Monday, January 31, 2011
The sculpturesque sofa crests in a perfect, petrified wave: as a functioning piece of furniture, it wouldn’t look out of place in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Part of an award-winning project for clothing label Milk & Co, it’s the creative progeny of one of Southeast Asia’s most celebrated interior design firms – a leading aesthetic light poised to capture the emerging market in Cambodia. "Cambodia became an option when we got to do the Malaysian Embassy, which gave us the chance to come here and look at the market,” said Glenn Dickel, business development director with PDI Design & Associates. “We realised it might be tough initially, but when the market picks up in two to three years’ time, we’ll be well-placed.”
Established by a trio of friends in 1993 with a modest start-up fund of $16,000, PDI now counts Christian Dior, Saatchi & Saatchi and The Body Shop among its clients. Existing bases pepper the region in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Bangkok, but the company is nurturing aggressive expansion plans despite the lingering effects of the global economic downturn (the firm itself appears to have escaped largely unscathed: turnover has almost doubled since 2007 and is expected to reach $10 million this year).
To read more: http://www.sea-globe.com/cambodia/88-current-affairs/917-in-pursuit-of-beauty
Sunday, January 30, 2011
From The International Herald Tribune:
PARIS: FRENCH PANEL UPHOLDS LAW PROHIBITING GAY MARRIAGE
The Constitutional Council on Friday upheld longstanding legislation that effectively bans marriage for same-sex couples.
The council ruled that two articles of the civil code that refer to marriage as a union between a man and woman were not contrary to the Constitution, and judged it to be the role of lawmakers to determine the societal desirability of those articles.
Since 1999, gay couples in France have been permitted to be joined in civil unions, but many protest that the partnerships do not afford the same rights as marriage, in particular with regard to parenting and adoption.
LONDON: 2 MEN IN COURT IN FIRST TEST OF LAW AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA
British prosecutors say two men are appearing in court to face the first prosecution for stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.
The men, Razwan Javed, 30, and Kabir Ahmed, 27, are accused of distributing a leaflet outside a mosque in Derby, north of London, that called for homosexuals to be executed. Prosecutors say the men handed out the leaflet in July 2010. (AP)
From The International Herald Tribune:In Uganda, a community in fear
NAIROBI — David Kato knew he was a marked man.
As the most outspoken gay rights advocate in Uganda, a country where homophobia is so severe that Parliament is considering a bill to execute gay people, Mr. Kato had received a stream of death threats, his friends said. A few months ago, a Ugandan newspaper ran an anti-gay diatribe with Mr. Kato's picture on the front page under a banner urging, ''Hang Them.''
On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Kato was beaten to death with a hammer in his rough-and-tumble neighborhood. Police officials were quick to chalk up the motive to robbery, but members of the small and increasingly besieged gay community in Uganda suspect otherwise.
''David's death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S. evangelicals in 2009,'' Val Kalende, the chairwoman of one of Uganda's gay rights groups, said in a statement. ''The Ugandan government and the so-called U.S. evangelicals must take responsibility for David's blood.''
Ms. Kalende was referring to visits in March 2009 by a group of U.S. evangelicals, who held rallies and workshops in Uganda in which they claimed that they could turn gay people straight, that gay men sodomized teenage boys and that ''the gay movement is an evil institution'' intended to ''defeat the marriage-based society.''http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/world/africa/28uganda.html
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
While homosexual couples are allowed to adopt their partner’s own biological children thanks to a Constitutional Court ruling in the summer of 2009, the same rule does not apply to non-biological adopted children.
But the Hamburg upper regional court (OLG) called this “unequal treatment of marriage and civil unions in current adoption law” that is neither constitutional nor in the child’s best interest, broadcaster NDR reported.
Straight couples face no restrictions when it comes to adopting non-biological children together.
The ruling, published this week after it was decided on December 22, 2010, found that the inheritance and maintenance claim rights gained through adoption by both parents provide additional safeguards for children, the broadcaster said.
The issue has been sent off to the country’s high court for review, but so far no date has been set, a court spokesperson said.
Meanwhile politicians from the environmentalist Green party called for the government to quickly write a new draft law to ensure equal adoption rights for gay couples.
Parliamentarian and Green party spokesperson for human rights issues Volker Beck told NDR that Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger must “finally” make a change that “ends the discrimination of homosexual parents and their children.”
The failure to do this puts children from such families at a disadvantage, he said.
“The adoption ban for gay and lesbian couples endangers child welfare and must therefore be ended,” said Beck, who is also the party’s chief whip.
Source photo: DPA / http://www.thelocal.de/society/20110128-32727.html
The Memmingen district court on Thursday fined the 46-year-old unemployed woman and 40-year-old metal-worker €900 and €1,800, respectively, for the nude photo shoot they held in the Ottobeuren Basilica in December 2009.
The incident occurred after the defendants, who had met in an internet sex-forum, moved a photo shoot from the woods to the nearby baroque basilica of the Ottobeuren Abbey because the weather was “too cold” for the scantily-clad pair, local daily Allgäu Rundschau reported.
“The basilica was empty at the time. We didn’t have the impression we were disturbing anyone,” said the male defendant, an amateur photographer who took 37 photos of the nude woman in what the court termed “suggestive poses.”
The pair later posted the photos under their profiles on the internet forum where they met.
Police began investigating them after receiving an anonymous letter from a “faithful Catholic” who “happened upon” the online photos and took offence at their setting in a church, the paper reported.
“We didn’t consider the consequences of our actions,” said the female defendant. “The photos were meant for private use.”
To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/society/20110128-32721.html
Source photo: Wikipedia commons / http://www.thelocal.de/society/20110128-32721.html
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The Germany Under-18 midfielder, making only his third Schalke appearance, came off the bench in the 116th minute of the quarter-final and three minutes later scored from the edge of the penalty area for a fairytale finish.
"It is hard to describe how this feels, I was only just on the pitch for the last five minutes and I never dreamed this would happen," said the stunned teenager.
"I have tomorrow off, so I'll be going to visit some of my school friends to see what they make of this. It would be unbelievable to play in the final in Berlin now."
Draxler only signed a professional contract earlier this month having caught the eye during Schalke's training camp.
He played his first German league match against Hamburg ten days ago to become the youngest Schalke player to play in the Bundesliga, aged 17 years and 117 days.
To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/sport/20110126-32665.html
Source photo: DPA / http://www.thelocal.de/sport/20110126-32665.html
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Data protection officials in Germany have won a stage victory over the Internet giant Facebook and its head Mark Zuckerberg. Responding to official complaints, the company has agreed to make far-reaching changes to its controversial "Friend Finder" service.
Until now, people have received e-mails inviting them to join Facebook, even if they had never before had anything to do with the social network. Particularly disturbing for many of the recipients of such invitations, the mails often included images of people they knew.
"For many, it wasn't clear at all how Facebook could know that they knew certain members of the social network in real life," says Johannes Caspar, who handles data protection issues for the city-state of Hamburg. In response to the concerns, his office initiated proceedings against Facebook.
Of particular concern was the methods the social network used to acquire new members. If a Facebook member allowed to company access to his or her e-mail address book, the platform was able to use that information to send out invitations to potential new members.
To read more: http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,741027,00.html
Source photo: DPA / http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,741027,00.html
Monday, January 24, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Our love anniversary brings to mind
The happiness and joy you’ve brought to me,
Sweet memories--the laughter and the fun,
Devoted love you give abundantly.
The place I want to be is close to you;
There’s security and peace in your embrace.
I know that I can cope with what life brings,
As long as I wake up to see your face.
You’re all I ever wanted, and much more.
I look at you and I still get a thrill.
Our love is the best thing in my life;
I love you deeply, madly, and I always will.
By Joanna Fuchs
What a special day, remember today, already two years ago? For me it is like yesterday. And now we celebrate already our second anniversary. Now that the german registry office even approved our wedding application and confirmed our wedding date, we move big steps forward. Only one more step, the approval of the visa application from the foreigner office and the embassy and than we will be united soon, in only a few weeks, living our love and destiny together. ILYSM!
Happy Anniversary Day!
Friday, January 21, 2011
The University of Applied Sciences in Offenburg teamed up with the local pensioners’ bureau to form the “Senior Service” programme in 2002. It now provides roughly 50 retired volunteers to help cushion the students’ culture shock with German language lessons, rambles through the Black Forest and visits to art galleries and the theatre.
The students, who come from as far afield as South America, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India, benefit from time with the local retirees eager to share their time and acquired wisdom.
According to the university’s website, the program “has been going from strength to strength” since it started, now welcoming around 150 students from 60 countries each year.
In December 2010 the programme received the Hochschulperle from the German science and industry institution Stifterverband.
“The most exciting part is the contact with the students,” says project leader and former electrical engineer Franz Roser. “I was on the road a lot during my career, and benefited a lot from others’ hospitality abroad. By far the nicest thing that can happen is an invitation to someone’s home.”
Rohish Kalvit, an energy conversion and management student from Pune, India has high praise for the scheme, having struck up friendships with three different Offenburg families since taking part.
“We chat in German about all kinds of topics, which I really appreciate,” the 27-year-old says.
It is not uncommon for the pensioners to take on the role of mentors.
To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/society/20110121-32571.html
Source photo: DPA / http://www.thelocal.de/society/20110121-32571.html
Scruffy and cheap, Berlin isn’t traditionally associated with fashion and glamour.
Nonetheless, the bi-annual Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week has been doing its couture-clad utmost to unite the Berlin fashion industry’s commercial and creative interests since 2007.
Unlike the fashion week events of cities such as London or Paris, Berlin tends to rely on large trade fairs, such as the much-hyped Bread&Butter, for its bombastic glamour, rather than an endless succession of the kind of high-octane catwalk shows that you might find elsewhere.
While some designers stage shows at the historic spots such as Bebelplatz and near the Brandenburg Gate, many in Berlin do fashion week slightly differently. Throwing open the doors to ateliers with peeling walls and vintage chandeliers in dilapidated corners of districts like Wedding and Kreuzberg, lots of local designers simply allow prospective buyers to come and browse their frequently self-funded efforts.
“The big shows are very expensive, which means that many independent designers can’t afford them,” said couturier Andrea Schelling, adding she hoped media coverage will also extend to the more off-piste events such as her own.
To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/society/20110120-32567.html
Berlin Fashion week photo gallery: http://www.thelocal.de/gallery/news/1115/
Source photo: http://www.thelocal.de/gallery/news/1115/
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Additional information: Here
Sent from CBS News on iPhone.
Download CBS News for iPhone here.
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011
The economy is set to expand by 2.3 percent this year, the latest official forecast said, a sharp hike from the 1.8 percent estimated in October as Europe's powerhouse continued an impressive bounce back from a deep recession.
"The upswing is on firm ground and is now self-sustaining," Economy Minister Rainer Brüderle said as he presented the report in Berlin.
Brüderle said output in 2012 would likely grow 1.8 percent, giving the government's first forecast for next year.
As the economy powers ahead, so Germany's unemployment rate is slated to fall further in what has been dubbed a "jobs miracle." Berlin expects an average jobless rate in 2011 of seven percent, after 7.7 percent in 2010.
The positive growth figures are also set to help Germany return to below the European Union's three-percent limit on public deficits. The 2011 deficit should be 2.5 percent of gross domestic product, the minister forecast.
"Germany is therefore on its consolidation course," the report said.
As the world's second largest exporter after China, Germany's recovery was initially driven mainly by increased demand for its goods abroad as the global financial turmoil eased.
But recently, the upswing has been increasingly sustained by domestic demand as low unemployment and a buoyant economic mood have encouraged consumers to prise open their wallets and firms to make investments.
In 2009, as demand for goods "made in Germany" collapsed, the country suffered a brutal downturn, with the economy contracting by 4.7 percent - the worst recession in more than six decades.
But this was followed by what one analyst has termed a "mind-boggling" recovery in 2010, as Germany registered its best performance since reunification in 1990, growing by 3.6 percent.
And while the 2.3 percent forecast for 2011 represents a significant decline from last year's heady result, it means that Germany has recovered the ground lost during the financial crisis.
I thought you might be interested in the following story on EDGEonthenet.com:
"Facebook Co-Founder Proposes to Boyfriend"
Chris Hughes, the very rich, very young co-founder of Facebook, plans to marry gay activist Sean Eldridge -- when they can do legally in New York.
To view this story, click the link above or paste it into your browser.
Sent from my iPhone
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Following in the footsteps of other major European economies Britain and France, a cross-party committee headed by speaker of parliament Norbert Lammert will issue its recommendations in two-and-a-half years.
The so-called "Progress Index" will measure Germany's economic wealth, as well as advancements in education, environment and quality of life.
"This indicator should become a compass for policy-makers in order to show where our society stands, and if people are better or worse off," said MP Daniela Kolbe in Berlin.
A growing number of nations have decided GDP figures alone cannot fully describe the standard of living a particular society offers.
In London, Prime Minister David Cameron has asked the Office of National Statistics to prepare methods to measure the "general well-being" of Britain.
Canada is investigating the viability of adopting a similar initiative and French President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced that he intended to use happiness levels as one method of assessing the country's economic progress.
The pioneer of the index is the insular Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, famed for its adoption of "gross domestic happiness" as the key measurement of its success
Monday, January 17, 2011
Reminds me of our recent trip to Vietnam, when we had to face problems to log into Facebook and after a few days were not able at all to use Facebook there. Was a strange experience to be in a country where the use of the internet is censored and the access to certain websites is blocked. Really do not like such systems and states who persecute the free expression of journalist and their people.
In fact this in one of many reasons why I do not want to travel to Vietnam again, not willing to support such a system with the money I spend there as a tourist.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
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Saturday, January 15, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
A Clamor for Gun Limits, but Few Expect Real Changes
Gun rights advocates and lawmakers said that there was little chance the attack would produce new legislation or a change in a national culture that has long been accepting of guns.
Get The New York Times on your iPhone for free by visiting http://itunes.com/apps/nytimes
Ps: wonder why The US is so fan of gun which is notorious to make criminal while US try to teach other nations to have peace??? So shameful
Sent from 55,000 Amazing Quotes
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Thursday, January 13, 2011
The computer program should prevent the increasingly frequent occurrence of someone being refused a job or running into other embarrassing difficulties after posting a photo that maybe should have been kept private.
Before the user posts the photo, he or she drags it into the application which assigns it an electronic key that is valid for a limited time period, Michael Backes, founder of X-Pire, said this week.
If someone wishes to view that photo later, the server checks whether the photo has "expired" and blocks it from being displayed if its time is up.
Internet surfers already have the power to delete photos from social networking websites like Facebook, but "experience shows that they don't get round to it," Backes said.
"Most Facebook users, for example, are passive users. They go on, they put on a lot of private information and almost never come back on or they forget their password," he said.
"The software is not designed for people who understand how to protect their data but rather for the huge mass of people who want to solve the problem at its core and not to have to think about it any more," said Backes.
The software will be available "in the next few days" and will cost €2 ($2.61) per month, he added.
However, it will not protect cautious users against third parties downloading their pictures and saving them.
"When people put photos on line, it's so they can be seen... our software is not a panacea, not absolute protection," he said.
Source photo: DPA / http://www.thelocal.de/sci-tech/20110113-32397.html
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
From The International Herald Tribune:Germany's Economy Grew 3.6% Last Year
Germany's economy rebounded last year at its fastest pace since reunification but consumer spending stayed modest, leaving analysts and other euro zone countries hoping a more balanced recovery would take hold this year.
Gross domestic product in Germany grew 3.6 percent, preliminary Federal Statistics Office data showed on Wednesday, bouncing back from a 4.7 percent slump — its steepest since World War II — in 2009. The figure matched the midrange forecast in a Reuters poll of 22 economists.
The economy minister, Rainer Brüderle, talked up the country's performance in the last 12 months, saying the economy, Europe's largest, had grown twice as fast as the average across the region.
Separate data showing that industrial output in the euro zone grew twice as fast as expected in November offered a glimmer of hope the rest of the euro zone might soon catch up
But a 0.5 percent increase in consumption by German households provided little sign of the strong upturn in consumer spending that struggling economies are hoping for as they look to increase their exports.
There have been signs in recent months of such a rebalancing in the German economy, with a rise in imports helping narrow its trade surplus in November.
But in 2010 overall, the economy relied more for growth on traditionally strong corporate investment.
Gerd Hassel from BHF Bank said that private consumption was still relatively weak.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/13/business/economy/13gecon.html
There are some 150,000 registered prostitutes in Germany, with another 250,000 estimated to work off the books, according to daily Der Tagesspiegel.
Though sex workers pay taxes and are entitled to public health insurance and other benefits, their profession remains stigmatised, Stephanie Klee, spokeswoman for the BSD sex worker advocacy group, told the paper.
But Klee, who has worked for some 25 years as a prostitute, said she is cautiously optimistic about the future of the branch.
“Sex work is slowly becoming more similar to other professions,” she told the paper.
Red light district jobs are becoming as specialised as those in other fields, she said.
While some prostitution has become concentrated in large high-end “wellness” brothels such as Berlin’s Charlottenburg district Artemis – which boasts a pool, sauna and buffet – other establishments are focusing on the controversial practice of “flat-rate” prices.
Still other prostitutes, such as Klee herself, focus on providing sex for seniors in retirement homes or for the disabled – an area the BSD spokeswoman said she expects to grow swiftly as Germany's population ages.
To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/society/20110111-32351.html
Redlight district in Nürnberg
Source photo: www.taz.de
A spokesman for ADAC said he doubted that the high cost of gasoline was justified according to current oil market prices. The organisation plans to release the average price per litre on Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for the Association of the German Petroleum Industry (MWV) said the high price of petrol reflected changes on the world market such as the weakening euro, a rise in crude oil prices, a “powerful demand” from China, and the recent closure of the trans-Alaska pipeline.
In the face of rising prices the Auto Club Europa (ACE) encouraged the German government to review regulation possibilities such as those recently implemented by Germany's southern neighbour Austria. Since the beginning of the year petrol stations there may raise their prices just once per day at noon, though prices may be reduced at any time.
The Austrian model would create a “cost-reducing effect,” ACE leader Wolfgang Rose said.
“We want the daily multi-price changing to end,” he said.
To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/national/20110111-32345.html
Source photo: www.aral.de
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
At least four people from Germany have died in the last week, Bernhard Ruf, a Leipzig-based infection scientist, told Focus magazine at the weekend.
He said the virus was ‘fit and young’, and that those who had been vaccinated against it last year, or had been sick with it and survived, would no longer be protected against infection.
Although the flu season has already begun, Ruf said it was still not too late to get vaccinated. The current seasonal flu vaccine includes an element which protects against the swine flu, he noted.
The Robert Koch Institute – the government’s disease control centre – recommends people of any age who have chronic diseases, those over the age of 60, pregnant women and medical personnel should always get the seasonal flu vaccine.
It says that the swine flu virus is dominating the current flu season, accounting for around two thirds of flu infections, and says young adults and children are particularly likely to be seriously ill if infected.
To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/society/20110109-32303.html
Source photo. DPA / http://www.thelocal.de/society/20110109-32303.html
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Friday, January 7, 2011
Mr Löning issued the following statement today (7 January) about his upcoming meeting with the young Sternsinger and their support for children in Cambodia:
“The Sternsingers’ commitment to Cambodia is based on their active concern for children in an impoverished, post-war country. Cambodia is currently going through a difficult phase. The effects of the Khmer Rouge dictatorship and the years of armed conflict are still felt today, especially by young people. The projects supported by the Sternsinger help children build a life in dignity. This fundraising drive therefore also has my full personal backing.”
Source: German Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Wow, think this is really great, that this years Sternsingers collections are dedicated to support children in Cambodia, really good news. Happy and proud about this and how this old German tradition will bring help to the children in Cambodia.
Source photo: http://www.schwaebische.de/region/allgaeu/kisslegg/stadtnachrichten-kisslegg_artikel,-Sternsinger-sammeln-fuer-Kinder-in-Kambodscha-_arid,5004713.html
A Cambodian court has begun hearings against seven Thais, including a member of parliament, who were arrested late in December and now face charges of illegal entry into Cambodia.
The group of Thais arrested by the Cambodian authorities was led by Panich Vikitsreth, a member of parliament, as well as of Thailand's governing Democrat Party.
A nationalist group, the Thailand Patriot Network, has claimed the group was not in Cambodian territory at all.
"Kampuchea (the traditional name for Cambodia) says Thai people entered her territory but actually it’s Thai territory," said Werasak Samrit, a businessman and a co-leader of the network.
But government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said on Thursday that the case was a "priority" and officials were doing all that they could to ensure the Thais return home as soon as possible.
"We are determined to help them. We do respect the Cambodian process and sovereignty, and law and justice. We hope that if the case does not move forward (through the courts) then these people will be released," he said.
The Thai legislator Panich apparently said in the Cambodian court that he had "unintentionally" crossed into Cambodia.
However, evidence emerged in the form of a video posted on the Internet that shows him walking to the Cambodian border. He says in a mobile phone conversation that he has crossed into Cambodian territory and that this information should be passed on to the prime minister's secretary.
"We're waiting for the government to solve this problem, but the government has neglected and ignored this problem," he added.
To read more: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6390153,00.html
Football’s 2011 AFC Asian Cup will take place from January 7 to 29 in Qatar. There is special interest around the world after organizer Qatar was surprisingly named the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup last month.
16 of Asia’s best national soccer teams will be seen in action. Former German goalkeeper Lutz Pfannenstiel, who has played on all continents and knows Asian football well, has high expectations from host Qatar. "I think it will be a very well organized tournament," Pfannenstiel told Deutsche Welle. "Generally, the Arab world has developed in football and improved a lot over the last few years. I think it definitely will be a spectacular tournament of high quality."
The defending champions Iraq had surprised everyone by winning the 2007 Asian Cup finals 1-0 against Saudi Arabia in Jakarta. That tournament was co-hosted by four Southeast Asian nations: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, who this time will not be participating in the Asian Cup.
To read more: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6382385,00.html
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Now back home spend some time to check all the mail and as I was not here over new year, put some new calendars for 2011 up on the wall, one of them a really nice one of Angkor Wat.
Time for some German lunch now, before I unpack the suitcase. And tomorrow than back to work...
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Monday, January 3, 2011
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Saturday, January 1, 2011