Wednesday, December 8, 2010

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WikiLeaks: Britain blackmailed and faced threats from Libya

Britain faced threats from Libya of dire consequences if the ailing Lockerbie bomber died in a Scottish prison, confidential US cables released by WikiLeaks today showed.

Threats included the cessation of all British commercial activity in Libya and demonstrations against British facilities, as well as suggestions Britons in the country could be put at risk, according to the cables.
And despite London's attempts to publicly distance itself from the decision to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi -- which was made by the devolved Scottish government -- the cables show enormous British relief at the move.
Libyan officials warned their British counterparts that "consequences for the U.K.-Libya bilateral relationship would be dire were al-Megrahi to die in Scottish prison," read one dispatch from the US ambassador to Tripoli in January 2009.
And if Washington publicly opposed the release, "the U.S. Embassy and private Americans in Libya could face similar consequences," read the cable from the ambassador, Gene A. Cretz.
Megrahi was the only person ever convicted over the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jumbo jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people, most of them US nationals.
He was released in August, 2009, on compassionate grounds after doctors diagnosed him with prostate cancer and gave him just three months to live, sparking outrage in the United States.
More than a year later he remains alive in Tripoli, however, renewing anger in the US.
One cable showed Britain's then justice minister, Jack Straw, told US diplomats that although Megrahi might have up to five years to live, the Scottish government appeared inclined to release him.
"Megrahi could have as long as five years to live," said the correspondence, cited in Britain's Guardian newspaper.
It went on: "The average life expectancy of someone of his age with his condition is 18 months to two years. Doctors are not sure where he is on the time scale."
The British government "believes that the Scottish may be inclined to grant the request, when it comes, based on conversations between [Scottish leader] Alex Salmond and UK justice secretary Jack Straw," said the cable.
The dispatches -- from a trove of some 250,000 US cables given to whistleblower website WikiLeaks and now slowly being released -- also showed the British ambassador in Tripoli "expressed relief" about Megrahi's imminent release.
"They could have cut us off at the knees, just like the Swiss," the ambassador Vincent Fean is cited as saying, in reference to a dispute between Libya and Switzerland prompted by the arrest of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's son.
Alex Salmond claimed Scotland was offered a "parade of treats" by Libya, which were all turned down, according to the cables.
The correspondence also showed that Scotland was unprepared for the fierce reaction from the United States, with Salmond declaring himself "shocked".
"The Scottish Government severely underestimated the both [US government] and UK public reaction to its decision to grant compassionate release," said one cable from Louis Susman, US ambassador to Britain, several days after Megrahi was freed.

Statement #49

''Without heroes, we are all plain people, and don't know how far we can go.''
Bernard Malamud

Day Opening - December 8

Burj Al Arab, Dubay by Night

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Vitro fertilisation not for women?

This is an hot issue; everyone in the Netherlands is entitled to in vitro fertilisation. However, in practice, IVF legislation is complicated and discriminates against lesbian couples. The Dutch gay rights organisation COC and the Equal Treatment Commission want the law changed.
Last month, Leiden University's Medical Centre refused to give IVF treatment to a lesbian couple. One of the women told a local radio station: “When we responded that this was pure discrimination, the doctor answered ‘Yes, that’s right, but it is hospital policy. We cannot do anything for you’.''
28-year-old Senaida and her girlfriend 23-year-old Alida were told that they cannot have IVF treatment because they are lesbians. If one of them had gone to the hospital with a sperm donor and pretended to be heterosexual, there would have been no problem, the doctor told them.

Sperm bank

The "Safety and Quality of Bodily Material Law", which came into effect in 2003, differentiates between sperm from a spouse or partner and sperm from a ‘known donor’. In heterosexual couples, the man does not need to have his sperm tested for diseases. But lesbian couples who have to use a sperm donor must have the sperm tested at a sperm bank. This also applies to single women and heterosexual couples when the man is infertile.
The hospital in Leiden does not have a sperm bank, so the women were turned away. The hospital could seek cooperation with a sperm bank, but has not done so. Other hospitals do generally use sperm banks or have their own testing facilities.
Senaida and Alida turned to the Equal Treatment Commission and submitted a complaint. Barbara Bos, legal advisor for the commission, has declined to comment on this case. However, she did comment on a complaint submitted by a lesbian couple in 2009; in that case the commission ruled that the hospital could hardly be criticised for adhering to IVF legislation. It is just that the law is unfavourable to lesbian couples.
“In the earlier case, we established that the legislation makes it more difficult for lesbian couples to get IVF treatment. We think that when the legislation was drawn up, no-one realised what the practical consequences would be.”
Philip Tijsma of COC thinks the women were right to turn to the Equal Treatment Commission. “After all, the doctors told them explicitly that they would not treat them ‘because they are lesbian’.” Mr Tijsma thinks the hospital should put more effort into seeking the services of a sperm bank.

But it is the law itself which discriminates: “It makes it more difficult for lesbian couples to have IVF treatment, because donor sperm has to be tested. This should be changed: get rid of the test.”
Mr Tijsma thinks there is no need to differentiate: “Test tube fertilisation comes at the end of a long process. There is always a relationship of trust with the donor, which means a test is not necessary. If there is something wrong with the sperm, this will come to light anyway.” After all, men in a heterosexual couples can have affairs and become infected with a sexually transmitted disease. So the principle that their sperm does not need to be tested is wrong.”
The Equal Treatment Commission and COC want Health Minister Edith Schippers to change the law so that it does not discriminate. Questions have been asked in parliament, but so far the minister has not responded.
Meanwhile Senaida and Alida are considering getting IVF treatment at a different hospital. But that will not be easy as the waiting lists are long. And since men have not been allowed to donate sperm anonymously, there are fewer donors.
And to be honest, I don't know if its healthy to have two mothers and an unknown father. I really don't know.

Arash's World: Space-Continuum, Time Travel and the Illusion of Free Will

Arash's World: Space-Continuum, Time Travel and the Illusion of Free Will

Day Opening - December 7

the beauty of the moment

Monday, December 6, 2010

No place for Dutch Orthodox Jews in the Netherlands...

Prominent VVD politician Frits Bolkestein believes there is no future for 'active' Jews in the Netherlands. The conservative politician made his remarks in an interview with a Dutch newspaper (others took it over).

In the interview, Mr Bolkestein says that when he talks about active Jews he means those who are recognisable as such, for instance Orthodox Jews. The former EU Commissioner says there is no future for this group in the Netherlands because of "the anti-Semitism among Dutchmen of Moroccan and Turkish descent, whose numbers keep growing''. Even teaching the Holocaust at elementary schools became problematic
He feels that this group of Jews should encourage their children to emigrate to either the United States or Israel, because he has little confidence in the effectiveness of the government's proposals for fighting anti-Semitism.
Earlier, Mr Bolkestein made similar statements in Het Verval (The Decline) by Manfred Gerstenberg, a recently published book about Jews in the Netherlands. Frits Bolkestein was political leader of the current coalition party VVD between 1990 en 1998. He later served as European Commissioner from 1999 until 2004.

Day Opening - December 6

Namibia

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hippies (2)


When hippies use drugs, they are transported to a mystical land full of pretty colors and psychedelicosity. Just look at those purty colors, man. Whoa.



Like, most hippies didn't know they were hippies until some one told them in a song, man. It started when Alan Ginsberg, Maharishi, Bob Dylan, Ira Ram Dass, ABBA, and, like, the sultans of cool, The Doors, all started listening to ancient water bong rhythms AND three different holy gurus rant about the Thardo Bodal - The Tibetan Book of Like, Wow! which was instant enlightenment through sacred LSD ingestion OR smoking the dried skin of Sahara bananas... at the same time! The catch was it all leads to NOthingness - if you can dig that. This message of "Make Love Not War in the Void" was propounded by such psych bands as Jefferson Starship, The Misunderstood, as well as smaller, unknown bands like the Beatles (Transgenders, man. Rebels!). We're talking, like, psychedelic music here. Catch my drift? If you can't SEE your music then you’re not listening to a psychedelic hippie tune. Like, in 1969, scientists from everywhere went near Woodstock to watch a truckload of hippies just totally funk out, man. There were groovy rhythms by hippie bands like The Who that drove thousands of hippies into a mating frenzy... man. I know I had fun.


Like, drugs, dude. DRUGS! Drugs were awesome. Hippies used drugs to attain Nirvana, which is like, totally freakin' awesome! Hippies got all the weed, pot, bongs, and deep fried banana peels from mystical lands of enchantment like Colombia and China. Like, hippies loved the government's "Make America Safe for Drugs" program in 1963-67. The drugs were so popular with hippies because of all the kaleidescope colors that they saw. Like, hippies will do anything to just watch psychedelic colors, man. Anything. 'Cause the colors are so pretty, and.... whoa... Anyway, when hippies light a joint their spirits are sent to the Mystical Land of All Things Trippin'. Hippies love this wonderful place so much, they never want to go, man. It's just so particularly excellent. You wouldn't want to leave either.
To be continued....
Source: ? Laters....

Paedophilia now legal in Malyasia (with the consent of parents)

The public marriage celebration in Malaysia between a 14-year-old girl and a 23-year-old teacher has triggered a call for a fresh debate on child marriage.

Yesterday, schoolgirl Siti Maryam Mahood and Abdul Manan Othman celebrated their marriage at a mosque in the capital Kuala Lumpur, after a religious Sharia court approved the union.
"It has been hard trying to juggle two roles -- as a student and a wife -- but I am taking it in my stride," Siti Maryam was quoted as saying by the New Sunday Times newspaper.
"My husband is a teacher at a primary school and he is a family friend," she said according to the daily which said the girls' parents matchmade the couple and that the Sharia court granted them permission to marry in July.
Ivy Josiah, executive director of leading activist group Women's Aid Organisation, said that laws which allow underage marriage in certain cases must be dumped by Malaysia, a conservative and mainly Muslim country.
"I certainly hope this will spark a fresh round of open debate. There should not be any roadblocks... that it involves culture and religion and hence we cannot talk about it,".
Josiah has previously said that "child marriage amounts to paedophilia". You bet it is!

Muslims below 16 who want to get married must obtain the permission of the religious courts. Those of other religions aged below 17 must have the consent of civil authorities.
"We need to remedy the flaws in the law. There are exceptions in the law. These exceptions should be removed. The government can no longer turn a blind eye," Josiah said.
"The government should set the minimum marriage age of 18 for all races -- boys and girls since the Child Act recognises a child as anyone below 18," she said. "We need to protect the child."
In Malaysia, Muslims make up about 60 per cent of the 28 million population. For certain issues including family law they are subject to Sharia which operates in parallel with the civil legal system.
Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, the minister for women, family and community development, said in July that underage marriage was "morally and socially unacceptable". Or in other words: disgusting!

Day Opening - December 5

Early bird, by Samuel Waterston

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hippies (#1)

Earth tranny
Like, hippies (homo groovius) are a semisentient subspecies of humanity that first evolved in the 1960s and are now mostly extinct, man. The result of experimental drug testing on just about everything, hippies like, transformed the face of the United States and Great Britain and certain parts of Australia too, man. The hippie race was distinguished by their outtasite vibes, psychedelic drugs, interesting odors, radically long hair, and above all, the tendency to "fight the power." Hippies were extremely active in both politics and sex, and often confused the two. In fact, liberal tendencies and fornication are now thought of as the reason for overpopulation in the world today. But that's cool, man!
Brotha, black hippies are a subspecies of the hippie subspecies, making them a subsubspecies, you dig? Black hippies differ from conventional hippies in that they got style. Black hippies were noticeably blacker, wore more bling, and were more likely to not work for the man every night and day like other white fool hippies. Black hippies were always angrier than other hippies because of their righteous enragement at their lack of rights, man. Most black hippies also belonged to a secret society like the Black Panthers or the Nation of Islam. Fo' shizzle. (to be continued) *source: later

My date with Al Gore

Day Opening - December 4


Fontain, Seattle by Anton Treskunov


Friday, December 3, 2010

Current situation: WikiLeaks

Sweden said it would issue a fresh arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, while US senators unveiled a bill aimed at punishing him and his whistleblowing website.
Freshly released State Department cables confirmed US concerns about President Hamid Karzai and the pervasiveness of corruption in Afghanistan, where some 100,000 US troops are stationed to fight the Taliban.
In one cable, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry said Karzai may be "paranoid" as he often inquired about conspiracy theories in which the United States was said to be working to undermine him or to weaken Afghanistan or Pakistan.
After the Supreme Court in Stockholm refused to hear an appeal by Assange against the initial warrant over allegations of rape and molestation, Swedish police said they would issue a new one as a result of a procedural error.
"It's a procedural fault," Tommy Kangasvieri of the Swedish National Criminal Police told AFP. "The prosecutor Marianne Ny has to write a new one."
While Assange has not been seen in public since WikiLeaks began leaking around 250,000 cables on Sunday, his London-based lawyer Mark Stephens denied he was on the run.
"Scotland Yard know where he is, the security services from a number of countries know where he is," Stephens told AFP.
While the elusive whistleblower laid low, a group of US senators introduced legislation that would make it illegal to publish the names of informants serving the US military and intelligence community.
The legislation, which would amend the US Espionage Act aimed at punishing the disclosure of secret information, could help to stop such leaks from happening again.
But American legal experts have said the path to prosecution is strewn with potential legal complications, including free speech protections under the First Amendment of the US constitution.
Britain's Guardian newspaper Friday published leaked cables sent from the US embassy in London in which US officials discussed former British prime minister Gordon Brown's "abysmal track record" as he lurched "from political disaster to disaster."
The paper also said US and British officials clashed over the use of a Cyprus air base for US spying missions in 2008, with London worried about complicity in potential rights abuses.
The British were particularly concerned about U2 spy plane missions to track militants in Lebanon, Turkey and northern Iraq that provided intelligence to Lebanese and Turkish authorities., according to leaked cables.
The United States came under fire after WikiLeaks documents released on Sunday showed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had asked American diplomats at the UN to seek intelligence about Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other senior UN figures.
The July 31, 2009 cable requested information about the UN leader's stance on Iran and the Middle East and his "management and decision-making style."
According to The Guardian, the CIA drew up the "wish list" of information and passed it on to the State Department, which then distributed tailored requests to its diplomats around the world.
The wish list is created annually by the manager of Humanint (human intelligence), a post created in 2005 by the administration of then-president George W. Bush to aid with intelligence co-ordination, the daily said.
Some of the most eye-catching of the latest revelations centred on Russia with one memo quoting a Spanish prosecutor describing it as a virtual "mafia state" whose political parties operate "hand in hand" with organised crime.
Jose Gonzalez, who has been investigating Russian organised crime in Spain for a decade, also agreed with poisoned dissident Alexander Litvinenko's thesis that Russian intelligence and security services "owned organised crime."
The cables have also quoted Defense Secretary Robert Gates as saying "Russian democracy has disappeared" and describing President Dmitry Medvedev as "Robin" to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's "Batman."
In an interview with CNN, Putin said Gates was "deeply misled" and warned US officials not to "interfere" in Russia's internal politics.
As the leaks piled on embarrassment for his administration, President Barack Obama named Russell Travers, an anti-terrorism expert, to lead efforts to mitigate the damage and prevent future illegal data disclosures.
Assange's Stockholm-based lawyer Bjoern Hurtig told AFP Thursday he would fight his client's extradition to Sweden in the event of his arrest, while the fugitive's mother expressed fear for her son's safety.
"I'm concerned it's gotten too big and the forces that he's challenging are too big," Christine Assange told the Courier Mail, her local newspaper in Queensland, Australia.

Eating Happy Pigs meat

Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn has announced it’s going to start using happier pigs. Pork from pigs with a one-star “Better Life” pedigree will gradually replace meat from factory farms on the freezer shelves. Albert Heijn is the first supermarket to introduce the measure and it hopes all its supermarkets will sell one-star pork in 2011. The first packet will be presented to Deputy Agriculture Minister Henk Bleker today.

The star system was introduced by the Dutch Animal Protection Foundation in 2007. The foundation was initially criticised because the system rewards farmers for small improvements. A one-star pig has one square metre to live in (compared to 0.8 square metres in factory farms) and male pigs are not castrated.

It might not be a big difference, but the idea of bridging the gap between factory and organic farming seems to be paying off. A spokesperson for the Animal Protection Foundation says “Organic meat is better, but consumers don’t want it.” The decision means a million pigs will be slightly better off. They will also live in groups rather than in individual pens. But if you want to eat a really happy pig, you will still have to go organic. Three-star pigs have three times as much room as factory farm pigs, lie on straw, keep their tails and teeth, and are not castrated. Of course, if you really want to make pigs happy, turn vegetarian.

Day Opening - December 3

Clear, ladies?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What makes the Dutch so Happy?

It is freezing cold in the Netherlands, andmost newspapers print photos on their front pages of oridnary people wrapped up in hats and scarves. Others opts for a full page photo of two people wearing skates on a frozen lake and asks why ice makes the Dutch so happy? The answer is - apparently - it is one of the great levellers of society.

Since 'time began' rich and poor have skated side-by-side through the Dutch landscape, it seems. “It is free space without rules, true freedom,” says Paul Snabel, head of the Netherlands Institute for Social Research.

Day Opening - December 2


Winter in the Netherlands (its both winter in the Netherlands as in Turkey although temperatures in Amsterdam is -6 and Istanbul 20 degrees..))


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Turkey, Erdogan and its antisemitism

In fact, I didn’t want to write anything about WikiLeaks. Why? The fact that these cables exist and reveal, if not confirm, the ugliness of diplomacy, makes them news. Nothing more! What few have mentioned, however, is what the leaked documents are not:
-They are not reporting
-They are not journalism
-They are not investigative
-They are not analytical
-They are not, by themselves, important

But what matters is now how governments react on all these allegations: on the languages of different USA civil servants.
Yesterday I was joking with a Turkish friend that Erdogan would sue whoever cross his path on this and that in the end the ‘Jew’ would be blamed for it. Since ‘the Muslim’, from their point of view is simple the ‘Eternal victim'. And always will be. But, heeeee, I was really joking; until late this afternoon. First the PM of Turkey said: ‘’This is the United States’ problem, not ours... Those who have slandered us will be crushed under these claims, will be finished and will disappear’’ Not the words of diplomacy, right.? Or this: ‘’ “My friends are working [to take action] against these diplomats in terms of national and international law. We will continue this process there. Thereafter, they [the diplomats] have to think [about the consequences],” Erdoğan said. “We have discussed these issues with the U.S. administration. They have extended their apologies, but it’s not enough. They have to take all necessary measures against these diplomats’’

The guy simple don’t know that you cannot sue diplomats. You can expel them when they committed serious crimes. That’s all. But it became worse and ugly now since a senior official of the ruling Turkish AKP party declared: ‘’Israel could have engineered the release of hundreds of thousands of confidential documents on WikiLeaks as a plot to corner Turkey on both domestic and foreign policy’’
Turkey anno 2010: anti-Semite, discriminator, racist, and full of self pity. A shame.

Rape and antisemitism in Sweden

Abbas: Palestinians have other options if talks fail. Intifade?

Abbas on the right, left Hamas leaders.
The Palestinians will explore alternative ways to gain international recognition if US efforts to advance peace talks with Israel fail, president Mahmud Abbas said yesterday.
"We will spare no effort in pursuing this process and we have no choice but the choice of peace, we will continue with the peace process and we hope that US efforts will succeed," Abbas said at a news conference with German President Christian Wulff.
"And even if they don't succeed, we will go to other options within the framework of peace and international legitimacy, to arrive at the establishment of an independent Palestinian state," he said.
The Palestinian leadership has said repeatedly in recent weeks that it is considering a range of alternatives, including seeking United Nations recognition for an independent declaration of statehood, if peace talks do not resume.
Direct talks that began in September stalled shortly after they started when an Israeli moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank expired.
The Palestinians have said they will not return to the talks unless the construction ban is renewed, but Israel has so far refused to reimpose the ban.
The United States has been working on a letter of agreement that would offer Israel a range of incentives in exchange for a new moratorium, but no final paper has been released.
And even if Washington can agree on a formulation with Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister has pledged any new freeze would not halt building in east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want included in a new moratorium. Abbas, speaking after meeting with Wulff, challenged Netanyahu to show his commitment to the peace process. "If Benjamin Netanyahu said we don't want peace, he should try us," Abbas said. "We extend our hand to him and we extended our hands to Shimon Peres and the late Yitzhak Rabin."
Abbas rejected the suggestion that an interim agreement setting up temporary borders for a future Palestinian state could advance the peace process. "There is no reason why a solution cannot be implemented over a year or two, but we do not want a temporary Palestinian state," he said.After talking with Wulff, who has been touring Israel and the Palestinian territories since Sunday, Abbas also praised Germany's role in attempting to mediate in negotiations over the release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and called for him to be freed. "This man wants to return to his family as quickly as possible," Abbas said, adding that he had called for "his release from the beginning."Unfortunately we don't have an avenue to discuss the subject with Hamas," he added. "I call on them to release their prisoner and we also call on Israel to release Palestinian prisoners."
Shalit has not been seen by outside observers or by Red Cross representatives since his capture in a deadly raid along the Gaza border by Palestinian militants in June 2006.
The last official information on his well-being emerged in October 2009, when Hamas released a videotape of the young soldier calling on Netanyahu to do everything to free him.
The big question remains, and Abbas is deadly silent about that: What will Hamas do with an international recognized Palestinian state?

Day Opening - December 1

harmony

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

After Wikileaks: Iran agrees to talks on nuclear plans: EU

Iran agreed Today to a new round of talks in Geneva on December 6 and 7 with world powers on its controversial nuclear programme, an EU foreign affairs spokesman said.
Iran chief negotiator Said Jalili will meet for talks with EU chief diplomat Catherine Ashton, who will lead the international delegation, the spokesman said. "We've now received a response from the Iranian authorities in which they have said that Dr. Jalili has accepted Catherine Ashton's proposal to meet in Geneva," the spokesman said. "Talks between Catherine Ashton and Dr. Jalili will now take place on Monday and Tuesday next week in Geneva."
Ashton would lead the so-called "3+3" or "5+1" group of nations negotiating with Iran made up of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the United States, Russia, China, France, and Britain) and Germany.
The talks will be the first between Iran and six world powers since October 2009.
Disagreement over the agenda has held up the talks. The world powers want the talks to focus on Iran's uranium enrichment programme but Tehran wants a wider discussion that includes regional security issues.
The United States, Europe and Israel fear that Iran wants to use nuclear technology to build a bomb, but Tehran insists that its programme is a peaceful drive to produce civilian energy.
And Turkey is out of the picture.

Arash's World: The Important but Difficult Task of Letting Go and Buddhist Non-Attachment

Arash's World: The Important but Difficult Task of Letting Go and Buddhist Non-Attachment

Day Opening - November 30

Escape of an turtle

Monday, November 29, 2010

Is Switzerland the Black sheep of Europe?

Switzerland was slammed as the "black sheep" of Europe today after voters endorsed a far-right push to automatically expel foreign residents convicted of certain crimes. Austrian website news.at headlined an article saying: "Switzerland is now the black sheep -- majority for tougher rules against foreigers." The headline was a reference to the signature poster campaign mounted by the far-right Swiss People's Party (SVP) in its push for the expulsion, depicting white sheep kicking a black sheep out of the Swiss flag. On Sunday, 52.9 percent voted in favour of automatic expulsions and 47.1 percent were against, with the country's German-speaking majority largely backing the proposal. Only six of the 26 cantons rejected the initiative.
The vote came exactly a year after Switzerland shocked the world by agreeing to ban the construction of new minarets, which was another proposal backed by the SVP.
Switzerland's biggest circulating tabloid Blick headlined the news "Get out" (Raus in German).
Newspapers across Europe criticised the Swiss decision, with Belgian newspaper Le Soir saying that "Switzerland has once against chosen the radical road."
With the vote, "the Swiss have once again slapped the EU in the face," as the expulsion is "absolutely incompatible with the bilateral accord of free movement of people which links Switzerland to EU," said the newspaper.
The vote could "put all bilateral accords in question," it added.
Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung headlined their article "Switzerland violates international law."
"Switzerland sends -- like a year ago with the ban on minarets -- a signal to the world that it doesn't care what others think of it," said the newspaper. "The signal from the Swiss calls for a response... The European Union should not tolerate a country, with which it is tightly linked, to position itself so wantonly apart from this community. "Switzerland has violated one of the seven bilateral accords with the EU. And theoretically, it is also bringing six others into question," added the journal.
"Austria's Die Presse said Switzerland demonstrated a sort of "schizophrenia."" On the one hand, murderers, rapists and foreign drug dealers must be expelled. On the other hand, despots, dictators, mafia or businessmen crooks, whose money have often dodgy origins, are always welcomed with a 'Gruezi.'," it noted, referring to the Swiss German greeting.
Even much of the mainstream broadsheets within Switzerland deplored their compatriots' decision.
Le Temps headlined their editorial "Anguish," criticising the SVP for imposing their agenda "with disregard for universal rights."
Le Matin said the far-right campaign was successful as the party had become a "real war machine, with a perfect propaganda service, incomparable financial means, dedicated politicians and simplistic but terribly efficient messages."
The TagesAnzeiger noted "Switzerland will not make new friends with this 'yes' -- other than with the populist right circles of Europe.
"Up to now that included the Italian Northern League, and Holland's Geert Wilders as examples. Yesterday's decision reminds us that even in the Swiss idyllic utopia, we can find their supporters," it noted.
Italy's main broadsheet Corriere della Sera quoted a Northern League politician Mario Borghesio praising the Swiss decision as "an example of judicial civility."
The question remains: 'how many countries expel foreign criminals from their soil? Fort example thhe USA have a 3-strike-out law! İs that against universal rights?

John Halal

Day Opening - November 29

Happy Dolphins by Elena Shevkoplyas

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Statement #48

"Only if outward and inner freedom are constantly and consciously pursued is there a possibility of spiritual development and perfection and thus of improving man's outward and inner life."


--Albert Einstein

Ten years of legalised Euthanisia in the Netherlands

Today it is ten years since the Netherlands passed a law legalising euthanasia. This made the Netherlands the first country in the world to establish legal guidelines for ending a human life. But why has almost no other country followed the Dutch example?
The Netherlands likes to see itself as an ethical guide that other countries should follow. In 2001, the Mayor of Amsterdam presided over the first same-sex marriage while the world looked on. Since then, over ten countries have legalised same-sex unions.
One year earlier, the Netherlands became the first country to adopt a law on euthanasia. This was another Dutch breakthrough that attracted the attention of the world, but it did not inspire widespread admiration. Only two other countries have ventured to follow in the Netherlands’ footsteps: Belgium in 2002 and Luxembourg in 2009.

“Euthanasia centres on fundamental medical-ethical issues, so other countries cannot simply transplant the Dutch legislation to their own context,” explains Walburg de Jong of the Voluntary Euthanasia Association.
“The Dutch Euthanasia Act was preceded by 30 years of debate in the Netherlands. That discussion was initiated by the general public and filtered through to the world of politics. Interestingly, the process in Belgium two years later was the other way around. There it was the government that wanted to regulate the issue and so the euthanasia law was imposed from the top down.”

Beyond the Benelux countries, legal arrangements for euthanasia exist in Switzerland and in the US states of Oregon, Washington and Montana. There is a difference, however: in those places a doctor is only allowed to provide the medicines that enable someone to end their life. But taking action to end someone’s life, for example by administering and excessive dose of morphine, is still very much illegal.

Cultural shift

Regulating euthanasia by law requires a huge cultural shift. After all, it is the responsibility of the state to protect its citizens, a role that appears to be at odds with helping them end their own life.
From an international perspective, there are only two situations imaginable in which the state gives its assent for the taking of a human life on professional grounds, says Evert van Leeuwen, Professor of Medical Ethics in Nijmegen. “An executioner is allowed to do so when implementing a death sentence and it is permitted during wartime.” This is why doctors in other countries are not permitted to take a life.
“Here in the Netherlands, we tend to take a different view,” Prof Van Leeuwen says. “Here, a doctor gets to choose between his oath and his patient’s wishes. If his patient wants to die, he is allowed to assist them”. Many countries do allow palliative sedation, in which a doctor administers heavy sedatives and stops treatment.

The easygoing Dutch attitude toward a doctor playing an active role in ending a patient’s life appears to be mainly due to well-known Dutch values such as tolerance, transparency and an almost compulsory urge to regulate. Ethicist Van Leeuwen:
''Deeply engrained tolerance means that the wishes of others are taken seriously. Our openness makes it much easier to talk about someone’s wish to die”.
And the Dutch are also pragmatic; they want to structure and regulate anything they can. On top of which, the church - a fierce opponent of euthanasia - in the Netherlands has little say in people’s private lives.

Instead of emulation, Dutch euthanasia policies have over the past ten years mainly met with criticism:
“After euthanasia and infanticide, the next step in the Netherlands will most likely be a suicide pill for people who are tired of life, even though it will probably take a few years before it’s legal.” (Correspondent Greg Burke, Fox News)
“The Nazi laws and Hitler’s ideas have made a comeback in Dutch euthanasia laws and the debate about how sick children are killed.” (Italian minister Carlo Giovanardi)

These spectres are not borne out by the facts: the number of cases of active euthanasia has been steady at 2,500 for years, slightly lower than before the introduction of current euthanasia laws. The criticisms regarding the killing of children refer to a medical protocol drawn up by neonatologists for the termination of life for newborn babies who are suffering unbearable pain without a prospect of improvement. Professor Van Leeuwen says: “You could ask yourself if it was even necessary”.
The topic continues to being hot and controversial.

Day Opening - November 28

A happy baby.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Let's sing a new song

To read the poem, hop on to Life Rules

And...Mohammed existed

Some sceptical scholars claim that Muhammad did not exist and that Islam is a fabrication made up in later centuries. But Leiden University’s Petra Sijpesteijn has demonstrated from her work on Arabic papyrus manuscripts that their claim is not true.

What was the origin of Islam and what went on at the dawn of Islamic history? In the past, scholars who wanted to research the subject had to rely on the official Islamic version of events which was only written down about 200 years after Muhammad’s death. Only relatively recently has interest grown in more objective but less accessible sources such as coins, inscriptions and texts written on papyrus.
Petra Sijpesteijn, professor of Arabic language and culture at Leiden University, says that this last source is especially important. “The papyri are in fact the only contemporary source for the first 200 years of Islamic history.”

Papyrus manuscripts have been found in their thousands in the sand and at ancient rubbish tips all over the Middle East but especially in Egypt. Dr Sijpesteijn explains that they are often difficult to read because they are partially destroyed, badly written out or in dialect. “But if you can read them, they offer a unique glimpse of ordinary life at the dawn of Islam.”
The study of Arabic papyri is in its infancy. Only a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of available manuscripts have been studied. As far as the work done so far is concerned, the Muslim faithful can set their minds at ease: Dr Sijpesteijn says the texts largely confirm the official Islamic version of events.

Dr Sijpesteijn distances herself from the small group of polemical colleagues, known as the ‘revisionists’, who assert that the Prophet Muhammad probably did not exist. They say the Arabic conquerors were actually a disorganised horde of Bedouins who gained control of half the known world more or less by chance. Islam is said to have been dreamt up 200 years later in Iraq.
“From the papyri, it appears that the Arab conquests were indeed carefully planned and organised and that the Arabs saw themselves as conquerors with a religious mission. They also appear to have held religious views and followed customs which contain important elements of the behaviour and beliefs of later Muslims.

Dr Sijpesteijn says for example that, shortly after Muhammad’s death, there is already mention of a pilgrimage (hajj) and a tax to collect money for the poor (zakat). She has also come across a papyrus text written around 725 which names both the prophet and Islam.
Even so, her discoveries form a potential threat to the image some modern Muslims have of their history. The papyri contradict the belief held by many of today’s Muslims that Muhammad delivered Islam as a sort of ready-made package. “It looks as though Islam in its first centuries developed a form gradually. There was an awful lot of discussion about precisely what it meant to be a Muslim.” And thats still continues!

Day Opening - November 27

Tomorrow can be

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkish-Dutch woman Semra Çelebi: I stopped wearing my headscarf

Turkish woman Semra Çelebi no longer wears her headscarf. She says she doesn't need to in order to be a good Muslim. The decision was not an easy one. Semra recently started a Facebook page called I took off my hijab. (interesting is that women and girls support her but men and boys not, calling her a sinner)
The scarf is still folded up neatly in a cupboard at her parents' house. Semra Çelebi has saved all her old headscarves. They are part of her past but they are not part of her current identity. Semra now lives in Amsterdam, where she feels anonymous and free.

Semra was ten years old when she first started wearing a headscarf. She was following the example of her younger sister, who attended an Islamic primary school. Semra herself went to a Christian school in the Dutch town of Barneveld. Her father, who is from a traditional Turkish family, believes women should wear headscarves. It took a little getting used to for Semra. "I felt ill at ease, because I wasn't sure how my friends would react. I remember them dragging me into the classroom because I wouldn't go in. They just accepted me."

Teatowel

Sometimes she gets negative reactions. One person called her "teatowel". Usually she ignores any comments. Once she was refused a job at a toy company because of the headscarf. They told her "we can't do that to our customers".
Wearing a hijab became more and more a part of her religious identity. After all, God wants women to dress modestly. She defended her decision to wear the headscarf in debates and her quick tongue started to get her noticed.

Identity

However, when Semra started studying law at Utrecht University she started to change her mind. She did internships in Sheffield, New York and Brussels, far away from her home town with its strict rules. After reading a number of books on the subject, Semra decided to stop wearing her headscarf.
"It no longer suited the way I saw my religion. I don't need it to be a good Muslim. It was six months before I actually stopped wearing it. It was very difficult. It is not just a piece of cloth. It is part of my identity and I wore it for 16 years. I was afraid of how people would react."

Support

That was three years ago. And Semra still has to defend her identity, but this time as a Muslim woman without a headscarf. Her father does not approve and she gets negative reactions. But she refuses to give in. Recently she started a Facebook page to support women who decide to stop wearing headscarves.
Within three weeks around 100 people had joined the page. Some girls write that they are afraid to stop wearing their headscarves because of the reactions they will get. One father stopped talking to his daughter for months. Semra says her Facebook page is not intended to encourage Muslims to stop wearing their headscarves.
"The important thing is that you make your own choices. That is not always easy. My choice was about wearing a headscarf, but it could about something else. A colleague told me his girlfriend's father ignored him for five years because he and his girlfriend lived together. That was his decision."

source: rwd.nl

Day Opening - November 25

Sleeping beauty - Kangaroo

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Arabic Nazism & Anti-semitism

New Trends in Arabic Anti-semitism from Henrik Clausen on Vimeo.

Update

More sites are added to the blog roll of Internations including The Last Bear and Francis Hunt’s Attempted Essays. Gauri’s ‘Life Rules’, which is linked to this blog for almost 4 years, became a welcome active contributor of this blog. She already posted several post entries, but was never proper introduced. Gauri is from India and writes part-time for her profession. Again: welcome!


Next post is a video of a presentation the State of Israel give for the UN Human Right Council in Geneva on the 28th of September 2010. The video shows that Nazism is well alive in parts of the Middle East. I warn you for the last 4 minutes of the video: these are so pervert (especially with the Arab commentator) that I thought: ‘how de-human humanity’ can be.

Essays on the Arab Israeli Conflict: When President Obama Uses Israel's Legitimacy as a Bargaining Chip

Essays on the Arab Israeli Conflict: When President Obama Uses Israel's Legitimacy as a Bargaining Chip

Day Opening - November 25

A helping Hand. Who immitates who? Humans or animals?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Homosexuals no longer protected by UN charter

Statement #47

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

Day Opening - November 24

Istanbul by Istanbulblogger (Brian Underdown)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Back to the Wilderness

Excitement in The Hague today! The Dutch Freedom Party, led by the democratically elected Geert Wilders, had an internal discussion with his colleague MPs about more democratic fundaments of its movement, initiated by one of the enfants terrible Hero (nomen est omen?) Brinkman.

The excitement lasted only a few hours, by the end of the day the stakeholders announced that the members of the fraction decided not to proceed with the democratic initiative. So it's not possible to become (active) member of the party and have influence on decisions and the party policy, it's not possible to attend party congresses (simply because they won't exist) and it's not possible to change the course of the party's objective of being an anti-islam party...

Within the political environment of democracy the piece of Wilderness remains, similar to the dark Middle Ages, where the tirannic king rules, led by devine intervention (i.e. as long as the fear of Muslims remains, Geert has a legitimate basis to rule his private political kingdom).

And how about our democratic Hero? He just smiles and tells the press that he never had the intention to stand down when his plan would be shot off...

Women are doing better than Men

The answer why females are doing better; women talk more clearly than men. Their plain speaking is due to the higher position of the voice box, making it easier for them to articulate. Bart de Boer of Amsterdam University researched the position of the larynx; his findings were published in the Journal of Phonetics last week.

Up until now, it was thought that the low position of voice boxes in men meant they articulated their words better. However, in men the larynx is longer making it more difficult for them to pronounce words. “They have to put more effort into speaking clearly,” says the researcher. Fortunately for them, the position of the voice box makes them sound more impressive. So it doesn’t really matter what they say....

The Nuremberg trials as precessor of the ICC

The International Criminal Court in The Hague would never have been set up if it weren't for the Nuremberg Trials. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief prosecutor at the ICC, feels personally indebted to the tribunal established exactly 65 years ago to try senior Nazi figures. It was the birth of modern international law.

“What makes Nuremberg so important is the idea that the whole world is one society. That international law can enable us to defend human rights. This is the way we combat those responsible for the greatest possible crimes. That new idea guarantees society will continue to exist,” explains Professor Moreno-Ocampo in his office in The Hague.

Since Nuremberg, increasing numbers of people have dedicated their lives to the protection of victims. Putting international rules in place is also very important for the future. “No more indemnity from punishment,” he says.

Sinister

On 20 November 1945, at the start of the Nuremberg Trials, the chief prosecutor for the United States, Robert H. Jackson, stated: “What makes this inquest significant is that those prisoners represent sinister influence that will lurk in the world long after their bodies have returned to dust.”
Mr Jackson described it as an honour to open for the prosecution in the first trial concerning crimes against world peace. However, he also said he was conscious of the great responsibility which came with that honour
It was the first time ever that an international military tribunal had been set up to try people accused of war crimes. Initially, allied leaders, including Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin, were decidedly not in favour of an international trial. They were more inclined to sanction the execution without trial of between 50,000 and 100,000 German officers.


Birthplace of Nazism

The plan for an international trial was put forward by US war secretary Henry Stimson. President Roosevelt's successor Harry Truman welcomed the idea. The tribunal only got started after intensive negotiations with the British, Russians and French. Nuremberg was chosen because it was seen as the birthplace of Nazism. It was the scene of mass Nazi rallies and was where the Nazi regime proclaimed its racist laws which stripped, for example, Jewish people of their civil rights.
All the top Nazi figures were indicted, except for Hitler and Goebbels who had both committed suicide. A total of 177 Nazis were tried at Nuremberg: 12 were given the death sentence, 10 of these were hanged. The other defendants were given sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment. Three defendants were found not guilty.

Tomorrow: Arab NeoNazism and Antisemitisme in the 21th century

Day Opening - November 23

An interesting meeting

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

None



Did you smell flowers today?
Or savoured your coffee?
Did you see the sky today?
Or dreamt an old dream?
Did you feel good to be alive today?

-Gauri Gharpure

Azerbaijanie bloggers freed!

Bloggers Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli have been freed by the authorities in Azerbaijan. They were imprisoned at the end of 2009. The two had criticised Azeri President Ilham Aliyev in a satirical film.

The bloggers, sporting donkey costumes, discussed the purchase of a donkey by the president. During an official visit to Germany in 2009, Mr Aliyev had bought a donkey for 40,000 euros.
Shortly after the film was broadcast, Mr Hajizade and Mr Milli were beaten up and eventually jailed. They were charged with ‘hooliganism’ and ‘inflicting bodily harm’. Mr Hajizade was given a two-and-a-half year prison sentence and Mr Milli, two years.
This week, an appeal court granted Mr Hajizade early release: he had served 16 months. On leaving the court, he told onlookers that he would remain in Azerbaijan and continue his blogging activities. “I was not guilty and demand a full pardon,” he said. “Freedom is my right.”
Emin Milli was yesterday today on appeal.

Day Opening - November 20

Bon appetit

Friday, November 19, 2010

UN General Assembly condemns human rights violations in Iran, North Korea and Myanmar

A UN General Assembly committee passed resolutions condemning human rights violations in Iran, North Korea and Myanmar, provoking a furious reaction from their delegations.
A top Iranian official lashed out at Britain as the "United Kingdom of devils," North Korea's representative said his country would not change its much-condemned actions, while Myanmar's ambassador called the vote "seriously flawed."

Opposition from China and other nations failed to stop the resolutions from passing with strong majorities.
"By condemning three of the world’s most egregious human rights abusers and shining a spotlight on deplorable human rights practices in these countries, member states have stayed true to the founding values of the UN," said the United States' UN ambassador Susan Rice.
Iran caused the most contested debate, with the Islamic Republic even trying to stop the vote going ahead.
"Violations continue and continue to worsen," said Canada's UN ambassador John McNee, whose country led the 42 nations that co-sponsored the resolution.
Iran has consistently rejected international appeals over the use of torture and increasing use of public executions, including by stoning and strangulation, McNee said.
"This persistent attitude over time demonstrates a fundamental lack of respect for the United Nations, its human rights treaties and practices," he said.
Mohammed Javed Larijani, head of Iran's High Human Rights Council, told the committee the resolution was "harmful for international peace and coexistence."
He accused accused the United States of being the "mastermind" of the now annual resolution.
"Our crime is that our democracy is not a replica, not an Xerox copy of western democracy. We do not want to be Western democracy," said Larijani.
Larijani highlighted deadly riots in Los Angeles, and protests in France that he said left "Paris was in flames like a war zone" to highlight what he called "misleading" accusations by the West about human rights.
Britain sent an intelligence agent to shoot an Iranian student killed during protests after Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election, he alleged.
The committee passed the resolution by 80 votes to 44, with 57 abstentions.
"Iran’s lobbying against the resolution has spectacularly failed," said Philippe Bolopion, UN specialist for Human Rights Watch.
"This should be a wake-up call to Iran’s government that the international community views it as a serial rights offender," he added
One hundred nations backed the resolution against North Korea, which condemned "torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including inhuman conditions of detention, public executions, extrajudicial and arbitrary detention."
China and other Asian nations were among 18 countries to vote against the resolution sponsored by European Union nations.
North Korea's deputy UN ambassador Pak Tok Hun called the resolution and the EU "confrontational."
"This is a miscalculation to expect any change from us through the forceful adoption of fake resolutions," he told the meeting.
China voted against the motion saying "human right issues should be dealt with through dialogue and cooperation."
China also led opposition to the resolution against the Myanmar junta, which highlighted the plight of political prisoners, the use of torture and inhuman treatment, child soldiers and attacks on civilians.
Despite the release on Saturday of Myanmar opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi, the resolution was backed by 96 nations and opposed by 28 with 60 abstaining.
"Finger pointing does not protect human rights," China's representative told the committee meeting.
Myanmar's ambassador Than Swe called the resolution "seriously flawed."

Day Opening - November 19

extreme sports...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Freedom of religion stops where animal suffering begins

Yesterday newspapers showed many pictures of slaughtered animals. These one in Turkey (click here) A Dutch newspaper showed a photo of a decapitated sheep’s head in a wheelbarrow. In the background the carcass is being skinned. Tuesday saw the start of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim festival of sacrifice, when sheep are slaughtered and the meat shared out among family and friends. But Dutch Party for the Animals leader Marianne Thieme would like to see a ban on ritual slaughter.
Ms Thieme’s bill to outlaw Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter will be debated in the Lower House next week. To win MPs’ support, she will be screening gory videos in parliament showing how conscious animals have their throats cut before being hoisted aloft, struggling as they bleed to death. The Party for the Animals wants livestock to be stunned before they are killed, as they are in non-religious slaughterhouses.
According to Ms Thieme, halal meat is big business in the Netherlands, and in fact a lot of meat on supermarket shelves comes from ritual slaughterhouses, though it isn’t labelled as such. She’s hoping that she’ll be able to win the backing of parties on both left and right. It’s a sensitive issue, she admits, but as far as she’s concerned, “Freedom of religion stops where animal suffering begins.”
Ritual slaughter is inmense cruel.

Holland - Turkey; Fireworks for the wrong reason

Türkiye! Türkiye! An hour before the match, the northern stands of the Holland Amsterdam ArenA were already turning red and white. Not the usual Ajax colours, but the shades of Ay Yıldız, with the moon and star shining on gigantic red flags. The noise was exceptional too, with the Turkish contingent shouting their lungs out, drowning out the bewildered orange army on the southern terraces.

A hellish chorus of boos and hisses engulfed the Holland team as they entered the pitch; the cheers for the Turkish side produced an equal explosion of decibels. An electrically amplified brass band brought some temporary relief, but the din swelled again when the match got underway.
The fans meant business and so did the players. The guests in white dominated the first ten minutes, culminating in a low drive by Burak Yilmaz, deflected just wide by Maarten Stekelenburg’s fingertips. But Holland soon bounced back, creating a flurry of opportunities which all ended in a shrill concert of whistles.

Match interrupted

Then there were loud bangs and red flares. Half a dozen landed on the pitch, prompting Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai to pause the match briefly.
The commotion set off Holland midfielder Wesley Sneijder, who fired a howitzer to test Turkish goalkeeper Volkan Demirel five minutes before the break, followed by a high shot by fresh Barcelona signing Ibrahim Affelay.
The substitutions brought more structure to the Dutch game, interrupted by yet more flares, and more chances. In the 52nd minute, Klaas Jan Huntelaar suddenly emerged in the box to chip in a subtle Hedwiges Maduro cross from the right: 1-0 to Holland.
More fireworks followed, much to the dismay of the Dutch players, the orange army and the ref, who consulted FIFA officials and Turkey's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink. The latter sent his captain to the northern stands to calm the crowd.
The move was the clarion call for a major Turkish offensive on the pitch, with a veritable barrage of shots at goal right until the last minute.

High stakes

1-0 was a result both sides could live with. For a friendly encounter, the stakes had been rather high. The Turks haven't been up to scratch in recent Euro 2012 qualifiers. After two wins and two losses, they currently trail Group A pacesetters Germany by six points and might find it hard to overtake second-place Austria and go through to the European Championship finals. A major defeat against Holland, the World Cup's runners-up, would have further eroded confidence.
It would also have been bad news for their coach Guus Hiddink, a Dutchman returning to his home turf to play the side he successfully led between 1994 and 1998. Faced with growing criticism about his conservative choice of players, Hiddink rejuvenated the Turkey team for Wednesday’s friendly in Amsterdam, picking up young talents like Bundesliga midfielder Mehmet Ekici. And the youngsters did well.
His Holland counterpart, Bert van Marwijk, had taken some risks too, calling up more than half a dozen players who were either injured or had just returned from injury, much to the annoyance of their club managers. Fresh injuries against a physical side like Turkey would certainly have sparked new rows.
In the end, little damage was done, apart from Mathijssen's injury and a hefty FIFA fine for setting off fireworks.

Day Opening - November 18


Autumn mosaic, the Netherlands


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Firesheep


It's been a while since my last post, but this is one I didn't want you to miss.
----

Posts ago I explained a bit about the webbrowser Firefox and its useful add-ons. Add-ons are basically the same as IPone applications. Not only Apple, also individual people develop tools to add to their phone, internet browser etc.. And so did Eric Butler... He created Firesheep, an add-on for Firefox that intercepts passwords. To make people more aware of the dangers of non-secured websites and internet connections. Firefox already stated that they won't remove the application.

It works this way: make a connection with a non-secured wifi-network. Everyone who's Firesheep installed can scan the connection and intercept passwords of others using the same connection. Easy enough and also quite alarming. If you think your Facebook is well secured? Think again before logging onto a public wifi-network.

Butler received worldwide attention with hid add-on. To pass on his message: be aware of the dangers of using insecure websites.

Press freedom, Turkish style

An excellent article by Claire Berlinkis. And...yes, the foreign press in Turkey buys too easily in the AKP islamic spin. Enjoy!

Press Freedom Turkish Style

If Turkish citizens are taking to the streets to denounce Israel, who can blame them, given the AKP’s stranglehold on the media.


In May, a ship full of civilians – but not full of humanitarian aid – sailed from Turkey to join the Free Gaza flotilla. Having warned the Mavi Marmara that it would not be allowed to breach the blockade, Israeli commandos raided the ship. In the clash, nine Turks were killed.
I’ve lived in Istanbul for five years and I’ve spoken to hundreds of Turks about these events. A Turkish documentary filmmaker and I have filmed some of these conversations.
Something will immediately strike the viewer: the Turkish people have no idea what happened.
This is because the most basic facts about and surrounding these events have not been reported in Turkey.
In billing the flotilla as a humanitarian mission, the IHH – the expedition’s Islamist sponsor – exploited the Turks’ Achilles heel: their generosity.
Turks think of themselves as charitable and compassionate, as indeed they are. They genuinely believe, because this is what has been reported here, that the Palestinians are starving.
They know almost nothing about the reasons for the blockade. They believe that the ship was on a humanitarian mission and nothing but a humanitarian mission. They are bewildered that anyone would have interfered with such a noble-minded endeavor.
They do not know the most rudimentary facts about Hamas. As one man said: “These are elected people. It’s not like they took over by force, via a coup.”
Almost no one in Turkey understands any language but Turkish. If this obviously thoughtful man was unaware that indeed, Hamas took over precisely by force, via a coup, it is because he had no way to know. The men and women to whom we spoke were astonished when we told them that Israeli officials had invited the ship to disembark at Ashdod and deliver the aid overland.
But they were not disbelieving – and importantly, when we told them this, it changed their view.
Continue reading hereeeeeee

Evolution

Darwin is not on my mind now. I am thinking abut how each one of us grows as an individual, and importantly, when. Think I am finally, finally growing up. Have you?

I have pondered a lot more on Life Rules... :)

Day Opening - November 7

Penguin song

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wednesday: Turkey against Holland

Wednesday will be a special day for the Turkish community in the Netherlands as Turkey take on Holland in a friendly football match at the Amsterdam ArenA. Thousands of supporters of Turkish descent are expected, adding touches of red to the orange army of Dutch fans.
This friendly encounter might feel like a home game for both teams, says Turkish-born Hayati Kulaksiz, Chairman of FC Ankaraspor in Amsterdam, who moved to the Netherlands 25 years ago.
“The atmosphere will be great and of course we’ll be going to the stadium to see the Dutch play too, not just Turkey. Many Turks here follow Holland matches, either live at the stadium or on their television sets. For us, Holland is our second national team, as it were.”

Dual nationality

Asked whether the inclusion of players of Turkish origin in the Netherlands could strengthen his support for the Dutch team, Mr Kulaksiz won’t be drawn. But he does have an explanation why none have been capped in recent years.
''Turkish talents with dual nationality are careful not to spoil their chances of joining either team, he says. Capped players cannot change allegiance, so once they’ve played for one national team, they won’t be allowed to play for the other.''
“This means Turkish players hold off a decision until there’s some degree of certainty that the national coach will stay in the job for at least a couple of years, because in Turkey, you can never be sure. That’s Turkish mentality, I’m afraid.”

Parents to blame

However, indecisive or not, the pool of top-quality players of Turkish descent here in the Netherlands is, unlike that in next-door Germany, simply not that big. But why? It all starts at a young age, explains Mr Kukaksiz, and it sets the Turkish community apart from the Moroccan community, which is roughly equal in size.
“You see Moroccan parents, even 60-year-old grandmothers, escort their children to the football pitch. But Turkish people in Holland register their kids with football clubs and then leave them to their own devices. They can’t be bothered to watch them play or train. They prefer to stay in their coffeehouses. I’ve seen talented players, 18 or 19-year-olds, who have the potential to start a professional career, but I know they won’t succeed, because even great talents need the support from their parents.”

German-Turkish stars

The situation is indeed different in Germany, where players of Turkish origin like Serdar Tasci and Mesut Özil are regularly called up to join Die Mannschaft, the national team.
“Around 80 percent of Turkish immigrants in the Netherlands are from the countryside, but in Germany the majority come from urban areas and have a totally different mentality. They’re less traditional and much more active. That’s the reason.”

Day Opening - November 16; Happy Bayram

Monday, November 15, 2010

Statement #46 - Ahmed Marcouch in the Church of the Remonstrant Brotherhood

''God created us as human beings, not as a believer. Without free will there is no faith.
A belief is by definition a result of free will, a conscious choice. If not, then it is not faith but an automatic and slavish response.
This belief stems from a free will, means that people also may choose not to believe.'' Ahmed Marcouch, MP for Labor in the Dutch parliament when he gave a speech yesterday in Vrijzinng Centrum Vrijburg (Church of the Remonstrant Brotherhood) 

Day Opening - November 15



Flamengo
 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nerd humor

"Erdoganis" and "Talibanis": targeting fun in the Gazastrip

For the few with money in the Gaza Strip, a new water park provided relief from monotony and widespread misery. Hamas, though, has now burned it down -- and sent a message that even the elite must conform to the Islamists' restrictive rules.
All is quiet on this autumn morning at the Crazy Water Park, a couple of kilometers south of Gaza City. There are no children splashing around in the shallow kiddie pools, no men cheering as they shoot off the slides into the deep end of the pool. Wives and mothers are also missing from their usual spots under the umbrellas, where they normally sit, fully dressed, chatting and watching their children and husbands play in the water.
The Gaza Strip's only water park opened last spring but -- thanks to around 30 members of Hamas -- it was shut down in late September. One night at 3 a.m., these men appeared out of nowhere, tied up the park's 10 security guards and got to work with gas canisters and lighters.
continue reading herrrreeeeeee

Day Opening - November 13

Tourists on Glacier Vatnajökull c.1910 - Iceland

Friday, November 12, 2010

How stressed are the Dutch? A lot...)

Will more women working more hours make society more stressed? That was 'the question' in the Dutch parliament yesterday 'how to get more women to work more hours'. Social Affairs and Employment Minister Henk Kamp thinks it is a “cultural problem that most Dutch women are satisfied to work just part-time”. With an aging population, the government wants more women to work full time. Not surprisingly, the smaller Christian parties want more financial advantages for stay-at-home mums, while the liberal parties want financial incentives to get women into the workplace. The left-wing opposition want to avoid a stressful society and want more flexibility in the workplace.
The Netherlands Institute for Social Research says “the Dutch are under too much pressure”. A report by the institute reveals that over half the population between the ages of 25 and 60 regularly feel they are too busy. Women feel more pressure (60 percent) than men (52 percent).
It is no wonder they are so stressed: the Dutch spend more time travelling to and from work than anyone else in Europe. A report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development puts the figure at an average 50 minutes (in Istanbul it can go up to 2 x 2 hrs.)
Logically, it is parents with children under 13 (“rush-hour families”) who feel most of the stress. So what is the answer? Only seven percent of parents say they would work more if crèches were open longer. Forty percent say flexible hours would make a difference to their work-life balance. Others suggest starting work an hour later, working from home one day a week, and longer opening hours for shops and municipal services. But is there a danger that society will just become more stressed by a 24-hour economy?

Day Opening - November 12

Batmen!