The Taliban agreed Tuesday to release 19 South Korean church volunteers held captive in Afghanistan since mid-July, the South Korean government announced, signaling an end to a wrenching hostage crisis that had gripped the country for almost six weeks.
“Together with the families of the hostages and with all South Korean people, we welcome the agreement to release 19 South Koreans,” said Cheon Ho-seon, a spokesman for President Roh Moo-hyun. Mr. Roh, who steps down in February, has been under intense domestic pressure to win the safe return of the hostages, most of them women in their 20s and 30s.
In Afghanistan, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, said all 19 hostages would be released over the next several days. “We will release them in groups,” he said Tuesday.
Mr. Cheon said that in return for their release, South Korea had agreed to keep to its earlier plan to withdraw its 200 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, and to stop all evangelical activities by Christian groups from South Korea in Afghanistan.
Just look at the Taliban’s faces of the photo in the link above: a smile on those faces is a blow to all people who sustain and support democracy, freedom and Human Rights for Afghanistan.
Never mind that they don’t even allow street signs with the little symbolic walk or don’t walk figures with heads on them, here’s a video/photo show of the pretty boys of the Taliban. Black eye-liner and hand-holding and pretty long hair are evident in the photos, although homosexual behavior is strictly banned. The Taliban actually turn young boys into sex slaves. Here’s an excerpt from an article on that from Jamie Glazov from FrontPageMagazine.com:
But there is a curious rule that the Western media has typically ignored. Rule No. 19 instructs that Taliban fighters must not take young boys without facial hair into their private quarters.
[...] Rule No. 19 obviously indicates that the sexual abuse of young boys is a prevalent and institutionalized phenomenon among the Taliban and that, for one reason or another, its widespread practice has become a problem.
The fact that Taliban militants’ spare time involves sodomizing young boys should by no means be any kind of surprise or eyebrow raiser. That a mass pathology such as this occurs in a culture which demonizes the female and her sexuality — and puts her out of mind and sight — is only to be expected. To be sure, it is a simple given that the religious male fanatic who flies into a violent rage even at the thought of an exposed woman’s ankle will also be, in some other dysfunctional and dark secret compartment of his fractured life, the person who leads some poor helpless young boy into his private chambers.It is no surprise that John Racy, a psychiatrist with much experience in Arab societies, has noted that homosexuality is “extremely common” in many parts of the Arab world.  Indeed, even though homosexuality is officially despised in this culture and strictly prohibited and punishable by imprisonment, incarceration and/or death, having sex with boys or effeminate men is actually a social norm. Males serve as available substitutes for unavailable women. The key is this: the male who does the penetrating is not considered to be homosexual or emasculated any more than if he were to have sex with his wife, while the male who is penetrated is emasculated. The boy, however, is not considered to be emasculated since he is not yet considered to be a man. A man who has sex with boys is simply doing what many men (especially unmarried ones) do.  And this reality is connected to the fact that, as scholar Bruce Dunne has demonstrated, sex in Islamic-Arab societies is not about mutuality between partners, but about the adult male’s achievement of pleasure through violent domination. 
Hypocrisy… hmm, a word these men have not known about…, eh???
Related news: Talibans release a video of a 16-year-old boy beheading one of the kidnapped Pakistani soldiers. h/t NMJ. When they are not useful for having sex with them, let’s teach them how to behead, isn’t it?
Officially, frankly, I don’t know where we stand now, about the supposed “peace process” with ETA. Apparently, the Government just broke it off, but there are reports that confirm that the conversations never ended, only were just called officially off:
According to sources reached by Hispanidad, the Government would agree to offer a referendum of autodetermination in two years, in the next political term after 2008 elections. Before, that should be preceded by a process of negotiation (another one or just the same?). To go where? (important question: before beginning a walk you must know your destination…). To the Ibarreche planning (uff, the same one which was rejected by Spanish Parliament two years ago…). On the other hand, the pro-ETA supporters are clinging to their project of autodetermination which would include 4 provinces, as it was pointed by Otegi last February. That is, an extended autonomy (more autonomy? You’re kidding… Just make a comparison of the competences that NOW has the Basque Country with any other Autonomous Region and then tell me about…), but including Navarra.
But as Navarra has not agreed with it, ETA terrorists are worried. But the Government has continued with the negotiations, although they have not obtained the desired result. So ETA has decided to stop and give a great punch: the terrorist attack against the house-police station of the Civil Guard. Fortunately without any victims, even when its directors underlines that “they wanted to kill us“. A thesis also named by Vice-President De la Vega. Anyway, what really puzzles about this statement, is that the car was situated at a very great distance from the building.
Something absolutely amazing but true here, is that the Minister of Justice considers that the Spanish citizens don’t have any kind of right to know about the contents of negotiations. As the Spanish MSM are as good and accurate as in every other part of the world, there is not a lot of real information except to say how well the Government is doing everything. There are always exceptions, though, as we have seen.
Another car-bomb exploded in Les Coves de Vinromá (Autonomous Community of Valencia). :
ETA terrorists who exploded the van bomb -with 150 kgs of explosive- in Les Coves de Vinromá could have caused the lack of electricity to Castellón and Valencia, because the high-tension tower that gives electricity to these two provinces from the nuclear power plant in Vandellós is situated just 30 meters away from the place where the two ETA terrorists exploded the charges which they pretended to use in Valencia. More or less, three million people could have been affected by the lack of electricity. Yesterday, the experts from the Civil Guard finished to collect all the proofs, elements which could be used to discover what was the kind of explosive which they were transporting in a new operative phase, which aims at a new long-term and bloody offensive.
Experts in anti-terrorism fight, while pointing out that ETA has a full capacity to kill -it has now a hundred “activists” in its “ranks”-, also advise to be cautious because these “activists” do not receive a lot of training courses. They consider that if they would have been trained, they would have exploded the Mercedes Vito in the high tension tower.
So the question is: if they were so tracked down, how could they possibly cross all Spain without no one stopping them?
And the next question is: in both attacks, the car-bomb was placed very far from the supposedly correct target. Ergo, why are they not targeting people? Is there any profound reason for that? Are they just frightening every citizen to get what they want? And what is the Government’s position in all of this?
I feel like if someone is permanently laughing at us…
The Mercedes Vito had been stoled from a married couple, who were kidnapped with their 4-year-old boy by 5 ETA terrorists. They were released after the explosion after being held for 72 hours. Magnificent, eh???
Jim Carrey speaks in support of Aung Sang Suu Kyi:
Whatever you think of his acting, I really believe that raising awareness about what is going on in Burma, is a real good movement.
[Yeah, I know, the set is a little New Age or flower power but as the message is good, I really do not care about the set ].
Idiot news of the century (I really believe it and consider that every day news give us a lot of possibilities):
French author Corinne Maier has written a book called No Kid: 40 Reasons Not to Have Children
“The child has become so vested with importance, such a huge burden requiring so many changes to one’s way of life that having one has become inhumane, so my advice to people is don’t have any,” says Maier.
I really believe there is little comment needed. After reading this, I just doubt that the human beings can be considered as “rational” anymore.
You also introduce changes to yourself along your life. Just commit suicide and save us of your stupidity. My goodness!
When I was a little girl, I asked why the people died. Of course, no one answered me in a very logical and understandable way, so I begun to think about it. I reached a conclusion: the cause of death was that your brains had got totally tired of hearing and reading stupid things.
Conclusion: I am going to stop reading the news, just in case…
Russian police is worried – and it is reasonable to be worried-:
There is no suggestion that any of the organizations are directly involved in violent crime, but they do promote ideas that feed violence, Kozhevnikova says.
Some of the groups espouse anti-Semitism; many are overtly racist and xenophobic. There are also hundreds of so-called skinhead gangs. Police investigations have found skinheads to be behind the frequent attacks on people with dark skin on the streets of Russian cities.
They may be at the extreme end of the spectrum, but the mainstream shares some of their views. A recent survey carried out by the Levada Center, which monitors public opinion, found that 55 percent of Russians agreed with the statement “Russia should be for Russians,” while 20 percent of young people did not consider the activities of skinhead or neo-Nazi groups to be dangerous.
Kozhevnikova cites a number of reasons for the growing nationalist mood among Russians. “The peak of this xenophobic mood on a domestic level was fixed by sociologists in 2005; [this] domestic xenophobia was first blamed on poor social conditions and then on conflicts,” she says.
“There’s no doubt that the war in Chechnya played a role – the second Chechen war. It was taken as being a war of Russians against Chechens, Orthodox against Muslims. Of course, that played a very big role,” Kozhevnikova adds.
Part of the problem, Kozhevnikova says, is that many nationalist organizations are starting to promote themselves as civil movements, whose aim is to improve social conditions.
Aleksandr Belov, the spokesman for the Movement Against Illegal Immigration, says the group’s goals are “to put a stop to the number of illegal immigrants moving to Russia and to repatriate people with Russian roots living outside the country.”
“We’re a democratic movement made up of people who have their own opinions and who want to live freely in their own country. They want laws to be obeyed. You could call ussocial democrats,” Belov says.
It is worth underlining that Putin has been a supporter of Iranian regime, with which has agreed about nuclear plants as we already know. Then the Orthodox Church’s Patriarch, Alexei II, said (link in Spanish) that Orthodox Christians and Muslims should unite to prevent the existence of a one-polar world, to the Iranian parliament speaker Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel when the latter visited Moscow.
And Putin has also stated: “Russia has always been the most faithful, reliable and consistent defender of the interests of the Islamic world,” he told Chechen lawmakers, to applause. “Russia has always been the best and most reliable partner and ally.”
This is a proof of what I have been saying: if the Governments are silly and do not act within the law to stop a sector’s radicalization, the rest of the society will also create (and follow and obey) their own radicals. We are going to a polarization of the societies which is very dangerous, because that only implies that the law of the strongest is going to be imposed on the weak. If Governments do not respect the law, and the citizens do not compel and oblige them to be compelled by it (that is what democracy is about), the results will be a return to darker times.
I remember when I began blogging nearly two years back, as a result of Paris Nov 2005′s riots. Pastorius was then very worried about the consequences that a lack of action against Islamic terrorism and fundamentalism could have in and for Europe. I was also but for different reasons: Pastorius thought back then that European future was Islamic or Fascist; mine was just that this kind of news did not have any publicity, they were just buried. I have been seeing a progression here in two directions. The first is that most people now know about the danger and understand the nature of it. The second is that, while politicians do not act against it, the public is divided: while some don’t really how to act, others are beginning to get nervous and to demand courses of action which are a little surprising, desperate and possibly, at his moment, totally unnecessary.
But, just let time elapses with the present situation. We can be in the dawn of a new (and not very pleasant) era. Hope I’m not right, though.
Arson has been widely blamed. Six people have been charged with deliberately setting fires. Arson suspects are rarely convicted. Where cases are proven, the motives are typically profit, revenge against neighbors, or the clearing of pastures by shepherds.
As much as 469,000 acres were laid waste between Friday and Tuesday alone — 10 times the annual average for the past 50 years, according to the European Commission’s European Forest Fire Information System, or EFFIS. A total of679,000 acres — an area almost the size of Rhode Island — has gone up in smoke since the start of the year.
“There are still some fires burning, but definitely the speed of increase of the fire front in the areas burnt is much, much smaller than in the first three days, which was very, very fast mainly due to the strong winds,” EFFIS researcher Paulo Barbosa said.
“The conditions are better and I think in the next few days the situation will be under control,” he told The Associated Press.
Some say it was the worst catastrophe since a Turkish army ravaged the Peloponnese in 1825, during the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire.
Apart from the blow to the Peloponnese’s fragile ecosystems, Greenpeace Greece director Nikos Haralambidis warned that mountain populations could end up as internally displaced “environmental refugees.”
“There will be several thousand people faced with the choice of staying in a burnt land or moving to the cities,” he said. “Their main source of income was olive oil production … and new olive saplings need at least 15 years to produce a decent crop.”
[...] The fires are dominating political debate before the elections. Criticism that the government failed to respond quickly enough — and its suggestions the fires resulted from an organized attack — could hurt Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
By the way, the Pope has condemned both the Greek and the Italian arsonists. In Italy four people have been killed last week when a wildfire consumed a hotel where they were staying, near Messina. Two shepherds have been detained as the culprits.
Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardozo warned Venezuelans this week that the constitutional reforms proposed by President Hugo Chavez are leading the country towards a dictatorship similar to the Castro regime in Cuba or the Pinochet regime in Chile.
The archbishop recalled that democracy is based on the balance of powers and that many of the reforms proposed by Chavez are inspired by Communism. What is even more dangerous, he said, is that the proposals would make Chavez another Pinochet or Castro, “who are not the models of democratic virtues.”
If you want to laugh and understand Spanish, you should read this. An excerpt:
My admired Chávez: Bolívar was of an Spanish Imperialistic origin. He had no aboriginal blood. He does not merit to give his name to an emancipated native people. He only created a new criollo regime (NOTE -thanks Kate-: criollo is the Spanish word for the people whose parents were born on the Iberian Peninsula but who were born in South America, while mestizo were the descendants from both Indians and Spanish in South America ). The country shouldn’t also be called Venezuela, which comes from Little Venice, as Américo Vespuccio named it following Spanish orders.
Venezuela was a prosperous conventional democracy, but it had a lot of corruption. Now there is more corruption, true, but there is also another thing which compensates it: an Anti-system Revolution.
Fortunately, you are the most important thing, you, who, full of revolutionary spirit, gave a coup d’état in 1992. It went wrong, but afterwards you were victorious in the elections. Just the same as another exemplary nationalist and socialist: Adolf Hitler.
Paolo writes: Ahmadinejad is centered in achieving a force, specially in Ortega’s Nicaragua, to counter-measure all the US force, in the case of an air attack against nuclear laboratories and Iranian missiles’ positions. Considering that Sarkozy has menaced Iran with action, this is necessary to prevent any change in the Iranian surroundings (which are mainly, and besides South America, Moscow and Pekin).
In Africa, there is still the belief that, if a grown-up man who has been infected by AIDS, maintains sexual relationships with a girl under 15, he is going to be cured. If he is not cured, the treatment is repeated. This is how most girls are becoming infected with AIDS. Psycologists also say that these girls normally adopt promiscuous sexual behaviour or end working as prostitutes.
In spite of the brutality of the practice and of the negative consequences, it’s complicated to measure the importance of this practice, as “men do not want to be identified (the cowards…) and the victims fear the shame, they prefer to be silent on the matter. Anyway, African newspapers often report about this practice“. “The consequences of them are normally the stigma and the discrimination“, according to Félix Fuentenebro, director of Medicus Mundi, underlining that the poverty is the culprit of a lot of insane habits.
“Poverty also means the survival of several negative cultural practices, as the one that obliges to inherite the dead brother’s wife. In a lot of places, when a man dies, the older brother inherites his wife. If the dead was infected by AIDS or died as a result, it’s probable that his wife is also infected with the virus, and so, her new husband and his other wife or wifes, could also be infected“.
We get the picture…
BETHLEHEM Mayor Victor Batarseh yesterday attacked Israel and angered members of Australia’s Jewish community within hours of arriving in Sydney – just as Australian immigration officials in the Middle East warned would occur if he was granted a visa.
Dr Batarseh told The Australian Israel’s construction of a security wall was about grabbing Palestinian land, not stopping suicide bombers. “If you want peace, you build bridges of love and understanding between people, you don’t build walls of hatred,” he said.
Just see the photo in the link above. And then read this, from Chiesa OnLine:
The mayor of Bethlehem is still a Christian, as always. Eight out of the fifteen seats on the city council are still reserved for Christians. But in the latest municipal elections, which took place in May of 2005, a coalition with crucial support from the Muslims of Hamas emerged victorious.
The leader of the Hamas contingent in the municipal council of Bethlehem, Hassam El-Masalmeh, exalts the suicide attacks against the Jews, and asserts that these will continue until all of Palestine, including the territory of Israel, is under Palestinian control.
But mayor Victor Batarseh, a practicing Catholic, condemns the terrorist attacks and wants Hamas to stop carrying them out. He says that he is ready for a territorial compromise with Israel in order to bring about a true Palestinian state. But even before the latest municipal elections, he chose Hamas as his main ally, together with another extremist group called Islamic Jihad.
A magnificent and very coherent Catholic. Uaghhhh!
But there is another affair (no pun intended) which has really reached the French headlines:
A French gossip magazine has been ordered to pay €15,000 damages to the lover of France’s Socialist Party leader François Hollande.
A court ruled that the images Closer published of M. Hollande frolicking on a Moroccan beach with journalist Valérie Trierweiler were a breach of her privacy. Mme Trierweiler hit the headlines in June when Hollande’s long-term partner Ségolène Royal booted him out of their family home for his affair with the reporter.
The photos of the alleged “intimacy violated” are here. I really do not see any intimacy as they were in the beach and both of them are public figures… if you don’t want to be pictured, stay inside. And if not, you are risking that they take your pictures…
Stand-up Sean Meo has been prevented from performing in Du-bai after upsetting Mus-lims.
Protest forces comic from Du-bai gig
Police had been alerted to jokes he cracked about the Kor-an and the Ar-ab language in an attempt to stop him entering the country for a show tomorrow night.
Fearing the local press would whip up a frenzy of protest against Meo, his agent and the organisers of the gig decided it would be safer if he didn’t perform.
Meo’s agent said: ‘It was a mutual decision between us. There was a small but still unacceptable risk to his safety.’
We, here in the West..well ya see..We don’t get our panties into a bunch so quickly and um…….we actually believe in laughter.
Especially our ability to laugh at ourselves at times.
Needless to say, this takes self esteem and inner strength. (hint hint)
About laughter in Islam, you can also read this post by Debbie.
Yesterday, I wrote about illegal immigration in Spain and the misunderstanding between Spanish PM Zapatero and French PM Fillon about the massive regularization. Well, it looks like that Fillon has phoned Zapatero to calm him down and to tell him that he understands truly well why he had to do it.