Nagano Oympic torch relay ends; 5 arrested, 4 injured after protests
Japantoday 27th April 2008
The Japan leg of the Beijing Olympic torch relay ended Saturday in Nagano passing along a route lined with protesters against China’s crackdown in Tibet, leaving five men arrested and four men injured.
The last runner, Athens Olympics women’s marathon gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi, reached the goal where more than 1,000 protesters and supporters were gathered in pouring rain, some waving Tibetan or Chinese flags.
While five men were arrested and four men were injured along the relay route, the torch passed from one runner to another without major disruptions as dozens of police officers ran abreast.
The relay finished at the city’s Wakasato Park, where the Olympic flame was transferred back to the lantern in a closing ceremony.
Noguchi said after reaching the goal, ‘‘I was praying for peace while I was running.’’
An Asian-looking man holding a Tibetan flag was arrested after allegedly trying to break into the relay route when table tennis player Ai Fukuhara was carrying the torch, causing the relay to temporarily halt, police said.
A Japanese man who tried to rush toward the torch near JR Nagano Station was also arrested, they said.
A third man was arrested after throwing an egg at a runner.
Near the station, when comedian Kinichi Hagimoto was running, a man hurled what appeared to be two flares at him, yelling ‘‘Shame on you.’’
Police said the man who apparently hurled the flares disappeared and another man who threw what appeared to be leaflets was questioned by officers before being freed.
Takashi Ishii, head of the Nagano prefectural police, said, ‘‘Our security duty for the Beijing Olympic torch relay finished all right. I would like to thank the citizens for their understanding and support and all the people related to the matter from bottom of my heart,’’ after the conclusion of the torch relay.
Shortly before 8:30 a.m., Japan national baseball team manager Senichi Hoshino led the relay at a site owned by the city about 800 meters southwest of Zenkoji Temple, which earlier withdrew as the starting point, citing China’s crackdown on Buddhists in Tibet.
The 80 torch bearers followed an 18.7-kilometer course through the city, including the Olympic stadium used in the 1998 Winter Olympic Games.
The Chinese ambassador to Japan Cui Tiankai, JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda and Nagano Mayor Shoichi Washizawa attended the opening ceremony.
Washizawa cited a phrase from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ‘‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’’
Washizawa also said Nagano will pass on the Olympic torch, which has been relayed by numerous people, to the next site in Seoul with hopes for world peace and international friendship.
The Olympic flame was transferred from the lantern at the ceremony.
An official of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad passed the torch to Hoshino, 61, via the Nagano mayor.
Hundreds of protesters and supporters were seen gathered around the temple holding flags of Tibet and China and shouting, ‘‘Free Tibet’’ and ‘‘One China.’’
One of the Japanese spectators told a Chinese man who was raising the Chinese flag, ‘‘China’s human rights violations are derived from your country’s imperialism.’’
The Chinese man yelled back, ‘‘Imperialism and colonialism are Japan’s well known features,’’ before the two started heated verbal exchanges.
At Zenkoji Temple, the Japan chapter of the Students for a Free Tibet, a group supporting Tibet, held a ceremony at the same time as the opening ceremony to mourn and commemorate the people who died in the recent riot in Tibet, including both Tibetans and Chinese, with about 200 participants, according to an official of the group.
About 30 Tibetans throughout Japan first chanted Buddhist sutras in the Tibetan language and Japanese monks of Zenkoji Temple recited the ‘‘Hannyashinkyo.’’
Then the names of the people who died in the riot were read out in the ceremony.
Akemi Takahashi, public affair official of the group, said, ‘‘I hope dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government will happen before the opening of the Olympics,’’ after the ceremony.
A Chinese news media reported Friday that Chinese officials would meet a representative of the Tibetan spiritual leader in the future.
A 30-year-old Tibetan residing in Japan from Tokyo, who just goes by the name, Kunga, said, ‘‘I don’t believe that is happening because there would have been several reports regarding the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government talking, but it never happened.’’
Near the temple, media rights group Reporters Without Borders’ secretary general, Robert Menard, said shortly before the beginning of the relay in French via an interpreter, ‘‘We will protest in a peaceful manner against China’s detention of journalists and political prisoners, as well as China’s recent crackdown in Tibet. We will be sitting in front of Zenkoji.’’
He Huiqun, a 33-year-old Chinese student of a Japanese university, said, ‘‘Today we came here in 16 vehicles with friends and students to back the torch relay. Tibet is part of China.’’
There was heavy security in the city with more than 3,000 police officers deployed and strict restrictions placed on public access to the starting point.
The Olympic flame for the Beijing Olympic Games in August was carried in an aluminum torch, weighing 985 grams and 72 centimeters in height, and decorated with cloud patterns.
The Olympic flame departed Nagano by Shinkansen bullet train to Tokyo and will leave Japan from Haneda airport at 11:30 p.m. to Seoul.
Bangladesh's Ahmed backs Japan's bid for permanent spot on UNSC
Japantimes Aug. 21, 2000
DHAKA (Kyodo) Bangladeshi President Shahabuddin Ahmed told Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori on Sunday his country will continue to support Japan's bid to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.
"We believe Japan has the right to become a permanent member, not because it is providing economic aid to developing countries, but because of what it has achieved since World War II," the official quoted Ahmed as saying.
Mori, who was on a two-day visit to Bangladesh that began Saturday, told Ahmed he will emphasize the need to reform the UNSC at the U.N. Millennium Summit in New York next month, according to the official.
Bangladesh is currently a nonpermanent member of the UNSC.
Mori also told Ahmed that Japan wants to cooperate further with Bangladesh, which will host the 2001 summit of the Conference on Non-Aligned Movement. The nonaligned group consists of 112 nations and the Palestinian Authority.
During the meeting at his official residence, Ahmed thanked Japan, the largest single aid donor to Bangladesh, for its help.
Most recently, Japan committed up to 16.011 billion yen in untied soft loans to Bangladesh for four infrastructure projects, and up to 36.8 million yen in grants to buy sports equipment. The two countries exchanged diplomatic notes on the assistance Friday.
After his talks with Ahmed, Mori visited the former residence of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the leader of Bangladesh's war of independence against Pakistan and the first Bangladeshi prime minister.
Accompanied by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed, Rahman's daughter, Mori made a brief tour of the residence, where Rahman was killed in August 1975.
The residence is now a museum.
"We are grateful that you visited this museum in August, a month of grief for us," Hasina was quoted as telling Mori.
Mori also traveled to Savar, about 35 km west of Dhaka, to lay a wreath in a ceremony honoring those who died in the war of independence in 1971.
Mori's Bangladesh visit was the first leg of his weeklong tour of four South Asian countries that will later take him to Pakistan, India and Nepal. He was the first Japanese prime minister to visit Bangladesh since Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu in 1990.
Hasina supports Security Council reform
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina agreed on the need to increase the number of both permanent and temporary seats on the U.N. Security Council, a Japanese official said.
During their two-hour talks on Saturday, however, Hasina refrained from committing to Mori's request to include the issue in her speech at the U.N. Millennium Summit, to be held in New York next month, the Foreign Ministry official told reporters.
"United Nations reform is an urgent and necessary matter. I will emphasize this at the U.N. Millennium Summit," Mori said, calling on Hasina to do the same, according to the official.
Hasina said the U.N. should be reformed to improve transparency, but said she will "deal appropriately" with the question of whether to include it in her speech.
Bangladesh is currently a nonpermanent member of the UNSC, which Japan wants to join as a permanent member.
In their talks, the two leaders also agreed on various measures that Mori proposed in a bid to strengthen Japan's ties with Bangladesh and Southern Asia in general, the official said.
One was Mori's plan to invite 5,000 youths from South Asia to visit Japan.
He also proposed setting up a Mori Fellowship under a Japan-South Asia exchange program to invite scholars and artists to Japan, the official said.
On the bilateral front, Mori promised to continue supporting Bangladesh's efforts to eradicate poverty through economic development and proposed inviting 100 Bangladeshi information technology experts to Japan for training.
Japan will loan Bangladesh nearly 16 billion yen to build bridges, develop rural infrastructure and bring electricity to villages, the official said.
Mori also applauded efforts by Hasina to ease tension between arch rivals India and Pakistan.
Bangladesh, which has some nuclear power capability, ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty on nuclear weapons last year. Neither India nor Pakistan have done so.
Hasina invited the Emperor to visit Bangladesh in 2002, the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. Mori said he will convey the message to the Emperor, the official said.
Mori arrived in Dhaka earlier in the day, kicking off a weeklong tour of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. He is the first Japanese prime minister to visit the region in 10 years.
Pressure for CTBT
Mori said Saturday that he will call on India and Pakistan to sign an international treaty banning nuclear tests while he is on a weeklong tour of South Asian nations.
Mori also told reporters aboard a government jet headed for Dhaka, the first stop on the four-nation tour, that he will urge the two arch-enemies to resume their stalled dialogue in order to ease tensions in the region.
"I would like the two countries to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and will strongly urge them to do so during this trip," Mori said.
"I will also appeal for the realization of sustainable peace between India and Pakistan," he said. Despite Mori's calls, India and Pakistan are unlikely to agree to Japan's request for an immediate signing of the CTBT. But Mori is hoping the two will show a positive attitude toward nuclear nonproliferation.
"It is unfortunate that there are no indications that the two countries will sign anytime soon," Mori said. "I will take this opportunity to convey my feelings on this issue."
Asked whether he plans to lift Japan's economic sanctions against the two countries, Mori said any decision on the issue will be made only after carefully assessing the countries' efforts toward nuclear nonproliferation and their ties with Japan.
The measures have been in place since May 1998, when the two countries conducted tit-for-tat nuclear tests.
According to government sources, Mori will offer to partially ease the sanctions and provide extra yen loans to ongoing construction projects if Islamabad and New Delhi promise to continue their freeze on nuclear tests.
The move would still mark a softening of Japan's stance, which has previously made the signing of the CTBT a condition for lifting the sanctions.
Mori, who left Tokyo's Haneda airport early Saturday, arrived in Dhaka in the afternoon. Mori is the second Japanese prime minister to visit Bangladesh after Toshiki Kaifu did so in 1990.
He was scheduled to hold talks with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the prime minister's office later in the day. During the meeting, Mori was expected to reiterate Japan's commitment to assisting in the development of the country.
Japan is the biggest donor of aid to Bangladesh and a development partner in infrastructure work in the country.
Mori will leave for Islamabad this afternoon and hold talks with Pakistan's military ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, on Monday before going on to New Delhi, where he will meet with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Wednesday.
Both India and Pakistan say they have not obtained the national consensus they need to sign the CTBT, which stipulates that all 44 declared and potential nuclear states must ratify the treaty for it to come into force.
Ship sinks off Antarctica
CNN November 24, 2007
More than 150 passengers and crew aboard a sinking ship in the Antarctic, which is believed to have collided with an iceberg, have been rescued to safety, officials said.
The Explorer finally slipped beneath the waves Friday evening, about 20 hours after the predawn accident near Antarctica's South Shetland Islands, the Chilean navy confirmed.
No injuries have been reported among those rescued after being forced to abandon the sinking vessel and travel on lifeboats in sub-zero temperatures.
The Norwegian cruise ship MS Nord Norge took the stranded passengers and crew on board, said a spokesman for Gap Adventures, which owns the sinking vessel.
The Nord Norge is now heading to King George Island, the nearest point, in the South Shetlands, the spokesman added.
Passenger ship Explorer reported problems near the South Shetland Islands, south of Argentina. The area is in a sector of Antarctica claimed by the United Kingdom. Watch images of the ship in trouble »
The ship was on the 12th day of a 19-day tour of the southern Atlantic and Antarctic Peninsula.
It had already been to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and was on its way to the Danco Coast, on the peninsula's tip, when the incident happened.
Capt. Carlos Munita of the Chilean navy said they received a distress call from the Explorer, saying the vessel had hit an iceberg around 10 p.m. ET Thursday.
But Gap Adventures spokeswoman Susan Hayes said it was not an iceberg but a "submerged piece of ice."
The Explorer, which carries a Liberian flag, had a number of different nationalities on board including 24 Britons, 17 Dutch, 14 Americans, 12 Canadian and 10 Australians, Gap Adventures said.
Other nationalities include Argentineans, Belgians, Chinese, Danes, French, Irish, Japanese, Swiss, Colombian, Swedes and Germans.
John Warner, a spokesman for Gap Adventures, said the captain and chief officer initially stayed on the ship to make sure everyone was evacuated and to see if they could repair the damage, but they later abandoned the ship.
British Coast Guard spokesman Fred Caygill told The Associated Press the ship had a hole "the size of a fist" in the hull.
"We believed it has been hulled, it has a hole the size of a fist and some cracking in the hull of the ship, it's taking water and it's listing about 21 degrees," he said.
The temperature in the area is said to be at around minus 5C, with a sea temperature at around minus 1C, forecasters told the Press Association.
Stephen Davenport, senior forecaster with MeteoGroup, said:"It wouldn't take long for hypothermia to set in at that kind of temperature in the sea.
"They do get very bad storms down that way, and gale force winds especially, because there is no land in the way," he told PA.
Lt. Matt Alex from the US Coast Guard Atlantic Area command center said the boat is owned by Gap Adventures, based in Toronto, Canada.
Mr Masabumi Hosono
Masabumi Hosono, 42, a civil servant from Tokyo, was the only Japanese passenger on the Titanic. He joined the vessel at Southampton and was rescued in lifeboat 13 (?10)
Hosono began to write a letter in English to his wife on Titanic headed notepaper but after his rescue he wrote in Japanese of his experience.
Hosono was woken by a knock on the door of his second class cabin. He raced outside but, as a foreigner, was ordered to the lower decks, away from the boats. 'All the while flares signalling emergency were being shot into the air ceaselessly, and hideous blue flashes and noises were simply terrifying. Somehow I could in no way dispel the feeling of utter dread and desolation,' Hosono wrote.
Making his way back to the upper deck. 'I tried to prepare myself for the last moment with no agitation, making up my mind not to leave anything disgraceful as a Japanese. But still I found myself looking for and waiting for any possible chance for survival.'
His chance came when an officer loading lifeboats shouted 'Room for two more.' A man jumped in. 'I myself was deep in desolate thought that I would no more be able to see my beloved wife and children, since there was no alternative for me than to share the same destiny as the Titanic. But the example of the first man making a jump led me to take this last chance.'
'After the ship sank there came back again frightful shrills and cries of those drowning in the water. Our lifeboat too was filled with sobbing, weeping children and women worried about the safety of their husbands and fathers. 'And I, too, was as much depressed and miserable as they were, not knowing what would become of myself in the long run.'
Hosono was rescued in lifeboat 13 but was attacked in his own country for doing so when so many others had died. His ministry sacked him, Japanese papers calumnied his cowardice, textbooks cited his survival as a model of shameful behaviour, and a professor of ethics denounced him as immoral. When a Japanese liner sank in 1954, Hosono was again dragged through the mud. Hosono died in 1939, a broken man.
His family had known for years that this diary existed but it remained hidden at the bottom of a drawer until recently. Hosono's granddaughter Yuriko made the find public.
Presidents Putin and Hu Will Hold Two Meetings at SCO Events
August 11, 2007 (LPAC)
Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet twice next week, both at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Bishkek, Kyrgystan, and at the SCO joint maneuvers near the Russian Ural city of Chelyabinsk. Security cooperation and joint energy projects are on the agenda, Voice of Russia reported Aug. 10. Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Li Hui announced in Beijing yesterday that the SCO nations, which include China, Russia, and the four Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, are to sign a "long-term good-neighbor treaty of friendship and cooperation" in Bishkek, aimed at strengthening ties between the SCO nations.
As the SCO maneuvers got underway yesterday, Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, Chief of the Russian General Staff, said that successful economic activities within the SCO "are impossible without building up security in the region, particularly involving the SCO military agencies in this process," Itar-Tass reported. Baluyevsky said that the SCO is not forming any military-political block, but that it is a priority to work out "conceptual foundations of military cooperation within the SCO framework." He also said that the SCO is preparing to deal not only with terrorism, extremism, and drug trafficking, but also stressed the problems of ensuring information security "in conditions of the growing pressure on part of media outlets in some Western countries. These countries keep making attempts to persuade our peoples that so called 'truly democratic'" public institutions "on the Western pattern" must be set up, and this "contributes to the destabilization of the situation in the countries of the region."
Yeah, you are right mate. Burma is still a satellite puppet state of Imperialist Japan.
The army terrorizing our country since 1962 is the same army formed by the Japanese Imperial Army at Bangkok in 1942.
Colonel Suzuki, the Japanese intelligence officer responsible for Burma during WW2, hand-picked the fugitive student leader Aung San, late father of Aung San Su Kyi, and then gave a military training to 30 Burmese students, including Aung San, in Hainan Island.
After the training, these 30 started the Burmese Independence Army(BIA) with the Japanese help and Aung San became General Aung San. That BIA was the beginning of current Burmese Army.
That is the whole reason Japan, especially the nationalist right-wingers, will never abandon Burmese Army even when that army murdered a Japanese Journalist on a street of Rangoon in full public view last year.
When I was in the army the marching songs we had to sing are the exact copies of Japanese Army Marching Songs.
I have to admit these marching songs are really blood curling and they could make you feel invisible even under enemy's heavy fire and we would bayonet charge uphill into the enemy's machine gun positions. Of course with too many bloody deads and wounded.
Death of a dissident
Japantimes EDITORIAL Dec. 4, 2006
The mysterious death of Alexander Litvinenko throws a harsh spotlight on the Russian secret services. The controversy has engulfed Russian President Vladimir Putin, forcing him to publicly deny any involvement in the killing. That's probably true: Mr. Putin loses far more than he gains from this incident. But he is responsible -- either by design or by omission -- for empowering the security services and creating an environment that blurred the lines between state and personal interests.
Mr. Litvinenko once worked for the FSB, a successor agency to the KGB, handling domestic security concerns in Russia. He first received public attention in 1999 when he claimed at a press conference that the FSB had ordered him to kill Mr. Boris Berezovsky, a high-profile Russian oligarch who had the temerity to challenge Mr. Putin by backing an opposition political party. (Mr. Berezovsky's readiness to cross the president forced him into exile in London.)
Mr. Litvinenko later published a book in which he claimed the FSB had carried out apartment bombings in Moscow in 1999 so that Chechen terrorists would be blamed. The case has never been solved. (Shortly after those attacks, security officials were arrested with bomb-making materials in another apartment building; they claimed they were conducting a security test.)
Mr. Litvinenko was forced to flee Russia after being charged with treason and he received political asylum in Britain. Most recently, Mr. Litvinenko was looking into the death of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a fearless investigator of Russian government abuses in Chechnya who was murdered contract style in the doorway of her apartment building Oct. 7.
On Nov. 1, he spent an evening in London with two former Russian associates and later met an Italian journalist. Shortly afterward, he fell ill and checked into a hospital. British health officials determined that he had been poisoned with polonium 210, a radioactive isotope. On Nov. 23, he died, leaving a vitriolic last statement in which he blamed Mr. Putin for his death.
Since then, traces of the isotope have been detected at around a dozen sites in the London area -- including Mr. Litvinenko's home, the sushi bar where he met his former associates and Mr. Berezovsky's office -- and on at least two British Airways jetliners. Mr. Litvinenko's wife and the Italian journalist have tested positive for small amounts of the radiation; neither was showing symptoms of poisoning over the weekend.
Mr. Litvinenko's suffering -- lurid photographs from his hospital bed, his hair gone, his face gaunt, were splashed across the front pages of British newspapers -- apparently compelled Mr. Putin to make a statement at a meeting with European Union leaders in Helsinki. Mr. Putin expressed regret over the tragedy, but insisted that talk of Russian government involvement had "nothing to do with reality."
The presence of polonium makes it hard to dismiss Mr. Litvinenko's death as a mere accident. Mr. Litvinenko had been a nuisance with his allegations against the president. But he was only a nuisance and it would not take much to realize that an assassination attempt of this type would cause even more controversy.
But that does not mean that rogue elements of the security services, either in or out of the government, were not involved. One hallmark of Mr. Putin's term in office has been the willingness to put former colleagues in positions of power throughout his administration. Mr. Litvinenko's allegations were potentially dangerous if they exposed the readiness of political and business entities to blur the boundaries between state and private interests. The individuals who benefit from this situation could have taken action on their own.
There is another hypothesis. Some speculate that the real beneficiaries of Mr. Litvinenko's death are those who want to see Mr. Putin put on the defensive. Chief among them is Mr. Berezovsky. According to this logic, the same forces killed Mr. Litvinenko and Ms. Politkovskaya -- not because they were a threat to the Russian government but because their deaths would focus attention on the Russian authorities. This reasoning seems too clever: There are other ways to embarrass Mr. Putin that do not involve killing two individuals who were working for the same purpose as the instigators -- and do not require hard-to-acquire radioactive substances.
The most important thing now is that the investigation into Mr. Litvinenko's death be vigorous and uninhibited (the same applies to that of Ms. Politkovskaya). State interests cannot be used to block attempts to uncover the truth. Since the investigation is by the British authorities, there are reasons for hope.
The world should know whether there is state involvement in these murders. If none is apparent, then surely Mr. Putin will want to know who is going to such lengths to humiliate him.
Polonium, peacocks -- and a dead spy
Japantimes Dec. 13, 2006
MURDER IN THE GENES?
It's one of the biggest stories of the year -- and certainly the most unusual. I'm talking about the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian spy living in London who was poisoned with a radioactive isotope last month. Nothing like this has been seen for nearly 20 years, back when the Cold War was raging.
The main questions still baffling everyone are, of course: Who did it -- and why? Sure, they are obviously the most important questions now being addressed by the British authorities and others. But there's another that hasn't been asked as urgently, but my theory is that its answer will shed considerable light on the main questions. It is this: Why was Litvinenko murdered in such an unusual, expensive way? I'm probably biased, but I think a little Darwinian reasoning may shed light on the mystery.
First, the facts
First, the facts as they stand. Polonium-210 -- the metalloid element used to kill Litvinenko -- has now been found at 10 locations in London, traces have been detected on two Airways planes, at the British Embassy in Moscow, at a sushi shop in central London, and even at Emirates Stadium, the home ground of Arsenal, a north London soccer club. It has also been detected at the Hamburg home of a Russian businessman, an associate of Litvinenko named Dmitry Kovtun.
Polonium-210 is 250 billion times as toxic as the same weight of the deadly poison hydrogen cyanide. A mere 120 nanograms (that's 120 billionths of a gram) of the stuff can kill you if you inhale or eat it. It's easy to carry it about, and it wouldn't be hard to get it through security checks at airports. But it is not so easy to get hold of it in the first place.
Polonium-210 is made by bombarding another radioactive element, Bismuth 209, with neutrons. To do that you require a nuclear reactor. Because Polonium-210 emits alpha particles, it has the effect of reducing static electricity, so for that reason it is sometimes used, for example, in satellites.
One report I read in a London newspaper estimated that the amount of Polonium-210 used to kill Litvinenko would have cost £20 million ($ 39 million).
Now, I don't know about you, but this makes me think, why not just shoot the guy? Or cheaper still, why not stab him to death? Why spend so much money, on such an obscure, hard-to-come-by element? It is flagrantly wasteful in cost-"benefit" terms -- and herein lies the clue. Wastefulness is something that evolution knows all about.
Look at the most famous of wasteful traits -- the adult male peacock's tail. This huge, elaborate structure is no use for flying. In fact it hinders him, and makes it easier for predators to catch him. And he has to expend a significant amount of energy just growing the thing. So, in evolutionary terms, why do they do it? Because it's a signal to females of the species of his power, beauty and general good quality and desirablity. The peacock is saying to any peahen who might be watching, "Look at me! I'm so powerful, I can afford to grow this gigantic ornamental tail. Come and get me girls!"
Polonium-210 is the peacock's tail of a murder weapon.
So who is so powerful that they would waste millions on a murder that presumably could have been carried out for a fraction of the cost?
Most outside commentators, including this newspaper in an editorial on Dec. 4, have speculated that the Russian government had some involvement in Litvinenko's death. It is reasonable to speculate so, since Litvinenko was an outspoken critic of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. But surely the Russian government would and could have quietly got rid of Litvinenko, if they wanted to, in any number of ways.
I think the use of the extravagantly wasteful Polonium-210 points to a different suspect. Someone -- or more likely a group of people -- want to send a message to the world: "Look at us! We're so powerful we can afford to destroy our enemies in absurdly expensive ways. You'd better think twice before you mess with us."
It was initially thought that the sushi bar was the site of the poisoning, but now police investigations are centering on a central London hotel where Litvinenko met two Russian businessmen on Nov. 1, the day he was poisoned. On that same day, Arsenal played a European Champions League soccer match, at home, against CSKA Moscow. Among the soccer crowd in London that day were those same two business associates -- the aforementioned Dmitry Kovtun and a multimillionaire entrepreneur named Andrei Lugovoi. Scotland Yard -- the headquarters of the London police force -- are investigating the possibility that Lugovoi and Kovtun were used as cover by the assassins who killed Litvinenko.
"Someone is trying to set me up," Lugovoi has reportedly said.
The police seem to have come to the same conclusion -- though probably not through Darwinian reasoning. I wonder if I should start a Darwinian detective service?
Japan's Conspiracy ＞
Al Gore's Son Arrested Again on Drug Charges
abc NEWS July 4, 2007
For the second time in four years, former Vice President Al Gore's son has been arrested on charges of possessing marijuana in his car.
Al Gore III, 24, was driving a blue Toyota Prius on the San Diego Freeway at about 100 mph at 2:15 a.m. Wednesday morning when a sheriff's deputy stopped him at the Crown Valley Parkway exit, said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
The deputy smelled marijuana, a quantity of which he found in the vehicle, while also discovering two prescription bottles containing Valium, Vicadin, Xanax, and Adderall.
"He was cooperative and admitted to smoking marijuana very recently," Amormino told ABCNEWS.com. "None of those drugs in his possession did he have a prescription for," said the spokesman, adding that one of the bottles had no writing on it and one had partial writing on it in someone else's name.
The former vice president's son, an associate publisher at Good magazine, was taken into custody and booked into the Santa Ana Inmate Reception Center on narcotics possession charges. Bail has been set at $20,000. The sheriff's department was not sure if Gore's father or mother had contacted their son. Al Gore was traveling back from Europe today, and was not available for comment.