Saturday, July 30, 2011

Vacation in the Netherlands

Some photos from our nice vacation in the Netherlands....

FIFA faces challenge from clubs of Europe

From The International Herald Tribune:

FIFA faces challenge from clubs of Europe


BY DOREEN CARVAJAL AND STEPHEN CASTLE

Long disgruntled European soccer clubs are mounting a muscular new challenge to FIFA, the international soccer federation, by pressing a dispute over finances and decision-making into the political arena, where the powerful body will face scrutiny of its management.

Poland, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, said on Friday that sports ministers from 27 nations who are due to meet in October will debate the issue of ''good governance,'' a theme provoked by ongoing corruption allegations involving FIFA.

The meeting in Krakow on October 13 and 14 follows a flurry of meetings this month between European authorities and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the chairman of the European Club Association. The group, based in Switzerland, represents about 200 of the continent's teams, including AC Milan, Manchester United and Barcelona.

Rummenigge, a former German striker and chief executive of the German club Bayern Munich has been steadily ratcheting up his criticism of FIFA and its president, Sepp Blatter. Earlier this week, Rummenigge gave a scathing interview to The Guardian newspaper in England suggesting that the clubs should revolt because ''I don't accept any longer that we should be guided by people who are not serious and clean.''

His words were directed against the long-serving Mr. Blatter, who was recently re-elected to lead the organization that has been reeling from corruption allegations against senior officials. More than a third of FIFA's 24-member executive board has been suspended or accused of wrongdoing in the past two years.

The tensions between the football clubs and FIFA are also heightened by disputes over the number of national team matches scheduled by FIFA, shared decision-making and revenues from television sponsorship contracts.

In the past, their arguments seemed to surface yearly and then fade away, but this time the disagreements are more profound because of FIFA's battered image over bribery scandals and the selection of World Cup hosts, according to experts and insiders.

''The clubs are stronger now than they have been in the past,'' said Thomas Kurth, the former general manager of G-14, a breakaway group of top soccer clubs that later made peace with FIFA in 2008.

''There are more significant reasons to voice their concerns,'' Kurth said. ''There are too many elements to call this the annual summer shouting match.''

The tensions come as FIFA and the European Club Association are establishing their positions on various issues in advance of the expiration in 2014 of an existing agreement between them and the European soccer governing body, UEFA.

When that agreement expires, the clubs would not have to release their players for international exhibition matches or tournaments.

It was the European Football Club that sought meetings with authorities to raise concerns that FIFA is making decisions without consulting the clubs.

Jakub Kwiatowski, a spokesman for Adam Giersz, Poland's minister of sport, said the European Football Club raised the issue of sports management during a meeting in Warsaw this month, and the sports ministers will discuss the issue at their meeting in October.

''We are plain that our priorities are good governance in sport,'' he said. ''When there are allegations of corruption, it's a big problem.''

The European Football Club also held a meeting earlier this month with Androulla Vassiliou, the European commissioner responsible for sports, according to her spokesman, Dennis Abbot.

''If the sports bodies are not doing their jobs properly — and we are not saying that is the case — there may be ways that we can bring pressure to bear,'' Mr. Abbot said.

Some FIFA observers said the soccer clubs had long been reluctant to take on FIFA, but now sense it is vulnerable because of the corruption allegations.

''The clubs have reached a state of maturity so that they are willing to use their muscles,'' said Guido Tognoni, a former FIFA executive. ''FIFA is not as strong as everybody thinks it is. It is just like the Catholic Church. As long as you obey it, it works. But if people don't obey, it doesn't work.''


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Thursday, July 28, 2011

The beginning of the end of Google

I saw this and thought you should see it, very interesting article and thoughts. What do you think?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/pda/2011/jul/27/google-apple-html5

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Obama gives final approval to let gays join military

Obama gives final approval to let gays join military http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/1142595/1/.html

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bhutan spreads happiness to UN

** Bhutan spreads happiness to UN **
The UN adopts a non-binding resolution, proposed by Bhutan, that aims to make happiness a "development indicator".
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-14243512 >


** BBC Daily E-mail **
Choose the news and sport headlines you want - when you want them, all in one daily e-mail
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/email >


** Disclaimer **
The BBC is not responsible for the content of this e-mail, and anything written in this e-mail does not necessarily reflect the BBC's views or opinions. Please note that neither the e-mail address nor name of the sender have been verified.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

BBC E-mail: Germany in deal on Thai royal jet

** Germany in deal on Thai royal jet **
German judges say a jet used by Thailand's crown prince impounded last week can leave Munich - but only if Thailand posts a 20m euro bank guarantee.
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14215215 >


** BBC Daily E-mail **
Choose the news and sport headlines you want - when you want them, all in one daily e-mail
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/email >


** Disclaimer **
The BBC is not responsible for the content of this e-mail, and anything written in this e-mail does not necessarily reflect the BBC's views or opinions. Please note that neither the e-mail address nor name of the sender have been verified.

Sun, sand and ... corruption? For fugitives, Thailand has it all

From The International Herald Tribune:

Sun, sand and ... corruption? For fugitives, Thailand has it all
BY THOMAS FULLER

BANGKOK — Give me your drug dealers, your money launderers, your felons on the lam yearning to breathe free ...

Thailand has never advertised itself as a beacon for fugitives, but the world's wretched refuse — to tweak the noble words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty — seem to show up here in droves.

Millions of tourists, most of them presumably without criminal records, travel to Thailand every year, drawn by the good food, lively night life and crystal waters. Fugitives come for the same reasons — plus the prospect, for some, of outliving a statute of limitations.

''Thailand has traditionally been one of the top source countries for extradition of criminals to the U.S.,'' reads a March 2009 cable from the U.S. Embassy obtained by WikiLeaks. The cable lists the wide variety of fugitives nabbed in Thailand over the years: child molesters, narcotics traffickers, money launderers and cybercriminals, among others.

The cable, which was sent from the embassy in Bangkok, counts 135 defendants extradited from Thailand to the United States in the past three decades and dozens more people ''directly deported.''

But a scan of recent headlines in Thailand suggests that the U.S. fugitives are but a footnote on a long rap sheet of globe-trotting felons on the loose.



http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/21/world/asia/21iht-thailand21.html

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dalai Lama says he will decide successor

Dalai Lama says he will decide successor http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/1141682/1/.html

Germany builds future beyond E.U.

From The International Herald Tribune:

Germany builds future beyond E.U.
BY JACK EWING AND JUDY DEMPSEY

DITZINGEN, GERMANY — Germany has long sat at the center of the European economy, but Europe is no longer as central to Germany as it used to be.

With large parts of Europe still in an economic rut and struggling to cope with a debt crisis, Germany is increasingly deploying its money and energy outside the euro zone to fuel its robust growth.

The shift in focus, while still in its early stages, could have profound economic and political implications because it comes at a critical time when the rest of Europe is counting on Germany to continue its traditional role as the locomotive of the Continent's economy.

German companies, instead of concentrating their investment overwhelmingly on countries like France and Italy, are sending a growing proportion of their euros to places like Poland, Russia, Brazil and especially China, which is already the largest market for Volkswagen and could soon be for Mercedes and BMW.

The German government is following suit, committing more diplomatic resources to its growing trade partners, particularly China, whose prime minister, Wen Jiabao, brought an entourage of 13 ministers and 300 managers when he visited Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany last month.

President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia brought a similar entourage with him Monday to Hanover for annual German-Russian consultations, including Alexander Medvedev, deputy chief executive of Gazprom.



http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/19/business/global/Germany-Europes-Powerhouse-Drifts-East.html

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bangkok Post: Cable said Hun Sen had no claims to any Thai land

The following is an article that was sent from Bangkokpost.com.
----------------------------------------------

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/246723/wikileaks
Cable said Hun Sen had no claims to any Thai land

Thai prince plane affair in hands of German justice, says Berlin

Thai prince plane affair in hands of German justice, says Berlin http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/1141225/1/.html

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gay Australian Official to Wed in NY, Challenge Anti-Gay Policy at Home

"Gay Australian Official to Wed in NY, Challenge Anti-Gay Policy at Home"
A member of the Australian parliament intends to marry his same-sex life partner in New York, and challenge a policy at home that denies the validity of marriages granted to gays and lesbians in other countries.

http://www.edgeonthenet.com/?122185

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thai Prince's Plane Impounded in Germany

From The International Herald Tribune:

Thai Prince's Plane Impounded in Germany
By DAVID JOLLY and THOMAS FULLER

A Boeing 737 used by the Thai crown prince has been impounded in Germany as part of a long-running commercial dispute, and the Thai government said Wednesday that it was seeking the jet's release.

Peter Prümm, a spokesman for the Munich Airport, said the German federal authorities had seized the plane Tuesday and that it remains parked at the airport.

Werner Schneider, administrator for Walter Bau, a German construction company that declared bankruptcy in 2005, said by telephone that his office had requested the action in a lengthy contractual dispute over a Bangkok elevated highway project. Walter Bau was part of a consortium to design and build the Don Muang Tollway in the Thai capital.

An international arbitration panel in July 2009 found the Thai government to have been in breach of its obligations to Walter Bau for, among other things, refusing to raise tolls on the road, as had been agreed in the contract. It ordered the Thai government to pay more than €30 million, or $42 million, in damages and legal costs.

"This drastic measure is virtually the last resort," Mr. Schneider said earlier in a news release. "The Thai government always stalled and did not respond to our demands.

Thai officials say the case is under appeal, but Mr. Schneider disputed that, saying the Thai government had made no effort to challenge the arbitrators' ruling.



http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/14/business/global/thai-princes-plane-impounded-in-germany.html

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Angkor, Cambodia - Did you knew...

Angkor, Cambodia - Did you knew...
...that the temples of Angkor are the largest ruins in the world and the only archaeological site which is visible from outer space.
...that Angkor was the most populous city of antiquity with approx. one million inhabitants.
...that the fate of Angkor is a warning to the modern world, that we are part of nature and must live within natural laws or face our ecological nemesis.
...that Angkor was one of the most powerful, wealthy and populous civilisations in ancient history.
...that Angkor was larger than Rome or any of the ancient Chinese cities.
(Source: "A short history of Cambodia - From Empire to Survival" by John Tully)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Book review: „Opening the Door of your Heart“

Just finished the reading of a book, which was recommended to me by a good friend and I really enjoyed reading it. The German title of this book is: „Die Kuh, die weinte“ by Ajahn Brahm. In fact in Germany this book was even a Bestseller. It is a collection of short stories. They are mostly stories of a Buddisht monk reflecting his training, his work and service to the people and also stories of his teacher. Many of them are based on true stories, reflecting tolerance and understanding of what really counts in life. It is written with a subtle humor, a lot of wisdom and sounds very honest and sincere. Many parts of it a thought prvoking and I really can recommend to take some quiet moments to read and enjoy it.

The secret to managing your email

Very interesting article on Email productivity.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/jul/08/secret-to-managing-email

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Women’s soccer club stays in fast lane in Germany

Women's soccer club stays in fast lane in Germany

BY NICHOLAS KULISH AND JERÉ LONGMAN

POTSDAM, GERMANY — The top women's professional soccer team here began 40 years ago with an anonymous posting on the bulletin board at an energy company in Communist East Germany.

''Founding women's soccer team,'' the handwritten note read. ''Please appear March 3, 1971 at 6 p.m. in the Walter Junker clubhouse,'' which was named after a young Communist killed in the Spanish Civil War.

The team that grew out of it, Turbine Potsdam, named after the power-generating turbines at the state-owned company, went on to win six championships in East Germany. Turbine survived the fall of the Berlin Wall and the transition to capitalism and went on to win not only the championship of reunified Germany five times but twice the championship of a Europe no longer divided by the Iron Curtain.

By combining the traditions of the old East German sports academy with the sponsorships and fan clubs of capitalist soccer culture, the team has built one of the top training destinations in the world for girls' and women's soccer, drawing players from as far away as Brazil and Japan. Yet the rapidly growing interest in women's soccer may hurt rather than help the team, as western German clubs with more money lure away Turbine's best players with higher salaries.

Hundreds of fans gathered on Tuesday night at the 40th anniversary party for Turbine on the shores of Templiner Lake outside Potsdam.

Fans watched Germany's national team defeat France, 4-2, in the women's World Cup, with the first goal coming off an assist by Turbine's own Babett Peter. They listened to the songs of East German pop singer Ute Freudenberg, who defected to West Germany in 1984 but is now back in the former East.

The biggest cheers of the night, however, came for the 68-year-old coach and athletic director, Bernd Schröder, who read that bulletin board note in 1971 and volunteered to coach the club. He has been with it ever since, with the exception of a one-year suspension by Communist officials for letting his squad play teams from the West.

''It's unique in world history and cannot be repeated,'' Schröder said in an interview on Tuesday, the week after he was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz with distinction, the highest civilian award in Germany. ''You don't get a penny for it. I won the Activist of Socialist Arbeit six times and got 250 marks for each one.''

The role of Schröder — a former goalie turned engineer who has worked since the team's founding without ever taking a salary — is also unique. The tall, charismatic coach with the deep voice and unusual presence, on the field and onstage, as he was on Tuesday, is the symbol of the club even more than the players.

''We don't want to talk about it now but it is a question that just asks itself,'' said Rolf Kutzmutz, 64, a friend of Schröder's since the 1970s now serving as the club's vice president. ''He's not just the coach. He's Turbine,'' Kutzmutz said, in a comment echoed by many fans discussing their ''Schrödi.''

Women's soccer was not banned in East Germany, as it was from 1955 to 1970 by the West German soccer association, but it did not receive official support from the state. The East German sports machine, so famous for doping its swimmers and track and field athletes, chose to concentrate on individual sports to haul as many medals as possible for the glory of a country of just 16 million.

Soccer wasn't even an Olympic sport for women, which meant it was neglected by the officials. When the Berlin Wall fell, the depth of involvement in steroids became apparent, not to mention the Party and Stasi secret-police involvement in men's professional soccer and other sports. The best men's players went west. The women, who had to work for a living anyway, stayed where they were.

As Turbine rebuilt for the future, it began a deep cooperation with the surviving sports academy in Potsdam, the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Sports School, whose graduates have won 64 Olympic gold medals, according to the school's Web site.

Volker Kluge, who was a spokesman for the East German Olympic Committee and former sports editor for Junge Welt, the largest-circulating paper in the D.D.R., or the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, said that 21 of the 24 sports schools that existed in East Germany still are operational today, developing elite athletes. Kluge said that as many as 10 sports schools also have opened in western Germany since the Wall fell.

''Even Western Germany accepted this was the only way to go,'' said Kluge, who is now a sports historian. ''It was a great idea, a great project, one of the few things East Germany brought to unified Germany.''

Tabea Kemme was born near Hamburg in December 1991, more than two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. When she arrived at the sports school as a 14- year-old it was the first time she was ever told she came from West Germany. She played for the under-20 world champion team in 2010, the same year she won both the German title and the European Champions League title.

''I don't know if I could have gotten where I am without the school,'' said the young defender on Tuesday. ''At the sports school you really strive for your goal, you live there, train there, you're closer together.''

The 19-year-old's goal is to play in — and hopefully win — the women's World Cup like four of her teammates, three of whom are playing for Germany, and Yuki Nagasoto, who plays for Japan.

Many of the fans on Tuesday wore the white Germany jerseys with the name Bajramaj on the back, for the popular young player Fatmire Bajramaj. But she is no longer with the team, after signing to play with 1. F.F.C. Frankfurt, the club's German rivals with the deep pockets.

''Frankfurt's going to be the best,'' said Reinhard Tienz, 61, a fan who turned out for the celebration this week. ''More and more it's all about money, like it is with the men's game.''

There is not a single team representing the former East Germany in the men's top professional league.

Speaking to supporters Tuesday, Bernd Schröder did not appear ready to give up. He introduced the players one by one, noting that the defense was ''the youngest in the league with an average age of 19.4 years.''

Turbine's future lies in whether the club and the sports school can develop players faster than the other clubs can buy them.

''Our fans would give their last shirts for this club,'' he growled into the microphone, ''for the team, for the city and for the region.''


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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cambodian-helmed firm launches on Frankfurt exchange


Cambodian-helmed firm launches on Frankfurt exchange - http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2011070650209/Business/cambodian-helmed-firm-launches-on-frankfurt-exchange.html

Shared from FamilyBlog, an iPhone app.

Apple device security flaws revealed by German government watchdog

Apple device security flaws revealed by German government watchdog

On Google’s new network, Facebook is a hit

On Google's new network, Facebook is a hit
BY JENNA WORTHAM

NEW YORK — Any guesses as to who is the most popular person on Google+, the company's new social networking service? Ashton Kutcher, perhaps? Or Lady Gaga?

Actually, that rank is held by Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief executive of Facebook — the very service that Google+ was meant to challenge.

As of Tuesday evening in the United States, Mr. Zuckerberg had nearly 35,000 people following his updates on the service, more than anyone else in a broad survey of Google+ profiles by Social Statistics, an outside service. His fan base exceeds that of Larry Page, one of the founders of Google and its recently appointed chief executive, who had 24,000.

Google+ is less than a week old and is still not yet widely available to the public. But access to the service, which lets people share photos, links, status updates and video chats with groups of friends, is already in high demand among early adopters who are eager to play with its features. That includes Mr. Zuckerberg, who apparently signed up to keep tabs on his new adversary.

Neither Facebook nor Google confirmed whether Mr. Zuckerberg's profile was real. But his account is linked with those of several Facebook executives who are also on Google+, including Bret Taylor, the chief technology officer, and Sam Lessin, a product manager, suggesting that it is authentic. Mr. Zuckerberg has yet to post anything that can be seen by the wider public. His own description on his profile page says simply, ''I make things.''



http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/06/technology/06google.html

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

BBC E-mail: US teen in 'homophobia killing'

** US teen in 'homophobia killing' **
A US teenager goes on trial in California accused of shooting dead a classmate because he was homosexual.
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14040905 >

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

India minister criticises gay sex

What a shame, that such a person is minister for health...

** India minister criticises gay sex **
India's health minister says homosexuality is a "disease" which is "spreading fast" in the country.
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-14024774 >

Internet freedom

Internet freedom

As the United Nations has said, access to the Internet is a human right. A report by the U.N.'s special rapporteur presented last month to the Human Rights Council in Geneva warns that this right is being threatened by governments around the world — democracies included.

The main concern is about oppressive regimes trying to squash political dissent — like China, which jails bloggers, blocks Web sites and filters the Internet to eradicate words, including ''democracy,'' from the conversation.

The report also warned against overzealous attempts by democratic states to control or censor online communications. Stopping infringement of intellectual property or the distribution of child pornography is legitimate. But governments must protect citizens' rights to speak freely — anonymously when necessary.

In Italy, a court convicted Google executives because a user uploaded a video on YouTube depicting cruelty to a disabled teenager, even though Google quickly removed the offending content. Brazil's Congress is debating legislation that would require Internet service providers to keep a log of customers' online activity for three years, which authorities could access without a court order to pursue crimes such as calumny.



http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/04/opinion/04mon3.html

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Officials in Philippines City Consider Reprisals Against Gay Couples Married in Mass Ceremony

"Officials in Philippines City Consider Reprisals Against Gay Couples Married in Mass Ceremony"
Gay-affirming Metropolitan Community Church carried out a mass wedding for gay and lesbain families in Baguio, the Phillippines, on June 25. Now the city government is considering whether to prosecute the participants.

http://www.edgeonthenet.com/?121775

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Cambodia re-opens Angkor temple

** Cambodia re-opens Angkor temple **
An ancient Angkor temple re-opens in Cambodia following decades of reconstruction work - described as the world's largest puzzle.
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14005258 >

Thai army accepts election result

** Thai army accepts election result **
Thailand's outgoing defence minister says the army will not prevent ousted PM Thaksin Shinawatra's sister from forming a government, after she won a landslide election victory.

< http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14009184 >

Thai vote turns the status quo on its head

From The International Herald Tribune:

Thai vote turns the status quo on its head
BY SETH MYDANS AND THOMAS FULLER

BANGKOK — The party of Thaksin Shinawatra, the fugitive former prime minister, won an overwhelming victory in a parliamentary election Sunday that could turn Thai politics on its head and roll back the results of a coup that ousted Mr. Thaksin five years ago.

In a contest that was seen as a referendum on Thailand's recent turmoil, the Pheu Thai party, headed by Mr. Thaksin's youngest sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, 44, appeared headed for an absolute majority of the 500-seat Parliament. With 98 percent of the votes counted late Sunday, her party was winning a projected 264 seats.

The governing Democrat party won just 160 seats, and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva conceded defeat.

Ms. Yingluck, a businesswoman with no political experience, was selected to head the party by her brother, who called her his ''clone.'' She proved to be a brilliant campaigner.

The vote is a vindication for Mr. Thaksin, a populist champion of Thailand's long-marginalized rural poor who was elected prime minister twice, in 2001 and 2005, and removed in a coup in September 2006.

''I believe all sides have to respect the decision of the people,'' he said Sunday, speaking to a Thai television station from Dubai, where he lives after evading a conviction for abuse of power. ''If any country doesn't respect the decisions of its people, there's no way it is going to find peace.''



http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/04/world/asia/04thailand.html

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