As John Denver's US prominence waned into the 1980s, opposite the rise of new wave and harder rock, he kept touring internationally for some notable firsts. In 1979, Denver was one of the performers to welcome Chinese Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping to the US, and six years later, Denver was the first western artist to tour in the USSR, where he performed alongside Kermit the Frog. In 1992, he had another first for a western peformer, when Denver toured mainland China, to find that many of his audiences already knew his songs. Two years later, he was the first US act in Vietnam since the Vietnam War. [more inside]
The closure of the Hindustan Motors factory in Uttarapara, West Bengal, is the end of an era in Indian history. The Ambassador is the perfect example of all that was wrong with Indian policy towards industrialization, manufacturing and business. Protectionism and the license raj created a seller's market where people waited years to buy a car. Until liberalization in the 1990s, the Amby hadn't known any real competition, and there was no pressure to either modernize or improve quality. None of this mattered, at least we had a car. And there wasn't any other quite like it in the world. RIP, motor gadi.
"...With China’s growing economic weight, disposable income and willingness to engage internationally, its ability to radically transform the fortunes of small countries has seen many governments re-orientate their diplomatic endeavors away from traditional bases in the West.
"But with so few resources available to them, and so little political capital to bank on, these lonely diplomats face a struggle against limited budgets as they scrap for crumbs from the giant’s table."
Murder of an Idealist. "For six hours on September 11, the American compounds in Benghazi, Libya, stood siege. When the attack was over, J. Christopher Stevens's body was pulled from the wreckage—the first U.S. ambassador killed by militants in over thirty years. Since then, his death has been politicized and the details of the attack distorted. Sean Flynn straightens out the story of Stevens's last days in Libya—and reveals the true believer we lost that day."
"Fierce fighting broke out on Friday night after crowds trying to storm the Benghazi base of a militia blamed for the death of US ambassador Chris Stevens came under fire", reports Chris Stephen in The Guardian. [more inside]
We live in a time of sweeping change and as an example of this for the 1st time in living memory ambassadors from almost all 260 U.S. embassies, consulates and other posts in more than 180 countries are expected to convene at the State Department for what’s being billed as the first meeting of its kind. [more inside]
Blago walks, mostly. Short and sweet: Jury was hung on 23 counts, convicted him on 1. That count was "lying to federal investigators" when he told them that he didn't care about nor was involved with fundraising. Max jailtime for this one is 5 years. They were, reportedly, 11-1 on all others. [more inside]
The lynching of gays in Iraq is on the rise, according to ambassador Christopher Hill's testimony before the house today."Hamizi, a computer science graduate, is at the cutting edge of a new wave of violence against gay men in Iraq. Made up of hardline extremists, Hamizi's group and others like it are believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 130 gay Iraqi men since the beginning of the year alone." WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE, POSSIBLY NSFW
Now that's what I call diplomacy! The US ambassador to Paraguay has become a music sensation in the country after recording an album of folk songs in the indigenous Guarani language. [more inside]
Houda Nonoo heads up Bahrain's Human Rights Watch and now she's been appointed Bahrain's (and anywhere else in the Arab world) first Jewish ambassador.
Hello Kitty becomes Japan's ambassador to China. The little half-Japanese, half-English cat has become so globally recognisable that it is, perhaps, inevitable that the Japanese board of tourism has appointed her their official tourism ambassador to China and Hong Kong. This is not the first time the world has looked to Hello Kitty to perform an ambassadorial role; she has been United States children's ambassador for Unicef since 1983. [more inside]
Newsfilter: Israel has recalled its ambassador to El Salvador after he was found drunk and naked apart from bondage gear. Reports say he was able to identify himself to police only after a rubber ball had been removed from his mouth. Oy! More here. This isn't the first time an Israeli ambassador has gotten in trouble, either. Previously on Metafilter: The Swedish Art Incident
In 1982, ten-year old Samantha Smith from Maine wrote a letter to Yuri Andropov asking whether there was going to be a nuclear war. Andropov responded, and Samantha accepted his invitation to stay at a Russian pioneer camp with Soviet children. Tragically, within the following two years both the young Samantha and Secretary Andropov passed away. (wmv)
What you get when a Cars Salesman is your Ambassador Do you get the idea that this whole administration is new to this whole diplomacy thing It seems the only way the truth is admitted is under glaring pressure by our allies.
Canada ambassador to the U.S. mobilizes ex-patriots in order to fight the F.U.D. coming from Fox News. But will the only thing paid attention to be the very, very large Canadian oil reserves?
George Bush set to nominate John Bolton as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Known as the treaty killer by his friends and critics, as well as the anti-Ambassador, John Bolton may well change the course of American Democracy. He hints at recognizing Taiwan, and in the past has rejected the idea of a Palestinian state. He is the man Jesse Helms would most like to stand with at Armageddon.
"Iraq will be a free, independent country, and America and the Middle East will be safer because of it." and part of this process is appointing an Ambassador. The leading candidate for this job? US ambassador to the UN and former US ambassador to Honduras, John Negroponte.
U.S. loses faith in Canada "We would be there for Canada, part of our family. And that is why so many in the United States are disappointed and upset that Canada is not fully supporting us now," says Paul Cellucci, U.S. ambassador to Canada. As pro-US sentiments from prominent Canadian figures are harshly criticized while blatant (and rather tasteless) anti-US remarks go more or less ignored by the government, has the relationship with our longtime friends up north been irreversibly soured?
"I'm about to name my brother the ambassador to Chad" Guess who spoke into an open mike again? Major League!