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Sunday Roundup: Unhappy China, JPMorgan Chase, Jal


It’s about being ‘happy’ or ‘unhappy’. Support of #Ai Weiwei makes #China “unhappy”. Reported by Yahoo News, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said: ‘The Chinese people also feel baffled — why do some people in some countries treat a crime suspect as a hero? […] The Chinese people are unhappy about this. No matter what influence they have had, they will be punished according to the law.’ China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Fu Ying added: ‘There are rules and laws in China that need to be applied just like here, and individuals, maybe they are your friends, maybe they agree with you more than others, but that should not make (them) … above the law […] It is very condescending for the Europeans to come in to tell China that some people are beyond the law‘.

Support of dictators and blindingly dealing with them make me very unhappy. No need for double quotes here.

Even more reasons to be unhappy: the rape epidemic in #Congo. Foreign Policy published two very interesting articles about Congo: How can we explain the rape epidemic in Congo? by Elizabeth Dickinson and Rediscovering CongoTwo decades in, the world wakes up to a tragedy. So what are we going to do about it? by Jason Stearns. I have read a lot about Congo and those articles ask the right questions and provide a very good understanding of the plight in the country. Dickinson writes: ‘Today’s news that between 1.69 and 1.8 million women there will be raped in their lifetimes — the equivalent of 410,000 a year and 48 every hour — feels even more viscerally upsetting. You can’t help feeling outraged when you read the numbers, published today in the American Journal of Public Health. How can we stand for this — why isn’t more being done?‘ That’s indeed a very good question.

Women are raped in Congo and killed in India for having female babies. Deccan Chronicle, the largest circulated English daily in south India, reported the story: ‘Two women were killed for bearing girl children by their husbands and in-laws. On Tuesday, a woman was allegedly stoned to death in Medak by her husband and in-laws after she recently gave birth to a girl. In the second incident, a husband strangled his pregnant wife in Kurnool after she refused to abort her girl child‘. This story makes me very unhappy. But there is more on women…

Women are raped and killed. It happens everyday in far, far away countries, some people may say. Sometimes women simply disappear on photos… This is what happened to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Director for Counterterrorism Audrey Tomason: Hasidic newspaper Der Zeitung edited them out of Situation Room photo. The newspaper explains: ‘In accord with our religious beliefs, we do not publish photos of women, which in no way relegates them to a lower status. Publishing a newspaper is a big responsibility, and our policies are guided by a Rabbinical Board. Because of laws of modesty, we are not allowed to publish pictures of women, and we regret if this gives an impression of disparaging to women, which is certainly never our intention. We apologize if this was seen as offensive.’

On the other side, Rabbi Jason Miller at The Jewish Week criticized the move on theological grounds: ‘Der Tzitung edited Hillary Clinton out of the photo, thereby changing history. To my mind, this act of censorship is actually a violation of the Jewish legal principle of g’neivat da’at (deceit).” And Miller pointed out that the manipulated photo might violate man’s law as well as God’s: the White House made the photo available with the disclaimer that it “may not be manipulated in any way.’ Still unhappy but also confused. Can’t both sides reach a consensus on this subject?

Women in science. Even in comic, their fate is not-so-happy. @SETIInstitute tweeted about  a comic on Marie Curie by xkcd, a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language. Zombie Marie Curie is upset and she has good reasons to be. Just like Lise Meitner, Emmy Noether and so many other highly talented but unfortunate and muzzled women.

Science. Last week we learned An Ocean of Water May Lie Deep Beneath Titan’s Lakes of Methane. ‘Astronomers have known for many years that Saturn’s moon Titan sports lakes of liquid methane […] Now based on past observations by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, astronomers are saying that Titan’s rotation indeed points to an underground sea—and where there’s water, there may also be life‘. And like it wasn’t enough, NASA’s Proposed Space-Faring Boat Would Cruise and Study Titan’s Oceans! ‘NASA’s considering launching a boat from Earth, hurling it 746 million miles through space, and plopping it onto one of the minus-290 degrees Fahrenheit methane oceans of Titan. This mission to Saturn’s largest moon would the first of its kind to probe an alien ocean and—depending on the weather conditions—could be the first spacecraft to witness extraterrestrial rain‘. See, this news makes me happy!

Let’s celebrate with a Black Periodic Table Element Beer Embroidered Pillow on Etsy 😉

Back on serious topics. Last week I mentioned the article posted on Foreign Policy website: How Goldman Sachs Created the Food Crisis. I know we often feel like we can’t do much against big companies who speculate on the price of food, but the good news is Investors Against Genocide is working hard on the subject. Their last action is explained in this article: Genocide and JPMorgan Chase — Ad Campaign Launched by Investors Against Genocide. ‘Are Your Investments Tied to Genocide? Many financial institutions invest in PetroChina, a company which, through its parent, CNPC, provides Sudan’s government with revenue that has been helping fund the Darfur genocide for years. The conflict has claimed 300,000 lives and left millions homeless. With a billion-dollar stake in PetroChina as of January 2011, JPMorgan Chase is one of its largest investors. On May 17, JPMorgan Chase shareholders have the opportunity to vote for genocide-free investing. How would you vote?

We should support this kind of action more actively. In 2008 in Darfur: a World Wide Role Playing Game, I mentioned Save Darfur Coalition president Jerry Fowler who underscored the importance of vigorous enforcement of the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act, as well as an interview of executive director Adam Sterling the director of the Sudan Divestment Task Force. I mentioned him again in 2009 in Darfur, Congo, Burma: is ‘good will’ enough? and I’m convinced this is the most effective way to actually change things. In #Sudan but also in #Burma and for Congo’s deadly #conflict minerals.

Enough with the serious topics, let’s talk movies. I was delighted to learn a remake of The Thin Man was on its way. Cinemaspy gives more details: ‘After more than a year of discussion and speculation, today comes word from Warner Bros that the studio is moving forward with its remake of The Thin Man, based on the Oscar-nominated 1934 film, itself based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett […] In the remake, Depp will play Nick Charles, a private detective married to a wealthy socialite, Nora. The pair, along with their dog, Asta, work together to solve cases.’ As a big fan of Myrna Loy (who played Nora Charles in the original film) and #Hollywood’s Golden Age, I’m very excited about the remake but expectations are high.

Good news, bad news. Fox Cancels ‘Human Target,’ ‘Lie to Me,’ ‘The Chicago Code’ and More. ‘Similarly, procedural drama ‘Lie to Me’ was also in danger last year but limped on. Its cancellation has been a double whammy for its former showrunner, Shawn ‘The Shield’ Ryan, who left in 2010 to work on ‘Terriers’ (cancelled after one season) before moving on to helm ‘The Chicago Code.’ Which has now also been cancelled after one season …’ Lie to Me was a very good #TV show. Damn. Fortunately it’s almost time for the new season of #True Blood.

Let’s talk about music. Artist and musician Pete Fowler @themonsterist retweeted: ‘@guardiannews: Fleetwood Mac to reunite in 2012 http://gu.com/p/2p4v2/tf‘. And this a hell of a news! ‘Steve Nicks has said that Fleetwood Mac will reunite next year. The singer has just released a new solo album In Your Dreams, on which she worked with ex-Eurythmic Dave Stewart, her first since 2001’s Trouble in Shangri-La. But she has revealed that plans are already in place for the band to regroup in 2012, and possibly even make a new album, after she and Lindsey Buckingham finish promoting their solo work.’ I can’t wait. Dreams, Landslide, Little lies, Don’t stop, Big love… Pure happiness!

Music again. I like #Emmanuel Jal‘s music and his true commitment for Sudan and I was glad to read an article about him on CNN Blogs: From child soldier to musician: Opening millions of eyes. Earlier this year, I talked about his video ‘We Want Peace‘ in 2011: blissful optimism and weariness, Twitter says!. I also mentioned him in Music of Africa: BLK JKS, from South Africa back in 2008. Jal says ‘One voice echoing can make a difference but two or more people coming together can change the world‘. He is so right.

Last week I wrote about movie critic Roger Ebert who has stirred a controversy by stating that #video games can never be art. Last year Ebert defended the idea on his blog and in July 2010, Gamespy wrote: Roger Ebert Concedes Videogames Can Be Considered Art. So I asked: ‘Mr Ebert, can the Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums, 9 research centers and more than 140 affiliate museums around the world, be so wrong about video games?‘ And he gave an answer on Twitter, not the expected one to say the least: ‘@ebertchicago Video Games certainly belong in the Nation’s Attic. I’d rank them above the Smithsonian’s exhibit of Inaugural Gowns.’ Understood.

That’s it for this new #Sunday Roundup. Today in France it was all about Dominique Strauss-Kahn, on television, on newspapers, on Twitter, everywhere; I.M.F. Chief’s Arrest Throws French Politics Into Disarray. And it’s only the beginning…






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