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00h UTC; TUESDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2013: Reader, if there was a reason why there was no post yesterday, it was because I decided to devote a Special Edition (as it were) on Sunday discussing certain remarks of The Oxycontin Boar (t/n Rush Limbaugh) claiming where he was "ashamed of his own country" (as if expecting his listening audience, largely poor, undereducated and easily-led for the most part to sympathise) ... and suggesting that Meneer Limbaugh needs to direct his shame upon himself more than anything else.

I trust this will answer any queries you may have in this regard.

As the Throne of St. Peter, the last absolute monarchy in the world, prepares to become sede vacante with the resignation of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI (nee Karl Ratzinger) from Thursday evening, two major developments as broke within the day give new meaning to the poet Thomas Campbell's assertion that "coming events cast their shadow before:"
  • Two major Italian print media outlets, as in the gazetta La Repubblica and the weekly Panorama, hath it that the Holy Father was handed a red-bound dossier two weeks prior to Christmas detailing reports of Catholic priests engaging in Lewd Acts, Deeds and Exploits, said details being provided by a Rome network of male prostitutes threatening blackmail in the process.
  • One less Cardinal will be voting in the forthcoming conclave to choose Benedict XVI's successor by and among the College of Cardinals, expected to begin sometime around the 10th of March thanks to some rule changes vis-a-vis papal elections reflecting on the Throne of St. Peter becoming vacated by resignation rather than death: The Archbishop of Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien (himself a known homophobe, not to mention approaching mandatory retirement age of 75 for priests and other religious), announced his retirement as it emerged that he engaged in Lewd and Lascivious Acts against priests in training some 30 years back in seminary, with Serious Charges likely ensuing.
In any event, just so you know, there will be two ballots a day cast by and among the members of the College of Cardinals during the forthcoming conclave, remaining so until one candidate receives a 2/3 majority of all the votes cast. And for those among you lapsed in your Catholicism, smoke from a certain chimney near the Lateran will signal black if there is no clear choice, and white if the traditional Latin announcement Habemus Papam ("We have a Pope") appears imminent.

As well, Vatican Post will be issuing those philatelic rarities known as sede vacante stamps, which can be used to pay postage until the Habemus Papam is formally announced.

The acme of smartfone excesses: Samsung has announced the forthcoming release of what they call the Note 8.0, which is technically a tablet PC having an 8" screen ... but with smartfone characteristics in the process, which could easily make Skype and suchlike obsolete for such using it in its hybrid form with a keyboard attachment (and yes, such do happen to be available for many tablet PC's).

News for such insisting that "AmeriKKKa Needs to be More Like China:" BBC Monitoring, which features a daily roundup of Chinese news items and developments, notes via the Xinhua news agency that China's Defence Ministry has ordered substantial defence spending cuts to reduce what are seen as "waste and extravagance" at the expense of preparations for battle, high-tech weaponry and weapons systems and training.

As for the notion of China being so beholden to North Korea, and then some--to quote Tony Soprano, "Fuhgeddaboudit!", if we're to believe one Zhang Liangui, the preemiment North Korea expert at the Party School of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee, in remarks with the Global Times gazetta as include such enlightening gems as these:
  • "North Korea has never cared about China's attitude. When it needs China's assistance, it would please China by saying flattering words such as China's achievements of its reform and opening-up. But after it gets what it wants, it would show indifference to the policy."
  • "When North Korea makes big decisions, it would rather inform Washington than Beijing."
  • "This is the reality of the China-North Korea relationship. The North sees it as less important than its relationship with the US."
  • "China is mistakenly viewed as the only country with any real influence over North Korea. People forget the US has powerful arms, which the North holds in awe."
  • "The North has never viewed China as an ally. Even if the two ever had friendship, China has already lost North Korea."
As well, a forthcoming plenary meeting of the Central Committee scheduled for Tuesday-Thursday of this week in Beijing is expected to consider plans to reduce the number of State ministries and boards from 27 to 18 through mergers and reassignment of functions. One especially likely target, according to Hong Kong's Oriental Daily News: The debt-ridden Railways Ministry, still stinging from the effects of the 2011 Wenzhou high-speed rail tragedy; its remit could likely be shifted to the Transport Ministry.

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