Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The world we live in..and oh yes, a bit of sex

Here's an intersting look at the bigger picture. Sort of puts things in perspective.

In France, TV makes for strange bedfellows. TV viewers in that country can now choose between Al Jazeera and PinkTV, a gay and lesbian TV network.

The new TV channel is being hailed as a some kind of Mao-esque 'great leap forward.

"I hope that PinkTV becomes a broad space of freedom and culture allowing all of our fellow citizens live their freedom and respect one another," said Culture and Communications Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres.

PinkTV is backed by three of France's main channels and has received widespread and mostly positive coverage in the French media, being promoted as a hip, urban channel which hopes to attract both straight and gay viewers.

The Gay community is excited. It seems that the channel is funded in part with government money.
There's an evident change in mentalities... In France, we can clearly say that gays have gone from the era of tolerance to the era of legality, which simply means equality," he said.

The channel has received backing from three of the country's main TV channels, as well as the government' culture minister, who attended last night's party.

I'd like to see if I could get funding for a pasta network in France. Low carb diet or not, pasta will remain a big seller. I can envision a 24 hour a day QVC type channel, selling overpriced pasta, pasta makers and sauces.

Meanwhile, the UN is forging ahead with a full head of steam. Unfortunately, the results can't be much seen. Koffi Annan says the world body still has no idea who comitted the massacres in Burundi that resulted in 159 deaths.
In a preliminary report released in early September the UN suggested that Rwandan, Congolese and Burundian groups were all responsible for the massacre.

Meanwhile, the UN is meeting again on reform within the world body. The ready for action agenda includes
..brought together representatives of a large number of UN entities, Geneva-based think tanks and other international researchers to share results of research projects and other analytical work and discuss policy implications.

Presentations will concentrate on the following three themes: new security threats and disarmament; good governance and reconciliation in post conflict situations; and the environment and sustainable development.

Look for real action as a result of those meetings.

Along the same lines, there are things you just can't make up. According to officials in Pakistan, the UN has prevented WW3. Seriously, here's what the guy said:
The United Nations represents and symblolises evolution and forward movement in human history and it has formed a universal, global family besides averting third World War.

Can you imagine the UN family Thanksgiving Dinner?

Meanwhile, the fun in Sudan goes on. There is a good read in the IHT about the 'special' treatment afforded women by the Janajaweed in Darfur.
Even with the eyes of the world on this burned-out swath of western Sudan, threats of oil sanctions against the government and the trickle of African Union monitors into the countryside, one brutality apparently has continued undeterred: violence against Darfur's women.

Women were insulted, beaten and raped as their families were chased from their homes at the height of the war in this region. They continue to be insulted, beaten and raped as they try to eke out a living far from home in the miserable camps of the displaced across Darfur.

Read the article here. It's important to understand the magnitude of the atrocities being committed.

Of course, the good news is that there are more meetings on Sudan. Yesiree, meetings. This, from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release.
France calls on the parties, the Sudanese government and the rebels, to cooperate with the African Union in good faith and in a constructive spirit.

Can't we all just get along?

Meanwhile, back on the ranch...er, France, the movement to replace English is humming right along.
The fed-up French are sick of the English language taking over in Brussels.

So in a bid to push the language of love, they have launched a campaign to make French the official lingo of European law.

The French meanwhile, aren't happy with the Duelfur Report on the UN oil for food scandal. They're fighting back, hard. I guess they didn't appreciate getting busted for dealing with Saddam.
"It is completely inaccurate to say that France had major commercial interests in Iraq before the war," the statement said...

France strongly believes that Duelfer, a CIA adviser who heads the Iraq Survey Group hunting for banned weapons in Iraq, was acting "outside his mandate" when he issued his report, the diplomat said. "Bribes may have been paid, but that is for Volcker to establish."

There may be some American companies involved, so this story isn't over just yet.

On the privacy front, things are getting interesting. Passports are going very high tech, with radio frequency chips that can identify the holder without the passport being handled. Unfortunately, it seems like the kid who bags your groceries at Safeway has the tools to read that document.
And herein lies the chief problem, as identified by privacy advocates. Without requiring the passport to be physically handled in order to retrieve information, just about anyone will be able to read your passport contents, remotely, and without your knowledge.

Lastly, what would a post like this be without a bit of sex?
Viewers groups and MPs are calling on the Government to prevent a new film depicting real sex being screened in Britain's cinemas.

The British Board of Film Classification announced last week that it was giving an "18" certificate to the film Nine Songs and would not be insisting on any cuts.

Campaigners last night said that the board's decision would open the floodgates to hardcore pornography on the big screen.

The actress goes on to describe the artistic difficulties of cinematic sex scenes. Read it here.

Well, it's pretty safe to say HRH Elizabeth will pass on that flick. As for Charles and Harry, well, that may be another matter.

Wandering Mind

may not be suitable for political vegans