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August 01, 2009

Beirut has become the gay Mecca of the Middle East

Beirut, the Provincetown of the Middle East - NYTimes.com
While homosexual activity (technically, sexual relations that officials deem “unnatural”) is illegal in Lebanon, as in most of the Arab world, Beirut’s vitality as a Mediterranean capital of night life has fueled a flourishing gay scene — albeit one where men can be nervous about public displays of affection and where security guards at clubs can intercede if the good times turn too frisky on the dance floor. But even more than the partying, Beirut represents a different Middle East for some gay and lesbian Arabs: the only place in the region where they can openly enjoy a social life denied them at home. Asu, a 35-year-old gay man visiting from Damascus — who, like many men interviewed in Beirut, asked that his surname not be published — said that only two close friends in Syria knew that he was gay and that there were no bars, clubs or cafes in Damascus where gay Syrians felt at ease. “I thought I would meet other gay men at university in Syria, but it didn’t happen, and then I thought as an adult man living in Damascus that it would happen, but it hasn’t,” said Asu, who was nursing a club soda at Wolf, a gay-friendly bar near the American University in Beirut. “I’m 35 years old. I feel very lonely at home. There’s only the Internet for me, to e-mail with other gay men. The Internet, and Beirut. I try to come here every year now, because it is a relief.”

July 30, 2009

Boston cops do not have a race problem (they totally have a race problem)

Police: Boston Cop Used Racial Slur In Gates E-Mail - Boston News Story - WCVB Boston
In a mass e-mail, Officer Justin Barrett, 36, called Gates a "jungle monkey," according to a law enforcement source. . . . Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis found out about the e-mail on Tuesday and immediately stripped Barrett of his gun and badge, officials said. The e-mail was first sent anonymously to the Boston Globe and then to local members of the National Guard, where he is a member. The e-mail was in response to a Globe article about Gates' arrest. In the e-mail, Barrett writes, "(Gates') first priority should be to get off the phone and comply with police, for if I was the officer he verbally assaulted like a ... jungle monkey, I would have sprayed him in the face with OC deserving of his belligerent non-compliance."

July 29, 2009

In China, the loss of school personal files means the loss of future

Files Vanished, Young Chinese Lose the Future - NYTimes.com
Everyone in China who has been to high school has such a file. The files are irreplaceable histories of achievement and failure, the starting point for potential employers, government officials and others judging an individual’s worth. Often keys to the future, they are locked tight in government, school or workplace cabinets to eliminate any chance they might vanish. But two years ago, Mr. Xue’s file did vanish. So did the files of at least 10 others, all 2006 college graduates with exemplary records, all from poor families living near this gritty north-central town on the wide banks of the Yellow River. With the Manila folders went their futures, they say. Local officials said the files were lost when state workers moved them from the first to the second floor of a government building. But the graduates say they believe officials stole the files and sold them to underachievers seeking new identities and better job prospects — a claim bolstered by a string of similar cases across China.

Japanese financial powerhouse has trouble adjusting to Western women

Nomura Finding Lehman Employees To Be Extremely Difficult (Particularly Those Damn Women) - Dealbreaker - A Wall Street Tabloid - Business News Headlines and Financial Gossip
Nomura acquired Lehman bros. after the latter firm had their spectacular failure last year. Nomura has been sending its executives out to Lehman's former offices to try and establish a new corporate culture. Workers sing corporate songs in the morning. They receive constant monitoring from mentors. Oh, and the women must dress modestly and act servile.
Nomura kicked off a training session for new hires in April by separating the men and women. The women, including Harvard graduates hired by Lehman Brothers before it collapsed, were taught how to wear their hair, serve tea and choose their wardrobes according to the season, say executives who fielded a complaint about the session. Asked about the training sessions for new hires, a Nomura spokeswoman said that both sexes were taught business etiquette, and the men and women were trained separately for logistical reasons. Some Nomura managers interpreted strictly the company's dress code for women...[Lehman women were instructed] to wear sleeves no shorter than midbicep and to avoid brightly colored clothing, according to several people who joined from Lehman. Several women were sent home from the trading floor for dressing "inappropriately," these people say. "I was sent home for wearing a short-sleeve dress, even though I was wearing a jacket," says one woman who says she plans to leave as soon as she receives her final guaranteed bonus payment. They told women joining from Lehman to remove highlights from their hair. Nomura's human-resources department changed some women's email addresses to their married names, from their maiden names, without asking which names they used professionally, according to the people who joined from Lehman.