Short Takes: News From All Over: June 17, 2004

Hot Party Game Trend: Cockroach Racing
By Staff, Saldo Grup?
Want to wow your guests with party tricks, the likes of which they’ve never seen? A Lithuanuan event management company offers unusual party games, including the time-honored sport of Madagascar Cockroach Racing. Every participant receives special race money that can be used to purchase one of six cockroaches. Other participants bet for the players and cockroaches they like the most and watch the competition on the big 4.5 x 1.5 meter table. — Jacob Wheeler

Support Lynne Stewart
Lynne Stewart needs your help. The embattled lawyer is charged with terrorism for helping her client, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, communicate from prison with what prosecutors say are his terrorist followers. Abdel-Rahman was convicted of encouraging bombings in the United States. The terrorism charges against Stewart were dismissed last July. Instead of appealing the decision, the U.S. Justice Department filed a superseding indictment and Stewart again faces up to 40 years in prison. The trial begins Monday, June 21. — Jacob Wheeler

Gypsies Get a Voice in the EU
By Staff, The Age
Eastern Europe’s wandering Gypsies may finally have someone who can fight for their rights as equal citizens. Hungarians elected former radio announcer-turned-anthropologist Livia Jaroka to the European Parliament — the first ‘Roma’ to sit in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Jaroka pledges to put the concerns of Hungarian Gypsies on the European political agenda. ‘Unemployment remains the biggest problem, but we must also urgently do away with Gypsy slums and improve access to education,’ said Ms. Jaroka, who is finishing her doctorate at University College, London. — Jacob Wheeler

Like Water for Profit
By Hillary Lindsay, The Dominion
Rudolph Amenga-Atego won the Goldman Prize for, as Hillary Lindsay puts it, ‘his struggle to secure safe and affordable drinking water for the people of Ghana,’ a West African country that subsidizes the cost of water for its poor communities. But, like most developing countries, Ghana owes plenty of money to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and was forced to raise water rates by 95 percent in 2001 to help pay off that debt. Now Amanga-Atego is going to bat again to stop western policies from making Ghana’s rural poor go thirsty. — Jacob Wheeler

A Child’s ABCs of Terrorism
By Steve Perry, City Pages
OK, will someone please explain all this nonsense to me like I’m a child. ‘A is for Al Qaeda and amnesia. Are you old enough to remember when the war on terror was being fought against people who actually attacked us? … B is for Bush and Bin Laden. They hate each other, but they could never be the same without each other — just like lots of mommies and daddies!’ Ah yes, now I understand. — Jacob Wheeler

Bollywood Lesbians
By Mimi Hanaoka, InTheFray
Gays and lesbians are finally making inroads into the American television scene, with shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Boy Meets Boy, but the LGBT community is not doing so well in India, the true film capital of the world. Bollywood director Karan Razdan’s latest film, Girlfriend, about possessiveness and envy tearing apart a lesbian couple when one woman runs off with a man, prompted right-wing groups to protest a matinee screening in Bombay and set a theater on fire in Varanasi. — Jacob Wheeler

Comments? Story tips? Write a letter to the editor

Like this? Want more?Subscribe to Utne magazine

In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.