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Archive for December 1, 2006

Pocket YouTube; TechCrunch Secrets; Bad Ideas 2.0

December 1, 2006 Leave a comment

Pocket video is coming – but PaidContent and others are panning the new YouTube/Verizon Wireless deal which gives you a limited, prescreened number of videos plus the ability to upload footage from your phone. You’d have to be stupid to pay $15 a month for the privilege, gripes Mark Evans, and A VC chimes in about the deal’s non-free, non-open, non-community nature–in a word, it’s lame.

 Online video is also robbing TV of its viewership–at least in Britain, writes Bloggers Blog, though just 9 percent of respondents are regular online-video watchers. MobiTV is positioned to take advantage of the migration to online video since it’s close to offering a kind of online cable-TV subscription, blogs TechCrunch. But can YouTube or anyone can make money from online video, since losing control over distribution may mean losing control over monetization wonders Publishing 2.0.

Speaking of potentially shaky cash flow, Monkey Bites covers Break.com, a guy-oriented site that will now pay video contributors $400–$2,000 in an effort to lure eyeballs away from YouTube. Break’s money is good: GigaOM blogs they’ve already paid members over $300,000 to date, and competitor Metacafe is also paying out according to a slightly different model. Based on head-to-head competition, Chris Pirillo thinks YouTube will get the most eyeballs, Revver the most revenue, and Google Video the least everything.

 In blog news, editor Marshall Kirkpatrick left TechCrunch to be a consultant, but not before sharing some secrets for obtaining good news leads. Micro Persuasion adds that Kirkpatrick’s tips don’t mention PR people like himself–meaning PR departments should join the conversation by giving news editors good blog feeds, not just press releases.

 The Bubble is indeed back, at least in Sweden, where Boo.com awaits relaunch. Will they still sell fashionable clothes–or just crash and burn again, asks Blog Herald? AllAdvantage is also back–as the unfortunately named Agloco, blogs ValleyWag–and at least they’re more honest about being a pyramid scheme.

Honesty is breaking out all over politics too: MSNBC and NBC have finally started calling the Iraq civil war a “civil war,” though Think Progress blogs that Fox News, the Washington Post, The New York Times and others still use weasel words like “sectarian violence.” U.S. Marines in western Iraq don’t care what you call the insurgency–they just know they can’t defeat it, writes Outside the Beltway. And those  imams who were taken off the plane in Minneapolis call US Air’s actions racial profiling, but they were doing more than just saying their prayers, blogs Stop the ACLU, shunning their ticketed seats to take up others in a 9/11-like pattern and requesting seatbelt extenders that they didn’t need or use. Then there’s the U.S. Embassy in Argentina, which apparently can’t get the Bush twins on a plane fast enough, citing security considerations, according to the Huffington Post.

 Finally in entertainment, it’s Groundhog Day among the famous this week: Snoop Dogg gets arrested on weapons and drug charges again; Pamela Anderson set course for another divorce (via Bricks and Stones); and Madonna’s still struggling to adopt a needy kid from Malawi rather than America.

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Politics this week: 25th November – 1st December 2006

December 1, 2006 Leave a comment

Politics this week

Nov 30th 2006
From The Economist print edition

AP
AP

George Bush flew to Jordan’s capital, Amman, to hold talks with Iraq‘s beleaguered prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki. Mr Bush described the meeting, aimed at stemming Iraq‘s burgeoning civil war, as productive, and gave assurances that America was not trying to find a “graceful exit”. Such talk in Washington, he said, “just simply has no realism to it”. See article

A surprise truce between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip held good, despite the firing of rockets by a Palestinian group that rejected the deal. Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said he was ready for talks with a moderate Palestinian government, for a prisoner exchange and for territorial compromise on the West Bank. See article

A looming prospect of war between Ethiopia and Somalia was reduced, for the moment, by floods in the region. Somalia‘s Islamists continued to gain ground against the country’s internationally recognised but feeble transitional government, which is backed by Ethiopia. See article

The Supreme Court in Congo ratified the results of the country’s presidential election, in which the incumbent, Joseph Kabila, handily beat his chief rival, Jean-Pierre Bemba, in a run-off. Mr Bemba accepted his defeat, so reducing the chances of civil strife.

Nigeria‘s vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, put an end to months of speculation by saying he would run for president next year, despite opposition from Olusegun Obasanjo, the current president. The high court in Lagos ruled that two reports alleging corruption and fraud against Mr Abubakar had no legal foundation.

On a four-day visit to Turkey, the pope told the Turkish prime minister that he supported Turkish aspirations to join the European Union. The pope also met the Orthodox patriarch in Istanbul and called for greater tolerance of Christians in Turkey. See article

After Turkey refused to meet a European Union deadline of next week for opening up its ports to trade with (Greek) Cyprus, the European Commission proposed the suspension of eight of the 35 chapters of membership negotiations. See article

AFP
AFP

Police in London began retracing the events that led to the apparent radiation poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian agent. Before he died, Mr Litvinenko accused Russia‘s president, Vladimir Putin, of orchestrating his demise, something the Kremlin vigorously denied. See article

Silvio Berlusconi was taken to hospital after he collapsed while speaking at a conference, reviving speculation about how much longer the 70-year-old former prime minister of Italy can lead its centre-right opposition.

As expected, Nicolas Sarkozy declared his candidacy for the French presidential election. The interior minister has long been favourite for the centre-right nomination.

A draft European Parliament report found new evidence that several European governments knew of the CIA programme of “extraordinary renditions” of terrorism suspects, and of secret prisons the CIA ran in central Europe.

At the NATO summit in Riga some countries were persuaded to relax restrictions on their troops’ exposure to fighting in Afghanistan. Some agreed to ease curbs preventing their soldiers in the country moving to the south, scene of the fiercest fighting. Meanwhile, the summit asked Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro to begin partnership-for-peace negotiations with NATO. See article

A report on alleged sanctions-busting in Iraq by the AWB (formerly the Australian Wheat Board) found it had paid $221m in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein’s regime. But it cleared ministers and civil servants of complicity. See article

The International Committee of the Red Cross revealed that the government of Myanmar had ordered it to close its five field offices in the country. This, it said, had the effect of making its humanitarian work in Myanmar impossible. See article

India’s coal minister, Shibu Soren, and four others were found guilty of murdering Mr Soren’s secretary in 1994. Prosecutors said the victim had been blackmailing Mr Soren about alleged corruption.

America’s Supreme Court listened to arguments in what is seen as the most important case it has yet heard on climate change. A group of 12 states wants the federal government to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions from vehicles. It is reluctant, saying the effects on global warming are not fully understood. See article

New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, said the death of an unarmed black man in a hail of police bullets outside a nightclub was “unacceptable”. Mr Bloomberg has been praised, so far, for his sensitive handling of the incident, a stark contrast to the criticism heaped on Rudy Giuliani after police shot an unarmed African immigrant in 1999.

After considering a bid for the White House, Bill Frist, who is retiring as the Republican leader in the Senate, said he would not run in 2008.

Felipe Calderón, Mexico‘s new president, completed his cabinet, naming Francisco Ramírez Acuña, a right-wing former governor of Jalisco, as his interior minister. His appointment dismayed human-rights groups. Many of the other ministers are modernising technocrats, some with links to the formerly ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party.

AFP
AFP

Rafael Correa, a Christian left-winger, won Ecuador‘s presidential election by a 14-point margin over Álvaro Noboa, a banana-exporting billionaire. Mr Correa rattled financial markets with talk of debt restructuring despite his country’s oil windfall. See article

Canada’s Parliament overwhelmingly gave its approval to a motion proposed by Stephen Harper, the Conservative prime minister, to recognise French-speaking Quebec as “a nation within a united Canada”. See article

In a victory for Bolivia‘s socialist president, Evo Morales, the country’s Senate approved a land-reform law despite an earlier walkout by the conservative opposition aimed at preventing a quorum.

Cuba‘s president, Fidel Castro, said that he had not recovered sufficiently from stomach surgery to take part in delayed celebrations to mark his 80th birthday.

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