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Monday Global Blog Roundup

Categories: East Asia, Eastern & Central Europe, Latin America, Middle East & North Africa, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Western Europe, Argentina, Bolivia, Cambodia, Chile, China, Hungary, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe

The Middle East

A Free Iraqi does an interesting Q&A with his readers [1].

Crossroads Arabia points to a news story that says that 2,500 scholarships are available for Saudis who want to study at American universities [2]. While 2,500 students is a fairly large number, the American university system is so large that those students could easily get lost in the system: for example, Arizona State University [3] has more than 8,000 students in its freshman class alone.

Sara Jabbari Farouji, an Iranian student studying in Europe, guest posts at Free Thoughts Iran on the election results and makes some interesting semiotic suggestions about how the opposition can reposition itself [4] for future elections.

The author of Iran Hopes 2005 bitterly condemns the election as a fraud and states that “Ahmadinejad may carry the title of the ‘president’, but he is the most powerless man in Iran.” [5]

IranScan points out the parallels between a famous speech that Ayatollah Khomeini gave shortly after the Shah had fled Iran in 1977 and the promises of new president Mahmood Ahmadinejad [6]. It has a brief roundup (unfortunately, linkless) of Iranian blogosphere reaction to the election [7].

The Syrian News Wire has an excellent summary of the recently-completed Lebanese elections. [8] About Lebanon speculates about how the election results will play out in the Parliament [9]. One possibility is that pro-Syrian politician Nabih Berri will be re-elected Speaker of Parliament, a option that has drawn heated opposition [10] from across [11] the Lebanese [12] blogosphere [13].

Sabbah’s Blog has a long post about the Hijab, the Muslim headscarf [14].

Both Mouse Hunter [15] and Subzero Blue [16] have write-ups of the Third Tunisian Blogger Meetup. Sounds like a good time was had by all…

Despite protests from Israeli settlers who attempted to prevent the demolition, the Israeli Army started to tear down a number of abandoned beachfront houses in the Gaza Strip over the weekend. Rafah Pundits Radio notes a striking parallel to IDF demolition of Palestinian houses in the same area a few years ago [17].

Where are you really from? AquaCool expresses her bitter disappointment when she meets a Jordanian who disavows his origins after having acquired a different passport [18].

Celebrity gossip meets international blogging: it turns out that the fortune that Paris Hilton’s fiance, Paris Latsis, is heir to, may be tainted. Israellycool points to a magazine report that claims that the Latsis fortune was not amassed in shipping, but rather by running oil and guns. [19]

East Asia

[20]Japanpundit continues his profile of Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi [21]. Must reading if you’re at all interested in how Japan works.

Bingfeng Teahouse is slightly amused by news that a new poll indicates that China has a better image than the US [22].

ESWN has a guide to the three stages of breaking disaster news in China [23]. Unsurprisingly, step three is “ban further coverage.”

The website of a police-run security company in Beijing has been defaced by hackers, reports Chinese Internet [24].

New Mongols finds a story that suggests that women are starting to dominate higher education in Mongolia [25].

Shanghaiist has full coverage of “One World, One Dream”, the inspiring new slogan for the Beijing 2008 Olympics [26].

Photograph by Paul Frankenstein [27]


Central Budapest reports that the latest statistics indicate that the Hungarian population is slowly shrinking. However, the Hungarian press is, “in a spirit of exceptional cheerfulness”, reporting this as good news [28].

A national ID card bill will be set for a second reading in the House of Commons, reports Lots of Big Ideas; they’re less worried about the ID card itself than the idea of a database nation [29].

The Barcepundit on the Spanish Government’s proposal to remove the word “war” from the Spanish constitution [30].

Beauty Pageant Vote-Fixing Scandal! Blog de Connard breaks the news that the Miss Russian Army 2005 pageant (won by a Navy Liutenant, reports Siberian Light [31]) may have been fixed, with the judges fixing the outcome before the contest proper [32]. MPC sadly wonders, “can we not even keep the Miss Russian Army contest free from graf?”

South Asia

Six months ago, the Boxing Day Tsunami devastated the Indian Ocean rim. Macam-Macam has a comprehensive recap and update on the situation [33]. In addition, WorldChanging has its own update [34].

United We Blog: can protesting journalists alone make a difference in Nepal? [35]

India Uncut has a brief report on Sunday’s Mumbai Blogger Meetup [36].

Kiruba Shankar points us to an Financial Express article about blogging in India [37].

Pakistani blogger KO posts a letter to the Indian people: “In Pakistan, we have a slightly different democratic system from India, where you have the worlds biggest elections. … We have greatly streamlined the process. You see, Musharraf tells us he embodies the people’s desires, and so when he votes its the same as the whole country voting, so our process is much faster and terribly efficient.” [38]


This is Zimbabwe relays the news that private citizens are now being ordered to dress ‘appropriately’ by government forces [39].

Having turned on their erstwhile allies the war veterans, Zimbabwe’s ruling regime now has to find a way to placate them, says Zimpundit [40].

Inside Somaliland looks inside “the best camel meat restaurant in the country.” [41]

South-East Asia

In the Philippines, President Gloria Arroyo has come out and admitted that it’s her voice on the controversial ‘election-rigging’ tapes [42]. Crainal Cavity is less than impressed by her statement [43], predicting that Arroyo won’t last out the year; Nina at Metroblogging Manila doesn’t even give the President that long [44]. However, The Sassy Lawyer thinks that an immediate change of office is unlikely, at least from a legal standpoint [45].

Sarasonteh wonders why the English-language press in Bangkok has such tremendous difficulty identifying a “former” casino-owner turned Senator [46] in stories about illegal casinos getting shut down.

Singabloodypore notes the irony in having a Malaysian film festival show a film that’s been banned in Singapore [47].

Thai-Blogs has an immensely practical post about the different kinds of taxis available in Bangkok [48]. It does not, however, cover tuk-tuks.

ThaRum’s Web complains that copying foreign pop songs is destroying the Cambodian music industry [49].

Jeff Ooi has a post that excerpts from a a lengthy interview given by Tengku Mahaleel, the beleagued head of Proton [50], Malaysia’s national car company.

The Committee to Protect Bloggers announces the formation [51] of a Singapore-specific branch of the Committee [52].

Latin America

Jeff Barry, an American expat now living in Buenos Aires announces that Google Maps has found it's way to Buenos Aires [en] [53]. He also notes that Buenos Aires is becoming a destination of outsourced call centers [en] [54] from the US.

Gastonl [en] [55], an Argentinian living in Toronto has written a controversial post [es] [56] trying to peg Argentine idendity on the group blog Argenautas, written by “Argentinians spread around the world.” In response, Jorge Gobbi questions [es] [57] if Argentinians living abroad have even the right to characterize Argentine identity.

Marcela Olivera guest blogs on Blog from Bolivia [en] [58] to bring us up to date on the political conflict as well as beautifully describe the importance of the summer solstice to indigenous Bolivians. Major state and federal elections seem to be around the corner.

MABB translates [en] [59] a political cartoon [es] [60] which seems to effectively sum up the current political situation in Bolivia.

Roberto Arancibia of El Mundo Sigue Ahí [es] [61] has notified me with Chilean presidential candidate Sebastian Piñera’s official blog URL [es] [62]. Piñera, in his latest post, clarifies the difference between this official blog and the one I linked to in yesterday's roundup [en] [63]:

El talentoso escritor Sergio Paz ha expresado sus dudas [64] acerca de si este blog lo escribe realmente Sebastián Piñera, es decir, yo … puedo asegurarte … que estas palabras son mías. Hay otro [65] “blog de Sebastián Piñera” dando vueltas por ahí, pero más bien es una bitácora de campaña que crearon amigos en Antofagasta y por eso está escrito en tercera persona. Este es mi blog y acá pretendo expresar lo que muchas veces no se puede decir en medio de la actividad tan intensa como candidato.

The talented writer Sergio Paz has expressed his doubts [es] [64] in regard to whether this blog is really written by Sebastián Piñera, which is to say, me. I can assure you that these words are mine. There is another “blog [es] [65] de Sebastián Piñera” making its rounds out there, but it is more a campaign weblog created by some friends in Antofagasta which is why it is written in the third person. This is my blog and here I will express what I often can't say in middle of such intense activity that surrounds me as a candidate.

The candidate's blog is open to comments.

As usual, our Latin America roundup was compiled by David Sasaki (el Oso) [66].