Global News Journal

from UK News:

Testing the limits of animal lab experiments

November 10, 2009

CHINAA mouse that can speak? A monkey with Down's Syndrome? Dogs with human hands or feet? British scientists want to know if such experiments are acceptable, or if they go too far in the name of medical research.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il likes to collect trains

November 10, 2009

While some people enjoy collecting model trains and building tiny stations along scaled down tracks, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il appears to have taken this passion to a new level. According to a report in South Korea’s largest daily newspaper, the Chosun Ilbo, Kim has six private trains and 20 stations around the country built just for him.

from The Great Debate UK:

Getting to grips with the post-Cold War security threat

November 6, 2009

johnreid -John Reid, formerly the UK Defence Secretary and Home Secretary, is MP for Airdrie and Shotts, and Chairman of the Institute for Security and Resilience Studies at University College, London. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The fall of the Berlin Wall, on November 9, 1989, was one of history’s truly epochal moments. During what became a revolutionary wave sweeping across the former Eastern Bloc countries, the announcement by the then-East German Government that its citizens could visit West Germany set in train a series of events that led, ultimately, to the demise of the Soviet Union itself.

The “hostile racket” that comes with North Korea’s human rights season

November 5, 2009

Once a year, North Korea’s often vitriolic rhetoric machine fires up with special intensity to attack those who attack its human rights record. The exchanges usually come toward the end of the year when the U.N. General Assembly approves what has become an annual measure criticising North Korea for having one of the worst rights records in the world.

Forget about light bulbs – Iran wants a seat at the table

November 4, 2009

For years Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and outgoing head of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, has warned the United States and other Western powers against jumping to conclusions about Iran’s nuclear program. While Washington, Israel and their allies see increasing indications that Tehran’s secretive nuclear program is aimed at developing weapons, ElBaradei told an audience of academics, politicians and diplomats at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City that his agency has “no concrete evidence” that Tehran is pursuing an atom bomb.

Berlin Wall went down with a party — rather than a bang

November 4, 2009

One of the most amazing aspects about the Berlin Wall’s sudden collapse 20 years ago was that no one lost their nerve. Not a single shot was fired. The Cold War ended with the biggest street party Berlin, or any city anywhere, has ever seen. 

The Berlin Wall 2.0

November 4, 2009

The Berlin Wall fell 20 years ago on Nov. 9, 1989. A team of Reuters correspondents and multimedia journalists from Berlin and London will be covering the major event in a completely new way — Berlin Wall 2.0. The team from The Berlin Project are joining forces with the Reuters text, pictures and TV correspondents in Berlin to present real-time coverage and impressions of everything going on in Germany’s reunited capital city.

from UK News:

Drawing the line against the Taliban

November 4, 2009

afghan1Fight them there or fight them here?

Former Foreign Office minister Kim Howells poses the question in the Guardian in a piece made grimly relevant by Wednesday's shooting dead of  five British soldiers by an Afghan policeman.

Indonesia goes for digital people power

November 3, 2009

By Sunanda Creagh

 Some Jakartans protest the traditional way to save the anti-corruption agency

Just over a decade ago, Indonesians took to the streets to protest. Now they can make themselves heard without even leaving home.

Remembering Charlie

November 2, 2009

Not many people, least of all Germans, will have shared my sentiment; but when the Berlin Wall fell and Checkpoint Charlie, that fortress of barriers, steel gates and watchtowers, was swept away with it, I felt almost as if I was losing old friends.
As a young Reuters correspondent based in East Berlin in the 1980s, I passed almost daily through that conduit between two mutually hostile worlds. Those green-uniformed guardians of world communism may have unnerved Western tourists with their stony mien and intrusive searches. Over three years, though, I got to know them with the superficial familiarity that develops almost inevitably between people whose lives brush so routinely against each other, however lightly. I even gave them secret names; those I liked and those I didn’t.
I remember the middle-aged, rather matronly woman I dubbed “Oma” (Gran), who would inquire with a friendly, indulgent smile after my girlfriend in West Berlin. I might tell her about my mother’s visit to the “DDR”. Did she have a nice time, Herr Boulton? Was the Baltic coast beautiful? When my girl friend’s visits became less frequent and then stopped altogether, she was gently solicitous. “Haven’t seen Fraeulein K here for a while, Herr Boulton. Doesn’t she like us any more?” Doesn’t she like you any more was of course the true question; and I answered it, of course. There was something about those 50 second confessionals.
Reading my stasi file a few years later, I saw my comments cooly committed to official paper. Well, I don’t hold it against her. It was all very charming; and anyway, I found they had had their own secret name for me. I was “Lupus”. As for my mysterious 72-year-old mother, she basked in the code name “Bluete” (“Blossom”).

It was the rituals that forged bonds. Driving through the slalom of concrete barriers, surrendering my border pass, waiting to get it back, I would chat with the guards about some football match, the weather, the loud screeching noise emanating from my car. They would raise the barrier, salute crisply and I would be swallowed up into the other world.
The Wall was of course a tragedy. It split families and destroyed lives. Over 130 people were shot dead trying to flee across the Berlin Wall. Would these, my occasional acquaintances, shoot if it came to that? It was a question I asked myself more than once and which I could never really answer. Nor, I suppose, did I want to.
There was the less sympathetic blond haired youth who never smiled, never showed a glimmer of human warmth. I named him, with unashamed malice, “Hitler-Youth”. I fancied he would draw his sidearm without hesitation, but maybe I misjudged him. My favourite, though, was always the dark-haired young woman with the comely gap between her front teeth and a flirtatious manner that must surely have violated some regulation or another.
“Gap-tooth” and I had a game. Leaving of an evening, I would slap my passport into her outheld hand and we might spend 10 seconds or so discussing where i was going; to the theatre, to a bar, to a restaurant in a half of the city she would never in her life see; or so we both believed. I might ask her if she wanted to come along, show her two tickets folded in my pass. She would smile and say she would love to but she had to work through the night. Maybe another time. I wonder sometimes what became of her. She presumably had a life beyond Charlie, though I could never imagine it.
What became of some of the others, I found out, to my surprise, a few years later.
I was flying into Berlin from Moscow, where I was working, and arrived at Schoenefeld Airport — once the main airport of Communist East Germany and now an entry point to the newly-united Germany.
The set-up there was much as I remembered it from the ‘Olden Days’. Passengers were channelled towards a narrow, brightly lit passageway where they stood before a cabin with a glass window; behind it a faceless uniformed official. I slipped my passport into the cabin through the gap and waited, looking straight ahead, for the guard to scan my face for a resemblance.
I sensed him look up at me, then back at the passport; then back to me and then to the passport. Why this hesitation? He coughed and leaned towards me.
“Herr Boulton?”
As I looked, he tipped the peak of his cap up to reveal his face. I remember the words exactly.
“Herr Boulton, Ich glaube wir kennen uns schon…” I think we’ve met before.
Dressed now splendidly in the uniform of the West German Federal Border Guard, sat someone I had last seen in the green uniform and winter shapka fur hat of the East German border guard. I think my astonished reply must have been something like “what are you doing here?”
He smiled mysteriously and signalled me to pass on into the baggage hall. As I waited for my bags, he emerged with two other familiar faces; both, like him, alumni of Charlie, both wearing the uniform of what had not so long ago been the enemy.
It was a brief encounter and one of the strangest of my life. The circumstances in which we had known each other were so peculiar and those of our reunion so utterly unexpected. We shook hands warmly, laughing at the absurdity of it all. Like old frontline soldiers in a phoney war, we had discovered we were old friends