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Showing posts from August, 2005

The Admirable Plight of Lebanese Gays: Points to Ponder from across the Pond...

In Lebanon, Gays face more than the barriers of Middle Eastern Culture, more than the pressures of Christian and Muslim traditions that demonize homosexuality...Yet in the midst of all these obstacles they move on, hold their gay pride marches and stand up for their rights. Their plight is worth appreciating when one considers their many hurdles, which makes me wonder how in the peculiar realities of our Lilliputian cultural and religious environment (in Malta), where we preach tolerance, love and compassion - we still find ourselves a long way to go where gay issues are concerned.

Most Maltese gays live in denial. While some are willing to open up and live their lives openly, many others are finding it hard since more often than not such openness leads to lost friendships, declined respect from work peers and even potentially damaged professions or jeopardised political careers...

I believe that it is time to start opening the debate about gay and lesbian rights and their needs in Malt…

On my splitting headache...

I welcome Travis from the US for his direct response to my piece on Malta's Area 51... We are glad that at least someone, albeit from afar, came back with a divergent opinion...

This seems to be a very sensitive topic in Malta, as it is in the U.S. and other countries were abortion is legal. As a U.S. citizen who believes that the mother (and in some cases the father) has the right to choose whether or not to continue an unwanted pregnancy, it is sometimes hard to draw the line as to when the decision to terminate a pregnancy comes too late. I would hope that the vast majority of abortions in the U.S. occur within the first three months, but I’m certain that late-term abortions take place as well. In the study recently published by JAMA, researchers are confirming that terminating a pregnancy at five-and-a-half months is painful for the unborn child, which has developed most of life’s necessities, as well as for the mother. Pro-choice advocates are unlikely to dispute that abortion…

On splitting the inner atom

I wish to thank Fr. Ray for his comments...

Ray, I saw the abortion/immigrants piece you sent this morning. Thanks. Your questions are valid and since you’ve asked for some comments…well…here are mine…even though I prefer seeing the issue in a much wider context.

Sometimes I have this funny feeling that our vigilance has been one-sided. Our way of life (and thinking) here in Malta has been healthily vigiliant about sexual morality and what it protects (marriage, family life, emotional stability, social order, personal integrity, proper transparency, the capacity for trust) without, at the same time, being qually (or at all) solitious about the other half of the ‘gospel’, justice, true dignity…. It seems we are too selective in our morality, able to compartmentalise, and able to feel comfortable with neglecting important parts of the gospel because of our passion for one area of it.

We can never be challenged too strongly with regards these issues. A key, non-negotiable, component of t…

Welcome to Malta's Area 51

Foetuses 'no pain up to 29 weeks’

Freedom of expression in Malta is fine unless you challenge the Status Quo.

Abortion is a "no-go!" area in Maltese discussions...We all assume that just because more than 75% of the local population is supposedly practicing Catholicism, and since abortion is illegal on the Island - then it does not take place...

I believe that we should debate the issue with a more open mind, meaning: lets have people for and against debating it.

I have had enough of hearing just 'my side' of the argument saying “it’s murder", 'it’s bad", 'it’s a sin'. It’s good to be sure of yourself, but for the sake of the argument, in respect of our pluralistic political scenario, it’s healthy to have an open debate that tackles all sides of the argument however thorny it may be. After all aren’t we a mature lot? Isn't Malta a bastion that defends the citizen's right of 'freedom of expression'?... This is what our Europe is…

Proud Europeans

The Maltese are proud Europeans, they might not show it immediately, but centuries of war and national bloodshed is steadfast testimony to this. The Maltese have stood by their leaders and international partners or protectors in resisting Muslim/Turkish invasions that occurred so many times over the centuries, ousted out the French and relatively recently resisted bravely the invading Nazis and Italian Fascists. They stood up proud, hurt but victorious.

I feel that the Maltese are determined to discover their own relevance in the region, eager to appreciate their own identity as a recent, independent state, irrespective of their limited and humble geopolitical power.

The Maltese in the European Union are today waking up to a new reality. New opportunities, fallen barriers make way for fresh ideas, movement of new people, and an ever enriching experience that is set to leave its mark deep into our culture with lasting impetus...

What worries me is the lack of interest young people (part…

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Why did they join the Union, anyway?

Czechs against continued ratification of EU constitution

19.08.2005 - 09:20 CET | By Lucia Kubosova Most Czechs oppose the continuation of the EU constitution’s ratification, a new poll has suggested.

The Czech republic has put off its plans for the referendum on the new treaty after its rejection by French and Dutch voters earlier this summer.

Around 40 percent of the respondents to the latest survey by an independent STEM agency claimed they were against the document’s revival, while only 25 percent said the opposite, Czech news agency CTK reports.

The poll also showed higher support among citizens with a lower level of education for completing stopping the ratification marathon, while Czechs with university degrees tend to call for the process to carry on.

Although the constitution can only come into force if all EU member states ratify it – Czech supporters of continued ratification argue that citizens from all the countries should get a chance to express their voice.

Prague has joined…

America wants to go Wild!

Big game 'could roam US plains'

Here is a good idea ...that will help us scare hunters off...or attract new nafx...

The animals would fill a void in the ecosystem
If a group of US researchers have their way, lions, cheetahs, elephants and camels could soon roam parts of North America, Nature magazine reports.
The plan, which is called Pleistocene re-wilding, is intended to be a proactive approach to conservation.

The initiative would help endangered African animals while creating jobs, the Cornell University scientists say.

Evidence also suggests, they claim, that "megafauna" can help maintain ecosystems and boost biodiversity.

"If we only have 10 minutes to present this idea, people think we're nuts," said Harry Greene, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University, US.

"But if people hear the one-hour version, they realise they haven't thought about this as much as we have. Right now we are investing all our me…

Taize founder dies after stabbing

Brother Roger is known by thousands of young Christians...I went there 4 years ago with a small group of Maltese youths, and the experience was very deep and touching. Seeing all those young people of various religions mingle altogther in prayers, songs and meditation was a first in my life...

The Taize religious community in eastern France, says its 90-year-old founder has died after a knife attack during a prayer service.

Police detained a Romanian woman after the attack on Swiss-born Roger Schutz, who was known as Brother Roger.

Around 2,500 young people were at the Reconciliation church in Burgundy at the time of the attack.

Brother Roger founded the community during World War II when he provided refuge to people of all religions.

Brother Alois, 51, who Brother Roger had nominated to be his successor, was returning from the World Youth Day jamboree in Cologne to take his place, a community spokesman said.

The Taize community unites members of several Christian denominations from so…

Should we Thank God for Hunters?

Birds are the carrier of this sickness...So for once Malta's hunters might have found a purpose...if not their likely end...In the absence of an antidote, at least we can always shoot them down hux... What do you think? : )

Russia says dangerous bird flu outbreak spreads [16/08/2005]

Russia, which has been striving to stop the spread of deadly bird flu across its territory, said an outbreak in Chelyabinsk was dangerous to humans. The H5N1 strain of bird flu is behind the outbreak in Chelyabinsk, a city in the Ural mountains, the Emergencies Ministry said in a statement, adding that 497 birds had died over the past 24 hours. The strain is the same one that has killed dozens of people in Asia and many millions of poultry.

Hunting Season Open...

Leaflets declare 'open season' for migrants
Natalino Fenech

Leaflets bearing a violent message against foreign workers and illegal immigrants have been scattered in the streets of Birkirkara announcing that the "hunting season on land and on the sea" for these people is open all year round.

Dozens of these leaflets, reading "Stop immigration", were left in Main Street but those responsible stopped short of throwing any along the stretch leading to the police station.

The leaflets, signed KKK and bearing several images of the skull and crossbones, were also strewn in other parts of Birkirkara by unknown persons.

Last month, KKK had also distributed leaflets at the Hal-Far open centre stating that illegal immigrants are "bummers".

"We do not want you in Malta. Get out or we will start killing you," the vicious message had read.

Last June unknown persons put up a number of makeshift posters in Blata l-Bajda, Msida and Floriana urging people to &qu…

Mysterious Aircrash in Greece Raises Serious Questions...

Greece plane crash victims 'frozen solid'

MSNBC News Services
Updated: 9:10 a.m. ET Aug. 15, 2005
GRAMMATIKO, Greece - Most of the bodies recovered from the Cypriot plane that crashed into a mountain near Athens with 121 people on board were “frozen solid,” a Greek Defense Ministry source said on Monday.

“Autopsy on passengers so far shows the bodies were frozen solid, including some whose skin was charred by flames from the crash,” the source, with access to the investigation, told Reuters.

Early indications suggest the 115 passengers and six crew were dead or unconscious when the Helios Airways Boeing 737 plunged to earth on Sunday. There were no survivors.

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Malta Fuel mix-up leaves Abramovich with £1m holiday disaster

By Charlotte Edwardes and Karl Schembri in Malta(Filed: 07/08/2005)

Anyone who has put petrol in a diesel engine will appreciate the mistake. But Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club, may not be so understanding.

He was said this weekend to have been "disappointed" to learn that his £72 million yacht, Pelorus, had been filled with the "wrong type of fuel" while docked in Malta.
A single tank of fuel for the 377ft craft costs £120,000. The cost of removing the fuel - a lengthy process, which includes cleaning the engine - is considerably more. Yachting insiders last night put a figure of "at least £1 million, potentially as much as £7 million" on the repair costs.
Simon Borg Cordona, Mr Abramovich's Maltese agent, described the incident as "a disaster". He said: "The engineers discovered that the fuel that had been used was 'incompatible'. I cannot confirm what happened exactly, we still don't know. Definitely Mr …

Banned "Tits"

Barmaids protest as EU plans cover-up in the beer gardens
By Kate Connolly (Telegraph UK)

Bavarians are hot under the collar over an EU directive that will force their barmaids to cover up, supposedly to protect them from the sun.
Brewery owners, politicians and most of the women themselves have condemned the legislation as absurd, claiming the "tan ban", as it has been nicknamed, will destroy a centuries-old tradition.

Bavarian barmaids typically dress in a costume known as a "dirndl", a dress and apron with a tight, low-cut top whose figure-hugging effect is enhanced by a short white blouse.
Under the EU's Optical Radiation Directive, employers of staff who work outdoors, including those in Bavaria's beer gardens, must ensure they cover up against the risk of sunburn.
Bavarian bar keepers have been told that the dirndl, generally rather revealing, will have to be replaced as it offers no protection against what the directive calls "natural sources of radia…

B.B.Q this Friday 12th August, Mellieha Bay at 8pm

Hello People!This Friday its another classic BBQ Night. The de Bono brothers will be cooking. Please confirm your attendance...via e-mail

Maltese: A Calm Lot.

Start the car every morning to work, off I go. From Mellieha centre to Selmun its plain sailing.

Till Xemxija is also fine, apart from the camouflaged troupe of stocky, young wardens down the Selmun hills, amongst the Carob tress, randomly pin pointing and halting drivers on their way to work, adding up to their personal record of hapless, deserving victims.

Xemxija hill is Cancu’s drive, with its photo finish sensation. After its initial furore this speed camera has apparently, softened its zeal and precision, or rather, I suspect its tampered with as I have often observed drivers speeding at over 55km/h up or so down this road without the expected flash. Is its still functioning?

I slow down my car, trying to keep the 45km/hr limit. One well deserved speeding fine was fair enough.

Down round the bent that takes you up to the St. Paul’s Bay roundabout you drive by a bill board showing an elderly couple driving with the underlining phrase ‘Toroq Godda Ghalik’ meaning ‘new roads for you’. …

Chewing Gum Catholics, anyone?

Dear Friends,

The ceaseless ranting about when human life begins makes happiness very difficult to find these days. The way our politicians and their appointed committees are chuntering on, you would imagine that whether life begins at conception is something that has never been debated before, anywhere in the world at any point in history, and that it is now up to them to decide for the rest of humanity and for all time. Malta is going to set an example to the rest of the world. If it were not so fascinating, in the way that a really bad horror film starring Paris Hilton and plenty of hot wax is fascinating, then it would be embarrassing. Worse still are the attempts being made to jump through Catholic hoops while still keeping content the baby manufactories and those who wish to keep on using them (as they have every right to do). If you bend over backwards far enough, you’ll find your head dipped in hypocrisy, and we’re getting dangerously close to that. Listen to this, for instance…