THE PIRATE BAY TRACKER
SHUTS FOR GOOD
Today Nov 17, 2009 marks the end of an era, as The Pirate Bay team announces that the world's largest BitTorrent tracker is shutting down for good. Although the site will remain operational for now, millions of BitTorrent users will lose the use of its tracker and will instead have to rely on DHT and alternative trackers to continue downloading.
In the fall of 2003, a group of friends from Sweden decided to launch a BitTorrent tracker named 'The Pirate Bay'. It soon became one of the largest BitTorrent trackers on the Internet, coordinating the downloads of more than 25 million peers at its height.
Despite this success, The Pirate Bay operators decided to pull the plug and close down the tracker permanently. The evolution of the BitTorrent protocol has made trackers redundant they say, as BitTorrent downloads work well with trackerless solutions such as DHT and PEX.
"Now that the decentralized system for finding peers is so well developed, TPB has decided that there is no need to run a tracker anymore, so it will remain down! It's the end of an era, but the era is no longer up2date. We have put a server in a museum already, and now the tracking can be put there as well," the Pirate Bay crew write on their blog.
Aside from this shutdown, there is also another major development quietly under discussion. TorrentFreak has learned that behind the scenes the Pirate Bay operators are talking to other BitTorrent site owners to encourage them to follow suit and completely ditch torrents in the future. BitTorrent has reached a point where trackers and torrents are no longer needed to download files successfully. Supported by all of the major BitTorrent clients, DHT and PEX can handle the transfers and Magnet links can largely replace traditional torrent files.
"We're talking to the other torrent admins on doing magnet links and DHT+PEX for all sites. Moving away from torrents and trackers totally - like pick a date and all agree 'from this date, we'll not support torrents anymore'," a Pirate Bay insider told TorrentFreak.
Switching to trackerless and torrentless downloading on public BitTorrent sites does indeed seem to be an option. Previously, many people thought that BitTorrent would collapse if a dominant tracker like the Pirate Bay went down, but this doomsday scenario never unfolded. In fact, the recent downtime of the tracker did not slow down or stop many transfers, as DHT and PEX seamlessly took over.
Those BitTorrent users who don't want to go trackerless just yet can of course still use OpenBitTorrent and PublicBitTorrent, or indeed one of the many other alternative trackers currently available.
Whether or not The Pirate Bay and others will move away from torrent files in the future, the closure of the world's largest BitTorrent tracker is nevertheless a milestone in the history of the Internet. Starting today, the Pirate Bay has changed its tagline from "The world's largest BitTorrent tracker" to "The world's most resilient (magnetic) BitTorrent site." - Ernesto for TorrentFreak
LAYMAN'S NOTE: Trackerless and torrentless? At the moment, most bittorrent users rely on the torrent file for sharing. But whether it will be trackerless and torrentless, this will depend on the bittorrent client you are using. Currently most bittorrent files go through a "centralised" tracker system. P2P clients such as BitTorrent, Vuze/Azureus, uTorrent and BitComet (with DHT support) can handle trackerless files. While it is called trackerless, in practice it makes every client a lightweight tracker. In other words, anyone with a website and an internet connection can now host a bittorrent download. Using such a system, there is no danger of a central tracker going down as the peers themselves will keep the swarm intact.
The magnet link, on the other hand, is seen as alternative to the
torrent file. Instead of
downloading the torrent from a webserver, you download it directly from a
seed/leecher. The magnet points to a specific file and adds it to the user's
download list. Some P2P clients that support magnet links include BearShare,
MLDonkey and Azureus. Again, there is no central tracker involved.
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RAJA PETRA'S SILENT ROAR
What better way to celebrate Malaysia's 52nd year of independence on August 31 than to sit down with a copy of Raja Petra Kamarudin's new book, The Silent Roar? Prominent Malaysian blogger Raja Petra has long been a champion of civil rights and social justice. He was part of the Free Anwar Campaign when opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was jailed; and then launched the Malaysia Today site when Anwar was released.
The Silent Roar is not only a compilation of selected articles, commentaries and essays from Malaysia Today on unfolding developments and issues in the country, it also features new and unpublished writings exclusive to this publication. In it, Raja Petra describes the vast changes that transformed the landscape of Malaysian politics leading to the General Election on March 8, 2008, where the opposition denied the ruling government its two-thirds majority in parliament, and its aftermath.
As the blurb aptly puts it, "Raja Petra is someone whom you either love, or love to hate. It is difficult to not have any opinion about him. And whatever that opinion may be, it's likely to be extreme."
A warrant of arrest was issued against blogger Raja Petra on April 23 when he did not turn up in court for his sedition trial. Raja Petra has not been arrested and his whereabouts continue to remain unknown. He is still actively blogging at this website. Visit Malaysia Today (www.malaysia-today.net/2008/) for more updates.
HOW TO BUY THE BOOK
Alternative 1: to bank in money direct into the account
Bank in RM40 to Public Bank Berhad account of Mabel @ Marina Lee, Account Number: 4-4930154-03 and send an e-mail to [email protected] with the details of where to post the book plus details of the payment made.
Alternative 2: to buy through PayPal
Register with PayPal and send GBP6 PLUS POSTAGE to [email protected]
Postage: UK and ASEAN (GBP2.75 or GBP1.50 for each additional item), US and other countries (GBP7.00 or GBP3.50 for each additional item)
Alternative 3: click here to buy through
The people who multitask the most are the ones who are worst at it. That's the surprising conclusion of researchers at Stanford University, who found multitaskers are more easily distracted and less able to ignore irrelevant information than people who do less multitasking. "The huge finding is, the more media people use the worse they are at using any media. We were totally shocked," Clifford Nass, a professor at Stanford's communications department, said in a telephone interview. The researchers studied 262 college undergraduates, dividing them into high and low multitasking groups and comparing such things as memory, ability to switch from one task to another and being able to focus on a task. Their findings are reported in the August 25 edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Still to be answered is why
the folks who are worst at multitasking are the ones doing it the most. It's
sort of a chicken-or-egg question. "Is multitasking causing them to be
lousy at multitasking, or is their lousiness at multitasking causing them to be
multitaskers?" Nass wondered. "Is it born or learned?" - AP
PHOTOGRAPHER ANNIE LEIBOVITZ'S US$24 MILLION DEBT
Rolling Stone magazine's former photographer in residence, Annie Leibovitz, has become a news item. In what now appears as a disastrous decision to raise funds, AP reports Leibovitz took a US$24 million loan from Art Capital Group (ACG), in effect a high-end pawn broker, in December 2008 using her photographs as collateral. That debt is due September 8 and if she can't pay up, she could lose her life's work.
The over-leveraged photographer not only risks losing her photo archives, which The New York Times estimates could be worth $50 million, but also her house in the trendy Greenwich Village district of Manhattan and a second home outside the city.
If just 50 of her famous
subjects were to donate $500,000 each, she'll be saved.
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STAYING ALIVE AND FEELING NOT ALRIGHT
Around a year and a half ago, Brooklyn writer Jay Bulger grew obsessed with making a documentary about one of the greatest - and crankiest - drummers to ever walk the earth, Ginger Baker.* He moved to Africa and located the one-time member of Cream and Blind Faith in a gated community, where the 69-year-old musician and polo enthusiast currently resides; he has previously been booted from homes in England, Nigeria, Italy and America.
In his feature "The Devil and Ginger Baker" in Rolling Stone (#1085 Aug 18, 2009), Bulger details Baker's current condition (he starts his days with curses and a morphine inhaler but still plays competitive polo) and asks Baker to look back at his youth, when he was training to be cyclist in the Tour de France and turned to drumming only after he was hit by a cab and wrecked his bike.
Baker opens up about jamming with Mick Jagger ("This effeminate little kid showed up, and I hated him"), the birth of Cream, the end of Blind Faith (which Baker insists was unrelated to his growing heroin problem) and the night Jimi Hendrix died - a night he was seeking the legendary guitarist to come get high.
In the film, Bulger asks Baker if he's surprised that he's actually even lived this long. "Amazed, actually," Baker replies. "God is punishing me for my past wickedness by keeping me alive and in as much pain as he can." - Rolling Stone
* The finished documentary is called 10 Goal Drummer.
READER'S DIGEST R.I.P. 1922-2009
The publisher of Reader's Digest, the country's most popular general interest magazine, said Aug 17 it will seek Chapter 11 protection from creditors amid declining circulation, an industry-wide advertising slump and large debts. The monthly magazine, founded in 1922 as a collection of condensed articles from other publications, has been searching for a niche as the Internet upends the magazine industry's traditional business models and was in hock for as much as US$1.6 BILLION. This year, it cut the circulation guarantee it makes to advertisers to 5.5 million, from 8 million and lowered its frequency to 10 annual issues from 12.
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THE OLD STONE BACK?
Is Jann Wenner's Rolling
Stone finally waking up to what former editor Dave Marsh always felt it could
be? A truth-seeking rock 'n' roll magazine? Past issues included a no-nonsense
feature on Goldman Sachs by Matt Taibbi and in the latest issue #1085, Dave
Gergen, Paul Krugman and Michael Moore have been invited to comment on Obama's
presidency, so far. It would be good to refocus energies away from shilling to
some serious journalism. Alas it's the same old, same old in $heep City....
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PSA: 'MY HOLIDAY SWINE FLU NIGHTMARE ORDEAL'
July 16, 2009: This week an East London couple spoke of their nightmare ordeal after a family holiday in Thailand which saw their teenage daughter contract a severe case of swine flu and quarantined for six days.
Border tennis and hockey star Kelly Nel, 15, was forced to stay behind in a cramped hospital room in $ingapore while her distraught mother, Ann, and sisters Lauren, 17, and Joanna, 13, had to return home.
Kelly's frantic father, Lofty, forced hospital staff to allow him to remain by her bedside in $ingapore until she was discharged and allowed to return home late last week. This week the Clarendon High School pupil was recovering from her brush with the killer flu a few kilograms lighter and still weak, but no longer contagious with the virus which has affected 94,000 people world wide.
Kelly's estate agent mom revealed that when she booked a "shopping holiday" to Bangkok and $ingapore, the pandemic was the last thing on her mind.
"I'm paranoid about germs ever since three of us picked up meningitis on a previous holiday and it was only when we arrived in Bangkok and watched CNN that we realised there was a problem."
After shopping sprees in Bangkok, the Nels flew to $ingapore for what was to be their last two days in Thailand, but when Kelly walked through the thermal scanner upon arrival at the airport, officials pulled her aside.
"They took her temperature which was 37.4°C. They said if her temperature had been 38°C they'd have taken her straight to hospital," said Ann.
"I thought perhaps she had normal flu because she had complained of a sore throat. I told her we would sort it out with Panadol once we got to the hotel."
But when her daughter's fever quickly intensified to 39.4°C, the hotel manager advised them to take Kelly to a clinic.
"Lofty and Kelly got straight into a taxi and went to the hospital but she wasn't even allowed in through the front door because they suspected swine flu," said Ann. "I got a fright when the hotel manager told me Kelly would be quarantined for six days because we were only meant to stay in $ingapore for two days."
She pleaded with the doctor to let the family fly home, but was told it would be illegal.
"Kelly was moved to the state hospital where her tests proved positive for swine flu," she said. "My other daughters and I had to travel home without (Kelly and Lofty)... It was a nightmare."
Before she left $ingapore, Ann had to supply Thai authorities with details of their flight between Bangkok and $ingapore. Passengers five rows behind and five rows in front of the Nels were contacted.
Lofty, the principal agent for Sotheby's estate agency in East London, described the time he'd spent in a tiny room with his sick daughter as "six days I never want to relive". He said he had to "fight" with medical authorities to be allowed to stay with Kelly when she was whisked away to the Tan Tock Seng Hospital which has been turned into a quarantine centre for swine flu.
"I slept on the cement floor next to her bed," Lofty recalled. He watched helplessly as doctors and specialists in protective gear battled to control Kelly's fever after she proved resistant to anti-viral Tamiflu, a drug being used globally to fight swine flu.
"On the fifth day she started responding to another drug and they eventually released us. We caught the first flight out, even though they tried to make us stay in a hotel for two more days. We just wanted to get home and are so relieved to be back," he said.
The popular teen received hundreds of supportive SMS's after news of her condition spread via social networking website Facebook.
$INGAPORE REMAINS THE ONLY COUNTRY NOT COUNTING SWINE FLU VICTIMS
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WHO'S THAT LUCKY OLD SON?
If your father is a billionaire or a dictator, then perhaps you can afford a copy of Brian Wilson's limited to 1,000 copies, That Lucky Old Sun, hardcover book and print set. The book will include 12 original prints by Sir Peter Blake. "This artwork is about Brian looking at somewhere like Venice Beach, for instance. It's Brian's California, which I'm very happy to make visual," Sir Peter said.
The book will be signed by Brian Wilson and Sir Peter. It deals with the inspirations of Brian's recent album. "It's a spiritual record," Brian writes, "it's about trying to make the best of your life." The book also includes an historical essay and brand new extensive interviews with Brian by noted music journalist and author Harvey Kubernik, in which Brian speaks in detail about his life and work.
The book comes with a CD pressing of the album, an original laminate from a live gig and Brian's hand-written sheet music. The book will be shipped in August and priced to sell at US$2,000 a copy through Genesis Publications. Contact genesis-publications.com.
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Thousands have marched in Hong Kong to mark the forthcoming 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen killings, in one of the few such events on Chinese soil. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of people were killed in China's crackdown on pro-democracy protests. There has been no official inquiry so the exact death toll remains unclear.
Among the crowds in Hong Kong on Sunday [May 31] was Xiong Yan, a leading student protester during the 1989 demos, now living in exile in the US. He was admitted into Hong Kong on Saturday, to his surprise, he told AFP news agency, having been turned back on several previous occasions. He told cheering crowds: "I feel like I have returned home."
Many at the protest wore black and white, to symbolise mourning. Police said at least 4,700 people had gathered. Tens of thousands more are expected to attend a candlelit vigil on Thursday [June 4].
China still considers the Tiananmen protests "counterrevolutionary", but they are openly marked each year in Hong Kong because it is ruled under a separate political system. Many of those taking part in the events see the occasion as vital to the preservation of Hong Kong's freedom of speech.
A University of Hong Kong poll released on Wednesday suggested that 69% of Hong Kongers think the crackdown was a mistake and 61% believe the Chinese government should stop condemning the protests.
"June 4 was a time when a group of people sacrificed their lives for democracy. We need to remember their efforts," said demonstrator Steve Chan. - BBC news
MOCK SHOW IN $HEEP CITY, $INGAPORE
The $ingapore response to Tiananman will be a dance item called Tank Man Tango held on June 4 in a small theatre. Tank Man Tango is a worldwide public art project something like "manufactured dissent". Ha ha ha ha ha ha... Just trying to imagine Gandhi doing a jig...
It appears nobody in $ingapore
thought of holding a mass public protest. It's against the law. But that's the
BILLY JOEL SUED BY FORMER DRUMMER
May 24, 2009: The New York Post reported Billy Joel's former drummer Liberty DeVitto is suing the piano man for unpaid royalties. "Everybody always assumes that you make a lot of money because you worked with Billy Joel," DeVitto told The Post. "It didn't happen that way."
DeVitto is claiming he contributed significantly to Joel's hit albums from 1975 to 2005, when he was booted out of Joel's band. DeVitto, 58, now works as a studio musician and leads drum clinics to feed his family of three children and wife.
"People get fired, they get severance or insurance for a certain period of time. I didn't even get a phone call. It was cold," he said. The two met in the 1970s, when Joel was looking for a "New York-style" drummer who could rock the studio and the concert stage, DeVitto recalled. They became such good pals that DeVitto was in the bridal party at Joel's 1985 wedding to "Uptown Girl" Christie Brinkley, he said.
By the time Joel, now 60, wed the 30-years-younger Katie Lee in 2004, things were different. "I found out when I wasn't invited to the wedding," DeVitto said. "That's when it was like, 'Holy s---, I'm not that guy anymore.' "
DeVitto doesn't have a
songwriter's credit but insists he was a major part of a collaborative creative
process between Joel and his musicians. DeVitto and his lawyer - who filed the
suit against Joel and Sony Music last Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court -
claim they don't know how much he is owed because it has been about 10 years
since they've gotten an accounting of the singer's sales. Joel's US sales alone
exceed 110 million albums in his career. http://tinyurl.com/owhsm9
WORLD'S NO. 1 TERRORIST ARRESTED, THE WORLD IS SAFE AGAIN
The latest case of zero-tolerance at the public schools has a 10-year-old student sadder and wiser, and facing expulsion and long-term juvenile detention. And it has his mother worried that his punishment has already been harsher than the offense demands.
"I think I shouldn't have brought a gun to school in the first place," said the student, Alandis Ford, sitting at home with his mother, Tosha Ford, at his side. Alandis' gun was a "cap gun," a toy cowboy six-shooter that his mother bought for him. "We got it from Wal-Mart for $5.96," Tosha Ford said, "in the toy section right next to the cowboy hats. That's what he wanted because it was just like the ones he was studying for the Civil War" in his fifth-grade class at Fairview Elementary School. "It kind of reminded me of the [soldiers'] guns that I was studying," Alandis said, "because I had brought pictures home of the gun and stuff, and that gun that I had reminded me of the revolver" depicted in his textbook.
Tosha said that Wednesday afternoon, after school, "six police officers actually rushed into the door" of their home. "He [Alandis] opened the door because they're police. And then they just kind of pushed him out of the way, and asked him, 'Well where's the gun, where's the real gun?' And they called him a liar... they booked him, and they fingerprinted him." The "police officers" were actually Newton County Sheriff's Deputies. Alandis was charged with possessing a weapon on school property and with terroristic acts and threats. - www.11alive.com
$ingapore has been detaining "terrorists" since 2001.
Recently in May, they told a story that a $ingapore "terrorist" with
a limp and no pants could swim across the Straits of Johore despite constant
police patrols. This story has not been verified but is reported in the
mainstream media as "fact".
THE DEATH OF THE CD-RELEASE COMPLEX
An interesting theory of why the music business is killing itself is found in Kyle Bylin's essay at the hypebot.com site.
Basically it explains how the new business model encouraged consumers to replace their ageing vinyl and tape collection with the indestructible digital CD. While it initially led to rapid business growth and profit, the "indestructible CD" also meant less sales after consumers replaced their favourite recordings.
A side-effect was the addiction to huge growth and profits which undermined the original music business model of finding talented singers and selling quality recordings of artistic and technical merit. As Bylin writes:
"With this, the shift from selling music to [selling] units began and increasing quarterly earnings to please investors in the short run replaced pleasing fans in the long run... [T]hese recordings were pushed out regardless. Based on whether or not they would sell, rather than the quality of music or the artist's abilities."
And he concludes that with technology changing, music fans no longer rely on radio, television or the record review to find out what's popular. Instead they surf the net. So "[f]or aspiring artists, the question used to be, how do I get on radio, a video on MTV, or a write up in The Rolling Stone?... Today, the question is: How do I get on that person's iPod? The problem is that if an individual relies on the Internet to find and listen to new music then record labels can't use multi-million dollar marketing campaigns to help you answer that question."
So their multi-million dollar business model no longer works because consumer behavior has changed with new technology.
From this article posted at the hypebot.com site, came an interesting reply by reader Fritz Gerlich. It's worth reproducing below:
LOSS OF EMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENT WITH MUSIC
One thing that has not been mentioned is that in the last 10 years there has been a seismic shift in the sonics of music. Parallelling the decline of the music industry has been an increase in the loudness of records. By loudness I am talking about the increase in rms (average) volume of a disc in comparison to peak volume. The difference between the two is the dynamic range. The smaller the difference, the louder a disk will sound when compared with a disk with more dynamic range. The music industry thinks this will make a record stand out when on a playlist or in a CD changer.
Up to about 1996, dynamic range was almost always 12 dB or more. Between '92-'99, isolated releases began reducing their dynamic range in an attempt to sound louder. Starting in 1999, this isolated trend became generalized. Today, we see major releases with a dynamic range of 2 dB (Metallica). Virtually no major release today has more than 6 dB of range. And just like listening to a monotone speaker is dull because no emotion or sense of dynamism can be transmitted without fluctuations in volume, so too music has become increasingly boring and unengaging. I am not talking about the type of music or the quality of the music itself, but the type and quality of the sound. Musical qualities are things like lyrical content, chord structures, beats etc. Sound qualities are things like volume, dynamic range, distortion, etc. So I am not saying that the music is worse or somehow less creative than it was 10 years ago, only that the sound quality is worse.
It's not that people are listening to less mainstream music, it's that they are listening to less music period. And those that do listen to music, do not listen to it with the same degree of attention or emotional involvement. Music has lost it's passionate followers, and become sonic wallpaper to most. And I think part of this is because the music released today contains little to no dynamic range, and has digitally induced distortion and clipping from the process of dynamic compression.
To my knowledge, the music industry has not acknowledged the
lessening of people's emotional engagement with music, nor have they sought to
find an answer to it. And without being able to captivate and emotionally
involve their listeners, their customers won't buy their products. - Fritz
WHERE TO GO TO GET A 'WOODY'
A Dutch park near Amsterdam has installed a series of signs which point out the areas where gay men regularly have sex. Bosses in Slotervaart say it was easier to warn people where the gay sex takes place in the park, than try to stop it.
While having sex in public is against the law - even in Holland - they say it has been going on at De Oeverlanden park for so long it has become tolerated. The park is said to be such a hotspot for gay sex that homosexuals from across the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe go there to pick up sex partners.
Now information signs point out what can be expected in different zones so they are not taken by surprise, so to speak.
INDON STUDENT'S DEATH IN $INGAPORE: WAS IT SUICIDE? CORONER TO DECIDE
In an attempt to convince $ingapore judges that David Hartanto Widjaja, an Indonesian student who died at the Nanyang Technology University campus in $ingapore in March, did not commit suicide, his family will present four additional witnesses at a coroner's inquest in $ingapore from May 20-26 reports The Jakarta Post, April 27.
David was found dead after allegedly committing suicide at his campus in $ingapore, where he was reportedly having difficulties with his studies. The university said David was under stress because his grades had dropped due to his addiction to online games and he was in danger of losing his scholarship.
In a statement issued shortly after his death, it was claimed David was in a meeting at the office of his mentor, Professor Chan Kap Luk, when he went berserk and stabbed his teacher in the back. He then left the office, stabbed himself repeatedly, then jumped off the balcony, the university claims.
David's parents, however, have insisted their son was murdered. They will underline the oddities found at the crime scene. For instance, even though the NTU statement said David was the aggressor, Prof Chan had fewer wounds than David.
"Chan had only five wounds on his body while David had 36. Most of them were on his right arm," Iwan Piliang said. Iwan is helping the family in the case. "However, the latter fact does not match the fact [that] David was right-handed. If it was true he cut himself after stabbing Chan, then the wounds should be on his left arm."
He added there was no blood at all found near the balcony, which many said David had climbed prior to jumping. "David had so many cuts and bled profusely, there should have been blood in the area surrounding the balcony," Iwan said.
David was working on a Computer Vision (CV) technology project, mostly applied in the entertainment and military industries, at the time of his death. "David was a genius and he never complained of any problems with his studies at all. Before he died, we had regular talks and I did not notice any stress at all in him," David's older brother William said.
If the inquest rules David's death was indeed suicide, the case will be closed.
So many have called and sms'd asking the same thing of me: do not make the trip to Ipoh tomorrow [May 7, 2009] lest I face arrest. One, having called and alerted me to the further arrests today and, yet, having failed to persuade me not to go, called later and offered to drive me up to Ipoh, fearing that my vehicle might be recognised.
Let me first say a big 'Thank you' to each of you. You are all truly beautiful people.
Let me also say that I will go up to Ipoh. Two reasons. Firstly,what have I done to warrant arrest? Love my country [MALAYSIA] and my people enough to try and do the little that I can to make this a better place?
If this, in [Prime Minister] Najib's books, warrants arrest, let him have everyone on the streets in Ipoh tomorrow, dressed in black, me included, arrested. That will be just one more nail in his political coffin.
Secondly and, in my view, more importantly, if I aborted the trip to Ipoh tomorrow because of the fear of a seeming prospect of arrest, would I not have succumbed to the same fear that I have for so long been urging so many to not allow to get in the way of their doing the right thing?
And what is that right thing? Taking back our country from evil politicians. Do I fear arrest? Honestly, I do, as do my family and friends. However, should I allow the fear of being wronged to get in the way of doing what I believe to be right?
No, I must not. I, too, must walk my talk. See you in Ipoh tomorrow. - Haris
Haris is one of the many bloggers in Malaysia who want change http://harismibrahim.wordpress.com/
Citizen$heep of $ingapore are not encouraged to have courage like Malaysians. A new law was passed April 13 2009, removing the freedom of assembly. Henceforth only state-sponsored "assemblies" will be allowed. Comes complete with air-conditioning.
PLEASE, LAH: A CONVERSATION BETWEEN A NATION-BUILDER AND A HUMAN BEING
On April 27, $ingapore's nation-builder press ran this story "Comeback Kid Defends His Corner", an interview with Penang's Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. Mr Lim is from Malaysia's opposition party and won the Penang election in March 2008. $ingapore is a one-party state which does not encourage western style democracy.
Cheong Suk-Wai: What's your greatest achievement as chief minister to date?
Lim Guan Eng: One of my first tasks was to ask for a list of the hardcore poor. There were 324 families on it. But to ensure that there were no families left behind, we did an extensive survey and found 728 (hardcore poor) families. We have succeeded in raising (their incomes) to above RM500 (per family).
Cheong Suk-Wai: What did you do, exactly?
Lim Guan Eng: Just topped up the difference (between what they earn and the RM500 benchmark).
Cheong Suk-Wai: But you're not teaching them to fish.
Lim Guan Eng: There are two aspects to this: One is fish nets and the other is fish. How can you get people to fish when they don't even have the strength to fish? To those who criticise me (by saying) that these measures are cruel (because) they teach people to be reliant, I ask them: Have you been poor? Can you work on an empty stomach? Please, lah.
Known to the World as "The Man behind the Hood". Al Shalal was tortured at Abu Ghraib Prison.
In February of 2007, Global Research published the complete transcript of Professor Ali Shalal's testimony. Read it here.
His sworn statement was presented to the War Crimes Commission set up under the helm of former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, as evidence in the legal procedure launched in Kuala Lumpur directed against (former) US President George W. Bush, Britain's (former) Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australia's Prime Minister John Howard.
Ali Shalal is a man of tremendous courage and determination. I heard his testimony in Kuala Lumpur. I had the opportunity of speaking to him on several occasions in the course of the February 2007 war crimes Conference. We established bonds of friendship and solidarity. We shared our determination to bring the war criminals in high office to justice.
Ali Shalal is a professor of theology. He is a tremendous source of inspiration.
At this juncture, at the outset of the Obama administration, senior Bush officials are being brought to justice in Spain for having ordered the use of torture. Al Shalal's sworn testimony, which is a public document, should now serve to support the indictment and prosecution of those senior officials including the president and vice-president, who ordered the use of torture.
Ali Shalal's testimony should also be used to dispel any hesitation on the part of the White House and the US Congress regarding the indictment and prosecution of Bush officials. In this regard, caving in to pressures "from the Republican Party and the national security apparatus, President Obama and leading Democrats have indicated they will block any independent commission to investigate the widespread torture of prisoners under the Bush administration" (see Tom Eley, Obama Democrats move to block torture investigation, WSWS.org and global Research, April 27, 2009).
It is important to understand that what Ali Shalal experienced was part of a routine process of torture, applied systematically to those arrested. Many of his companions in Abu Ghraib died as a result of torture or were executed upon their release so that they would not reveal the gruesome horrors and atrocities committed on the orders of the Bush administration.
Also of significance, as confirmed by his testimony, was the fact that Israeli "civilians" were involved in assisting the US prison interrogators.
Ali Shalal survived and provided testimony in the name of all those who were tortured to death.
We call upon President Barack Obama and members of the US Congress to read and acknowledge Ali Shalal's testimony and act accordingly.
Whatever decision is taken regarding the indictment and prosecution of high ranking Bush officials, Ali Shalal's words will go down in history. - Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, April 27, 2009
Unlike Malaysia, $ingapore
is a member of the US-led Coalition of the Willing that invaded Iraq in 2003. $Ingapore has been detaining "terrorists" since 2001.
LESBIAN SEX BY LESBIANS
Lesbians are making their own sex movies. Cult porno video One
Night Stand, by Emilie Jouvet, might have been released in 2006 but for erotica
writer Greta Christina, it's a movie worth revisiting again. Here is an excerpt
of the review she posted on her blog (gretachristina.typepad.com). Not for the easily offended. Please skip
to next item.
Real dyke porno. God, I love it... A queer/ dyke/ tranny-boi porno from France, One Night Stand (Pour Une Nuit) is an intense, authentic, raunchy porno, with a kinky sensibility, an emphasis on immediacy and heat, and a gritty, arty, urban feel.
This isn't a hard-core kink video, but it's rough and raunchy, with a lot of kinky elements. And I like how casually the kinky elements are woven into the sex. Nipple clamps are applied with no more fanfare than pussies getting licked; the whip is brought out with no more fanfare than the dildos. Collars and harnesses are worn with the same relaxed flair as jeans and lace bras; and the lesbian c***sucking flows naturally into the spanking, which flows naturally into the f**king, and back again. It's not presented as bizarre or fetishistic. It's all just sex.
I should tell you now: This is not a sanitized, "girl-girl" version of lesbian sex. This is a lesbian version of lesbian sex. Don't expect half a dozen Jenna Jameson clones playing with each others' titties. You have to like butch women; pierced and tattooed women; trans dyke bois; women in T-shirts and jeans; women with short hair; women with small breasts...
The sex isn't gentle, either. Some of it is romantic and passionate, but more of it is casual and anonymous. This is rough, raw, dirty sex. And it's messy sex, with lubed hands and lubed pussies and lube smeared on asscheeks that have been getting smacked. I like this - I think it adds to the intense, immediate feel of the video, making it feel like it's happening right there in your living room. But I realize that it's not to everyone's taste.
The director, Emilie Jouvet, is trying to convey female sexual pleasure and desire any way she can... and if she can do it by focusing on faces or torsos or hands instead of pussies, then by gum, that's what she's going to do...
All in all, One Night Stand is a clear winner for me. It doesn't quite hit all my personal pornographic buttons (it would have needed a whole lot more spanking for that). But it has something much more important, something delightful and all too rare in porn: It gets me inside the performers' skin.
Lesbians in $ingapore? Not
that we are aware of. There's just a lot of citizen$heep.
DAN BROWN'S LOST SYMBOL DUE IN SEPTEMBER
The Roman Catholics in particular may be anxious waiting for the new Dan Brown book, The Lost Symbol. The story takes place over a 12-hour period in the life of Da Vinci Code protagonist Robert Langdon. "Weaving five years of research into the story's twelve-hour timeframe was an exhilarating challenge," said Brown in a statement. The new book has been long-awaited since The Da Vinci Code was published in 2003. This time publisher Random House will print 5 million copies. Despite Christian opposition, The Da Vinci Code has so far sold 81 million copies worldwide.
The Da Vinci Code questioned the divinity of Christ. The new book
will only add more pressure on the faithful.
WHY U.S. LAGS BEHIND IN BROADBAND SPEED
Japan's J:Com is offering the fastest consumer broadband in the world - at 160 megabits per second. The average broadband speed in Japan is 61 megabits per second (as compared to 45.6 megabits per second in Korea or 4.8 megabits per second in the United States). In order to upgrade J:Com's network to provide that speed, the company had to invest US$20 per home passed (homes that could be easily and inexpensively connected to a cable network where the feeder cable is nearby).
By contrast, Verizon in the US is spending an average of $817 per home passed to wire neighborhoods for its FiOS fiber optic network and another $716 for equipment and labor in each home that subscribes. Those numbers from Japan came from Michael T. Fries, the chief executive of Liberty Global, the American company that operates J:Com.
An article in The New York Times, April 14, reported: "The experience in Japan suggests that the major cable systems in the United States might be able to increase the speed of their broadband service by five to 10 times right away. They might not need to charge much more for it than they do now and they'd still make as much money. So what's wrong with this picture in the United States?...
"Competition, or the lack of it, goes a long way to explaining why the fees are higher in the United States. There is less competition in the United States than in many other countries. Broadband already has the highest profit margins of any product cable companies offer. Like any profit-maximizing business would do, they set prices in relation to other providers and market demand rather than based on costs...
"Mr. Fries added another: Fear. Other cable operators, he said, are concerned that not only will prices fall, but that the super-fast service will encourage customers to watch video on the Web and drop their cable service..."
Average broadband speeds (worldwide):
Japan - 61.0 megabits per second
[Full 2007 charts here http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/blog/blog.aspx?ID=1088]
$heep City, $ingapore is not listed in the chart as its average broadband speed is even less than the slowest recorded, Greece. The general rule is the smaller the area of a country, the faster the broadband speed. Hence island nations and smaller countries have faster speeds. $ingapore is the exception.
Click here for more.
U.S. GUANTANAMO GUARD CONVERTS TO ISLAM
April 14 2009: A US guard at Guantanamo Bay detention center has announced his conversion to Islam, saying that he discovered the sweetness of faith after saying the Shahada [Muslim declaration of belief in the oneness of God and acceptance of Muhammad as his Prophet]. After long debates with detainee no. 590, Ahmed Rashidi, US Specialist Terry Holdbrooks - who has taken the name Abdullah Mustafa - converted to Islam.
In an interview with Newsweek the former guard said he resolved to convert to Islam after countless discussions on religion with the Moroccan detainee Ahmed Rashidi, who is known among his peers as "The General." Holdbrooks converted to Islam in December 2003, noting the time as being at 12:49 am.
When he first started working at Guantanamo Bay Holdbrooks told Newsweek that "There were a couple of us guards who asked ourselves why these guys are being treated so badly and if they're actually terrorists at all." - By Mohammed Al Shafey
$ingapore is just preparing to get into big-time gambling. Here's a tip on how to make side income from lotteries.
EMI BETS ON LOTTERY
April 1: Do you play the lottery? Do you scratch for winning tickets, dream of big jackpots and pine for three-in-a-row? You do? Then EMI might have your lucky number.
The record label has cut a deal with Winnipeg, Manitoba, company Pollard Banknote, which runs lotteries in 45 states and territories throughout the world. Under the arrangement, Pollard has created a series of music-themed, scratch-off lottery tickets that it is currently marketing to state lotteries, according to the Wall Street Journal. Under the plan, winning tickets would award players free music in the form of downloads, ringtones and, of course, cash.
It seems the lottery industry and record biz have something in common - neither is attracting younger customers. Evidently lotteries are more popular among folks reaching retirement age. Unfortunately for the lottery industry, when those players' numbers are up, there are no young newbies stepping up to take their place.
Meanwhile, the recording industry's coffers continue to shrink as young fans eschew buying CDs in favor of illicitly downloading their favorite tunes through peer-to-peer networks. To alleviate both problems Pollard is looking to the recording industry to help sex up lotteries, while EMI is turning to state-sanctioned gambling to help make up for lost income.
EMI's part in the lottery scheme calls for the label to operate special Web sites where players can redeem their winning tickets for music prizes such as downloads. For each ticket redeemed, EMI will receive a wholesale payment.
The Journal also reports EMI and Pollard have been working on the lottery concept for the past year.
While no one is disputing the recording industry's financial problems because of illegal downloading, you can bet there's going to be some protests if lotteries start selling music-themed tickets. Although Pollard is looking at the concept as a method to introduce lotteries to new players, others will see it as introducing young people to gambling. That's hardly going to sit well with civic leaders, churches and Gamblers Anonymous.
Should the recording industry partner with lotteries? If so, what about other so-called vice industries? Should cigarette companies offer coupons redeemable for songs? Should liquor companies spike their already fortified wines, those soda pop-like confections meant to acquaint the unacquainted with the joys of fermentation, with discount coupons for CDs?
And what about certain industries that are only legal in certain parts of Nevada? Does the recording industry have something up its sleeve for johns, they're customers too? - Jay Smith from PollStar
Shared by Rock & Rap Confidential
FREE AMERICAN JESUS
Mark Millar's American Jesus Vol. 1: Chosen is a free online comic at newsarama. The story follows a 12-year-old boy who suddenly discovers he's the returned Jesus Christ. He can turn water into wine, make the crippled walk and perhaps even raise the dead. How will he deal with the destiny to lead the world in a conflict thousands of years in the making? Can he make banks and insurance companies solvent? Don't ask George W.
The free online comic coincides with the trade paperback which comes out this week. Story by Mark Millar and art by Peter Gross. Millar scripted War Heroes, Kick Ass and Wanted!
TWO $INGAPOREANS ARRESTED BY U.S. FOR TERROR CONSPIRACY
Jian Wei Ding, 50, of $ingapore, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to export material that can be used for weapons technology from the U.S. to China. He and two others were exporting material from the United States to $ingapore, Hong Kong and the People's Republic of China in violation of U.S. regulations. The other $ingaporean who also admitted his crime is Kok Tong Lim, 36. The third offender Ping Cheng is based in America.
The carbon-fiber material, Toray, the trio sought to export has applications in weapons technology for rockets, satellites, spacecraft and uranium enrichment. Ding, Lim and Cheng face a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The three men also face a potential maximum penalty of a US$1 million fine.
This case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its associate departments. The trio had been active from March 2007 to April 2008 when they were caught.
For some odd reason, $ingapore media has NO PICTURES of the two $ingaporean terrorists.
Apparently, $ingapore's secret police, the Internal Security Department, were again not aware of this terrorist activity by its citizens. The ISD has been successful in the past in detaining indefinitely what they call hardcore terrorists who have plotted against $ingapore. Click on the banner to read more.
FEMALE ARMS TRADER WORKING FROM $INGAPORE PLEADS GUILTY TO IRAN SALES
March 13: An American woman who became a rogue weapons trader pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn federal court to illegally helping Iran arm itself during the past 20 years. Laura Wang-Woodford pleaded guilty to selling arms and banned aircraft technology to Iran. Her husband Brian Woodford, a UK citizen, is currently a fugitive who is believed to be in $ingapore.
She pleaded guilty to charges of violating U.S. trade embargoes by sending munitions and controlled information, including technology for American Chinook military helicopters and other aircraft to Iran. Despite the embargo, the couple used its $ingapore-based company, Monarch Aviation, as well as aviation companies in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Texas to buy aircraft parts and sensitive munitions technology from the West and then illegally send the material and information to Iran.
"Ms. Woodford, through her company Monarch Aviation, was one of the largest diverters of U.S. origin aircraft parts to Iran," Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Kevin Delli-Colli said in a statement. "Monarch has been in the lucrative import-export business in $ingapore for over 15 years, and during that period is known to have exported goods worth millions of dollars."
Laura Wang-Woodford and her fugitive husband amassed a large fortune by illegally selling embargoed weapons, technology and equipment to Iran. She faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In addition, Wang-Woodford agreed to forfeit $500,000 to the U.S. Treasury Department.
Read More: Female Arms
Trader Pleads Guilty to Iran Sales
$ingapore has a very comprehensive secret surveillance unit - the Internal Security Department. Note this recent statement made in the press:
- Vivian Balakrishnan, Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister, Feb 21, 2009.
For 15 years, a $ingapore company, Monarch, has been successfully trading weapons with Iran?
March 16: Reporters Without Borders deplores high court judge Tay Yong Kwang's decision to give the attorney-general a green light to start contempt of court proceedings against Melanie Kirkpatrick, the deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, in connection with two editorials and an op-ed piece about the $ingaporean judiciary published in the newspaper's Asia edition in June and July 2008.
"We urge the high court to reverse this decision in order not to jeopardise the freedom of foreign journalists to express their views about the situation in $ingapore," Reporters Without Borders said. "The government's harassment of the Wall Street Journal indicates a chronic inability to tolerate criticism and is very harmful to the country's image."
The high court decision was reported last weekend by the $traits Times, which quoted court documents as saying the articles "contained passages that scandalise the $ingapore judiciary." The high court already found the Wall Street Journal in contempt of court last November in connection with the same articles, fining it 25,000 $ingapore dollars (16,250 US dollars). Attorney general Walter Woon said at the time that the articles questioned the judiciary's independence.
The $ingaporean government has in the past obtained damages from Bloomberg, The Economist and The International Herald Tribune. - RSF
Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic has some sad news for fans of the grunge icons: There are no more unreleased Nirvana songs. "There's not going to be any new Nirvana records," Novoselic told the Washington State's Legacy Project (via Seattle Post-Intelligencer). "What there is, is video. There's a lot of video." Novoselic wouldn't elaborate the content or nature of the videos, nor did he have any release dates in mind. He did, however, say that he and Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, are no longer on bad terms. The last unreleased Nirvana song to surface was "You Know You're Right" (which was included on the 2002 compilation Nirvana and the 2004 box set With The Lights Out). "You Know You're Right" saw the light of day after a nasty legal battle that pit Love against Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl over how to best release it.
Novoselic recently sat down for a series of interviews with the Legacy Project that resulted in an 89-page oral history covering his childhood, his time with Nirvana and rumors he "balked" at joining the Foo Fighters. "I didn't balk at it at all," Novoselic said. "No, Dave just went and did his own thing, and I did my thing. I think everybody was dealing with things. I was dealing with things in my way. And then Dave put a band together."
Novoselic goes on to call Cobain a "genius," saying, "He transitioned through mediums. It seemed [to happen] very easily." The bassist also expressed regret that he didn't do more to prevent Cobain's suicide. "There's anger. There's regrets. I was angry. It's just a waste. You know it was the fucking drugs," Novoselic said. "It's pretty bad. All in 20-20 hindsight, you know. Kurt called me the first time he did heroin and he told me he did it. And I told him, 'Don't do it man. You're playing with dynamite.' "
Krist opens up on a wealth of topics - from meeting Kurt in high school to his political career to why he doesn't play Nirvana songs on the radio when he DJs - in the full oral history. - Rolling Stone.
Check it out at the Legacy Project Website.
Click on the banner to read about dictatorsheep in $heep City.
Edited by Gonul Donmez-Colin [Wallflower Press]
As more viewers try to enter the world of Middle Eastern cinema, it's timely that new books are appearing to give us a handle into this cinematic area. The Cinema of North Africa and the Middle East, edited by Gonul Donmez-Colin, offers us a way in by reviewing 24 key films by a slew of film scholars and critics. The sampling gives us Egypt, Iran and Turkey (each with four entries), Tunisia and Lebanon (each with two entries), Israel (with three) and Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Morocco, Algeria. The problems are many. The definition of the term Middle East is one of them and Donmez-Colin addresses it early on. The Indians rightly see the area as Western Asia, as Middle East as a term smacks of old colonialism and this area of cinema is united in its resistance of colonialism. This brings up the other problem of the writers.
Even when they are Arab in origin, they hail from Western universities. It is a known fact that it's always difficult to find the local voice and one wonders whether this problem will persist in the future collections on Asian cinema in this book series. Furthermore, Israel is over-represented with three entries and one of them, Amos Gitai's Kippur, doesn't even rank as a classic. It may be important personally to Gitai's filmography but not as a representative selection.
Nevertheless, there are many joys to reading this book. For example, there is a very excellent deconstruction of Oussama Mohammad's very dense, multi-layered film, Stars in Broad Daylight, by critic Rasha Salti, which explains just why this film was produced by the Syrian state in 1988 and subsequently restricted from domestic release to this day. Or academic Yehuda Judd Ne'eman's sexual reading of Shmuel Imberman's anti-war film, I Don't Give A Damn (1987). Finally, the book also excels in the other form of resistance, that of women's rights. From Farida Benlyazid's A Door to the Sky (Morocco, 1988), Moufida Tlatli's Silences of the Palace (Tunisia, 1994) to Jocelyn Saab's Once Upon A Time, Beirut (Lebanon, 1994), the tapestry of how women have been a force of change is richly revealed. Each essay also strives to underpin the politics of the country's cinema, showing once again, that while art itself, as Edward Said puts it, "is utterly individual", it also cannot remain disconnected. - Philip Cheah
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BESTSELLER ON AMAZON.COM
The book Escape From Paradise has been selected as Amazon.com's bestselling book among its $ingapore customers for the past few months. It is written by May Chu and John Harding and is about the life of a great granddaughter of the Haw Par family who founded Tiger Balm. The Book Reader had this to say of the book: "Americans have a saying: luck is a lady. And this lady and her subsequent husband have written a somber, very human tale of a woman's remarkable journey". Barnes and Noble called the book "$ingapore Confidential at its best".
Escape from Paradise is still Amazon's #1 best seller for Singapore and was ranked at 7,824 overall on July 24, 2003 by Amazon, which is ahead of books by Lee Kuan Yew.
The book is now available in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the Kinokuniya Bookstore, in Petronas Twin Towers and in their branch in Sydney, Australia. Read more at http://www.escapefromparadise.com/NewFiles/bc.html
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LIKE A ROLLING STONE
Nashville City Paper review:
"Those who missed the earlier incarnation of Rolling Stone, when it was a serious music journal, will savor the new book, The Alt.Culture.Guide: A Journal of (Un)Popular Culture (Anthem Pop/Kult), which just published its inaugural edition.
"Its primary writer and editor is Rev. Keith A. Gordon, a three-decade journalism veteran and former music editor of Take One magazine, and contributor to Bone, and In Review among many others. The book evolved from Gordons webzine, and was expanded via interviews and other columns. Gordon currently writes for the The All Music Guide and several other regional and national magazines and newspapers. Bill Glahn, who also served as co-editor, Charlie Braxton, Tommy Hash and Keis Koch are the first editions other contributors."
here for the full review.
You can order a copy from Bill Glahn, 414 Howard Chapel Road, Urbana, MO 65767. Postpaid it's US$11.50 to anywhere in the U.S. Outside of the US please contact Bill for rates at [email protected]
BUSHS BURNING DESIRE
said US President George W Bush is building the second Roman Empire with
the start of the invasion of Iraq. Now comes a book that explains Americas
military occupation of Iraq. Bush In Babylon: The Recolonisation of Iraq
by Tariq Ali [Verso, US$20, 224 pgs] is a serious analysis by a mainstream
publisher. The book has been described by Amazon.com as "unique"
in moving beyond the corporate looting by the US military government to
offer an in-depth analysis of the extent of resistance to the US occupation.
Tariq Ali concludes that there is a need to refound Mark Twains
mammoth American Anti-Imperialist League to carry forward the momentum
of the anti-war movement that gathered to stop the Iraq War. Tariq Alis
previous book was The Clash Of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity.
Roys new book, War Talk [Alternative Tentacles, US$12], is an eloquent
and passionate collection of essays that highlights the global rise of
militarism and religious and racial violence, calling into question the
equation of nation and ethnicity. This brand new book is a great companion
to her brand new spoken word release Come September In Conversation
with Howard Zinn.
Looking to do business with the Burmese generals in "Myanmar"? Where else to look for advice than in all-good, no-bad $ingapore where money is not far from everyones mind. Myanmar On My Mind is a unique one-of-its-kind book written by the former First Secretary [Commercial] at the $ingapore embassy in Yangon, Matthew Sim. Sims tour of duty lasted from 1995 to 1997 and he offers first-hand insight into "the minds of the Myanmar people, from military generals and government officials to businessmen and employees." Sim was in charge of $ingapores trade and investments with Burma.
On a sub-chapter, Spies And Spying, Sim wrote: "Manpower in Myanmar is relatively cheap and readily available. The Military Intelligence [MI], for example, is quite extensive and pervasive. As a result, prominent foreign diplomats and international businessmen in and around Yangon are always escorted by MI officers.
"Both my telephone lines, one at the Embassy and one at home, were bugged. The technology used during my stay in Myanmar was pretty low-end. There was a hollow, echoing sound whenever you used the phone."
Sim adds: "I have never been overtly concerned with Myanmar politics. It is neither an area of responsibility nor interest." Business to $ingaporean Sim is business and he says: "An international businessman should try not to mix politics and business. Money should not be coloured by politics." Published by Times Book International in 2001.
If you are interested in learning more about $ingapores business relationship with the generals of Burma follow these links:
to promote economic cooperation with Burma
links 'aiding drug trade'
Axis: Globalising the heroin trade
Burma without meeting Suu Kyi
drug traders have S'pore connection
Burma in Asean-EU dialogue
hanging drug couriers but investing with their suppliers
demand accountability from PM Goh on drugs
of double standards
For more... email [email protected] with the message, "Put me on your mailing list."