Friday, December 31, 2004

Show compassion in the face of human misery

The suffering in south east Asia is tremendous. I don't recall seeing something like it in my life, and hope to never experience it again. The images are shocking enough. What strikes me is how in the face of so much a tragedy people seek a justification for this. Some people ask what those poor desperate victims have done to get such a punishment. In their twisted mindset there needs to be a justice in this world. If you die in such a savage way, you must have been guilty of something, you must have deserving it.

This makes me sick. This is exactly the path towards dehumanizing the victims. They deserved it, god must have punished them for some untold sin. Which will ultimately bring us to: 'Why should we care about helping them come over their plight? Didn't they deserve what they have. God have mercy on their souls'

Instead of spending so much time and energy trying to find a moral justification for such a catastrophe, people should focus on organizing locally to try and help the victims. There are so many ways one can help. The least one can do is talk about it and try and convince people to give.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Indepth info about the Tsunami.

A detailed coverage of the indian ocean earthquake is presented in this Winkipedia dedicated page. It has all the information you need to know. regions hit, number of casualties by region, ..etc It also presents the quake's characteristics, and how it compares with other big earthquakes that hit different parts of the world during the last decades.

2004 Indian Ocean earthquake

Helping the Tsunami Victims.

The catastrophic tsunami that hit south east asia is of unprecedented magnitude. The human cost is also of great magnitude. For people willing to help I am posting this contact info:

Trauma, hunger plague survivors
Starvation appears imminent for thousands of tsunami survivors sheltered in tents across Aceh, who are still waiting for humanitarian assistance that has trickled in far too slowly since Sunday's nightmare began.

Although a large number of local and international aid groups have already arrived in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh, the absence of trucks and an insufficient fuel supply to transport the goods and volunteers has apparently been the reason that aid cannot efficiently reach the scattered refugee camps.

Help Aceh
Aceh bre the hardest brunt of the Tsunami.
The ethnic strife torn area with poor infrastructure needs as much help as we can give.

Where to send donations for tsunami victims

Dompet Dhuafa Republika
128 000 4397 839 Bank Mandiri Ciputat branch
676 030194 7 BCA Ciputat Mega Mall
004 002 990 7 Bank Syariah Mandiri

Dompet Kemanusiaan Media Indonesia
309 300 7979 BCA Kedoya Baru

Kotak Pundi Amal SCTV
084 266 2000 BCA Wisma Asia

Kompas Media Nusantara
001 007 55555 1001 BNI Jakarta Kota 012 301 6600 BCA Gajah Mada

Hard Rock Radio
219 301 1144 BCA Radio Dalam

2-072-267-196 BII Proklamasi

PMI Jakarta chapter
746-30-05218-4 Bank Lippo Slipi

No help for thousands homeless in Sri Lankan rebel-held area
Isolated at the end of a badly rutted road, this area controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels has had nearly no aid for 20,000 people left homeless by tsunamis that devastated Sri Lanka.

Agency Focal Points- Sri Lanka
The following agencies have focal points who are conducting assessments in Sri Lanka and are providing assistance as listed.

FAO +94 11 2580798/2588537/2508998
IBRD +94 11 2448070/2448071/2432282
ILO +94 11 2592525/2500539
IOM +94 11 5361941-4/2581673
UNDP +94 11 2580691-7
UNFPA +94 11 2580840
UNHCR +94 11 2683968-70
UNICEF +94 11 2555270
WFP +94 11 2586244
WHO +94 11 2502319/2502842

Monday, December 27, 2004

Palestinian Elections

This Week End two events concerning palestinian elections. First, results for the partial municipal elections. Out of 26 municipal councils, 16 went to Fatah, 9 to Hamas and one is tied. Hamas said it was ready to a power sharing with Fatah. This can be considered a very good score for Hamas knowing that the disputed councils were all supposed to be Fatah strongholds in the West Bank. The idea was to give Abu Mazen momentum just before the start of the presidential election campaign. The real strength of Hamas will be revealed once elections are held in the Gaza strip in early 2005.

The second event of this week end was the start of the palestinian authority preseidential election campaign. Mustapha Barghouti the only serious challenger to Abu Mazen, was the first to kick start his campaign. In a campaign rally speech he accused Abu Mazen of trying to control the palestinian people, instead of feeling their pain and defending their legitimate rights.

According to the latest opinion polls Abu Mazen leads Mustapha Barghouti 43% to 18%. The rest of the candidates are all in the one digit pecentage points.

Here is a an article about Barghouti election rally speech.

Abbas' rival strikes confident note
Khalid Amayreh, Al Jazeera, 25 December 2004

The independent Palestinian presidential contestant, Mustafa al-Barghuthi, has said he can beat the front-runner, official Fatah candidate Mahmud Abbas, in the 9 January election.

Speaking during an election rally in the town of Dura, 45km southwest of Jerusalem, on Friday, Al-Barghuthi said Palestinians shouldn't trust "biased and tendentious polls", an allusion to recent opinion surveys which gave Abbas a substantial lead over al-Barghuthi and other candidates.

"The results of the municipal elections prove that all the opinion polls we had seen were false. So don't trust these polls," he said. "Instead I urge you to work with me to create a new leadership that will feel and identify with the pain of our people, not the pain of others." ...

Friday, December 24, 2004

Opera 8.0 voice enabled: More competition for Microsoft's IE

The Browser war is defenitly here. Opera just released its new 8.0 beta version. It is the first speech enabled browser available on the market. At last we are seeing real competition in the browser world. 2004 was the year on tabs, will 2005 be the year of speech?

The Mozilla foundation's Firefox 1.0 has created real competition for Microsoft's Internet Explorer, on issues mostly related to security. Especially after this summer's major virus attacks on windows systems. Opera, is now pushing the competition farther by introducing new feature that have the potential to revolutionize the way we access information on the internet.

It's now microsoft's turn to innovate. Will they be able to face these new challenges.

It looks like we are just in the early stage of another Browser War. The last one we had was won by Microsoft. Will it be the same story all over again?

Here is an article I found about the new Opera 8.0 Beta release. Enjoy!

Opera Tackles Voice Browsing and RSS in Latest Beta Release

Opera Software ASA unveiled Thursday a beta test version of its next Web browser release that features speech recognition, discovery of news feeds and automatic Web-page resizing.

While the next release had been on track to be Version 7.60, the Oslo, Norway, company announced a change in plans. It is retooling the version to be more than an update, which will include a yet-to-be-determined name, said Jon von Tetzchner, Opera's chief executive officer.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Municipal elections in Palestine

Today palestinians of the west bank and part of the gaza strip are voting for municipal councils. It would be interesting to see how fatah does in these elections. It looks like the new fatah leadership has serious legitimacy problems. Their handling of arafat's succession and their apparent renouncement to historic demands about the return of refugees, and the end of the occupation will surely affect their popularity among the population. How can the other palestinian factions benefit from this. Especially Hamas and Islamic Jihad? How about the secular opposition, mainly the palestinian initiative (al mubadara).

These elections will give the world a more accurate picture about the palestinian public opinion. And will be a real test for fatah before the january presidential elections.

We'll have a clearer picture in a few days time.

Firefox Backclash?

Firefox, the new Browser from the Mozilla Foundation, has been very popular during the last couple of months. Especially after its 1.0 release. It has received very good critics so far. And firefox users have been showing a lot of enthusiasm about their new browser. Especially when it comes to security issues.

Today, for the first time I ran across this news piece with a title that suggests that firefox may not be as secure as it pretends, and that Microsoft's Internet Explorer may not be as bad as the firefox people want you to believe.

I thought this was worth sharing.

Is Firefox really that much more secure?

While Firefox users sing their tunes on how much better it is over IE, most IE users don't understand what the fuss is all about. For starters, both browsers have security problems.

First thoughts

On this Wednesday December 22nd 2004, the world as seen from Rabat looks like this. Today is the second day of hearing for the victims of torture, disapearance, et other human rights violations, during the so called years of repression and political turmoil. I didn't have the chance to see any of the testimonies. From comments I heard, some chilling details of torture and detention conditions. Some of these pratices unfortunately still exit in Morocco. The only difference is that now nobody cares.

In Iraq the situation seems to be worsening by the day. The country is still recovering from yesterday's Mosul Attack on an American military base. Nobody knows how the Americans are planning to hold elections in a little more than a month.

Palestine the other hot spot on the international scene. Tony Blair, after visiting Iraq on the day of the Mosul attack, and posing on a tank with british troops in Basra, went to Jerusalem to see Sharon, then go deliver his message (sharon's message) to the palestinians. Abu Mazen agreed aparently to his long series of conditions to restart the 'peace process'. abu Mazen also accepted Blair's invitation to go to London next March to attend a conference on the middle east, an invitation that Sharon overtly turned down in front of his guest.

Hope tomorrow will bring some good news.