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Posts Tagged ‘fauna’

  • Is any illness covered by insurance? – Kristof – “Then Ms. Walker gave me the company’s definition of “chronic” (you couldn’t make this up): “Chronic means a medical condition which has at least one of the following characteristics: has no known cure; is likely to recur; requires palliative treatment; needs prolonged monitoring/ treatment; is permanent; requires specialist training/rehabilitation; is caused by changes to the body that cannot be reversed.” That sounds like a spoof from “The Daily Show.” To translate: We’ll pay for care unless you get sick with just about anything that might be expensive. Then we’ll cut you off at the knees.”
  • Jeff Sheng’s photos of gay military personnel – “Mr. Sheng, a photographer, had finished the first phase of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a series of portraits of gay men and lesbians serving in the military, all of them in uniform and with their faces obscured in some way — by a hand, a door frame or by darkness. Some subjects turn their backs to the camera. In one image an airman who takes the pseudonym Jess sits on a hotel bed leaning forward. One elbow rests on his knee, his hand cupping his face to shield it from the camera. The portrait is pervaded by a sense of loneliness and isolation.”
  • The fishing lobby wins again – “By a depressingly lopsided margin, countries meeting in Doha at the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species rejected a proposal by Monaco and the United States to ban international trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna, which is spiraling toward extinction. The convention had earlier rejected, also by a wide margin, a softer motion by the Europeans that would have placed the tuna high on the international list of endangered species but delayed a trading ban for one year.”
  • School law clinics face a backlash – “Law school students nationwide are facing growing attacks in the courts and legislatures as legal clinics at the schools increasingly take on powerful interests that few other nonprofit groups have the resources to challenge. On Friday, lawmakers here debated a measure to cut money for the University of Maryland’s law clinic if it does not provide details to the legislature about its clients, finances and cases. The measure, which is likely to be sent to the governor this week, comes in response to a suit filed in March by students accusing one of the state’s largest employers, Perdue, of environmental violations — the first effort in the state to hold a poultry company accountable for the environmental impact of its chicken suppliers.” – the effect of money on government and education…
  • From a songbird, new insights into the brain – “Some 50 laboratories around the world are studying the zebra finch, many in the hope of gleaning clues about how human language is learned. Like people and a few other species, the finch can imitate a sound it hears. The mechanisms of this vocal learning seem to be quite similar in birds and people, from the level of the brain’s anatomy down to specific genes. People with mutations in a gene called FOXP2 have several kinds of speech defects, and researchers have found songbirds cannot sing when their version of the gene is disrupted. With the zebra finch’s genome in hand, researchers have learned that a surprising number of the bird’s genes are involved in singing and listening to the songs of other zebra finches. Some 800 genes become either more or less active in the zebra finch’s neurons during singing, the researchers say in the current issue of Nature.”
  • Animal abuse as clue to additional cruelties – “Responding to growing evidence that people who abuse animals often go on to attack humans, states are increasing the penalties for animal cruelty and developing better methods for tracking convicted offenders… “It’s not that animal abuse is more prevalent,” said Stephan Otto, director of legislative affairs with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “What has changed over the past few years is the recognition that animal abuse is often a warning sign for other types of violence and neglect.”… In Idaho, which is one of the states without a felony cruelty penalty, farmers and ranchers are pushing a bill that would more clearly distinguish livestock from pets and would exempt livestock from the protections afforded pets.” – the final line speaks volumes…
  • Taiwan and fauna:
    • Ministry gives migrating butterflies helping hand – “Green protective netting stretching 860m will be set up along the Formosa Freeway for the next two weeks to help purple crow butterflies on their annual northbound migration, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday. Drivers are asked to travel well within the speed limit to minimize butterfly fatalities during their yearly trek. The National Freeway Bureau will also shut down the outermost lane during peak migration hours from today to April 11.”
    • Team uses radar to track birds migrating to Kenting – “Lee Teng-chih (李登志), director of the office and a participant in Pan’s project, said the team members would provide real-time radar images of the migration to bird watchers at home and abroad on the Web so that bird watchers would know when and where they could see the birds. “Japan has a sakura blossom forecast telling people when and where they can appreciate the beauty of the blossom and we would like to build a raptor migration forecast with our system,” Lee said.”
    • Legislator urges protection of local endangered insects – “Chiu said in the letter that his father and he had seen vendors almost wipe out the population of beetles in Baguashan (八卦山), Changhwa County, while local environmentalists have been working to restore the two species of beetle in the area. “Those vendors have been catching [the beetles] without restraint. I think it is very cruel. Please stop them from catching [the insects],” Chiu said. Beetles have been popular pets in Taiwan in recent years, particularly with elementary school children. The insects are usually sold at stationary stores near elementary schools or pet stores.”
    • No molesting Chaishan’s monkeys, Kaohsiung says – “From next month, visitors to Kaohsiung’s Chaishan Mountain (柴山) who feed Formosan macaques living there will be fined, the city government said yesterday. Under the new policy, hikers are being asked to observe “four noes and one help” — do not feed the wildlife, do not play with the monkeys, do not threaten or attack them, do not let children or pets out of sight and help stop inappropriate behavior by visitors to the mountain.”
  • Through cage bars, an exotic peek into drug wars – “At almost every turn at Villa Lorena, animals display indignities suffered at the hands of man. A caiman with a severed limb stretches under the tropical sun. A macaw with a sawed-off beak flutters in its cage. Luís, a cougar who once belonged to a drug trafficker, limps around his cage, the result of having a front leg cut off. Ms. Torres speaks of each case with passion, somewhere between outrage and desperation, bringing to mind the episode in Nietzsche’s life when he broke into tears and threw his arms around a horse on the streets of Turin while attempting to save it from a coachman’s whipping.”
  • Be horrified by the existence of billionaires – “Sixty-two of the 1,011 are Russian oligarchs. Twenty eight are Turkish oligarchs. Even Carlos Slim made his fortune from being the monopolist who controls 90 percent of Mexico’s telephone landlines and 80 percent of its mobile phone subscribers. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) notes that he charges among the highest usage fees in the world. But hey! He is a billionaire and what matters today are his riches — not the manner in which the money is made. He may have started out as a productive entrepreneur. Today he is using his power to expropriate wealth on a grand scale. The contrast with his rival Gates could hardly be greater. Microsoft may have had its head-to-head confrontation with the EU Commission over anti-competitive practices, but Gates built his company by innovating around one of the great historic general purpose technologies. Information and communication technology is like the railway, internal combustion engine or air travel — a technology with massive spill-overs and implications for society. It is a classic example of productive entrepreneurship.”
  • ASEAN free trade agreements disaster for all but China – “Thailand, in particular, had a bitter experience. In 2005, tariffs for 200 items of vegetables and fruits were abolished. Thailand expected to export tropical fruit to China and import winter fruit from it at zero tariff. But what happened was that Thai farmers of garlic, longan and other fruit and vegetables were decimated by cheap Chinese imports. Worse, Chinese officials reportedly either refused to lower tariffs on Thai imports or left the Thai produce to rot in warehouses.”
  • China will not block FTAs: MAC chair – “Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) said yesterday she believed Beijing would not obstruct Taiwan from signing free-trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries. “I personally do not think the mainland will interfere,” she said. “Based on the experience we have over the past 20 months, we don’t think the mainland will hamper our efforts.” When asked what she based her assertion on, Lai said the council hadn’t received any messages from China since last spring saying that Beijing would hinder Taiwan’s bid to sign agreements with other countries. When asked whether the administration had any strategy in place in the event of obstruction by Beijing, she reiterated that she did not think this would happen.” – brilliant.
  • The police in Taiwan asked Plurk to head over users’ registration details and IPs – “One of the Plurk’s founders Alvin Woon posted a message on Plurk, saying that he’s recently been asked by the police for Plukers’ personal information, IP addresses and records of their messages. Alvin was wondering what would be the due process in relation to privacy in Taiwan, as so far, he has only received a letter from the prosecution but no court orders.”
  • Signs: The most useful thing you pay no attention to – very interesting article series from Slate.  I particularly liked part v: the war over exit signs, and the mention of the symbolic language LoCoS.  It would be an interesting thing to learn.  This is the best reference I could find for it online.
  • Why net neutrality isn’t dead – Wu – “Given these kinds of problems, from 1910 on, firms that offered communications services were declared common carriers and obligated, basically, to treat everyone the same and not to charge outrageous prices. But as the 21st century began, the Bush administration, in one of several experiments in neoclassical economics, decided to abandon the common carrier model for communications. Cheered on by economists, industry, and some technologists, the FCC, under Chairman Michael Powell, declared that both DSL service and cable broadband were no longer covered by the FCC’s authority to regulate common carriers. Instead, they were “information services,” a category over which the FCC had limited say (more limited than even Powell thought). That is why the D.C. Circuit said last week that the FCC lacked the authority to punish Comcast when it began to block the popular BitTorrent protocol. It isn’t that the court hobbled the FCC; under Powell, the FCC, it turned out, had crippled itself.”
  • News sites rethink anonymous online comments – “When news sites, after years of hanging back, embraced the idea of allowing readers to post comments, the near-universal assumption was that anyone could weigh in and remain anonymous. But now, that idea is under attack from several directions, and journalists, more than ever, are questioning whether anonymity should be a given on news sites.” – I don’t know about this; my inclination is to think that the cure is worse than the disease…

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  • Chinese workers find mass animal grave at Harbin zoo – “Mr. Eich and Ms. Pruitt illustrate the huge shake-up in photography during the last decade. Amateurs, happy to accept small checks for snapshots of children and sunsets, have increasing opportunities to make money on photos but are underpricing professional photographers and leaving them with limited career options. Professionals are also being hurt because magazines and newspapers are cutting pages or shutting altogether. “There are very few professional photographers who, right now, are not hurting,” said Holly Stuart Hughes, editor of the magazine Photo District News. That has left professional photographers with a bit of an identity crisis. Nine years ago, when Livia Corona was fresh out of art school, she got assignments from magazines like Travel and Leisure and Time. Then, she said, “three forces coincided.””
  • Tiger deaths raise alarms about Chinese zoos – “Among the charges under investigation at the Shenyang zoo are employee reports that bones of dead tigers were used to illegally manufacture a liquor believed to have therapeutic qualities. One employee said he had made vats of the liquor and served it to visiting government officials. The government action comes after years of troubles at the zoo, the Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo. The zoo’s animal population has declined from a high of more than 1,000 to about half that now.”

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  • Melvin makes a home at Farm Sanctuary – “Every day as she passed a home in Redding, California, a compassionate resident saw a goat tied to a tire in a yard and decided to take a closer look. What she found was deplorable. Having perhaps purchased him as a living lawnmower, the goat’s “owner” showed an utter lack of concern for his wellbeing, failing to feed the famished animal or provide water to quench his thirst. The goat was also forced to endure the elements without shelter and, for weeks, he stood alone in the rain and cold. His hair was matted to his body, urine soaked his abdomen and hind legs, and he was severely infested with lice. But even as Melvin spiraled into neglect, his advocate refused to give up on him and made persistent phone calls to local law enforcement until he was rescued.”
  • Divide and diminish – Judson – “Or perhaps we should stop getting mired in details, and reflect on what we know: small islands are simpler, less ecologically interesting places than big islands. When we break up rainforests or steppes, or build roads through pristine landscapes, we start to fray the fabric of nature. We may not see the full impact today, tomorrow, or next year. But we know what the long-term effects will be. By fraying nature we make the planet a simpler, duller, diminished place.”
  • Even among animals – leaders, followers, and schmoozers – “Scientists studying animals from virtually every niche of the bestial kingdom have found evidence of distinctive personalities — bundled sets of behaviors, quirks, preferences and pet peeves that remain stable over time and across settings. They have found stylistic diversity in chimpanzees, monkeys, barnacle geese, farm minks, blue tits and great tits, bighorn sheep, dumpling squid, pumpkinseed sunfish, zebra finches, spotted hyenas, even spiders and water striders, to name but a few. They have identified hotheads and tiptoers, schmoozers and loners, divas, dullards and fearless explorers, and they have learned that animals, like us, often cling to the same personality for the bulk of their lives.”
  • Citizens Unite – Lessig – “This insight gives a clue to perhaps the most sensible constitutional response to the Supreme Court’s decision. Not, as an angry gaggle of activists have proposed, through an amendment aimed at denying what Citizens United never asserted—that corporations are persons. But instead, through an amendment that recognizes what no one has ever asserted—that whether or not they are persons, corporations are not United States citizens. And if there is something appropriate to keeping the conversation about who is to govern us to us citizens, there may well be something appropriate in protecting elections against undue influence by non-citizens.  A simple amendment would give Congress precisely this power:  Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to restrict the power to limit, though not to ban, campaign expenditures of non-citizens of the United States during the last 60 days before an election.
  • Pecking my battles – “The result is a pet rooster high-stepping and variously barking around a suburban yard with entitled impunity. Why beat around the nest? Buddy thinks he owns the place.  I thought — hoped, really — that the neighbors would complain to authorities. Not quite. They deliver corn on the cob. One young boy stops by every afternoon with chunks of cheese.”
  • Aspiring Taiwanese singer dubbed the new Susan Boyle – “Lin Yu-chun’s (林育群) pitch-perfect rendition of Whitney Houston’s hit I Will Always Love You on Taiwan’s pop idol competition One Million Star (超級星光大道) has gone viral online with almost half a million hits on YouTube and international media attention.” – video on YouTube
  • Court rescinds fine, slams censorship – “Lawmakers across party lines yesterday expressed support for the Taipei District Court’s rejection of a fine given to a Falun Gong activist by Taipei police for distributing flyers in front of Taipei 101. To break through China’s constant information censorship on the Falun Gong movement, Falun Gong supporters in Taiwan often wave placards and distribute flyers to Chinese tourists in front of the Taipei 101 building. Interior designer Hsu ­Po-kun (許柏坤), however, was fined NT$300 by Wei Kuo-hsiung (魏國雄), a police officer in Taipei’s Xinyi District, on Dec. 4 last year for “hindering traffic” at the building. “I wave signs peacefully and I don’t stalk or provoke [Chinese tourists]. Why was I fined? Is Taiwan becoming the same as China, which oppresses Falun Gong?” asked Hsu, who appealed his case to the Taipei District Court.”
  • Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and the long road to the iPad – Wu – “Apple is a schizophrenic company, a self-professed revolutionary that is closely allied with establishment forces like the entertainment conglomerates and the telecommunications industry. To understand this contradiction we need to look back to Apple’s origins. Let’s go back to a day in 1971 when we find a bearded young college student in thick eyeglasses named Steve Wozniak hanging out at the home of Steve Jobs, then in high school. The two young men, electronics buffs, were fiddling with a crude device they’d been working on for more than a year. That day was their eureka moment: Apple’s founders had managed to hack AT&T’s long-distance network. Their invention was a “blue box” that made long-distance phone calls for free. The two men, in other words, got started by defrauding the firm that is now perhaps Apple’s most important business partner.”
  • Researchers trace data theft to intruders in China – “Turning the tables on a China-based computer espionage gang, Canadian and United States computer security researchers have monitored a spying operation for the past eight months, observing while the intruders pilfered classified and restricted documents from the highest levels of the Indian Defense Ministry.”
  • Google: A warning for Taiwan and Ma’s ECFA – “An article in the April 5th issue of Business Week targets China as a manipulator and a country where countries are starting to realize the lack of business potential there. It was a refreshing read in that until recently (with the Google vs China fiasco), the way to make money was to head east to China. I happened to pick up the paper magazine of this issue, but you can also read it here online. All of the issues raised in this piece point to the same problems that the U.S. has been facing in regards to China. China has consistently struck deals with countries and organizations, only to renege on them.”
  • Happiness Button – Adams – “Suppose humans were born with magical buttons on their foreheads. When someone else pushes your button, it makes you very happy. But like tickling, it only works when someone else presses it. Imagine it’s easy to use. You just reach over, press it once, and the other person becomes wildly happy for a few minutes. What would happen in such a world?”
  • Jailed Chinese dissident Hu  Jia is seriously ill, his wife says – “Hu Jia, an internationally known human-rights activist who has been imprisoned for more than two years on charges of subverting state power, is seriously ill with a liver disease that may be cancer, his wife said Thursday. She said that she had asked the authorities to grant him parole but that she and Mr. Hu’s lawyer had received strong indications from prison officials that the request was unlikely to be granted.”
  • The declination: An advance pardon for torture – “The proposed advance declination in the Abu Zubaydah case is also disturbing. Had it been signed, it would have been a virtual license to torture, a “get out of jail free” card. According to the OPR report, the DoJ criminal division refused to sign any advance declinations on policy grounds, but the very fact the CIA asked for one is significant. Notably, the proposed advance declination was discussed in early 2002, months before the infamous White House “torture memos” were drafted. The timing seriously undercuts Bush administration accounts of the origins of the CIA’s interrogation program (for instance, this account). For years, Bush officials have suggested (see here and here) that interrogation techniques were utilized only after a thorough and objective legal review by White House lawyers, culminating in the two torture memos in August 2002. It now appears that the infamous memos—which even Bush’s own OLC later dismissed as twisted and erroneous—were drafted only after the criminal division refused to provide advance declinations to the CIA.”
  • Taiwan must avoid becoming a new Tibet – “Why is it that the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people, does not live in Tibet? Many people are aware that the Dalai Lama lives in exile and that he has done so for 51 years, but surprisingly few in Taiwan are familiar with the story of why he was forced to flee 51 years ago. Recently, a Chinese-­language version of the Dalai Lama’s autobiography My Land and My People was published in Taiwan and it is an absolute must for anyone curious about that time in history. More importantly, the book also provides many lessons for Taiwan today as it faces the formidable challenge of rapprochement with China. What happened in Tibet half a century ago? Why did the country not enjoy peace after signing a “peace agreement” with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a document that is better known as the Seventeen-Point Agreement, in 1951?”
  • Hardy tattoo-gate finally explained by White – man, now Chinese censorship is even affecting MMA?!
  • China bars scholar, Cui Weiping, from US trip – “Communicating through her superiors at the film academy, she said “they” — an unseen entity she described as “the authorities” — had repeatedly rebuked her for perceived sins: posting social criticism on her blog; sponsoring a seminar on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests; and sending out Twitter messages about the jailing of Liu Xiaobo, a writer who was convicted of subversion last year for demanding increased liberties. “These things made them unhappy,” she said, “and now they are going to make me unhappy.” Chinese officials have long used travel restrictions to punish those who have strayed across the murky line of public nonconformity. This month, Liao Yiwu, a writer and a tireless critic of the governing Communist Party, was removed from a plane as he was on his way to a literary festival in Germany.”
  • Tibetans convicted for sending information abroad – “Since the unrest in Tibet in March 2008, as many as 50 Tibetans have been arrested for sending reports, photos or videos abroad, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in a report on Monday. In some cases, those arrests resulted in long jail sentences, it said.”
  • Too-busy bees – “The paradox is that our demand for these foods endangers the wild bees that help make their cultivation possible. The expansion of farmland destroys wild bees’ nesting sites and also wipes out the wildflowers that the bees depend on when food crops aren’t in blossom. Researchers in Britain and the Netherlands have found that the diversity of wild bee species in most regions in those countries has declined since 1980. This decrease was mostly due to the loss of bees that require very particular habitats — bees that couldn’t adapt after losing their homes and food sources to cultivation. Similarly, between 1940 and 1960, as land increasingly came under cultivation in the American Midwest, several bumblebee species disappeared from the area. It is difficult to count and keep track of wild bee populations globally, but their numbers are probably declining overall as a result of such human activity.”
  • For the battle-scarred, comfort at leash’s end – “Just weeks after Chris Goehner, 25, an Iraq war veteran, got a dog, he was able to cut in half the dose of anxiety and sleep medications he took for post-traumatic stress disorder. The night terrors and suicidal thoughts that kept him awake for days on end ceased. Aaron Ellis, 29, another Iraq veteran with the stress disorder, scrapped his medications entirely soon after getting a dog — and set foot in a grocery store for the first time in three years.”
  • Censored in Singapore – “Last month, on the same day The New York Times praised Google for standing up to censorship in China, a sister newspaper, The International Herald Tribune, apologized to Singapore’s rulers and agreed to pay damages because it broke a 1994 legal agreement and referred to them in a way they did not like.”
  • University of Fox – “One last thing, 24% of Republicans believe Obama “may be the anti-Christ.” The only answer to this mass delusional ignorance is that these people are getting all their information from Fox News and most especially Professor Glenn Beck.”

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Full list of my bookmarks on Delicious here.  Also, I have recent finished uploading a new set of photos on Flickr: 2009-08 Amherst.

Bookmark highlights:

  • On Kristof’s column suggesting topics for the new year, I suggested looking at corruption in our government institutions, as inspired by Professor Lawrence Lessig. Some recent articles on this issue:
    • “A dose of realism?”  How about this for “realism”: We need leadership – Lessig – “This Court has become an angry old dog which has now bitten four times in a row. (The government is 0 for 4 in its defense of campaign finance regulations). Sure, maybe it won’t bite your kid. Maybe it will be the sweet moderate dog it was years ago. But you don’t need to be the parent of a young child to believe it reckless to let your kid play with this dog. And I don’t think you have to be a complete cynic about the Supreme Court to read their decisions to signal that this revolution is not yet over.”
    • How campaign finance ruling changes politics – NPR interview with Lessig
  • On animals:
    • An otter’s work is never done – too cute
    • Free Tilly – and all circus animals – Singer – “We will never know exactly what was going on in Tilly’s mind, but we do know that he has been in captivity since he was about two years old – he was captured off the coast of Iceland in 1983. Orcas are social mammals, and he would have been living with his mother and other relatives in a pod. It is reasonable to suppose that the sudden separation was traumatic for Tilly.Moreover, the degree of confinement in an aquarium is extreme, for no tank, no matter how large, can come close to meeting the needs of animals who spend their lives in social groups swimming long distances in the ocean. Joyce Tischler, of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, described keeping a six-ton orca in Sea World’s tanks as akin to keeping a human in a bathtub for his entire life. David Phillips, director of the International Marine Mammal Project for the Earth Island Institute, which led the efforts to rehabilitate the orca Keiko – made famous by the movie Free Willy – said “Orcas deserve a better fate than living in cramped pools.””
    • Chinese zoo blamed for death of 11 tigers – “The deaths underscore conflicting signals in China’s attempts to save its dwindling number of tigers. While extensive conservation efforts are under way, animal protection groups say zoos and wildlife parks may be deliberately breeding more animals than they can afford, hoping to sell off the carcasses onto a black market where tiger parts fetch a high price for use in traditional medicines and liquor.“We’ve seen cases where tiger farms have steeped the bones from their deceased tigers in liquor to sell to visitors,” said Hua Ning, project director for the China branch of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.Other animal rights groups like the Washington-based National Fish and Wildlife Foundation have documented stockpiled pelts and the sale of tiger wine at the Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain village in south China’s Guangxi region.”
    • Tuna takes center stage at CITES meet – “Atlantic bluefin tuna is in crisis and meets the criteria for a total ban on international trade, the head of the UN wildlife trade organization said on Saturday in opening a 13-day meeting.The 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), convening for the first time in the Middle East, is the only UN body with the power to outlaw commerce in endangered wild animals and plants.Besides the sharply disputed proposal on bluefin, the convention was to debate the status of African elephants, polar bears and tigers.”
    • Farm Sanctuary – Taking in an abandoned calf – at the start / two years later
    • Farm Sanctuary – USDA’s latest slaughterhouse violations heighten urgency for federal ban on all sick animals entering food supply – “Yesterday members of Congress heard testimony from Dean Wyatt, a supervisory veterinarian at the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, about instances in which he and other inspectors were overruled when citing slaughterhouses for violations such as shocking and butchering days-old calves that were too weak or sick to stand and butchering conscious pigs, despite rules that they first be stunned and unconscious. In addition to being illegal, inhumane and unsafe, this behavior falls well outside the bounds of what most Americans consider acceptable conduct, and the USDA’s repeated decision to turn a blind eye toward it is cause for national outrage and concern.”
  • Taiwan’s greatest ascent – “During the Japanese occupation (1895-1945), much of the area around Yushan was stripped of timber to supply the growth of the Japanese empire. When survey teams discovered that Yushan was 176 meters higher than the revered Mount Fuji, the mountain’s reputation skyrocketed. The Japanese renamed it Niitakayama, or New High Mountain, and it became a popular hiking destination among Japanese and Taiwanese. The first trail to the peak opened in 1919, and by the 1930s, middle-school girls in school uniforms were climbing as a coming-of-age graduation trip, according to a plaque at the start of the trail.”
  • On Tibet:
    • Tibetans recount Himalayn escapes – ““We’ve all heard stories of Tibetans being shot by Chinese border patrols while trying to escape, so we had to sleep during the day and walk at night, which made it very hard to see clearly, especially when it was snowing,” Jamga said. “We could not see where we were going.”  The trip was a combination of hunger, extreme weather and the threat of being shot.  “One of the members in the group died since we had nothing to eat for a few days,” he said.”
    • Parade honors memory of Tibetans 1959 uprising – “More than 1,000 people — Taiwanese, Tibetans, Chinese, Americans, Europeans and Latin Americans — took to the streets of Taipei yesterday to commemorate the 51st anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising. Holding banners and signs with slogans like “self-determination for Tibet,” “stop cultural genocide in Tibet” and “Stop killing in Tibet,” the crowd departed from Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station in Taipei and marched to Taipei 101.”
  • On China:
    • China increases security in Tibet to prevent protests – “In Nepal, where the government has been forging closer ties with China, the police on Wednesday arrested 30 protesters who had been demonstrating in Katmandu, the capital, in support of the Tibetan cause. More than 12,000 Tibetans live in Nepal, many of them refugees who have fled Chinese rule.” – a clear example of China using its influence to restrict human rights even in other countries.
    • China jails Tibetan filmmaker for six years – “A Chinese court has jailed a Tibetan filmmaker for six years after he made a documentary in which ordinary Tibetans praised the Dalai Lama and complained about how their culture had been trampled upon, campaigners said.The film, Leaving Fear Behind, features a series of interviews with Tibetans who talk about how they still love their exiled spiritual leader and think the Beijing Olympics did little to improve their lives.”
    • China shows signs of neo-fascism – “One of the most peremptory signs of fascism is the state’s negation of individualism and the idea that citizens draw their identity and raison d’etre from the state. Evidence of this emerged earlier this week when Chinese Vice Sports Minister Yu ­Zaiqing (于再清) chided 18-year-old Olympic champion short track speedskater Zhou Yang (周洋) for thanking her parents — but not her country — after winning gold at the Vancouver Winter Games last month.  “It’s OK to thank your parents, but first you should thank the motherland. You should put the motherland first, not only thank your parents,” Yu told the Southern Metropolis Daily.”
    • Chinese editorials assail a government system – “But a few hours later, the editorials had largely vanished from the Internet, presumably erased by a government that is wary of abandoning a 50-year-old system that many critics say has fed the surging gap between China’s urban and rural population.”
    • Not surprisingly, this happened shortly afterward – Editor is fired after criticizing Chinese registration system – “On March 1, just days before China’s annual legislative sessions, Mr. Zhang’s newspaper and a dozen other Chinese publications published his editorial, asserting that the registration system unfairly restricts the right of Chinese citizens to seek a better life outside their hometowns. “We believe in people born to be free and people possessing the right to migrate freely,” the editorial proclaimed.  The editorial vanished from the Internet within hours, the victim of China’s censors, but not before it was picked up by foreign news outlets.”

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