News You Need to be Reading, part 1

© UNICEF Sri Lanka/2007/Weiss

© UNICEF Sri Lanka/2007/Weiss

Dear Readers,

There is so much going on! First the inauguration, then the Clinton confirmation and Caroline Kennedy’s graceful departure from the NY Senate contest. Israel once again departed the Gaza Strip.  One might almost forget there was a whole EARTH out there full of other shit going on.

Since all you’ve been reading about is a) the Inaug and b) GAZA, take a wee break and check out what’s happened on the rest of the fucking planet. Enjoy all the latest on my pet conflicts, a couple of long overdue studies, some weird new laws and one museum exhibit I’d really love to see.

1) Delhi outlaws plastic bags (good luck with that):

Great if you love the environment, not so great if you happen to be one of Delhi’s 16M residents. In the words of my sister, who lived in the Indian capital for 7 months , people in Delhi use plastic bags a lot, and they use them for things that you need the resilience of plastic for.

Also, let’s pause for a minute to talk about enforcement. Unlike New York, Delhi’s cops and lawmakers might have some more pressing problems. Like, say, this. Or this. Or this. I could go on. If owning, using, storing or selling plastic bags will carry 3 years in jail or a 100,o00 rps. fine, where the hell does the city  plan to put its crop of “ridiculous” murders (see above)?

Look, there 20 thousand monkeys living in Delhi at any given time. Plastic bags are bad, but then again, bags can’t give you rabies.

2) Capitalism kills in the former USSR: the Berlin based medical journal Lancet has released a study confirming what ethnographers who study the Roma and Eastern European Jewery have been saying for pretty much eons (if you’re curious, the excellent “Roma Cafe” is a good primer in post-Soviet minority issues) Which is, privatization and free market capitalism SUCK for your health.

According to the New York Times, “Mass Privatization and the Post-Communist Mortality Crisis: A Cross-National Analysis,” by David Stuckle:

“contends that life expectancy diminished in the early to mid-1990s in countries that were being rapidly transformed after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Even though the governmental and economic transitions occurred nearly two decades ago, the report said, “only a little over half of the ex-Communist countries have regained their pretransition life-expectancy levels.” “

The Guardian also reports that E.E. is bracing for a spring of nastiness touched off by the economy, and likely to result in anything from riots and lynching to full-scale chaos and minor ethnic cleansing.

3) It still sucks a lot in Sri Lanka: If you think there’s a humanitarian crisis brewing in Gaza (and there is) you should take a gander at Mullaitivu in northern Sri Lanka, where aid agencies believe hundreds of thousands of Tamil refugees may be trapped between the advancing Sri Lankan military and the LTTE . In the jungle. There are NO journalists here, though the foreign press corp seems to have finally dragged its ass out of Delhi and plopped some folks down in Colombo. Better than nothing, I guess.

4) And in Mexican news this hour…

drug trafficing museum in Mexico City (huh? that’s what i said) has a new display of “narco-bling”, a cache of iced-out weapons used to impress and intimidate in the nation’s bloody ongoing narcotics saga, which killed upward of 5,000 last year.  From the Guardian:

“Mexico’s cartels control most of the Colombian-grown cocaine heading to the US. They also oversee local production of methamphetamines, cannabis and heroin, as well as supply in a growing domestic market. A recent report estimated that 500,000 Mexicans are directly involved. Last year, deaths  from drugs-related crime more than doubled to a record 5,600.”

New kid on the block LABeez reports on something else you’ve never heard about–the Oaxacan AIDS epidemic in LA. Big up to the newcomer, but who knows whether they can compete in the ethnic media curator (not aggregator, that’s so 2008) market.

In more awesome, less hostile takeover news, L.A.’s Indie 103 will be replaced with 24 hr cumbia, effective immediately.

That should tide you over, my inquisitive maosketeers.

❤ sonja

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Filed under 3rd World Imagineering, Economy, Immigration, India, Israel, it's a small world, Palestine, Sri Lanka, The Liberal Media

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