Notations On Our World : On #Sydney & #Afghanistan & #Russia

Australia and the World were on edge as the hostage situation in Sydney unfolded.   Unfortunately, it ended tragically.  But the aftermath of how Australians have come together which was remarkable to be witness to.   People from all walks of life in Sydney including representatives of the Muslim Community in Australia were amongst those as reported by this image from Martin's Place and noted by the BBC based on images supplied by AFP (Agence France Press):

Children lay flowers at the scene of a dramatic siege which left two hostages dead in Sydney Representatives of the Muslim community lay flowers at a floral memorial at the scene of a dramatic siege which left two hostages dead in Sydney

 It was quite traumatic as we noted it here in #Outsiders.   As the drama unfolded it was shown on live television throughout the World.     It was quite interesting how the talking heads have been at it speculating about the why and the how.   Hopefully the investigation will reflect the true nature of what happened.    It is tragic how two innocent souls lost their lives as they did as they went about a daily routine to get coffee--something that many of us take for granted.   

What is known is this:   The criminal  who undertook this and was taken down by Australian Commandos was someone who had a criminal record and clearly did not understand what it meant to live in a free Democratic & Open Society and the actions he undertook abused the privilege the people of Australia extended to him.   He was of Iranian origin and was on bail for a range of offenses.    He had pretended to  be a  Shiite cleric and then converted to Sunni Islam.     Although he was disturbed, the Commissioner of the New South Wales Police underscored the process in noting that they will investigate it to understand what happened and lessons to be learnt from it so that such trauma cannot happen again.   The Australian Prime Minister who laid a wreath at the Martin Place Memorial with his wife said it best:   "Tragic beyond Words" ,      But this humanity was shown ever more with this as Australians stepped up:

As the World came to grips with this, one other tragedy continues to unfold.    The Taliban in Afghanistan continue to be even more lethal and brazen in their attacks throughout Afghanistan and especially in the heart of Kabul.    We here @ #Outsiders have underscored the challenge of the Taliban for years.   It was ever so gratifying as we commented on the turnout for the Afghan Elections.      However, the war in Afghanistan continues to be a challenge ever so crucial as this commentary by the distinguished Constitutional Scholar Professor Turley notes and we received it here in #Outsiders: 

Report: Afghanistan War Reaches $1 Trillion And Will Require Hundreds of Billions More

by jonathanturley
158px-flag_of_afghanistansvgPresident_Barack_ObamaDespite the public pledge of President Obama to pull out of Afghanistan, we continue to spend huge amounts of money in the war and the Obama Administration has fought to keep U.S. troops in the country. Now an estimate from the Financial Times and independent researchers put the cost of the war at roughly $1 trillion with a commitment of hundreds of billions more in the coming years. There continues to be no serious debate over our ongoing losses both in personnel and money in this war.

The United States has committed to have troops in Afghanistan under the new Agreement signed.    Professor Turley's last comment in this  in why there continues to be no serious debate over on-going losses in personnel and money.    Two Americans fell within the past 24 hours ago in Afghanistan.      
As Afghanistan burns, there is also another theatre of war that is currently not as much in the headlines--Ukraine.   Ukraine lost Crimea to Russia and continues to fight for its' Eastern Region as it is engaged in a struggle with Russia.   Russia, though, appears to be paying a heavy price as the Russian Central Bank raised its' interest rate to 17 Percent to avoid a further fall in the Ruble that has lost 50% of its' value since the beginning of the year.

Part of it is attributable to the reckless adventure Mr. Putin has pursued.   Beyond that is the collapse in the Price of Oil which is causing profound headaches for all major oil producing countries.    Some who have seen beyond Oil will probably fare reasonably well.  Those like Russia and Iran who are quite dependent on Oil will suffer.  Some tough decisions will need to be made by all and some indications are already happening as budgets have to be readjusted to the new realities  as epitomized by this price per gallon recently:


May we truly live in interesting times.....
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