Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Missionary film leads to people 'hating Indians and wishing them dead'

19 March 2009

Screenshot from the fundamentalist film Hakani.
Screenshot from the fundamentalist film Hakani.

To mark the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, March 21, Survival is accusing the makers of a controversial film of inciting racial hatred against Brazilian Indians.

The film, ‘Hakani’, has been watched by more than 350,000 people on YouTube and claims to be the true story of a Brazilian Indian child buried alive by her tribe. Survival argues the film is faked, that the earth covering the children’s faces is ‘actually chocolate cake’, and that the film’s claim that infanticide among Brazilian Indians is widespread is false.

‘People are being taught to hate Indians, even wish them dead,’ says Survival’s director, Stephen Corry, in an exclusive interview about ‘Hakani’. ‘Look at the comments on the Youtube site, things like, ‘So get rid of these native tribes. They suck’, and, ‘Those amazon mother f***ers burrying (sic) little kids, kill them all.’

‘The film focuses on what they claim happens routinely in Indian communities, but it doesn’t,’ Corry says. ‘Amazonian infanticide is rare. When it does happen. . . it is the mother’s decision and isn’t taken lightly. It’s made privately and secretly and is often thought shameful, certainly tragic.’

‘Hakani’ was directed by David Cunningham, the son of the founder of an American fundamentalist missionary organisation called ‘Youth with a Mission’, which has a branch in Brazil known as Jocum. Corry argues that the missionaries try to downplay their involvement in the film.

‘You’re invited to give money to UNKF, but you aren’t told what the initials mean (it’s part of the mission),’ Corry says. ‘The evangelical involvement is not mentioned at all. Even if you download the full film, the credits are unreadable, so you can’t tell who is behind it.’

Corry says the film is part of the missionaries’ campaign to pressure Brazil’s government to pass a controversial bill, known as ‘Muwaji’s law’. This would force Brazilian citizens to report to the authorities anything they think is a ‘harmful traditional practice’ – a law which would ‘foster witch-hunts’, ‘roll Brazil back centuries’ and ‘could bring catastrophic social breakdown’.

Survival believes that cultural practices should be based on the free and informed consent of all participants and that infanticide is wrong.

Read an exclusive interview with Survival's director Stephen Corry.

For more information please contact Miriam Ross at Survival International on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or (+44) (0)7504 543 367 or email mr@survival-international.org

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Festival Feature: A Japanese Idol From Pittsburgh

Jerome Charles White Jr. is Japan’s first black Enka singer.

By Michael E. Ruane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 28, 2009; B01

Suddenly, out of the predawn fog, he was there, in all his hip-hop splendor: sideways red baseball cap, gleaming red and white Nikes, long silver neck bling.

The TV lights were on. The interview chair was waiting for him. But when the Japanese ambassador arrived, wearing a dark suit and pink tie, the star placed his hands at his sides and bowed deeply.

Down by the misty Tidal Basin yesterday, this was no rapper. It was Jero, the mind-bending African American-Japanese pop sensation, who was doing a mini-media blitz for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. He performs about 4:15 p.m. today during the festival's opening ceremony at the National Building Museum.

Cherry blossoms and bling?

Jero -- Jerome White Jr., 27, of Pittsburgh -- is a dazzling mix of musical, national and ethnic cultures. Part Lil Wayne, part Wayne Newton, part Japanese torch singer, he looks like the latest American rapper. But he has hit the charts in Japan specializing in a kind of traditional, low-key romance music called enka.

More Here!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Workhouse records go online and reveal British roots of millions worldwide

By Beth Hale
Last updated at 12:05 AM on 27th March 2009

They reveal some of the most intriguing, shocking and downright bizarre family trees in British history.

Among other fascinating insights, they prove that Britney Spears has roots in Tottenham, while relatives of billionaire JK Rowling grew up in the impoverished East End.

Yet for centuries the workhouse records, wills and school reports that can unlock the secrets of our ancestors' lives have been hidden in obscure archives.

Workhouse picture

Taste of the past: Dickensian pictures of women eating in London workhouses can be seen on the website

Soon, however, tens of millions of such records - containing 400 years of rich history - will be just a click of the mouse away.

Yesterday the first stage in a project to put the records online was completed, when 230,000 records relating to Victorian workhouses were made available.


Never mind the recession - Lego is now so popular that there are 62 little coloured blocks for every person on the planet.

Yet only five years ago this family business was on the brink of ruin. Jon Henley reports from the Danish town where it all began

Take a look at some of the greatest moments in Lego history
A lego model of artist Damien Hirst by The Little Artists.

A model of Damien Hirst by The Little Artists, just one sign that Lego is cool again, and not just for kids. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

It's quite easy, wandering round the small town of Billund, to start believing in the existence of a Lego god. You can't help but feel a master intelligence is at work here - the place is so manifestly wholesome, the street plan so well ordered, the pavements so tidy. Unostentatious automobiles proceed slowly along all-but-empty roads, stopping politely for pedestrians nowhere near a zebra crossing. A jovial red-and-yellow Lego giant points towards the town centre; huge coloured bricks lie scattered as if awaiting deployment in some exemplary new civic amenity (except that, being Denmark, it's not immediately apparent what else the town might need).


Nine years, £8m and six miles of track later twin brothers present the world's biggest train set

By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 3:00 PM on 25th March 2009

It looks like night has fallen at a busy train station.

Row upon row of carriages wait for the passengers who mill about on platforms or buying last-minute snacks at kiosks.

But this is actually just part of the world's biggest train set which twin brothers have worked on for nine years and spent £8million on.

Stretching for a staggering six miles the track winds its way around some of the world's most famous landmarks, from the mountains of Switzerland to the hotels and casinos of Las Vegas.

Scroll down to see a video of the astonishing model

Enlarge train set

Trains line up at a busy Hamburg station as night falls while tiny figures gather around kiosks


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

60-foot penis painted on roof

Hungerford mansion

An 18-year-old has secretly painted a 60ft drawing of a phallus on the roof of his parents' £1million mansion in Berkshire. It was there for a year before his parents found out. They say he'll have to scrub it off when he gets back from travelling.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Meet the Sisters :: The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc.

The Good, the Bad, the Weird

The Good, the Bad, the Weird

Theatrical poster
The Good, the Bad, the Weird Official Site

The Clash's Mick Jones opens rock'n'roll public library

The former Clash guitarist has put on display his Aladdin's cave of music memorabilia from the past 30 years

The Clash featuring Paul Simonon, Mick Jones, Pete Howard and Joe Strummer

The Clash in 1983 ... Paul Simonon, Mick Jones, Pete Howard and Joe Strummer. Photograph: Getty Images/Hulton Archive

Mick Jones has turned from punk rock to museum curation, opening his collection of vintage music memorabilia to the public. Temporarily on display at London's Chelsea Space gallery, the former Clash guitarist said he hopes to find a permanent site for his archive.

"I started collecting things when I was very young and I did not really know why," Jones told Reuters. "Then at the millennium, the change of the century, it started to become clear. I realised I wanted to share it."

The co-founder of one of the UK's greatest bands has been collecting music magazines, books and posters since choosing punk rock over football. "If you are ... a young working-class boy in London, you have to make a choice between sport or music," he said. "I made the choice for music."

"I have kept everything, if it exists it's probably there somewhere."

The display includes hundreds of items, from Frank Sinatra albums to Big Audio Dynamite lyric sheets, including stage clothes, plane tickets, access badges and a hastily scribbled note from the Clash's late frontman, Joe Strummer. Early issues of magazines Creem and Rock Scene, sent to the young Jones by his mother, bring back particular memories. "I was really up on that stuff while not many people here were," he said. "[Lester] Bangs was one of [Creem's] main writers. So it was such a joy to get to know him when he came to write about [the Clash]." That article was published in 1977.

For the 53-year-old art-school graduate, the music collection is "one big living artwork" that is still growing. "Ultimately, I'd like to have a permanent place to exhibit the whole collection like a museum, like a library where you can come and see the stuff and maybe get a copy or sit there and read it."

Rock and Roll Public Library runs at the Chelsea Space until 18 April.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Atheists call for 'debaptism'

By Robert Pigott
Religious Affairs correspondent

John Hunt was baptised in the parish church of St Jude with St Aidan in Thornton Heath in south-east London. But 50 years later he stands outside and regards its brick facade without much affection.

The “Baptism of Jesus” icon from the 18th century
Baptism represents death and rebirth for Christians

Mr Hunt was then sent to Sunday school in west London and later to confirmation classes, but he decided early on that he had no place in what he felt was a hypocritical organisation.

He recalls that his mother had to get lunch ready early for him to attend the classes.

"One Sunday I came back home and said 'Mum, you needn't get lunch early next Sunday because I'm not going to the class any more'. And she decided not to argue."

Now Mr Hunt has become the pioneer in a rejuvenated campaign for a way of cancelling baptisms given to children too young to decide for themselves whether they wanted this formal initiation into Christianity.

However, baptism is proving a difficult thing to undo.

The local Anglican diocese, Southwark, refused to amend the baptismal roll as Mr Hunt had wanted, on the grounds that it was a historical record.

"You can't remove from the record something that actually happened," said the Bishop of Croydon, the Right Reverend Nick Baines.

Expunging Trotsky

"Whether we agree whether it should have happened or not is a different matter.

"But it's a bit like trying to expunge Trotsky from the photos. Mr Hunt was baptised and that's a matter of public record."

Instead the diocese suggested that the best way for Mr Hunt to renounce his baptism was to advertise it in the London Gazette, a journal of record with an ancestry going back to the 17th Century.

I reject all its creeds and other such superstitions, in particular the perfidious belief that any baby needs to be cleansed of original sin...."
John Hunt

Bishop Baines is willing to see such notices inserted into the baptismal roll to indicate decisions such as Mr Hunt's, but the Church of England's national headquarters made clear that such a concession was not official policy.

A letter from the the Archbishops' Council said that the Church of England did not regard baptism as a sign of membership, so any amendment to the record would be unnecessary.

The Roman Catholic Church does view a person's baptism as incorporating them into the Church - and membership is later important to the Church if, for example, the same person wants to get married in a Catholic church.

It is willing to place an amendment in the record.

The National Secular Society would like the Church of England to devise a formal procedure for cancelling baptisms, with a change in the baptismal roll as part of it.

Debaptism certificate

In the face of resistance from the Church, the society has come up with a document of its own.

The "Certificate of Debaptism" has a deliberately home-made look, with its mock-official decoration and quasi-official language.

Sitting on a bench in the grounds of St Jude's Church, John Hunt intoned the opening lines.

"I, John Geoffrey Hunt, having been subjected to the rite of Christian baptism in infancy... hereby publicly revoke any implications of that rite. I reject all its creeds and other such superstitions in particular the perfidious belief that any baby needs to be cleansed of original sin."

The society's president, Terry Sanderson, says the certificate is not designed to be taken too seriously, and he suggests displaying it in the loo.

However, he says, it has now been downloaded more that 60,000 times, and has taken on a life of its own.

"The debaptism certificate started out as a kind of satirical comment on the idea that you could be enrolled in a church before you could talk, but it seems to have taken off from there.

"People are beginning to take it seriously.


Secularists and atheists say children are baptised too young to have any choice

"It was a comment originally, a rebuke to the Church if you like, but now it's become something else entirely."

Among those taking it seriously is a man whose son was baptised into the Roman Catholic Church by his former partner against his wishes.

"He now has custody of his son and wants to debaptise him", says Mr Sanderson.

The Church wonders aloud why, if atheists and secularists believe baptism is so meaningless, they are letting it upset them.

Mr Hunt supplies his own answer.

"Evangelical noises are getting louder and louder.

"The recent change in European legislation has led to religious beliefs not being challenged at all, and there's no limit at all on what anybody can claim as a valid religious belief.

"I think it's important that more people speak out and say they don't subscribe to the historic beliefs of the Church."

Pope tells Africa 'condoms wrong'

Pope tells Africa 'condoms wrong'


Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Cameroon

Pope Benedict XVI, who is making his first papal visit to Africa, has said that handing out condoms is not the answer in the fight against HIV/Aids.

The pontiff, who preaches marital fidelity and abstinence, said the practice only increased the problem.

"A Christian can never remain silent," he said, after being greeted on arrival in Cameroon by President Paul Biya.

The Pope is also due to visit Angola on his week-long trip, where thousands are expected to attend open-air Masses.

Some 22 million people are infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, according to UN figures for 2007.

This amounts to about two-thirds of the global total.

'Painful wounds'

According to Vatican figures, the number of Catholics in Africa has been rising steadily in recent years.

HIV/Aids is a tragedy that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem

Baptised Catholics made up 17% of the African population in 2006, compared with 12% in 1978, the Vatican says.

Pope Benedict said on the eve of his trip that he wanted to wrap his arms around the entire continent, with "its painful wounds, its enormous potential and hopes".

HIV/Aids was, argued, "a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem".

The solution lay, he said, in a "spiritual and human awakening" and "friendship for those who suffer".

Speaking at the airport in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, the Pope called on Christians to speak up in the face of violence, poverty, hunger, corruption and abuse of power.

Sexual abstinence

While in Africa, the pontiff is expected to talk to young people about the Aids epidemic and explain to them why the Catholic Church recommends sexual abstinence as the best way to prevent the spread of the disease.

The Pope meets an imam in Yaounde
The Pope also met an imam from Cameroon's Muslim minority

He gave a similar message to African bishops who visited the Vatican in 2005, when he told them that abstinence and fidelity, not condoms, were the means to tackle the epidemic.

The BBC's Caroline Duffield, in Cameroon, says people in Yaounde have been energetically sweeping and cleaning everywhere in preparation for Pope Benedict's visit.

The Pope will stay until Friday in Yaounde, where he will meet bishops from all over Africa who will be taking part in a meeting at the Vatican later this year to discuss the Church's role in Africa.

In Angola, which is still recovering from 27 years of civil war, Pope Benedict will meet diplomats posted in Luanda and is expected to urge the international community not to abandon Africa.

The pontiff is also due to hold private talks with political leaders in the two countries, both of which have been accused of corruption and squandering revenues from natural resources.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

African skier qualifies for Winter Olympics

A Glasgow-born African skier who only saw snow for the first time five years ago has qualified for the Winter Olympics.

Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong /Rex

Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong, 33, nicknamed the Snow Leopard, is the first Ghanaian ever to qualify for the games, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Nkrumah-Acheampong was born in Glasgow while his father was a student in the city, but was raised in Ghana without ever seeing a snowflake.

After moving back to Britain as a student in 2002, he was introduced to snow after becoming a receptionist at a ski centre with an indoor real-snow slope at Milton Keynes.

The father-of-two said: "All I had ever known about skiing was watching a James Bond film, so it really just took off from there.

"The coaches said I had a natural talent and I've never found skiing difficult. But it has been a hard fight.

"Even now, when I go to big events, there are people who refuse to believe that an African can ski. They sort of stare and shout, 'Here comes the strange man.' But that is to be expected.

"These Winter Olympics will be my last chance, so hopefully I will leave a legacy that has changed people's views of African skiers."

His last four winters have been spent in the Italian Alps, funded by summer jobs around Milton Keynes, and by the work of his wife, Sena, at the Open University.

This winter he finally racked up 140 points, the season-long tally required to guarantee a place at next year's Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He will be eligible to compete for the slalom and giant slalom.

Sign from first Tower Records comes down

  • Randy Pench/rpench@sacbee.com

    Sign hanger Ken Jorgenson aids in the removal of the 30-foot neon sign above the Tower Records store on Watt Avenue Wednesday morning.

Tower sign come down video

Published: Thursday, Mar. 12, 2009 - 9:43 am
Last Modified: Thursday, Mar. 12, 2009 - 11:21 am

Tower Records founder Russ Solomon was on hand as the 30-foot neon sign above the first Tower Records store on Watt Avenue came down this morning. The sign will be donated to the Sacramento History Museum and eventually will hang in a rock 'n roll exhibit at the museum.

The iconic site, across El Camino Avenue from Country Club Plaza, is where Solomon opened his first free-standing music store in 1960, the so-called Tower North. It launched an empire that by the mid-1990s included more than 200 locations worldwide, from New York to London to Tokyo.

Eventually West Sacramento-based Tower Records collapsed, mired in debt and buried by competition. The Watt Avenue store closed three days before Christmas in 2006.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Iggy Pop releasing 'quieter' album with French touch

Iggy Pop releasing 'quieter' album with French touch

PARIS (AFP) — Godfather of punk Iggy Pop is releasing "a quieter album" on May 18 that targets French-speakers and was inspired by novelist Michel Houellebecq's "The Possibility of an Island".

Carrying the French title "Preliminaires" (Preliminaries), the album's cover is designed by Franco-Iranian "Persepolis" comic-book author Marjane Satrapi, record label EMI said Monday.

"I made it really especially for France and people who speak French," says the singer, sitting in a black singlet out in front of a swimming pool, in a video on www.iggypoppreliminaires.com.

The 61-year-old singer sings one number in French on the album -- "Autumn Leaves", originally written by poet Jacques Prevert, with music by Joseph Kosma, that was a hit for Yves Montand.

"It's a quieter album with some jazz overtones," he says on his website. "I just got sick of listening to idiot thugs with guitars banging out crappy music."

The idea of the album, he adds, came after he was asked to write music for a documentary about a film based on Houllebecq's novel "about death, sex, and the end of the human race."

Iggy Pop -- real name, James Newell Osterberg -- was lead singer of The Stooges, a 1960s-1970s garage rock band that influenced heavy metal and punk rock and whose live acts included Pop taking drugs, self-mutilating, verbally abusing the audience and leaping off stage.

His best-known solo numbers include "Lust for Life", "I'm Bored" and "Real Wild Child".

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Dr Who Dalek found in pond

Dalek: Dr Who Dalek found in pond
Dalek found in pond: Marc Oakland was pushing a rake around the bed of the shallow pool when he found the object with its distinctive eye stalk. Photo: SOLENT

The group had already fished out an old table football game and a skateboard when they bumped into the Dalek head, which was covered in weeds.

Sales executive Marc Oakland was pushing a rake around the bed of the shallow pool when he found the object with its distinctive eye stalk.

The 42-year-old said: "I'd just shifted a tree branch with my foot when I noticed something dark and round slowly coming up to the surface.

"I got the shock of my life when a Dalek head bobbed up right in front of me.

"It must have been down there for some time because it was covered in mould and water weed, and had quite a bit of damage.

"One of the dome lights was smashed, but the eye-stalk was intact and the head and neck stayed in one piece as I carefully lifted it out."

Pond warden Tony Brown, 70, was leading the volunteer squad clearing dumped rubbish from the pond, near Beaulieu, Hants.

He said: "We made a very thorough search of the rest of the bottom of the pond and there were definitely no alien remnants lurking.

"We've all agreed it best to keep the pond's exact location under wraps.

"The last thing we want are sci-fi fans descending on the pond frantically seraching for other Dalek parts."

Mr Brown, who trained as a pond warden with Southern Water, has been helping clear out the area for the past eight years.

He said: "We've dredged up everything from shopping trolleys, toys, and bicycles.

"But this is the first time a Dalek's appeared. We have no idea how it ended up in there, or how long ago.

"We discovered the BBC often took the Daleks out on location for filming, and they travelled to Hampshire on at least one occasion in the 1980s, when Colin Baker played the Timelord.

"Who knows, this might be the remains of one of the originals from the old TV series. I'm told they they were built to last."

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Pictured: The daredevil surfer taking amazing photos from INSIDE huge breaking waves

These stunning images capture the power and glory of waves as they are about to crash down onto the shore.

They have been taken by surfer-turned-photographer Clark Little who swims in terrifying seas and crouches on shorelines to get the breathtaking images.

'I try to capture the beauty of these monstrous waves from the inside out,' said the father of two, who has just published his favourite images.

'I'm always in the water before dawn to try to snap that perfect picture as the sun rises.'

Enlarge wave pictures

Sun and sand make this wave glow orange as it perfectly frames a palm-fringed shoreline


Jesus Christ Kabukistar

Jesus Christ Kabukistar REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

The actor in the role of Jesus Christ performs at the final dress rehearsal of the kabuki version of “Jesus Christ Superstar” in Tokyo. A rickshaw, women in elaborate brocade kimonos, the echo of bamboo flutes, and Jesus of Nazareth, his face painted white with the flaring red lines, all share the stage at Gekidan Shiki, one of Japan’s best-known theater troupes, in its revival of the hit rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar“—with some very Japanese twists. For showtimes and further info, visit http://www.shiki.gr.jp/applause/jesus/

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