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.
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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!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Post-festive gloom...

For now, there's a lull. A little more than a month to wait for another burst of festive spirit. December comes and brings with it the anticipation of parties, and almost always an introspective streak that makes us re-think, re-hope, re-gret... (little manipulation with hypens works wonders.. hehehe)..

But it's still November... And I am feeling a tad down as the Diwali lamps have died down, the rangoli has been wiped out, the garlands lining our doors have withered away... Everything reminds me of the fun we had and makes me want more of such wholesome times of togetherness. The family is close-knit even when dispersed the country over and it's amazing how support stealthily comes to you from all quarters when you need it.

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I just noticed 2010 has been a quiet year for myblog. Here's sharing some posts I like before I can come up with "a proper post". (and what exactly is that, i wonder almost immediately after typing..
1) Can widowed women wear gajra?
2) Why has English become a necessity?
As I said in my first post here, it would be good to hear your views on the posts...