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from Russell Boyce:

The promise of seven blood baths in Bangkok and no violence

    With the same ghoulish intrigue that children pull the wings off a fly, the legs off spiders or as motorists slow to look at a scene of a bad accident, I waited to see the pictures from last night's demonstration in Thailand. The "red shirt" wearing supporters of ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra promised the world the sight of a million cubic centimetres of blood being drawn from the arms of his supporters and then thrown over Government House to demand that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva call an immediate election.  A million is a bold figure that I tried to picture; a thousand cubic centimetres, one litre, so one thousand litre cartons of milk.  A more compact notion of the volume would be to visualise a cubic metre of blood; or in more practical terms in the UK the average bath size is 140 litres, so that is just over seven baths filled with blood.

blood syringe

A supporter of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra donates blood during a gathering in Bangkok March 16, 2010. Anti-government protesters will collect one million cubic centimetres of blood to pour outside the Government House in Bangkok, in a symbolic move to denounce the government as part of their demonstration to call for fresh elections. REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang

The pictures are amazing. The frenzy of the demonstrators carrying plastic containers full of human blood. The lines of riot police (what was going through their minds?) facing the crowd. And then suddenly the emotional release as the blood is actually poured at the gates of Government House, leaving a growing crimson pool of human blood spreading towards the feet of the police and towards the buildings of government. 

police stand off

Riot soldiers and policemen stand guard as supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra rally outside the Government house in Bangkok March 16, 2010. Thousands of protesters in Thailand donated blood and poured it later outside the premier's office on Tuesday, a "sacrifice for democracy" aimed at energising their movement after the government refused to step down.  REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Police help fight Mister Tooth Decay

Blog Guy, I want to teach my family to cut back on the water we use. Do you have any figures on how much water it takes to, say, have a shower.

Sure. A shower takes two gallons of water a minute, so you should make it a quick one.

from FaithWorld:

Jerusalem mayor and tensions with ultra-Orthodox Jews

Jerusalem on a cloudy day. October 30, 2009. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Photo: Jerusalem on a cloudy day, 30 Oct 2009/Darren Whiteside

I had a rare opportunity to talk with Israel's mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat on Sunday about how he spent most of his first year in office trying to find a political homeostasis in the city holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. The main news that came out of it was his call for the European Union on Monday to reject any future division of the city (read that story here).

We sat together for about an hour in his office on the top floor of the city hall. He has a large balcony that overlooks the modern part of the city from one side, where cranes and crews are hard at work building and developing. The other side overlooks the walled Old City, a view that has highlighted the hilly Jerusalem landscape for centuries.

from Mario Di Simine:

Youth get in bed together on Lennon anniversary

youth lennonIt was 29 years ago today that a lone gunman assassinated John Lennon and the anniversary was the spur behind  a youth "bed in" at the COP15 conference center.

Socres of young folks from around the world used the day to remember Lennon's famous bed-in protest of the Vietnam War and to put their own spin on it. They pulled on their P.J.s, pulled out their pillows and protest signs and got in "bed" together to perform a rendition of Lennon's iconic Give Peace a Chance, remaking the lyrics to reflect their climate concerns.

from FaithWorld:

Saudi Arabia seeks to curb flu and stop protest at haj

haj-maskMore than two million Muslims gather this week for the annual haj pilgrimage to Islam's holy city of Mecca, where Saudi authorities hope to minimize spread of the H1N1 virus and prevent any political demonstration. (Photo: Saudi security official at a checkpoint between  Jeddah and Mecca, 21 Nov 2009/Caren Firouz)

The haj, one of the world's biggest displays of mass religious devotion and a duty for Muslims who can perform it, has been marred in the past by fires, hotel collapses, police clashes with protesters and deadly stampedes.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

A balloon shaped like a WHAT?

Blog Guy, you must be familiar with the works of the prophetic writer Nostradamus. What was the three-word phrase which he predicted would trigger the end of life as we know it?

You know very well what the phrase is.

Yeah, but I want to see it in your blog.

Fine. It's "turd-shaped balloon." Are you happy?

The only reason I'm willing to use it is that it showed up in a photo caption this week, so the cosmic chain of events has now begun. We are told in this actual caption that folks in a protest march are carrying a "turd-shaped balloon."

from FaithWorld:

How East Germany’s communists misunderstood its Protestants

schroederAnniversaries are a time to look back at how the world was before the historic event being commemorated. During a recent trip to Berlin in advance of today's 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall's fall, I asked the former East German theologian and politician Richard Schröder for his recollections of the life as a Protestant pastor before the country fell apart. He zeroed in on a fascinating aspect of the Communists' anti-religion policy I'd never heard about before. (Photo: Richard Schröder, 21 Oct 2009/Tom Heneghan)

"The Communists who took over in 1945 were trained in Russia," he told me at his home in a southern suburb of Berlin. "Their model was the Russian Orthodox Church, which focuses heavily on the liturgy. By contrast, Protestant churches have always been a wide field that included Bible study and other discussion groups. All the charity work of the Protestant churches, like their hospitals, were started by what you might call grass roots movements of congregation members. They were not started by the churches themselves. But the Communists always tried to handle us as if we were Russian Orthodox."

from FaithWorld:

Shots fired to disperse Afghan Koran protest in Kabul

afghan-koran-protest (Photo: Afghans protest at parliament building in Kabul, 25 Oct 2009/Ahmad Masood)

Afghan police fired into the air on Sunday to break up a protest by thousands of people who had gathered in the capital, Kabul, to protest against what they said was the desecration of a copy of the Koran by foreign troops.

Protesters, claiming foreign forces had burned a copy of Islam's holiest book during a raid in Maidan Wardak province last week, blocked traffic in Kabul for more than an hour. A spokeswoman for U.S. and NATO-led forces in Afghanistan said none of their troops were involved in the incident and blamed the Taliban for spreading a false rumor that a copy of the Koran had been burned.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Got milk? Farmers face lactose intolerance…

Blog Guy, I heard milk farmers staged a big protest today. Boy, it's violence everywhere, isn't it? What was it this time? Guns, firebombs...

Milk. Dairy farmers directed milk straight from the cows, spraying it at the police.

from Our Take on Your Take:

Show of commitment

Sometimes news events can drag on longer than a photographer plans. Just ask Reuters Honduras photographer Edgard Garrido, who has been in the Brazilian embassy holed up with the ousted President for more than 10 days. Your View contributor Edin Tuzlak has been following the story of Bosnian veterans protesting on the streets of Sarajevo for two days. Edin has managed to capture both sides, the police and the protesters, to give viewers an insight into the news event.

View this week's Your View showcase here.

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