"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Links - 11th April 2019 (2)

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, The Sound of Danger in Yemen - "The Sarejevo museum during the war in the Balkans had its doors firmly locked and barricaded, but suggested that you bring a chair with you to climb in through one of the high ground floor windows in between periodic shellfire, and then viewed the few remaining exhibits by crawling around on all fours to avoid any sniper fire. Museums matter even in war, they said...
I spotted the garden where the rather large dogs roamed, grabbed my Serbian dictionary and headed over trying to memorize the word *something* or noisy. My neighbor stared at me as I put on my warmest smile and explained gently that I was a journalist who often had to be up early to report on his beautiful country and could he possibly perhaps maybe keep his dogs inside overnight. He started shaking. I am so angry, he growled. You English, you bomb my country and then you tell me to keep my dogs quiet. I limped off and called my landlord. Ah, I should have told you he replied. That guy was the bodyguard of Arkan. For those of you who don't remember Arkan was the most feared Serb paramilitary leader and criminal boss during the Yugoslav wars until his assassination in 2000. But you can't let him get away with this my landlord counseled. Call the police when the dogs bark overnight. Naively I did. The police told me they found unlicensed weapons in his house and gave him a warning. That I hoped would end it. Until a fortnight later I stumbled upon a Facebook group he had created called Serb hating BBC journalist causing havoc in our country. 1500 members had joined in just five days. After calls to the police and emails to Facebook the group was closed. I was of course advised to move, but nothing came of the online bravado"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Watch Your Back! - "Among the tower blocks of downtown Vancouver, I met a Canadian former ambassador to China who's been following the case closely. He surprised me by revealing that it was only recently the Canadian government came to the conclusion that China was not on the road to democracy. He said the decision by the Chinese leader Xi Jinping to abolish term limits on his presidency last year was, for many, the moment the penny dropped. For him, the Meng Wanzhou case confirm that China as an authoritarian country is not likely to change in the near future. There's anger in Canada what politicians and diplomats see as retaliation from Beijing over the executives... In her view these new Chinese arrivals are not just looking to gain something but also to escape something. She said that in China you could be in favor one day, out of it another. One minute in power, the next in prison. That's why so many elite Chinese people find a base outside their homeland, she said, just in case they need to get out quickly."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Peace Is More Difficult Than War - "Three walls surround a toilet bowl, all that remains of another dwelling. A few years ago, the government here spent millions of dollars providing households that had only pit toilets or nothing at all with concrete built washrooms with flushing loos. The campaign was much mocked… but residents tell me that when the hurricane roared through families huddled in the only solid structure they had and these little concrete toilet blocks may have saved a good many lives"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Celebrating the Iranian revolution in Lebanon - "[On barbeque] The country which gave the world fast food also gifted a version of slow food. And a dish which, I must point out in these fractious times, is enjoyed by rich and poor, black, white and brown, Republican Democrat and to hell with them both. It would be America's ultimate unifying dish, were it not for vegetarians and vegans"

Black radicalism with Kehinde Andrews - History Extra - "The story of actually Marcus Garvey's death is sad and absurd. He read in the newspaper an obituary, somebody had written an obituary of him and he had a stroke and died the next day... Malcolm is one of the most, by far most misunderstood people. He’s either an anti white demagogue, he’s violent - he never committed any political violence at all actually - or now he’s a civil rights leader which is complete nonsense. Malcolm was the biggest critic of civil rights movement I've ever heard... literally called 1963 march on Washington which is the big showpiece march that's 250,000 people in Washington DC, that's where you have the I Have a Dream speech... his exact words were: it was a circus with clowns and all. Called it the farce on Washington, a Hollywood production. Literally... because originally the march was grassroots...
History in school. And then so why, why are they going to take history? It’s really, it’s a really severely white, white, whitewashed subject that doesn't interest people. And I think what gets missed a lot is that that is a kind of symbolic form of violence. You are basically telling people they are stupid if you don't teach, if you teach this is what history is, or this is what knowledge is. And so people are alienated from it unfortunately. I think people are interested in history, they’re not interested in white history"
So presumably non-black people shouldn't be interested in black history. Yet, we do see many non-white people are interested in 'white' history

2018 Christmas history quiz - History Extra - "What would you expect to see at a Roman pantomime? The answer was a, erotic dancing. The word pantomime comes from the Greek word pantomimos consisting of panto meaning all and mimos meaning a dancer who acted all the roles or all the story. Roman pantomime was a production usually based upon myth or legend for a solo male dancer who was clad in a long silk tunic and a short mantle. According to a lost narration by Alias Aristotides [sp?] the pantomine was known for its erotic content and the effeminacy of its dancing… the first mummers is gambled for jewels with the future Richard the Second but why did they use weighted dice? The answer was b, to ensure they lost. The first recorded mumming described how a group gambled with weighted dice for jewels to ensure they lost. Richard was delighted with this victory and the Lord's and mummers then dances and drank the night away together...
[On pantomines] Breeches roles, such as principal boy, were a rare opportunity in a heavily regulated business for an actor to show their legs wearing only tights. As such the roles were popular with female actors and young male audiences...
In 1903, the Austro-Hungarian Emperor... became the last ruler to... veto the election of a pope. Originally the Emperor, the King of France, and the King of Spain had authority to veto the selection of the conclave. This attempt was ignored, but the incoming Pope Pius the 10th who was not the subject of veto prohibited future uses and threatened excommunication for any further attempt...
Traditionally, who received magical letters at Christmas?... children. Long before the tradition of children writing to Father Christmas with request for presents, it was Father Christmas who wrote to children. The letters usually reviewed the child's behavior over the year and made suggestions for improvement...
The 1909 Christmas production at the Hippodrome Leicester Square entitled The Arctic involved 70 live... Polar bears. Astonishingly, 70 live polar bears were imported for the show, in which they swarm around fake icebergs and chased a costumed villain later to capture and devour him. The whole show was illuminated with a recreation of the Northern Lights. The bears were shipped into Tilbury from the hog and back [sp?] menagerie in Hamburg aboard an especially commissioned vessel. They arrived in seven enormous steel cages, and were kept on a diet of fish, meat and biscuits."

Indians in World War One - History Extra - "When the Indian seopys first arrived at Marseilles I think they were almost ambushed by what I call the colonial papparazzi. They were endlessly photographed, painted, sketched, and everyone wanted to be almost kind of friends with them, or even kind of touch them. And the way they, they were endlessly reported in the media. And I think this media representations, the lurch between a celebration of gallantry on one hand and brutality on the other, I think there is a central tension between the representation of the Indians as this Imperial heroes on one hand, and this colonial brutes on the other. For example, the Gurkhas are often shown like chopping off heads with their knives...
This is from the diary of an officer called Wade… ‘Jigger, the Indian waterboy with the Turkish prisoners of war is a real joy. He’s very fat with a huge smile on his face, and very black. He's serious when he’s gesticulating wildly, with Johnny Turk, trying to find out what he wants. But soon, his face lights up and he darts off laughing to himself.’ So on one hand, there is racism in a very fat, very black. At the same time, he's talking about an individual rather than a generic, and there is often a certain warmth for the Indian soldiers. And that is where the problem comes. Because there is, of course, this racist condescension, but it is not unmixed with a certain affection and warmth however condescending it may be. And often there are accounts when the racism is absent and there are pockets of intimacy and emotion between the British officer and the Indian soldier. But I regret to say that in 10 years of my research I've come across countless examples of Indians sepoys risking their lives to save the British officers but I have not come across a single example of a British officer risking his life to save an Indian sepoy"

Hardcore History 63 – Supernova in the East II - "These people had already lived through the worst war that they could ever imagine. 20 years ago before the First World War nobody really knew what they were getting into. In the 1930s everybody knows what they're getting. They're getting the First World War, only worse again, and to many of these people they thought they saw their civilization nearly knocked out in that war. If you're gonna have another one and it's going to be worse and you're starting it from the Great Depression levels of economic health, what's the likelihood you're gonna survive this time? What's the proper price to pay to avoid that outcome?...
This war is going to break out in 1939. A month after it breaks out... There's a public opinion poll of Americans on the issue of the war... 84% of respondents saying that they wanted Britain and France to win the war, only 2% wanted the Germans to win, but 95%, 95% wanted to stay out of the war... how many people are going to go against that kind of supermajority?"

The cost of studying the arts at Oxbridge - British universities - "SCEPTICS OF HIGHER education often complain that universities offer too many frivolous degrees with little value in the workplace. Since elite universities tend to produce higher-earning graduates than less selective institutions do, you might expect them to teach more practical courses. Yet data from Britain’s department for education show the opposite. Undergraduate students at prestigious universities are more likely to study purely academic fields such as philosophy and classics, whereas those at less choosy ones tend to pick vocational topics such as business or nursing. What could explain this seeming contradiction? One reason is that employers treat a degree from a top university as a proxy for intelligence. This means that students at elite institutions can study bookish subjects and still squeak by financially. The median Cambridge graduate in a creative-arts subject—the university’s least lucrative group of courses, including fields such as music—earns around £25,000 ($32,400) at age 26. Economics students from less exalted universities, such as Hull, make a similar amount. Yet even though Oxbridge students can pretend to read “Ulysses” for years and still expect a decent salary, they end up paying a large opportunity cost by pursuing the arts. That is because employers reserve the highest starting wages for students who both attended a leading university and also studied a marketable subject. Cambridge creative-arts graduates earn £11,000 more at age 26 than do those from Wrexham Glyndwr University, whose arts alumni are the lowest-earning in Britain. In contrast, Cambridge economics graduates make £44,000 more than do those from the University of Salford, where the economics course is the country’s least remunerative... Who can afford such indulgence? The answer is Oxbridge students, who often have rich parents"

LEAP Study Results | LEAP - "The results of the Immune Tolerance Network’s (ITN) “Learning Early About Peanut” (LEAP), discussed on February 23, 2015 at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrate that consumption of a peanut-containing snack by infants who are at high-risk for developing peanut allergy prevents the subsequent development of allergy. The LEAP study, designed and conducted by the ITN with additional support from FARE and led by Professor Gideon Lack at Kings College London, is the first randomized trial to prevent food allergy in a large cohort of high-risk infants... The LEAP study was based on a hypothesis that regular eating of peanut-containing products, when started during infancy, will elicit a protective immune response instead of an allergic immune reaction... “For decades allergists have been recommending that young infants avoid consuming allergenic foods such as peanut to prevent food allergies,” notes Professor Lack, the lead investigator for the LEAP study. “Our findings suggest that this advice was incorrect and may have contributed to the rise in the peanut and other food allergies.”"

Angola’s go-to app for delivering live goats to your door - From scooter to slaughter - "AFRICAN CITIES are tasty markets for food-delivery apps. The continent has 21 of the world’s 30 fastest-growing urban areas, where an expanding middle class boasts smartphones and spare cash. These cities also have hideous traffic, so it’s a chore to drive a car to a restaurant. But delivery scooters can slalom through jams."

University professor sent elite mercenaries to rescue student from Isil warzone - "It’s a level of pastoral care few universities can boast of providing. A chemistry professor at Lund University dispatched a team of elite mercenaries into an Islamic State warzone to free one of her doctoral students and his family... She contacted the university’s then security chief Per Gustafson.“It was almost as if he’d been waiting for this kind of mission,” she said. “Per Gustafson said that we had deal with a transport and security company which was valid all over the whole world.”Over a few days of intense activity, Gustafson hired a security company which then arranged a rescue operation. Just a few days later two Toyota Land Cruisers bearing four heavily-armed mercenaries roared into the area where Jumaah was hiding"

Libya ISIS fighter made machine gun, shopping cart to fighting vehicle - "Not only does this combat cart provide some stability for the gun — which seems to be a Soviet DShK heavy machine gun — it even holds a box of ammo. Innovation!Still, this video may not be the most creative thing to come out of the Libyan battlefield. As Kaaman also tweeted, they also did some testing of combat roller blades."
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