Weird week, huh? In a move unprecedented in the modern era, Pope Benedict XVI decided to call it quits. No word yet on whether God will accept his resignation, but I don’t think we can ignore the uncanny timing of this morning’s meteor strike.
- The 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue came out, doubling down on the idea that nothing shows off white models in expensive apparel like a bunch of “ethnic” folks doing something cultural or labor-intensive nearby.
- Kenya’s High Court declined to rule on whether pending ICC charges should bar Uhuru Kenyatta from a run at the presidency, saying that it lacked jurisdiction over the question. This is a reasonable position for the court to take, but, as The Guardian points out, it does set up the possibility that “If Kenyatta wins, his first foreign trip as president could be to appear in the dock in the Hague at a hearing scheduled for April.”
- A Kiwi politician suggested that all Muslim men should be banned from flying on western airlines, and referred to the entire Arab world as “Wogistan” for good measure. Classy.
Apparently, some British people might have accidentally eaten some horse meat, thinking it was beef. This is apparently a Very Big Deal, because British people are civilized and do not eat horses, unlike the barbaric French.
And yet somehow, no one on the internet has posted the “All our horses are 100% horse-fed for that double-horse juiced-in goodness” clip from Futurama. Seriously, internet, WTF?
Remember that time Somalia decided to arrest and imprison a woman who accused members of the police force of raping her? Sure you do. And remember when they also arrested the freelance journalist to whom she’d told her story, along with her husband, and the two people who had supposedly introduced her to the journalist?
Well, today she was convicted of the crime of “insulting a government body,” and sentenced to a one-year prison term. Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, the journalist (who, mind you, never actually published any details of their conversation), was given the same sentence. Her husband and the two intermediaries were acquitted.
You might be thinking that Somalia, faced with the daunting requirements of establishing itself as a functional state, has decided to start small by learning to protect itself from rape victims and unpublished freelance journalism before moving on to, say, evicting violent terrorist groups from its territory.
But we figure Somalia is actually pursuing a more sophisticated strategy, and attempting to position itself not only as a for-reals-we-mean-it-this-time-actual-state, but also as the first official destination for men’s rights tourism. We can see the ad copy now:
Stable, prosperous tourism economy, here we come.
(Fake Somalia tourism ad adapted from image by Flickr user nadim2.)
According to Reuters, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has announced his willingness to be “the first human to be sent to space by Iranian scientists.”
So far, they’ve sent a monkey, which may or may not have died in transit, as well as some worms, a mouse, and a turtle. Iran’s space program has been the subject of controversy in the international community due to concerns about the possible uses to which the technology might be put. I’m thinking sending Ahmadinejad into space may be a compromise solution everyone can get behind.
Does anyone still believe that hipster restaurants are really eateries, as opposed to conceptual art installations and/or elaborate social psychology experiments? If you answered “yes,” then I dare you to identify which of the below statements are not lines from a recent review of an institution claiming to be a restaurant (answers after the jump):
- “He’s a peer of the Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson, who conjures up strange delicacies from all sorts of primal ingredients (pig’s blood, cow’s bones, wet forest leaves, etc.)”
- “My favorite course was a plate of locally-sourced loam with mucosal kombucha. The accompanying homemade pickles are a $9 supplement, but shouldn’t be missed – their tangy crunch harmonizes perfectly with the heavy funk of the main plate.”
- “Or so I thought to myself as I pondered a pair of crimson-colored crackerlike objects, which, our lumberjack waiter gently informed us, were made mostly with dehydrated pig’s blood.”
- “Although I was initially skeptical of the hay-roasted herring livers, the presentation – in which the still-smoking bale is brought to the table in a brazier and the diner is offered a pair of antique Norwegian elk shears with which to remove the charred morsels from the ashes – won me over.”
- “The next course is a mulch-y concoction of root vegetables (salsify, lichen curls) served with the yolk of a single egg, which tasted bracing in a faintly medicinal way, despite looking, in the words of one of my city-slicker guests, like “something you’d find in the puddles of a tree stump after a rainstorm.”
Somali journalists protest the imprisonment of their colleague. Photo credit: Badri Media
From the six month old Federal Government of Somalia, a step-by-step primer on how to undermine your fledgling regime’s “please help us have a country” PR tour:
- Hire rapists into your police force.
- In the event that a citizen accuses your police force of rape, refuse to investigate the alleged crime, and throw her in prison for good measure.
- Subject her to a two-day interrogation without assistance of counsel until she recants the accusation.
- Chuck her husband in prison, too.
- Track down any journalists who have interviewed the alleged rape victim, and imprison them.
- Charge everyone with “insulting the government” and various other made up sounding crimes.
- Rinse, repeat.
All in all, a process guaranteed to make donor countries look at your security forces and think “State capacity is the best. Let’s send these guys some more money!”
This week’s high(low)lights:
- Members of the Thai navy and police have been caught selling Rohingya refugees to human traffickers. I have no words. (H/T: Jeffrey Stein.)
- A unit of German soldiers are reportedly growing breasts. They truly are the master race. (H/T: Erica Borghard, on a roll this week!)
- A Republican lawmaker in New Mexico “accidentally” proposed legislation that would make rape victims seeking abortion vulnerable to felony evidence tampering charges. A likely story.
From the Iraqi Perspectives Project, a description of a 2002 Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) internal review:
“The final page of the M8 annual report lists IIS failures during the year and enumerates several handicaps the IIS faced in trying to do its work: (1) not enough sedans were available to give one to each key officer; (2) foreign intelligence officers were not given permission to leave the country to study their areas of responsibility; and (3) the lack of an Internet connection within IIS caused them to miss many news events. They suggest allocating the office an Internet connection so that they do not have to rely on others to tell them the news. The IIS did claim the establishment of a single e-mail account as one of the year’s significant accomplishments.”
Among the many challenges of running a brutal dictatorship at odds with most of its neighbors: There are never enough sedans.
H/T: Erica Borghard. Thanks Erica!
A big “WTF” to the many commenters who somehow missed the satire in Amanda’s post on sexual violence and accused her of “hate speech against men.” Hokay.
Also disturbing: Turkey uses anti-terrorism laws to arrest 15 prominent human rights lawyers.
Finally, poop transplants, apparently a thing.
The Mexico City AG’s office has released mug shots of 12 dogs rounded up by authorities following the biting deaths of four people in a local park.
A total of 36 dogs have now been caught, and are being tested for human blood and DNA. Any dogs that test clean will be available for adoption. The rest face the death penalty.
The fate of the dogs has sparked a vigorous debate among Mexico City residents and animal rights activists, many of whom feel that the dogs have been framed. Inevitably, a Twitter campaign on behalf of the “perros detenidos” has sprung up, calling on the government to rectify this abuse of due process and release the dogs at once. No word yet on whether defense counsel has been appointed.
(H/T to the incomparable Myles Estey.)