In December 1984, I walked into the HMV store on London's Oxford Street to spend a little discretionary money on an LP. Other albums drew me, but one had an advantage. It combined the talents of all the major "Top of the Pops" singers onto one song. Given the standards of British pop at the time (leaving aside Scritti Politti's "Jacques Derrida" and perhaps the Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy"), the diminishing marginal returns at the cash register were held in check with only one purchase. It had to be Bob Geldof's Do They Know It's Christmas?
Source: The Progressive Magazine
President Obama is being too wimpy about joining the rest of the world.
In January, the Obama Administration’s Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues Stephen Rapp said that the United States was unlikely to become a member of the International Criminal Court for the “foreseeable future.”
Last week, Rapp tried to lessen the sting by claiming that the Obama Administration would be actively cooperating with the court, even if it were beneath its dignity to actually sign on. This insincere attitude represents a defeat for the principle that the United States should operate under international law. It also marks a turnaround from last August, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed “great regret” that the United States was not a member of the court.
Source: Foreign Policy in Focus
In yet another assault on fundamental principles of international law, a bipartisan majority of the Senate has gone on record calling on the United States to endorse Morocco’s illegal annexation of Western Sahara, the former Spanish colony invaded by Moroccan forces in 1975 on the verge of its independence. In doing so, the Senate is pressuring the Obama administration to go against a series of UN Security Council resolutions, a landmark decision of the International Court of Justice, and the position of the African Union and most of the United States’ closest European allies.
Forty two-years ago, on April 4, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on the balcony of a Memphis motel as he prepared to support striking Black sanitation workers there. Although James Earl Ray initially confessed to the crime - he later recanted - doubts about what happened persist. In the late 1990s, former FBI agent Donald Wilson, who investigated the murder, presented evidence he claimed to have found in Ray's car - slips of paper that support charges of a conspiracy involving federal agents.
Throwing open vast swaths of the outer continental shelf to offshore drilling is the latest effort by the Obama administration to grease the way forward on comprehensive energy and climate reform. But the administration’s conciliatory approach-which has largely entailed the administration giving and its congressional opponents taking-is looking increasingly like a gamble that’s going to backfire. Meanwhile, as the president extends olive branches to his critics, he’s alienating allies in the environmental community, who say his policies are reminding them more and more of those of his predecessor, George W. Bush. Some enviros are even likening Obama to Alaska’s oil-loving ex-governor, Sarah Palin.
Source: The New Internationalist
On 1 January 2010, the China-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Free Trade Area went into effect. Touted as the world’s biggest Free Trade Area, CAFTA is billed as having 1.7 billion consumers, with a combined gross domestic product of $5.93 trillion and total trade of $1.3 trillion.
Under the agreement, trade between China and six ASEAN countries (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand) has become duty-free for more than 7,000 products. By 2015, the newer ASEAN countries (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Burma) will join the zero-tariff arrangement.