A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘montenegro

[NEWS] Five links from around the world: Montenegro, Donbas, Warmbier, IKEA in India, futures

  • This Open Democracy article examines how, exactly, Montenegro could start a Third World War. (It would need help from the Great Powers, for starters.)
  • Politico Europe notes that wildlife seems to thrive on the depopulated front line in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas.
  • Doug Bock Clark writes at GQ about the sad story of Otto Warmbier, finding much evidence to confirm that he was not tortured but rather that he suffered a sadder fate.
  • The New York Times takes a look at the first IKEA in India, still recognizably an IKEA but tailored to fit local conditions.
  • Douglas Rushkoff writes at The Guardian about the blind alleys of nihilism and fear that at least some corporate futurists and transhumanists are racing into.

[NEWS] Five links on China’s economic rise: Belt and Road, insecurity, Sri Lanka, Montenegro

  • This explainer from The Guardian explaining what, exactly, is the famed Belt and Road policy of China is informative.
  • This article at The Conversation considers whether or not China actually has the edge needed to lead the world. More likely, perhaps, is fragmentation in the face of the different weaknesses of China and the United States.
  • This article in The Atlantic by David Frum suggesting that the huge surge of Chinese investment overseas is driven not so much by strength as insecurity–why so many second homes away from China?–makes a compelling argument.
  • This Maria Abi-Habib article from The New York Times takes a look at how China was able to secure the port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka. Critically, the fecklessness of the Sri Lankan goverment, dominated by Sinhalese nationalists, was key.
  • This Reuters article looks at how the government of Montenegro has gone badly into debt to finance a Chinese-planned highway of dubious economic sense.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes that the measured rate of the expansion of the universe depends on the method used to track this rate, and that this is a problem.
  • On Sunday, Caitlin Kelly celebrated receiving her annual cheque from Canada’s Public Lending Program, which gives authors royalties based on how often their book has been borrowed in our public libraries.
  • In The Buzz, the Toronto Public Library identified five books in its collection particularly prone to be challenged by would-be censors.
  • D-Brief suggests that, if bacteria managed to survive and adapt in the Atacama desert as it became hostile to life, like life might have done the same on Mars.
  • Far Outliers notes the crushing defeat, and extensive looting of, the MOghul empire by the Persia of Nader Shah.
  • Hornet Stories looks at the medal hauls of out Olympic athletes this year in Pyeongchang.
  • Imageo notes satellite imagery indicating that fisheries occupy four times the footprint of agriculture. Aquaculture is starting to look like a necessary idea, I think.

  • At In Media Res, Russell Arben Fox praises Porch Fires, a new biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser, for its insights on Wilder and on the moment of the settlement of the American West.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how, in the 19th century after the development of anesthesia, the ability to relieve people of pain was a political controversy. Shouldn’t it be felt, wasn’t it natural?
  • Language Hat links to an article taking a look behind the scenes at the Oxford English Dictionary. How does it work? What are its challenges?
  • At Lingua Franca, Roger Shuy distinguishes between different kinds of speech events and explains why they are so important in the context of bribery trials.
  • The LRB Blog shares some advice on ethics in statecraft from the 2nd century CE Chinese writer Liu An.
  • J. Hoberman at the NYR Daily reviews an exhibit of the work of Bauhaus artist Jozef Albers at the Guggenheim.
  • Roads and Kingdoms shares an anecdote of travellers drinking homemade wine in Montenegro.
  • Drew Rowsome interviews Native American drag queen and up-and-coming music star Vizin.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains how star S0-2, orbiting so close to the black hole at the heart of the Milky Way Galaxy, will help prove Einsteinian relativity.
  • Vintage Space explains, for the record, how rockets can work in a vacuum. (This did baffle some people this time last century.)
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that, on its 100th anniversary, Estonia has succeeded in integrating most of its Russophones.

[NEWS] Four notes from distant corners: Corsica, Dominica, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Montenegro

  • Nationalists, though not separatists, have done quite well in recent elections in Corsica. Bloomberg reports.
  • Dominica, ravaged by recent hurricanes, is preparing for an environmentally tumultuous future. The Inter Press Service reports.
  • Scotland, for one, is looking to Northern Ireland as a possible precedent for its relationship with the European Union. Bloomberg reports.
  • Balkanist takes a look at the potential impact the breakdown of relations between Russia and Montenegro might have on the small state, dependent on Russian tourism.

[LINK] “The plot to overthrow… Montenegro?”

Leah McLaren in MacLean’s reports on the alleged Russian conspiracy to overthrown the government of Montenegro. This is, well.

Last weekend in Britain, the Sunday Telegraph trumped the weekend papers with a seismic front page splash. “Russia plotted to overthrow Montenegro’s government by assassinating Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic last year, according to senior Whitehall sources,” the headline blared.

According to the story, unnamed sources had revealed that last October the Montenegrin government had intercepted an election day coup plot to stage a mass murder in the country’s parliament that would take down the Montenegrin Prime Minister with it. Serbian nationals had planned to sneak into the parliament and open fire on the crowd of politicians while dressed in police uniform making it look like the local constabulary had turning on the government. Subsequently, the plan was to install a pro-Russian government.

This news in itself is not actually that surprising, since there were in fact a series of arrests in Montenegro last October but at the time the conspiracy was blamed on Serb paramilitaries and Russian nationalists who have long sought to steer Montenegro off its long-held pro-Western course. The Whitehall sources, however, alleged that the plot was in fact directed by Russian intelligence officers with the support of Vladimir Putin himself. The aim? An attempt to sabotage the country’s plan to join NATO—which is still on course to happen later this year.

The startling allegation emerged last week as Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, tore into NATO, dismissing it as a “Cold War institution” in his speech at an international security conference in Munich.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 22, 2017 at 6:15 pm

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Bad Astronomy reports on the astounding scientific illiteracy of Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci.
  • blogTO compiles a list of the best tobagganing hills in Toronto.
  • Citizen Science Salon looks at what we can do in the redwood forests.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes a gap in the disk of TW Hydrae.
  • Imageo notes that 2016 is the warmest year in the records.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that a pride parade protected by police went off in Montenegro.
  • Language Hat shares the story of Lazer Lederhendler, a son of Holocaust survivors in Montréal who became one of the leading translators into English of Québec literature.
  • Language Log looks at the distant origins of Japanese terms for “dog.”
  • Marginal Revolution notes the rising popularity of Vladimir Putin on the American right.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at the links between Russia and the “Calexit” movement.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy celebrates Saturnalia.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at Russia’s use of genetics to disentangle the Tatar peoples and argues that the definition of Russians and Ukrainians as fraternal is dangerous to the latter.

[LINK] “Former Yugoslav States, Albania Vow to Step Up Drive to Join EU”

Bloomberg’s Jasmina Kuzmanovic and Gordana Filipovic report on the renewed push in the western Balkans for European Union membership. Certainly it’s not as if the western Balkans have any other future.

Former Yugoslav republics and neighboring Albania vowed to resuscitate their drive for European Union integration after the migrant crisis rocked the region and created the worst political rifts between Balkan states since the civil wars of the 1990s.

The heads of state for EU members Croatia and Slovenia and EU outsiders Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania signed a joint commitment to strengthening the stability and prosperity of the region. They also aim to strengthen ties to the U.S. and seek an expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization deeper into the Balkans.

[. . .]

The western Balkans has been stretched by the flood of hundreds of thousands of migrants escaping the violence in Syria as well as refugees from as far away as Afghanistan and Northern Africa. Slovenia and Croatia strained their EU ties after Slovenia declared its intention to build fencing along the two countries’ shared border. The dispute is being echoed across the EU as governments grapple with a crisis on a scale not seen since the 1940s.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 26, 2015 at 3:02 pm

[LINK] “Crowdfunding a revolution in Montenegro”

Fedja Pavlovic at Open Democracy writes about the state of affairs in Montenegro, which includes a crowdfunding campaign against the incumbent.

On 27 September, thousands of Montenegrin citizens, led by the main opposition group (the Democratic Front), gathered in front of their parliament to demand an end to the 26 year rule of Milo Djukanovic’s regime. The resignation of Djukanovic’s government would be followed, it was hoped, by the formation of a transitional, national unity government, whose mandate would be limited to organising the first free and fair elections in the country’s history.

Since then, the protesters have put up tents on a boulevard which has become known as ‘liberated territory’; across the barricades, a thousand policemen in full armor stand guard outside an empty parliament building, on top of which snipers are dispersed. Last Sunday, the Ministry of Interior attempted to disband the assembled crowd, but the protests’ leaders refused to leave the occupied ground until their demands were met.

Anti-Government rallies have also taken place in three other cities – the organisers’ plan is to spread this wave of popular revolt to every municipality in which Djukanovic’s party holds power, thus making the movement nation-wide.

Meanwhile, from our press tent, I have been involved in running an international crowdfunding campaign to support the Montenegrin protests. Without the funds, the logistics or the manpower to mount a credible challenge to Djukanovic, the protests’ organisers have been forced to think outside of the box. Indeed, the prospect of the protests being the first political event of their kind to be sustained by small individual donations (‘citizen-driven and citizen-funded’, as they point out) is as out-of-the-box as it gets.

As partial as I am to this fundraising novelty it appears as though, even at this early stage of development, the protests have brought to the fore a far more pertinent point – one that may contribute to the understanding of the role of elections in authoritarian regimes.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 14, 2015 at 9:53 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Crooked Timber’s Daniel Davies writes about the end of his career as a financial analyst.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper discussing the brown dwarfs of 25 Orionis.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper suggesting that Uranus’ moon system is still evolving, with the moon Cupid being doomed in a relatively short timescale. It also wonders if North Korea is exporting rare earths through China.
  • Far Outliers notes the Ainu legacy in placenames in Japanese-settled Hokkaido.
  • Languages of the World’s Asya Perelstvaig examines the complexities surrounding language and dialect and nationality in the Serbo-Croatian speech community in the former Yugoslavia.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes the terribly high death rate among Europeans in colonial Indonesia, and how drink was used to put things off.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog examines the prevalence of sex-selective abortion in Armenia.
  • Torontoist notes Rob Ford’s many lies and/or incomprehensions about Toronto’s fiscal realities.
  • Towleroad suggests that one way to regularize HIV testing would be to integrate it with dentistry appointments.
  • Window on Eurasia notes a water dispute on the Russian-Azerbaijan border and argues that the election of a pro-Russian cleric to the head of the Ukrainian section of the Russian Orthodox Church is dooming that church to decline.

[LINK] “The Myth of the Orthodox Slavs”

At Transitions Online, Bulgarian Boyko Vassilev writes against Samuel Huntington’s famous arguments that Eastern Orthodox Slavs–Bulgarians, Ukrainians, Russians among others–aren’t so inherently distinctive from western and central Europeans as is often claimed. At least they aren’t so distinctive that Bulgarians don’t aspire to the same sorts of things as others.

Different as they are, Ukraine has much in common with Bulgaria. Both are divided in their attitude to Russia – it’s just that in Ukraine the division is territorial, in Bulgaria philosophical. Both have been rocked by protests, although those in Ukraine ended with an explosion, those in Bulgaria with implosion. And both belong to a seemingly unhappy family – the Orthodox Slavs.

These countries of Slavia Orthodoxa (Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine) top the surveys for fatigue, unhappiness, and pessimism. All have low rates of fertility and high rates of crime. Some fought recent wars – and lost them. There is no spectacular business success here. Only one, Bulgaria, was not a member of either Yugoslavia or the USSR. And only one, Bulgaria again, is an EU member. Still, Bulgaria is the poorest country in the EU and is not known for its stability.

[. . .]

First, not all Orthodox Slavs are hard-line Russophiles. Serbs and Montenegrins are, but from a distance – a luxury Belarusians do not possess. Bulgarians and Ukrainians are at least divided. There, you have many people who are culturally Russophile but politically pro-Western; it is possible to love Dostoyevsky and democracy simultaneously.

Second, not all members of Slavia Orthodoxa are anti-Western; quite the contrary. Bulgarians are more pro-Western even than some fellow EU members. Even Russians have a strong pro-Western tradition. Russian historian Alexander Yanov traces it to Kyiv and Novgorod.

Third, Eastern Christians are not by nature spoiled losers; they also can prosper and flourish. “Byzantine” is not a synonym for tyranny and obedience; it marks one of the cradles of European civilization, a continuation of Rome. Misery is caused by corrupt cliques, not by the blood in your veins or the faith in your soul. Culture is not only what you inherit, but also what you acquire. In this sense, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Russia could be free, prosperous, and democratic