Tag Archives: WSJ

How the Paris Attacks Were Planned

Don’t miss this story from my colleagues in France about the remarkable ease with which the Paris attacks earlier this month were planned and executed.

Online hotel booking services, easy movement across borders, etc. The nut graf:

The account emerging from French officials, witnesses and those who interacted with the suspected terrorists shows how the operation hinged on Mr. Abaaoud’s ability to use the tools of everyday modern life to lay the groundwork for the massacre. The ease with which he and his teams moved—all while avoiding detection by France’s security apparatus—suggests the challenges in identifying would-be terrorists and preventing further attacks in the fluid, digital and transnational world of today, especially when they are European citizens.

 

 

Aunt Cece and Her Pecan Pie Make Their WSJ Debut

2014 12 16 aunt cece

Longtime Newley.com readers will recall that I have blogged, in past years, about my Aunt Cece’s pecan pie.

I absolutely love it. And I make a point to bake one every Thanksgiving.

I’m happy to say that her fantastic dish figures in this story I wrote for WSJ Expat about connections that folks who live abroad feel to food from home:

American holidays and customs resonate strongly with me during this time of year, even amid the heat and sunshine of my adopted Southeast Asian home.

The nostalgia surprises me sometimes. Born in Oregon and raised in South Carolina, when I still lived in the U.S. I never really cared that much about Thanksgiving, for instance. Then I moved to Thailand in 2006. It was only there, surrounded by central Bangkok’s gray concrete buildings, with puttering tuk-tuks buzzing in my ears, that this most American of holidays firmly took root in my heart.

Perhaps it was homesickness mixing with a bit of sentimentality I didn’t know I had. The result was a hankering for down-home side dishes like deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, and—best of all—my Aunt Cece’s South Carolina pecan pie, not to mention cranberry sauce and my mother’s oyster pie. My wife—also an American—and I used these dishes to maintain a connection to home and celebrate with our close-knit group of friends since our relatives were so far away. We moved to Singapore in February and continue to celebrate American holidays here, in this similarly tropical city-state.

It turns out I’m not the only foreigner whose view on his or her home country’s holidays have changed over time, though not always in ways you’d expect.

Click through for photos, input from other expats, and — perhaps best of all — the recipe for Aunt Cece’s pie.

WSJ: Abhisit says he’ll dissolve House by Friday

A Wall Street Journal story today:

Thai Prime Minister to Call Election

BANGKOK—Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said he plans to dissolve the House of Representatives by Friday and call what he described as a landmark election for the Southeast Asian country, which has been plagued by deep and sometimes deadly political divisions.

The piece also includes a ten minute interview with Abhisit, embedded below:

WSJ editorial: “Thailand Going Rogue”

Just briefly, following the story I pointed out yesterday, here’s more from the Wall Street Journal. This is an editorial today on the ongoing Thailand-Cambodia clashes and Thai domestic politics:

Thailand Going Rogue

Fighting over the disputed territory surrounding the Preah Vihear Temple along the Thai-Cambodia border resumed last Friday, with both sides trading artillery fire and accusations of targeting civilian villages throughout the weekend. The Associated Press reports 12 soldiers confirmed dead.

The world may never know which side started the latest clash, since Thailand continues to resist allowing international observers to monitor the area. And both countries deserve some blame for stirring the pot at various times. Nevertheless, it has become increasingly clear that the Thai military is doing nothing to ease the tension.

Two WSJ stories: New ASEAN hoops league, and NK weapons crew

asean_basketball2.jpg

Two Thailand-related stories that I was too busy to post on Fri., but which I wanted to point out:

WSJ: “Long Shot: The New Asean Basketball League Tries to Win Over the Thais.”

Sports has always had its share of lovable long shots, plucky underdogs that fans pull for despite the odds, or even because of them. Now there’s the Thailand Tigers — one of six franchises of the Asean Basketball League, currently in the final weeks of its inaugural season. (The other five teams are the Philippine Patriots, the Singapore Slingers, the Satria Muda BritAma — from North Jakarta — the Kuala Lumpur Dragons and the opponent on this Sunday afternoon last month, the Brunei Barracudas.)

The league is backed by the big money and marketing savvy of founder Tony Fernandes, chief executive of budget carrier Air Asia, but it’s clear that the Tigers’ attempt to create a mass fan base is going to be no slam dunk.

“After all, this is the first entirely professional sports franchise in the history of Thailand,” proudly declares the Tigers’ 47-year-old owner, Wim Reijnen, adding that even the Thai soccer league has been semipro — that is, with rosters that mix pros and amateurs. He doesn’t care to divulge, though, just how much his players are paid.

A basketball aficionado since fellow Dutchman Rik Smits made it to the National Basketball Association in the U.S. in 1988, Mr. Reijnen says he’s long wanted to turn his performer-management experience to the realm of sports. In addition to picking the team name and colors and hiring and firing his first coach, he’s learned to cheer from the team bench “just like Mark Cuban” — the owner of the NBA Dallas Mavericks, who is known for his outrageous behavior and emotional outbursts.

(I love a good Rik Smits reference.)

I also enjoyed this:

It’s hard to find any basketball courts in the Thai countryside,” says American Ben Tamte, a hoops aficionado who teaches in Thailand.

And this:

“Still, Tigers’ owner Mr. Reijnen remains optimistic about the league and his underdog effort. “With more youth-development projects, basketball can only grow,” he says. “I think the nonstop action of an indoor sport where you sit in air-conditioning appeals to the people here. And now every young player in the country has a goal to shoot for” — in becoming a professional basketball player.

(Related satirical Onion story about Thai sports: “Just give me the damn sepak takraw ball.” Insert joke about Mae Hong Son Water Lillies here.)

In other news, the WSJ this story: “Thailand drops charges in weapons case“:

Thai officials dropped charges against the crew of a plane filled with illegal North Korean weapons detained in December at Bangkok’s international airport.

Prosecutors said they were responding to requests by the five crew members’ home countries, Belarus and Kazakhstan, to hand the cases over to potentially be tried in their own courts. Thai authorities said the men should be released soon, pending completion of procedural requirements, then deported.

Although rumored for days, the announcement surprised some weapons experts, who are puzzling over unanswered questions from the case and were hoping Thai authorities would hold the men longer, or at least until more details about the investigation were revealed. Thai officials have indicated the flight was headed for Iran, but it remains unclear who masterminded the arms purchase or where the arms were ultimately going to be used.

(My previous posts on the issue are here.)

(All emphasis mine.)

(Image source: WSJ.)

So much to link to, so little time

Lots of good Economist and WSJ stuff to link to, and so little time. But here goes:

  • A fantastic Thailand story from the WSJ: “How to Make a Croc Look Cuddly: Paint It Like a Panda; Bears From China Are a Hit in Thailand, Prompting Makeovers of Local Animals.” Contains a wonderful image of a baby croc painted like a panda.
  • The Economist has a good story about Iran’s growing influence in Latin America: “Iran and Latin America: Ayatollahs in the backyard.” Ecuador watchers won’t want to miss this snippet:

    To see how Iran’s foreign policy works in smaller, ideologically sympathetic Latin American countries, take Ecuador—a country that has such dire problems raising money after defaulting on its debt that it can easily be swayed by cash from foreign governments. Ecuador is thinking of joining Nicaragua and Venezuela in recognising the independence of the breakaway Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the hope of getting Russian government loans.

    This month an Iranian delegation was in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, to discuss loans for hydroelectric power plants, one of the 25 bilateral agreements signed when Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s president, visited Iran last year. Ecuador badly needs the plants: it was forced to start rationing power this month.

  • And speaking of the Andes, here’s the WSJ on what appears to be Bolivian President Evo Morales’s re-election: “Evo Morales Appears to Win Bolivia Vote; Second Term Expected to Bring More Ambitious Economic Changes; Ruling Party Poised to Take Over Senate
  • And finally, the Economist has an obit for Thai PM Samak Sundaravej, whose passing I mentioned earlier.

More soon. Don’t think the draw for World Cup 2010 has escaped my attention…

China-Myanmar pipeline project

WSJ: “Myanmar’s Neighbors Advance Pipeline Project

HSIPAW, Myanmar — China and its neighbors are moving ahead on a multibillion-dollar oil-and-gas pipeline project that promises to greatly enhance the financial strength of Myanmar’s military regime and boost its political clout in Asia.

That promise comes as the U.S. is seeking new ways to weaken Myanmar’s regime, which has used force and imprisonment to subdue political opposition and ethnic separatists over the years, and which some analysts fear could someday pose a threat to other countries as it builds up its military. Past strategies, including the use of economic sanctions to hobble Myanmar’s junta, have largely failed.

And:

When completed, the pipeline will help unlock large untapped deposits of natural gas off Myanmar’s coast and carry it hundreds of miles to southern China, expanding Myanmar’s role as one of Asia’s important energy exporters and enhancing its influence over other countries that rely on its supplies.

(Emphasis mine.)

There’s also a video and some graphics that are worth checking out.

UPDATE: This story appears to be available to non-WSJ subscribers via Google News, but the link I provided above seems to be subscriber-only.

UPDATE 2: I meant to mention this earlier, but U.S. Senator Jim Webb, who met with Aung San Suu Kyi in August, has often warned of China’s growing influence in Myanmar. News of this pipeline project would obviously be a case in point.

Replicating a first class Pan Am 747 cabin — in a garage

Wall Street Journal:

Fliers nostalgic for the golden era of air travel might want to book a trip to Anthony Toth’s garage.

Mr. Toth has built a precise replica of a first-class cabin from a Pan Am World Airways 747 in the garage of his two-bedroom condo in Redondo Beach, Calif. The setup includes almost everything fliers in the late 1970s and 1980s would have found onboard: pairs of red-and-blue reclining seats, original overhead luggage bins and a curved, red-carpeted staircase.

Once comfortably ensconced, Mr. Toth’s visitors can sip beverages from the long-defunct airline’s glasses, served with Pan Am logo swizzle sticks and napkins, plus salted almonds sealed in Pan Am wrappers. They can even peel open a set of plastic-wrapped, vintage Pan Am headphones and listen to original in-flight audio recordings from the era, piped in through the armrests.

Mr. Toth, a 42-year-old global sales director at United Airlines, has spent more than 20 years on his elaborate recreation of a Pan Am cabin, which includes a few economy-class seats, too. All told, Mr. Toth estimates he has spent as much as $50,000 on the project, which he hopes someday to turn into a museum.

(Emphasis mine.)

What a story. And don’t miss the slide show.

Australian dust storm in the WSJ, IHT, and Bangkok Post

Australia dust storm in today's papers

Interesting sight this morning: All three of the newspapers we receive featured front page images of yesterday’s remarkable dust storm in Australia.

An AP story about the storm is here, Wikipedia has some info here, and you can find more images from the always-excellent Big Picture photo blog here.