Your Fix for Sunday, January 3, 2010

Well hi there, I hope you’re having a good weekend. It’s a Sunday, so things are quieter than usual . . .

The U.S. and Britain have closed their embassies in Yemen, “in response to ongoing threats by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.” That’s linked, of course, to the Christmas Day hijack attempt on Northwest Airlines. (Hee! I still love the fact that our would-be suicide bomber set fire to his pants. Who DOES that?)

And related to that, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he’s green-lighted full-body scans at UK airports, giving security agents Superman-style X-ray vision that leaves nothing to the imagination. The Christian Science Monitor says several European countries are considering the idea.

The BBC is also running an interesting story about how almost a quarter of voters in Iceland have signed a petition asking the goverment to refuse to repay investors who lost money in a failed Icelandic bank called Icesave. The country’s parliament has already approved plans to reimburse nearly 5.5 billion dollars (3.8 billion euros) to investors, who are mostly Dutch and British. Those who signed the petition say their tax dollars shouldn’t be used to pay for the bank’s mistakes.

Also: diesel spill in China’s Yellow River, and an earthquake in Tajikistan has left some 20,000 people homeless.

I don’t want to sound callous about the people affected in China and Tajikistan. It’s a hazard of the news business, starting to talk about tragedy as if it didn’t affect real people. Sometimes you just think in terms of body counts, and that’s no way to handle news about someone’s life. I wish there were some way to get the news out quickly without losing sight of the importance of lives lost.


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