World Bank: free press helps struggle against poverty
More freedom of the press leads to better government and less corruption.
Bad government and corruption are the root cause of lagging development:
poor people stay poor. This is the opinion of the World Bank as
stated in the World Development Report, published in September.
The report is the annual overview of the Bank's development activities.
The World Bank studied the effectiveness of the media in 97 countries.
Development Report, 11-09-01
Two thousand years of Jewish-German history
The Jewish museum in Berlin opened on Sunday September 9th. The
building by the American architect Daniel Libeskind hosts an exhibition
of two thousand years of Jewish-German history. The museum shows
Jews not just as victims, but also portrays the Jewish contribution
to German culture, politics, economy and science. The opening of
the museum to the public, scheduled for the evening of Tuesday the
eleventh, was postponed for two days because of the attacks in the
Jüdisches Museum Berlin,
Posture and religion
Moslems walk with a dignified posture, wearing loose robes. Animists
are muscular and care little for clothing. Christians wear tight
clothes and walk with bowed heads. Anthropologist Janet van der
Does de Willebois studied the connection between clothing, posture
and world view. To do this, she visited three Senegalese villages,
an Animist, an Islamic and a Christian village all situated near
one another. The conclusion: clothing, movement and outlook on life
are connected to one another. In September Van der Does received
her doctoral degree at the Free University in Amsterdam for her
doctoral thesis Bodywork: dress, demeanour and world view in the
south of Senegal.
UN conference against racism
The UN conference against racism in Durban, South Africa lasted
approximately nine days. At the end, the participating countries
agreed on a final declaration and an action program for combating
racism and discrimination. In the final declaration, the conference
recognises slavery and slave trade as crimes against humanity. The
expression of regret was a difficult point for Europe. Former colonial
powers feared legal consequences and reparations to descendants
The agenda contained other thorny items, as well. Arabic countries
wanted Israel to be condemned for racism against Palestinians. The
US and Israel both left the conference after a few days. In the
final declaration, Israel is not specifically mentioned.
Dalits, the Indian casteless, attempted to bring attention to their
own fate. However, Indian diplomats did not want to discuss the
More about the conference: OHCHR
More about Dalits: Asian
Legal Recources Centre
Expression of regret by Zen masters
Zen masters of the Rinzai sect, one of the largest Zen movements
in Japan, offered their apologies for the behaviour of their predecessors
during the Second World War. This expression of regret is the result
of lobbying by a Dutch woman, Ina Buitendijk. In the book Zen at
War (1997) by Zen priest Brian Victoria, she read how Zen masters
collaborated with the Japanese war regime. It is the first time
that Japanese Zen masters have acknowledged their involvement and
offered their apologies.
Languages in the Euro parliament
The Euro parliament recently decided that all languages must continue
to be treated equally. English is not the preferred language. The
Euro parliament wants all citizens to have access to the parliament
in their own language. There are already eleven official languages.
Interpreters and translations cost around 300 million Dutch Guilders
per year. The number of official languages may rise as high as 23
when new members enter around 2004.
More information: Europarlement,
Sources: NRC Handelsblad,
Trouw, de Volkskrant, UNHCR, Europarlement,
Asian Legal Recources Centre,