Friday, February 17, 2012

Pakistan Backs Iran

During the Trilateral Talks between, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran; Asif Ali Zardari, leader of Pakistan, pledged to support Iran if it was attacked. This marks the second country to announce such a move. A month ago, to the day, Russia announced that any attack on Iran would be considered an attack on Moscow.

An attack on Iran is expected from Israel, and possibly the United States and the European Union as well, if Iran does not cease their nuclear program. Iran claims the program is for energy purposes, but then brags about refining uranium well beyond what is needed for energy, closing ever more so upon weapons grade. Which is exactly what Israel, the US and EU have accused Iran of, seeking nuclear weapons.

So far sanctions, have been unable to convince Iran to stop, despite the fact that the effects of them are being severely felt. Even China has joined the majority of the world on placing them against the belligerent nation. Russia, however, has vetoed every proposal by the United Nations to place international sanctions on Iran.

Tensions have remained high due to Iran's continued threats to close the Strait of Hormuz. Assassinations of Iranian scientists, have not helped the matter either. Just this week attacks on Israeli embassy staff members, and the capture of Iranian bomb makers in Thailand, added even more fuel to the fateful heading.

This also marks further trouble between the US and Pakistan. Formerly allies in the war against the Taliban, Pakistan is at the conference partially to make a separate peace. The alliance has been falling apart lately as the government and military of Pakistan keep finding themselves at odds, yet the US stayed out of it when the President asked for help after Osama bin Laden was found in Pakistan. China however, has been offering at least an ear to Zardari's troubles.

Gary Carter, Dead at 57

Hall of fame catcher Gary Carter succumbed to brain cancer Thursday afternoon, at the age of 57. Remembered for his non stop love of the game, he played nineteen years for four teams. The New York Mets, Montreal Expos, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers all were lucky enough to have them on their teams during his career. He helped the Mets to a World Series win, and the Expos to their only playoff berth ever.

An 11-time All Star, he finished his career with a .262 average, 324 home runs and 1,225 RBIs. Twice he took home MVP for the All Star game, and is the only player to have a two-homer performance in both an All-Star Game and a World Series game. He also holds the record for most games caught in the NL.

"He is in heaven and has reunited with his mom and dad. I believe with all my heart that dad had a STANDING OVATION as he walked through the gates of heaven to be with Jesus," Carter's daughter, Kimmy Bloemers, wrote on the family website.

Civilization V: Gods and Kings

Civvers have been rejoicing as Thursday, 2KGames announced the first real expansion of Civilization V. Gods and Kings adds "27 new units, 13 new buildings, 9 new wonders, and 9 new playable civilizations. Among the new civilizations are the Netherlands (William I, Prince of Orange), the Celts (Boudicca), and the Mayans (Pacal the Great)."

 It will also host a brand new combat system, where the AI should be even more intelligent. It's armies should be more balanced, forcing human players to think more. Also look for melee naval units.

Favourites from Civ 4, are returning as well, though reworked to show they belong in 5. Religions are indeed back, though this time they are customizable, to a degree. Espionage has returned as well, with spies being able to do the usual things, as well as having abilities never before seen in any Civ, including ranks of their own.

With the addition of religion, of course they had to add religious city states. Mercantile city states are also being introduced. The inclusion of espionage will have effects on relations with city states, and the quest system has been vastly expanded, which also helpfully reduces the amount of gold needed to spend on them.

Lastly mentioned, but surely not the last bit of the expansion, there are three new scenarios that come with it. You can now play "the fall of Rome, explore the medieval era, and a unique scenario in a Victorian science-fiction setting."

Exciting news that will surely lead to even more One More Turn Syndrome issues for games lucky enough to be known as civvers.