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A few weeks ago The Sunday Times in London ran a story about Russian artist Petro Wodkins who posed as an agent for a Central Asian dictator and contacted 30 London galleries to buy art for the despot. The video of the project is now up ...
A few weeks ago The Sunday Times in London ran a story about Russian artist Petro Wodkins who posed as an agent for a Central Asian dictator and contacted 30 London galleries to buy art for the despot. The video of the project is now up on YouTube along with this description: After setting up meetings with the art dealers he proposed a very lucrative deal. Five to ten million dollars investment in art, the catch was that the buyer was President Rahmon, one of the worst dictators in the world, oppressing Tajikistan for over 20 years. Tajikistan is one of poorest countries in central Asia, one of the most corrupt countries in the world. The question was if the art dealers were willing to sell art to the dictator, agreeing to be be paid from off-shore accounts, leaving no traces to the dictator and help ship the art in a very discreet way. In the film Price of Art you will learn what happened.
about 2 hours ago
by Delia Montgomery Well look, cotton grows in Nanawale! My story is rather amusing because I did not realize I had cotton to harvest. In fact, I tossed the plant to an area of my garden I rarely visit, so it was a pleasant surprise to e...
by Delia Montgomery Well look, cotton grows in Nanawale! My story is rather amusing because I did not realize I had cotton to harvest. In fact, I tossed the plant to an area of my garden I rarely visit, so it was a pleasant surprise to even notice it. Why am I so enthused over growing non-GMO organic cotton in Hawaii? There are so many reasons to farm cotton organically that I’ll not take the space here to elaborate. But don’t ignore a few facts: According to the 2011 Textile Exchange Organic Cotton Farm & Fiber Report, approximately 151,079 metric tons (MT) of organic cotton (693,900 bales) were grown on 324,577 hectares (802,047 acres) in 2010-2011. Organic cotton equals 0.7 percent of global cotton production. Organic cotton was grown in 20 countries worldwide in 2010-11 led by India and including (in order of rank): Syria, China, Turkey, United States, Tanzania, Egypt, Mali, Kyrgyzstan, Peru, Pakistan, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Benin, Paraguay, Israel, Tajikistan, Brazil, Nicaragua, and Senegal. Approximately 219,000 farmers grew the fiber in 2010-11. In 2011, organic fiber sales in the United States grew by 17.1 percent over the previous year, to reach $708 million, according to the Organic Trade Association’s 2012 Organic Industry Survey. The future looks promising, with organic fiber products appearing in more mainstream outlets, led by large and small U.S. textile retailers alike. Sales of clothing made from organic cotton bucked the gloomy picture for organic products in 2011, rising in the UK by 2% against the year before while food and drink fell 3.7% in the same period. GMO protestors may note that approximately 65% of world cotton production currently comes from genetically-modified crops. A spokeswoman from the Soil Association said: “Larger brands tend to do a lot of ‘blending’ – using organic alongside non-organic. The issue is partly about shortage of supply of organic cotton, due to the dominance of the GM corporations. That is why our campaign is pressing big brands to sign up and drive the demand for organic, non-GM cotton.” The Soil Association is UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use. Sweet, eh? Now in reference to the 2011 Organic Cotton Market Report by Textile Exchange, the good news is that textile, apparel, and footwear industries embraced a broader cotton portfolio that spans certified organic cotton and non-genetically modified seed to initiatives that improve the way conventional cotton is farmed — environmentally, socially, and economically. The bad news is that for the first time in 10 years, organic cotton production dropped by a whopping 37 percent. Along with other industries, that’s a serious setback. This poses an interesting challenge for the 81 percent of companies that indicated plans to expand their organic cotton programs each year for the foreseeable future. Where exactly is this fiber going to come from? Will it meet geographic, quantity, and quality requirements? The facts are particularly useful for global companies that are into exports. Although farmers are challenged in every respect on the mainland, production of organic cotton is strong in California and Texas. No doubt our island is a good place to grow organic cotton. My question is if it could be a Hawaiian-made niche for small farmers on all our islands? I recall councilwoman Brenda Ford presented the question this year, “couldn’t Hawai’i be a non-GMO niche?” Actually, Hawaiians could develop their own certification system instead of the USDA programs that entail contradictory regulations over food and textiles. That’s where the battleground consist of unethical corporate-bully lobbyists. Is it possible to simply claim pesticide-free, made in Hawai’i? (The answer is yes!) Back to my cotton plant (pictured here before harvest) … I gave up on it when I saw a tree in my h
1 day ago
Five kayakers in Tajikistan were reported missing on Monday. The American men experienced trouble while traveling along the Balandkiik River. They sent out an emergency beacon on September 30. However, it took rescue teams several days t...
Five kayakers in Tajikistan were reported missing on Monday. The American men experienced trouble while traveling along the Balandkiik River. They sent out an emergency beacon on September 30. However, it took rescue teams several days to find them. Ben Luck, Cooper Lambla, Matt Klema, Nate Klema, and Charles King, are experienced kayakers. They often travel to remote locations in Boliva, Chile, India, and Peru, for extended trips. The emergency signal worried family and friends, as the men were well-traveled and resourceful. As reported by NBC News, Nate Klema’s father Thomas knew something was terribly wrong: “It was the first time we have ever had an emergency signal from them on this trip or any trip, so it was quite worrying.” A search and rescue team responded to the estimated location on Monday. However, all they found was a broken kayak and a backpack. The searchers then received another emergency beacon — six miles from the first. By the time they received the second beacon, the sun was setting on Pamir National Park. The rescue team was forced to leave the area at nightfall. The following morning, the team resumed their search for the kayakers. Tajikistan officials had a rough idea where they were, as the men carried GPS devices. Unfortunately, it took two more days to find their exact location. As reported by RIA Novosti, the rescue team finally located the men on Wednesday. All five men were found alive. The friends sent the emergency signal when Ben Luck became seriously ill. Luck suffered a respiratory illness after climbing to a 14,000 foot plateau. As his lungs filled with fluid, it became increasingly difficult to breathe. Luck is still being treated for his illness, but his father reports he is recovering well. The other kayakers stayed in Tajikistan to continue their journey. In two weeks they will continue to Nepal, India, and China, returning to the US at the end of December. [Image via Wikimedia] Kayakers In Tajikistan Found Alive In Remote Park is a post from: The Inquisitr News
5 days ago
Andrews, North Carolinian kayaker Shannon Christy, 23, was recently profiled on Showtime’s “60 Minutes Sports,” on the Great Falls of the Potomac River, 14 miles upstream from Washington, D.C. Two days later, on July 11...
Andrews, North Carolinian kayaker Shannon Christy, 23, was recently profiled on Showtime’s “60 Minutes Sports,” on the Great Falls of the Potomac River, 14 miles upstream from Washington, D.C. Two days later, on July 11th, Christy drowned during a run through the “Five Fingers” of the falls, said to be the one of the steepest drops in the world. Sadly, Christy had spoken of the joys and dangers of her sport, while filming her first practice run over the Great Falls, and its Class V+ rapids. “I kayak because I love the sport,” Christy said on July 9. “Kayaking takes you to places that most of society will never see. I love the act of kayaking for what it is.” Every summer some of the country’s best kayakers descend upon the Great Falls for an annual race, and Christy arrived to compete with the men, who typically dominate. Christy had only been kayaking for three years by the time she’d arrived at Great Falls. When asked if she might be overreaching a bit, she’d replied, “I wouldn’t say overreaching. It would strike me as confident.” Steve Fisher from South Africa, who is one of kayaking’s biggest stars, said of Shannon, “she’s a rising star in the kayak scene, and she’s just getting to the point where people want to capture what she does.” Before her first run over the falls, Jason Beakes, six-time winner of the race, offered Shannon some pointers. “There’s two little ledges right there in the middle — plop, plop,” Beakes said, and warned Christy to stay away from a deadly chute called “subway.” In related news, five U.S. kayakers were just rescued in remote Tajikistan, after one of them broke his leg. Kayaking is clearly a deceptively dangerous sport. Image via shannonchristy.com.
6 days ago
Five American kayakers who went missing several days ago in Tajikistan have been rescued. A helicopter search team located the men, and they are being transported to Dushanbe, the nation’s capital. One of the rescued has a broken l...
Five American kayakers who went missing several days ago in Tajikistan have been rescued. A helicopter search team located the men, and they are being transported to Dushanbe, the nation’s capital. One of the rescued has a broken leg, and the other four are in good condition. The kayaking group, consisting of Ben Luck, Cooper Lambla, Matt Klema, Nate Klema and Charles King, had activated an emergency beacon on September 30, indicating that something was wrong, while paddling down the Balankiik River in eastern Tajikistan. The group had been on an extended trip through Eurasia. The Republic of Tajikistan is a very mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia. It borders Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east. The GPS coordinates sent by the beacon put the men inside Pamir National Park, a remote area with some of Asia’s highest peaks. The rescue helicopter sent out on October 1 found a disabled kayak and a backpack. Shortly after this discovery, another signal was sent from 6 miles away. Though, nightfall interrupted the search, at this point. The series of coordinates transmitted showed that the men were retracing their initial path, and friends and family stated that the slow pace must have meant that someone was injured, as all the men are experienced backcountry woodsmen, having already spent the previous two months in Siberia and Kyrgyzstan. The men had planned to enter Nepal after their Tajikistan trek, and then possibly visit India and China. Matt and Nathan Klema, and Ben Luck are all students at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. According to the Klemer brothers’ sister Julia, the men are all seasoned kayakers and travelers, and are river guides in the Grand Canyon. The group had taken a year off to explore. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
6 days ago
A helicopter search team rescued five American kayakers, including two brothers, missing for more than three days in the wilderness of the central Asian nation of Tajikistan, early Thursday.
A helicopter search team rescued five American kayakers, including two brothers, missing for more than three days in the wilderness of the central Asian nation of Tajikistan, early Thursday.
6 days ago
Five American kayakers including two brothers have been missing since Monday in the central Asian nation of Tajikistan.
Five American kayakers including two brothers have been missing since Monday in the central Asian nation of Tajikistan.
6 days ago
A new wave of Chinese investment in Central Asia is turning the region's focus from Russia toward the east.In a far-ranging regional tour, President Xi Jinping swept through four Central Asian nations in September, bringing billions of d...
A new wave of Chinese investment in Central Asia is turning the region's focus from Russia toward the east.In a far-ranging regional tour, President Xi Jinping swept through four Central Asian nations in September, bringing billions of dollars in energy and other deals.Xi's 10-day diplomatic circuit included summit meetings of the Group of 20 (G20) leading economies in St. Petersburg and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Bishkek.But the visits, beginning and ending in Central Asia, underscored the rising importance of the region to Beijing.In Turkmenistan, Xi sealed an agreement to boost China's gas imports by over 60 percent, raising Turkmen supplies to 65 billion cubic meters annually by 2016.In Kazakhstan, Xi marked China's plans to acquire a share in the giant Kashagan oilfield for U.S. $5 billion as part of a package of contracts valued at some U.S. $30 billion.In Uzbekistan, China agreed on building a fourth strand of its Central Asia Gas Pipeline through the country and hailed a 59-percent increase in trade for the first half of this year, Interfax reported.In Kyrgyzstan, Xi signed an accord on a strategic partnership with China, unveiling plans to invest U.S. $3 billion in the country including a new gas route from Turkmenistan to Xinjiang, the KyrTAG news agency said.Silk Road beltSpeaking in Kazakhstan, Xi also called for a new level of engagement with Central Asia, urging creation of a "Silk Road economic belt," according to the official Xinhua news agency.Under the plan, countries would "green-light regional economic integration in terms of both policy and law," Xinhua reported.Xi said neighboring nations should improve transit links and facilitate trade by promoting local currency settlements.China has often invoked the Silk Road before, but Xi's proposals on transit links from the Pacific to the Baltic Sea suggested a new drive to reach a market that he called "unparalleled in scale and potential."The scope and scale of China's attention to the region seems to have Russia worried that it is taking a back seat. On Sept. 9, Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov tried to dispel that impression."Central Asia is an important area of Russia-China relations," Morgulov told reporters, according to Interfax."We are not competing with each other in Central Asia but are adjusting our policies to reflect mutual interests," he said.Serious concernsThe explanation masked the seriousness of Moscow's concerns, said Edward Chow, senior fellow in the energy and national security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington."I think they protest too much," Chow said.At the SCO summit, Xi's statements on both economic and security development cast China in the leading regional role among member nations including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.Chow noted that in the official photo of SCO leaders on Sept. 13, Xi is positioned in the center to the right of the summit host, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, while Russian President Vladimir Putin stands off-center to the left."These things don't happen by accident," Chow said. "If you had told me such a photograph was possible 10 or 15 years ago, I wouldn't have believed it."Xi's proposal to turn the ancient Silk Road route into an economic belt is seen as a sign that China plans to extend its influence and economic power."It strikes me as China spreading its wings even more in Central Asia without encountering much Russian opposition," said Chow. "Is that because Russia has reconciled to the realities of what's going on?"Part of the answer may be found in Russia's economy, which is facing its most serious problems since 2008, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said on Sept. 18.Russia has cut this year's economic growth forecast from 2.4 to 1.8 percent, and may soon do so again. In the first eight months, growth has weakened to 1.5 percent, Interfax said.At the same time in China, officials are showing
9 days ago
The Busan International Film Festival, the largest film celebration in Asia, is just a few days away and Twitch is packing its bags and heading to the beachside Korean town. I will be making my second trip to the fest and joining me for ...
The Busan International Film Festival, the largest film celebration in Asia, is just a few days away and Twitch is packing its bags and heading to the beachside Korean town. I will be making my second trip to the fest and joining me for his first go-round will be Kwenton Bellette, who is making the trip all the way from Melbourne.I saw a lot of great films at BIFF last year and am expecting more of the same this time around but, with 301 films on the program, from countries as diverse as Bhutan and Tajikistan no less, it's easy to get lost with so much on offer. To make things a little easier for any of you joining us for Asia's number one film... [Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
9 days ago
Men
Eric Stanton POSTAGE STAMPS Why the heck would a country issue postage stamps with the bizarre fetish illustrations of Eric Stanton on them? Especially a country called Krygyzstan??? I know there are some tough women over there, but re...
Eric Stanton POSTAGE STAMPS Why the heck would a country issue postage stamps with the bizarre fetish illustrations of Eric Stanton on them? Especially a country called Krygyzstan??? I know there are some tough women over there, but really.Well, for the same reason the United States issues commemorative stamps. To raise money. You see, every single postage stamp sold which goes into a collectors glassine packet instead of being put on an envelope makes a profit. Eric Stanton stamps are akin to the movie and Broadway play The Producers. They are a stamp the producer hopes no one will use! Designed to fail. I GUESS these would actually carry mail….but only in Krgyzstan, which for Americans who can't even put their state capitol on a map…is shown below. It can be a little confusing, so here's the story. Kyrgyzstan (/k?r???st??n/ kur-gi-stahn;[5] Kyrgyz: ?????????? (IPA: [q?r??s?st?n]); Russian: ????????), officially the Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyz: ?????? ????????????; Russian: ?????????? ??????????), is a country located in Central Asia.[ Landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east. Its capital and largest city is Bishkek.Those of you philatelist deviants can rush right over there and buy some for your collection, but bring enough Som (the currency of Kyrgyzstan.)http://vintagesleaze.blogspot.com/
12 days ago