Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Leftist Adidas Tracksuits (Link Round-Up 10/10/12)


Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, and their love for tracksuits
In a manner reminiscent of how top athletes wear the products of sports clothing companies who sponsor them, for the past six years Fidel Castro has been photographed in Adidas, Fila, Puma, and Nike tracksuits, raising questions as to why the anti-imperialist former president, whose country has been under an economic embargo for the past 50 years, wears a personalized Adidas sweatsuit with his name embroidered on it.

​​As Andrew McKie wrote for The Daily Telegraph in 2008, "... Fidel seems to favour Adidas tracksuits which appear to be made of a cloth so rich in manmade fibres that downtown Havana could probably be powered off the static electricity they generate."

Chavez had better stay away from those Adidas-branded tracksuits. After all, in 2007 he was the one who told Castro to drop the tracksuit and go back to his military uniform.
Egypt's post-revolutionary talk shows: heavy on opinion, light on journalism
Egyptian TV platforms have thus been transformed into a battlefield of rival ideas and agendas. In this environment, assuming neutrality is widely understood to be an act of treason, especially by talk show hosts who identify themselves as servants of a cause and sociopolitical mentors for their audiences.
Pakistani's unite over shooting of 14-year-old girl by Taliban
Across the rest of the country, Pakistanis reacted with outrage to the attack on the girl, whose eloquent and determined advocacy of girls’ education had made her a powerful symbol of resistance to Taliban ideology.

“Malala is our pride. She became an icon for the country,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik said.

The army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, visited the Peshawar hospital where Ms. Yousafzai was being treated; in a rare public statement he condemned the “twisted ideology” of the “cowards” who had attacked her. Her parents and a teacher from her school remained at her side in the hospital.
Scotland to vote on independence in 2014
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who wants to keep Britain intact, had backed holding a vote as soon as possible on whether to end Scotland's 300-year-old union with England, with a simple "yes" or "no" single question.

Alex Salmond, leader of Scotland's nationalist government, had sought a third option to be included in the vote, allowing additional powers to be passed to the Scottish parliament.

However, he had also pushed for a delay until 2014, the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, a famous Scottish victory over the English, giving his independence campaign more time to persuade voters to support the split.
Walmart worker strikes go viral, hitting 28 stores in 12 states
One of the problems striking workers cite is the lack of access to full-time working hours, which prevents them from obtaining even the meager health benefits the company offers. The National Consumer’s League (NCL) told Raw Story that Walmart’s refusal to provide those benefits by exploiting part-time labor leads to a number of spillover costs that taxpayers ultimately pick up.

“Many Walmart workers are dependent on public assistance programs due to their low wages and not having access to full time jobs and being denied benefits because they’re not working the number of hours required to get access to those benefits, or the benefits are just so expensive that on their low wages they just can’t afford them,” NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg said in an exclusive interview. “Walmart has a record of even working with employees to sign them up for public assistance programs, which we think is really atrocious.”
Taiwan ask Apple to blur map images of its secret bases
The defence ministry reacted after the Liberty Times newspaper printed a satellite picture, downloaded with an iPhone 5, showing a top-secret long-range radar base in the northern county of Hsinchu.

"Regarding images taken by commercial satellites, legally we can do nothing about it," the ministry's spokesman David Lo told reporters.

"But we'll ask Apple to lower the resolution of satellite images of some confidential military establishments the way we've asked Google in the past," he said, referring to the Google Earth programme.
Kissinger opitimistc on China's future
The new generation, Kissinger said, faces a “transformation over the next 10 years” of moving “400 million people from the countryside into the cities.” This will involve not just technical infrastructure problems but a change of values and also a change in the role of the Communist party, he said.

Kissinger said he had spoken to Xi Jinping, the expected next Chinese president, and believes he will seek such enormous internal changes that “it’s unlikely that in 10 years the next generation will come into office with exactly the same institutions that exist today.

“This is one reason why I do not believe that great foreign adventures or confrontations with the United States can be on their agenda,” Kissinger said. But because Xi faces the need to make difficult domestic changes, he may be more assertive in responding to foreign critics, he added.
Chinese college graduates pessimistic on China's future
Nicholas Lardy, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, explains the youth population is suffering from the Chinese government's mismanaged initiative to expand higher education. The Chinese education system graduates about seven million students into the workforce, twice what it was five years ago.

But as the number of universities increases, the quality of the education decreases. Lardy says the government must stop this growth in higher education institutions because employers are losing faith in the quality of the graduates. He speculates that most students from reputable schools have no problem looking for jobs. It's the students from schools no one has heard of that are having the most trouble. Economy echoes similar sentiment. She says many of fourth and fifth tier schools are scams in education.

The GDP slowdown also means that young people are being squeezed out of the housing market by low wages and high housing prices. Home ownership is essential in China for young people. It's a measure of success as well as an essential prerequisite for marriage. Lardy says housing prices have gone up in double-digit rates in major cities in the last couple of years. Homeowners stand to benefit from this trend to the detriment of homebuyers, most of whom are young professionals.
The ancient tunnels to the "underworld" in Italy
The existence of the Sibylline Books certainly suggests that Rome took the legend of the Cumæan sibyl seriously, and indeed the geographer Strabo, writing at about the time of Christ, clearly states that there actually was “an Oracle of the Dead” somewhere in the Phlegræan Fields. So it is scarcely surprising that archaeologists and scholars of romantic bent have from time to time gone in search of a cave or tunnel that might be identified as the real home of a real sibyl–nor that some have hoped that they would discover an entrance, if not to Hades, then at least to some spectacular subterranean caverns.

Over the years several spots, the best known of which lies close to Lake Avernus, have been identified as the antro della sibilla–the cave of the sibyl. None, though, leads to anywhere that might reasonably be confused with an entrance to the underworld. Because of this, the quest continued, and gradually the remaining searchers focused their attentions on the old Roman resort of Baiæ (Baia), which lies on Bay of Naples at a spot where the Phlegræan Fields vanish beneath the Tyrrhenian Sea. Two thousand years ago, Baiæ was a flourishing spa, noted both for its mineral cures and for the scandalous immorality that flourished there. Today, it is little more than a collection of picturesque ruins–but it was there, in the 1950s, that the entrance to a hitherto unknown antrum was discovered by the Italian archaeologist Amedeo Maiuri. It had been concealed for years beneath a vineyard; Maiuri’s workers had to clear a 15-foot-thick accumulation of earth and vines.

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