Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Bible

Somalia: Islamists Lost All Central And Bia Provinces in Somalia

Somalia's Islamic Courts Union have deserted several strategic towns in central and southern parts of the country. Islamists in Mogadishu said they retreated from Bur Hakaba, Dinsor and Daynunay near the government base of Baidoa to change military tactics.

Ethiopian troops, accompanied by government forces, occupied all strategic towns: Galkayo, Bandiradley, Adado, Buloburte and Baledweyn lying in central Somalia. Apparently, Islamists have also admitted they lost Bai provincial towns and tiny villages near the main town of Baidoa to Ethiopian backed government troops.

Witnesses say Hundreds of Ethiopian troops along with their tanks have taken up Adado in Galgadud region, central Somalia.

No Ethiopian air bombardments have been reported on Tuesday.

Sheik Ibrahim Suley, Islamic Courts spokesman, said the ICU fighters have left Bur Hakaba, stating the Ethiopian invaders would regret. "The Ethiopians have attacked our country and they will lose," he said.

Residential militias in Abudwaq have taken control of the town on Monday evening after Islamist fighters left the town in fear of Ethiopian military attacks.

Islamic Courts Union seized the capital Mogadishu in early June this year after forcefully evicting US-backed warlords from Mogadishu and then expanded their military might into swathe of central and southern parts of Somalia, threatening they would also capture the only town under the government control.

Reliable sources in Kalkayo indicate that at least 50 Islamists were brought to the town of Kalkayo and slain by the Ethiopian forces that seized the town from the ICU fighters. Local ordinary and business people have organized mass burial for the dead.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Freedom River

Concentrating on an area of growing concern in our society--the indifference that makes people blind to the injustices around them--this animated parable traces how the erosion of freedom, like the pollution of natural resources, can occur so gradually that both evade the attention of a busy and preoccupied nation. (Narrated by Orson Welles)

Gates Plans Report to Bush on Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq Dec 22, 2006 (AP)— Defense Secretary Robert Gates rushed back to Washington Friday to give President Bush his advice on transforming U.S. policy in Iraq after holding three days of talks in the war zone with military and political leaders.

Gates was scheduled to see Bush at Camp David first thing Saturday morning, said Dana Perino, a White House spokeswoman. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser Stephen Hadley and deputy national security adviser J.D. Crouch, who has been coordinating Bush's review of Iraq policy, were also to attend the discussions at the Maryland mountain retreat where Bush was spending Christmas.

As the president weighs a course correction in the increasingly unpopular war, the White House also announced that Bush would convene a meeting of his full National Security Council next Thursday while spending a few days at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. That session was not designed to arrive at final decisions, but to continue to whittle down the options, Perino said.

Originally aiming to unveil his new Iraq policy before Christmas, Bush has put it off until January. Perino said the announcement would come before his scheduled Jan. 23 State of the Union address, but gave no specific date.

Before leaving Baghdad, Gates declined to say whether he plans to recommend a short-term increase in U.S. troop levels. But he said he believes the U.S. and Iraqis have "a broad strategic agreement between the Iraqi military and Iraqi government and our military."

"There is still some work to be done," Gates said. "But I do expect to give a report to the president on what I've learned and my perceptions."

Speaking to reporters at Camp Victory, with the sounds of artillery fire and jet aircraft in the background, Gates said that "clearly there are more discussions that need to take place in Washington and more specific recommendations."

He said Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, was continuing to work with Iraqi officials, with more details expected in the days ahead.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Second Palestinian Truce Fails Amid Ongoing Bloodshed

Ryan R. Jones - All Headline News Middle East Correspondent

Jerusalem (AHN) - For the second time this week, warring Palestinian factions reached a fragile ceasefire in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, and for the second time the truce collapsed almost immediately amid ongoing bloodshed.

The ruling Hamas organization and the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have been battling each other in bloody street confrontations throughout Gaza and the West Bank since Abbas declared at the weekend his intention to hold early elections.

Masked Hamas gunmen shot dead two Fatah police officers and wounded six others in an ambush in Gaza City early Wednesday morning, just hours after the two sides had reportedly signed on to an Egyptian-brokered deal to pull back their forces and end the fighting.

While Fatah officials insisted they remained committed to the truce, The Jerusalem Post reported that calls for revenge at the policemen's joint funeral gave the impression that the next round of full-scale violence was just around the corner.

Intermittent fighting had continued throughout the night in Gaza, despite the reported ceasefire.

Tuesday was the bloodiest day of fighting yet between Fatah and Hamas, leaving six people dead and many more wounded.

At least 15 people have been killed since Saturday.

A good way to avoid car accidents (Speedbandits)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cyborg Insects

Insect Lab is an artist studio that specializes in customizing real insects with antique watch parts and electronic components. This is true science fiction come to life. Every single creation is startling. It's masterfully crafted and beautiful.

Each insect comes in a shadow box or glass bell jars perfect for displaying. They've got spiders, butterflies, beetles, bees and more ranging from $200 - $300.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Ambition and anger will disappear when you stop concerning yourself with the fruit of your actions. -

Abbas insists will hold elections

By Wafa Amr and Katherine Baldwin

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas vowed on Monday to press on with early elections as a truce between his security forces and the Hamas government threatened to unravel in the Gaza Strip.

Gunmen killed an activist from Abbas's Fatah faction and wounded eight others in north Gaza, Fatah sources and a hospital official said. Fatah blamed the attack in the Jabalya refugee camp on Hamas. The Islamists were not available to comment.

Separate gun battles erupted after Hamas and Fatah traded blame over the abduction of at least three gunmen.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, speaking after meeting Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, said the international community should try to put together in the coming weeks a package of assistance to help the moderate leader.

Internal fighting, already at its worst level in a decade, escalated after Abbas called on Saturday for fresh elections, a move intended to break a political deadlock with Hamas and get Western sanctions on their government lifted.

A truce deal was struck late on Sunday but already looks as though it could collapse.

"As I told you in my speech, I am determined to go back to the people," Abbas said in a joint news conference with Blair.

"We have been in a crisis for nine months. People cannot wait for long. People are suffering from the economic, social and security situation."

Abbas insisted his Fatah movement was still open to the formation of a unity government of technocrats.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas reiterated his movement's opposition to fresh elections. Hamas surprised the once-dominant Fatah to win polls in January.

Haniyeh also urged Abbas to withdraw his forces from Gaza's streets, saying their deployment was threatening the truce.

Abbas's presidential guard overran two Hamas-led ministries on Sunday and have also taken up positions around Abbas's compound and residence in Gaza.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sick health

The plans of private health schemes to jack up their rates by up to 23 percent next year drives something of a coach and horses through the government’s dreams of an election year prize freeze since it would add around one percentage point to the inflation of early 2007 but there are reasons other than sheer greed for the proposed increase.

The main justification is, of course, cost pressures. The current worldwide trend is for health costs to double every four or five years and Argentina is by no means immune from that trend — the relentless increases in the prices of medicine, technology and equipment in general mean that hospitals, clinics and laboratories have all become far more expensive. As for wage costs, doctors remain scandalously underpaid but the trade union representing non-medical staff (whose veteran boss Carlos West Ocampo recognizes that the costs of health schemes have risen) managed to extract its benchmark 19 percent pay increase for 2006.

Furthermore, far from being subsidized (like, for example, public transport), private health schemes are taxed (including IVA value-added taxation) — even if they have been allowed to run up tax arrears of nearly two billion pesos in the difficult years since the 2002 devaluation and even if the government is more open to the idea of exempting them from the cheque tax than to granting them the rate increase sought (denied yesterday).

But if the private health schemes have several valid arguments to justify their increases, long-suffering patients have every right to feel aggrieved (and Ombudsman Eduardo Mondino has already served notice that he will be resisting the increases on their behalf). Yet a more imaginative approach to this problem than price freeze electioneering could rescue the government from this cruel dilemma between driving the private health schemes into the ground and punishing the general public. Argentina’s health system is hopelessly broke, yes, yet underfunding is not especially the reason — Argentina spends several billion dollars on health care every year and definitely belongs to the more generous half of the world’s countries in this respect.

If instead of unimaginatively muscling price freezes, the government thus attempted some far-reaching reforms to improve the quality of spending, demonizing the middlemen instead of the health care providers, it might yet be possible to control both prices and costs — and even offer doctors something approaching decent pay.


Monday, October 23, 2006


So is it possible to see the limitations of thought and give it its right place, and therefore giving the right place to thought brings about clarity - right?

We mean by right place - the art of that intelligence which comes through investigation, through exploration, that art - the very meaning of that word is to put everything where it belongs, put everything in our life where it belongs, and to find out where it belongs you need tremendous intelligence

J. Krishnamurti

Friday, October 13, 2006

U.S. pushes for vote on North Korea sanctions

The United States is circulating a new draft resolution at the United Nations that pushes for non-military sanctions against North Korea. It also includes one of China's demands -- that further action require another UN resolution.

China and Russia have urged the U.S. to take a more measured approach in dealing with North Korea, after the communist state claimed to have successfully carried out a nuclear test.

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said that the U.S. is in favour of keeping diplomatic channels open but also wants swift action, not more meetings.

"I think the council should try to respond to a nuclear test within the same week that the test occurred," he said.

Both the U.S. and Japan had originally hoped for a Thursday vote, but if Washington wants to win the approval of China and Russia -- both next-door neighbors to North Korea -- it's unlikely a vote will occur before next week.

The newest draft circulated by the U.S. authorizes sanctions against North Korea under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which normally allows potential military action.

But the proposed resolution would only operate under Article 41, calling for non-military sanctions like banning air travel or economic punishment. It also scraps a blanket arms embargo, although still includes sanctions on specific military equipment like tanks.

China has resisted American efforts to impose sanctions, saying it would be better to keep communication channels with Pyongyang open.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said North Korea should understand it had made a mistake but "punishment should not be the purpose" of any UN action.

The UN's response "should be conducive to the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula ... and the resumption of the talks," he told reporters Thursday.

"It's necessary to express clearly to North Korea that ... the international community is opposed to this nuclear test."

N. Korea threatens countermeasures

North Korea will consider the U.S. pressure "a declaration of war" and would take unspecified "countermeasures," RI Kong Son, vice spokesman for North Korea's Foreign Ministry, told AP Television News.

A North Korean official also threatened "strong countermeasures" against Japan for new sanctions against the communist regime, a Japanese news agency reported from Pyongyang on Thursday.

The threat comes a day after the Japanese government decided on a package of additional economic sanctions against the impoverished nation -- including a ban on all imports from the country and the docking of North Korean ships in Japanese ports.

"That's about a $150 million in trade this year between the two countries," said Chao, "and it's a big blow to North Korea because their economy is rather small and they rely heavily on trade with Japan."

North Korean produce such as clams and mushrooms earns precious foreign currency on the Japanese market, so a ban could be disastrous for the country.

Ferries also serve as a major conduit of communication between the two countries, which have no diplomatic relations.

North Korean nationals also were prohibited from entering Japan, with limited exceptions, the Japanese Cabinet Office said in a statement.

The sanctions are expected to go into effect after they are approved by Japan's Cabinet Friday.

Japan urges return to talks

Sadaaki Numata, the Japanese ambassador to Canada, said the sanctions are necessary given Japan's proximity to North Korea.

"We feel that their threat to us has been redoubled," Numata told CTV's Canada AM when asked why Japan is taking such strong action ahead of the UN resolution vote.

"And given our proximity to North Korea and given that they do actually have in place missiles which can cover the whole of Japan, we do feel that this is indeed a very grave challenge or threat to us."

Sadaaki said Japan is urging North Korea to return to the six-party talks -- a series of meetings with six participating states including China, South Korea, North Korea, the U.S., Russia and Japan -- aimed at finding a peaceful resolution to the security concerns raised by the North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

"We will continue to urge their return to this diplomatic solution."

But Song Il Ho, North Korea's ambassador in charge of diplomatic normalization talks with Japan, warned that Pyongyang "will take strong countermeasures" against Japanese sanctions, news agency Kyodo quoted him as saying.

"The specific contents will become clear if you keep watching. We never speak empty words," he added.

Song said Pyongyang considered Japan's measures as "more serious in nature" than those of other nations, because Tokyo has yet to adequately atone for its colonization of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

He added that North Korea was closely watching new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took office last month and is known for his hardline views on Pyongyang.

The Kyodo report quoted Song as suggesting that Pyongyang would not hold normalization talks with Japan as long as sanctions are in place. Those talks are stalled over issues including the kidnapping of Japanese citizens by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 80s.

"I wonder if we can hold talks under these kinds of circumstances," Song said.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Movie Tunes: The Top 40 music moments in film history

There’s nothing better for someone who’s a fan of both music and movies to sit down in a theater, watch a film, and find yourself in awe of how the director has utilized a pop song to set a scene or convey a mood. It’s easy to know that you need a romantic song for a romantic moment, but finding the right song…? That’s the hard bit, and it gets even harder as you have to provide the proper sonic backdrop for just about every key moment in the film. Bullz-Eye polled all of our movie and music writers (and then some) to get their favorite uses of pop songs in movies.

The only real criteria we set was this: The song couldn’t have been written specifically for the film or have made its debut on the film’s soundtrack. This was pretty rough on us at first, because it meant we had to say so long to Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” (“The Breakfast Club”), bid bye-bye to O.M.D.’s “If You Leave” (“Pretty in Pink”), and offer a fond farewell to Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work” (“She’s Having a Baby”).

Fortunately, we had a lot of great songs – and movie moments – waiting in the wings. But be advised: our descriptions contain spoilers galore.

Jerry Lee Lewis: The Killer Reloaded

Jerry Lee Lewis, inventor of rock & roll excess, has spent the past decade watching "Gunsmoke" reruns. Now the last Sun Records original re-emerges with a new disc, where he teaches everyone from Keith Richards to Kid Rock how it's done.

As his five Chihuahuas yowl inside the house, Jerry Lee Lewis shuffles out the kitchen door and rummages around the line of doghouses he keeps in his carport for the five gentle mutts who lie around outside in the yard. He is wearing only his underpants - bikini briefs, not boxers - and it appears that the most rock & roll of all rock & rollers might be having a senior moment. "Go back in the house, Daddy!" says Phoebe Lewis, alpha female of his inner circle. Jerry mumbles something unintelligible. Even in Nesbit, Mississippi ("Home of Jerry Lee Lewis: The Killer"), nobody talks quite like him.

He's the Mount Vesuvius of vowels, which erupt deep under the surface and spew pure and unalloyed by consonants into the upper atmosphere. It's like the guy decided in 1957 to enunciate song lyrics and otherwise use his tongue exclusively for swallowing food. "Go back inside," Phoebe says, "and put on your clothes!" "Izza mah hlay, innih? Ah ih wah rou ih mah orz ih ah wah oo," says Jerry, which means: "This is my place, isn't it? I can walk around in my shorts if I want to." "The man here in the driveway is a writer!" says Phoebe.

"Ah o eeha riyer! Ah ellina hroo!" ("I know he's a writer. I'm telling the truth.")"This is the truth? Your underpants are the truth?" Jerry makes a sound that defies both his daughter and phonetic spelling. "Well, go ahead, then!" says Phoebe. "Make a fool out of yourself! See if I care! Go ahead and put on a show for all those cars on the highway, too!"

Jerry glares at his sole living descendant and marches to the middle of the driveway, which goes up a short rise from Malone Road. Over the white fence that surrounds his forty acres and pond, the headlights of the passing cars seem to be gaping at the Killer, who is illuminated by the garage lights as if onstage. Hunched but unbowed, after six decades over the piano, he flaps his arms, he jumps up and down, he screams vowel sounds at the cars, daring them to gaze upon his nakedness in the humid night air.

"Lehm ri ah!" ("Let him write that"), Jerry snarls, stomping back into the house.

So it isn't a senior moment. It is a Jerry Lee Lewis moment, which could have happened pretty much any time since he was born on September 29th, 1935, the same year Elvis Presley arrived in this world of woe. The last of the original Sun Records pioneers of rock & roll, and by far the least likely to be walking around in the twenty-first century, the only guy in all of music who makes Keith Richards look about as dangerous as Jessica Simpson, the Killer continues to rage into the night . . . well, no. Let's say he's resumed raging. The Nineties were a really bad decade for the Killer, and that would be after the public-relations nightmare of the Fifties, the smoking ruin of the Sixties, the unprecedented string of calamities in the Seventies, and then in 1981 his stomach exploded, and it's been all downhill from there. Who could blame a guy for taking a little time off to get depressed?

The Lewis Ranch, as it is called, or Disgraceland, as it is also called, is a racquetball court, two jet planes and a graveyard short of Elvis' former mansion, which is about twenty-five miles away, in Memphis. All the rooms are on one floor, all the rooms are piled high with swag from fifty years in the music business, and large portions of it have been painted gold. Jerry's sixth wife in his seventh marriage, Kerrie Lynn McCarver Lewis, blew through the place like King Midas. Painted the walls, painted the floors, painted the grand piano, painted the cupboards, painted her Cadillac Fleetwood - all of it gold, gold and more gold. Except the kitchen, which she covered with Coca-Cola wallpaper.

"She was a horrible bitch who was possessed by the devil and only shopped at Wal-Mart - we've just now begun stripping the walls," says Phoebe at the kitchen counter in late afternoon. Born to Jerry and his third wife, Myra, in 1963, she grew up tall and blond and has the Lewis vibe in all ways. After singing blues and rock around Memphis for a number of years, she moved back in with her father to help him through an arduous divorce. "Kerrie told me she was leaving him, but I was going to run her ass off anyway," she says. "I was born to take care of my daddy. I never married, don't want to have kids. I'm not going to steal his money or give him drugs"...

Gravely ill woman kills son, is freed, kills husband

SOFIA (Reuters) - A Bulgarian woman who killed her son was released from prison because of terminal cancer. She then went home and killed her husband, police said Tuesday.

The 57-year-old was sentenced to 15 years in jail for killing her 29-year-old son with a garden hoe in April 2005 while he was sleeping.

Last month, authorities judged her to be in the final stages of cancer and let her go home, where she stabbed her husband in the throat with a knife.

"It was established she was in the last stage of cancer, she had it all over her body," said a spokeswoman for the Bourgas regional police.

"They presumed she was feeling bad and she would treat herself and rest. But nothing of the kind. She got aggressive and ... she killed her husband."

The woman, from a village in eastern Bulgaria, has been taken into custody again and is awaiting a new trial.

"She threatened that, if she is released again, she will kill her second son as well," the police spokeswoman said.

"The whole case is like something from the twilight zone."

Ignorance - Budda

The worst taint is ignorance. Destroy this one taint and become taintless.

Google brings Sony BMG, WMG music videos to Google Video

Google Video will now offer free music video content from Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group (WMG).

Google, an internet search engine, has entered into a strategic business relationship with the two music companies, making music videos and other content available on its Google Video website.

The content will be paid for by advertisements through Google's AdSense network of hundreds of thousands of advertisers. The advertising revenue generated will be shared by the music companies and Google.

Besides providing ad-supported content on Google Video, select WMG music videos will be available for purchase as downloads on Google Video for $1.99.

Friday, October 06, 2006


David Nicholson-Lord explains why trying to discuss human population growth these days is like placing your head on a stand at a coconut shy

Not long ago I spent some time on the Indian subcontinent and one of myabiding memories is of travelling from the far-flung Nepali town of Jumla, home tosome of the thinnest people on the planet, to the airport lounge at Delhi, where the bulk of
passengers were Westerners, notably Americans, and where the human race seemed to have undergone a vast distension in size – an entire evolutionary cycle in the blink of an eye.

At the time it struck me as a metaphor for the economic relationship between North and South – one part of the planet growing fat on the food shortages of the other – but I have since realised it’s a metaphor with many interpretations.

For the first time in history, it was reported this summer, there are now more overweight people in the world (more than a billion) than malnourished (around 800 million). But there are also many more people, fat and thin alike.

Back in August, the Office of National Statistics disclosed that the UK had broken through the 60 million population barrier (in 2005), while the US was due to reach 300 million by October 2006.

Both are markers of a process that sees over 70 million people being added to the
global population each year, with growth forecast at 40 per cent by 2050, taking us from 6.5 to 9.1 billion – another 2.6 billion people.

But will they be fat people or thin people and does it matter? I think it does.

Trying to discuss human population growth these days is not unlike placing your head on a stand at a coconut shy. The Right will accuse you of authoritarianism and permissiveness, the Left of being racist, fascistic or neo-Malthusian.

The recent upsurge in migration as a key factor in population growth in developed countries has added a further inflammatory ingredient. To
their eternal discredit, environmental groups, fearful of such a witches’ brew, have fled the field, camouflaging their retreat in a blizzard of rationalisations. Yet according to the head of one leading environmental organisation, population is the subject that attracts the most questions at meetings round the country.

In fact, if you’re looking for issues that best demonstrate the chasm between what ordinary people think – not least because they experience its realities daily – and what civil society leaders deem it politic to mention in public, population would
undoubtedly come high up the list.

What explains this? One much-cited factor is political correctness (PC), a phrase
the Right loves, the Left hates and most neutrals acknowledge exists but have trouble defining. In this case, PC may be shorthand for the deliberate substitution of one agenda – reproductive health – for another, more overtly concerned with human numbers.

This gathered impetus after the Cairo population conference in 1994 and one result has been the systematic exclusion of the numbers dimension from permissible civil society discourse – and, to a degree, the ostracising and blackballing of its proponents.

One of the most vivid expressions of this was the decision by the long-established
NGO Population Concern to rebrand itself Interact Worldwide in 2003 – a move which the group saw as its only means of survival but which would have no doubt fascinated 1984 author George Orwell, deviser of Newspeak.
There was a rationale to this, of course.

Concern with numbers had become (wrongly) associated with a coercive approach – chiefly Mrs Gandhi’s sterilisation polices in India and China’s (continuing) one-child policy. Too much attention had focused on developing
countries as the chief locus of population growth – the ‘teeming millions’ thesis. More significantly, environmentalists in particular had absorbed the message that numbers are not the only factor: how you live is also important.

In terms of global environmental impact, one fat person – metaphorically speaking – can do as much damage as many thin ones.

Over the past decade or so, the rapidly developing methodology of ecological
footprinting has helped elaborate such calculations. The latest Living Planet report, for example, tells us not only that in 2001 humanity as a whole overshot the Earth’s annual biological capacity by 20 per cent but that one American has 12 times the overall global impact of one Indian. So, although India, with 1.1 billion people, is conventionally thought of as being ‘overpopulated’ while
the US, with 300 million, is not, the reality is very different. On a like-for-like comparison with India, for example, the US population is 12 times 300 million – or 3.6 billion. In other words, the US as a whole does three times more global environmental damage than India as a whole. Do the sums for the two countries’
per capita greenhouse gas emissions – and therefore impact on the earth’s atmosphere alone, as opposed to the entirety of the global ecosystem – and the results are even more extreme, since an American emits roughly 20 times more carbon than an Indian.

Environmental groups have grasped this approach but have chosen to interpret it as meaning that numbers no longer matter – that greening our lifestyles and our technologies is the key. For some, this approach is no doubt genuine – in the sense in which Thomas Kuhn talked about paradigm shifts, they no longer ‘see’ the population growth lurking behind virtually every aspect of environmental crisis.

For others, I suspect, it is a kind of wilful blindness, born of realpolitik plus a desire not to alienate members, upset fellow progressives and get their heads knocked off the coconut stand.

But the verdict of green historians will surely be that it’s a betrayal of future
generations. How can groups such as Friends of the Earth and the Campaign to Protect Rural England work to defend green space from development and not recognise the crucial importance of human numbers – the numbers of those wanting housing, offices, shops, schools, leisure facilities?

The truth is that greener lifestyles can make a difference but that zero-impact living, for the foreseeable future, is a chimera and that human numbers do matter – hugely. Footprinting studies by Andrew Ferguson at the Optimum Population
Trust suggest that if a world of six billion lived


Tango holds a privileged place in the city’s cultural agenda of events, considering the attractions it is for international tourists.

The fact that the winners of the 2006 IVth Tango Dancing World Championship were Colombians was proof of that.
Because of the aforementioned championship, the Tourism’s Sub secretary of the Buenos Aires Ministry of Production carried out a survey, which determined that 23% of the participants were foreign tourists, of which 40.2% traveled solely to attend the event and in some cases, they do it exclusively to learn how to dance Tango.

Therefore, Tango is the motive that attracts foreign tourists, who during their staying will be obliged to look for accommodation and take advantage of the opportunity to go on various excursions, all of which will affect the increment of the tourist services that will benefit the city economically and cognitively.

Thus, as a cultural expression Tango is the city’s best ally, both to advertise the city and as the best product to export.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Amish Prepare to Bury Shooting Victims

Horse-drawn buggies clip-clopped past roadblocks Thursday morning as Amish families gathered to bury four of the five young girls gunned down inside their tiny rural schoolhouse.

All roads leading into the village of Nickel Mines, where a milk truck driver took 10 girls hostage and opened fire, were blocked off for the funerals.

The Amish families had asked for privacy as they pray at three homes before burying Naomi Rose Ebersole, 7; Marian Fisher, 13; and sisters Mary Liz Miller, 8, and Lena Miller, 7. The funeral for a fifth girl, Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12, was scheduled for Friday.

Five of their friends caught in the schoolhouse attack continued to fight their injuries, at least four of them still hospitalized.

Country coroner G. Gary Kirchner said he had been contacted by a doctor at Penn State Children's Hospital in Hershey who said doctors expected to take one victim off life support so she could be brought home. Dr. D. Holmes Morton, who runs a clinic that serves Amish children, said Thursday that the reports that a 6-year-old had been taken off life-support and taken home to die were accurate "as far as I know."

"I just think at this point mostly these families want to be left alone in their grief and we ought to respect that," Morton said.

National mourning of similar tragedies, such as the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, has been enabled in part by media coverage - something the Amish generally shun.

In Lancaster County, there have been memorial services for the Amish school shooting victims at nearby churches, but the traditional funerals for the girls were private.

About 300 to 500 people are expected at each, with services held in the homes, said funeral director Philip W. Furman.

Amish custom calls for simple wooden caskets, narrow at the head and feet and wider in the middle. An Amish girl is typically laid to rest in a white dress, a cape, and a white prayer-covering on her head, Furman said. The cemetery sits on the crest of a hill in Georgetown.

The girls' families, Amish neighbors and friends are coping with the slayings by looking inward, relying on themselves and their faith, just as they have for centuries, to get them through what one Amish bishop called "our 9/11."

The attack began Monday morning, when Charles Carl Roberts IV, a 32-year-old milk truck driver, took over the one-room school, sent the adults and boys out and shot the 10 remaining girls before turning the gun on himself.

State police have said Roberts, who brought lubricating jelly and plastic restraints with him, might have been planning to sexually assault the Amish girls but there was no evidence that he did.

In the aftermath of that violence, the Amish have reached out to Roberts' family.

Dwight Lefever, a Roberts family spokesman, said an Amish neighbor comforted the Roberts family hours after the shooting and extended forgiveness to them. Among Roberts' survivors are his wife and three children.

Roberts revealed to his family in notes he left behind and in a phone call from inside the West Nickel Mines Amish School that he was tormented by memories of molesting two young relatives 20 years ago. But police said Wednesday there was no evidence of any such sexual abuse.

Investigators spoke to the two women Roberts named, who would have been 4 or 5 at the time, and neither recalls being sexually assaulted by Roberts.

"They were absolutely sure they had no contact with Roberts," state police Trooper Linette Quinn said.

Associated Press writer Carolyn Kaster contributed to this report

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Good News, Bad News for Papers

The average number of monthly visitors to U.S. newspaper websites rose by nearly a third in the first half of 2006, a study released on Wednesday said, though print readership at some larger papers fell.

The study, released by the Newspaper Association of America, underscores the internet's importance to papers beset by falling circulation and advertising revenue in their print editions.

The average number of unique visitors to online newspaper sites in the first half was more than 55.5 million a month, the study said. That compares with 42.2 million a year earlier.

Those numbers come from Nielsen//NetRatings, which tracks web audience usage data.

"Newspaper websites have become a significant addition to the print product, and are driving large audience growth," said John Kimball, the association's chief marketing officer. The number of page views at newspaper sites rose by about 52 percent in the first half, the association added.

Newspaper publishers have been fighting to hold on to advertisers as many of them lose readers to other media, including the Internet.

Key to the latest report is the finding that websites are bringing in more younger readers, the association said.

The Washington Post's website increased its audience reach among readers aged 25 to 34 by more than 60 percent, the report said. Audience reach combines the average weekly print audience and the net 30-day website audience.

Overall, newspaper websites helped drive a 15 percent increase in the total newspaper audience for 25- to 34-year olds and a 10-percent increase for 18- to 24-year olds, the association said.

It did not provide comparisons to the same period last year for total print newspaper readership. Readership numbers, which were provided by Scarborough Research, include circulation, shared copies and any other way that someone could end up reading a newspaper.

Print readership fell, according to a comparison of figures from the two periods conducted by Reuters.

The New York Times readership dropped 5.8 percent, while the largest U.S. paper, USA Today, fell 3 percent. The Wall Street Journal saw readership remain nearly the same.


I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. -
The Beatles

Deputy coroner says Amish school scene was 'horrible'

The Associated Press

QUARRYVILLE, Pa. - When a deputy county coroner arrived at an Amish schoolhouse where 10 children had been shot, she found blood on every desk, every window broken and the body of a girl slumped beneath the chalkboard.

"It was horrible. I don't know how else to explain it," Amanda Shelley, a deputy coroner in Lancaster County, said Wednesday morning. "I hope to never see anything like that again in my life."

The gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, who invaded the peaceful schoolhouse Monday was wearing jeans, a T-shirt and a button-down shirt, Shelley said. He had stationed weapons around the schoolhouse and, echoing the details of a disturbing plot explained by police on Tuesday, "really appeared he had planned on staying there a few hours," said Shelley, 30.

Roberts acted methodically in the days before the shooting, police said. He started buying supplies six days earlier, made a checklist of what to bring and wrote out four separate suicide notes.

Roberts had with him a change of clothes and toilet paper, but his siege ended quickly when police showed up. He opened fire on 10 tied-up little girls, killing five of them, and then killed himself.

Roberts said he was tormented about molesting two relatives 20 years ago and by dreams of doing it again, police said Tuesday. Authorities also raised the possibility that Roberts, who brought lubricating jelly with him, may have been planning to sexually assault the Amish girls.

"It's very possible that he intended to victimize these children in many ways prior to executing them and killing himself," State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said. But Roberts became disorganized when police arrived, and shot himself in the head, Miller said.

The forensic experts who responded to the schoolhouse found a disturbing scene, Shelley said.

Underneath a sign that reads "Visitors Brighten People's Days," they found the girl's body near the chalkboard and Roberts' body face-down next to the teacher's desk, Shelley said. All the other victims had been removed, said Shelley, an on-and-off criminal justice student who isn't attending school right now.

Deputy Coroner Janice Ballenger described to the Intelligencer Journal of Lancaster the horrific task of examining 7-year-old Naomi, who weighed about 50 pounds. "Kneeling next to the body and counting all the bullet holes was the worst part," Ballenger told the newspaper.

Roberts left separate suicide notes for his wife and each of his three children, who are all 6 years or younger, at their home in Bart, Miller said.

Roberts also said he was haunted by the death of his prematurely born daughter in 1997. The baby, Elise, died 20 minutes after being delivered, Miller said.

Elise's death "changed my life forever," the milk truck driver wrote to his wife. "I haven't been the same since it affected me in a way I never felt possible. I am filled with so much hate, hate toward myself hate towards God and unimaginable emptyness it seems like everytime we do something fun I think about how Elise wasn't here to share it with us and I go right back to anger."

During the standoff at the West Nickel Mines Amish School, Roberts told his wife in a cell phone call that he molested two female relatives when they were 3 to 5 years old, Miller said. Also, in the note to Marie Roberts, he said he "had dreams about doing what he did 20 years ago again," Miller said.

Police could not immediately confirm Roberts' claim that he molested two relatives. Family members knew nothing of molestation in his past, Miller said. Police located the two relatives, but had not interviewed them as of late Wednesday morning, Trooper Linette Quinn said.

At the time Roberts' wife received the phone call, she was attending a meeting of a prayer group she led.

"He certainly was very troubled psychologically deep down and was dealing with things that nobody else knew he was dealing with," Miller said.

Emma Mae Zook, 20, who was teaching German and spelling at the school, told the Intelligencer Journal she sensed trouble when Roberts came to her classroom door, wearing a baseball cap.

"He stood very close to me to talk and didn't look in my face to talk," she said.

Zook and her mother, Barbie Zook, who was visiting the school, managed at one point to dart outside, run to a nearby farm and call police.

Roberts, who was not Amish and did not appear to have anything against the Amish, had planned the attack for nearly a week, buying plastic ties from a hardware store on Sept. 26 and several other items less than an hour before entering the school, Miller said.

Using a checklist that was later found in his pickup truck, Roberts brought to the school three guns, a stun gun, two knives, a pile of wood for barricading the doors, and a bag with 600 rounds of ammunition, police said.

He sent the boys and several adults away and bound the girls together in a line at the blackboard. One of the girls in the class was able to escape with the boys, Miller said.

A piece of lumber found in the school had 10 large eyebolts spaced about 10 inches apart, suggesting that Roberts may have planned to truss up the girls and sexually assault them, Miller said.

The girls left in the room were shot at close range shortly after police arrived, Miller said.

The victims were identified as Naomi Rose Ebersole, 7; Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12; Marian Fisher, 13; Mary Liz Miller, 8; and her sister Lena Miller, 7. Stoltzfus' sister was among the wounded.

Three other girls were in critical condition and two were in serious condition. They ranged in age from 6 to 13.

Police on Wednesday opened the road to the tan, stucco schoolhouse, which sits across the street from a soybean field and is surrounded by fields and pastures. All the windows and doors are boarded up and have yellow "no trespassing" signs.

Church members visited with the victims' families Tuesday, preparing meals and doing household chores, while Amish elders planned the funerals.

Dwight Lefever, a Roberts family spokesman, spoke at a community prayer service Tuesday evening and said he was at the home of Roberts' father when an Amish neighbor came to comfort the family.

"He stood there for an hour, and he held that man in his arms, and he said, 'We will forgive you,'" Lefever said. "He extended the hope of forgiveness that we all need these days."

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Naked Magic

Her Sex Secrets Revealed: How what you want in bed compares to what she thinks about sex

You no longer have to guess what women like in bed. With the help of Cosmopolitan magazine, we asked 6,000 men and women to tell us everything -- what they like, what they hate, what they've done, what they're dying to try. The results were as surprising -- men and women want sex equally often -- as they were enticing: Most women want to experiment and are just waiting for you to ask.

Here are the complete results of the survey, but you can also read What She Wants You to Do to Her to get even more sex tips.

Question He said She said
1. How often do you want sex?

Two or three times a week 34.8% 35.1%
Once a day 30 26.3
Several times a day 25.3 25.7
Once a week 3.81 6.3
Two or three times a month 3 3.7
Less than once a month 2.3 1.7
Once a month .8 1.2

2. Do you wish your partner would

Inititate sex more often 66.3% 35.2%
Initiate sex less often 1.25 6.2
Respond to your advances more 14.7 16.3
None of the above 17.7 42.3

3. Which of the following is most likely to cause you to turn down sex with your partner?

I never turn down sex 53.7% 29.1%
I'm just not in the mood 19.2 25.7
I'm too stressed out 12.6 12.1
Partner is not very good 4 2.8
Need more time to warm up 3.52 15.6
Partner takes too long to orgasm 2.6 3
I need an emotional connection 1.8 7.8
Partner wants too much foreplay 1.4 .7
Partner wants too much sex 1.3 3.3

4. What time of the day are you most likely to be in the mood for sex?

Before I go to bed 33.9% 36.9%
In the morning, after I wake up 28.1 14.9
In the evening, after I get home 14.3 13.2
After dinner 8.6 10.3
In the middle of the night 5.7 10.8
In the afternoon, during work 3.5 6.1
In the morning, after breakfast 3 2.3
In the afternoon, at lunch 2.9 5.6

5. What sort of date is most likely to put you in the mood for sex?

A romantic dinner out 27.7% 23.4%
A quiet night at home 26.1 28.7
Dancing 14.6 25.4
An adventure date outdoors 10.1 5.2
Visiting a pub; Darts, pool 9.8 7.3
A formal event 7.4 4.1
A concert or comedy show 2.2 1.8
Going to a sporting event 1.6 2.8
Shopping .6 1.4

6. When do you generally have sex with a new partner?

After the third date 7.9% 11.6%
After a month of dating 14 16.1
After the fourth or fifth date 13.6 11.4
After the second date 12.4 7.1
Only after marriage 9.1 4.4
After the first date 8.6 5.2
The same night we meet 7.8 3.4
After several months of dating 6.6 19.4
Once we've discussed exclusivity 6.3 17.2
Never, I practice abstinence 3.3 2.5
Only after he pops the question .3 1.8

Go on to the next page to find out what's most likley to bring her to orgasm...

Question He said She said
7. a. Men: If I'm really interested, I want to have sex:

As soon as I get the okay 48.2%
When I'm ready, even if she is first 24
Wait until we are exclusive 21.3
Wait until a certain number of dates 6.5

7.b. Women: If I'm really interested, I want to have sex:

Wait until we're committed
Few dates, so he won't think I'm a slut
Whenever I want, even on first date

8. a. Men: Which of the following is most likely to bring you to orgasm?

Vaginal sex 75.6%
Oral sex 17
Manual simulation--by me 4.1
Manual stimulation--by her 3.3

8.b. Women: Which of the following is most likely to bring you to orgasm?

Clitoral stimulation--by him
Vaginal sex--with him
Oral sex
Clitoral simulation--by me
Clitoral stimulation--by a sex toy

9. Which of the following is most likely to prevent you from having an orgasm?

I never have any problem 47% 11.4%
I'm distracted 25.3 22.8
My partner doesn't know what to do 8.2 15.6
There's no emotional connection 8 6.8
My partner doesn't last long enough 6 19.4
Partner needs to ask what to do 3.4 6.9
It's difficult for me to orgasm 2.2 16.8

10. How much longer do you wish intercourse could last?

I'm satisfied with how long sex lasts 30.3% 38%
10 minutes 23.3 21
20 minutes 15.3 13.8
5 minutes 14.5 14.5
30 minutes 7.5 5.2
1 hour or more 5.9 4
45 minutes 2.4 1.8
1 minute .9 1.7

11.Which body part of the opposite sex turns you on the most?

Butt 34.5% 7.8%
Chest 23.2 14.3
Face 14.1 19.8
Legs 9.9 1
Genitals 7.6 9.5
Abs 6.1 9.4

12. Which of your body parts do you think turns the opposite sex on the most?

Chest 15.6% 42%
Butt 13.5 27.7
Face 26.9 10.5
Shoulders 9.5 .7
Arms 9.3 .2
Legs 2.9 6.9
Abs 8.4 3.2
Genitals 7 5

13.a. Men: How would you describe your penis size?

About average 59.9%
About right 24.3
Small 8.1
Massive 7
Way too small .8

13.b. Women: How would you describe the penis size of your most recent sexual partner?

About average
About right
Way too small

14. In your opinion, the ideal length for an erect penis is:.

7 inches 38.3% 34.8%
6 inches 33.8 32.8
8 inches 17.9 14.9
5 inches 4.8 10.5
9 inches 3.3 2.6
10 inches or more 1.3 1.7
4 inches .4 2.5
1-3 inches .2 .2

15. In your opinion, the ideal girth for an erect penis is:

The diameter of a D battery 74% 64.3%
The diameter of a racquetball 16.5 27.8
The diameter of a quarter 8.1 5
The diameter of a soda can .7 2
The diameter of a Sharpie marker .6 1

16. Which of the following is most important for pleasing a woman?

Thrusting technique 37.7% 55.5%
Oral sex technique 30.4 19.7
Duration of intercourse 16.8 9.2
Penis girth 12.2 11.9
Penis length 2.9 3.6
Go on to the next page to find out which type of grooming women and men prefer down there...
Question He said She said
17. What sort of lingerie do your prefer?

Racy: The less fabric, the better 48.7% 46.3%
Elegant: Hints of raw flesh 47.3 51
Trashy: Zippers and pleather 4 2.7

18. What sort of pubic grooming have you done?

I'll do a little trimming, 33.5% 19.4%
The buzz cut--I prefer it short 32.8 21.8
Completely bald 15.5 35.6
None. I wouldn't touch a thing. 11.7 2.3
I'll shave or wax it into shapes 6.6 20.9

19. What sort of pubic grooming would you be willing to do, if asked by a partner?

Anything that turns her on 49.4% 38.3%
I'll do a little trimming 15 10.2
The buzz cut-I prefer it short 14.5 12.4
Completely bald 10.8 18.6
I'll shave or wax it into shapes 6.9 18
None. I wouldn't touch a thing. 3.4 2.7

20. What sort of pubic grooming do you prefer on your partner?

Completely bald 36.5% 11.9%
Shaved or wax it into shapes 32.3 2.1
A little trimming, but that's it. 13.8 47.4
The buzz cut--I prefer it short 13.5 25.7
None. I wouldn't touch a thing. 3.9 13

21. How many times a week do you masturbate?

2-3 times a week 37.2% 23.6%
Once a day 19.1 7.3
About once a week 16.6 16.6
2-3 times a month 11 17.6
Less than once a month 11 31.2
More than once a day 5.2 3.6

22. How many times a week do you think your partner masturbates?

Less than once a month 46.9% 10.4%
2-3 times a month 18 11.8
About once a week 17.9 18
2-3 times a week 13.3 32.7
Once a day 2.7 21.2
More than once a day 1.1 5.9

23. How many previous sexual partners is it okay for your partner to have had?

2-3 26.4% 26%
4-5 22.1 19.3
8-10 13.9 13
None 11.3 9
6-7 10.2 8.8
1 5.3 6.4
11-15 4.7 6.4
16-20 2.2 4.5
51 and above 1.7 2.8

24. How many sexual partners have you had?

2-3 18.9% 25.1%
4-5 14.7 14.6
1 12.8 24.1
8-10 10.7 7.8
6-7 9.1 6.6
11-15 8.8 5.3
16-20 5.8 2.6
None 5.3 8.2
21-25 4.2 1.9
51 and above 3.6 1.2

25. Do you think it's okay to ask how many sexual partners your partner has had?

Yes 69.5% 83.5%
No 30.5 16.4

26. Have you asked how many sexual partners your current partner has had?

Yes 58.2% 68.1%
No 41.8 31.9

27. Have you ever lied about how many partners you've had?

No 62.5% 68.4%
Yes -- Increased by 1 or 2 9.6 6.4
Yes -- Decreased by 1 or 2 7.24 13.1
Yes -- Decreased by 3-5 6.3 6.2
Yes -- Decreased by more than 10 6.1 2.7
Yes -- Increased by more than 10 .33 .10

28. Do you count oral sex partners, who you haven't had intercourse with, in your total number of sex partners?

No 62.7% 67.3%
Yes 37.3 32.7

29. When it comes to oral sex, I:

Give more. I want to even it out 35.9% 28.8%
Give more, and I like it that way 21.1 24.1
Receive more. I want to even it out 19.5 19.7
Receive more. I like it that way 14.1 21.1
Give more. I'd like the opposite 6.9 5.6
Receive more. I'd like the opposite 2.5 .7

30. Has your partner ever faked an orgasm?

No 59.7% 92.9%
Yes 40.3 7.1

31. Have you ever faked an orgasm?

No 71.8% 34.9%
Yes 28.3 65.1

Go on to the next page to find out what other guys think women do wrong in bed...
Question He said She said

32. What's the worst mistake your partner makes in bed?

Not communicating enough 43.9% 19.9%
Just laying there 34.8
Faking orgasm 9
Poor technique 8 12.5
Trying too hard to please me 3.2 9.9
Acting like we're in a porn movie 1.2 7
Rushing to intercourse
Not enough foreplay
Not trying hard enough

33. Men: What's the worst mistake women make during oral sex?

Her teeth get in the way 19.2%
She's not persistent enough 18.7
She should use her tongue more 12.6
She doesn't use her hand enough 11.4
She has bad rhythm 11.4
She's too rough 9.7
She ignores my testicles 8.6
She's too gentle 8.5

34. Women: What's the worst mistake men make during oral sex?

He's too rough
He's not persistent enough
He doesn't know my anatomy
He's too gentle
He has bad rhythm
His beard irritates my skin

35. Do you fantasize?

Yes, but only during masturbation 43.3% 41%
Yes, during sex and masturbation 41.7 22.5
No 9.1 27.4
Yes, but only during sex 5.9 9.1

36. Who do you fantasize about?

A previous partner 25% 27.5%
A friend 22.7 19.2
A stranger 20.5 26.7
A celebrity 13.7 15.7
A porn star 10.7 6.8
A co-worker 7.5 4.1

37. Why do you fantasize?

Images just pop into my head 46.3% 35.1%
It helps me get turned on 43.7 58.4
I'm bored 6.5 4.5
Focus on something besides partner 3.6 2

38. Have you videotaped sex?

No 76.9% 81%
Yes 23.1 19

39. Used light bondage?

No 55.5% 58.7%
Yes 44.6 41.3

40. Used Role Playing?

No 68.7% 71.9%
Yes 31.3 28.1

41. Used toys?

Yes 51.3% 39%
No 48.5 61

42. Had a threesome?

No 90.6% 91%
Yes 9.5 8.8

43. Sex while watching porn?

Yes 57.3% 47.6%
No 42.7 52.4

44. Had anal sex?

No 57.8% 64.8%
Yes 42.2 35.3

45. Had sex in public?

No 53.5% 57.2%
Yes 46.6 42.8

46. Swinging/Swapping

No 95.7% 95.1%
Yes 4.3 4.9

47. Grooming and shaving each other?

No 52.5% 53.2%
Yes 47.5 46.8

48. Is your partner as sexually adventurous as you would like?

No 60.7% 30.7%
Yes 39.3 69.4

49. What can a partner do to convince you to experiment sexually?

Just ask--I'm game 78.6% 47.9%
Offer to let me do something kinky 10.9 9.4
Show how much she respects me 7.3 32.6
Swear that no one will know 2 8.1
Constant begging and pleading 1.2 2

50. I'm more likely to be sexually adventurous...

Always sexually adventurous 44.2% 19.3%
Later: After I've built trust with her 37.9 66
Early: Before things get serious 8.7 7
If it's a random stranger: 8.3 4.8
I'm not comfortable with that 1.4 3

51. Have you ever had a threesome?

No 81.6% 86%
Yes 18.4 14

52. Who else participated?

Two girls 50.3% 21.3%
One guy, One girl 25.5 49
I've been in both situations 24.3
Two guys

53. Were you in a relationship with any of the other participants?

No, and I never was 57.7% 48.6%
Yes. The relationship stayed strong 17.7 21
Yes. It failed, but not because of it 16.4 19.9
Yes. It failed because of it 4.3 4.6
No, but it evolved into a relationship 3.8 5.9

54. How'd it go?

I loved it, and would do it again 59.1% 36.7%
It was a good, one-time thing. 29.6 40.1
It was awful, but I'd try again 8.1 11.9
It was awful, I'd never try it again 3.3 11.2

55. If you have never been in a threesome, what would it take?

Random people 36.2% 18.8%
I'd never have a threesome 29.4 57.6
Secure relationship. 3rd party a friend 18.7 11.2
Secure relationship. 3rd party a stranger 15.7 12.4