Category Archives: Current events

Links o' the day 30/10/08

I’m swamped but hope to do a photo post or two over the weekend. In the meantime:

Ireland to lose full employment: BoI (RTÉ)

Does the Border matter in a time of recession? (Slugger O’Toole)

Australian plan to kill the internet (Mr Angry)

Bailout, schmailout (Jeff Jarvis)

MTV expected to announce Beatles Rock Band deal (Reuters)

Google Reader now shows how good (or bad) you are at reading (CNet)

So many shops, so little time

(This guest post was written by my friend Sarah, who is on a shopping expedition to the UAE capital)

If for some extraordinary reason you enjoy spending your hard-earned cash in a matter of minutes then Abu Dhabi is the place for you. As a budding materialist and capitalist I have become accustomed to frequenting the delights of designer shopping… yes, I am a label junkie and I love it. So far my shopping experience in AD has been financially crippling but I don’t mind. I think I have proved myself at least a middleweight shopaholic with the potential to become a heavyweight (if only I had the financial backing to do so). The rich Emirati women may have to wear abayas but they certainly know how to shop! Shopping here is a cultural phenomenon I never thought I would observe outside the States. I’ve been to many of the world’s finest shopping destinations and left my mark on them. So, what does Abu Dhabi have to offer the serial shopper?

We Irish have become desensitised to being ripped off. Abu Dhabi offers tax-free shopping but that’s only the beginning. Whatever your shopping pleasures, you will be able to indulge them here. If, like me, you love designer goods at a steal then welcome to my version of heaven. The malls offer the finest shopping experience. Everything you could possibly need and more importantly want can be found in the comfort of gigantic malls that put places like Dundrum in Ireland to shame. It is quite fitting that Abu Dhabi holds a shopping festival in the spring, no doubt my fellow shopaholics descend on the city hunting for that necessary adrenaline rush that comes from buying things you don’t need!

Shoppers can expect to find bargains in just about everything, be it sunglasses, handbags, clothes, food, make-up, toys, electronics and furniture. I shall leave Abu Dhabi the proud parent of six designer handbags. These precious commodities cost a fraction of what I would have paid for them back in Ireland. If you are familiar with designer handbag prices in Ireland you will know that a small Guess bag costs about 99 euro… not here. Expect to find fabulous medium to large Guess bags for those prices. The prices in AD are not the only thing to attract international shoppers; the sheer volume and variety of shops is enough to tempt any die hard shopper. Even the smallest of malls have a lot to offer but once you have whet your appetite head for Abu Dhabi Mall and Marina Mall.

Marina Mall is the second biggest mall in the UAE, but if you do come to this part of the world to test your strengths as a shopper then I would suggest you plunge into the deep end with a visit there. You will know your shopping capabilities after a short time; if you last the day, my hat off to you! If you break under the strain of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Armani and my personal favourite, Guess, then you are not worthy of my praise 😛

Abu Dhabi is this shopper’s delight and I will be leaving it with a heavy heart and suitcase.

Links o' the day

How the Edwardians spoke. I don’t really care about Edwardians, I just like examining how language changes over the decades.

A sad day for internet freedoms in China. Traffic from search engines Yahoo!, and Google are being redirected to Chinese-owned Bastards.

How to make a floating skull illusion. Don’t tell me you’ve never wanted to do this!

Why Facebook needs money: data centres. The snowballing social networing site has taken out a lease on a 10,000sq ft facility to house data servers.

Lessons learned from a near disaster. Please excuse me while I back up my hard drive…

Canadian paedophile suspect arrested in Thailand. Oh, they’re gonna love him in prison!

And last, but by no means least, 10 ways to geek out this Hallowe’en.


Links of the day

Seven tips for resolving conflicts quickly and peacefully. We all go up against at least one nutjob in our lives, here’s a remarkably common sense guide to dealing with them. (Pick The Brain)

US regrets if women and children killed in Baghdad raid. But they were going after some fellas using a mortar so it’s all right. Collateral damage and all that. (AFP)

Clever uses for dental floss: beyond teeth. I love finding new uses for ordinary things. (Gadling)

Backpacker turns Burma activist via Facebook. I’m a member of his group, to which people are flocking. (Reuters)

Yet more on CNN, Burma and Myanmar. The name you use reflects the stance you’re taking. (James Fallows)

Renovating the biblical psalms. They’re beautiful poems as well as having religious significance. (Slate)

Man, 24, weds 82-year-old bride. “I’ve always like mature ladies.” (BBC)

Burma's not burning — yet


(Picture: AFP)

At time of writing, up to five monks are reported dead and hundreds have been arrested for protesting in the Burmese capital Rangoon.*

There have been reports of beatings, while tear gas was fired at the protestors and shots fired over their heads.

AP reports:

The junta had banned all public gatherings of more than five people and imposed a nighttime curfew following eight days of anti-government marches led by monks in Rangoon and other areas of the country, including the biggest protests in nearly two decades.

More than 100,000 people marched through the old capital earlier this week, up from 20,000 the day before and 5,000 the day before that. The demonstrators grew in confidence as the military adopted an observe-only approach, although some of the early protests over fuel prices had been broken up by junta-allied youth groups.

That was before the Buddhist monks made their feelings known. Having taken part in protests against British colonialism and previous dictators, they have been at the forefront of the recent wave of demonstrations which some have taken to calling the Saffron Revolution.

It’s unclear how much longer this movement will last. Certainly the protestors have defied the military thus far, remaining on the streets even after tear gas attacks. But a similar crisis in 1988 led to a brutal crackdown by authorities and a massacre of civilians.

In all likelihood, the government allowed the protests because of Chinese influence. One blogger has quoted unidentified sources within Burma as saying China does not want civil unrest in the country. However, it is equally clear from the junta’s point of view that doing nothing would only encourage opposition.

Sky News have claimed that British intervention has halted the violence. I do not think that is the case. It is far more likely that China, eager to clean up its image ahead of next year’s Olympics, has had a few quiet words with the authorities. Perhaps the carrot of investment in infrastructure was offered — China is casting envious looks at Burmese gas and lumber reserves.

Burma may be smouldering, but isn’t burning just yet. Any more harsh tactics by the military could do it, but a full-scale uprising by the populace is not in the offing right now.

Former student leader Aung Naing Oo has pointed to the global media coverage of the situation, coverage he says was lacking in 1988. While this has so far served to bring sanctions against the Burmese leadership, it has not led to hard attempts at intervention.

China is vital to resolving this crisis. It has the political and economic power to bring the junta to heel, though encouraging democracy is not high on its list of priorities. Even India could have significant influence, as it has a deal to import Burmese gas.

The UN is too hamstrung to intervene. With China on the Security Council, no resolution can be passed against it unless it suits Chinese interests. There may be more luck by bringing regional groups’ pressure to bear on the situation: the Association of South East Asian Nations, for example.

The curfew is approaching. What actions the junta takes over the coming hours and days will determine if the flames of protest are smothered or can burn the military rule to the ground.

* I’m adopting the Irish Examiner’s current house style for the country, though its official name is Myanmar.

Links of the day

The small farm and the cow. The man continues to inspire. (Paul Coehlo)

Tapes released of Simpson in Vegas. If these tapes are accurate Simpson is quite possibly the dumbest man in existence. (AP)

Ramadan’s peaceful roots.  (James Carroll/International Herald Tribune)

NY attorney general investigating energy companies. He’s probing if investors were given enough information about the financial risks of CO2 emissions of five firms’ future coal-power plants. (Earth2Tech)

Rule change favours Pakistan’s Musharraf. Seems he’ll be able to seek a new term as president while still head of the army. Slimy bollix. (AP)

Belgium to split? A division into Walloon and Flemish regions is looking more and more likely. (Catholicgauze)

Wallonie-sur-Mer. While we’re on the subject of Belgium, what the country would look like if the Flemish part was submerged, leaving only French-speaking areas. Plus an interesting few facts on how many governments the nation has. (Strange Maps)