It wouldn’t make much sense to write about Margaret Thatcher in English, but here is one in German.
And this video, of course:
It wouldn’t make much sense to write about Margaret Thatcher in English, but here is one in German.
And this video, of course:
Chris Kyle was born in Odessa, Texas. His father, originally from Kansas, was a Sunday school teacher. Kyle studied ranch management in the 1990s and joined the US Marine Corps aged 24, after recovering from a rodeo accident.
As a sniper with SEAL Team 3, he earned himself the name of the Devil of Ramadi among the insurgents. He left the US Navy in 2009.
As of January 2012, he was believed to have been the most lethal soldier in American military history. 150 deaths resulting from his career were officially confirmed (or 160, according to the Beijing Morning Post), but Kyle himself believed that the actual number was more than 250, according to Outlook, a BBC documentary series first aired on January 5, 2012. He was mostly known for his role in Iraq during the Second Gulf War, and particularly for his role in the battles of Falluja, Ramadi and Sadr City. Insurgents put a bounty of 80,000-dollar bounty on his head, according to the BBC.
Kyle left for Iraq for the first time one week after the birth of his first child, a son. His wife “put on a strong face” and “made sure that I felt good”, he told the BBC in the Outlook documentary. But after the birth of their second child, a daughter, who was close to death for some time after birth, she told him that he had to make a choice between his family and his job. Divorce rate among SEALs was at 95 percent, according to Kyle, and he chose to save his marriage. Asked if he had regrets about any of the people he had killed, he said that about every person killed “I strongly believe they were bad and when I do go face God, there is going to be lots of things I have to account for, but killing anyone of those people is not one of them”.
After ending his military career, Kyle set up a company that trained troops, police, companies and individuals in the use of firearms. According to the Beijing Morning Post, he opposed tighter gun control legislation.
Chris Kyle and his neighbor Chad Littlefield were fatally shot on a shooting range near Glen Rose in Texas, on Saturday. Reportedly, the perpetrator was a veteran who was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. Kyle and Littlefield are said to have been trying to help him cope with the disorder.
» Mind of a Sniper, BBC, January 25, 2012
Main Category: Obituary
Aaron H. Swartz was an American coder, hacker, and internet activist. His father, Robert Swartz, had developed one of the first IBM operating systems, and Swartz junior seemed to follow his father’s footsteps, even if in a rather new environment and with a distinct civic sense of mission.
What got him into conflict with the judicial system, after some earlier and less significant jostles, was breaking into M.I.T. computer networks in 2010 and 2011, to access JSTOR and to download documents from there. It was apparently meant to be a demonstration, to underline his case that documents like JSTOR’s should be freely available. It had long been argued that such documents should be free because they are produced at public expense, writes the New York Times. The NYT has a detailed account of Swartz’ JSTOR activity. The indictment says that JSTOR’s servers were brought down by his action on several occasions, Wired wrote in September 2012.
It’s apparently a Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) which was applied by federal prosecutors. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in limiting reach of the CFAA, said that violations of employee contract agreements and websites’ terms of service – crucial in Swartz’ case, apparently, at least if up to the prosecutors – were better left to civil lawsuits, also according to Wired. But this ruling wasn’t binding for Massachusetts, and the prosecutors insisted that their charges against Swartz should go on. The maximum penalty – potentially – could have amounted to 35 years in prison, and a million USD penalty. The chief prosecutor in charge was Steve Heymann, who had previously brought hacker Albert Gonzales into jail with a 20-year term.
One of the underlying arguments in Swartz’ conflict with the judicial system was about what internet content should be freely available. Another was about what constitutes a violation of terms and conditions (although this may rather be a judicial technicalty than part of the actual conflict). Apparently, the federal prosecutors could have dropped their charges, had they wanted to. German newsmagazine Der Spiegel wonders if the prosecutors were indirectly targeting Bradley Manning, and Wikileaks, and if that would explain their determination to see the case through.
Aaron Swartz hanged himself on Friday, in his Brooklyn apartment.
Court proceedings had been scheduled to begin on April 1 this year.
Swartz reportedly had a history of depression. But in an online statement released on Saturday, his family and his partner, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, wrote that decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death:
Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach.
Swartz’ ideology possibly seemed extreme, MIT Technology Review wrote in February 2012. The Review wrote that in September 2010, while siphoning the JSTOR database, Swartz was also circulating the first online petition to raise awareness of a controversial anti-piracy law. At the time, Swartz was putting together a website, as he said in an interview with the MIT Review, which ended up becoming Demand Progress.
Aaron Swartz’ funeral will be held on Tuesday, January 15.
» what brought him here, Lessig Blog, v2, January 12, 2013
Wang Tung-yi (王同義) was born on April 1, 1975. He served as a R.O.C. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel at the No. 499 Squadron at the Air Force Base in Hsinchu, northern Taiwan. Wang took part in a training operation in France, from the Luxeuil-les-Bains airfield. His training was part of an arms sales package in which Taiwan purchased 60 Mirage 2000-5s from France in 1992.
Wang’s fighter jet crashed into a forest near the village of Froideconche, on Wednesday, October 3 at about 9:45 a.m.. Le Pays reported on Wednesday that Wang probably didn’t eject in time, so as to keep the aircraft clear from a residential area.
According to a CNA/RTI report on Saturday, Wang’s family will allowed to see Wang’s remains on Monday, in what is an exception from the general rules after a crash. They would also visit the crash site, probably on Tuesday.
The report quotes prosecutor Jean-Francois Parietti from Vesoul as saying that the main motive for the arrangement is to show respect for Wang, who sacrificed his life to save lives on the ground.
Comprehensive judgment would follow after an analysis of the black box.
Wang is survived by his wife and his five-months old daughter.
» Codenamed Tango, Taipei Times, Feb 7, 2012
Xu Huaiqian (徐怀谦) was born in a village in Shandong Province, in 1968. He graduated at Beijing University’s (Bei Da) Chinese Faculty in 1989 and then worked at People’s Daily‘s arts and literature department. He left People’s Daily for two years, in 1999, and went to Yucheng County in Henan Province to work there temporarily, for two years, as a county (party) committee deputy secretary
His work as a journalist wasn’t confined to People’s Daily – the list of papers he wrote for includes Southern Weekend (南方周末), a progressive and liberal paper in Guangdong Province. His last function was at a supplement paper to People’s Daily, Da Di (大地, “The Land” or “Earth”), as deputy editor-in-chief.
One of the initial – or the initial – microblog posts came from Hangzhou City Express (都市快报) chief editorialist Xu Xunlei (徐迅雷) on the day of Xu Huaiqian’s death and said that Xu had unfortunately died (不幸去世), and mentioned depression as the cause of death. Jiangsu Net explicitly reported that Xu had suffered from depression and had committed suicide (via Sohu, via Dongfang Net). The article also quotes Xu himself, from one of his books:
Some people say that this is a mediocre era, an era without substance, of foolish music, without mastry. But we can’t blame on this on the era. An individual can’t control the era, but he can control his face. He may not be pretty, but he can’t be without content. He may be ugly, but he can’t be without personality.
» Reactions, RFA, Aug 23, 2012
» Not by Magic, Xu Huaiqian (via Paper Republic), June 2012
Ding Guangen (丁关根) was born in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, in September 1929, according to Xinhua newsagency’s – more or less – standardized – obituary:
An outstanding member of the Communist Party, a soldier of communism of enduring loyalty, an outstanding leader at our party’s ideological and cultural battlefront, the CCP’s 13th alternate politbureau member, secretary of the CCP central committee’s secretariat, member of the 14th and 15th politbureau and central committees’ secretariat secretary, Comrade Ding Guangen, died in Beijing on July 22, 2012, at 6.20 a.m., aged 83, after medical treatment had been unsuccessful.
Ding’s death wasn’t in the headlines of CCTV‘s main evening news (Xinwen Lianbo, 19:00 local time) on Sunday, but probably will be on Monday or Tuesday. The obituary was read out during the broadcast’s second half.
Ding graduated from Jiaotong University, Shanghai (上海交通大学), in 1951, and worked for the ministry of railways for more than 30 years, as an engineer, from 1958 onwards.
He was demoted from the ministry of railways during the “Cultural Revolution”, according to the Xinhua obituary. From 1969 to 1972, when he was sent to a “May-7 Cadre School” (五七干校) – another link here. From 1972 to 1975, he worked at Beifang Jiaotong University’s (北方交通大学) overseas students office.
For the final three years at the ministry, Ding held the office of minister of railways, and resigned in 1988, after a series of train crashes that killed scores of people, writes the Washington Post. He held the post of CCP party group (or cell) secretary at the ministry, too – a task in China that frequently comes along with the leadership at an organization.
Ding’s resignation 24 years ago wasn’t the end of his career. Still in 1988, he became head of the “Taiwan Affairs Office” at the State Council, and director of the central united-front work department from 1990 to 1992.
In December 1992, he became head of the CCP’s propaganda department, a post he kept until his retirement in 2002. His successor there, Liu Yunshan (刘云山), is still in office.
Anne-Marie Brady wrote in 2008 that Jiang Zemin, party and state chairman in
[...] was a long time political cadre with a nose for ideological work and its importance. This meeting [Update (July 23, 2012): the first meeting of the politbureau's standing committee / 4th plenum of the 13th CCP central committee on June 1989 - more info here] marked the beginning of a new era in propaganda and political thought work in China. As a direct result of the events of April – June 1989, the Central Propaganda Department was given more resources and power, including the power to go in to the propaganda-related work units and cleanse the ranks of those who had been supportive of the democracy movement.1)
The task for Jiang’s leadership – and therefore Ding’s task, too – was to
[...] both successfully revitalize the Chinese economy and [to] re-emphasize political thought work and control of China’s propaganda system. [...] With the strong support of Jiang Zemin and Deng Xiaoping, from June 1989 onward the Central Propaganda Department and the propaganda system once again began to have a prominent, guiding role in Chinese society.
1) Anne-Marie Brady, Marketing Dictatorship: Propaganda and Thought Work in Contemporary China, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., pp 44 – 45.
» Bad Deal with Ding’s Son, SMH, Aug 30, 2005
Fourty-two years of rule are a very long time. No matter if historians will explore Middle Eastern or African matters, they will encounter the Gaddafi factor, time and again. When exploring European matters, they will, to some degree, happen on his traces, too. When he or his clan opened their big wallets, European institutions were happy recipients.
No room here for the ways European and other leaders celebrate the death of a bad man today. No matter on which side they stood in March this year – there are too many big mouths in Europe on both sides.
There isn’t much reason to listen to those who mourn Gaddafi either.
But there are people who should be remembered – people like those who were killed by assassins from the orbit of Libya’s East Berlin embassy, or Yvonne Fletcher, who died from shots from inside the Libyan embassy in London.The victims of the Lockerbie bombing – with some likelihood, they were victims of Gaddafi’s government, too.
And that would only be those killed in Europe.
“Tunisia now lives in fear”, The Economist quoted Gaddafi in January:
Families could be raided and slaughtered in their bedrooms and the citizens in the street killed as if it was the Bolshevik or the American revolution.
That would have been too high a price to pay for Tunisian democracy, but not when it came to the defense of Gaddafi’s own rule. In February, the brother-leader reportedly vowed to kill Libyan protesters house by house.
What was, or will be, the price for Libyan democracy? Some sources put the number of deaths as a result of civil war as high as thirty-thousand, in April. If there will be democracy, remains to be seen.
Professor Luke Kanyomeka, an agronomist, was a Zambian national, but taught and researched at the University of Namibia, where he was the deputy dean of the faculty agriculture and natural resources at Ogongo. He was best known for his leading role in a project to grow rice in in Kalimbeza, Caprivi, Namibia, a region which borders both on Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Production in Kalimbeza reached commercial stage in 2008/2009, and is hoped to make Namibia less dependent on, if not independent of, rice imports, from countries like South Africa. Much of the project was modeled after Indonesian rice production.
He died on July 22, in a hospital in Windhoek.