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Glebs Prohorovs - The University of Salford

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The Iran's stance on West: Does it mean war?

The Iran's stance on West: Does it mean war?

Posted: Mar 28, 2012

Nowadays I more often come across allegations that Iran’s nuclear policy is likely to be the cause of the outbreak of full-scale conflict with Israel and with the US accordingly. With reference to the recent articles on the BBC, The Guardian, Sky News and CNN websites that I have read, a military conflict is likely, or even unavoidable. As far as I am concerned, mainstream media slightly exaggerate the scale of the potential threat.

The Israeli ultimatum of the pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear plants was the breaking news recently. Although Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims that uranium enrichment is aimed at civil purposes, the Western nations, specifically the US, are concerned about military use of the Iran’s nuclear achievements. With regard to the long-term stand-off between Iran on one side and US with Israel on the other, the media forecasts another case of the ‘American democracy spreading’ now towards Iran.

But it looks like all the nations involved are not interested in the violent resolution of disagreement. A top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader asserts that Iranians are ready for a compromise and the provision of full transparency of all the nuclear facilities. Besides, the allegations of the Israeli prime minister about pre-emptive strike are, to my mind, merely an attempt to attract international attention and make the Western powers ‘tighten the screws on Iran’.

Israel is clearly waving fists at Iran, which potentially may threaten its national security and regional stability. Iran, even being one of the most developed nations in the Middle East, would unlikely venture to get into conflict with state possessing the most advanced military in the region. Needless to say, each part understands that the US, with its entire deployed contingent and allies in Arab world far exceeds the military power of Iran.

In any case, the majority of civilian population of Israel do not see the actual threat from Iran. Peculiarly enough, Americans do see it. Personally I would attribute the reasons for so excessive coverage of Iran’s stand-off with West to the approaching elections in the US. The candidates for presidency more often stress the necessity of US military intervention since it would reveal the uncertainty and irresolution of Mr Obama, who denounces the war. So, not Iran, but Obama’s popularity is a target.

Therefore, the military intervention is improbable. I feel very strongly that the pre-election political games in the US are not a substantial reason to declare war.

Cartoon by osipovva, available under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

 

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Aug 26, 2012 : andybailey Says:

It does my head in when the yanks start spouting off their moral high ground lectures about weapons of mass destruction. I am in no way endorsing the Iranian tyrant but I do also like to point out that; Was it not the USA who used napalm in Vietnam? Used the atomic bomb TWICE in Japan? Still uses under Barack Obama 'Waterboarding' in the torture camp on people who haven't been convicted? Supports the real terrorist's i.e. Israel? Still uses the deadly 'Daisy Cutter' bomb?

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The King's Speech review

The King's Speech review

Posted: Mar 28, 2012

If someone asked me to name five best pictures of the last year, The King’s Speech without doubt would be one of them.  Directed by Tom Hooper, the film is based on the King George’s VI battle with stuttering. Colin Firth plays Prince Albert, the Duke of York, who unexpectedly for himself ascends the throne on account of abdication of his older brother and crown prince Edward (Guy Pearce).The situation gets complicated due to monarch’s life-long stammer that he tries to get rid of with the help from eccentric Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush. Despite the refusal to abide by Logue’s methods at first, Albert soon becomes friends with him and overcomes his affliction.

The superb performance by leading actors, a breath-taking atmosphere, and the magnificent work of Hooper are far from being only advantages of this picture.  The King’s Speech deservedly won four Oscars (including best motion picture of the year), and is one of the rarest Academy award-wining movies that would appeal to a wide audience. Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth’s duo is one of the best seen in recent years.  I could hardly take my eyes off watching how Logue uses his psychological approaches to reveal the problems standing behind monarch’s stammer. The scene of the final speech will take your breath away. Undoubtedly, the King’s Speech is one of the best British films of the decade.

Spectacularity - 4 out of 5

Actors’ performance – 5 out of 5

Director’s work – 5 out of 5

Script – 5 out of 5

 

Photo by kilokon.tw, available under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs License



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Remembering the Manchester riots

Posted: Mar 08, 2012

Considering the outbreak of violence in London and other cities across England, the wave of riots was anticipated to reach Manchester too. It was 9th of August when everything started. I was working at the time when people started to talk about the young men with covered faces and “hoodies” who appeared outside on the street.  At around four in the afternoon the rioters took over the streets of city centre, lootings the shops and causing chaos. I saw a crowd of young people taking to Deansgate through windows of the restaurant I work in. I have never expected to witness anything like this.

 

I got to know that the clashes between the looters and police took place in Piccadilly Gardens, St Ann’s Square, Oldham and Market streets. The customers and staff in the restaurant were anxious and frightened as it was dangerous to come outside the building. To make things worse, public transport along with taxi ceased to operate and there was no way to get home other than by foot. The eyewitnesses were telling us that rioters broke into the Arndale Centre, and that the Miss Selfridge on Market street was set on fire.

 

 

To be honest, the ongoing violence and chaos were rather interesting than frightening for me. I was excited to be in the epicentre of the event. As soon as I and my friend who I work with came outside, I shot the footage of mounted police unit entering the city centre. The streets leading to Piccadilly Gardens were blocked. No taxi service was operating. Smoke coming from the Salford Shopping City struck us as we walked down to Salford. After a brief hesitation, we decided to come nearer and see what is going on out there.

 

A number of shops were set on fire. Police cars tore along the street. We could not come any nearer because the subway leading to Shopping City was blocked by police with dogs. We heard that some people got arrested and it was unsafe to stay in there. As soon as I got the footage of the spot we headed home.

 

 

I can say that this is one of the most memorable episodes of the last summer. It was a valuable experience too. Although everyone expected another outbreak the next day, police have done a good job to prevent it.


 

 

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The role of social networking in the Arab spring

The role of social networking in the Arab spring

Posted: Feb 29, 2012

One of the most outstanding examples of how citizen journalism manifested itself I would refer to the so called Arab spring: namely, the civil resistance in Arab countries such as Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. In fact, low standards of living, the repression of basic civil liberties and other factors that led to the uprising existed far before 2010, but the world public has become aware of them simply because of the development of social networking.

The web activity of Tunisians, being the starting point for the rebellion, shows this point clearly. In my view, the strict censorship and the government's control of media outlets prevented the creation of liberal public sphere and the relevant dissemination of information within a state and beyond state boundaries. Nevertheless, by the means social networks such as Facebook and Twitter the world community was informed about the human rights violations and growing public discontent within the state.

In particular, Facebook became a tool to express the resentment towards Ben Ali’s regime, to encourage the public to participate in civil resistance, as well as to coordinate the actions of rebels. Because of the well-organized demonstrations and rallies, the resignation of the head of the state after 23 years in power was imminent. And as far as I am concerned, the situation has changed for better since new, freely-elected political forces have introduced more people-oriented policies.

Remarkably, the example of Tunisian online revolution was followed by the Egyptians who demanded changes in political and social life of the state. Facebook memorial page “We are all Khaled Said" encouraged thousands of Internet users to take to the streets of Cairo protesting against Mubarak’s dictatorship. The State security service undertook numerous attempts to block the operation of social networks, which, to my mind, clearly contradicts the democratic norms and values. However, these attempts have failed.

In the case of Libyan revolution, the information about repressions conveyed through social media has provoked a considerable response from the international public sphere. Although the government had attempted by all means to disrupt online communication in social networking, the opposition managed to create a blogosphere due to which the protestors ultimately gained international support.

I stress that the social uprising was a triumph of free people over repression and the triumph of social media over the censorship. It seems to me that we witness how social networking is transforming from the mean of social communication into political tool that can mobilize people to subvert hegemony and improve civic life within a state.

 
The article is based on the information from:
Arab Revolutions and the Social Media Effect by Harb, Zahera
Tweeting Tyrants Out of Tunisia: Global Internet at Its Best
BBC News
Al Jazeera website
The Guardian

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recent news

Posted: Feb 21, 2012

 

Eurozone reaches deal on second Greece bailout after all-night talks

Eurozone finance ministers approve rescue package deal worth €130bn after 14 hours of negotiations in Brussels, but Greece's communist party vows to fight the plan

Eurozone reaches second bailout for Greece
Greek prime minister Lucas Papademos chats with International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde at a Euro Group finance ministers council in Brussels. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Eurozone finance ministers have finally approved the terms of a second rescue package for Greece worth €130bn (£108bn), which should avert the risk of a Greek default next month.

The deal was hammered out in Brussels during more than 12 hours of
negotiations that began on Monday afternoon, and ran through the night.

Under the agreement, Greece's private creditors have agreed to take deeper losses on their Greek debts, helping to cover a new funding gap that threatened to derail the rescue package – Athens's second since the financial crisis began.

The Greek prime minister, Lucas Papademos, hailed the breakthough, calling it a "historic day" for Greece. His finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, said the agreement would allay fears that Greece would be forced out of the eurozone.

But the package is dependent on Greece implementing further austerity measures, whose unpopularity is underlined by the painful negotations between Papademos's coalition government in the days leading up to the crisis, and the regular protests on the streets of Athens.

One far-left political party has already pledged resistance to the package. The KKE communist party called on people across Europe to join Greeks in their battle against "monopolies and profits".

Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs the eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, called a press conference at around 4.20am GMT in Brussels to announce the deal. Under the agreement, Greece will receive a second rescue programme worth €130bn.

Juncker said: "This new programme provides a comprehensive blueprint for putting the public finances and the economy of Greece back on a sustainable footing and hence for safeguarding financial stability in Greece and in the euro area as a whole."

Under the plan, Greece's debt pile will drop to 120.5% of its GDP by 2020, only slightly above the long-term debt sustainability target set by the International Monetary Fund.

Greece's creditors will be asked to increase their 'haircut' to 53.5% of the nominal value of their bonds, up from their previous maximum of 50%.

The eurogroup meeting in Brussels had been overshadowed by the leaking of a confidential report compiled by the troika – the IMF, the European Union and the European Central Bank.

It painted a dire picture of the Greek economy, warning it was likely to miss its targets and predicting that Greece's banks will require a larger recapitalisation programme. The report admitted Greece's "fiscal outlook has deteriorated" so much that its debt-to-GDP ratio could still be 160% by 2020.

"Given the risks, the Greek program may thus remain accident-prone, with questions about sustainability hanging over it," the report added.

On Tuesday morning, though, EU leaders were optimistic. Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, said she "personally welcomed the agreement", which would give Greece the freedom to restore its economic competitiveness.

The Dutch finance minister, Jan Kees de Jager, went into the meeting calling for the troika to be given a 'permanent position' within Greece to ensure economic reforms were made. It is not clear if this demand was rebuffed by the Euro Group. EC commissioner Olli Rehn told the press conference in Brussels the deal included "strengthened monitoring" of Greece's compliance.

Rehn also acknowledged the drawn-out nature of the talks, saying: "Marathon is a Greek word ... I learned that the past two years."

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Call of duty

Posted: Feb 07, 2012

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My first post

My first post

Posted: Feb 07, 2012

Hello blog. That's my first post. Recently I came across the article in The Independent that says about the bombshelling taken place in Syria. It appeared to me that society blames everything on Russia and China as they vetoed the decision of UN to intervene with ongoing events in Syria. In my opinion, China and Russia only protect their interests in the region while US tries to raise it's status as the 'peacemaker nation' by starting another war.

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