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Top News Stories
of 2006

Quote of the Year

"the time for world empires has ended"

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iranian Prime Minister

"tdc's Froggy"
             tdc's Animated Frog   Be patient, I'm coming!

Notable Passings

Slobodan Milosevic - March
Ed Bradley - November
James Brown - December
Saddam Hussein - December

 

Froggy's  Comments 
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Politics Early November  In the US mid term elections the Democrats have won a majority in the House of Representatives and have the majority of seats in the Senate ~~~ is this the beginning of the end of the war in Iraq?

Then in a surprise announcement Bush says that he has accepted the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld the architect for the war in Iraq and Secretary of  Defense.

Mid October, North Korea announces that they have tested a atomic bomb saying the reason is to protect themselves against the aggression of the United States.  The UN security council meets and votes to impose sanctions on North Korea.

The question of the day on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 in United States is "Is the US a safer place to live?"

Well it sees to be but the citizens and the politicians in the US sure are more paranoid about it than the rest of the world.

In late June, the US Supreme Court ruled that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Early in 2006, it was suspected that Iran was able to enrich uranium to weapons grade material for use either for a nuclear bomb or for reactors for producing energy.  This was confirmed by a UN study team. Then the USA tried to get its big allies (Russia, Britain, China)  to support an effort to force the shutdown of this enrichment program.  But to no avail because the Russia and Britain would no support any military action to force Iran to stop their enrichment program.  The US then tried to get the United Nations to support sanction programs against Iran. They ran into difficulties getting firm support from the Security Council  for hard sanctions. The next step for the US was to invite Iran to talks if Iran would shut down their enrichment program.  Iran said no.  Iran then invited the USA to talk but would not stop their program and also raised the states by saying that if the US did not allow the enrichment program to continue they would cut off their supply of oil to them .

In March, did the US really step on poo when they decided to tackle the issue of illegal  immigration from Mexico. There were all kinds of protest demonstrations with crowds in the hundreds of thousands in many of the mega cities such as Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Washington. The issue was should the administration uphold the law and send illegal's home or should there be amnesty for those already in the US.  The Congress tried to tackle this issue but the details seem to be too much for them and the bill died leaving the issue to the status quo. Hmmm??

 

Science In early November, scientists say, if current trends of over fishing and pollution continue, the populations of just about all seafood face collapse by 2048

A US colonel has offered Iraq an apology of sorts for the devastation of the ancient city Babylon. For more than a millennium, Babylon was one of the great cities of antiquity. It reached its greatest glory in the early 6th century BC, as the capital of Nebuchadnezzar II, builder of the celebrated Hanging Gardens.

US researchers say they have found the missing evolutionary link between fish and land animals: fossils of a strange creature that crawled onto the shore about 375 million years ago.

A particle accelerator at Sandia National Laboratories has heated a swarm of charged particles to a record 2 billion degrees Kelvin, a temperature beyond that of a star's interior.

 

Economics Black Friday, the first Friday after the American Thanksgiving and the time when retail businesses finally break into the black.  Well, Wal-Mart the retail giant reported that their sales were down and from other retailers reported that the number of people who went shopping at their stores were down... but that the average sales per day of those shopping were up.  In mid December, in order to get more consumers into their stores Wal-Mart discounted their electronic items by 50%.

Hmmm?  Economists say that this is an indication that the price of gas has effected the shopping habits of persons in the middle to lower economic strata who depend upon Wal-Mart to deliver low prices on the goods that they buy. Those with money are spending more and those without are not.

Late September, the US government announces that housing prices have dropped - the first time in 10 years.  This raises the suspicion that there are countless numbers of people who gambled with a floating mortgage rate and now that the rate has gone up they can no longer afford their houses and forcing many persons into personal bankruptcy.

In early September,  Chevron Corp. says that they have found an estimated 300-square-mile region where its test well sits could hold between 3 billion and 15 billion barrels of oil and natural gas liquids. If true it would be enough to lessen the US dependence on Mid East sources, but it would take a lot of dollars and years to bring this important US source on-line.

Noted that Americans are leaving the nation's big cities in search of cheaper homes and open spaces farther out.  Is this because it is cheaper or is it because the quality of life is better?

In March, The US Senate votes to allow their national debt to swell to nearly $9 trillion which makes the US indebtness to about $30,000 for every man, woman and child. If you wonder who this debt is owed to, it is mainly Japan and China who lent the US the money to stroke the fires of Wall Street and in subsequence the US economy.

 

Space

 

In August, leading astronomers declared that Pluto is no longer a planet under historic new guidelines that downsize the solar system from nine planets to eight.

Flybys of Titan one of Saturn's largest moons,  finds that there are lots of lakes similar to those in northern Canada and Norway. Scientists say, are most likely composed of hydrocarbons, most likely liquid methane, possibly mixed with ethane.  How these hydrocarbons arrived on Titan will probably remain a mystery for a long time.

Accumulative errors in the calculation of the Hubble constant seem to indicate that the universe might be 15 percent bigger and the age of the universe 15 % older than was previously calculated.

An enormous amoeba-like structure 200 million light-years wide and made up of galaxies and large bubbles of gas is the largest known object in the universe, scientists say.

Images returned from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have yielded evidence that the geologically young south polar region of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus may possess reservoirs of near-surface liquid water that erupt to form geysers of the kind found in Yellowstone National Park.

 

Health

Researchers think that about 80 to 90 per cent of all cancers are due to environmental causes broadly defined to include lifestyle factors such as smoking and diet.

Screening and treatment seem to be the buzz words in the medical department in 2006 with no real effort in finding the root causes of diseases like cancer and diabetes. 

Boy oh boy, are the drug companies reaching.... In March, they announced that antidepressant medication was 70 + successful.  But what one had to do is to try a number of different pills over a period of time (6-8 weeks), and if that did not work to mix and match different types.  And if you did all of that and was still financially intact, you had a 70% chance that you might solve your depression problem. Give us a break drug companies!

Warning - According to Health Canada, women who take antidepressants like Prozac and Paxil and are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant are warned of potential risks to the baby

 

Environment

Mid December - Preliminary temperature figures for 2006, released by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia (UEA’s Climatic Research Unit), show the mean surface air temperature has continued to demonstrate a warming climate, both around the globe and especially in the UK.

In December Brazil announces that it has created the world's largest tropical rainforest preserve of more than 15-million hectares.

2005 sets the record for atmospheric greenhouse gases according to the UN

September brought the announcement by scientists that the earth is experiencing the warmest climates in over 1 million years.

“An Inconvenient Truth” is Al Gore's powerful movie about global warming which is a big hit amoung environmental supporters. Is Al thinking about running for President in 2008 on an environmental platform?

Canada  who is a signatory of the Kyoto protocol was in the Spring of 2006 thinking of coming up with their own terms and conditions for environmental protection and possibly signing off Kyoto.  They had not come up with their comprehensive environmental plan by the end of 2006.

 

Peace Mid November, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani agreed to travel to Tehran for an unprecedented three-way summit with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian leader Bashar Assad to deal with Iraq's raging insurgency.

Near the end of October, Bush and his military advisors decide to change their plan in Iraq. They decided,  to prod the Iraqis to take more control over their security as quickly as possible instead of trying to stay the course of attacking the terrorists in Iraq keeping them from the streets of America.

October, in Iraq there is definitely a sectarian war going on as everyday people on all sides are found with their heads removed. United States and Britain are beginning to question in public that they have failed to bring a peaceful democracy to Iraq and are thinking about bring troops home. Peace in Iraq is not in sight.

September, Iraq formally takes over command of its armed forces from the U.S.-led coalition as there are more suicide bombings. The Americans military report that they need more troops in Iraq even though their present numbers are about 140,000.

August 10 and Heathrow Airport in England is the center of the universe as the British government announces that they have arrested 24 persons who have conspired to blow up 10 airplanes as they crossed the Atlantic to the USA.  Airports in North America and Europe respond by enforcing new rules to restrict articles in carry-on luggage.

As a result trans Atlantic air traffic is slowed to a trickle and massive numbers of people are stranded in airports around the world.

In early August, the US defense department admits that Iraq is close to a civil war which makes it very difficult for the US military to be there. The Democrats say that the Bush government has a failed military strategy in Iraq.

July, war between Israel and Lebanon breaks out with each shelling each other with rockets and artillery. Thousands of nationals want to be returned and are evacuated to their home countries from Lebanon as rockets and artillery shells fly into both countries. It seems that it is a big step backward towards the establishment of  peace in the Middle East.  The right wing factions still believe that an eye for an eye is still the best way.

In retaliation for Israeli attacks, Hezbollah are firing Iranian rockets into Israel.

Hundreds of citizens are killed on both sides and four unarmed UN observers are killed. Israel refuses to consider a cease fire at the end of July to make way for humanitarian supplies. The US and Britain want Lebanon to stop Hezbollah but so far they are doing nothing to make it happen.

In June, Israel said they accidentally killed some people while they were on a beach. Palestine retaliated by boring a tunnel under the big wall surrounding their country to get to a military outpost manned by Israeli soldiers A firefight ensued and several soldiers were killed and one kidnapped.  Israel demanded that the soldier be returned and when he was not, they attacked the West Bank and kidnapped several leaders of Hamas.

In May, Iraq swears in its first full-term government since the 2003 US-led invasion with the hopes that the insurgency will be quieted. It didn't as suicide bombs and kidnapping kept killing people.

April and Iran says that they can enrich uranium which triggers the US and many of the UN countries who sit on the security council to become upset with Iran and threaten to use sanctions if Iran does not shut down their program.  Iran suggests that Israel has to be eliminated. In mid April, George W begins to threaten that he will attack Iran and destroy their enrichment facilities... Iran counters saying : "You can start a war but it won't be you who finishes it," said General Yahya Rahim Safavi, the head of the Iran's Revolutionary Guards

Hamas, the Palestinian party who refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist and is responsible for many attacks on the country in recent years clearly wins a democratic election in Palestine in late January. By March, the United States has suspended all contact with the Palestinian government saying that even though Hamas clearly won in a democratic election they will not deal with a party that clearly was behind terrorist attacks on Isreal

A wave of sectarian violence, sparked by the 22 February bombing of a Shia shrine in Samarra, has swept across Iraq.  It is estimated that at least 30 people a day have been killed in Baghdad in April since that time.
 

Religion Now the fastest growing religion in Canada is Muslin.

According to National Geographic, an ancient manuscript rediscovered after 1,700 years may shed light on the relationship between Jesus and Judas, the disciple said to have betrayed him.

Rather than the traitor as Judas is portrayed in the New Testament, The Gospel of Judas indicates that he acted at the request of Jesus to help him shed his earthly body.

 

Internet China's internet population increased by almost one-third during 2006, reinforcing the country's position as one of the most powerful internet economies in the world

In an interesting turn of events, TIME magazine chose in December - "You" as being the person of the year 2006.  The rationale that the internet's ability to provide a platform for public opinion through such media as web sites where ordinary people can publish free their videos and thoughts on any issues in blogs for anyone on the planet to see.  These powerful tools are bringing about the democratization of the planet that no one thought about 20 years ago.

Bush was expected to act quickly after Congress approved the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act making it illegal for financial institutions and credit card companies to process payments to settle Internet bets ~~~ and how are they going to know whether payment was for gambling or something else?

Disney is to start selling films over the internet via CinemaNow, including new films on the day they come out. Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Paramount Pictures jointly started a download-to-own film service via Movielink.

More than one billion people in the world have access to the Internet, with a quarter of them with broadband, or high-speed connections, according to a survey.

The report by the firm eMarketer said the milestone of one billion was reached in late 2005, and that nearly 250 million households had broadband connections

Movies available on the Internet with good quality started to show up in March and some are free. Check It Out For Yourself .  Is this the end of the Cinema's or will the Movie Theatres come up with some new tricks in the future?

Many broadband users now say the internet is a main news source, surpassing even TV and papers.

 

Communications

Wi-Fi coming to your city... That seems to be the way of the future as Toronto takes the lead with some other North American Cities following.  Edinburgh Scotland announced their intention in late May and Chicago is thinking seriously about the concept.

 

Entertainment

December 30 - 1.30 pm EST in New York.  The Metropolitan Opera is performing  The  Magic Flute sung in English.  This might not seem to be a big thing, but it is being sent via satellite to 26 different movie theatres around that world that show movies in High Definition. Participating countries are the US, Canada, Britain, Norway, and Japan. What a way to present these wonderful performances so that they can be enjoyed by many more people without going to New York.  Five more performances of the Met are scheduled to be performed live and shown this way into the New Year.

The Da Vinci Code was suppose to be the big movie hit of the spring of 2006.  The book was a bestseller and why shouldn't the movie be a blockbuster.  It had the necessary 'conflict' to draw the press and it was touted to be the movie that would save the silver screens across North America.  Well, under Ron Howard's direction  it opened at the Cannes Festival and bombed. The distributors decided to try to offset these bad reviews and opened the movie in over 3600 screens in North America.  It was well received  and the strategy seemed to work. The movie created its own controversy because to story hinted that Jesus had married Mary Madeline and that Jesus' descendants still exist. The Catholic Church spun the movie story as being only a work of fiction  which also seemed to have worked as more people talked about Christianity.

 

Biggest Disappointments
of the Year

People and companies using rampant excessive global manipulative fear paranoia  rationale to obtain objectives 

Failure upon governments and religious groups to address the root cause of conflicts and take action to resolve the issues.

Failure of governments to set obtainable goals to reduce greenhouse gases which are effecting climate change

Suicide bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to kill civilians despite the efforts of armies and police to provide security.

The creation of doubt by politicians to slow or stop important issues before the public. Sound objective information was thwarted and important decisions on issues like global warming, health issues security and economics were slowed down by politics.

It seems that order to survive today we need to have:
clean air, clean water, organically grown food, shelter, clothing, communications,
entertainment, education, security, insurance
- what next?

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Have a Happy 2007 Folks !

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