Thursday, January 21, 2021

Hello -- remember us?

 Now that the US has rejoined the world, we will do the same.  Big doings out there.

There was a double suicide bombing in Baghdad today, leaving at least 32 dead and 110 wounded.

Sri Lanka is reopening despite a surge in coronavirus cases.  Some are pinning their hopes on an elixir which the goddess Kali revealed to a shaman named Dhammika Bandara.  Made from honey and nutmeg, it sounds tastier and safer than bleach.

Following months of lower-than-average rainfall, most of Turkey's major cities are running out of water.

Forty migrants drowned off the coast of Libya.

India takes comedy seriously.  Muslim funnyman Munawar Faruqui has been arrested for making jokes about Hindu deities.  In Meerus, a statue of Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Gandhi in 1948, has become an object of worship.  Humor is very idiosyncratic.

I knew you'd ask so I checked:  yes, there's a statue of Gavrilo Princip in  Belgrade.  He and drama critic John Simon are the only two Serbs anyone has heard of, and they decided to honor the one who started the First World War.  I see their point.

Happy article about Japanese temples preserving ancient forests.

Unhappy article about poachers in Africa using military-grade equipment like helicopters, armored vehicles and machine guns against elephants.  Don't tell Junior Trump.

British shoppers buying from EU websites during the latest lockdown are being hit with substantial import duties, VAT and other charges, although assured by Boris Johnson that this would not happen.  Could he possibly be lying?  

Tunisia, where the Arab Spring began, is torn with violent demonstrations set off by unemployment, falling standards of living and, yes, covid lockdowns.  

We thought he was crazy to go home but even in jail Alexei Navalny is worrying Putin, who can't very well poison him again with everybody watching.  He's making what John Lewis used to call "good trouble" for the diminutive dictator and his tacky taste in dachas.  

When Barack Obama had Churchill's bust removed from the Oval, Boris Johnson, then mayor of London, went quasi-birther:  it was "the part-Kenyan president's ancestral dislike of the British Empire."  Now that Joe Biden has evicted Winnie again, Trump-Lite sounds more conciliatory:  "It's up to the president to decorate it as he wishes."  Has Boris mellowed over twelve years, or is he desperate for trade agreements post-Brexit?  And for the record, Prime Minister, Kenya is not the only country that used to be part of your bloody empire.

The Oval Office now features busts of Harry S Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez.  The painting of Andrew Jackson has been replaced with one of Benjamin Franklin, joining portraits of Hamilton, Jefferson and FDR.

Mark Steel won't let us have our moment, cataloguing some of the appalling things we did before Trump.  Yes, Mark, we segregated our population "until fifty years ago."  When did you stop beating confessions out of Irishmen?  Weren't you threatening the Belfast Agreement as recently as last year?  Let's not even talk about the famine.  You chaps better hope Biden doesn't harbor an "ancestral dislike of the British Empire."  

He's got more important things to deal with.  Three white women in Texas are selling a re-designed mahjong game that is getting them accused of "cultural appropriation."  Nations have gone to war over less.  



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