Kowloon Walled City

I hadn’t heard about the Kowloon Walled City before:

Inhabiting a block the size of the Tokyo Dome, Kowloon Walled City resembed a living, breathing creature, born from its inhabitants over its long lifespan. But the walled city was more than a physical conglomeration of buildings and people, it was an inadvertent symbol of the long struggle between China and Hong Kong, ruled by neither. It was an “in-between zone” whose remarkable existence today can best be comprehended through images, statistics and interviews.

Wikipedia has more details about it:

By the early 1980s, Kowloon Walled City had an estimated population of 35,000. Being a lawless land, the city was notorious for its excess of brothels, casinos, opium dens, cocaine parlours, food courts serving dog meat, and secret factories. The Kowloon Walled City was also infamous for its ridiculously high number of unsanitary dentist clinics, since this was where unlicensed dentists could operate without prosecution.

Over time, both the British and the Chinese governments found the massive, anarchic city to be increasingly intolerable – despite the low reported crime rate. The quality of life in the city, sanitary conditions in particular, was far behind the rest of Hong Kong.

After the Joint Declaration in 1984, the PRC agreed with British authorities to demolish the City and resettle its inhabitants. The mutual decision to tear down the walled city was made in 1987

(Thanks Matt, great find!)

Edgardo Mortara

From Wikipedia:

On the evening of 23 June 1858, in the central Italian city of Bologna, police of the Papal States, of which Bologna was then part, arrived at the home of a Jewish couple, Salomone (“Momolo”) and Marianna Padovani Mortara, to seize one of their eight children, six-year-old Edgardo, and transport him to Rome to be raised by the Catholic church.

The police had orders from the authorities in Rome, authorised by Pope Pius IX. Church officials had been told that a Catholic servant girl of the Mortaras, Anna Morisi, had baptized Edgardo while he was ill because she feared that he would otherwise die and go to Hell. Under the law of the Papal States, Edgardo’s baptism, even if illegal, was valid, and made him a Christian. Jews could not legally raise a Christian child, even their own. In 1912, in his relation in favor of the beatification of Pope Pius IX, Edgardo himself noted that the laws of the Papal States did not allow Catholics to work in the homes of Jewish families.[1] That law was widely disregarded.

Edgardo was taken to a house for Catholic converts in Rome, maintained by taxes levied on Jews. His parents were not allowed to see him for several weeks, and then not alone. Pius IX took a personal interest in the case, and all appeals to the Church were rebuffed. Church authorities told the Mortaras that they could have Edgardo back if they converted to Catholicism, but they refused.

(From Dawkins’ The God Delusion)

If I Did It, Here’s How It Happened”

I always have felt that OJ wants to boast about how he got away with murder since his acquittal and now it looks like he has found a way.

CBS/AP) In a new TV interview and book, O.J. Simpson discusses how he would have committed the slayings of his ex-wife and her friend “if I did it.”

The two-part television interview, titled “O.J. Simpson: If I Did It, Here’s How It Happened,” will air Nov. 27 and Nov. 29 on Fox, the TV network said Tuesday.

“O.J. Simpson, in his own words, tells for the first time how he would have committed the murders if he were the one responsible for the crimes,” the network said in a statement. “In the two-part event, Simpson describes how he would have carried out the murders he has vehemently denied committing for over a decade.”

“This is an interview that no one thought would ever happen. It’s the definitive last chapter in the Trial of the Century,” Mike Darnell, executive vice president of alternative programming for Fox, said in a statement.

In a video clip on the network’s Web site, an off-screen interviewer says to Simpson, “You wrote ‘I have never seen so much blood in my life.”‘

“I don’t think any two people could be murdered without everybody being covered in blood,” Simpson responds.