peace through warAs was openly admitted in the business press, the bombing was part of a succession of unsubtle winks given by the new administration to investors that defense stocks offer “a safe-haven shelter from the dot-com implosion.”

The arms build-up to follow Bush’s ‘comprehensive review’ of the military is designed to cushion the effects of civilian recession for the lucky few. Let the party begin.

I have finally collected enough Tic Tac™ Points to send in to Tic Tac headquarters in Young America, Minnesota. The Tic Tac catalogue says I have enough labels for either the Tic Tac mouse pad or the Tic Tac sweat-band multi-pack. The contest is only open to U.S. residents, so I will have to orchestrate delivery through a third party, possibly my friend Nancy’s sister, who lives just outside Minneapolis with her husband Gary.

The Tic Tac “Incredible Stuff” game ends January 31st, 2001, so I still have plenty of time. The second volume of a study on global warming by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was just released.

It predicts enormous loss of life and property in the coming century. England will become Mediterranean, the Alps will melt, the breadbaskets of Southern Europe will become arid and less productive, tropical diseases will re-emerge in Central Europe.

The report says poorer countries will bear the brunt of global changes, forcing massive migrations involving tens of millions of people, which in turn will provoke social unrest and political instability. The third volume of the study conducted by the IPCC, which focuses on solutions, is scheduled for release in March.

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The new apartment is a sh*thole. I wouldn’t bring a girl back to this place that didn’t already love me. The toilet shares the same hallway as the kitchen sink, and the rugs lecture the history of pickled onions. The walls are like cardboard. Fifth floor, no elevator. Tough neighborhood by Prague standards. But cheap. At least it’s not a panelak. Consider yourself lucky. Don’t whine. You’ll be out of here by May. The haunted factory across the street is slotted to be a glitzy commercial park. ‘Welcome to Novy Karlin’ the sign says. I order midnight sandwiches through a plastic window.

Zbigniew Brzezinski’s think tank in Washington has come out with the first major study on the Chinese threat ‘beyond Asia.’ It focuses on China’s growing energy needs, and warns that competition for Gulf oil will become acute in the coming decades, leading to further Chinese involvement in the region and increased tensions with the US. The report is gravy for hard-liners who want a showdown with China sooner rather than later. Oil.

Yesterday it snowed for the first time in weeks, calling forth the dormant soul of the city. Prague during a snow is a time machine, the cars covered, the tourists made discreet, the facades hinting of dark and distant winters sounding of horse shoes against stone. Neck arched in Mala strana namesti, a light in the latticed attic window across the street makes me happy, like the mentally retarted girl I saw yesterday on the tram. She was holding a rose, smiling at everything.

The feeling passes quickly.