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 Oggetto del messaggio: News from World
MessaggioInviato: dom mar 14, 2010 12:46 
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Iscritto il: mer lug 13, 2005 14:43
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Application made to declare the Siesta an item of cultural interest

Mar 14, 2010 - 10:05 AM

It follows the Madrid Regional Government's intention to give bullfighting such protection

Following the intention of Esperanza Aguirre, the Partido Popular regional President of Madrid, to have bullfighting declared as a BIC Item of Cultural Interest, in order to block moves who want to ban the spectacle, now comes the suggestion that the Spanish Siesta should also be declared to be of cultural interest.

The idea comes from Daniel Dorado, a lawyer who specialises in the protection of animals. He has now presented an application in the registry of the Madrid Regional Government calling for the siesta to be declared a BIC, Item of Cultural Interest, considering it meets the same conditions for being so, as bullfighting.

In his arguments he says that the siesta is ‘a cultural fact of special relevance and significance, an art which deserves protection’. Following the claims made for bullfighting to the word he said ‘it has been for time immemorial part of Spanish culture’.

Nobel prize winning author, José Cela, described it as ‘Iberian yoga’ and said it should be carried out with pyjamas, the lord’s prayer and a urinal. The art was followed by figures such as Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill.

Daniel Dorado continues that unfortunately the siesta is threatened by our hectic way of life, and he claims that if it disappears the country will fall into chaos. He therefore considers the Madrid regional government is under the obligation to protect it by, for example, the installation of beds in the street.

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 Oggetto del messaggio: Re: News from World
MessaggioInviato: gio mar 18, 2010 08:41 
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Guttenberg kick-starts shorter conscription periods

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The centre-right government coalition had agreed to reduce the conscription period from nine to six months in early 2011, but broadcaster ARD reported that Guttenberg would bring the move forward to October 1.

The defence minister also plans to increase the number of new recruits each year from 40,000 to 50,000.

But outgoing parliamentary commissioner for the Bundeswehr, Reinhold Robbe, slammed Guttenberg’s plan in an interview with daily Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.

“Among the troops the reduction is seen with overwhelming scepticism, because there they can’t yet see what direction this is going,” he told the paper, adding that the military had to guarantee that recruits still understand the meaning of their service.

Meanwhile Robbe said there was a growing demographic problem when it came to recruitment.

“The quality of the applicants is going down,” he said.

The alternative to Bundeswehr service, compulsory community service, or Zivildienst, would also be shortened but the government is considering allowing voluntary extensions, as many community groups believe six months would not be long enough to make the service worthwhile.

However the government would have to approve additional funding to support people's service if they choose to work longer than six months.

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 Oggetto del messaggio: Re: News from World
MessaggioInviato: dom apr 11, 2010 00:17 
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Iscritto il: mer lug 13, 2005 14:43
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Right-wingers vow to block 'The Cove' in Japan By MARI YAMAGUCHI


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TOKYO – Dozens of right-wing activists protested Friday outside the office of a Japanese distributor of the Oscar-winning "The Cove," demanding that the gory portrayal of dolphin hunting in Japan not be shown in the country.

"The Cove" won this year's best documentary Oscar with its depiction of dolphin hunts in Taiji, a small fishing village in western Japan.

The protesters Friday accused the distributor of betraying Japanese national pride by supporting the film, which they see as insulting to traditional village culture of which dolphin hunting is part.

"Traitor! Money scavenger! Shame on you!" Shuhei Nishimura, who led Friday's protest, shouted outside the downtown Tokyo office of the distributor, Unplugged Inc.

He demanded a meeting with the company president, while about 30 protesters held up signs saying "Crash the showing of anti-Japanese film 'The Cove,'" and urging the Japanese to "be angry."

Nishimura handed a statement to a company employee, who declined to comment or be identified. Unplugged President Takeshi Kato did not show up.

"We will block the distribution of the movie and we will protect this country," Nishimura said. "If the country does not protect the life, spirit and pride of its people, we will have to protect them by ourselves."

The film has not yet been released in Japan, but it will start showing here in June at 20 to 30 theaters nationwide. When it was shown at the Tokyo International Film Festival in October, viewers gave it mixed reviews. Unplugged had said it planned to obscure the faces of the Japanese fishermen in Taiji to protect their privacy.

The documentary, directed by Louie Psihoyos, follows Ric O'Barry, a trainer for the 1960s "Flipper" TV series who says he became an activist because of a suicidal dolphin in his charge. The film team broke into a restricted area to set up cameras that captured the slaughter.

Taiji, the village of 3,500 people, has been hunting dolphins and whales since the early 1600s. It calls itself "Whale Town" and has a massive pair of whale statues looming over the main road. "The Cove" refers to Taiji and its dolphin fishing as "a little town with a really big secret."

Most Japanese do not eat dolphin meat. Its consumption is limited to a handful of fishing villages where the animal is hunted.

The Japanese government allows about 19,000 dolphins to be killed each year. Taiji hunts about 2,000 dolphins every year for meat _ less than other places _ but is singled out in part because of its method of herding and killing them near the shore. Some are captured and sold to aquariums and dolphin shows at water parks.

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 Oggetto del messaggio: Re: News from World
MessaggioInviato: mer feb 02, 2011 16:00 
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Iscritto il: sab mar 27, 2004 18:27
Messaggi: 3217
Località: Ancona
International Study
Britain and France Get Poor Marks in Democracy Ranking

By Jill Petzinger

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Denmark's democracy is in rude health while the political systems of Britain and France have some major shortcomings, according to a new Swiss-German study ranking the quality of democracy in 30 nations. Germany achieves a respectable score but falls short of a top 10 slot.

Germany is more democratic than France, Britain and even Switzerland, according to a study released last week by the University of Zurich and the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), a research institute funded by the German government.

The 'democracy barometer' measures how well 30 established democracies implement the principles of freedom and equality. Denmark gets top marks, while Britain and France are found wanting, ranking 26th and 27th respectively. Costa Rica came last, just behind South Africa and Poland.

The study spans the years 1995 - 2005. Project leader Wolfgang Merkel of the WZB told SPIEGEL ONLINE that the survey "is designed to go deeper than whether a country holds free and fair elections, but not to go deep into individual governmental policies."

Data has also been collected from a further 40 countries, including South American democracies, and the additional ratings will be released later this year. A major criterion is the extent of control citizens have over their government. Nine other criteria are examined, including the rule of law, transparency of government and participation in the political process.

Germany Ahead of Switzerland

Germany is in 11th place, just behind the US. Germany collected a few extra points because it has a relatively large number of women in parliament and because of its strict separation of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.

"The frequent opportunities for veto by the upper house and by the constitutional court restrict the governmental power," says Merkel.

By contrast, women are underrepresented in Switzerland's political system, which ranks at number 16. In addition, Switzerland has a smaller voter turnout among lower-income groups.

Perhaps the most surprising performances are those of Britain and France. "There are relatively few political parties in France," says Mark Bühlmann from Zurich University. He explains that in addition to weak workers' unions there have also been increasing reports of police brutality in France.

British System Flawed

Britain has long enjoyed the reputation of having have the mother of parliaments, but the British system has some significant flaws, the study says. The problems lie mainly in three key areas: majority representation in parliament, which creates distortion between votes and actual seats in parliament, a media that is skewed by private-sector interests, and declining trust in the police.

Democracy is a work in progress, according to Bühlmann and Merkel: "Our democracy barometer highlights the best practice of some of the most successful democracies, but it does not disguise areas in which progress still needs to be made," they said in a statement.

However, the results are not up to date because the survey focused on the period up to 2005. Belgium, for example, is ranked as the third most democratic country in the group, yet it has now been without a government for more than seven months. Belgium's current problems would cost it a few 'democracy points,' but the country still scores a lot better than most democracies, said Merkel.

jap
Source: Der Spiegel


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 Oggetto del messaggio: Re: News from World
MessaggioInviato: ven apr 15, 2011 14:59 
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Iscritto il: mer lug 13, 2005 14:43
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Rabbi asks Arabs not to sell chametz

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Akko's chief rabbi urges local imam to instruct city's merchants to avoid selling bread to Jews during Passover holiday

Akko's Chief Rabbi Yosef Yashar has asked the imam of the al-Jazar Mosque, Sheikh Samir Asi, to instruct Arab business owners in the Old City to avoid selling chametz (leavened food) to Jews during the Passover holiday. The sheikh has agreed to do so. "I believe that if a Muslim cleric issues this request as an authoritative religious decree, the Arabs will honor it and won't sell chametz to Jews during Passover," explains Rabbi Yashar.
The rabbi visited the sheikh's home earlier this week and asked him to forbid Arab business owners in the Old City to sell chametz to Jews.
"The sheikh welcomed me with a lot of respect. We are good friends. I turned to him and said, 'Look, we are strict about respecting your religion and do everything not to hurt you, and we expect you to do the same. Please, do something about the Jews who come to the Old City, buy and eat Chamez during Passover. It really hurts our feelings.'"

What exactly did you ask the sheikh to do?

"To turn to all bakery owners in particular, and all Arab residents in general."

How is this year different, and why did the city's rabbi choose to turn to an Arab cleric this year?

"In recent years, Akko has become a center of attraction for Jews looking to buy chametz. We want this thing to stop, so that the stigma attached to this city as a place that sells chametz will be removed."

Why did you turn to Sheikh Asi of all people?

"I turned to a religious scholar as a religious scholar. I think he has an influence on the public and has the power and ability to guide the Arab public not to sell chametz to Jews."

The Chametz Law doesn't apply to the Old City. Do you think the Arabs will comply with the sheikh's request?

"We didn't make use of the law. This is about mutual respect – we maintain the coexistence between us here and do everything to respect their religion. Fortunately, he accepted and said he would definitely issue some sort of request. He also promised to discuss the need for coexistence in peace in his Friday sermon."

Do you really think restaurant and bakery owners in the Old City will check who is Jewish during Passover and refuse to sell them chametz?

"I think they will if we turn to a religious scholar they admire and listen to."
"The rabbi and I are in very good relations and we cooperate on anything related to the city," says Sheikh Asi.
"In this case, this is the first time the rabbi approaches me on this issue and asks me to plead with the Old City's merchants. I accepted his request immediately. We live in a mixed city and we must be considerate towards the needs of all residents from both sectors."
"Therefore I plan to turn to bakery and business owners and ask them not to sell chametz to Jews, although I am certain that not all business owners will comply with the request. I can't force anyone to do it, and I don't plan to, but I'll do the best I can to honor the rabbi's request."
"I'm not going to ask every person if he's Jewish or Arab," says a bakery owner from the Old City. "It's their religion, not mine, and I will sell pita bread."

And if the sheikh approaches you and asks you not to sell Jews chametz, will you agree?

"There will be those who'll listen and accept his request, and some who won't. We'll sell."

"I'll sell to any customer," says another baker from the Old City. It’s not my problem that Jews east chametz on Passover."

The rumor about the rabbi's request from the sheikh spread quickly across the Old City, surprising most people. Many expressed their rage over the fact that the rabbi put the sheikh into an unpleasant situation.
'Rabbi trying to make headlines'
It turns out that Sheikh Asi has already approached several business owners in the Old City, including Said Abu Beker, the owner of the famous Hummus Said restaurant.

"I would like to accept the request and even close the business, but I can't be the only one," says Said's son, Samir Abu Beker. "My father respects the sheikh and the rabbi, and we have no problem closing the restaurant and our pita bakery.

"We would welcome a law ordering all businesses in the city to shut down during the holiday, as we would love to take a vacation. I don't believe the merchants will accept the demand and refuse to sell to Jews or close their businesses."


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City Council Member Ahmed Uda doesn't understand why the religious leaders, from both sectors, are creating confusion in the city. "The rabbi's appeal to Sheikh Asi, the imam of the biggest mosque in Israel, is delusional. I think Rabbi Yashar is just trying to make headlines.
"If it bothers him so much that the Jews come to the Old City to buy chametz during Passover, he should go there himself and ask every visiting Jew not to buy or eat chametz."

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 Oggetto del messaggio: Re: News from World
MessaggioInviato: ven giu 17, 2011 15:57 
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Iscritto il: mer lug 13, 2005 14:43
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Icelandic Revolution

I took the url of the blog which explains what is going on in Iceland, listing a certain number of blogs containing informations about it.

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