Friday, September 21, 2012

Strikes, Riots, and Parodies (Link Round-Up 9/21/12)

[via Herald Sun story below]

North Korea makes "Gangnam Style" Parody
A video published on www.uriminzokkiri.com, a North Korean government website, draws on imagery from the highly successful pop video "Gangnam Style" by the rapper PSY to poke fun at a South Korean presidential candidate.

The North Korean video starts with a picture showing a person apparently in the midst of performing the world famous horse dance from "Gangnam Style." The face stuck on the dancing figure is that of Park Geun-hye, the candidate for the governing Saenuri Party in the upcoming South Korean presidential election.

The video goes on to mockingly evoke Park's support for the past actions of her father, Park Jung-hee, South Korea's former dictator whose legacy still divides the nation.
Poll: distrust in the media is at an all-time high
The survey, conducted from Sept. 6-9, shows that faith in the media is down in recent years, with 40 percent of Americans saying they have a great deal of or some faith in the media to comprehensively and fairly report the news, and 60 percent expressing the opposite perspective.

According to Gallup, the public has become increasingly negative about the media in election years over time.

So even while they're paying more attention to political news this year than they otherwise might, Americans are less likely percent to be paying very close attention to that news than in previous election years. Currently, 39 percent of Americans say they are very closely following political news, down 4 points from September 2008.
Libyan protesters protest against militias
For many Libyans, last week’s attack on the U.S. Consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi was the last straw with one of the biggest problems Libya has faced since Gadhafi’s ouster and death around a year ago — the multiple mini-armies that with their arsenals of machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades are stronger than the regular armed forces and police.

The militias, a legacy of the rag-tag popular forces that fought Gadhafi’s regime, tout themselves as protectors of Libya’s revolution, providing security where police cannot. But many say they act like gangs, detaining and intimidating rivals and carrying out killings. Militias made up of Islamic radicals are notorious for attacks on Muslims who don’t abide by their hardline ideology. Officials and witnesses say fighters from Ansar al-Shariah led the attack on the U.S. consulate.

Some 30,000 people filled a broad boulevard as they marched along a lake in central Benghazi on Friday to the gates of the headquarters of Ansar al-Shariah.
19 killed in Pakistani riots against anti-Muhammad film
Analysts accused the Pakistani government of pandering to these extremists by declaring Friday to be an official holiday - calling it a "Day of Love for the Prophet." Officials urged peaceful protests, but critics said the move helped unleash the worst violence yet caused by the film, titled "Innocence of Muslims."

In addition to those killed, nearly 200 others were injured as mobs threw stones and set fire to cars and movie theatres, and battled with police who responded with tear gas and gunfire.

"The people were just waiting for a trigger," said Imtiaz Gul, director of the Islamabad-based Centre for Research and Security Studies.
Woman clobbers Iranian cleric who told her to cover up
“Not only didn’t she cover herself up, but she also insulted me,” he explained to Mehr News. “I asked her not to insult me anymore, but she started shouting and threatening me. She pushed me and I fell to the ground on my back. From that point on, I don’t know what happened. I was just feeling the kicks of the woman who was beating me up and insulting me.”

The Iranian government cracked down this year on enforcing the hijab, a female covering that has been mandatory since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said since 2010 that women have the “right to choose” their clothing.
Indian opposition parties call for nationwide strike over controversial reforms
Under the announced reforms, foreign ownership of up to 51% will be allowed in supermarkets and chain stores such as Wal-Mart. Local airlines will be able to sell shares to foreign carriers. And foreigners can take stakes in broadcasting and parts of the electrical power industry. As part of its bid to jump-start the flagging economy, the government also vowed to sell off stakes in government-run resource companies.

The outcry that’s followed highlights the pronounced gap in Indian society between the affluent middle class that wants better service, presentation and choice in the growing number of air-conditioned malls, and the hundreds of millions of people working and shopping in mom-and-pop stores who fear that added efficiency will kill jobs.

“Small shops can’t compete with these big guys,” said Uma Shankar, 48, owner of a small pharmacy in New Delhi’s Vasant Vihar neighborhood filled with dusty shampoo bottles and medicine boxes stacked haphazardly. “This is a setup between the government and foreign companies. We’re barely scraping by. Where will we go?”
Sri Lanka: Kidney Ailment Linked to Farm Chemicals
The new study blames farm chemicals, which may be slowly poisoning the population by contaminating food and air.

Cadmium is found in some fertilizers. Arsenic is an active ingredient in some pesticides, although it is illegal to use arsenic-based pesticides in Sri Lanka.

Farm chemicals are so cheap here – thanks to government subsidies – that farmers tend to put far too much on their fields, thereby increasing the amounts of contaminants in the environment.

Companies that import and sell pesticides and herbicides contest the government’s conclusion. They point out that the government and WHO have not yet released their full study.

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