With the completion of the group stages, three quarters of the matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup have been played. Now, it's a straight round-by-round elimination for the remaining 16 teams in their quest to reach the final. There's been biting, alternative commentary, mood swings, (allegedly) sulky England players, exciting matches, the USA vs Ronaldo, Europeans taking early return flights, deep analysis, a fantasy league and many goals - but who will finally lift the trophy in Rio's Estádio do Maracanã on Sunday 13th July? [more inside]
New documents released by Glenn Greenwald from trove leaked by Edward Snowden show that the agency officially viewed arguments about 'due process' to be an 'adversary propaganda theme', listed alongside military threats to drones. [more inside]
"We’ve suspected for some time that the French and German governments’ refusal to take part in the Iraq war had something to do with their access to independent overhead imagery satellites. Briefly, France and Germany did (with the HELIOS and SAR Lupe programs respectively), and didn’t take part at all. Spain and Italy had some access to French imagery and had advanced plans to get their own. They made a limited commitment. The UK, Australia, Denmark, and the ROK relied on the United States and were, in a phrase that should be better known outside Australia, all the way with LBJ." -- Alex Harrowell explains how the absence of independent satellite intelligence may have helped the UK into the War on Iraq [more inside]
"The business of recycling dead humans into medical implants is a little-known yet lucrative trade. But its practices have roused concerns about how tissues are obtained and how well grieving families and transplant patients are informed about the realities and the risks." After an eight month international investigation, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has published an extensive four-part exposé into the black market for cadavers and human tissue: Skin and Bone: The Shadowy Trade in Human Body Parts (Via) [more inside]
"During the proceedings, the prosecutor took the time to mention that no other printer in the world could do what Kuhl had done."
Hans-Jurgen Kuhl was able to create "shockingly perfect" copies of the American $100 bill by using his artistic talents to conquer the various security features present in the bill.
Sure, we all know that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is broadcast every year in the US as a Christmas tradition, and that Sweden basically closes every year from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. on December 24th to watch Donald Duck, but what about other countries? [more inside]
The Guardian ran a series of articles looking at the state of high-speed rail travel today. France intends to double its length of track over the next decade, and China is planning a massive rail-building programme, including a high-speed line which will halve the travel time between Beijing and Shanghai to 4 hours. In Germany, domestic air travel is rapidly going extinct, and Spain's network has made day trips between Madrid and Barcelona a possibility. The USA, which has long neglected its rail network, is planning up to 10 high-speed lines. Meanwhile, Britain's only high-speed line goes to France, but there is talk of a 250mph line from London to Birmingham and beyond, possibly by the early 2020s. Meanwhile, the CEO of France's rail operator, SNCF, weighs in on what the UK should do.
Angela Merkel to fire organiser of Munich security conference over Iranian envoy's criticism of the U.S. policies in the Middle East, Der Spiegel reports. (Translated English version) Read the full speech of Ali Larijani, Iran's top nuclear negotioator at the conference.
Ahmad Nadalian's work can be found all over the world. He is an artist that carves symbols on rocks and then leaves them at the site where they were created (sometimes burying them).
A subjective comparison of Germany and the United States. A sober and interesting look at some of the differences between the two countries, written by a man who grew up in Germany and now lives and teaches in the United States. (via @rgumente)
On the Great Atlantic Divide Published on Sunday, October 26, 2003 by TomDispatch.com. By Susan Sontag. I came across this piece at dailyKos "Two weeks ago during the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Association of German Publishers and Booksellers awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade) to Susan Sontag. She was cited for standing up for "the dignity of free thinking" and for her role as an "intellectual ambassador" between the United States and Europe. The association's director Dieter Schormann commented, "In a world of false images and distorted truths, she defends the honor of free thought." In its over half-century of existence, the Friedenspreis Prize has been awarded to Chinua Achebe, Max Frisch, Jurgen Habermas, Yehudi Menuhin, and Vaclav Havel among many others. An excerpt from Susan Sontag's acceptance speech was published today in the Los Angeles Times Book Review section, but I thought the whole speech, which focuses on the increasingly embattled relationship between Europe and the United States, or rather between much of Europe, especially the various peoples of Europe, and the Bush administration, was well worth reproducing as a whole. Near its end is a rare moment in which Sontag considers an aspect of her early life in public. Her most recent book, by the way, is Regarding the Pain of Others. What follows then, with her kind permission, is her full acceptance speech. (The title and subheads are, however, mine.) Tom "
Trading with the Enemy (Prescott Bush was a bad man) - The mainstream press decides to bring up the Bush/Nazi connection - Newly declassified documents shed new light on the shady beginnings of the Bush family's dynastic wealth: through GW Bush's grandfather Prescott Bush's work as a director of a US bank which was both controlled by the German industrialist Thyssen (who played a key role in bankrolling Hitler's rise to power) and which continued to launder Thyssen Group profits after the US declaration of war against Germany. But if you've been reading Metafilter closely, you would have known the facts almost a year ago. ( * executes clannish, self/Metafilter congratulatory victory jig * ). Will the mainstream press pick up the trail of the story, to the US government secret importation of Nazi scientists immediately after WW2? (don't hold yr. breath)
We wuz robbed. I know, it wasn't really a handball. USA loses to Germany and their amazing goalkeeper. Good run, guys.
Court rules U.S. broke rights laws The world court has ruled the U.S. ignored the international legal rights of two German-born brothers who were executed for murder. More excecution controversy.