Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fierce storm turns deadly

A massive storm lashing Europe killed at least two people in Germany on Sunday as winds gusting up to 110 kilometres (68 miles) per hour battered the western part of the country.

A German motorist was killed and his wife injured when a tree came crashing down on their car in the Black Forest, while a falling tree also killed a woman jogger in the western town of Bergheim, police said.

Several other motorists were hurt as the deadly tempest made its way through Germany, including at Uckerath, south of Cologne, where two motorists were injured by trees falling onto the road, police said.

In the western city of Karsruhe, several policemen were lightly injured when a tree fell on their truck outside a stadium during a football match.

The A3 motorway was closed near Frankfurt and the city's airport had to cancel dozens of flights. Train service was halted throughout much of western Germany because of high winds and trees on the tracks.

Dubbed "Xynthia," the Atlantic storm has already travelled across swathes of Western Europe, killing at least 51 people amid gusts of up to 150 kilometres per hour and eight-metre (26 foot) waves.

The violent weather has also left more than a million households without power across the continent.



Source: http://www.thelocal.de/national/20100228-25569.html

Some changes in our living room

Today I spend some time to change a few things in our living room, to make it more comfortable. Moved some furniture from our reading room into the living room and also arranged kind of a little bar in the corner of our living room. Hope you like the ideas. What do you think about these changes?

Look forward to our soon coming time, when we arrange and change our home together and buy furniture together to make our home complete.



Bali Tourism



Introducing Bali

Bali may be small in size – you can drive around the entire coast in one long day – but its prominence as a destination is huge, and rightfully so. Ask travellers what Bali means to them and you’ll get as many answers as there are flowers on a frangipani tree. Virescent rice terraces, pulse-pounding surf, enchanting temple ceremonies, mesmerising dance performances and ribbons of beaches are just some of the images people cherish.

Small obviously doesn’t mean limited. The manic whirl of Kuta segues into the luxury of Seminyak. The artistic swirl of Ubud is a counterpoint to misty treks amid the volcanoes. Mellow beach towns like Amed, Lovina and Pemuteran can be found right round the coast and just offshore is the laid-back idyll of Nusa Lembongan.

As you stumble upon the exquisite little offerings left all over the island that materialise as if by magic, you’ll see that the tiny tapestry of colours and textures is a metaphor for Bali itself.

To read more and source: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/bali

Cranes return ahead of springtime weather

Thousands of cranes have been spotted returning to Germany for the spring earlier than usual, according to the nature protection association NABU.

NABU’s Berthold Langenhorst said around 18,000 cranes had been seen in Hesse, on their way up to northern Germany where they will nest.

The first groups are thought to have arrived from Spain and southern France. Generally they start this migration at the end of February, but experts say the sudden change in the weather may have sparked off an earlier departure.

After months of freezing weather, things seem to be thawing out across central Europe, including Germany.

The forecast is for stormy weather across the country on Sunday, after a Saturday of changeable weather, including patches of sunshine.

Temperatures are expected to reach a maximum of six degrees in the north east, and as high as 13 degrees elsewhere.

The start of the new week could see some rain and even snow in the northernmost areas, with stormy and showery weather.


Source: http://www.thelocal.de/society/20100227-25553.html

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thailand: Migrant Workers Face Killings, Extortion, Labor Rights Abuses

The Thai government should swiftly act to end police abuse and discriminatory laws and policies against migrant workers and their families, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. The February deadline for more than a million migrant workers to enter the "nationality verification" process or face immediate deportation creates the risk of further abuses and should be postponed until it can be carried out in a fair manner.

Human Rights Watch's 124-page report, "From the Tiger to the Crocodile: Abuse of Migrant Workers in Thailand," is based on 82 interviews with migrants from neighboring Burma, Cambodia, and Laos. It describes the widespread and severe human rights abuses faced by migrant workers in Thailand, including killings, torture in detention, extortion, and sexual abuse, and labor rights abuses such as trafficking, forced labor, and restrictions on organizing.

"Migrant workers make huge contributions to Thailand's economy, but receive little protection from abuse and exploitation," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Those from Burma, Cambodia, and Laos suffer horribly at the hands of corrupt civil servants and police, unscrupulous employers, and violent thugs, who all realize they can abuse migrants with little fear of consequences."

To read more: http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/02/22/thailand-migrant-workers-face-killings-extortion-labor-rights-abuses?tr=y&auid=5991216


Ethnic Shan from Burma work on a construction site in Chiang Mai.
© 2007 John Hulme
Source: www.hrw.org

Thai Court Seizes $1.4 Billion From Ex-Premier

Thailand’s Supreme Court on Friday confiscated $1.4 billion in frozen assets from the nation’s fugitive former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, after finding him guilty of illegally concealing his ownership of a family company and abusing his power to benefit the companies he owned.

But it softened the blow by allowing him to keep the remainder of what had been $2.3 billion in frozen assets, saying that “to seize all the money would be unfair because some of it was made before Thaksin became prime minister.”

The case resonates in Thailand beyond the assets of one man, part of a long-running and sporadically violent confrontation that has divided the country. It has pitted the nation’s rural and urban poor, who support Mr. Thaksin, against the established ruling class, whose control of the political system he challenged during his six years as prime minister.

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/27/world/asia/27thai.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a4

The Karaoke Cab

"Turn it up, driver, I love this song." It's a common enough refrain, heard in taxis all over the world as they ferry a weekend's worth of merry makers to their destinations. And although some cab drivers find this annoying, there is one clever chap in the German city of Münster, in the state of Lower Saxony, who is making a business out of those kinds of requests.

Taxi driver Nizamettin Kilincli has installed a screen in the back of his eight-person taxi van, over which he can play karaoke tracks, or even movies. The reasons passengers like his service are as varied as the passengers themselves, Kilincli told the online city magazine Echo Münster.

During the day Taxi Niza, as his business is known, drives around the city like any normal van-for-hire. The screen in the vehicle might be used for a family who wants to keep the kids quiet on the way out to the airport. But by night, it becomes a rolling fun palace, with party goers on the way to a club or a disco entertaining themselves by belting out a few numbers.

Best of all, the service costs no more than any other cab ride. All of this has seen the clearly very tolerant Kilincli gain a regular clientele who prefer a ride in his taxi above all others.

To read more: http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,680604-8,00.html

I think this is really a funny business idea, but it seems to work out well. Just imagine, driving with you in such a cap / taxi and hear you sing Karaoke. :-)

Bringing 3D television to a living room near you

Three-dimensional TV pioneers are predicting groundbreaking new technology will be in most German living rooms within just a few years and that it will revolutionise storytelling and live sport without the need for funky 3D glasses.

With the US blockbuster ''Avatar'' whetting audience appetites for seeing movies in 3D, experts in Germany believe the small screen is also due for a revolution.

“Live sports will be the big winner because you don’t have to develop new content,” filmmaker Ludger Pfanz, who teaches at the new Expanded 3 Digital Cinema Laboratory at the Karlsruhe Design University, told The Local on Friday. “The first time I watched 3D football, I understood the offside rule for the first time.”

He predicted 3D television would be a common feature in German living rooms within four to seven years and would become the norm by 2020.

The 2014 Football World Cup would be a turning point, he said. Sony has struck a deal with football governing body FIFA to film this year’s World Cup in South Africa in 3D but the technology would hit its stride properly in 2014, Pfanz said.

To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/sci-tech/20100226-25533.html

WOW, that must be cool to watch soocer with you in the future in 3D!

Friday, February 26, 2010

YOU are once in a lifetime

There is a dime a dozen...
Then there is one in a million...
But honey, you are once in a lifetime.

- Victor Rodriguez -

To have found you, is the greatest blessing ever, you are really once in a lifetime! IYSM! Sorry, when I am sometimes little stupid and not easy, but remember you have only all my support and love in everything. All I do, work and live for is you, our love, our future and our life. YOU are really all I care about!

Blue Earth, green phone




SINGAPORE : Saving the environment is a huge cause these days, and Samsung has jumped on the green bandwagon by releasing a solar-powered phone, the GT-S7550 Blue Earth (S$498, without contract).

The 3.5G quad-band touchscreen phone touts a 3-inch display, 3.15-mega­pixel fixed-focus camera, an FM radio, a microSD card slot (up to 16GB), A-GPS, and connectivity options like WiFi and Bluetooth.

The outer shell of the phone is made from recycled plastic water bottles, and its back is adorned with solar panels. The packaging of the phone is made of recycled cardboard, with the phone holder inside doubling as a photo frame.

Documentation is spartan and the mini-USB cable is not included. You can transfer songs and pictures via a microSD card, which is troublesome since the slot is hidden behind the back cover.

The Blue Earth looks good and feels smooth on your hand with its 108x53x14mm frame but it's rather heavy at 119g.

Source and to read more: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/technologyfeatures/view/1040066/1/.html

Very interesting Ideas up there. Do not know how is the development to Green technology.

Peaceful Quote of the Day


Because we all share this small planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. That is not just a dream, but a necessity. We are dependent on each other in so many ways, that we can no longer live in isolated communities and ignore what is happening outside those communities, and we must share the good fortune that we enjoy.~H.H Dalai Lama

German - the language of ideas

Found this on the website of Deutsche Welle:

In Europe, there are more native speakers of German than any other language. Now Germany is launching a campaign to spark interest abroad in learning the language of Goethe, Schiller and Heidi Klum.

Whether you're a beginner, can already speak German, or just need some business vocabulary, Deutsche Welle's individualized German language courses can help you to improve your skills. Our multimedia offer including audios, videos and texts cover all aspects of language learning from listening comprehension to speaking and pronunciation. Give it a try!

Interactive Course

A new dimension of learning with our free, interactive German course.

Experience a new dimension of learning! Our free interactive online German course is ideal for both beginners and those who have some previous knowledge of German. The 30-part self-study course covers levels A1 and B1 of the Common European Frame of References for Languages. Authentic videos, slideshows and audio texts convey a vibrant picture of life in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Accompanying worksheets, exercises and tests have been designed to complement your personal study program. The course also includes a grammar chart, a 7,000-word dictionary and a pronunciation guide.

Link to the Interactive Course: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/0,,9572,00.html

Link to more features on learning German: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/0,,2547,00.html

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dinner at the Thai Restaurant

Tonight I went out for dinner with our friends Dirk and Inge to our favorite Thai Restaurant in Bochum. Been a nice evening with some great food, good talks and just a good time to clear my head a little and forget for a while whats recently on my mind. Just somebody very special was missing to make it a perfect evening: YOU! Look forward to the time, when we will be able to enjoy such evenings together with our friends.

Number of Church Abuse Cases Continues to Rise in Germany

The Catholic Church in Germany is under pressure as more and more cases of sexual abuse come to light. Now the government is demanding that the Church take rigorous action to investigate the incidents. By SPIEGEL staff.

For years, Jörg D. was plagued by feelings of shame, insecurity and rage. Finally, on Sept. 17, 2009, he sent the pope a four-page letter describing his plight. "I beg you for help, in whatever form possible," he wrote.

But Benedict XVI remained silent. To this day, Jörg D., now 25, has not received a response, "not even a two-liner, nothing, nothing at all."

Franz-Josef Bode, the bishop of the city of Osnabrück in northwestern Germany, hasn't been much help either. He advised D., a victim of abuse, to "forgive and forget."

In fact, Bishop Bode wants all the 14 victims, who at the time were altar boys and children preparing to receive their first communion, to forgive and forget. Over the course of several years, ending in 1995, they were sexually abused a total of 227 times by their priest in a village near the Dutch border. The priest involved, Father Alois B., got off lightly, with only a probation sentence.

"The church was more concerned about the offenders than the victims," says Jörg D. "It provided them with therapy, stays in health resorts, new apartments or new positions, and it assiduously wiped away their old tracks. The abused children were left to fend for themselves."

To read more: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,679703,00.html

No wonder, that more and more people leave the church. Can not understand the unbelievable reaction of church leaders, its a shame.

Germans stick with homegrown classic brands during tough times

Faced with trying economic times, Germans chose homegrown classics when picking the brands they trusted the most in a new survey.

Established German brands such as Bayer’s Aspirin, Volkswagen cars, Asbach-Uralt’s brandy, skincare products from Nivea and appliances by Miele topped the Teutonic picks in the “European Trusted Brands 2010” survey conducted by magazine Reader’s Digest.

Some 32,000 people, among them 9,000 Germans, responded to the annual poll that highlighted 33 different categories from automobiles to toothpaste.

The magazine attributed the resurgent dominance of old German brands to a need for security and trust in the wake of the global economic crisis.

It also said that public discourse played a big role, highlighting the example of Deutsche Telekom’s internet service provider T-Online, which overtook US internet giant Google’s spot on the 2009 list following political questions about the company’s collection of personal information.

Environmental sensibilities were also a dominant theme, and German companies with the best reputations for ecological engagement included Sparkasse banks, Aral petrol stations, Miele appliances, Frosch cleaning products, and Persil detergent.

The German skincare brand Nivea was particularly impressive, ranking as the most trusted brand of its category in all of the 16 countries included in Europe-wide survey.

“When a brand gains the attention and trust of consumers despite intense competition, it’s a great achievement,” head of Reader’s Digest for Germany, Switzerland and Austria said in a statement. “Only the consumers who have had their trust confirmed remain true to a brand.”

Germany’s favourites

Automobile: Volkswagen (German) (same with us, as our car is a Volkswagen)
• Bank: Sparkasse (German)
• Clothing: C&A (German)
Petrol: Aral (German) (same again, our favorite petrol station)
• Computer: Fujitsu Siemens (Japan)
• Make-up: Yves Rocher (France)
• Fragrances: Yves Rocher (France)
• Beverage: Coca-Cola (US)
• Cold medicine: Wick (German)
• Camera: Canon (Japan)
• Breakfast cereal: Kellogg’s
• Hair care: Schwarzkopf (German)
Groceries: Aldi (German) (remember us shopping there?)
• Appliances: Miele (German)
• Cleaning products: Frosch (German)
Skincare: Nivea (German) (our favorite skin products too.)
• Internet service provider: T-Online (German)
• Coffee and tea: Tchibo (German)
• Credit card: Visa (US)
• Milk products: Müllermilch (German)
Mobile phone service provider: Vodafone (UK) (and again, the company we both have for use over here)
• Mobile phones: Nokia (Finnish)
• Food brand: Maggi (German)
• Travel company: TUI (German)
Pain killer: Aspirin (German) (again, the one we prefer and use too)
• Shoes: Rieker (German)
• Sekt: Rotkäppchen Sekt (German)
• Spirits: Asbach (German)
• Candy: Haribo (German)
• Insurance: Allianz (German)
• Vitamins: Abtei (German)
Laundry soap: Persil (German) (the one we use to do our laundry with)
• Toothpaste and mouth care: Odol (German)

Source: http://www.thelocal.de/money/20100224-25485.html


Source photo: www.niveaformen.de

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dinner: Italian noodles

Although I have been not very hungry tonight I made me some italian style noodles with creme sauce, olive oil and herbs. Eating alone is just not the same, than eating with you. Miss our meals together. ILYSM!

Jailed Cuban dissident dies after prolonged hunger strike

Havana, Cuba (CNN) -- Cuban political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo died Tuesday after an 80-day hunger strike to demand better jail conditions, according to dissidents.

"He got much worse last Tuesday and was brought to Havana," said Laura Pollan, one of the leaders of the Ladies of White, a group of wives and relatives of political prisoners.

"But sadly he died at around 4 p.m."

According to Pollan, Zapata, 42, went on strike to demand a separate cell from common criminals and permission for his family to bring him food. She said he also refused to wear the prison uniform.

He was transferred from his prison in central Holguin province to a prison in Havana when his health deteriorated, and eventually to a hospital in the capital, she said.

To read more and source: http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/02/23/cuba.dissident/index.html?hpt=Sbin

Contain Iran, don't attack it

New York (CNN) -- A new report saying that Iran could be secretly working on a nuclear weapon is a major development, but not one that should lead the U.S. to consider a military strike against the Tehran regime, according to analyst Fareed Zakaria.

The draft report, obtained by CNN and not yet approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors, is the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency's strongest warning yet that Iran could be aiming to build a nuclear bomb.

Zakaria told CNN the report should spur U.S. diplomacy to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons but that talk by commentators outside the U.S. government of a potential military strike against Iran was wrongheaded. "To be casually talking about military action because we're getting frustrated seems to me somewhat dangerous," he said.

Source and read more: http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/02/19/zakaria.contain.iran/index.html

French Ad Shocks, but Will It Stop Young Smokers?

A new French antismoking advertisement aimed at the young that plays off a pornographic stereotype has gotten more attention than even its creators intended, and critics suggest that it offends common decency and creates a false analogy between oral sex and smoking.

France has banned smoking in cafes, bars and restaurants. But smoking is still increasing among the young in France, according to the French Office for the Prevention of Smoking, prompting an antitobacco organization called Droits des Non-fumeurs, or Nonsmokers’ Rights, to create the ad.

The slogan is bland enough: “To smoke is to be a slave to tobacco.” But it accompanies photographs of an older man, his torso seen from the side, pushing down on the head of a teenage girl with a cigarette in her mouth. Her eyes are at belt level, glancing upward fearfully. The cigarette appears to emerge from the adult’s trousers.

Two other ads show young men in the same position as the girl, though the adult is wearing a suit jacket and a watch.

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/world/europe/24france.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a4

Cambodia: State-run Web hub would filter sites

An official for Telecom Cambodia (TC) on Tuesday indicated that the state-run company would seek to block access to Web sites it deems “inappropriate”, should it be granted control over the country’s domestic and international Internet exchange.

“If any Web site attacks the government or any Web site displays inappropriate images or pornography, or it’s against the principle of the government, we can block all of them,” said Chin Daro, TC’s deputy director, during an interview at the company’s offices. “If TC plays the role of the exchange point, it will benefit Cambodian society because the government has trust in us, and we can control Internet consumption.”

Government officials have long been looking to funnel all Internet service providers (ISPs) through a state-run central exchange point, and they have recently indicated that they plan to execute the change as soon as possible, according to industry insiders.

Officials from ISPs currently operating in the country have warned that the transfer could cripple Cambodia’s IT industry by increasing costs, and several have said that it could give the government undue influence over online content.

To read more: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2010022432605/National-news/state-run-web-hub-would-filter-sites.html

I think this is not good at all and can be leading to a system like in China, where the complete web content is under control of the government. This can lead to censorship!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Arrogance of China's Leadership

The West hopes that China's growing prosperity will also lead to political liberalization. But the reverse is likely to be true. The Communist Party's increasing confidence means China is set to become more of a troublemaker on the international stage, and more brutal in its crackdown on dissidents.

China's Communist Party is omnipotent. It can move mountains, as it did when it built the world's largest hydroelectric plant on the Yangtze River. It can build the world's highest railway line, as it proved when it constructed the rail link to the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.

It can even organize reincarnations, something it achieved when it anointed a man who is loyal to Beijing as Tibet's second-highest spiritual leader, or Panchen Lama -- a particularly impressive feat for an atheistic party which regards religion as a corrupting opium of the people. The Communist Party bosses briefly turned spiritual in order to get their man in place as successor to the Dalai Lama, 74. But the Dalai Lama has chosen his own spiritual deputy. And he's also thinking about selecting a woman to be his reincarnation, he told SPIEGEL. Besides, he doesn't want to do Beijing the favour of dying anytime soon.

Last Thursday, US President Barack Obama shook hands with the Tibetan Nobel Peace Prize winner in the White House. It's something his predecessors had also done, as had the French and German government leaders. Usually Beijing just responded to such meetings by uttering the usual protests. The Communist Party's complaints against US arms shipments to Taiwan have been similarly muted in the past because it was well aware that US presidents are bound by law to help Taiwan.

But it's different this time. Beijing reacted with uncommonly vocal fury to the latest Dalai Lama meeting and Washington's new Taiwan arms deal, and has threatened consequences. Companies like Boeing might be excluded from Chinese deals, and bilateral talks among military officials have been cancelled.

To read more: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,679568,00.html

Asia’s Boom Conceals Some Darker Prospects

Taiwan grew at an 18 percent annualized rate in the fourth quarter. Japan is about to have its biggest initial public offering in more than a decade. A big Hong Kong property developer quickly sold hundreds of apartments in a remote suburb over the weekend after bringing in thousands of potential buyers with free buses from the city’s center.

It is beginning to sound a lot like 2006 in Asia. Or is it?

Asia’s booming developing powerhouses are clearly beating Europe and the United States in the recovery and proving to be a pocket of great hope for the global economy.

But a look at Asia beyond the headlines shows the region still faces significant economic challenges, ranging from deflation in anemic Japan to an over-reliance on exports in places like Taiwan. China is the region’s only strong pillar, but economists warn of headwinds there, too, notably a possible real estate bubble.

As Asia’s role in the global economy expands, the threats facing the Asian economy grow in importance as well.

“Basically, we are bullish on the region,” said Robert Subbaraman, chief economist for Asia outside Japan at Nomura in Hong Kong. “But there are a lot of risks out there.”

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/business/global/23asiaecon.html?pagewanted=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a6

Minister accuses church of blocking child sex abuse investigation

German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger on Tuesday accused the Catholic church of failing to cooperate with officials in the investigation of alleged child sexual abuse at Jesuit schools in the 1970s and 1980s.

The pro-business Free Democrat told broadcaster ARD that she did not have the impression that church leaders were working constructively with law enforcement. Meanwhile the abuse scandal uncovered at Berlin’s prestigious Canisius school last month continues to grow, with around 50 former students claiming they were sexually abused.

Lawyers for victims have said more than 120 people across the country have since come forward with allegations of abuse by up to 12 different priests and teachers at other Catholic institutions too.

“It is unfortunately so far not obvious that they have shown an active interest in real, wholehearted, and complete clarification,” she said.

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger also criticised the Catholic church’s tendency to give internal investigations priority over state legal work.

“Child abuse is an official criminal offence,” she told ARD. “So others can’t decide whether this crime will be looked into or not.”

The minister said this procedure was outdated and suggested that state prosecutors be immediately activated in the growing number of cases.

But Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger also said she feared many of these may have passed their statute of limitation after decades of silence.

“The worst part is that what happens to young people can destroy their entire lives,” she said.

The minister’s comments came one day after Robert Zollitsch, the head of the German Bishop’s Conference (DBK), made a formal apology to the victims of the widespread child abuse at Catholic schools and said there would be consequences.

The group meets this week and will discuss their “guidelines for dealing with sexual abuse of children by clergy” and “discuss possible changes,” Zollitsch said.

Source: http://www.thelocal.de/national/20100223-25437.html

I think it is good that the German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger speaks out on this issue. I think she is totally right, it is not the job of the catholic church to do any investigation, laws have been broken by some of their priests, so it is very clear the responsibility of the german offcial persecutors to investigate and bring those who are involved to court so that they get their penalties for such a bad and serious crime.

Todays Quote on love and compassion

"Our longing for love and compassion is the inner core of our human nature."

"Unsere Sehnsucht nach Liebe und Mitgefühl ist der innere Kern unseres menschlichen Wesens."

(Dalai Lama)

The Real Rio de Janeiro



Made famous by its carnival atmosphere, its samba rhythms, its beaches and its rainforest, Rio de Janeiro is one of the world's most exciting cities.

Few places can set pulses racing in the same way, with its mix of youthful exuberance and old world charm.

The statue of Christ the Redeemer overlooks Rio

Some of Rio's well known set pieces are breathtaking - the rainforest-clad cliffs of Sugarloaf Mountain, the sandy beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer gazing benevolently down on the city. But it is a city defined as much by the spirit and vitality of its people as it is by its views and vistas.

Source and Read more: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/real_cities/8241756.stm

Jose Mourinho banned and fined over 'handcuffs' gesture



Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho
Mourinho has not endeared himself to Italian officials

Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho has received a three-game touchline ban and been fined 40,000 euros (£35,000) after strongly criticising officials.

Mourinho made a "handcuffs" gesture after seeing Inter's Walter Samuel and Ivan Cordoba sent off and Samuel Eto'o booked against Sampdoria.

The gesture has been interpreted as a way of suggesting his side have been victimised by referees in Serie A.

Mourinho had also insulted the officials at half-time in the 0-0 draw.

Samuel and Cordoba were both dismissed in the first half of the match, while Eto'o was booked for allegedly diving.

When Eto'o received the yellow card, Mourinho burst out laughing and made the "handcuffs" gesture in front of photographers and TV cameras.

More: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/europe/8529113.stm

Monday, February 22, 2010

Whisky tasting with Dirk

After office today my work mate and good friend Dirk accompanied me home, after we had dinner together, we spend a nice evening, talking and watching the movie "Buddhas Lost Children" together. As we both like a good Scotish Whisky, we also enjoyed a great Whisky tasting while watching the movie together. Really a nice, funny and relaxed evening with a good friend.

Our new moto

Just some photos, what our new moto will look like. It will be delivered middle of April and I am already curious to drive it than, besides driving our car. But most of all I am curious and look forward to drive together with you in Bochun. Miss our moto rides together in Phnom Penh a lot. IMYSM!

It is a BENERO Retro Style Scooter 50. Like its design and size.



Naked sled race draws 14,000

A naked sledging event in Germany’s Harz region created a logistical nightmare over the weekend after 14,000 people showed up to watch 30 men and women strip before sliding down the mountain.

Normally the gentle slope in front of Braunlage’s town hall is a pretty quiet place during the winter. Beginning skiers practice their first turns, parents plop their children on sleds, and pensioners take some air.

But the scene was quite different on Saturday, when thousands unexpectedly turned out for a naked sledging contest sponsored by a radio station. Completely taken by surprise, authorities in the small town in Lower Saxony struggled to deal with the massive crowds.

“The traffic is huge problem for us,” complained Braunlage’s police chief Michael Huth.

But the logistical challenges didn’t keep around 30 contestants from stripping down to their panties or briefs and racing the 100-metre course on little red and black sledges. Many of the tanned racers looked more ready for the beach than the piste, as some even bared what had to be rather chilly nipple rings.

To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/society/20100222-25417.html

Photo gallery of the naked race: http://www.thelocal.de/gallery/news/839/1/

I think some people must be really crazy to do something like this...

Ugandan legislator considers hanging gays

A Ugandan parliamentarian wants the death sentence for homosexuals in certain circumstances. The international community has threatened Uganda with sanctions if its parliament accepts the proposed bill.

MP David Bahati from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) thinks homosexuality should be dealt with as a capital offence. In the bill he introduced in October 2009 he suggested the death sentence for gay sex with minors, with disabled people and if the accused is HIV positive.

Deutsche Welle correspondent Alex Gitta in Kampala explained that Bahati is an influential politician within President Yoweri Museveni's NRM, but also "a strong Christian attached to a group of Christians in the United States of America." The Family, as the organisation is called, is known for its good political connections in Washington and elsewhere.

In an interview with Deutsche Welle the German parliamentarian from the Green Party, human rights activist and gay rights defender Volker Beck described his Ugandan colleague as "a victim of American evangelicals. They are fundamentalists, who have brought their war against gay marriage from the United States to Africa and lobby there for stricter laws against homosexuals. They preach that you can and have to heal homosexuality, because it's a sin in the eyes of God."

To read more: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5227556,00.html

This really makes me angry, I hope the internatioanl community really put heavy sanctions against Uganda, in case such a inhuman law should pass. Again this also shows what christian fanatics can cause to a nation. I think there should be also more restrictions on christian fanatic churches, to prevend them from preaching and doing missionary work, as long as they not only bring the message of Love, which in its origin is the christian message, but also such messages of intolerance and hate into countries. Really make me sick to see all this bad and fanatic christian churches coming from the United States.

Crusader Rowing Upstream in Cambodia

“I’m going to get my votes!” cried Mu Sochua as she stepped into a slender rowboat, holding one side for balance. “One by one.”

She was crossing a small river here in southern Cambodia on a recent stop in her never-ending campaign for re-election to Parliament, introducing herself to rural constituents who may never have seen her face.

The most prominent woman in Cambodia’s struggling political opposition, Mu Sochua, 55, is campaigning now, three years before the next election, because she is almost entirely excluded from government-controlled newspapers and television.

“Only 35 percent of voters know who won the last election,” she said.

She has no time to lose.

Ms. Mu Sochua is a member of a new generation of women who are working their way into the political systems of countries across Asia and elsewhere, from local councils to national assemblies and cabinet positions.

A former minister of women’s affairs, she did as much as anyone to put women’s issues on the agenda of Cambodia as it emerged in the 1990s from decades of war and mass killings. But she lost her public platform in 2004 when she broke with the government, and she is now finding it as difficult to promote her ideas as it is to simply gain attention as a candidate.

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/22/world/asia/22cambowomen.html

This article was even today on the cover of the International Herald Tribune, as one of the top stories!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dinner: Greek Restaurant

Been a pretty busy and stressful Sunday, first very long phone call with my oldest brother to discuss some family Business, than visiting our good friend in hospital and than home cleaning our apartment. After all this I decided to go out for dinner and have a nice meal at a greek restaurant close to our home. Nice, spicy food. Wish we could have dinner together. IMYSM!

Victory Extends Chelsea’s League Lead

Didier Drogba scored both goals in Chelsea’s 2-0 victory over Wolves, opening a four-point lead in the Premier League after Manchester United lost, 3-1, at Everton. Arsenal moved closer to Man United with a 2-0 victory over Sunderland but remains six points behind Chelsea.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/21/sports/soccer/21sportsbriefs-premier.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a23

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Germany prepares for floods as big thaw looms

Several regions around Germany are preparing for floods in the next few weeks as rising temperatures are expected to melt masses of snow accumulated over a long, cold winter.

Though experts see no immediate danger, local authorities are preparing for possible flooding as rising temperatures and rainfall have been forecast for the beginning of March. Several states have installed public text-message warning systems as well as online water-level monitors. Huge state funds have been invested in flood prevention in the past few years.

The director of the local Flood Protection Authority Reinhard Vogt told news agency DDP that a water level as high as eight metres is possible in Cologne at the beginning of March. Seven metres is enough to threaten the first floods in residential areas, Vogt said, but he added that the city was well-equipped to deal with the danger. "We don't have any problems up to ten metres," he said.

Cologne has invested some €260 million into flood protection in the past few years, building or renovating 60 kilometres of dykes and constructing new mobile protective walls.

To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/national/20100220-25391.html

Breakfast: German aspic

For breakfast I had today something very typical german: pork meat in aspic (Sülze). From time to time I like to have it.

Albania: Anti-Bias Law a Victory

The anti-discrimination bill approved by Albanian lawmakers on February 4, 2010, is an important step toward ensuring equality for all, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime Minister Sali Berisha. The bill, which Albania's government had proposed and promoted, is designed to protect Albanians from all forms of discrimination, including on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

To read more: http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/02/16/albania-anti-bias-law-victory?tr=y&auid=5962084

Good day for human rights, may many other countries follow and issue such laws. But it is also important to ensure as a government that such laws are put into practize.

Todays Quote on goals

"When once you have become committed to a positive goal, you should pursue it without restriction and achieve."
"Wenn man sich einmal für ein positives Ziel entschlossen hat, sollte man es ohne Einschränkung verfolgen und verwirklichen."
(Dalai Lama)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bishop Mixa under fire for sexual abuse scandal comments

Augsburg Bishop Walter Mixa on Friday faced continuing criticism for claiming the sexual revolution was partially to blame for the widespread abuse of children at German Catholic schools.

The daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported Mixa’s remarks had caused a rift within his diocese, with one church official saying they were “depressingly imprudent” and the situation was “increasingly embarrassing” having to explain the bishop’s latest “blunder.”

“The leadership hasn’t realised how this looks to the congregation,” said an unidentified member of the Augsburg diocese council.

No stranger to controversy, Mixa sparked outrage this week for saying the systematic sexual abuse recently uncovered at several Catholic schools could be traced to the promotion of more liberal attitudes towards sex.

“The so-called sexual revolution, in which some especially progressive moral critics supported the legalisation of sexual contact between adults and children, is certainly not innocent,” he told the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung.

The Catholic theologian Uta Rank-Heinemann told the website of news magazine Focus on Thursday that Mixa was essentially trying to shirk the blame for the horrible sexual abuse.

To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/national/20100219-25369.html

Typical catholic church and catholic leadership, always blame others or society for their own misbehavior. Really upsets me a lot, to see that such people are leaders of the largest christian church. Instead finding excuses, they should reveal everything about this sex scandal and apologize the victims and compensate their sufferings and pain. Dont want any relationship with such churches.

Poverty charity boss outed for driving Maserati company car

A poverty relief organisation in Berlin is under pressure this week after it emerged that the director’s company car is a Maserati driven by two chauffeurs.

News of the luxury Quattroporte model – priced at €114,000 by the manufacturer – came to light when the German media reported on a court dispute involving the charity Treberhilfe over a speeding ticket.

The car was allegedly caught speeding by police radars in Müritzkreis, Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania last June. But because police could not tell whether the charity's director Harald Ehlert or one his chauffeurs was at the wheel, they demanded Treberhilfe keep a vehicle log. But Ehlert has refused and the case will be addressed in a Berlin court next week.

Treberhilfe’s sponsoring organisation, the Protestant church’s charity umbrella group Diakonisches Werk, has demanded consequences for what is sees as unseemly behaviour for a charity that is partially funded by donations and enjoys government support such as tax breaks.

But Ehlert this week defended his company car, explaining that he is also an investor in the organisation.

To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/society/20100219-25367.html

I think this is discussing. Really bad behavior.

Munich Re to stop doing business in Iran

Munich Re, the world's biggest reinsurer, on Friday became the latest German firm to pull out of Iran as pressure grows for new sanctions against the Islamic republic over its nuclear programme.

The company said in a brief statement that due to the "political situation" it has decided not to renew any existing contracts when they expire or to write any new business.

For a firm generating close to €40 billion ($54 billion) in premiums each year, the loss of an estimated €10 million is small, but the move is politically significant.

The announcement follows a similar move by German engineering giant Siemens last month, and comes amid pressure from Germany's partners to cut its business ties with Iran.

To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/money/20100219-25365.html

Think its a good decision, inhuman states like the Iran should be boycot.

Obama Meets Dalai Lama, and China Is Quick to Protest

President Obama met with the Dalai Lama on Thursday, welcoming the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader to the White House for a low-profile meeting that nonetheless raised the hackles of China.

The two men spoke about democracy, human rights and the need to preserve Tibet’s religious identity and culture — all issues that, predictably, irritated Beijing.

In a written statement, the White House said Mr. Obama had expressed support for the preservation of Tibet’s “unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China.”

The meeting, which the White House put off last year so as not to interfere with Mr. Obama’s trip to Beijing in November, is the latest evidence of the more muscular posture that the Obama administration has been adopting with China, after a year in which China has taken a firm stance in its relations with the United States on a number of issues.

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/world/asia/19prexy.html?ref=asia


Source of the photo: www.tibetoffice.ch/archive/

Todays Quote on compassion and peace

"Compassion is the foundation of world peace."

"Mitgefühl ist die Grundlage des Weltfriedens."

(Dalai Lama)

Two Chinese Schools Said to Be Tied to Online Attacks

A series of online attacks on Google and dozens of other American corporations have been traced to computers at two educational institutions in China, including one with close ties to the Chinese military, say people involved in the investigation.

They also said the attacks, aimed at stealing trade secrets and computer codes and capturing e-mail of Chinese human rights activists, may have begun as early as April, months earlier than previously believed. Google announced on Jan. 12 that it and other companies had been subjected to sophisticated attacks that probably came from China.

Computer security experts, including investigators from the National Security Agency, have been working since then to pinpoint the source of the attacks. Until recently, the trail had led only to servers in Taiwan.

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/technology/19china.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a1

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Never give up hope

Right now my thoughts are so much with two very, very good friends. One of them is in hospital and his partner is just having so much concern and pain. I want them both to know that we stand strong at their side, being there for them as their friends.
WE SUPPORT YOU! And together we will not give up hope, we hope and we pray that soon a very special friend will recover from his illness and be united with his loved one and his friends.

JW and SH

What hope means

Hope is bright shining light which keeps darkness at the bay
Hope is gentle cold breeze on a hot summer day

Hope is to remain positive when going gets tough
hope is seeking more when others think u had enough

What hope means

Hope is dreaming of tommorow
Hope is simmering under sorrow

Hope is sparkles when tears in our eyes
Hope is a beautiful thing & beutiful things never dies

What hope means

Hope is as light as a feather
Hope keeps all of us together

Hope is ubiquitous and free of cost
hope is the last thing ever lost.....

German leaders zigzag in relations to Dalai Lama

As the Dalai Lama meets with President Barack Obama, German leaders may be thinking back to their own past controversies with China over Tibet's spiritual leader.

Whenever the Dalai Lama goes anywhere, the Chinese get annoyed.

The spiritual leader of the Tibetan people is seen by the Chinese as a threat to their country's unity, and they see every meeting with him as an expression of support for the break-up of their country. Now it's the United States and President Barack Obama that are the object of Chinese displeasure. But the Germans have also had their fair share of Dalai Lama troubles in the past.

Back in 1996, the then-German foreign minister, Klaus Kinkel, found his invitation to China withdrawn after the German parliament voted to condemn Chinese repression in Tibet.

Kinkel had himself met the Dalai Lama the year before, but, in a gesture which was highly criticized at the time, he refused to accept the white shawl which the Dalai Lama always hands out. Adrienne Woltersdorf, head of Deutsche Welle's Chinese service, said she thought the gesture reflected the problems Germany has with the Dalai Lama quite accurately.

To read more: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5254973,00.html


Source of the photo:
http://www.dalailamanederland.nl/site/?page_id=8&lang=en
I respect and admire any politician who has at least so much character to meet the Dalai Lama and ignoring all the pressure the chinese government tries to put on other nations not to welcome the Dalai Lama. Tibet is not China! It is a occupied, sovereign state, unrightly and illegal occupied by the Chinese.

UFO 'sightings' revealed in archive files from 1990s


Thousands of UFOs have been spotted in the last 20 years around the UK, according to newly released documents.

More than 6,000 pages of reports describe people's experiences with unidentified flying objects between 1994 and 2000.

They include reported sightings over Chelsea Football Club and former home secretary Michael Howard's Kent home.

Details have been released under a three-year project between the Ministry of Defence and The National Archives.

The fifth instalment to be released consists of 24 files of sightings, letters and Parliamentary questions, which are available to view online.

source and to read more: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8520486.stm

It is really interesting story here. I wonder if that would be true? How can scientist explain about this? Maybe someday in the short future, we can make friends with Alien??? Hahahaha...... even Cross-human kind love? Human and Alien getting married? I wonder how much discrimination on them then even if now Gay and Lesbian is not yet socially recognized and tolerance. Hahahha...... we wait and see.

Noisy children no longer verboten in Berlin


Children in the German capital Berlin are to be exempt from strict laws on noise pollution.

An amendment to the city's law now makes it "fundamentally and socially tolerable" for members of the younger generation to make a racket.

Berlin has become the first of Germany's 16 federal states to adopt such legislation.

But all Berliners - children included - must continue to respect the official quiet time at night and all day Sunday.

Until now, only church bells, emergency sirens, snow ploughs and tractors have fallen outside the stringent rules on excessive noise in Germany.

Source and to read more: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8520941.stm

It is really interesting to know this. Such a law also exist. They really pay attention to each edge of social life. :-))

France wine producers guilty of US scandal


The conviction brought suspended sentences and fines

A dozen French winemakers and traders have been found guilty of a massive scam to sell 18 million bottles of fake Pinot Noir to a leading US buyer.

The judge in Carcassonne, south-west France, said the producers and traders had severely damaged the reputation of the Langedoc region.

The 12 more than doubled profits passing off the wine to E and J Gallo under its Red Bicyclette brand.

E and J Gallo was not involved in the court case.

In a statement on its website it said it was "deeply disappointed" to learn its supplier, Sieur d'Arques, had been found guilty of selling falsely labelled French Pinot Noir.

'No complaints'

The court ruled the 12 had deliberately and repeatedly mislabelled the wine as one of the more expensive varieties of grape in order to get a better price from E and J Gallo.

The Red Bicyclette Pinot Noir single grape wine is hugely popular in the United States.

French Customs officers spotted the swindle and called in investigators.

They found the amount of Pinot Noir being sold to Gallo was far more than the region produced.

Some of those in the scandal were not even Pinot Noir producers.

The judge handed out suspended jail sentences ranging from one month to six months for the most prominent wine trader and ordered all the defendants to pay fines.

The fines ranged from 1,500 euros ($2,050; £1,300) to the top figure of 180,000 euros ($247,050; £156,500) for Sieur d'Arques. The judge said that the accused together made seven million euros in profits from the scam.

To read more: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8520980.stm

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

China: Gay Pageant Contestant Wins a Prize

A 25-year-old Muslim man from China was the third runner-up in the Worldwide Mr. Gay pageant, which ended Sunday in Oslo. The man, who is known publicly by his nickname, Xiao Dai, entered the contest despite the fact that Chinese authorities last month canceled Mr. Gay China, a smaller pageant in Beijing that would have been the first of its kind. After the cancellation, contestants and organizers quietly selected Xiao Dai to represent China in Oslo.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/17/world/asia/17briefs-Pageant.html?ref=asia


Source Photo: www.worldwidemrgay.com

Coalition Infighting Leads Merkel to Flirt with the Greens

Angela Merkel's coalition of conservatives and the pro-business FDP is looking unhappy and brittle after three months of in-fighting. Merkel is responding by sounding out future alliances with the Greens. A major state election in May could provide the chance for a major new experiment in German politics.

It's been a disappointing few weeks for German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, the leader of the pro-business Free Democrats. Chancellor Angela Merkel, with whom he shares power in a center-right coalition, told him off publicly for ranting about supposedly excessive welfare benefits last week. Furthermore, leading members of her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) are pouring cold water on his pet policies, especially tax cuts. The CDU is also openly flirting with the opposition Greens party as an alternative to the FDP in future governments. And to cap it all, a veteran CDU member, Heiner Geissler, called him a "donkey" for his rhetoric about unemployment benefits

This was hardly the scenario Westerwelle had in mind when his party moved into government last autumn following 11 years in opposition. Indeed, both he and Merkel followed a campaign script saying that the CDU and the FDP were natural political partners -- they wanted a repeat of the center-right pairing which has governed Germany so often in the past. But now, hardly a day goes by without heated policy disputes between the two parties -- and the coalition agreement designed to set the course has done little to bind Merkel's conservatives and Westerwelle's FDP together.

The most recent row was over the future of nuclear power in Germany, but irrespective of the issue, the tone is getting sharper. It is becoming difficult to attribute the bickering to the normal teething troubles of a new government trying to find its rythym. The first 100 days have already passed and the partners have had time to get attuned to each other. They've failed.

Indeed, it is becoming increasingly evident that this center-right partnership, which has ruled Germany for an aggregate total of 28 years since the establishment of the Federal Republic in 1949 and which Merkel always insisted was her preferred alliance, simply isn't as well-matched as it used to be.

Large parts of the CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), have become "greener" in recent years. Under Merkel's leadership, the conservatives have embraced environmental protection and steered away from the pro-business stance of its past. Merkel's call for radical, painful reform prior to the 2005 elections is but a distant memory. After the iron lady approach almost lost her that vote, she quickly steered to the political center.

A Green Future for Merkel's New CDU

The FDP by contrast seems as though it has spent the last three years in hibernation. It remains what it always was -- the party of business interests. And the coalition between the two political camps is fragile as a result -- so much so that Merkel and her conservatives have become increasingly convinced that the future may lie in a partnership with the Greens.

A possible testing ground for such a constellation could be North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state, which holds state elections in May. Opinion polls suggest that the current regional government of CDU and FDP might lose its majority, and that a CDU-Green alliance, which would have a combined majority according to current opinion polls, might be an alternative -- and a test run for a future coalition at the national level.

To read more: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,678265,00.html

I am also pretty shocked on what Mr. Westerwelle and his party recently are doing and saying. In fact I could imagine that a conservative / green coalition would be very interesting and good for the country, also on the federal government. Hope that the election in our home state Northrhine Westfalia in May will lead to such a coalition. Think my vote in May will go in this direction.

Business confidence buoyant for 2010

German business confidence is climbing, with companies more optimistic about the economy than they were at the end of last year, a poll released Wednesday has found.

The survey of 25,000 companies, conducted by the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), found that in the 10 most important sectors, firms are clearly confident that 2010 will be better for business than last year.

The report found that confidence in an upswing in exports was largely responsible for the buoyant mood, according to daily Bild. The DIHK was set to release the full survey Wednesday morning.

But firms also warned of dangers threatening the rebound: rising energy prices, high wage bills and a lingering difficulty with obtaining credit.

Especially positive were the chemical industry, which employs 331,000 workers and the electrical industry, which employs 800,000, with 45 percent of companies improving their prognosis in the new year.

Research and develop businesses and the IT sector were also more optimistic. In the latter, some 38 percent of firms predicted an upswing in business compared with just 14 percent who believed it would go backwards.

One cloud on the horizon was a lack of qualified engineers.

The least confident of the 10 major sectors were the mechanical engineering sector – a key industry that includes machinery manufacturers and employs about 1 million workers – and the health and social services sector, which employs 3.3 million.

Source: http://www.thelocal.de/national/20100217-25305.html

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Contaminated Austrian cheese kills two Germans

Two people have died in Germany from eating contaminated Austrian cheese that has sparked a massive product recall and consumer warning, authorities announced on Tuesday.

The deaths – along with at least four more in Austria – occurred over several months. But authorities have only just established the link with two cheeses, "Reinhardshof, Harzer Käse, 200g" and "Reinhardshof, Bauernkäse mit Edelschimmel, 200g", both made by the Austrian firm Prolactal.

The cheeses have already been pulled off the shelves by discount retailer Lidl in Germany after unacceptable levels of the bacterium listeria monocytogenes were first detected last month.

“An official at the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety has painstakingly investigated the grocery lists of the people who fell ill,” said a spokesman for the Austrian Health Ministry in Vienna.

The ministry is working with Germany’s Robert Koch Institute to establish the precise number of people affected.

To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/society/20100216-25297.html

Luckily I do not like this kind of cheese...

All in the Family

Are political dynasties good or bad?

Election time in the Philippines is a regular reminder of the roles that feudal instincts and the family name play in that nation’s politics. Benigno Aquino, son of the late President Corazon Aquino, is the front runner to succeed President Gloria Arroyo, daughter of Diosdado Macapagal, a president in the 1960s.

Senate and Congressional contests will see family names of other former presidents and those long prominent in provincial politics and land-owning.

But the Philippines is not unique. Dynastic politics thrives across Asia to an extent found in no other region apart from the Arabian peninsula monarchies.

The list of Asian countries with governments headed by the offspring or spouses of former leaders is striking: Pakistan has Prime Minister Asif Ali Zardari, widower of Benazir Bhutto, herself the daughter of the executed former leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Bangladesh has Sheikh Hasina, daughter of the murdered first prime minister, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman . In Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak is the son of the second prime minister, Abdul Razak. Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong is Lee Kuan Yew’s son. In North Korea, Kim Il-sung’s son Kim Jong-il commands party, army and country and waiting in the wings is his son Kim Jong-un.

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/16/opinion/16iht-edbowring.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a26

Shot through the heart - Cupid's arrows are dangerous!

The first spam wave of infected Valentine's greetings has already hit

This year G Data is once again counting on another boom in Valentine spam and malicious emails. The experts at the Bochum security software producer have already identified the first waves of infected spam. The range of email already extends from bogus greeting card mail through to urgent Valentine's Day shopping spam. And the advice from the G DATA experts: put any Valentine spam straight in the trash can without opening it.

Bogus greeting cards are sent throughout the year, however on high days and holidays they always receive extra attention from both the scammers and the scammed. There is a strong temptation to see just who has sent these supposed greetings from "a friend", but it is at precisely this point that the trap snaps shut.



Scenario 1: The greeting card is hidden behind an apparent link
One click on a link is all it takes for the scamster to secretly infect a computer with malicious code. The consequences range from possible data theft through to loss of control of your own PC.

Scenario 2: The greeting card is received as an apparent attachment
The receiver must open the file, mostly an .exe or zip file, to see the eCard. As soon as the file executes, malware attacks the computer and there is a high risk that the attacker will be able to take control of the computer, to spy on data and/or connect it to a botnet so that it can then be used in further criminal machinations.

Scenario 3: Valentine's Day Shopping Spam
"St. Valentine`s Day Sale 72% Off“ is just one of the current lures. However clicking on the link will at best take the user to a dubious online shop and, more than likely, also infect the computer courtesy of a drive-by download.

The G Data expert tip
Recipients should always delete emails from unknown senders, should not open attached files and under no circumstances should they click on links in emails from unknown senders. To maintain optimum security, the operating system and virus protection software must always be updated to the latest version. The use of security packages with http-scanners, which scan all web content for malicious code before it reaches the browser should also be obligatory.

Source: http://www.gdatasoftware.co.uk/about-g-data/press-centre/news/news-details/article/1525-shot-through-the-heart-cupid.html

Bavaria's Chinese Carnival

The traditional Carnival parades held around Germany are famous for strange costumes and wild parties. But the small town of Dietfurt in Bavaria is becoming known for something a little more odd: During the festive season, the whole town turns Chinese.

A lot of strange things go on in Germany during the week of Carnival, as the days leading up to the religious festival of Lent on Ash Wednesday are commonly known. Germans eat, drink and make merry at extravagant costume parties dressed as anything from witches to clowns to the devil. Celebrations reach their peak with a series of costumed parades, and a lot more partying, on Rose Monday. But amidst all that revellry, one of the more unusual celebrations takes place annually in the small Bavarian town of Dietfurt, population 6,000.

Since 1928, the people of Dietfurt have celebrated the Thursday before Rose Monday by becoming "Bavarian Chinese." During what they call "Chinese Carnival" they dress up in Asian costumes and hand over the rule of their town -- at least metaphorically -- to a "Chinese emperor" chosen from among the townspeople. The town's mayor is relegated to the status of "imperial Mandarin" for the week.

To read more: http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,677961,00.html

Photo Gallery: Partying with the Bavarian Chinese: http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/fotostrecke-51834.html

Govt plans Valentine’s sex warning

THE Ministry of Women’s Affairs plans to broadcast ads ahead of Valentine’s Day warning Cambodian teenagers against engaging in promiscuous sex, ministry Secretary of State Sivann Botum said Wednesday.

Starting Saturday, the five-minute spots will focus on the “meaning of the day” by encouraging teenagers to show love for their family first, teachers and then friends”, Sivvann Botum said.

“We decided to create the advertisements to reach out to young people because we want to make them understand that most teenagers do the wrong thing on Valentine’s Day, which can impact the respect people have for Cambodian women,” she said, adding that women often offer their virginity to their partners without thinking about their future and the honour of their family and culture.

Ministry representatives visited five high schools in Phnom Penh last week and will visit one in Siem Reap on Friday to show teachers and students the spots in advance, Sivann Botum said.

“Many students and teachers liked our advertisements and they requested us to insert it into the education curriculum, but we have not made any decisions yet,” she said. “Because of the response from students and teachers, we will go to even more schools next year.”

More: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2010021131952/National-news/govt-plans-valentines-sex-warning.html

Monday, February 15, 2010

Karneval doughnut

As we have Karneval Monday (rose monday) over here in Germany, I bought me on my way home from office a typical Karneval doughnut, in this case filled with egg liquor. My dessert after dinner tonight. Sometimes I like something sweet, even if no sweet can be as tasty and sweet as my honey. ;-)
IMYSM!

Karneval floats feature giant Obama, naked Merkel and zombie bankers

Huge effigies of US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and zombie bankers starred in Karneval parades across the Rhineland on Monday.

More than a million people braved the snow in Cologne to line the route of the seven-kilometre Rosenmontag parade, where revellers traditionally poke fun at current events and enjoy tonnes of sweets hurled from the travelling floats.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's alleged night with a call girl was rewarded with a huge figure showing a beaming premier surrounded by breasts.

Another float at Düsseldorf's parade showed Chancellor Merkel completely in buff chasing a CD with information on German tax dodgers.

To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/society/20100215-25273.html

Gallery of Rosenmontag Karneval parades: http://www.thelocal.de/gallery/news/825/

Todays Quote on Doubt

"There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills."

(Buddha)


Source of the painting: http://www2.bremen.de/info/nepal/Gallery-1/Buddhas/1-22/paubha-buddha-1.htm

Want you to know and feel, that the sword of doubt is and never will be between us. There is no doubt at all in you. All I have is faith, confidence, trust and unconditional Love in you, in everything of you, your personality, your character, your behavior, your truthfullness, your loyality but most of all in you completely and your precious gift of Love. ILYSM!

Ministry confirms cases of cholera

The Ministry of Health has reported that more than 100 Cambodians have tested positive for cholera since November, reversing its initial refusal to confirm the presence of the disease and simultaneously defending its handling of the outbreak.

Speaking at a joint press conference held with the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday, Minister of Health Mam Bunheng said there had been 128 confirmed cholera cases and one death. About 65 percent of the cases involved children under the age of 15, and the single recorded fatality was an 82-year-old man from Takeo province who died after contracting cholera in January, he said.

To read more: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2010021532041/National-news/ministry-confirms-cases-of-cholera.html

PLEASE be careful! ILYSM!

Kenyan Police Disperse Gay Wedding

Kenya — Kenyan police officers broke up a gay wedding on Friday and arrested several wedding guests, saying they had to intervene before an irate mob could stone the wedding party to death.

Like many other countries in Africa, which are intensely — and officially — homophobic, Kenya outlaws homosexual behavior. Violations in Kenya are punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

“It’s culture, just culture,” said a Kenyan police spokesman, Eric Kiraithe, when asked to explain the intense feelings about homosexuality. “It’s what you are taught when you are young and what you hear in church. Homosexuality is unnatural. It’s wrong.”

Mr. Kiraithe said that the planned wedding between two men had been kept a secret, but that a group of local people found out just before it was to start in Kikambala, a beach town along Kenya’s white-sand coast. A mob quickly formed, and some outraged bystanders even shouted that the people at the wedding should be burned.

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/13/world/africa/13kenya.html?ref=africa

Really makes me sick, when I read in the quote "...and what you hear in church. Homosexuality is unnatural. It’s wrong.”
I think that Jesus Christ, the founder of the christian faith, must really go mad, if he would see, what his followers made of his teachings and what today is preached in his name. From what I have learned he preached Love, specially Love to our fellowman. And "his" churches preaching today in his name hate. Very sad to see this, what a better place this world could be, if the christian people would come back to their roots of love, unconditional love. Feel really blessed and happy to found in the western world my approach and way into Buddhism, being free from such intolerant churches.

Same-Sex Couple Stir Fears of a ‘Gay Agenda’

Malawi — Tiwonge Chimbalanga looked like a man but said he was a woman. He helped with the cooking and dressed in feminine wraparound skirts. Steven Monjeza was a quiet, sullen man often intoxicated on sorghum beer. He said he had never been happy until he finally met the right companion.

The two celebrated their engagement — their chinkhoswe, in the Chichewa language — with a party at a lodge here in Malawi’s commercial capital. It began cheerfully enough. But later, gawkers pushed their way inside, some shouting taunts, others just staring through despising eyes. Then the electricity failed. The band stopped playing, and the bride collapsed in tears.

Someone had tipped off a newspaper, The Nation, for this betrothal was extraordinary in a conservative African nation. The resulting front-page story began with the phrase “gay lovebirds,” adding that the chinkhoswe was “the first recorded public activity for homosexuals in the country.” Readers were reminded that homosexuality carried a sentence of 5 to 14 years in prison.

Two days later, on Dec. 28, the couple was arrested on charges of unnatural acts and gross indecency, and they have been in jail since, denied bail ostensibly to keep them safe.

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/world/africa/14malawi.html?ref=africa

Very sad story, why can governments and people not just be tolerant and let people who love each other just live their life and love peacefully. Very sad that so often intolerance and hate is caused by religion. We can just be happy and feel blessed to live our love in a free and tolerant country like Germany.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

DVD: Buddha´s Lost Children

Tonight I watched on DVD the documentary movie "Buddha´s Lost Children" about a former Thai Kick Boxer who is after his career now a Buddhist monk, working in the north of Thailand with children and doing there a very impressive work. Really enjoyed watching this excellent movie.



Found another nice video on this movie at YouTube:

Buddha's Lost Children is a beautiful documentary from the Dutch filmmaker Mark Verkerk. He follows the Thai Buddhist monk Khru Bah, who dedicated his life on helping the people in the villages and training orphans to be good Buddhists. The area he lives in is very poor and a lot of people are addicted or have been addicted to drugs. He bless them and teach them the good and bad things in life.
He also takes care of little orphans and with his help they can learn to take care of themselves and others, they have enough food and are able to go to school.

Music: Tibetan Incantations - Om Mani Padme Hum.
Chants of Tibet: The Meditative Sound of Buddhist Chants

Om mani padme hum (Derived from the Sanskrit, Devanagari ॐ मणि पद्मे हूँ, IAST oṃ maṇi padme huṃ) is probably the most famous mantra in Buddhism, the six syllabled mantra of the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteshvara (Tibetan Chenrezig, Chinese Guanyin). The mantra is particularly associated with the four-armed Shadakshari form of Avalokiteshvara.
The Dalai Lama is said to be an incarnation of Chenrezig or Avalokiteshvara, so the mantra is especially revered by his devotees.

History of Valentine Day

Every year, the fourteenth day of the month of February has millions across the world presenting their loved ones with candy, flowers, chocolates and other lovely gifts. In many countries, restaurants and eateries are seen to be filled with couples who are eager to celebrate their relationship and the joy of their togetherness through delicious cuisines. There hardly seems to be a young man or woman who is not keen to make the most of the day.

The reason behind all of this is a kindly cleric named Valentine who died more than a thousand years ago.

It is not exactly known why the 14th of February is known as Valentine's Day or if the noble Valentine really had any relation to this day. The history of Valentine's Day is impossible to be obtained from any archive and the veil of centuries gone by has made the origin behind this day more difficult to trace. It is only some legends that are our source for the history of Valentine's Day.

The modern St. Valentine's Day celebrations are said to have been derived from both ancient Christian and Roman tradition.

To read more: http://www.theholidayspot.com/valentine/history_of_valentine.htm

Simple Valentin Lunch

Just finished a simple Valentin lunch, just used the left over rice from last nights dinner and cooked it with a minced meat tomato sauce. In fact a nice and quick lunch.
Thanks again for all the lovely surprises, to celebrate Valentin day with me so close over distance. Really a happy and wonderful day with you. If you would be here, we would go to a nice restaurant to have a Valentin candle light lunch together. ILYSM

HAPPY VALENTINE DAY SWEETIE




I LOVE YOU AND FOREVER LOVE YOU,
SMILE AND HOPE SWEETIE for OUR LOVE,

Valentine surprise

Oh my goodness... Just sitting in our home in Germany, very touched, moved, shaking by emotions, missing you so much. Just a wonderful arrangement of red roses and one white rose (which means in Germany eternal Love) in the shape of a heart were delivered to me, together with such a meaningul letter from you. What a unbelievable surprise, send all the way from Phom Penh to me. Dont know how to thank you, so full of love and feelings for you. Thanks so much for this unbelievable, incredible Valentine surprise. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! Wish I could hold you now in my arms to thank you. Miss you so desperately much in our home now. Ich liebe Dich so sehr!