Monday, December 27, 2004

World events

Many of you are following the Ukrainian elections, and it seems that, unlike the past couple of U.S. elections, Victor Yushchenko has overwhelmingly won the election. Like the past couple of U.S. elections, the spectre of lawsuits looms over Yushchenko's victory.
The Russian reaction is mixed. Here are the Russians:
One communist newspaper, Pravda, says the result means "the complete loss of our gas and oil export routes to the USA or the European Union". It also voices the fear that Mr Yushchenko's election means "Russia no longer exists as a world-class power". Pravda blames Washington for this.
However, other Russian Centrists ponder the effects of this election on Russia itself.
A writer for business publication Kommersant claims the outcome of Ukraine's political crisis means "the Orange Revolution virus will now spread to Russia".
He writes: "It will not take long to dismantle the new Russian totalitarianism".
Hat tip to Instapundit on the quotes, which are from the BBC.

A giant 9.0 earthquake hit the southeast asian countries this weekend, sending 33 foot tidal waves into many surrounding countries. If any of you don't know what 33 foot tidal waves can do just look at some of the pictures. Tidal waves are not just like bigger versions of the waves you see surfers cruising over. They are longer and the wave might be 33 feet high (think three story building) but also can be thousands of feed wide, so that they just keep coming after the initial hit. I'll try and find some good maps of the devistated area.
Update: Glenn Reynolds has some perspective on Catastrophes, including possible asteroids colliding with the earth. He also has this link-fest for more on the Tsunami and it's after affects. He includes links to agencies that are accepting donations.

Israel released 159 Palestinian Prisoners in an effort of good faith toward the elections that the Palestinians are about to have. Sharon is putting his eggs on an Abbas presidency and possible future peace in that region. They also released some Egyptians in an agreement designed to ease tension with Egypt as well.
This could all fall down like a house of cards if we get into another round of Terrorist bombings and Israel return strikes, so lets hope it doesn't happen and the Abbas can truly lead his people in the creation of a true Palestinian nation. With borders.
There has been some critisizm that the prisoners who have been released are only short timers and would have been released within a year or two anyway as their sentences finished out. That leaves all the long term prisoners, whom Israel fears may be a threat to them, still in prison indefinitely. I am skeptical that Israel needs to release any of these prisoners in order to commute good faith. Those guys ARE a threat to cause violence and derail the whole process. If Abbas is elected and the Palestinians form something of a stable government, then there will be room to talk about releasing other prisoners.

Pakistan and India are moving as slowly as ever on talks about the region of Kashmir. It seems that, although Pakistan has made a lot of talk about compromise, that India is steadfast in it's insistance that it controls the whole of Kashmir and will not change it's mind. I would welcome some perspective that would indicate that India is not the obstinate brat in the room this time.

And, hey, it's just over a month until Iraqi elections. Put your seatbelts on. Trays in locked and upright position. Seatbacks up. Here we go.

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