Monthly Archives: September 2012

North Korean Film Festival Ends

Now this is the sort of news story that we all like to wake up to and read:

PYONGYANG, North Korea — A German film about an English teacher’s struggle to introduce soccer at a strict school in late 19th century Germany has won the grand prize at the Pyongyang International Film Festival.

North Korea’s official news agency reports that “The Big Dream” also won the festival’s award for best actor, while a joint North Korean-European film, “Comrade Kim Goes Flying,” won for best direction.

The biennial film festival closed Thursday after an eight-day run that offered North Koreans and foreigners the chance to see movies from North Korea as well as France, Britain, Iran, India and Russia.

Huffington Post

There is always a certain… Bizarreness in these impoverished Communist states trying to show that they are rising above their filth with the hosting of such shows as these. There is the constant effort, especially true in a place like north Korea, of trying to prove to the world that they are a modern and respectable place while they can scarcely keep secret the deaths in the countryside.

A veritable comedy. Lipstick on a pig, etc.

Russia Finds Link Between GM & Cancer?

I am a bit skeptical of the article. Governments, all the time, find reasons to ban the importation of competitive, foreign products for what turn out to be actually purely economic reasons, but here we go:

Russia has suspended the import and use of an American GM corn following a study suggesting a link to breast cancer and organ damage.

Separately, the European Food Safety Authority(EFSA), has ordered its own review in to the research, which was conducted at a French university.

The decision by Russia could be followed by other nations in what would be a severe blow to the take-up of the controversial technology.

 

Cancer risk? A farmer shows two corncobs of genetically engineered corn by U.S. company Monsanto, right, and two normal corncobs from Germany, left

Cancer risk? A farmer shows two corncobs of genetically engineered corn by U.S. company Monsanto, right, and two normal corncobs from Germany, left

Historically, biotech companies have proved the safety of GM crops based on trials involving feeding rats for a period of 90 days.

However, experts at the University of Caen conducted an experiment running for the full lives of rats – two years.

Daily Mail

(More is there)

Certainly interesting; as it seems to come from some watchdog group there could be some credit here though I am assuming that the Russian government also had a vested interest in stopping this product so as to increase the profits of local businesses.

I will keep an eye on this…

Google’s Brazil Chief Detained

Google is famous for having that motto we are all familiar with, “Do no evil,” or whatever. We also all remember that Google infamously has cooperated with the Chinese government to reform search results in order for it to be… more acceptable to the powers that be.

Suddenly, though, Google seems to be taking a chance again and playing the martyr in the case of Brazil:

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Google Inc.‘s head of operations in Brazil was detained by the country’s federal police Wednesday after the company failed to heed a judge’s order to take down YouTube videos that the court ruled violate Brazilian electoral law.

The detention came as another court ordered YouTube to remove clips of an anti-Islam film that has been blamed for deadly protests by Muslims around the globe, both joining a spate of court-ordered content-removal cases against Google’s video-sharing website in Brazil.

The arrest of Google executive Fabio Jose Silva Coelho was announced in Sao Paulo. A press release issued by the federal police said he was not expected to remain in jail and should be released later in the day after signing a document promising to appear in court.

Brazil’s strict electoral laws limit what critics can say on television, radio and the Internet about candidates for office. Ahead of municipal elections next month, Google has received repeated requests to remove Web videos that allegedly violate those restrictions.

In a separate case pending against Google, Sao Paulo-based judge Gilson Delgado Miranda gave the site 10 days to remove video clips from “Innocence of Muslims,” which has angered many Muslims around the world by its depiction of the Prophet Mohammed and his followers as thugs. After the 10-day window, Google will face fines of $5,000 a day for every day the clips remain accessible in Brazil, according to the statement on the court’s website.

The company did not respond to requests Wednesday for comment about the case.

The “Innocence of Muslims” ruling resulted from a lawsuit by a group representing Brazil’s Muslim community, the National Union of Islamic Entities, which claimed the film violates the country’s constitutional guarantee of religious freedom for all faiths.

In a statement on the group’s website, Mohamad al Bukai, the head of religious matters for the Sao Paulo-based organization, hailed the ruling.

“Freedom of expression must not be confused with giving disproportionate and irresponsible offense, which can provoke serious consequences for society,” al Bukai said.

Seattle PI

It is surprising to see that Brazil is fielding such cases as these which limit the freedom of expression as such. One would have thought that they would just not be dealing with such issues at this point… They never particularly struck  me as a country that would be overly concerned with internet content, whether about political candidates or Islam.

I guess that it is not entirely surprising as the leadership of Brazil since Lula now has connections with Marxists.

In a sense, it is the ideologues of the nation that are the most dangerous as they precisely desire winning victories like this… Give me a fat, bloated, pompous and incompetent guy who is only concerned with personal profits any day compared to these far leftists ready to equalize us all against our will.

But again… Good on Google for taking the fall. I assume that they are only doing so, though, because they most certainly believe that they can win this in the end.

Assange Claims Film Invaded His Privacy

Yes, this is just legendary:

Josh Halliday
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 11 September 2012 12.26 BST

Julian Assange threatened to sue the film festival South by Southwest if it aired a documentary titled WikiLeaks: Secrets and Lies.

Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, threatened to sue the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in the United States if they broadcast the documentary, WikiLeaks: Secrets and Lies, earlier this year.

The legal threats came to light after media regulator Ofcom rejected a detailed complaint from Assange about the programme on Monday.

Assange had complained that the programme, which first aired on More4 in the UK on 29 November 2011, was libellous, unfair and had invaded his privacy.

The Guardian (and thanks to Soulflytribe @PoFo)

That is just amazing — the guy releases information that threatens the lives of countless sources all over the world and invades the privacy of intelligence agencies (which have a far greater reason for privacy than this bloke) and now…

Well, that says it all.

식중독 인가?

좀 이상하다:

인천지역 학교 4곳에서 학생과 교사 313명이 식중독 증상을 보여 보건당국이 조사에 나섰습니다.

어제(6일) 오전 인천 모 고등학교 학생 140여 명과 교사가 복통과 설사를 호소했습니다.

이후 인천의 3개 초등학교에서도 학생과 교사 160여 명이 식중독 의심 증세를 보여 학교 측이 인천시 교육청과 관할 보건소에 신고했습니다.

현재까지 입원한 학생이나 교사는 나오진 않았지만 역학조사 결과가 나오는 열흘 뒤까지 급식을 일시 중단할 방침입니다.

SBS뉴스

진짜 식중독이라고 하면복통과 설사대신에 토하고 설사하는 것이다. 아마도 음식에 관련 사건이지만 바로 식중독이라고 하기 힘들거다.

아마도 대한민국의 학교가  교내 점심에 대한 더 까다로운  규칙이필요하는거요… ㅋ.

Asia To “Lead” In Going Green? Sure.

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Asia-Pacific nations have made a breakthrough in promoting trade in ‘green’ technology, and the United States is pressing ahead with efforts to carve out a regional free-trade zone, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.

Speaking before a summit of leaders of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis said the group had agreed to slash import duties on technologies that can promote economic growth without endangering the environment.

“This is really a significant achievement, in that it shows how APEC can lead,” Marantis told Reuters…

“It allows us to accomplish the twin goals of liberalising trade and green growth.”

Ministers agreed on a list of 54 green technologies that will be subject to import duties of 5 percent or less from 2015, following through on a commitment made by leaders at the last APEC summit in Honolulu a year ago.

In the field of technology, the time to wait until 2015 is significant — check out here where you can get an idea of all of the crash course changes that we face. This could really be too little too late even if this has some sort of impact.

According to summit documents seen by Reuters, the list includes equipment used in generating power from renewable energy sources such as the sun, wind and biomass; treating waste water; recycling and environmental monitoring.

With rapid urbanization occurring and people in places with developed economies even like South Korea rapidly moving to Seoul, these technologies could really be useful (especially treating waste water) like… Right now.

APEC accounts for 40 percent of the world’s population, 54 percent of economic output and 44 percent of trade. Exports within the group are forecast by consultancy firm PwC to nearly treble over the next decade to $14.6 trillion while exports to non-APEC countries will double to $5.6 trillion, making the Pacific Rim the focus of global growth in the years to come.

(Nice numbers…)

Marantis said the group was “working together to create a high-standard, 21st-century trade agreement that addresses a lot of problems that exporters are facing in a way that will grow jobs and create new opportunities for exporters.”

… And a bunch of mumbo jumbo coming out to say that much of the conference actually focused on more and more trade; you can go to the original article to read about that. The environmental issues seem to almost have even been addressed as an afterthought (?) but this article chose to make them a priority — as if there is real progress in this field… A progress of which I am skeptical.

There are no deadlines for finalising the TPP deal, but Marantis said negotiators were seeking to complete the bulk of their work next year.

“Substance will drive timing – that’s what’s really important,” Marantis said. “If you look at how much progress we’ve been able to make in such a short amount of time we’re working to wrap up as much as possible over the course of 2013.”

The TPP ties in with President Barack Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports within five years of his election in 2008, and has been described as the biggest free trade pact since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, is not a party to the process while APEC summit host Russia – which has only just joined the World Trade Organisation – says it is not ready to look at joining the TPP.

Reuters

An interesting article, I guess, in demonstrating a general sense of futility and only the vaguest interest that the Asian countries (and their Western counterparts at the conference) seem to have.

BTW… I think my friend Nikita Sorokin may have been right there in Vladivostok working this conference. Hi, Nikita.


Palin Plays It Smart

It is good to see that Palin knows to keep out of this one and even take a bit of a swipe of her own at Kerry:

In his surprisingly punchy speech at the Democratic convention Thursday night, Senator John Kerry delivered this zinger: “Folks, Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from Alaska. Mitt Romney talks like he’s only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV.”

PALIN: I think he diminished himself by even mentioning my name. How does he even know my name? I mean, aren’t these guys supposed to be these bigwig elites who don’t waste their time on the little people like me? Me representing the average American? Yeah, I did say in Alaska you can see Russia from our landbase, and I was making the point that we are strategically located on the globe …. So it’s funny that he would take a little potshot like that, but, uh, it’s funny he even knows my name.

The Atlantic

Of course one could easily misconstrue this as Palin backing down and it is even a bit strange she would go so far as to pretend that she now has no name in American politics (which, in and of itself, is a foolish notion after she sent us through some crazy months a while back), but I got to say that she handled it well…

Surprisingly well for anyone who remembers that period of Palin in politics.

Keep your head up high, kiddo.

Obama Pandering To Youth W/ Beer

One of the things I have always loved about politics is how low people can get. We are all well aware that if Obama the politician didn’t quite have the right base of young, new-to-beer drinkers and the sort of pretentious folks that believe that they can brew endless masterpieces this wouldn’t come out.

We all know some people who actually can brew beers and then their alternative: the guys that go through a year or two long stage where they have convinced themselves that all it takes to become a master brewer is the experience of drinking beer and the certain zeal that goes for it. It’s basically the new hipster past-time to try to become a beer brewer.

The White House is aware of this trend and has decided to release Obama’s brewing secret through, well, uh, the White House chef…

(Reuters) – Bowing to growing pressure from thirsty and curious Americans in both parties, the White House on Saturday released the recipes for President Barack Obama’s homemade beers, revealing the executive branch’s penchant for honey-flavored brews.

In a blog post entitled “Ale to the Chief,” White House Assistant Chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass said that “with public excitement about White House beer fermenting such a buzz, we decided we better hop right to it.”

“To be honest, we were surprised that the beer turned out so well since none of us had brewed beer before,” Kass wrote.

The key ingredient for the White House Honey Brown Ale and the White House Honey Porter, though, may be tough to come by – the honey is straight from the White House’s first-ever beehive.

Kass wrote that the “honey gives the beer a rich aroma and a nice finish but it doesn’t sweeten it.”

Reuters

The comedy of all of this is that a guy named Sam Kass brewed the beer and was quite worried as he had never been asked to brew beer before, and hadn’t, but luckily came out with a winning recipe (purchased or donated by a third party?) so Obama could attempt to reconnect himself with the working American through implying that he is somehow responsible for this.

(Reuters journalist Lisa Lambert is more than happy to indulge such a claim, cleverly naming her aticle “White House releases Obama beer recipes after calls from the public,” which seemed to hint at the idea that Obama was one of these hipsters brewing beers for us).

Smooth campaign move, truly.