Threats close Kabul’s Irish bar


Booze: BBC: Threats close Kabul’s Irish bar:

Terrorism alerts have prompted the owners of Kabul’s only bar to close down temporarily. The Irish Club has been a roaring success with correspondents reporting hundreds of drinkers inside at a time since it opened on Ireland’s national holiday, St Patrick’s Day.

But the popularity of the bar, which is open only to foreigners in the predominately Muslim state, appears to have attracted the interest of terrorists, United Nations staff in the city said. ….

Owners of the bar hope it will reopen next week, but its clientele is set to shrink after the UN banned its staff from going there for security reasons and other foreign aid organisations and diplomatic missions have issued warnings to their personnel. ‘It’s been placed off limits indefinitely after warnings that it could be the target of a terror attack,’ said UN spokesman David Singh.

Still, the owners say they’ll do some renovation work while it’s closed. Looking forward to the Beeb story about ‘Kabul’s Irish bar now boasts extensive beer garden and function room’ next month…

Spam: In other news, it seems AOL, Yahoo! and Hotmail are banding together to ‘reduce spam’. This could be interesting.

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A peek into a spammer’s inbox, and ‘targeting’ The Sound Of A Spammer’s Laugh. Depressing reading. The article’s has screenshot of two MMF-spam dropboxes — here’s one. It’s full of mails from the spammer’s victims. Upshot: make sure your friends know not to reply to spam — and definitely not MMF spam. Mind you, if you’re reading this blog, you and your friends are probably too smart for that anyway ;)

Also: Brad Templeton on spam’s 25th birthday; Brian Hayes in American Scientist. The latter has this nice (although wholly unscientific ;) graph of spam topics — and it sounds like Brian’s getting spammed by

That raises an interesting point. Spam is frequently trumpeted (by the spammers) as ‘targeted’. What this often means, in reality, is that they’ve just randomly selected addresses and put them in a list as supposedly targeted for a given topic; or else run a Google search for a related term, and shoved a load of addresses from all pages found into a ‘targeted’ list.

For example, my spam load includes:

  • Artmarket, above. I’ve never been known to buy art, apart from a few cheapo prints, and that was off-line.

  • The septic tank spammers. I have about 30 spams from the last 2 years flogging septic tanks. I don’t even know what one looks like.

  • Turkish political spam. Don’t have a clue. I went to Turkey on holiday once, but I never gave my email address to anyone ;)

  • the obvious stuff everyone gets: Japanese, Chinese and Korean spam. I can’t even read the ideograms, let alone understand the written language.

Plus the usual MMF, get rich quick, and porno spam. Not once have I seen a spam hawking DVDs of Koyaanisqatsi, classic breakbeat releases, or the new William Gibson novel — now that would be targeting. But no…

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