AFP: Russian lawmakers on Tuesday backed a bill which would place tough restrictions on adoption to countries where same-sex marriages are legal, following France’s vote last month allowing such unions.
The bill could ban people in over a dozen countries from adopting Russian orphans even if they are single, according to an amendment that passed in the key second reading in the Duma lower house of parliament with an overwhelming vote of 443 to none.
It is likely to be swiftly passed in the third reading and the upper house Federation Council. President Vladimir Putin has already vowed to sign it into law.
More from AFP here.
Ellen DeGeneres speech at Tulane university.
This is completely worth 10 minutes of your life.
Internet censors up in arms as bloggers note uncanny resemblance between Winnie the Pooh and China’s president
China’s army of Internet censors has picked an unusual target in its battle to wipe dissent from the country’s computer screens: Winnie the Pooh and Tigger.
Following the recent California summit between Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping, Chinese micro-bloggers picked up on an uncanny resemblance between a photograph of the two strolling through the Sunnylands estate and a cartoon image of AA Milne’s cartoon creations. The two images were published side by side this week on the Chinese social media site Weibo.
But the posts were almost immediately “harmonized”, as censors appeared to take exception to the comparison between their president and a podgy bear with a penchant for honey. (Photo: Weibo)
Edward Snowden live Q&A: NSA whistleblower answers your questions
- Why did you wait to release the documents if you said you wanted to tell the world about the NSA programs since before Obama became president?
- Obama's campaign promises and election gave me faith that he would lead us toward fixing the problems he outlined in his quest for votes. Many Americans felt similarly. Unfortunately, shortly after assuming power, he closed the door on investigating systemic violations of law, deepened and expanded several abusive programs, and refused to spend the political capital to end the kind of human rights violations like we see in Guantanamo, where men still sit without charge.
“A smile, a genuine smile, has transformative properties. It has the power, for even the briefest of moments, to make you forget about everything else in the world. Despite whatever chaos surrounds you, the single stimulus that elicits a genuine smile has you captured. It holds your full attention. For that single moment, you are free of all worries, all doubts. You are fully immersed in something that creates beauty.
A smile is beautiful. So beautiful and yet rare. People smile every day; at the woman behind the counter who hands you a coffee, at the man who held the door open. At the joke your coworker told that really wasn’t that funny. People smile every day. But it is a surface level smile. Behind these smiles are labyrinths of dark secretes and fears, small annoyances and forgotten dreams.
Someone who can extract a genuine smile from you in a moment of crises is worth holding onto. A person who knows you so well, who not only knows and understands the labyrinths you have built but how to escape them, is someone to treasure. Sometimes, and without even knowing it yourself, a genuine smile is the only cure for all of your dark secretes and fears. Of course you would never feel like smiling at such a time, but another recognizes the power it holds. That person gave you a moment of pure happiness on a day when everything else fell apart. A gift of the finest quality.
Appreciate the one who makes you smile. Hold them tightly and learn their labyrinths because, a smile, a genuine smile, has transformative properties.”
-Excerpt from my unfinished novel
You go to the races?
Then you read the Racing Form … . There you have the true art of fiction.
“Stand up and force yourself to be accountable.
This isn’t something that is asked of us often. We go about the daily grind, mindless of what is going on around us. Accountability in this world is a fading art. There are few who will ask it of us and it is even more difficult to ask of ourselves. No matter if you are the sole trigger of the apocalypse, or just suffering through a bad day, stand up.
At some point, we stopped doing this. We, as humans and individuals, started scapegoating our problems. We look to the weaker to place blame, and to the stronger to absorb it. To look a problem in the face and say ‘this is my fault’ is a rarity and only the strongest of characters are capable.
We consider information from others as authority instead of seeking the answers first hand. We stopped searching for a deeper meaning because the face value was enough. Information causes pain. Answers cause pain. We have stopped standing up to face our problems and our fears because we are afraid of dealing with the pain behind it. We let our troubles rob us of our voice.
So force yourself to stand up and be accountable.
Admit that you are the reason you had a shitty day. That if you had taken five minutes to breath and get out of your head, you could have absorbed the problem yourself. That you could have salvaged the rest but chose to remain in misery.
Admit that the apocalypse is coming and you are to blame. That maybe you cannot fix everything on your own. That people are going to hate you for what you did.
Fear the fear, not the pain. Strength comes.
It comes from standing up and taking responsibility.”