Ehud Barak learns to stop worrying about the Iranian bomb

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak expressed his views in Tel Aviv today on Israeli security, and he certainly made them interesting:

It must be understood that if between the Jordan [River] and the [Mediterranean Sea] there is only one political entity called 'Israel,' it will by necessity either be not Jewish or not democratic, and we will turn into an apartheid state.

The use of apartheid is a rarity among Israeli officials, but Barak was underscoring what he believes to be Israel's most serious threat:

The lack of defined boundaries within Israel, and not an Iranian bomb, is the greatest threat to our future.



Russia celebrates 20 years of Golden Arches

Yes, this post is largely an excuse to feature the above photo of Comrade Stalin munching on his McFries, but this week marks the 20th anniversary of the opening of the first Russian McDonalds. Lines famously stretched around the block at Moscow's Pushkin Square with curious Russian consumers anxious for the greasy, salty taste of Western capitalism. In the years since then, Russians have not lost their taste for the Golden Arches:

Our Russian division is doing so well that we chose Russia as the top country for reinvestment in 2010," said Jim Skinner, vice chairman and CEO of McDonald's Corporation.


Skinner offered no figures for 2009, saying only that Russia's McDonald's came through with a "terrific" performance, and suggested that 2010 investment would reach at least $135 million.

"If we assume that it costs $3 million to open a new McDonald's restaurant and you multiply it by 45, you may get an idea of how much we want to spend," he said....

The company does not disclose its earnings by country, but its turnover in Russia last year was more than $800 million, said Khamzat Khazbulatov, McDonald's president for Russia and Eastern Europe who started his career with the company as a manager at the Pushkin Square restaurant in 1990, Vedomosti reported Monday.

On a personal note, I'm not much of a McDonalds eater here at home, but during the summer I  spent in Moscow I developed an unusual (and unhealthy) affection for the MakZavtrak.