Grammy nominations announced, Kanye on top

6 12 2007

west.jpgKanye West never graduated.

But his latest album “Graduation” is taking him to the top again as he leads the upcoming Grammy Awards with eight nominations including ‘album of the year’ and ‘rap album of the year’ for his album.

Following his lead is British singer Amy Winehouse with six nominations.

The 50th annual Grammy Awards is scheduled for February 10, 2008.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Apple’s iTunes is partnering with the Grammys to provide samples of the nominated songs in a password-protected area, presumably for voters to listen to the songs.

Additionally, Delta Airlines is debuting a Grammy-branded plane as part of its fleet for the next three years.

Click on the link below for a complete list of nominations.

Read the rest of this entry »





Bin Laden’s driver: guilty or not?

6 12 2007

ahmed.jpgSalim Ahmed Hamdan used to be a driver for Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Now, he is in the Guantanamo Bay charged with conspiracy and supporting terrorism. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

But now, Hamdan’s lawyers are trying to prove that their client does not fit the definition of an unlawful enemy combatant.

Hamdan, a Yemeni citizen, worked as bin  Laden’s driver for $200 a month but denies being involved in any terrorist attacks.





No nuclear arms work in Iran, US intel says

3 12 2007

US Intelligence officials have said that Iran seems “less determined” to make nuclear weapons after an intelligence estimate concluded that Iran had halted the weapons program in 2003.

Read the National Intelligence Estimate’s report.

From the New York Times:

The new report comes out just over five years after a deeply flawed N.I.E. concluded that Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons programs and was determined to restart its nuclear program. The report led to congressional authorization for a military invasion of Iraq, although most of the N.I.E.’s conclusions turned out to be wrong. The estimate does say that Iran’s ultimate goal is still to develop the capability to produce a nuclear weapon.

Sorry Bush and Cheney, no World War III anytime soon! If the NIE got it right this time.





Hugo Chavez defeated over reform vote

3 12 2007

From BBC News:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has narrowly lost a referendum on controversial constitutional changes.

chavez1.jpgVoters rejected the sweeping reforms by a margin of 51% to 49%, the chief of the National Electoral Council said. Mr Chavez described the defeat as a “photo finish”, and urged followers not to turn it into a point of conflict.

Correspondents say the opposition could barely hide their delight and that the victory will put the brakes on Mr Chavez’s “Socialist revolution”.

Read Chavez’s reform here.





Extraordinary “Kidnapping”

2 12 2007

The Sunday Times in the UK has reported that America has told Britain that it can “kidnap” British citizens if they are wanted for crimes in the United States.

A senior lawyer for the American government has told the Court of Appeal in London that kidnapping foreign citizens is permissible under American law because the US Supreme Court has sanctioned it.

For those who believed that US law allowed kidnapping only in the extraordinary rendition of terrorist suspects, or whoever they don’t like, this comes off pretty surprising.

Also in the story, Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty, said: “This law may date back to bounty hunting days, but they should sort it out if they claim to be a civilised nation.”

I am sure there are more surprises to come. Surprise us, Justice Department!





Calling Teddy Bear a God

30 11 2007

Who would have thought that giving a teddy bear a prophet’s name would shake the diplomatic world within a matter of days?

But Gillian Gibbons now sits in a Sudanese prison while some Muslims ask that she be “shot by a fire squad” for disrespecting their religion. There were also some rumors about lashing Gibbons in the public as a punishment.

Where exactly is the line though? Putting a turban on the prophet’s head with a bomb on it was, I agree, taking it to another level. But should naming a teddy bear Muhammad should have never become this big of a deal.

The prophet’s name is one of the most common Arabic names. According to the BBC,

The Arabic name Muhammad is now the second popular name for baby boys in Britain, adding together its 14 different spellings in English.

And while one political editor of a Middle Eastern magazine says that the Muslim children give their pets the names of characters they like, whatever that may be, things were taken out of context because this was a westerner who Sudanese Muslims feel “offended Islam.”

And now the Sudanese blogosphere is responding to this issue. Many Sudanese bloggers are criticizing the government’s decision to imprison her.

Asking for Gibbons’ release, many have called the issue “pathetic” and termed Gibbons’ acts as “an honest and innocent mistake.”

Read BBC’s compilation of Sudanese blogs which wrote about this.

religion-toys.jpgOn a completely different note, I thought to myself how other religions handle gods, prophets and toys. I found toys of Jesus and Moses, and now of Hindu god Rama and Hanumana. These probably don’t compare to calling a bear [whose name is Teddy] Muhammad [who is a prophet].

But imagine the Christians and the Hindus imprisoning people because they made toys of their gods or called their teddy bears “the son of god” or “Shiva.”

Anyways, Sudan blew things out of proportion. How do they even justify adhering to their religion so strictly when they have killed over thousands and thousands of their own people in Darfur just because they are African Arabs?

I don’t think the prophet is too happy about that, either.





Picture Power

21 11 2007

bangladeshi.jpg

In this photo taken by Farjana Khan Goghuly of AFP/Getty Images,

Khalilur Rahman, a Bangladeshi cyclone-affected man who lost 11 members of his family including his wife and his other children, cries holding his only survived daughter while waiting to get relief goods in Fokirghat, on the southern coastal area of Bangladesh, 20 November 2007.