Thursday, June 23, 2011

Area 51's Mystery Sickness, Hamburger History, and Blowing Billions of Dollars In Style (Link Round-Up 6/23/11)

They Won't Let Up
The Nuba, a diverse collection of black African tribes -- Muslim, Christian, and animist -- have long resisted the aggression of Sudan's Arab rulers in Khartoum. The government tried to eradicate them during the 1990s in a campaign of murder, starvation, rape, enslavement, and land seizure that killed as many as 200,000. During the north-south civil war, an estimated 30,000 Nuba joined the Southern-led Sudan People's Liberation Army, which was fighting to transform the whole of Sudan into a multiethnic democratic state.

In 1992, in the midst of the 22-year war, the government went so far as to declare a jihad in the Nuba Mountains. The official fatwa that declared the war made no distinction between Muslim and non-Muslim, stating, "An insurgent who was previously a Muslim is now an apostate; and a non-Muslim is a nonbeliever standing as a bulwark against the spread of Islam, and Islam has granted the freedom of killing both of them." The campaign included the use of chemical weapons (dropped by pilots from Saddam Hussein's air force) against the civilian population.
Billionaire Boys Club
Brother of Brunei's Sultan blows billions on absurdity
The sultan’s biggest extravagance turned out to be his love for his youngest brother, Jefri, his constant companion in hedonism. They raced their Ferraris through the streets of Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital, at midnight, sailed the oceans on their fleet of yachts (Jefri named one of his Tits, its tenders Nipple 1 and Nipple 2), and imported planeloads of polo ponies and Argentinean players to indulge their love for that game, which they sometimes played with Prince Charles. They snapped up real estate like Monopoly pieces—hundreds of far-flung properties, a collection of five-star hotels (the Dorchester, in London, the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, in Paris, the New York Palace, and Hotel Bel-Air and the Beverly Hills Hotel, in Los Angeles), and an array of international companies (including Asprey, the London jeweler to the Queen, for which Jefri paid about $385 million in 1995, despite the fact that that was twice Asprey’s estimated market value or that Brunei’s royal family constituted a healthy portion of its business).
Food For Thought
The Hamburger: Prince of Sandwiches?
As the major port of the Hanseatic League between the 13th and 17th centuries, Hamburg absorbed food and cooking methods from across Europe. Russian traders seem to have popularised steak tartare there by the 1500s, and the Germans – never shy of eating meat – co-opted minced beef into their repertoire earlier than most other Europeans. The OED's earliest reference to "Hamburg steak" is from 1802, a dish of salted and smoked minced beef. After the 1848 revolutions, Germans flowed into America, almost all of them leaving for New York on the nascent Hamburg America Line. Their preserved Hamburg steak was ideal for the long journey.
I Want To Disbelieve
The Area 51 Security Guard Sick From Mystery Toxic Fumes
Any hope Dunham had of finding information his employers may have been keeping about his case was dashed last year, when he came across a report published in 2007 by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Audit Services, which pointed out that Bechtel, who took over running the test site in 1996, “destroyed supporting documentation from employee concern investigations” in apparent violation of federal law. No action was taken against Bechtel because the contract it had with the government permitted the destruction.

“There continues to be this use of national security laws and bureaucratic means to avoid any consideration of the case,” says Turley. “These men are dying off, and that clearly is part of the objective of the government. Every year, more of these individuals die, and with them die their cases.”
Saber Rattling
US providing Philippines with arms amid tensions with China
I believe some countries now are playing with fire. And I hope the US won't be burned by this fire," China's vice foreign minister Cui Tiankai said.

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