Category World

Both parties cheerlead still more loudly for Israel’s war

From Glenn Greenwald:

The Israelis have deliberately made it impossible to know the full extent of the carnage and humanitarian disasters because they continue to prevent journalists from entering Gaza even in the face of a now week-old Israeli Supreme Court order compelling them to do so. According to Palestinian sources, there are now 700 dead Palestinians — at least 200 of them children — and well over 1,000 wounded. Those numbers are not seriously doubted by anyone. By comparison, a total of 10 Israelis have died — 10 — almost all of them by “friendly fire.” The unusually worded Red Cross condemnation of Israel was prompted by its discovery, after finally being allowed into Gaza, of starving Palestinian children laying next to corpses, with ambulances blocked for days by the IDF. Even with the relative “restraint” Israel is excercising (the damage it could cause is obviously much greater), this is not so much of a war as it is a completely one-sided massacre.

As a result, much of the world is urging an end to the war and acting to forge a cease-fire — except the United States. Here, blind and unequivocal support for the Israeli attack is actually increasing almost as fast as the Palestinian body count piles up. Apparently, it isn’t enough that we supply the very bombs being dropped on the Palestinians and use our U.N. veto power to prevent any U.N. action to stop the war or even to urge its cessation. The U.S. Congress wants to involve the U.S. further still in Israel’s war.

This afternoon, the Democratic-led U.S. Senate did just that by enacting — via a cowardly voice vote — a completely one-sided, non-binding resolution that expresses unequivocal support for the Israeli war, and heaps all the blame for the conflict on Hamas and none of it on Israel. Harry Reid — who jointly sponsored the Resolution with GOP Leader Mitch McConnell — proudly proclaimed: “When we pass this resolution, the United States Senate will strengthen our historic bond with the state of Israel.” On its website, AIPAC is already patting the U.S. Senate on its head for “for conveying America’s unequivocal and steadfast support for Israel’s right to self-defense.”

Secret Film Reveals How Mugabe Stole an Election

From The Guardian:

A film that graphically shows how Robert Mugabe’s supporters rigged Zimbabwe’s election has been smuggled out of the country by a prison officer. It is believed to be the first footage of actual ballot-rigging and comes as Zimbabwe’s president faces growing international pressure.

Shepherd Yuda, 36, fled the country this week with his wife and children. He said that he hoped the film, which was made for the Guardian, would help draw further attention to the violence and corruption in Zimbabwe.

Obama, Japan

Justin, our Cynical Correspondent in Japan, visits Obama (the city) and posts pictures illustrating Obama’s love for Obama.

Traditional Boxing in Nigeria


From BBC News:

Traditional boxing from northern Nigeria is fast, brutal, and has few rules.

The men who dedicate their lives to it are wanderers, itinerant labourers in search of fame, or the sons of boxers – born into the ring.

“Dembe”, as it is called in Hausa, is exceedingly dangerous. Serious injury, and even death, are a real risk.

Manila Cemetery Houses More Warm Bodies Than Cold Corpses

A fascinating article about 10,000 Filipino families living in a cemetery.

10,000 Filipino families live in this massive graveyard in Manila. I recently spent five days walking among its residents taking photos and hearing stories of struggle and survival.

Some families ended up here almost accidentally. Some inherited the mausoleums that they now live in from their great-grandparents. Others came from the provinces and couldn’t make enough money to live in the big city. In all cases, they’re basically families with nowhere else to go.

The people who live here manage to extract livelihoods from the dead. Teenagers carry coffins for 50 Filipino pesos—about 50 American cents. Children collect scrap metal, plastic, and other garbage to sell. Their fathers are employed to repair and maintain tombs while their mothers maintain the house, which could be the family mausoleum or the mausoleum of their employers. Rent-free shanties are wedged between or on top of crypts.

(Thanks Jason)

Chinese Theme Parks

They seem rather boring.

In July 2001, Jennifer Hubbert, a China anthropologist at Lewis & Clark, and Maram Epstein, a scholar of Ming-Qing literature at the University of Oregon, toured a number of historical theme parks in the People’s Republic of China. Three of the theme parks we visited, “Old Beijing,” “Grand Prospect Garden” at a park dedicated to the novel Dream of the Red Chamber, and “The Eight Wonders of the Ancient World,” are commercial. Others, such as the “Matriarchal Clan Village” at Banpo and the “Yan’an Revolutionary History Park” were constructed under the aegis of the local government. The imposing “Ethnic Minorities Theme Park, still under construction, is under the sponsorship of the Central Government.

The Seven Wonders of the Totalitarian World

From Esquire:

Throughout history, it is the deep-pocketed madmen who tend to leave behind the biggest wonders. And while last month’s election of the New Seven Wonders of the World hints at this point — the emperors who fed Christians to the lions in the Roman Coliseum were neither mild-mannered nor impoverished — they’re basically positive tributes to mankind’s triumphant, enduring half. But what of the tyranny that drove men to produce such wonders? On some level, each of the New Seven is also a colossal monument to narcissism, either some ruler or some culture’s desire to go bigger and leave a mark that cannot be erased — a sentiment not unlike the one held by some of today’s most ruthless dictators.

An Abandoned Italian Village

Lots of pretty pictures but no explanations.
(via reddit)

How Much Does a Gram of Cocaine Cost Around the World

From The Economist:

THE street price of cocaine varies hugely across the world. No surprise that it is cheapest in Colombia, the world’s biggest producer of coca: at $2, a gram costs less than a Big Mac. Geography is an obvious price factor. The farther away a country from the main producers in South and Central America, and the more isolated it is, the higher the cost to traffick there. In far-flung New Zealand, a gram costs a wallet-busting $714.30.

Kilauea Eruption Near Kapoho, Hawaii

Shorpy has an amazing picture of the eruption of Kilauea. Click here for the full sized picture.

Unfortunately, the town was destroyed from the resulting lava flow.

KÄ«lauea erupted on January 13, spilling lava out in the middle of a sugar cane field just above Kapoho. Although the main flow of lava flowed into the ocean, a slow-moving offshoot crept towards the town. Despite frantic efforts to divert the flow with earthen barricades or to harden it by spraying water on it, on January 28 the flow entered and buried the town. Nearly 100 homes and businesses as well as a hot spring resort were destroyed. A single lighthouse was spared as the lava simply parted around it (it has since been replaced by a modern light). The town was never resettled.

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