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Apple’s white iPad mini sells out in 20 minutes

Posted by arnon_k On October - 29 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Seven hours later, the black model was still listed as shipping Nov. 2
FORTUNE — Looks like the iPad mini may be subject to the same supply constraints that held down sales of the iPhone 5 last quarter.

Pre-orders began at 12 a.m. Pacific (3 a.m. Eastern), and within 20 minutes readers were e-mailing to say that the white model was listed as “Available to ship: 2 weeks.”

As of 5 a.m. Eastern, Apple’s (AAPL) online store was still promising delivery of the black Wi-Fi-only model in all three memory configurations by 11/2.

UPDATE: By 11 a.m., the Black models were still in stock.

If this is going to be a hot Christmas gift — as the company clearly hopes — there could be lines at the big glass cube on Nov. 2.

Al Qaeda leader calls for kidnapping of Westerners

Posted by arnon_k On October - 29 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

(CNN) — Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is calling on Muslims to kidnap Westerners, citing the success in the abduction of American aid worker Warren Weinstein in Pakistan.

In a two-part, more than two-hour video posted on jihadist websites, al-Zawahiri called for the abductions as part of a vow not to “spare any efforts” to free Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

“God the great and almighty granted us success to capture the Jewish American Warren Weinstein,” al-Zawahiri said in the video posted Wednesday, according to the terror monitoring group SITE Intelligence.

“We are seeking, by the help of God, to capture others and to incite Muslims to capture the citizens of the countries that are fighting Muslims in order to release our captives.”
Also in the video, al-Zawahiri called for Sharia law to be instituted in Egypt, and he questioned Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy for his stances on a number of issues, including Israel.

“I call on every free and honorable (person) in Egypt to participate in every protest against the Israeli Embassy, against the peace treaty with Israel, against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and against every siege of Gaza,” al-Zawahiri said. “Islamic movements and masses must be at the forefront of those protests and the first to sacrifice for their sake.”

The video is the latest in a series released by al-Zawahiri, who was al Qaeda’s No. 2 leader under Osama bin Laden. He took over leadership in June 2011 following bin Laden’s death, according to statements posted on jihadist websites.

In the latest video, al-Zawahiri apologized to Abdel-Rahman, dubbed “the blind sheikh,” for his imprisonment.

The Egyptian-born Abdel-Rahman was convicted in 1995 of conspiracy. He is serving a life sentence at a federal prison in North Carolina.

Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the August 2011 abduction of Weinstein from his home in the Pakistani city of Lahore.

Months later, al-Zawahiri made a number of demands of the United States in exchange for Weinstein’s release. Among the demands was the release of Abdel-Rahman.

Al-Zawahiri messages show interest in exploiting Syria violence

In May, al Qaeda released a video of the 71-year-old Weinstein pleading with President Barack Obama to meet the demands.

“My life is in your hands, Mr. President,” he said in the video. “If you accept the demands, I live. If you don’t accept the demands, then I die.”

U.S. officials have said Washington will not bargain with al Qaeda.

Weinstein was captured after his kidnappers managed to overcome the three security guards who were protecting him.

One of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists, al-Zawahiri has played a defining role in al Qaeda. He is believed to be hiding somewhere in Pakistan’s tribal region that borders Afghanistan.

He was indicted in absentia for his alleged role in the August 7, 1998, bombings of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, that killed 224 civilians and wounded more than 5,000 others, according to the National Counterterrorism Center, part of the U.S. federal government.

The FBI is offering a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture, the same amount as the reward for bin Laden.

Al-Zawahiri’s wife and three children were killed in December 2001 in a U.S. attack on the family’s residence in Afghanistan.

Tak Bat Thewo Festival: 30-31 October 2012

Posted by arnon_k On October - 29 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

This religious event of Uthai Thani is organised in the evening of Ok Phansa (end of Buddhist Lent) on the first day of the waning moon of the eleventh lunar month at Wat Sangkat Rattana Khiri. It is also in line with the Buddhist chronicles when the Lord Buddha returned to earth from heaven and gave Dharma. On the day of Tak Bat Thewo, 500 monks will walk down from the top of Khao Sakae Krang to receive offerings from residents and visitors to the ceremony, which creates an amazing spectacle and has made this tradition become well known nationwide.

Venue: Wat Sangkat Rattana Khiri, Uthai Thani Province

Information: Uthai Thani Municipality Office, Tel. +66 (0) 5651 2005

MEANING: Tak Bat Devo is a kind of offering food to monks in DEVO style and is normally held on the first day of the eleventh waning moon according to the lunar year.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: This tradition of Tak Bat Vedo is derived from the original Pali term “Devorohana” that means “the Buddha’s coming down from the heavenly world.” According to the story, immediately after the Buddha had attained Enlightenment, he went forth to preach his teaching (Dharma) to people in all states of India that was then known as Chumpudipa started from the cities of Rajagaha, Varanasi or Banares, Savatthi and Kabilavasatu, the city of his fatherland. In Kabilavasatu city, the Buddha preached sermons to all of his kinsmen, such as King Suddhodana, his father, Queen Mahaprajapati, his aunt and step-mother, Yasodhara or Pimbha, his former wife and Rahula, his son and made them all realise the Four Noble Truths and attain some enlightenment according to their previously accumulated perfection. Then the Buddha remembered Queen Mahamaya, his own mother, who passed away seven days after the Buddha was born. The Buddha thought of repaying her invaluable and incomparable debt and after having deliberately considered thus felt that only the Abhidhamma (the profound truth) would be sufficiently valuable to pay off the debt of her milk and loving kindness. Then, seven years after his Enlightenment, he went up to Tavatimsa heaven, the abode of Indra God, for the rainy season retreat of three months and there he preached her the Abhidhamma Pitaka. On the last day of the retreat as on the first day of the eleventh waning moon in the lunar year the Buddha came down to Earth at the city called Sangkassa, when thousands of people presented food to him and his disciples. For this reason, the first day of the eleventh waning moon is regarded as the Buddha’s day of coming down from the heaven to the human world and so people try their best to make a special food-offering to monks that this kind of merit-making is being practised up to the present time and known as “Tak Bat Devo”.

Chalerm calls for calm in UDD reshuffle row

Posted by arnon_k On October - 29 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Big structural changes in store for Pheu Thai
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung will step in to clear the air with the red-shirt United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) over the cabinet reshuffle row in which one of its leading lights missed out on a seat. Still, he said he was not confident the red shirts would listen.

“I’m not sure if they will respect me or not,” Mr Chalerm said, adding he was not in a position to tell if Jatuporn Prompan, a red shirt co-leader who was excluded from the new cabinet lineup, would be part of any future cabinet reshuffle.

Several key red-shirt members have voiced disappointment that Mr Jatuporn was overlooked for a ministerial post in the latest reshuffle.

Some Pheu Thai MPs also expressed disappointment over the reshuffle.
Pheu Thai MP for Samut Prakan Worachai Hema, a red-shirt co-leader, previously said Mr Jatuporn had been blocked from a ministerial post by members of the ruling party.

He said Mr Jatuporn was denied a cabinet seat despite having made great contributions to the party. Others who had contributed little had been given ministerial posts, and this could lead to the government losing its support base, he added.

Mr Worachai said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra should watch out for a close aide whose first initial is “S”. He said the aide would do the party more harm than good.

However, Mr Chalerm said the cabinet reshuffle would not cause divisions within the party and said there were no factions inside the ruling party.

Mr Chalerm said he believed party members could talk through their differences and that the situation would not degenerate into a negative one.

He dismissed a report that Ms Yingluck’s close aide whose first initial is “S” had tried to block Mr Jatuporn from getting a ministerial post.

Pheu Thai Party director Phumtham Wechayachai said he believed nobody in the ruling party wanted to keep the red shirts out of the cabinet.

With a limited number of cabinet posts, it was normal that some people would be disappointed, as no one could have everything they wanted, Mr Phumtham said.

He added that after a party general assembly today, Pheu Thai would probably undergo major changes to its structure, with respected academics and some members of the House No.111 _ former executives of the dissolved Thai Rak Thai _ approached to sit on several of the party’s committees.

Pheu Thai list-MP Cherdchai Tantisirin, another red-shirt leader, said the fact that Mr Jatuporn was kept out of the cabinet could lead to a misunderstanding between the red shirts and the government.

He said Mr Jatuporn has what it takes to be a cabinet minister but someone in the party did not want him to get a ministerial post.

Mr Cherdchai also said that several Pheu Thai MPs in the Northeast were baffled that Yutthapong Charassathien, a Pheu Thai MP for Maha Sarakham, has been appointed deputy agriculture minister despite the fact that he had only recently moved across from the Democrat Party.