Other Topics Today Include:
Ahmadinejad gets snubbed, snubs back; Egyptian torture; AIPAC lobbyists charged; Revolution ain't coming to Iran; FBI's translation backlog swells; unwelcome customs laxity; Mauritania coup; Jaish e Mo to hijack jet; India to fence off Banglia; Aus. to join UK, France in terror-preacher eviction measures; Chechnya jihad on Wahhabis; Aus. and Canada want to sell uranium to China; 7 in 10 Guantanamites to be repatriated; Binnie large and in charge sez old pal; the Saudis Knew! and much more...
This press release that comes through Finextra illustrates Plato's view that all things tend to reveal their true natures in the fullness of time:Japan's Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank is introducing slot machine-style games to its ATMs which will give customers the chance to win back bank fees or around $10 in cash.Combining a brokerage account, regular banking, and gambling on one terminal--add lottery ticket vending and you could stick one in every Brooklyn bodega. In time, it would become regarded as a kind of god or oracle, like the flying head in Zardoz.
The fruit machine-style games will run as customers wait for the cash machines to process transactions. Customers can play the games by hitting a stop button on the ATM screen.
Cardholders that hit a triple seven will have their after hours ATM fee - Y105 (around $1) refunded. If a set of 'gold' or 'super gold' pictures line up on the slot game, the customer wins Y1000 (nine dollars) which can be collected from a branch counter at a later date.
The chance of getting three sevens is about one in 10, while customers have a one-in-500 chance of winning the cash prize.
The bank says the games will not be available during regular business hours when cash withdrawal from ATMs is free of charge.
The Red Actor: Convergence: A Paradigm Case
Where is Osama bin Laden?
His whereabouts cannot be pinpointed by official military and intelligence sources, despite the drones that fly day and night over the Afghan-Pakistani border. Nor can his hiding place be determined by members of the media, who continue to provide c-notes to Pashtuns and Tajiks for useless information.
To discover the whereabouts of the world's most wanted man, it is best to turn to unofficial yet reliable sources, such as the professional soldiers for paramilitary corporations that attend the annual Soldier of Fortune convention in Las Vegas. The mercenaries – "mercs" for short – know where he is since they are anxious albeit not willing to collect the $25 million bounty.
Osama bin Laden is alive and well and living in the valley of Dir within the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. He has been there since he escaped from Tora Bora in December 2001.
To substantiate this claim, the mercs produce shabnamas or "night letters" that are circulated among the various tribes within the frontier. The night letters contain updates of Osama at work and play and photos of the al-Qaida leader with Maulvi Sufi Mohamed, an old and revered Muslim scholar, who maintains a Taliban-style rule over the valley of Dir with public executions of adulterers, homosexuals, apostates and Christian infidels.
Mercs point out that news of Osama's whereabouts was even published on the front page of the Daily Ummat, the leading Urdu language paper of Karachi, on Aug. 10, 2003. Unfortunately, no one in the U.S. defense department – let alone the U. S. intelligence community – took heed of the article with the smiling face of the great emir before the invasions of Waziristan.
Dir remains within the Malakand Pass, the site of some of the fiercest skirmishes under the British Raj. A Pakistani army fort still stands where the young Winston Churchill shot down rebels and received a citation for heroism. Ironically, it now serves as the headquarters of the leader of the Mujahadeen who has unleashed a wave of terrorist attacks against Great Britain.
Despite the bounty, bin Laden remains not only safe and secure in Dir but also free to travel to other parts of the country, including regular trips to Peshawar and the smuggler-infested bazaar town of Rebat at the center of "the Devil's Triangle," the conjunction of the borders of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran.
No Muslim will dare to capture or kill him – not even a squadron of elite military personnel from the Musharraf government, let alone a group of professional bounty hunters. It is the duty of all Muslims to honor the revered leader of the Mujahadeen, who has been ordained to bring forth the Day of Islam.
What's more, bin Laden is protected by milmastia – the Islamic code of hospitality that demands protection for fellow Muslims who seek shelter in their country – even if such protection means risking their lives. Believing Muslims know that the $25 million reward comes with the price tag of apostasy and eternal damnation. Mercs point out that Pakistani soldiers and ISI officials are even unwilling to collar Osama and his cohorts when they appear in Peshawar. They don't want to go to hell for money or Musharraf.
Bin Laden remains protected by yet another factor. Any concerted attempt by the United States to invade any part of the North West Frontier Province by crossing the 680-mile border between Afghanistan and Pakistan in an effort to capture the world's most wanted man will be met by the resistance of the vast majority of 20 million Muslims who inhabit the formidable area.
Such resistance could lead to the toppling of the Musharraf regime with the result that Pakistan, with its arsenal of strategic nuclear weapons, would fall under the control of the radical mullahs, who wait in the wings.
At present, the way to Dir, according to the mercs, remains strewn with the bodies of would-be bounty hunters. They have been cast in the pines beside the dirt road. All have been tortured, stripped naked and castrated. Their eyeballs have been plucked from their sockets; their ears have been hacked off; and their tongues have been ripped from their mouths. Notes have been strapped to the groin of every victim. "Do not be angry or shocked," the notes say in Pashtu. "These are the bodies of agents of the USA."
Where bin Laden is, why he's still alive
As if we needed any additional proof that the EU's legislative body should die a quick (and painful) death, Laurie Morrow sends word that the professional busy-bodies in Brussels are trying to outlaw the Dirndl (helpfully pictured above), the traditional garb sported by barmaids in Bavaria. Limp-wristed über-legislators, such as Wolfgang Kreissl-Dörfer, a Bavarian Member of the European Parliament, are invoking the Orwellian "Optical Radiation Directive" of the EU -- that would be the amount of sunlight these health police (I hesitate to say "Nazis") believe fair-skinned maidens should be exposed to in the line of duty.Marg bar sitzpinklers!
According to the Daily Telegraph:
Bavarian bar keepers have been told that the dirndl, generally rather revealing, will have to be replaced as it offers no protection against what the directive calls "natural sources of radiation", meaning sunlight.
Employers now face heavy fines if they fail to protect their workers from the threat of sunburn or skin cancer.
"This is European law-making at its most pedantic," said Munich's mayor, Christian Ude. "A waitress is no longer allowed to wander round a beer garden with a plunging neckline. I would not want to enter a beer garden under these conditions."
A spokesman for the Bavarian Hotel and Restaurant Union said: "I have spoken to lots of waitresses and none of them have told me that sunburn in the décolleté area has ever been a problem."
Organisers of the world's biggest beer festival, Munich's Oktoberfest, which habitually attracts more than six million visitors a year, were particularly angry at the proposed ban. "This is an attack on the traditions of a region," said a spokesman.
Well said, Herr Oktoberfest Spokesman. This isn't your typical leveling effect, after all, for it covers up a local tradition via the type of legislative diktat only EU types could love.
Note, too, that the concern here isn't modesty (heaven forbid!), but health. How typical of the nanny-state to drape life's delights in swaths of sanctimony. What's next from Brussels: mandatory Chairman Mao coveralls?
And by the way, since it's supposed to be close to 100 degrees here today, I'll take one of those liters of brew, if you please.
Update: Laurie Morrow of True North Radio, who kindly sent me the link to this story, adds:
As a woman, I just think it's terribly, terribly sweet when governing bodies tell women how to dress to protect themselves.
French & German EU members interested in learning more fashion tips concerning the protection of women needn't go beyond their own borders. Time-tested ideas as to how women can protect themselves from the sun's blazes and unwelcome male gazes can be readily obtained from radical Islamicist fashion mavens, whose pieds-à-terre are French and German immigrant neighborhoods.
Perhaps the impetus behind this legislation is the appeasement of this segment of French and German citizenry.
Whatever the motives behind the dirndl ban, a lady's dirns are her own business -- not Wolfgang's. Thank God the British still allow mad dogs, Englishmen, and even their barmaids to go out in the noonday sun.
Isn't economics fascinating?
The economics of robocop
Zero-tolerance policing might make much more economic sense than generally supposed. This is because the costs of petty crime are far from petty. A paper in the latest Economic Journal by the LSE’s Steve Gibbons explains why. (An early version of the paper is here).
He estimates that, in London, a rise of five instances of criminal damage a year within a square kilometre reduces house prices by 1.5 per cent, or £3500. With the average square km containing 2800 properties, this suggests a single act of vandalism costs almost £2 million – far more than conventional estimates.
In pure cost-benefit terms, therefore, the case for zero-tolerance policing is much stronger than generally supposed.
Of course, it’s not the job of the police to increase house prices.
But the point is that falling house prices are a sign that apparently petty crime carries heavy social and psychological costs. Dr Gibbons says:Graffitti and vandalism may be taken as signals or symptoms of community instability, disorder, lack of social cohesion and neighbourhood deterioration in general.If the government is serious about evidence-based policy-making, this means we should hear less about ID cards and anti-terrorism legislation, and more about old-fashioned coppering.