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"A View From Across The Pond" an Englishman's personal view of the week's news in the USA - from Erithacus
10th November 2001
Stock markets continued their seven-week rally with the Dow Jones index finishing 285 points up for the week at 9608, but many analysts seem to be expecting the deteriorating economic conditions in the U.S. to produce a downturn in stock prices next week.
Despite concerns that the U.S. economy is now in recession that will deepen dramatically, a survey by the University of Michigan indicated that consumer confidence had unexpectedly strengthened at the start of November, and even the announcements of increasing job cuts did little to dent investors’ enthusiasm. A report published today (Saturday) confirmed an economic downturn and predicted a decline for the fourth quarter of this year of around 1.9%. It suggested, however, that the downturn would be short-lived, and predicted recovery from the start of 2002 to turn into robust growth again by the middle of the year.
As the war in Afghanistan continues, I am somewhat baffled by the attitude of anti-war protestors. Whilst nearly everyone must surely agree war is one of the worst evils we can undertake, is there really any alternative in this case? Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network are, it seems, determined to attack and destroy our whole society and our way of living. So the alternatives are either to allow our society to be attacked, damaged or destroyed, to completely change our society to make it acceptable to a few extremists, or to attack and destroy both the extremists and those who shelter and support them. Is there another option?
Of course the danger is that America (and its allies) may go too far. A report in the New York Post on Friday interpreted comments from Secretary of State Colin Powell’s that ""We will turn our attention to terrorism throughout the world. And nations such as Iraq, which have tried to possess weapons of mass destruction, should not think that we will not be concerned about those activities and will not turn our attention to them" as meaning attacks would be launched against others as soon as the war in Afghanistan has been concluded. The article went on to say, "Washington must protect the nation from future attacks. Until it targets Saddam - and eliminates him - he can be counted on to bring .... more death and destruction to our door. The course is clear."
Maybe it will be necessary to turn the world’s attention to other terrorist threats. Maybe it will be necessary to launch attacks elsewhere in the near future. But surely the enthusiasm for destroying America’s enemies must be tempered with a sense of moderation and simple humanity. Any attack brings with it the death and suffering of innocents, and whilst attacking those who seek to dismantle our society by violence may be acceptable to most, attacking others because their ideology is at odds with ours is less clear-cut.
I trust that common sense will prevail.
An extraordinary comment, perhaps.
The report centers around a ruling by a U.S. federal judge that U.S. based web sites were bound to comply with foreign laws governing the Internet. This overturned a ruling from a year ago which forced Yahoo to block access from France to online sales of Nazi memorabilia.
Whether or not the sale of Nazi memorabilia should be banned or is in fact either extremist or racist as Jewish and human rights groups are claiming, the case opens the whole question of regulation of the Internet. With very different standards, and social values in so many countries throughout the world, it seems almost impossible that agreement can ever be reached on what is and what is not acceptable to be displayed on the Internet, although on Thursday of last week the 43-nation Council of Europe managed to agree on the first international treaty criminalizing activities such as Internet fraud and child pornography.
Produced in Normandy in northern France, Camembert cheese was invented by a peasant during the French revolution. Its pungent smell and runny texture apparently give it unique place in the hearts – or stomachs - of cheese-lovers, but cheese producers are blaming changes in peoples’ lifestyle and say that many people no longer have time to enjoy Camembert properly. Or could it be that after just over 300 years even the French have realized its taste and smell are truly and indisputably disgusting? Of course not......
10th November 2001
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