RANDOM NOTES Volume 4, Number 32 * March 27-April 2, 2006
ENTER EVERY ACTIVITY WITHOUT GIVING MENTAL RECOGNITION TO THE POSSIBILITY OF DEFEAT. CONCENTRATE ON YOUR STRENGTHS, INSTEAD OF YOUR WEAKNESSES. ON YOUR POWERS, INSTEAD OF YOUR PROBLEMS.
UNIVERSE. Lt. Col. Marcos Pontes has become the first Brazilian to go into space after a successful launch aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket from Baykonur. He will spend nine days on the ISS while a Russian and a US colleague accompanying him will stay for six months. Col. Pontes took with him a Brazilian flag and a football shirt--to help his team in the World Cup.
WORLD. The total eclipse of the Sun finished its journey across the globe this week, in sunset along Mongolia's northern border. Skywatchers marveled as they caught a glimpse of the "ultimate astronomical show". As the spectacle passed overhead, witnesses prayed, cheered and clapped. The eclipse took over three hours to sweep a narrow corridor across the Atlantic.
INDIA. Village elders have ordered a Muslim man in West Bengal to leave his wife after he accidentally divorced her in his sleep. Aftab Ansari uttered the Urdu word for divorce, talaq, three times in his sleep, prompting his wife to discuss the matter with her friends. Under Islamic law, a husband need only say "I divorce you" three times to secure an end to his marriage.
IRAN. Three earthquakes and aftershocks rattled the country one after another this week, flat-tening villages and sending people into the streets. Seventy people were killed, l,400 wounded, and l5,000 rendered homeless. The magnitude of the primary quake was around 6.0. The quakes centered in Borujerd and Doroud, two cities about 210 miles southwest of Teheran.
JAMAICA. Ms. Portia Simpson Miller was sworn in this week as first female prime minister. World leaders attended her inauguration in Kingston. Ms. Simpson Miller, 60, took over from Prime Minister, PJ Patterson, who had been in power for the past fourteen years. She said Jamaica should stop worrying about her gender and concentrate on the island's problems.
PHILIPPINES. Cebu Pacific Inc. is offering seats on domestic flights for Pl.00 ($0.20) in a bid to boost sales. Around 50,000 seats are on sale this week at the price, which does not include taxes and surcharges. The tickets can be used between June 20 and Oct. l8. The company also recently marked ten years with a promotional sale of 154,000 seats at P10.00 ($2.00) each.
SUDAN. Ten of the 22 heads of state in the Arab League skipped the annual summit this week, in a snub of this year’s host country. The USA had asked Arab allies to stay away as a show of disapproval of the host, which has been resisting UN attempts to deploy peacekeepers to its war-torn Darfur region. The summit did not reach an agreement on what to do about Darfur.
VATICAN. Thousands of people gathered in Rome this week to mark the first anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II with an evening prayer vigil. Pope Benedict XVI blessed the candlelit event in St. Peter's Square at 2l37 local time the exact time of his predecessor's death. Bells also rang out in John Paul's homeland Poland to mark the solemn anniversary.
ARTS. Over 1,500 volunteers shed their clothes on a Caracas avenue in Venezuela this week to pose for American photographer Spencer Tunick, in front of a national symbol: a statue of independence hero Simon Bolivar. For the volunteers, being part of Tunick's art meant letting go of inhibitions and enduring a two-hour series of uncomfortable positions on the pavement.
BUSINESS. Bidders in an internet auction are offering over $15,600 for a wartime German encoding machine, similar to the ones whose messages were cracked by British code breakers in WWII. The portable Enigma encryption machine made in 1941 has a keyboard and a series of rotors designed to scramble messages. It is up for sale on internet auction site, eBay.
CRIME. Two men suspected of smuggling cocaine to New York from Mexico inside statues of the Virgin Mary were arrested this week. Peter Matheis, 52, and Rafael Serrano, 36, both Mexican nationals, were indicted in New York and Houston respectively on money-laundering and narcotics charges along with six others arrested previously in the United States.ENVIRONMENT. There is growing evidence of a link between global warming and natural disasters such as droughts and flooding, the head of the World Meteorological Organization said this week. The WMO said that greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide--blamed for global warming and climate change--had reached their highest levels in the atmosphere nowadays.HEALTH. Fish is a high-protein food that is lower in fat than other sources of animal protein, but is rich in heart-healthy Omega-3 that help regulate blood clotting and reduce fat build-up in the arteries. Recent medical research shows that regular consumption of fish can lower the risk of hyper-tension, stroke and cardiac arrest. Eating fish helps maintain cardiovascular health.
LAW. A Swedish court has imposed a 20,000 kronor ($2,600) fine on a woman kennel owner who refused to sell a puppy to a lesbian. The kennel owner had initially been willing to sell the woman a puppy but changed her mind when she found out that the woman was living with a lesbian partner. The Nacka District Court outside Stockholm issued the ruling this week.
LIFESTYLE. South Korean men in rural areas are having a tough time wooing local women with prospects of spending a lifetime with them on the farm and are increasingly turning to bro-kers to find foreign brides. In 2005, more than one in three men in rural areas married a women from overseas, mostly from China or Vietnam, figures released this week by NSO showed.
POLITICS. The EU will continue talks on closer ties with Serbia after a positive report from UN war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte. Ms Del Ponte said there had been progress in Belgrade's co-operation in the hunt for fugitive Ratko Mladic. The EU had said it would disrupt talks on closer ties with Belgrade unless the former Bosnian Serb commander was arrested.
RELIGION. Roman Catholic Church leaders in Burundi have told their priests not to conduct wedding ceremonies for people who are HIV positive. Couples have to give an HIV test certificate to the officiating priests. AIDS activists said this is discriminatory. Guidelines in a booklet issued by the church authorities also forbid church weddings for pregnant women.
SPORTS. Tanzania's Commonwealth Games team has returned home with two medals, but without two boxers who have gone missing in Australia. The twosome's behavior has shocked their teammates and relatives as they are the first athletes to disappear while representing their country. They disappeared just before the team were about to board their flight back home.
TECHNOLOGY. Japanese mobile phone users can now watch digital TV on compatible mobile phones for the first time. The service is not the world's first, but it has the potential to be the big-gest, by reaching more subscribers than in any other country. Japan's 90 million mobile phone users can already play the video games, send emails and check websites on tiny handsets. TRAVEL. Fifty-seven bodies have been recovered in the Persian Gulf off Bahrain after a cruise boat carrying 126 people capsized this week. Sixty-eight people were rescued while one remains missing. The boat was not licensed to sail as a pleasure cruiser, officials have said. It was registered as a fishing boat and had permission only for its use as a floating restaurant.QUOTES. "As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." Proverbs 27:17… “No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.”Helen Adams Keller… "Adversity is the trial of principle. Without it, a man hardly knows whether he is honest or not." Henry Fielding
FLASHBACKS. Swiss Protestants in Strassbourg and Constance signed the First Helvetic Confession, on March 27, 1536... The Knights of Columbus was chartered for Catholic men, on March 29, 1882… 53rd Academy Awards: Ordinary People, Robert De Niro, Sissy Spacek, won on March 31, 1981… The first test flight of Fokker 70 (in Amsterdam), on April 2, 1993.
MILESTONES. Lydia P. Felipe, Wilfredo Ramos – March 27; Ofelia M. Ibanez, Numeriano B. Joves, Priscilla A. Viesta – March 29; Imelda D. Carreon – March 30; Analyn S. Baui, Tess de Jesus – March 31; Jun P. Gorospe, Leilani T. Madiam, Clarita V. Palad – April 1; Francisco C. Dalisay, Roberto R. Jones, Mario Retuta, Leonora V. Sevilla, Domingo Zonita – April 2.
JOKES. "You have two choices in life: you can stay single and be miserable, or get married and wish you were dead." W. W. Renwick… "For those who may not know this: When the preacher says, 'You may now kiss the bride,' he is only speaking to the groom." David Gunter… “Why do most men die before their wives?” “Because they want to.” Geoff Tibbals.
FEEDBACKS. “Our international marketing head may visit Philippines to meet you and your team. Please inform which month is suitable with you for discussions on mutual interest and cooperation.” Muhammad Mossa, Pakistan… More comments from: Cristina Marquinez – Finland; Editha Dizon, Rachel Porteros – France; Gilad Gilboa – Israel; Lourdes Mangila – Italy; Thore Brastein – Norway; Carlito Chan – Philippines; Patrick Soh – Singapore.
LIGHTER SIDE. A bored housewife was so fed up of her husband’s low sex drive--she joined a brothel. The 58-year-old German woman was so desperate to have more sex she enrolled at a vice den. She now gets paid for sex romps whenever she's in the mood. She said: "I like sex a lot, but my husband has no appetite for it anymore and does it only once a year.” -fpg@rn