Women in New Delhi are taking to the streets this July -- but don't expect to see the average run-of-the-mill protest sign or megaphone. These women are participating in a SlutWalk, an international craze that has been unleashed from Sao Paulo to Syndey. New Delhi, where 85% of women are afraid of being sexually harassed in public, will follow a string of over 60 cities to participate in the SlutWalks. The Mission? To blur the definition of slut and protest the notion that a woman's dress instigates rape.
The protests were spurred by the remarks of Toronto police officer Constable Michael Sanguinett, who told a small group of students that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."
Little did he know, his comment would set off a nearly-naked international revolt. Some clad in bustiers and others dressed conservatively, protesters now hold signs saying, "society teaches don't get raped rather than don't rape" and "sluts of the world unite".
Umang Sabarwal, a Delhi University journalism student, is one of the main organizers of the planned protest. She believes that Indians have an opportunity to voice their concerns over women's safety in a city where she says women are eyed like meat. Sabarwal hopes to challenge the rape blame game, saying:
"Every time a woman is assaulted, people don't blame the perpetrator of the crime. Instead women get a lecture about what they're supposed to wear and where they can go or not go."
But the planned Delhi protest is generating criticism from both men and women. Some feel using the word slut, even in an act of protest, further degrades women. Others feel that the message of the protests is trivial as they are demanding the freedom to wear revealing clothing, not demanding "protection against violence", as Amrit Dhillon said in her article published in the Hindustan Times. The journalist cites issues like honor killings, sex-selective abortion and child prostitution that she believes should addressed first and foremost.
But with intensifying criticism comes even more feminstas, mothers, anxsty teenagers and other SlutWalkers that will undoubtedly strut their stuff in the coming months.
In the next issue of FP, we're publishing a group of articles on political humor around the world, ranging from funny-ha-ha to self-protective sarcasm to subtly subversive irony. Not surprisingly, this has been a lot of fun to work on, and we wanted to invite you, our readers, to join in. We're inviting you to send us your political jokes from around the world. Submit in the comments section, and we'll publish our favorites when we post the rest of the stories. To kick things off, here's a classic from Communist Romania:
The Americans sent a CIA agent to Romania to shoot the dangerous dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. The agent arrives in the country, finds the dictator addressing a large crowd, picks up his sniper rifle… and can't shoot. He raises it again… and can't shoot. A final time, he lifts the gun, but he just can't do it. When he returns home to report to his supervisor about the failure of his mission, the chief asks what happened. "Well," the agent said. "Each time, it started out great: I had a clean shot, I was ready to go -- and then the crowd saw what I was about to do and started chanting: Shoot him, shoot him, shoot him!"
GERARD FOUET/AFP/Getty Images
There's not much to add by way of commentary here. Bolivian President Evo Morales, who plays for a minor-league soccer team in La Paz, was caught on tape giving a blatant kick to the groin of an opposing player who had committed a hard foul on him earlier. Somehow Morales didn't get a red card and went on to score a goal in the game, presumably because no one really wants to play defense on someone with presidential immunity.
Under the headline "President Jammeh bags 4 awards," the Gambia's pro-government Daily Obersever newspaper recently reported that President Yahya Jammeh had received a number of commendations from President "Barrack" Obama:
Two of the awards with an accompanying letter came from the president of the United States of America, Barrack Obama, who congratulated the Gambian leader for the accolade, and also commended him "for helping to address the most pressing needs" in his community. The awards include the 'President's Volunteer Call to Service Award', and the 'Platinum Award 2009 by President Barrack Obama'. The last two awards are the 'Admiral of the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska', USA', given to the Gambian leader by its Governor, Dave Heinemana, whilst the fourth award, the 'Honorary Vocational Bachelors Degree' was given by the Printers and Publishers Guild of Northern Germany.
As the Committee to Protect Journalists found out with some quick digging, Obama never sent any such letter and the majority of the awards mentioned don't actually exist. The only one that does seem to be real is the admiralship in the fictitious Nebraska navy, a tongue-in-cheek award for distinguished residents of the landlocked state -- in other words, not the president of the Gambia. (Click here to nominate your favorite Nebraskan.)
It's a funny story, but highlights the all-too-serious problem of media repression under Jammeh's authoritarian regime. As one former staffer at the paper told CPG, " "If [the story] wasn't out in the paper, someone would be in Mile 2 [prison] today -- the managing director or the editor."
George Ayittey included His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Azziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh on his list of the world's worst dictators.
A lot of this is probably lost on those of us who can't speak German, but it's still pretty fun to watch. Outgoing -- and controversial -- Swiss finance minister Hans-Rudolf Merz was speaking in parliament about regulations on the import of cured meats when, according to the Associated Press, he began "convulsing with laughter at the unintelligible bureaucratic language in his script."
I guess a guy can only discuss meat importation for so long before losing a grip on sanity.
I'm not sure if this series of ads are a signal of growing Chinese influence in the Middle East, the culture of violence and impunity in Mubarak's Egypt, or the passions aroused by competition among dairy products in our globalized marketplace. But whatever their hidden meaning, they're brilliant. (And many thanks to Issandr Amrani and Steve Clemons for pointing them out).
Public figures are making a habit of lying on their resumes, but (now former) New Zealand military scientist Stephen Wilce has won the prize for most absurd claim.
Wilce claimed that he was a member of the British Royal Marines (Wilce was born in Britain), which isn't true. But that's been done before, and if that were Wilce's only falsehood, his story would have likely attracted very little media interest.
The claim that raised suspicion of Wilche's qualifications was refreshingly ridiculous. He alleged that he was a member of the 1988 British Olympic bobsled team, and that he raced against -- and personally knew -- the Jamaican team that was later immortalized in the 1993 movie "Cool Runnings." Wilche was caught on a secret tape, aired by "60 minutes," a New Zealand-channel TV3 program, saying,"I knew all the Jamaican guys" and that they were "mad, absolute nutters."
Not only does Wilche's claim scream fabrication, but why the hell did he have it on his resume in the first place? What employer did he think would be so impressed by him simply having met the Jamaican team? But it seems he's somewhat of a serial resume embellisher:
Previous employers and colleagues told the programme Mr Wilce had claimed he designed guidance systems for Britain's Polaris nuclear missiles, a now-defunct system that was launched in 1960, at the height of the Cold War. He also said he had worked for MI5 and MI6, the British secret services, the program reported.
It said at one previous workplace he was known as "Walter Mitty," a reference to U.S. author James Thurber's fictional character who lives in a fantasy world.
I have a hard time believing Wilche will find work in the near future.
H/T to Boing Boing.
David Yarrow/Getty Images
Looking for a new hobby? You may want to give bog snorkeling a try.
The latest out of Wales is that a bog snorkeler may have set a new world record time for the sport by more than eight seconds. The Telegraph reports that race participants "must swim two lengths of a 60 yard muddy, water-filled trench using flippers but no recognized swimming strokes."
While the event was won by a Welshman, competitors came from as far away as Australian and Poland to compete. The winning time was one minute and 30.06 seconds.
If bog snorkeling alone isn't enough for you, why not try the bog snorkeling triathlon? Also set in Wales, the triathlon consists of a 7.5-mile run, two lengths of the bog swim, and 19 miles of cycling. Last year, a Brit won the race in a record two hours, 21 minutes, and five seconds.
In an event seemingly designed specifically to guarantee a write-up on Passport, 10,276 people in China's city of Ordos, in Inner Mongolia, formed the world's largest human domino chain yesterday, besting the previous record of 9,234 Singaporeans desperate for a Passport mention.
The event just gets better: Chinese basketball icon and former NBA center Mengke Bateer, who ESPN informs me averaged 3.4 points per game over his career, kicked off the chain by passing a basketball to the first "domino."
The volunteers, mostly high school students, spelled out "Beautiful Ordos." If they spell out "Passport" next time, I think I can get them on the front page.
A rocket attack from Gaza on the Israeli city of Ashkelon has damaged buildings and rattled nerves today, but earlier in the week, the skies over the troubled region played host to a much happier sight. About 6,200 Gazan children taking part in a U.N.-sponsored summer program broke their own world record for the number of kites flown simultaneously. Although no adjudicator from the Guinness Book of World Records was present, the record is expected to be accepted.
MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images
In a too-good-to-check item, the Daily Mirror reports that rapper Snoop Dogg recently attempted to rent the entire nation of Liechtenstein for a music video:
The request surprised authorities in the state of Liechtenstein - population 35,000 with an area of 61.7 square miles between Switzerland and Austria.
Local property lease agent Karl Schwaerzler said: "We've had requests for palaces and villages but never one to hire the whole country before."
He admitted: "It would have been possible." But the deal fell through because Snoop's management "did not give us enough time".
So take note music video producers, filmmakers, and wedding/bar mitzvah planners, it apparently is possible to rent a sovereign principality in Western Europe as long as you give them enough notice.
Hat tip: New York Magazine
Ian Gavan/Getty Images
BBC Urdu reports — according to a Google Translation — that Pakistan's Deputy Attorney General has launched a criminal investigation against Zuckerberg and others in response to Facebook hosting a "Draw Muhammad" contest on its site late last month. On May 19, Pakistani authorities blocked access to Facebook over the contest, and this ban was lifted on May 31 after Facebook removed the page in Pakistan and other countries.
It's a bit strange that all this rage has been transferred onto Zuckerberg, who as far as anyone knows, has never drawn Mohammed. The "Draw Mohammed" idea only came about on the social networking site after censorship of a "South Park" episode got the TV-watching public riled up. Trey Parker and Matt Stone probably aren't happy that the Internet wonderboy has stolen their thunder.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
It's hard to imagine being criticized -- much less punished -- for taking World Cup spirit too far. Indeed, excess seems to be precisely the name of these games. For anyone who thinks their face-paint masterpieces are prize-worthy, the award for over-the-top aficionado has already been claimed by Sasa Jovic : armed only with a backpack, world map and, of course, his national flag, this Serbian ultra-fan embarked on a 10,000 mile walk to Pretoria to catch his home country's match against Ghana. The Serbs lost 1-0. No word yet on whether Jovic arrived in time to witness defeat.
As it turns out, however, not every patriotic display is quite so praiseworthy. Thirty women were ejected from Monday's Netherland-Denmark game for "ambush marketing" (a very "serious offense" according to the South Africa Police Service). Their fateful mistake? Too much color-coordination. The fans were caught cheering in identical orange mini-dresses distributed by the Dutch brewery, Bavaria. Under Fifa's strict marketing rules for the Cup, only official sponsors are permitted to advertize at matches-and Budweiser is the only beer on tap at these games. The women, two of whom were summoned to Court on Wednesday (and then released on bail), insist they were just showing Dutch pride, but Fifa claims they were illegally paid to don Bavaria apparel.
The only question left: which is worse, paying your customers to flaunt your logo, or bribing foreigners to root for your team?
David Cannon/Getty Images
Ukrainian nationalists are extremely unhappy over what they see as increased Russian influence since the election of Viktor Yanukovych. They showed their displeasure today by engaging in a chaotic "debate" -- using smoke bombs and eggs -- in Ukraine's parliament over Russia's lease of a Black Sea naval base being extended until 2042. Needless to say, this resulted in some entertaining photos and video:
For more on the rowdy Rada, see FP's list of the world's most unruly parliaments.
SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images
Huge news for foreign policy and international affairs junkies: a new version of Scrabble to be released in the U.K. this July allows the playing of proper nouns (among other rule changes).
Many are outraged, but I couldn't be more excited. Finally my dream of using "Reykjavik" (30 base points), "Kyrgyzstan" (30 base points), and countless others (readers, feel free to chime in your favorites) has finally been realized. (Anticipate long arguments over the spelling of "Qaddafi.")
Purists take heart, the classic version will still be available -- but I won't be playing with you.
(Note: there is only one "Z" available for play, but using a blank tile would still give a base score of 24 points for former-President Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor.)
**Update: It appears the new version will not be sold in North America, where Hasbro owns the rights to the game (Mattel owns the rights to Scrabble elsewhere in the world.) Perhaps someone should just make my dream come true, and create a (solely) international relations Scrabble edition?
Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Female homicide bombers are being fitted with exploding breast implants which are almost impossible to detect, British spies have reportedly discovered.
The shocking new Al Qaeda tactic involves radical doctors inserting the explosives in women's breasts during plastic surgery - making them "virtually impossible to detect by the usual airport scanning machines."
It is believed the doctors have been trained at some of Britain's leading teaching hospitals before returning to their own countries to perform the surgical procedures.
MI5 has also discovered that extremists are inserting the explosives into the buttocks of some male bombers.
"Women suicide bombers recruited by Al Qaeda are known to have had the explosives inserted in their breasts under techniques similar to breast enhancing surgery," Terrorist expert Joseph Farah claims.
Now let's just hope the TSA doesn't add new screening measures to protect against ... such threats.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Daniel Charbonnier, co-founder of Minds in Motion, an international hospitality advisory and services company, has recently partnered with concept artists Frank and Patrik Riklin to transform the 'Zero-Star Hotel' into a worldwide business opportunity. The 'Zero Star Hotel' is an art installation, a Swiss nuclear bunker converted into an 'eco-luxury' hotel that can host 14 guests in a configuration of 6 single beds and 4 double beds. Larger groups can also be accommodated in an adjacent room highlighting original military-style bunk-beds.
Johannes Simon/Getty Images
I wrote last week about Pakistan's High Commissioner to Canada Akbar Zeb's reported rejection as ambassador to Saudi Arabia due to the unfortunate Arabic translation of his name as "biggest dick." Alas, the story turns out to be false: Mr. Zeb has responded, saying that the press reports are nothing more than "a practical joke someone played on the Internet." Zeb denies that he was ever considered for an ambassadorial position in Saudi Arabia; lending credence to his account, he has only been stationed in Ottawa for nine months of a planned three-year assignment, and Pakistan's ambassador to Saudi Arabia is only four months into his tenure.
Maimoona Amjad, the press counsellor for Pakistan's High Commission in Ottawa, also confirmed to FP that the story was untrue. There is "no question that he will accept a post anywhere but Canada," she said, referring to the rumor as "completely baseless" and "rubbish."
The story seems to have originated with this Arab Times article, and spread like wildfire throughout the English-language press from there. Let this be a lesson: Don't believe everything you read in print. Sometimes, the press gets hold of a story and, before checking all the facts, goes off half-cocked.
A batch of 50-peso coins, each worth about a dime, have returned to cause a headache for the Chilean mint. The coins spell the country's name C-H-I-I-E -- a typo that has recently cost the the general manager of the mint his job. The most remarkable aspect of this story, perhaps, is that the coins were released in 2008 -- but the spelling mistake was not noticed until late last year.
The Toyota logo is displayed on a box of auto parts at City Toyota February 5, 2010 in Daly City, California. Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda issued an apology today for saftey issues that have prompted the recall of nearly 4 million Toyota cars and trucks that could have accelerator pedals that can stick.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Georgia just can't get Vladimir Putin out of its mind.
A new cartoon of extremely poorly-drawn yellow characters on Georgian TV called The Samsonadzes -- an obvious knock-off of The Simpsons -- is rising high in the ratings chart. Creator Shalva Ramishvili disavows his show is a copy:
The Samsonadzes is a native Georgian serial about a Georgian family... I want to say to Simpsons fans, please do not think that our show is an imitation or a rip off of The Simpsons. Yes of course it was an inspiration for us, but the Samsonadzes is not a copy.
A recent episode featuring Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin makes it hard to disagree on the "native Georgian" part, at least. Ramishvili described the importance of including Putin and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in a recent episode:
Having the Russian leaders on the show was like fulfilling a civic duty. The whole world is interested in the relationship between Russia and Georgia and we all know what Russia did in Georgia during the war [of August 2008].
Apparently, there's a trend of Eastern European knock-offs of The Simpsons: check out this "cult hit" on YouTube of The Simpsons set in rural Estonia.
Update: Akbar Zeb has denied this story and the original article appears to be false.
Despite having served for years as a distinguished Pakistani diplomat, Akbar Zeb reportedly cannot receive accreditation as Pakistan's ambassador to Saudi Arabia. The reason, apparently, has nothing to do with his credentials, and everything to do with his name -- which, in Arabic, translates to "biggest dick":
In Saudi Arabia, size does count.
A high level Pakistani diplomat has been rejected as Ambassador of Saudi Arabia because his name, Akbar Zib, equates to "Biggest Dick" in Arabic. Saudi officials, apparently overwhelmed by the idea of the name, put their foot down and gave the idea of his being posted there, the kibosh.
According to this Arabic-language article in the Arab Times, Pakistan had previously floated Zeb's name as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, only to have him rejected for the same reason. One can only assume that submitting Zeb's name to a number of Arabic-speaking countries is some unique form of punishment designed by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry -- or the result of a particularly egregious cockup.
There's no two ways about it: The last year of foreign policy had more drama than a Scorsese epic and enough thrills to put Avatar to shame. From the fearsome battle in the Afghan hills to the U.S.-China love-hate relationship, and from the serious al Qaeda threats in Yemen to the hard-to-take-seriously pirates off the Somali coast, 2009 was arguably a much more interesting year for global politics than for movies. So with Oscar nominations due tomorrow, we're taking nominations for our own FP Oscars.
Who would you pick for the best actor of the year? Is President Barack Obama holding his own in an unfriendly world, or does the ubiquitous Brazilian President Lula deserve an Oscar? Is Muammar Qaddafi's persona just too good to be true, or do you prefer the smooth, suave diplomacy (and wacky domestic antics) of France's Nicolas Sarzoky?
You tell us what scandals, dramas, tragicomedies, and personal stories are your picks for the history books in 2009. Listed below are the categories and a few sample entries. Send your own nominations to Joshua.Keating@foreignpolicy.com or paste them in the comments below. May the best news win!
Best picture: What one story encapsulates the year?
Best drama: Spies, dissidents, treachery, and truth. Were the adrenaline-pumping protests following the Iran elections the most dramatic event? Or perhaps it was the long, drawn-out U.S. decision to send more troops to Afghanistan. If you have a humanitarian bent, the crises in Haiti, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan might come a heart-wrenching first.
Best comedy: If it isn't a tragedy, the dysfunction of the U.S. Congress is certainly good for a laugh. Then again, how about the Copenhagen Climate conference that ended in a collective shrug? Or the British MPs who used their expense accounts to buy fancy rugs and re-dig their backyard swimming pools?
Best romantic comedy: Gordon Brown requested meeting after meeting with the U.S. president; Obama just didn't have time. Brown gave him a romantic antique biography of Churchill, and Obama gave him a DVD box set. Let's just say the special relationship isn't all it used to be. But then again, there are other comedies in Europe these days ... Berlusconi anyone?
Best romantic drama: Unclear whether this should be a drama or a comedy, but the Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladamir Putin certainly have a relationship worth noting -- as their press photographer has shown time and time again...
Best action: A U.S. ship is seized in the Gulf of Aden and devious pirates take the Maersk Alabama captive on the high seas, demanding a ransom for their deed. But lo and behold! A brave captain sacrifices his freedom to save his crew. And the U.S. whacks three pirates in the end, bringing everyone home safely! Phew!
Best special effects: Hmm, how about that missile launch in North Korea? It hit right on target: the Pacific Ocean.
Best director: Nicolas Sarkozy is a whirling dervish of diplomatic activity.
Best actor: Very few world leaders can also claim their own daily television shows -- and surprisingly humorous ones at that. "Alo Presidente" hasn't exactly skyrocketed Hugo Chavez to fame (his coup attempt back in the 1990s did that), but man has this guy mastered media in the Drudge Era.
Best actress: On a more serious note, few women leaders have been more powerful this year in asserting political freedom than Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi. Or does Hillary Clinton have your vote? As one FP staffer put it, "she's the queen of 'the show must go on.'"
Best supporting actress: Is Carla Bruni the perfect companion for a perfectionist French president?
Best supporting actor: Let's be honest: One man whose entire year has been a story about other people's interests is the ousted president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya. For all his posturing and pontificating, he was never running the show.
Best costume: Libya's Muammar Qaddafi designs his own clothes.
Worst costume: Libya's Muammar Qaddafi designs his own clothes. You decide.
Lifetime achievement award: Fidel? Kim Jong Il? Mubarak? Most of the longest-lasting players on the world stage aren't particularly savory characters. Got someone better?
We'll post a full list of nominees based on your e-mails and comments on Monday, Feb. 8 and give you a chance to vote. The final winners will be announced at the end of the month.
We promise to keep the musical numbers short.
President Obama has brought back his 2008 campiagn manager David Plouffe to help get his domestic agenda back on track ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, but if he really wants to throw the Republicans off their game, he may want to take a trip to the dark side (No, not James Carville) and learn from how they do things in Romania:
[Romanian Presidential runner-up Mircea] Geoana, in media interviews last week, asserted that he was targeted by waves of negative energy during a key debate just before the runoff that was won by [reelected President Traian] Basescu.
“People who were working for Basescu in this domain were present to the right of the camera,’’ Geoana told Antena 3 Television. His wife, Mihaela said Geoana “was very badly attacked, he couldn’t concentrate.’’
At first Romanians mocked their former foreign minister saying he was a bad loser. Basescu himself jokingly dismissed the allegations. But the recent publication of photos showing well-known parapsychologist Aliodor Manolea close to Basescu during the campaign has caused Romanians to wonder whether the president really did put a hex on his rival.
The photos show Manolea, a slightly built, bearded man with a round face and cropped receding hair, walking yards behind Basescu ahead of the debate. Manolea’s specialties include deep mind control, clairvoyance, and hypnotic trance, according to the Romanian Association of Transpersonal Psychology.
The Basescu campaign has not outright denied Maneola's inolvement -- only that he didn't participate in staff meetings -- or explained why he appeared with the candidate. But don't be surprised if you see a slightly built, bearded Eastern European man walking behind Arlen Specter in the coming months.
I can't really condone SNL's policy of having every sleazy "ethnic" character be played by Fred Armisen in what seems like the same accent, but last Saturday's cold open did a pretty good job of summing up what happens when a country -- in this case Yemen, becomes a "New Front in the War on Terror:"
Robert Haddick also takes up this question in a slightly more sober way in his most recent This Week At War column:
Yemen and its problems are suddenly on everyone's agenda. On Jan. 1, CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus announced a doubling in annual U.S. assistance to the country. On Jan. 28, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will host an international conference on Yemen, where he will no doubt call for increased international donations. It seems that whenever the international community discovers another al Qaeda franchise, a financial reward to the host seems to follow. Pakistan has perfected how to profit from this perverse incentive. Yemen is now showing itself to be an able student of the same technique.[...]
From Saleh's perspective, he has likely learned from Pakistan how rewarding al Qaeda's presence -- largely benign to him -- can be. The impending deluge of U.S. aid, with Brown's conference to add to the bounty, illustrates the perverse incentives offered to leaders like Saleh.
The official website for Spain's European Union presidency was briefly hacked this morning by an unidentified hacker who posted a smiling picture of British comedian Rowan Atkinson's famous character Mr. Bean. Apparently the resemblance of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Maria Zapatero to the bumbling character has been a running joke in Spain for years. Never thought of it before but I can see it.
Screenshot via elmundo.es
Over at Mothership Slate, Justin Peters has a clever piece imagining what restaurants based on some of the most popular American magazines and news Websites might look like. For instance,
Esquire: "Choose between Seven Lunches We Love, all of which involve ground beef; the barbecue-sauce sommelier will assist your efforts to build a Best-Dressed Burger."
Huffington Post: "Marvel at the 47-page menu of hot entrees, most of which are sourced from other, better restaurants."
And Slate itself: "The kitchen will occasionally convince you that everything you know about curly fries is wrong."
So naturally, we started thinking about what you would find at a Foreign Policy-run eatery. I imagine that we would take healthy but unexciting ingredients prepared by expert nutritionists from around the world and then arrange them into pretty shapes and cover them with delicious, delicious cheese sauce. The Rising China Souffle, Failed State Stew (just dropped on your table without a bowl) and Putin's Polonium Pelmeni are favorites. Your waiter would also be constantly informing you that the food you really should be eating isn't even on sale in America yet and you've probably never heard of it, but it will be your favorite food next year -- unless it kills you.
What else would you like to see?
Things got a little out of hand in a legislative session in Argentina's Chaco province when the governing party tried to keep opposition lawmakers out of the room during while they were choosing a new president:
In September, FP looked a five of the world's most unruly parliaments. The Taiwanese and the South Koreans could give these guys some tips on legislative brawling technique.
Warning: spoilers to follow.
This weekend, against my wife's better judgment, we went to see 2012, and it was everything its fans and critics said it would be: grandiose in ambition, ludicrous in conception, and technically wondrous in execution.
There are obviously a lot of silly things going on in the movie, not least the idea that you could keep such a thing as the imminent destruction of the planet secret from all but a handful of people, even while you are auctioning off golden parachutes. A fatal flaw of the film that as far as I know has gone unremarked upon, however, is its strange conception of global governance.
For one thing, it's ridiculous to think that the moribund G-8 would be the preferred international forum in which to hash out doomsday planning. And yet, we get Danny Glover as the U.S. president, leaning on his thoughtful Russian and Italian colleagues to help plan for the end of the world. China, though it builds and hosts the giant, arc-like ships that are supposed to save the chosen few from disaster, isn't a G-8 member and therefore this particular nuclear-armed fifth of humanity doesn't appear to get a seat at the big-boys' table.
Then there's India. Despite the fact that an Indian scientist nobly informs his American colleague of his (admittedly far-fetched) findings about how the sun's surging neutrinos are destabilizing the Earth's core, rather than keeping the knowledge to himself, nobody comes to rescue the poor bastard and his family when the meltdown begins. Instead, we are treated to a painful scene of him about to be swamped by a 50-foot tsunami, resignedly informing Washington's top geologist of his plight and the flood's unexpectedly rapid advance, before the line goes dead. And again, since India is not a G-8 member, his compatriots, representing another fifth or so of the Earth's population, don't seem to be on any of the arcs or involved in the discussions about their use.
So, suspending disbelief about the film's premise, here's a question for everyone: What is the proper forum for secret doomsday planning? The G-20? The U.N. Security Council? The P5+1 or the EU3+3? Every country for itself? Mssrs. Drezner and Walt, I'm counting on you to chime in here.
UPDATE: Drezner obliges! Go read.
Passport, FP’s flagship blog, brings you news and hidden angles on the biggest stories of the day, as well as insights and under-the-radar gems from around the world.