Friday, December 5, 2008

Dutch top list of rich-country donors

The Netherlands is at the top of a list released Thursday that measures rich governments' efforts to help build prosperity in poor countries around the world. The Netherlands is followed by Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

Japan and South Korea are at the bottom and the United States also scored low. The US ranks 17th out of the 22 countries on the 2008 Commitment to Development Index, produced annually by the Centre for Global Development, an independent think tank that works to reduce global poverty.

The index uses data to measure and rank governments on aid, trade, migration, technology and investment policies, as well as how they handle environment and security matters.

South Korea ranked last, the group said, because of a "very small foreign aid program, the highest barriers to developing-country exports of all CDI countries, and the low number of unskilled immigrants entering from developing countries as a share of the South Korean population." Japan, second to last, was said to have a small aid program as a percentage of gross domestic product and limited immigration and imports.

The group faulted the United States "because a big chunk of its aid goes to countries that lack the ability to use it well but where the US has geopolitical interests, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq."
The Netherlands was praised for its large foreign aid and strong support for investment.

Some interesting points of view


All the wonders of the world

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

The Great Pyramid of Giza
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
The Colossus of Rhodes
The Pharos of Alexandria

The Seven Wonders of the Medieval Mind

Stonehenge
The Colosseum
The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa
The Great Wall of China
The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing
The Hagia Sophia
The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Seven Natural Wonders of the World

Mount Everest
The Great Barrier Reef
The Grand Canyon
Victoria Falls
The Harbor of Rio de Janeiro
Paricutin Volcano
The Northern Lights

The Seven Underwater Wonders of the World

Palau
The Belize Barrier Reef
The Galapagos Islands
The Northern Red Sea
Lake Baikal
The Great Barrier Reef
The Deep Sea Vents

The Seven Wonders of the Modern World

The Empire State Building
The Itaipú Dam
The CN Tower
The Panama Canal
The Channel Tunnel
The North Sea Protection Works
The Golden Gate Bridge

The Seven Forgotten Natural Wonders of the World

Angel Falls
The Bay of Fundy
Iguaçú Falls
Krakatoa Island
Mount Fuji
Mount Kilimanjaro
Niagara Falls

The Seven Forgotten Modern Wonders of the World

The Clock Tower (Big Ben)
Eiffel Tower
The Gateway Arch
The Aswan High Dam
Hoover Dam
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
The Petronas Towers

The Seven Forgotten Wonders of the Medeival Mind

Abu Simbel Temple
Angkor Wat
Taj Mahal
Mont Saint-Michel
The Moai Statues
The Parthenon
The Shwedagon Pagoda

The Forgotten Wonders

The Aztec Temple
The Banaue Rice Terraces
The Borobudur Temple
The Inca City
The Statue of Liberty
The Mayan Temples
The Temple of the Inscriptions
The Throne Hall of Persepolis
Petra
The Suez Canal
The Sydney Opera House
The Red Fort in India

Dutch senate backs constitutional reviews

At the moment The Netherlands is the only EU member state where judges cannot rule that laws passed in parliament are unconstitutional. This will maybe change.

The Dutch senate on this week Tuesday narrowly voted in favour of draft legislation allowing judges to test laws to check if they are in line with the constitution, despite calls from the government for the upper house of parliament not to back the bill.

The lower house of parliament first approved the bill in 2004. At the time, only the Christian Democrats (CDA) opposed the measure which will remove a ban on such reviews from the Dutch constitution.
The current government, in which the CDA is the biggest party, advised senators to vote against the measure. "The benefits of this change do not outweigh the disadvantages," CDA home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst said last week.
The bill was introduced by Femke Halsema, leader of the opposition left-wing green party GroenLinks, and is supported by other left-wing parties.
Opponents argue that allowing a constitutional review would politicise the judiciary. They add that such reviews can currently be carried out using international treaties such as the European Convention on Human Rights.
The narrow majority for the new law - 37 to 36 votes - does not mean the constitution will be amended straight away. To change the constitution, the bill needs to be supported by two-thirds of both houses of parliament in a new round of votes. This will take place after the next parliamentary elections in 2010.

Day Opening - December 5


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Some interesting facts about Cyprus (4) the final



Since the friendly Ottomans stepped foot on the island; Cyprus is protected by the famous Bozkurt Turks.
Corruption

The public schools in Cyprus embed the idea that Turks, American and the English are the worst people in the world and that the motherland Greece is perfect, into small Cypriot children. Once these kids grow up they take all the British exams and go to England to get a "good" education. The Church rules the whole island. They build large expensive churches with money from the common Cypriot, and then take more money form the stupid Cypriots that actually go to church. The coffee shops, so called kafenia also rule the island because no Cypriot can go without his/hers frappe or metrio. Which is Turkish coffee, but because the Cypriots are so much better than everyone they insist that they invented the Turkish coffee.
Cyprus Military

The Cyprus Armed Forces (National Guard)is universal to all, except: ethnic minorities, religious minorities, sexual minorities, medical minorities, plants, animals, transitional metals and women; It has over 1 troop, half a Fighter Jet, two grenades and a bunch of short range (fires up to 10 meters) missiles it purchased from Russia (URS-300) (which are actually stationed in Greece). This way, if the Turkeys, (whose standing army alone amounts to Cyprus's total population) actually come to finish off the job, Cypriots can surprise them and then of course claim their unrightful Hellenic Lands. (Note: Cyprus´ foreign policy plans include vetoing Turkey´s EU bid, and then closing it down and opening a Doner shop). Futhermore, the Cypriot army offers a variety of careers available for those that love danger. So, if you are brave enough you can serve the army as an EPY ( epeidi peinw, ypiretw - cause i'm hungry i serve ). EPYs have created quite a myth for their name over the years. It is said that the very first EPY was Chuck Norris himself, giving EPYs another reason to be proud. They are usually found near warehouses and gas stations arguing and shouting about "CHEEEEEEESE", the national guard's traditional work.
Cypriot Women
Cypriot women are natural blondes and posess an average hip circumference of about 9876 km. Famous for their intelligence these ladies claim to be able to both talk at their pink Prada mobile while having their nails done. Usual nail colour especially for toe nails include patron orange that is luminescent in the dark and bloody red. Their interests include burying (=talking trash about) other superior Cypriot women, fasting, visiting the hairdresser, visiting bodyline and gyms, liposuction and gossipping.
Cypriot Men
It is very trendy for men in Cyprus to follow the 'antras o varys' style. This involves having your shirt open up to your belly button and rocking a paterimin. ( pls do not try this at home if you are not the proud owner of a hairy bush-type chest). Another popular accessory to get this style is a 19 ft blonde girl of Russian /Ukrainian or Moldavian origin, but before that you have to live with your mum until you are forty years old, and use her 5 star laundry service as much as possible. Then come the Russian girls.

Sarah playing the saxophone


Sara, perhaps the most talented walrus ever to grace a Turkish zoo, performs a saxophone recital at the Dophinarium in Istanbul on Dec. 4, 2008.

Pepsi cola advertising: Dare for More


'The Surfer'


'The Climber'

'The Boarder'
The motifs of these ads are inspired by the famous Pepsi-Logo in red, white and blue and show adventurous pictures. They´ve just won the Grand Prix at the Epica Awards.
Agency: BBDO Germany.

Is it finally over? European court on headscarf ban

On 10 November 2005 the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (‘Court’) decided the long-running headscarf battle between Muslim students and Turkish universities in the Sahin judgment. On appeal, it held that the prohibition against wearing headscarves on university premises did not violate Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (‘Convention’) on freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It thereby confirmed the decision of the Fourth Section of the Court of 29 June 2004.


Today, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the expulsion of two female students from a French school for refusing to remove their headscarves does not violate their basic rights. The Court cited its rulings in the Leyla Sahin vs Turkey and the Welfare Party vs Turkey cases.

Two Turkish girls were expelled from school in France after refusing to remove their headscarves to participate in their gym lesson.
The girls had responded to the expulsion decision by applying to a Strasbourg-based court claiming their rights have been violated.

In the Sahin case, the court handed down a similar decision saying the headscarf ban at universities did not violate basic human rights, while in the Welfare Party case ruling, it said states could take measures, including political party closures, to protect democracy and secularism

"The court also reiterates that the state may limit the freedom to manifest a religion, for example by wearing an Islamic headscarf, if the exercise of that freedom clashes with the aim of protecting the rights and freedoms of others, public order and public safety," the ECHR said in its ruling in the case of Dogru vs France.

The applicant, Belgin Dogru, a Muslim aged eleven at the time of the incident, wore a headscarf to school. On several occasions, Dogru attended her physical education and sports classes wearing a headscarf and refused repeated requests by her teacher to teacher to remove it because it was said to be incompatible with the physical education lesson.
Dogru was expelled from school for breaching the duty of assiduity by failing to participate actively in physical education and sports classes.
She later applied to the ECHR alleging the expulsion violated her right to religious freedom as well as her right to an education as guaranteed by Article 9 of the Convention and Article 2 of Protocol No. 1.

Some interesting facts about Iran (1)


The Jews have a profound love for Mr. Ahmadinejaad


“I'm not a fucking Arab like your cousins you Jew”
~ Iranians in general

“Is it too late to blame the Jews?”
~ Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on any problem in Iran

“Is it ever too late to blame the Jews?”

~ Common historical opinion / second part of above phrase, usually shouted by the masses.

“HOMOSEXUALS? We don't need no stinkin' homosexuals!”
~ Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Homosexuals

Iran is the superset of the superpowers in the world, or so claims their president. Everyone else would like to know where to get crack as good as the shit Mr. Ahmanineenaenajaadd[sic] got. If the United States of America runs out of people to blow up, Iran is next on the list.

Education

There are much signs of education in Iran, however, most of the Supreme Leaders are illiterate.
There are very few subjects taught at school, therefore the few that are taught are learned by the students to new extremes. Subjects taught can be categorized in the following fields: atomic energy, nuclear physics, projectiles and particle dynamics, warfare and Israel-bashing . All other subjects are related one way or another to those mentioned in the specified categories.
Iranian women currently are occupying more than 60% seats of the universities. But that is due to 'attached dildo policy' of regime particularly after revolution.

Twentieth Century History

In 1905 Reza Shah Pahlavi (aka. Khoda Beyamorzi) was forced by a broad coalition of clerics, bazaar merchants, and students to introduce broad reforms. Eventually, he buckled, and a new constitution was drafted. For some reason, it was modeled after the constitution of Belgium. This all changed, however, when in 1951 Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh led a democratic coup against the shah. After taking power, Mossadegh led a campaign of nationalistic reforms which culminating in the nationalization of the Anglo Iranian oil company. Great Britain, which naturally had more claim to Iranian oil than Iran, convinced the US government that Mossadegh was a communist and therefore needed to be replaced with a more suitable nationalist.

The Ayatollah after his 1979 resurrection by the Devil.

Meanwhile, after being resurrected by the Devil himself, The Ayatollah, formerly known as Saruman the lord of Isengard, was given his new title (the Ayatollah) by the Devil, and was instructed to lead an evil revolution in Iran which resulted in millions fleeing the country. After a decade or so of evil doings in Iran, the Ayatollah was called back to the depths of hell by the Devil once again as he was creating too much competition for the Devil; He was quite frankly making the Devil look bad (less evil actually) by comparison.

In 1980, Iran went to war with Iraq, insisting that disgruntled employee Saddam 'Da Man' Hussein had changed the region's name from Iran to Iraq in order to steal some sand by pretending it was a whole other country. Eight years later, several million teenagers were dead, and no one had conquered the sand. The UN declared the sand the winner. This event was recently repeated by US and British forces attempting to steal the same expanse of sand, but the granulated earth has proved too resolute in the face of conflict.

end of part 1

Day Opening - December 4


Alaska

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Turkish-Dutch banking cooperation

The European Commissioner Neelie Kroes (for competition) gave her approval that French BNP Paribas can take over the Belgium and Luxembourg part of Fortis where Turkish Fortis is part of.
Some re branding has to be done since Fortis got an unreliable name after buying Dutch banking giant ABN AMRO bank last year which leads to the bail out of both banks by the Dutch, Belgium and Luxembourg governments.
Fortis the Netherlands and ABN AMRO bank will merge under the supervision of the former Dutch minister of Finance, G. Zalm. ABN AMRO bank is already active on the Turkish market. A new merger will strengten their position in Turkey.

Dutch ING, one of the largest financial institutions worldwide, which acquires Turkish OYAK bank late last year, is aiming to open 19 new branches in Turkey by the end of this year reports the Dutch Financial Daily today.
This will bring the total of ING banking offices in the country to 381.
ING announced in July that it plans to open 150 new branches in total in the coming three years, says the paper.

Dutch Rabobank, the only bank worldwide which has triple A star, will be active on the Turkish market despiter their failure to buy Turkish Sekerbank.
Turkey's Sekerbank initiated partnership discussions with foreign investors during 2005 and 2006. In June 2006 the Bank's two pension funds signed an agreement with TuranAlem Securities ("TAS") of Kazakhstan, a fully owned subsidiary of BTA Bank for the sale of 33,98% of the Bank’s shares. This partnership was successfully concluded in March 2007. BTA is financial supported by the Dutch Investment bank.

Note: Neelie Kroes is a Dutch Commissioner of the EU.

Note: The Netherlands invested between 2006 and 2007 appr 8 billion Euros in Turkey and 525 Dutch companies entered the Turkish market.

update


It was Monday Vassili, co blogger here, his birthday. By this: Happy Belated Birthday Vassili!

Sandra expected her first child 21 November, due date. Didn't hear from here so I expect that she is doing fine!

Have added 2 more sites to this blog; one is from a Dutch student International Communications now temporarily studying in Istanbul. Check out Bas in Istanbul.
Another site is that of Ebru in Mugla. Her site is in Finnish, good for those who want to practice their Finnish..) And the music is wonderful on her site.

Last week I had my first operation, which means clinic in and out. Today my second one. Which will knock me down for sure. But as usual I pre-post some postings.
In the meanwhile, since 7 weeks I am the 'boss' of a puppie. See the pictures below. Took her from a animals asylum. About the latter a separate post! Btw, her name is Sarah P...)) Just got her some days before the USA elections.)




Real Madrid become Dutch


Spanish club Real Madrid bought yesterday the Ajax striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, nicknamed The Hunter, with the hope to boost its national and international fortunes.

Huntelaar, who will probably make his debut at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu's stadium on January 4, 2009, will be the sixth Dutch player at Real Madrid. Since July 2006, the club has bought Ruud van Nistelrooy (15 million euros), Wesley Sneijder (27 million euros), Rafael van der Vaart (15 million euros), Arjen Robben (36 million euros) and Royston Drenthe (14 million euros).

The Ajax striker will leave the Amsterdam football club under a €27m transfer deal agreed on Tuesday evening. Total amound of money paid for the 6 Dutch players is 134 million Euros.
Huntelaar's football talent is coupled with intelligence. He completed his secondary school studies with ease but dropped out of the pre-university stream because he did not have enough time. For a while at Heerenveen, he studied Spanish (which he will not need with 5 Dutch players around him)and is also interested in art.
In April, Real Madrid's coach Bernd Schuster called Huntelaar a clone of his own coach – the former star striker Marco van Basten who is now in charge at Ajax.

Turkey rules the world...


Do I have to take the following serious or aux serious?
I rather would say: 'take route 66', in good Dutch: 'don't take yourself too serious, you Turkish prosecutors and judges'.


Ankara's public prosecutor initiated an investigation Monday into derogatory remarks purportedly made about the founder of modern Turkey, Ataturk by the academic Dr. Ronald Münch from the University of Bremen for insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk during a speech at the European Parliament in Brussels on Nov. 13. Read more here.

As scores of Web sites, including YouTube, remain blocked in Turkey, the New York Times has revealed the behind the scenes story of the YouTube ban within Google that owns the Web site.
After a video was taken down which insulted Ataturk, Turkish prosecutors objected to dozens of other YouTube videos they claimed insulted either Atatürk or Turkishness. After having many of the videos translated into English, Nicole Wong, the deputy general counsel of Google and her colleagues set out to determine which ones were, in fact, illegal in Turkey and which would be a violation of YouTube's terms of service that prohibit speeches of hatred but allow political speech; and which constituted expression Google and YouTube would try to protect.
After a fierce internal debate Wong, had to play mediator, decided that Google, by using a technique called IP blocking, would prevent access to videos that clearly violated Turkish law, but only in Turkey. For a time, this solution seemed to work for the Turkish judges, who reopened access to YouTube. But last June a Turkish prosecutor made a demand that Google block access to the offending videos all over the world, to protect the rights and sensitivities of Turks living outside the country. Google refused, arguing that one nation's government should not be able to set limits of speech for Internet users worldwide. As a result Youtube has remained blocked in Turkey. Read more here.

Day Opening - December 3


THE NETHERLANDS, Middelburg
Johannes LOOFF engraver
active 1627-51Salver 1618silver,
parcel-gilt 30.8 cm diameter
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

This gilded silver salver was known as an Achtpuntschotel (octagonal plate), because of the characteristic eight-sided border. Originally only the border was decorated with representations derived from sixteenth-century prints. In 1631 the Middelburg silversmith Johannes Looff (d. 1651) engraved the centre of the salver in a contemporary style, with a scene from a particular biblical story that was often chosen to decorate objects presented to celebrate the birth of a child.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Turkey and its Internet bans.

While the Turkish Education Ministry will take legal action to shut down Web sites that are providing "ready homework" to students (maybe Wikipedia will be included..) two Turkish authors, Kerem Altıparmak and Yaman Akdeniz, wrote a book "Restricted Access," which assesses Internet content regulation and censorship in Turkey by providing an overview of the current legislation from a critical perspective.
According them Internet restrictions are against European Union norms and Turkey could face charges at the European Courts of Human Rights for violating the freedom of expression. I don't know if the Turkish government will take this serious or will say that 'Europe' is not allowed in domestic affairs...

Altıparmak, an assistant professor responsible for a number of projects carried out by Ankara University's Human Rights Center, claims Law No. 5651, which regulates publications on the Internet, is worse than the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).
The other co-author, Akdeniz, is a senior lecturer at the School of Law at the University of Leeds and founder of the UK-based Cyber-Rights.org.

Akdeniz and Altıparmak argue that Law No. 5651 was rushed through Parliament just before the Parliament was dissolved for the 2007 general elections and that it had not received broad public support before or after its enactment. Universities and experts, including bar associations, were not consulted about the bill, either.
The authors point out that Web sites can only be blocked if they commit crimes listed under Article 8 of Law No. 5651: encouraging suicide, sexual exploitation of minors, encouraging drug use, supplying harmful substances, obscenity, providing a forum for gambling and prostitution. Web sites may also be banned under other laws, such as the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Works. After examining the many instances of Web site bans over the past year, Altıparmak and Akdeniz suggest that many of the blocking orders that have been issued are actually against the law.
“It is unlawful for the courts, judges and public prosecutors to issue blocking orders and precautionary injunctions outside the scope of these two provisions. Based on this view, blocking orders issued outside the scope of these provisions should be lifted by the courts that issued the orders in the first place,” they claim.

And there is morreeee

Dutch Muslim organisation want halt to Islamic schools

Muslims want halt to Islamic schools

The umbrella organisation for Islamic schools in the Netherlands, ISBO, says no more schools should be opened until those that do exist are operating properly, according Yusuf Altuntas the head of the organisation.
Last month it emerged that many of the country's Islamic schools do not have their finances in order, are corrupt, and offer below standard teaching. Also, most of the managers of Islamitic schools are not capable and lack the education to run a school properly. "Lets first improve the standards of the current schools before we establish new ones' says Yusuf Altutas.

Day Opening - December 2


Jan de BRAY 1627-1697
The Governors of the Guild of St Luke, Haarlem 1675
oil on canvas 130.0 x 184.0 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Young artists learned from their masters how to pre-treat canvases and panels, prepare paint, and practise copying the work of their teachers. When a pupil was finally ready to set himself up as an independent painter, he had to become a member of the local guild in order to actually carry out his profession. The painter of this rare portrait of a group of artists, Jan de Bray, was himself a governor of the Haarlem painters' guild. He is the second figure on the left, holding a panel. The professional organization for painters in each Dutch city was the Guild of St. Luke, named after the New Testament saint who is said to have painted a picture of the Virgin Mary. An image of St. Luke appears here on the plaque which the guild's deacon, Gerrit Mulraet, (seated in front of the table) is showing to the viewer.

Monday, December 1, 2008

'Cyprus Wounds Must Finally be Healed'

Ferdi Sabit Soyer, 56, is the prime minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is only recognized as an independent country by Turkey. He spoke with SPIEGEL about negotiations with his Greek neighbors to the south.

SPIEGEL: The presidents of northern and southern Cyprus have met 10 times recently to discuss the future of the divided island. Has there been progress?

Soyer: Our goal was to vote in the June 2009 European Parliamentary elections as a united Cyprus. But everything's moving too slowly. I'm afraid we're not going to meet our goals -- we're seeing more problems than progress right now.

SPIEGEL: Last week's talks apparently ended in some pretty serious quarreling.

Soyer: We in the north are interested in a country made up of two states with equal rights, and are supporting a federal model similar to Germany's. but the Greeks in the south don't want to give Turks equal rights.


SPIEGEL: The Greeks say their right to return to the north isn't being taken seriously.

Soyer: That's not true. We have agreed to resettle 55,000 Turkish Cypriots -- a fifth of our population. We're willing to trade land for equal rights. But he other side must sacrifice as well.

SPIEGEL: How long do you envision this process taking?

Soyer: We're still working to find a solution in the next year. We Northern Cypriots appeal to all Europeans to end our isolation. Cyprus's wounds must finally be healed.

Interview conducted by Dietmar Bednarz