Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad (I've said it before and I'll say it again, he's a poor man's Basil Fawlty, especially given that he runs Syria in roughly the same manner as I would imagine Basil would) has been on the news lately to dispel the rumours that 4000 Syrians had died. He said "No government in the world kill its people unless it's lead by a crazy person", which, on the face of it, is little more than a curious admission of insanity. This would explain his next statement of "Who said the UN is a credible institution?". It's almost like he's pre-emptively preparing his "Insanity" plea for the Hague. "Yeah, well, I AM crazy. Only a crazy person would go on TV and say that someone in his position must be crazy". Apparently the 4000 dead people are all just unlucky victims of rogue officers (That's his defence) who are over-zealous. One dead person, I could understand. Hell, even a dozen could be reasonably ascribed to bad luck. But 4000 seems a stretch too far for that logic, reasonably.
In other Dictator-that-won't-admit-it news, Vladimir Putin has been under scrutiny after protests against the ever-so-slightly rigged elections. He's blasted his critics with a 4 and a half hour question and answer session. According to his spokesperson, Putin might "reinvent himself and show the world Putin mark 2". This does not surprise me, as he is actually a robot built by the Kremlin. He will, actually, literally reinvent himself and build Putin Mark 2. Election officials at the Kremlin are probably shouting "Gentlemen! We can rebuild him! We have the technology! We have the capability to build the world's first bionic politician! Better than he was before!". Vladimir Putin is the 6 billion ruble man. This four and half hour question session was his longest ever. As if you need any more evidence that he's an improved robot.
Apparently, Japan has utilised some of the funds allocated to recovery after the tsunami to whaling. I suppose it makes sense. Where did the tsunami come from? The sea. Where do whales live? The sea. It's all adding up here against the whales. I'm personally inclined to call this rather more of a police investigation than a hunting trip. There's no accusations yet, but if those whales have nothing to hide, then they have nothing to fear. Except being harpooned, dragged onto land, and cut into bits, then sold to the public, all in the name of scientific research ("Which sauce goes best with whale flesh: A study" is due out any time now). I guess that is a legitimate whale-concern.
Economy news (The whole catastrophic meltdown thing has rather dragged on), and the IMF has decided to wade in and spread a bit of Christmas cheer! Hooray! What sort of good news do they have for us? Oh. The economic outlook is "Gloomy". Brilliant. Well, thanks for that. Apparently George Osborne has been VERY good this year, and he's sent a letter to Santa asking him if he could have a stronger economy for Christmas this year. Press reports describe him as "Hopeful but not expectant" and he also stressed just how good he was, saying "I haven't taken any cocaine with any hookers this year, unlike 1993" and giving an enthusiastic double thumbs-up. We should be out of the woods by New Years, I expect.
Weather news! Apparently, we should be prepared for snow! In winter of all times! How absurd. I was expecting 23 degree heat and glorious sunshine. Thank god the forecasters warned me, I'll have to cancel the golf game I'd scheduled for December 21st. Seriously. It's winter. It's not a cataclysmic, world-ending snow. It's as devilishly high as 4 inches in some places, apparently. Will the nation cope with this positive ice age? It's hard to tell at this early stage.
Made Up News makes a welcome return (He says, optimistically), with the news this week that David Cameron and fellow Cabinet minister George Osborne are to release a rap CD about the economy. Cameron, or as he wishes to be known now, Davey C, said to the press "One really mustn't come across as a fuddy-duddy to the electorate", before Georgie O leapt in with "Yes, and it's about the economy, so it's an educational tool more than anything". One track, "Mao Money, Mao Problems" focuses on the growing Chinese market, their strict control over their currency's value, and the effect this has had on worldwide markets. Backed by "M.C. NC" Nick Clegg, the trio hope to be more successful than Parliament's previous efforts into rap (in which Tony Blair, Tony Benn, and Tony Baldry formed "Tony! Tony! Tony!", with 1996's must-have album "Members of the House of Music"), and are aiming for chart success with "Country-House Grammar". The first single "Boom Boom Pow", a look at the driving forces of a strong military in supporting a good economy, is out on December 19th and is hoping for the Christmas number one spot.
This policy is similar to Thatcher's desire to be seen as "in touch", in which she, Geoffrey Howe, John Major and Nigel Lawson released a 3 hour prog-rock concept double-album called "Troubles" about Northern Ireland. The album was released under the band name "Iron Lady", and was followed up by the 1982 foreign policy concept "Argy Bargy", and their third and final album 1989's "Minor Miner Kerfuffle", a 75 minute single-track tape. The group split up when Nigel Lawson left to form Leftfield in 1990, with whom he still tours to this day.
And Finally (This is a new section that's not about the news, and is instead, just about my life): I heard "Friday" by Rebecca Black on Radio 4. Everything I thought I knew about the world, a relatively minor amount, has been disregarded in light of this evidence. The previously unthinkable is now, by contrast, eminently thinkable. If this can happen, what next? Monkeys learn to talk, the sun darkens and endless night falls across an uncaring Earth, the Conservatives win a majority in Scotland? I JUST DON'T KNOW ANYMORE.