraq as a mechanism to break uncooperative prisoners' resistance. Similar use was reported by the International Committee of the Red Cross as part of the "cruel, humane and degrading" treatment of Guantanamo inmates. Though the use of heavy metal as a interrogation technique incited some record companies to warn that the United States may owe royalty fees, military officials were unrepentant. As one officer told Newsweek, "Trust me, it works."
Though hackers have been known for their peculiar brand of humor -- see Stuxnet's hidden biblical references -- the use of music in cyber warfare is certainly a new development. Start planning your requests.
Sara Johannessen/AFP/Getty Images
Talking Points Memo is asking if this is Romney's " first big foreign stumble" and the Obama campaign is sending it out to journalists, but it's not exactly clear who exactly made a gaffe or about what.
Here are some comments made by Romney at a San Francisco fundraiser yesterday, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald:
"I met today with the Foreign Minister of Australia. He said something, and I said 'Can I quote you?' and he said yes. He said, 'America is just one budget deal away from ending all talk of America being in decline,''' Governor Romney told attendees at a fundraiser today.
''And this idea of America in decline, it was interesting [Carr] said that, he led the talk of America being in decline. See that's not talk we hear about here as much as they're hearing there. And if they're thinking about investing in America, entrepreneurs putting their future in America, if they think America's in decline they're not gonna do it."
In the AP's telling of the story, the speech claimed that Carr "privately warned Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney that foreign leaders see "America in decline." Carr's office has come out to deny that there was any "warning" implied:
But despite headlines today such as ''Mitt Romney Gets Grim Warning From Australian Leader'', a spokesman for Senator Carr says Australia's Foreign Minister was talking up the US economy, not talking it down. That is, any fears that Australia's foreign minister has been overseas criticising a key alliance parnter, would be misplaced.
''That interpretation is not correct,'' the spokesman told The National Times.
Indeed, Senator Carr has used a similar phrase about the US budget before - on people such as former World Bank chief Robert Zoellick - to indicate his belief in the US economy's strengths and potential.
TPM's Josh Marshall interprets this as Carr coming "forward to shoot down Romney’s characterization of the discussion." But it seems like he may be mischaracterizing the statement, which was aimed at the media for mischaracterizing his statement. Or something like that. It's all a bit confusing and a sign of how out-of-hand the campaign gaffe-spotting is getting.
In the end, it seems like a pretty inoccuous statement from both Carr and Romney: Foreign investors would be a lot more enthusiastic about the United States if phrases like "fiscal cliff" weren't such a regular part of its political discourse. Which party is more to blame for this state of affairs is another question.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/GettyImages
This weekend marks the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan - a time of fasting, prayer, and self-reflection throughout the Muslim world. But every year, it starts with a controversy: Ramadan begins with the sighting of the first sliver of the new moon, and religious authorities often differ by a day on when that occurs.
In Syria, the predominantly Sunni opposition is embroiled in a guerilla war with the Alawite-led government. The two sides disagree over the future of their country, the nature of the conflict -- and, you guessed it, the start of Ramadan.
"The Syrian National Council announces ... Friday is the first day of Ramadan, unlike what was declared by the regime," read a statement released by the umbrella opposition group. President Bashar al-Assad's government, meanwhile, declared the holy month would begin on Saturday.
There's a regional political dimension at play here: Most of the Arab world's Sunni states -- such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, and Jordan -- have announced that Ramadan begins on Friday. These countries have been largely supportive of Syria's rebels. Meanwhile, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon's Shiite community -- whose political leaders have supported to the Assad regime -- are starting Ramadan on Saturday.
Just another example of how what seems to be a purely theological dispute quickly becomes politicized amidst Syria's bloody sectarian conflict.
JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images
In a press release issued this morning, Human Rights Watch slammed Yale University, criticizing the administration for "betraying the spirit of the university as a center of open debate and protest by giving away the rights of its students." The statement indicts Yale's agreement to enforce Singapore's restrictive laws regarding freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly on its new joint-venture with the National University of Singapore -- the first new college to bear the New Haven university's name in three centuries.
The Yale-NUS college's new president, Pericles Lewis, has repeatedly defended the decision, arguing that students "are going to be totally free to express their views" before admitting the campus "won't have partisan politics or be forming political parties on campus." Unsurprisingly, Yale students and faculty (whose 22 registered student political organizations will be barred from founding sister organizations on the NUS-Yale campus), were less than reassured. Already riled by accusations last spring that special confidentiality arrangements for General Stanley MacCrystal's class were a violation of intellectual freedom, student newspapers have openly mocked the administration's decision while professors have organized protests warning the restrictions limit academic freedom and negatively influence faculty hiring and research programs.
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, agreed, calling Singapore's laws restricting political groups and demonstrations "draconian" before warning "Yale may find that many of the freedoms taken for granted over its 300 year history are against the law in Singapore. If it truly values those freedoms, and expects its students to, it will need to fight for them."
Something for U.S. universities to keep in mind as more and more expand into international campuses.
Franck Prevel/Getty Images
Former New Hampshire governor and White House Chief of Staff-turned-campaign surrogate John Sununu was doing okay on a conference call with reporters, responding to the Obama campaign's suggestions that Mitt Romney may be guilty of a felony on his tax returns by quipping that Obama "comes out of that murky political world in Chicago where politician and felony has become synonymous." Then things went a bit off the rails:
The call was organized by the Romney aides to attack Obama's handling of the economy, which they argue has stifled job creation and hurt small business. But Sununu seemed to take it a step further, telling reporters at one point, "I wish this president would learn how to be an American."
Asked to clarify his statement, Sununu walked it back, explaining he only meant that he wished Obama would adopt the "American formula" for creating businesses and introducing an environment where "entrepreneurs can thrive."
In other words, Washington now gets to remember who John Sununu is again.
Spain's King Juan Carlos is showing solidarity with his financially-distressed country by announcing salary cuts for the royal family today. As civil servants protest pay cuts and the government struggles to stabilize the precarious economy, the royals have decided that the king and prince will take a 7-percent reduction in their salary, according to Spanish news sources. This year, King Juan Carlos and his son Prince Felipe will have to live on approximately $350,000 and $160,000 respectively.
With nearly one-quarter of the workforce currently unemployed, Spain's austerity measures are hitting the public hard. But while Madrid burned (figuratively, thankfully) under peril of financial collapse, the royal family drew ire this spring when the King was injured on an elephant hunt in Botswana.
Calls for the end of the monarchy and return of the republic ensued. Of course, with an annual budget of only $10 million, doing away with the entire monarchy would amount to savings of about .008 percent of the cost of the deal to bail out Spain's banks.
According to El Pais, the cuts to the royal budget, which were decided upon in April, will affect only the protocol budget and 11 senior officials of the monarchy. Frustration with the royals had already compelled the government to release information about the King's finances in December of 2011.
The royal family's self-imposed austerity measure will also include a 7-percent cut to protocol funds, which cover the royal party costs, for the entire royal family. How the news will play among the financially distressed Spanish public remains unclear.
PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images
Some Saudi Arabian officials evidently feel that their country's blasphemy laws -- which treat transgressions as hudud or "limits," punishable by death in some cases -- are too lax. To rectify the situation, Reuters reports, the government is considering regulations that would criminalize insulting Islam, the Prophet Muhammad, or elements of Sharia:
'Within the next two months the Shura Council will reveal the outcome of study on the regulations to combat the criticism of the basic tenets of Islamic sharia,' unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter told al-Watan, adding that there could be ‘severe punishments' for violators.
Criticism penalised under the law would include that of the Prophet, early Muslim figures and clerics, it said.
‘The (regulations) are important at the present time because violations over social networks on the Internet have been observed in the past months,' the sources said.
What is puzzling about the proposed legislation is what exactly it would fix. Saudi officials do not appear to be hamstrung by the existing legal apparatus, which metes out justice to dozens of blasphemers every year. In fact, Saudi Arabia does not have a written penal code, meaning that judges already issue rulings based on their own interpretation of the Quran. According to Human Rights Watch, this means that blasphemy convictions are often handed down without citing any legal basis. As a result, anything from insulting the Prophet's companions, to mocking religion, to using "un-Islamic terminology" can get you convicted of blasphemy.
Nor do lily-livered judges or lenient sentences appear to be the problem. In 2008, for instance, a Mecca appeals court upheld the death sentence for Sabi Bogday, a Turkish national, who allegedly insulted God during an argument. In this case, the testimony of two witnesses was sufficient to prove Bogday's guilt.
In fairness, the death sentence for blasphemy seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Flogging and prison time are more standard fare. Still, the argument that Saudi's blasphemy laws are too permissive has a decidedly hollow ring.
Indeed, even the charge that social media is frustrating efforts to keep Saudi's public sphere squeaky clean doesn't hold water. Earlier this year, for instance, 23-year-old Hamza Kashgari was extradited from Malaysia to stand trial after he tweeted that the Prophet was merely inspirational, not divine.
The rumblings in Riyadh, then, probably have less to do with a perceived blasphemy pandemic and more to do with the ruling family's growing unease with the democratic transitions now underway in much of the Middle East. Although it has historically kept the country's religious establishment at arms-length, recent events have convinced the royal family to take all the support it can get.
FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images
Government-funded outlet Russia Today reports that religious activists in a southern Russian city have called for national ban on Facebook after the popular social media website introduced a new icon system that represented gay couples through the use of gender-appropriate stick figures. Warning that website was "flirting with sodomites," organizers in Saratov delivered a statement to Facebook's Russian headquarters demanding the website remove all content related to "gay propaganda."
Facebook, unsurprisingly, ignored the ultimatum, spurring organizers to escalate their efforts. "We demand only one thing: Facebook should be blocked in the entire country because it openly popularizes homosexuality among minors," campaign organizer Vladimir Roslyakovsky told reporters. "The U.S. goal is that Russians stop having children. [They want] the great nation to turn into likeness of Sodom and Gomorrah."
Laws restricting gay rights have been on the rise in Russia. The European Human Rights Court's 2010 ruling against the Russian government's ban on gay pride events has been largely ignored and in March, St. Petersburg criminalized "the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia among minors," imposing a fine of 5,000 to 50,000 rubles for any found guilty of vaguely-defined "public action." Siberia's regional legislature quickly followed suit in April and the regions of Novosibirsk and Arkhangelsk have imposed similar restrictions. Requests for legal permits to hold Gay Rights Parades have been revoked or denied and illegal protesters arrested in what Human Rights Watch has labeled a systematic breach of international law.
With the Duma reportedly contemplating national action, it's not surprising that anti-gay activists are feeling optimistic. "I am confident that Russian laws and reasonable citizens will be able to protect their children from a fierce attack of sodomites," Roslyakovsky concluded.
Chinese officials were caught Friday with their pants down when the Defense Ministry was forced to admit in a brief statement that a naval frigate has run aground on the south eastern edge of the Spratly Islands-- waters the Philippine government claims exclusive sovereignty over. Though Chinese officials described the vessels as a part of a "routine patrol," the incident comes barely two weeks after the Philippine navy openly accused China of ignoring a June agreement to withdraw all ships from the Scarborough Shoal.
The "thoroughly stuck" grounded ships are an awkward reminder of growing aggression in the South China Seas. The Chinese Defense Department's terse statement Friday was released just as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) failed to reach agreement in Phnom Penh and were forced to conclude without a customary joint statement for the first time in the organization's 45 year history.
ASEAN officials are pointing fingers at China, who they accuse of blindly denying the organization the right to mediate maritime disputes and refusing to participate in negotiations at large. In open defiance of the five-day conference, 20 Chinese shipping vessels returned to disputed waters Wednesday as state papers reminded readers that "China is considering setting up a legislative body in the newly established city." Accordingly, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's seemingly innocuous proposal that "the nations of the region should work collaboratively and diplomatically to resolve disputes without coercion, without intimidation, without threat, and without use of force" was decried by the state-run China Daily as "inappropriate and ill-intentioned."
Despite the harsh words, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi concluded the conference by reminding reporters of his desire to establish "win-win" U.S.-Sino cooperation. Considering their actions this week, it might be at another state's loss.
The party may be coming to an end for Teodorin Nguema Obiang, Equatorial Guinea's heir apparent and the world's richest minister of agriculture and forestry. The U.S. Justice Department filed a complaint against Teodorin, son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, in June, seeks tens of millions of dollars in assets in the Untied States the feds say were purchased with dirty money laundered in the United States. Now, French prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for Teodorin, after he refused to be interviewed by magistrates on graft charges:
Since 2010 French judges have been probing allegations of corruption under President Obiang, Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso, and Omar Bongo, the late president of Gabon.
Investigating magistrates Roger Le Loire and Rene Grouman issued the warrant on Thursday, four months after beginning proceedings and after Obiang refused a second summons for questioning.
The charges were brought by Transparency International (TI), an anti-corruption campaign group which alleges the leaders and their relatives spent state funds from their countries on lavish purchases in France.
TI alleges Obiang owned more than four million euros worth of vehicles in France, while altogether the three leaders had accumulated French assets worth 160 million euros ($210 million). [...] In September last year, 11 of the family's luxury cars were seized in Paris as part of the probe. Police in February searched an Obiang residence in an upmarket Paris district, removing vanloads of possessions.
Obiang is claiming immunity sovereign immunity as vice president of Equatorial Guinea. He also enjoys diplomatic immunity as the recently appointed deputy head of mission to Paris-headquartered UNESCO. As sovereign immunity is generally recognized except in cases of war crimes or crimes against humanity, it seems pretty unlikely that prosecutors could make charges stick. Short of going all Danny Glover, the best foreign governments can probably do is take away Teodorin's toys and revoke his priveleges.
If, as expected, internationally-indicted Teodorin takes over from his father as president of the budding petrostate and U.S. ally, things should really get interesting.
Baghdad's electricity ministry pulled a strange PR stunt this week by displaying the American newscaster Katie Couric's face on giant billboards around the city in a campaign to "inspire the people to imagine a better future for electricity," according to a ministry spokesman.
Intermittent electricity supply means that Iraqis battle summer temperatures upwards of 108 degrees Fahrenheit without much air conditioning. Power outages are commonplace, and most Baghdad homes have working electricity for only a few hours a day.
The ministry's latest plan to prevent public uproar over the country's sub-par infrastructure (which erupted last spring and forced the electricity minister to resign) was to post unauthorized images of NBC's former "Today Show" host Katie Couric throughout Baghdad that advertise the ministry's public relations television program. While the smiling face of "America's Sweetheart" may not be doing much to solve the electricity problem, it seems to be lifting spirits.
"It doesn't give me hope about electricity, but I like to see her beautiful face," a fruit vendor told New York Times reporter Tim Arango. Another storeowner said, "Whoever comes here says, ‘What a beautiful face,' She's smiling. She gives us hope."
The ministry spokesman explained that they had considered depicting an Iraqi new caster on the banner, but her family opposed displaying her image publicly. The picture of Couric, who is wearing a brown blazer in the advertisement, was acceptable for the streets of Baghdad. The ministry's web designer said her image was "perfect for us."
Unlike U.S. television star Kim Kardashian, who sued Old Navy for using a model that merely looked like her, Katie Couric jokingly told reporters she was going to call her lawyer. After describing the move as "bizarre and slightly amusing," Couric said on a more solemn note, "It did remind me of how serious the situation still is there."
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Image
Despite the heated rhetoric over inequality in the United States and elsewhere, today more people on average believe that the rich "deserve their wealth," according to a 23-country survey released by Globe Scan last week.
The survey, which asked over 12,000 people whether they agreed with the statement "most rich people in my country deserve their wealth," found that this year nearly 15 percent strongly agreed and 28 percent agreed versus 12 percent and 27 percent respectively in 2008. The slight increase was driven by improved perceptions of deserved wealth in Australia and Indonesia, with an eight and 11 percent increase of "agree" statements respectively. In the United States, ground zero for the Occupy movement, 58 percent believed the rich deserved their wealth.
The study found that in 6 of the 23 countries surveyed-- Australia, the United States, Canada, China, and Indonesia and India -- the majority of respondents believe that the rich deserve their wealth.
This group represents almost half of the world's population and includes the world's three largest democracies, India, the United States and Indonesia. Perhaps unsurprisingly, among the countries with pro-wealthy perceptions are the two largest economies, the U.S. and China, and countries in the upper tiers of fastest growing economies -- China, Indonesia, and India.
However, the countries in this group run the gamut in terms of prosperity levels: India and the United States occupy opposite ends of the GDP-per-capita spectrum. Also notable is the absence of any European or Latin American state in the pro-rich category. Six European states, five of which are in the OECD, and five Latin American countries all pooh-poohed their country's wealthy. The only African countries surveyed, Kenya and Ghana, showed unfavorable views of the rich and their wealth, though there was a significant jump in approval in Kenya from 2008.
Below is a side-by-side comparison between each country's GINI coefficients-a commonly-used measure of inequality-- and their attitudes towards the rich.
*CIA World Factbook Figures (higher numbers indicate greater inequality)
Clausewitz said that war is the extension of politics by other means. But Jordanian lawmaker Mohammed Shawabka seems to have gotten the Prussian military strategist's aphorism backwards. Last Thursday, Shawabka heaved his shoe and then pointed a pistol at Mansour Seif-Eddine Murad, an activist-turned-politician, during a televised debate about the violence in Syria.
According to The National the two traded insults on Jordanian satellite channel Jo Sat with Murad eventually accusing Shawabka of being an Israeli Mossad agent and a thief. Violence quickly ensued:
"Mr Shawabka first threw his shoe at Mr Murad, who dodged with aplomb, and then pulled a gun. Furniture toppled as the show's host desperately tried to separate the two. And then the credits rolled."
On Monday, the AP reported that Shawabka is being investigated for his role in the altercation. According to the prosecutor, Shawabka could be charged with attempted murder, although he conceded that this might be a stretch because the lawmaker did not appear to take aim at his fellow debater.
The incident ups the ante on what has already been an exciting year for parliamentary antics. In June, former parliamentarian and current spokesman for Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party Ilias Kasidiaris grew enraged during a televised debate and threw water on one guest before slapping another in the face repeatedly.
Only weeks before a brawl broke out in the Ukrainian parliament as lawmakers debated a bill that would make Russian and "equal" second language in roughly half of the country. According to the New York Times, the so-called "rumble in Rada" left "at least one opposition politician bloodied and saw another flipped over a banister, his feet flailing in the air."
In Lebanon things heated up in November 2011, when Mustafa Alloush from the pro-Western Future Movement and Fayez Shukr of the Baath Arab Socialist Party began hurling insults-as well as water, pens, and paper-across the table from one another as they discussed the Syrian situation on Lebanese TV.
In recent years, parliamentarians have also come to fisticuffs in Somalia, Iraq, South Korea, Czech Republic, Bolivia, Argentina, Georgia, Taiwan, and Nigeria, To my knowledge, however, Jordan's Mohammed Shawabka is the only one who has introduced firearms into the mix.
The fledgling country's EU-esque flag will not be making the rounds in London's Olympic Stadium on June 27, RFE/RL reports, a major diasppointment to athletes like table tennis player Azari Blerta, shown above:
Kosovo had hoped to send a team of six athletes to the London 2012 Summer Games. But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in May rejected the country's application to participate in the July games.
Although 91 countries have recognized Kosovo, a former province of Serbia that declared its independence in 2008, it has not gained admission to the United Nations.
Malesor Gjonbalaj, an adviser to Kosovo's minister of culture, youth, and sport, says his government feels the IOC decision was arbitrary.
"The Olympic Charter says a country must be recognized by the international community. This notion can be interpreted anyway one pleases," Gjonbalaj says.
The IOC's decision does seem a bit arbitrary as Kosovo is already recognized by the international federations of a number of sports including table tennis, weightlifting, archery, judo, sailing, and now boxing. Soccer association FIFA recently ruled that its members could play friendly matches with Kosovo, prompting protests from the Serbian government.
On the political front the International Steering Group of 25 countries recently agreed to stop supervising Kosovo's independence, another step toward full sovereignty. Olympic participation is clearly not limited only to universally-recognized U.N.-member states, as the Palestinian team has competed in every Olympics since 1996.
This year, judoka Maher Abu Remeleh will become the first Palestinian athlete to earn a spot at the games based on athletic prowess alone, rather than special invitation. The only Kosovar athlete in London will be Majlinda Kelmendi -- also in judo -- who will fight on behalf of Albania.
TEH ENG KOON/AFP/Getty Images
Imagine, for a moment, that 9/11 Commission Report Chairman Thomas Kean had begun his group's historic 2004 report by blaming the country's inability to prevent the attack on the "ingrained conventions of American culture" -- perhaps on the arrogance of American exceptionalism or fear of government regulation. At the very least it would have provoked a serious media backlash if not yet another investigation.
That's essentially what Japanese government science advisor Kiyoshi Kurokawa did in his preface to the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission Report, released late last week. He writes:
What must be admitted – very painfully – is that this was a disaster “Made in Japan.”
Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture:
our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with
the program’; our groupism; and our insularity.
Had other Japanese been in the shoes of those who bear responsibility for this accident, the result may well have been the same. [...]
Many of the lessons relate to policies and procedures, but the most important is one upon
which each and every Japanese citizen should reflect very deeply.
The consequences of negligence at Fukushima stand out as catastrophic, but the mindset
that supported it can be found across Japan. In recognizing that fact, each of us should reflect on our responsibility as individuals in a democratic society.
Parts of the report are quite damning, particularly on the cozy relationship between government nuclear regulators and the plant operators. But Kurokawa's lament about Japan's culture of conformity is provoking something of a backlash -- at least from international observers. A Bloomberg editorial describes it as "both a copout and a cliche" noting that "notwithstanding the commission’s lament about the Japanese “reluctance to question authority,” many citizens did repeatedly express their concerns about the safety of Tepco’s Fukushima reactors, including legislators from Japan’s Communist Party. Their warnings were brushed aside by those in power." FT Tokyo correspondent Mure Dickie worries that turning Fukushima into a specifically Japanese failure risks making other countries complacent, just as regulators were too quick to bruch aside the Chernobyl meltdown as a typical case of Soviet sloppiness that could never repeat itself in Japan's more technologically and bureaucratically advanced system.
These are good points, though it also seems worth pointing out that Kurokawa's "any Japanese person could have made the same mistakes" argument is itself a kind of groupism. Ironically, a report urging Japan to reflect on the lack of accountability in its bureaucratic culture seems to strive not to hold anyone in particular accountable.
YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
Energy resources are a hot commodity in the Levant Basin days, and with 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil, 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas, and 5 billion barrels of natural gas liquids at stake, the Israeli defense ministry is asking for a "one-time budget increase" of about $760 million to boost its naval capacity in the Mediterranean Sea so it can better protect the country's offshore natural gas platforms. Though Israel purchased its fourth Dolphin-class diesel-electric submarine from Germany earlier this year to the tune of over $500 million, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Benny Gantz are on board with the plan, which "calls for adding four new warships to Israel's naval fleet and deploying hundreds of soldiers in the area."
Natural gas discoveries in the early twenty-first century have created a military debacle for Israel, which does not have demarcated maritime boundary with Lebanon. All of the multinational gas platforms are privately owned and fall within Israel's exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles from the coast, but they are located beyond Israel's territorial waters, which only stretch 12 nautical miles from land.
Israel's first offshore natural gas discovery, Tamar, is not slated to come online until 2013, but the defense institution fears that the platforms are already targets for terrorist attacks from Hezbollah, which receives long-range missiles from Syria. The Israeli navy does not traditionally get the lion's share of the defense budget, and top officials are worrying. As one anonymous senior Israeli military planner told Reuters, "We will do our best, but not without a major boost to our capabilities." In May, senior naval officer Capt. Sassi Hodeda told the Los Angeles Times that the navy wants to improve its radar systems and use unmanned surface vehicles to patrol, but added that they require "special technology" the navy does not have.
If the navy does receive the extra funding, the vessels it purchases "will have to accommodate an advanced radar system, a helicopter and a launch system capable of firing long-range air defense and surface-to-surface missiles." According to the Jerusalem Post, the options include designing the ships in the U.S. using foreign military aid, and building them in South Korea, but if Israel is really looking for international help, maybe it should consider ratifying the Law of the Sea Treaty first.
The Global Commission on HIV and the Law, a group commissioned by the U.N. Development Program and chaired by former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, has released a study today on the role laws and institutions play in the spread of HIV/AIDS. Among other topics, the paper discusses the countries where transmitting HIV is considered a crime. It seems the United States is something of a trendsetter and global leader on that front:
Some jurisdictions apply existing general offences to criminalise HIV exposure or transmission—from “administration of a noxious substance” (France) to attempted homicide (United States). Others have chosen to target HIV: the frst HIV-specific laws were passed in the United States in 1987, with many other nations quickly following suit. The past decade has seen a new wave HIV-specific statutes, notably in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia and Latin America.
Today, countries and jurisdictions in every region of the world have promulgated HIV-specific criminal statutes. They’re on the books in 37 of the 50 United States; in Africa, 27 countries have them; in Asia and the Paci?c, 13; Latin America, 11; and Europe, 9. According to a 2010 report by the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), at least 600 people living with HIV in 24 countries have been convicted under HIV-specific or general criminal laws, with the greatest numbers reported in North America.
The report condemns these laws, arguing that they discourage people who are HIV-positive from participating in treatment programs or disclosing their status to their sexual partners.
The the United States convicts more people for transmission of HIV than any other country -- under various state laws -- followed by Canada. Surprisingly, Sweden and Norway have the highest conviction rate compared to HIV-positive population. The global comission's report notes that "In Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom, migrants and asylum seekers have been disproportionately represented among those prosecuted for HIV transmission and exposure.
Denmark suspended its law criminalizing HIV transmission in 2011. The law had been one of the world's harshest, making it a crime to expose another person to risk of HIV infection, even if there was no actual transmission.
The reports also cites laws that stigmatize gays, transgendered people, migrants, prisoners, and drug users as contributing to the spread of HIV.
The machinations of the countries on the International Whaling Commission are always fun to follow for displays of unvarnished political cynicism. (Funny how small island nations suddenly decide they feel strongly about whaling rights after Tokyo increases their aid packages.) The big news this year is that South Korea is looking to join in the international whaling club, (which includes Iceland, Norway and Japan) using Japanese-style "scientific whaling" as a rationale. The FT reports:
Seoul’s ministry of agriculture and fisheries said on Thursday that scientific research was badly needed to protect local fishermen from the damage that the increasing number of whales inflicts on fish stocks. It added that it would submit its scientific whaling plan to the International Whaling Commission’s scientific committee next year and accept the committee’s decision.
Ah yes, it's those nasty whales who are depleting Pacific fish stocks rather than, say, conveyer belt sushi joints.
The BBC's Richard Black writes:
The Korean "whales eat fish" argument is one of the most easily debunked in the book, and I'm sure the Koreans know it - as must the Japanese officials who used to deploy it as a justification for whaling.
South Korea already has a scheme in place in which whales "accidentally" snared in fisherman's nets can be legally sold to markets and restaurants.
DAVID HANCOCK/AFP/Getty Images
Remember when political demonstrations over democracy, Tibet, and Sudan turned the Beijing Olympics into an embarrassment for the Chinese government? Or when South Africa's treatment of Zimbabwean refugees, high levels of violent crime, and construction delays turned the 2010 World Cup into a black eye for the Rainbow Nation? Yeah, me neither. But I do remember when some brilliant observers of international news were predicting it.
Just a few weeks ago, Ukraine's co-hosting of the 2012 Euro Cup seemed like a PR disaster in the making, with European leaders threatening to boycott over the treatment of jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and fans being warned that they might "come home in a coffin" because of crime and racist attacks.
As it turns out, the event that wrapped up in Ukraine yesterday went just fine. Daisy Sindelar of Radio Free Europe writes:
But in the end, no significant racist incidents or crowd violence were reported in Ukraine, and the final is now on the books, with Spain soundly defeating Italy 4-0 on July 1.
On June 30, Michel Platini, the president of UEFA, the European football federation, praised Ukraine and Poland for hosting "a fantastic tournament which has been unique in its atmosphere and will remain in our memories.”
To be sure, the tournament had its flaws, with overpriced lodging and poorly organized transportation discouraging many potential tourists from contemplating trips to matches in Kyiv, Lviv, Donetsk, and Kharkiv.[...] The high price of accommodations remained one of the biggest turnoffs throughout the tournament, despite efforts by officials to coax hotel operators down from rates that soared above $1,000 a night.
But the price gouging had an unexpected consequence, prompting hundreds of Ukrainians to offer their homes up for free as part of a grassroots, online initiative that included volunteer translation services and impromptu city tours. Dmytro Vasylev, the founder of the Friendly Ukraine initiative, says the project helped alleviate fears among ordinary Ukrainians that the government, in its ham-fisted response to the pricing and racism scandals, would squander what was meant to be a golden opportunity for the post-Soviet country.
If anything, it was co-host Poland, a democracy and staunch U.S. ally, that had a more problematic Euro, with predictable riots accompanying a Russia-Poland match in Warsaw. As for racism, it was Spain and Croatia, not the host countries, that were fined after their fans made monkey noises at Italy star Mario Balotelli.
Despite all the talk of boycotts, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, all attended yesterday's final -- along with Belarus' Aleksandr Lukashneko. (There were a few appearances by world-renowned topless protest collective FEMEN.)
None of this changes the fact that Tymoshenko is in jail. (Her appeal was postponed last week until after the end of the tournament) or the democratic rollbacks and attacks on the free press under President Viktor Yanukovych.
But I think we can fairly say at this point that -- absent a major boycott like the 1980 Moscow Olympics -- international sporting events don't do much to focus international attention on political conditions in a country. There's been talk that the 2014 Sochi Games might shine a light on political conditions in Putin's Russia and the violence in the North Caucasus, but at this point my money is on the Kremlin, the IOC, and the corporate sponsors making it work. (How they plan to hold winter games in a subtropical environment is another question.)
Lars Baron/Getty Images
Next month, "22 nations, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel" are participating in RIMPAC, the world's largest international naval exercise in Hawaii. But one country's forces have been barred from entering Pearl Harbor, where 42 surface ships from 11 nations -- including first-time participant Russia -- will be based during the excercise. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser's William Cole explains:
In 1985, citing its nuclear-free policy, New Zealand denied port access to the American destroyer Buchanan because the Navy would neither confirm nor deny that the ship was nuclear armed.
The United States said it was suspending its security obligations to New Zealand under what was known as the ANZUS treaty (Australia, New Zealand, United States) until U.S. Navy ships were readmitted to Kiwi ports, and it ended most bilateral activities.
Wilkinson said that while the nuclear-free policy remains, the 2010 Wellington Declaration "established a new framework for an expanded relationship and nearly normalized the relationship."
"We continue to partner within existing limitations, which include not allowing New Zealand Navy ships to visit U.S. military ports," she said.
New Zealand's two warships (including the frigate Te Kaha, pictured above) will be docked closer to Honolulu, which doesn't sound all that rough. The two countries signed their latest military cooperation agreement on June 19, but apparently things have quite been normalized completely.
Hat tip: Lauren Jenkins
Russia and Israel may disagree on Iran's nuclear program, but President Vladimir Putin and his entourage of about 400 officials and businessmen were warmly welcomed by Israeli officials during the Russian leader's first visit to the country in seven years. Upon arriving at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Putin was "greeted by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and an IDF honor parade." Later that day, he attended an inauguration ceremony in Netanya for a memorial to the Soviet Red Army soldiers killed in World War II, along with Lieberman, President Shimon Peres, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Speaking at the ceremony, Putin invoked Russia as both war and peacemaker:
"Russia who so greatly helped win the war is the same Russia that can help peace in the Middle East."
Putin's agenda also included a stop at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, but his 24-hour tour made plenty of time for discussions with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and other Israeli officials about regional issues -- namely Iran and Syria. According to the New York Times, Netanyahu said during a joint news conference that he and Putin "agreed that the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran ‘presents a grave danger first of all to Israel, and to the region and the world as a whole.'"
Israeli officials, however, are not optimistic that their concerns will have any impact on Russian policy:
"Let's not exaggerate. It is a very brief visit," said a senior Israeli official who spoke on the condition of anonymity for reasons of diplomacy. He added, "Do not expect any major breakthrough."
According to Haaretz, Peres did not have much success with Putin at the state dinner that evening:
"President Shimon Peres pressed Putin further, asking that he ‘raise his voice' against a nuclear Iran. Putin responded by saying that Russia has a ‘national interest' to secure peace and quiet in Israel but did not elaborate further."
Despite the fact that talks about Iran were more process than substance, Tel Aviv University Russia specialist Boris Morozof notes that Israel and Russia do have "points of common interest," such as military technology, counterterrorism, and Israel's vast natural gas fields.
On Tuesday, Putin traveled to the West Bank, where he "inaugurated a Russian cultural and language center in Bethlehem" and toured the Church of Nativity. He also told President Mahmoud Abbas that Russia "has no problem recognizing a Palestinian state," called his Palestinian counterpart's position on negotiations with Israel "responsible," and referenced Israeli unilateral actions as "not constructive."
Russia is a member of the Middle East Quartet, a diplomatic body charged with mediating the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, whose members also include the U.S., the U.N., and the EU. The Quartet has made little progress since its inception in 2002, but Abbas reportedly "called for an international peace conference to take place in Moscow."
Jim Hollander - Pool / Getty Images
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a terrorist-shooting sniper? Thanks to a program run by Jewish settlers in Gush Etzion, you too can spend a day beyond the Green Line learning how to take down extremist militants. As Yedioth Aharanoth reported recently, the experience allows tourists to "hear stories from the battleground, watch a simulated assassination of terrorists by guards, and fire weapons at the range." Sharon Gat, who manages the Caliber 3 shooting range, calls the opportunity a "once-in-a-lifetime experience" that was "created due to popular demand," and demand is certainly high among families. Enter Michel Brown, a Miami banker who brought his wife and three children to this warfare summer camp:
Upon entering the range, his five-year-old daughter, Tamara, bursts into tears. A half hour later, she is holding a gun and shooting clay bullets like a pro. "This is part of their education," Michel says as he proudly watches his daughter. "They should know where they come from and also feel some action."
By the end of the day, his trigger-happy son Jacob is confident that he can stop terrorist operatives with the best of them:
"This is an awesome experience. I learned how to stop a terrorist and how to rescue hostages. Now, when I find myself in distress, I will know how to deal."
Tourists receive a certificate at the end of the experience, and Gush Etzion Regional Council president Davidi Pearl hopes that the program will turn the Gush into "a world-famous ‘tourist gem.'"
If the program continues to be successful, we may have a small army of child counter-terror operatives on our hands.
Uriel Sinai/Getty Images
Hong Kong's Phoenix TV ran a segment on John Hickman's recent Foreign Policy article which speculates on what might happen if China ever tried to annex territory on the moon. Titled "U.S Media Hypes That China Wants to Capture the Moon; United States Space Advantage has already been Destroyed," it opens with a shot of a Chinese space shuttle, dramatic music, and a white, martian-like character reading what appears to be a space newspaper. It then features an interview with Shao Yongling, a senior colonel from the PLA's Second Artillery Command College, who explains that "sour grapes" is the reason for the article. "Because of some economic problems," America's moon landing "could be delayed indefinitely"; that China will reach the moon soon, therefore, is "very provocative to Americans.”
One expects her to deny China's desire to control the moon, but she never does.
ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images
A few recent headlines from the emerging world of drone politics:
Christof Heyns, the U.N.'s independent investigator on extrajudicial killings, says he is not satisfied after meeting with U.S. officials in Geneva to discuss the legal framework -- or lack thereof -- for U.S. drone strikes. "I don't think we have the full answer to the legal framework, we certainly don't have the answer to the accountability issues," he told reporters. Heyns said that he worried U.S. drone use without firm legal backing would " creates precedents around the world."
One country that may take advantage of that precedent is Venezuela. President Hugo Chavez last week acknowledged reports that his government is building its own drones with help from "China, Russia, Iran, and other allied countries.... Of course we're doing it, and we have the right to. We are a free and independent country." "Pretty soon someone is probably going to say there's an atomic bomb on the tip of it," he joked.
Gen. Douglas Fraser, head of the U.S. Southern Command, said the drones were likely for surveillance purposes and "internal defense."
While still limited, there are increasing worries that drones could be used for "internal defense" purposes in the United States as well:
Jeff Landry, a freshman Republican congressman from Louisiana's coastal bayou country, says constituents have stopped him while shopping at Walmart to talk about their concerns. "There is a distrust amongst the people who have come and discussed this issue with me about our government," Landry said. "It's raising an alarm with the American public."
Fear that some drones may be armed, for example, has been fueled in part by a county sheriff's office in Texas that used a homeland security grant to buy a $300,000, 50-pound ShadowHawk helicopter drone for its SWAT team. The drone can be equipped with a 40mm grenade launcher and a 12-gauge shotgun.
Randy McDaniel, chief deputy with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, told The Associated Press earlier this year his office had no plans to arm the drone, but he left open the possibility the agency might decide to adapt the drone to fire tear gas canisters and rubber bullets.
Earlier this year Congress, under pressure from the Defence Department and drone manufacturers, ordered the FAA to give drones greater access to civilian airspace by 2015. Besides the military, the mandate applies to drones operated by private companies or individuals and civilian government agencies, including federal, state and local law enforcement.
However, these concerned shoppers will be glad to know that reports of the EPA using drones to spy on Midwestern cattle farms to check on improper manure handling -- which spread throughout the blogosphere and were even discussed by some members of Congress -- are apparently false.
MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images
A new report from the Pew Global Attitudes Project shows that confidence in Barack Obama's leadership has fallen in pretty much every country polled since 2009. While he remains pretty popular in Western Europe and similarly unpopular in the Middle East to when he took office, the most dramatic drop-offs have been in China and Mexico. Interesting, the Japanese public seems to have developed a much more favorable opinion of the United States even as it's lost confidence in Obama:
I noted a Brooking Institution poll a few weeks ago showing the Egyptian public preferring Mitt Romney to Obama. It looks like much of the Muslim world is in that boat. Interestingly, despite Romney's fairly bellicose rhetoric in China, a plurality there say they don't want Obama re-elected:
With the exception of China, every country polled shows far fewer people paying attention to this election than in 2008. The poll also shows that U.S. drone strikes are unpopular pretty much everywhere.
Whats the fuzz with jews. You can't even see if a person is a jew, unless you see their penises, and even if you do, you can't be sure!? (https://twitter.com/sweden/status/212525137046667265)
In nazi German they even had to sew stars on their sleeves. If they didn't, they could never now who was a jew and who was not a jew. (https://twitter.com/sweden/status/212525570397978624)
Once I asked a co-worker what a jew is. He was "part jew", whatever that means. He's like "uuuuh... jews are.. uh.. well educated..?" (https://twitter.com/sweden/status/212526261933838336)
And it gets weirder:
Sometimes I just look at my children and think about the time when they had my vagina round their neck. (https://twitter.com/sweden/status/212440361199616000)
And as if that wasn't enough, Abrahamson also posted the following photo, reminding her readers that there are lots of leggy blondes in the northern country but probably not sending quite the message her government sponsors had hoped.
And then there was the following photo, captioned, "hungry gay with aids."
These posts have caused a minor social media firestorm today, but the creators of the project aren't backing down and say that they won't be changing their policies for the account or the selection criteria for the so-called "curators."
"The current curator likes to express her certain type of humor," Tommy Sollén, the social media manager for VisitSweden, said in an interview. "We're trying to communicate a modern, progressive picture of Sweden by letting its people talk. We're building a puzzle-one curator at a time-and we have to include all of Sweden."
As for Abrahamson, Sergio Guimaraes, a spokesperson for the Swedish Institute, the other group behind the project, said that this was probably a case of a certain brand of humor being misunderstood.
"We understand that there are certain references in her way of expressing herself that are reminiscent of Joan Rivers or Sarah Silvernman, but we don't know if her intention is humor or not," Guimares said. "But those comedians also express themselves in a controversial way, but as we see it she hasn't expressed herself in an anti-Semitic way."
The Times' story, which like so many other stories in that paper on Internet trends came about six months after the project took off, upped attention on the Twitter account just as Abrahamson chimed in with her particular brand of humor, but the project's organizers are hoping that readers take a more long-term view of the effort.
"Many people have discovered very recently after the New York Times article, and then one doesn't understand the idea behind it-and then one can understand that it feels strange," Sollen said. "But next week there will be someone new."
The Twitter account took off when it was launched in Dec. 2011, quickly garnering thousands of followers, and has become a darling of the advertising world, winning a gold award at this year's CLIOs, the prestigious marketing awards. Passport noted the lesbian truck driver Hanna Fange, who became one of the account's first stars, back in January. The account is no stranger to controversy after having already endured some very candid tweets about masturbation and breastfeeding, and its organizers don't seem to mind particularly, banking that their guerilla marketing effort is likely to pay off in the long-run. The idea, Guimaraes says, is to create a "multisided and relevant" communications strategy, and as long as the curators don't break Swedish law, posting rights will remain with them.
But then again, the Twitter backlash against Abrahamson today seems to have scared her away from the Jewish jokes:
Ok, Im taking care of kids and cleaning right now. The mess on da social media aint nothing compared to the floor in da kids room (https://twitter.com/sweden/status/212602506973421573)
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