News Bites

by Jasmine papillon-Smith

The US has finally adopted the health care reform which Democrats have been fighting for over the last little while. It’s too bad all the negotiations needed to pass the bill have turned the reform into a shitty compromise.
Meanwhile, a sandstorm in China has left Beijing covered completely in dust, and has increased pollution levels in Hong Kong to record highs. The Air Pollution Index, which urges citizens to stay indoors at readings of 200, is currently at 453. What’s funny is that it looks like fog, but it’s actually pollution, and kids can’t play outside.
Tanzania and Zambia put in a request to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to host a legal sale of ivory out of government stockpiles. The request was refused for fear that a legal sale would spur illegal elephant poaching. Personally, I think elephant poaching is over-rated: what would be great is Stephen Harper poaching. His nails and teeth could go for a lot, maybe even single-handedly pick up the Canadian economy. What’s a little sacrifice for the good of the heartland?
A homosexual couple in Malawi is facing harsh legal proceedings and a trial after getting engaged three months back. The couple is charged with “gross indecency” and could incur a sentence of up to 14 years in prison. Rather than ostracizing the gay community, maybe Malawi should productively deal with the fact that 930 000 of its citizens are afflicted with HIV-AIDS.
An American by the name of Aijalon Mahli Gomes was caught by the North Korean government and is currently on trial for sneaking into the country. What the fuck, Aijalon? Isn’t the fact that you have to sneak into a country enough to deter you from doing so? Gold medal for being stupid.
A UK record label is looking for talented nuns to make an album in order to impress the Pope and hopefully earn a little capital in the name of G – . This contest sounds awesome: I’d call it Devout Idol, and the winner would win unlimited sinning and a golden ticket to heaven.
The price of sand for building in Nigeria’s capital, Lagos, has sky-rocketed due to the rapid increase of expansion in the city. The high demand is being catered to partially by men employed to dive to the bottom of the sea in their underwear, dig up the sand with a sharpened bucket, and swim to the surface holding the bucket of wet sand, filling the boat until its capacity is reached: holy shit.
Plastiki, a catamaran built with 12 000 plastic bottles, has set sail from San Fransisco to Sydney in order to raise awareness about dumping waste into the ocean. If the catamaran breaks apart in the middle of the ocean, much hilarity shall ensue.
Soweto, a township of Johannesburg known for its poverty and resistance to the apartheid, is promoting bungee jumping, parachuting, tandem bicycling, dance clubs and shopping at a large new mall now that the World Cup is coming to Johannesburg. It’s a twisted world that would rather see money invested in tourist traps than infrastructure and food aid.
Somalis seeking refuge at Mogadishu’s airport have been ordered to move on due to growing security concerns. With so many refugees at the airport, rebel groups could use their presence as an excuse to attack the airport. Half of Mogadishu’s residents have left their homes. March break is over, and it still sucks to be a Somali.

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