The Independent‘s Shaun Walker, from Beslan, North Ossetia:
As Mr Putin prepares to hand over power, Beslan is still suffocating in a pall of tears and anger. For Mr Nazarov, as for many in this town of 35,000 people, voting for Mr Medvedev on Sunday is unthinkable. “I would not vote for anyone who was recommended by Putin,” he says. Hanging the picture of Mr Putin and his heir among the photographs of victims is his way of saying what he believes the political course of Mr Putin and his heir-apparent leads to.
Nur-Pashi Kulayev, the sole surviving hostage-taker, was jailed for life in 2006 but, for Mr Nazarov and other victims’ relatives, many questions about the events of 2004 remain unanswered. How were the terrorists able to take School No 1 hostage without any resistance, who ordered the special forces to storm the building, and was the blaze which engulfed the gymnasium and killed so many started by rockets fired by the Russian troops?
CNN reports the arrival of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in North Korea:
The visit comes as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attended Monday’s inauguration of South Korea’s new president, Lee Myung-bak. She said before leaving Washington that she had no plans to stop in Pyongyang during a trip that also takes her to China and Japan.
“I don’t think we should get carried away with what listening to Dvorak is going to do in North Korea,” Rice, a classical pianist herself, said Friday, while also conceding the benefit of the event in giving North Koreans a window to the outside world.
The concert will feature Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 and “An American in Paris” by George Gershwin. Among the encores planned is the Korean folk song “Arirang,” beloved in both the North and South.
The performance will begin with the orchestra playing the national anthems of both countries and the U.S. and North Korean flags will stand together on stage, said the Philharmonic’s president and executive director, Zarin Mehta.
Ahead of their arrival, North Korea was even tearing down the anti-U.S. posters that line the streets of Pyongyang, Mehta said Sunday. He cited a diplomat based there who briefed the orchestra before its departure from Beijing, the last stop on a tour of the greater China region.
It looks as though Friday Night Lights, which because of the Writers’ Strike came to a standstill with episode 15 of Season 2, may survive and flourish after all, with the possibility of a Season 3. San Diego media blogger Kristin Dos Santos writes that
Inside sources confirm to me that NBC Universal (the studio that makes FNL) is currently talking to various networks about the idea of sharing the show’s third season among more than one channel in an effort to save the series from cancellation and broaden its audience.
Those channels in discussion include the CW, TNT, DirecTV and a place called Comcast Entertainment Group, which, hmmm, sounds familiar because, oh yeah, they sign my checks. Both E! and G4 fall under the Comcast umbrella.
This would be good news, as FNL is probably one of the most inventive American TV series to have aired in the past decade, and has the potential to become a hit worldwide. It certainly deserves to.
See also: Full Hearts
Richard Holbrooke, a former negotiator in the Balkans under President Clinton, said: “The fact that (independence has) not happened as peacefully as people had hoped is the direct result of the incitement to violence by extremist elements in Belgrade, implicitly and privately supported by the Russians.”
Labels: Kosovo, Russia, Serbia