Monday, May 31, 2010

Singapore “National” Team?

At the World Table-Tennis Championships held in Moscow, Russia, the Singapore “national” team beat China 3-1 in the final to become world champions. However don’t expect Singaporeans to be excited about the win; expect us to be slightly embarrassed by it.

The reason is simple; the trio of paddlers that represented Singapore were all born in China and recruited by Singapore, given Singapore citizenship just to play for Singapore.If you search the internet, you would see more than a few comments stating it was a final between the China A team against the China B team.

Although it’s not that unusual for teams to have a few foreigners in their team, Singapore took it to the extreme by filling the whole team with foreigners. Looking at it that way, it’s no surprise Singaporeans are less than thrilled with the win by the Singapore “national” team.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Comics this week

Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1- Thanos Imperative is the latest Marvel cosmic crossover from Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. As a prologue to the main series, Ignition has the thankless job of introducing new readers to what the main series is about. The cast of Thanos Imperative is huge; everyone who is anyone in the cosmic scene has a role here. Thanos, Nova, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Magus etc; they are all here. Everything is by the book and standard stuff…then the main villain show up and blows everything out of the water! It was one of those beautiful moments that came out of left field but at the same time made so much sense that you can’t help but be excited about Thanos Imperative. Beautiful!

X-Force #27- I said in my previous review of X-Force that I’m not a fan of the photo-realistic style of Mike Choi and this issue showed why. As an artist, Choi do great work. He has a style that gives you stunning images but I feel it is unsuitable for comics. Comics require images that tell a story and Choi’s style (good as it is) does not do that. In the first part of this issue, there were no captions and Mike Choi’s art is given free reign to convey the ensuing battle between the X-Men and Bastion's Nimrods. Each panel is beautiful on its own, but the battle was a confusing mess. How did Hellion lost his hands? One moment Iceman was destroying a Nimrod, the next he is on fire. Beautiful picture but it didn’t tell us what happened. That is disappointing because the story this issue was very good. Cyclop's plan to stop the Nimrods basically requires him to sacrifice the whole X-Force along with Cyber and Cable. The sent-off was emotional as Cyclop knowledge that this was a suicide mission. Good story in a good issue but the first part was poor.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

This is Legal?

Athletes having money problems is not new. Countless formers athletes find their earning power going down like a rock when they retire. However sometimes athletes have money problems even when they haven’t retire.

That is also not new so when I read that NBA player Eddy Curry is US$1.2 million in debt, I wasn’t that surprised. I mean the man live in a US$4.5 million mansion and has huge expenses (a US$6,000-a-month personal chef?), so of course he is in debt.

To be fair, Curry seems financially capable of paying the debts but is fighting in court as he says he should not be paying as his finances were mismanaged by his former accountant, Lamont Carter. At first I thought this was a case of him trying to run from his debts but on closer inspection, Curry got a case.

In 2008, Mr. Curry went to Allstar Capital to take out a personal loan for US$580,000…at an interest rate of 85%. Yes, at whopping 85% interest! How the hell is that legal? Loan sharks in Singapore do not charge that rate but that's legal in America?

Not only that, but what kind of an accountant allows his client to take a loan with an 85% interest? Curry claims that Lamont Carter handled all his money up until 2008, when he fired Carter once he realized he was in financial ruin. Curry is now suing Carter but I am still amazed it is legal for Allstar Capital to charge an interest rate of 85%!

85%! And it’s legal! Wow, loan sharks in Singapore are looking at that number in envy.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spill Baby Spill

Yesterday at around 1pm, I smelled something strange. It smelled like something between drying paint and something burning. Since it was a very hot day yesterday, I thought it was a forest fire somewhere.

However it was something worse. Just like in the U.S. now, Singapore now has an oil spill. Around 5,000 tonnes of crude oil has leaked into the Singapore Strait after two vessels collided in the waters off Singapore. The collision tore a 10-metre gash in the Malaysian tanker, MT Bunga Kelana 3, and emergency teams from Singapore and Malaysia are scrambling to contain the spill.

The good news is that it’s all light crude so the environmental impact ought to be minimal, but the smell was something else. With our busy waterways and all the ships docked at our ports due to the economic slowdown, I fear this may not be the last time I smell this.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Battle Lost

When the Singapore government announced that Singapore will try to take a piece of the banking pie that is Islamic banking a few years ago, I said on this blog that it was an exercise in futility. Despite Singapore’s aim to be a banking hub, I thought the Islamic banking sector was never on because there was just no way we were ever going to be able to compete against Indonesia and Malaysia in Islamic banking.

It took them awhile but it’s seems Singapore finally got the idea as reports are out that DBS Group is getting out of the Islamic banking market. Competition is just too lopsided as the Islamic banking market in Singapore is worth only about $130 million while the Islamic market is $8 billion for Malaysia and $1.2 billion for Indonesia.

We are talking about millions while our neighbors are talking about billions! Frankly it’s no contest and there’s no doubt that Islamic banking is a battle Singapore has lost.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Landmark Going

In a landmark agreement between Singapore and Malaysia, Malaysia has agreed to relocate the famous Tanjong Pagar rail-station to Woodlands. The agreement was wanted by Singapore because this will free up land for redevelopment. The current railway station is near Singapore's central business district (CBD) which is prime real estate.

Some Singaporeans may argue this is a good thing but I’m afraid I’m not one of them. I understand that this is part of resolving long-standing land disputes between Singapore and Malaysia but I disagree with moving the Tanjong Pagar station.

The station is a landmark which should be kept! I understand that the facade of Tanjong Pagar station will be kept but the function of the building will be changed, but this will be like the soulless shophouses in Chinatown where everything had been repainted and renovated. Everything looked the same but the feeling will totally be different.

Tanjong Pagar station is a landmark, I mean when the Amazing Race came to Singapore this season, the contestants came via rail and they dropped at Tanjong Pagar. This is on a show that shamelessly showed almost all the landmarks in Singapore like Sentosa and the Singapore Flyer.

That’s how much of a Singapore landmark the station is and that’s why we should keep it there.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What Freedom of Expression?

So this is the genius that came up with "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" US television channel Comedy Central (wisely) cancelled an episode of the "South Park" because the show had depicted the Prophet Mohammed in a bear suit. Molly Norris, an American cartoonist was so angry at that she drew a cartoon in April to protest the decision.

In her cartoon, Norris proposed that May 20 as "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," and in this time and age the idea was picked up on Facebook. Ho and behold, a series of crude offensive pictures showed up on Facebook on May 20 and we got ourselves another religious problem.

Ms. Norris has now condemned the Facebook idea and issued an apology to Muslims saying her work was nothing but a satire. Too late lady! Your work was the one who “inspired” the Facebook page so it’s a little late for you to say you have nothing to do with "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day."

As a fan of comics, I have a huge problem with these idiots using the art-form (yes, I consider it art) as a way to spread hate against…well, any religion! The man behind the Facebook page may say otherwise but what else could you call drawings that show a man in Arab garb (no need to guess who he is suppose to be) engaging in sexual acts?

Never a Facebook fan to begin with, I do not know why Facebook don’t ban the page. I mean seriously; what freedom of expression, freedom of speech can there be in allowing people to insult religion? Surely freedom of expression should be more than that?

And all this for an episode of South Park!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Comics this week

Brightest Day #2- The spotlight shifts this issue from Aquaman and Mera to the Martian Manhunter. In a way, this was an origin story as Geoff Johns slightly tweak the Martian’s origin to give it a slightly more tragic feel. However the biggest things for me are the hints dropped on the returned characters. Both Aquaman and Firestorm seems to still have their undead powers and, especially for Firestorm, their undead personalities. To say I’m intrigued is an understatement and I’m eagerly awaiting the other characters not seem so far like Osiris.

X-Men Legacy #236- With the Blackbirds destroyed and their teleporters gone, Bastion make his move to end the X-Men. And make, and make, and make; I thought we had our set-up issue last week but it seems Marvel need to take our money for one more week. Outside a good character moment between Hope and Cable, there’s not much to say for this issue. (The shameless cameo by the Avengers do not count)

X-Factor #205- I’ll be honest. I’m a big Peter David fan. There are better writers in the industry but Peter David is in my view the most consistent. Even when he is thrown a loop on a crossover that has almost nothing to do with his regular series, he adapt and still managed to come up with a story that fits his series like a glove. X-Factor #205 again proved why he is the considered best current X-writer right now. The only problem I have is why they changed the name of Siryn to Banshee? Siryn is Siryn! Change it back!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

No Easy Way Out

As hundreds of Thai troops and armored vehicles launched a crackdown on the anti-government protesters in Bangkok, I guess things have finally reached the point of no return. Starting on Wednesday morning, troops entered the protest site and start tearing down barricades to remove the remaining 5,000 “Red Shirts” protesters.

As it had been the case so far, the current Thai government had once again underestimated the “Red Shirts”. Making a mockery of the government’s containment strategy, “Red Shirts” protesters traveled on motorbikes and set various buildings on fire. Key government buildings and pro-government media buildings were the targets as casualties amount for the “Red Shirts”.

Worse, even government buildings outside Bangkok were targeted as some provincial government structures outside of the capital were also attacked. Despite the Thai government’s insistence that they will be in control of the situation soon, I just don’t find that very likely.

The big problem is that there is no viable political solution available. Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva cannot meet the “Red Shirt’s” demands of immediate elections because…well, he will lose. He never won an election, coming to power on the back of a very controversial parliamentary vote in 2006 that ousted the previous government. The ouster was done with military support and if there is an election, Abhisit will lose and that’s before the clashes with the “Red Shirts”. After the clashes and the crackdown, the chances of fresh election are even more remote as Abhisit will not only lose now, but will probably get slaughtered at the polls.

Even if he wants to call fresh elections, Abhisit most probably can’t as the Bangkok elite that support him and put him in power will not allow it. They will probably also know that any elections will be won by the rural “Red Shirts”. Mistakes have been made by both sides in this conflict and I’m afraid the mistakes has piled up to such an extent that there’s no longer an easy way out for anyone.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Sound Plan Needed

Last week, I openly wondered if the 750 billion Euros war chest announced by Europe and the IMF would be enough to deal with Greece’s debt problems. After a week, the answer seems to be a ‘No’.

The Germans certainly seems to think so as Germany announced a ban on naked short-selling in various financial and bond markets. It’s a move designed to end fluctuations in the market ever since the Greece debt crisis engulfed Europe, but the need for the move also underscore the danger of the crisis.

Like I had said before, Greece is basically bankrupt and even with the war chest, there are questions on how Greece would be able to repay their debts. And that’s not even counting the troubles of Spain, Ireland, Portugal etc.

With the dangers, the German’s securities market regulator Bafin seems to have signal out short-sellers as the bogeyman of the crisis but that is an error. Until Greece comes out with a sound plan (that people believes in) on how to get itself out of the debt crisis, people are just not going to back the Euro.

If Greece can’t do that, then it might be better for the EU to let Greece default. Better that than the whole of the EU going down with them.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

An Honest Politician...I Think

Politicians lie all the time. I know it, you know, politicians all over the world knows it. Being a good liar is almost part of the job description for a politician and part of the lying for the politician is pretending to be an honest man.

And the public wants it that way! In Australia, Mr. Tony Abbott, leader of the conservative opposition Liberal Party, made an election promise that was in opposition to what his previous stand was. When taken to task on the matter, the man had a perfectly good explanation for his flip-flop.

He is a politician and not everything he says can be believed. Naturally he was attacked for…well, speaking the truth! I mean really, politicians lie all the time so no one can say Mr. Abbot is wrong but a politician being honest about the fact that he’s a liar?

Is the world ready for such an honest leader? In Australia, the answer seems to be NO!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Law Was Applied

In Jan 2009, a Malaysian man, Mr.Yong Vui Kong, was sentenced to death for drug trafficking. Under Singapore’s tough drug law, the death penalty is mandatory for trafficking of more than 30 grams of heroin. As Yong was caught with 47 grams of heroin, he was sentenced to death.

There had been a campaign, mostly on the internet, to appeal against Mr. Yong’s death sentence. Last week, the Singapore Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal against his mandatory death sentence.

Now I do not know Mr. Yong personally, but frankly I am unsurprised by this decision. Under Singapore’s law, the death penalty is mandatory if you are caught with more than 30 grams of heroin. The prosecution does not have to prove that the drugs are for trafficking and the judge do not have any discretion to hand down any alternative sentences.

In Mr. Yong’s case, everything is done according to the law and seemingly by the book so the dismissal of his appeal was unsurprising. The internet campaign for Mr. Yong is heartwarming but futile because the Singapore law is very clear-cut on this matter.

Despite what activists say about how the law violate international human rights law, the fact is Singapore’s tough drug laws are popular in the country and changes are not coming anytime soon. I’m sorry a man is about to die but in Mr. Yong’s case, the law was applied and few complains can be made about the process.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Comics this week

New Mutants #13- With Nightcrawler’s funeral over, the X-Men now knows what Bastion is trying to do. With most of their teleporters dead, Cyclops ordered Vanisher to return to Utopia. Being the villain that he is, the man escaped only to jump straight into the arms of Bastion. With another teleporter gone, Bastion now put his plans of attack in motion and ordered Donald Pierce to destroy the jets of the X-Men. Mission accomplished. Outside the useless catfight between Moonstar and Hope, this was a pretty good set-up issue. One thing for the writer; if you are going to have a catfight, then at least let us see who was winning!

First Wave #2- The ambitious First Wave project continues as Brian Azzarello and Rags Morales add on even more characters to their pulp world. The Avenger is a master of disguise who is hired by Doc Savage for a job, while the Blackhawks are a bunch of global mercenaries who are chasing after the Spirit. Only at issue two and we are already seeing the stories tying together as Doc Savage put the hurt on the Blackhawks. I like this move as I had feared the project was too big for its own good and the sooner the various hooks tie together, the better the story will be. This is a solid issue two on a brand new world.

Siege #4- I had said before that I only picked up Siege because it promised an end to the overlong “Dark Reign”. With issue 4, the end is here but frankly I was expecting better from Brian Michael Bendis. Reading this issue, I can’t help but think Bendis is just going through the motions here as the issue is totally void, pun intended, of any surprises and is just too predictable. Outside the death of Loki, everything else seems to be on a list. Osborn captured; tick. Void killed; tick. Steve Rogers back in the good graces of America; tick. Boring; tick.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


In Singapore, we have this small government agency called SPRING. SPRING is an agency responsible for funding small-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore with the aim of making they grow.

Most Singaporeans don’t think much of SPRING and I’m beginning to see why. SPRING Singapore chairman Philip Yeo has put his foot in his mouth by saying people who buy applications for Apple products are “gullible customers” and that they were wasting their money on “useless applications”. He then added the incredible line, “I always tell my daughter, make products and services to sell to the dummies.”

Personal, I always found Apple’s fanatical followers to be an annoyance so I do know a little of what Mr. Philip Yeo is saying, you have to admit the need to grab all thing Apple is a little gullible, but there is a huge difference between me saying this and when this is said by the chairman of SPRING! Needless to say, Apple fans are furious but to compound matters, Mr. Philip Yeo has “clarified” to the Singapore papers that he had been misunderstood. He “explained” that he used the word “dummies” to mean “laymen” and this is not meant as an insult.

I can only say, “That is a “clarification”? “Dummies” is explained as “laymen”!” That why I put funny under the Label, I find his “clarification” to be hilarious! In what world has “dummies” ever being explained as “laymen”?

I admit I’m not the biggest fan of the former chairman of EDB, but if you want to apologize, then just come out and say sorry and this whole thing will blow over. However, I’m willing to bet that Apple fans will be even angrier now after hearing Mr. Yeo’s “clarification”.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Maybe A Zoo Lost It?

Amazingly, I still find people who question whether there is such is a thing called ‘global warming’. Despite all the evidence, they question whether global warming is ‘real’? If ice really melting in the Arctic? If global warming is just a conspiracy theory?

Well a grey whale off the coast of Israel has, once again, proved that there is such a thing called ‘global warming’. Yes you read that right, this is a whale off Israel! If you are wondering why you never heard of whales off Israel before, this is because grey whales have not been seen in the Atlantic ocean since the 1700s! Grey whales are only seen in the Pacific Ocean, on the other side of the Americans continent!

Naturally scientists are excited over the first grey whale in the Atlantic in over 200 years and they believed the whale reached the Atlantic through an Arctic sea route called the Northwest Passage. The Northwest Passage connects the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and is normally covered with ice. The fact that the grey is currently in the Atlantic is because the ice in the Arctic has melted to such a degree that the whale managed to swim through this corridor.

Another proof of global warming but will it convince skeptics? Somehow I doubt it as they probably say the whale was lost by a zoo or something.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Shock, Awe, but will it Work?

When the financial crisis hit the United States, the American government release billions, trillions of dollars to bailout their banks. It was a partial success as the bailout stop things from getting much worse but it never stop the crisis.

Taking a page out of the American playbook, Europe and the IMF now announced a 750 billion euros war chest to deal with Greece’s debt problems. This immediately gave a boost to world markets and sent global stock markets and the euro soaring. Central banks from around the world also got into the act by agreeing to ensure there would be liquidity in the money markets.

The question now is whether it will work?

Despite what government officials in Europe are saying in public, the cause of the debt crisis are not money speculators betting against the euro but…well, debt! Greece is basically bankrupt, and with the debt levels of Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Italy all at a high, I question if the trillion-dollar war chest will work. Mind you, the United Kingdom’s debt is as high as Greece’s and they are saved only because the U.K’s economy is bigger than Greece’s. With debts like these, who wouldn’t bet against the euro?

Greece is at least doing its part by announcing a radical overhaul of the pension system to slash their debt. This highly unpopular move will probably cost the current Socialist government in the next election but they are doing it. Now the rest of Europe need to follow Greece’s example or else even 750 billion euros will not be enough.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Paying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup

The South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup next month is the most important sporting event in the world. After months of haggling, Singtel and Starhub finally confirmed that they had secured the Singapore broadcast rights to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

SingTel and Starhub will both provide live broadcasts of all 64 matches however Singaporeans are up in hands over the pricing. The two telco operators are pricing the event at $66, but only if you subscribe before 31 May. They call this an early-bird discount as the cost will be increased to $88 after 31 May. 4 years ago for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, I paid $25 for the event and I thought that was expensive.

Well, I guess everything is relative. Seeing that is the last football competition I will be watching for awhile as I do not have Singtel Mio, I guess I will bit the bullet and pay.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Review of Iron Man 2

Iron Man was a surprise to me. It was a fun romp which was well-directed by Jon Favreau and has a Tony Stark that was beautifully acted by Robert Downey Jr. It made a ton of money and a sequel was always on the card. It’s here now.

Taking place 6 months after revealing his identity as Iron Man, Iron Man 2 starts with the world now at peace as no country has weapons that can match the Iron Man Suit. As the man who created world peace, Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr) ego goes on the warpath as he opened the year-long Stark Expo. Unhappy that such powerful technology is not in the hands of the United State Army, a Senate United State committee, led by Senator Stern (Gary Shandling), demands that Stark release the Iron Man suit for military application. Stark refused, humiliated the committee and publicly said that no one will match the Iron Man technology for 10 to 20 years.

Unknown to all, Tony Stark is dying. Stark has discovered that the palladium powering the arc reactor that is keeping him alive is also slowly poisoning him. Never the most stable of men to begin with, he goes off the rails drinking and partying like there is no tomorrow. At the same time, he also arranged for his impending death naming his former personal assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) CEO of Stark Industries.

While participating in a race in Monaco, Stark is attacked by Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), who has an arc reactor of his own. With the Iron Man armor, Stark defeated Vanko but the victory was bittersweet as Vanko had proved that the technology can be built now, not in 10-20 years as Stark had believed. From there everything kicked into high gear as everyone tried to get their hands on the Iron Man suit.

One of the best things about the orginal Iron Man was how good Robert Downey Jr was as Tony Stark. Robert Downey Jr proved again in Iron Man 2 that he was born to play Tony Stark. His chemistry with Gwyneth Paltrow was again a delight, however there just wasn’t enough screentime between the 2 in Iron man 2. (Note to Favreau: Have more scenes between the two, too little of it in this movie!)

I also enjoy the fact that Ivan has a genuine grievance against Stark. Stark’s father was the business partner of Ivan’s father, a Russian physicist named Anton Vanko (Yevgeni Lazarev). The two were the first ones who designed the arc reactor but Stark’s father had Anton deported after they had a dispute on what the arc reactor should be used for. I’m not a fan of Mickey Rourke but his underplayed Ivan Vanko was great.

As good as the acting was, I would not say Iron Man 2 is better than the original. The big problem was the feeling I had that everything was crammed together. Between Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, Ivan Vanko, Don Cheadle’s War Machine, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, there was so much happening in the movie that it was too much of a good thing.

There is also one notable exception to the good acting in the movie. I always found Scarlett Johansson to be a good actress but I just couldn’t buy her Black Widow. It wasn't that she did a bad job but Johansson is just too striking to play a secret agent. I just can’t see her going undercover, I mean look at any picture of her and tell me you won’t remember that face! It’s like asking me to act as a model…and I’m overweight.

Lastly I found the final fight to be anti-climatic. Vanko’s drones were just no match to Iron Man and War Machine and Vanko himself was defeated far too easily for my liking. The final battle was long but it was mostly because Stark was worried about civilian casualties. At no point did I felt that Stark’s back was to the wall and that’s something you need.

Personally I found Iron Man 2 to be just an okay movie, not bad but at the same time not great. If you enjoyed Iron Man, you will like Iron Man 2. Luckily for me, I enjoyed Iron Man so Iron Man 2 was okay. By the way, stayed to the end as there is an easter egg for “Thor” after the credits.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Comics this week

Brightest Day- At the end of Blackest Night, there were a ton of unanswered questions. Or more accurately, 12 of them. The 12 heroes and villains who were resurrected at the end of Blackest Night are the focus of Brightest Day which will give us answers on why they had returned. It’s best to think of Brightest Day as an ensemble movie where there are various stories which tied up with each other. The main section on #1 is on Aquaman and Mera as they save some children from a group of pirates. After Aquaman summoned dead sharks and dead giant squids instead of living ones, Ivan Reis again prove why he is a superstar artist as the utter look of shock on the faces of Aquaman and Mera were priceless . The Hawkman and Hawkgirl section fared less well as it seems their story is more of a mystery set-up. Martian Manhunter and Firestorm have cameos in the issue as well. Geoff Johns seems to have learned from the mistake of Countdown as he largely focus on Aquaman and the Hawks in this issue, with the other 12 characters having their spotlight later. A good start and one good step in a year-long series.

Secret Six #21- After having his son kidnapped, Thomas Blake (the Catman) is now on the warpath. As he chased after the kidnappers, writer Gail Simone interweaved the story with flashbacks to Catman's youth. The actions of Blake's abusive father are disturbing in its normality and give you a basis for Blake’s brutality. As the rest of the Secret Six chase after Blake, even they are shocked by Catman's actions. I’m not usually a fan of flashbacks peppering the main story but Gail Simone did a very good job here. She also didn’t forgot the rest of the Six as she showed how Black Alice’s power affect her mental state. A good issue all around.

Uncanny X-Men #524- After the high octane start to "Second Coming," we finally got a break as the X-Men regroup to bury Nightcrawler. The loss of Nightcrawler is a problem for the X-Men as not only was he a long-time X-Man, he is also the main teleporter of the team. This is something Bastion knows as his talk with Donald Pierce proves. He wants to take out all mutants with teleporting powers and with the death of Nightcrawler and Ariel, he’s halfway there already. It all prove what we all knows; Cyclops suck as a leader. As this issue shows, he is a desperate man out of ideas on how to save the mutant race and is now grasping at straws. The reactions of Beast and Wolverine show that at least some of the X-Men suspect this. Wolverine's anger at Hope was especially telling. Outside the bad art, this is a good issue.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The NPT Conference

At the once-every-5-years Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) conference at the United Nations, the United States and Iran are currently engaged in diplomatic warfare as the U.S want new sanctions on Iran for attempting to get nuclear weapons.

To improve its bargaining position, the U.S announced its own nuclear stockpile of 5,113 nuclear warheads with a few more thousand retired warheads waiting scrap. Now I applauded Obama’s decision to declare its stockpile but the irony of the situation is so ridiculous I can’t believe no one in Obama’s administration mentioned it.

The country with over 5,000 nuclear warheads is trying to prevent Iran from getting it’s first! That has always been the U.S problem with Iran and why it never got more international support than it should. The goal as the Americans said is to have a nuclear-free Middle East. 5 years ago in the last NPT meeting, that was the goal. The problem with that is that Israel already has about 200 warheads and it never signed the NPT!

So why is it okay for Israel (a country in the Middle East) to have 200 nuclear weapons but Iran can’t even get it’s first? Now before anyone start talking about being a responsible country, I will have to remain you that this is Israel. The country who forged foreign passports, authorized assassination on foreign soil, insulted the Vice-President of it’s closest ally, and where it’s okay for it’s Foreign Minister to insult the Turkish ambassador on national television!

A nuclear-free Middle East? We are about 30 years too late for that and the U.S is hardly the best country to talk about the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Don't They Have Better Things To Do?

Yesterday I watched an episode about illegal trafficking on National Geographic called “Inside”. In it there was a big segment on how a lot of the illegal trade in Europe went through the port of Naples, Italy.

It was a good show where they said corruption in Italy help the illegal trade. I’m not certain how true the show is but as Italy is the home of the Mafia, I think it’s safe to say there is a lot of crime in Italy. There is a lot of work for the Italian police, but instead of fighting crime they fined a woman 500 euros for wearing a burqa.

Now this is the first fine of its kind in Italy but what the hell is the Italian police doing fining a woman for wearing a burqa? Is there no crime to fight in Italy that they have to fine a 26-year-old woman walking down a street with her husband? What’s worse; the reason for the fine was because it was a “security problem”.

It’s a security problem because she was wearing a burqa? Well according to “Inside”, there is a REAL security problem in Italy called illegal trafficking! Maybe the Italian police should concentrate more on real crime then fining women who are just walking down a street.

Monday, May 3, 2010

No Online Purchase

Over the weekend, I join in the 3 day free trial of The Lord of the Rings Online. The trial is a way for Turbine to welcome back gamers who used to be subscript to the game.

The game was as enjoyable as the first time I played it but I would not be subscripting back to it. The reason is simple; I don’t have the latest The Lord of the Rings Online expansion “Siege of Mirkwood”. I don’t have it because the expansion is only available for online purchase.

Now I understand why more and more companies are doing this; they cut cost as there is no shipping, packaging or storage cost but I’m not a fan of this latest trend. I’m just not willing to wait hours just to download a game. I mean I pay for the game, then have to wait hours to download it and finally have to spend more time to install it!

That just don’t make sense to me. So unless Turbine have the latest expansion on retail, count me out.