Worth reading:
Globalising the fight for sexuality rights

Unfortunately in many parts of the world the decriminalisation domino hasn’t fallen. In fact, in more than 70 countries homosexuality remains illegal. This consigns the vast majority of the world’s gay men and lesbians to a life of criminality over which the have no choice. In twelve of these countries homosexuality is punishable by death.
The temptation to believe that such laws are relics of a bygone past and aren’t enforced was sadly dispelled with the public hanging in 2005 of two Iranian teenagers sentenced under Sharia law for the ‘crime’ of homosexuality.
Elsewhere the use of anti-gay laws to intimidate and silence lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is alive and well.

Belgium… not that boring.

Travel tip for Bruge, Ghent, Antwerp or Brussels: pop into a youth hostel or bar and pick up a copy of the Use It map and guide for ‘young people’. Great tips on where to eat, sleep and drink and how to ‘act like a local’. Or check it out online at http://www.use-it.be/.
Just as well we went to Bruges when we did:

Internet auction website eBay today withdrew an unusual second-hand sale item, the country of Belgium, which had attracted an offer of 10 million euros ($A16.68 million).
“Belgium, a kingdom in three parts” was posted on the Belgian eBay site as offering “plenty of choice” despite the caveat that it comes with “300 billion of National Debt”.
Offered in three parts – Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia – the accompanying blurb said the kingdom “can be bought as a whole (not recommended)”.
The vendor also included as added extras “the king and his court (costs not included)”.

From The Age.

From the world of archaeology: Asterix fans — there’s news!

Those stories told how Asterix’s little village was encircled by Julius C├Žsar’s expanding empire unequalled in the art of warfare and determined to civilize a backward people who worshipped Druids and believed in magic potions. Or so it was thought until now.
But a discovery in central France has led to a significant reassessment of Asterix representing
the Gauls, who were, it transpires, much more advanced than previously thought.

After Apec, most Sydneysiders are saying “Never again”

BBC: Apec security leaves bitter taste in Sydney

Like many, he is incensed by what he regards as the needlessly aggressive and restrictive policing, which carried a heftier security price tag than the 16-day-long Olympics and led to the construction of the 5km ( three mile) “great wall of Sydney”.
“I’m so embarrassed and annoyed. Where was the sense of proportion? We replaced Olympic volunteers with riot squads,” he says.
“Somebody in the security operation got very carried away with their own self-importance, and nobody in the state or federal government counterbalanced them.
“It was totally and utterly disproportionate.”

For many Sydneysiders, comedians from the already popular The Chasers War on Everything have become folk heroes – they managed to breach the million-dollar security set-up with a few shiny black hire cars, some wrap-around sunglasses, a few fake passes, a colour printer and a handful of bonnet-mounted Canadian and Australian flags.
Almost 5,000 New South Wales police officers, 1,500 defence personnel, 450 federal police, teams of sharp-shooters, patrol boats zipping across the harbour, Black Helicopters swooping above – all upstaged by 11 members of a TV comedy show.

I was randomly sent this link about the perfect rock chick, but it’s perfect because it just confirms my crush on Kim Gordon, which was renewed after seeing them on Saturday

They are really aware of their sexuality, but they don’t use sex to sell their music. They’re more interested in expressing power and that feeling of what it’s like to jump up and down to your favourite music. They don’t resort to that marketing ploy of the rock chick as bad girl. We were all wild things as teenagers, but there’s a big difference between wanting to be a rock star and having a burning desire to play music.

One good thing about the London tube strike

The Guardian posted this list of ‘useful maps during the Tube strike‘, including the Tube lines superimposed on a real street map so you can see how the Tube map relates to the real world – very handy if you’re new to London and don’t know when not to bother with the Tube, two walking sites and a map that shows how long it takes to get to each station from a particular station.