Monday, August 31, 2009
How cute is she? And that's a boiled chicken head in the last photo...mmmm lunch!
I highly recommend you check out Tracey's Flickr site, as she's a very talented photographer and has some excellent photos of Lebanon.
Reconstruction at Nahr el-Bared halted
Delays said to be down to discovery of Roman ruins underneath camp site.
By Carol Rizk
Monday, August 31, 2009
Continue reading at The Daily Star
As the rebuilding of Nahr al Bared slowly begins, is Lebanon preparing to bring Palestinian refugees in from the fringes? Marc Perelman reports
“This is Lebanon’s Guantanamo.” Ismail Abu Aman does not mince his words. With his thick black beard, his white skullcap and his grey flowing robe, the young imam of the Al Quds mosque spills out his feelings in a booming voice, his hands cutting the air. He points angrily at the five military checkpoints ringing the “new camp” of Nahr al Bared – a sparsely inhabited area whose population has swelled with the arrival of some 3,100 Palestinian families whose homes in the adjoining “old camp” were razed two years ago during a fierce battle between the Lebanese army and Islamist militants.
Continue reading at The National
Saturday, August 29, 2009
*An American comedian named Jack Handy actually thought this should be so. I happen to agree with him, and the many other deep thoughts he's had...
Friday, August 28, 2009
The story of Saima, the Pakistani woman who with the help of a microcredit loan has become the sole breadwinner of her family and an employer of many families in her community is something I witnessed first hand in my work in Bangladesh. All it takes is a small sum to buy a sewing machine and some fabric, or a couple of goats or cows, and women can transform not only their lives, and the lives of other women around them, but also existing inequitable social structures. The story of Tinashe actually brought a tear to my eye.
Girls in a slum in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh
With mention to Amartya Sen's work on the world's missing women, it becomes obvious that this is no small issue, and though it happens in different ways in different countries, the question remains: How has the world stood by for so long, to allow over 100 million women to go missing (either due to unequal access to medical care or the age old practice of exposing infant girls who should have been boys)?
Calls to stop the sea cow slaughter
AAP August 28 2009
North Queensland Land Council chairman Terry O'Shane has urged traditional owners to impose a total ban on hunting the endangered species, which are also referred to as sea cows, and place restrictions on turtle hunting.
His comments come after reports members of the Yarrabah community, south of Cairns, had been selling dugong and turtle meat on the black market for up to $50 a kilogram.
Mr O'Shane said although traditional owners had the right to hunt both species, they had a responsibility to protect the environment.
"What I'm talking to the mobs about is developing a responsible response to those rights," he said."We need to protect the eco-system.Dugong is an endangered species and we have to recognise that too."
He said he would meet with clan groups across North Queensland in the next few weeks to encourage them to impose management plans for traditional hunting.
"If they say no they're not happy about that, that's okay, but I need to put that on the table. It needs to be part of the discussion."
Mr O'Shane said his tribal group, the Yalanji clan, had banned dugong hunting in its traditional area north of Cairns and had imposed tough restrictions on turtle hunting.
Traditional owners in the area were issued with traditional hunting licenses and those who defied the ban were punished, he said.
"We have people that go out and do the wrong thing and it's up to us to pull them into line, and we do."
Mr O'Shane will meet with community leaders at Yarrabah, south of Cairns, to discuss allegations of profiteering from the traditional hunting rights.
"If it is happening, it's not for people to come along and start to profiteer from people's native title rights," he said."You can't sell it, they shouldn't be doing it, they should be prosecuted."
And if you want to read more about Dugongs, there's a very short piece in the SMH with comparisons to Japanese whaling.
KIGALI, RWANDA—In an effort to provide relief to a people devastated by civil war, genocide, and poverty, members of the humanitarian aid group Socialites Without Borders spent several hours this week teaching destitute Rwandans how to mingle.
"These poor souls, there's so much we can do to help to them," said Tinsley Rothschild, an event planner for the non-profit organization, while surveying the country's bleak and arid landscape. "Just look around, there's nothing here: no hors d'oeuvres, no towering ice sculptures, nothing. Nobody should have to live like this."Continue reading at The Onion
Pierre is the subject of an article in today's Canberra Times. That's a link to the B*B website where you can follow the link to the article...and while you're there, make a donation!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
So if you're in Australia, and home on Sunday (30th) afternoon at 3pm, tune into Channel 10 to check it out. And if you're not sitting at home watching tele on a Sunday afternoon, set your DVRs or VCRs or whatever it is the kids are using these days! And if any of you clever kids know how to take something from the television and magically beam it on to youtube, do so and let me know where to find it!
Obviously the authorities decided that the bear was smart enough to get itself out, it just needed a little help.
This reminded me of the letter I meant to write to the local council where my parents live about there being no graduated slope to exit the fancy new skate bowl from. I've actually written about that before on this blog. I just think it's very silly to have these high bowls with no easy means of escape...do I sound like a grumpy old man?
I had a brief sojourn into Juarez last year from El Paso (I also went to New Orleans, but I miss out on the trifecta as I didn't get to Venezuela), and even though it was the middle of the day on a Sunday, I felt really unsafe and hightailed it out of there.
But not before stopping to get a burrito from Manuel...
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Read Beauty Tips for Bangladesh Police here
"Imagine Prime Minister Kevin Rudd emerging dripping wet out of Lake Burley Griffin, channelling Colin Firth's sexy portrayal of Mr Darcy in the BBC series of Pride and Prejudice."
You can read more about Therese Rein's overactive imagination in the article Rudd, Mr Darcy in Disguise?
So anyway it turns out that a friend I made here knows the landlord and he's going to see what he can do about lowering the rent etc. One thing is for sure - I won't be moving in there until the place is totally cleaned out and doused with disinfectant!
Monday, August 24, 2009
We headed down Germaizy Street to get some dinner, and ended up in a little restaurant called Bread. I ordered the Black Pasta, because it sounded interesting - I wasn't expecting it to actually be black, but they use squid ink to dye it. Of course I was wearing a white shirt which now has a lovely stain on it. (I take after my Dad in that respect!!) Tracey and I shared that and another pasta, and had a lovely evening chatting away. As we walked home I started feeling a bit funny, but didn't think much of it. Turns out, gut rot struck us both, but Tracey was much worse and spent most of the night vomiting black. Poor thing.
She soldiered on the next morning, and watched me eat a delicious croissant at Paul's - a lovely cafe/restaurant right at the end of Germaizy Street, with a view to Hariri's mosque. From there, we fambled around, and Tracey directed my attention to a little alleyway. I spotted a cat.
She led me down further, and suddenly there were cats everywhere. There's an old woman who lives in the room you can see in the photo above, who feeds the neighbourhood cats. Tracey had met her before and she came out to talk to us (I really need to learn some French...and some Arabic!) and then she called the cats...
I swear about 20 cats came out of various hiding places...a real life, crazy old cat lady!! And check this out, Mangy has a doppleganger!
We kept wandering, and I was stunned at the beauty of so many old and decrepit houses...there's so much history in Beirut, so many competing histories, but it all comes together to form an amazing city.
It was about time for another rest stop, though Tracey was holding up remarkably well. We went up to the terrace of the Albergo hotel - a very posh old hotel that is beautifully furnished. The little cafe on the terrace was a slice of paradise, and I thorougly enjoyed my rose water lemonade in its surrounds.
A stop at Antoine's resulted in some much needed literature - I now have six great books to keep me occupied over coming weeks. On the way back to Tracey's some more cats caught our eye...new little kittens, five in all, who were just so cute!
After taking some rest, we headed out again, to a cinema near Tracey's house. The Lebanese Film Festival was a very interesting way to spend Saturday night. For the tiny sum of 5000 Lebanese Pounds (A$4), we got a ticket to the entire festival (4 nights). In Cinema 1, we got to see a range of films over a few hours, which was a very interesting evening. I've adapted the summaries from the program...
"Not Like My Sister" by Leyla Assaf-Tengroth
Rim was married off at the age of 13. Her little sister Dalida decides that the same thing wouldn't happen to her, but it's a risky decision. By the age of 16, she had survived three attempts on her life by her father and his brothers, and a suicide attempt. Despite this, her protest grows even stronger, and she finally triumps by marrying the man she loves, even though he is a Christian.
"Generation Rewind" by Chadi Younes
Shot on March 14 2005, when one million Lebanese people gathered in downtown Beirut to protest. Put together, the footage turned out to be a portrait of a young generation that inherits the past and, inevitably, keeps repeating it.
"Gunz" by Amandine Brenas
An animated short, Gun depicts somewhere in Beirut in the mid 80s, where a young girl decides to change the world through pixels.
"Darson fil Tarikh" by Hady Zaccak
In 1989 a group gathered and decided to consolidate books about history and civil education in Lebanon - a unified book has yet to come to fruition. Instead, there are several history books reflecting different versions of history. "A Lesson in History" follows history classes in five different schools in Beirut. Although the curriculum is standardised for all thrid year students according to a 1970 edict, contradictions emerge through interviews with the students themselves, who come from different backrounds and affiliations.
"Awalouha Najwa...wa Akhirouha!" by Lokman Slim and Monika Borgmann
"In Place: 4 Returnees From the Lebanese Civil Wars" joins together four interviews, each one a separate act in the drama the Lebanese Civil Waers. Former leaders continue to hold respectable postiions. Former grunts contine to hold marginalised positions. They give furtive interviews under the cover of anonymity (the transcript of the interviews are portrayed by actors).
The documentaries about Dalida, and the history books were really moving and interesting, but the rest were a bit weird - a lot of people walked out of the last film, it was difficult to watch, but I wonder how much of that was just the stark portrayals, or the content itself.
This morning, after another croissant at Paul's we continued walking around, and paid another visit to the litter of kitties, with a bit of food this time. Before I knew it, it was time to get going, and luckily enough, a bus had just pulled over at the stop when I walked down to it. And that my friends, is what I surmise a typical weekend in Beirut to be!!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Anyway, someone I follow on Twitter put up a link to The Great Flu - a game where you try to control different flu outbreaks...I played for a few minutes but it's no Carmen Sandiego...
Where will the money be spent?
- Basketball camps and clinics at schools and orphanages in Philippines for 3,900 children, including shoes for 400 orphans in Bayug.
- Sponsorship of the Sudanese-Australian All-stars, from the ACT, a local youth team made of Sudanese kids using basketball as a way to interact with and become part of Australian society.
- Building a basketball court in Kabul, Afghanistan, in conjunction with our local partners and orphanages.
- Uniforms and shoes for children at the JAAGO Foundation in Bangladesh, a school for slum kids in the heart of Dhaka.
- Emergency packs for slum kids in Philippines.
- School and children’s books for orphanages in Nepal.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I don't have any prior experience to working with refugees, but I think this is a pretty unique situation: how many other countries have had refugees living in camps (and by camps I don't mean tent cities, these camps look like any other part of the town) for 60 years, that have also had their armies destroy said camps? I haven't done a google search on that, but I don't think I'd come up with much.
Anyway, I'm not entirely sure of the point of that little piece, but today is World Humanitarian Day, which I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. Tristan has put a lot more effort and thought into writing something meaningful about this, so head on over to Wanderlust to read more.
Monday, August 17, 2009
"You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature."interview with a pirate (yar!) on when to negotiate and when to kill hostages.
And once you've finished reading that, you can play Cutthroat Capitalism: The Game, in which you're a pirate and must capture a ship and then negotiate a good price. I managed to get $9m...not too shabby...
Particularly salient paragraphs:
"I'm completely smitten," said U.S. delegate Tony Gilbertson, smiling as he turned his gaze toward Proxmire. "I'd do anything for her." Gilbertson later missed a crucial vote on a resolution that would have allowed the U.S. military to pursue Taliban militants into Pakistan, because he was in his office practicing the song he wrote for Rachel on his acoustic guitar.
"This is preposterous," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "The member nations of this organization send their representatives here to make the world a better, safer place. We can no longer endure the consequences of…oh God, there she is! How do I look? How do I look?"
"The Red Cross represents light in the darkness of war, and the ICRC and PNRC have been actively involved in ensuring the welfare of thousands of civilians caught in Mindanao’s conflict... Beyond August 12, it’s a good time to remember the unsung heroes of war and disaster—if we could only break away, briefly, from the lure of destructive politics."
Saturday, August 15, 2009
It was obvious then, that I'd enjoy the following article...
"So, just how popular is IKEA? It’s estimated that 10% of living Europeans were conceived on an IKEA-produced bed." Read more at 5 Things You Didn't Know About IKEA (but should!)
Friday, August 14, 2009
as the cast made their entrances, a little black and white cat stole out from behind one of the columns, trotted down the stairs, had a look around and then dashed off the stage. I'd been wondering if there'd be any stage crashes like there'd been at Deep Purple, and I'm happy to report that the little cat was the only one. (Unfortunately I didn't get a snap of it.)
The acoustics were ok, but if the performer turned away from us, then we could barely hear what was going on (not that I could understand it anyway, I think I got about three words: Alfredo, doctore, amore!)
During the performances there were a number of distractions that can only come with having an outdoor venue; a local mosque blasting out something, fireworks going off, pop music coming from a nearby restaurant. So on occasions, the moment was kind of lost because we couldn't hear the singers and had other music playing over the top.
The singers were fantastic, and you can check out a picture of the leading man - we saw him after the show looking very dapper in a white suit (but we were too shy to ask for a photo). Apparently he was the founding member of Il Divo...
I can't remember what time the show finished, but we headed off at about 1am. Apparently the other car got back to Tripoli at 2:30am...we got a little bit lost and ended up getting home at 4am...but it was worth it!!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Gibson the tallest dog dies
Gibson .... held the record for tallest dog. Photo: AP
Gibson, the dog dubbed the tallest in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records, has died after a battle with bone cancer.
The seven-year-old harlequin Great Dane from Grass Valley in California measured 2.16 metres (seven feet, one inches) when standing on its hind legs.
He was diagnosed with the disease in April and had his front right leg amputated to prevent its spread. He also underwent chemotherapy as a precaution. Gibson's owner, Sandy Hall, learned last week the cancer had spread to his lungs and spine and that no treatment could save him. Hall decided to euthanase Gibson on Friday.
Gibson appeared on "The Tonight Show," "The Oprah Show" and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and on Japanese television in 2006 after being named the world's tallest dog.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Geneva Conventions' struggle for respectBy Imogen Foulkes
BBC News, Geneva
The Geneva Conventions were signed in 1949
The Geneva Conventions are 60 years old on Wednesday, but the anniversary comes amid concern that respect for the rules of war is small.
The three existing Geneva Conventions, which relate to the immunity of medical personnel on the battlefield and the treatment of prisoners of war, were extensively revised in 1949.
The fourth Geneva Convention, which stipulates that warring parties have an obligation to protect civilians, was added....
...Unfortunately, signatures on paper have not led to respect for the conventions, and research conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) - which is the guardian of the conventions - shows that civilians suffer most in armed conflict.
Rebuilding of 150 structures in phase one will take one year
By Michael Bluhm
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
BEIRUT: A contractor will soon begin laying the foundations for the reconstruction of Palestinians’ homes destroyed at the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp during the battle in mid-2007, officials for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) told The Daily Star on Tuesday. The first part of the rebuilding effort – of a sector with some 150 structures, including housing for about 500 families – will take about a year to complete, meaning that refugee families will return to their homes next summer, about three years since the conflict erupted in May 2007, said Charles Higgins, UNRWA’s project director for Nahr al-Bared. More than three months of fighting between the Lebanese Armed Forces and Fatah al-Islam militants largely leveled the camp, which had officially been home to more than 31,000 Palestinian refugees.Continue reading at The Daily Star
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
This was a winning picture on the National Geographic Traveller page. The photographer's story: As the first mate on a 118-foot motor yacht, Vince Lauro has the opportunity to continuously travel across the Caribbean. This photograph was taken near a small key famous for the "swimming pigs." A colony of pigs lives on the key, and they often swim near visiting boats. To capture this clear image Lauro said, "I had to lure this pig into an undisturbed area with its favorite food: fresh watermelon."
Monday, August 10, 2009
It was a mixture of outdoor and indoor, with cavernous tunnels winding off in all directions
Basically I was very glad that I had no particular place I was looking for (or point I was trying to come out at) and was very happy to just wander around.
Quite by chance, I came upon Khan al Saboun, the soap market I'd originally gone looking for. After passing by all the gold and silver shops I suddenly found myself outside again in a nice little courtyard.
The soap shop was small, and full of tourists. As soon as I stepped through the doorway I was asked whether I spoke English or French and a 'guide' was assigned to me.
My guide was actually very annoying and didn't add much value to the experience. It's only a very small shop, and all the soaps are labeled with the ingredients, so the explanation of each soap ("this one is lavender; it has lavender and olive oil in it") and the pushiness to buy wasn't necessary.
What looked like necklaces were actually 'decorative' soap strands for perfume. I said I didn't have a house to hang one, so I was let off the hook. I ended up with an orange scented ball of soap and went on my way...passing this interesting display on the way out
It's amazing what you can do with soap!
The rest of my wanderings were pleasant enough (you've already seen the post about my high tops, I also bought a nice pair of sandals as well) and it was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon.
The best thing is the friends I've made so far - I'm nicely ensconced in a great group of friendly, intelligent and funny people.
The worst thing is that I haven't managed to find a place of my own yet. I had this problem when I went to Bangladesh; moving from a hotel, to the staff house, where I stayed for a month before I was able to get down to Chittagong and move into my house. It will have been two months (at least) before I get to move into somewhere and until then, the backpack isn't emptied. *sigh* At least I've managed to hang up some clothes (and even iron them!!)
Sunday, August 9, 2009
and suddenly everything is right
I said hey I put some new shoes on
and everybody's smiling
it so inviting oh
short on money
but long on time
slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine
and I'm running late
and I don't need an excuse
'cause I'm wearing my brand new shoes
I've wanted a pair of All Star high tops for years and years and years, so when I came across these in the souk yesterday all I could think was "they will be mine, oh yes, they will be mine." And they are!!
I had this song in my head as I went for a stroll in the sun today (screened up of course)...bopping away in my new shoes...
Saturday, August 8, 2009
this year he's hopefully living it up with K-Rudd in Cairns...
Friday, August 7, 2009
According to the email: These are Pennywell miniature pigs raised in Devon England.These mini pigs are meant to be pets, they are a variant of a rare breed from New Zealand. It is suggested that they always be sold in pairs so that they have a companion and someone to snuggle with (nb: isn't that the point of a pet owner??) They are supposed to be easy to house train and have good temperaments.
This little piggy went to market
This little piggy stayed home
This little piggy had roast beef (or a cup of tea)
And this little piggy had none
And this little piggy went wee wee wee wee all the way home
I'm in love!
John Hughes, the director of my favourite film of all time Ferris Bueller's Day Off has died. He was also responsible for such classics as The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Home Alone.
I enjoyed this article about how everything you need to know in life can be learned from Ferris Bueller.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Hold the fort - I just went to youtube, to see if I could get a clip for our mutual enjoyment (you're welcome)
And there's this instruction: Go to http://russiadefence.englis... , register and get the full video for FREE!It's an incomplete link, but if anyone can super sleuth the answer, it's Jasmine! Make sure you report back Dr J!
While Burnett appeared contrite, her co-anchor, Mark Haines, made light of the issue while she was speaking, holding a stuffed toy camel and making a sobbing sound. "This one is crying," Haines chimed in.
At the end of the segment Haines said: "Yes, have a great day and save a camel".
Bed Jump is going on the occasional list - you don't have to look at it often, but every once in a while it will make you smile.
She was expected to undergo surgery today to treat cysts as a result of urogenital chlamydiosis, a life-threatening disease that affects 50 per cent of the koala population. Did you know that koalas get chlamydia? No, neither did I, which proves that you do learn something new everyday.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tehehe, this reminded me of a comic I posted on my old blog...it also reminded me of one evening, sitting in the CARE staff house with Emma and our country director talking about BP5 biscuits. Emma posed the question, "I wonder who invented BP5 biscuits?" Just as I was about to spew forth with a whole lot of made up crap of names, laboratories, dates etc, Nick calmly told us all about the woman who'd invented BP5 (5 being the batch number that was the best) who was a nutritionist and an old friend of his. I was glad I'd kept my sarcasm to myself..
"Apparently there is a billion dollars of meat out there," Burnett said.
"Are they going to do anything with it?" Cramer asked.
"No. They're just slaughtering them," she said.
"That's genocide. Camelcide," Cramer commented.
Watch the report here, and fast forward to 3:15 (I haven't been able to watch it myself so do let me know what you think!). I wonder if 'camelcide' will become part of the common vernacular now...
Watch the video below, I'm so proud of Pierre (even if he didn't manage to sink a shot in the clip)!!
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin goes for a swim!
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin rides a horse!
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin drives an outboard motorboat!
Vladimir Putin feeds a horse!
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin fishes!
There are another five photos in the gallery. I feel like I've just read a children's book: he swims! He fishes! He ties his own shoelaces!!
*exclamation points added by me...