Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mid-Week Post

Just in time for the middle of the week...

An earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale has killed at least one hundred and fifty-nine people in Italy:

At least 159 people have been killed and dozens more are missing after a powerful earthquake struck central Italy, reducing ancient towns to rubble.

The European Mediterranean Seismological Centre said the epicentre was northeast of Rome, near Norcia in Umbria, while the US Geological Survey (USGS) put the magnitude at 6.2.

"It was so strong. It seemed the bed was walking across the room by itself with us on it," said Lina Mercantini, of Cesalli, Umbria.

As dawn broke, emergency services and residents were scrambling to rescue people trapped under the ruins of razed old buildings, digging with shovels, bulldozers and even their bare hands to reach survivors.

Dazed and frightened families - some in tears - could be seen huddling in the streets, wrapped in blankets.

Voices could be heard from under the rubble.

Rescuers pulled an eight-year-old girl alive from the earthquake rubble on Wednesday evening.
Several people were reportedly killed in Pescara del Tronto, in the Marche region, to the east of the quake epicentre.

Seventy-five-year-old Rocco Girardi was brought out alive from the carnage in Arquata del Tronto.
Aleandro Petrucci, the village's mayor, said Pescara was one of "two or three hamlets that have just completely disintegrated".

A family of four, including two children, were confirmed dead in the commune of Accumoli.
"Now that daylight has come, we see that the situation is even more dreadful than we feared," said its mayor, Stefano Petrucci.

Sergio Perozzi, mayor of Amatrice, a picturesque town in northern Lazio turned to ruins by the quake, said buildings had collapsed and lights had gone out.

"The town isn't here anymore," he said. "There are voices under the rubble, we have to save the people there."

An earthquake has also struck central Burma:

The quake struck 25km (15.5 miles) west of Chauk, at a depth of 84km, the US Geological Survey said.

Tremors were felt as far away as Thailand, Bangladesh and India, sending fearful residents into the streets.

At least 66 stupas in Bagan have been damaged, a spokesman from the department of archaeology told the BBC.

A 22-year-old man was killed in the town of Pakokku due to a building collapse.

Visit the Fur. You know you want to.

Walk the walk, Duterte:

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to "separate" from the UN after it criticised his war on drugs as a crime under international law.

Mr Duterte said he might ask China and African nations to form another body. He also accused the UN of failing on terrorism, hunger and ending conflicts.

Oh, that's smart and by smart, I mean Duterte must be mad:

"About a third of the heroin produced in Afghanistan is transported to Europe via the Balkan route, while a quarter is trafficked north to Central Asia and the Russian Federation along the northern route," the UNODC says. "Afghan heroin is also increasingly meeting a rapidly growing share of Asian demand. Approximately 15-20 metric tons are estimated to be trafficked to China, while a further 35 metric tons are trafficked to other South and Southeast Asian countries."

One recent development has seen more Afghan heroin — an estimated 35 metric tons per year — shipped across the Indian Ocean to parts of East and Southern Africa. The UNODC said it's also becoming more common for heroin smugglers to use their networks to smuggle hashish, methamphetamine, and other illicit goods.

Entitled to his entitlements:

The flight manifest for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Christmas vacation to the Caribbean, released to the Conservatives through an access to information request, was redacted to leave off the names of family members and a nanny who travelled on the government-owned Challenger jet.

But... but... transparency!

One of these things is not like the other:

As a parent, I am MORTIFIED that my daughter was subjected to such appalling messaging at the hands of those entrusted to care for her,” Catherine Manning, a parent of a Kambrya College student, wrote in a Facebook post. “They feel judged and victimized by school staff, like all eyes are on them, and they don’t feel comfortable around their male peers. They feel their school has sexualized and demonized them, and compounded the problem by sending a strong message that it is them, the girls, who are responsible for the boys’ behavior, and that the boys are the victims here.”


The hashtag started trending after photographs emerged on 23 August showing French policemen armed with batons and pepper spray confronting a veiled middle-aged woman on the beach in Nice and ordering her to strip off as part of a controversial ban on the burkini. In another, the police seem to watch as she removes a blue long-sleeved tunic and one of the policemen appears to take notes or give out an on-the-spot fine.

The images caused an uproar in the country, with commentators from all religious backgrounds denouncing the police action as a "violation of human rights".

One article recounts the outrage of helicopter parents at a school's audacity to tell its female students not to hike up the skirts to their bums and not send out racy pictures of themselves to boys in their class. The other is about the manufactured victimisation of attention-getting bathers in a country where running down people on public holidays is fast becoming the norm.

The reactions are priceless.

Which smacks more of hypocrisy: the snowflakes or the "diverse and rich communities"?

The prime minister of Japan is an awfully good sport:

The Rio Olympics has been pretty spectacular, and Sunday’s closing ceremony was no exception. But despite the amazing 3-hour Macarena-themed farewell, it wasn’t Brazil that stole the show. It was Japan’s Prime Minister Shinz┼Ź Abe emerging from a warp pipe dressed as Super Mario (obviously) that really got everybody talking.

And now, how the Korean alphabet came to be:

“What do you know of language and linguistics?” the bold scholar asked of several high-ranking officials who objected to his idea. “This project is for the people, and if I don’t do it, who will?” The scholar was none other than Sejong, the king of Korea, who had held the throne since 1418. His profoundly democratic conviction that literacy ought to be accessible to everyone was revolutionary in every sense. When King Sejong unveiled Hangul—his new alphabet for the Korean language—it was met with vehement opposition from Sejong’s advisors, from the literary elite, and from subsequent monarchs. For these objectors, Hangul was barbaric, it was primitive, it was unnecessary, it was an insult, and it needed to be eliminated. 

Civil servants are the reason why we can't have nice things.

King Sejong: king, scholar, master bowler.

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