North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

India's growing pains - electricity lost for 640 million

India continues to be one of the more fascinating countries of the world. The largest democracy - a true democracy with dozens of parties, representing hundreds of distinct ethnic groups, and a range of 18th to 21st century thinking - and a rising economic power, the country regularly churns out newsworthy achievements and perplexing challenges.

Northern India was hit hardest by the electrical grid collapse - caused by high demand, and low hydroelectric power behind dams in the north, which catch water off the Himalaya mountains.

This week, two electric grids apparently were unable to provide sufficient power to meet demand, and therefore collapsed (or shut down), breaking off power altogether to some 620-650 million people. Just think, that's as if every single American, Canadian, and Mexican combined lost power on the North American continent, or every single individual on the whole African continent lost power.

The real impact, of course, is nowhere as severe as we Americans would consider, India has one of the lowest per capita rates of consumption of power in the world. However, even so, the effects are a reminder of just how deeply most of the world depends on reliable power.

Grids are shut down to prevent damage to their resistors, insulators, and generators, if there is not enough power to meet demands.

From the BBC ... "Hundreds of trains have come to a standstill and hospitals are running on backup generators. Many traffic lights are also not operating in Delhi, leading to massive traffic jams. Smriti Mehra, who works at the Bank Of India in Delhi, said it had to turn customers away. "There is no internet, nothing is working. It is a total breakdown of everything in our office." In eastern India, around 200 miners were trapped underground as lifts failed, but officials later said an operation had begun to get them out."

Hundreds of thousands waited for electric trains that never arrived ...

From a Bloomberg business/investment article, "Electric crematoriums in Delhi switched back to wood, tax authorities extended by a month the deadline for filing returns, and stock analysts recommended investors buy power equipment-makers including Sterlite Technologies Ltd in anticipation of increased investment in the grid."

Massive traffic jams developed as traffic lights went out, and private vehicles became the second choice for those who normally used public transportation.

Power was lost twice. Again from Bloomberg, "On Day One, nearly 360 million people lost power across seven states in northern India when excessive demand and a shortfall in hydro power overwhelmed the electricity grid. Slightly more than 12 hours later, power resumed in the capital – only to fail again the next day. The second blackout was even worse, with the chaos spreading to Calcutta and other parts of eastern India."

The restoration of power had its own results. Light bulbs in south Delhi exploded, refrigerators groaned from the surge in power, electricity sockets spat out smoke, and assorted appliances were fried. Surge protector sales jumped at New Delhi’s Pankaj Electronics, as did lightbulbs, fuseboxes and black electrical tape at various markets.

One Indian observed, "It just shows our infrastructure is in a complete mess. There is no transparency and no accountability whatsoever." The comment highlights the challenges of the country to bring further regulations into play, along with strong enforcement and accountability. These are the true measures of quality governance.

Numerous examples of illegal bootlegging of electricity can be found. These lines represent corruption from local electricians and politicians, resulting in excessive drain from the lines designed capacity, as well as lack of safeguards to wherever the electicity eventually ends up.

Over the next months, it will be interesting to watch the aftermath, politically as well as physically, of this two day "wake up" event.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Romania holds referendum on impeaching its President

This weekend, Romanians will be headed to the polls to vote on the impeachment of a very unpopular President. However a larger judgement will also be rendered on the health of Romanian democratic institutions. The country's Prime Minister has been widely condemned for engineering the vote as a manipulation of power politics.

Romania, with a population of just over 21 million, is another Eastern European country struggling to rise from its subservient role, over 20 years ago, within the communist Soviet Union.

The European Union (and the US) have weighed in on the rough politics, after an EU report on Romania concluded that the country's political elite does not understand how democracy works, an indirect admission that the country should not be in the European Union at all – just five years after it joined.

As the UK Guardian put it, "The political crisis has left many Romanians confused and unsure about how to vote on Sunday. Endemic corruption and disenchantment with the political class have led many to believe that, regardless of the outcome, the referendum is a no-win situation. ... it is a referendum forced by a left-wing government looking to ensure the right-wing head of state faces impeachment charges."

The main figures are Traian Basescu, President of Romania since 2004 with a conservative perspective, while the Prime Minister is a 39-yr old lawyer, Victor Ponta, with clear leftist leanings. As the Guardian article concedes, "Ponta's arrival unleashed brutal trench warfare in Romanian politics; the prime minister is eager to use his ascendancy to settle scores."

President Basescu, has not been successful in working with a string of six Prime Ministers since 2004, and has already been suspended once from his Presidential duties in 2007.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta, after just 5 months in office, has also raised alarm bells over his use of powers. One of the major clouds has been charges of plagiarism. The allegations were first brought in June by the British scientific journal Nature, which reported that Ponta copied large portions of his 2003 thesis while at the University of Bucharest. The Romanian National Council for Attestation of University Titles concluded a few days later that the thesis had, indeed, been plagiarised. Ponta responded by rescinding the council's legal authority.

Basescu is unpopular; his rightwing party took a pounding in local elections last month, taking only 15% of the vote. He had over the past 8 years failed to tackle real and perceived corruption within the political system, while his latest push for austerity measures was the basis for Parliament suspending him pending the referendum vote. But the manner in which the new Prime Minister Victor Ponta has waged his war against the president is the reason that Brussels - representing the European Union - has intervened. From another newspaper account, "Ponta felt the full weight of EU wrath after his government took on the Constitutional Court, threatening to replace judges, reduce its powers and ignored one of its decisions ..." in his drive to push Basescu from office.

The second poorest country in Europe, Romania joined the EU with Bulgaria in 2007. Both states were not really viewed as properly fit for entry but admission was seen as a clever geo-political move in the contest with Vladimir Putin's Russia for influence in the Balkans, particularly in countries with historically close ties to Moscow.

Romania has struggled to improve basic infrastructure, such as this degraded country road

So, apparently a number of countries are watching not only Romania's vote on Sunday, but even more closely, the aftermath. If Basescu is impeached, a new presidential election will be held within 3 months, and it is likely that Ponta's left wing party will triumph. Whether that leads to any deeper change from corruption and lack of respect for democratic institutions is now at stake.

Bucharest is Romania's capital, and likely best known city

Several international observers have become concerned over the trajectory of a number of Eastern European countries, freed from Soviet domination in the early 1990s, who are showing signs of slipping back towards more authoritarian governance. A USA Today article recently noted, "The political crisis in Romania could derail years of democratic progress and analysts say that the West must act decisively to arrest backsliding among Eastern European nations such as Hungary and Bulgaria before autocracy makes a comeback. ... The events unfolding in Romania echo events in neighboring Hungary. Earlier this year the Hungarian government implemented a new constitution that limits individual rights, the judiciary and the independence of the central bank. Analysts say more than harsh words from the West are needed to reverse the trend.

The economic downturn is not helping matters. Romania has been forced to cut wages and benefits to public workers, and enact layoffs, opening the way for Ponta to argue that free markets and democratic reforms are not working for Romania."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bulgaria - not normally in the headlines

It seems that half the time a country or region or event makes the news, it is because of some violent or disturbing incident. Perhaps that is what "news" is, in contrast to quiet development or progress. (To be fair, the other half may be interesting events such as the Olympics, or celebrations, etc.)

Regardless, a glimpse of Bulgaria the country, is worthwhile even though the event that has boosted it into the world spotlight was an act of terror - the bombing of an Israeli tourist group traveling by bus near the Black Sea resort town of Burgas.

The bus was transporting Israeli vacationers from the air terminal when it was blown up...

Last Wednesday's bombing killed five vacationing Israelis, along with a Bulgarian bus driver and the attacker, and wounding 17 others. Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told reporters the bomb was in the backpack and detonated in the luggage compartment of the bus. The bomber was believed to have been about 36 years old and had been in the country between four to seven days, he said. He later said in an interview with state TV that the blast was caused by 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) of TNT powder.

The damaged bus being transported away from the scene for further analysis.

Chaos and grief among relatives waiting for bombing victims to be returned to Israel.

Somber return of caskets to Israel

Another round of burials begins

Unlike the higher death toll in the US city of Aurora, Colorado, where a lone individual opened fire on a crowd of movie goers, killing 12 and wounding 58, the Bulgaria attack is fraught with international implications.

Israeli and American officials have blamed the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah for Wednesday's bombing. "Hezbollah is behind the attack, it was part of a series of attacks," he told Israel's Channel 2 TV. "We know that Iran is behind it all. What we don't know is who the actual man is."

Hezbollah's flag

Israel has attributed a series of attacks on its citizens around the world in recent months to Iran and its proxies. Bulgarian officials in the meantime have sent DNA samples from the attacker to the US in order to determine his identity - specifically whether he was a Guantanamo detainee who had been released, or known as a terrorist from other groups.

Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, in charge of his country's investigation of the attack, has sent DNA samples of the attacker to the US in order to assist in identifying the individual

So, once again, Iran and its proxies are in the spotlight, and repercussions are yet to be determined.


A small Eastern European country of 7.4 million people, situated south of Romania, and with access to the Black Sea to the East.

The resort-based city of Burgas, the scene of the bombing is on the Black Sea coast

Bulgaria's population is predominantly urban and mainly concentrated in the administrative centres of its 28 provinces. Most commercial and cultural activities are concentrated in Bulgaria's capital Sofia. The strongest sectors of the economy are heavy industry, power engineering and agriculture, all relying on local natural resources.

The past 70 years,

Wikipedia notes, "Bulgaria was forced to join the Axis powers in 1941, when German troops that were preparing to invade Greece from Romania reached the Bulgarian borders and demanded permission to pass through Bulgarian territory. Threatened by direct military confrontation, Tsar Boris III had no choice but to join the fascist bloc, which was made official on 1 March 1941. ... However the king refused to hand over the Bulgarian Jews to the Nazis, saving 50,000 lives."

After World War II, Bulgaria fell under the influence of the Soviet Union, until it emerged again as its own entity in 1990. The country had an economic spurt after being liberated from communism, but the effect was not sustained, and the recent 2008-2012 world recession has brought economic tension to the forefront. Nor does it help that Bulgaria has, apparently, a high rate of corruption which has not been effectively dealt with.

The current political structure dates to the adoption of a democratic constitution soon after the country moved out of the shadow and control of the Soviet Union. Since then (1990), Bulgaria has had an unstable party system, in the past two decades differently dominated by the post-communist Bulgarian Socialist Party or by the right Union of Democratic Forces and most recently by the new right-oriented party - Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria. The US Library of Congress Federal Research Division reported it in 2006 as having generally good freedom of speech and human rights records.

Today, reflecting its Western tilt, Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, NATO and the Council of Europe, a founding state of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and has taken a seat at the UN Security Council three times.

Unfortunately, with less than a stellar economy, Bulgaria's population is down from a peak of nine million in 1989 and nearly 1 million younger people have emigrated since the collapse of communism (though reflecting a new freedom to move into other member states of the EU). The population continues to decrease and the current growth rate is one of the lowest in the world.

Karvarma is a basically a slow-cooked stew containing chopped meat and vegetables - a popular and good representation of Bulgarian cuisine. Greek and Turkish dishes have heavily influenced Bulgaria's national cuisine.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Libya election moves country forward, Syria begins disintegration

Across the restive Arab world, two countries are heading in different directions.

Libya, after its savage dethroning of the dictator Gadaffi (with some estimates of approximately 100,000 lives lost), has held an important election that has resulted in "liberal" secular political forces taking the lead. Perhaps tentative still, these initial results compare favorably to Egypt's continuing turmoil with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood along with other Islamist leanings. We shall see ...

Libya, set along the Mediterranean Sea, is an important oil producing country, and has emerged from 50 years of dictatorship under Colonel Gadaffi.

In the first nationwide free election in more than 50 years approximately 80% of those eligible turned out to vote for candidates filling 80 seats out of the 200 in the National Assembly (or parliament). The election commission said former interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril's National Forces Alliance won 39 seats, or nearly half of those allocated for parties. The Muslim Brotherhood's Justice and Construction party came in second with 17 seats. Smaller factions won the other 24 seats set aside for parties. Jibril's party showed particular strength in Libya's two largest cities - Tripoli and Benghazi - and won everywhere across the country.

A positive aspect of the election was the strong support for the liberal alliance across the country, and in particular, the two largest cities Tripoli and Benghazi. Libya's population of just 6.4 million is predominately centered in the north and along the coast, while the desert regions to the south are sparsely settled.

The balance of power lies with the 120 seats set aside for independent candidates, some of whom are likely affiliated unofficially with parties. (Teatree is unsure whether these seats will be filled via a separate election or some other process.) The 200-seat National Assembly is tasked with forming a new government to replace the NTC's Cabinet.

Men preparing to vote

Women in line to vote

Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril's National Forces Alliance is in an initial commanding position for determining the country's future.

Syria, in stark contrast, has by all accounts, drifted into a deepening civil war. These past few days have witnessed sustained clashes in the capitol city, Damascus, the defection of more high ranking officials (a general and an ambassador), and just this morning the assassination of the country's Defense Minister and other inner-circle leaders.

Syrian fighting has now reached the capitol, Damascus, in sustained clashes. The country, with a population of nearly 21 million, is comprised of several tribal and ethnic groupings, with President Assad himself from a minority Alewite tribe.

As CNN reported, "A deadly attack on top Syrian officials Wednesday delivered the harshest blow yet to President Bashar al-Assad's regime, bringing the bloodshed into his inner circle, and even his family.

Four top officials were killed in an explosion at a national security building in Damascus, and some other people were wounded, state TV reported. Defense Minister Dawood Rajiha; Deputy Defense Minister Assef Shawkat -- al-Assad's brother-in-law; Hasan Turkmani, al-Assad's security adviser and assistant vice president, and Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shaar were killed, the state TV reports said.

The attack, during a meeting of ministers and security officials, was coordinated by several rebel brigades in Damascus, said the deputy head of the opposition Free Syrian Army, Col. Malek al-Kurdi. The government described it as a suicide bombing. But al-Kurdi said a remote control was used to detonate an explosive device planted inside the meeting room."

Syria's Defense Minister Dawood Rajiha, among the top four reported killed.

Smoke hangs over Damascus neighborhoods

Reports state that Bashir al-Assad has pulled units from Syria's border with Israel, back into Damascus to protect the ruling family's power center.

Studied avoidance of public intervention by Western powers, public support from Russia and China, and active quiet support - the proxy war - from Hezbollah and Iran for Assad's regime, has resulted in today's dire picture. The US and others have raised specific concerns over his stockpiles of chemical weapons (don't use them, and keep them secure), and the more general concern over Al-Qaeda's taking advantage of the complex conflict.

Syria reportedly manufactures Sarin, Tabun, VX, and mustard gas types of chemical weapons to the amounts of several hundred tons per year. Syria is one of only 7 nations which is not a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Like Libya, Syria's population is not equally spread across the country, but concentrated in the west, with heavier populations in the fertile northwest along Turkey's border, and in the Southwest, in Damascus.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

South Sudan, Congo and Mali

Three African countries are in the news this week - none of the reasons are particularly inspiring.

South Sudan - now one year old (July 9, 2011 independence day) is embroiled in a tense, violent confrontation with its parent nation, the Republic of Sudan. After repeated clashes along an undefined and oil-rich border, and arguments and accusations regarding payments for oil shipped north through the Republic of Sudan, South Sudan suspended oil shipments altogether in the past few months. Now South Sudan is struggling without 95% of its revenues from producing oil, and the Republic of Sudan is without 75% of its revenues based on shipping South Sudanese oil. For a while, there were concerns that a full scale war was about to erupt between the two, but that possibility has receded for the time being.

South Sudan, with a lot of oil, and Republic of Sudan owning the only pipeline out to the world market. The two countries haven't solved their issues yet.

In the past week, however, international relief agencies have noted an increasingly dire situation with much of South Sudan's population. Without the government's ability to purchase food internationally (grain), pockets of food shortages are erupting. In the northern Republic of Sudan, significant protests among Khartoum residents have also occurred due to lack of government services.

Both leaders walking together. Republic of Sudan's Bashir wanted for genocide by the International Criminal Court situated in The Hague, Netherlands; South Sudan's Salva Kiir in a cowboy hat.

So, not much of a year to point back to, the question is not only whether South Sudan's 8.2 million population has kept its firm resolve to move forward together, but if they can.

South Sudanese girls overlooking Juba, South Sudan's largest city, and temporary capitol.

Republic of the Congo

Not to be confused with its much larger and [in]famous neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo, this French-speaking West African country has a population of 4 million and its capitol city is Brazzaville.

Click on image for full picture
Republic of the Congo and its larger neighbor, the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Interestingly, (from Wikipedia) "the Republic of the Congo's sparse population is concentrated in the southwestern portion of the country, leaving the vast areas of tropical jungle in the north virtually uninhabited. Thus, Congo is one of the most urbanized countries in Africa, with 70% of its total population living in a few urban areas, namely in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or one of the small cities or villages lining the 534-kilometre (332 mi) railway which connects the two [main] cities."

The railroad along which 70% of Congo's population lives ...

The impoverished country (wealthy in mineral resources and timber - unable to exploit them for the good of the whole ...)made the news this week when a former warlord, Thomas Lubanga was sentenced to 14 years in prison for using child soldiers during 2002-2003 when the country was engulfed in a civil war - a local conflict within the wider DR Congo war, which left an estimated five million people dead - mostly from hunger and disease.

Thomas Lubanga in the International Criminal Court sentencing proceedings this past week.

In March, Lubanga became the first person to be convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) since it was set up 10 years ago. Lubanga led the Union of Congolese Patriots, an ethnic militia active in the war that is estimated to have killed 60,000 people. Conflicts continue in the two Congolese countries, ripples still occurring nearly two decades later after the Rwandan genocide unleashed violence throughout Central Africa.


Mali - now divided between rebels and a tenuous government in the south. The rebels themselves (ethnic Tuaregs and those with a predominately Islamist perspective) have joined forces to create an Islamist state.

The new Islamic state - Azawad - apparently considers ancient Muslim shrines as anathema, and its new leaders have duplicated action taken by the Taliban in Afghanistan when that movement took control of the country in the late 1990s. In the case of the Taliban, its forces destroyed a massive world-heritage Buddha image carved into a mountainside. In the case of the "Islamists of Ansar Dine," they too are destroying world-heritage status religious shrines.

This Buddha image was heavily damaged with direct shelling by the Taliban 13-14 years ago.

Ancient Muslim shrines in Timbuktu are the latest relics deemed offensive to the the Northern Mali's new leaders, supported by Al Qaeda, who have apparently gained the upper hand over the Tuaregs, according to the New York Times.

Strange and sad stories from Africa.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Pakistan's new Prime Minister and old supply routes

In late June, Pakistan found itself with a new Prime Minister, and in the past two weeks, re-negotiated lucrative supply line agreements with the US. Perhaps the two are interrelated.

Pakistan, a nation of 173 million, nestled between Iran, Afghanistan, China, and India ...


Pakistan is embroiled in conflict. To the northwest, the nation shares a very porous border with volatile Afghanistan. A Soviet invasion in 1980 developed into a cold-war sparring with a proxy, as the US armed nationalist warriors called the mujahideen to fight the Soviets. Pakistan also engaged, and when the Soviets withdrew in 1989, provided quiet support for a nationalistic group known as the Taliban to consolidate power. For years, the Taliban, building their own repressive governance, sheltered Osama bin laden and his growing Al-qaeda network - which provoked an attack by the United States in late 2001. Pakistan's response through the next eleven years, ranging from indifference to quiet support of the repression and violence of both the Taliban and Al-qaeda found itself increasingly mired in the conflict, as its own tribal groups along Afghanistan's border embraced many aspects of Islamic extremism.

Soldiers warily keep watch along Pakistan's violent and porous border with Afghanistan. These soldiers are under threat from that conflict, from the possibility of mistaken US drone attacks, as well as from the region's warring tribes who live pretty much outside anyone's jurisdiction

To the east, Pakistan has likewise mired itself in conflict with India over a supposedly strategic area high in the Himalaya mountains, known as Kashmir. Here for over 60 years, the two nations have set soldiers in the snow and cold, clashing intermittently over the rights to the hostile landscape. As noted in Wikipedia, "India and Pakistan have fought at least three wars over Kashmir, including the Indo-Pakistani Wars of 1947, 1965 and 1999. India and Pakistan have also been involved in several skirmishes over the Siachen Glacier." Pakistan fought a civil war with an eastern province in 1971, lost, and that province declared itself Bangladesh.

Perpetual snow and cold far above the treeline are the conditions for a long running battle between Pakistan and India

Pakistan and the US have troubled relations that have not improved in the past decade. The US, heavily engaged in Afghanistan and conducting a greatly expanded (and hated) drone program across the country and the border areas of Pakistan killed nearly two dozen Pakistani soldiers in November 2011 in a case of mistaken identity. In response, Pakistan suspended the use of its roads for US/NATO resupplying their armies.

As the influential Atlantic magazine wrote in a piece, December, 2011, titled "The Ally From Hell" Pakistan lies. It hosted Osama bin Laden (knowingly or not). Its government is barely functional. It hates the democracy next door. It is home to both radical jihadists and a large and growing nuclear arsenal (which it fears the U.S. will seize). Its intelligence service sponsors terrorists who attack American troops. With a friend like this, who needs enemies? ... Much of the world, of course, is anxious about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, and for good reason: Pakistan is an unstable and violent country located at the epicenter of global jihadism, and it has been the foremost supplier of nuclear technology to such rogue states as Iran and North Korea. It is perfectly sensible to believe that Pakistan might not be the safest place on Earth to warehouse 100 or more nuclear weapons.

It is a difficult situation - to state the obvious - because along with its sizable Islamic-extremist factions and duplicity by the country's intelligence and military forces, Pakistan has a substantial literate, English-speaking, and likeable population engaged in world trade, sports, and an entrepreneurial spirit. Indeed the country is a member of the British Commonwealth (though not surprisingly, left in 1972 and returned in 1989).

The many military conflicts have led to large budgets for the armed forces, and minimal investment in education and infrastructure in the countryside. Major periodic flooding and occasional earthquakes bring repeated misery and instability to the country.

The new Prime Minister

Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, is now the country's new Prime Minister. Yet exemplifying the turmoil at the highest levels of leadership, "Ashraf became Pakistan's prime minister 10 days ago after Yousuf Raza Gilani was disqualified from office by the Supreme Court. Gilani was found in contempt of court after refusing to write a letter to authorities in Switzerland, asking them to re-open corruption proceedings against President Asif Ali Zardari."

Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, new Prime Minister is a politician who is under investigation for fraud and presided over the collapse of Pakistan's electricity supplies.

There is, then, a revolving door of leadership, another sign of splintered loyalties and stress in the country. But because of the nation's strategic importance - if nothing else those 100 nuclear weapons, and a latent ability to wreak havoc in a troubled region of the world - no country interested in regional stability dares disengage.

Re-opening supply lines

Perhaps the occasion of a new Prime Minister was the right time for the US to apologize publicly for the errant strike. Perhaps, in turn, the apology gave cover for the new PM to accept the apology in a public arena, and reopen supply lines for continued funds and trade. But how long this latest truce and trade will last is anyone's guess.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, standing here with President Zardari, apologized after speaking with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar by phone. Clinton said they were "both sorry for the losses suffered" by both countries in the fight against terrorists and that the United States "is sorry for the Pakistani military's losses."

Supply routes from the sea heading north

Trucks "lined up" at the port in Karachi, ready to load up supplies. Due to the 7 month suspension of supplies flowing through Pakistan to Afghanistan, over 2500 containers and trucks are now clogging the port.

In the mountains, supply convoys are vulnerable to attack.

What is ahead for this nation in conflict, both within itself and with neighbors?