Donnerstag, Januar 31, 2008

it's cold in many places (ii)


(far below 0 Celsius/28 Fahrenheit)




(I am tempted to say, my other home)


(so much for incredible India!)

and in China, the government announced "war" on the snow...

it's cold in many places.


mmmhh.... I think I go and live there. reading science fiction, watching monty python, collecting wood for the fire, ice fishing, staring at the night sky undisturbed by light and people, praying that there is intelligent life somewhere up in space (y'know, coz they're bugger all down here on earth).

Montag, Januar 28, 2008

10 most underreported humanitarian stories of 2007 by MsF

Medecins sans Frontieres does not need to be politically correct.

it is nice and needed to follow the American presidential campaign and read what Barrack Obama is saying in South Carolina. it is good to discuss about if democracy is the one and only form of government. it is nice to have kids even though I can't help myself thinking that there are just too many people on this world. it is good to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the ending of the Vietnam War (and this last link is so worth following - real pictures). it is good to not forget the holocaust. never again. it was said so often. never again holocaust. what is going on in Gaza? never again Rwanda. it keeps happening all over.

1. Somalia. Somalia's capital Mogadishu is arguably the most dangerous place in the world. Moving even small distances is risking
  • machine gun fire,
  • roadside bombs,
  • mortar attacks and
  • land mines.
The new government (the 13th in 18 years) has
  • no budget,
  • no army or police to speak of,
  • no offices,
  • no water or electricity,
  • no schools, hospitals or industries but....
  • ... a starving and unemployed population, one million of whom are displaced.
On top of that, it is faced with an insurgency by Islamists who oppose the presence of Ethiopian troops and want to impose a Taliban-version of an Islamic state. Even more dangerous are the Shabab, uncontrolled youth who benefit from the chaos and do not want any government at all.

so much for "rocking the 'dish" - party slogan of some war-junkie expats in Mogadishu.

2. Zimbabwe.

3. Tuberculosis. I guess MsF has to list some disease that is overseen - in this case TB.

4. Malnutrition. Malnutrition means more than feeling hungry or not having enough food to eat. Inadequate intake of protein (necessary to keep the body healthy and build muscle), calories (a measure of energy the body needs), iron (for proper blood cell function), and other nutrients make up different types of malnutrition.

5. Sri Lanka. Lonely Planet says: Travel Warning: Tamil Tensions

Fighting between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE (Tamil Tiger) faction, and the recent breakdown of their ceasefire agreement, means that the north and east of the country are particularly dangerous. On 16 January a bomb attack on a crowded civilian bus in Buttala killed at least 26 people and injured many more - it is believed this was a direct consequence of the ceasefire's official termination. Areas north of a line following the highway from Puttalam through Anuradhapura to Trincomalee, and east down to Batticaloa are unsafe for travellers as are the eastern areas around Ampara and Arugam Bay. Any travel to these areas should be reconsidered. The security situation in the Jaffna Peninsula remains very uncertain. Parts of these northern and eastern areas are heavily mined.

The rest of the country is also at risk of attack. The capital, Colombo, has experienced a number of bombings lately, with two attacks occurring so far this year - hot on the heels of an explosion which killed at least 16 civilians in a busy shopping district on 28 November. Travellers should exercise a high level of caution, monitor local news sources and heed any local warnings regarding safety.

severity: High-level alert

6. Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • "instability rules",
  • "one particularly disturbing aspect of DRC's conflict is the alarmingly high rate of sexual violence",
  • "the dark side of natural resources",
  • "should peace ever break out in this long-suffering cauldron of chaos, the potential for adventurous travellers is nothing short of mind-blowing".... go and look at the pix on lonely planet
  • The Road to the Horizon posted the gruesome news: 45'000 people dying per month

7. Colombia. Largely fuelled by a fight over control of the narcotics trade, Colombia's decades-old civil war often makes headlines, but its impact on the civilian population of the country is rarely the focus of attention. Over the years, as many as 3.8 million people have been driven from their homes by violence brought on by government troops, paramilitary, and rebel forces battling for territorial control,
ranking Colombia third in the world after Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo for the largest number of internally displaced people.

8. Myanmar. Burma.
9. Central African Republic. and now for something completely different! Come and enjoy the last great adventure!!
(I must admit, I have a very soft spot for adventures.... and would LOVE to forget reality and just absorb myself in things like this)

10. Chechnya. it's out of the headlines, but it still exists.

Freitag, Januar 25, 2008

welcome to this mess called "our world", Leon Jean Rene

my sister got her third baby. I'm godmother of the first boy, Nicolas, I have fun with the little girl Joelle, and this here is the latest addition to the family.

there is an average of 1,5 kids per women in Switzerland. In my family, I am glad that my sister Nicole took care of keeping the average :-)

Dienstag, Januar 22, 2008

Martin Luther King Day

there is not just "independence day" and "presidents day" and "thanksgiving" - in the States (at least in some states in the States) there is also the Martin Luther King Day - 21 January.

I like those official holidays. they are not always day off for me - the UN has a bit another system. in the UN, there is an official list with all holidays around the world, and each duty station can/must chose a certain amount of days that they declare holidays for the staff in this duty station.

so for New York, I do get Thanksgiving off. in Geneva there is no thanksgiving, but probably 1st of May is observed. in Afghanistan, Eid Al-Fitr is off. Eid is also off in New York!

Martin Luther King has been in the media here lately because it was topic in the presidential nominees race. The democrats start jumping at each others throat. actually, mainly Obama and Hillary are jumping. Edward would probably like to be a toad as well, but they just don't let him quak. oh well.

"The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose.... The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of time.
But it was a beginning."

Freitag, Januar 18, 2008

Is China right about Africa? - have your say on BBC

This week an official Chinese newspaper The People's Daily said that the current turmoil in Kenya can be blamed on a Western-style democracy that is not suited to Africa.

The People's Daily newspaper went on to say that Western-style democratic theory simply isn't suited to African conditions, but rather carries with it the root of disaster. The paper also blames Africa's colonial rulers for tyrannically imposing Western democratic systems after independence.

The late Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti wanted Africans to use traditional structures for political development.

In the past, for example, there different ways of getting rid of unpopular leaders. In Nigeria, Oyo elders had the right to compel their king to stand aside. The elders were supposed to represent the interests of their people.

have your say on BBC News!

Donnerstag, Januar 17, 2008

“Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!”

yes it is.

no it isn't.

yes it is.

listen, this is not an argument, this is just rejection.

no it isn't.

yes it is!!

this is not just Monty Python. it comes dangerously close to this mornings' Security Council Meeting on Myanmar. Burma. Myanmar. well it is not an issue of the Council anyway. it is just in the footnote - the SC merely supports the noble task of the GA.

and I have to write a substantial report about this??????

Dienstag, Januar 15, 2008

fish slap dance

FISH: Fish is now the most traded animal commodity on the planet, with about 100 million tons of wild and farmed fish sold each year. Europe has suddenly become the world's largest market for fish, worth more than 14 billion euros, or about $22 billion a year. (NYT)

yeah, and guess why? maybe, coz people are sick of hormones in cows, scared of the imaginery avian flu threat in chicken and just not eating pork anymore (adjusting to muslim neighbours, lol). and thinking of all the trees get cut down to make space for beef to graze happily.

think again. if u all start eating super healthy fish, fish will be more and more coming from not exactly nature-like farms and deep- and over-fishing will be destroying the seas.

the underlying problem of it all is:

there are too many people on this world.

(ps. is it ON this world? or IN this world?)

Montag, Januar 14, 2008

things on my mind

People who drink moderately, exercise, quit smoking and eat five servings of fruit and vegetables each day live on average 14 years longer than people who adopt none of these behaviours, researchers have said.

daily horoscope for leo:
It may be a challenge to keep your mind focused on your immediate tasks today, even if you are very busy. Your spirits have improved recently and your daydreams could even be work related.

Levan Tarkhnishvili,chairman of Georgia's Central Election Commission (CEC), announces the final result of Georgia's Jan. 5 presidential election, in Tbilisi, Georgia, Jan. 13, 2008. Georgia's former President Mikhail Saakashvili has secured his second term after the CEC officially announced final results of the election here on Sunday, in which Saakashvili won 53.47 percent of the vote.

Serena Hotel - the one place every expat gets a spa treat once a while, in news language: "a popular hangout with foreign nationals" - is the one that got attacked, six people killed.

Hafez is back online with a great blog! great layout!!!! am reliefed!

too many "old loves" appear on bloody facebook account. this has to stop!

should I call it Burma or Myanmar?
With Myanmar’s Asean neighbours opposing sanctions, encouraging the process of reconciliation being undertaken by Mr Ibrahim Gambari, is the only way to proceed with the process of bringing in greater democratic governance in Myanmar.

Will Cote d’Ivoire peace deal hold?

QUOTE The UN authorities in Kosovo do not have a clear idea as yet as to how they will react when Kosovo’s newly-elected institutions declare independence – a move expected in the near future.

Joachim Ruecker, head of the UN mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, told reporters that his organisation would await instructions from the UN headquarters in the event of independence being declared.

“I will get guidance from New York”, Ruecker said on Friday. UNQUOTE

pumuckl comment: hahahaaa! they will curse him for making that statement. I start to understand why NY doesn't like him. he doesn't know how to play the game.

why, why why why why, do so many of my Basel friends like "I am Legend"? the movie is not just boring - apart from some shock effects - it is utterly unlogical.

Freitag, Januar 11, 2008

d Blaggedde 2008

y freu mi!!! und y glaub, fuer mi gits denn die silbrigi das Joor :-)

Dienstag, Januar 08, 2008


bye bye Hafez...

Phoenix aus der Asche - auf dass du wieder auferstehst!!

confidence building measures by Continental Airlines

Continental Airlines #549 on January 5, 2008
Depart: 1:20pm
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco International (SFO)
Arrive: 9:43pm
Newark, NJ
Newark Liberty Int'l (EWR)

Economy | Boeing 737-800 Passenger (738) | 5hr 23min | 2572 miles

1150am - arrival at the airport
1230am - successfully checked in and left behind a small water bottle at the security checks
1.00pm - Continental announces that the flight to Newark is approaching the Bay area
1.20pm - Continental announces that a lightning struck the airplane during landing
1.50pm - Continental announces there are concerns about the state of the plane
2.30pm - Continental announces that some more tests are needed to determine flight ability
3.10pm - Continental apologises that the plane is not fit to fly and passengers need to rebook
3.40pm - Continental announces that the plane is actually okay and we can all board!
4.10pm - Continental pilot welcomes us on board and says that he is very, VERY confident that the plane will make it to the destination...

well, it did. some delay, and some not very funny moments in a queue with some other hundred people all wanting to get on the next plane.... but well.... we took off, we flew, we landed ;-)

happy new year to everyone. many happy returns ;-)