Vietnam wants to punish actor for movie role
The Vietnamese actor Don Duong is facing the treat of being banned
from acting because of the role he played in We Were Soldiers.
According to the Vietnamese government, the American film about
the Vietnam War, which was released this year, distorts history
and does not do justice to image of the Vietnamese soldier.
We Were Soldiers has been officially banned in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese army’s newspaper calls Duong a traitor. The
authorities of Ho Chi Minh City, where the actor lives, want to
fine Duong and ban him from leaving Vietnam for five years.
Information about We
Were Soldiers in the Internet Movie Database
Mandatory crucifixes in Italy
The Italian minister of Education, Letizia Moratti, wants to make
the Christian symbol, the crucifix, mandatory in all public buildings,
public schools and public stations. The crucifix would be displayed
to remind Italians of their Christian tradition. Jewish and Islamic
organizations have reacted to the proposal with indignation.
French writers under fire
In France, a fierce debate is currently underway regarding freedom
of speech and the limits of artistic expression after three French
authors were accused of inciting hatred and child pornography. Michel
Houellebecq, author of Elementary particles, is being sued
by four Islamic organizations for insulting their religion. In an
interview with the French magazine Lire, he is accused of having
called Islam 'a stupid and dangerous religion'. The plaintiffs support
their accusation with excerpts from Platform, Houellebecq's
last novel, which they say insults Islam. It is remarkable that
the four organizations have also sued the magazine Lire because
it published the interview.
Two other French writers, Nicolas Jones-Gorlin and Louis Skorecki,
have been accused of child pornography. Jones-Gorlin's Rose
bonbon and Skorecki's Il entrerait dans la légende
both contain detailed scenes of sex and violence involving young
girls. Child welfare organizations want the novels taken off the
market. The same French League for Human Rights, la Ligue des droits
the l'homme (LDH), which Houellebecq reproached for inciting 'Islamophobia',
has taken the author’s side in this case.
Should British Asians speak English at home?
David Blunkett, the British minister of the Interior, has advised
Asians in Great Britain to speak English at home as well. Research
from 2001 is said to have demonstrated that thirty percent of British
Asians only speak their native language at home, while a good command
of English is one of the conditions for successful integration,
according to the minister. Blunkett made this announcement in the
book Rethinking Britishness, which contains essays about
Critics do not believe the government should issue guidelines for
how citizens should behave at home. Other opponents wonder whether
the recommendation also applies to those who speak Welsh and Gaelic.
China blocks search engines
The Chinese government has blocked the search engines Google
for at least ten days. Foreign web sites such as those of CNN
and BBCare now
partially or completely inaccessible to Chinese Internet users.
The suspicion is that the Chinese government wants to prevent its
people from being informed about the upcoming party summit by reading
critical reports. The Congress of the Communist Party, which meets
every 5 years, will convene at the beginning of November.
Presidency of Argentina offered as possible first prize in Argentine
Argentineans have so little confidence in their politicians that
they search for new ones in unusual ways. Soon a TV show will premiere
that offers the leadership of a new political party as the first
prize. In Candidate of the People, sixteen 'ordinary' Argentineans
will battle for a possible seat in Parliament. The winner, selected
by viewers, will also participate in the presidential elections
in 2003. Argentina has been plagued by a serious economic crisis.
In the past year, four presidents have tried in vain to turn the
North and South Korea attempt reconciliation on the soccer field
After a nine-year hiatus, North and South Korea have once again
competed against each other in a soccer match in Seoul. Officially
the two countries are still at war with one other. Poverty is compelling
North Korea to relinquish its isolationist policy. The unique match
was permeated with reconciliatory symbolism. Instead of the two
national anthems, a song that is a hit in both countries was played.
The public also waved flags depicting a figure of an undivided Korea.
Miss World candidates revolt against the stoning of a Nigerian
Participants in the Miss World pageant have threatened to boycott
the event in Nigeria at the end of November. They are doing this
to protest the death penalty imposed on Amina Lawal Kurami. A sharia
court in Northern Nigeria condemned the 30-year old single mother
to death by stoning because she had an extra-marital relationship.
Twelve Nigerian states have an Islamic law that forbids unmarried
women from having sex. The national winners from Norway, Belgium,
France and the Ivory Coast have all said that they will not come
to Nigeria if this verdict is not revoked.
Earlier this year, the Nigerian Safiya Husaini was condemned to
death for similar reasons. After a storm of international protest,
she was acquitted based on technicalities.
York Post, The
BBC News, News24.com,