The World on a Page

Article excerpt

Byline: Tunku Varadarajan

Irate Turks, dueling oligarchs, a royal yacht -- and dear old Mrs. Strauss-Kahn.

Don't Mess With Turkey: No longer self-effacing supplicants when it comes to relations with the U.S., the Turks seldom let an American insult go unchallenged. After Rick Perry described Turkey's government as "Islamic terrorists," Ankara struck back with dignified finesse, observing that the Texas governor's pasting in the primaries reflected "the common sense of the U.S. electorate." (A leading Turkish columnist opted for old-fashioned Anatolian simplicity, calling Perry "an idiot.")

Hideous Word of the Week: "Thaksinization," of which Thailand's P.M., Yingluck Shinawatra, stands accused. Opponents charge that her reshuffled cabinet contains too many cronies of her disgraced brother, Thaksin. The solution? De-Thaksinization, of course.

Godzilla versus Mothra: Starring Russian oligarchs Roman Abramovich and Boris Berezovsky. The former business partners' courtroom death match in London has drawn to a close after three months and tens of millions in fees to lip-smacking lawyers. At stake: $6.8 billion, which Berezovsky claims Abramovich pinched from him. Whatever the outcome, both billionaires have slung so much mud that neither will emerge with his reputation unbesmirched.

Scary Question of the Week: "What if the Iranians start killing scientists?"--posed in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz by Avner Cohen, a sage sort of worrywart at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. "Anyone who legitimizes the assassination of scientists in Tehran," he warns, "jeopardizes the personal security of scientists on the other side. The next phase of the assassination war is liable to turn international scientific conferences into arenas of assassination. …