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DiploNews – Issue 20 – 26 April 2000

DiploNews – Issue 20 – April 26, 2000

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Can credentials be faxed?

The question of whether credentials can be faxed was raised this month when Australia appointed a new ambassador to Belgrade. The ambassador met with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in order to present his credentials. The USA, opposed to the meeting with Milosevic, had suggested that the Australians fax the credentials. However, the Yugoslav authorities made it clear that they would not accept faxed credentials.

For more information, see Radio Free Europe's Balkan Report.

Review of Internet Guide for Diplomats

DiploPublishing's Internet Guide for Diplomats was recently reviewed by Professor Berridge of Leicester University's Diplomatic Studies Programme. We are pleased to note that Berridge comments on one of our major themes; that the Internet is simply one of the many tools available for diplomats, not a replacement for them. He writes: "Kurbalija and Baldi have written an excellent book for the guidance of busy practitioners. Moreover, they are not naive evangelists: a recurring theme of their work is that the internet is an additional tool for the diplomat, a new technical aid which supplements rather than replaces others and certainly does not threaten to replace the diplomats themselves. Internet Guide is thus reassuring as well as useful and is, in consequence, warmly recommended."

Patron Saint for the Internet

Looking at a less technological side of Internet use, an article in the current Economist issue discusses the search for a patron saint for the Internet. Over the last century, the pope has designated certain saints as patrons for new inventions, such as television and telecommunications. On the other hand, certain patron saints have been adopted through popular acceptance rather than a papal declaration.

Several candidates have been proposed for the position of patron saint of the Internet. The most popular is St. Isadore, who, according to the Economist "was born in Seville in the sixth century, and compiled a 20-volume encyclopedia-like reference work, called 'The Etymologies', which covered a wide range of religious and secular topics. It was, say his supporters, an early example of a database of categorised (if unreliable) knowledge. That makes Isidore the ideal candidate for patron saint of the Internet."

Although no saint has been officially designated by the Vatican, the article points out that popular acceptance of a patron saint for the Internet would be "in keeping with the way things are done on the Internet, where protocols and standards are not imposed from the top down by a governing body, but left to arise spontaneously. Often, several competing solutions to a particular problem are proposed simultaneously. But if enough people support a particular standard (such as HTTP, the protocol that underlies the World Wide Web) it assumes official status."

To read the entire article visit the Economist website.

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