Molvanîa, “a land untouched by modern dentistry” according to the Jetlag Travel Guide Molvanîa, urgently needs to enter into a bilateral free trade agreement with an exporter of dental products like, say, Liechtenstein.
(Brobra to polyglot polydont pf, from whose blog this tooth of wisdom was extracted.)
On 11 April, Erik Eckholm reported in the New York Times on political progress in China measured by Yardsticks You Never Thought of:
5. YUPPIE POLITICS The pressures for reform may flare most powerfully not from the downtrodden, but from the new, property-owning middle class, which will demand accountability from officials.
In 2003, the most vociferous illegal demonstrations in Beijing were staged not by desperate workers but by young professionals who said they had been cheated by developers of their apartment complex, abetted by local officials….
7. HUMAN RIGHTS FOR DOGS, AND VICE VERSA This is no joke. Visitors to Beijing and other big cities may notice an eerie absence of dogs on balmy weekend afternoons. This is not because they are regularly eaten; in fact, the Chinese love their pet dogs as much as any people anywhere. But because of outdated and draconian laws, tens of thousands of pet owners in Beijing alone must keep their dogs in the closet, as it were.
In Beijing, dogs are not allowed outside in the daytime; those caught outdoors are confiscated and killed. They are not allowed in parks, on grass or on elevators – even when elderly owners live on the 14th floor. They may not grow taller than knee-high, on pain of death. And licenses are expensive.
(Xiexie ni, Andrés Gentry!)
The Head Heeb has an interesting post about the especially close ties between Mozambique and East Timor, going back to 1975.
The foreign minister of East Timor is in Maputo laying the groundwork for the first Timorese embassy in Africa. Mozambique may seem an unlikely first choice, but its relative lack of political and economic clout is balanced by its longstanding ties of solidarity with East Timor….
In some ways, the post-independence relationship between the two countries is even more remarkable than what came before, because it illustrates how even one of the poorest countries on earth can be a donor. There are other ways to attack a problem besides throwing money at it – sharing experience and technical personnel, or providing willing hands to get the job done – and a nation need not be rich to aid other countries in these ways. Such aid often has a political purpose, like the Cuban doctors that are ubiquitous in many Third World countries, but it can make a real difference; sometimes, in fact, it can make more of one than a boondoggle project that serves mainly to fill a corrupt dictator’s coffers.