Friday, August 31, 2007

sniff sniff

SeungWoo and Steve.
Today was their last day at the school, as they live too far away. Their mom's have been taking turns dropping them off and picking them up, as the school bus doesn't go to where they live. I will miss them so much!
Now I only have 6!!!

Tuesday afternoon cocktails

Sergeja and I finish early on Tuesdays and decided to go for some cocktails. We first went for some pizza near work (couldn't decide on anything else) and then wandered around looking for a place that was open. No such luck in that area. Too early. Even at 5:00, everything was still closed. We decided to go to the area we live in to check. Our regular bus wasn't coming, so we hopped on another one that takes the long way home. We accidentally got of a stop too soon, but ended up right where we wanted to be. Right above us was a little bar. It was completely empty but interesting. Sort of fancy grungy (and with a Christmas tree still set up beside the stairs).
The first round of drinks was great. I had a peach crush and she had a jun bug. Our second round of drinks weren't so great. We ordered Daquiris, but got the martini form of it, which was VERY bitter and not very nice. They were nice enough to let us get something else instead (another jun bug for her and a black russian for me). The little kwaja (snack) that they provided was a mix of coffee peanuts and banana chips. addictive.
It turned out that it wasn't just a normal bar. It was a bar where girls went to find out about their fortunes to do with future husbands and such. As we were the only ones there at the time (apparently they don't usually get busy until after 11pm), the guy sat and talked with us and attempted to do some fortune telling. The little Chinese birthday fortune telling book, Sergeja will be a rich but celibate spinster. He said many times, in a very funny way, that she should never or will never marry. He would think for a minute, look through his little Chinese fortune telling book, look at her and make a little 'X' with his fingers and say "no". According to the book and the Tarot cards, I'll get married probably September of 2008 to a boyfriend that I meet in 2007, but I'll get divorced some time. And then I'll marry again some time. Also, I'll have a lot of money around age 31. Almost every time I have had my fortune told, divorce has been mentioned. Not that I really believe in any of it. Something to laugh about.
Koreans base a lot on such fortune telling. There are all sorts of places were they can get it done. Even at the IPark Mall, around the CGV movie theater, there are tables set up for fortune telling, tarot card reading, palm reading and such.
a rich celibate spinster

Water Play

Each week for the summer, we have a water play day scheduled for each class. Ours is supposed to be Tuesdays, but last month, due to bad weather and holidays, our class only got one day. This month, we had two. How sad! We set up a couple of kiddie pools outside on the balcony, and have a little slide that goes with one of them. We hook up the hose and spray it down the slide, or at it (the kids love it spraying over the slide rather than down it).
They kids swimsuits are all so cute (and most are very expensive). The girls suits are bikinis and one pieces. The boys have everything from full body suits (like a wetsuit) to briefs. I have to share this one:

YongKyu's suit is so big on him. SOOOOOOOOOOOO adorable!!!
One of the baby class girls had a bumblebee swimsuit (complete with little wings and antennae) on for their water play time but I didn't have a chance to take a picture. Too bad.

Fruit Smoothies II

Last Sunday afternoon I went to Icheon City again. Once again, we went to the little fruit smoothy place. It is called CanMore. They actually have quite a variety of things on their menu, including smoothies, cakes, sandwiches, spaghetti, ice-cream and shaved ice dessert dishes. I had the raspberry smoothy again and Revo had banana juice. We also shared a chocolate tiramisu - yummy!!! Of course, we also got the free toast and whipped cream. :)The window says, "CanMore is... Good for your health and Canmore makes you beautiful." Notice the big dragonfly on the h of 'health':It was flitting around outside and kept hovering right in front of us before landing on the window. Must have seen all of the great food. ;)

Princess Cafe

There are little coffee shops everywhere here. They are all very interesting, or, well, different. Not something that you would find at home. Last weekend, Sergeja and I decided to check one out - the Princess Cafe - a kind of place that little girls would love (or at least, I would have when I was little).Each table had a bit of privacy of some sort. We chose one of the more open tables at a window (but still in a corner).Wrapped sugar cubes are in the little jewelry box just behind/beside the lamp.The entry is to the left in this picture. A couple of little girls kept coming up to the table with camera phones to take pictures of all of the pretty things.
I had an iced mocha and Sergeja had an iced coffee (which comes with a sugar syrup on the side). I loved the spoon in my drink - it hooked over the side of the glass.
It is a very cozy and comfortable place. We found it to be quite nice, though odd. It is definitely an option for future coffee fixes.
We have decided that we should check out different ones every time... just to see. After a while, if we decide we really like one place, we may stick with it, or go to it more often than others.

the Northern Limit Line - South vs North

I remember the skirmish. It was during my first year in Korea. They didn't make a big deal about it here. It was on the news, of course, but it was over as fast as it began. I was told that basically, a fight broke out between a South Korean ship and a North Korean ship. Korean friends told me that the South Korean ship was sunk, or something like that, and the North Korean ship was towed off in flames (I don't think it was that drastic).

North Limit Line
A June 29, 2002, skirmish between Northern and Southern ships killed four South Koreans here. The fight broke out after two Northern patrol vessels accompanying fishing boats crossed this maritime border and one opened fire after ignoring warnings to retreat, South Korean officials said. North Korea, however, accused Southern boats of provoking the battle by entering communist territory.
North Korea has never accepted the Northern Limit Line, which was drawn up by the U.S.-led U.N. Command to avert possible clashes after the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War. The communist nation wants the sea border to be moved further south, which would allow it access to rich crab and fishing waters. []

Sea Border Hot Issue at Koreas Summit
By JAE-SOON CHANG The Associated Press Wednesday, August 29, 2007; 5:25 AM
SEOUL, South Korea --
Half a dozen South Korean sailors died in a gunbattle with North Korea five years ago defending what Seoul's top minister on relations with Pyongyang now suggests could be changed: the sea border between the Koreas.
Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung's suggestion earlier this month left the country badly divided ahead of a rare summit with the North _ stoking conservatives' anger that is already simmering over allegations that simply holding the meeting itself is yet another capitulation to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il by the liberal government.
At issue is how to view the disputed western sea border and how to react if Kim raises it at his October talks with President Roh Moo-hyun in Pyongyang, as many analysts predict.
The two Koreas have yet to agree on their sea border more than 50 years after the end of their 1950-53 war. Instead, they rely on a line that the then-commander of U.N. forces, which fought for the South, drew unilaterally at the end of the conflict.
Conservatives in South Korea have long considered the Northern Limit Line, or NLL, an unquestionable sea border. But liberals have increasingly viewed it as a major source of military tension on the divided peninsula, and an obstacle impeding true reconciliation with Pyongyang.
The division came to the fore when Lee said earlier this month that he believed the sea border was not formally set, and that the nation should "reflect on" a 2002 naval skirmish with the North in terms of how best to maintain security.
His point was that the NLL's main purpose is to prevent maritime clashes and, therefore, if the line itself is a source of tension, the country should reconsider how it is demarcated _ an argument unacceptable to conservatives who view the NLL as something to be defended at any cost.
Further enraging them was Lee's choice of a Korean word to mean "reflect." The word, "banseong," could also mean "repentance," which gave the impression that Lee suggested South Korea was wrong to defend the border in the 2002 clash that left six South Korean soldiers dead and 18 others wounded.
"Our young heroes, who died glorious deaths while trying to safeguard the NLL, would be weeping in heaven," said Na Kyung-won, spokeswoman of the opposition Grand National Party.
Among those shocked was even South Korea's defense chief.
"I can't understand it either," Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo was widely reported in local media as saying in response to Lee's comments. Kim's ministry refused to confirm the remark, out of apparent concern it may publicize the row with the Unification Ministry.
It has been considered a near taboo in South Korea even to suggest having talks with the North on the sea border issue.
However, Lee and other ministry officials have openly called for flexibility on the issue recently, prompting suspicions in the media that the government is trying to soften an expected backlash it would draw from the public if it discusses the matter at the summit.
The president's office has given no clear-cut answer on whether the issue would be discussed at the summit, only saying: "The NLL is a de-facto maritime borderline that we have defended for the past 50 years."
The country's main opposition party, mass-circulation newspapers and other conservatives demand the government promise not to put the matter on the summit agenda.
The two Koreas agreed in a 1992 pact to continue talks to demarcate the sea border while respecting the NLL until a new border is set.
South Korea has rebuffed the North's demand for sea border talks so far, saying it can discuss the issue only after the two sides take substantial military confidence-building measures.
Liberal analysts say Seoul cannot leave the issue unresolved any longer if it wants to pursue further reconciliation with Pyongyang.
"This issue has become a key to overall South-North relations," said Kim Geun-shik, a North Korea expert at South Korea's Kyungnam University. "We need to at least discuss it with North Korea to find a compromise."
Conservatives argue the South Korea must remain firm.
"Why don't we then pull back the land border by about 100 kilometers? That would make North Korea very pleased," one military official quipped, speaking on condition of anonymity citing the issue's sensitivity.

sick AGAIN! and sad to be losing some students.

I'm sick. :S
I have some sort of very bad throat etc infection... again. It is ALL swollen and infected, not just the tonsils this time. Not sure what caused it.
I went to the doctor after work today. I got an injection in the 'hip' and have medication for 2 days. I have to go back on Saturday.
The doctor says I shouldn't talk for a couple of days. Not really possible as I still have to teach. Today teaching was so hard. I had to talk. I could barely stand. It is making me feel week and a bit light headed. It started getting bad yesterday, mostly after work (only a little bit yesterday morning), really. Last night I was even having trouble typing as my whole body was feeling strange. I guess it is all connected. My body wanted rest. It still does.
The pain is almost unbearable at times. Sometimes even moving or saying something would almost bring tears to my eyes and make me feel like I was going to pass out. I ate quite a bit at lunch (it was actually a VERY GOOD lunch!) but I didn't really enjoy it as it hurts to swallow. Even the coffee and the chocolate milk that I had today weren't enjoyable.
I went to sleep after I got home. When I'm sleeping, obviously, I can't feel the pain. I woke up twice when Revo phoned me. The first time I felt dead so just went back to sleep. Now (1:30 AM) it is so late. I still have to get up and go to work in the morning (if I were back home I wouldn't have gone to work today or tomorrow, but here it is a bit different).
I might have considered taking tomorrow as one of my 3 allowed sick days, but it is the last day for 2 of my students. Steve and SeungWoo will be leaving my class. They live too far away so the school bus won't pick them up. Their moms have been taking turns dropping them off and picking them up. It is too bad as they are doing so well in the class. They both love me so much. They each say, "I love you, Laura Teacher," regularly and wait for me to say, "I love you, too." Sometimes I would be the other way around. They both love giving me hugs and a kiss on the cheek. They each cling to me at times. I will miss them soooooo much.
Another student finished this past Tuesday - David. He was cute, but always caused everyone a lot of stress. Just the way he is. He always has his hands on others' things or others. The staff at the school have been released of one of their major causes of stress - the mother! She was always coming in for every tiny little thing. David is western age 4 and yet his mother listens to and believes EVERYTHING he says. An odd family. I won't miss him as much as the others, but still will. And he was doing so well. They other day he surprised me by writing his own name, without asking for help. He is the only one in the class that hasn't been able to write his name. He is starting to be able to write some letters by copying from another page (rather than me having to write lightly for him to trace). Sometimes it is hard to make out what he has written (copied) but he is putting so much effort into it. His mom decided he should go to a bigger English school where it is more intensive in terms of reading and writing. I'm not sure he could handle it. He needs help all the time. He is only 4 and is a bit slower at picking things up than the others his age.
I started out with 11 students. Then it went up to 12. After tomorrow, I will be down to 6!!!
Annie and Jin went to the big International Kindy. Nicole was only here for the summer. And now David, Steve and SeungWoo. How sad.
I'll go back to bed soon... I have a couple more things to do - 2 more notebooks to the parents to write in! I've slept a little more than 6 hours already. That is usually all I get in a night!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

faking it

This is intersting, but not all that surprising. I have heard several people claiming that they had studied in very famous American or English universities, but their English and other characteristics sort of made me wonder. Fake everything is a problem here. Fake/imitation products are everywhere. Some of the foreigners that come here to teach (of whom I've met a couple) come with fake degrees provided by recruiters (they started cracking down on that a couple of years ago).

Fake school records shame Korean figures
By Su Hyun Lee Tuesday, August 28, 2007
South Korea is being shaken by a series of scandals involving an art historian, a movie director, a renowned architect, the head of a performing arts center, a popular comic book writer, a celebrity chef, leading actors and actresses, a former TV news anchor, even a revered Buddhist monk. What binds them is that all falsified their academic records.
In an intensely competitive country that has long put a premium on impressive degrees, one prominent person after another is being exposed as having exaggerated, or even fabricated, academic accomplishments. The revelations of résumé fraud have created problems for South Korean corporations, which rely heavily on diplomas to assess job applicants.
Although companies attach huge importance to degrees, they have rarely bothered to check their authenticity. But if more people are cheating to gain an advantage in a fierce job market, more are also getting caught, thanks to the Internet.
Suspicions that academic records were falsified have circulated for years. But in July, a news report that an important art history professor had faked her credentials triggered a wave of similar allegations and confessions.
The exposés have prompted prosecutors, the police, the Education Ministry and regional education authorities to announce plans to combat academic record fraud. Legislators have introduced a bill calling for a verification system.
"Before, we struggled more with fake luxury goods," said Moon Moo Il, who is leading a nationwide crackdown of document forgery and misrepresentation at the Prosecutor-General's Office. "Now that we have entered the knowledge-based society, we have to deal with an overflow of 'fake knowledge.' "
The first bombshell exploded July 11, with news reports that Shin Jeong Ah, an art history professor at Dongguk University, Korea's top Buddhist university, had faked her credentials. Shin, who had claimed to have a Ph.D. from Yale and other degrees from the University of Kansas, had risen quickly in South Korea's art world. At the age of 35, she was appointed co-director of the Gwangju Biennale, one of the biggest art events in East Asia.
Her troubles began when a member of her university's board of directors questioned her academic record, and then brought it to the attention of the news media.
The university eventually fired Shin, who then lost her other positions and moved to the United States.
The Shin case was just the beginning. Questions were raised about other prominent figures' academic degrees. Some came forward to confess.
Among the dozen or so confirmed cheaters was Lee Chang Ha, an architect regularly featured on television. He was forced to give up his college teaching job after it became known that he lied about his degrees. Lee Hyun Sae, a popular comic book writer, claimed to be a college graduate when he had only completed high school.
One of the biggest shocks involved a well-known Buddhist monk named Jigwang, whose temple in an affluent district of Seoul had grown from seven members in 1984 to more than 250,000. Part of the respect he enjoyed arose from the widespread belief that he had attended Seoul National University, the country's top academic institution.
"People swarmed in because they heard that a monk who had gone to a distinguished university was teaching the scriptures in English," Jigwang said at a news conference Aug. 18. "I think that the Seoul National University title more or less helped in propagation."
The nationwide focus on academic fraud became so intense that it prompted Kim Ock Rang, the owner of a performing arts space, to avoid friends out of fear that her own lies about her academic record would be found out, she said in a television interview after her confession. Eventually, she resigned from her professorship at Dankook University in Seoul.
In South Korea, degrees from top universities at home and abroad, especially in the United States, have a profound impact on everything from one's career to marriage prospects.
South Korean children are pressured to study obsessively from an early age, often spending evenings and weekends in cram schools in preparation for entrance exams.
Cheating has probably always existed to some degree. But experts say it has almost certainly increased over the past decade as South Korean companies, squeezed between high-tech Japan and low-cost China, have cut back on hiring.
"Before the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, there were enough jobs for everyone," said Lim Min Wook, a manager at Saramin, one of the country's leading recruiting companies. "Graduates from first-tier schools landed top jobs and second-tier school graduates got the next best jobs and so on. But nowadays, there aren't many jobs, period."
Although some companies conduct their own aptitude tests to detect the best job candidates, the dependence on academic degrees persists.
Joo Tae San, the chief executive of Maxmovie, an online movie and performance ticketing firm, said he had no choice.
"There is no other way to verify a person's competence," he said. "Calling former employers or professors for comments and recommendation letters aren't helpful because they will either not comment or only praise the person."
Park Hyo Chong, professor of national ethics education at Seoul National University, agreed that personal recommendations were seldom useful. When Koreans talk about other people, especially for job recommendations, he said, "they tend to highlight their pros and hide their cons."
Despite the weight assigned to academic degrees, South Korean companies have never developed the practice of systematically verifying them. The problem becomes greater with foreign degrees.
This was underscored by the case of Lee Ji Young, who hosted a popular English-learning radio program for seven years.
The country's public broadcaster, Korea Broadcasting System, hired her without checking her degrees, which she said were from the University of Brighton, England.
But she pushed things a little too far. After landing the radio job, she kept playing up her fabricated academic background in interviews and in a book. Her luck ran out when an anonymous caller tipped off reporters.
Lee was forced to resign. In a farewell message posted on her radio show's Web site, she explained she had come to Seoul from her rural hometown and tried but failed to enter college.
Like many others whose lies unraveled recently, she said, "I wanted to stop, but a long time had passed."

Korea misunderstanding Islam

I have friends here that are Muslim and they have mentioned that there was a huge protest outside the Seoul Central Mosque in Itaewon and that there was a bit of fighting and stone throwing going on. The Koreans were threatening the Muslims, blaming the recent kidnapping on them. Like the Muslims here had anything to do with it. Most Muslims everywhere have nothing to do with it. There is way too much generalization going on. First it was the Jews, then the Japanese, now the Muslims. Who is next? There have been police outside the mosque since the kidnapping. But here, it isn't really anything unusual, as the American army bases all have Korean soldiers posted outside and some embassies have police or soldiers posted outside the gates. They are everywhere - patrolling; standing guard.

Islam Misunderstood in Korea Due to Hostage Crisis
By Shamim Shahid; Special to The Korea Times
PESHAWAR, Pakistan _
The Korean Muslim Federation (KMF) has urged the Taliban to release the 19 Korean hostages immediately to prove that Islam is a religion of peace and brotherhood.
Suliman Lee Haeng, the Imam of the Seoul Central Mosque, made the remark here during his visit with three other members of the Korean Muslim Federation.
They were visiting in a bid to seek the release of the Korean nationals in the central Ghazni province.
Beside Suliman, the delegates included naib imam, Abdul Rahman Lee, a member Zaki Jeong, and a Pakistani businessman living in Korea, Zulfiqar Ali Khan. Suliman is the director of the KMF and imam of the Central Mosque in Seoul.
Suliman said that the holy month of Ramadan is approaching and for the sake of it the group requests the immediate release of the hostages from Taliban custody.
So far he said the incident has affected the Muslim community in Korea where citizens are growing increasingly suspicious of their activities.
Abdul Rahman Lee said that policemen have been posted at the Central Mosque in Seoul round the clock due to a minor incident involving someone hurling stones in the mosque.
He added that some people also using abusive language against the Muslims and although the number doing it are few in number, Muslims are still affected by it.
The delegation has also met the chief of Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam and Maulana Samiul Haq, at his seminary in Akora Khattak.According to them, Maulana Samiul Haq has assured them of his all-out support for the safe release of the Korean prisoners. The delegation said they were advised while in Korea not to visit Peshawar due to security reasons, but they proceeded against such warnings in order to forward their request to the Taliban.
Suliman said that due to such incidents, Islam has been turning into a misunderstood religion in Korea and the rest of the world.The delegation will also meet other religious figures here.
There are about 35,000 Muslims in Korea and before this incident, "we had been preaching Islam in very effective manner," said Khan, a native of Peshawar who settled in Korea about 10 years ago.
While my family or other Muslims, especially non-Koreans, travel on public transport or roam around people look at us sarcastically and some of them even regard Muslims as killers,'' he added.
The 23 South Koreans including 16 women and seven men were kidnapped while riding a bus on July 19 on the Kabul-Kandahar highway. Two of the male hostages were killed and two females were set free. They are the largest group of foreigners to be taken hostage in Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that drove the Taliban from power.
Making a desperate request to the Taliban, Suleman said that being representatives of the Muslim community in Korea. "We initiated this visit so as to plead the case of our people and request to our Taliban brothers that these hostages are innocent and they should be released for the sake of humanity."
Zaki also showed some pictures of the Central Mosque where police have been deployed and some busy roads of Seoul where banners were displayed requesting the Taliban to release the hostages.

what about the rest of them?

They've already made the deal. 3 more have been released but what about the rest? Will they wait until the end of the year when the troops are withdrawn???

Taliban free 3 South Korean hostages
By AMIR SHAH, Associated Press Writer
QALA-E-QAZI, Afghanistan - Taliban militants released three South Korean hostages on Wednesday, the first of 19 captives scheduled to be freed under a deal struck between the insurgents and the South Korean government.
The three, all women, were first handed to tribal leaders, who took them to an agreed location where officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross picked them up, according to an Associated Press reporter who witnessed the hand over.
The three arrived in the central Afghan village of Qala-E-Kazi in a single car, their heads covered with green shawls. They said nothing to reporters, who were asked by Red Cross representatives not to question them.
Red Cross officials quickly took the three to their vehicles before leaving for an undisclosed location.
In Seoul, South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Hee-yong said the three, who he identified as Ahn Hye-jin, Lee Jung-ran and Han Ji-young, did not appear to have any health problems.
To secure the hostages' release, South Korea reaffirmed a pledge to withdraw its 200 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year and prevent South Korean Christian missionaries from working there. The Taliban apparently backed down on earlier demands for a prisoner exchange.
The Taliban originally kidnapped 23 hostages as they traveled by bus from Kabul to the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar on July 19. In late July, the militants executed two male hostages, and they released two women earlier this month.
The insurgents have said they will free the hostages, who they are holding in different locations, over the next few days. Mullah Basheer, a Taliban commander, said that up to seven other hostages would "possibly" be released later Wednesday.
The accord for the South Koreans' release came during one of the bloodiest periods of the Taliban's war against U.S. and NATO forces since the Taliban regime was toppled in late 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
South Korea's decision to hold face-to-face negotiations with the militants may dismay the United States government, which refuses to talk to the Taliban.
"Maybe they (the Taliban) did not achieve all that they demanded, but they achieved a lot in terms of political credibility," said Mustafa Alani, director of security and terrorism studies at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center. "The fact that the Koreans negotiated with them directly and more or less in their territory ... is in itself an achievement."
State Department spokesman Tom Casey said Tuesday that the U.S. wanted the Koreans returned to their families and stressed that U.S. policy was not to make concessions to terrorists.
The deal for the hostages' release was struck during talks between Taliban negotiators and South Korean diplomats in the central city of Ghazni. The Afghan government was not party to the negotiations, which were mediated by the ICRC.
The hostages' relatives in South Korea welcomed news of the deal.
"I would like to dance," said Cho Myung-ho, mother of 28-year-old hostage Lee Joo-yeon.
South Korean presidential spokesman Cheon Ho-sun said the deal had been reached "on the condition that South Korea withdraws troops by the end of the year and South Korea suspends missionary work in Afghanistan."
Cha Sung-min, whose 32-year-old sister, Cha Hye-jin, was among the hostages, said he was "sorry to the public for causing concern, but we thank the government officials for the (impending) release."
"Still, our hearts are broken as two died, so we convey our sympathy to the bereaved family members," said Cha Sung-min, who has served as a spokesman for the hostages' relatives.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I love reading. The number of books I read has decreased over the years, for many reasons (reading things on the Net, for one), but I still read a lot. I have a hard understanding those that never read. It is so nice to sit and relax with a good book. [saw this on Ramblefish and thought I'd share it]

One in four read no books last year
By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press Writer Tue Aug 21, 7:01 PM ET
There it sits on your night stand, that book you've meant to read for who knows how long but haven't yet cracked open. Tonight, as you feel its stare from beneath that teetering pile of magazines, know one thing — you are not alone.
One in four adults read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and older people were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.
The survey reveals a nation whose book readers, on the whole, can hardly be called ravenous. The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year — half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who hadn't read any, the usual number read was seven.
"I just get sleepy when I read," said Richard Bustos of Dallas, a habit with which millions of Americans can doubtless identify. Bustos, a 34-year-old project manager for a telecommunications company, said he had not read any books in the last year and would rather spend time in his backyard pool.
That choice by Bustos and others is reflected in book sales, which have been flat in recent years and are expected to stay that way indefinitely. Analysts attribute the listlessness to competition from the Internet and other media, the unsteady economy and a well-established industry with limited opportunities for expansion.
When the Gallup Poll asked in 2005 how many books people had at least started — a similar but not directly comparable question — the typical answer was five. That was down from 10 in 1999, but close to the 1990 response of six.
In 2004, a National Endowment for the Arts report titled "Reading at Risk" found only 57 percent of American adults had read a book in 2002, a four percentage point drop in a decade. The study faulted television, movies and the Internet.
Who are the 27 percent of people the AP-Ipsos poll found hadn't read a single book this year? Nearly a third of men and a quarter of women fit that category. They tend to be older, less educated, lower income, minorities, from rural areas and less religious.
At the same time, book enthusiasts abound. Many in the survey reported reading dozens of books and said they couldn't do without them.
"I go into another world when I read," said Charlotte Fuller, 64, a retired nurse from Seminole, Fla., who said she read 70 books in the last year. "I read so many sometimes I get the stories mixed up."
Among those who said they had read books, the median figure — with half reading more, half fewer — was nine books for women and five for men. The figures also indicated that those with college degrees read the most, and people aged 50 and up read more than those who are younger.
Pollyann Baird, 84, a retired school librarian in Loveland, Colo., says J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter fantasy series is her favorite. But she has forced herself to not read the latest and final installment, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," because she has yet to file her income taxes this year due to an illness and worries that once she started the book, "I know I'd have to finish it."
People from the West and Midwest are more likely to have read at least one book in the past year. Southerners who do read, however, tend to read more books, mostly religious books and romance novels, than people from other regions. Whites read more than blacks and Hispanics, and those who said they never attend religious services read nearly twice as many as those who attend frequently.
There was even some political variety evident, with Democrats and liberals typically reading slightly more books than Republicans and conservatives.
The Bible and religious works were read by two-thirds in the survey, more than all other categories. Popular fiction, histories, biographies and mysteries were all cited by about half, while one in five read romance novels. Every other genre — including politics, poetry and classical literature — were named by fewer than five percent of readers.
More women than men read every major category of books except for history and biography. Industry experts said that confirms their observation that men tend to prefer nonfiction.
"Fiction just doesn't interest me," said Bob Ryan, 41, who works for a construction company in Guntersville, Ala. "If I'm going to get a story, I'll get a movie."
Those likeliest to read religious books included older and married women, lower earners, minorities, lesser educated people, Southerners, rural residents, Republicans and conservatives.
The publishing business totaled $35.7 billion in global sales last year, 3 percent more than the previous year, according to the Book Industry Study Group, a trade association. About 3.1 billion books were sold, an increase of less than 1 percent.
The AP-Ipsos poll was conducted from August 6 to 8 and involved telephone interviews with 1,003 adults. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
AP Manager of News Surveys Trevor Tompson and AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.
(This version CLARIFIES that people in the West and Midwest are more likely to read at least one book a year, but that Southerners who do read tend to read more books.)

Egypt Under Mubarak

Egypt Under Mubarak: Years of the Disappeared
By YOUSSEF IBRAHIMAugust 23, 2007 New York Sun
Which country of 80 million is a close ally of America, has jailed 100,000 political prisoners, maintains a police force of 1.4 million — four times the size of its standing army — and is a place where 200 critics of its president have disappeared without a trace since 1990?
If you guessed Egypt, you are right.
Next to Israel, Egypt ranks as the second-largest recipient of American aid, raking in more than $45 billion since 1979. A great deal of this aid has gone to Egypt's military — which has helped to prop up the dictatorship of President Mubarak for more than a quarter of a century — and into the private bank accounts of a small coterie. With this money, Mr. Mubarak has instilled terror, crushed political dissent, and turned people into ghosts.
On a warm winter evening in Cairo — December 10, 1993 — I first experienced the shock of having someone I knew disappear.
That night, I was waiting for Mansour Kikhia, a journalistic source and friend who had served as Libya's ambassador to the United Nations and as Muammar Gadhafi's foreign minister before joining the opposition in exile.
We had agreed to meet after he had taken his evening stroll along the Nile River, and our meeting place was to be the bar at the Intercontinental Hotel, where we both planned to attend a human-rights conference the following day.
He never showed up.
Cell phones were rare back then, so I waited idly, calling his room over and over. By midnight, I had that feeling in my stomach that I had felt before while covering Middle East catastrophes.
Months later, on May 18, 1994, I published an interview in the New York Times with Kikhia's wife, Bahaa al-Omary, about her struggle with the impossible thought of her husband's abduction. In the interview, she said she had tried to meet with the two men involved — Mr. Mubarak, who would have had to sanction such an act, and Colonel Gadhafi, who would have had to order it.
Mr. Mubarak didn't meet with her, but Colonel Gadhafi did, and the Libyan leader had had the temerity to assure her he was prepared to assume all expenses for her four children and herself, including the costs of housing, schooling, and medical care. "I said, ‘No way,'" she told me. "I will not sully … [my husband's] integrity by accepting money from them."
For the longest time, she had been silent, she said, thinking, "Maybe I am living in a dream. Maybe they are just groping for a way to let him go without a fuss." It was not to be. When Kikhia was taken that evening, he was to be tortured and eventually killed. Think of all those who have and will continue to endure such horrible experiences: the children, the spouses, the parents. And think of our close ally: Mr. Mubarak.
The Egyptian regime's brutal practices have been reported frequently by many different dissidents, but with little or no reprimand from Egypt's American benefactors.
On Tuesday, Mr. Mubarak's transgressions were vividly described in a Washington Post article by Saad Eddin Ibrahim, the famed professor of sociology at my alma mater, the American University in Cairo, and the chairman of the Ibn Khaldun Political Sociology Center.
Mr. Ibrahim spent three years in jail for criticizing Mr. Mubarak's rule and the president's family's monopoly, and the occasion of the article was Mr. Ibrahim's fear that he has become a candidate for an upcoming disappearance.
As it happens, Mr. Ibrahim is now a visiting fellow at the Ratiu Center for Democracy in Romania. He had been planning to go home to Cairo at summer's end, he noted, until Mr. Mubarak's secret police sent him several emissaries warning him to stay out of Egypt if he knew what was best for him.
While in Romania, Mr. Ibrahim had the opportunity to meet President Bush in a well-publicized get-together of dissidents organized by Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet human rights dissident who is now an Israeli political leader.
The encounter went sour as Mr. Ibrahim looked the American president in the eye and asked, "Why are you not helping us?"
Mr. Bush responded that he was himself a "dissident" in Washington.
Cute, but not the answer expected from an American leader who says he champions freedom all over the world.
Maybe we cannot instill democracy in Egypt or Iraq, but after a 25-year alliance with Mr. Mubarak, we should at least be able to make sure he lets Mr. Ibrahim — a democracy advocate who is a naturalized American citizen — go home without being arrested, tortured, or abducted.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Look Into My Eyes - Outlandish

It's not new, but it's a beautiful song sung by the Danish group Outlandish, based on a poem by Gihad Ali, a Palestinian woman, written when she was a young teenager. It expresses the struggles and suffering caused by America's Foreign Policy.
This is the music video:

Outlandish is a hip hop group based in Denmark. "Formed in 1997, they consist of Isam Bachiri Azouaoui (born in Denmark and of Moroccan background), Waqas Ali Qadri (born in Denmark and of Pakistani background), and Lenny Martinez (from Honduras). All three members are devoutly religious, with Isam and Waqas being Muslims, and Lenny being Catholic." [Wikipedia] This one is the same song, only in with images of war, and the words. Very touching.

Look into my eyes
Tell me what you see
You don't see a damn thing
'cause you can't relate to me
You're blinded by our differences
My life makes no sense to you
I'm the persecuted one
You're the red, white and blue

Each day you wake in tranquility
No fears to cross your eyes
Each day I wake in gratitude
Thanking God He let me rise
You worry about your education
And the bills you have to pay
I worry about my vulnerable life
And if I'll survive another day
Your biggest fear is getting a ticket
As you cruise your Cadillac
My fear is that the tank that has just left
Will turn around and come back

Yet, do you know the truth of where your money goes?
Do you let the media deceive your mind?
Is this a truth nobody, nobody, nobody knows?
Someone tell me ...

Ooohh, let's not cry tonight
I promise you one day it's through
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters
Ooohh, shine a light for every soul that ain't with us no more
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters

See I've known terror for quite some time
57 years so cruel
Terror breathes the air I breathe
It's the checkpoint on my way to school
Terror is the robbery of my land
And the torture of my mother
The imprisonment of my innocent father
The bullet in my baby brother
The bulldozers and the tanks
The gases and the guns
The bombs that fall outside my door
All due to your funds
You blame me for defending myself
Against the ways of my enemies
I'm terrorized in my own land (what)
And I'm the terrorist?

Yet, do you know the truth of where your money goes?
Do you let the media deceive your mind?
Is this a truth nobody, nobody, nobody knows?
Someone tell me ...

Ooohh, let's not cry tonight, I promise you one day it's through
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters,
Ooohh, shine a light for every soul that ain't with us no more
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters,

American , do you realize that the taxes that you pay
Feed the forces that traumatize my every living day
So if I won't be here tomorrow
It's written in my fate
May the future bring a brighter day
The end of our wait


Ooohh, let's not cry tonight, I promise you one day it's through
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters,
Ooohh, shine a light for every soul that ain't with us no more
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters,

[with kids]
Ohh let's not cry tonight I promise you one day it's through
Ohh my brothers! Ohh my sisters!
Ooh shine a light for every soul that ain't with us no more
Ohh my brothers! Ohh my sisters!

[lyrics from]

Friday night dinner and drinks

Sergeja and I decided we would go out for dinner and drinks every Friday after work, trying out different restaurants every week. Yesterday we had Thai food again, but at a different restaurant. This time it was the Thai Boran restaurant in DongbuIchon-dong, near our work. It is a small restaurant on the 2nd floor of a building about half way down the main street. As we went right after work, we were there very early and there were no other customers. We ordered fairly quickly. We ordered spring rolls, green curry (gotta have it) with chicken and eggplant, and a dish of bok choy and mushrooms, which they unfortunately didn't have that day. We decided to get the sauteed beef salad instead (not quite knowing what to expect). [we had some before I was able to take the picture]
As I don't eat seafood, the choices are fairly limited. It was all very good, but a bit overpriced.
After dinner, we got on a bus and headed towards Itaewon. We got off about halfway to do a bit of walking. It was SO HOT out. We wanted to go to a place with a terrace or balcony so we went to Gecko's Garden and Terrace for some drinks. Mmmmmm. Strawberry daquiris.

[with flash][without flash]Then we decided to try out the Monkey Punch. SO GOOD! Banana, Baileys, in a frozen milky drink.Gecko's Garden and Terrace is a very nice place but is a bit overpriced. The food, especially.

shabu shabu

One of the many dishes here that I really enjoy is Shyabu Shyabu. I think it is also a Japanese dish, but the Japanese one is not exactly the same (Sergeja spent 3 years in Japan, so I have this on good authority).
The shabu shabu restaurants vary a bit from one to the other, of course. Some have the gas burner in a hollow in the the table in which they set the big pot/bowl, some bring out a little gas burning stove to set the pot on. They put a liquid broth in the pot and turn it on. They bring out a platter of vegetables, mushrooms, slices of acorn squash and other little things,
a plate of thinly sliced frozen beef,

and a dish with some noodles and mandu/dumplings (mandu is not always there). Add to all that a variety of side dishes - we had kimchi, water kimchi with pickles,

and salad.

You each get your own little bowl and dipping sauce, of course. With everything all together, the table is always VERY full.

Once the broth is boiling, you put the vegetables, mushrooms and such into it. You can cut up the bigger veggies (like big cabbage leaves, lettuce leaves, mushroom bunches, etc) with the scissors that are always present at most Korean restaurants. At some restaurants, they will do this for you, at others, you have to do it yourself. I had never actually done anything when going out for shyabu shyabu, as I have always gone with Koreans that would do it all. This was the first time I had to do everything. Easy as pie. As the veggies start to cook, you put pieces of meat in to cook. You dont' put it all in at once, as it would all be done too quickly. Because it is sliced so thin, it cooks almost as soon as it touches the boiling broth.

You can pick out pieces one at a time or use the scoop to put some in your own dish. It is best to have some meat with vegetables together and dip it and eat it. Mmmmmm. sooooooo good. Once you are almost finished the veggies and meat, while there is still plenty of broth, you put the noodles and mandu in to cook (you can ask for more broth if it starts to get low).

Once they are finished and eaten, they make a little bit of rice porrige with the left over broth, pre-cooked rice, some little added things such as shredded laver (seaweed) and green onions and some egg. It is so delicious.
Sergeja and I went out for Shyabu Shyabu a week ago and ate SO much. And it is so cheap for what you get. It cost us 8,000won each (about 8.50USD or 8.95CAD).

Pepsi II

Long but kinda cool Chinese (?) Pepsi commercial.


A friend of mine was on the net looking for new (and old) Amr Diab songs the other day. He found this. I wasn't watching but could hear it all. Very interesting combination! Amr Diab, Beyonce, Britney Spears, and Pink! It is interesting that they change the stars depending on where the commercial is to be played - another version has Enrique Iglesias in it.

Then I had to look for more. Here is one with Amr Diab and Jennifer Lopez:

Here is another one, no less interesting: Amr Diab, JLo and Beyonce
This one is the western version with David Beckham instead of Amr Diab:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Seoul Subway

Just thought I'd share the subway that I frequent. It is soooooo easy (and cheap) to get around here with the buses and subway.This map is an older version as line no. 1 (dark blue line) has been extended several stations in both directions (to the North beyond Uijeongbu-bukbu and South beyond Byeongjeom). I live and work almost smack in the middle. My work is just above the lowest dip in the river, at Ichon station (a transfer station), and my home is 3 stations North of that, at Sookmyung Women's University station. (click on the image to get the bigger version on

more food... and a few drinks, of course

Last Friday after work, Sergeja and I decided to go out for dinner so we went to Itaewon. After wandering for a little while, we ended up going to Buddha's Belly, a little Thai restaurant. Yummy! I had been craving Thai food for a while. Actually, I often crave Thai food. We found out that we both have the same favorite - green curry. mmmmmm. So good. We ordered 3 things to share: spring rolls, green curry with chicken and egg noodles with vegetables.
hit the spot.
After filling ourselves, we decided it was time for a drink. We decided to check out the Baby Guinness, an Irish bar with a small but nice patio (above BricX for those of you that know the area). Sergeja's MargueritaStraberry Daquiri (soooooooo refreshing!)
After we finished a couple of drinks, we went down to BricX. Dark and cozy as usual. Very nice chocolate martinis! After that it was off to the Wolfhound for one last drink - a Junebug for Sergeja and for me a Black Russian, one of my favorite drinks. They made it wrong though and added mixer. :(

new friends and good food

As the 15th was a holiday here, I went out with Sergeja and her Korean friend that had lived with her for a few months in London.
We started out at a little pizza place in Dongbu Ichon-Dong, near the station. I had been there once before after looking at housing with the boss. A nice little place with thin crust pizzas. Most of the menu items were seafood based, but there were a few that weren't, mostly mushrooms - cream of mushroom soup, mushroom pizza, and mushroom cream spaghetti. The mushroom pizza is great. We then moved on to Hongdae, where we went to a Korean bar/restaurant. We had some lemon soju cocktail and shared Korean green onion pancake and dubu-kimchi (cooked kimchi with tofu).
I had been craving dubu-kimchi for a long time. I LOVE IT!!! When we had had enough of that place (we were all freezing due to the air conditioning being full blast), we moved on to another bar in the area - the Liquid lounge. I knew it was a cute little place to have drinks (I had been there once before during a stagette party) so we went. We had Midori Sour. Mmmmmm. Good.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I've been quite busy with work and hanging out with one of my new co-workers. SO much changed over the 2 weeks that I was away in Canada for summer vacation. The other foreign teacher (Canadian) did a midnight run (basically just skipped the country without giving the school notice or anything, right after pay day). So, the teacher that they had hired to replace on of the other teachers that left before, replaced her, and they quickly filled the other spots with Kyopos (Korean foreigners. They had said that they would hire foreigners, not Kyopos, as the Kyopos aren't really treated as foreigners, and they don't look foreign.
Things that they said would change didn't change, things that weren't supposed to change changed. When I left I had a computer in my classroom. When I got back, it was gone. They moved it to another desk in the teachers' office. BUT in there, it isn't connected to the Internet. The other computer in there is. They are just too lazy to connect it to the Net or to the printer. Useless. In my room, it was hooked up to the Net.
The new teachers are all very nice. Sam is a Korean Canadian from Toronto. Then there are Erin and Sarah, both Korean American. Sergeja is the new foreign foreign teacher and is from London. We all get along very well. I'm happy about that, of course, BUT...
other things at work are driving me nuts!

Monday, August 13, 2007

More on Korean Christians...

So far, 2 of the Korean hostages have been killed, both men, and now 2 of the women have been released. That leaves another 21 (?) hostages, mostly women.
I found this article today. Very interesting.

Seoul is home to 11 of the world's 12 largest Christian congregations, including Yoido, which began Bible classes in a tent in 1958 and now has 800,000 members and a goal of having 5,000 churches worldwide by 2010.
It runs the Osanri Prayer Mountain retreat, where the devout can lock themselves in cubicles for prayer and fasting, and attracts a million pilgrims annually, tens of thousands of them foreigners.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


For some reason, I always take pictures out the window when flying anywhere. I suppose it helps fill time. Especially when the flights are so long.
Flying home: Seoul to Vancouver (10 hours 15 minutes) to Edmonton (1 hour 25 minutes)
Flying back to Korea: Winnipeg to Vancouver (3 hours) to Seoul (11 hours 25 minutes)At the Vancouver Airport waiting for ?. After boarding, the plane just sat there for about 30 minutes. Still loading bags? I dunno.Complimentary Snack on Winnipeg to Vancouver flight - "Maized and Confused Corn Chips" - Very tasty. They had Flax seeds in them.


Grapes in Korea are interesting. Generally, they are giant dark purplish grapes with huge seeds in them. You don't eat the skins, you just squeeze and the inside pops out. The skins are usually too tough to eat. These grapes taste a bit like wine. I suppose they are related to the Concord grapes. I don't normally eat them as I can't stand the seeds. I did, however, find some seedless giant ones. Yummy![My hands are very large for a girl, so don't think they just look big because of small hands.]


My Erotic Personality is The Romantic. Take the Erotic Personality Quiz on and discover yours!I took Sage Vivant's Erotic Personality Quiz and discovered I'm a Romantic!

What is your Erotic Personality? Find out now..

Idea from Seven Inches of Sense

Saturday, August 11, 2007


I love traveling and going places. BUT... I HATE FLYING. I'm afraid of flying. And it doesn't help that I am spending so much time in the airplanes and then so much time stuck in airports everywhere. I am now in the Vancouver International Airport, waiting for my flight. It was delayed about 30 minutes. So a 3.5 hour wait rather than just a 3 hour wait.
I still have yet to figure out how to travel light.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Korean Christians

It looks like many Koreans don't support the Christian hostages in Afghanistan.
I do understand, though. They can get a bit annoying. I have lost count of the number of times I have been approached on the street by Korean Christians (as well as Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses) trying to save my soul. They also go door to door. I once had a couple of Korean women knocking at my door. At first I thought it was the land lady, so I opened the door. It turned out to be two Christian women that were going door to door with their bible and pamphlets. Seeing that I didn't speak Korean, they didn't stay for long. But then the next day, another knock on my door. I opened it to find that one of the Korean women had returned with a man that spoke English. They held my door open and kept trying to talk to me about religion. They kept trying to get me to read highlighted passages from their little bible. I told them from the beginning that I am Christian. They said not all those that call themselves Christians know the right path. They kept saying that there was God AND a God Mother. What?? That's a new one. They continued to insist that I believe them and that I should go to their church. They said they wanted to help me save my soul. I said I am Christian. I said I'm not interested. I said I'm busy. I said I have no time. I said I have to go. The kept holding my door open. I was getting soooooooo angry. My neighbor and co-worker Raph heard it all and thought about interceding, but they probably would have just done the same thing to him. Eventually, they realized that I wasn't buying what they were telling me and they left quite unhappy. Not all Korean Christians are like this, but when they are, they go beyond annoying. Some churches have a service every day. Some Koreans go to church every day. Some spend a lot of money.
A good Korean friend/co-worker goes to church every Sunday. She puts up to $20 in the collection plate every Sunday. When she gets paid at work in cash, she always asks for fresh unfolded bills, which she uses to pay several hundred dollars in tithes every month. She says she is paying for her sins. No wonder these churches can afford the things they do.
One of the very first things I noticed in Korea, on the drive from the airport to my new home, was the glow of the neon crosses that dotted the night landscape. I could see a lot of neon lights, but the crosses were the most prominent.

South Korea turns against 'arrogant' Christian hostages

By Daniel Jeffreys in Seoul 04 August 2007
The kidnap of South Korean church volunteers by the Taliban has caused deep divisions back home, forcing into the open a dark truth: many Koreans resent Christians and the speed with which they have become a dominant force in the upper echelons of society.
The captive missionaries - 18 women and five men - who were seized in Afghanistan two weeks ago hailed from the Saemmul Presbyterian Church, which is based in an affluent dormitory town south of Seoul.
After they were taken hostage, the church's online bulletin board was deluged with negative statements. Many called the missionaries "arrogant" for trying to proselytise in a Muslim country gripped by conflict.
When the group's pastor, Bae Hyung-ku, was killed last week, the hostile messages increased and the church decided to close its site rather than endure what a press release from Bae's family called "more hatred and misunderstanding."
But this did not halt the critics. A news bulletin board at Naver, Korea's leading portal, attracted vicious denunciations. "Yes, let's pray for the hostages' safe return, only to see these missionaries kneel down and apologise to the people for the Protestants' arrogance," wrote a man who described himself as a "humanist teacher."
Whang Sang-min, a psychology professor at the prestigious Yonsei University, said: "There is growing resentment toward Christians. Many Koreans feel oppressed by the power of the church."
Korea was a Buddhist country 120 years ago, with only a few thousand Christians, mostly Catholics, who faced intense persecution. By the 1960s, Korea had about a million Christians, but their numbers exploded in the decades that followed.
Christians now make up 31 per cent of South Korea's population. At night, the Seoul skyline glitters with video billboards and neon lights but all the commercial illumination is rivalled by the thousands of bright red crosses that shine from the churches found on almost every street corner.
Korea now has more than 36,000 churches, and many of them are loud and proud with a firm commitment to missionary work and a passionate zeal for evangelism.
A typical example is Somang church in the Apgugeong district, Seoul's equivalent of Knightsbridge. It attracts over 15,000 worshippers every Sunday, and the weekly church collection plate rakes in more than £30,000, much of which is devoted to funding overseas missions. The choir is packed with professional and semi-professional opera singers, and the conservative presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak is a member of the congregation.
Saemmul, the captive missionaries' church, was formed by a breakaway group from Somang and it has grown so big it recently converted a five-storey shopping centre into a new church - the Yeoido Full Gospel church in central Seoul, which has 750,000 regular attendees, making its congregation the largest in the Christian world.
Korea has 16,000 missionaries working overseas, second only to the US.
The chairmen of all South Korea's top-10 companies are Christians, as are the majority of National Assembly members.
If the Taliban kills another one of its hostages there will be great sadness here, but also more anger against Christians. A posting on Naver earlier this week gives a taste of the degree of resentment some Koreans feel: "The missionaries are getting what they deserve," wrote a woman who described herself as a secular Buddhist. "Maybe now some of them will stop trying to ram Jesus down our throats."
Kang Sung-zu, South Korea's ambassador to Afghanistan, has arranged to meet with Taliban forces within the next few days to begin negotiations for the release of the remaining 21 church workers.
The Taliban have already killed two of its captives, but it announced yesterday that no more will be executed before the direct negotiations with Mr Kang take place.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

police brutality

It is so sad that things like this keep happening there. When will it end?????
Egypt police beat man to death
CAIRO: Egyptian police tortured a man to death as they were trying to track down his brother, a security source said yesterday. It was the latest in a series of human rights abuses reported in the Arab country.
The official said police detained Nasr Ahmed Abdallah without charges and beat him severely in the Nile Delta village of Tilbanah on Wednesday. He died of his wounds in hospital.
Egyptian newspapers also carried the report. The official said police held the 35-year-old carpenter in an attempt to force the surrender of his brother, who is wanted on unspecified charges.
An interior ministry spokesman declined to comment, saying public prosecutors were investigating the incident.
International and local human rights groups say torture is systematic in Egypt. Many victims have reported receiving electric shocks and severe beatings, but the government says it opposes torture and prosecutes anyone found practising it.
"The problem is that the Interior Ministry until now does not want to admit that torture is a standard method," said Gamal Eid, head of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.
The independent Al Masry Al Yom said villagers protested after Abdallah's death and hurled stones at the police station.
The Al Wafd opposition newspaper published a picture of what it said was his bloodied body.
(If you hadn't heard about previous incidents of police brutality in Egypt, it is easy to find on the net. I've seen it and don't want to look for it.)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


I guess I'm an animal graveyard! How about you?
Vegans shun sex with carnivores says researcher
Tue Jul 31 2:20 AM
WELLINGTON (AFP) - They say you are what you eat, and growing numbers of vegans are shunning sex with meat-eaters because they see them as "a graveyard for animals", a New Zealand researcher says.
These vegans not only refuse to eat meat or animal products but refuse to have sexual contact with meat-eaters because their bodies are made up of dead animals, the researcher was reported saying in The Press newspaper on Tuesday.
Annie Potts, co-director of the New Zealand Centre of Human and Animal Studies at New Zealand's Canterbury University, said she coined the term vegansexuals during her research.
She discovered the vegansexuals while interviewing 157 vegetarians and ethical consumers for a study.
"It's a whole new thing -- I have not come across it before," said Potts.
One vegan said while she found non-vegans attractive, but would not want to be physically close to them.
"I would not want to be intimate with someone whose body is literally made up from the bodies of others who have died for their sustenance," she said.