| Slovenia Boasts Latest Cash Crop, Couch Potatoes By The Glory of Carniola 7/31 2:29pm EDT
How are Slovenes spending their free time? Watching the idiot box, that's how. According to a recent survey by Eurostat, Slovenes spend about 40% of their free time watching television. Not that they're the only couch potatoes in Europe. The results show that "watching TV and video was the main free time activity for both men and women in almost all countries." This holds especially true for Hungary -- the only surveyed group that spent more than half its free time in front of the boob tube. The survey includes data from nine EU countries: Belgium, Germany, Estonia, France, Hungary, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Hello! In Malaysia, We Greet People Differently By Idrus 7/29 7:05pm EDT
Malaysian always invite friends who happen to be around at eating time to join in and sometime it happen to friendly stranger also.... It is our way and it has been like that all the time that I know...., the Chinese Malaysian, when meeting friends or other would greet with the usual greeting of " Sudah makan" in Malay, which mean Have you eaten.... The Chinese never greet the westerner's way of saying How are you..... It is their concerned for the wellbeing of their fellow being, that makes them greet others this way....
Greek Win, A Sign Of Gloooooooooobalization! By MemeFirst 7/8 8:43pm EDT
Finally a good reason to mistrust globalization. According to this BBC analysis, the success of smaller football nations such as Turkey and South Korea in the World Cup in 2002 and the Czechs and Greeks in Euro 2004 at the expense of the traditional football superpowers is a trend, not a fluke. The ostensible reason is that the coaches are all imported these days, and that technology makes the best tactics and techniques available to everyone, though it makes the game more uniform, globally. This is certainly true, but I think there is one piece of the puzzle missing. What the overachievers have in common is not their relatively small size, it's their middle income status. They are rich enough to be able to afford the coach, poor enough that much of its youth plays football as a lottery ticket out of misery, and with something to prove due to the chip on their shoulder. Perfectly describes the Greeks, don't you think? Just as with Eurovision this year, old Europe no longer has the hunger for victory in these contests. Been there, done that.
Butter, Not Guns By Hammorabi 6/24 10:27pm EDT
In Falluja an American Helicopter has been downed and other American convoy have been attacked. The thugs threatens to kill all the Iraqi officials and burn all the oil pipelines if Falluja attacked by the US forces! It is the count down for their death as it is the count down for the Iraqis to butter their bread from the side they know it well! The days of the terrorist are counted and they know that very well. This is why they try to rock the boat for the last chance in the last minute. It is over for them and so soon their filthy bodies will be executed publicly.
Shirkers Killing Workers In Iraq By The Green Side 6/11 8:44pm EDT
The past week has seen both an increase in temperatures and an increase in violence here. Unfortunately, the violence has been particularly deadly for the Iraqi citizens who have not picked up arms against the coalition. It is pretty obvious here that the insurgents have determined that their best course of action is to kill any Iraqi who assists the coalition in any way. This means that even if a man hates Americans with every fiber of his being but takes a job pulling weeds around a US base, he is subject to be killed. The mujahadeen literally wait outside the bases near the highway and watch for Iraqis leaving a base. They either flag them down or they simply pull up along side of them and empty a magazine from an AK47 in to the vehicle. This occurs daily - many times a day here. Of course we are out there patrolling and trying to interdict these murders but it simply pushes the muj back and they wait further down the road. The amazing thing is that the Iraqis keep coming to work because they want to feed their families. Lately, the workers have started to arm themselves and there have been full blown shoot outs in the streets.
Iraqis Raise The Roof By Baghdad Burning 6/11 8:34pm EDT
The roof of an Iraqi home is a sacred place. As much planning goes into it as almost anything else. The roofs are flat and often surrounded by a low wall on which one can lean and look out into the city. During this last year, a certain sort of special bond has formed between your typical Iraqi and the roof of his or her home. We run out to the roof to see where the smoke is coming from after an explosion; we gather on the roof to watch the helicopters flying over head; we reluctantly drag ourselves out to the roof to fill the water tanks when the water is low; we hang clothes to dry on the clotheslines strung out haphazardly across the roof; we sleep on the roof during the endless, powerless nights.
Talk of Islamo-Fascism Overshadows the Real Evil: Hindu-Fascism By Iniyan 6/11 12:35pm EDT
The problem with the Indian peoples is that they have don't have a clear and rational answer to a question of their identity. There is no way one can be a citizen of India and not be a Hindu, even if one does not consider himself or herself to be a Hindu, unless one is a Jew, Parsi, Muslim or Christian. That this legally and socio-politically humongous fraud has largely gone un-noticed and un-reprimanded by the western establishment which is more obsessed with its anti-Islamic orientation, while Indian Hindu "scholars" and "lawyers" who sustain this legal and theo-social fraud are feted is ludicrous.
Genocide In Rwanda, and Congo, and... By CLIOPATRIA: A Group Blog 6/2 11:23pm EDT
There's a story about Rwanda that raises some interesting questions. About the ten-year-old mystery of who killed Habyarimana, for one thing. Who did bring down that plane? Was it the current president, Paul Kagame, as Le Monde wrote in an article last week? Or was it, as has largely been thought, Hutu extremists setting things up for the genocide that followed. But a much bigger question is what happened after the genocide. It appears that there was a second, retaliatory genocide after the first one.
Chalabi Got Sloppy By Iraq the Model 5/27 2:52am EDT
The only real support that this man has (or better say had) was the result his pro-American stance. People who believed that the interests of Iraq lied in parallel with those of the US in addition to some opportunistic who want to be in the circle of power supported Chalabi because they thought he was USA's man in Iraq. I personally didn’t like the man, but the fact that I believe my country’s interests lie in strong and long alliance with the USA made me accept him, especially if I had to choose between him and a cleric or an Arab nationalist. By showing hostility to the US, Chalabi lost most of his supporters and gained almost none in return, as anti-American Iraqis are either Arab nationalists or Islamists in general or fools who believe whatever the media has to say, and since the media showed the man as a thief and a traitor, there’s a very little chance that those people would believe otherwise.
Korean Gangsters Claim Big Money in 'Hot Bars,' But No Dog By Antti Leppäsen 5/25 12:48am EDT
One Mr Chông has extorted 100 million won (€ 67000) from a street stall keeper nojômsang Mun during the last three years. Mr Mun had started a "hot bar" (hatpa, see photo) stall in Myeongdong in a site where Chông had kept his own street stall earlier; Chông saw an opportunity and went to visit Mun with another street stall keeper, demanding either that Mun pay instead the debt taken by Chông of 70 million W or pay Chông 25% of his sales. Chông and his associate also beat up Mun. Charisse, "site tax" was the pretext under which the extortion happened.
| East Not Russian To Help Darfur By Me and Ophelia 8/3 2:26pm EDT
Khartoum is saying it's prepared to deploy up to 12,000 policemen to secure the western region of Darfur: "should that become necessary", Information Minister Zahawi Ibrahim Malik said. He said the current plan was to increase the existing number of policemen in the region from 5,000 to 6,000 over the next few days. The minister added that the increase was in line with an agreement between the Sudanese government and the United Nations aimed at securing the region and ridding it of various militia groups blamed for many of the atrocities committed against the civilian population. Eh? If it doesn't care to help get vital food to 70,000 people isolated in Darfur, why would it care to protect them? It will be interesting to read what the African Union says about this. If Sudan refuses to help with the aid operation, foregin troops will have to go in and help, and provide back-up to the AU-led mission of 270 troops due to land in Sudan any day now. Khartoum's so-called "police force" will guard what is going on in Darfur. AU-led 270 troops will guard the 120 UN observers who will report everything that is going on. Aid and aid workers will get through to Darfur, non? The regime in Khartoum - by ordering it's officials to delay the aid getting through to Darfur - is digging its own grave. Surely, it's days must be numbered - and it knows it too. The Arab League ought to be helping. They are very wealthy. Seems we in the West are the only ones to care. What about China, Russia, Pakistan and Brazil - are the citizens of those countries not ashamed of their governments - or do they simply not care?
In Uganda North Will Rise Again, Hopefully By Amy Finnegan 7/31 2:00pm EDT
For those not familiar with the exact location where we’ve put down for two months, a brief explanation: We’re living in Gulu, Uganda, which lies 386 km north of Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and not far from the border with Sudan. This distance is an important 386 km as stark contrasts exist between the Uganda of the South and the Uganda of the North. The South boasts of progressive economic development, a great reduction in HIV prevalence, and a peaceful countryside. The North shudders under the history of an 18-year war, nearly 2 million people crowded into internally displaced people’s (IDP) camps without adequate education, food or and healthcare, the continued spread of HIV, farmland vacated and unused to stem malnutrition ravaging children here, and thousands of kids who must commute nightly into safer spaces for sleeping for fear of abduction into a rebel army. We’re living at Lacor Hospital in a guesthouse with other folks who are here to work in the hospital for periods ranging from a month to numerous years.
It Pays To Be Poor In Burkina Faso By Voice in the Desert 7/22 10:40pm EDT
Burkina Faso has come third in the UN´s recent quality of life report. At the least livable end of things, that is. The criteria for calculating rankings included life expectancy, educational attainment, and adjusted real income. The bottom four countries on the list are all in West Africa. Here´s a question for Christians, then: what do you think Jesus actually meant when he said, ´Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven´ (Luke 6:20)?
10 Years After 100 Days of Massacres By 100 Days of Rwanda 7/17 6:15pm EDT
But my point is that Rwanda's experience is unique in its own right, and it too stands alone in its own terrible way. You do not need to look at it through the familiar lens of the Nazi atrocities, but let's try that for the sake of added insight. Imagine a Jewish Holocaust where the world did not intervene at all. Imagine what it would have been like if the Jews of the death camps had been told by their liberators to go peacefully back to work in regular jobs at Auschwitz, alongside the very guards who had starved, abused and murdered them. Imagine what it would have been like if the Nazis had been allowed to escape and cause new wars and atrocities in Romania or the Ukraine. Imagine what it would have been like if ordinary Germans were massacred in reprisal by those who took over after their leaders fled. But this is reality today in Rwanda and East Africa, where the Rwandan genocide was also an episode in the general instability of the region.
Japanese Children Go From Iron Curtain to Iron Chef By Japan Window 5/25 12:56am EDT
Today, along with millions across Japan, I watched live coverage of a plane landing in Tokyo. It wasn't much of a show. The occupants came down a set of steps, looked overwehelmed, then went straight into a waiting bus with well-curtained windows. But I paid close attention, even when the camera was zooming in on the plane's windows, trying to appreciate the moment. The passengers were the five returning children of the abductees (the children of the Japanese who returned from North Korea last year after being kidnapped and missing for years). I've been thinking about those kids. Their return is going to be a news sensation in Japan, a land of fast rising celebrity idols and instant fads. I can't imagine the adjustments they are already facing, and I almost feel sorry for them. I hope they don't find themselves "free" in Japan and afraid to go outside.
Hong Kong Democracy As Promising As A Free Tibet By MemeFirst 7/5 8:20pm EDT
Hong Kong staged a big march to protest Beijing's suppression of its political autonomy and to demand suffrage. Upwards of 300,000 people took part (probably). The Communist Party's reaction was twofold. For mainlanders, it stopped issuing travel visas to Hong Kong and ignored the march, aside from a small mention about a demonstration causing traffic jams that was buried in stories extolling the virtues of stability and prosperity that the motherland was bringing to Hong Kong. For Hong Kongers, the local Commie mouthpieces characterized the march as a "carnaval atmosphere" and encouraged local authorities to turn it into a tourist attraction. But the mood in that 95-degree, smog-infested heat was funeral, calm and determined. The day before the march, I heard Princeton U. sinologist Perry Link, co-editor of The Tiananmen Papers, discuss the similarities between the Communist Party's takeovers of Shanghai, Tibet and Inner Mongolia in the 1950s, and its tactics toward Hong Kong. His conclusion: Hong Kong's traditions of rule of law, freedom of speech and relative transparency are not going to survive. Popular action like the march will draw out the process, but cannot, in the end, save Hong Kong from becoming just another mainland city.
||Canada Has Elections Too!
| Big Issues This Election Are The Old Reliables By Jason 5/24 2:21pm EDT
Its the most exciting time in every Canadians life: election time! What do I expect the big issues to be this time around? Gay marriage - do we want men marrying men or not? Well, now its up to the average Canadian to decide! Its already been legalized, but according to polls, the vast majority of Canadians didn't approve of the governments unilateral move to legalize it. Marijuana legalization - Much to the chagrin of potheads around the country, the Liberals recently reneged on a promise to decriminalize marijuana. For anyone living in Vancouver this is a non-issue, because people just smoke it in front of the cops anyway, but around the country people want access to higher priced, less potent, government monopolized dope. Expect more promises to be broken, and more hippies to be left in tears.
Canadian Election To Be A Real Thriller By Trapper John 5/23 3:45pm EDT
Tomorrow morning, Canadian PM Paul Martin will ask the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament and will call a June 28 general election. And it's gonna be a fun ride. Polling shows that this is on track to be the first election with any real drama in a decade -- after over ten years of blandly effective Liberal government, the gradual erosion of Medicare and scores of small scandals are driving Canadians to look beyond the party that they have entrusted with supermajorities since the early '90s.
| Iraqis and Australians Much the Same By The Swanker 5/23 11:30pm EDT
Salam came across as an eloquent and sensitive speaker. He offered a refreshing respite from the blandness of conventional media reports on Iraq. He reminded everyone that there is much in common between Iraqis and Australians, emphasising the things we had in common, the minutiae of everyday life that everyone can relate to. I must admit, under the barrage of torture photos and newsreel footage of dusty soldiers and burned out buildings, I too had forgotten that there were millions of people struggling to eke out an existence and carry on as best as they could.
China's Urkel Actually Canadian By Sinosplice 5/15 10:16am EDT
Dashan is a big white Canadian. The thing is, he speaks Mandarin Chinese perfectly. I mean really, really well. He basically decided, "yeah, I'll take on Chinese," and then just competely kicked Chinese's ass. He has done xiangsheng for years, a kind of two-person traditional Chinese standup comedy. "Dashan" means "big mountain," which I always thought was an incredibly stupid Chinese name, but then a Chinese friend explained to me that it's sort of a joke, and that Chinese people like the name. Ah, Dashan... you win again, with your superior understanding of Chinese "humor" (which really is unfathomable)!