Russia on Tuesday marked a half century since Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, the greatest victory of Soviet science which expanded human horizons and still remembered by Russians as their finest hour.
As Russian state television proudly broadcast archive footage of the smiling Gagarin touring the world after his exploit, President Dmitry Medvedev described the flight as a "revolutionary" event that changed the world.
At 0907 Moscow time on April 12, 1961 Gagarin uttered the famous words "Let's go" as the Vostok rocket, with him squeezed into a tiny capsule at the top, blasted off from the south of the Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.
After a voyage lasting just 108 minutes that granted the 27-year-old carpenter's son historical immortality, Gagarin ejected from his capsule and parachuted down into a field in the Saratov region of central Russia.
From that moment on, his life, and the course of modern space exploration, would never be the same again.
For the record, Chekov also didn't die. Came close but no paskha.
How De Gaulling! A faceless woman uses European values to support her right to be completely covered:
She's the face - or rather, the veil - of the French burka ban. A niqab-wearing Kenza Drider, 34, was arrested in Paris Monday, the first day a law came into force forbidding women from appearing in public with their faces covered.
"This law infringes my European rights. I cannot but defend them -that is to say, my freedom to come and go and my religious freedom," the voluntary worker and mother of four told reporters in Avignon before she boarded the train to the French capital.
Interestingly enough, this woman wouldn't even be interviewed in Saudi Arabia where apparel police would beat her for being uncovered. I suppose she has the right to be treated like cattle if she wishes but don't we have the responsibility to curb this vitamin D-depriving baggage? After all, common sense and decency would be the better determinants of choice of garb, not the emotional or cultural infancy of fanatical men (as one quick wit put it: "Of course they don't. No woman in history has ever been thrilled to show up somewhere to find that another woman is wearing the exact same outfit."). What are we saying when we allow one segment of society to subvert the law, custom and common sense because their tribal beliefs are deemed in their eyes to be superior in every way? Do we really support this in the interests of respect for other cultures or do we not expect some people to behave any better? Or perhaps we are too cowardly to defend the values that benefit us each day?
Why not take the argument in this direction: can I be served wearing a mask? Can I pass through a checkpoint or airport gate without having my identity verified? No. So why allow it for anyone else?
And now, some Iranian girl kicking some morality police @$$:
Moving on, Bolivia wants to be a smelly hippy country:
Bolivia will this month table a draft United Nations treaty giving "Mother Earth" the same rights as humans -having just passed a domestic law that does the same for bugs, trees and all other natural things in the South American country.
The bid aims to have the UN recognize the Earth as a living entity that humans have sought to "dominate and exploit" -to the point that the "well-being and existence of many beings" is now threatened.
The wording may yet evolve, but the general structure is meant to mirror Bolivia's Law of the Rights of Mother Earth, which Bolivian President Evo Morales enacted in January.
That document speaks of the country's natural resources as "blessings," and grants the Earth a series of specific rights that include rights to life, water and clean air; the right to repair livelihoods affected by human activities, and the right to be free from pollution.
It also establishes a Ministry of Mother Earth, and provides the planet with an ombudsman whose job is to hear nature's complaints as voiced by activist and other groups, including the state.
Let me know how that works out for you.
Mis-titled article should really read: "Chinese nuclear watchdog reassures citizens that the Fukushima crisis is no direct danger to them."
China nuclear watchdog says Japan crisis no Chernobyl
China's nuclear safety agency said radiation from Japan's leaking Fukushima Daiichi plant is no immediate threat to Chinese residents, playing down parallels with Chernobyl, the world's worst nuclear disaster.
Take this with a grain of salt as this is China.
A lawyer talking utter is still talking utter rot:
Canada's anti-polygamy law is akin to the long-abandoned criminal prohibition on homosexuality, fuelling social stigma while forcing people in honest, committed relationships to live in shame, says a lawyer arguing the law should be struck down.
George Macintosh says removing polygamy from the Criminal Code would have the same positive effect as the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1969.
"In this sense, (the anti-polygamy law) is precisely the same as the law against homosexual sex, which was struck down in Canada 42 years ago," Macintosh said Tuesday during his final arguments at a landmark B.C. court case.
Polygamy fell out fashion in many circles because it was more convenient and morally amenable to have one man and one woman legally and culturally bind themselves in a union beneficial to society. Throwing in the minuscule population who demand public acceptance or else really throws a wrench into the spokes.
It wasn't tectonic warming at all but a gigantic fish!