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Alternative Rambo. The Last Bloods that Never Were, Could have Been..Still MIGHT Be?

RAMBO: LAST BLOOD has not been received well. But it has gained plenty of attention. And it’s great to see Sylvester Stallone back in Action.  AMAZING score, too, from Brian Tyler, as always! So what’s the problem with the latest film? It’s nasty. It appears to pit Rambo against a specific group, rather than have him trapped in the middle of a conflict between nations / factions as before. He talks too much. He is now a man of property and even community, thereby meaning that all he can do is regress rather than progress. Rambo was never Rocky, but they shared some sense of optimism at heart; the man against the odds, the system and a primal rage placed in service of an almost childlike innocence as ironic contrast. Stallone excels at that as an actor and his writing style, generally ‘got’ the essence of his characters and what made them cool.   So it’s a shame that LAST BLOOD = Logan + Skyfall + No Country for Old Men + not as good as any of those and lacking the soul, heart and above all, the bandanna of a solid Rambo movie. Cut his hair; sure. But NEVER lose his trademark battle outfit 😉 That said? The film IS getting talked about and Sly is STILL vital, and those last action scenes and closing montage are excellent, ‘imho’. Makes one curious for more, at least one more adventure? If that were to be commissioned, there were alternative drafts for the fifth film that could be harnessed, alongside the mooted prequel series for streaming. Here’s a list of old ideas, cobbled together from multiple gossip sources for ideas for Rambo 4 AND could still give us a Rambo..6?   RAMBO VS TALIBAN   Seriously, this was almost a ‘thing’. Post 9/11, especially, it was knocked around as a possibility. Also as a way of apologising for the perceived simplicity of Rambo 3 in Afghanistan. Send him BACK there to confront an element of the old order who had previously helped him against the Soviets. Perhaps he was rescuing another friend FROM corruption by Taliban /Al-Qaeda forces? Proving one of his old friends was innocent of conspiring with Bin Laden, via extraction FROM a terror training camp? So you’d have a big bad villain worthy of the old Cold War menaces that everyone feared in the war on terror; but still some socio-political complexity and depth, with Rambo again trapped in a struggle between competing forces and factions. Think the blood, guts and action fun of First Blood part with the heart, soul and depth of the first film? I would genuinely have loved to see this. Could they do it again? Maybe: Rambo in Syria, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, an increasingly draconian China? The possibilities for a genuinely current thriller do exist, if done correctly and without losing the fun. RAMBO VS MILITIA The Alt-Right. They are not ‘nice’, whatever your actual socio-economic politics. And in Timothy McVeigh, you have a poster boy for the extreme dark side of what one might term ‘right’ wing. An absolute belief in the imminent, even current, destruction of America at an almost apocalyptic level, they are drawn and driven to the madness of hate and ultimately, violence. McVeigh ‘masterminded’ the Oklahoma bombing of 1995. It was a devastating act of terror. It also shook Hollywood to the core. On the one hand, they considered withholding action fare that summer if ‘terror’ appeared to be trivialised (honestly, Die Hard 3 was almost iced?). On the other? McVeigh provided a new face for evil, for the goodies to slay like a dragon. And so it was that we almost had Ethan Hunt, Martin Riggs and yes, John Rambo take on militia groups. None of those proposals made it to the screen. But in Rambo’s case, it was more intriguing because the pitch apparently involved a confrontation in the mountains between Rambo and an organisation whose leader might have been played by Brian Dennehy from First Blood? This would have had Rambo finish his war, on home turf, whilst remaining an exotic action piece with helicopters, machine guns and our hero taking out a private army, whilst confronting a real world villainy and finding some closure in his own character arc, via location. Missed opp. Definitely. But could be re-tooled, too, for part 6. AND, thematically, ending the final conflict on native American reservation land, as logical and visual sense.   RAMBO VS PREDATOR? Don’t laugh. This makes sense. In a way. A minor flip in genre, veering into sci-fi yet still ‘possible’. Around 2009, a script was circulating in which Rambo and a team of special forces veterans would be tasked with taking down a genetically enhanced super-soldier. Not compatible? Not realistic? Well, the Jason Bourne series arguably covers similar ground. And the idea of a mutation from genetic experimentation is only a minor exaggeration. But the pitch was ultimately deemed too ‘out there’ and also a BIT too much like PREDATOR (starring Arnold Schwarzenegger: Sly’s main rival /buddy). Now, had they put those guys TOGETHER in a crossover..Arnie v Sly v Predator? Wow! But more seriously, the thematic depth could still have been there. Rambo is essentially a monster made by man; built for war and rendered autistic by an un-diagnosed PTSD. So confronting the ‘monster’ could have served as furter metaphor for John Rambo’s own arc of closure, and some sci fi schlock / cautionary action based tale against messing with DNA..   RAMBO IN MEXICO! This was an initial pitch for Rambo 4 AND 5. In the former, he went to Burma instead. In the latter, yes, there is a Mexican dimension, but its pitch, premise and tone / purpose are convoluted in the resulting plot and moral motifs. Rambo would either be just travelling, for fun, as fits his character and THEN, himself, faced a kind of kidnap from which he had to escape? OR: He […]

The 5 Best Places to Visit in Myanmar


What are the best places to visit in Myanmar? Here are a few of the many incredible sites to see in Burma (former name of Myanmar). Check it out!

The post The 5 Best Places to Visit in Myanmar appeared first on Etramping Travel Blog.


Burmese cardinal laments religious leaders' silence over violence

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon has decried Burma's ongoing violence, and encouraged religious leaders to raise their voices in defense of the ...

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Myanmar Turns to China's Huawei Despite US Pressure

October 8, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - The Southeast Asian state of Myanmar, despite pressure from Washington, has decided to work with Chinese telecom company Huawei to develop its national 5G communication network. 

The move by Myanmar is just one among many by the entire region to build ties with China despite extensive efforts by the US and some Western European nations to encircle and isolate Beijing economically, politically and even militarily.

If ever there was an indicator of just how real the delcine of US primacy was particularly in Asia, it is this steady march of joint progress being made between the nations of Asia and China.

US State Department-funded media platform Voice of America (VOA) in its article deceptively titled, "Myanmar to Keep Huawei Despite Security Concerns," would complain:
Myanmar has decided to keep using Chinese technology company Huawei to develop its new mobile communications system. 

The decision comes despite national security concerns about Huawei by the United States and some other countries.

Huawei Technologies is currently working on building the next generation in wireless technology in countries around the world. The development of 5G has caused tensions between the United States and China. U.S. officials have long suspected the Chinese government could use Huawei network equipment to help carry out spying activities. Huawei has rejected such accusations. 
It is only well into the third paragraph that the VOA article begins to admit "security concerns" regarding Huawei are in reality simply accusations made up by the United States and based on nothing resembling evidence or documented impropriety.

VOA finally admits that beyond alleged concerns regarding "national security," the US has targeted Huawei because it conflicts with US "foreign policy interests."

In other words, Huawei is outcompeting US corporations abroad and rather than look inward at the shortcomings of American industry and fixing them, the US is instead attacking Huawei politically through accusations and economically through sanctions.

Spot the Difference: Real Spying vs. Accusations of Spying 

For those wondering what genuine concerns over security should be based on, the BBC in its 2014 article titled, "Edward Snowden: Leaks that exposed US spy programme," covers irrefutable, documented evidence of the US government abusing its monopoly over telecommunication networks to carry out unprecedented spying at home and abroad.
The scandal broke in early June 2013 when the Guardian newspaper reported that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans. 

The paper published the secret court order directing telecommunications company Verizon to hand over all its telephone data to the NSA on an "ongoing daily basis". 

That report was followed by revelations in both the Washington Post and Guardian that the NSA tapped directly into the servers of nine internet firms, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, to track online communication in a surveillance programme known as Prism.
Of course, the revelations made public by Edward Snowden's whistleblowing went far deeper than Prism, involving invasive US spying efforts carried out with the help of not only telecommunication companies, but also software makers and even US-based hardware manufacturers.

MIT Technology Review in its article, "NSA’s Own Hardware Backdoors May Still Be a “Problem from Hell”," would reveal:
Revelations that the NSA has compromised hardware for surveillance highlights the vulnerability of computer systems to such attacks.
In 2011, General Michael Hayden, who had earlier been director of both the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, described the idea of computer hardware with hidden “backdoors” planted by an enemy as “the problem from hell.” This month, news reports based on leaked documents said that the NSA itself has used that tactic, working with U.S. companies to insert secret backdoors into chips and other hardware to aid its surveillance efforts.
The US is thus guilty in reality of everything it is baselessly accusing Huawei of and serves as another example of the sort of "American exceptionalism" that has poisoned the globe's perception of America.

Dirty Tricks vs. Real Competition 

Myanmar's continued trajectory into China's economic and political orbit is particularly embarrassing for the United States.

The current government of Myanmar is headed by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy political party. Suu Kyi and and her party are virtual creations of the US and British governments benefiting from decades of political support and untold millions in financial aid. Suu Kyi also serves as the figurehead of an extensive network of fronts funded out of Washington and London posing as nongovernmental organisations.

These include groups that sabotage joint Myanmar-China infrastructure projects under the guise of upholding "human rights" or addressing "environmental concerns."

Despite the artificial nature of Suu Kyi's political rise, or perhaps because of it, her government is subject to much more fundamental forces than US meddling and rhetoric. Despite the finely honed tools of political interference Washington wields, Myanmar is still driven primarily by basic economic forces, as are all nations are.

While Washington has invested immense amounts of time, money and energy in manipulating the political landscape of foreign nations, it has severely neglected the basic fundamentals of any nation's power including its own.

With no alternative to China's manufacturing might, its ability to build massive continental-spanning infrastructure projects and its offer to lift all of Asia up with it as it ascends upon the global stage, even Washington's most carefully crafted proxies end up succumbing to what is simply a better offer made by Beijing minus the constrictive conditions that come with any partnership made with Washington.

The story of the United States' decline is one of neglected fundamentals. Until the US addresses these basic fundamentals, no amount of political meddling or military aggression can compensate for this decline.

Whether it is China's Huawei offering better telecommunication solutions to Southeast Asia, or cheaper and more effective military hardware or a more appealing regional architecture that recognises the primacy of national sovereignty, until the US is able to offer a similar or better offer, it will continue to lose even in places like Myanmar where its investments and meddling have been most extensive.

One final dimension to this latest setback in Washington's war on Huawei is that Huawei's growing fortunes in the region regarding 5G technology will provide it with the time and clout needed to overcome some of Washington's most damaging tactics including cutting Huawei off from Google's Android operating system used by smartphones around the world.

Huawei is already launching smartphones using its own opensource operating system and as time goes by, it will likely begin displacing Google's previously undisputed market share in Asia first, and globally next.

Huawei may have been outcompeting US corporations, but it was America's own decision to play dirty that ultimately backfired and now threatens to displace the few remaining areas of expertise the US excelled in.

More Dirty Tricks Expected 
The US will continue firing shots at China, and in response to Myanmar's steady drift into Beijing's orbit, the US will likely turn up its campaign of sowing instability within Myanmar itself.

Watching the US media turn on Aung San Suu Kyi whom they themselves for years helped christen as the patron saint of democracy and human rights on a level of reverence nearing that of that other notorious CIA creation, the Dalia Lama, is a warning to all who are eager servants of Western special interests. Suu Kyi's future always was one in which she would be required by Washington to work against not only Myanmar's best interests but her own as well.

Myanmar choosing Huawei was in the nation's best interests. Myanmar working with China to develop badly needed national infrastructure is also in the nation's best interests.

China's role in mediating disputes along its border with Myanmar between the nation's central government and separatist groups in an attempt to preserve Myanmar's national unity is also much in Myanmar's best interests.

It is an approach to resolving the conflicts contrasting greatly with the US' tactics of defending separatist demands and perpetuating the destructive ethnic divisions purposefully cultivated when Myanmar was the British colony of Burma to keep the nation divided, weakened and susceptible to Western coercion.

Nothing the US has offered Myanmar comes even remotely close to fulfilling the nation and its people's genuine needs or best interests and it is no wonder why Myanmar has pivoted toward Beijing despite the current government's deep, decades-long ties to Washington.

The US will continue its current tactics, but this Eastward trend will continue for Myanmar and across the rest of Southeast Asia. The only question is how much damage the US will cause before the region fully escapes out from under the shadow of European colonisation and America's self-appointed task of trying to reassert Western primacy over the region.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


A stabilized finite element method for inverse problems subject to the convection-diffusion equation. I: diffusion-dominated regime. (arXiv:1811.00431v2 [math.NA] UPDATED)


Authors: Erik Burman, Mihai Nechita, Lauri Oksanen

The numerical approximation of an inverse problem subject to the convection--diffusion equation when diffusion dominates is studied. We derive Carleman estimates that are on a form suitable for use in numerical analysis and with explicit dependence on the P\'eclet number. A stabilized finite element method is then proposed and analysed. An upper bound on the condition number is first derived. Combining the stability estimates on the continuous problem with the numerical stability of the method, we then obtain error estimates in local $H^1$- or $L^2$-norms that are optimal with respect to the approximation order, the problem's stability and perturbations in data. The convergence order is the same for both norms, but the $H^1$-estimate requires an additional divergence assumption for the convective field. The theory is illustrated in some computational examples.

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