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Archive for June, 2012

Letter To Hitler: A German Woman’s Haunting Correspondence

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 25, 2012

Letters To Hitler

The following is an excerpt from “Letters to Hitler” [Polity, $25.00]:

For Christmas 1930, thirty-two-year-old Elsa Walter, from Karlsruhe in Baden, southwest Germany, sent Hitler a book. She had written and illustrated this clothbound book by hand. She had joined the Party on 1 November and was member number 358,061.

Elsa Walter was unmarried, her family belonged to the lower middle class and had lost its savings during the period of extreme inflation in the early 1920s. Walter had attended a grammar school for girls, was interested in politics, and apparently had extensive experience in housekeeping.

In this eighty-page text entitled “The German Woman,” she sought to tell Hitler what motivated her. At the same time she assumed that many women thought the way she did. Her letter is written in fluent and clear handwriting, and points to an energetic woman with strong feelings. Sometimes the depth of these feelings clearly interfered with her punctuation. In the interest of clarity some of these grammatical mistakes have been corrected in the following extracts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Peru’s Cocaine Production In Spotlight As Country Hosts Global Drug Conference

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 25, 2012

By FRANK BAJAK  AP Share on Google+

Peru Cocaine

Anti-narcotics police Director Walter Sanchez, left, holds a bag of seized cocaine with an unidentified official during a news conference showing an estimated 2,400 kilograms (5,300 pounds) of seized cocaine at the narcotics police base in Lima, Peru, Friday, May 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
LIMA, Peru — Peru’s struggle with a resurgent cocaine trade is in the spotlight as it hosts nearly 60 nations in conference on illicit drugs beginning Monday.

The Andean country’s cocaine production likely now exceeds Colombia’s, making it the world’s No. 1 source of the illicit drug, the United States and United Nations say.

President Ollanta Humala said when he took office a year ago that he’d make the drug war a priority, and his government announced an ambitious antinarcotics plan in March.

So far, though, the corrupting influence of drug money has badly weakened Peru’s law enforcement agencies and judiciary, consistently frustrating money-laundering and drug prosecutions, says the counter-narcotics chief in the attorney general’s office, Sonia Medina.

“There is a paralysis at the moment” she said last week, with honest, committed judges and prosecutors scant.

There is no shortage, meanwhile, of cocaine, which Peru supplies to neighbors including Brazil, the world’s No. 2 consumer after the United States, as well as a growing European market. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lonesome George Dead: Last-Of-His-Kind Galapagos Tortoise Dies At 100

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 25, 2012

Reuters  Share on Google+

Lonesome George Dead

In this July 21, 2008 file photo released by Galapagos National Park, a giant tortoise named “Lonesome George” is seen in the Galapagos islands, an archipelago off Ecuador’s Pacific coast. (AP Photo/Galapagos National Park, File)

* Giant tortoise, 100 years old, was a symbol of the Galapagos

* Galapagos park may decide to embalm his body

By Alexandra Valencia and Eduardo Garcia

QUITO, June 24 (Reuters) – Lonesome George, the last remaining tortoise of his kind and a conservation icon, died on Sunday of unknown causes, the Galapagos National Park said. He was thought to be about 100 years old. Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddha is Culture

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 24, 2012

By Lary Yang, Buddhist Meditation teacher HP


2012-06-15-GarrisonLGBTQ1550.jpg
By2012 LGBT retreat at Garrison Institute, Garrison, NY

Towards a Multicultural Buddhist Practice

The three “jewels” or the Three Refuges is one of the core elements of Buddhist spiritual practice connected to all Buddhist traditions. In this series, the Refuges of Buddha’s Teachings — the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha — are explored through the lens of culture and cultural experience. These Refuges were offered by the Buddha to create safety and sense of spiritual home so that each practitioner can be invited to relax into the present moment of one’s Life, to be able to explore what this Life is for us, and to cultivate the Life we really wish to live. Even the word “Refuge” has a connotation, a feeling, of a safe haven wherein to go. It is said that when we invoke the Refuges, as happens in the beginning of meditation retreats or practice sessions, there is always someone else in the world taking on the Refuges at exactly the same moment. Across cultures, the intentions to create peacefulness and safety in the world are that prevalent.

And the Buddha is about Culture.

The Buddha’s expression about Freedom and Awakening has always been about culture, about diversity, and about the infinite variations in human experience with all the 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows of this life. This remains a controversial issue within some Buddhist circles, including my home lineage of Buddhist practice. It may be different for other Buddhist traditions, but within communities of Vipassana or Insight Meditation, there is sometimes a predisposition to idealize the aspirations of spiritual practice, and to assume that the highest intention is to transcend the vicissitudes of this life, to somehow obviate the sorrows of this lifetime so that we only experience the pleasant, peaceful or sublime. I have heard dharma teachers bemoan conversations in diversity and culture, and say something like “Why do we dwell on our differences? The point of practice is to see our similarities.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Politico Suspends Reporter Joe Williams For Mitt Romney Comments (VIDEO)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 24, 2012

Joe Williams

Politico has suspended reporter Joe Williams following incendiary remarks he made about Mitt Romney on Thursday. He later said that he was “done” working for the organization.

Williams, Politico’s White House correspondent, appeared on MSNBC with Martin Bashir to discuss Romney’s stance on immigration. When asked why Romney has trouble connecting with Hispanic voters, Williams said that the candidate appears “very comfortable” around “white folks.” Watch his remarks at the 9:13 mark in the clip above.

Politico editors Jim VandeHei and John Harris called the statement “unacceptable” in a memo to staff. It “fell short of our standards for fairness and judgment in an especially unfortunate way,” they wrote.

Williams’ pointed remarks about the candidate on Twitter played a part in his suspension, as well. He made jokes about the infamous Seamus the dog story andAnn Romney’s “unzip him” remark. In one tweet, he wrote, “Jeeves knows my tastes” in response to Romney saying that there is nothing surprising he has had the occasion to eat.

Conservative websites flagged the MSNBC segment Thursday afternoon, andhighlighted Williams’ tweets shortly thereafter. Read the rest of this entry »

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सगरमाथा भारतमा : भारतीय राजदूत

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 24, 2012

नयाँ पत्रिका काठमाडौं, ८ असार
दक्षिण कोरियास्थित भारतीय राजदूत विष्णु प्रकाशले सगरमाथा भारतमा रहेको अभिव्यक्ति दिएपछि कूटनीतिक क्षेत्रमा हलचल भएको छ । उनले भारत र चीनको सिमानामा विश्वको सर्वोच्च शिखर सगरमाथा रहेको भन्दै अन्तर्वार्ता दिएपछि नेपाल सरकारले कडा प्रतिवाद गरेको छ ।

कोरिया टाइम्सलाई अन्तर्वार्ता दिँदै राजदूत विष्णु प्रकाशले सगरमाथाको चर्चा गरेका छन् । तर, नेपालको नामसमेत लिएका छैनन् । ‘भारतको उत्तरपूर्वी भाग चीनसँग जोडिएको सगरमाथा सुन्दर र आकर्षक छ,’ उनले भनेका छन् । त्यसैले कोरियाका पयर्टक भारत भ्रमण गर्नुपर्ने उनको तर्क छ । पत्रिकाले उनलाई भारत किन भ्रमणयोग्य छ भन्ने प्रश्न गरेको थियो ।

भारतीय राजदूतको उक्त अभिव्यक्तिप्रति आपत्ति जनाउँदै नेपाल सरकारले प्रतिवाद गरेको छ । ‘भारतीय राजदूत विष्णु प्रकाशको अभिव्यक्ति कुनै हालतमा हामीलाई मान्य हुँदैन । यो अभिव्यक्ति फिर्ता लिन कूटनीतिक च्यानलबाट हामीले आग्रह गरिसकेका छौ,’ परराष्ट्र मन्त्रालयका एक उच्च अधिकारीले नयाँ पत्रिकासित भने, ‘सगरमाथा भारतमा पर्ने खालका आसय दिने भारतीय कूटनीतिज्ञको अभिव्यक्तिको हामीले खण्डन गरिसकेका छौँ । यसबाट दक्षिण कोरियाबाट सगरमाथा चढ्न नेपाल आउने पर्यटकलाई बिच्काउने प्रयास सहज रूपमा बुझ्न सकिन्छ ।’  Read the rest of this entry »

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Rio Conference Speech by PM Dr. Bhattarai

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 23, 2012

Mr. Chairman,

Excellencies Presidents
Excellencies Prime Ministers
Mr. Secretary General of the United Nations
Distinguished Heads of the Delegation,
Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen!

It is a great pleasure and honour for me to extend the warmest greetings and best wishes on behalf of the Government and the people of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the land of Mt. Everest and the birthplace of the Gautam Buddha, to the Government and the people of Brazil for making this generational summit on sustainable development a success. Let me also express my gratitude to Her Excellency Madame Dilma Rousseff, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, for the warm welcome and generous hospitality accorded to me and my delegation ever since we arrived in this beautiful and historic city of Rio as well as for the exemplary leadership in steering this Conference.

Mr. Chairman,

Twenty years after the historic Earth Summit, we are meeting here in this beautiful city, to take stock of progress that we have made and the challenges that remain to be addressed in realizing the vital goals of sustainable development. This is an opportunity to all of us for a true reflection of our past actions and commitments for future. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Is Ecuador Julian Assange’s Choice for Asylum?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 20, 2012

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has appealed for asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. It’s a curious choice: under President Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s free speech record has been dismal.
Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

DAN KITWOOD / GETTY IMAGES

Julian Assange, the controversial Australian founder of Wikileaks, walked into Ecuador‘s London embassy on Tuesday to request political asylum. He may have picked just the right kind of government to accept him.

The South American country in April 2011 became the only one to officially expel a U.S. ambassador over the scandal generated by the thousands of leaked diplomatic cables. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa—a populist firebrand whose thin-skinned response to the stolen cables’ detailing police corruption in Ecuador prompted U.S. ambassador Heather Hodges’ dismissal—has faced global criticism over his track record on free speech and could see in Assange just the character to help him restore some of his tarnished credentials.

(READ: Out of Ecuador—a U.S. ambassador bites the Wiki-dust.)

The UK’s top court last week refused Assange’s final appeal against being sent to Sweden to face charges of rape and sexual harassment, which he claims are politically trumped up. “Death threats, economic boycott and the possibility of being handed over to the authorities of the United States by British, Swedish or Australian authorities have led me to seek asylum on Ecuadorean territory and protection to allow me to continue with my mission,” he said in a letter read to the media in Quito by Ricardo Patiño, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister. Assange says that he could face the death penalty in the U.S. for having published confidential government cables, along with thousands of Pentagon documents earlier. Patiño said that Ecuador hasn’t yet granted him asylum, but he may stay at the embassy until the Correa administration makes its decision. Last year, Quito fumed over the leaked cables, insisting their contents – which suggested that Correa had knowingly named an allegedly corrupt chief of police in order to be able to control him better – were completely untrue. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Globalism Is a Victory for You

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 20, 2012

By Deepak Chopra, Author, ‘Spiritual Solutions’; founder, The Chopra Foundation

It’s become commonplace to worry about China and its threat to the American economy. But everyone should stand back and realize that two billion people are rising up from poverty there. Throughout Asia the story is much the same as the dispossessed are getting a seat at the banquet table for the first time. It’s recorded that more has been done for world poverty in the past fifty years than in the previous five hundred, with much of that progress coming in the last twenty years.

Instead of resenting this trend, it should be celebrated as a victory for American values. Poverty is ending because of opportunity, progressive thinking and greater freedom, the very things that America stands for. Occasionally I hear a positive voice like Warren Buffett’s, who says that what’s good for China is good for the U.S. Ultimately, there will be a balancing out. The Chinese will have to take care of hundreds of millions of old people, no easy task with a policy of one child per family. Middle class incomes will mean greater consumerism, making China a country that imports goods from outside. But even if this balancing weren’t going to occur, the moral thing is to stop griping about the rise of impoverished nations like China and India.

We Americans sit at the head of the banquet table, as we have done for a century. Our standard of living is luxurious by any measure. It’s time to show generosity of spirit to the less fortunate. We use more energy per capita and produce more air pollutants than any other society (even if China is fast catching up in the latter category). We deal more arms to the world and instigate more wars. Yet the American ideal of peace continues to spread, with deaths from all forms of war, including terrorism, falling in the last decade by 20%, with a 75% decrease since the decades of the Cold War.

Fareed Zakaria is one of the few to bring this wider perspective to light. A few optimists won’t relieve American anxiety, but our growth and recovery, even since 2008, has been a success compared to the Great Depression, especially considering that bank losses and factory output fell more this time than in the Depression. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Respect Key to Creating Greatness?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 20, 2012

By Peter Baksa, Investigative Journalist/Entreprenuer/Author of ‘The Point of Power’

Wise actions flow naturally from the right principles. When respect directs our daily choices, all our interactions are in harmony with our greater good. Respect for ourselves, one another, and for life itself should be at our core lighting the path for us. Knowing this basic principle, wise actions and words flow naturally. Founders of the Myers-Briggs personality test suggest that no matter how much people differ in background or temperament, three basic qualities underlie any enduring relationship, and they are: understanding, appreciation, and respect. Buddhism teaches compassion for all living things, Confucianism upholds jen, “human heartedness,” respect for others as a foundation of all virtue.

Living respectfully is an essential leadership principle. I posit that respect is the key to personal power. Our real power as humans comes when we can relate to others from our hearts rather than from our brains. Our energies contract when we concentrate on ourselves and the way we look. (See my book, It’s None of My Business What You Think of Me.) Instead of self-consciously posing or performing, I suggest that one takes a “host” mentality, focusing on how to serve others. Instead of talking — listen, observe, and seek the spark of greatness in the person you are with. We inspire others by making that spark come alive.

We are flooded in the media with the stereotyped hero, often violent, flashy, tough, emotionally repressed and ultimately unreal. Real strength is strength of character. Real heroes combine courage and compassion living respectfully and transcending difficulty to create new possibilities, like bamboo, flexible yet strong. How can we be more gentle and kind — now this is true strength and the mark of a true hero. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Seeks Political Asylum to Avoid Extradition On Sex Charges

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 20, 2012

Julian Assange

Julian Assange is wanted in Sweden on sex charges

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London seeking political asylum, sources told the Press Association.

He walked into the embassy, in London’s Knightsbridge district, and asked for asylum under the United Nations Human Rights Declaration.

A man speaking from the embassy said over the telephone that Mr Assange had arrived at the embassy on Tuesday and was requesting political asylum.

Ecuador’s foreign minister Ricardo Patino also confirmed the Australian had taken refuge at its embassy and that the country’s government was weighing up the request.

A message was posted on the Wikileaks Twitter account, saying: “ALERT: Julian Assange has requested political asylum and is under the protection of the Ecuadorian embassy in London.”

A second read: “We will have more details on the Ecuadorian situation soon.” Read the rest of this entry »

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David Cameron Snubs Argentina President Over Falklands Letter

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 20, 2012

Cristina Fernandez De Kirchner

President de Kirchner tried to give David Cameron a letter over the Falklands

David Cameron has refused to accept a letter from the Argentinian president over the country’s claim to the Falkland Islands.

The prime minister spoke to Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner before the first session of the G20 summit on Tuesday, telling her that she should “respect the views” of the islanders who are holding a referendum on control.

Ms de Kirchner attempted to hand Mr Cameron a package marked “UN – Malvinas” but the Prime Minister refused to accept it.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Falklands conflict which resulted in a task force being sent to the south Atlantic to successfully reclaim the islands after the Argentinian military junta had invaded the British-held territory.

Britain has rejected calls made by Ms Kirchner to the UN decolonisation committee last week for direct talks to discuss the future of the disputed territory in the south Atlantic.

Downing Street aides said the Prime Minister sought out Ms Kirchner to make Britain’s position on the Falklands clear.

Mr Cameron said: “I am not proposing a full discussion now on the Falklands but I hope you have noted that they are holding a referendum and you should respect their views. Read the rest of this entry »

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Largest earthquake in three decades rocks Victoria

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 20, 2012

  • Erin Michael 
Melbourne earthquake

Source: Herald Sun

Quake 1

Items were shook off shelves at the Chemist Warehouse in Morwell, Victoria. Source:Supplied

A MAGNITUDE 5.3 earthquake shook homes, cracked windows and walls, and threw residents from their chairs.

Millions across Victoria felt the tremor, which had an epicentre 16km south-west of Moe, at theLatrobe Valley in Victoria’s east.

The quake struck at 8.53pm and lasted for 30 seconds, Geoscience Australia spokesman Chris Thompson said.

Up to four aftershocks have been felt surrounding the earthquakes epicentre in the La Trobe Valley in the states east, he said.

”We’ve had reports from central Melbourne and as far as right up the top of the state. Most people would have felt it,” Mr Thompson said.

 SES spokesman Lachlan Quick said 25 calls for assistance had been lodged to the emergency service for low-level damage.

“We’ve been called to residential properties with minor damage from Mt Martha to Preston; Morwell to Moe,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Giant Mushroom Cloud In Beijing (VIDEO) (PHOTOS)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 18, 2012

 

A mushroom-like cloud was spotted over Beijing earlier this week, closely resembling the explosion of an atomic bomb, reports China Daily.

Now, footage of the mysterious cloud has been released on YouTube. One shows raw video of the haze taken from what appears to be a high-rise building, while anothervideo is an edited version documenting the haze on June 14.

The yellow and green haze led Chinese authorities to advise residents to stay inside Monday, according to Agence France-Presse.

While rumors swarmed online about the cause of the unusual cloud, Chinese police arrested two internet users who said the pollution had been triggered by a chlorine leak at a chemical plant or an explosion at a steel refinery, notes The Economic Observer.

Meanwhile, government authorities told the Xinhua news agency straw burning was the cause and denied there had been any industrial accidents.

Air pollution is increasingly becoming a major problem in China, and the government is often accused of downplaying the severity of the problem in metropolitan areas.

Earlier this month, China demanded the U.S. Embassy in Beijing to stop publishing air pollution readings, saying it was against diplomatic conventions and the law.

Check out some photos of the mysterious mushroom cloud below.

giant mushroom cloud beijing

Read the rest of this entry »

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Baltic ‘UFO’: New dive, new details (PHOTOS)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 18, 2012

Image from vaghauk.deviantart.com

Image from vaghauk.deviantart.com

A “UFO-shaped” object, found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea last year, has puzzled many. And a Swedish expedition that plunged into the deep eventually surfaced with more questions than answers.

Covered in soot, with little “fireplace”-like structures and lying at the end of a 300-meter “runway” – this is not something you would expect to find sitting on the sea floor. And whatever you think about extraterrestrial life, “the thing” is still there and there has to be an explanation. So what could it be?

On June 19, 2011, a team of Swedish treasure hunters was exploring the bottom of the Baltic Sea with their sonars when they noticed a bizarre, disc-like structure at a depth of 90 meters. Back then, international experts failed to explain the sonar images. In 2012, after months of preparation, the Ocean X Team, as they call themselves, went back in order to unveil the mystery.

“We’ve heard lots of different kinds of explanations, from George Lucas’s spaceship – the Millennium Falcon – to ‘It’s some kind of plug to the inner world,’ like it should be hell down there or something,” The Daily Mail quoted one of the founders of the Ocean X Team, Peter Lindberg, as saying.

The Millennium Falcon, Star Wars ship
The Millennium Falcon, Star Wars ship Read the rest of this entry »

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