America First Committee Overview

America First Committee, founded in September 1940, was the most powerful isolationist group in America before the United States entered World War II. It had over 800,000 members, who wanted to keep America neutral. It tried to influence public opinion through publications and speeches. America First disagreed with another powerful group, the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies.

America First Committee American First Committee Poster

Both groups wanted to build American defenses and keep America out of the war. But the Committee to Defend America argued that the best way to remain neutral was to aid Britain. America First thought it more important to stay out of the war than to assure a British victory. America First was dissolved four days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

America First Committee Original Four Principles:

1. The United States must build an impregnable defense for America
2. No foreign power, nor group of powers, can successfully attack a prepared America
3. American democracy can be preserved only by keeping out of the European war.
4. "Aid short of war" weakens national defense at home and threatens to involve America in war abroad.

Proposed Activities- September 5, 1940:

1. To bring together all Americans, regardless of possible differences on other matters, who see eye-to-eye on these principles. (This does not include Nazists [sic], Fascists, Communists, or members of other groups that place the interest of any other nation above those of our own country.)
2. To urge Americans to keep their heads amid rising hysteria of times of crisis.
3. To provide sane national leadership for the majority of the American people who want to keep out of the European war.
4. To register this opinion with the President and with Congress.

Muhammadiyah to host peace conference

Muhammadiyah to host peace conference

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - World leaders in religion, politics and business will gather in the Indonesian capital this week for a conference to address "facets of violence" and its solutions, organisers said Sunday.

Muhammadiyah, Indonesia's second largest Muslim movement with some 30 million adherents, will host the second "World Peace Forum" between June 24 and 26, with more than 200 participants expected to attend.

"This is not just an interfaith dialogue. We invite leaders in business, politics, media and academics to sit together and find solutions for peace," Muhammadiyah chairman Din Syamsuddin was quoted by AFP as telling journalists.

"Violence is a reality, but what can be done? We will try to pin down practical solutions to address the problem," he said.

The meeting will be opened by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, while the prime ministers of New Zealand, Australia and Thailand, among others, will convey written and video messages.

The first World Peace Forum took place in 2006 and was attended by around 100 religious and business leaders, academics, journalists and civil society activists.

Saudi king lambasts speculators (cukong)  at oil price summit

Saudi king lambasts speculators (cukong) at oil price summit

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (ANTARA News) - Saudi King Abdullah launched an offensive against "speculators" at a summit on Sunday on the soaring price of crude that called for greater transparency in oil market dealings.

Saudi output has risen to 9.7 million barrels a day, the king said, vowing to increase production further if necessary to defuse market tensions which have ratcheted the price of a barrel of oil up to almost 140 dollars.

The monarch, who said his country would give 1.5 billion dollars to efforts to ease energy shortages in poor countries, told the 36-nation summit that Saudi Arabia was "very concerned" about consumers worldwide.

He blamed increased oil consumption and taxes on fuel, but added: "Among other factors behind this unjust increase in oil prices is the abhorrent act of speculators acting for their own selfish interests."

The Saudi-hosted summit in its Red Sea city of Jeddah was the scene of an international debate over the cause of the doubling of oil prices in the past year.

The United States and other Western powers have blamed production shortfalls while Saudi Arabia and other Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members said speculators have played a key role.

The final communique called for greater regulation of oil markets and greater investment in refinining capacity.

Leaders and ministers from the 36 nations said "the transparency and regulation of financial markets should be improved through measures to capture more data on index fund activity and to examine cross-exchange interactions in the crude market."

It added: "An appropriate increase in investment, both upstream and downstream, is necessary to ensure that the markets are well supplied in a timely and adequate manner."

OPEC was split, however, over whether to follow the Saudi lead in increasing output.

Neighbouring Kuwait said it was ready to increase production, but the OPEC president -- Algeria's Oil Minister Chakib Khelil -- insisted this was not necessary.

US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said before the summit that "there is no evidence that we can find that speculators are driving futures prices" to current record heights.

He told the meeting: "Market fundamentals show us that production has not kept pace with growing demand for oil, resulting in increasing -- and increasingly volatile -- prices."

Warning that prices would almost certainly rise further, Bodman said: "In the absence of any additional crude supply, for every one percent increase in demand we would expect a 20 percent increase in price in order to balance the market."

German Economy Minister Michael Glos told the summit an increase in production would be "a strongly needed signal to the financial markets to not gamble any more on an increasing oil price."

India's Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Australia's Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson also called for increased output.

Kuwaiti Oil Minister Mohammed al-Olaim said OPEC members "will not hesitate" to increase production if the market needs it.

But OPEC chief Khelil insisted there is enough oil to supply the market.

Disconnected from fundamentals

"We believe that the market is in equilibrium. The price is disconnected from fundamentals. It is not a problem of supply," he was quoted by AFP as telling a briefing.

Khelil said the 13-nation OPEC would only consider a production increase at a meeting in September.

"We believe speculation, in its noble and not noble terms, has its impact," the OPEC chief said, also blaming "uncertainties on the dollar" for the price spiral.

A Saudi source said there is scope for other countries to follow his country's production increase as there are up to three million barrels of spare
capacity within OPEC nations.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the senior Western leader at the summit, called for a "new deal" between consumers and producers.

But like many Europeans at the meeting he said production shortages and speculation had to be studied.

Brown said that the world was going through "the biggest of all three oil shocks" in recent decades.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi said, however, that the world has enough crude to last "many decades" and that Riyadh will invest massively to be able to produce 15 million barrels a day.

Nuaimi said Saudi Arabia's production capacity will rise to 12.5 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of 2009 and another 2.5 million bpd could be added if demand warranted.

High Price of Oil is Artificial

High Price of Oil is Artificial

TEHRAN (AFP) The current high price of oil is artificial and the market is well supplied with crude, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday, pinning the blame on the sliding dollar.

"The rise in consumption is lower than the rise in production," Ahmadinejad told a meeting in the city of Isfahan of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC's) fund for international development.

"The market is well supplied but prices are rising and this situation is artificial and imposed" by world powers.

Ahmadinejad, who is president of OPEC's number two producer, has repeatedly said that the current high price of oil is not based on fundamentals and driven largely by the weakness of the dollar.

"Certain hands, for political and economic ends, are controlling the price in an artificial manner," he said.

Ahmadinejad also said "certain powers" were keeping an artificial oil price to "fund the costs of their wars and occupations and to justify investments to exploit new sources of energy at the bottom of the oceans, at the poles and elsewhere."

Oil prices have hit record highs of close to 140 dollars a barrel.

In Asian trade on Tuesday, the main New York futures contract, light sweet crude for July delivery, dropped 15 cents to 134.46 dollars per barrel after striking an intraday record of 139.89 dollars on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Ahmadinejad's comments came a week ahead of a meeting orgainsed by OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea city of Jeddah to bring together major oil producers, including those outside OPEC, and consumers to discuss oil prices.

OPEC, which pumps some 40 percent of oil supplies and has been widely blamed for the five-fold rise in prices since 2003, insists the oil market is well supplied and that current prices do not reflect market fundamentals.

Ahmadinejad reiterated that the fall in the dollar was a prime cause of the world's economic problems, saying it had affected "the world economy and in particular the economy of world energy exporters."

Again showing his disdain for the greenback, Ahmadinejad reaffirmed his proposal to create a completely new currency which OPEC countries could use in oil transactions.

"The hard currency reserves of OPEC countries have been heavily affected" by the fall in the dollar, he said.

"I repeat my suggestion made six months ago at the OPEC summit in Riyadh to create a basket of credible currencies which would be the basis for oil transactions," said Ahmadinejad.

"Or alternatively, that OPEC countries create a new currency for their transactions."

Boycott campaign moves ahead

Boycott campaign moves ahead

AMMAN - The multilateral Danish-Dutch boycott campaign is moving ahead with the addition of a major brand, the removal of others and an ongoing lawsuit, while Jordanian importers still suffer losses.

Launched in late February to protest against the republication of disturbing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, “The Messenger of Allah Unites Us” campaign was relaunched in mid-June to add products from the Netherlands after Dutch MP Geert Wilders posted an anti-Islam film on the Internet.

The ultimate goal, according to campaign spokesperson Zakaria Sheikh, is to enact a universal law that prohibits the defamation of any prophet or religion, similar to the international legislation banning anti-Semitism.

Sheikh told The Jordan Times that the boycott will assist them in providing proof of the harm of “hateful messages” when advocating for the law.

A new poster, released earlier this week, displays new items, including a major Dutch electronics brand, while others were removed, including ‘“Anchor” dairy products, which comes from New Zealand.


Jordan's Tel Aviv embassy launches trilingual website

Jordan's Tel Aviv embassy launches trilingual website

PETRA - The Jordanian embassy in Israel recently launched a trilingual website in Arabic, Hebrew and English, with a view to address Israeli public opinion and present Jordan's position on the situation in the region, Jordan's Ambassador in Tel Aviv Ali Al Ayed said yesterday.

"The website was launched only four days ago and so far, a large number of hits have been registered... The reaction has been good and many media outlets in Israel reported it," Ayed told The Jordan Times on the sidelines of the Fourth Petra Conference of Nobel Laureates, which concluded yesterday.
20 June 2008

Administered by embassy staff, the website contains a variety of information such as the 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, the Amman Message, His Majesty King Abdullah's speeches, including his address at the inauguration of the Nobel laureates conference, the ambassador said.

The website, "the first Arab portal in Hebrew", will present Jordan's positions on final status issues such as refugees' right of return, Jerusalem and other issues related to peace, Ayed added.

The website,, also provides information in the three languages about Jordan, the Constitution, the Geneva Initiative and the National Charter, as well as the economy and the Kingdom's tourist sites, according to Ayed.

By Mohammad Ghazal
National Koran Reading Contest

National Koran Reading Contest

06/18/08 09:23
President Yudhoyono opens National Koran Reading Contest

Serang, Banten (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has offially opened the 22nd National Koran Reading Contests (MTQ) in the Banten provincial capital of Serang Tusday evening.

The MTQ, participated by 3,186 Koranic readers from the 33 provinces across the country will be held from June 17 to 24, 2008.

The President and the First Lady Madame Ani Yudhoyono, were greeted by students of the Banten Islamic boarding school singing praise of Prophet Muhammad SAW (peace be upon him).

On the MTQ event, senior artist Dewi Yul was slated to sing "Kasih Tuhan" (God`s Love) created by the president himself.

President to Award Environmental Honors

President to Award Environmental Honors

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is set to award Kalpataru and Adiparu honors on international environmental day today at the state palace.

The Kalpataru awards will be awarded to 12 persons categorized as environmental innovator, environmental dedicator, environmental rescuer, and environmental cultivator.

The Adipura awards will be given to 94 regions in metropolitan cities, large , medium and small cities.

Adipura recipients for the metropolitan city are Jakarta and Palembang (South Sumatera); large city are Pekanbaru, Riau , Batam, and Riau archipelago; medium are Lumajang in East Java, and Kota Metro in Lampung; small are Gianyar and Kota Badung in Bali, and Indramayu in West Java.

BSM: The Leading International Management School in Indonesia

BSM: The Leading International Management School in Indonesia

Bakrie School of Management (BSM) dikelola oleh Yayasan Pendidikan Bisnis Indonesia (YPBI), yayasan yang didirikan oleh keluarga Bakrie, dengan tujuan untuk menyelenggarakan pendidikan bisnis yang berkualitas internasional.

Didukung oleh infrastruktur bisnis Kelompok Usaha Bakrie (KUB) yang luas, dosen yang kompeten, serta dosen tamu CEO KUB dari berbagai bidang industri dan keahlian, sehingga terjalin suatu sinergi proses belajar mengajar yang bagus. Sesi-sesi kuliah rutin dari para CEO KUB, kunjungan-kunjungan ke lokasi usaha, pendampingan dan magang baik di KUB maupun Usaha Kecil Menengah (UKM) merupakan kesempatan "best practice sharing" yang sangat berharga, karena siswa dapat belajar langsung ke sumbernya.

Perkuliahan dilakukan dalam bahasa Indonesia hingga semester IV dengan pendalaman bahasa Inggris. Mulai semester V, sebagian perkuliahan dilakukan dalam bahasa Inggris dengan pengajar/pembicara tamu dari beberapa universitas di luar negeri, sehingga lulusan akan mencapai skore TOEFL minimum 600.

Kurikulum mengacu kepada standar internasional dengan menggabungkan teori dan praktik kerja di dunia usaha. Selain memiliki "internal working laboratory" yang ada di KUB, fasilitas lain adalah "external working laboratory", yakni sejumlah sentra utama Usaha Kecil Menengah yang menjadi mitra BSM. Dengan demikian diharapkan lulusan akan menguasai dasar kewirausahaan, mempunyai jiwa kepemimpinan, fasih berbahasa Inggris yang akan menjadi landasan dan wawasan yang kuat untuk menjadi pebisnis yang profesional.

‘Born with a golden brush’

‘Born with a golden brush’

To be credited with a little more than 100 exhibitions at a comparative young age of 51, to find a place of honour in the Delegates Lounge of the U.N. General Assembly in the capacity of a child artist to paint the mural there alongside the executed works of two major modern artists, to be born with a golden brush in hand, to have genes filtered from three generation of artists in a family and, to be affluent and politically affiliated, it is no surprise then that Senaka S enanayke, who is a child prodigy born in Colombo, Sri Lanka on March 20, 1951, is an internationally acclaimed artist today and has his distinct credentials established within the art circuit. Though a Sinhalese artist, Senaka is a household name in India. His various exhibitions across the important metros have established the visibility of his art. His style has resonance of traditional bias, but is simultaneously also naïve and utopian reflecting a spirited universality.


Senaka’s works are well-acknowledged globally, and it is a fitting tribute for the artist to have a monograph published on him. This book, Senaka, authored by Harsha Bhatkal gives detailed information about the artist from his childhood to the present. Written in a flowing narrative style and peppered with emotional and sentimental anecdotes, the book makes an interesting reading on the life and art of the artist. Each section of the book is titled to indicate a milestone in the life of Senaka’s artistic career: A Child Prodigy, Redeeming Early Promise, The Road Not Taken, A Dream Realized, Rain Forest and Soul Stuff, A Large Canvas, and the last part In Conversation.

The foreword written by D.P. Koppagoda and titled Style and Substance is a critical analysis of his style, which gives an insight into the making of Senaka’s visual language. It is articulated knowledgeably that clearly establishes the author’s close study and understanding of Senaka’s art. The approach is both formal and analytical opening up space to delve into the soul of the artist.

The rest of the chapters by Harsha Bhatkal are painted as a narrative account on the life of the artist. The language and the thoughts of the author flow fluidly and with ease making reading a pure pleasure. Harsha’s insightful reading of the artist also marks the emergence of a very humane dimension of Senaka’s character, particularly his generosity and nobility in creating gallery space for the local Sri Lankan artists who will have an opportunity to showcase their works, and which simultaneously would provide visibility to the public and hence patronisation.


The question that arises is: if publications of this quality and category are brought out, especially for an artist of Senaka’s stature, then it mandates critical writing methodology, which will yield important information, implying strategy for capturing and influencing the way people think and talk about art. Hence in addition to biographical details, which are equally essential, a critical write-up by a knowledgeable art historian/critic insightfully would have unravelled layers of meanings concealed in the works of Senaka. Through critical exploration, the aesthetics and politics of Senaka’s vision and his conceptual paradigm within the context of his culture would have elicited relevance, meaning and value of his art. While his paintings have become the most popular and compelling practice today, very little published material is available. The author should have endeavoured with this publication to explore themes of narrative and representation, landscape imagination and aesthetics.

The hardbound book has good colour reproductions on glossy paper, though the quality of the paper could have been better. It is of good size and interestingly planned in its design.

A good coffee-table production but it does gross injustice to an artist of Senaka’s significance and standing.

Showcasing medieval military metallurgy

Showcasing medieval military metallurgy

Rudyard Kipling’s much fabled Zam Zamah, which is actually a very big cannon, is featured in this colourful collage-cum-compendium, which appears to be a labour of love of the author; else why should an educationist be devoting so much time, energy and money into a project which is essentially fodder only for the gunners, and may be for the military history buffs and military technologists interested in medieval times?

Other Indian cannons dealt with are the Durga tope of the deccani Daulatabad Fort, the karak bijli of Golconda, the Bhawani Shankar of Jhansi, Babur’s tufangchis, Akbar’s multi-barrelled cannons, Sher Shah Suri’s bronze cannon, Tipu Sultan’s ban artillery, Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Sutlej Gun , the Dogra mortars, the Congreve rockets, the Dardennels cannon, and many others dating back in time to the very advent of the then state-of-the-art and classy metallurgy of the Indian subcontinent way back in 15th century A.D.


Zam Zamah was also known, in literary circles, as the “Kim’s Gun.” It was cast by Ahmad Shah Abdali, and later changed hands till it finally came into the possession of the English after the subjugation of the Sikhs. Apart from all this lore, song and dance, the cannon along with the gunpowder shaped the contours of empires, geography and history, ever since the Chinese Sung dynasty first used a crystalline white powder in 900 A.D. Babur, the original Moghul, speedily vanquished a vastly superior Afghan force under Ibrahim Lodhi in Panipat on April 20, 1526 with the crafty deployment of cannons with the tufangchis playing hell with the charging Afghan cavalry. Later, the British used it to great effect in their conquest of India, with the artillery gaining the “Royal” prefix. In battle, it is the artillery that inflicts the maximum casualties on the enemy; the casualties from small arms fire of the infantry are nominal.

The technology for casting (forge-welding, copper, bronze, brass, fabricated cast iron, and wrought iron) of cannons came to the sub-continent from the Ottoman Turks (rumis), the Mameluke Egyptians, the Chinese and the Portuguese, many of whom were employed in the service of the local rajas/ sultans/moghuls. There were some Poles, as well as quite a few French soldiers of fortune, who played starring roles in the manufacture, deployment and command of artillery units in the various periods of history. The main concern of the rulers was to ensure central control in respect of the command of the guns, and casting of cannon and ball.

World class

The Mughals faltered in keeping up with the latest Western trends in technology and they paid heavily for this lapse as the Marathas, who had Europeans artillery men in their lashkars, and mounted-raiders reduced Mughal rule to the confines of the very ramparts of Delhi’s Lal Quila by the time Bahadur Shah Zafar came to the throne. The British with their European-manned guns in an “artillery-centric”, sepoy army, made a mockery of even that. R. Balasubramaniam has done a good job by any standard undoubtedly; however, having started with the intention of showcasing only the world class metallurgy in medieval India, he seems to have got carried away by its use in the casting of cannon, and gone on to author this remarkable glossy which is the first of its kind. Kudos are in order as the book is a collector’s item. There are few glaring lapses in this otherwise very high standard work.