Curse trial verdicts out
Super volcano found
Give it up, Murph
He’s bigger than Miley Cyrus
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ISSN 1172-4153 | Volume 2 | Issue 38 |
| 12 June 2009
Karam slams media By Ian Wishart
David Bain supporter Joe Karam has slammed media coverage of the Bain trial, saying many of the key elements of the defence case were not reported by journalists covering the hearing. Karam told TGIF Edition tonight that he’s been fielding media calls about the absence of any forensic evidence against Robin Bain – a claim he says is utterly wrong: “Another story that’s done the rounds this week is that there’s absolutely no forensic evidence against Robin Bain. “Tell me your explanation for all of the dry remnants of blood all over Robin’s left hand? There’s got to be an explanation for it, how did it get there? Did you hear the Crown give you an explanation for it? What about the blood under his fingernails? What about, as Dempster the pathologist said, the very recent injury to the back of his hand that happened within a few hours of his death? He didn’t get it shaving as he hadn’t shaved, and he wouldn’t be out putting up the new spouting at four o’clock in the morning – where did that come from? “What about the blood we found on the top of his shoes? As you would know in the first trial he was said to be kneeling down saying his prayers when David shot him, but they had to abandon that in this trial because when his shoes were sent over to England in November last year we found his blood on top of his shoes in the form of spatter, which means it must have been within about three feet of his head at the time he was shot. He can’t have been kneeling down because the top of his shoes would have been on the carpet, so that blew away the kneeling down story,”Karam told TGIF. “The final one was that the last shot fired by that gun – which everyone acknowledges had to have been the one that killed Robin – was a contact shot, the reason being that they found blood in the barrel.
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Of course, if there’s blood in the barrel it can only get there from a contact shot and any subsequent shot blows the blood out. So we now have proof that the shot that killed Robin Bain was a contact shot and – albeit reluctantly at times – all pathologists agreed that a contact shot to the front of the head
is nearly always a suicide, self-inflicted shot while people are up and about, because it’s pretty hard to get them to stand still while you hold a gun to their head. “None of this came out in their media coverage. So they don’t cover it, and then they have the cheek
INSIDE Continue reading
Do you know him? Page 4
TOO DEEP Airbus search Page 9
Ronaldo finds love at Paris Hilton Los Angeles (dpa) – Footballing superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s status as the world’s most expensive athlete has also helped him nab one of the world’s most celebrated heiresses. Ronaldo is currently in Los Angeles as his agents wrap up the details of his 130-million-dollar transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid. Far from following a Spartan lifestyle, Ronaldo has been visiting the city’s
fanciest restaurants and nightclubs, where photographers from celebrity website X!7 caught him canoodling with Paris Hilton last night. The glamour couple was spotted at the nightclub MyHouse and then left together for Paris’ sister Nicky’s apartment, where Ronaldo stayed till 5 am. – DPA
DANNY BOY Carter in the Blues? Page 11
H1N1/A Flu begins to bite NZ Wellington, June 12 NZPA – Eight new swine flu cases have been confirmed in New Zealand in the last 24 hours, five of them in Wellington, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 35. The new cases were: • a 73-year-old woman from the mid-central region; • Auckland sisters aged 10 and 13, who are in isolation in Starship Children’s Hospital with respiratory symptoms;
• a 20-year-old woman,22-year-old man and eightmonth-old boy, from the same Wellington address; • a 22-year-old Wellington man; • a 26-year-old Wellington woman. All have mild symptoms, with the exception of the Auckland girls, and are being treated at home with Tamiflu. Health officials are tracing their close contacts, who will be asked to stay at home and take Tamiflu. Starship emergency department clinical director
Dr Richard Aickin said the hospital was operating normally with infection control procedures in place. “Unfortunately there were some staff who came into contact with the children before the full diagnosis was made,”he said at a press conference this afternoon. “Those staff are in a highly specialised unit and we do require their services.” Staff had been given Tamiflu and those who were well continued to work using precautions such as
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surgical masks, Dr Aickin said. The mother was in isolation with the girls, she did not have symptoms, while their father was in home quarantine. They had not travelled but a member of their extended family had returned from Melbourne, Dr Aickin said. “To our great fortune, neither were at school during the incubation period because they were Continue reading
It could’ve been worse… Sydney (dpa) – You don’t have to be in the Outback to be attacked by a reptile. A 25-year-old man was in a Melbourne hospital Friday after being bitten by a snake on the street outside the biggest department store in Australia’s second largest city. Ambulance officer Heidi Taylor said the man was dumping cardboard in a bin when the snake leapt up and latched onto his right hand. “I’ve been a paramedic for eight years,” she told national broadcaster ABC. “I’ve never been to a snakebite wound and I’d say it’s incredibly rare in the city. We were very surprised.” Wife, husband both win lottery sums VILLA ROCA, Ga., June 12 (UPI) – A Georgia couple said the excitement they felt at winning $5,000 in the lottery was nothing compared to the thrill of winning $1 million the next week. Karen Hill, 34, of Villa Roca, said she was pleased when her husband, Chuck, came home with a $5,000 Weekly WinFall ticket, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported today. “I never thought in a million years that I’d win anything, even the $5,000,” Hill said. “So I’m still in a state of shock.” However, she said the state of shock increased by a factor of 200 when she bought winning Georgia Lottery ticket for $1 million. “I was really ecstatic about the $5,000, Hill said, but then, boom! When I got this one I was just like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe this. My life is going to change for the better.’” Hill said she and her husband plan to use their newfound riches to pay off their bills. Fire engine extinguishes Firebird DENVER, June 12 (UPI) – Colorado resident Bill Vickery says seeing his classic 1969 Pontiac Firebird crushed beneath a fire truck marked the end of a nearly life-long relationship. The Denver Post said today Vickery’s beloved car ended up under the 48,000-pound truck after the fire truck lost partial contact with the road and tumbled down a nearby hill, eventually landing atop of the Firebird. For Vickery, Tuesday’s accident near Evergreen, Colo., left him missing a vehicle he had loved and cared for since he was a teenager. “It’s gone everywhere with me since I was 16, said Vickery,” who bought the car for nearly $1,200 in 1980. “It’s basically spent two-thirds of my life with me.” “It’s not fixable,” he added regarding his crushed vehicle. “It’s gone. This … is ... gone.” Vickery estimates while he got the Firebird at a discount price, he spent as much as $40,000 restoring his prized possession over the years. “You just don’t see these ‘69 Firebirds. There’s not too many of them left,” he told the Post. Traffic blocked by spilled cash DETROIT, June 12 (UPI) – Detroit police said traffic in the southbound lanes of Interstate 75 was blocked when an armored truck dropped a bin and spilled cash all over the road. Police said money recovered from the 8:45 a.m. Thursday spill was being counted. Officers were unsure of whether they were able to retrieve all of the cash that was lose when the truck’s doors opened on the interstate, WDIV-TV, Detroit, reported Thursday. Investigators said they are probing the events that led to the truck’s doors opening on the highway.
12 June 2009
Worth Gone Wellington, June 12 NZPA – Embattled MP Richard Worth has resigned from Parliament, effective immediately. Dr Worth was asked to resign as a minister last week after it emerged that he was under police investigation over allegations of a sexual nature involving a Korean business woman. Prime Minister John Key had placed pressure on Dr Worth to resign saying yesterday that he was washing his hands of him. Dr Worth said today he considered his personal welfare and that of the National Party in making his decision to resign from Parliament. He released a statement, repeating he had not committed a crime and was confident he would be cleared of all allegations of criminal conduct. However, he said there were things he had done in his life that seemed “unwise”in retrospect. “My conscience is clear,”Dr Worth said. “It would be easy for me to be bitter about the avalanche of rumour and innuendo that has led me into making this decision which I regard as being in the best interests of my party.
“But it is impossible to defend oneself in the public and political arena against hearsay, character assassination and scuttlebutt.” A“campaign”had been run against him and had “Labour’s fingerprints all over it”, he said. “I went into politics to make a contribution to New Zealand.” He said he could make a greater contribution through business activities. “My wife and family stand behind me in this decision, as they have stood by me, together with our friends, in the past difficult weeks.” He had not talked publicly because the “whole episode has taken a toll on me personally”. Mr Key said Dr Worth’s resignation was“a sensible course of action in the circumstances”. “The decision gives the country an opportunity to move forward and focus on the issues that matter.” He was made aware of the resignation this afternoon and welcomed the next party list member Cam Calder. Police have contacted Dr Worth but it is not known if he had been interviewed by them yet.
Dr Worth said today he considered his personal welfare and that of the National Party in making his decision to resign from Parliament He said previously he was cooperating with their investigation. A second allegation was also made against Dr Worth by a member of the Labour Party. The woman involved, Neelam Choudary, alleged that between November and February, Dr Worth sent dozens of text messages, some sexually explicit, and called her numerous times. In a public statement she also said Dr Worth offered her jobs in his ministerial capacity. – NZPA
Jetstar has eyes on Whenuapai
Wellington, June 12 – Australian budget airline Jetstar is urging the New Zealand Government to open up Whenuapai air force base as a secondary airport for passenger jets servicing Auckland. Jetstar chief executive Bruce Buchanan said opening up defence bases near Auckland, Sydney, and Adelaide and would promote competition that could reduce charges at existing airports,The Australian reported. Mr Buchanan pointed to the impact of Avalon airport on Melbourne, and the Gold Coast on Brisbane, as examples of secondary airports having modified the way the major incumbents operated. “Competition is a wonderful driver of behaviour in the industry,”he said as Jetstar launched its New Zealand operations this week. Owned by Qantas, Jetstar yesterday started flying between Auckland,
Christchurch,Wellington and Queenstown, replacing Qantas flights. And rival Pacific Blue, the Christchurch-based subsidiary of Australian-based Virgin Blue, is introducing trans-Tasman flights from Queenstown, Dunedin, and Wellington. It also plans another six flights a week to Sydney and Brisbane“through another Australian airline”, which is expected to be Pacific Wings, using a leased B737 from Nauruan carrier Our Airline. Pacific Wings on Tuesday sought unlimited capacity for its proposed trans-Tasman flights. Mr Buchanan said opening up Whenuapai – on Auckland’s North Shore – and Richmond base near Sydney, and at Edinburgh in South Australia would change the competitive dynamics in those cities. His call came in the wake of Qantas chief execu-
tive Alan Joyce recently singling out Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne as having some of the highest operating margins in the world – his airline pays them $A700 ($NZ900) million a year in fees and charges the airline paid them. Earlier this year,Wellington-based infrastructure investor Infratil made a cryptic comment that it remains interested in “assisting” with Whenuapai Airport in Auckland. The air force was supposed to consolidate its operations at Ohakea but Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said in January the military will continue using Whenuapai. Infratil has told its investors that retention of a defence capability at Whenuapai makes sense, but it was a matter of ensuring that it was done in the most effective and efficient way. “Infratil remains interested in assisting,”it said. Infratil is an investor in both Auckland International Airport and Wellington Airport. Mr Mapp scrapped the previous government’s plans to move the Air Force from Whenuapai to Ohakea in the middle of the North Island, and rejected any suggestion it could become a civilian airport. “The base at Whenuapai is going to stay as an air force base and there will not be civil scheduled air services out of it,” he said.“That is an absolute commitment.” The Government has plans to upgrade the runway at Whenuapai, laid in 1940 at the same time as the Ohakea runway, which was recently ripped up and replaced at a cost of about $20 million.
Small towns losing petrol stations By Ian Wishart
Small independently owned Caltex service stations are being squeezed out of business in what some owners believe is a coordinated plan by the oil company Chevron to force motorists to use companyowned stations. Caltex stations in Kaikohe and Kaukapakapa have been hit, and TGIF Edition has been told of similar attempts to close stations at Glenbrook, Devonport and near Warkworth. In Kaikohe’s case, the nearest petrol station to the town will be 20 minutes drive away while the existing station undergoes refurbishment for a couple of months, while at Kaukapakapa the local Caltex operators have collected more than a thousand signatures in an attempt to convince Chevron not to close the station on June 30th.
The Kaukapakapa Caltex is currently the last service station ahead of a 50 kilometre stretch up to Wellsford on State Highway 16, now used as the alternative route to State Highway One. Kaukapakapa had been due to close briefly for renovations to its fuel tanks, but the owners have now been advised Chevron will not be installing new tanks because the independent operator can’t get a 15 year lease on the site. Instead, Caltex customers are being directed to a planned company-owned facility at Waimauku, 22 kilometres south of Kaukapakapa. For small towns that may only have one service station, the closures are a blow, and are expected to be a large inconvenience to both locals and highway travelers. A request for comment from Chevron was not answered by publication deadlines.
12 June 2009
Hero: No hard feelings Wellington, June 12 – The civilian shot by gunman Jan Molenaar during a siege in Napier last month has spoken publicly for the first time. Molenaar fatally shot Senior Constable Len Snee and critically injured Senior Constables Bruce Miller and Grant Diver. He also shot Leonard Holmwood, a friend and neighbour, when he went to the aid of the officers. All three have now been released from hospital. Mr Holmwood has been hailed a hero, which he today described as“humbling”. “A gun being turned on unarmed people – I just couldn’t allow it, it wasn’t right,”he told One News from Napier’s Maraenui Golf Club. He was shot in the thigh and is not ready for a round of golf yet. “The bullet actually shattered my hip and made
a couple of large exit wounds...they call me halfassed now because I’ve only got half a cheek,” Mr Holmwood said. The day of the shootings he had been having a cup of coffee with Molenaar, who had been his landlord. “I still got no real animosity towards him,” he said. “Things happen and people lose their cool.” The club, where Miller is a senior club champion, today held a “heroes”fundraising tournament. It was expected to raise about $30,000, with proceeds going to the three survivors and the family of Mr Snee. Molenaar holed himself up in his house in Napier Hill before taking his own life.
being visited by extended family and remained at home.” A ward at Auckland City Hospital, where a nurse who had swine flu worked, remained closed to new patients today. Five patients in the renal ward were still in quarantine with restricted visiting, hospital chief medical officer Dr David Sage said. “Three patients in the ward have developed fever and swabs have been taken. “They’ve been treated with Tamiflu and we’re watching expectantly there for the development of flu, which hasn’t been shown just yet.” Nineteen staff who had come into contact with the nurse had not developed symptoms. They would be able to return to work after they finished their 72-hour quarantine tonight, Dr Sage said. There are 25 probable cases of swine flu in New Zealand, up from 10 yesterday. Health MinisterTony Ryall said today the pandemic could last up to two years and see 30 percent of the population – around a million people – infected.
Health Minister Tony Ryall said today the pandemic could last up to two years and see 30 percent of the population – around a million people – infected
The World Health Organization (WHO) is treating swine flu as a pandemic phase 6 – the highest phase – which means there is global spread of the virus, but it does not mean the disease is severe. Worldwide, 74 countries had officially reported 28,774 cases of swine flu influenza A (H1N1), including 144 deaths. Australia had this afternoon reported 1336 cases. – NZPA Back to the front page
NZ researcher finds possible ‘super volcano’ Wellington, June 12 – A New Zealand geologist has triggered concerns about the possibility of another American “super-volcano” building under Mount St Helens in Washington State. GNS scientist Graham Hill has found big, connected channels of semi-molten rock beneath the southern Washington mountain, which killed 57 people when it erupted in 1980,New Scientist magazine reported. The discovery has revealed what may be an extraordinarily large zone of semi-molten rock,which would be capable of feeding a giant eruption. The New Zealander led a team that set up sensors around Mount St Helens and found a column of conductive material that extends downward from the volcano.About 15 kilometres below the surface, the relatively narrow column appears to connect to a huge zone of conductive material. This larger zone was first identified in the 1980s by another survey, and was found to extend all the way to beneath Mount Rainier 70km to the northeast, and Mount Adams 50km to the east. It was thought to be a zone of wet sediment, water being a good electrical conductor. But because the new measurements showed an apparent conduit connecting this conductive zone to Mount St Helens, Dr Hill now thought the conductive material was more likely to be a semimolten mixture. Its conductivity was not high enough for it to be pure magma, so it was more likely to be a mixture of
after the trial to say there was no forensic evidence against Robin Bain. So they don’t publish it, and then say ‘there wasn’t any’! “In the judge’s summing up all of this stuff was listed, this is the incredible thing.And they had the cheek to go around all this week saying the innuendo of incest ‘which was not proven’ was all there was that created doubt in the jury’s minds. It’s just incredible!,”lamented Karam. Karam’s broadside against the news media came amid fresh allegations that the Bain legal team had offered a plea bargain confessing to Robin Bain’s murder but not the rest of the family. “The family of Bains who got the money, and the cops in Dunedin, are in panic stations and they’re trying every form of counter attack they can.There was no plea bargain. None was offered by the Crown, none was offered by us.” Karam suspects an email sent to the news media
and purporting to have originated from information provided by the police appears to be a dirty tricks campaign. He says there would have been no upside for David Bain to confessing only to his father’s murder in a plea bargain, as the penalty for one murder or five would have been identical. “There was no plea bargain, and the forensic evidence showed Robin Bain killed himself,” said Karam. “Forever now there will be 10 or 20 or 30% of New Zealanders – who knows what the figure is – who will always want to spread the story that David Bain’s as guilty as sin on the basis of one thing or another, and you won’t change their minds! It won’t matter what happens, their minds will never be changed. So what the hell do you do? David knows that, I know that, but what do you do? “This is the biggest beat-up of all time.” Back to the front page
solid and molten rock, he said. But Oregon State University expert Gary Egbert, who not a member of the research team, told the Oregon Public Broadcasting Service that he would be more cautious. “It seems likely that there’s some partial melt down there,”given that it is a volcanic area, he says. “But part of the conductivity is probably just water.” If the structure beneath the three volcanoes is a vast bubble of partially molten rock, it would be comparable in size to the biggest magma chambers ever discovered, such as the one below Yellowstone National Park. Every few hundred thousand years, such chambers can erupt as so-called supervolcanoes – the one below Yellowstone did about 640,000 years ago. These enormous eruptions can spew enough sunlight-blocking ash into the atmosphere to cool the global climate by several degrees celsius. Asked whether Mount St Helens could erupt like this, Dr Hill said:“A really big, big eruption is possible if it is one of those big systems like Yellowstone. “I don’t think it will be tomorrow, but I couldn’t try to predict when it would happen.” He said further measurements probing the structure of the crust beneath the other volcanoes in the area could help determine if the zone connects to them all. – NZPA
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12 June 2009
Smile, sucker, you’re on candid camera Wellington, June 12 – Police say they have a suspect for a series of arsons in Palmerston North. They released today images from CCTV footage showing the man starting one of the seven blazes around the city in the past week. The man is seen lighting a fire at the Esplanade Cafe early on Wednesday morning. He is described as having short cropped hair and wearing a jacket with reflective strips on the shoulders. He was also carrying a bag on his back. Police said it was possible the arsonist used a bike or walked to get to the sites of the fires, though a car could not be ruled out. They appealed to anyone recognising the man or seeing someone fitting his description to come forward.
Four fires were lit on Sunday between 7.50pm and 11.25pm in an area spanning 3km. There were fires in a skip at Skoglund Park, a caretaker’s shed at Terrace End School, a construction site by the Leisure Plex on Railway Rd and a tractor shed at Freyberg School. The tractor shed contained a van used to transport children with disabilities. Three fires were lit before 3.20am on Thursday at a cafe on the Esplanade, a takeaway and dairy on Cook St and the Farmers construction site on the corner of Church Street and Ashley Street. The sites were less than 2km apart. An eighth fire early Monday morning at Taonui Road is not now thought to be linked. – NZPA
NZ dollar consolidates Wellington, June 12 – The New Zealand dollar traded in a relatively narrow range in its domestic session today. The currency climbed to its highest level in more than a week on Thursday night as the United States currency fell broadly, and in reaction to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s Monetary Policy Statement. The central bank left the official cash rate unchanged at 2.5 percent but monetary conditions tightened as traders anticipated a recovery that implies higher interest rates. By 5pm the NZ dollar was buying US64.25c from US63.72c at the same time yesterday. ANZ Institutional Bank chief foreign exchange dealer Murray Hindley said the currency traded between US64.65c and US64.30c for most of its domestic session. “It was quite a narrow range given it moved two cents in the last 24 hours,”he said.
Next week the domestic economic news agenda is light but there is key economic data due in the United States. ANZ bank said that while not much could be done about a US dollar that remained out of favour and was pushing the NZ dollar up by default, that was not the full story. Commodity prices were rising again around the globe as the green shoots thesis dominated sentiment,ANZ said. “But unfortunately for New Zealand, the strongly rising commodities are generally not the ones that NZ exports.” The NZ dollar was up to 0.4565 euro at 5pm from 0.4535 yesterday, and up to 62.92 yen from 62.32. Against the Australian dollar the NZ dollar was A78.95c from A78.55c. The trade weighted index rose to 60.62 from 60.20. – NZPA
Supporters attempt to hide the identity of one of nine people facing manslaughter charges in the Lower Hutt District Court following a makatu, or Maori curse-lifting ceremony which claimed the life of Janet Moses. NZPA / Ross Setford.
Curse Trial verdicts: 5 guilty Wellington, June 12 – Five of the eight people accused of manslaughter over the drowning of a mother-of-two during a ceremony to lift a curse have been found guilty. Wainuiomata mother Janet Moses, 22, died on October 12, 2007, after attempts to lift a makutu, or curse, on her. The eight people accused of killing her were all members of her whanau. The people found guilty were: John Tahana Rawiri, 49; Tanginoa Apanui, 42; Angela Orupe, 36; Aroha Gwendoline Wharepapa, 48; and Glenys Lynette Wright, 52. Not guilty were Hall Jones Wharepapa, 46; Gaylene Tangiohororere Kepa, 44; and Alfred Hughes Kepa, 48. A ninth defendant, Georgina Rawiri, was discharged on Wednesday after Justice Simon France said there was not enough evidence to charge her. A man and woman with permanent name suppression who denied wilful cruelty towards a 14-
year-old girl during the makutu have been found not guilty. The five people found guilty were remanded on bail for sentencing on August 14. As the verdicts were read out in court, family and supporters openly wept. Amid chaos outside the courtroom, people were shouting and wailing, and there was hostility towards media and lawyers. The jury returned its verdicts just after 10pm, after about 17 hours of deliberation. It returned to the courtroom briefly this morning to ask for clarification on the charges faced by the pair accused of ill-treatment of the child. During the five-week-long trial, the court was told the family believed Ms Moses had been possessed by demons after two family members stole a concrete lion statue from a hotel in Greytown, in the Wairarapa. The family performed an exorcism on Ms Moses on October 12, forcing water into her mouth and eyes to flush out demons and lift the makutu. – NZPA
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12 June 2009
“New Zealand – all but defenceless” By Mark Steyn
What does a nuclear madman have to do to get America’s attention? On Memorial Day, the North Koreans detonated“an underground atomic device many times more powerful than the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki,”as my old colleagues at the Irish Times put it.You’d think that would rate something higher than “World News in Brief, see foot of Page 37.“ But instead,Washington was consumed by the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who apparently has a “compelling personal story.” Doesn’t Kim Jong-il have a compelling personal story? Like Judge Sotomayor, he grew up in a poor neighborhood (North Korea), yet he has managed to become a nuclear power, shattering the glass ceiling to take his seat at the old nuclear boys club. Isn’t that an inspiring narrative? Once upon a time, you had to be a great power, one of the Big Five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, to sit at the nuclear table:America, Britain, France, Russia, China, the old sons of power and privilege. But now the mentally unstable scion of an impoverished no-account backwater with a gross domestic product lower than Zimbabwe’s has joined their ranks: Celebrate diversity! Evidently, some compelling personal stories are more compelling than others. In The Washington Post, Stephen Stromberg argued that Mr. Kim’s decision to drop the Big One on a three-day weekend was evidence of his appalling news judgment. Other blase observers shrug that it’s become an American holiday tradition. It began when Pyongyang staged the first of its holiday provocations on the Fourth of July 2006, and, amidst all the other fireworks displays, America barely noticed. No doubt there’ll be another Hiroshima on Labor Day or Thanksgiving. Geez, doesn’t the hick in the presidential palace get it? There’s no point launching nukes when everyone’s barbecuing chicken or watching football. Well, you never know: Maybe we’re the ones being parochial. If you’re American, it’s natural to assume the North Korean problem is about North Korea, just like the Iraq war is about Iraq. But they’re not. If you’re starving to death in Pyongyang, North Korea is about North Korea. For everyone else, North Korea and Iraq, and Afghanistan and Iran, are about America: American will, American purpose,American credibility. The rest of the world doesn’t observe Memorial Day. But it understands the crude symbolism of a rogue nuclear test staged on the day designated to honour American war dead and greeted with only half-hearted pro-forma diplomatese from Washington. Pyongyang’s actions were “a matter of” – Drumroll please! –“grave concern,”the president declared. Furthermore, if North Korea carries on like this, it will – wait for it –“not find international acceptance.”As the comedian Andy Borowitz put it, “President Obama said that the United States was prepared to respond to the threat with ‘the strongest possible adjectives.’ Later in the day, Defense Secretary Robert Gates called the North Korean nuclear test ‘supercilious and jejune.’“ The president’s general line on the geopolitical big picture is: I don’t need this in my life right now. He’s a domestic transformationalist, working overtime – via the banks, the automobile industry, health care, etc – to advance statism’s death grip on American dynamism. His principal interest in the rest of the world is that he doesn’t want anyone nuking America before he’s finished turning it into a socialist basket case. This isn’t simply a matter of priorities. A U.S. government currently borrowing 50 cents for every dollar it spends cannot afford its global role, and thus the Obama cuts to missile defense and other programs have a kind of logic:You can’t be Scandinavia writ large with a U.S.-sized military. Out there in the chancelleries and presidential palaces, they’re beginning to get the message.
The life and times of Richard Worth By Kate Chapman of NZPA
The regime in Pyongyang is not merely trying to “provoke”America but demonstrating to potential clients that you can do so with impunity. A blackmarket economy reliant on exports of heroin, sex slaves and knockoff Viagra is attempting to supersize its business model and turn itself into a nuclear Wal-Mart. Among the distinguished guests present for North Korea’s October 2006 test were representatives of the Iranian government. Former President George W. Bush was much mocked for yoking the two nations together in his now all-but-forgotten “axis of evil”speech, but the Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung reported a few weeks ago that the North Korean-built (and Israeli-bombed) plutonium-production facility in Syria was paid for by Tehran. How many other Iranian clients are getting nuclear subsidies? It would be interesting to learn who was on the observation deck for the Memorial Day Hiroshima re-enactment, but North Korea is one of the most closed societies on the face of the Earth, certainly when compared with the more closely scrutinized corners of the Middle East. In other words, it’s the perfect partner for any state that wants to pursue certain projects under the Western radar screen. It is remarkable how the world has adjusted in just five years to the inevitability of a nuclear North Korea and a nuclear Iran. Nudge it on another halfdecade: Whose nuclear ambitions will be unstoppable by 2015? Syria’s? Sudan’s? Those of selected fiefdoms in Somalia? Mr. Obama came to power pledging to talk to America’s enemies anywhere,anytime.Alas for America’s speak-softly-and-carry-a-big-teleprompter diplomacy, there are no takers for his photo-ops. In the ever-more-pitiful straw-clutching of the
State Department, America is said to be banking on a post-Kim era. He apparently has had a bad stroke and might be dead within a decade or three. So what? It’s a safe bet that whoever emerges from a power struggle between the family, the party and the military is committed to nuclearization as the principal rationale of the state. Likewise, in Iran’s imminent election, both “extremists” and “moderates” are pro-nuke. You want an Iranian moderate? Here’s Hashemi Rafsanjani, the moderate who lost to crazy Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the last time: He called Israel “the most hideous occurrence in history,”which the Muslim world “will vomit out from its midst” with “a single atomic bomb.”Nuking the “Zionist entity”is as bipartisan as motherhood and apple pie. More to the point, the feeble bleatings from the State Department that there may be internal change down the road emphasize the central feature of the present scene – the absence of meaningful American power.While America laughed at North Korea, Iran used it as a stalking horse, a useful guide as to the parameters of belligerence and quiescence within which a nuclearizing rogue state could operate. In what Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post calls “the post-American world,”other nations will follow that model. We are building a world in which the wealthiest nations on the planet, from Norway to New Zealand, are all but defenseless, while bankrupt dysfunctional squats go nuclear. Even with inevitable and generous submissions to nuclear blackmail, how long do you think that arrangement will last? In the formulation of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, we are on the brink of“man-caused disaster.” Mark Steyn is the author of the New York Times best-seller America Alone. SUBSCRIBE TO TGIF!
Wellington, June 12 – From the lofty highs of an unsanctioned camel ride National’s Richard Worth has fallen into the midst of a police investigation which saw him today resign as a member of parliament. Dr Worth first entered Parliament as the MP for Epsom in 1999. He won the seat again in 2002 but was toppled by Rodney Hide in 2005 and returned as a list MP. Dr Worth stood again in the Epsom electorate last year but did not make any real effort on the campaign – though both ACT and National denied making a deal to see Mr Hide safely win the seat. Over the last 10 years Dr Worth has been a declining force in the National Party. When he entered for National in 1999 he was a top lawyer, a partner and later chairman for Simpson Grierson, with experience in international affairs and business and a PhD from RMIT University in Melbourne. He was the Consul for Colombia for six years and Monaco for eight. In addition, he is a former president of the Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association and former chairman of the India Trade Group and Korea New Zealand Business Council. Dr Worth, a former navy captain, was appointed an Officer of the British Empire (Military Division) and made a knight in the Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem for his work with the order. He was understood to have been promised the Speaker’s job if National won in 2005. They lost. In 2008 he was appointed as a minister outside Cabinet. Until recently he was Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister for Land Information, Minister Responsible for the National Library and Archives New Zealand and Associate Minister of Justice. In 2002, Dr Worth garnered attention when he chose to take a camel ride, visit the pyramids, and shop at a market rather then attend a service to honour the Maori Battalion during an official trip to Egypt. Soon after he returned to New Zealand he quit as a director of Prada America’s Cup (NZ) Limited because of suggestions it was disloyal for an MP to be linked to a challenging syndicate. He said at the time he became a Prada board member before the previous Cup, when he was not an MP. More recently Dr Worth was in trouble after he went to India on a private visit and promoted an aviation company in which he held shares and a directorship. He resigned the directorship and sold the shares. It was also reported that a company Dr Worth held shares in had links with another company which was investigated by the Serious Fraud Office. On June 3 Dr Worth resigned from his ministerial responsibilities. It was seen as only a matter of time until he resigned completely following comments from the Prime Minister yesterday that he had wiped his hands of Dr Worth. Dr Worth said he would now be focusing on his business activities and helping New Zealand win international trade. Dr Worth and his wife, Lynne, have one adult daughter. His profile on the National Party website lists his hobbies as mountain climbing, Bollywood films, Korean classical music and the early works of Sun Tzu. He may have more time for these pursuits. – NZPA
12 June 2009
A house of cards By Stefan Nicola
BERLIN – The European Parliament is becoming more conservative after the biggest elections in European history. Voters across 27 EU countries handed centreright parties 263 seats, the most in the 736-member Parliament. Centre-left parties won 161 seats, the Liberals/Democrats 80 seats and the Greens 52 seats, with the remainder going to smaller parties. Centre-left groupings had campaigned against turbo-capitalism and cutbacks of the social welfare state in times of a global economic crisis with high unemployment – generally considered to be socialistfriendly. But centre-left parties still lost ground. “The European Socialist movement has lost its main flagship – a social Europe,”Jan Techau,Europe expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations,or DGAP, a Berlin-based think tank, told United Press International in a telephone interview this week. “However,the voter shifts won’t significantly change day-to-day work in the Parliament,”Techau added.
Centre-right and centre-left parties still form the central axis of the Parliament. All major parties suffered because of a record-low turnout.Only 43.5 percent of the 375 million Europeans eligible to vote went to the ballot boxes.Experts say this is due to the parties’failure to motivate their supporters and a generally low profile of the European Parliament among the public.“People here don’t have the feeling they can influence Europe by voting on its parliamentarians,”Techau said. “A large majority of Europeans say Europe is a good thing, but they are unhappy with the level of participation,”he said. Those who did show up in elections held Thursday through Sunday favored conservative parties. Voters handed Britain’s Labour Party its worst election results in a century, and in Spain, the ruling Socialist Party was trumped by a centre-right group, further increasing the pressure on Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero as he battles Europe’s highest unemployment with waning support from the Parliament.
In Germany, the ruling Social Democrats, or SPD, lost catastrophically to their coalition partner, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Conservatives. Observers say this should give Merkel a boost ahead of this September’s national elections, in which she faces off against SPD Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The notable exceptions were Greece, where voters punished the ruling conservative party for a series of corruption scandals and a rapidly deteriorating economy, and Latvia, where voters turned to ethnic Russian centre-left parties, hoping they can stop the country’s economic downward spiral. “In the EU’s new members across Central and Eastern Europe, there is a notable shift toward conservativism,”Marie-Lena May, Eastern Europe expert at the DGAP, told UPI. In Bulgaria, the governing Socialists lost to the country’s biggest centre-right opposition party ahead of national elections later this year; the same happened in the Czech Republic. In Poland, voters back the country’s centre-right
forces, and in Hungary, results reflected the political instability:The governing Socialist Party won four seats, and the main centre-right opposition party, Fidesz, 14. “In Hungary, the financial crisis has caused a political shift to the right,”May said, adding that the development there should be closely watched. Hungary is the region’s most unstable country and could even see mass demonstrations, she told UPI. May said several parties across the region had campaigned with populist, anti-EU messages to attract protest voters.An effective strategy, it turned out, as many of the moderate voters could not be convinced to cast their ballots. Only one in four Polish headed to the polls, with the region’s best turnout in Bulgaria, at 38 percent – a figure still considerably lower than the EU-wide average of 43 percent. In Hungary, for example, the far-right Jobbik Party won three seats. But populism scored points in Western Europe as well. In the Netherlands, the anti-Islam group led by populist Geert Wilders won 15 percent of the vote to snatch the country’s second-strongest result; the Austrian far-right Freedom Party doubled its vote to 13 percent compared with the previous election in 2004, and in Denmark, the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party also won considerably. In Italy, a party within Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition known for its anti-immigration policies made gains with 10 percent of the vote. Berlusconi’s conservative Freedom Party lost a bit but still came out on top of the country, despite criticism for Berlusconi’s economic recovery course and a series of scandals involving young women. Voters not only slapped the British Labour Party by handing it just 15.7 percent of the vote, which was far behind the Conservatives.They even favoured the U.K. Independence Party, whose sole purpose is to eject Britain from the EU and free it from climate change hysteria, and, for the first time ever, heaved into the European Parliament the farright British National Party – a disastrous week for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. “The situation in Europe is the real test for Europe,”Techau told UPI. “If Gordon Brown succumbs to ever-louder calls for his resignation, then David Cameron, from the Conservatives, will likely take the helm of government. If Cameron follows through with his pledge to unlace the Lisbon Treaty, then this could endanger the treaty in Poland and the Czech Republic,” Techau said. Right now, everything is possible, even the failure of Lisbon, he said. – UPI
On Israeli settlements, Obama echoes his predecessors By Joel Brinkley McClatchy-Tribune News Service
It’s a familiar story:An exceedingly popular president with a strong electoral mandate decides soon after taking office that, to advance Middle East peace efforts, he must push Israel to freeze construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. “The most significant action Israel could take to demonstrate good faith,”the president says,“would be a settlement freeze.” As soon as he voices the idea, Israel’s prime minister publicly refuses. Within weeks, reporters discover that settlers are putting up even more new West Bank homes, in defiance of the president’s request.The White House expresses irritation, and the matter passes. The episode just described took place in 1983,early in the Reagan administration. But look at the early years of almost any administration over the last 30 years,and you’ll discover a similar effort – and similar disappointing results. President Jimmy Carter was an outspoken critic of settlements.Shortly after leaving office,he declared:“Settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace.”At that time, 23,000 Israeli Jews lived in West Bank settlements.
Now it’s President Obama’s turn.“The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements,” Obama told an appreciative audience in Cairo last week.“The construction violates previous agreements.” Well, Mr. President, I wish you luck.You’ll need it. Why can’t the president of the United States, who authorizes an annual gift to Israel of at least $3 billion, persuade any Israeli government – left, right or centrist – to stop building settlements? The settlements violate international law, and Israel has agreed, more than once, to freeze settlement growth.The European Union, the United Nations and many other individual states have all inveighed against settlements. No other nation anywhere in the world endorses Israel’s settlement policy. In fact, the majority of Israelis disapprove of continued settlement expansion.And so it has always been. After Reagan left office, President George H.W. Bush made settlement expansion his signature issue with Israel.At that time, tens of thousands of Soviet Jews were emigrating to Israel, and Jerusalem asked Washington for a $10 billion housing loan. Bush said repeatedly that Israel would not get the money until it froze settlements.But the prime minister then,Yitzhak Shamir, didn’t even seem troubled.
“Settlement in every part of the country continues and will continue,” Shamir said with his characteristic nonchalant shrug.“They try to link the two things, but no one said aid will end. I don’t think it will happen.”And he was right. Bush finally relented, late in the 1992 election campaign, when the president saw he had so angered American Jews and their political allies that he could lose the election.And, of course, he did. Soon after President Bill Clinton took office, in 1993,he cut the loan guarantee for that year by almost 25 percent – because Israel was once again refusing to halt new settlement construction. By then, 10 years after Reagan’s effort, 112,000 Israeli Jews lived in the West Bank.After the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993, Israel more or less stopped building new settlements but aggressively expanded existing ones. President George W. Bush, chastened by his father’s loss to Clinton in 1992, chose not to make much of the settlement issue. The White House called the settlements“unhelpful,”and its“road map” for peace called for a settlement freeze. But when Bush took office 177,000 Israeli Jews lived in the West Bank.When he left, the number approached 300,000. Earlier this month, President Obama said“part of
being a good friend is being honest”with Israel.Well, I would argue that President Carter was honest. So were Reagan, Bush and Clinton. On the settlement issue it did no good. A week or so ago,TV news recorded Israeli security officers tearing down an illegal settlement outpost in the West Bank.That tape got a lot of air play. No one was there with a camera that same evening, NPR reported, when settlers came back and put up even more buildings. Perhaps President Obama will be able to do what none of his predecessors have. Maybe he can persuade Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to freeze settlements – and to make peace with the Palestinians. Maybe, though I doubt it. The political costs of following through are too high, and the Israelis know that. Obama does at least seem to be aware of the risks.Asked last week what the president might do if Israel ignored his request, a White House official pointedly noted that holding back loan guarantees “is not under discussion.” Joel Brinkley is a former Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for The New York Times and now a professor of journalism at Stanford University. Readers may send him e-mail at: brinkley@ foreign-matters.com
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UN tells off North Korea over nukes New York (dpa) – United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday criticized North Korea for pursuing its nuclear ambitions and hampering the global campaign for nuclear disarmament. Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, said the nuclear test conducted by North Korea in May and subsequent launches of ballistic missiles ran counter to disarmament. “It hampers the efforts of the international community, the United States and Russia, which have started their nuclear disarmament,” Ban said. The US and Russia have begun a new round of talks towards a fresh agreement, replacing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty adopted by the Soviet Union and the US during the Cold War. “All the actions taken by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea run counter to, not only UN Security Council resolutions, but also the ongoing international community’s efforts (at disarmament),” Ban said. The 15-nation council is discussing a new resolution containing tougher measures aimed at stopping Pyongyang’s imports of weapons, military equipment and nuclear technology and its exports of arms and nuclear products to other countries. The council’s five permanent members – the US, Russia, France, Britain and China – have agreed on interdictions of cargo, being transported by sea or air, suspected to be carrying prohibited weapons and nuclear materials to and from North Korea. The council has not decided when it would vote on the draft resolution worked out by the five permanent members plus Japan and South Korea. Abortion bills progress in Arizona Senate PHOENIX, June 12 (UPI) – Legislation that would restrict abortions has advanced in the Arizona Legislature amid tacit support from anti-abortion Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. The Arizona Republic reports today that the two bills have been recommended for passage by the Senate Public Safety and Human Services Committee. The bills that would require a 24-hour waiting period for abortions and would increase penalties for performing late-term abortions. “It’s safe to say that the governor has a very consistent pro-life track record, both in the Legislature and her other elected offices,” Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman said. The newspaper noted that Brewer’s predecessor, former Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano, vetoed the nine anti-abortion bills that came before her. “Poll after poll shows the strong majority of Americans support these types of provisions,” said Cathi Herrod, president of the conservative Center for Arizona Policy. “It’s intended to empower women by making sure they have full and adequate information before they make that decision.” Herrod said 30 states have some requirement to inform women about abortion risks and alternatives to the procedure. Chastity Bono undergoing sex change LOS ANGELES, June 12 (UPI) – Chastity Bono’s publicist has confirmed the U.S. gay-rights activist and author is undergoing gender reassignment surgery. Bono, 40, is the biological daughter of entertainers Cher and the late Sonny Bono. “Yes, it’s true – Chaz, after many years of consideration, has made the courageous decision to honour his true identity,” Chastity’s representative Howard Bragman said in a statement issued to Usmagazine.com today. “He is proud of his decision and grateful for the support and respect that has already been shown by his loved ones. It is Chaz’s hope that his choice to transition will open the hearts and minds of the public regarding this issue, just as his ‘coming out’ did nearly 20 years ago. We ask that the media respect Chaz’s privacy during this long process as he will not be doing any interviews at this time.”
12 June 2009
Pandemic, yes, panic, no, says WHO Geneva – In light of the spread of A(H1N1) influ- has primarily affected younger people. Pregnant enza, commonly known as swine flu,World Health woman, Chan said, should be on particular alert. The latest information indicated there were susOrganization Director General Margaret Chan raised the pandemic influenza alert system to its tained community spreads in areas outside of North America, the epicentre of the virus. Most notably, highest level, Phase 6, this morning in Geneva. Phase 6, the WHO said, means the virus,A(H1N1) Australia has recently seen a large surge in cases. influenza, was spreading rapidly across the globe However, the virus was not mutating. Community spread would mean people who had and was a “pandemic.” “The scientific criteria for an influenza pandemic no direct sustained contact with an infected person, have been met,”Chan said, adding “I have decided, or heavy affected areas, where becoming sick. Given that the virus would continue to spread, therefore,to raise the influenza pandemic alert from the WHO’s top officials were of the opinion that the phase 5 to phase 6.” Marie-Paul Kieny, the agency’s expert on vac- Phase 6 level for swine flu could remain in effect for cines, said she expected a vaccine against the swine one or two years. Chan noted that this was flu to be ready in September. the first time there were two “When enough evidence is However, in new viruses infecting people available in the coming weeks, a twist from at the same time. Bird flu, we will make policy recomtechnically known as H5N1, mendations for which groups the more standard still in existence, though should receive”the first doses, seasonal flu, which islargely contained. The WHO she noted. The WHO was in maintains its Phase 3 alert for contact and consulting with generally hits that disease. vaccine manufacturers. the elderly and The swine flu pandemic Also, the drugs already is the first flu pandemic in available on the market more vulnerable over 40 years. Nearly 30,000 against regular influenza segments of cases have been reported to have been effective for those the population, the WHO from 74 countries, infected with swine flu. with 141 infections proving If the virus continued to swine flu has be fatal. spread for several months, primarily affected to The WHO said that, due to people would begin to develop warning mechanisms and preimmunity and the disease younger people paredness plans that were put could “become much more like a regular seasonal virus,” said Keiji Fukuda, in place earlier this decade, the current virus was being watched more closely than any other disease the WHO’s chief of health security. For the time being though, Chan said,“further spread in the past. “We are all in this together and we will all get spread is considered inevitable,” adding that the through this together,”Chan reassured, calling on nature of the virus could change in the future. But she said there should be “no restrictions on wealthy countries to aid those with lesser resources. “It is prudent to anticipate a bleaker picture as travel and no border closures.”Chan also said govthe virus spreads to areas with limited resources, ernments should not impose trade bans. Fukuda later added it was important for people poor health care and a high prevalence of underlying medical problems,”the WHO chief said. “not to get overly anxious.” As the southern hemisphere, home to many low“This is one of those things that it is good for people to know about. But it is really good for the income communities, entered into its winter and flu average person to take it in perspective,”he added. season, the WHO was calling for health authorities Regarding severity, Chan said the“overwhelming to remain vigilant. In countries affected by swine flu that were majority of patients experience mild symptoms and already past their peak flu season, Chan said they make a rapid recovery.” However, in a twist from the more standard sea- should “prepare for a second wave of infections,” sonal flu, which generally hits the elderly and more down the line. – DPA vulnerable segments of the population, swine flu
Global outbreak The World Health Organization raised the alert level for swine flu from a phase five to a phase six, the highest pandemic phase.
1 No viruses circulating among animals have caused infections in humans
2 Virus among animals has caused infections in humans; considered a threat
3 Animal virus or animal-human virus causes some cases or small clusters of flu; doesn’t spread easily
4 Human-to-human transmission of flu causes sustained outbreaks in a community
5 Flu spreads to at least two countries, causing bigger outbreaks
6 More outbreaks in at least two world regions; pandemic under way
© 2009 MCT Source: World Health Organization, AP Graphic: Lee Hulteng, Judy Treible
Two-state solution on cards Jerusalem/Ramallah – The European Union’s top diplomat Javier Solana said today in Jerusalem he expects to hear a commitment to the “two-state solution”in an upcoming speech that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to give in Tel Aviv. “I expect the commitment of the Israeli government to the two-state solution in the question regarding the Israeli settlements in the occupied West-Bank”, Solana said. “This is what we expect to hear and I am sure that we will hear something of this nature,”Solana said during a visit to Jerusalem. He met with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Defence Minister Ehud Barak and opposition leader Tzipi Livni. Netanyahu is expected to present his government’s foreign policy and security and peace policies in a speech on Sunday. Peres told Solana that Israel and the US should move on to the second stage of the road map for peace and establish a Palestinian state with provisional borders that would become permanent“in a short span of time,”the Jerusalem Post reported. He also met with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah. Fayyad told reporters he insisted on “the need to implement the road map”, an internationally sponsored plan which calls both parties to take a
Netanyahu is expected to present his government’s foreign policy and security and peace policies in a speech on Sunday
series of steps ending with the establishment of a Palestinian state. Solana insisted that the EU position about Jewish settlements “is very clear”and that settlement activities “should stop.” “I hope that with the help of our friends in the region, the US and the EU will be able to create a positive dynamic”for the peace process, Solana said,
noting the flurry of activity in the region, including elections in Lebanon and Iran. He will meet tonight with the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmud Abbas in Amman and the the Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat in Ramallah. Solana will also make a three-day visit to Lebanon and Egypt. – DPA
12 June 2009
88 year old killer charged
Investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation examine a bullet ridden door at the entrance to the Holocaust Memorial Museum. The museum remains closed today, one day after a gunman entered the building and shot and killed a security guard. Washington DC, USA - 11.06.09 / Carrie Devorah / WENN.com
Washington – An elderly white supremacist and anti-Semite who opened fire in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and killed a black security guard has been charged with murder and could face hate crime and civil rights charges, officials said today. A Federal Bureau of Investigation agent indicated the shooting had triggered a nationwide investigation to make sure the suspect had acted alone “on these very hallowed grounds of the Holocaust museum.” “It is very important that we send a message that this country does not authorize or approve any act that is attached to hatred in America,” said FBI agent Joseph Persechini. JamesW von Brunn,88 carrying a long rifle,entered the museum just blocks from the National Mall and Washington Monument shortly before 1 pm Wednesday local time and immediately fired at an armed security guard who had opened the door for him. The guard, Stephen Tyrone Johns, 39, an AfricanAmerican who had worked at the museum for six years, died of his injuries later at a local hospital.The museum remained closed today in his honour. Two other guards immediately opened fire on von Brunn in the museum lobby, leaving him in critical condition and in hospital. He is being charged with murder and possessing a weapon on federal government property, Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters. Museum chief of staff Bill Parsons said Johns and other security guards were trained not only to protect but also to “be caring.” “Stephen opened that door for the elderly man coming in,”Parsons said.“He was caring about him, and he opened the door, and he was shot.” “There’s no shortage of hate in the world.When it happens to your workplace, your colleagues, it gets very painful,”he said. Von Brunn has written numerous anti-Semitic articles posted online, including a book called Kill the Best Gentiles, which he calls“a new hard-hitting expose of the Jewish conspiracy to destroy the white gene pool.” The shooting was decried by groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Centre, which tracks hate groups, and the Anti-Defamation League, which works to combat anti-Semitism, among others. “Brunn’s evil attack, at the very place that was created to remember and teach about evil in the
world, is an immediate reminder that words of hate matter, that we can never afford to ignore hate because words of hate can easily become acts of hate, no matter the place, no matter the age of the hatemonger,” said Abraham H Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil liberties and advocacy group, yesterday condemned “this apparent bias-motivated attack” and said in a statement that it stands with the“Jewish community and with Americans of all faiths in repudiating the kind of hatred and intolerance that can lead to such disturbing incidents.” Von Brunn, on a website, claims to have served with the US military in World War II, worked for a NewYork advertising agency and belong to Mensa, the high-IQ society. The FBI was investigating his ties to hate groups, but stressed that he appeared to have acted alone. The FBI did not have an open investigation on von Brunn, but he was known to the bureau for his hateful speech, Persechini said. Pereschini noted the fine line that investigators walk between hate crime charges and protection of constitutional rights of expression. He said that“many of these individuals are totally aware of what you can or cannot say ...in crossing the line that would trigger a terrorist investigation.” The shooting at the museum activated a city-wide scramble to make sure it was not part of a broader terrorism attack on the capital, Lanier said. Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty noted the special nature of the violence at the Holocaust Museum, an institution that exists“because they are trying to recognize wrongs done in the past ... and make sure they’re not repeated.” Pereschini said that a search of von Brunn’s car parked outside the museum entrance turned up documents that contained names and addresses. FBI agents had contacted the people named in the documents to make sure there was no “potential threat”against them. The museum, funded by both private and government money, has had nearly 30 million visitors since its dedication in 1993 and works to increase awareness not only of the World War II Holocaust but of contemporary humanitarian issues such as the genocide in Darfur. – DPA
Black boxes may be ‘too deep’ Rio de Janeiro/Paris – The chances of finding the bodies ofall 228 people on board the Air France Airbus 330-200 that crashed last week off the Brazilian coast is“extremely remote,”Brazilian authorities stressed today. “Every moment that goes by makes it more difficult to find bodies, and the possibility of finding all those who were on the aircraft is extremely remote,” said Brigadier Ramon Cardoso, the head of Brazil’s Civil Aviation. A total of 41 bodies from the Airbus 330-200 have been recovered from the sea. Of these, 16 arrived this morning in the city of Recife, on the Brazilian mainland.Twelve others were on the Brazilian island Fernando de Noronha, near the crash site, while the remainder were being taken there in a Brazilian Navy ship. Earlier, the news website Folha Online said a French ship on Thursday reported seeing more bodies and portions of the wreckage of the plane that went missing on June 1. The aircraft is presumed to have fallen into the ocean some 1,300 kilometres from the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife. French authorities did not immediately say how many bodies were spotted despite the bad weather, and whether the operation to recover them was already underway. Cardoso said the search for bodies would continue until June 17. If efforts needed to go on after that date, Brazil
would seek further logistical support to expand the search until June 25.The decision on this matter was dependent on the number of bodies spotted in the water by that date. In the meantime, the first fragments of the airliner arrived Thursday in the northeastern Brazilian city of Natal. Cardoso stressed that there was still a “relatively small”number of them. “We have many pieces of the aircraft that are being found, but I would not be able to say how many seats, for example,”he said. Beyond the bodies, the search was focusing on finding the plane’s flight recorders, crucial to determining the cause of the accident. The airliner had been travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris when it went missing from radar screens. Air France chief Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said today in Paris that the chances of recovering the black boxes were slim. “It would be quite an accomplishment if the flight data recorders were recovered,” Gourgeon told journalists, adding that the devices had never before been recovered from such ocean depths as is being attempted. Reports said the plane wreckage may be more than 4,800 metres deep.By comparison,in 2007 the black box of a Boeing 737 which crashed off Indonesia was recovered at a depth of about 1,500 metres. Investigators into the crash consider the black
Rescue workers with one of the recovered bodies. MaxPPP
boxes, a cockpit voice recorder and a flight data recorder, essential to finding the cause of the accident, which killed 228 people. But much will also be learned about the circumstances of the crash from the autopsies of the victims, Gourgeon said. We will know a great deal more when the autopsies clarify the technical reason of their deaths, if I can put it that way,”he said. The fragments from the airplane will also yield important information about what caused the accident.
Investigators and French media have seized on the malfunction of the aircraft’s airspeed sensors,known as Pitot tubes, as a possible reason for the disaster. But Gourgeon said he was “not convinced that the sensors are the reason for the crash.” Blocked or frozen Pitot tubes can lead to contradictory airspeed indications, preventing pilots from taking correct decisions.The doomed aircraft sent such inconsistent speed readings in the final minutes of its flight. – DPA
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12 June 2009
French coach no dreamer By Daniel Gilhooly of NZPA
Dunedin, June 12 – Anyone betting on France to maintain their charmed 15-yearly rugby record on New Zealand soil had best think again, according the tourists’coach Marc Lievremont. Doing everything he could to play down hopes the French can overthrow an injury-laden, underprepared All Blacks at Carisbrook tomorrow, Lievremont pointed to similar frailties in his own team, who are actually even less test-hardened. “There are some unknowns for both teams. We
also haven’t played together for a while, and there are many players away,” he told journalists today through an interpreter. “It will come back to the freshness of the players, how quickly the players come together. “Through history, teams from the northern hemisphere always struggle to come down here.” Those who give weight to superstition will point to France’s three only test wins in New Zealand in 21 attempts. There was the famous 24-19 Bastille Day triumph of 1979, followed 15 years later by the two-test clean sweep of 1994.
Another 15 years on and you get the impression former French flanker Lievremont isn’t one for star signs or fairytales. Since taking over from the long-serving Bernard Laporte 18 months ago, Lievremont has come under fire for a mixed record while attempting to adopt a more traditional and expansive style for the team. “Laporte was organised and he was winning.With us, we are disorganised and we are losing,”was his response when asked if he was taking his team in the right direction. France are paying $6.25 at the TAB to repeat the
outcome of their last meeting with New Zealand, the World Cup quarterfinal boilover of 2007 which was won largely through defence and tactical kicking. Undeterred, Lievremont hinted their approach will change and the All Blacks’ outside backs can expect to have to tackle more than in most of the recent meetings with his country. “Little by little we are changing,”he said. “With the diversity of French rugby, it is very hard to have common ground but it is a strong will for us to play enterprising, attacking rugby.” – NZPA
Ronaldo’s massive payday London – Manchester United have accepted an 80-million-pound (US$131.7 million) bid from Real Madrid for winger Cristiano Ronaldo. United today described the offer for the 24-yearold forward as unconditional and said they expected the matter to be concluded by June 30. Real Madrid said the club“hopes to reach a deal with the player in the forthcoming days.” A statement on United’s website said:“At Cristiano’s request – who has again expressed his desire to leave – and after discussion with the player’s representatives, United have agreed to give Real Madrid permission to talk to the player.” If the deal goes through, it would break the previous transfer record of around 67 million euros (59 million pounds/94.16 million dollars) set earlier this week as Brazilian forward Kaka moved from AC Milan to Madrid. There was mixed reaction among United fans and football observers in England to the move if it goes through. Prime Minister Gordon Brown was even drawn to comment on the impending transfer, telling the BBC:“He’s one of the most brilliant players in the world. I think people will be sad that he’s lost to the game in England. “At the same time, I know (United manager) Sir Alex Ferguson well, and I know he’ll have plans that will be rebuilding and renewing his team. “And I would expect that Manchester United and English football will emerge not weaker,but emerge in a new way and probably stronger in the long run.”
However Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe – a United fan – said the government was concerned about the sustainability of football in the wake of the impending world record transfer. “We saw Madrid spend 59 million pounds on Kaka from AC Milan just recently and that’s why we’ve written to the Premier League and to the Football Association – and we are concerned about the sustainability of the game,”he told the BBC. “They are big businesses now and this type of money is around but we’ve got to make sure that there’s a link and there’s a sustainability for this because we don’t want to see clubs go to the wall.” Manchester City boss Mark Hughes, a former United player, said Ferguson made the decision to let Real talk to Ronaldo because he believes the Premier League champions will emerge as a stronger force. “Obviously Manchester United feel it is good business for them,”he said. “Sir Alex Ferguson makes key decisions very quickly and I suspect he will have been very much involved in what has happened.” Hughes,whose club was interested in paying a worldrecord fee for Kaka,added:“There is a lot of money out there now, with some big clubs eager to spend it. It should make for an interesting market now.” With Florentino Perez back as president of Real Madrid, the Spanish club is reported to have up to 200 million euros to spend on a team capable of challenging the domestic and European domination of Barcelona.
According to Thursday’s Spanish sports daily Marca, which has strong connections Top 10 most expensive soccer transfers: with Perez, Cristiano Ronaldo Player Transfer cost (In millions) From to club (year) has agreed to a six-year con$131 Man. United Real Madrid (’09) Cristiano Ronaldo tract with Real worth around Kaka AC Milan Real Madrid (’09) $89* 9 million euros per season. This is approximately the Zinedine Zidane Juventus Real Madrid (’01) 73 same as the Spanish giants Luis Figo Barcelona Real Madrid (’00) 59 will be paying Kaka, making Hernan Crespo 56.6 Parma Lazio (’00) the pair two of the highest-paid players in the world. Gianluigi Buffon Parma Juventus (’01) 52 Real have been after CrisRobinho Real Madrid Man. City (’08) 51.8 tiano Ronaldo for two years, Christian Vieri Lazio Inter Milan (’99) 51 but former club president Andrei Shevchenko 49.1 AC Milan Chelsea (’06) Ramon Calderon only succeeded in irritating Dimitar Berbatov Tottenham Man. United (’08) 49 Ferguson over his approaches * Expected fee © 2009 MCT NOTE: Amounts converted from British pounds Source: The Telegraph for the player. to U.S. dollars; June 11, 2009 exchange rate Graphic: Junie Bro-Jorgensen, Scott Bell United lodged a complaint with world governing body FIFA last June over what they saw as a deliberate 2006, Perez signed big stars in Luis Figo, Zinedine attempt by Real to unsettle the winger, who joined Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham. United in 2003 from Sporting Lisbon for 12.2 milHis first signings this time around were Chilean lion pounds. coach Manuel Pellegrini from Villarreal, Jorge Perez, who retook control on June 1, is determined Valdano as director general, Miguel Pardeza as to build a sparkling new team capable of ending sporting director and Zidane as presidential Real’s European frustrations. adviser. Not since 2004 have the whites managed to get On Thursday Marca quoted Valdano as saying beyond the round of 16 in the Champions League that “Pellegrini will have some of the best players unlike historic rivals Barcelona. in the world at his disposal.” In his previous spell as president, from 2000 to – DPA
Carter coy on career move While Carter would not give a categorical answer when asked whether he would leave Christchurch, Auckland, June 12 – Daniel Carter is still mov- he admitted it would be difficult considering he had ing gingerly but his fend was as effective as ever been groomed through the Canterbury system. today when quizzed in Auckland on his future pro“Christchurch is still a place I hold close to my vincial rugby allegiance. heart.When it comes to rugby, Canterbury and the The All Blacks playmaker returned from his Crusaders have given me so much,”he said. sabbatical with Perpignan yesterday to continue “I’m where I am now because of the opportunihis recovery from an Achilles tendon injury that ties they’ve given me.” allowed him to make just five appearances for the Carter has homes in Christchurch and Auckland French champions. and commuted between the two cities during his Providing his rehabilitation goes to plan, the 27- last Super 14 campaign in 2008. year-old hopes to be back in action in August – too He had played 69 times for the Crusaders, winlate for the Tri-Nations but the end of year tour to ning Super rugby titles in 2005-06 and last year. Japan, France, Italy and the UK an enticement to Carter would not comment on whether the Auckwork towards. land Rugby Union had tabled an offer, saying his Should Carter negotiate a couple of club games management would update him tomorrow. for Southbridge in the North Canterbury competiThere is clearly a vacancy in Auckland considertion he will continue his comeback to international ing Jimmy Gopperth and Tasesa Lavea – the Blues level in the Air NZ Cup – though it is not yet con- pivots this season – have moved offshore though firmed who we will represent. Luke McAlister has returned from England. Carter has been off contract with Canterbury since Carter’s main priority is to ensure his rehab conthe end of last year and given he lives in Auckland with tinues to proceed smoothly. long-term partner Honor Dillon he has been linked “I’ve been back running for a month now. I’m still with a transfer to Auckland – a move that could see missing some real power and bounce on my injured him play for the Blues in next year’s Super 14. (left) foot. I’ll be working hard over the next few The 59-test veteran was reluctant to speculate on weeks to get that back.” his future though it may be clearer tomorrow when He is satisfied he will make a full recovery and he meets his management group in Dunedin, where regain his reputation as the game’s premier pivot. he will provide television analysis of the All Blacks’ “I’m very confident. I’ve been doing all the rehab first test against France at Carisbrook. that’s required and everything’s on track. It will By Chris Barclay of NZPA
All Black Dan Carter poses for photographers at a press conference, Auckland, Friday, June 12, 2009. NZPA / Wayne Drought
take time, that’s the frustrating thing.” It was also frustrating watching Perpignan win the Top 14 title in Paris last weekend. “I’d have loved to have been more a part of it. I felt like I let them down a bit with my injury, I couldn’t contribute more to them.” He is confident a new-look All Blacks side is capable of extending their impressive hope record
against the Tricolores tomorrow night. “They’ve brought over their strongest (possible) side and it’ll be a huge challenge but I think the All Blacks will go well. “Whenever you put on the All Black jersey you grow to the challenge. I’m sure the young players will do that.” – NZPA
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12 June 2009
TV & Film
0Cast: Masahiro Motoki and Tsutomu Yamazaki. 0Directed by Yojiro Takita. 0Length: 130 minutes 0Rated: M
Watch the trailer
The best moments of Imagine That are when Evan (Murphy), a workaholic financial executive, slows down long enough to pay attention to his young daughter Olivia (Yara Shahidi)
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– By Rick Bentley
If Eddie Murphy’s career was an injured horse it would be shot and the carcass buried in the remotest part of the desert to ensure no one ever stumbled upon it. His latest disaster, Imagine That, follows such cinematic slop as Meet Dave, Norbit, The Haunted Mansion, Daddy Day Care,I Spy and The Adventures of Pluto Nash. If not for his supporting role in Dreamgirls and voice work in the Shrek projects, Murphy’s career could officially be declared a toxic waste dump. And Imagine That is the most painful of all because it contains a nugget of a sweet story that Murphy does his worst to kill every time it starts to emerge. The best moments of Imagine That are when Evan (Murphy), a workaholic financial executive, slows down long enough to pay attention to his young daughter Olivia (Yara Shahidi). He’s been so neglectful she’s retreated into a fantasy world of imaginary friends. Evan finds those“friends”interesting when they start giving him great financial advice.The only way to keep getting the tips is for father and daughter to make imaginary excursions to the fantasy world. Murphy can be entertaining when he’s not trying too hard. And Yara is certainly a charmer. When director Karey Kirkpatrick slows the film down to let them connect, there are some real emotional moments. But those moments are destroyed when Kirkpatrick allows Murphy to fly off into some frenzy that is supposed to pass as comedy. The failure is not Murphy’s alone.Thomas Haden
Church turns in his worst performance since George of the Jungle 2 as a financial analyst who uses his Native American heritage as if it was a sideshow act. He babbles about nature, leads clients in war chants and delivers offensive lines of dialogue. It’s a double whammy of bad acting and bad taste. Even the soundtrack of the movie is a failure because of the way so many Beatles tunes get butchered. Every actor makes a dud. Some, like Murphy, make a career out of duds. He must be so used to making bad movies that even one with great potential ends up being ridden to failure.
0Cast: Eddie Murphy, Yara Shahidi, Thomas Haden Church, Martin Sheen 0Direcor: Karey Kirkpatrick. 0Length:107 minutes. 0Rated: PG (for mild language)
Angels & Demons Drag Me to Hell The Hangover Land of the Lost My Life in Ruins Night at the Museum
Terminator Salvation Up © 2009 MCT
Winner of this year’s foreign-film Oscar, Departures veers from comedy to drama, occasionally taking a rest stop on the shoulder of sentiment. Yojiro Tajita’s movie simultaneously tickles tears of mourning as it wrings laughs about the meaning of life. Departures opens with an arrival. Headlights blazing, a car threads through thick fog to a home in the mountains of rural Japan. In the vehicle are undertakers headed for a “casketing,” the preparing of a corpse for its next passage: cremation. Daigo (Masahiro Motoki), an out-of-work cellist whose symphony orchestra has disbanded, is the apprentice undertaker. His master is Ikuei (Tsutomu Yamazaki, familiar from the Juzo Itami comedies Tampopo and A Taxing Woman), a gruff man who works through his grief by helping others work through theirs. Daigo, recently married and in debt, comes to think of his new job as something akin to an afterlife travel agent. He practices the art of “encoffinment” – the ritual bathing, dressing and makeup of the departed while the bereaved watch – with the delicacy and spiritual concentration of ikebana (traditional Japanese flower-arrangement). As Daigo gracefully performs his work, the rough and ragged threads of life are neatly tied and wrapped in the smoothest of silks. Here is a maestro who can coax music from a cello or a corpse. Still, Daigo is ashamed to tell his wife what he does for a living. As gently as he tidies and dresses his clients, that’s how roughly he scrubs himself to rid the stench of death. Like the heroines of Sunshine Cleaning, Daigo sees himself as a cleanser of souls and exorcist of negative spirits. He wonders whether his is the fate of one who failed to take proper care of his dying mother. And when he sees fractious families reconcile during his funeral preparations, he broods that he has been denied the chance to make his peace with the father who abandoned him. Despite an unnecessary montage of Daigo playing his cello in verdant valleys, Departures is for the most part trim. It is enhanced by the lean performances of Motoki, a Japanese pop star with a worried brow and pursed lips like those of Daniel Craig, and Yamazaki, who gives the impression of one who laughs to keep from crying. So sympathetic a filmmaker is Tajita that by film’s end, we have fully experienced his characters’ sorrow, joy and emotional catharsis. Watch the trailer – By Carrie Rickey
12 June 2009
Music cash – $30,000 – instead. “I upgraded my studio and gave some to my parents,”he said.“I already had a car.” One night in early 2007, the aspiring singer/songwriter was tinkering at home with his guitar and decided to record himself on his Mac computer’s built-in camera. He posted the no-frills, strippeddown video on YouTube. To his surprise, the video started getting hundreds of hits.A subsequent effort was picked as a featured video on YouTube’s home page. “I didn’t know it was going to blow up. That’s when the big boom happened. People were e-mailing me, MySpacing me.At first, I felt weird about it. But I like seeing how people react and stuff. I just wanted to see what it would be like to do it. I like experimentation.” One of Choi’s songs,“YouTube,A Love Song,”has been seen more than 2.28 million times. On YouTube, Choi performs original songs, but also does acoustic covers:“Womanizer”by Britney Spears;“Pokerface”by Lady GaGa;“My Life Would Suck Without You”by Clarkson and “Boom Boom Pow”by Black Eyed Peas. He tries to post at least one song a week. Last year, he wrote and performed a duet with fellowYouTube darling Grannis.The song,“My Time With You,”has garnered more than 362,000 views and was used as an advertising vehicle by J.C. Penney.The two wore stylish J.C. Penney clothes in the cute, trip-to-the-beach video. “We have good chemistry together,”Choi said. It’s obvious Choi’s talent comes from his parents. His father Ray was an accomplished musician in South Korea, and his mother Jane is a violin luthier, or maker and repairer.They’ve owned and operated their Garden Grove music store since 1990. “The talent is from my husband, but it sounds like his voice is from my family,”said Jane Choi, 48, whose Korean name is Mihi.“He gets a lot of personality and character from me. He’s pretty independent.” David’s father, Ray, knows what it’s like to try to make a living as a musician. He’s an expert Autoharp player and also sings, but he has found it extremely difficult earning money pursuing those passions.That’s why he runs the music shop. “A musician’s life is terrible. I know a lot of people who go very hungry sometimes,”said Ray, 49, whose Korean name is Young Soon.“It’s not a stable business or salary or income.” Nevertheless, when he observed his son’s dedication, and saw that he was winning awards, Ray couldn’t say no. “Day and night, he has worked very hard,” the elder Choi said.“Music is not only just talent. We need effort. He did that.” David Choi recently recorded and released an album,“Only You.”He did all the songwriting, producing and mixing, and sells it on iTunes and from his Web site. The album is filled with heartfelt, angsty love songs and personal reflections on the world. “So if I ever see you on the street,” he croons in “Won’t Even Start,”“I’ll pretend that I didn’t see/ And turn my face/ No use in small talk anyways./ Because if I look into your eyes/ Then I’ll have to say goodbye/ And that’ll break my heart.” musicians, ahead of Miley Cyrus, My Chemical didn’t know you could do that, write a song, be able In February, Choi performed for an audience Romance, Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson. to create something like that,” he said. When Choi of 6,300 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles Choi has dedicated followings on MySpace, Face- went home, he started tinkering with an instrumen- during“Kollaboration 9,”an Asian American talent book, Twitter, iTunes and his own Web page, www. tal song of his own. Soon afterward, he picked up a showcase. davidchoimusic.com. He has already worked in the guitar, and his life has not been the same since. “It was fun, but nervewracking,”he said.“It was professional music world, with a two-year stint as a “I figured out what I wanted to do when I was 16,” an adrenaline rush. But the crowd was so big, it songwriter and producer at Warner Chappell Music. said Choi, who’s only had one formal guitar lesson in looked fake. Have you ever been skydiving? The “Regardless of YouTube, music is my passion,” his life.“I never wanted to get a real job.” ground looks fake.” Choi said recently, sitting in a practice room at In 2004, Choi entered and won the John Lennon Choi had a gig June 5 at the Hiro Ballroom in his parents’ store.“That’s what I was doing before Songwriting Contest for Teens.The theme was “The New York with Grannis and pop-soul singer Chloe YouTube. Hours and hours of practicing, recording American Dream”and Usher was one of the judges. Temtchine. He and Grannis have organized a camstuff. I spent a lot of time – more than the averA few months later, he entered a David Bowie paign on the Internet, polling fans to see where they age person who’s interested in music. I’ve paid my mash-up contest.Through MP3 tracks, he combined want the two to perform next. If the singers get a dues.” the Bowie songs “Shake It”and “She Drives a Big sponsor, they’ll launch a minitour. Choi grew up playing the piano and violin. But Car” to come up with “Big Shakin’ Car.”The Thin for him, that was more of a chore forced upon him White Duke himself chose the winner, selecting DAVID CHOI ONLINE by traditional Asian parents. Choi’s mash-up. www.youtube.com/davidchoimusic When he was 16, he heard someone in history The contest was sponsored by Audi, and the prize www.bebo.com/davidchoimusic class play a CD of a self-written electronica song.“I was a brand new Audi TT. But Choi chose to take www.davidchoimusic.com (currently under reconstruction)
Bigger than Miley
David Choi has more subscribers on YouTube than Miley Cyrus By Richard Chang The Orange County Register
It’s a late May weekday afternoon, and the sun is beginning to bake the asphalt and concrete in Garden Grove, California. David Choi is hanging out with his parents in their modest music shop, simply called Grace Music. A variety of violins hang from the walls, and numerous Autoharps are also on display. At first glance, you wouldn’t view Choi as the future of pop music. He’s a soft-spoken Korean American in brown shorts and a striped polo shirt, 23 years old. He lives at home with his folks.And he’s a little shorter than average, at 5 feet 3 inches. But Choi is indeed the future.He has become a huge sensation on YouTube, with more than 3.8 million channel views and more than 117,800 subscribers. He’s No. 19 on the list of most subscribed YouTube
12 June 2009
NEW CD RELEASES Mos Def
0The Ecstatic 0Downtown 3.5 stars) His Geffen years were lame and movies like “Be Kind Rewind” didn’t make him much of an actor. What’s so great about Mos Def? “The Ecstatic”is what. There have certainly been dynamic ripples of wonderment and experimentation to be had in the critically maligned likes of“The New Danger” (2004) and “True Magic” (2006).Yet there’s been nothing to truly prove Def’s 360 degrees of smugly socio-conscious thought and slice-n-dice verbal flow since 1999’s“Black on Both Sides.” The Ecstatic finds Def’s groove back in everywhich-way.The MC nestles into a crooning soft spot on “Roses,”makes hay while the jazzy Miles-esque syncopation of“Priority”unfurls, and touches down on dub and Latin shuffles with his craggily flowing raps intact. Through the cinematic grime of “Life in Marvelous Times,”Def rolls vowels and finds the poetry of love and holiness amidst ruinous frustration and the pastimes of Bed-Stuy.To a spare, thumping rumble, Def warns his brothers to“lay off the bacon and smokes,”among other pitfalls, on“Revelations.” – A.D. Amorosi
Three books explain the new tools that help connect companies and customers Facebook,Twitter and other social networking tools have evolved from being merely the latest annoying fads to nearly essential tools for social and professional networking – and the blurry and fading border between the two. LinkedIn has become a mandatory site for those seeking employment and freelance assignments, but Facebook has morphed from a college student connection tool into an all-ages affair that allows unintrusive virtual relationships with friends, acquaintances, long-lost classmates, colleagues and relatives, and their “friends,” too. But it’s also a powerful business application, and an invaluable resource for job seekers, freelancers and sundry promoters of products and ideas. Lately, Twitter has emerged as a powerful, yet ill-understood tool, too. Here are three new books to enlighten the unnetworked.
The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools and Strategies for Business Success 0Lon Safko and David Brake 0Wiley. 840 pages.
0The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo 0Rounder 3 stars) Though he’s famous for being a comedian and a comic actor,Steve Martin has long been serious about the banjo.Sure,he’s surrounded by a host of ringers – including Earl Scruggs, Jerry Douglas and Tony Trischka – but “The Crow”reveals that Martin has real chops and compositional ability. The songs, most of them instrumentals, show that Martin possesses not just technical prowess but also an ability to strike various emotional chords.He takes one vocal turn, on the animatedly comic “Late for School,”but he leaves the rest of the singing to pros like Vince Gill,Dolly Parton,and Mary Black.As with the guest instrumentalists,they tend to enhance Martin’s own vision rather than overwhelm it. – Nick Cristiano
Seamus Blake Quartet 0Live in Italy 0Jazz Eyes 3.5 stars)
I generally prefer books that are specific and somewhat narrow in their focus. But there are exceptions, of course, and this hefty “bible”may be one. It’s an overview of various tools, practices and ideas surrounding social media, with contributions from some very sharp practitioners who aid, abet and amplify the authors in explaining the inherent business uses of social media networking. The main drawback with their approach here is that the field is rapidly evolving and it’s not possible to capture everything. Especially in the online world, companies come and go. Moli.com, for example, a hybrid social network-commerce-content site (to which I contributed) based in West Palm Beach, Fla., is listed herein but recently ceased operations, changed hands and is in the process of re-starting, all of which apparently occurred after this bible went to press. Still, this very large snapshot of the online social media landscape may have a place on your reference bookshelf, though its own shelf life may be limited.
0Dave Awl 0Peachpit Press
Tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake’s Philly stops are always a treat.The English-born, Canadian-raised leader was a 2002 winner of theThelonious Monk saxophone competition, and the longtime New Yorker has risen to be a fixture with the Mingus Big Band. On this double-CD set, Blake leads a quartet with Philly-raised drummer Rodney Green, pianist Dave Kikoski and bassist Danton Boller, documenting parts of three live concerts along Italy’s northern Adriatic coast and down in Palermo, Sicily. You get a feel for this group on the handsome take of Claude Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor. The work’s stately melancholy unleashes all kinds of expressive playing. Blake makes similar connections throughout with listeners. His“Way Out of Willy”is quirky and funky, with wah wah-pedal-like effects,while“Fear of Roaming”is muscular and pleasant, a players’romp. Kikoski, Boller, and Green are worthies too, as evidenced by the deep swing of Ellington’s“The Feeling of Jazz”and the sensuality of Brazilian composer Djavan’s “Ladeirinha.”Blake & Co.pay sizzling tribute to one of his mentors on John Scofield’s“Dance Me Home.” – Karl Stark
The best way to get started with Facebook is to just jump right in, but if you don’t know what it is and are overly risk-averse, this could be the book for you. However, it’s very basic and somewhat simplistic, so if you’re trying to figure out how to leverage Facebook as a marketing asset, you may want to keep looking.
The Twitter Book
0Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein 0O’Reilly My dear mother asked me recently if I tweet. I nearly choked on my chopped liver but regained my composure quickly enough to query,“Do you know what that is, Mom?”“No,”she replied sweetly, “but everyone’s doing it.” Indeed, the mainstream media has been buzzing about Twitter and its 140-character messages, called“tweets.”Movie stars, media figures, captains of industry and others seem to be doing it, but how can businesses discern the twits from the tweets?” O’Reilly and Milstein present as lucid and intelligent an overview as you’d want or need.Twitter is clearly not for everyone, but it’s quickly becoming
as important as e-mail for certain professions and this terrific primer shows why. The format is concise but quite rich, and there’s plenty here to persuade you to employ Twitter as a marketing tool and a very good way to engage customers. – By Richard Pachter
A how-to manual on what every man should know Stuff Every Man Should Know
0Brett Cohen 0Quirk Books, Philadelphia (US$9.95) This is a book that most men will say they don’t need.All men already know how to give a toast, hold a baby and throw a punch – right? For those who cut class, there is Stuff Every Man Should Know by Brett Cohen. This book, sized to fit in a man’s suit pocket, is a how-to manual for the above and more: how to open a beer bottle without an opener, cast a fishing line, grill anything (mostly from supermarkets), buy a diamond ring and propose. Among male-aimed topics,it includes a chart listing Twelve Famous Playboy Playmates and their histories. How to give a massage – with discreet diagrams including “Effleurage: (from the French ‘to skim or touch lightly’) apply soft and fluid strokes firmly with the palm of your hand.”A“Good joke for Guys”starts with“A man enters a bar carrying an alligator.” A chapter titled “Simple Answers to Difficult Questions” covers “Do you love me?” Suggested Response:Yes. Question:“Do you think that girl was pretty?”Suggested Response:What girl? And most tricky – “Does this blouse/skirt/dress make me look fat?”Suggested Response:Are you kidding?
I’ve never seen you look more beautiful. You can get away with that one once, guys.Women remember. There are tips on the tricky business of buying clothes for a woman. As Cohen warns,“If you’re going to do this, it is imperative that you do this right.”One suggestion is“dark colors are slimming. Unless you’re a pro, avoid stripes of any kind.”At the end he sagely advises “be sure to ask for a gift receipt (no matter how much you think she’ll like it), and slip it into the gift wrap.” Look for the hidden jokes. In the copyright statement at the front is a disclaimer – “We do not guarantee that this information is safe, complete or wholly accurate, nor should it be considered a substitute for a reader’s good judgment and common sense. In other words: Exercise caution when lighting a campfire. And never ever propose to a woman via a JumboTron.” Words to the wise (man) all wrapped up in a discreet little black book. – By Tish Wells
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