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Can a "blonde parade" pull Latvia out of recession?

In some countries, notably Iceland, the financial crisis and its political fallout has proved an unexpected boon for women's rights.

Other countries do this sort of thing:

The global economic crisis has hit the Baltic state of Latvia particularly hard and left the population feeling blue. But one group of Latvian women has taken a novel approach to fighting the pervasive feeling of doom and gloom.

On Sunday, a procession of more than 500 blondes paraded through the capital Riga wearing pink and white. Many were escorted by lap dogs wearing the same cheerful hues. Their goal: to use their beauty to shine a little light into the dark mood caused by the global downturn.

The march was organized by the Latvian Blondes Association. I have to wonder what sort of issues this group addresses during normal times.

ILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images

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Hugo Chávez hits off switch on TV marathon

Poor Hugo Chávez. The Venezuelan president's hopes to celebrate the tenth anniversary of his television program with a four-day marathon were suddenly derailed over the weekend:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had promised a four-day marathon edition of his widely watched weekly television talkshow, but unspecified technical problems threw the plans awry this weekend.

In a three-line statement, the information ministry said Sunday's "Alo Presidente" program had been canceled for technical reasons. Saturday's show was called off without explanation[...]

A member of the president's press team said they had waited on the show's set until late afternoon without learning why it had been pulled.

Ever the entertainer, though, Chávez made good use of his time on the air:

The leftist began Thursday, speaking for about eight hours in two installments and threatening to punish a critical private TV station.

He also chatted to teens about sex education, talked about problems with his weight and called his friend and mentor, Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro, "Our father who art in Havana."

The next day he challenged a group of right-wing intellectuals, including Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, to debate ideas on Saturday's show, but the broadcast never materialized.

At least he didn't mobilize the army on the air again.

THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images