Posted for Ruth

(Picture courtesy of mhaithaca at flickr.com.)

Reporting on foreign media and news continues to follow the tradition set by Southern Dragon of information not encountered in usual and quotidian contacts. The postings provided courtesy of Jane Hamsher’s long justly respected blog, and its openness, are much appreciated and are an encouragement to us as they were to Richard. Without the audience generated by FDL and its seminal role promoting enlightened viewpoints, we would all be poorer. The impoverished world found a champion Monday as George Soros foughtfor a better approach to improve world economies by ejecting Germany from the Euro.

In an incendiary speech made on Tuesday afternoon in Germany’s financial centre of Frankfurt, the hedge fund trader told Europe‘s richest country it had gone too far during the bailout of Cyprus, was itself heading for recession and should either leave the euro or reverse its long held opposition to eurobonds – a form of sovereign debt that would mean each member country’s borrowings were guaranteed by the whole eurozone. “My first preference is eurobonds; my second is Germany leaving the euro,” he said in his lecture, entitled: How to save the European Unionfrom the euro crisis.

Colombians turned out in massive demonstrations for peace, in advance of negotiations scheduled between rebel FARCand the official government.

Durable peace will require a reimagining of the Colombian state, which has become both victim and perpetrator in a conflict now over half a century old. It is natural to be hopeful at the beginning of such a process, but wise to be cautious. The talks come after a ten-year demobilisation process that sought to disband the thirty thousand-strong right-wing paramilitary forces that emerged and were encouraged by previous governments. Many of these groups came from criminal beginnings, and all of them ended up as nothing more than massive criminal enterprises – killing, raping, displacing, torturing – with the principal aim of enriching themselves through the contraband and drugs trade. While the government has portrayed demobilisation as a success, judgment should be reserved. It is estimated that new criminal groups have already formed, many led by former paramilitaries, now with as many as five to twelve thousand members. If this is true, a large part of the problem has been simply relocated but not resolved.

The many factions struggling for Syria continued a muddied picture to western observers, as the rebel group al-Nusra pledged allegiance to al Qaeda.

Al-Nusra Front leader Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani formally confirmed on Wednesday that his rebel group was allied to al-Zawahiri in an audio recording posted online. “The sons of al-Nusra Front renew their pledge to the Sheikh of Jihad Ayman al-Zawahiri and declare obedience,” al-Jawlani said. The move is likely to fan fears that radical Islamists are gaining influence in Syria and bolster assertions from President Bashar al-Assad that the regime is fighting “terrorists.” However al-Jawlani sought to distance his group from claims made a day earlier by al Qaeda’s Iraqi branch that al-Nusra Front had merged with the organization.

Discoveries coming to light in London excavations are providing a view of the earlier Roman occupation there that has slowly been emerging from the modern city that sprung from and covered it.

MOLA’s Sophie Jackson said the site contains “layer upon layer of Roman timber buildings, fences and yards, all beautifully preserved and containing amazing personal items, clothes and even documents.” The site also includes a previously unexcavated section of the Temple of Mithras, a Roman cult, which was first unearthed in 1954. The preserved timber means that tree ring samples will provide dendrochronological dating for Roman London, expected to be earlier than the current dating of AD 47. The artefacts are to be transported back to the Museum of London to be freeze-dried and preserved by record, as the site will eventually become the entrance to the Waterloo and City line at Bank station.

As the discoveries, and facilities for making and spreading news about them, increase our self-knowledge, hopefully our understanding will improve the world and our ability to improve it. Never.Give.Up. ****************** As you read this, I am quite likely to be en route to D.C. and the cherry blossoms, if nothing comes up between now and then. Have a great day, and I’ll check in later. Probably much later.
– from Ruth