African Leaders Vote to Give Themselves Immunity from War Crimes

A few days ago, on Friday, 27th of June 2014, the leaders of African countries reunited at a summit in Equatorial Guinea. What they voted for should give us all the chills. The leaders, some of which are in trouble with various courts for their involvement in war crimes and human rights violations, voted to give themselves and their allies immunity from war crimes. Two sitting presidents and one ousted president of the African continent are currently facing charges at the International Criminal Court. This ruling is surely not a minor detail of how the initiative for this vote was taken.

Immunity from War Crimes

The news of this outrageous decision only seems to have hit the Western World today. All the major voices have expressed concern for this turn of events. Amnesty International, which is the NGO most equipped with studying problematic issues and charged with reporting to the UN, has called the vote “a backward step in the fight against impunity and a betrayal of victims of serious violations of human rights”. Indeed, there’s plenty of reasons to feel outraged when a bunch of politicians by this sit down meeting. They’ve voted to give themselves immunity against war crimes and the international community can’t remain indifferent.

What makes the matter even more concerning is the continent’s recent history and inter-ethnic conflicts that too often ended in downright massacres. Without meaning to imply anything inappropriate about Africa and the capacity of its peoples to peacefully govern their territories, there have been enough problems to make the matter worrisome. Leaders voting to give themselves immunity from war crimes would chill the blood in anyone’s veins no matter where he or she is from (and we surely do have our own part of troubled history). In a place as ripe with conflict and tension and Africa is, this seems all the more dangerous.

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When a massacre like the recent South Sudan attempt at ethnic cleansing ensues, the only thing the UN and a few NGOs can do is watch helplessly and try to offer a bit of comfort and basic shelter to the survivors. Intervening military in such a situation would be both difficult and problematic. One thing the rest of the world can do in order to prevent such atrocities and help the troubled areas achieve greater stability is impose regulations and preventative measures. Such a preventative measure includes making sure the laws and the courts have a firm grip on the rest of the country. But, this recent vote basically rejected any kind of accountability for even the most serious violations. Giving themselves immunity from war crimes is equitable to a defiance of basic human kindness. It shows a lack of respect for human life for their own people. It’s a shame such news are able to tarnish the image of the African areas that are actually peaceful and doing just fine.

The vote was held especially because the international community is currently struggling to set up an African Court for Justice and Human Rights. Netsanet Belay of Amnesty International declared that the vote to give these leaders immunity from war crimes is undermining the integrity and capacity of this court even before it can become operational. On a more optimistic note, others (namely, Simon Allison of the South African Institute for Security Studies) argued that even if the vote to give the leaders immunity from war crimes is undoubtedly a drawback, it could also prove to have some utility on the long run. In his words, the newly gained immunity could prove to be some sort of incentive for those leaders to not hinder the activity of the court and perhaps even be willing to collaborate more with it since they would feel safe from its rulings. In any case, the matter remains a heated source of debate and discomfort for the rest of the world as well. We eagerly await more reactions and truly hope things won’t remain like this for long.

Do These Glasses Look Ok on Me? Crazy Glasses for a Crazy Look

Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses, goes the old quote. Wear any of these crazy eyewear creations and people of all known sexes and inclinations will be giving you an extremely wide berth.

The Melting Sunglasses

Crazy Glasses for a Crazy Look

It would be pretty horrible if your sunglasses melted onto your face, wouldn’t it? In fact, there are relatively few things that I would welcome melting onto my face. That is, unless we’re talking about chocolate chip ice cream melting on my face. That would be delicious.

The Multiple Sunglasses

Crazy Glasses

These sunglasses would be great for people with 10 eyes. If you have the normal two eyes like the rest of us, I can’t help thinking that it is a bit of an overkill. I guess the idea here is to stop the sun’s evil rays from hitting your eyes from just about any direction. If you’re that worried about protecting your eyes, why not stick your head into a cardboard box before you venture outside?

The Tattoo Glasses

Crazy Glasses

Let’s face it; if you had a great name like MatthewG15, you probably wouldn’t bother buying real glasses either. Oh no, partner. You would just wander down to your local tattoo parlour and get these little beauties painted directly onto your face. This lovely picture has me wondering whether I should just get a hearing aid tattooed onto my ear when my hearing finally gives up the ghost.

The Stick on Glasses

Crazy Glasses

Ok, so let’s imagine for a second that you are too cool for normal glasses. You’re also too sensible to have them tattooed on. Wait, are you sure you don’t want them tattooed on? Fine, there’s an alternative idea for you here. I have to warn you that it might look a bit…odd. The design geniuses at Azumi and David came up with the cunning idea of stick on sunglasses.

The Dog Glasses

Crazy Glasses

Do you know something? These are first crazy glasses we’ve looked at that I can imagine myself wearing. Sadly, they appear to have been designed solely for small, annoying dogs.

The Hi Tech Glasses

Crazy Glasses

Does anyone have any idea what these crazy glasses are actually meant to do? I mean, they look great. But, the lack of glass in them makes me think that improving vision or blocking the sun’s rays weren’t high on the list of possible benefits.

The Nose Piercing Glasses

Crazy Glasses

This was bound to happen one day, wasn’t it? Some incredibly cool dude with bad eyesight was going to come up with the stunning idea of mixing body piercing with prescription glasses. This one looks stupidly painful. I’m almost half tempted to get it done myself.

5 Fascinating Archaeological Mysteries that we May Never Solve

History is extremely fascinating. Some people spend their entire lives trying to uncover, understand and document the past and they still don’t understand many things. The truth is that we may never be able to comprehend the motivations behind some of our ancestors’ previous actions. Even if they have left traces in this world, some of them were not designed for other cultures. Let’s take a look at 5 fascinating archaeological mysteries that we may never solve.

1. The Uffington White Horse

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The United Kingdom is extremely popular for its many uncommon sights and landmarks. Sure, Stonehenge is probably the first thing that comes to mind but there are many other interesting relics of the past to be found in this wonderful land. One of them is the White Horse of Uffington: a 115-meter hill figure that was created by digging trenches and filling them with crushed chalk.

The silhouette is similar to that of the horse (there are several similar images present on Bronze Age coins). Very close to the mysterious figure are burial mounds which date back to the Neolithic period. However, the Uffington White Horse seems much, much older. Considering how old it is, it is incredible that it was preserved so well.

2. The White Shaman Rock

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Before humankind adopted the new religions, they believed in strange entities like the Sun, Zeus, Jupiter and other Gods. The ancient cultures of the Americas are extremely interesting in this regard. Close to the Pecos River, in Texas’s lower Canyon hides one of the oldest and most important rock painting, called the White Shaman. Archeologists dated it to over 4000 years ago and linked it to an ancient & lost religion. Until recently, archeologists believed that this artwork represents 5 human figures that prepare for battle, however, a recent discovery points to it being a means of communicating with the spirit world through the use of peyote.

3. Death of Alexander the Great

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Even if Alexander the Great is one of the most popular and well-documented figures from the ancient world, there is still a lot of mystery surrounding his life and death. Historians agree that he was born on June 10, 323 B.C in Nebchadnezzar, Babylon. Sadly, nobody knows for certain how and when he died. Some believe that he was poisoned by his generals, wife or half-brother, while others argue that he fell ill with high fever and abdominal pains due to natural causes. There are many other theories including pancreatitis, endocarditis and even viral hepatitis. There are also some people who believe that he caught an infectious disease like malaria or typhoid. Nobody knows for sure, and we may never learn the truth.

4. The Emerald Tablet

a 4The Emerald Tablet is without a doubt one of the most fascinating archaeological mysteries to have ever graced history. First of all, it doesn’t even exist anymore. It was created by an unknown author, from an unknown location and of unknown origin. The first mention of the Emerald Tablet was made in an ancient Arabic book. It claims that the text on the tablet was in ancient Syriac. Several translations of the tabled were made (including one by Sir Isaac Newton). What makes it so interesting is the fact that it is one of the most important documents about alchemy, which also seems to hold information about the philosopher’s stone (mentioned in the article 5 Supremely Awesome Mythological Objects).

5. The Tartaria Tablets

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The last item on our list of fascinating archaeological mysteries is the story of the Tartaria Tablets. This discovery may very well shake the belief, according to which Mesopotamia is the cradle of knowledge. According to a German archeologist, the first form of writing did not appear in 3500-3100 B.C., and it was not invented by the Sumerians. Apparently, the earliest writing belongs to the Vinca civilization, a Neolithic culture which lived in southeastern Europe almost 8000 years ago. When they were first dated, carbon dating testing was impossible, so the museum considered that they appeared at around 2700 B.C. New tests suggest that they are much older (dating back to 5500-4500 B.C.)

Video: The Tartaria Tablets

The Stupid TV Shows That Should Never Have Existed

Is TV the greatest invention ever made by mankind or a hideous curse sent to make us all stupider? If we take a look at some of the most stupid TV shows that ever existed then the answer might seem obvious.

Dallas

Stupid TV Shows

I’m going to try very hard not to mention Booby Ewing coming back to life in the shower. Ok, so maybe not too hard. This show was a lost cause even before the ridiculous resurrection of Bobby but that plot twist remains the single most ridiculous thing to have ever appeared on my TV screen. Apart from that, this was just an everyday show about evil oil barons, rampant shoulder pads and other stuff I can’t remember.

Crossroads

Stupid TV Shows

From a glitzy, dazzling American soap to a humble British one; the only thing these shows have in common is the fact that they are both mind numbingly terrible. Most people’s abiding memory of Crossroads is of the achingly stupid Benny. The rest of the show’s 24-year run was a haze of excruciating dialogue, awful plots and wooden acting. 24 years! How we suffered back in those days.

The Dukes of Hazzard

Stupid TV Shows

I’m sorry. I really am. I know that you loved this show but it was just awful. For a start, it was just the most ridiculously contrived thing ever. If you thought that the Duke Boys’ wacky car stunts were the best thing about it then you are probably right, but only because the rest of it was so bad. Bo and Luke have some sort of fuzzily improbable probation terms that means that they either can’t leave Hazzard Country or else they can leave as long as they come back with a certain number of hours. Can you imagine being trapped in such a terrible place, with unbelievably bungling cops all around you and such frankly dangerous driving conditions on the roads?

Baywatch

Stupid TV Shows

What can I say about Baywatch that hasn’t already been said? Well, I could say that it is a cultural treasure packed with gripping dialogue and almost no gratuitous bikini shots at all. Sadly, I’d be hopelessly wrong. Incredibly, this frankly awful and stupid TV show was once one of the most popular shows in the entire known universe. Try watching an old episode now and see how quickly you lose faith in human intelligence.

Big Brother (and Every Other Reality Show)

Stupid TV Shows

I know that there is a world of lame reality shows out there but I have managed to avoid most of them in a way not unlike the way in which one steers clear of highly contagious diseases. I know, for example, of a simple-minded and desperately shallow family called the Kardashians. I also know that there are reality shows involving singers, people desperate to get married and all sorts of other flotsam and jetsam of televisual nonentities. However, ever since I spent an hour watching the very first series of Big Brother I vowed to avoid reality shows until I draw my last breath.

George & Mildred

Stupid TV Shows

As I grew up in the UK I am as used to pathetic sitcoms as I am to soggy, insipid biscuits and overly milky tea. This means that I could really have chosen any one from a long list of unfunny TV disasters. I only chose this unholy calamity because it was the first name to spring to mind that made me remember long, dark nights watching a TV screen and wondering why I had absolutely no urge to laugh at something that was (at least theoretically) a comedy.

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

So, we can add the Best Latte Art you ever saw to the list of things I never knew existed. All this time, I have only been using the foam to form hilarious mustaches on my upper lip when I could have been creating these masterpieces:

The Elephant Latte

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

This is one of my favorite Latte Art. It is quite simply a stunning image of an elephant. I don’t think I could ever bring myself to drink such an intricate and beautiful piece of art. Well, that is, unless I was really thirsty.

The Melting Clock Art

Best Latte Art

This next cup of Latte exemplifies the style known as 3D Latte Art. We have Dali’s famous melting clock in a cup. And, it’s literally melting. Actually, I wonder how long this sort of work of art would last before really melting. In the place I go for my drinks, the staff is so slow that the foam or cream (or whatever is on top of my drink) usually melts before it arrives. Thinking about it now, they probably just skim off it the top foam and slurp it down all because they hate me.

The Wolf Latte

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

Am I the only person to feel a little creeped out by this piece of coffee art? I would probably freak and run out of the place screaming if my waiter served me a cup with that face in it.

The Dali Latte

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

If you’re going to put someone’s face in your Latte Art, it might as well be Dali…I guess.

The Hello Kitty Art

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

That creepy little cat pops up everywhere these days. It’s even in our drinks. My daughter is a big fan of Hello Kitty but hates latte. On the other hand, I could live solely off lattes and biscotti. I could do without Hello Kitty.

The Sorry Latte

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

The idea of saying sorry with a latte is pretty clever. If your actions were really bad, then you might want to buy your partner something a bit more impressive. Perhaps something like flowers or some cookies. Unless you’re not really that sorry after all. In which case, I would suggest waiting until your local coffee store has a 2 for 1 offer and ordering the smallest size they have.

The Planetary Latte

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

I really like this one even though it’s pretty simple. In fact, I’m not even sure it’s a latte to start with.

The Snoopy Latte

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

This is snoopy, isn’t it? It’s been a while since I’ve seen the old fellow. But, I’m sure that’s him just floating on top of a latte.

The Mushroom Cloud Latte

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

This is pretty good looking pattern, but what is it? I think it’s a mushroom cloud, like the explosion from a nuclear bomb.

The Snowman Latte Art

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

For a cheerful cup of latte during the winter, you can’t beat this chipper little snowman.

The Cat and Fish Latte

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

This is the final piece of Latte Art for today. It is probably my favourite. The 3D foam cat looks hungrily on at a couple of swimming fish. It’s cute, it’s artistic and it’s making me thirsty.