US govt ‘to OK $US6.5bn for nuclear plant’

The US Energy Department is poised to approve $US6.


5 billion ($A7.22 billion) in federal loan guarantees for the first nuclear power plants built from scratch in the country in more than three decades.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was expected to announce final approval of the deal at a speech on Wednesday, a day before he visits the $US14 billion Vogtle nuclear plant now under construction in eastern Georgia.

Three government officials familiar with the deal confirmed its details on Tuesday.

They asked not to be identified because the deal has not been made public.

Atlanta-based Southern Co is building the plant with several partners about 50km southeast of Augusta, Georgia.

The project is widely considered a major test of whether the industry can build nuclear plants without the endemic delays and cost overruns that plagued earlier rounds of building in the 1970s.

Vogtle was originally estimated to cost around $US14 billion, but government monitors have warned the final cost is likely to be higher.

The Energy Department tentatively approved an $US8.3 billion loan guarantee for the project in 2010 as part of President Barack Obama’s pledge to expand nuclear power and other energy sources.

Obama and other proponents say greater use of nuclear power could cut the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and create energy without producing greenhouse gas emissions.

More than two dozen nuclear reactors have been proposed in recent years, but experts now say it is likely that only five or six new reactors will be completed by the end of the decade.

The once-expected nuclear power boom has been plagued by a series of problems, from the prolonged economic downturn to a sharp drop in natural gas prices and the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan.

Owners of at least four nuclear reactors have shuttered plants in recent months or announced plans to do so, including California’s troubled San Onofre nuclear plant.

Utilities have decided it is cheaper to close plants rather than spend big money fixing them and risk the uncertainty of safety reviews.

Posted in 南宁夜生活

Meridian may end Australian investment

Meridian Energy won’t invest further in Australian renewable energy projects if the Federal government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) subsidy scheme is scrapped.


Chief executive Mark Binns told the company’s first half-year profit announcement since its partial privatisation in October that investment will be put on hold until a decision is made.

The Australian government announced on Monday that the RET scheme will be reviewed.

“The RET is very significant to the renewables industry (in Australia),” said Mr Binns.

“The message given, if it goes, is a significant one. You will see a lot of people will be reluctant to go back into Australia and invest.”

A decision on the scheme’s future was unlikely before September and Meridian expected to “survive in a form very similar to what it is currently”, at least for existing investments.

“We won’t invest further before the regulatory situation in Australia becomes clearer,” said Mr Binns.

Meridian is in the final phase of building a $260 million, 64 turbine wind farm at Mt Mercer, inland Victoria, capable of generating 131 Megawatts. It also owns a smaller South Australian windfarm, at Mt Millar, purchased in 2010 from Transfield for $191m.

The RET scheme targets 20 per cent renewable electricity generation in Australia by 2020, and subsidises wind, solar and other renewable generation options to compete with low-priced coal-fired power stations, which produce much of Australia’s electricity and give the country a heavy carbon footprint.

The scheme is estimated to cost Australian consumers around $1 a week on the average power bill, and was described in The Australian newspaper this week as a “hidden carbon tax” that was hiking power prices by stealth.

Posted in 南宁夜生活

Door open for Mills as Parker sidelined

AP – Australia’s Patty Mills is set to play an even bigger role in the San Antonio Spurs’ NBA title quest after leading point guard Tony Parker was sidelined.


Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said 31-year-old All-Star Parker, who has played in 47 games for the NBA’s Southwest division leaders this season, was suffering “a variety of maladies” and would be out of action “for the forseeable future”.

“He has got a lot of little things,” Popovich told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

“Basically a lot of basketball the last three years, all season long, all summer long, it has caught up to him.”

Parker has pursued a hectic schedule, playing for the French national team between NBA seasons the past three years, earning Most Valuable Player honours at last year’s European championships.

Mills is likely to be the biggest beneficiary of Parker’s plight, having already been used extensively off the bench in all but one game Parker has missed.

In his last seven matches, the Australian is averaging 16.1 points, three rebounds, and two assists while playing 20.7 minutes for the Spurs, who reached the All-Star Game break at 38-15 – the second-best record in the Western Conference and fourth-best in the league.

Parker is averaging 17.7 points and 6.2 assists. He scored four points and grabbed two rebounds in just over 11 minutes in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game but had been sidelined before that with a sore lower back.

He is also thought to be dealing with calf and groin injuries as well as assorted bruises.

Less than a fortnight ago he scored a season-high 32 points in the Spurs’ victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

Posted in 南宁夜生活

Timeline: Ukrainian political crisis

Known as the Euromaidan – literally “Eurosquare” – the recent outbreak of anti-government protests that has rocked Kiev, and now surrounding cities, for the past few months has decade-long roots amid political infighting, charges of corruption, and the ongoing tensions of EU or Russian alliance.


Euromaidan protests

21st November 2013: Thousands of opposition protesters gather in Kiev’s Independence Square (known as “Maidan”) to decry President Viktor Yanukovych failure to pass a major agreement that would strengthen ties with the EU, opting instead to seek closer cooperation with Moscow.

30th November 2013: Police launch a brutal attack on protesters, detaining 35 images of protesters bloodied by police truncheons spread quickly and galvanize public support for the demonstrators. A demonstration on December 1st attracts about 300,000 people, the largest protest in Kiev since the Orange Revolution in 2004.

17th December 2013: Russian President Vladimir Putin announces that Moscow will buy $17 billion worth of Ukrainian government bonds and allow for a sharp cut in the price Ukrainians will have to pay for Russian natural gas. Putin and Yanukovych claim that there were no conditions attached to the agreement, which did not require Ukraine to join a Russia-led free trade pact.

22nd January 2014: Two protesters die after being hit with live ammunition and the third after a fall during a confrontation between police and demonstrators manning barricades, the first protest deaths.

28th January 2014: Ukraine’s Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and the entire government resign, scrapping anti-protest laws, in the biggest concessions yet to protesters in a two-month crisis.

16th February 2014: Protestors leave Kiev’s city hall, after occupying the building since December 1 2013. Vacating public buildings formed part of the conditions to the Ukraine Government’s Amnesty Law. Under the amnesty detained protestors will be released and charges against them dropped. Protestors promise to retake city hall if the amnesty is not honoured.

18th February 2014: 18 are killed as Ukraine riot police attack the protest camp in Kiev’s Independence Square. After a 6pm deadline to leave the camp was not met, violence erupts as thousands of police storm the square. The death toll includes 11 protestors and 7 police. Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klitschko meets with President Viktor Yanukovich over the crisis.


October 2011: A court jails former Prime Minister and Orange Revolution joint leader Julia Tymoshenko for seven years after finding her guilty of abuse of power over a gas deal with Russia in 2009. EU warns Ukraine of “profound implications”; opposition leaders claim charges were politically motivated.

March 2011: Ex-President Leonid Kuchma is charged over the 2000 murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze. He denies any part in the killing.

February 2010: Viktor Yanukovych is declared winner of second round of presidential election. His main rival, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, refuses to accept the result, alleging fraud.

January 2009: Russia stops all gas supplies to Ukraine after collapse of talks to end row over unpaid bills and prices, leading to shortages in southeast Europe. Supplies are restored a week later when Ukraine and Russia sign a 10-year deal on gas transit.

December 2007: Yulia Tymoshenko is appointed prime minister for the second time, in coalition with President Viktor Yushchenko’s party.

‘Orange Revolution’

January 2005: Viktor Yushchenko is sworn in as president after Supreme Court rejects challenge by losing candidate Mr Yanukovych.

November 2004: Official count indicates presidential election victory for Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. Western and other independent observers report widespread vote rigging. Opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko launches campaign of mass street protest and civil disobedience which becomes known as the ‘Orange Revolution’. Supreme Court later annuls result of poll.

April 2001: President Leonid Kuchma dismisses Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko’s government following a no-confidence vote in parliament. Mr Yushchenko was respected in the West for fighting corruption, pushing ahead with economic reforms and working to attract investment, but was unpopular with the pro-Moscow Kuchma, and powerful Ukrainian businessmen.

1997: Friendship treaty signed with Russia. Ukraine and Russia also reach agreement on the Black Sea fleet.

1991: Ukraine declares independence following attempted coup in Moscow: 90% vote for independence in nationwide referendum in December.

1986: A reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power station explodes, sending a radioactive plume across Europe. Desperate efforts are made to contain the damaged reactor within a huge concrete cover. Many armed forces personnel die of radiation sickness.

1954: Armed resistance to Soviet rule ends with defeat of Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).

1945: Allied victory in World War II leads to conclusive Soviet annexation of western Ukrainian lands.

1941: Ukraine suffers terrible wartime devastation as Nazis occupy the country until 1944. More than 5 million Ukrainians die fighting Nazi Germany. Most of Ukraine’s 1.5 million Jews wiped out by the Nazis.

1932: Approximately 7 million peasants perish in man-made famine during Joseph Stalin’s collectivisation campaign.

1918: Ukraine declares independence: Ukrainian People’s Republic set up. Numerous rival governments vie for control for some or all of Ukraine during ensuing civil war.


Posted in 南宁夜生活

Turkey president signs internet bill

Turkey’s president, Abdullah Gul, says he’s signed into force a controversial law voted in by the government that will tighten controls over web use.


Gul said on his Twitter feed he promulgated the law – which the opposition and rights groups say infringes on citizens’ freedoms – after the government assured him it would soften parts of it through later amendments.

“I am aware of the problems mainly on two points…. These concerns will be taken into account in the new law,” he said.

An opposition MP earlier confirmed the planned amendments to aspects of the bill concerning some powers of Turkey’s telecommunications authority.

“The steps are positive but not enough,” Akif Hamzacebi of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) was quoted as saying by NTV television.

Under the bill, the Telecommunications Communications Presidency (TIB) can demand that internet providers block pages deemed insulting or considered an invasion of privacy.

But the government is now proposing that the TIB will have to inform a judge about any decision to block a web page, according to the Hurriyet newspaper.

The judge would then have to issue a ruling within 48 hours or the TIB move would be deemed invalid.

The internet bill has sparked outrage both at home and abroad and fuelled concerns over the state of democracy in the EU-hopeful country under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The legislation comes on top of moves to curb the judiciary and a government purge of police and prosecutors in the face of corruption probe that has targeted close Erdogan allies.

Erdogan has vehemently denied accusations of online censorship, and said Tuesday the proposed internet curbs were aimed at countering “blackmail” and “threats”.

Posted in 南宁夜生活

Sochi Olympics Day 10

(Transcript from World News Australia Radio)

Victorian David Morris was not among the favourites in the men’s aerial skiing, but he held his nerve and landed his jumps when others didn’t.


Murray Silby has the details.

(Click on audio tab above to hear full item)

David Morris’s silver in the men’s aerials competition has secured Australia’s third medal at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

It follows his aerials teammate Lydia Lassila taking bronze in the women’s event on Friday and Torah Bright’s silver in the snowboard halfpipe last week.

It is the first medal at a winter Olympics for Australia in the men’s aerials.

Morris has told Channel 10 he did not expect to win a medal and the realisation that he has done it is overwhelming.

“I felt like crying. I felt like throwing up. And it’s just … you know, when I started the sport, I was told I wasn’t going to be good. Like, ‘I don’t think you’ll be good at this sport.’ And now I’ve got a silver medal at the Olympics, so it’s like, ‘There it is, everyone.’ I knew I was going to be good from the start, and there’s the proof, so no-one can take that away from me, ever. It’s in the history books. So, it’s amazing. It’ll sink in later. I’ll get uber-excited and then just crash, I’m sure, but it’s … oh, my gosh, it’s crazy.”

Morris says he understood there were better jumpers in the field who could do more difficult jumps, but those tricks carried more risk.

So he says he concentrated on completing his jumps well and making sure he made his landings.

“The field that was here today is an incredible field. You saw the quality of the jumps, and some of these guys just got quite unlucky. If people had done their best jumps today, there’s no way I would have come second. I know that I’m not the best jumper out here. I consistently land, though. And that is always up there with people in the top 10, and top eight, and, today, top four and second.”

Morris’s bronze medal-winning aerials team-mate Lydia Lassila, who also won gold in Vancouver four years ago, says she always had faith the 29-year-old could medal.

“I definitely believe in Dave all the way. Always have. He’s a huge talent, and he’s just kept plodding along and pushing himself the whole time throughout his whole career despite not, perhaps, getting as much support as us female athletes in the aerial-skiing teams. So now, he’s up there. He’s right up there, and had an amazing performance, and I just love him.”

Anton Kushnir, from Belarus, won the gold with a score of 134.50.

Morris was second on 110.41, and China’s Zongyan Jia took the bronze with 95.06.

The women’s biathlon provided Belarussians with more cause to celebrate, thanks to Darya Domracheva’s win in the 12.5-kilometre mass-start race.

The victory gave Domracheva an unprecedented hat-trick of Olympic gold medals at these Games, having also won the pursuit and individual race last week.

Gabriela Soukalova, of the Czech Republic, won the silver and Tiril Eckhoff, of Norway, the bronze.

Thick fog on Day 10 has led to some events scheduled for the mountains around Sochi being postponed.

That included the men’s snowboard cross competition, featuring Australia’s gold-medal favourite Alex “Chumpy” Pullin.

Organisers have decided to reschedule the event for this evening, Australian time — Tuesday morning, Sochi time — and the event’s format will also be shortened.

The fog reduced sight to a minimum on the cross course, which includes a number of large jumps.

Ryan Taylor, from the sport’s governing body in Australia, Ski and Snowboard Australia, says Sochi organisers decided conditions were just too dangerous to go ahead.

“Just the speed that these guys would be travelling at over an undulating course, it’s not worth running the risk of harming the athletes. There were enough injuries in the women’s event when the conditions were good, so it’s a dangerous course and you don’t want to run that risk.”

Australia’s ice-dancing pairing of Danielle O’Brien and Greg Merriman have wrapped up their competition at Sochi, finishing last of 20 competitors after the free-dance section.

Merriman and O’Brien had advanced to the free dance thanks to a season’s-best performance in the short dance on Sunday.

O’Brien has told Channel 10 the experience of competing against the world’s best on the biggest stage was a thrilling one.

“It felt hard in the legs, but so exciting in my head. My head was buzzing. As much as my legs hurt, I didn’t feel anything, because I was so excited to be out there. It felt great. The audience was great. And we skated well. We had a few little slips, but, other than that, (I’m) so excited to have been out there.”

Two-time world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White won their first Olympic ice-dancing gold with a world-record total of 195.52.

Reigning Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada were 4.53 points behind in the silver-medal position.

Russia’s Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov took bronze with a total of 183.48 points.


Posted in 南宁夜生活

Indigenous Affairs Minister plays down pay gap allegations

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has addressed allegations that Indigenous people working in the Department of Prime Minster and Cabinet are getting paid less than their non-Indigenous counterparts.


The dispute was raised when staff members were shifted from other federal government departments to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

During the move, the number of Indigenous staff in the department went from six to 260 but claims have emerged that some of them are getting paid much less than other people.

It is alleged at least six public servants working at the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, otherwise known as FACHSIA, gets paid $11,000 less than someone who works for the PM’s Department. 

At an executive level that gap is nearly $20,000. 

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said that he suspected the allegations – first published in The Sydney Morning Herald – to be untrue.

He said all the staff who were transferred were in the same position, and that each department has different enterprise bargaining agreements. 

“Now I understand all those agreements – for example, someone who came over from DEEWR – will be on a different agreement than someone who is from FACHSIA,” he said. “They’ve all come over to PMC.”

“Now the PMC agreement will be renegotiated later in the year.”

But a source close to NITV says former FACHSIA employees have already been told they won’t be getting a pay rise.

Alistair Waters is from the Public Sector Union, which is negotiating the next set of contracts. 

“We know that this is going to be a very tough round of bargaining,” he said.

“And that money is tight across the public service but we have a very simple request and that is that workers who are doing work of equal value should be getting the same paying conditions.”

All of the current agreements expire on the 30th of June this year. 

Posted in 南宁夜生活

Katy Perry named Elle’s Woman Of The Year

US pop star Katy Perry has been crowned Woman Of The Year at the 2014 Elle Style Awards in London.


Roar singer Perry was presented with her gong by Australian pop princess Kylie Minogue at the glamorous award ceremony in London.

The 29-year-old I Kissed A Girl singer is known for her campaign work for gay rights and her support of same-sex marriage.

Perry, who divorced British comedian Russell Brand in 2011 after just 14 months of marriage, recently recorded duet Who You Love with boyfriend John Mayer.

Guests including model-of-the-moment Cara Delevingne, singer Ellie Goulding, former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko and designer Tom Ford were treated to a champagne reception, a 1950s supper club menu and table butler service at the magazine’s 17th annual celebration of style.

Lily Allen, who recently returned to the music scene after taking a break to become a mother, was named Female UK Recording Artist of the Year, while Tinie Tempah – who earlier this week high-fived the Duke of Cambridge as he performed at the Baftas – took home the title of Male UK Recording Artist of the Year.

Harry Potter star Emma Watson was awarded Actress of the Year and Happy singer Pharrell Williams was presented with the gong for International Recording Artist.

Fashion photographer David Bailey was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award by designer and director Tom Ford while Tom Hiddleston, fresh from his run starring in Coriolanus at the Donmar theatre, was named Man of the Year.

The Elle Style Awards 2014 in association with Warehouse were hosted by Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw at newly refurbished venue One Embankment.

Winner of the UK Elle Style Awards 2014:

– UK Recording Artist Female: Lily Allen

– British Designer of the Year: Christopher Kane

– Model of the Year: Suki Waterhouse

– UK Recording Artist Male: Tinie Tempah

– Accessory Designer of the Year: Kate Hillier

– Man of the Year: Tom Hiddleston

– Red Carpet Designer of the Year: Emilia Wickstead

– Contemporary Designer of the Year: Isabel Marant

– Fashion Innovator: Nicola Formichetti for Diesel

– International Recording Artist: Pharrell Williams

– Actress of the Year: Emma Watson

– Lifetime Achievement: David Bailey

– Woman of the Year: Katy Perry

Posted in 南宁夜生活

Dotcom search warrants legal: NZ court

Kim Dotcom’s battle against copyright allegations has been dealt a blow after New Zealand’s Court of Appeal ruled search warrants used in a raid of his mansion were valid.


The decision overturns a 2012 High Court ruling that declared the warrants invalid because they weren’t specific enough and did not properly describe his offences.

The warrants preceded Dotcom’s arrest and were used to seize 135 electronic items including laptops, computers, hard drives, flash sticks and servers in January 2012.

The Attorney-General appealed the 2012 High Court decision, arguing that a reasonable person could have understood the warrants despite ambiguities.

The Court of Appeal on Wednesday agreed, ruling while the warrants were defective in some respects, the defects were not large enough to render them invalid.

It ruled no miscarriage of justice had occurred.

“We are satisfied that the defects in the search warrants have not caused any significant prejudice to the respondents beyond the prejudice caused inevitably by the execution of a search warrant,” the judgment said.

No more items were seized than if the warrants contained no defects, the Court of Appeal ruled.

The raid was performed at the request of the US Department of Justice, which is trying to extradite Dotcom and his three co-accused, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram Van der Kolk, on criminal copyright violation and racketeering charges.

The charges relate to the quartet’s running of now-defunct file-sharing website, Megaupload.

While the Court of Appeal overturned the decision on the validity of the warrants, it did agree with the High Court that clones of Dotcom’s material should not have been taken to the United States.

Forensic clones of electronic items were made and handed to the FBI, which took them to the United States in March 2012.

The Court of Appeal ruled the removal of the clones was a breach of the direction of the Solicitor-General.

It found while Solicitor-General Michael Heron had the power to allow the cloned items to be taken out of the country by the FBI, he did not direct it.

Dotcom and his co-accused are fighting extradition to the United States to face charges.

They are also fighting in the Supreme Court for full disclosure of the US’s case against them.

Late in 2012, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key admitted pre-raid spying on Dotcom by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) was illegal because Dotcom was a New Zealand resident.

The government passed amendments to the laws governing the GCSB in August.

Posted in 南宁夜生活

Youth and revolution

I recently had the honor to participate in an online debate about democracy sponsored by the Economist.


It was illuminating — not least because my opponent was Stanford’s Larry Diamond, one of the most respected scholars in the field of democratic transitions.

Our debate revolved around our assessments of the future of global democracy. Diamond made the case for the optimists, arguing that powerful forces in the world are naturally pushing societies toward the embrace of democratic institutions. I was the pessimist, so I see the picture as a bit less encouraging. I think that there are many powerful forces working to undermine or even reverse democracy in much of the world.

One of our most interesting differences of opinion involved the role of young people. At one point Diamond wrote that the monarchies in Jordan and Morocco, which have so far survived the challenge of the Arab Spring with surprising resilience, are doomed to fall. The reason: both countries have large cohorts of “tech-savvy youth.” The implication seemed to be that monarchic systems, inherently awkward, inflexible, and old-fashioned, simply won’t be able to resist large numbers of Internet-equipped, mobile-phone wielding activists once they get the bit in their teeth.

This assumption — that young people embody an inherently progressive revolutionary potential, making them the natural enemies of autocrats — is widespread. It’s been one of the major tropes of the Arab Spring:

Remember all those cool young Egyptians using Twitter to trip up Mubarak? And the idea is still alive and well, informing coverage of countries ranging from Brazil to Cambodia. Autocrats tremble, apparently, at the mere thought of young people joining hands to challenge them.

Certainly there’s some basis for the idea. Younger people aren’t set in their ways. They’re often idealistic. They usually don’t have the children, the mortgages, or the hoarded savings that tend to make their elders shy of radical change. Plus the young have plenty of energy. For all these reasons, the idea of reckless twenty-somethings joining forces to bring down tyrants has been a staple of western political thought at least since the French Revolution. (Disclosure: The author of this article is, well, middle-aged, shall we say.)

The problem is that this image of the youthful activist as a natural friend of freedom is a stereotype — and, like all stereotypes, it has its element of truth. Yes, young people often end up on the side of change. But that doesn’t automatically make them “progressive,” and it certainly doesn’t mean that they’re democrats.

The radical political movements of the twentieth century understood this very well. Both the Fascists and the Bolsheviks placed young people squarely at the center of their deeply illiberal programs. These totalitarians, knowing that the young were their natural allies in the fight against the old order, offered them quick access to power and careers — and the young were generally happy to accept. (And yes, both the Soviet Communists and the Nazis were “tech-savvy,” avidly embracing new technologies like radio and the movies, and capable of ferocious innovation in the realms of social policy and warfare.)

If we were to pick the most influential youth movement of the twentieth century, measured by sheer numbers and actual political effect on the lives of others, the title surely belongs to the Red Guards of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. When the Great Helmsman gave them official sanction to take bloody revenge on teachers, bureaucrats, and in some cases their own parents, millions of young Chinese responded with enthusiasm, unleashing a mass paroxysm of violence that remains without equal.

Young people often present their societies with great potential for destabilization — especially when the young are male (charged up by testosterone and frustrated ambitions).

The problem is compounded when there aren’t enough jobs or career opportunities to go around. In the 1970s, the shah’s Iran produced enormous numbers of overeducated young men without creating corresponding opportunities for advancement. They were easy prey for the ideology offered by the new revolutionary Islamists, who offered the young an attractive mix of militant faith and career-enhancing rejection of the old elites.

The idealism of youth, in short, doesn’t necessarily entail the embrace of liberal values. Young people can also satisfy their longing for purity in extremist identity politics. Most of the jihadis running around Syria and Iraq are young, though I doubt their vision of change is necessarily a kind of which Westerners would approve. (Pop quiz: Who’s the world’s youngest head of state? North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, age 31.)

The “revolutionary youth” meme is limited in other ways, too. Revolutionary practice suggests that young radicals are skilled at dismantling but not so great at building. Recent experience in Egypt and Tunisia offers good examples of this principle in action.

The young liberals who sparked the revolution in Tahrir Square in 2011 have wielded negligible influence on the political scene in the years since. In retrospect, their use of social media appears to have been relatively effective at marshaling demonstrators, but far less helpful at building positive political programs to challenge the organizational dominance of the old farts in the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian Army.

In Tunisia, the young people who once called the shots on the streets have long since yielded the initiative to gray-haired politicians.

Time and time again, history shows us that youthful charisma, aggression, and idealism are great qualities for starting a political career, but they aren’t always enough to sustain one. We Americans, with our ingrained enthusiasm of youthful vitality, are particularly inclined to forget this. Our political journalists love charting “rising stars” — but when was the last time you saw a listicle on “the 10 old people in Washington who actually make things happen”? Foreign correspondents and diplomats are fond of depicting political struggles in the countries they cover as battles between heroic “young reformers” and the forces of entrenched reaction — a narrative that tends to overlook the many cases in which today’s “young reformer” becomes tomorrow’s geriatric dictator. (Colonel Moammar Gadhafi, it is worth nothing, seized power at 27.)

In short, it’s understandable that we always expect change from the young. But you should never write off the political survivors. My book, “Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century,” includes the stories of two of the last century’s most transformative politicians. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was 76 when he presided over the Iranian Revolution, an event that turned the Middle East on its head (and continues to do so). Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping was 74 when he launched the economic reforms that have since turned his country into a global economic power. Neither man would count as young. But if these two weren’t revolutionaries, I don’t know who is

Posted in 南宁夜生活