EU bans sexist words like 'Miss' and 'Mrs'

European Parliament
The European Parliament has banned the terms ‘Miss’ and ‘Mrs’ in case they offend female MEPs. The politically correct rules also mean a ban on Continental titles, such as Madame and Mademoiselle, Frau and Fraulein and Senora and Senorita.
Guidance issued in a new ‘Gender-Neutral Language’ pamphlet instead orders politicians to address female members by their full name only.
Officials have also ordered that ‘sportsmen’ be called ‘athletes’, ‘statesmen’ be referred to as ‘political leaders’ and even that ‘synthetic’ or ‘artificial’ be used instead of ‘man-made’.
The guidance lists banned terms for describing professions, including fireman, air hostess, headmaster, policeman, salesman, manageress, cinema usherette and male nurse.
However MEPs are still allowed to refer to ‘midwives’ as there is no accepted male version of the job description.
The booklet also admits that “no gender-neutral term has been successfully proposed” to replace ‘waiter’ and ‘waitress’, allowing parliamentarians to use these words in a restaurant or café.
It has been circulated by Harold Romer, the parliament’s secretary general, to the 785 MEPs working in Brussels and Strasbourg.
Struan Stevenson, a Scottish Conservative MEP described the guidelines as “political correctness gone mad.”

Photo from Daily Mail, Source: Telegraph.co.uk

Bill Gates back in spot one in world's richest people list

imageForbes has published its annual list of World’s Richest people. Bill Gates lost $18 billion but regained his title as the world’s richest man. Warren Buffett, last year’s No. 1, saw his fortune decline $25 billion as shares of Berkshire Hathaway (nyse: BRK.A – news – people ) fell nearly 50% in 12 months, but he still managed to slip just one spot to No. 2. Mexican telecom titan Carlos Slim Helú also lost $25 billion and dropped one spot to No. 3.
The billionare we – Armenians care more about, Kirk Kerkorian is on the #98 spot, with his personal fortunes estimated at $5 billion.   Continue reading “Bill Gates back in spot one in world's richest people list”

Updated: Inga and Anush Arshakyans might represent Armenia at Eurovision 2009

Inga AnushInga and Anush Arshakyan sisters known for their singing which they claim is a mix of modern and traditional Armenian music, might represent Armenia at the 54th Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Moscow. The whole thing will be decided on an SMS voting that will be held after a live show on Armenia’s Public TV on February 14, to choose the song that will represent Armenia at Eurovision 2009.
Another candidate is Mher – a Russian-Armenian singer who represented Armenia on “New Wave 2008” music contest last year. Continue reading “Updated: Inga and Anush Arshakyans might represent Armenia at Eurovision 2009”

Still no clarity on senior Armenian police officer's murder case


Deputy chief of Armenia’s police Colonel Gevorg Mherian, 34 was shot dead just outside his apartment in Yerevan late on February 3.  President Serzh Sarkisian on Thursday strongly condemned Mheryan’s murder, hinting it may have had to do with his anti-corruption activities.

Mheryan_murder_suspect
Picture of Mheryan murder suspect on Aravot Newspaper, February 6 issue

A generated photo of the suspect has been published by some Armenian newspapers yesterday. Armenian police confirmed that publicized picture is their probable suspect – constructed based on eyewitness accounts, although nobody has been arrested in connection with the killing yet.
Mheryan was heading the passport and visa departments of the police as well as the legal support department.
The passport and visa departments are notorious for their level of corruption and last year a range of high ranking officials from those departments were fired, apparently as a result of Mheryan’s activities.
Admittedly, this murder has caused quite a stirring, I have been getting emails and enquiries from Armenian friends living abroad, asking what’s the story. Well – if you’re asking my opinion – it looks more like vendetta or a trivial case, rather than a big case of corrupt criminals facing the good guys, but media have been paying a disproportionately large amount of attention to this case, perhaps because of lack of any other development in the country. I don’t know. RIP to Mheryan – that’s all I can say for now, hoping for more clarity in the near future.

Freedom House: Freedom Retreats for Third Year

Freedom retreated in much of the world in 2008, the third year of global decline as measured by Freedom House’s annual survey of political rights and civil liberties which released today.
Freedom in the World 2009 survey examines the state of freedom in all 193 countries and 16 strategic territories. The survey analyzes developments that occurred in 2008 and assigns each country a freedom status — either Free, Partly Free or Not Free based on a scoring of performance in key freedoms.
Non-Baltic countries of the former Soviet Union continued their decade-long decline, now ranking below Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East on several survey indicators. Russia and Georgia, which went to war over South Ossetia, were among the region’s notable declines, as well as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova.
Free: The number of countries judged by Freedom in the World as Free in 2008 stands at 89, representing 46 percent of the world’s countries and 46 percent of the global population. The number of Free countries declined by one from 2007.
Partly Free: The number of Partly Free countries is 62, or 32 percent of all countries assessed by the survey and 20 percent of the world’s total population. The number of Partly Free countries increased by two.
Not Free: The report designates 42 countries as Not Free, representing 22 percent of the total number of countries and 34 percent of the world population. Nearly 60 percent of this number lives in China. The number of Not Free countries declined by one.
Electoral Democracies: The number of electoral democracies dropped by two and stands at 119. Developments in Mauritania, Georgia, Venezuela and Central African Republic disqualified them from the electoral democracy list, while Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bangladesh became electoral democracies.

Online journalists now jailed more than those in any other medium

Reflecting the rising influence of online reporting and commentary, more Internet journalists are jailed worldwide today than journalists working in any other medium. In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, released today, the Committee to Protect Journalists found that 45 percent of all media workers jailed worldwide are bloggers, Web-based reporters, or online editors. Online journalists represent the largest professional category for the first time in CPJ’s prison census. Continue reading “Online journalists now jailed more than those in any other medium”

Armenian bloggers hail Obama, with slight reservations…

“Did my small part today”, American citizen Nazarian writes, having voted for Obama,”The polls opened at 7 am. There were people who had been in line since around 6 am. Some of the poll workers said that people came over at 5 am. I was there at quarter past seven and the whole thing took less than an hour with half an hour of wait outside”, the blogger describes his voting experience.
Unzipped is inspired: “They proved that impossible is possible in America. They proved that ‘American dream’ exists”,he says, meanwhile, warning of possible disillusionment,”Expectations are so high of him that chances to get disappointed are very high too. Beginning of new era, or so I hope.”
Political scientist Artashes Boyajian believes in Obama campaign motto – “Change we can believe in!”, he says, “The world needs a positive and respectful attitude from America, for a change”, Artashes goes on to explain. “Let this be a victory of intelligence over arrogance, of responsibility over recklessness, of decency over shameful fear-mongering!!!”.
Pigh is original, as always -“Friends, why is it that you’re taking Obama’s election with such joy”, writes the blogger, known for his Republican political outlook and coincidentally, bearing the name Pigh, which stands for elephant in Armenian,”What, do we all care for the rebirth of powerful America?”
“IMHO”,the blogger goes on to say, “the brave-little-soldier Mccain and silly Palin would quickly bring the “global stronghold of democracy” to its logical end. Our Armenians, instead, are so joyful! So joyful! All our office looks like at Easter holidays.” And don’t hope that Obama will deliver his campaign pledge and recognize the Armenian Genocide, Pigh warns at the end, thus explaining his reservations on Obama victory.
Throughout the US election campaign and especially more so in the recent weeks, there were speculations in the Armenian blogosphere, that Obama is only the result of skillful PR. Uzogh, however, disagrees. “One thing I can see from Obama’s stance is – morality. He tries to show (and personally, I am convinced in it), that he cares about all the values, which are important for all the people, regardless of their being black, white or whatever. You can call all this – dirty PR and hold me for a naive romantic. Well, I guess we’ll have to live and see for ourselves”.
“It comes as no surprise that Armenian-Americans who supported Obama–most likely the vast majority of them although there’s probably no way to say for sure–are ecstatic about his being elected as president. He has made several promises to the Armenian-American community, most notably to recognize the Armenian Genocide. In a press release issued by his campaign Obama for America it clearly states his dedication to recognition”, Christian Garbis has written, reflecting on the overall excitement with Obama’s election among Armenians. “Even if he does not live up to this promise, it would not be his fault. He would not be the only president to refrain from doing so–in recent memory both President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush said similar things as campaign pledges. The US State Department policy has always been one favoring Turkey’s interests, and Armenian Genocide recognition has never been one of them”.  At any rate, Christian concludes, “Obama will nevertheless embrace and instill change internally in the US and also around the world. I can’t wait to see him visit Armenia one day”
Download the Armenian language podcast of this post, also featuring an interview with LiveJournal blogger Aovin, from here or listen to it online, by clicking the player icon below.

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