OBAMA just made a terrific speech at the United Nations. It's worth reading the full transcript: "Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs"



IN spite of changing their confessed religion, the Mardijkers didn’t change their language. Thus, in the 17th century and partly also in the 18th century, the most common language in Batavia was a kind of portuguese mixed with many malay words. Some protestant ministers had even to learn portuguese in order to serve this growing community. In fact, portuguese still was the lingua franca to Asia, though Portugal had since long become powerless.

It was for this community, the Black Portuguese Community, that the De Nieuwe Portugeesche Buitenkerk, as it was called in dutch (meaning: “Portuguese church outside the walls”) was built for.

And today there I was, not as a white portuguese, but as a Mardijker in hearth, to pay tribute to all those who kept the portuguese language alive for so many years in this remote far east city of the world … (more here)



THE Diaoyu Islands (known as Senkaku in Japan and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan) are a group of uninhabited islets lost in the East China Sea. They measure 7 square kilometers. To have an idea of how tiny the islets are we can compare them to the smallness of Macau, a region that totals 29.5 square kilometers. The combined size of the five islets and three rocks that constitute the Diaoyu archipelago is smaller than the Macau peninsula, which totals only 9.3 kilometers.
But tension over the islets has been growing increasingly hysterical. The dispute started to rise to the fore again about a month ago, when activists who had departed from Hong Kong (including a Macau resident) arrived at the islets carrying Chinese and Taiwanese flags. They were swiftly detained by the Japanese and released after diplomatic pressure. The activists were received as heroes in Hong Kong. Another episode occurred on September 7, when a Chinese boat collided with a Japanese Coast Guard vessel near the islets.
Since then, things have gotten out of hand and the perennial anti-Japanese sentiment has hit China once again. The resentment between both countries is historical, and manifests itself from time to time.  Yesterday, crowds of Chinese protested against Japan outside its embassy in Beijing and in many other Chinese cities, including neighboring Zhuhai, were Japanese cars were burnt. According to the Associated Press (AP), the protests are being “fanned by a feverish campaign in Chinese state media”. Inconsistently, Beijing authorities seem to be concerned with the unrest and AP reports that “users of China’s popular Twitter-like Sina Weibo site couldn’t search for the term ‘anti-Japan protests’” yesterday morning.
But let’s stop and think for a minute. Are these islets worth all this noise? Trying to explain the reasons for this row, the BBC states that the islands controlled by Japan “matter because they are close to strategically important shipping lanes, offer rich fishing grounds and are thought to contain oil deposits”. But have these resources any importance at all for China or Japan? I don’t think so. The islets are negligible: if good sense were to prevail, neither country would never even bother about their existence. What we are seeing is a kind of a phallic dispute between the two nations with the worst Chinese nationalistic rhetoric taking hold.
A similar crazed episode is happening in parts of the Muslim world because of an obscure video called, “The Innocence of Muslims”, that was posted on YouTube. The protests have been spreading after the deadly attacks on the United States Consulate in Benghazi, which killed the American Ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staff. In this case we are witnessing the rise of anti-American sentiment (and even anti-Western as the German embassy in Sudan was also attacked) reportedly because of a video that most of the protesters probably haven’t even seen…
Both stories (the islets and the ridiculous video) are being expanded as a result of media coverage, which indirectly fuels the protests. But time is the best judge. There’s a thesis in journalism that states all events reach their “Kairos moment”. The Greek word Kairos means the right, opportune or supreme moment. This theory holds that newsworthy events will eventually reach a point of decreasing interest. Hence, when stories reach their so-called “Kairos moment” they vanish from the headlines suddenly. But nothing prevents the same event (maybe “dressed in other clothes”) from reappearing. If not appeased by those with special responsibilities (members of the government), anti-Japanese sentiment in China, and anti-American in the Muslim world, will keep hitting the headlines again and again.
(in MDT)




que estamos totos a tentar encontrar as causas. Por exemplo: "O parlamento parece um escritório de advocacia em open space". Notável comparação e há mais:

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BEHIND the Scenes: Tank Man



SOBRE a situação política em Portugal, para ler e reflectir:

1 - Henrique Raposo
"Processar Sócrates? Só precisam de um espelho"
(E o endividamento privado? Aqui o cenário é um pouco diferente. Na política e na dívida do Estado, ninguém pode dizer que não foi avisado em relação aos perigos de Sócrates e do despesismo socialista; na questão do crédito à habitação (o centro do nosso endividamento privado), ninguém avisou as pessoas. Os bancos e os governos (através do crédito bonificado) potenciaram ao máximo aquele desejo português pela posse de terra. Mas, lá está, os portugueses não foram vítimas passivas, não há aqui teorias da conspiração. Se todas as regiões queriam uma auto-estrada, todos os portugueses queriam ser proprietários da sua própria casa, e ainda hoje olham com desconfiança para o arrendamento. Na mentalidade que se desenvolveu ao longo destas décadas, o sujeito que paga uma renda ao senhorio é um totó, "pá, estás a dar dinheiro a outro gajo, quando devias ter a tua casa". Resultado? Se a memória não me falha, a taxa de proprietários da Alemanha está abaixo dos 50%; em Portugal, está acima dos 80%. Neste tema, os portugueses têm razão para criticar bancos e governos, mas antes têm de olhar para um espelho. Este segundo espelho é mais pequeno do que o primeiro, mas não deixa de ser um espelho. Ler mais: http://expresso.sapo.pt/processar-socrates-so-precisam-de-um-espelho=f752130#ixzz26H9jTvy3)

2 - Pedro Guerreiro
(Não é a derrapagem do défice que mata a união que faz deste um território, um país. É a cegueira das medidas para corrigi-lo. É a indignidade. O desdém. A insensibilidade. Será que não percebem que o pacote de austeridade agora anunciado mata algo mais que a economia, que as finanças, que os mercados - mata a força para levantar, estudar, trabalhar, pagar impostos, para constituir uma sociedade? O Governo falhou as previsões, afinal a economia não vai contrair 4% em dois anos, mas 6% em três anos. O Governo fracassou no objectivo de redução do défice orçamental. Felizmente, ganhámos um ano. Mas não é uma ajuda da troika a Portugal, é uma ajuda da troika à própria troika, co-responsável por este falhanço. Uma ajuda da troika seria outra coisa: seria baixar a taxa de juro cobrada a Portugal. Se neste momento países como a Alemanha se financiam a taxas próximas de 0%, por que razão nos cobram quase 4%?)

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UMA boa reportagem da AP sobre Bali ilustrada com fotos minhas.



UM bom documento jornalístico sobre o holocausto que aconteceu no Cambodja dominado pelos Khmers Vermelhos.


I had the opportunity to visit the recently opened Taiwanese-owned bookstore Eslite in Hong Kong and was surprised by the frenzy around the books that I saw there. The Causeway Bay store occupies three floors and displays thousands of books of all genres. In an age where virtual bookstores rule, I was surprised by the crowd that was there browsing trough the books. It was reported that this bookstore, considered one of the largest in Asia, has people queuing to enter, despite its operating 24-hours-a-day from Thursdays to Saturdays. Many of those are youngsters, devouring many of the classics of world literature and the essays that will nurture them. This makes me think that Hong Kong has a future and is building up a critical mass that will make a difference when compared to neighboring regions. (more)


"ON their first exposure to the laughter, nearly half of the students reported that they responded with laughter themselves. (More than 90% reported smiling on first exposure.) However, the effectiveness of the stimulus declined with repetition. By the 10th exposure, about 75% of the students rated the laugh stimulus as "obnoxious", a reminder of the sometimes derisive nature of laughter, especially when repetitive and invariable."
(Beyond a joke: the truth about why we laugh; Guardian)
Em Macau: Em Lisboa:
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