Short Takes: News From All Over: September 9, 2004

China City Fights Environmental Trouble with Trees
By Scott Hillis, Reuters
‘Planting a tree in Lanzhou takes more effort than raising a child,’ says Zong Xiaoxu, director of the Chinese city’s forestation project that has planted enough trees to circle the world five times. The $80 million, five year project to stop erosion has been successful, though, helping alleviate the silt that clogs waterways and makes them more prone to flood. Though China still has numerous environmental problems to overcome, the efficacy of the Lanzhou project indicates that green ends can be achieved using green means. — Brendan Themes

Untranslatable Words
By Staff, openDemocracy
Sometimes, a word is just a word. But often, a word is a world in and of itself, providing insight into a culture that can’t be attained by any other means. So toss your dictionary in the river and learn about glas, pertu, taarof, and other words that don’t quite survive the trip outside their native language. — Brendan Themes

The Other Olympics
By Cal?, openDemocracy
While spectators in Athens were forbidden from bringing products that rivaled those of sponsors’ into the Olympic games and drugging scandals were on everyone’s lips, the Brazilian First Traditional Indian Games of Par? brought fourteen Indian tribes together for cultural solidarity and celebration of sport. This photo essay chronicles a 200-pound log relay race, traditional wrestling and dancing, and the struggle of threatened cultures to solidify their place in the world. — Brendan Themes

Make Trade Fair
By Staff, Oxfam International
Hey, what’s the Big Noise? The Big Noise is just the newest sound in Oxfam’s campaign to make trade fair. A petition that has been circulating worldwide has already generated more than 5,000 signatures. In April 2003, at the beginning of the campaign, over 10,000 people and 250 volunteers from Oxfam took to the streets of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, in the name of fair trade. Signatories are put in an email network through which they can protest fair trade violations quickly and forcefully. Take Nestle, which tried to take six million from the Zambian government. The corporation was bombarded by 50,000 emails from Big Noise members the next day. — Elizabeth Dwoskin

A Nation of Prisoners
By Gideon Levy, Tikkun
If for Israelis, the whole nation is an army, then the Palestinians are a nation of prisoners. Experience in both social institutions is seen as a source of value, forming links of identity between individuals and their larger respective cultures. And statistics are parallel too. According to the Addamir Prisoner Support Center, a Palestinian organization, since 1967 approximately 650,000 Palestinians have spent time in Israeli prisons, amounting to about 40 percent of all Palestinian males (including children and the elderly). Above a certain age it is difficult to meet Palestinian males who have not done time in an Israeli prison. There are not many households in the territories in which handicrafts by prisoners are not displayed, as a souvenir of the days in prison, like photos from the days of military service for Israelis. — Elizabeth Dwoskin

Nellie Bly, Undercover, Investigative Journalist
By Louise Bernikow, womensenews
In 1887, a time when women’s journalism was confined to domestic and cultural topics, Nellie Bly, the pseudonym of twenty-two-year-old Elizabeth Cochrane, took to the streets to battle the injustices of society. She was determined to go ‘undercover’ in a Pittsburgh factory, exposing child labor, low wages, and unfair working conditions. She was also able to fake her way into admittance in an asylum, exposing maltreatment there. With the exclusion of Joseph Pulitzer, most newspapers would not hire her even though her work had created a storm in New York City. — Elizabeth Dwoskin

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