Swedish yogurt + picture of Greek + say he’s a Turk = £175,000

A Swedish dairy has paid out over £175,000 in compensation to a Greek man whose picture was used to promote a popular Turkish yoghurt brand.

The 77-year-old man, who was angry at being portrayed as a Turk, the traditional national enemy of Greeks, originally demanded £4.5 million in damages for the use, without permission, of his image.

His photograph, with distinctive long moustache, red hat and traditional Greek dress, has been used on millions of yoghurt tubs marketed as a Turkish-style product…

The Greek found out that his picture was being used to sell Turkish-style yoghurts after a friend, a fellow countryman, recognised his face on supermarket shelves in Stockholm.

In his legal writ in April, the man, who has not been named, argued that he is not Turkish and that the use his picture was misleading both for those who know him and for buyers of the yoghurt.

Here in the USA, you can charge more for your yogurt if you claim it’s Greek – or Bulgarian.

But – it’s always heartwarming to see crap lawsuits aren’t limited to my neck of the prairie.

Unmanned combat plane prototype

The Ministry of Defence has unveiled its prototype unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV)…

Defence Minister Gerald Howarth said it was a “truly trailblazing project” and featured “the best of our nation’s advanced design and technology”. The aircraft is due to begin flight trials early next year.

Named after the Celtic god of thunder, Taranis is the first step in the development of unmanned strike aircraft, capable of penetrating enemy territory. Unmanned aircraft carrying weapons are already used in service, such as the MQ-1 Predator which carries Hellfire missiles, although these are only suitable for use where the airspace is under allied control.

This is the next generation of combat aircraft and flight trials will begin next year,” Sqn Ldr Bruno Wood told BBC News. “It’s a technology demonstrator that could be used as a testbed which may form further potential solutions to the RAF,” he added.

The issue of “writing the pilot” out of the aircraft equation has long been a controversial topic, more so since the first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) went into active service…

Peter Felstead, editor of Jane’s Defence Weekly, told BBC News that the development of UAVs paralleled the development of the first manned aircraft during World War I.

“First they were used for reconnaissance, then they were armed for bombing and ground attack missions and they eventually became air-to-air combat craft,” he said.

“This is the first step for the UK. This isn’t an aircraft that will go into service, it’s a tech demo, but it will prove technologies, demonstrate capabilities and inform the direction we [the UK] are going in.”

They might have called it the Terminator, eh? We know how they turned out.

Wonder what DARPA is doing down this alley?

Seminary opts for Generic clergy flavors

Meadville Lombard Theological School, a Unitarian Universalist seminary in Hyde Park, Chicago, hopes to join Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Catholic and Protestant institutions to train clergy together, including offering some shared courses where there is common ground…

Leaders say the interreligious approach heralds the future of theological education and could save financially strapped seminaries nationwide.

We live in an era when religious tribalism affects us every day,” said the Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association. “We need to learn to appreciate the traditions out of which we come and to live in an atmosphere of acceptance that goes way beyond tolerance. A seminary like this can help lead the way.”

Claremont School of Theology, a historically Methodist seminary in California, announced last month that it would add clerical training for Muslims and Jews to its curriculum this fall. Meadville Lombard and Andover Newton estimate it will take about a year to roll out its multifaith vision.

Although there are other seminaries that accept students of multiple faiths — Catholic Theological Union in Hyde Park offers a master’s in theology with a concentration on interfaith dialogue — the new model is part of an effort to train students who will go on to serve as clergy of their own religious communities in the context of a diverse religious landscape.

It also demonstrates a growing awareness of the role religious differences play in global diplomacy.

What it really demonstrates is the failure of superstition to maintain itself in the face of splintering fundamentalism, ever-diminishing funds dividing the pie between more greedy little sects. And, perish the thought – a world where reason and science are beginning to overwhelm the remaining bastions of 19th Century religious ideology.

It may not feel like it in the several bible-thumping corners of American society still dependent on religion to replace education and thought in day-to-day life. But, that particular quackery also continues to shrink.

It’s a chuckle to watch this last ditch marketing hustle work its way through the system.

It’s like watching all the TV commercials switching over to Australian accents. Har!

United States admits Iroquois passports legit – UPDATED


Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

A spokeswoman for the Iroquois lacrosse team says the U.S. government has agreed to allow the team to travel abroad under passports issued by the Iroquois Confederacy.

Tonya Gonnella Frichner, a member of the Onondaga Nation who works with the team, says the U.S. State Department dropped a demand that the team travel using higher-security U.S. passports…

The team needs to get on a Wednesday flight to make a Thursday evening game in the World Championships.

The players say being forced to accept U.S. passports would be an attack on their identity…

The Iroquois Nationals executive director Percy Abrams said he believed they would make it to the World Lacrosse Championships in Manchester, where they are set to play the England team tomorrow evening…

The match, he said, was “the equivalent to the World Cup” of lacrosse and they would not give in to travel requirements from US authorities.

He added, “The general consensus is that the Iroquois are the inventors of the game and it would be like having the Olympics in Greece and not having the Greeks there.”

Anyone surprised at [1] the intransigence of TSA flunkies; [2] our State Department having to be pressed to recognize treaty rights of Native Americans; [3] bureaucrats issuing regulations without the least thought for law or existing international treaties.

BTW, the World Championships would not recognize the Iroquois Nation team unless they entered under the passports of their own sovereign nation.

UPDATE: As of Thursday morning, the Brits are proving to be as reactionary, hidebound and incompetent as the TSA. They are refusing to accept Secretary Clinton’s official guarantee of status for the Iroquois team as sufficient to grant visas.

A flock of ignorant gits.

Credit Suisse offices raided by German tax officials


Daylife/Reuters Pictures

German prosecutors have raided 13 branches of the Swiss bank Credit Suisse in connection with an inquiry into tax fraud.

The prosecutor’s office in Dusseldorf said on Wednesday that about 150 investigators took part in searches. The search is focusing on allegations that bank staff assisted clients to evade taxes.

Tax officials bought a CD in February that reportedly contained information on about 1,100 wealthy Germans…The data contained information that led prosecutors to believe that some 1.2bn euros of undeclared income was stashed in the Swiss accounts by the 1,100 people.

Investigations were launched into the individuals, but now officials have turned their attention to bank staff for allegedly aiding and abetting customers to avoid taxes.

Oops. That will give low and mid-level managers second thoughts about aiding and abetting.

Top-level cronies and beancounters could care less about legality; but, having a good gig and chock-full-o-greens income doesn’t always compensate for the opportunity to spend some time in the slammer.

More poor people in India than Africa

Eight Indian states account for more poor people than in the 26 poorest African countries combined, a new measure of global poverty has found.

The Indian states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, have 421 million “poor” people, the study found.

This is more than the 410 million poor in the poorest African countries, it said.

The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) measures a range of “deprivations” at household levels. Developed by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) with UN support, it will feature in the upcoming UNDP Human Development Report.

The measure assess a number of “deprivations” in households – from education to health to assets and services.

Cripes. Nothing like being warned in advance of a study ready for publication – even more depressing than my current understanding of poverty in the world.

Chinese factories now compete for workers


Filling out applications at a sidewalk recruiting station

If Wang Jinyan, an unemployed factory worker with a middle school education, had a résumé, it might start out like this: “Objective: seeking well-paid, slow-paced assembly-line work in air-conditioned plant with Sundays off, free wireless Internet and washing machines in dormitory. Friendly boss a plus.”

As she eased her way along a gantlet of recruiters in this manufacturing megalopolis one recent afternoon, Ms. Wang, 25, was in no particular rush to find a job. An underwear company was offering subsidized meals and factory worker fashion shows. The maker of electric heaters promised seven-and-a-half-hour days. “If you’re good, you can work in quality control and won’t have to stand all day,” bragged a woman hawking jobs for a shoe manufacturer.

Ms. Wang flashed an unmistakable look of ennui and popped open an umbrella to shield her fair complexion from the South China sun. “They always make these jobs sound better than they really are,” she said, turning away. “Besides, I don’t do shoes. Can’t stand the smell of glue.”

Assertive, self-possessed workers like Ms. Wang have become a challenge for the industrial titans of the Pearl River Delta that once filled their mammoth workshops with an endless stream of pliant labor from China’s rural belly.

In recent months, as the country’s export-driven juggernaut has been revived and many migrants have found jobs closer to home, the balance of power in places like Zhongshan has shifted, forcing employers to compete for new workers — and to prevent seasoned ones from defecting to sweeter prospects.

The shortage has emboldened workers and inspired a spate of strikes in and around Zhongshan that paralyzed Honda’s Chinese operations last month. The unrest then spread to the northern city of Tianjin, where strikers briefly paralyzed production at a Toyota car plant and a Japanese-owned electronics factory.

Although the walkouts were quelled with higher salaries, factory owners and labor experts said that the strikes have driven home a looming reality that had been predicted by demographers: the supply of workers 16 to 24 years old has peaked and will drop by a third in the next 12 years, thanks to stringent family-planning policies that have sharply reduced China’s population growth…

The other new reality, perhaps harder to quantify, is this: young Chinese factory workers, raised in a country with rapidly rising expectations, are less willing to toil for long hours for appallingly low wages like dutiful automatons.

RTFA. Nothing surprising to someone who’s read any labor history. The distinct difference in China is that – no one is skipping any stages; but, time is compressed, the rate of change in every part of the socio-economic structure seems to happen overnight.

In the daily world of TV America, the funniest commentaries come from market analysts who worry over declining real estate prices and trends reversing the balance between production for export vs. production for domestic consumption in China. Which are primary goals of the government over the next five years.

It’s like the dweebs – usually on CNBC – who whine about Americans finally starting to save some of their family income instead of being dedicated consumers.