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Archive for August, 2012

Secrets from the World’s Happiest Workplace

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 30, 2012

Icelanders are more than twice as happy as Americans. Here’s what your business can learn from them.
It’s a well-known fact that happy workers are more productive than miserable ones. Unfortunately, far from being happy, many workers (especially in the U.S.) are stressed to the breaking point.

How can managers create a work environment that generates happier (and therefore more productive) workers? One answer is to imitate Iceland.

Why Iceland? Turns out that Iceland is one of the happiest countries on earth. Almost three-quarters of Icelanders consider themselves “content,” as opposed to only a third of people living in North America.

And that’s pretty impressive when you consider that Iceland has some of the worst weather on the planet, is dark all day for half the year, has more-than-occasional volcanic eruptions, and experienced a financial meltdown far worse than the one in the U.S.

(MORE10 Smart Rules for Giving Negative Feedback)

With that in mind, here are four tips:

1. Create a Community

In U.S. businesses, success is frequently seen as a purely individual achievement, often at the expense of others. In Iceland, however, conditions are so challenging that there’s no surviving (much less thriving) without the help of those around you.

In Iceland, sure, you can achieve success, but only if you’re part of something greater than your little selfish self. Communities, and goals that are mutual rather than individual, make people feel more connected and therefore more happy.

2. Encourage Broad Interests

In the U.S., it’s considered unprofessional even to have a hobby, much less multiple interests. (“What? You’ve time for that?”) In Iceland, people are proud to publicly play multiple roles and talents. The mayor of the capital city, Reykjavik, for instance, is also known as an actor, a comedian, and a rock musician. Read the rest of this entry »

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Prehistoric Insects ‘Frozen’ In Amber Called World’s Oldest (PHOTOS)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 30, 2012


WASHINGTON — Scientists have found three well preserved ancient insects frozen in amber – and time – in what is Earth’s oldest bug trap.

The discoveries of amber-encased insects in Italy may sound like something out of “Jurassic Park” but these bugs are even older than that. They are about 230 million years old, which puts them in the Triassic time period, and about 100 million years older than what had been the previously known oldest critters trapped in fossilized tree resin, or amber.

Gooey tree resin is like sap but without water and can’t be diluted.

Researchers painstakingly examined 70,000 droplets of amber found in northeastern Italy. Stuck in them were two microscopic mites and much of one fly. The mites are too small to be seen with the naked eye and the fly is a tad tinier than a fruit fly, researchers say.

The discovery was reported Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

While older insects have been found in rock fossils, these are different because they are not compressed and better preserved, said study lead author David Grimaldi, curator of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. And you can see more detail, he said.

“”That’s the great thing about amber. You can make this incredible detailed comparison with living species.” Grimaldi said.

And when Grimaldi compared the ancient mites to their modern day descendants, he was surprised about how similar they are. Except for difference in the mouth and fewer legs, “they’re dead ringers for (modern) gall mites,” he said. The modern ones can be found in bubbles or galls on plant leaves. Read the rest of this entry »

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Vladimir Putin ‘galley slave’ lifestyle: palaces, planes and a $75,000 toilet

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 29, 2012

Critics’ report lists perks of being Russian president, including access to nearly two dozen official homes

  •  in Moscow
    Vladimir Putin surveys the scene from the back of a boat in Karelia, north-west Russia. A new report says the Russian president has overseen a phenomenal expansion in the awarding of presidential perks. Photograph: RIA Novosti/Reuters

    Vladimir Putin surveys the scene from the back of a boat in Karelia, north-west Russia. A new report says the Russian president has overseen a phenomenal expansion in the awarding of presidential perks. Photograph: RIA Novosti/Reuters

To hear Vladimir Putin tell it, he works like a “galley slave”, pouring blood, sweat and tears into toiling for the Russian people with little personal gain in return.

Yet according to a new report by some of his harshest critics, Putin may be the richest “slave” in the world, reaping official perks as the powerful leader of a country with a long history of enriching its omnipotent tsars.

Watches in white gold, yachts decked out in the plushest of drapery and at least one flying toilet worth $75,000 (£47,000) are among the presidential perks detailed by Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister turned Putin critic, and his co-author Leonid Martynyuk, a member of the opposition Solidarity movement, in a report released on Tuesday.

“Putin has led Russia for more than 12 years,” the authors write. “Losing popularity, Putin is maniacally clinging to power. It’s clear why.” It’s not just the “fear of losing his freedom, capital and property” or the influence of his inner circle, who have grown fantastically rich under his rule, they say. “One of the most serious reasons that forces Putin to hold on to power is the atmosphere of wealth and luxury to which he has become accustomed and which he does not want to give up.” Read the rest of this entry »

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New Ocean Scorecard Gives World a 60%

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 29, 2012


We live in a world obsessed with numbers – college rankings, baseball scores, exam results – and now we have one to tell us what’s happening to our oceans.

According to a study outlining the first results of the Ocean Health Index, recently founded by Conservation International and other organizations, the entire world’s oceans score 60 out of a hundred for their ability to deliver benefits to both nature and people. Individual country scores range from 36 to 86, with the U.S. chalking up a 63 and China following behind with a 53. A paltry 5 percent of countries hit the 70 point mark, while 32 percent lingered below 50. And, as might be expected, developed countries generally did better than developing countries, thanks to their more robust economies and greater capacity for environmental stewardship (though Poland and Singapore scored a relatively pitiful 42 and 48 respectively).

(MORE: Why Romney’s Energy Independence Pledge Is Half-Baked)

That’s a lot of numbers, but the science behind them is fascinating, largely because the architects of the Ocean Health Index have made huge efforts to account for the world’s astonishing complexity in their calculations. First of all, the index doesn’t simply lump together science-driven metrics of ocean health like water pH and carbon dioxide levels. Rather, it zones in on ten vital ways in which nature and humans rely on the seas, including biodiversity, food, tourism, and even “sense of place,” and then examines how well the oceans are able to deliver those things. To do this, the researchers assign a score to each of their ten measures for the oceans they examine, and find the index score based on the weighted sum of these individual scores. They make sure to include in their ratings the status of each measure as it stands right now as well as what it might be in the future based on a mathematical model. Read the rest of this entry »

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China’s Millennials: Get Rich or Save the Planet?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 28, 2012

One member of a rising generation wrestles with choices his parents never had to make
Getty Images

Hazy skies above a sprawling Shanghai due to pollution.

There is no serious doubt that the world is getting warmer and warmer, and there is no doubt either that many once-poor nations — especially ChinaIndia and Brazil — are getting richer and richer. Wealth is a very good thing, and every nation has a right to pursue it, but in the 21stcentury, that pursuit comes with a special moral burden that other industrial nations never faced.

Western Europe and the United States achieved their economic dominance on the back of a coal- and oil-powered industrial base, and when that infrastructure was just being built, policymakers had the luxury of being ignorant of the environmental consequences. The air in nineteenth century London and twentieth century Pittsburgh might have been filthy, but while that might have made people  cough a bit, it seemed to cause little other harm — especially measured against all of the good industry could do.

(PHOTOS: Beijing Tries To Clear the Air) Read the rest of this entry »

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दिल्लीबाट फर्केकाहरूका नाममा

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 27, 2012

कृष्णज्वाला देवकोटा

नेपालका राष्ट्रपतिले के गर्नुपर्छ भनेर दिल्लीमा सेमिनार हुन्छ र हाम्रा नेता गौरवका साथ ‘अतिथि’ बनेर जान्छन् । त्यही दिल्लीमा अखिलेश यादवले उत्तरप्रदेशमा के गर्नुपर्छ भनेरचाहिँ सेमिनार हुँदैन । कुनै पूर्वभारतीय राजदूत नेपालमा छँदा गरेको ठेक्कापट्टाको कमिसन उठाउन आउँछ र हाम्रा नेता त्यसलाई भेट्न तारे होटलका सुत्ने कोठामा पुग्छन् । दिल्लीमा उपेक्षित र दिक्क कुनै पनि पूर्वकूटनीतिज्ञलाई चाकडीको भोक जाग्यो भने त्यो सीधै काठमाडौं आए हुन्छ । त्यस्तालाई नेपालका राजनीतिज्ञको सधैँ न्यानो स्वागत छ ।

आकार, जनसंख्या, अर्थव्यवस्था, सैनिक क्षमता र अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय पहुँच सबै हिसाबले भारत दक्षिण एसियाको महाशक्ति हो । त्यसमाथि नेपालजस्तो एकढंगले भारतपरिवेष्ठित देशमा उसको दबाब र प्रभाव बुझिने कुरा हो । तर, त्यही दबाब र प्रभाव पनि कूटनीतिको नीलो
आवरणमा गर्न नसकिने होइन । तर, व्यवहार हेर्दा यस्तो लाग्छ, या भैयाहरूले पढेको डिप्लोमेसी बाँकी विश्वका लागि हो, नेपालका लागि होइन । या भारतमा नेपालका लागि डिप्लोमेसीको बेग्लै पाठ्यक्रम छ ।

नेपालका लागि भारतका पूर्वराजदूत राकेश सुद प्रधानमन्त्रीसँग औपचारिक भेट गर्न चप्पल र ट्रयाकसुटमा बालुवाटार पुग्थे । नेपाल सरकारसँग परामर्श नै नगरी वा सुरक्षा दिन सक्दैनौँ भन्दाभन्दै पनि जिल्लातिर हिँडिदिन्थे र अरू जिल्लाका सुरक्षाकर्मी घटाएर उनको सवारी चलाउन पथ्र्यो । अहिलेका राजदूतको व्यवहार त्यति अशिष्ट छैन, तर लैनचौरको कार्यशैली खासै फेरिएको छैन । त्यतिखेर विधायक रहेका रामकुमार शर्मालाई धम्क्याउने सुव्रत दासलाई स्वदेश फर्काएर जयन्तप्रसादले सकारात्मक सन्देश दिन सक्थे । त्यसो भएको भए पर्सामा उनका अर्का प्रतिनिधिले नेपाल टुक्रयाउन सुझाब दिने थिएनन् । सायद भारतीय कूटनीतिज्ञलाई नेपाल भन्ने देश नै बाटोको मादलजस्तो लाग्छ, जसलाई जसले जहाँ जतिखेर पनि बजाए हुन्छ ।

भारतले नेपाललाई उपनिवेश नठानेकै भए पनि नेपालका नेताले ठानिसकेका छन् । कसैलाई मिर्गौला बिगि्रदिएर दिल्ली जान सजिलो भएको छ । तिनको मिर्गौला हरेकपटक सरकार परिवर्तन हुनेवेलामा मात्र बल्झन्छ र दिल्ली जानुपर्छ । त्यो मिर्गौलाको उपचार राष्ट्रवादी कंग्रेसका डिपी त्रिपाठीदेखि अहिले राष्ट्रपति भएका प्रणव मुखर्जीसम्मले गर्छन् र बिरामी पात्र त्रिभुवन विमानस्थलमा ओर्लेर आफैँले आफैँलाई प्रधानमन्त्री घोषणा गर्छ । त्यसो गर्ने, त्यो सुन्ने र त्यो हेर्ने यो देशमा कसैलाई लाज लाग्दैन । Read the rest of this entry »

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Einstein on Science and Religion

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 25, 2012

[Einstein is not only the Greatest Scientist, but also Great saint. We should not hesitate to claim this from his writes up.]

The Meaning of Life

This excerpt is taken from Einstein’s book The World as I See It, p. 1. It is the first essay in the book, and the shortest as well

What is the meaning of human life, or of organic life altogether? To answer this question at all implies a religion. Is there any sense then, you ask, in putting it? I answer, the man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life.

Further Words on the Meaning of Life

The following excerpt is taken from Hoffman and Dukas, pp. 26 – 27.

This excerpt is a letter written by Einstein in response to a 19-year-old Rutger’s University student, who had written to Einstein of his despair at seeing no visible purpose to life and no help from religion. In responding to this poignant cry for help, Einstein offered no easy solace, and this very fact must have heartened the student and lightened the lonely burden of his doubts.

Einstein at 1933 Pacifist ConferenceHere is Einstein’s response. It was written in English and sent from Princeton on 3 December 1950, within days of receiving the letter: Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Mother Teresa Still Matters

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 25, 2012

How we remember a religious figure says a lot about ourselves
TIM GRAHAM / GETTY IMAGES Mother Teresa accompanied by children at her mission in Calcutta, Dec. 5, 1980.

TIM GRAHAM / GETTY IMAGES Mother Teresa accompanied by children at her mission in Calcutta, Dec. 5, 1980.

How do secular people remember a saint? As Mother Teresa‘s birthday on August 26th and the anniversary of her death on September 5th approach, I found myself thinking about this. I tried to imagine what I would know about the woman, 15 years gone, if I didn’t write about religion for a living. Probably that she was good to the poor. Short. A friend of Lady Di’s. I concluded that unless I were a pious Roman Catholic, I would know very little, which led me to consider the difference between the way the Roman Catholic church treats its deserving dead and the way society at large does.

(PHOTOS: For the Centenary of Mother Teresa’s Birth, a Trove of Rare Photos)

Here’s how her Church remembers a Teresa. The moment she dies, a clock starts ticking. After a year the Vatican commences an investigation into her possible sainthood. That process’s first step is to determine that — in life — she had exhibited qualities (“heroic virtue”) that Catholicism finds amazing and exemplary. Next the focus shifts to her post-life. In 2002, the Vatican validates as miraculous the disappearance of a tumor in a woman who prayed to Teresa in heaven, and consequently, 250,000 people flock to Rome to attend her “beatification” as the Blessed Teresa. There is anticipation of and perhaps some impatience about a second miracle — not yet identified — that will enable her to be canonized as a saint. There are hurdles and steps, disappointments and triumphs, through which Teresa’s afterlife becomes nearly as eventful as her pre-death. Year after year, believers are led through a dynamic process defining and testing her meaning to the church.

Now compare this to the way in which non-Catholics are remembering — or rather, rapidly forgetting — Mother Teresa. For the most part, Americans are the opposite of the kid in The Sixth Sense: we don’t see dead people. Actors and artists may live on through films or novels; athletes perhaps on videotape. Save for U.S. presidents and Martin Luther King, Jr., moral and political heroes quickly devolve into name-checks. It’s as if the more polarized and fragmented a society we become, the less agreement there is on who should be remembered. Read the rest of this entry »

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Photographer’s Son’s Cuteness Is Just Unbearable

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 25, 2012

Cute Piano Kid

Our hearts melted when we came across a photo of toddler Ethan and had to share with the world (you can thank us after you click through the gallery). We’ve had quite a few contenders that could be entered into a “most adorable baby ever”competition here on HuffPost Parents, but Ethan has a few advantages — chubby cheeks, hipster sweaters and a photographer dad, Dotun Ayodeji. Sometimes, when you’re that cute and your parent is a talented photographer, the “OMG” factor can be almost too much to handle. (More proof: Kayla, Kristin and Henry). Click through the slideshow below, say AWW for as long as you need, then let us know in the comments — who are the cute kids in your life?

 Cutest Kid in America? Read the rest of this entry »

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Reagan-Appointed Judge: Deregulation Movement Made ‘A Fundamental Mistake’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 25, 2012

Apparently the financial crisis was a big enough disaster to convince even some of the firmest deregulation advocates that they were wrong.

Federal judge Richard Posner said his one-time support for deregulating the financial industry was based on a “basic misunderstanding,” in an interview with Eliot Spitzer on Current TV. His about-face is all the more noteworthy because Posner was appointed by Ronald Reagan, the president known to advocate for leaving businesses alone.

“I was an advocate of the deregulation movement and I made — along with a lot of other smart people — a fundamental mistake, which is that deregulation works fine in industries which do not pervade the economy,” he said in the appearance on Spitzer’s “Viewpoint.” “The financial industry undergirded the entire economy and if it is made riskier by deregulation and collapses in widespread bankruptcies as what happened in 2008, the entire economy freezes because it runs on credit.”

Posner’s comments come at a time when regulators are struggling to implement some of the provisions of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, which attempts to place curbs on Wall Street. One example: After failing to put rules in place to rein in money market funds — which some critics blame in part for the financial collapse — the SEC and other regulators are scrambling to find another way to deal with them, according to The New York Times. Read the rest of this entry »

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Marius Borg Høiby, Norwegian Prince, Posts Instagram Photos, Potentially Puts Royal Family At Risk

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 25, 2012

The Huffington Post  |  By 

It’s the Rich Kids of Instagram, Norwegian Royals edition.

The 15-year-old son of Norway’s Crown Princess Mette-Marit has been sharing personal photos — 133 in all — of family holidays and other events on Instagram,potentially putting the royal family at risk, according to security blog Naked Security.

The teenager, Marius Borg Høiby, is the princess’ son from a prior relationship. The photos include GPS information that could reveal the location of the family.

According to the popular Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gangphotos taken on Marius’ phone through the popular mobile app have been available online. The photos have since been taken down.

“This has major significance for the security around the royals,” said Petter Gottschalk, a professor at the business school Handelshøyskolen BI, in an interview with both VG and Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Wednesday. “This is a security scandal, and I’m surprised that this could be so open. The royal staff and the royal police escorts should have been aware of this.”

The royal couple took the significant step of writing a letter to the paper, criticizing editors for a “speculative” story that overstated the danger.

“We react strongly that you are exposing our child in this manner. For us, it’s very important to shield our children against an undsciplined public spotlight because we believe it can be a heavy burden and damaging. All children have a right to be protected against that,” the princess and husband Crown Prince Haakon wrote. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jury Awards $1 Billion to Apple in Samsung Patent Case

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 25, 2012

Jury Awards $1 Billion to Apple in Samsung Patent Case

Jo Yong-Hak/Reuters      A Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone, left, and an Apple iPhone 4.


A jury awarded Apple more than $1 billion in damages on Friday after finding that Samsung infringed a series of its patents on smartphones and tablet computers.

After just three days of deliberations, far fewer than were expected in such a complex case, a nine-person jury sided with Apple on most of its allegations against Samsung. These included allegations that various Samsung products violated Apple patents covering the “bounce back” effect when a user scrolls to the end of a list, and the pinch-to-zoom gesture that users make when they want to magnify an image on their screens. Samsung was also found to have infringed Apple patents covering the physical design of the iPhone.

The jury added some sting to the verdict by finding in favor of Apple across the board in a countersuit by Samsung. The jury awarded Samsung, which had asked for more than $422 million from Apple for allegedly violating its patents, no damages.

While Apple received far less than the $2.5 billion it had asked for in the trial, lawyers said there was little question which side won. “This is a huge victory for Apple,” said Mark Lemley, a law professor at Stanford University. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mitt Romney Makes Birth Certificate Joke

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 25, 2012

Comment: Birth certificate issue could not be relevant and strong point in this presidency war. There are lots of important issues from national and global point of views. If this is relevant, action must betaken against Obama.

Mitt Romney made a joke about his birth certificate at a rally in Commerce, Mich. on Friday.

Speaking about his Michigan roots, he said, “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.”

The joke was received with hearty applause by the audience. Still, it was awkward for Romney to play on the birther conspiracies that have plagued Barack Obama since he ran for president in 2008 and persisted even after he released his “long-form” birth certificate in 2011.

The Obama campaign quickly responded, with spokesman Ben LaBolt saying that Romney was embracing the most extreme elements in the conservative movement.

“Throughout this campaign, Governor Romney has embraced the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them,” he said. “It’s one thing to give the stage in Tampa to Donald Trump, Sheriff Arpaio, and Kris Kobach. But Governor Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Vishwakarma stars as Nepal and Zimbabwe win

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 25, 2012


The Nepal spinner Rahul Vishwakarma recorded the best bowling figures of the tournament when he finished with a remarkable 6 for 3 from 6.2 overs at the Peter Burge Oval in Brisbane. His efforts set up a comprehensive six-wicket win for Nepal over Papua New Guinea in their 13th place play-off, as Papua New Guinea were skittled for 89 having chosen to bat. Vishwakarma, who bowls left-arm orthodox, demolished the middle order and then capped off his performance by completing a run-out to end the innings in the 34th over, leaving Nepal with a simple chase on their hands.

Three wickets from Albert Geita wasn’t enough for Papua New Guinea, who could do nothing to stop Nepal from cruising to their target with more than 30 overs to spare. Naresh Budayair top scored with 27 as Nepal finished on 90 for 4, and Vishwakarma ended the day as the tournament’s second leading wicket taker behind England’s Reece Topley.

Zimbabwe proved too strong for Namibia in their 15th place play-off at the WEP Harris Oval in Brisbane, where half-centuries to Ryan Burl and Matthew Bentley set up a 70-run victory for Zimbabwe. Having chosen to bat, Zimbabwe were in trouble at 10 for 2 as Jason Davidson (3 for 26) removed both the openers, before Bentley and Kevin Kasuza (33) resurrected the innings. They put on 62 for the third wicket before Kasuza departed and Bentley, the Zimbabwe captain, combined with Burl for a 113-run fourth-wicket stand. Bentley made 67 and Burl scored 78, and while the contributions from the Zimbabwe lower order fell away significantly, they had done enough to reach 236 for 9.

Namibia struggled to recover from a wobbly start to their chase as they stumbled to 49 for 4 in the 15th over. Gerhard Erasmus (32) did what he could to put the chase back on track but Luke Jongwe and Peacemore Zimwa picked up three wickets each as Namibia struggled for traction. Jongwe grabbed the final wicket in the 41st over, with Namibia on 166, still 71 runs short of their target. Read the rest of this entry »

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Defending Assange, Ecuador’s President Kindles a Controversy over Defining Rape

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 24, 2012

The decision to help keep Assange out of Sweden shines light on Latin America’s problematic attitude toward rape
image: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange prepares to speak from the balcony of Ecuador's embassy, where he is taking refuge in London Aug. 19, 2012.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prepares to speak from the balcony of Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he is taking refuge, on Aug. 19, 2012

This isn’t exactly International Male Sensitivity Week. First we had Missouri Congressman and Dark Ages darling Todd Akin sparking a global firestorm of criticism, and calls from his own Republican Party that he drop his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, by suggesting that “legitimate” female rape victims rarely get pregnant. Akin later apologized and said he meant to say “forcible” rape — but that still betrayed the backwardly narrow definition of rape that Akin and so many other anti–abortion rights conservatives hold.

Now we have Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, who last week granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, reminding us just how at home Akin would likely feel in Latin America, even in countries run by leftists like Correa. Talking to reporters on Wednesday in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Correa noted with a disturbingly matter-of-fact air that the sexual assault two women in Sweden accuse Assange of committing against them in 2010 “would not be considered in any case a felony in Latin America.” Read the rest of this entry »

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