Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Stalker is back

Our stalker is back with his favorite words: you are a Queer, Jew, Rabbi lover etc.
Back on moderation again.
Also, the last days I-net connection is going up and down, highly frustrating as you can imagine!

Day Opening - October 22

Valle Stretta, Western Alps, Switzerland

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

And they don't pay tax

The Netherlands is “the biggest tax haven in the world”
But they could all retire early apparently, if the Netherlands finally closed the loopholes which allow multinationals to get away with paying tax on their profits. Now the Dutch are still deliberating if the retirement age will be increased from 65 to 67 years.

Dutch newspapers reports on the findings of a Dutch documentary programme Zembla, which was broadcast on Dutch television on lst Sunday evening. According to tax law expert Geerten Michielse, the Dutch treasury misses out on 16 billion euros in revenue every year. Based on figures from Statistics Netherlands, well-known Dutch companies such as Shell, Akzo Nobel and Philips only pay six to seven percent tax on their profits, whereas they should pay 25.5 percent. He concludes that the Netherlands is a tax haven. In May, the Netherlands was included on a list of tax havens compiled by the White House. The accusation was hastily withdrawn, however, after fierce protest by the Dutch Foreign Ministry. In a government report this year, Norway called the Netherlands “the biggest tax haven in the world”. Several foreign companies also use Dutch addresses to get around paying tax. They include multinationals like Boeing, Walt Disney and US Steel. According to Zembla, 8,000 billion (!!!) euros are processed through the Netherlands to avoid paying tax. That is a tenth of world trade.

The reason for the loophole is that tax laws were made in the 1920s and do not take globalisation into account..)))
Shall we organize a Tea Party in the Netherlands?

Turkey needs to express itself better to the world

I found the links of the serie of articles I wrote as guest columnist for Turkish Daily news (now Hurriyet Daily news) between 2007 and 2008. Today no. 5.
Turkey needs to express itself better to the world
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Hans A.H.C. de Wit

What Turks miss is that the promotion of a country is most effectively done by its individual citizens. Turkish patriots would do a better job if they stopped hacking Greek and Kurdish Web sites, and start launching their own blogs that will give the taste of Turkey to foreigners.

Turkey might not have diamonds but it sits on silver, gold and bronze: Many civilizations have left traces in Turkey. However, it looks like the Turks are the last to acknowledge it, or simply they don't care. Turkish history books are heavily focused on Atatürk. Yes, Atatürk was a visionary, but Turkey should focus on its real culture and heritage. There is a lot to discover without falling into political debates all the time, damaging once again Turkey's image by sending out dualistic and schizophrenic signals.

The land of Turkey, of course, existed much before the establishment of the modern republic. While Europe, the Middle East and many other parts of the world were reshaping their borders in the beginning of the 20th century, Turkey was in the center of turmoil. After its victory in the War of Independence, and after establishing the Republic of Turkey, it forgot much of its heritage. It seemed to deny that civilizations are never built without foundations. Just like a wall made of bricks, they are all established upon former civilizations.

continue reading herrreeee

Day Opening - October 20


Arash's World: Humanity first - Rules and Regulations later

Arash's World: Humanity first - Rules and Regulations later

Monday, October 19, 2009

Expat site banned in Turkey

First I though ‘there is something wrong with my connection’, but no, the expat site is banned in Turkey. Banned for ‘administrative measures’ reports Bianet, the only independent newspaper (on line) in Turkey. Administrative measures, some kind of euphemism for ‘insulting Turkey or Turkishness’? Did someone write there some bad words about Ataturk or about Turks in general? I never read something like that there. Some Turkish prosecutors are getting insane. Maybe this blog will be banned one day, although I self-censor myself already. But you never know.

About Kemalism

Kemalism has been a very formative ideology for the Turkish state and society, the effects of which are still felt today, said a prominent Dutch academic at a roundtable discussion in Istanbul.
Nonetheless, there is a need for more dispassionate debate on the topic. When discussed, Kemalism should be placed in its own historical context and away from today’s “blame game,” said Professor Erik-Jan Zürcher (see picture), a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, who attended a roundtable discussion on secularism and modernization in Turkey at Istanbul’s Bilgi University. The discussion was organized by the ARI Movement, an Istanbul-based think tank
In Zürcher’s view, based on his speech titled “A Modern and Civilized Nation – The Brave New World of the Kemalists,” Kemalism is the key to understanding Turkish modernization. In order to trace the modernizing tenets of Kemalism, he analyzed the content of Kemalist periodical “La Turquie Kemaliste,” which was published between 1934 and 1941 and later in 1947-48. “La Turquie Kemaliste” was a monthly journal written mostly in French and occasionally in German or English and addressed to European readers. Zürcher argued that the content of “La Turquie Kemaliste” allows us to see how intellectuals from the 1930s were conceptualizing their ideas and how they envisioned the future of society.

Day Opening - October 19

Millau viaduct, Millau, France

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Turkey in the waiting room, Croatia full speed ahead

In its yearly progress reports about candidate countries, the European Commission is positive about the progress made in Croatia and Macedonia. It remains critical of Turkey. The five remaining Balkan countries also want to join the EU, but the Commisison doesn't think they're ready for the EU 'waiting room' yet.

Each year the European Commission publishes progress reports about countries wishing to join the EU. These reports can determine whether the accession process will be speeded up or slowed down. Below are the main conclusions about the three countries currently in the EU 'waiting room'.

Turkey – The Commission praises Turkey's stabilising role in the Caucasus and its efforts for peace in the Middle-East. But there is also harsh criticism. The Commission is 'concerned' about press freedom in Turkey (especially after the huge fine imposed on the media company Dogan by the Turkish tax department), freedom of expression and religion, and the position of women. The Kurds are still waiting for concrete measures to protect their rights. Turkey has done nothing to improve its relations with Cyprus: Turkish ports and airports are still closed to ships and planes from Cyprus, despite earlier promises. Yet the Commission is not proposing sanctions against Turkey.
Progress report Turkey (pdf)

Croatia – The country is very close to EU membership. Accession negotiations will likely be finalised next year. But Croatia still has to improve collaboration with the Yugoslavia Tribunal, further reform its justice system and better protect the rights of minorities.

Progress report Croatia (pdf)

Macedonia – The Commission's recommendations are favorable. The country has a functioning democracy; a state of law is being built, guaranteeing fundamental rights, and this year's presidential and local elections were fair. The report says nothing about beginning starting accession negotiations with Macedonia because of the continuing dispute over the country's name. Greece is opposed to the use of the name Macedonia by what is now officially called the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia because it fears the country may later claim the Greek province with the same name.

Progress report Macedonia (pdf)

The remaining five Balkan countries would also like to join the EU. The EU wants them to join eventually, but they are not candidate countries yet.

Albania – The Commission wants Albania to step up the fight against corruption urgently.
Progress report Albania (pdf)

Bosnia – There has been insuffucient progress on political, economic and EU-related reforms. The political climate is worsening, the functioning of the state institutions is under threat, and inflammatory language is still part of the political discourse.

Progress report Bosnia (pdf)

Kosovo – The country only gained its independence in February 2008. It needs to work harder at fighting corruption and organised crime and protecting minorities. Surprisingly, given the fact that not all EU member countries have recognised Kosovo, the Commission is recommending waiving EU visa duty for Kosovans on certain very strict conditions.

Progress report Kosovo (pdf)

Montenegro – The Commission is demanding 'concrete results' to show that Montenegro wants to be a state of law.

Progress report Montenegro (pdf)

Serbia – The Commission feels that Serbia has proved that it really wants to belong to Europe. It also deemed Serbia is now cooperating sufficiently with the Yugoslavia Tribunal to deserve an economic and political cooperation agreement with the EU – a first step towards accession. The Netherlands is blocking such a deal because it thinks Serbia can still do more to cooperate with the tribunal.

Progress report Serbia (pdf)

Day Opening - October 17

Coliseum, Rome

Friday, October 16, 2009

My view about Blogging, Commenting and Social Media ethics

Some of us bloggers read other people’s blogs. And often the case we’re advised to leave our digital footprints in the ‘comments section’. Hoping by doing so, while gaining some link juice (from the-Do-And-I-Will-Follow-You-Blogs), the author or visitors will be kind enough to, maybe, return the favor. That’s the general idea of commenting as one of the traffic-magnet and relationship-building strategies, or not?

I am NOT someone anymore with the highest ability of commenting, but just how serious we should take blog comments? I know there is a need among some of us to be succinct so we could have links spread on 100 new blogs daily…right.)

However, what if all the efforts went down the drain just because we didn’t apply QC in our commenting? How foolish. More problems occur when blog owners simple don’t know to find the blog moderation button, but play the intrigue game in the hope to create media scrum, and attention when the blog owner doesn’t know how to moderate a discussion? Look at what happens here.

Blogging supposed to be fun, supposed to be social media. But when I'm the situation that I only can say: “Gosh, I can only do the ‘You’re great’ type of commenting!” then I’m in dilemma – shall I comment at all? No. Not anymore! When bloggers are there for one reason, narcissism and to ridicule others without being funny, blogging is not social media anymore, it became anti-social and incommunicative.

Bloody Turks (2) by ORHAN KEMAL CENGİZ

The first steps of reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia are facts. But I didn’t see that much interesting coverage of the signing of the protocols last week in Zurich neither about the soccer match between Armenia and Turkey last Wednesday. But today I see an op-ed of my friend, Orhan. Here some excerpts:

''Part one of this article, which was published in this column on Sept. 18, has provoked quite a passionate and long discussion among readers, especially among Armenians.
Maybe I should have written this second piece much earlier, but I did not want to interfere in this long ongoing debate. ''

''When I read all the endless discussions among Armenian readers, I became quite pessimistic about any chance of possible reconciliation. Some reactions made me think that it is almost impossible to say anything on this subject. On the one hand we have Turks who do not remember anything, and on the other are Armenians who live as if the events of 1915 happened just 15 minutes ago. How on earth will all these people come together and talk? The tone and content of some discussions made me really very pessimistic.''

''In my previous piece I discussed that some Armenians, believing everyone in Turkey is a murderer, are actually racists since they stigmatize all Turks. I have since received very tragic messages that challenge me and discuss how “Turk” equates to “barbaric,” “rapist,” “killer” and so on. My “racist” critique met with a textbook example of pure racism. These people are not aware that they have a huge potential of being perpetrators themselves. They are the soul twins of the massacre perpetrators from which their ancestors suffered.''

''There were some objections to my claim that Turkey has been suffering from memory loss. Some Armenians believe everyone in Turkey remembers what happened but just pretends to have forgotten. Turkey has not only lost its memory about 1915, it has also totally lost contact with its past. I will discuss this subject in another article.''

''Why do you expect me to identify myself with Talat Paşa? I reject his heritage and am disgusted by his gangs. As long as you see all Turks as Talat Paşa and as long as Turks identify themselves with him, we will continue this vicious cycle. When both Turks and Armenians condemn him and his criminal gangs together, when we cry together for our loss, for being condemned to live as separate peoples, then we will all start to heal.''

''When I speak to Armenian nationalists, they only block my feelings. They make me numb. However, when I come across Armenians who speak from their heart, I feel tremendous pain. Everything will start by feeling the loss, not with words and not with hate mongering. Everything will start by feeling the pain of one single individual. Then, bodies will be buried, memories recovered and we, both Armenians and Turks, will start to mourn together -- and for a long time. ''

It's a shame that Orhan only can walk around in Turkey with body guards, still!!

For the full article clıck here

Day Opening - October 16

The Cappadocia and the Goreme valley, Turkey

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oversized food

For some reason unknown, there is always one person who wants to take things too far and either makes an object bigger or smaller like these ridiculously oversized food items.

Why settle for a three inch rice crispy square when you can make one the size of a microwave? Why would you go for a regular sized burger when you can have one that would feed the entire Duggar family?

These ridiculously oversized food items are a fantastical feat of both creation and consumption.

Anyway, size matters... not for everyone...

Day Opening - October 15

Some Western women...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Al Qaida hurt by financial crisis

Top universities in the world

1 Harvard University US
2 University of Cambridge UK
3 Yale University US
4 University College London UK
5=6 Imperial College London UK
5=6 University of Oxford UK
7 University of Chicago US
8 Princeton Universit US
9 Massachusetts Institute of Technology US
10 California Institute of Technology US

Here the top 200 according Times Higher Education.
All Dutch universities made it to the top 200, not one Turkish university.
Sjanghai university distributes once a year the top 500. Last year only Koç University made it to place 497.

Dutch, Turkish ministers open investment agency in Turkey

Good friend is in charge here.

The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade Frank Heemskerk and the Turkish Minister for Foreign Trade Zafer Çağlayan met Monday in Istanbul for the opening of the Netherlands Foreign Investments Agency.
"With the opening of the agency we are targeting the development of bilateral economic relations and expanding knowledge of Netherlands,” said Heemskerk, speaking during the opening ceremony. "The visit of [our] trade and investment delegation shows once again that the Netherlands has much confidence in the recent economic and financial reforms implemented during the past few years in Turkey.
"Last year the trade volume between the two countries was $6.2 billion. However, this volume has seen a 35 percent contraction due to the crisis," said Çağlayan.
"In Turkey there are 700 Dutch companies and the total investment of these companies is $14 billion. On the other hand, there are 139 Turkish companies investing in the Netherlands with a total capital of $4 billion," Çağlayan said.
"Turkey is full of opportunities," said Heemskerk, adding that during this visit he will also go to Ankara to meet Turkish officials and trading partners.
"Infrastructure and environmental investments are expected to increase in Turkey within the economic modernization that the Turkish government is going through," he said. "That's why it is really important to evaluate the potential of the Turkish economy. The incentive programs by the government also provide an opportunity for Dutch entrepreneurs."
Source: hurriyet daily news

Day Opening - October 14

The Nabatean city of Petra, Jordania.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

EU - Turkey report 2009: bad news!

Look here for the report.
Expected? Yes.

My Queen visits my Country

I found the links of the serie of articles I wrote as guest columnist for Turkish Daily news between 2007 and 2008. Today no. 4.

My queen visits my country

Thursday, March 1, 2007
Hans A.H.C. DE WIT *

As a Dutch man living in Turkey, the visit of my queen here is highly symbolic. First I should drop a note to other Dutch men and women who will be accompanying Her Majesty and thus visiting Turkey soon: Don't fear the taxi drivers. They are my best friends in Istanbul. They don't act like the “Taliban” – the common nickname for the taxi drivers in Amsterdam – instead they treat you with respect. Yesterday I took a cab; it cost me just 4 YTL and before I left the car, the driver told me to wait. Then he suddenly walked around to open my door. Yes, before my queen arrived in Istanbul, I was treated like royalty here.

Few people have noticed that Turkey and the Netherlands have had diplomatic relations for almost 400 years. These relations were never strained after the signing of an agreement in 1612. And, in the 18th century, they looked quite similar to each other in an interesting way: Both thought that they were masters of their time. The Dutch thought that they ruled the world, since they were the bosses of the seas. Hence they still call the 18th century their “Golden Age.” Similarly the Ottomans thought at the time that they were the very center of civilization.

Continıe reading here

Day Opening - October 13

The Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day Opening - October 12

The inca city of Machu Picchucountry, Peru (click on pictures to enlarge)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Orhan Pamuk on trial again

Nobel Prize laureate writer Orhan Pamuk will be on trial again to pay 36,000 TL in compensation for his statement "On this ground 30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians were killed". In France the author is awarded with the symbolic "Grand Medal" in the meantime.

Supreme Court General Judicial Assembly decreed for opening a court case against writer Orhan Pamuk, laureate of the Nobel Prize for Literature. The author faces a fine of 36,000 TL (16,655 €) in compensation because of the following statement he made during an interview published in Switzerland in February 2005: "On this ground 30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians were killed".
Pamuk was awarded the symbolic "Grand Medal" by Paris Municipality Mayor Bertrand Delanoe on 6 October. Pamuk said in the ceremony: "I am receiving this medal also on behalf of the city of Istanbul where I live". In Turkey Pamuk was just saved from a prison sentence. However, for his ideas he has been trialed for compensation for 4 years now.

More herreeee

Turkeys needs confidence, not fear

I found the links of the serie of articles I wrote as guest columnist for Turkish Daily news between 2007 and 2008. Today the third one.
Friday, February 16, 2007

Turkeys needs confidence, not fear

Istanbul cannot be renamed Constantinople anymore: Istanbul is already a brand name
Is Turkey acting responsibly in the international scene? Looking at it from the point of view of an independent communication manager, I would say “no,” at least “not always.” Turkey wants to be loved very much and as everyone knows, if you are desperately seeking love, you won't get it.

Actually, Turkey is facing hot issues these days, mainly unsolved problems of the past. Problems which became ghosts haunting Turkish identity: the alleged Armenian genocide (or shall we call it, for a change, democide) and Cyprus. There is also the ongoing hostility with some of Turkey's neighbors, like Armenia, Greece (still) and Iraq. But to make these things clear, Turkey must withhold its traditional way of reacting in order to become a serious and rational sparring and business partner.

International statesmen and diplomats always appear rational and employ PR agents to guide them and make them understandable. Why not in Turkey? Since when is nationalism more important than the prosperity and health of a nation and its citizens? Nationalism becomes more and more an empty word these days.

What to do in a colorful world:
Is Turkey reliable for peace and security in the region? For sure, most Turks believe that they protected Europe from communism. They have a point, but the international arena has changed dramatically. The current situation in the Middle East is in fact a perfect chance for Turkey to show its negotiating skills since its has good relations with all countries in this region. But somehow, its image as a former conqueror doesn't help. Turkey has done a terrible job in convincing the world that its intentions since Atatürk are sincere; that it can bring mediation to the region and can be a stabilizer of importance. None of the Muslim Arabic countries can fulfill this duty or has the intention to do so.

Continue reading here

Day Opening - October 11

Venice, Italy (click on picture to enlarge)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Bible misinterpreted?

The first sentence of the good old bible has been misunderstood for centuries because of an error of translation, says a Dutch catholic professor of exegesis.

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," says the first verse of the first chapter of the first bible book, Genesis. But a Dutch professor of Old Testament exegesis now says this phrase was wrongly translated.

Ellen van Wolde, who holds her inaugural speech at the Raboud university in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, yesterday, says the Hebrew word bara should not be translated as 'created' but as 'separated'. So the first verse would read "God separated the heaven and the earth", indicating that there was something before Creation began. Van Wolde has analysed the Hebrew original of Genesis and gives a plausible explanation for her alternative translation. She mentions a series of other places in the Old Testament where the word bara appears, and she demonstrates convincingly that separated would have been the appropriate translation there too. Furthermore, she analysed creation stories from ancient Mesopotamia, from the era in which Genesis originated, which mention a deity who separated heaven and earth at the beginning of time.

Van Wolde's interpretation of Genesis assumes that heaven, earth and water were one originally. God took them apart and gave them separate places in the universe. That leads to the conclusion that Genesis is not about the absolute beginning of time. According to Van Wolde the people who lived in the 7th and 8th century BC, when Genesis was created, did not believe that "in the beginning there was nothing". Genesis itself suggests that people at the time imagined primeval waters where sea monsters lived. The professor draws the conclusion that the book does not speak of 'creation from nothing' (creatio ex nihilo), as her own Catholic church teaches.
Van Wolde's alternative translation of the word bara in the first verse is new, but her other conclusions are not. Scholars of the Old Testament determined as far back as the 1950s that in the conceptual universe of the ancient Near East creating amounted to separating, giving things a place. The assumption that people in antiquity had no conception of 'nothingness' is not new either. The concept of creatio ex nihilo in the Catholic doctrine does not derive from Genesis but from a verse in the second book of Maccabees [7.28], which protestants regard as apocryphal.
Van Wolde's exegesis is supported by many origin myths, also beyond the Near East. Most stories mention a mythical world before the creation of the sun, moon and stars and the existence of living nature and men. Myths refer to a world created from something that preceded it. This is related to the limits of human imagination. In the course of human cultural evolution people define the unknown by analogy with the known. And nothing can be a model for 'nothing'.

Devout Jews and Christians will probably not be shaken in their faith by Van Wolde's findings. Even if there were primeval waters before God intervened, He was the one who brought order out of chaos. That still makes him 'the Creator'.


Turkish liberals

Below an interview with the Turkish Liberal Party chairman. A party which makes sense:

The leader of Turkey’s liberals wants Germany’s newly buoyant Free Democratic Party to support Turkey’s reform process while being equally critical of the country when the process slows down. “The presence of the Free Democrats in the government will be much better for Turkey's EU bid," said Cem Toker, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, or LDP
The leader of Turkey’s liberals wants Germany’s Free Democratic Party, or FDP, to support Turkey’s reform process, while being equally critical of the country when the process slows down.

Continue reading here.

Day Opening - October 10

Amsterdam being the capital city of the Netherlands, it is one of the most liberated and tolerant cities in the world. The overall open-minded people make Amsterdam a traveler’s dream. However, there is more to see in Amsterdam besides coffee shops and the famous red light district. For example the many museums: The Anne Frank House/Museum.
Anne Frank was one of the victims of the Nazi regime in the Second World War. The Anne frank House is the historic home where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Germans. The queues for the house can be enormous (doesn't matter if it's summer and winter, sunny or rainy) but it’s a impressive and worthy sight to visit.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Taking a break

Yep, taking a break. I'm exhausted.

Nobel Price for Peace for Obama

And he deserved and needed something like this!!!

Day Opening - October 9

If you haven’t been to the Rijksmuseum, you haven’t been to Amsterdam. This museum holds masterpieces, furniture and beautiful jewelery and other stunning items. If you visit this museum, make sure to see the Nightwatch by Rembrandt.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Forget history, teach kids about calories (By Jan Paul Schutten)

What good does it do to teach children that 1492 was the year Columbus discovered America? Better to teach them that it is the number of calories in two Big Mac's with medium-size fries and extra ketchup.

When you have your health you have everything, the saying goes. Why is it then that our schools teach almost nothing about healthy eating? How many children know how many calories are in a glass of orange juice or how much Vitamin C is in an apple?
The American food expert Brian Wansink once calculated that the average American takes 200 food-related decisions every day. Wouldn't it be helpful then if we actually knew which foods are fattening and which are not, or which products contain vitamins? If we were able to estimate how many calories we take in with a particular meal, or how many calories we burn with a particular activity?

It pays to eat healthy British researchers who followed a group of 11,000 food-conscious people for a period of 17 years found that their mortality rate was 21 percent lower than average. People who eat healthy don't just live longer, they live healthy lives for longer too. In short: it pays to eat healthy.

There is a very simple way to save money on health care: introduce a half hour of food education in schools every week. The first results will be visible after a few years; in the long term they will be spectacular. Better food education will considerably reduce the risk of heart disease as well as cancer and diabetes.

But will more knowledge about healthy food automatically lead to a more responsible lifestyle? Yes, it will. How many parents give their children fruit juice instead of soda on the assumption that it contains fewer calories? In reality fruit juice often contains more calories than soda and only very few vitamins. How many parents fail to give their children enough fruit and vegetables with the excuse that they just don't like it?

The latter is nonsense, of course. Researchers at Cornell university in the US gave people in a movie theatre large containers of free popcorn without telling them that the popcorn was five days old and tasted of Styrofoam. The test persons dutifully ate their free popcorn. Both children and adults will eat almost anything when they are watching TV or a movie. If people are prepared to gobble down bad popcorn, wouldn't they be just as happy eating cauliflower or carrot sticks in a yogurt dip?


If people know how many vitamins or how much energy a product contains, they will be more inclined to pay attention to what they eat. Whenever I give a reading for at a school, I have the children eat potato chips, then we all run around the classroom just as long as it takes to burn off the extra calories.
Most people know surprisingly little about food. A few lettuce leaves are often their only source of vegetables, and they don't realise you would have to eat an entire head of lettuce to get the recommended vegetable intake. How many people don't reward themselves after a workout with a snack or a soda, unaware that in doing so they have actually consumed more calories than they have just burnt off?

It gets worse. Zoos often get letters of complaint from visitors who witnessed a snake being fed a mouse or a rat. "Couldn't you have given it sausages instead?" they ask, apparently unaware that animals are killed in the process of making sausages too.
The number of obese children is still on the rise, and they are getting younger every day. Obese children more often than not turn into obese adults. The clock is ticking. Dutch food minister Gerda Verburg gave the example in 2008 by setting aside an extra 8 million euros for food education. But if you ask the teachers they will tell you that little has changed in practice. Often the teachers themselves are to blame: they have other priorities.

The ball is now in the court of the education ministers. There are excellent teaching models available for schools. 'Food ed' should be made compulsory across the board. It is about time that 1492 no longer reminds of when America was discovered, but of the number of calories in two Big Mac's with medium-size fries and extra ketchup.

Day Opening - October 8

The Glyptoteket - Copenhagen

Etruscan sculptures, French impressionism and Danish Golden Age art may not make the covers of lifestyle magazines, but the building – inspired by Spanish architecture and created by Vilhelm Dahlerup – is the epitome of the most valuable current lifestyle – calmness.
Your pulse beats a little slower when you enter one of the large, open rooms and see the many art students with their notebooks and drawing books. And the big atrium, in which even on a rainy day the sun seems to spread its life-giving rays onto the plants and seats below while you feed goldfish with small coins, is itself worth the visit.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Do you think I'm stupid?

Almost every day I receive one of these emails:

From: joy goldynel

How are you ,I know this email will come to you as a suprise but please i want you to bear in mind that i mean not to control or force you,just a kind help i need from you.But the point now is that I have a problem that is really disturbing me, My Name Miss joy 23 years old, iam a daughter of Late Dr Goldynel Harahh , the onwer of (Sutuk shiping company and Joy Oil ) during his life time,You see I am from Sudan in africa .Before my father's death,then we were having our father told me that he deposited some money( $1.5 millon dollars) in the Bank which am the beneficiary,after his death i managed to ran away from my country to Senegal as a refugee.But the Bank where the money was deposited said that I should look for a good person who will help me to claim the money that they can not deal with me because of my status,my age being a refugee , The man that the Reveren connected me to,said that , the only way he could help me, that i will give him 25% of the total fund after everything is done. but he said that it shall be confidencial between us. the Man who was supposed to help me transfer the money in to his account,later came back and demanded 30 percent;i disagreed to give him thirty percentage. So i am asking you to help me and contact the bank now ,on how to transfer this fund in to your account that you will provide,so that after everything you will come and get me out from this place. what i need mainly now is your tel number and address so that I shall send you the deposited certificate and bank contact.And my plans that as soon everything is ok you will help me to establish a good business and manage it for me as well,then i can continue my studies over there in your country,Call me with this number 00221-763309647it belong to one of the Reverened Father here in the camp , when you call their will send for me in the female hostel .
I shall be waiting to hear from you
Regards and God bless
Miss Joy.

Day Opening - October 7

The Free State and beatnik factory at Christianshavn, Copenhagen, Denmark, has always been more than just a hash supplier to enthusiastic Copenhageners. And it still is, now that the hash market has been considerably reduced. In fact, Christiania is one of he city’s biggest tourist attractions with such a long list of stories and attractions that a single visit can only give a taste of the 34 hectare area with its 1,000 inhabitants. Wear sensible shoes and enjoy the green areas, the many strange buildings and discover the Buddhist Stupa, the riding club, the Månefiskeren café, the ecological vegetarian restaurant Morgenstedet, Sunshine Bakery, the women’s smithy, the famous Christiania bikes, art ateliers and much more. Be aware of the fact that there are a lot of dogs off the leash.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

About import brides and grooms in the Netherlands

The choice of a partner is not the government's business

It is a dangerous thing to try and stem immigration by intervening in people's right to choose who they share their lives with.

There is no question the Netherlands is dealing with an integration problem. The days when this was being denied, hushed up or contested are long gone. As the publicist Paul Scheffer demonstrated in his book The Unsettled Land, immigration has always been a source of conflict. In our culture of live and let live, imposing standards and values is not an easy thing. During a radio interview on Saturday Scheffer made the case for more clarity in the matter: equality between men and women is an inherent part of our culture that should be propagated. Freedom of religion in the Netherlands also implies freedom of religious criticism - for everybody.
This has implications for immigrants who didn't grow up in this culture. Standards and values from the country of origin about contact with non-believers or the place of the woman cannot be imposed on others in the Netherlands. Offensive cartoons and open homosexuality do not have to embraced by all, but they are allowed should be self-evident. Defending these freedoms is a solemn duty.

Last Friday the Dutch cabinet decided to tighten the integration and education criteria for foreign marriage partners. In doing so the government wants to stem the flow of so-called "import brides or grooms", especially those who are at risk of finding themselves in a dependent and isolated position in the Netherlands. It also wants to discourage marriages of convenience, forces marriages and marriages between first cousins. This is done from a social perspective, but also to prevent fraud, crime and polygamy.
There is a long list of problems related to immigrants who desperately cling to the culture of their country of origin. It includes not just arranged marriages, but also teenagers being left behind in the country of origin at the end of the summer vacation - a particularly cruel act.
On the face of it the cabinet's policy on import brides is a good example of normative clarity, which clearly states what is important to Dutch society. But between norms and reality there are many practical objections and acquired cultural rights. For this reason we should always be on guard whenever the government wants to intervene in people's private lives.
Who we share our lives with or want to marry is an individual choice. The motives for doing so are by definition not a matter for the state. Historically speaking, arranged marriages, whether based on calculation, necessity or opportunism, are no exception to this rule. Social standing and religion have always played a role in marriage, not to mention security or prosperity.
For this reason it is dangerous to try to stem immigration by imposing standards that belong to family law. Every citizen has the right to a family life, as determined by the European Convention on Human Rights. Who he wants to share that family life with is his business, and the government should respect that. But that (new) citizen will also have to adapt to life in the Netherlands, because the days when our standards and values were vague or undefined are also long gone.

Day Opening - October 6

The combined housing and parking complex of the VM Bjerget which is covered with roof terraces with gardens. Everyone should do themselves the pleasure of ‘climbing’ the mountain by the stairs that lead up to the 10th floor and from which there is a wonderful view over the city of Copenhagen This is a complex that puts you in a good mood. In 2008, VM Bjerget was crowned the best housing complex in the world.

Monday, October 5, 2009

More trials for Turkish journalist Mehmet Baransu

Turkey; country of prosecuted journalists and (6000 +) banned wed sites.

Mehmet Baransu, who is only doing his job properly – investigating and reporting – faces nearly 20 different court cases over articles he wrote, mainly about the military in Turkey. He’s for example accused of publishing records about the PKK raid on the Aktütün Police Station. The case begins on 18 November. Baransu: "If the General Staff spreads the news is not a crime - is it a crime if it is me who spreads it?"
It is the same as an American journalist spread some news about activities of the American Army in Iraq, not rumors, and will face a military court in the USA because he write something down what is public know. In that case most American journalist, embedded with the American army, can put on trial in the USA as the USA judiciary uses the same procedures as in Turkey.
The main Dogan newspapers, seven in total, which is under scrutiny over tax fraud accused by Treasury of Turkey and Sabah, which backs the government all the time , are both silent over this issue.
It’s obvious that there is no freedom of thought and no freedom of press in Turkey. A shame…on its path to become an EU member!

Day Opening - October 5


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Netherlands Antilles to cease to exist as a country

The Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist as a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands on October 10, 2010.

In a meeting on Curaçao on Wednesday, the Dutch-Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba agreed to become Dutch municipalities.
On the same date, 10-10-10, Curaçao and the Dutch half of St Maarten will become independent countries within the Kingdom, on an equal footing with the Netherlands proper and with Aruba, which gained its "status aparte" in 1986. The previous semi-independence arrangement between the Dutch central government and its former Caribbean colonies dated from 1954 and was due for renewal.

Dutch deputy home affairs minister Ank Bijleveld warned that a lot of work remains to be done following Wednesday's Curaçao agreement. The parliaments in The Hague and Willemstad (Curaçao) need to pass a number of laws, and administrative bodies for Curaçao and St Maarten need to be set up.
The Dutch government also wants assurances that rampant crime on Curaçao and St Maarten will be fought harder. Dutch police detectives will continue to be active in the kingdom's new countries.

So flying from one Dutch municipality to another Dutch municipality can take you 10 hrs...

Day Opening - October 4

Bass Rock Lighthouse, North Berwick, Scotland

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Question (5)

On 9/11 the Bush administration declared a State of Emergency (SOE), which was formally proclaimed on September 14, 2001, and extended by Bush repeatedly thereafter, most recently on August 28, 2008.
Under cover of this SOE, Bush secretly enacted many extreme measures, ranging from suspension of habeas corpus to preparations for martial law in America; all these were undertaken as part of secret so-called “Continuity of Government” (COG) procedures associated with the SOE, and first instituted on 9/11.
The National Emergencies Act, one of the post-Watergate reforms so detested by Vice-President Cheney, requires specifically that:
Not later than six months after a national emergency is declared, and not later than the end of each six-month period thereafter that such emergency continues, each House of Congress shall meet to consider a vote on a joint resolution to determine whether that emergency shall be terminated.
Who is for big government?

Turkey's reputation is at stake, not its honor

I found the links of the serie of articles I wrote as guest columnist for Turkish Daily news between 2007 and 2008. The next two weeks I will publish the old columns here since they are still actual for the Turkey of today. Today the second one, just after Dink was killed.
Turkey's reputation is at stake, not its honor

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Hans A.H.C. de Wit*

The international perception of Turkey is still unfavorable. And the Turkish media at large is collectively responsible for this.

The killing of Hrank Dink shows the fragility of Turkey's image. Certain internal and international nationalistic groups “hijacked” his death while other opportunists misused “his friendship” for their own purposes. The Turkish newspapers were full of condemnation, and the foreign press saw an opportunity to show the difficult lives of independent Turkish journalists and writers, exploring how some even have bodyguards and use police protection…

The common man on the street in Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara and Mersin might curse me for saying that Dink's death has to do with the ugly face of state propaganda, bad education and systematic massive misinformation. So, the tragic death of this fine journalist deserves more than just to offer an opportunity for a fleeting discussion. The doves that were released during his funeral instead of sacrificing another living being can be symbolic: peace for him and relieve the Turkish soul in mourning. And no more sensational news please, just let him rest in peace.

Enough with fatalism:

But ... can you blame the nationalist? Isn't it human nature to take a reactive stance towards anything that sounds, smells and looks different than what we are accustomed to? Yes, but by rejecting “foreign influences” you not only close the borders of your country but you close your heart and soul as well. What can be more tragic than the black burned soul of a youngster…
Turkey, which has been using the propaganda tool for a long time now in place of professional public relations and lobbying, has to finally stand up for its own citizens. It has to stand up not only in dull ceremonies but in everyday life, to protect the ordinary peaceful citizens all over Turkey. Mankind must know by now that nationalists are always using symbols and tragic events to get their points across and chasing rainbows over their country as if the sun only rises and sets in their own nation. What they practice is like voodoo and creates people whose eyes are wide shut and whose perception is triggered by blindness and hate.

Unfortunately, the Turkish rhetoric of fatalism is popular these days. The word inshallah was often used by Turkish people on the street, after Dink's killing, ashamed to give a fair answer. But is inshallah the message to the outside world that Turkey wants to convey? This is a murdered person who didn't believe in fatalism but who showed a pro-active attitude in faith and reconciliation.

Continue reading here.

Day Opening - October 3

Busted! But who?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Rio 2016 - Jesus Welcomes You

The new 'party-olympics' will be held in Rio...and Jesus welcomes you!
Why are all the Muslims countries failing, with all their petro-money, to organize a major event?
Istanbul must and have to do something.

Where did we Go?!

The following article of Thomas L. Friedman appeared today in several European newspapers, translated. Here his original piece written for the New York Times. The homicidal rants of the right are indeed scaring.
Where Did ‘We’ Go?

Published: September 29, 2009
I hate to write about this, but I have actually been to this play before and it is really disturbing.

I was in Israel interviewing Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin just before he was assassinated in 1995. We had a beer in his office. He needed one. I remember the ugly mood in Israel then — a mood in which extreme right-wing settlers and politicians were doing all they could to delegitimize Rabin, who was committed to trading land for peace as part of the Oslo accords. They questioned his authority. They accused him of treason. They created pictures depicting him as a Nazi SS officer, and they shouted death threats at rallies. His political opponents winked at it all.

And in so doing they created a poisonous political environment that was interpreted by one right-wing Jewish nationalist as a license to kill Rabin — he must have heard, “God will be on your side” — and so he did.

Others have already remarked on this analogy, but I want to add my voice because the parallels to Israel then and America today turn my stomach: I have no problem with any of the substantive criticism of President Obama from the right or left. But something very dangerous is happening. Criticism from the far right has begun tipping over into delegitimation and creating the same kind of climate here that existed in Israel on the eve of the Rabin assassination.

What kind of madness is it that someone would create a poll on Facebook asking respondents, “Should Obama be killed?” The choices were: “No, Maybe, Yes, and Yes if he cuts my health care.” The Secret Service is now investigating. I hope they put the jerk in jail and throw away the key because this is exactly what was being done to Rabin.

Continue reading here.

Glenn Beck quotes (not so funny)

-“Every night I get down on my knees and pray that Dennis Kucinich will burst into flames.” (2003)
-"I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it." (2005)
-"When I see a 9/11 victim family on television, or whatever, I'm just like, 'Oh shut up' I'm so sick of them because they're always complaining." (2005)
-“The only Katrina victims we’re seeing on television are the scumbags.” (2005)
-"Barack Obama has a deep seated hatred for white people." (2009)
-“Let me tell you something, there ain’t nothing better than looking at a hot, naked chick.” (2006)

Day Opening - October 2

A helping hand

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The tragedy of Turkey

Finally found the links of the serie of articles I wrote as guest columnist for Turkish Daily news between 2007 and 2008. Soon I hope to publiish another, new serie of articles in another Turkish daily.
The next two weeks I will publish the old columns here since they are still actual for the Turkey of today. Today the first one.
The tragedy of Turkey
Monday, January 15, 2007
Hans A.H.C. de Wit

The branding of a country has become a crucial issue in today's world. Whether we like it or not, globalization enforces countries to compete with each other. Self-supporting economies, one of which was Turkey until the beginning of the 1980's, are simply anachronistic today.
Those who still believe in that protectionist economic policy should just look at Zimbabwe or North Korea.
The branding of a country is important not only for the attention and trust of foreign investors but also for the choices of tourists. It also reflects the country's social, political and economic achievements. And, the products that a country sells abroad are a definitive aspect of its brand. In all these regards, Turkey is not doing well.
Just go back to last year. During the infamous “cartoon crisis,” some Muslim nations decided to boycott Danish products and when the Armenian genocide bill passed the French lower house, an unofficial boycott of French products was announced in Turkey. Did the first boycott hurt Denmark? Of course. Did it hurt the Danish image in the world in general? No.
And the boycott of French products didn't hurt France at all. It is still one of the leaders in the world regarding food, life style, fashion, language, literature, culture, etc. France's image got a bump, but it's still among the top destinations in the world that tourists choose.
Turkey simply cannot change that. But what about Turkey, which hopes to boost it exports to $100 billion in 2007? How many people abroad know that they buy Turkish products?

Continue reading here

Shootout on the streets of Istanbul

Maybe you have witnessed a fair share of shootouts over the course of your life. They may have been from Western movies, but it still counts. What you haven’t seen though, is a camera shootout on the streets.

In this photo series, fashion photographer Akif Hakan Celebi (Istanbul, Miami) takes style to the streets in Istanbul, Turkey.

Take a look at the photos above to get a whole new understanding of what it means to point and shoot.

It’s called “Diary of a Serial Shooter” and it was made for the 2009 Istanbul Fashion Film Festival. Done with models Aysu Ergin and Elif Domanic.

It takes quite a fabulous photographer to make something so high as the fashion these ladies are wearing and bring it down to the streets of Turkey where they then fight with old video cameras.
In the meantime, Istanbul became more and more a hotspot for fashion & models!

Day Opening - October 1

Golden Gate bridge at night.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Republicans for Obama

After Obama became president of the USA, a lot of republicans could not handle this: an African-American, a person who stands for social justice, a president who wants to bring back integrety to the White House...etc.
By accident I found this web site of people who make more sense than all those whining neo-cons.
Enjoy and think:

''Fellow Republicans,
The U.S. faces serious challenges that have not been addressed by our political leaders. For a generation, elected officials on both sides found it easier to appease their parties’ fringes to win elections, and media companies have choosen to shock, amuse and divide us. In the meantime, the problems we face as a nation grow as they are passed on to future generations.
President Obama is a leader who can lay the foundations of another American Century—he can help us get past our partisan and ideological divisions, as we strengthen our standing in the world and tackle the challenges we face at home. Obama understands our differences, but also knows the importance of finding common ground. While we continue to debate and address many issues on which we all have strong opinions—abortion, gay rights, the relationship between church and state, to name a few—we will continue to support Obama's efforts to break our government’s paralysis and meet the growing challenges we face as a nation.

continue reading hereeeeee

Question (4)

Is it ever right to kill one innocent person to save the lives of several others?

Day Opening - September 30

San Francisco bridge
byKevin McNeal