Global News, December 22, 2012

Presenting news from around the world…………

From Egypt……

Egyptians to Vote on Controversial Referendum

Expect the unrest that has gripped Egypt to continue, regardless of the outcome of today’s vote on the second of two very controversial referendums.  Egyptian feminists state that the new constitution is a disaster for the women of Egypt.  Opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood state that the new constitution gives far too much power to the current regime and basically creates an Islamic theocracy.   The first referendum passed by a very narrow margin.  The outcome of today’s vote is too close to predict.  It is nearly certain that the riots and civil unrest will continue no matter the outcome of today’s vote.


From India……

Rape victim taken off ventilator, all 6 accused arrested

This is a follow up to a story I reported earlier this week.  The victim of a horrific rape that has galvanized India continues to recover. 


As a result of horrific rape, Indian Parliament to Discuss Law and Order

India is a country that has long treated women as unequal citizens.  Women in India face discrimination in virtually every aspect of their lives.  Women are simply not seen as being equal to men.  This attitude has helped to create an environment in which violence against women is accepted as normal.  Victims of rape are rarely helped by the police and rapists are seldom charged with a crime.  As the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy is finally generating a national conversation regarding gun control, the brutal rape of a New Delhi woman is causing India to address the country’s treatment of women.  Hopefully, something good can actually come out of this insane crime.  Anyone wishing to read more about this situation can go here:    The Times of India



From North Korea……

North Korea Confirms Arrest of U.S. Citizen

I have not seen this story reported in American media outlets.  On November 3, 2012 a U.S. citizen, identified as Bae Jun-ho, was arrested inside of North Korea for committing crimes against the state.  Apparently, those crimes include possessing pictures of starving North Korean children begging for food.  Based on the story it appears he was operating a private tour company.  That seems a little ludicrous as North Korea is not a popular tourist destination.  I am speculating that he was probably trying assist North Koreans attempting to flee the country.  That is only my speculation and is not something stated by the South Korean newspaper. 


From Costa Rica……

Mayans Today Face Discrimination and Poverty

With all the attention that has recently been paid to the supposed Mayan prediction of the end of the world, this is a very timely article discussing the current living conditions of Mayans in Central America.  The current Mayan population is estimated at between 20 and 30 million people.  The modern day Mayans live primarily in Guatemala but are also found in Southern Mexico, El Salvador and a few other Central American countries.  The Mayans still speak their own native languages (not Spanish, which is of course an imported language) that the local governments do not recognize.  This is a very informative article which could have been written about nearly any indigenous group from around the globe.


From Ireland……

Christmas is a Night for Families Not Clubbing

Finally, an admonishment as well as a timely reminder from an Irish judge regarding the true meaning of Christmas.  Some bar owners were appealing a lower court’s decision that refused them a special license to open at midnight on Christmas.  The judge refused the appeals and questioned why anyone needed to go clubbing on Christmas.  I have attended many family gatherings in which I desperately needed a drink to help me keep the peace, however, I’m inclined to agree with the judge that one night a year should be exempt from ‘clubbing’. 





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excellent collection of stories...

poligirl's picture

it is going to be a long hard slog for Egypt, but i'm hopeful that the people in the end will win. it may not look like the revolutionary war, but that's what it is for them...

i don't buy the story about the tourism company either. i think it more likely we got busted. that's also why we aren't hearing it in the news here either. the PTB would really want to keep this quiet...

and man - one tough Irish judge there! i'm actually stunned. and what if you want to take you family to the pub on Christmas? what then? gawd knows my fam could have fun like that... ;D

awesome roundup sartoris!

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thanks, I thought this roundup had some veryinteresting stories

sartoris's picture

I imagine he would be overturned on appeal but I have to admit that I like the judge's thinking.  I meant to investigate the Korean story more but I got distracted by something shiny and forgot.  I'll try to dig out some more information on this story. 

I'm hoping that the Egyptians reject the 2nd referendum today.  If things heat up more I imagine the military will intervene again.  The Egyptian military stands to lose too much money if the government begins embracing theocratic rule.  A theocracy would be detrimental to the tourism trade that is essential to Egypt's economy.  

I highly recommend that everyone spend a few minutes reading about the situation in India.  This crime has hit a nerve and I think that real reforms are finally going to be implemented.

Thanks for reading!

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North Korea

type1error's picture

North Korea actually is a popular tourist destination because it is so weird. Americans are allowed to enter the country periodically and there are a number of tourist agencies which specialize in North Korean tourism. Some of them are based in Beijing, the only airport outside of North Korea with service to Pyongyang (I think).

When I visited South Korea, I visited Panmunjom, a village which sits on the border between the Koreas. There sits a building where the Military Armistice Commission meets so the two sides can discuss issues.


This middle building is where the two sides meet.


This picture was taken inside the building where the two sides meet. The center of the building falls on the border with entrances on either side. If you walk to the opposite side from the entrance, you are walking on North Korean territory.


This building in this photo is the administrative building on the northern side of the border. There is a tourist group on the left side of the balcony.


I was at first surprised to see so many white faces when I zoomed into the photo. What I had always heard was that most foreign visitors of North Korea were Chinese tourists. After doing some digging, I found that North Korea is also popular among Europeans.


This is a group of tourists on the North Korean side waiting to enter the meeting building as my group was leaving.


This is the North Korean propaganda village where the largest flag in the world is flown.

It's quite probable that this guy was on a legitimate tour. And I have a feeling that he was actually doing something inappropriate. Tourism is a source of hard currency for the North (it is the most expensive tourist destination in East Asia and the tours still fill up) and I suspect that the government doesn't want to scare off potential tourists right now.

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thanks for the excellent pictures

sartoris's picture

Wow, I had no idea.  Thank you for the excellent pictures and the information.  You should seriuosly consider sharing your experience with the community.  I know that I would find it very interesting.  Thanks!

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