ME and Ophelia

Sunday, June 27, 2004

To say hello

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# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 6/27/2004 0 comments

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Resting - Mission accomplished

[Updated] This post is especially for Nick with love from little old me and ophelia. It was written into yesterday's post - to go with the "jazzy arm action of the foot tapping squirrel" that I found at Hank's - but pulled it for later because I didn't think life here by the seaside fitted in with the genocide in Darfur.

Over the past several weeks it's been pretty busy here. New balcony's almost installed. Four visitors for lunch Monday - the Longest Day, which means summer is on the wane. We've enjoyed superb weather for three whole weeks. Blue sky. Blue sea. No wind. I'll miss the carpenter when he's finished. Nice chap.

But he keeps running out of nails. And wood. And other bits and bobs. Off he goes for supplies and doesn't return for a week. Maybe he juggles different jobs and tells each customer the same story. Last week his van blew up which delayed things further. Today he returned to secure a temporary gate and a pipe that had fallen during a storm. And left five minutes later, grumbling about his suppliers. It's a good surprise when he turns up. We've had nice chats while eating dark chocolate covered ice cream on sticks, and even witnessed a baby seagull emerging from its egg.

Ophelia is as perfect as ever. She has lost her winter fur. And is all slim, sleek, soft and glossy. Right now she's catching up on sleep. A ginger Tom visits here every night. Heh. As soon as she goes out, he sneaks into the kitchen and sticks his nose into her food bowl. He must be casing the joint to know when she is out. She eats daintily and quietly. He rattles her dried food around making it sound like a bowl of marbles. So I know it is him. I get up to say hello but he hightails out. Ten minutes later Ophelia comes back in, looking happy and fine. It's a ritual, every evening around 10 o'clock.

The big news is that the crucial peace talks, due to open yesterday in Kenya, have been postponed for two days, seemingly to deal with "international community" pressure and find a way round negotiating Darfur into the peace deal. Kofi Annan and Colin Powell (with evidence of ethnic cleansing and an extra $95m in US aid) will be in Darfur and Khartoum on Tuesday and Wednesday. Mission here is accomplished.

Yesterday, I drafted a post "Did we bloggers make a difference?" I believe we did. (Update: I've emailed best British blogger Alistair Coleman and David Sifry, CEO of Technorati, to ask if there is a way to find out - note David's latest post: "Keyword search ads are live").

My draft conveys how grateful I am to my warm hearted readers for linking on the Sudan. Hope I didn't come across too pushy, time was of the essence because the rainy season peaks in July, afterwhich it'd all be too late. The response was amazing. Huge thanks to everyone. Sorry I have been too over tired to post original commentary or finish draft posts, comments and emails. Which is why I've had to resort to linking to reports these past weeks. Now that brilliant help is on its way for the people of Darfur, I need to take a blogging break for a few days. God bless the USA, UN aid, Dr James Moore and all the thousands of others helping the people of Sudan. With love to you all. Bye for now xx

PS In 1270 Marco Polo praised the carpets of Kerman as a marvel to see. Kerman is still one of the great cities for Persian Carpets. The Kerman Carpet has a rich tradition. Here is a great find for anyone interested in Persian carpets and rugs: Barry O'Connell's Kerman Carpet blog and his RugNotes blog out of Washington, DC.
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Update - inserted Saturday morning 10:40: I have updated the above post - tidied text and inserted links into my summary on: UN head meeting Powell in Khartoum over Darfur with evidence of ethnic cleansing, extra $95m from the US, summary of UN aid, two day postponement of peace talks (at the request of both sides to give more time for consultation) - and Barry's RugNotes blog. Further updates may appear here below over the next few days.

In the meantime for those wishing to take action, "Survivors United to Save the Women of Darfur, Sudan from the Genocide" have useful links, addresses and photos [via Jim Moore's Journal today].

Also, the latest major breaking news on the Sudan crisis, posted as and when it occurs, is at Jim's Journal or the Passion weblogs out of Harvard - and at Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit.

Here is the latest full story from the New York Times on June 26: "U.N. Chief to Join Powell in Sudan to Try to Halt Massacres" at

Note: June 26 via Mathaba: "Sudan - London Conference on Alternatives to Government, Darfur. An important conference being held by Sudanese civil society this evening in London will explore the alternatives to the current Sudan islamist dictatorship regime based in Khartoum."
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And some more great news - via the BBC on June 25: "Deal agreed to avert DR Congo war. The presidents of Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda have agreed to abide by a 2002 peace pact to avoid renewed conflict in the region."

And this too, on Iraq - via BBC June 26: "US and EU have pledged strong support to the new Iraqi government ahead of the June 30 transfer of power. The leaders issued a joint statement at the end of a summit in Ireland saying Baghdad needed the world's backing if Iraq was to become a democratic nation. It is Mr Bush's first official visit to the Irish Republic."
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US hands over sovereignty in Iraq

This post inserted on June 28, 2004: Today, BBCreports that the US has formally handed over power in Iraq, two days ahead of schedule. At a low-key ceremony in Baghdad, US administrator Paul Bremer gave legal documents to an Iraqi judge. He later left the country by plane.

Iraq's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, who also took part in the ceremony in the heavily-guarded Green Zone, said it was "a historic day". Hours later, Mr Allawi was officially sworn in along with the other members of his government. After formally taking office, he said the transfer of power was a "massive victory" for the forces of good in Iraq. "This is a historic day, a happy day, a day that all Iraqis have been looking forward to" Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.
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Quotation of the day, courtesy of the New York Times:

"We have the forces. We have the judicial system, and he is going to go to court. It's going to be a just trial, unlike the trials that he gave to the Iraqi people."
IYAD ALLAWI, Iraq's interim prime minister, on taking custody of Saddam Hussein.
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63 year-old pilot became an astronaut while floating M&Ms

Had I had not been so busy with visitors and blogging about the Sudan crisis, I would have posted on the historic event that took place at Mohave Airport in America: the flight of the world's first privately funded craft into sub orbital space.

Millions of people around the world watched the finger nail biting event. It took place on Monday and was attended by former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and Konrad Dannenberg, one of Werner Von Braun's lead scientists on America's original space development.

63 year-old American test pilot Mike Melvill travelled "faster than an M-16 rifle bullet" in SpaceShipOne, at about around 2400 km/h (1500 mph) or mach 3.2, and reached an altitude of 62 miles, which qualified him as an astronaut during the world's first privately funded venture into sub orbital space. When pilots reach 100 km above the Earth, it qualifies them as an astronaut.

Melvill said: "As it reentered the atmosphere, falling like a badminton shuttlecock almost straight down, the rushing air sounded like a hurricane. Coming down is frightening, because of that roaring sound. You can really hear how that vehicle is being pounded." But it was the sublime view that affected him the most. "The sky was jet black, with light blue along the horizon - it was really an awesome sight," he said. "You really do get the feeling that you've touched the face of God."

NASA can take comfort from the number of hair raising glitches that occurred during the flight. Take a read of this New Scientist report at Gavin's Blog - and put yourself in the pilot's shoes.

On TV news I saw Melvill's perfect landing and marvelled at the tiny craft, it's chubby belly of painted stars, dinky wheels and port hole windows. Upon landing, he stuck his arm straight out of the cockpit window and waved excitedly. He jumped out of the craft, bounded up to the waiting journalists, and cheerily explained how, to see weightlessness in action, he'd opened a packet of M&Ms and was thrilled to see them float around him. The TV newscaster remarked it probably wasn't the sort of thing the sponsor Microsoft had in mind for the pilot to say when he landed back on Earth :-)

Blogging pathologist Madhu asks "what would a pathologist do in space?" My favourite Silicon Valley techies James Lee and Don Park posted some neat pictures. Great photo too over at Shelley Powers' Burningbird.