Friday, August 04, 2006

Yesterday's News

Yesterday was one of those news days that kind of hurts to read about, and this morning doesn’t seem much better. Beirut is under fire again. The provisional government is Somalia is splintering under the weight of outside pressure to negotiate with the Islamic Courts militias (and pressure not to). On (or off) the home front, Canada lost another 4 soldiers in Afghanistan. Including injured, this is apparently our “bloodiest day yet.” Easy enough to miss locally, though, amid a bombing in a market and a number of dead Taliban gorillas.

No result in the DR Congo elections, but one a candidate other then the favored incumbent has already declared he expects to win, and another has already declared that he’ll reject the result regardless of what it is. If there’s no majority candidate, there’ll be a runoff in October. Meanwhile others speculate that provisional results are arriving slowly to allow the government time to rig the results. And, of course, no one knows what will happen in government and in the street when a result is finally announced. Mainly the news seems to be foreign leaders praising the orderliness of it all, and (belying this) protests by election workers who say they have not been paid.

Odd things, though. In Cuba, after Fidel Castro handed power temporarily to his brother, it seems reasonable that he has not been seen for a while, as he recovers from surgery. However, his brother hasn’t been seen since the announcement either. Raul Castro has yet to address the nation—a rather light touch, seems to me, for one of the world’s great police states. Fidel himself has not been seen in a week. After an initial burst of rallying behind him, the public is reportedly anxious—no one knows what’s going on. The streets are apparently quiet. Kim Jong-Il has sent a get well note; Washington has said nothing new. Cuba is suspended, waiting, as Robert Lowell wrote, for the blessed break.

And this, the discovery of two strange objects in deep space. They are half star and half planet, orbiting one another, twinned, about 400 light years from us. They contradict an assortment of existing theories. No one knows what they are or where they came from. They have in common with the rest above that no one knows where they are going.

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