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Friday, July 04, 2014

Links - 4th July 2014

Part of Paris bridge collapses under weight of 'love locks' left by tourists - "The practice is believed to have started in Russia but has spread all over the world. It is especially common in Paris, the city of lovers."

5 Shockingly Insane 'Game of Thrones' Fanfiction Sex Scenes | - "The reader makes a sudden realization as well, namely that they were just tricked into reading a story of underage incest by dire wolf mind control proxy. And then Maisie Williams, like the character she plays, adds the author of this story to the list of names she has to kill."

The 'Nordic model' of prostitution law is a myth - "We recently gave a talk titled “The Nordic model of prostitution policy does not exist”. The aim was to provoke reflection and a discussion, but also to tell the truth about prostitution policies in the Nordic countries... Contrary to many common feminist appraisals, these laws do not in fact send a clear message as to what and who is the problem with prostitution; on the contrary, they are often implemented in ways that produce negative outcomes for people in prostitution... the Nordic countries' approaches must be judged with caution – and none more so than the most popular example, the case of Sweden... The claim that the number of people involved in prostitution has declined, for one, is largely based on the work of organisations that report on specific groups they work with, not the state of prostitution more generally: social workers, for example, count and get an impression based on their contact with women in street prostitution in the largest cities. There is no reason to believe that other forms of prostitution, hidden from view, are not still going on. The oft-cited 2010 Skarhed report acknowledges this – but still concludes that the law is a success based on the number of women in contact with social workers and police. Men involved in prostitution, women in indoor venues, and those selling sex outside the larger cities are therefore excluded from the scope of the report. This excessive focus on street prostitution handicaps many accounts of the law’s implementation, which tend to simply repeat Swedish authorities’ claims that the Sex Purchase Act has influenced the size of the prostitution markets... the Swedish Sex Purchase Act is often said to be an effective tool against human trafficking. The evidence for this claim is weak; Swedish authorities have backed it up with something said in a call intercepted by the police. The official data that does exist is vague; some authors have also pointed out that the act may have raised prices for sex, making trafficking for sexual purposes potentially more lucrative than ever... Even though surveys among the general public indicate great support for the law, the same material also shows a rather strong support for a criminalisation of sex sellers. This contradicts the idea that the law promotes an ideal of gender equality: instead, the criminalisation of sex buyers seems to influence people to consider the possibility of criminalising sex sellers as well. This rather confounds the idea that the “Nordic model” successfully shifts the stigma of prostitution from sex sellers to clients...
In Sweden this is embodied by the Aliens Act, which forbids foreign women from selling sex in Sweden and is used by the police to apprehend non-Swedish or migrant persons suspected of selling sex. This reveals the limits of the rhetoric of female victimisation, with clients framed as perpetrators: if the seller is foreign, she is to blame, and can be punished with deportation."

Cristiano Ronaldo’s injuries ahead of World Cup claimed as work of witch doctor in Ghana - "Believe it or not, the Australian team has had its own experience with voodoo, with the Socceroos thought to have broken its own curse in 2006 after 37 years. Former captain Johnny Warren blamed the Socceroo’s long losing streak on a hex placed on the team in 1969. He said the Australian team was cursed for not paying $1000 to a witch doctor in Mozambique who helped them win a elimination round for the World Cup in 1969. The Australians had asked the witch doctor to place a curse on opponents Rhodesia ahead of a crucial game which they ended up winning. However, when the witch doctor wasn’t paid for his services he vowed to reverse the curse and put it on the Aussies. “From that moment when he put the curse on every thing went wrong for the team”... The Socceroos finally re-entered the competition after Safran travelled to Mozambique and hired a witch doctor to lift the curse, which involved being splattered in chicken’s blood. After a long drought the Socceroos were finally able to qualify for the World Cup in 2006."

Philippine, Vietnamese troops drink beer, play volleyball on disputed isle - "Vietnamese and Philippine troops got together on a disputed island in the South China Sea on Sunday to play soccer and volleyball - as well as drink beer - in a display of unity that will not go unnoticed in Beijing... Coincidentally, the Philippines occupied Southwest Cay until early 1975, when troops from then South Vietnam seized it after Philippine forces sailed a couple of miles to Northeast Cay, which was under Manila's control, for a party."

‘Possessed’ maid allegedly eats kitten alive, runs amok the next day

Does Fertility Behavior Spread among Friends? - "a friend’s childbearing increases an individual’s risk of becoming a parent. We find a short-term, curvilinear effect: an individual’s risk of childbearing starts increasing after a friend’s childbearing, reaches its peak approximately two years later, and then decreases."

Cash to the poor: Pennies from heaven | The Economist - "[Unconditional Cash Transfers] work better than almost anyone would have expected. They dent the stereotype of poor people as inherently feckless and ignorant. But CCTs are usually better still, especially when dealing with the root causes of poverty and, rather than just alleviating it, helping families escape it altogether."

On the march - "White nationalists have called a rally in south Brisbane today. They huddle on one side of a street that runs along a park. Behind the park poke the cranes and skyscrapers of the city skyline. Getting wind of the rally weeks ago, a counter-protest has gathered on the other side of the street, to show support for multiculturalism. Two olive-skinned Greek men stand proud as a mob of angry white faces turn red, screaming and hectoring them. Before we go any further, there's something you need to know. The olive-skinned Greeks are part of the white nationalist crew. The mob of angry whites are the anti-racists. White nationalism is confusing in 2014. "Fascist Scum! Off our streets!" bellow the 200-odd anti-fascists at the 20 or so nationalists, a police line dividing the two... "NAZI SCUM OFF OUR STREETS!" roar the rest. A shuddering Cole pulls at his leather jacket lapel. "I've got my grandfather's British Legion badge on from when he fought in World War II," he says, trembling. "He was with the Black Watch and I'm a Nazi? I go to dawn service, I wear my grandfather's medals and I'm a Nazi?" Mr Sarcastic and Red Beard have moved onto another nationalist, in black hoody and sunglasses. "C...-sucking faggot!" shouts Red Beard. In the far-right rally in my head it would have been a fascist, not an anti-fascist, shouting this... Half an hour later, like everywhere else in the world, the white nationalists and anti-fascists have all started fidgeting with their smartphones. Everyone in the street looks out of energy... Everyone left is in a jolly mood. My smartphone vibrates in my pocket. It's a Facebook message from a stranger, one of the anti-racist protesters. "Saw you before. I wanted to ask what did you think of the protest? I found it a little weird. Kinda like we were the Nazis." "Why did you feel like you were the Nazis?" "Because we were a bigger mob harassing a smaller mob. What message are we sending them? That intimidation is okay, that's fine, you just have to have the bigger numbers? The other odd thing was marching people under the hammer and sickle flag. Is this 1945? Where people under the Soviet Union flag are chasing Nazis through the streets? It was like cosplay"... "A couple of activists experienced minor cuts. However, their spirit was undeterred. The responsibility for the violence today does not rest with any worker tricked into action by the CFMEU leader-group. It rests with this small core of union officials and organisers." CFMEU head office tell me they have not heard from police about the punch-up in the pub. They say they condemn fascism, but do not condone violence... That's the cherry on the pavlova. Australia: where even the immigrants hate immigrants. And where even the anti-racists bash wogs"

$1m gone in one year: Widow of killed Changi Airport worker is now broke - ""I was told not to touch my children's money as it was meant for their future," she said, adding that the financial adviser also suggested she could use the remaining money to set up a small business in Malaysia. But the money proved too much for Madam Pusparani to manage on her own... she decided to invest the remaining $100,000 in her brother's transport business in Kuala Lumpur, thinking it would give her a stable income. "But I was told the money was only enough to buy one lorry and we needed three lorries. So, I withdrew half of my children's money, which was about $400,000, to buy two more lorries"... the widow was told that the company was losing money. She said she fell out with her brother eventually and did not recover any of her investment... "My expenses came up to RM5,000 to RM6,000. Where do I find the money?" That last $400,000 she withdrew lasted her five months."
Keywords: Pusparani Mohan, Chandra Mogan
Addendum: Lorries are really expensive in Malaysia

These 40 Alien-Like Creatures Actually Live On Earth. I Can't Believe #3 Is Real!

Tiananmen, Forgotten - - "Perhaps nowhere is this indifference toward politics and civil rights more pronounced than in the insouciance of young people about the Communist Party’s attempts to expunge historical truths from public memory. The majority of my generation still believes, for instance, that the war against Japanese invasion in the 1930s and ’40s was fought primarily by Communist soldiers, while the Nationalist army “passively resisted the Japanese and actively combated the Communists,” as told in my high school history textbook... Well-educated and worldly, they nonetheless see censorship more as a nuisance of daily life, something to be begrudgingly endured, rather than an infringement on their freedom of speech...
If the previous generations learned the cost of political transgression through persecutions and crackdowns, today’s youth, especially those from elite backgrounds, instinctively understand the futility of challenging the system. After all, most of the time, power interferes with our personal lives only in the form of nettlesome restrictions. These inconveniences — from censorship to the vehicle license lottery, a system that distributes a limited number of license plates to a huge number of new drivers who apply each month — feel not unlike the dogmatic words of Marxist philosophy in our school textbooks, which we mock in private but dutifully memorize and copy onto exams. Rebelling against these hurdles seems both naïve and unproductive — an understanding that the system has inculcated into us early on — as it would likely achieve little. Circumvention and compromise help us move forward, in a society where the price of falling behind is surely greater than the minor harms in our daily lives caused by state power. Over time, such an approach is rationalized, and even defended by the very group of young elites who in previous generations have been the most passionate advocates for change. Last October, Xia Yeliang, an economics professor at Peking University, was dismissed from his job after making bold demands for political change. The school insisted that Mr. Xia was fired for poor teaching skills. When the news broke, scores of university students rushed to defend the school’s claim on social media from what one called “Western media’s typical tactic to smear the image of China.”"
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