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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Things in May

Things of interest that hit the news headlines in May:

MayA digest of news headlines in May*
  1. Boris Johnson, England's May elected Mayor of London is of Turkish descent. His great-grandfather, Ali Kemal, a Turkish journalist, was briefly interior minister in the government of Ahmed Tevfik Pasha, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.
  2. Almost all the bakers of the old Yugoslavia were Kosovo Albanians, who still make the much sought after Ottoman cuisine burek - spinach or cheese, potato or meat-filled pies - round breads and crescent-moon-shaped rolls, star-scattered with sesame seeds.
  3. The dialogue of a Russian movie about Genghis Khan, the Mongol warrior who built a vast 13th Century empire, is a mixture of nine Turkic languages.
  4. The Turquoise Mountain is a foundation dedicated to supporting local Afghan arts and crafts.
  5. While the Greek government is criticised for its treatment of asylum seekers, inhabitants of the Greek island of Lesbos are taking a gay rights organisation to court to stop the usage of the word "lesbian" in connection with gay women. Originating from the poet Sappho, who was a native of Lesbos and expressed her love for other women in her poetry, the islanders allege that the Greek government is so embarrassed by the term that it has been forced to rename the island after its capital, Mytilini.
  6. Ex-US President Jimmy Carter has said Israel has at least 150 atomic weapons in its arsenal. He also described Israeli treatment of Palestinians as "one of the greatest human rights crimes on earth".
  7. Britain has the fifth largest Jewish population in the world.
  8. An American aviator - trying to achieve Nazi-style immortality - helped develop life-saving cardiac machinery.
  9. Africans sold into the western slave trade were known and treated as cattle.
  10. A female politician in Ecuador has proposed that a woman's right to enjoy sexual happiness should be enshrined in the country's law.
  11. Young adults in Europe deliberately binge on drink and drugs to improve their sex lives.
  12. Playing a certain type of music can enhance the way wine tastes.
  13. Former US first lady Hillary Clinton once had a vodka drinking contest with her rival presidential hopeful, Senator John McCain - and won.
  14. In the US, self-defence parties amongst women are becoming popular.
  15. Boasting used to be a very un-British trait, but not any more.
  16. A couple thought to have been married longer than anyone in the UK have celebrated their 80th anniversary.
  17. Since 1701, heirs to the throne marrying Catholics cannot become sovereigns in the British Monarchy.
  18. The Pope's chief astronomer says that intelligent beings created by God could exist in outer space.
  19. The 19th chapter of the Koran tells of the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ and of patriarchs such as Abraham and Isaac that are venerated by the three monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
  20. An American sniper has been sent home from Iraq for using a copy of the Koran for target practice at a shooting range near Baghdad.

* (Pictures from left to right) 1. Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan won Best Director at the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival, his third Cannes honour in a row; 2. A supercomputer designed 150 years ago has recently been built; 3. Hollywood actor Harrison Ford is back for a fourth time as the intrepid explorer Indiana Jones; 4. A study suggests that buttock body fat may help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes; 5. View from the "Telectroscope", an invention that connects New York and London via a very long tunnel running through the earth's crust; 6. A man in eastern India pulling a train with his ponytail.

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