Female candidates for local assembly seats under the Palestinian Authority have apparently done surprisingly well, according to this report. They have won 51 seats and 32 of them outright, without resort to Palestinian law which reserves seats for women.
With an early report and a subsequent angry"rant", my colleague, Manan Ahmed, has kept us posted about the massive earthquake near Sumatra and the terrifying tsunamis that followed it. The simplest details about the natural disaster are difficult to comprehend: an earthquake measuring 9 on the Richter Scale, powerful enough to change the map of Asia by moving parts of Sumatra and small nearby islands by 60 to 120 feet and to have shaken the earth in its orbit. A subsequent tsunamis moving at jet speed through the Indian Ocean takes a death toll in Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Bangladesh, even Kenya and Somalia of over 24,000 people, perhaps over 42,000, and still counting. The Command Post and Instapundit have done an excellent job of citing subsequent reports by bloggers in the region. Crooked Timber and Daniel Drezner keep us apprized of where we might send contributions for relief. The Southeast Asia Earthquake and Tsunami is an important regional blog coordinating relief efforts.
Manan's anger is understandable. Most of the deaths might have been prevented because some authorities and, even, some bloggers knew of the massive earthquake three hours before the tsunamis hit the southeast Asian coasts. At Slate, Glenn Reynolds takes note of Manan's righteous anger in"An Ounce of Prevention." As he says, Manan's anger also presses the limits of human agency. One has to know that such a massive oceanic earthquake does launch a massive tsunamis. Undoubtedly some of them did, but one also has to be able to reach areas likely to be affected. It is telling that, next to India, Myanmar (Burma) has the longest coast on the Indian Ocean in the affected area. That includes the capital city of Yangon (Rangoon) and the reports of death and destruction there are unbelievably low. Maybe the destruction in Burma will force its military dictators, who have isolated it, to negotiate for relief from the rest of the world.