Sunday, July 31, 2005

"Gates of Peace" completed in Hiroshima

A monument called the Gates of Peace has been completed in Hiroshima, one week before the city marks the 60th anniversary of the world's first nuclear bombing.

The monument was designed by French artist Clara Halter and architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte.

It features 10 translucent nine-metre arches with the word "peace" inscribed in 49 languages.

The Gates of Peace stretches some 100-metres along a boulevard facing the Peace Memorial Park, which will be the main venue for commemorations of the August 6, 1945 nuclear attack.

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Friday, July 29, 2005

London: along Regent's Canal

History of Regent's Canal

London: Cactus about to flower

A friend of ours has a cactus which came to her on her 21st birthday as a 21 year old small pot plant.

Now it is very tall and shielded from London rain by an umbrella and a plastic mac.

And for the last couple of years it has flowered, as it will again soon (on the next full moon)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

London: Shoot-to-kill

Jean Charles de MenezesThe shoot-to-kill policy of the British Government is coming under more scrutiny after revelations that it's first victim, Jean Charles de Menezes, was innocent, while the first Scotland Yard statements about the killing were largely false and eagerly embroidered by a croney press.

Today The Independent reports:

A relative of the the first "shoot-to-kill" victim said "my cousin's action were neither suspect nor wrong. The police have told me that he did not jump the ticket barrier, but used his Travelcard in the usual way. They also told me that he was wearing a jeans jacket and was not carrying a bag."

Bianca Jagger, supporting the family in their quest for justice, said that the killing of Mr de Menzesez should perhaps be describes as an execution. "We cannot let a mistake like this happen again. The policy of shoot-to-kill should be questioned."

read more [wikipedia]

London: When will political life return to normality?

With good cause, the Prime Minister and other party leaders urge us to lead our lives as normal in spite of the attacks on London. Yet virtually the only people failing to heed this resolute advice are the political leaders themselves. Since 7 July, there has been a suspension of normal party politics and an outbreak of consensus.

In the aftermath of a terrorist attack, a symbolic unity across the political spectrum is understandable and, on one level, wholly desirable. Political leaders have a duty to unite in sending out clear messages of condemnation. But beyond these broad affirmations, consensus becomes a tame substitute for rigorous debate and scrutiny. There is a stifling assumption that to break the unity would be conceding ground to the terrorists.

A brief survey of radio phone-ins, letters pages and newspaper columns suggests that opinions on the new "shoot-to-kill" policy range widely. But political leaders and most MPs are not inclined to ask many questions. They should do so. A change in policing strategy in which one innocent person has already been killed is a legitimate topic for debate.

Monday, July 25, 2005

London: a stroll in the woods

Coldfall Wood has a website at

Sunday, July 24, 2005

London: Broadway market and picnic

After some great purchases of cheese, cake, eggs, bread and apple juice at Broadway Market it was off to meet up with family at Brockwell Park for a picnic and wander around another site of childhood memory

Brockwell Park still looks much the same with its Lido (swimming pool) and street names like Shakespeare Road and Effra Parade.

It has a lovely walled garden and even has its own website at

London: innocent Brazilian killed

After 24 hours of justification of their "shoot to kill" policy the police were forced to admit that the person they killed was entirely innocent.

The eyewitness accounts of the shooting that they had been attempting to rubbish proved to be true.

People were already describing the shooting as "an execution" while the Daily Express had a headline "shoot the terrorists". Today the Express reported.

"Family and friends of a Brazilian man shot dead by police said there was no reason to believe he was a suspect in the London bombings inquiry.

Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, was killed by officers on Friday morning as he tried to board a Tube train at Stockwell, south London.

Brazilian media reported that Mr Menezes was an electrician who had been living legally and working in England for three years. His body was identified by his cousin, Alex Alves Pereira, who also lives in London.

Mr Pereira said that his cousin had "nothing to hide to anyone".

"If he had a bomb with him they had to stop him before he got a bus or Tube. They had time to stop him and make sure. Instead they let him go to the tube and shoot him from behind," he said."

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Thursday, July 21, 2005

London: today's Independent

Those who took us to war in Iraq using every excuse they could dream up are still in denial about the mess they are responsible for.

They deny (indeed refuse to count) the civilian casualties from all their bombing, they deny they want the oil, they deny any connection between what they have done in Iraq with terrorism. This is the connection they seem most determined to deny.

How long can they keep up their denial of something that is so obvious to most around them?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

in Frankfurt

Just a brief stopover in Frankfurt to visit rellies. Spent a day and evening walking around with some help from trains and trams. We had a great time at the beach (ie next to the river Main), also testing the local cider!!

In the old part of the town in the cobbled square is a large brass plate in memory of authors whose books the Nazi burned in the town with the message : "they started off burning books and ended up burning people".

Frankfurt seeems to encourage bikes and roller blades. Apparently on Tuesday nights some streets are kept clear for hundreds of roller bladers!!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Hong Kong pavement art

Walking around Hong Kong you tend to look up and down as well as around. This is one example of municipal pavement art

This stencil, on the other hand was once on a wall, and then in a newspaper article about the artist.

Yum Cha at the Luk Yu

Yum Cha at the Luk Yu in Stanley St, Central is a must as you can see. It opens at 7.00am so it's ideal for breakfast.

one reviewer puts it this way....

"these delicate, bite-sized delights are Hong Kong’s traditional breakfast but are served here until dinnertime. As the waiters constantly refill your cup with narcissus tea, pick and choose from the steamer baskets: golden fried spring rolls, stuffed with a pork-vegetable mixture, the skin so crispy it flakes; dumplings that are big steamed white puffs of dough generously stuffed with sweet-tangy roasted pork; lotus leaves enclosing a savory, glutinous brown rice–and-meat filling; soft-skinned dumplings, fat with fish paste and drizzled with soy sauce; and the famous rich and tender spare ribs."

in Hong Kong

Just arrived in Hong Kong tonight

Foreign Correspondence Club
it's 33 deg here (yesterday in Katoomba it was 5!!!) so we are certainly warm enough, and our Ice House St hotel has ethernet so we can blog on as usual and were able to Skype Sydney and London...amazing

On the plane we read David Hare's article about his pay Stuff Happens here's a part of it...

"The power of theatre is its unpredictability, the strange alchemy of response that happens only when a group of people examine something together. It's a bad playwright who seeks to demand a particular reaction. Everyone knows that in performance unpleasant people may begin to acquire charm through energy. Good people may seem dull. It was interesting how often members of the audience came out of the show saying "Goodness, I never knew that." But even more often they emerged uneasy to have found their view of the leading players not quite the one they might have anticipated.

I admit I went into the writing of the play already doubting the received wisdom about Bush. I had never thought that an inability to handle language was quite the same thing as being stupid. If Bush was really that dumb, why has he come out of Iraq with a number of his policy goals achieved, even if at the most terrible cost? Bush's standing, at least with his own electorate, seems to have suffered nothing like the damage you might think it deserved, given the terrible scale of the killing and the shocking incompetence of the occupation

One way of looking at Stuff Happens is as the eternal story of how a supposedly stupid man can always get his way with a clever one - at least if he is cunning and ruthless enough. Yes, I do, as it happens, have a fresh take on the story. But that's not the point. Hytner observed at one packed matinee that it was theatre itself that was doing its job here; animating the themes of history, showing you the people and seeking, perhaps, some universal resonance beneath the particular narrative."
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Tuesday, July 05, 2005