Nov 30, 2007
From kommersant.ru: Организация экономического сотрудничества и развития (ОЭСР) представила рейтинг уровня знаний школьников в возрасте 15 лет из 57 стран мира. Всего в рейтинге учитывались результаты тестов 400 тыс. учащихся. Россия попала в группу стран, где уровень знаний у школьников оценивается как “ниже среднего”. В группе с ней соседствуют США и Азербайджан.
Финские школьники получили в рейтинге 563 балла и заняли в нем первое место. В среднем ученики из Европы набирали примерно по 500 очков. Например британские учащиеся заработали 515 баллов, чешские - 513, швейцарские - 512. Всего рейтинг выше среднестатистической нормы получили ученики из 20 стран мира. Ученики из пяти стран находятся на среднем уровне, а еще из 22-х – на низком. В эту группу вошли США с 489 баллами и Россия с 479. Также в группе оказались Латвия, Литва и Азербайджан. Последнее место в рейтинге заняла Киргизия с набранными 322 баллами.
This follows years of sitting at different tables at the UN Cafeteria (a magical wonderland from which Eternal Remont was once politely evicted at the request of the Cuban government).
Neither country would confirm if they exchanged friendship bracelets, or even added each other to their MySpace pages. However, we can all rest easy now that the threat of a war between Kazakhstan and Barbuda has diminished.
"Our two countries can now begin the journey towards greater friendship and cooperation," said Ambassador Byrganym Aitimova at a signing ceremony to commemorate the event.
Nov 29, 2007
'My dear, my penis is a mountain'.
Now Henry could be one of the few Englishmen at the Euro 2008 finals in Austria and Switzerland as Croatian fans adopt him as a lucky omen.
Nov 27, 2007
Tired of the same old, drab news from Russia's parliamentary elections? Why not treat yourself to a little bit of nostalgia: the $600 USSR T-Shirt (available in Putin Hawaiian flavors too)...
NYTimes: “People in their 30s see these kinds of symbols as reminders of happy memories, like going to pioneer camp where they lived together, ate breakfast together and played sports,” said Mr. Simachev, 33, who wears his hair in a Samurai-style ponytail. He insists he is no Communist — for one thing, his overcoats sell for about $2,100 and his T-shirts for about $600. His boutique is sandwiched between Hermès and Burberry stores on a pedestrian lane, Stoleshnikov, that is one of the capital’s most expensive shopping streets."
Nov 19, 2007
Nov 16, 2007
“…the damage done is not yet irreparable, as there is no major conflict between fundamental U.S. and Russian relations.”
Nov 15, 2007
National Führer? Sweet lord. We could have picked something less tacky. Meanwhile, the BBC just can’t seem to figure this one out, writing: “It is not clear how Mr Putin can stay on as national leader when another man is sitting in the Kremlin as Russia's next president.”
No word if the "30 million signatures" are listed in alphabetical order.
Kyrgyzstan is set to hit the polls in less than a month, now with a new and improved electoral law. Straight party lists are in, along with a nifty electoral threshold which will snuff out most of the small regional parties.
The good? It'll keep things "stable." The bad and the ugly are just as attractive. So our beloved Kyrgyz Republic stumbles forward.
Nov 13, 2007
RFE/RL reports: Acting on instructions from President Murat Zyazikov, Ingushetian Interior Minister Musa Medov has issued orders to two Ingushetian Internet providers to block access to the independent website ingushetiya.ru, that website reported on November 13, citing unnamed sources within the ministry. Anyone who seeks to access ingushetiya.ru from within Ingushetia is automatically routed to a site that features pornographic movies.
Eternal Remont is working on an Ingushetiya proxy.
-- 38% of Russians believe Saakashvili will prevail
Meanwhile, Anne Applebaum writes in the WashPost: “That George Bush has made no comment about Georgia at all this week is a disgrace.”
But President Bush has already determined that the Russian’s don’t have the DNA for democracy (below), so we don’t really understand all of the fuss over Georgia.
Nov 12, 2007
Gul's response: "The man has 1.5 trillion dollars. I'll bark like a dog while doing the crab-walk to get a piece of that."
Nov 11, 2007
Nov 8, 2007
We figured this was a good time to measure just how well we’ve done in shaping that balance. If mediocrity is a measure of success, we've done a ban-up job. Freedom House's aggragate ratings 2001 & 2007:
Nov 7, 2007
Prior to meeting with Turkish PM Erdogan, Bush made the statement: "I look forward to visiting with Prime Minister Erdogan on this important subject as to how we can work together to prevent people from coming out of mountain ranges to do harm to Turkish troops." In his usual manner, Bush avoided any flairs of speech and described the situation as best he understood it. However, given the past attempts of the Turkish government to squelch Kurdish nationalism, most notably the "Mountain Turk" idea (in the early days of the Turkish Republic, there were no Kurds, just mountain Turks sometimes called Kurds because the noise made by their feet in the snowy passes of the mountain ranges made the sound "kart, kurt"), referencing mountains and Kurds (even of the terrorist variety) is like describing a NAACP fundraising event as a "fried-chicken and grape soda" soul dinner. Already, several Kurdish national groups are ranting about the "racist" policies that have come from the Bush-Erdogan meeting. However, if the Kurdish nationalists don't want to be described as a wild mountain people who attack and prey upon their more civilized neighbors, perhaps they should stop endorsing their co-nationals who do indeed live in the mountains and attack their more civilized neighbors...
Nov 5, 2007
Last week the Turkish government (albeit in local form) once again demonstrated why the infamous article 301 of its criminal code must remain in effect. Clearly there is a mortal danger posed to the security of the state when a small dog expresses its national pride. Thank Allah for the vigilance of Abdullah Kalkan, an administrator in Bodrum, who promptly arrested the owner of the insulting animal. The Turkish nation can sleep easier knowing that article 301 is protecting them.
Nov 2, 2007
Nov 1, 2007
"I began touching them, and Volodin started to shout, 'Bakov is touching the balls!' Then other people tried to stop me." -- Anton Bakov from the Union of Right Forces (Thanks Chalmers!)
Meanwhile, Igor notes this recent survey by the Levada Center.
--55% want presidential term limits increased to 7 years
--53% want the constitution changed to let Putin stay for "three or four terms"
--BUT, only 17% want him to be "president for life," down (incredibly) from 35% in April
"I'm trying to straighten this out. If you increase the terms to 7 years, and give Putin two more of those (plus the three years that would be "left" in this term), the man will rule Russia for a total of 25 years. How is that not a "President for Life"?
Obviously, respondents weren't asked all those thing in combinations. But it still boggles the mind. P.S. The respondents also didn't like the "Putin as PM" ploy, only 23% in support, so I think Surkov and Co. missed on that one."