Gay penguin celebrities and their kids

by twit

via Neatorama, the recently notorious gay penguins in China have turned out to be great parents:

A pair of gay penguins thrown out of their zoo colony for repeatedly stealing eggs have been given some of their own to look after following a protest by animal rights groups.

… ‘We decided to give them two eggs from another couple whose hatching ability had been poor and they’ve turned out to be the best parents in the whole zoo,’ said one of the keepers.

‘It’s very encouraging and if this works out well we will try to arrange for them to become real parents themselves with artificial insemination.’

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More statement than science

by lestro

The 20th century was defined by the battle between two global superpowers; the United States and The Soviet Union. Aside from the nuclear missiles and mountains of debt, one of the most noticeable strands of the competition between the two nations was the space race.

After the USSR launched Sputnick, the first man-made satellite launched into orbit, the two nations went back and forth, launching rocket after rocket in an attempt to one-up the other.

In 1961, President Kennedy urged us on to the moon – something for which the Soviets were aiming for as well. As the two programs battled neck in neck, it forced NASA to take chances to try and beat the Ruskies, like sending the first Saturn V rocket we tested all the way to the moon with a trio of intensely brave astronauts strapped to the top.

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Remember this symbol

by lestro

Something tells me we are going to be seeing a lot of it in the next few weeks…

A student carries a sign board reading disaster after she took part in the Mianyang leg of Beijing Olympic torch relay outside the Jiuzhou stadium on Monday in Mianyang of Sichuan Province, China. The three-day Beijing Olympic torch relay held in the quake-hit Sichuan province, the last relay leg before Beijing.

(August 04, 2008) Getty Images via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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Chinese hackers don’t watch the news

by twit

and Congress doesn’t get access to the important information about how our government operates. That’s why the President and Vice President are starting to get impeached

Nevertheless, The Hill reports on June 21, 2008:

More Members of Congress have had their computers infiltrated by hackers within China than initially suspected, a lawmaker has revealed.

Apparently, we’re just beginning to get a sense of what has happened:

Computers within the Foreign Affairs Committee, on which Smith serves as a senior Republican, were also infiltrated. Kirk suspects that other committees may have been attacked as well.

“I would suspect that the Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, Intelligence, (and) Appropriations committees would all be top targets,” Kirk said.

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China threatens to cancel the 2008 Olympics

by twit

From the Guardian on June 4, 2008:

Suspected terrorists, subversives and people with sexually transmitted diseases will not be allowed to enter China for the Olympic games, its organisers said yesterday.

If it was required that everyone arrive with their TB and measles vaccinations in order, it would make sense from a public health standpoint, particularly for a city as densely populated as Beijing. However, banning people based on an infection spread primarily through sexual contact is entirely different.

Questions remain about what exactly the Chinese government means by this new requirement. Do they mean all STDs? Symptomatic ones? Nontreatable ones?

The reason this will likely irreparably damage the 2008 Olympics is because statistically, a policy like this will cause significant numbers of athletes and spectators to be barred from entering the country.

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The Battle for Burma

by twit

While the current scope of government-facilitated death and destruction fails to move the world to further action than what the Burma junta permits, the situation is predicted as about to change dramatically for the worse.

From the Guardian on May 14, 2008:

Weather experts said there was a good chance the tropical depression in the Bay of Bengal could develop into a “significant” cyclone within the next 24 hours.

There is no doubt at this point that Burma is contributing the scope of the crisis:

Gordon Brown today described the crisis as having touched “the whole conscience of the world”.

He said that, while more relief planes had been allowed into the country, the situation was still “not good enough”.

“A natural disaster in Burma, by the actions of a despicable regime, has been turned into a … manmade catastrophe,” he said.

China is currently responding to its own natural disaster, demonstrating what a military can do to reach survivors in devastated areas.

From the Associated Press on May 13, 2008:

Soldiers hiking over landslide-blocked roads reached the epicenter of China’s devastating earthquake Tuesday, pulling bodies and a few survivors from collapsed buildings.

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Look, the Red Army is converting

by loadz

Okay, I’m confused. Is this a group of Tibetan monks turning in their robes and joining the Red Army? Or Red Army soldiers joining the ranks of Buddhism?

A more cynical person might perhaps suspect that the Chinese are justifying their use of force by planting imposter monk agent provocateurs in Tibetan protest crowds. But really, what government would do that?

I mean, it’s dishonest. And if we can’t trust the Chinese or Canadians, who can we trust.

Breaking the Great Firewall of China

by twit

via Wikileaks:

In the last week Wikileaks has released over 150 censored photos and videos of the Tibet uprising and has called on bloggers around the world to help drive the footage through the Chinese internet censorship regime — the so called “Great Firewall of China”

… Wikileaks has also placed the collection in two easy to use archives together with a HTML index page so they may be easily copied, placed on websites, cd’s, emailed across the internet as attachments and uploaded to peer to peer networks.

Censored Tibet March 2008 protest photos (120 photos on a single page)

leak:tibet-protest-photos.zip (120 photo archive)

Censored Tibet March 2008 protest videos – display (35 flash videos)

Censored Tibet March 2008 protest videos – FLV format (Flash archive)

Censored Tibet March 2008 protest videos – AVI format (AVI/mpeg4)

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The torch relay becomes a new Olympic sport

by twit
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44544000/jpg/_44544151_huq226b2.jpgoh look, how nice, people coming together over the Olympic torch…

From the BBC on April 6, 2008: “One protester tried to snatch the torch from former Blue Peter host Konnie Huq.”

Looks like they’ve found a new competition for Olympic athletes:

“Outside Downing Street there were chaotic scenes as former Olympic heptathlon gold medallist Denise Lewis took the flame.”

From the Associated Press: “Another demonstrator tried to snuff out the flame with what appeared to be a fire extinguisher. Others in the crowd threw themselves at torchbearers running past in official Beijing 2010 Olympics tracksuits.”

The BBC reports that there have also been unannounced changes to the torch route and that the torch has been carried partway by bus to avoid protesters.

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Tibet Update: Chinese police open fire on protesters

by twit

On April 4, 2008, the Associated Press describes reports of recent protests, including that “police opened fire on hundreds of Buddhist monks and lay people who had marched on local government offices.” The Chinese media agency Xinhua reports:

… no mention of deaths or injuries among protesters, but said a “riot” had flared up Thursday night outside government offices in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture high in the mountains in Sichuan province along the border with Tibet.

further details are offered by the Associated Press:

… the chief monk, Lobsang Jamyang, refused to allow a government team to enter on Wednesday, but they returned Thursday with a force of about 3,000 paramilitary troops. The two monks, Geshi Sonam Tenzing and Tsultrim Phuntsog, were detained after photos of the Dalai Lama were found among their belongings.

Soon afterward, the monastery’s 370 monks marched on local government headquarters to demand their release, joined by about 400 lay people, Whitticase said. The group left after being told the two monks would be freed at 8 p.m., but returned after officials reneged. Along the way, they were confronted by troops at a road block, who opened fire on the crowd, Whitticase said.

The BBC has more:

Tibetan exile groups say Chinese security forces killed dozens of protesters. Beijing says about 19 people were killed in rioting.

… The latest Xinhua report states that a government official was “attacked and seriously wounded” in the Donggu township at about 2000 (1200 GMT) on Thursday.

“Local officials exercised restraint during the riot and repeatedly told the rioters to abide by the law,” Xinhua quoted an official with the prefectural government as saying.

“Police were forced to fire warning shots and put down the violence,” the official added.

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our tax dollars at work

by twit

The Raw Story reports on March 28, 2008:

“The 22-year-old Florida man who allegedly provided old, substandard Chinese-manufactured ammunition to troops in Afghanistan as part of a nearly $300 million Pentagon contract also started a private company that specialized in selling foreign munitions to civilian gun enthusiasts, according to public documents”

aaaand:

“The company’s Web site was taken down after RAW STORY began asking questions.”

But they were able to find at least one naughty picture from the now-defunct site:

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Tibet Protest News

by twit

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44508000/jpg/_44508208_44503124.jpg

Protests are happening throughout China but information is difficult to find.

This post collects news reports about recent protests in China by province.

Comments with updates and links are welcome and appreciated.

Map via the BBC. A detailed map of China and its provinces is available via Wikipedia.

(Updates continue at Tibet Protest News Update, including this link to the ICT map of Tibetan protests from March 10, 2008 through March 25, 2008)

Tibet

On March 10, 2008, an estimated 300 monks march to the center of Lhasa from Deprung monastery. On March 13, monks begin a hunger strike and other protests as Lhasa’s three main monasteries are locked down by Chinese authorities.

On March 14, violent protests occur in Lhasa. On March 15, there are reports of crowds of protesters being shot by police during the March 14 demonstrations.

On March 14 and March 15, 2008, demonstrations take place in Penpo, near Lhasa. An estimated 3,000 Tibetans then join demonstrations demanding the release of detained protesters. Most monks from the Penpo Ganden Choekor monastery are then detained by Chinese authorities.

On March 16, 2008, tear gas, electric batons and gunfire drive back Tibetan protesters in Lhasa. On March 17 and March 18, widespread arrests are reported in Lhasa, as well as hundreds of deaths since March 10, 2008.

By March 19, 2008, Lhasa is reported to be quiet, with a heavy Chinese military presence.

On March 27, 2008, thirty monks disrupt a carefully coordinated tour of Lhasa in view of several journalists. On March 28, there are reports from Lhasa of hundreds of prisoners being forced into trucks and onto a train.

On March 29, 2008, there are reports of several ongoing demonstrations in Lhasa, coinciding with the visit by foreign diplomats. On March 30, “panic” is reported in Lhasa near security checkpoints.

Sichuan

On March 15, 2008, monks and other people demonstrate in Ngaba county. On March 16, an estimated 7 23 30 protesters are killed and hundreds wounded by Chinese authorities, including monks from the Kirti monastery, during a protest involving thousands of people marching towards Ngaba county government headquarters. Additional protesters are reported shot by Chinese authorities on March 18, 2008.

On March 20, 2008, widespread arrests, detentions and a ‘massacre‘ are reported in Ngaba county. On March 22, monks protest in the Chabcha area of Amdo. By March 23, food shortages are reported in Ngaba county due to the restrictions imposed by Chinese authorities.

On March 24, 2008, police fire on crowds of protesters attempting to march to a government office. On March 25, there are violent protests and reports of Chinese authorities firing on crowds of protesters in Garze, including monks from the Trehor Draggo monastery.

On March 29, 2008, it is reported that over 500 monks have been taken away from the Kirti monastery in Ngaba. On March 30, mass arrests of monks are reported at the Amdo Ngaba Buddhist School of Dialectics, Amdo Ngaba Gomang monastery, Amdo Atob monastery and the Tatsang Lama Kirti monastery.

Qinghai

Protests in Qinghai began in late February, 2008 with hundreds of people, including monks from the Rebkong monastery, demonstrating until tear gas was used by police to disperse the crowd.

On March 16, 2008, hundreds of monks march towards the government headquarters of Rebkong county and are joined by additional protesters until paramilitary troops detain the monks and use tear gas on the crowd. On March 17, China is reported to engage in ‘suppression on the run’ to contain the spreading protests and demonstrations. On March 18, monks at Rebkong monastery continue to protest by burning incense in violation of orders from Chinese police.

Thousands are reported as continuing to participate in protests as of March 20, 2008.

Gansu

On March 14 and March 15, thousands of Tibetans demonstrate in Xiahe near the Labrang monastery. On March 16, protests are reported in Machu county, including the destruction of the doors to the county government offices.

Days of unrest are reported in Hezuo, Gannan and Maqu county, including student protests and clashes with police.

On March 18, hundreds of monks and Tibetans protested in Sangchu county. On March 19, hundreds of Tibetans, including some riding horses, are reported as attacking a government building in an unnamed town.

Detentions and arrests of an estimated 20 Tibetans are reported in Sangchu county on March 21, 2008.

Beijing

A small student-led vigil is reported on March 19, 2008 to be the first reported protest in the Chinese capital.

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The Middle Way through Tibet

by twit

There won’t be a massive boycott of the Beijing Olympics. Whether individual athletes and other participants will boycott remains to be seen.

The Dalai Lama has suggested a “middle way” through the crisis in Tibet. The Associated Press reports on March 24, 2008:

“DHARMSALA, India (AP) – Nearly six decades of struggle against the might of China has taught the Tibetans one thing: Ask the world for little, expect less.

… They know few countries have the appetite to cross China, particularly at a time the world is counting on the emerging superpower to keep the global economy ticking as the United States appears headed into a recession.

… From the exiled Tibetan leaders, there were no calls for sanctions, like those imposed when Myanmar suppressed pro-democracy protests last year, or even a boycott of this summer’s Beijing Olympics.

It’s an approach that reflects the pragmatism of the Dalai Lama, who has long sought an accommodation based on his “Middle Way” dialogue with Beijing aimed at autonomy for Tibetans under Chinese rule.

Instead, the Tibetans appealed for international pressure on China to act with restraint, to open the area to international investigators and the media and for organizations like the International Red Cross to be allowed in to ensure wounded Tibetan protesters get treatment.

“Specific things are very difficult. No one is going to send in a peacekeeping force,” said Taklha.

The Tibetans have, however, won the moral support of many nations.

… Some argue that only international pressure has stopped China from completely crushing the Tibetans long ago.”

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“tell the world, they said to us”

by twit

an experiment in synchronicity, if you wish. play the first two videos at the same time, but the first one needs to be restarted when the music ends at around 3:05 (or so) to fit with the third video…

1) “mad world” music by Gary Jules, video by karma

2) BBC News, June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre

3) 3.16.08 via mayoubekind


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Should the US boycott the Olympics?

vs.

Previously, in response to a report that hundreds of Tibetans have been killed since March 10, 2008, lestro wondered, “what if they hosted an Olympics and no one came?”

The conversation continues…

http://i.infoplease.com/images/blackpower.jpg

Bush: Politics not a factor in Olympics

WASHINGTON – China’s crackdown in Tibet will not cause President Bush to cancel his planned trip to the Beijing Olympics, the White House said Thursday.

… Presidential spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush’s position is that the Olympics “should be about the athletes and not necessarily about politics.”

She said that Bush, in accepting the invitation last year from Chinese President Hu Jintao to attend the Olympics, told him the games would “shine a spotlight on all things Chinese.”

“That’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Perino added.

Bush agreed to go to the Olympics during a meeting with Hu in Australia last September during the Asia Pacific Economic Council meeting. A White House spokesman said at the time that Bush was going to the games for the sports and not for any political statement.

(image via infoplease.com via www.attytood.com)

Should the US boycott the 2008 Olympics?

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welcome to the future

by twit

Yesterday, in response to a report that hundreds of Tibetans have been killed since March 10, 2008, lestro wondered, “what if they hosted an Olympics and no one came?” and that made a lot of sense when we were just looking at the reports collected by Boing Boing, including this:

It was impossible not to notice that the United States removed China from its list of top 10 human rights violators just as the biggest anti-China protests in 20 years erupted in Tibet.

[...] China had a chance to shine for its Olympic coming-out party and is blowing it. Its leaders will continue to have to battle protests and unrest — and endure international reproach — until they ensure more freedom for all their citizens, including greater religious tolerance and freedom for Tibet.

from the New York Times Editorial Board, that maybe missed a bit of news before going to print with the phrase ‘international reproach,’ because it turns out that when it comes to the Olympics, it is exactly the opposite:

The European Union is not in favor of a growing call for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics to express disapproval over China’s crackdown on pro-independent movements in Tibet.

[...] Russia even supported the Chinese government. In a statement, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said, “Russia has repeatedly declared that it views Tibet as an inalienable part of China, and considers the resolution of relations with the Dalai Lama to be an internal matter of the People’s Republic of China.”

Even the Dalai Lama, although he condemned China for its rule of terror and cultural genocide, stopped short of calling for a boycott of the Olympic games.

[...] [Thomas Bach, German vice president of the International Olympic Committee] stressed sports organizations are not world governments and cannot solve problems that decades of international leaders and head of governments had tried, but likewise failed.

The Olympics are an international gesture of goodwill and an economic boom for the country hosting it. Historically, it has not been immune from being drawn into the fray of international conflicts. Fundamentally, it is a diplomatic exercise whether it wants to be or not.

I thought diplomacy was exactly how we are supposed to approach violations of international law. Especially when China sits as a permanent member of the Security Council. What else can be done?

Martin Luther King, Jr. sums it up well:

The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.

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welcome to the future

by twit

um, it is snowing “freakishly” in China and signs of chaos are starting to show.

UPDATE: Via the BBC Feb 4, 2008:

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44401000/jpg/_44401578_aaaaasnow_ap203.jpg

Snow storms that have stranded millions of Chinese travellers are a “severe disaster” that will continue for several days, top leaders have warned.

… more snow is expected and heavy fog has also hit central provinces, adding to transport woes.

On Monday, visibility was less than 100 metres (109 yards) in areas including Hunan and Hubei provinces, two of the areas worst hit by the snow, Xinhua news agency said.

About 1.3 million army troops and reservists have now been deployed to help the relief effort.

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