Sunday, September 7, 2008

Today's west

This is my west for today, with the alternates, of course :o)

And I decided today to feature, from this day on and when I have time, the treasury I liked the most. Today is Kreativ's turn, with her beautiful Golden Moments: I like this list because it reminds me of the relaxing quiet you can find at the sea in autumn.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Trip to Liguria

When you live in northern Italy and you want to spend a day at the sea, you have not many choices: you can go to the Adriatic sea or you can go to Liguria. Ligurian sea is the closest to Milan, and if you don't find a lot of traffic on the highway you can reach the sea in less than two hours.
Unfortunately, *a lot* of people find the sea attractive in summer, so you are always pretty sure to have to fight for a parking space and for a (very) little slot of beach.
Anyway, last wednesday I was in need to see and feel the sea, so we take advantage of an unexpected day out and we went to Varazze.

Varazze is one of the settlements near the highway. It is only a classic Ligurian sea town, full of plain and crowded beach establishments...not really my idea of relax. But I spent in this place many summers when I was a child, so at least I can value a few positive aspects.
One of the things I like is that most part of the old town is nicely colored. My camera batteries were down, so I didn't manage to take many photos. :o(

Another positive thing is that you can find many good culinary specialties, fish, pesto, focaccia and so on.
I'll write the next recipe for our EST blog, after the yummy Blueberry Muffins from Andreia (Aracne Design) and this quick trip gave me a lot of inspiration, I'm sure you will appreciate!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Politically incorrect

March 26, 2008
Sarkozy asks China to talk with Dalai Lama: In his speech to the Commons and the Lords, Sarkozy said Britain and France shared a responsibility to urge the Chinese leadership to respect human rights and cultural identity - a goal that could only be achieved if there was "true dialogue" with the Dalai Lama. (Hearld Tribune)

August 7, 2008
Sarkozy Says He Won’t Meet Dalai Lama in France: President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, who will attend the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics despite domestic criticism, announced Thursday that he would not meet the Dalai Lama later this month in France.[...]France bristled when the Chinese ambassador to Paris in July warned of “serious consequences” for Chinese-French relations if Mr. Sarkozy met the Dalai Lama here.[...] (New York Times)

7 August 2008
Olympics and Tibet under a cloud of repression
On the eve of China's first Olympics, as the world prepares to gaze more intently than ever on the grand spectacle of the 29th Olympics, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) deplores and expresses its deepest dismay on China's failure to uphold the Olympic principles particularly with regard to continual of repression in Tibet. The communist regime continues to cling on to its old authoritarian ways and still ruthlessly suppresses peaceful dissent. Over the recent past the Chinese authorities under the pretext of security measures has intensified clampdown on the fundamental human rights of the Tibetan people. (TCHRD)

President Bush bluntly told China that America stands in "firm opposition" to the way the communist government represses its own people, a rebuke delivered from the heart of Asia on the cusp of the Olympic Games. (Associated Press)

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang admonished Bush just before he got to China.
"We firmly oppose any words or acts that interfere in other countries internal affairs, using human rights and religion and other issues," he said. The spokesman added that "Chinese citizens have freedom of religion. These are indisputable facts." (Associated Press)
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday blamed supporters of the Dalai Lama for recent violence in Tibet, and said Chinese forces exercised restraint in confronting unrest there. "There is ample fact and we also have plenty of evidence proving that this incident was organized, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai clique" Wen said in a televised news conference.
The Chinese premier also dismissed the Dalai Lama's claim that China is causing "cultural genocide" of his people in Tibet as lies. (

Olympic organizers are backtracking on another promise about coverage of the Beijing Games, keeping in place blocks on Internet sites in the Main Press Center and venues where reporters will work. (

In the run-up to the Olympics, the Chinese authorities have locked up, put under house arrest and forcibly removed individuals they believe may threaten the image of “stability” and “harmony” they want to present to the world.
“By continuing to persecute and punish those who speak out for human rights, the Chinese authorities have lost sight of the promises they made when they were granted the Games seven years ago,” said Roseann Rife, Asia-Pacific Deputy Director at Amnesty International. (Amnesty International)

The capital and surrounding areas of northeastern China have the world's worst nitrogen dioxide levels, according to satellite images taken by the European Space Agency in 2005.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the chemical can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation. It may also cause impaired lung function and increased respiratory infections. (

In 2004 the total greenhouse gas emissions from the People's Republic of China were about 54% of the USA emissions.
Various predictions see China overtaking the US in total greenhouse emissions between late 2007 and 2010, and according to many other estimates, this already occurred in 2006.
According to the Kyoto protocol, China have no obligation beyond monitoring and reporting emissions. (Wikipedia)

China supplies more than half of the finished fur garments imported for sale in the United States. When undercover investigators made their way onto Chinese fur farms recently, they found that many animals are still alive and struggling desperately when workers flip them onto their backs or hang them up by their legs or tails to skin them. (Peta)

There are about 7,000 bears on bear-bile farms in China. The captive animals are used to supply the voracious Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) market.
Usually bile is extracted from the bears' gallbladders twice a day through a surgically implanted tube. The process, called "milking," produces from .338 to .676 oz. (10–20 ml.) of bile each time. Milking is clearly painful for the bears, who are often seen moaning and chewing their paws during the process.
Sometimes the farmers just push a hollow steel stick through a bear's abdomen, and the bile runs into a basin under the cage. Surgery to insert the tube or stick is seldom performed by veterinarians (very few bear farms employ them). Roughly half of the bears die from infections or other complications. (HSUS)

BOCOG Issues Olympic Venue Rules, Banners Not Allowed: [...] The rules, promulgated on Monday, 25 days ahead of the Games, by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG), advise spectators not to bring into the venues support banners and leaflets of commercial publicity, religion, politics, military, human rights and environmental and animal protection, among others. (Beijing Official Website)

Olympics: Coni slams ceremony boycott call
The head of Italy's Olympic Committee (CONI), Gianni Petrucci, on Wednesday said it was the duty of Italian athletes to take part in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing. [...]
Foreign Minister Franco Frattini was forced to defend the government's official position on the Games after Youth Policy Minister Giorgia Meloni and the People of Freedom party's Senate whip Maurizio Gasparri asked athletes to skip the ceremony.
"It's clear that the Olympics are a great sporting event that nobody can, wants to, or should politicise," said Frattini, who will attend the inauguration with Sports Undersecretary Rocco Crimi.
"Human rights are something the Italian government has always fought for and will continue to do so after the Olympics, but the Games are a sporting occasion in which our athletes are competing to win, and we will go and support them" he added. (

Olympic games ended today. An Italian newscast said this evening something like this: "olympic games ended, we have learned something more about China and China has learned something more about us".
Maybe Chinese authorities learned that they can go on, undisturbed, with no interference from western countries.
Probably Chinese people didn't learn anything. They can't learn anything because of the lack of information, they don't even understand why there were western people demonstrating against Tibet repression!
Surely I learned (or, better, I had confirmation of) something. People say that they have strong principles, but they can always find a good reason to throw out these principles. In our society a good reason can be an economic blackmail, the urgency to win a medal, or the simple pleasure of watching the olympic games.
Simply put: why should I care about a dog, a bear, a child or a Tibetan if I can have a nice MP3 player for 20$ only?

My last west