cue the lightning bolts

the only question that matters: is it true?

Iran has signed the NPT. As a signatory to the NPT, Iran may rightfully, legally, use nuclear technology for peaceful energy purposes. Iran has submitted to and passed repeated IAEA inspections. The US intelligence community (NIE) does not consider Iran a nuclear threat. Israel refuses to sign the NPT. Israel has an estimated several hundred undeclared nuclear weapons. Russia and China have warned that an attack on Iran will have global consequences. That's the situation in a nutshell. Where to next, people? Where to?

Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? - Galatians 4:16


elvi$ has left the building and he built a new building in Asia

I. welcome to 2025

by Michael T. Klare

Memo to the United States Central Intelligence Agency: You may not be prepared for time-travel, but welcome to 2025 anyway. Your rooms may be a little small, your ability to demand better accommodation may have gone out the window, and the amenities may not be to your taste, but get used to it. It's going to be your reality from now on.

Okay, now for the serious version of the above: In November 2008, the National Intelligence Council (NIC), an affiliate of the Central Intelligence Agency, issued the latest in a series of futuristic publications intended to guide the incoming administration of Barack Obama.


Six pointers on the road to ordinary nationhood
Here is my list of six recent developments that indicate we are entering "2025" today. All six were in the news in the last few weeks, even if never collected in a single place. They (and other events like them) represent a pattern: the shape, in fact, of a new age in formation.

1. At the global economic summit in Pittsburgh on September 24 and 25, the leaders of the major industrial powers, the G-7 (G-8 if you include Russia) agreed to turn over responsibility for oversight of the world economy to a larger, more inclusive Group of 20 (G-20), adding in China, India, Brazil, Turkey, and other developing nations. Although doubts have been raised about the ability of this larger group to exercise effective global leadership, there is no doubt that the move itself signaled a shift in the locus of world economic power from the West to the global East and South - and with this shift, a seismic decline in America's economic preeminence has been registered.


2. According to news reports, America's economic rivals are conducting secret (and not-so-secret) meetings to explore a diminished role for the US dollar - fast losing its value - in international trade.

3. On the diplomatic front, Washington has been rebuffed by both Russia and China in its drive to line up support for increased international pressure on Iran to cease its nuclear enrichment program.

4. Exactly the same inference can be drawn from a meeting in Beijing on October 15 between Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and Iran's first vice president, Mohammed Reza Rahimi. "The Sino-Iran relationship has witnessed rapid development as the two countries' leaders have had frequent exchanges, and cooperation in trade and energy has widened and deepened," Wen said at the Great Hall of the People. Coming at a time when the United States is engaged in a vigorous diplomatic drive to persuade China and Russia, among others, to reduce their trade ties with Iran as a prelude to toughened sanctions, the Chinese statement can only be considered a pointed rebuff of Washington.

5. From Washington's point of view, efforts to secure international support for the allied war effort in Afghanistan have also met with a strikingly disappointing response. In what can only be considered a trivial and begrudging vote of support for the US-led war effort, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced on October 14 that Britain would add more troops to the British contingent in that country - but only 500 more, and only if other European nations increase their own military involvement, something he undoubtedly knows is highly unlikely.

6. Finally, in a move of striking symbolic significance, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) passed over Chicago (as well as Madrid and Tokyo) to pick Rio de Janeiro to be the host of the 2016 summer Olympics, the first time a South American nation was selected for the honor.

read the whole thing @ asia times

II. the man who has designs on Asia

As Asia transforms itself financially, daring new buildings are springing from the urban landscape as symbols of a more confident, assertive region. At the forefront of those shaping the new symbols of prosperity is Bangkok-based designer and landscape architect Bill Bensley.

His company Bill Bensley Design was recently chosen to design a new monument off the coast of the Indian city of Mumbai that has drawn comparisons with America's Statue of Liberty.

Mr Bensley's team has also been recruited to work on what's reputed to be the world's most expensive home for India's richest person, Mukesh Ambani, who heads the mighty Reliance's energy-telecom-trading empire.

"We are designing a 29-storey home for him," he says. "The home will house four families."

The home is located in the greenery and quiet of the expensive Mumbai suburb of Malabar Hill. It was labelled by some critics of Mr Ambani as an edifice to the tycoon's ego, but others simply see it as a reflection of the new confidence and swagger permeating a growingly confident India.

Tucked away from the noisy, choked traffic on Sukhumvit Road near Ekamai, Mr Bensley's office is flooded with work commissioned by kings, governments and tycoons.

He says there has been no slowdown since he set up shop here 20 years ago. From the 1997 Asian crisis through to the collapse of Wall Street last year, there has not been a minute of stoppage at his shop.

"In fact, the opposite is true," says the towering figure.


With work stretching from Capetown to Puerto Rico, he nevertheless concedes most of his clients are from emerging Asia, most notably India and China.

His biggest fans are in China.


Asked if he agrees with US investment guru Jim Rogers, who sold everything in America to invest in China where much of the world's new wealth is being created, he says: "Absolutely."

Immense wealth is being created today in Asia and Mr Bensley is witnessing it up front and personal.

read the rest @ bangkok post

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