Thursday, April 30, 2009

Update - new blogs added



Three other blogs are added to Internations blogroll:

Jim’s Caledonian Comment which first appeared as a live daily slot on the award winning Les Ross Breakfast Show on BRMB Radio, Birmingham, UK.

During the 1980’s and 1990’s, the feature grew in terms of both its popularity and its notoriety, with cutting satire and withering abuse aimed at as many deserving victims as possible.

After years of self-imposed exile and quiet retreat while he waited for a male menopause that never happened, Caledonian Jim has now returned, refreshed and as acid as ever, to enrich your internet experience with cynical world-weary observations designed to prick the baloons of the pompous, the banal politicians, the jobsworths, the incompetent and the politically correct idiots who seem to inhabit positions of authority everywhere with ever-increasing, depressing regularity and cause us all grief. In addition, the Credit Crunch across the world has highlighted what many of us already knew : the bankers, financiers and speculators who control our lives are greedy, incompetent, arrogant, criminal and cowardly.

The second one is of a Dutch Journalist, Frederike, who writes for a dozen Dutch and international newspapers. She has a very original view on what’s going on in Turkey. Her weblog is called Journalist in Turkey.


And the third and last one is the Exaggerator, best describes as a blog which is ‘ Conveniently located @ the junction of Hilarity and Snarkyness," ‘rather snarky and silly look @ the state of the world and whatever crosses Your Correspondent's mind. (In fact, there have been some who have seen this weblog and have come out laughing rather hysterically @ what he post--an online variant on the Argentine radio show Loony Radio, as it were; the show originates from an insane asylum just outside Buenos Aires, and its off-the-wall, sometimes hysterical, rants by its inmate participants have made it a cult hit.
Enjoy!

Day Opening - April 30


...hanging in the water...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine flu...


...where it all started...
Lot of panicking these days, but the season related regular flu cost between 250.000 and 500.000 lives, yearly!

Interım report blames Turkish pilots for plane crash

Interim report blames pilots for Schiphol crash on February 25 in Amsterdam.

The Dutch Safety Board has produced an interim report on the crash near Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on 25 February in which nine people died. It concludes that the Turkish pilots of the Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-800 failed to respond correctly to signals indicating there were problems with the altimeter.
Well before landing, there were warnings that the plane was descending too rapidly. The plane then accelerated, gaining height, but soon slowed down again soon afterwards. It is being presumed that the pilots manually accelerated after receiving the warning, but allowed the automatic pilot to take over flying the plane again too soon afterwards.

The Turkisk Airline Pilots association denied soon after the accident any faults made by the pilots and blamed all kind of external factors for the crash. This toroughfully created interim report comes to another conclusion. Now it's waiting upon the first conspiracy theory in this case 'against Turkish airlines'.

Day Opening - April 29


...what are they both thinking...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Integration in the Netherlands

The most recent quarterly survey conducted by the Social Cultural Planning Office (SCP) has revealed that Dutch people are becoming more positive about the immigrants that have come to live there.
Only 35 percent now think the Netherlands would be a better place if there were fewer immigrants. At the end of last year that figure was 41 percent. With appr. 400 thousand people, immigrants born in Turkey or to Turkish parents, they constitute the largest non-western ethnic group in Holland.

The survey also shows that more and more people say the presence of different cultures is actually an asset to the country. This figure has climbed from 36 percent, at the end of last year, to 44 percent in the first quarter of 2009.
In addition, fewer people are critical of the integration process. In recent months, the planning office's researchers noted that Dutch people are reacting more mildly to the issue of immigration on the whole. Which is a bad sign for the right wing populist Geert Wilders!

When it comes to the economy, the same SCP survey shows people are just as pessimistic now about the situation as they were at the end of last year, with 65 percent believing the outlook is gloomy. The SCP research indicates that people with lower educational qualifications are aware that they are more vulnerable in times of economic malaise. People with higher qualifications are more optimistic.

Day Opening - April 28


Leap of faith by Paul Perton

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Day Openıng - April 26


...just find...

Ataturk's Children



An excellent column by a good friend.

Like every other April 23, last Thursday was Turkey’s National Sovereignty and Children's Day. There were celebrations throughout the whole country to honor this national holiday.

Read more herreeee

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Where does democray stands for - part 2



Secondly, the state shall not govern religious institutions (like in Turkey), and religious institutions should not rule the state (like inIran and Saudie Arabia). Religion should be a ‘prophet’ in society, but not its king. And the state should be everybody’s servant, but not the high priest of the church.
Major political forces in the EU is trying to push the churchin partcular out from the public arena, but want — on the other hand — to decide what the church must or must not do, like forcing the church to perform homosexual marriages. Or like in Turkey where the state with its rigid ideology runs the Directorate for Religious affairs and meddle in private affairs. That is not democracy!


Thirdly, a strong civil society is crucial for democracy. There must be voluntary organizations which are independent from the state. They may be stamp or bowling clubs, Christian or Islam study circles, political youth organizations or trade unions. But EU’s Equal Treatment Directive (ETD) means that the independence of civil society is threatened. The European Parliament has already voted for it, but it needs to be approved by the Commission. According to the ETD, clubs and religious organizations will not have the obvious right to define membership criteria, all out of fear for the rising political Islam (like communism was the lie of the 20th century its obvious that political Islam will be the lie of the 21th century)


The UK is already struggling with this issue, due to their laws — which have given inspiration to ETD. For example, a Christian student union was closed down at a university since they required that its members should adhere to a classic Christian faith. It was viewed as discriminating. Civil society as independent as it was for decades in West Europe are under attack only out of fear for political Islam. And that is worriesome!

Day Openıng - April 23


...just for fun...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Where does democray stands for - part 1



Yesterday I came across an article written by Mats Tunehag which appeared last week in the Swedish newspaper Världen idag.
It describes preciously where democracy stands for and where the fear comes from. And that’s not Islam but fundamentalist religious groups!
He argued that in general ‘countries with a Protestant tradition (Nordic, the Netherlands, Switzerland) have better and stronger democracies than for example ‘catholic’ countries such as those in Latin America. Next to that ‘Islam still has to present one single practical evidence that it is possible to combine Islam and sharia with democracy’. And moreover ‘states which link ethnicity with religion often have difficulties with democratic development and/or religious freedom’. It applies, for example, to countries with Orthodox churches: Russia, Serbia, Greece, Armenia, and Georgia. And this sums it pretty much up. And in my opinion fundamentalist Christian groups had an enormous influence on Bush and co.

Back to the Western world and ın particular the EU where the essential pillars for the development and maintenance of democracy are under attack according Mats Tunehag.

Firstly, freedom of speech and religion is decisive for democratic processes and for respect of the integrity and freedom of the citizens. Thus it is a backlash for democracy that these very two freedoms increasingly are being challenged and diminished in the European Union. The examples are many. In the name of tolerance, there are demands, legislative changes, and threats which decrease the freedom of speech and religion, often under the term hate speech.These self-appointed prophets of intolerance stem from the same democracy-hostile soil but grow on different trees like: Islamists, secularists, and gay lobbyists (I’m only talking about the EU not other countries).
The Labor Party in the UK wants to abolish the freedom of speech clause regarding homosexual lifestyle. A well-intended EU directive against discrimination is moving in the same direction.

Tomorrow part 2

Day Openıng - April 22


“If I was an old building I would want to be by the ocean. Till’ the end of times”. Photographed at the old fishing piers of the Texas Bolivar Peninsula.
Photographer unknown

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Good Governance - Elections in India

Gaıri Garpure is a blogfriend from India for over two years. Sometimes she acts as guest writer here. Here peacefull blog entries are always worth reading. This one is here view upon the upcoming elections in her India, and she asked me to run it here...with pleasure!

GOOD Governance - by Gauri Gharpure

As India plunges into nationwide Lok Sabha and Assembly polls this month, my small standing in the country, as her citizen, has suddenly become a hot topic. Why? Because I can vote and suddenly, I am in demand.

But like me, many others who stay away from their hometown and won't be able to make it in time to vote, will lose their chance. Then, many others will stay away for no party seems just right. Then again, many will vote not for a just candidate, but for the caste he belongs to.

Good governance. That's what we want at the end of this mad rat race.

BJP has a huge flipside because of the hardline, anti-minority image it has created for itself. It banks on the good governance bit though.

However, a good governance cannot be reached till a country is plagued time and again with separatist agenda. It cannot be reached till churches are attacked, Muslims and Sikhs are killed in riots and girls are beaten up, told what they should do or wear. It cannot be achieved till a political party decides what suits Hindutva and what does not.

Good governance cannot be achieved till we allow religion and caste to come out of our homes and entangle with everything and anything. There should be a demarcating line between your religion and your being a good citizen. Till we continue to mix the two to dangerous outcomes, we and our future generation won't be in a comfortable state of existence.

Good governance cannot also be reached till we keep on banking on reservation status instead of merit and intellect. Yes, good governance cannot be achieved by the carrot of reservation, when basic primary education is muddled with lax teaching policies, fatal corporal punishments and finding rats in mid-day meals.
On the same lines, good governance cannot be achieved by finding an easy way out, by patronising health biscuits to do away with the labour of cooking a hygienic mid-day meal.

Good governance cannot be brought on sentimentality and emotions. Politicians are cunning, corrupt, divisive. And so, junta should be shrewd, opportunistic and manipulative to ultimately get what it wants. And wants should be prioritized well.

Good governance needs to start from the way down. It has been a long, tiresome wait. We are still waiting...

Day Openıng - April 21


Le bonheur de vivre (The Joy of Life) 1905-06 (150 Kb); Oil on canvas, by Henri Matisse

Monday, April 20, 2009

The UN racism conference and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

The Netherlands is among 10 other countries which will not be sending a representative to the United Nations' conference on racism, which opened earlier today in Switzerland. One of the reasons is that the Dutch Foreign ministry believes the meeting will be used to place religion above human rights. And that it would not participate "into a propaganda circus" for attacks on the West in general and Israel in particular by countries who’s ‘human rights records are not acceptable, read: Iran, Libya and Saudi Arabia. I don’t think this it’s wise to stay away, you better monitor what’s happening, or not happening.

The growing list of countries which have said they will stay away from the conference are Canada, Australia, Sweden, Poland, New Zealand, Italy, the USA and Israel .
The White House announced that the United States would not be attending, due to what it referred to as "objectionable" language in the draft declaration. Canada and Israel had already announced they would not attend the five-day Durban Review Conference although major changes were been made in the draft statement. Britain has said it will be sending only a low-level delegation, as has the French with the reservation that when ant-Semitist language will be used they will walk out.

The previous anti-racism summit, held in Durban in South Africa in 2001, was overshadowed by criticism from Islamic countries of Israel's continuing occupation of the Palestinian territories. But the biggest problem is the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly referred to the Holocaust as a "myth" and called for Israel to be "wiped off the map", and just delivered a speech today which also happens to be the Holocaust Remembrance Day. And his intolerance against women, gays and lesbians, other religions (Bahai, Christian, Jews etc.) will damage this conference its creditability for making him the a ‘Guest of Honor’…

UPDATE: and yes, Ahmadinejad used the time for a blatant hate speech against Jewish people; the who world is suffering 'because the Zionist', which is a political movement not a race....obvious he doesn't know that. fini.

Day Opening - April 20


Indefinite Divisibility 1942 (110 Kb); Oil on canvas, by Yves Tanguy

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Statement #16



Men are suckers for approval. A nod and a smile go a long way to winning the male heart. They want to feel that women have noticed them and that women need them. Best of all would be if women admire them. They'd also like to feel that women trusted them, but that's probably hoping for too much.


From Bluffer's Guide to Men

Day Opening - April 19


Lisboa
By Belgin Zeytin

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Art and culture


Now more than ever, culture, music, art, and fashion have grown increasingly intertwined forming relationships stronger than ever before. A retail store is no longer solely a retail store; instead, it’s a collaborative culture hotbed.

For instance, we are seeing an increased amount of record stores carrying clothing, bookstores carrying music, retail stores carrying home décor and having in-store concerts—as well as some superstores providing all of the aforementioned products in one convenient location.
Stores seem to be thriving on selling a lifestyle and culture rather than a specific product. Now this might not seem like a revolutionary concept, but it is an interesting one to look at in the context of our current economic state.

To highlight this amalgamation of products thrown together to create a specific ‘identity’ are the partnerships between top industry magazines and retail stores. These relationships have become more prominent (and successful) over the last few years. For example, Vice and Aritzia have created a mini-magazine entitled “Secrets and Lies” together, advertising Aritzia’s clothing with the recognizable styling of Vice Magazine.
Urban Outfitters sells a slew of Nylon Magazine-branded goods such as books, artist series plates, DVD’s, CD’s, and MP3 covers. Racked.com notes, “Urban Outfitters creative director Kevin Lyons said Urban is open to any product category Nylon suggests. ‘As the line grows, both of us can grow together,’ he said.”
And they have done exactly that.
It is hard to narrow in on what will be next in the future of lucrative relationships, but one thing is for certain: In a time of economic crisis, it doesn’t hurt to have friends.

Day Opening - April 18


Solitude..
By Belgin Zeytin

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New anti-Islam film in the making...

If one is not enough, rightwing Dutch MP Geert Wilders has told the Dutch De Telegraaf newspaper that he is planning to make a follow-up to his controversial anti-Islam film, Fitna. The maverick MP and leader of the opposition Freedom Party says his new piece will deal with the negative effects of what he calls 'the advance of Islam' in Western countries.
He hopes to receive help from professional film-makers in the United States and says the new film should be ready next year.
A court in Amsterdam last year ruled that Mr Wilders should be prosecuted for inciting hatred and discrimination. Fitna (the word means 'strife' or 'ordeal' in Arabic), is being cited as part of the evidence against him.
I'm not sure what his real purpose is, but if will create some uproar again...

Day Opening - April 16


...spring is coming...
By Belgin Zeytin

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Statement #15

The Dutch are cultural magpies. They keep a beady eye on other people's cultural trends, and are swift to snap up sparkling new fashions. This means that rather than producing an indigenous culture, they have become voracious consumers of everybody else's - true Europeans, whose cultural fads and fancies know no borders. The Netherlands acts as a giant cultural sponge.

From a Bluffer's Guide to Dutch.

Day Opening - April 15

Madrid Wedding

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Computer problems

Last week Thursday my notebook shut down...suddenly.
Can not solve the problem until today. Therefore I am using an old computer which I bought in Miami 2002, which is slow...
Entrecard users: sorry I cannot drop by that often...
Comments here: later.
Thank you for your patience.

Iran accuse the Netherlands of anti-Iran conspiracy

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is accusing the Netherlands of 'a conspiracy' against the Iranian government. In an official statement, the Guard has said the Netherlands is paying millions of euros to internet sites and radio broadcasters, such as the Amsterdam-based Radio Zamaneh, that are hostile to Iran.The Guard is the protector of the ideas of the Iranian revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. Its statement has been printed in several Iranian newspapers.The Dutch support for more diversity in the Iranian media is the result of a parliamentary decision in 2005. Reacting to a proposal by the Green Left and conservative VVD parties, parliament decided to spend 15 million euros a year to set up an Iran-oriented satellite broadcaster. When that plan fell through, the money was directed to other media initiatives run by Iranian exiles, in cooperation with Press Now, the Netherlands-based organisation for the improvement of press freedom. Yep, Iran wants to teach the Dutch a lesson in 'freedom of expression'...

Day Opening - April 14


Madrid Streets: 'a way to make money'.
By Belgin Zeytin

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Statement 14


It is a sad truth that while men can stomach sparkles of intelligence from a woman, they find too much intellect indigestible. Intelligent women are a threat... It was a man who ruefully admitted: 'Women are more intelligent than men. They have to be, to convince us so often that the opposite is true'.
From: Bluffer's Guide to women.

Happy Easter


To All Our Readers: Happy Easter

Day Openıng - April 12


'Dilemma'
Photo by Belgın Zeytin

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dutch parliament objects against radical army İmam

Dutch Deputy Defence Minister Jack de Vries is reconsidering the appointment of an imam from the Moroccan community as an army chaplain. MPs have criticised the Islamic cleric's appointment.The imam is said to have called Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende a hypocrite and to have said he was worth less than a doormat. He is also alleged to have said that Christians are still at war with the Muslim religion. Many MPs believe he is not a suitable candidate to become an army chaplain.Mr de Vries will now hold talks with the parties involved to find out whether the appointment should go ahead. The imam was due to start his new job on Thursday together with a colleague from the Turkish community, who is an active member of the Turkish Milli Gurus association, or NatıionalView! Which is highly controversial in Turkey.
The Ministry of Defence has spent five years trying to select suitable chaplains, but up to now has been hampered by disagreement between different Islamic organisations. Iim really curious what for example the Turkish militairy thinks about an army-Imam of Milli Gurus...
The Dutch army is a professinal one; militairy service is volontairy. Another problem is that Dutch citizens of Turkish descent, when choose to become Dutch soldier also mus fullfill his militairy service ın Turkey. Which is of course to ridicule for words.

Statement 13

The firm basis of government is justice, not pity!

Day Opening - April 11


A friend in a Maltese Villa; looking like a princess
Picture by Belgin Zeytin

Friday, April 10, 2009

Turkey's clumsy Foreign policy

While most Turkish political commentators are still in some kind of euphoria about how good the interactions are now between Turkey and the USA (after 2 days Obama in Turkey.. Sic!) they simple ignored the fact that during the divers summits of last week; European leaders and the American administration are on one line again and act and talked accordingly. And when everybody in Turkey was completely focused on Obama’s visit, and blinded by that, there was suddenly the debate about the selection of Rasmussen to the position of Secretary General of the NATO. While most European leaders were attentive about this post, Turkey tried to sell it as ‘a coup; ‘it was a last moment appointment’ and ‘we got several messages from our Arab friends that this appointment would harm NATO’s reputation’.
My question is still out there; ‘since when epitomize Turkey the Arab world and the Islamite world at large in the NATO’? And I already mentioned here that Turkey is confused about its own position in Europe, within the EU and the NATO…
I shall spare you all the negative editorials, comments in the European press (I’m talking about the French, Danish, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, Greek press etc. as far I could read them in their native languages) of last week, but all raised the same question; ‘will Turkey act like this when it’s a member of the EU’? And ‘is Turkey representing itself or its Islamite allies’. Sarcasm and irony was what Turkey’s foreign policy received. If Turkey wants to join the EU then it has to act from an EU perspective and from its on national interest. Not from an Arab’ point of view. Today, Barcin Yinanc summed it all up pretty well. It looks like that Turkey EU membership is further away than ever since Europe is now fully aware that Turkey foreign policy is based upon religion, not upon its own interests. And that sounds silly, or not?

Day opening - April 10


Sarajevo Kiss

From Flickr

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Milan, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Venice

(not exactly the map of the trip, but it give an idea)

Yes, O. and I decided to make a road trip. Not only by car but plane and train as well.
Our last real road trip was in January 2007 (after a long flight from Istanbul to San Fransisco)when we drove in 5 days from San Francisco to Phoenix, Arizona, from there to Albuquerque, New Mexico and from there to Las Vegas in Nevada and back to San Francisco.
This time we will fly to Milan, where O. has her annual meeting with GM’s of her company world wide. And their partners, mainly women…. We will have some good days in the Ritz Milan, I can guarantee that. From there we will drive to Lyon and Paris in France, stay there a couple of days and travel to Brussels and Amsterdam where I have some business to do. Then we drive back to Milan and take a day train to Venice. And fly back to Istanbul.. O. has been to many European countries and places in the America’s and the Far and Middle East, but she never made it to France, Belgium and Venice Italy. Yes, she traveled to Rome and Florence on a cold winter day during Christmas when everything was closed! For me is it since 2002, to see, the countries where I lived in the past, France, Italy, Belgium, back. And the Netherlands? Didn’t have been there since May 2007, and that’s a long time if you compare it to my visits to my home country between May 2006 and May 2007: 8 times, among other foreign trips. I guess I wrote and blogged too much!

America Cannot Do a Damn Thing


Blogfriend 'Plateau of Iran' sent me the following blog entry to publish it here. I am glad to help him/her out. Enjoy!
April 3, 2009 - A message to Barack Hussein Obama:

Sir, your predecessors, their lack of robust policy, regarding Iran, resulted in their failure. You may feel self-aware, but your perceived optimism, cleverness & your inexperience are also seen as notable obstacles, by many. I hope you will have well thought-through, and informed surprises in store.
You may bow your head to the Saudis; most know about Saudi financial investments in the USA, and the consequences should the relationship sour. President George W. Bush, and his father knew the constraints too well. – ”I saw President Bush lower his head to have a medal placed on around his neck [by Saudis] which is very different from a supplicating bow of greeting.” - Here
Other references to USA/SAUDI relations: One - Two - Three - there are numerous other documentations, pre and post September 11, 2001.
In relation to Iran, you are at crossroads. I do not think your administration, in the next 4 years, unless exceptional circumstances, would resolve any issues with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
At the end of the day, to many Iranian People, even those who are US citizens, you are just another American President working to successfully see your legacy through in American Politics. Your administration is another hindrance for the Iranian People, but a facilitator of the Iranian Islamic Government. You are not seen by many Iranian People to be able to make a real, pro-democracy & freedoms difference in a Mullah-ruled, dictatorship called The Islamic Republic of Iran - Nor will you or your administration try to do so. Much luck to you, Joe Biden and your administration.

Continue reading herreee

Day opening - April 9


Canyon overview somewhere in USA

Creator: Rory Gallagher

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rasmussen and Turkey

The narrowly avoided row over the appointment of a new Nato secretary general touched on a larger subject: the difficult relationship between the West and the Muslim world.

Turkey considered the Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen unfit to lead the alliance because of his role in the 2006 crisis over the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Fogh Rasmussen had refused to apologise for the publication of the cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005, which caused widespread and sometimes violent protests in the Muslim world.
It was nothing personal, said Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but how could a man like that represent Nato in the Muslim world - especially at a time when Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran are at the top of Nato's agenda? Erdogan said several Arabic countries had voiced their concern to him.

Turkey's price

In the current climate it didn't take long before this reaction led to a counter-reaction. Since when can anyone dictate who the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation does or does not appoint as its leader? some people said. Have we become so afraid of the Muslim world that we are ready to give in to any perceived sensitivities of undemocratic regimes in the Middle East? Now more than ever it is time for Nato to stand up for a man who defended the freedom of expression in the face of Muslim protest, Fogh Rasmussen's defenders argued.
And thus what started as a human resources issue - albeit on a very high level - risked growing into a major new chapter in the so-called 'clash of civilisations': the succession of emotional, political and religious skirmishes since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

During Friday night's working dinner in Strasbourg, the succession issue took up far more time than was expected or intended. The alliance was at an impasse: against the consensus among 27 of the 28 member states stood the lonesome opposition of Turkey. "The question is what it will cost for Turkey to give in," said one cynical diplomat who was unimpressed by Turkey's supposedly principled stand on behalf of the Muslim world.
After much negotiating, it became clear on Saturday what Turkey's price was. After talks between US president Barack Obama and Turkish president Abdullah Gül, Erdogan announced that Ankara had been given guarantees that Fogh Rasmussen would appoint a Turk as one of his deputy secretary generals and that more Turks would be given top jobs at Nato's military headquarters. Some Turkish diplomats even claimed that France and Germany were made to promise to be more lenient in ongoing talks about Turkey's accession to the European Union.

It was with considerable relief that De Hoop Scheffer and Fogh Rasmussen appeared before the media on Saturday with the announcement that a unanimous decision had been reached about the succession. A crisis was averted. Fogh Rasmussen said he understood Turkey's concerns. "I made clear I will reach out to the Muslim world and I will make sure [Nato] will co-operate closely with Turkey," he said.

A friend of Bush

It remains to be seen whether this is enough to make Fogh Rasmussen an effective Nato leader, and to overcome possible opposition from the Muslim world.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen (56) is known as "a friend of Bush". He supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003, signing a letter together with seven other European leaders in which they backed the removal of Saddam Hussein and called for solidarity with Washington. It earned him an invitation to president Bush' Texas ranch where they went mountainbiking together - just like the outgoing secretary general De Hoop Scheffer before him.
In Denmark, Fogh Rasmussen's appointment was met with a mix of pride and relief. Uncertainty about Fogh Rasmussen's appointment had all but paralysed Danish national politics. Rasmussen will be succeeded as prime minister by the current finance minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.

On Monday, there were indications that the cartoons row might not be quite over yet. The Turkish media widely reported that Fogh Rasmussen would issue an apology during a speech in Istanbul, and that the apology was one concession offered in order to get Turkey to withdraw its opposition.
But the Danish news agency Ritzau quoted Fogh Rasmussen as saying there would be no apology. "Listen. In Denmark we do not apologise for having freedom of speech," Fogh Rasmussen said. "You all know that a Danish prime minister cannot apologise on behalf of a newspaper."
Fogh Rasmussen was in Turkey on Monday to speak at a United Nations conference on intercultural dialogue and understanding. As secretary-general of Nato he may have to continue the intercultural dialogue, in one form or another, for some years to come. But he didn't apologize!

source: nrc.nl

Barack Obama is following who?.)

Hi, Hans A.H.C. de Wit (Helianthes).
Barack Obama (BarackObama) is now following your updates on Twitter.
Check out Barack Obama's profile here: http://twitter.com/BarackObama
Best,Twitter