World View: Palestinian Authority Changes Name to 'State of Palestine'

This morning's key headlines from
  • Cuba and Venezuela grow tense over possible death of Chávez
  • Palestinian Authority changes name to 'State of Palestine'
  • Al-Jazeera buys Al Gore's Current TV to gain American audience

Cuba and Venezuela grow tense over possible death of Chavez

Although the health of Venezuela's president Hugo Chávez is tightly held state secret, except for the fact that he's suffereing from a respiratory infection following his December 11 cancer surgery, more people are growing convinced that Chávez's health is deteriorating and that he might even be approaching death. 

The opposition party in Venezuela is demanding more information, and is accusing the government of taking orders from Cuba's government. Opposition leader Antonio Ledezma is claiming that Chávez "is virtually kidnapped by a foreign government" in Cuba:

Enough disrespect for Venezuelans. I feel Venezuelans have been deceived and the good faith of President Hugo Chávez's followers and relatives has been betrayed. ... [W]ho is giving instructions from Cuba to the officials currently in charge of the Venezuelan government?

They are getting (instructions) and what we want to know is who is giving the instructions, because according to the latest report of Communication Minister Ernesto Villegas, President Chávez is in a critical health status.

Few people believe that Chávez will be able to return for his inauguration next week, and that may constitutionally require a new election for President.

Cubans are also fearful of the possible death of Chávez. Prior to the 1990s, Cuba was supported by a great deal of aid from the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Cuba suffered from an enormous economic depression, with severe shortages of food and fuel, and prolonged electricity blackouts. Finally, Chávez stepped in and became the new benefactor of Cuba's socialist paradise, providing oil at far below market rates. During the recent presidential election, Chávez's opponent Henrique Capriles made clear that if he won then he would end the oil subsidy to Cuba. Thus, Cubans are dreading the death of Chávez, because it would mean a return to the economic depression of the 1990s. El Universal (Caracas) and Reuters

Palestinian Authority changes name to 'State of Palestine'

Following the November 29 vote by the United Nations General Assembly to create a non-member state of Palestine, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas decreed on Thursday that the name of the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been changed to "State of Palestine," and that this name will appear on all stamps, signs and letterheads. Global Post

Al-Jazeera buys Al Gore's Current TV to gain American audience

I personally am looking forward to seeing al-Jazeera English come to American TV. I've depended very heavily on al-Jazeera for reporting on the Arab Spring, and their coverage is far better than any of the Western networks (although AFP comes close). When preparing a Generational Dynamics analysis, I need to know the attitudes and behaviors of the people in the nations that I'm writing about, and al-Jazeera does that very well in the Mideast. A lot of what al-Jazeera reports is anti-American attitudes, but I need to understand those attitudes to do generational analyses of the people involved. 

(On the other hand, even al-Jazeera didn't always have the best reporting on the latest crisis in Egypt, and I had to turn to Cairo news sites, such as al-Ahram and Bikya Masr for many details.)

A lot of the objection to the al-Jazeera deal, especially from people on the right, is that its reporting is biased toward the Arab point of view.

I really have to laugh at that criticism, because al-Jazeera is absolutely no more biased than NBC news. Al-Jazeera will ignore violence by Hamas, and NBC news will ignore violence by union thugs committing violence on behalf of President Obama. You might argue that there's a difference in degree of bias (though I would disagree even with that), but there's certainly no difference in substance.

In fact, as I've mention a couple of times in the past, al-Jazeera's biases are not always obvious. Al-Jazeera clearly hates Israel, but that's what we would expect. What I've noticed is that al-Jazeera appears to hate the Palestinian Authority (State of Palestine) even more than they hate Israel. And they love Hamas the same as NBC News loves Obama.

It's worth pointing out that I used to complain about the BBC as well ( "Why is BBC so blatantly anti-American?" from 2005). The BBC news coverage was dripping with enormous hatred for President Bush, and it showed through all their newscasts. Now, of course, they love President Obama, and reserve their vitriolic hatred for Grover Norquist. Still, there's no choice but to use these biased sources, and compensate for their biases. 

The joker in all this is Al Gore. He singlehandedly generates more carbon emissions that almost anyone else in the world, but he seems to have a knack for turning it into money. Al Gore may be a loon, but he's a loon that knows how to make a fortune from his lunacy. PBS

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