Sad but apparently true:

Amnesty International has condemned the continuing arrests of political activists inside Burma despite what it says was the government’s pledge to stop.

The London-based rights group on Tuesday published details of the arrest of several activists since early November.

Amnesty says Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein made a commitment to Ibrahim Gambari to halt the arrests when the U.N. special envoy met with him earlier this month.

Thein Sein is not to be confused with the junta’s supremo, Than Shwe, also known as the Bulldog. Also, Burmese refugees settle in the Washingon, D.C. area. No word on which candidate they’re leaning for — oh, wait. They’ll never be given citizenship in post-9/11 America. (Speaking of the election, I was snoozing through a Democratic debate a few weeks back and Kucinich woke me up, blasting Wolf Blitzer or some other moron about “illegal aliens”: “I object to the term,” said Kucinich. “They’re undocumented workers.” What a breath of fresh air. The rest of the evening was so canned, at least the words coming from Edwards, Obama, and Clinton.)

The Dalai Lama is in Amritsar, site of the famous Golden Temple of the Sikhs, to participate in an interfaith conference. Danny Fisher has more on the splash the DL is making at this conference. What religion has a better global ambassador than the Dalai Lama? Don’t make me quote statistics on how much more Germans love him than Benedict XVI. The DL says he’s “good for another few decades” but talk over his eventual succession is still burning up the airwaves.

Indonesia, widely criticized for its rampant deforestation (with the timber, much of it illegally harvested, going to Japan and the U.S., among other nations) is going to try and plant 80 million trees in one day.

The upcoming film The Golden Compass, based on the popular book, is coming under fire from Christians who feel it has atheist overtones. The writer and director Chris Weitz, who describes himself as a “lapsed-Catholic crypto-Buddhist,” plays down such concerns. Cue the “War on Christianity” talk from Fox News, just in time for Christmas.

This is an interesting gadget — the CO2 stats project. You upload a little doohicky to your page and, based on your traffic, it tells you your site’s carbon use, and works to offset it! It didn’t work here on first install — probably human error on this end. I imagine if it were on Google. Speaking of Google and their energy use, Big G’s philanthropic arm,, is working on solar energy. They’re putting them on the rooftops of their many buildings and their goal is to generate a gigawatt of energy, enough to provide power to San Francisco, according to the New York Times. If anyone can beat China to developing efficient solar energy doodads, maybe it’s Google.

– Philip Ryan, Web Editor