Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
from Environment Forum:
Anyone who watched the women's World Cup final might have wondered if it's possible to harness that pure human energy. Turns out, it is. There's enough power in a soccer ball to light the night -- or at least a part of it.
It's done via sOccket, a soccer ball that kids kick around all day, where its movement generates energy. When the sun sets, plug an LED lamp into the ball and it turns into a light for reading or other purposes. Play with the sOccket for 15 minutes and use the light for up to three hours. Sustainable, non-polluting, safe.
SOccket was created to solve a pervasive problem -- the lack of reliable electricity -- with a pervasive game. More than one-fifth of the world's population, about 1.4 billion people, lack electric power, but kids almost everywhere play soccer.
Conceived as a group project at Harvard University by Jessica Matthews and Julia Silverman when they were undergraduates, sOccket has been tested in South Africa, Nigeria, Spain and Haiti. Now, Matthews said in a telephone interview, it's on track for mass production and distribution later this year.
Today marks the 65th anniversary of the end of World War Two. No big deal, you might say. And on the surface there is certainly nothing all that extraordinary about May 7, 2010. There has been none of the celebrating that marked the 40th or 50th or even 60th anniversaries.
But what is interesting about this 65th anniversary of the end of the fighting in Europe is that it means every German (and Austrian) born before the war’s end has now reached retirement age. In other words, the entire war-era generation – even those who were infants on V-E Day – is now in retirement. It means all those running Germany now – in government or management, or running factories or driving busses – had, as documented by their birth certificates, nothing whatsoever to do with World War Two.
from Tales from the Trail:
President Barack Obama has said he might make the trip to this summer's soccer World Cup in South Africa -- but won't commit unless the U.S. team reaches the finals, according to South Africa's foreign minister.
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, at the State Department to formally launch the new U.S.-South Africa "strategic dialogue" agreement, said Obama had indicated he might be lured to the World Cup, which begins on June 11 and holds its final at Soccer City in Johannesburg on July 11.
from Africa News blog:
Organisers have postponed a conference of Nobel peace laureates in South Africa after the government denied a visa to Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who won the prize in 1989 - five years after South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu won his and four years before Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk won theirs for their roles in ending the racist apartheid regime.
Although local media said the visa ban followed pressure from China, an increasingly important investor and trade partner, the government said it had not been influenced by Beijing and that the Dalai Lama's presence was just not in South Africa's best interest at the moment.
Posted by Aws Qusay
I left my home in Baghdad early that day, on tenterhooks as I headed to a job interview for which I had been preparing for weeks.
It was July 2006, five months after the bombing of a revered Shi’ite shrine unleashed a wave of sectarian killing in Iraq. Only the day before, my neighbourhood in southwestern Baghdad was rocked by a huge bomb that destroyed a local mosque.
Following the national soccer team to a foreign country is usually a safe enough bet for any national leader. Photographs of the president or premier smiling and waving, the local colour, the national flags all play well at home; a few platitudes to charm the local press and a handshake. Simple, harmless political fun. When Turkish President Abdullah Gul visits Yerevan this weekend for Turkey’s World Cup qualifier against Armenia, however, there will be nothing simple about it. For the two countries, divided over a wartime slaughter that occurred early in the last century, it will be a historic moment, fraught with perils. For many Armenians, Gul’s presence will be an act of sheer effrontery by a state they accuse of an act of genocide against the Armenian people; an act of savagery by the old, collapsing Ottoman Empire for which they demand an apology and redress. For many nationalist Turks, his unprecedented venture, the first visit to Armenia by a Turkish leader, borders on betrayal of their country which they say committed no genocide. Hundreds of thousands, Turks and Armenians alike, they argue, died in the fierce fighting that consumed the region. Opposition leader Deniz Baykal gave a taste of that mood, remarking sarcastically that Gul should lay a wreath at the Yerevan genocide monument. Recklesness or statesmanship? Whichever it is, if it is either, it is arguably an act of political courage — as was the invitation issued by Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan. Gul might have left well alone as generations of Turkish leaders have done before him. Few in Turkey or Armenia, would have raised an eyebrow. There may well be anti-Turkish demonstrations in Yerevan and rumblings at home. Gul, a naturally mild-mannered man, must watch his words and his body language. Maybe soccer diplomacy could break the ice between Armenia and Turkey in the same way ping-pong diplomacy launched relations between the United States and Communist China. Gul’s visit to Armenia is the latest in a string of Turkish foreign policy interventions around his country’s troubled border areas, involving Syria, Iran, Israel, Iraq and more recently Georgia. Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan might be seen as pandering to a foreign policy fantasy nurtured by Washington and Brussels of a Turkey building bridges between the West and the Arab world, helping secure the energy routes of the Caucasus and healing the wound of Cyprus; but Ankara is pursuing its own vested interests. While the Turkish economy may prosper in Istanbul or central Anatolia, the country’s east remains steeped in poverty. Why? Look around. Eastern Turkey is caught, effectively, in a dead end, surrounded by closed or virtually closed borders and weak neighbouring economies. Armenia is one such neighbour, but an important one. A landlocked country still emerging from the ruins of the Soviet Union, Armenia also suffers from a closed border with its huge western neighbour. The argument about whether or not the events of the last century were an act of systematic killing, a genocide, will continue with a passion. The idea that governments write history or interpret it is not one that sits easily with me. I’ve lived in countries where the history books are written by the government or the Party. The Turks have compromised themselves over decades on this count by prosecuting historians or journalists who dare to entertain the question of whether there was genocide; but things in Turkey are changing. The country is opening, if not quickly enough for some. Armenians might argue that the killing in what is today eastern Turkey is not history but very much a modern event for families driven into exile and living with the consequences. Some of those exile families, from Paris to Los Angeles, are among the most vocal proponents of diplomatic action against Turkey. Soccer matches can be emotional occasions. Turkish and Armenian colours will vie for attention. Hopefully, the emotion this time will be confined largely to the action on the pitch, but politics will be foremost in many people’s minds, within and beyond the borders of Turkey and Armenia. A risky and courageous political act by Gul or a move long overdue for both Turkey and Armenia? Much depends on what comes after the final whistle. Both sides are showing good will. The Armenians, for instance, are removing from the emblems on their kit the image of Mount Ararat, a mountain now in Turkey but closely linked to Armenian culture and history. As Turkish national coach Fatih Terim said on Tuesday, the team is going to Yervan ‘to play a game and not to fight a war’.