The U.S.--Al Jazeera Détente
Relative to the American sound bite, John Kerry recently gave an in-depth interview to Al Jazeera, the independent Middle Eastern news service which operates an international TV channel and a website in Arabic and English. Kerry discussed Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, and now the New York Times’ Media Blog reports that Hillary Clinton has met with Al Jazeera’s “senior manager” and has herself given an interview before a crowd of 300 university students. Is this possibly the same Al Jazeera that former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld called “vicious” and “disgraceful”, referring to its coverage of the Iraq War?
Quite possibly, yes. But now that a more diplomatic approach is being taken at the highest levels of the American government, perhaps our statesmen and stateswomen have realized that being friendly across Middle Eastern airwaves will do more to advance American interests than Rumsfeld’s brand of sarcasm and grimace.
Al Jazeera is remarkable partly because it has been able to maintain its editorial integrity in a region where most media is heavily controlled by the State. A loan from a Qatari Sheikh allowed the news network to get off the ground.
Still, American policy towards Al Jazeera has been fierce, especially after 9/11 when many debates over factual matters, such as the presence of WMD in Iraq or the legality of a unilateral preemptive war, were treated as inferior to the debate over whether one was a patriot or a turncoat, a debate won and lost—typically lost—over how loudly one parroted the most aggressive of government policies. According to The Nation:
The United States bombed [Al Jazeera’s] offices in Afghanistan in 2001, shelled the Basra hotel where Al Jazeera journalists were the only guests in April 2003, killed Iraq correspondent Tareq Ayoub a few days later in Baghdad and imprisoned several Al Jazeera reporters (including at Guantánamo), some of whom say they were tortured.
At the time, the British press reported that former President Bush discussed his desire to deliberately bomb Al Jazeera offices with former Prime Minister Blair.
For the moment, the U.S. seems to be taking a more conciliatory approach.
Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.
- To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
- Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
- There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.
Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco!
Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.
- Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
- Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
- Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
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