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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Links - 27th May 2015

South-East Asia migrant crisis: Julie Bishop told by Indonesia most of 7,000 people stranded are illegal labourers, not refugees - "Ms Bishop said she was told only 30 to 40 per cent of the people stuck in camps or on boats in the region are Rohingya asylum seekers. "They (Indonesia) believe there are about 7,000 people at sea [and] they think about 30 to 40 per cent are Rohingya, the rest are Bangladeshi," Ms Bishop said. "They are not, in Indonesia's words, asylum seekers, they are not refugees — they are illegal labourers. They've been promised or are seeking jobs in Malaysia."

Lutfur Rahman: the election scandal made worse by the authorities - Telegraph - "Last year’s Tower Hamlets mayoral election was a scandal – a damning indictment of one man’s ambition. Yesterday, a High Court judge ruled that the result was void and that the “winner”, Lutfur Rahman, would not be able to run again. The only surprising thing about this sound verdict is how long it took to expose the truth. Much of the spadework had to be done by private citizens and The Telegraph’s investigative reporter Andrew Gilligan. Judge Richard Mawrey found Mr Rahman and his supporters had committed a litany of abuses. They were guilty of vote-rigging, seeking to influence the result through imams, wrongly branding rivals as “racist” and allocating local grants in order to buy votes. Mr Mawrey said that while this corruption was not “the consequence of the racial and religious mix of the population”, it is true that Mr Rahman and his supporters played the “race and Islamophobia card”"

Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman is sacked for 'corrupt practices' - Telegraph - "Rahman’s supporters registered or cast hundreds of fake postal votes, the judge ruled, and a handwriting expert gave evidence to the court that hundreds of ballot papers may have been completed by the same person. They also lied to voters that his main opponent, Labour’s John Biggs, was a racist and said that voting for Rahman was an “Islamic duty”"
"Azmal Hussein, the Tower Hamlets restaurant owner... told Channel 4 News with a cheery grin: “Voter fraud is endemic in Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities. Because it is our culture.”"

A French Muslim girl was kicked out of class because her skirt was too long - "The student, identified as Sarah, already apparently removed her headscarf before entering the school, in accordance with French law. But her long skirt was deemed a "provocation," and potential act of protest."

The truth about pad Thai - "“The thing with Thai food,” McDang said, “is that many of the dishes have come from the top down. Traders from Europe would turn up centuries ago and introduce an ingredient or dish, but before it got disseminated, the king had to agree. If the king liked it, he was the one who distributed it.” Pad Thai, it turns out, was no different. In the late 1930s, Prime Minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram wanted to modernise and unify the country to create a sense of “Thai-ness”. After changing the nation’s name from Siam to Thailand, he sought to create a national dish. There isn’t much documentation on how Phibunsongkhram came upon pad Thai – some historians trace it back to a cooking competition he organised – but suddenly the dish began popping up all over the country.

Why we must not criminalise wolf-whistling - Telegraph - "“Evidentially, I fail to see how wolf-whistling at a person can realistically be made an offence. There would be massive identification issues involved. What happens if there are ten or so men, several storeys up on a high building, and one of them wolf-whistles at a woman and she makes a complaint to the police? How on earth would she identify the culprit? “Would there be a 'wolf-whistling ID parade'? Or are you going to charge them all with the crime by way of joint enterprise if they happened to laugh at it? “What if there is ‘mistaken wolf-whistling’; a woman thinks a man is whistling at her but he’s actually doing it to another woman around the corner, or on the other side of the street (and she isn't bothered about it)?"

Aiseyman! Muslims cannot keep demanding others to accomodate their religious practices lah! | - "Hindus and some Buddhists do not eat beef, but they do not request for exclusive utensils, appliances, or rooms to have their meals. On the 1st and 15th day of the lunar calendar month, some Buddhists and Taoists have to do special prayers to their Gods but they do not request to knock off early. If they can fulfill their religious obligations quietly without imposing their restrictions on others and encroaching onto others’ space, why can’t us Muslims? Is our threshold for tolerance of other religions so low, or are we just too sensitive about our own? Surely we can find creative and less imposing ways to practice our religion – have a quick lunch so that we can have time to go to the Mosque on Fridays, find a quiet spot in the office to pray, bring our own utensils or pool our own money if we really need a halal microwave."

Welcome to Britain. Thanks for the Hard Work. Now Get Lost - ""This policy came into effect in 2012, and they're applying it retrospectively,'' she said. "It's outrageous, it's an absolute joke. I'm sitting in between these two different laws.'' Reluctant to give up life in Nottingham, she appealed. On top of the 2,400 pounds ($3,600) she'd already spent applying for residency, the appeal cost almost 4,000 pounds. The Home Office was holding her passport and those of her family, so she couldn't travel for work intended to benefit other government departments, and Peter was unable to return to Australia when his uncle died. Still, it seemed worth it when, at the start of December last year, Judge Peter Hollingworth ruled in her favor. Hirono, he said, made a "significant and profound'' contribution to British academic life, and it was unreasonable to ask her to leave. "I was so happy,'' she said. Then, just after Christmas, she learned the Home Office was appealing. "I thought, I can't live like this any more,'' she said. "I decided I have to get out of this country.'' Harvey said this experience was typical, as the government puts up a series of soft barriers to discourage immigrants, such as more complicated application forms and a tendency to fight cases. "The Home Office generally seems to be appealing the overwhelming majority of cases that it loses, regardless of merit'... [In 1964] according to Rob Ford, who teaches politics at Manchester University, many people thought immigration was too high. "The net level of immigration - people arriving minus those leaving - doesn't seem to matter,'' he said... "A lot of political promises are on things people don't care about that much, but the voters who care intensively about immigration link it to everything that's wrong with everything,'' he said. "And when they say they want less immigration, they mean they want the process of cultural change that they don't like reversed.''"

Sex Toys, Winter Coats, And Spanish Flags: The Uselessness Of Post-Disaster Donations - "Jose Holguin-Veras used to have a top-five list of the strangest donated items that inevitably appear in disaster areas once recovery begins: A king-size mattress that weighed 200 pounds, a load of Spanish flags, a case of Viagra, and a carnival-style tiger costume. But then Holguin-Veras, who has studied donations in dozens of post-disaster zones, says he found out about the truckload of sex toys delivered after Hurricane Charley in 2004. "I think that was the winner," he says. Human impulse makes people want to lend a hand after a major disaster like a hurricane or earthquake, says Holguin-Veras, who is the director of the Center for Infrastructure, Transportation, and the Environment at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. "The motivations come from a good place," he says. But sending stuff can lead to its own litany of problems, bottlenecking important donations and wasting the time of aid workers... Hundreds of pounds of pork meat was donated to Muslim earthquake victims in Turkey... So what is the right answer? Don’t send stuff"

Illegal drugs: The wars don’t work | The Economist - "Prohibition suits criminal gangs, which enjoy exclusive control of a global market worth roughly $300 billion annually. It is also convenient for corrupt politicians and officials, who can extract rents for turning a blind eye. Several of those whom Indonesia executed this week claimed that judges offered them clemency in exchange for huge bribes. In the main, though, what drives the new drug warriors is the same conviction that animated the old ones: the sincere, if mistaken, belief that cracking down on traffickers and users will make addiction go away. The lesson of the first war is that it will not... Those preparing to prosecute the next drug war need only look west to see what lies ahead of them: more violence and corruption; more HIV/AIDS; fuller jails—and still the same, unending supply of drugs. Meanwhile, rules meant to stop opioids leaking to the black market have left the innocent to die in avoidable pain. Multiple-sclerosis sufferers and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy have been denied the relief that cannabis can bring. Some researchers think that LSD (acid), MDMA (Ecstasy) or psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) might help treat depression. But nobody knows, because drug laws have made trials close to impossible"

PAS high on religion, low in common sense - "Despite the state’s strict adherence to religion, sex and drugs have become an increasingly disturbing feature in the state. The Kelantanese, like most Malay communities, are closed communities. A person cannot do something without the whole village being aware. The house where the rape took place was a known drug den. Why did the community fail the two girls? In the Kelantan gang rape, a father, his sons and nephews were among the alleged rapists. What does that say about the Malay family values?... When asked about the high rates of incest in Malay communities, one villager said, “The non-Malays can afford prostitutes, the Malays can’t; so they use their children instead.”

Indonesian district bans unmarried couples from motorbike rides - "Unmarried people sitting closely together on a motorcycle is clearly against Islamic sharia as it could lead to sinful acts"

Open-door sexuality - "The urban responses (about three-fourths of the survey) reveal "drastic changes in sexual behavior among the younger cohorts," Parish says. Dividing respondents by the year they turned 20, a likely age to engage in sexual behavior, the researchers found that this trend began in the 1980s and accelerated in the 1990s. At this rate China's urban population-30 percent of the country-"will look like Western Europe in 50 years."... Take premarital sex, "one of the most conspicuous markers of the degree of liberalization towards sex." Among older respondents (those who turned 20 before the early 1980s economic changes) about 25 percent of men and 10 percent of women had engaged in premarital sex, most with their future spouses. In the young group (those who turned 20 around 1995) 40 percent of males and 25 percent of females had had premarital sex, the women typically with their future husbands, while young men also reported sex with short-term lovers and prostitutes. Prostitution, in fact, has been on the rise since the 1980s. As more urban men have disposable incomes and rural women remain poor, migrating to cities for work, both the demand and supply in the sex industry continue to grow. Less than 8 percent of older Chinese men reported paying for sex, while more than 20 percent of young men said they had done so. In the United States, conversely, older men have employed prostitutes more often than young men. The 1992 sex survey shows about 33 percent of U.S. men who turned 20 in the 1950s have paid for sex. As the sexual revolution and women's lib arrived in the 1960s, the use of prostitutes began to drop, and by the early 1990s, when casual sex was more readily available, rates reached as low as 5 percent. With most Chinese women not yet sexually liberated, Parish says, young Chinese men "resort to prostitution for their sexual demand.""

Alan Cohen's answer to Should public restrooms become gender-neutral (unisex) or stay gender-segregated? - Quora - "Believe it or not men's bathrooms are roughly one-third the cost of women's bathrooms. Outflow pipes in women's bathrooms usually are larger. A full sit-down toilet is more expensive to put in place than a urinal and sink space generally is larger for women... The standup urinal is the main reason you don't see lines in men's bathrooms, and while there is a device similar to the urinal for women, my bet is that neither gender will use them if the other gender is present."
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