2009年3月28日 星期六


Insight | 28.03.2009 | 04:30

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The City of Venice

The 118 islands which constitute Venice and the lagoon in which they are situated were added to the list of World Heritage sites in 1987, conforming to all the UNESCO criteria for inclusion.

Venice offers an overwhelming collection of architectural and artistic masterpieces, and its proliferation of superlatively designed churches and museums house works by some of the greatest artists in history: Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Giorgione, Tiepolo – to mention but a few. And not to forget the romantic side of Venice that attracts millions of visitors each year.

Report: Dany Mitzman

2009年3月18日 星期三


美術史家 Kenneth Clark 的回憶錄說
他第二次世界大戰後經常去華盛頓 有許多好友
曾幾何時 該地的HIV 密度大於某些非洲國

From Bad to Worse
The HIV/AIDS epidemic is ravaging the District.
(The Washington Post)


譬如說 台大校園 今年杜鵑花季
在約椰林大道上的大樹之腰幹上 再綑上數層的蘭花

我走到公館的台大醫院分部 大門前的草坪上
沒有雕塑品 只用一顆不顯眼的小石頭塑立
石頭當雕塑 是漢人想法 或許要其巧奪天工

請參觀 Wikipedia article "Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden".

2009年3月17日 星期二

CALAIS, France , Cheers the London Olympics

A French City Cheers the London Olympics
The French city of Calais, across the English Channel from Britain, is selling itself as the European gateway to London ahead of the 2012 Olympics.

CALAIS, France -- When Frenchman Dominique Dupilet heard four years ago that Paris had lost its bid for the 2012 Olympics to London, he hoisted a British flag on the roof of his office in this northern French city.

As president of France's northern department of Pas-de-Calais, just across the English Channel from the U.K., Mr. Dupilet realized the London Olympics could mean big bucks for his quiet French industrial area.

[A French City Cheers the London Olympics] Conseil General du Pas-de-Calais

The Pas-de-Calais area hopes to draw Olympians training for the 2012 London Games. Above, a stadium in the city of Liévin.

"London 2012 is our economic-stimulus plan," says Mr. Dupilet. "This is the beginning of our development as a sporting home."

Calais, the area's biggest city, is selling itself as the European gateway to London; indeed, it was ruled by the English from the 14th through the 16th centuries. Had Paris won the Olympics, Calais would have faced competition from a host of French regions closer to the capital. But it's just an hour by undersea train from London, so Mr. Dupilet hopes to attract tourists and athletes before and during the Games.

He's created a special budget to refurbish stadiums, organize concerts and plan museum exhibits. Last summer, he sent staff to the Beijing Olympics to speak with competing teams and pitch his vision: Calais, blessed with the same kind of weather as London, is a perfect place to acclimatize before the competition.

"When you go to the U.S. and say, 'I am from the Pas-de-Calais,' people have no idea what you are talking about," says the 64-year-old Mr. Dupilet. "This will put us back on the map."

Across the Channel, people aren't so sure. Since 2005, when London won the right to hold the Games, its estimated cost of hosting the Olympics has nearly tripled to $13.78 billion from $5.78 billion -- an expense largely shouldered by U.K. taxpayers. London is hoping to recoup this money by attracting as many tourists as possible. Other English cities, such as Manchester and Birmingham, are also banking on high visitor numbers.

"London would rather lose money to other parts of the U.K. than see it go overseas," says Ken Kelling, spokesman for Visit London, a tourist organization in the capital. "I doubt they [Calais] can compete."

"Who wants to go to Birmingham?" retorts Mr. Dupilet. "In Pas-de-Calais the French lifestyle is better. And as for the food over there, well, forget it."

Pas-de-Calais is in need of some rebranding. The department was once a prosperous mining region with healthy lace-making and fishing industries. But the economy has floundered over the past 30 years, as mines closed and the lace industry was undercut by cheaper competitors. As Pas-de-Calais' industry tanked, it became stereotyped as a backwater visited by British day-trippers looking to take advantage of France's lower taxes on alcohol.

Conseil General du Pas-de-Calais

Pas-de-Calais's Dominique Dupilet hopes to draw Olympians training for the London Games. His department has earmarked a budget to refurbish sports venues.

Mr. Dupilet says he knew Pas-de-Calais' big break had come when, in 2005, he listened to radio reports of crowds in London cheering their capital's success in hosting the Olympics. He assigned three members of his staff full time to the project. In the summer of 2008 his "Mission 2012" team traveled to Beijing to meet with various Olympic committees and spread the word about Calais.

Their pitch was straightforward: In addition to being a good place to warm up before the Games, Calais is cheap. Hotels are 30% less expensive than in London, making the French city an attractive venue for people from more budget-conscious countries.

To lure prospective athletes, the Pas-de-Calais department is pumping €20 million ($25 million) into building and renovating 20 training facilities, including a new bike-racing velodrome and a wrestling hall. Mr. Dupilet says he plans to borrow €20 million more if needed.

The canoeing teams from Senegal and Uzbekistan have signed up for a pre-Games training camp, and the Algerian boxing and Egyptian volleyball squads are interested in staying in or near Calais, says Stéphane Bourgeois, head of the Mission 2012 team.

Local businesses are hopeful. Bernard Beauvalot, president of hotel association Logis du Pas-de-Calais, says England's old enemies will prove willing customers. He envisages Irish and Scots heading over in droves, "and why not the Argentinians?"

In preparation for a flood of visitors, the local tourist office is distributing pamphlets to hoteliers with tips on welcoming tourists from exotic countries. Included in the warnings: Americans need water coolers, and Britons don't like rare meat.

The tourist board isn't stopping there. Negotiations are under way with Channel tunnel operator Groupe Eurotunnel SA to set up a shuttle train service between London and Calais. There are already plans for concerts and Impressionist exhibitions. Calais' red-brick cathedral, where former French President Charles de Gaulle was married, is being renovated in time for 2012. A branch of Paris' Louvre Museum is scheduled to open that year.

Residents are excited at the prospect. Pas-de-Calais has been invaded periodically by the English and the Germans. Some of the area's cities were demolished in the two World Wars. The Olympics are "like a torch" uniting people and giving a sense of identity, says Diana Hounslow, head of the regional tourist board.

A spokesman for Locog, the committee organizing the London Olympics, said last month that he hadn't heard of Pas-de-Calais' Games-related plans. Mr. Dupilet says that thus far he's been careful not to advertise too much, lest Calais attract unnecessary attention -- and perhaps more competition. The Frenchman says his goal isn't to steal London's thunder. "I am an Anglophile," smiles Mr. Dupilet. "We just want to help out."

2009年3月12日 星期四

Stone Age Footwear Discovered

Archeology | 11.03.2009

German Researchers Discover Stone Age Footwear

German archaeologists have described as "sensational" the discovery of a 5,000-year-old woven sandal in Lake Constance in southern Germany, close to the Swiss border.

The well-preserved footwear dating back to the Stone Age, is of great historical significance, the head of Stuttgart's City Council Johannes Schmalzl said on Tuesday, March 10.

He described the find as a "small sensation," comparing it to fragments of clothing once worn by Oetzi, an Alpine ice man whose 5,000-year-old mummified body was discovered in a melting glacier in the nearby Alps in 1991.

The European size 36 sandal, made of woven wood, was discovered in silt deposits on the site of an early settlement of lake dwellings built on stilts at the water's edge.

Schmalzl said European Union funds would be used to research and preserve the areas where lake dwellings existed, on Lake Constance and Lake Zurich in neighboring Switzerland.

The settlements were inhabited between the 4th and 1st Century BC.

The remains, preserved for thousands of years by layers of silt, are under threat as a result of climate change, harbor construction and passing ships.

"This underwater archive is in danger," Schmalzl said.

The team working on protecting the ancient dwellings are ultimately hoping for UNESCO designation as a World Heritage Site. They say it will help them to better protect the area and keep it closed to tourists.

"We don't want a Hollywood on stilts under water," Schmalzl said.

2009年3月11日 星期三

the Cemetery of the Kings, GENEVA

Activist for rights of sex workers buried among luminaries

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009, Page 6

A well-known one-time prostitute who campaigned for the rights and dignity of sex workers was given an honored place of rest on Monday in the same cemetery where Protestantism’s John Calvin is buried, drawing criticism from some.

Griselidis Real, who died in 2005, was buried in the presence of 200 people at the Cemetery of the Kings, which is reserved for individuals who profoundly marked Swiss or international history. Argentine writer Jose Luis Borges and child psychologist Jean Piaget are interred there.

The body of Real, who was 76 when she died — only 10 years after she is said to have given up prostitution — was exhumed from another cemetery in Geneva for the ceremony that some — particularly women — have called offensive.

“If every woman that had children to raise alone turned to prostitution, the city of Geneva would be a bordello,” said Amelia Christinat, a feminist and former member of the Swiss parliament who opposed Real’s reburial.

Jacqueline Berenstein-Wavre, the first woman to head Geneva’s parliament, also objected.

“No woman should rejoice at this transfer, which is nothing but the elevation of a prostitute and of prostitution in general by its male protectors,” she told the daily Tribune de Geneve, which noted the scarcity of women buried in the honored ground, less than a quarter of the 350 graves.

Prostitution is generally legal in Switzerland, with red light districts in some cities. But Real worked for years to improve working conditions.

She helped found Aspasie, an association which describes itself as promoting solidarity with sex workers. Aspasie says she compiled a massive collection of newspaper clippings, films and other documentation about prostitution over 30 years and that her four children donated the database to the association on her death.

Geneva’s Protestant Church has been reserved in its criticism about the reburial, even though the former fighter for prostitutes’ rights now rests near Calvin.

The cemetery is “not a sacred place,” Roland Benz, moderator of Geneva’s association of pastors, was quoted by the Ecumenical News International as saying.

Real was born in 1929 in Lausanne. A divorced mother of four children, she began working as a prostitute in Germany in the 1960s and later moved to Geneva, becoming a leading campaigner for prostitutes’ rights.

In her autobiographical books Black is a Color and Dance Card of a Courtesan, Real denounced the hypocrisy of a society that condemns prostitutes while using their services.

Patrice Mugny, a local politician who championed the transfer, said the city was “in no case apologizing for prostitution, but honoring an individual who distinguished herself by battling for human dignity.”

“This shows that human dignity is not a question of social status, that it is not limited by moral prescriptions,” he said at the ceremony.

Ruth Morgan Thomas, a leading campaigner for prostitutes, said the burial was a recognition for sex workers “who demand simply to be treated without discrimination and valued as an integral part of society.”
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2009年3月9日 星期一

Taiwan's Toilet Restaurant

poop, john, long johns, privy,à la latrine

toilet restaurant taiwan

"There's poop everywhere! Y-u-c-k," says 6-year-old Jordan Lien as he and his family dine at the Modern Toilet, a popular Taiwanese restaurant chain that's expanding into China and other parts of Asia. The boy was looking at the poop-shaped lights and dish covers and the curry on toilet-shaped plates.

Related Travel

Diarrhea for dinner? That's the point. "It's supposed to shock and confuse the senses," says Modern Toilet manager Chen Min-kuang. But as Jennifer Finch, an American who was dining there, described it, "They do it tastefully. It's all very clean." (See the top 10 food trends of 2008.)

Every customer sits on a stylish acrylic toilet (lid down) designed with images of roses, seashells or Renaissance paintings. Everyone dines at a glass table with a sink underneath. The servers bring your meal atop a mini toilet bowl (quite convenient, as it brings the food closer to your mouth), you sip drinks from your own plastic urinal (a souvenir), and soft-swirl ice cream arrives for dessert atop a dish shaped like a squat toilet. (See nine kid foods to avoid.)

I went there on a Wednesday evening, and the place was packed with students and families who were having a jolly time eating out of the john. "It's very progressive and irreverent, like a practical joke," says junior high school teacher Chen Kin-hsiang, who went because her students raved about it. "It's a little gross when you see other people eat," she says, "but when you're eating, you don't notice it, 'cause you're hungry and the aroma is appetizing." Smell is one poop-like quality the chef does without. (See pictures of China on the wild side.)

The reasonably priced food includes curries, pasta, fried chicken and Mongolian hot pot, as well as elaborate shaved-ice desserts with names like "diarrhea with dried droppings" (chocolate), "bloody poop" (strawberry) and "green dysentery" (kiwi). Despite the disturbing descriptions, the desserts were great. But after seeing curry drip down a mini-toilet, I may never have that sauce again. (See pictures of what makes you eat more food.)

The Chinese can take this, Finch muses, because they are more nonchalant about bodily functions, such as burping, farting or even going to the bathroom — an act performed squatting sans doors in some places in China. But many Westerners enjoy the novelty of toilet dining too. Chris and Julia Harris took their visiting mother, who they say is obsessive-compulsive about cleanliness, to "freak her out," but she had a great time (though she refused to drink out of a urinal). The only people who have a hard time, says Chen, are the elderly who have exclaimed, "I will not eat on the toilet!" (Folding chairs and normal dishware are available for the faint of heart.) (Read "The Science of Appetite.)

Toilet creations aren't new to China. The ancient Chinese may have been the first to use the throne — a flush toilet was found in a tomb of a Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to A.D. 24) king — and they invented toilet paper in the 6th century. Modern Toilet owner Wang Zi-wei, 29, an ex-banker, got his idea from the Japanese robot cartoon character Jichiwawa, who loves to play with poop and swirl it on a stick. Inspired by that image, Wang began selling chocolate ice cream swirls on paper squat toilets. Customers loved them and wanted more edible excretion experiences, so he opened Modern Toilet in 2004. The theme-restaurant chain now has seven outlets in Taiwan, one in Hong Kong and one opening in Shenzhen, China, this week. Plans for other cities in China, Macau, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia are also under way. Dinner à la latrine, anyone? Edible Excretions: Taiwan's Toilet Restaurant

Hạ Long Bay*

Hạ Long Bay*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Hạ Long bay
State Party Vietnam
Type Natural
Criteria vii, viii
Reference 672
Region** Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 1994 (18th Session)
Extensions 2000
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Ha Long Bay (Vietnamese: Vịnh Hạ Long) is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Quảng Ninh province, Vietnam. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes.