Saturday, September 1, 2007

Weekend News Roundup

What can Vagabondblogger say? It's the same old hypocrisy, from the same old guys, isn't it? Let's not dwell, but enjoy a bit of comic relief instead. So, before moving on to the headlines, please take a look at a Little Britain skit. As for the travel bit from Russia: Traveling to any ex - USSR country, traveler beware! This story is not an isolated event, it is a procedure many have been through, albeit some, without the jail time. Which leads us to Putin, who's got the whole of Russia, if not parts of the ex-Soviet Union, under his thumb. I'm sure there are bits and pieces I've missed this week, or possibly purposely ignored. Please, send your complaints through the proper channels.

In Dog We Trust: Japan's Childless Turn to Canines
Dogs now outnumber children aged 10 and under in Japan -- there were 13.1 million dogs in 2006. As the number of humans shrink, the dog population is growing, research firm Euromonitor says, and so is the market for dog-related products.

It is one of the many shops that provoke the ire of animal welfare activists such as Briar Simpson, a New Zealander who works for Animal Refuge Kansai, Japan's largest animal shelter.

She says some of the dogs in all-night pet shops are used in elaborate con schemes: a hostess will ask her wealthy, drunken lover to buy her a little dog; the next day, she will bring the dog back to the shop in exchange for cash. The shop keeps a cut.
'Down the Nile': Traveling by rowboat down the world's longest river
Add to that a passion for the Nile. "The Nile was the longest river in the world," writes Mahoney. "It rubbed against ten nations. Some 250 million people depended on it for their survival. It had fostered whole cultures and inspired immense social and scientific concepts." What adventurous memoirist – particularly one seeking a topic for her next book – would not wish to ride on its back?

Egypt is a country, she tells us, in which sex outside marriage is "strictly forbidden." And yet, she says, "I had never visited any country in which sex had so often arisen as a topic of conversation."

How religion forges global networks
Much has already been written about the arrival of world faiths and how they are reshaping the American religious landscape. But in God Needs No Passport Levitt brings a fresh perspective, one that suggests the current debates are out of sync with reality. The true picture, it turns out, is both unsettling and encouraging.

The transnational lifestyles that Levitt explores are criticized by some Americans as disloyal – "like polygamy." Muslims especially have been looked upon with suspicion since 9/11 for maintaining such ties. But those of any faith who live transnationally are the face of the future, she contends.

"I always tell people from Muslim countries, none of you have ever really tested Islam as it was meant to be tested – as a pluralistic religion that ... accepts everyone for what they are," says Imram, an American Muslim. "America is probably the most Islamic country in the world even though it is not a Muslim country, because it has the principles an Islamic state is supposed to have.

Tourist in Russia Stumbles Into a Legal Predicament
Roxana Contreras is stuck in Russia accused of trying to smuggle cultural treasures out of the country after she purchased souvenirs worth $20 from a street vendor.

“We understand that she didn’t know, but that’s her problem,” Ms. Osennyaya said. “We have a saying,” she said, “Lack of knowledge does not free one from responsibility.”

Aleksei A. Andreyeshev, her lawyer, said he was equally puzzled by what he described as court officials’ capriciousness. In a telephone interview, he said that prosecutors had been unavailable and that the judge who will decide Ms. Contreras’s case hung up on him when he asked about the details of the hearing.

“He just threw down the phone and didn’t give me any information,” Mr. Andreyeshev said.

Oksana A. Romaneko, a spokeswoman for the court in Ramon, where the hearing will take place, would not provide information about the case. In a faxed response to questions, she said, “Any interference in the affairs of the court can be criminally prosecuted.”

Russia Arrests 10 in Slaying of Outspoken Journalist

Swiss Court: Yukos Case Is 'Political'
The decision, disclosed on Thursday, said that Russian authorities' pursuit of what was once Russia's largest oil company had a "political and discriminatory character . . . underlined by the infringement of human rights and of the right to defense."

The legal actions against the company were organized "by the powers in place with the goal of putting to heel the class of rich people known as 'oligarchs' and sidelining potential or declared political adversaries," the ruling said.

Arrest Ordered for Russian Oil Entrepreneur, a Critic of the Kremlin
Mikhail S. Gutseriev, a former owner of Russneft, published a letter last month critical of the government on a company Web site and in a Russian business newspaper.


  1. lol-we've been quoting this string of sketches from Little Britain all week!

  2. you talk about the things you are denied; the forbidden things ( that you see others freely do) more than you talk about things you legally enjoy. that goes for sex too.

    The funnies thing I heard this week is ("America is probably the most Islamic country in the world even though it is not a Muslim country, because it has the principles an Islamic state is supposed to have.) There is total separation of the State her from the church control. more ironic there is separation between the State and the American people too! The State here is exclusivley under the control of the 3000 billionares who live here.
    Nice post vivi

  3. cairogal and he & she: Glad you guys had a laugh. I will say, this has been one of the funnier weeks in American politics. I really enjoy Little Britain, it's one of my favorite shows here in Cairo, so I'm grateful anytime I have an excuse to use one of their videos.

    he & she: As for all those billionaires - you never know, you could end up being one too someday!

  4. Vivi. Let me please give you this kiss. If I became one of them I will give you ten millions because you deserve that as a good fortune teller