All Over The Road
Slowly but surely I am creating my web presence. I imagine it will take a lot of discipline to keep any blog up to date. And it probably takes a big ego to think that you have a something interesting to say every day. Well, let's hope I can find enough to keep talking - although talking to oneself is talent worth developing.
Click on the player below to listen to my selection of tunes from International Artists Company website while you browse - and support independent artists!!

Station at KIAC and

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hallucinogenic chocolates doom Berlin sweet shop

Psilocybe zapotecorum. Jalisco, Mexico.Image via Wikipedia

Hallucinogenic chocolates doom Berlin sweet shop
I always learn about things like this place too late - cancel my Berlin trip!

Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:10am BST

BERLIN (Reuters) - Police closed down a Berlin sweet shop after discovering the owner was selling chocolates and lollipops laced with hallucinogenic mushrooms and marijuana.

The 23-year old owner of the shop in the trendy east Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg, an area known for its vibrant night life, was taken into custody on suspicion of drug-dealing.

"In the shop we found 120 pieces of magic mushroom chocolate and countless cannabis lollipops," said police, who confiscated around 70 sachets containing various drugs, about 20 marijuana joints, a range of pills and some jars of drug-laced honey.

Police said one customer, who appeared intoxicated, was arrested after trying to buy a bag of hallucinogenic mushrooms from an officer in the shop.
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Two-thirds of Egyptian men harass women

Mahmoud Mokhtar's Egypt's Renaissance 1919-192...Image via Wikipedia

The sickening attitudes held by Egyptians to women are something else which doesn't surprise me having lived in Egypt on two occasions. The men there are. for the most part, quite simply disgusting when it comes to their treatment of women. A very tiny minority actually respect women. The rest pay lip service to respecting their wives, sisters and daughters but then degrade any other woman they meet.

Some try to blame their lack of morals on the secular government and claim that a sharia system would erase all evils. However, only 30 years ago, Egypt was a very western styled country. Women and men dressed in western clothes and mingled freely. AND there was far, far less immoral behaviour. Later generations (after the fall of Nassr) embraced Islam as their saviour - to the bafflement of their parents. As Egypt has become more and more religious, the morality of the population has degraded.

Censored films have convinced the male population that western women will sleep with any man who asks or pays her. Since everything from a kiss onward is cut out, the audiences see a man and a woman start to kiss and then, blank. So they assume that every movie kiss automatically leads to full on sex. One just needs to see the final minutes of the brilliant film, "Cinema Pardiso" to know that this is certainly not the case. But, even the educated Caireans I used to teach were convinced that western women were really that easy.

However, as the articles mentioned in here will tell you, both western and Egyptian, both veiled and skimply dressed women receive exactly the same treatment at the hands of men. And it is any surprise in a country where the leading Imams all claim that female gential mutiliation (aka circumsion) is the best solution because it reduces a woman's sexual drive and (ipso facto) then they will not lead men into temptation. My personal feeling is that the men should be castrated if they cannot control their appetites and leave the infant girls alone.

As demonstrated by the incident (link below) in 2006, it doesn't matter if they are Western woman scantily clad or native Egyptians completely veiled. Egyptians are horrified by the news that women have been assaulted by hordes of young men in the centre of the capital, Cairo.

To hear comments directly from Cairean women, see also:
Egypt voices: Sexual harassment

Egypt's sexual harassment 'cancer'

Experienced by 98% of foreign women visitors
Experienced by 83% of Egyptian women
62% of Egyptian men admitted harassing women
53% of Egyptian men blame women for 'bringing it on'
Source: Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights

Two-thirds of Egyptian men harass women
Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:03pm BST

CAIRO (Reuters) - Nearly two-thirds of Egyptian men admit to having sexually harassed women in the most populous Arab country, and a majority say women themselves are to blame for their maltreatment, a survey showed on Thursday.

The forms of harassment reported by Egyptian men, whose country attracts millions of foreign tourists each year, include touching or ogling women, shouting sexually explicit remarks, and exposing their genitals to women. "Sexual harassment has become an overwhelming and very real problem experienced by all women in Egyptian society, often on a daily basis," said the report by the Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights.

Egyptian women and female visitors frequently complain of persistent sexual harassment on Egyptian streets, despite the socially conservative nature of this traditional Muslim society.

The behaviour could have repercussions on Egypt's tourism industry, a major foreign income earner, with 98 percent of foreign women saying they had experienced harassment in the country, the survey said.

The survey of more than 2,000 Egyptian men and women and 109 foreign women said the vast majority of Egyptians believed that sexual harassment in Egypt was on the rise, citing a worsening economic situation and a lack of awareness or religious values.

It said 62 percent of Egyptian men reported perpetrating harassment, while 83 percent of Egyptian women reported having been sexually harassed. Nearly half of women said the abuse occurred daily.

Only 2.4 percent of Egyptian women reported it to the police, with most saying they did not believe anyone would help. Some feared reporting harassment would hurt their reputations.

"The vast majority of women did nothing when confronted with sexual harassment," the survey said, adding that most Egyptian women believed the victim should "remain silent".

Some 53 percent of men blamed women for bringing on sexual harassment, saying they enjoyed it or were dressed in a way deemed indecent. Some women agreed.

"Out of Egyptian women and men interviewed, most believe that women who wear tight clothes deserve to be harassed," the survey said. It added most agreed women should be home by 8 p.m.

The survey said most of the Egyptian women who told of being harassed said they were dressed conservatively, with the majority wearing the Islamic headscarf. The harassment took place on the streets or on public transport, as well as in tourist destinations and foreign educational institutions.

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Egypt wants antiquated taxis off its roads

CairoImage via Wikipedia

Egypt wants antiquated taxis off its roads
As one who has lived in Cairo in the past, it's taxis are thing of wonder. You wonder how they hold together and whether the wheels will fall off before you get to your destination.

Egypt wants antiquated taxis off its roads
Tue Aug 19, 2008 1:28pm BST

By Will Rasmussen

CAIRO (Reuters) - The Egyptian government wants Fawzi Zawar, 49, to give up his taxi. But Zawar, with a white moustache and white hair, is not about to let go of his 27-year-old South Korean Hyundai Pony.

Zawar earns 600 Egyptian pounds a month rattling through Cairo's streets in his vinyl-seat Pony, with its peeling white and black paint and no door handles, window knobs, or sun visors. That's more than he makes in his civil service day job.

Hyundai stopped producing the Pony some 20 years ago and now keeps one in a museum in Seoul. But Zawar's Pony is still running strong, battling the chaos on Cairo's roads and hauling tourists to the Pyramids on a good day.

"It only breaks down twice a week," Zawar says proudly. "I won't change it unless they force me."

Under a law passed earlier this year, the authorities will not renew the licences of any taxis older than 20 years, which may be the majority on the clogged, polluted streets of Cairo.

The fleet of Russian-made Lada 1300s, Cold War-era Romanian Dacia 1300s and Turkish Sahins may not rule the streets much longer in Cairo, where passengers pay what they wish for a ride in the meter-less contraptions.

"Taxis on the road have been operating 24 hours a day for 23 years, with two or three drivers each at one time," Deputy Interior Minister Major-General Sherif Gomaa, who oversees traffic, told Reuters. "Their suspension systems are destroyed, the steering wheels can separate from the steering shaft, and accidents happen, like falling into canals."


The drive to get rid of old taxis reflects a broader trend towards modernising consumer products in the most populous Arab country, where megamalls financed by Gulf Arab petrodollars are opening for the first time.

With economic growth at 7 percent a year, retailers, property developers, car makers and banks are posting record profits as Egyptians spend more, buying new products they once couldn't afford.

"You will see many of the older generation keeping their 20-year old stoves and refrigerators they bought when they got married," said Mena Sadek, analyst at Egyptian investment bank Beltone Financial. "But this is changing now."

The Egyptian government, which has overhauled its economy along free-market principles since 2004, says the taxis, besides causing crashes, break down so often they clog up roads, which is bad for business.

They also emit black clouds of smoke as they putter through the city, contributing to a layer of summer smog that settles over Cairo's skyline of minarets and apartment towers topped with satellite dishes.

"The traffic law has been overdue for a long time," said Simon Kitchen, an economist at Egypt's largest investment bank, EFG-Hermes. "There are a lot of very old vehicles on the road and that is a drag on economic performance."

But persuading the owners of Cairo's antiquities on wheels to turn over the keys may be a tricky matter in Egypt, where discontent is rising due to soaring food costs.

Thousands of government workers hit the streets at night to supplement meagre salaries by driving a cab in a country where about a fifth of the population lives on less than $1 a day.

"This is oppression," said Ahmed Saeed, 41, pounding the wheel of his 1972 Fiat 124. "They will slaughter us! How will I feed my kids?"

Saeed, a father of five, said he wouldn't be able to afford the 70,000 pounds he estimates he would need to buy a more modern car, even with a loan the government says it will give drivers to buy new cars.


The number of taxi drivers ballooned in the 1990s, when government decrees allowed any car to be converted into a taxi and permitted banks to give car loans, according to Khaled el-Khamissi, author of "Taxi", a 2006 book about Cairo cabbies.

Many of Egypt's unemployed took out a loan to buy a cab, swelling the number of taxis to about 80,000, Khamissi wrote.

Zawar bought his Pony in 1995 for 12,000 pounds, figuring his salary of 500 pounds per month from the Ministry of Social Solidarity would not be enough to support his five children.

Buying a new car, he says, wouldn't be a good idea because passengers would refuse to pay him any more money.

The new traffic law includes other measures, such as increasing fines for violating traffic rules and allowing the licensing of three-wheeled rickshaw taxis, known as tuktuks, used commonly in Asia.

It may take more than higher fines to change the behaviour of Cairo drivers, who obey traffic lights only when a policeman is present and wander from lane to lane without warning.

The penalties range up to 500-pound fines and even jail for offenses such as speeding, eating and drinking while driving, or having a baby in the front seat, a common practice.

"It won't work for sure," said Adil Abdel Rahman, 48, driver of a Soviet-era Lada. The police, he said, would likely target only the poor for fines, allowing the rich to dodge responsibility.

"Everyone plays with the law here," he said.
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AOR (All Over the Road) by dublinjames is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.