"God has a sense of humor."
--Rabbi Jonathan Sacks; image from
North Korea sees South Korean Christmas tree tower as propaganda - guardian.co.uk
Bishtek [December 23] - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "I fell woefully far behind on the blog, and this is my attempt at catching up... Back in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, the Dellas [sponsored by American Voices] had the big performance at the lavish yellow Opera House. The performance was the culmination of events celebrating 20 years of US-Kyrgyz friendship."
Netanyahu's Christmas message: More anti-Muslim public diplomacy: Prime Minister radicalizes traditional holiday greeting on YouTube, suggests that Christians in the Middle East are under existential threat - haaretz.com: "Every year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publishes a Christmas message for Christians in Israel and abroad. One of the message's objectives is hasbara, or public diplomacy, to the Christians of the world. But this year's greeting was especially political.
Netanyahu chose to radicalize his traditional greeting into an attack on Muslims in Arab countries. In his December 2011 greeting, Netanyahu made do with pointing out the fact that in the Middle East 'Christians are persecuted in a routine manner, and there is little tolerance toward them.' In his 2012 greeting, Netanyahu, who continuously cautions
the world that Israel is under existential threat from Iran, asserted that the Christians in the Middle East are in danger of extermination. No less." Top Image from article, with caption: A screenshot from the YouTube video of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Christmas amessage, Dec. 24, 2012; below image from MS on Facebook
Chinese Scholars on Public Diplomacy Visit Myanmar - foreignaffairs.co.nz: "At the invitation of the Chinese Embassy, a small group of experts on public diplomacy led by H.E. Mr. Zhang Jiuhuan, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) paid a visit to Myanmar from 16 to 20 December. The group had comprehensive and frank exchanges of views on furthering the people to people contacts between China and Myanmar during their meeting with Myanmar scholars, news editors, members of parliament as well senior government officials. The Chinese scholars also had a discussion with a number of senior managers of Chinese companies in Myanmar."
Jobs in Public Diplomacy - Candance Ren, Ren's Micro Diplomacy ~ public diplomacy and soft power: "Administrative Assistant, J-1 Exchange Programs: Cultural Vistas http://www.idealist.org/view/job/wbFFcgS9jWSP/
Employer Relations Specialist: Center for Cultural Interchange http://www.idealist.org/view/job/DfhwxHPJsgnp/"
Police: Afghan policewoman kills U.S. adviser - usatoday.com: More than 60 international allies, including troops and civilian advisers, have been killed by Afghan soldiers or police this year, and a number of other insider attacks as they are known are still under investigation.
Hollywood Rebounds at the Box Office - Brooks Barnes, New York Times: Phil Contrino, editor of Boxoffice.com. “It’s becoming very clear how important China is to the worldwide gross of a film.”
In Need, French Museums Turn to Masses, Chapeaux in Hand - Doreen Carvajal, New York Times: The austerity measures that have hurt the arts across the Continent have been particularly unsettling in France, where cultural spending is so sacrosanct that it has long been one investment on which governments both left and right could agree.
But now the directors of grand cultural institutions here are resorting to public appeals just to pay for the things they want, cobbling together the money not by courting millionaires but just the average Jules. Image from article, with caption: Detail of “St. Jean,” a statuette the Louvre wants to acquire.
Netanyahu tweets in Arabic to spark ‘deeper’ Mideast dialogue - english.alarabiya.net
Image from article
The cost of raising a child - Chris Wadsworth, USA TODAY: American families can expect to spend almost $250,000 in the next 17 years raising a child.
--From Peter Van Buren, in his blog We Meant Well, with comment: "But why screw around with toys and games when you can take a real step towards a happy Christmas with body armor sized for children. The body armor comes in eight colors and, for $200 extra, you can upgrade the protection to Level IIIA just in case that assault rifle ban doesn’t catch on in Congress. While the vest is thin enough to wear under clothing, all the cool kids this year are wearing theirs on the outside. The same online store sells the vests fitted for men and women, so the whole family can have coordinated body armor under the tree. I hereby offer a bounty of $1 cash for the first person to send in a family photo showing Mom, Dad and the kiddies in coordinated armor around the fireplace."
ONE MORE QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"[H]e was a really simple guy, straightforward guy."
--"Arguably the most popular history author in America," Bill O'Reilly, regarding Abraham Lincoln