Powerful world leaders caught in action (Part-1)
Powerful world leaders caught in action (Part-2)
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When the controversy over YouTube being banned in Thailand first began, I didn't really know what to think. One thing did come to mind, however; that something just wasn't right. I really had no knowledge of the Thai culture and no idea how important the Thai King truly is to his people.
In fact, all I had to base my reaction to the situation on was my strongly American view that freedom of Speech is one of the most sacred rights a people can have. I personally live by this principle, but I am more than aware that many peoples and nations do not. While I may not agree with it, I recognize it is my duty as a sane and honorable human being to respect these cultural differences.
When I originally made my video, I was trying to approach the issue from what I thought was a fairly light angle - poking fun at the Thai king from an innocent point of view and making a simple, political point. I even included other world leaders in an attempt to show that I had no particular dislike of the Thai King. All along, my intent was purely political in nature - to show that Thailand has some laws that simply do not fit in our modern, freedom loving world - and nothing more.
I never intended to hurt the Thai people. I never intended to personally insult the Thai King. To be entirely honest, I was really quite ignorant as to the history and traditions behind the Thai laws that protect the image of the King. I knew Thailand had a very different culture from the United States - that they had very different values and traditions - but I never realized how important the King was within the Thai culture.
In the days and weeks since I posted my videos, I've grown to realize that my comments and actions could easily be taken in the wrong light - that I have something against the Thai King or even the Thai People. I want to make it entirely clear that this is not true, nor was it ever, and that it was never my intent. Unfortunately, my video got a bit out of hand and really upset a lot of people. I am sorry and I never meant for this to happen. I never meant to offend anyone, to upset anyone, or even create much of a reaction -- I simply wanted to help get a message out. I stand by my message, but I guess I went a little overboard. For that I am sorry.
With this in mind, I'd like to offer my sincerest apologies to all the people of Thailand, to all those of Thai Ancestry, and to all those who love and cherish Thailand and her people. Most of all, I'd like to offer my apologies to His Majesty, the King of Thailand, for defacing his picture and polluting his image.
I am deeply sorry to all whom I may have hurt and I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me.
Song: In the belly of the whale performed by the Newsboys. Barack Obama has been elected the next president of the United States, their first black leader, in a historic landslide victory. After sweeping a series of key battleground states, including early wins in Ohio, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, Obama triumphed over Republican rival John McCain after securing Virginia and California.
In his hometown of Chicago, Obama delivered a message of hope and unity.
While conceding that "the road ahead will be long", he promised to overcome the economic, environmental and international challeges he described as "the greatest of our lifetime."
The 47 year-old also answered critics of the US with return to "the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope (...) the true genius of America."
Arizona senator John McCain had been "extraordinarily gracious" in a telephone call after his defeat, according to Obama who was looking forward to working with the 72 year-old.
Accompanied by running-mate Sarah Palin, McCain urged "all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him but offering our next president our goodwill and earnest effort to find ways to come together."
McCain described Obama's historic victory in becoming the first African American president as "something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving", adding that the triumph would be a source of hope for those who had thought they had little influence in presidential elections. Current president George W Bush had also offered his congratulations.PM Gordon Brown, who had previously refused to be drawn on his prefered candidate, congratulated Obama and described him as a "true friend of Britain." He added that through working together "a safer and more secure society for the future" could be built.Speaking to BBC Radio Wales, First Minister Rhodri Morgan described the "Huge hopes (that) are invested in the Obama presidency". Morgan also called for co-operation with other world leaders "to restore order to the global financial system and give a kick-start to the world's economy to stop us plunging into depression".Mr Obama's inauguration will take place on January 20.Obama é o primeiro candidato negro à Presidência por um grande partido.No começo da campanha eleitoral, ainda em 2007, poucos apostavam na candidatura de Barack Hussein Obama. Senador por Illinois em seu primeiro mandato, ele era um desconhecido diante da ex-primeira-dama Hillary Clinton.
Mas com uma estratégia bem definida --ganhar as pequenas votações e "caucus" (assembléias de eleitores)-- e a percepção de que os eleitores buscam uma mudança na administração do país --principal lema de sua campanha--, Obama conquistou a nomeação democrata com o apoio em massa dos superdelegados após as últimas primárias democratas.
Na noite de 3 de junho, após a contagem dos votos de Montana e Dakota do Sul, a equipe de campanha de Obama celebrou a conquista inédita. Obama é o primeiro negro a se tornar candidato à Presidência dos EUA por um grande partido.E a questão racial, mesmo que de forma velada, pontuou a campanha do senador. Após a descoberta dos sermões controversos de Jeremiah Wright, seu ex-pastor por 20 anos com quem teve que romper, Obama fez um discurso sobre a temática que ficou marcado como exemplo do poder de sua retórica que atrai milhares aos seus comícios."Escolhi disputar a Presidência neste momento histórico porque acredito profundamente que não podemos resolver os desafios de nossa era a não ser que o façamos juntos, a não ser que aperfeiçoemos nossa união ao compreender que, embora nossas histórias pessoais possam diferir, temos esperanças comuns", disse Obama, na época.Mesmo sem anunciar constantemente o fato de poder ser o primeiro presidente negro dos EUA, é entre os eleitores negros que Obama tem os maiores índices de votação. Uma pesquisa recente do instituto Gallup mostrou que Obama tem 93% das intenções de votos entre este eleitorado.Contudo, outra pesquisa do mesmo instituto avaliou o impacto da questão racial e mostrou que uma grande maioria dos eleitores negros, 78%, e uma maioria ainda maior dos eleitores brancos, 88%, negam a influência da questão racial em seu voto. O mesmo cenário aparece entre os eleitores hispânicos; 60% deles afirmam que não votam por questões raciais.Outro grande eleitorado de Obama está na camada mais jovem da população, os estudantes de classe média e alta que vivem em meio à diversidade das universidades, influenciados pelo rap e pela música negra em geral.Uma pesquisa do Centro de Pesquisas Pew, dos Estados Unidos, mostrou que a maior parte dos brasileiros confia mais no provável candidato democrata à Presidência dos Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, do que em seu rival, o republicano John McCain.De acordo com o estudo, 58% dos brasileiros ouvidos disseram ter muita ou alguma confiança no democrata.
The world’s poor are already suffering the effects of a changing climate.
Millions risk being pushed deeper into poverty as droughts, floods and extreme weather increase
2009 is a crucial year - in December, UN leaders meet to hammer out a global deal to tackle climate change.
Please send your message to our government and other world leaders today - and join people around the world in calling for a fair climate change deal that puts poor people at its heart.
EUX.TV FIRST: Michael Jackson is the topic of a bout of laughter during an informal pre-dinner chat between US President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.President Obama can be overheard saying "The best, not one of the best." Obama also appears to say he was "best friends" with Jackson."Don't flatter yourself," Sarkozy responds in French.This appears to refer to Motown founder Berry Gordy statement at Michael Jackson's memorial service a day earlier, in which he called him "the greatest entertainer that ever lived"They are meeting with other world leaders at the G-8 Summit in l'Aquila, Italy, that started today, one day after Jackson's memorial service in Los Angeles. Distributed by Tubemogul.
Transcript by Newsy
BY TRACY PFEIFFER
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As far as strange bedfellows go, Russia and NATO are tops -- the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was originally founded as a counterbalance to the Soviet Union, and relations between the two forces have been rocky ever since.
The last round of drama came in 2008 when Russia went to war its southern neighbor, Georgia -- but at a recent NATO-Russia Council summit in Lisbon, Portugal, relations between Moscow and the Alliance appeared to be on the mend. (Video: Al Jazeera)
A correspondent for RT reports the meeting, which included both NATO members and non-members, was a vision of diplomacy.
AZAROVA: “All the leaders that were here today stressed the fact that this is a new time where everybody feels comfortable discussing not only their potential benefits but also their concerns without any holding back. So it is possibly a new chapter in relations between Russia and the Alliance.”
One of the hottest topics coming out of the summit is a comprehensive missile defense plan for Europe, with Russia on board. A commentator for CCTV says NATO members knew going into the meeting they needed Moscow to come around -- and the feeling was mutual.
JIMENG: “In this sense I think they would involve not just their own strengths, but the strengths of non member nations, for example Russia. Russia has also reached out for cooperation in this so-called missile defense and also the missile shield -- Russia as well is also subject to terrorist attacks within its own territory. That realization once again would unite Russia with the NATO organization.”
But an analyst on Al Jazeera warns Russia is much more cautious than many realize -- or are willing to admit.
CROOKE: “It really will want to see -- what is the true intention of NATO? Who is it going to identify as its enemies for this coming period? And there’s still a strong pressure within the ‘new’ Europeans -- the new Europeans, the Polands, Czechoslovakia, to see the missile defense of Europe as essentially a defense against Russia.”
A New York Times piece says other world leaders credit the progress to President Barack Obama, whose administration vowed to quote-”reset” with Moscow after ties chilled during the Bush administration. But he’s not quite done yet--back on the home front, Obama has to convince the U.S. Senate to ratify the new START treaty, the latest arms reduction agreement between Russia and the United States. (Video: NBC)
But a writer for the Financial Times warns -- a cold reception for the START Treaty in Washington, D.C., could undo the progress made at the summit.
“If Republicans derail Barack Obama’s START arms control treaty with Russia, Moscow could be forgiven for stalling on its Nato commitments. The Republicans would be irresponsible to play politics with issues of national security.”
This latest NATO-Russia Council meeting is the first since the invasion of Georgia in 2008.
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