Memo to Kelly

December 5, 2007

NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly might want to look to India for a model to keep New York’s Finest in top shape.

The regime? Yoga and Bhangra.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.reuters.com posted with vodpod

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Holy Bacteria, Batman!

November 10, 2007

A scene of the new Batman movie starring Christian Bale that called for the actor to jump into the waters off Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour was canceled after testing found “all sort of things, salmonella and tuberculosis” in the water, the Guardian reports.

The waters are so dirty that since colonial times, when residents of Hong Kong used to bathe in the harbour, the only people who take dips in it are a few political activists.

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The New York Times has a new multimedia project which explores the many faces of China. The first part of the series, Shocking on Growth, shows us how the rapid economic growth of the country has resulted in an environmental crisis.

Facts mentioned in the piece:

  • In China, the number of deaths from pollution related diseases, such as cancer, comes second only to smoking.
  • Sixteen of the 25 most polluted cities in the world are in China. (Click here for a list of the 10 most polluted places in the world)
  • When you take into consideration the cost of environmental pollution, China’s economic growth is not was great as it appears.

The article is divided into four different parts: print, photo slide show, video, and an interactive map.

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China’s riches

October 10, 2007

With a $16 billion fortune, 26-year old Yang Huiyan is China’s richest person, Reuters reports.

Huiyan is the daughter of a former farmer whose firm, Country Garden’s Home Co., floated in Hong Kong’s stock market in April, making her an instant billionaire.

Asia’s richest woman is a graduate of Ohio State University and serves as the executive director of her father’s developing firm.

Also, according to Reuters, China has now more billionaires than any other country except for the United States.

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Stories to watch

September 24, 2007

Developing stories from home and abroad:

picture-2.jpg

1. 100, 000 protest in the streets of Yangon against the military junta

2. Israel to release 90 Palestinians from jail

3. United Auto Workers and GM talks near strike deadline United Auto Workers strikes against GM

4. World leaders meet at the U.N. for climate change talks

5. Ahmadinejad scheduled to speak at Columbia University

6. Gay football World Cup kicks off in Buenos Aires

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As France prepares to kick off the 2007 Rugby World Cup today (3pm EST), the Guardian reports homeless have been forced to leave areas “where they might be seen by fans.” Protests against the “brutal” removals are planned for this weekend:

Malik Salemkour, deputy president of the French Human Rights League, said: “France wants to pretend these people don’t exist and make itself look beautiful instead of dealing with its problems.”

Afid, 45, homeless for 10 years, is one of the bric-a-brac collectors who restore objects found in bins and doorways in the chic areas of Paris to sell in the capital’s flea markets. For a year he has lived in a wooden shack that he built under Paris’s ring-road, with no running water.

“The police said I had to be out by Friday because of the rugby. It’s inhumane, but they want to pretend there’s no misery in Paris,” he told the Guardian.

“I’ve always hated rugby, but I really loathe it now that people can be left with no shelter.”

In China, where the 2008 Olympics will be held next summer, authorities are trying to “civilize” their cities. The BBC writes:

Such important work includes banning male taxi drivers from shaving their heads and clearing beggars from the capital’s main thoroughfares.

Beijing has also initiated “queuing day” on the 11th of each month to encourage people to wait in orderly lines.

And officials are so worried about “Beijing swearing” at football matches that one local club hired university students to teach fans how to chant politely.

Adding,

In order to make sure residents do not leave phlegm all over the city’s streets, volunteers have even been handing out special “spit bags”.

Here in New York, Bloomblerg just wants us to be friendly. Last week the city unveiled a new tourism campaign designed to soften our scruffy image abroad. “Just ask the locals,” as the campaign is called, features local celebrities, such as Julianne Moore and Robert DeNiro, at their favorite New York City spots. Now is left for the rest of us to put our best smiles forward.

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On the latest BBC One Planet episode, Richard Hollingham describes the Darfur crisis as the first climatic change war and looks at Morocco, Bangladesh and East Africa, regions where resources are already strained, for clues into this new phenomenon.
Refugee camp in the Darfur region

News Update:
The Sudanese government and U.N. officials announced today plans for new peace talks to be held next month in Lybia. However, the BBC reports that the leader of the largest rebel group will not attend the meeting while the fighting continues.

The UN estimates the conflict, which began over four years ago, has claimed the lives of over 200,000 and displaced more than 2.5 million people.

(Background information on Darfur conflict)

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