Indonesian bureaucrats installing concrete balls to sweep away people riding on top of trains


Achmad Ibrahim / AP

Railway staff in Indonesia have started hanging concrete balls above train tracks in a bid to prevent commuters from riding on carriage roofs.

The first balls were installed just above carriage-height near a station outside the capital, Jakarta. More will be put up elsewhere if they are a success.

Previous attempts to deter roof riders included spraying them with paint, spreading oil on carriages and hiring musicians to perform safety songs.

Correspondents say those initiatives have failed. Officials hope that the latest move will prove to be the ultimate deterrent…

Officials told the BBC that “roof surfing” can be extremely dangerous. In 2008 at least 53 passengers died in an accident after boarding a train roof. In 2011, 11 people were killed.

Most victims are electrocuted by overhead power cables, but some fall off train carriages while trains are moving…

While tickets are cheap by western standards, poorer people struggle to pay which is why they go on the roofs…

But the “roof surfers” themselves told the AP news agency that they are determined not to be put off…

I can see every smug Westerner sitting back and saying something about how little value is placed on human life in the 3rd World or developing nations. But, there is no geographic corner on the market for cruel and inhumane solutions. The mindset of racial or economic supremacy is what tells the tale every time.

We’ve had Tea Party Republican candidates for office here in New Mexico propose placing land mines along the border with Mexico to prevent illegal migrant laborers from crossing the border – by killing and maiming those who attempt it.

There have always been those who value gold more than human lives.

Uprising crushed – Gaddafi ‘finishing the job’ in 48 hours


“Whatever the decision, it will be too late”

The Gaddafi regime is taunting the West over its failure to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and said it would “finish the job” of defeating the insurrection against its rule by Friday.

As Col Muammar Gaddafi’s troops advanced towards the rebel capital, Benghazi, Saif al-Islam, his son, told “traitors and mercenaries” to flee the country or face the consequences…

Asked about continuing British and French attempts to persuade the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone, he answered: “Military operations are over. Within 48 hours everything will be finished. Our forces are almost in Benghazi. Whatever the decision, it will be too late.”

The failure on Tuesday by the G8 group of nations to agree military intervention in Libya is said to have “perplexed” Downing Street. An immediate decision was opposed by China and Russia but even the United States failed to come out in support of the idea.

The White House is said to be exploring “other options”, such as using sequestered Libyan assets to fund the opposition. Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said she was hopeful the UN Security Council would take a vote on a Libya resolution no later than Thursday.

But Bernard Jenkin, a senior Tory MP, said: “Where are the Americans? We are now in a new, entirely new situation. We have premised our defence and foreign policy for the last 60 years on the principle that if there is an international crisis involving our national interest the Americans would see that as involving their national interests.

“That is not the case under President Obama. He has been dithering and vacillating, his administration is divided and there is considerable concern on the other side of the Atlantic about what the United States should be doing.”

The Gaddafi family meanwhile repeated claims that they had funded the electoral campaign of President Nicolas Sarkozy of France. “We funded it and we have all the details and are ready to reveal everything,” Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said in his interview, with Euronews.

“The first thing we want this clown to do is to give the money back to the Libyan people. He was given assistance so that he could help them…”

A well-placed government source in Tripoli told The Daily Telegraph it was “common knowledge” that the Gaddafi family had funded Mr Sarkozy “for years”…

The Gaddafi claims were all strenuously denied by President Sarkozy’s office.

I won’t roll through all the contradictions of American politics, the demands of corporate concerns and a public that, frankly, is fed up in general with war as an instrument of foreign policy. Would I have cried crocodile tears over swift, instant air strikes taking out Gaddafi’s air force and tanks right from Day One of the uprising. Hell, no.

Issues were immediate and clear-cut – regardless of whining Republicans and super-patriots in Congress who gasped in disbelief at James Clapper who told them the truth about military capability – and the likelihood of Gaddafi staying in power.

Exactly the opposite of the crap invasions of George W. Bush – still dragging on mercilessly under the aegis of Barack Obama years later.