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Notes from around August 31, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Miscellaneous.
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Notes from around Earthtown linked for reading enjoyment.

The Scream, the iconic painting by Edvard Munch was recovered by police in Norway. This comes after three men were convicted in the theft in May. The theft itself is straight out of fiction. Two masked gunmen walk into the museum in broad daylight and just take the painting off the wall, no alarms go off, it’s simply attached by a wire. Notably the Munch Museum underwent a $6.4 million dollar security upgrade following the 2004 theft. Madonna, also stolen with The Scream, was recovered as well.

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The United Nations has a approved a peacekeeping force of 22,500 troops for the embattled Darfur region of Western Sudan. Since 2003 carnage on an unimaginable scale has been prolific. Genocide, ethnic cleansing, call it what you will, the people of Darfur have been suffering far too long. The UN, inept as always, only now acts to “save” the people of Darfur and UN honchos like American Ambassador John Bolton have the audacity to say things like:

“It is imperative that we move immediately to implement it fully to stop the tragic events unfolding in Darfur. Every day we delay only adds to the suffering of the Sudanese people and extends the genocide.”

Are we so arrogant to think that we are “in time” to save the people living in Darfur. A bloody conflict that has raged since Feb. 2003 and we just now get up the gumption to step up and do something about it.

The catch with this plan is that it authorizes the force when the Sudanese government agrees to its deployment. They called the resolution “illegal” upon its passing.

The measure passed 12 to 0 with three abstentions from China, Russia and Qatar. They were apparently hung up on the Sudanese approval. Or maybe they just like genocide. I hope not.

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More signs that things are still deteriorating in Iraq. Troop levels are at 140,000. The most since January and 13,000 more than five weeks ago. So much for drawing down, ever.

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The Space Shuttle Atlantis, twice delayed, is set for a Sept. 6 launch, let’s hope we don’t see another scrub or there won’t be anyone from the U.S. going to the Moon, Mars and beyond until 2025.

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Speaking of the shuttle. If Atlantis misses the Sept. 6 launch date NASA may consider relaxing a rule that requires daylight to launch the shuttle. This is a safety enhancement in the wake of the Columbia disaster. Daylight hours allow better photography of the launch and thus allows engineers and scientists at NASA a better look at any problem causing chunks of foam being shedded. Faster. Cheaper. Crappier. NASA, bringing you space disasters for over 40 years.

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