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  • The New York Times' Michael Wilson tells the sad story of how a woman murdered in Harlem was only identified 47 years later.

  • In NOW Toronto, Gelek Badheytsang writes about the complexities surrounding the visit of the 17th Karmapa to Tibetan-heavy Parkdale.

  • Novak Jankovic writes in MacLean's that there are real declines in the Toronto real estate market, but not enough to set a trend.

  • The Toronto Star's Jackie Hong reports that protecting Bluffer's Park from the waves of Lake Ontario could also wreck an east-end surfing haunt.

  • The National Post reports on how the Ontario NDP claims, probably correctly, that the Wynne Liberals are stealing their ideas. Good for them, I say.

  • Universe Today's Matt Williams notes a study reporting that life on Mars' surface is a much greater risk factor for cancer than previously thought.

  • Seth Miller argues that efficient electric cars will push Big Oil through the trauma of Big Coal in the 2020s.

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CBC News' Shane Ross describes the substantial and growing population of Buddhist nuns on Prince Edward Island. Clearly, things have changed since I have lived there.

Prince Edward Island is becoming home to a growing number of Buddhist nuns, who say the Island is a comfortable place for them to practise their spirituality.

Four years ago, 13 Buddhist nuns moved to the Island from Taiwan. Today, there are 134 at their home on the Uigg Road in eastern P.E.I.

In the next couple of years, they hope to attract about 100 more and move to a new building that will be modelled after a traditional Chinese temple.

"Canada has a great acceptance of different cultures and religions," said Yvonne, one of the nuns at what is called the Great Wisdom Buddhist Institute.

"It is a very good environment to practise and study here, that's why it will attract more nuns from other countries."

The majority are from Taiwan, but some are from Singapore, New Zealand, United States and Canada. The average age is 25.
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I shared Shane Ross' CBC report on my Facebook wall yesterday night, and the general reaction was one of amusement. I was told that many of the lobster fishermen will go back and retrieve the deposited lobsters themselves--apparently that sort of practice, the recovery of food animals released by Buddhist monks into the wild, is common in Southeast Asia, too--but the gesture counts, right?

More than 600 pounds of lucky lobsters were spared the pot Saturday, thanks to compassionate monks on Prince Edward Island.

The monks bought the lobsters from various places around the Island, said Venerable Dan of the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society in Little Sands.

On Saturday, they boarded a fishing boat and released them back into the ocean off the coast of Wood Islands.

"Hopefully, we can find a spot where there are no cages waiting for them," said Dan.

The purpose is to cultivate compassion not just for the lobsters, but for all beings, he said.
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CBC News' Sara Fraser reports on the decision of a Buddhist monastery in southeastern Prince Edward Island to hold an open house.

P.E.I.'s Buddhist monks are opening the doors wide for their biggest-ever open house this weekend at their monastery complex in Little Sands.

The Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society (GEBIS) has made the Island their home for the last eight years. They've built up a large compound of about a dozen buildings, which they've said is worth about $10 million, and still expanding. Hundreds of Asian monks study there year-round.

"This is just a way for us to make personal connections with Islanders," said Venerable Dan, GEBIS public affairs spokesperson.

"This weekend, the Mother's Day weekend, will be a perfect opportunity for us to open the door and welcome Islanders and friends to come in and get to know more about us."

Islanders can tour the facilities, which include a prayer hall for up to 500 monks adorned with gold-plated Buddha statues, and living accommodations where the monks bunk in austere, 10-man rooms.

They'll also show off some of their traditional handwork including drawing and intricate, colourful sculpture created from butter.
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National Geographic's Laurel Neme writes about an interesting event in Sri Lanka.

During the past several years, I've watched country after country destroy their stockpiles of confiscated elephant ivory, preventing that ivory from somehow slipping back into the black market and symbolically demonstrating commitment to stopping the illegal trade.

But to my mind, something that’s always been missing is an apology: No country has ever formally said sorry for its complicity in the trade. Tomorrow Sri Lanka will hold a religious ceremony to do just that.

“We have to apologize,” said the Venerable Omalpe Sobitha Thero, the Buddhist priest who will lead the service. “Those elephants were victimized by the cruelty of certain people. But all of human society is responsible. We destroyed those innocent lives to take those tusks. We have to ask for pardon from them.”

Sri Lanka’s destruction of its ivory—the first by a country in South Asia—brings to 16 the total so far. (For the other countries, see the chart below.) The ivory will be crushed at an iconic oceanside park in the heart of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, then burned in a city incinerator.

The ivory—the country’s entire stockpile—came from a single shipment of 359 tusks, weighing 1.5 tons, seized by customs authorities at the Port of Colombo in May 2012. The shipment was in transit from Kenya to Dubai. DNA testing later showed that the tusks came from Tanzania.
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  • blogTO shares photos of Yonge and Dundas in the grimy 1970s.

  • The Big Picture shares photos from a Tibetan Buddhist assembly.

  • Crooked Timber shares a photo of Bristol's floating bridge.

  • The Dragon's Gaze reports on an estimate of the number of extraterrestrial technological civilizations.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes an atlas of drought in Europe.

  • Geocurrents examines the fallacy of environmental determinism.

  • Joe. My. God. notes how open travel between the European Union and Ukraine has been endangered by the failure to protect gay employment.

  • Language Hat links to an essay by a feminist talking about what it is like to live in a language environment, that of Hebrew, where everything is gendered.

  • Language Log engages with fax usage in Japan and notes rare characters in Taiwan.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the plight of the dying steel town, all the worse because it was evitable.

  • Marginal Revolution has a bizarre defense of Ben Carson.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog and Window on Eurasia report on a rectification of the Russian-Chinese frontier.

  • Window on Eurasia is critical of village values in Russia, and notes the return of ISIS fighters to Azerbaijan.

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Anthropologist Ben Joffe has an interesting post at Savage Minds about Tibetan singing bowls. Positioned to a largely Western audience as meditation aids, Joffe argues that these are not traditional Tibetan cultural elements. It may well be that enterprising merchants repurposed traditional eating bowls. (That this works nonetheless is a minor joy for the bowls' users.)

[T]he claim that metallic bowls have been used by Tibetan Buddhist monastics for centuries as musical instruments and ritual tools would seem to be widely accepted and generally known. To be sure, metal bowls and strikers of all shapes and sizes grace Tibetan refugee stalls, curio shops and New Age boutiques the world over. Here in McLeod Ganj, India, the Tibetan capital-in-exile, you can’t swing a prayer wheel without hitting a singing bowl for sale. A significant industry exists around the power of the bowls, and singing bowl sound healing masters today provide treatments, offer workshops, record CDs, and conduct live performances in countries all over the world. The association of resonant bowls with spirituality, and with Tibetan and/or Buddhist spirituality in particular, would seem to be firmly established.

As it turns out though, singing bowls’ supposed antiquity and Tibetan-ness is rather contentious. Academic consensus is that the ‘Tibetan’ singing bowl is a thoroughly modern and Western invention, and that singing bowls are really not Tibetan at all. Perhaps the easiest way to appreciate this (to return to my earlier Dad joke) is by noting that while there is indeed a Tibetan term for both standing and hand-held prayer wheels (maNi ‘khor lo/lag ‘khor) no specific term for ‘singing bowl’ exists in Tibetan. Standing or ‘resting’ bells – unsuspended bells that face upwards and which lack an interior clapper – exist throughout Buddhist Asia and have often served as temple gongs and as devices for marking the break between sessions in ritual or meditative activities (the Tibetan ritual bell or dril bu, a fixture of tantric Buddhist rites, often serves a similiar function). Tibetans have made various kinds of bowls (phor pa) for centuries, which they have used for storage, eating and drinking, and as containers for offerings on altars. Tibetans also make use of a number of traditional musical instruments for both religious and recreational purposes, and in both monastic and non-monastic ritual contexts the chanting of prayers and mantras is accompanied by the chiming, clashing, blasting, and beating of a vast array of specially-designed ritual instruments. Yet, as historian of Tibet Tsering Shakya has confirmed in no uncertain terms, there remains no credible historical evidence for Tibetans ever having used ‘resonating’ metallic bowls in any way that resembles how they are employed by self-avowed sound and ‘vibrational’ healers today.

So where does the idea of singing bowls’ Tibetan-ness come from then? Singing bowls don’t even get a mention in either Donald Lopez or Peter Bishop’s classic treatments of Tibet in the Western imagination. The bowls do however appear in Martin Brauen’s comprehensive survey of Western fantasies about Tibet, ‘Dreamworld Tibet/Western Illusions’ (2004). In contrast to the meticulous detail with which Brauen traces the origins of a host of other fantastical things connected to Tibet though, his comments on singing bowls are surprisingly brief and vague[.]
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  • blogTO looks at atypically-named TTC subway stations, the ones named not after streets.

  • Centauri Dreams examines the protoplanetary disk of AU Microscopii.

  • The Dragon's Tales looks at China's nuclear submarine issues.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog examines the intersections between game theory and water shortages.

  • Far Outliers notes the travails of Buddhism in Buryatia and the decline of Russia's Old Believers.

  • Geocurrents looks at rural-urban--potentially ethnic--divides in Catalonia.

  • Savage Minds examines controversies over tantra in contemporary Tibetan Buddhism.

  • Torontoist notes that the TCHC is only now investing in energy-saving repairs.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests contemporary Syria could have been Ukraine had Yanukovich been stronger, notes Belarusian opposition to a Russian military base, and notes discontent among Russia's largely Sunni Muslims with the alliance with Iran and Syria.

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Savage Minds has a guest post from anthropologist Ben Joffe, talking about the ways in which the conflict in the Tibetan Buddhist community between worshippers of the Dorje Shugden and followers of the Dalai Lama has been co-opted by Western converts. I don't necessarily agree with this--as Joffe himself notes, there are serious complaints to be had with the Dalai Lama's policy towards this minority sect and its practitioners--but it's an interesting viewpoint.

In November of last year, the fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso completed an extensive lecture tour of the USA. Of the thousands who showed up for the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s talks, one group arrived without fail to each of his events: crowds of mostly white protestors in Tibetan robes who came to boycott the religious leader. Brandishing placards and shouting slogans, they accused the Dalai Lama of being a hypocrite, a liar and a denier of religious freedom. Calling the leader ‘the worst dictator in this modern day’ and a ‘false Dalai Lama’, the demonstrators seemed to be channelling the most zealous of Chinese Communist Party ideologues. Yet these were no party cadres. Rather, they were converts to the Dalai Lama’s own school of Tibetan Buddhism. As representatives of the ‘International Shugden Community’ (ISC), the protesters came to highlight their grievances over the Dalai Lama’s opposition to a Tibetan deity known as Dorje Shugden, and the discrimination and human rights violations they claim the religious leader’s rejection of this being and its followers has engendered.

The ISC is a major mouth-piece for the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT), a sect of almost exclusively non-Tibetan converts to Tibetan Buddhism that currently spearheads the global pro-Shugden, anti-Dalai Lama agenda. On the surface, the NKT’s almost two decades-long global campaign against the Dalai Lama and his supporters – that is, the overwhelming majority of the ethnic Tibetan and Tibetan Buddhist global population – appears to be primarily about a dispute hinging on opposing theological positions within a single tradition. The Dalai Lama believes that Dorje Shugden is a dangerous demon masquerading as a benign deity, the NKT believes that the being is a bona fide Buddha. What I want to argue here is that the controversy, and specifically NKT’s involvement in it, points as well to the politics of race, appropriation, and privilege involved in conversion and new religious movements, and highlights ongoing tensions between ethno-nationalist and universalist impulses in the globalization of Tibetan Buddhism and culture.

The Dalai Lama and NKT converts are all members of the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism, in which at least since the 19th century, Dorje Shugden has been seen by some practitioners as a particularly potent ‘protector’ (in Tibetan Buddhism protectors are powerful, yet ferocious, egotistical spirits that have been ritually converted into defenders Buddhism). Although the Dalai Lama is technically not the highest spiritual authority in the Geluk school, his line’s historical political leadership of Tibet has made him one of the school’s most prominent figures. His dual role as a national leader and sectarian authority, however, has generated some tension, and historically the Dalai Lamas’ more inclusive, nationally orientated policies have clashed with the narrower sectarian priorities of some Gelukpa elites. Himself once a Shugden propitiator in accordance with his Geluk education in Tibet, the current Dalai Lama began to voice reservations about the spirit in the 1970s. Shugden’s reputation for ruthlessly punishing (and assassinating) prominent Gelukpa practitioners who engage with teachings from other schools has made the spirit iconic of a certain brand of Geluk supremacism. Such bias is in fundamental conflict with the Dalai Lama’s particularly non-sectarian vision of Tibetan Buddhism and a Tibetan nation in exile. Thus, to protect himself and the Tibetan people from what he sees as a dangerous demon, the Dalai Lama has prohibited those with ritual commitments to the spirit from attending any of his teachings, and has purged exile monastic and government posts of anyone associated with the being.

[. . .]

NKT members have made their quarantine into something of a virtue. NKT converts claim Tibetans have become too worldly and politically-focused to be worthy of functioning as custodians of pure Buddhist teachings. Though inji monks and nuns entering the NKT rely on a Tibetan guru, adopt Tibetan names, wear traditional robes and preserve lineage practices hailing from Tibet, any direct engagement with Tibetan politics or culture is denounced as retrogressive and unnecessary. The NKT’s philosophy is one of ‘one lama, one yidam (meditational deity), one protector’ in reference to their sole reliance on Kelsang Gyatso and his particular teachings, a stance distinctly odds with how Tibetan Buddhism has historically been practiced. Today, the NKT curriculum is based exclusively on Kelsang Gyatso’s texts, and ritual activity and teaching in NKT centres worldwide happens pretty much entirely in languages other than Tibetan.
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Johannes Nugroho's Open Democracy article examining the increasingly negative reaction to the suppression, by the Tibetan government-in-exile under the Dalai Lama, of the Shugden sect outlines interesting things. My skepticism about freedom of religion (and other freedoms) of an independent Tibet under the current leadership seems justified, for instance, while Nugroho's argument that this reveals a serious clash between Tibetan adepts and Western converts also seems sound.

More significantly, it is the western Shugden devotees who spearheaded the campaign to pressure the Dalai Lama to stop discouraging Tibetan Buddhists from worshipping Shugden. The official discouragement against the deity took place in the 1970s. In 1996, the Tibetan Parliament in exile went further and passed a resolution against the employment of Shugden practitioners in government departments.

Western Shugden activists claim that within the Tibetan community in India, Shugden devotees are discriminated against, and prevented by ordinary people from entering shops and denied hospital services. However, the Central Tibetan Administration counters that the ill-treatment of Shugden practitioners is a spontaneous act by the people, not an official government policy.

Tibetologist Thierry Dodin, while agreeing that Tibetan Shugden followers are “shunned by the community”, said in an interview in May that the shunning takes place “for no other reason than the fact that they themselves choose to live in groups largely cut off from the rest of the community.”

Judging from various interviews with the media, the ostracized Tibetan Shugden followers living under the jurisdiction of the CTA, while bemoaning their fate, have so far failed to organize themselves into an activist group in their own defence.

The opposite is the case, however, with their western counterparts. There is undeniably a great difference in cultural values between Tibetan Buddhists who grew up within their community in India and the western converts who were raised with liberal western values.
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The Dunes Gallery: Bird on a Buddha


I wish that I had a sharper picture of this corvid--probably a crow--neatly perched on top of a Buddha statue's head, but this is the sharpest of the several I got.

The photo opportunity was obvious: a crow, representative of a group of birds not only known for their wisdom in folklore and myth but actually proven by modern science to be quite remarkably intelligent, sitting neatly on the top of an icon from a religion known for wise contemplation?

Now if only I could think of a cute line of meme-worthy text to superimpose on the image. Any suggestions?
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  • City of Brass' Aziz Poonawalla takes issue with Muslims who have issues with Valentine's Day. What's wrong with celebrating love?

  • Discover's D-Brief notes the new official survey of Jupiter's largest moon, Ganymede.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes a study from China suggesting that while reforested areas are cooler in daytime, they are also warmer at night.

  • Eastern Approaches notes that coalition politics in the Czech Republic mean that country's post-Communist lustration laws won't be revised.

  • Language Log notes the utter failure of an app supposed to make its users write like Hemingway (it doesn't like Hemingway's writing) and observes just how recently passed comedian Sid Caesar was able to learn his famed double-talk.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer observes turbulence in Argentina's oil sector.

  • Supernova Condensate commemorates the Valentine's Day gamma-ray burst of 1990.

  • Torontoist notes another Rob Ford conflict of interest, this time involving fundraising in 2011.

  • Towleroad traces the background behind Nigeria's anti-gay law.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy maps the liberalization of gun laws across the United States.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that, of the three traditionally Buddhist minorities of Russia, the Buryats have gone furthest towards a revival--the more shamanistic Tuvans and the Stalin-deported Kalmyks have further to go.

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  • Bad Astronomy's Phil Plait approves of the names of Pluto's two most recently-discovered moons, Kereberos and Styx.

  • Beyond the Beyond's Bruce Sterling observes that Altavista is set to disappear from the Internet as of the 8th.

  • Daniel Drezner notes that the inability of Edward Snowden to find a country to grant him, buster of state secrets, asylum demonstrates that states around the world like keeping their prerogatives and secrets intact.

  • Commemorating the accession of Croatia to the European Union, Eastern Approaches visits a Dubrovnik that is virtually an enclave on account of the Bosnian frontier, and, at the other end of the Croatian arc, a Vukovar still caught up by ethnic conflict and the legacies of the Serb war in Slavonia.

  • Far Outliers notes the decline of immigrant Japanese Buddhism in Hawaii.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer explains why Uruguay, contrary to the wishes of many Argentines including--apparently--the president, is a country separate from Argentina.

  • Registan approves of alumnus Sarah Kendzior's examination of the plight of Uzbek migrants, stigmatized by the Karimov dictatorship as lazy for trying to earn a living and forced to witness the victimization of their relatives if they do anything wrong.

  • Savage Minds quotes from Umberto Eco's definition of fascism.

  • The Tin Man celebrates, as a coupled American gay man, the end of DOMA.

  • Torontoist reports that much of the controversy over the Walmart on the fringes of Kensington Market might be--according to the designer--a consequence of a lack of understanding of the design.

  • Van Waffle reports on highlights of his 2012 breeding bird survey.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell reports on David Goodhart's still-dodgy use of statistics.

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  • The Dragon's Tales' Will Baird speculates that life on Mars, which plausibly got started earlier thanks to quicker cooling, was devastated by multiple devastating impacts.

  • Far Outliers' Joel examines the 11th century of Constantinople and Venice, a relationship that was shifting as Venice gained strength.

  • Geocurrents takes a look at religious diversity in Ethiopia, making the interesting point that in addition to Christian-Muslim conflict there is also conflict between Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and Protestants.

  • The Inuit Bikini Monster notes that a cat in Mexico is running for a mayoral position.

  • John Moyer makes the point that fantasy literature isn't necessarily escapist, not least because terrible things happen.

  • Language Hat notes that, for plausible and understandable reasons, the phrase "a sight for sore eyes" is starting to refer to something bad.

  • Marginal Revolution wonders whether traditional dress in the Gulf States is a marker of identity, and to what extent.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer thinks that Edward Snowden made a good choice by seeking refuge in Ecuador, a sufficiently democratic and low-crime Latin American polity.

  • Torontoist notes that Toronto city police is trying to work on improving the relationship with Somali-Canadians after the recent raid.

  • Towleroad notes that late gay writer John Preston has given the Maine city of Portland a new slogan.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy talks about rising nationalism among Burmese Buddhists. Sadly, many commenters talk about how Muslims must be controlled.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the ongoing demographic issues of Russia and Belarus.
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  • Beyond the Beyond's Bruce Sterling notes the latest appearance of glamourous Russian spy Anna Chapman, this time on the red carpet in Moscow next to Brad Pitt.

  • Daniel Drezner observes that the global reaction to the Federal Reserve's statements on quantitative easing indicates that the United States is still the dominant economic hegemon.

  • Joe. My. God. shares maps of storm evacuation zones in New York City.

  • Language Hat starts a discussion about the paucity of Chinese loan words in English.

  • Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money talks about how illegal marijuana farming in the Pacific Northwest is a significant threat to the environment, all the more so because it is unregulated.

  • Speed River Journal's Van Waffle is celebrating the summer solstice by taking part in an international Breeding Bird Survey.

  • Also at the Speed River Journal, guest blogger Mike Lepage writes about how construction and development in west-end Guelph is threatening bird habitat.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy deals with the recent American court ruling determining that the federal government cannot necessarily require donor groups to endorse certain views to get funding (originally, started by anti-HIV groups which were also required to oppose prostitution).

  • Window on Eurasia notes that Buddhists and Orthodox Christians in the Russian autonomous republic of Tuva have set up an interfaith council to try to manage ethnic conflict.

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  • Crooked Timber's Tedra Osell gives a very positive review of a monograph by Ari Kelman describing the long, complicated process of memorializing the United States' Sand Creek Massacre of Cheyenne and Arapaho in 1864.

  • Daniel Drezner thinks that arguments the liberal world order hasn't been working well post-2008 are wrong, not least because they rest on the assumption that things were going well before then.

  • Eastern Approaches notes that political cohabitation in Georgia between President Mikheil Saakashvili and new Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and the Georgian Dream opposition isn't working because the two sides are so divided on, well, everything.

  • GNXP's Razib Khan argues that lifting China's one-child policy wouldn't change fertility rates, which a) were declining before the policy's imposition and b) are now as low as elsewhere in East Asia.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer writes about the Chavez-era changes to the Venezuelan military. His take? In general, these reforms, which include the entrenchment of a popular militia with links to Chavez's revolutionary institutions and efforts at conscription, are confused.

  • Torontoist's Chris Riddell notes the multiple failed plans before the final, successful, 2006 plan to transform the Don Valley Brick Works into something.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy's Orin Kerr, who on the Aaron Swartz case has generally been critical of the arguments made by his supporters, recommends to his readers the long articles he thinks provide the best overviews on the case. Controversy ensues in the comments and on Twitter.

  • Window on Eurasia reports on the resurgence of Buddhism in Russia, especially in the traditionally Buddhist republics of Kalmykia and Buryatia, and its implications on links with Mongolia.

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  • Crooked Timber has two posts on David Cameron's announcement of a referendum, hopefully, on British membership in the European Union, to be held in a few years.

  • Eastern Approaches had two posts on the recent Czech election, noting that the defeated candidate, Prince Schwarzenberg, was hobbled as much by his German associations as by his links to the previous government.

  • Far Outliers notes the Americanization of Buddhism, and of the Japanese-Americans who practiced it, in post-Second World War Hawai'i.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money's Dave Brockington also comments on Britain's relationship with the European Union.

  • Norman Geras notes the hatred of Mali's insurgents for music.

  • Registan's Nathan Hamm warns that a post-Karimov Uzbekistan might intervene on behalf of Uzbek minorities in neighbouring states.

  • Torontoist posted an excerpt from Edward Keenan's new book about Toronto, Some Great Idea.
  • Might Iran buy water from Tajikistan? Windows on Eurasia notes the statement of interest.

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There has been a second attack on a Sinhalese Buddhist temple in Toronto, a half-year after the first one in the immediate aftermath of the Tamil Tigers' defeat.

An early morning fire that damaged a Buddhist temple used by Toronto’s Sri Lankan community for the second time in six months has been classified as an arson.

Toronto police have increased patrols in the area and are consulting with the hate crimes unit after flames engulfed part of the building at around 2 a.m. on Friday.

There were no injuries.

While police have not yet made any arrests, investigators are almost certainly examining whether the attack was connected to the Tamil nationalist conflict in Sri Lanka.

The Tamil Tigers rebels fought a three-decade civil war for independence for Sri Lanka’s ethnic Tamil minority until May, when government forces wiped out the guerrillas.

Despite the end of the fighting, some expatriate Tamils have continued to agitate for independence. In Toronto on Wednesday, a Tamil activist gave a fiery speech that urged violence against the Sinhalese Buddhists who make up the majority in Sri Lanka. Following his talk, he was arrested and threatened with deportation unless he left Canada on his own.

The temple attack occurred on Tamil “heroes’ day,” the birthday of the deceased leader of the Tamil Tigers, when Tamil nationalists commemorate fallen rebels.

The Maha Vihara Temple was founded in 1978 by Sri Lankans, who practice the Theravada tradition of Buddhism. The same temple was torched in May but no arrests were made.
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  • Acts of Minor Treasons' Andrew Barton blogs about the power problems of Iqaluit, capital of the Arctic territory of Nunavut, as symptomatic of Canada's neglect of the north and wonders if a compact nuclear reactor might be a good solution.

  • Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow reproduces part of a 1965 IKEA catalogue.

  • At Broadsides, Antonia Zerbisias blogs about how anti-choice activists have consistently lied about so-called "abortion trauma syndrome."

  • Centauri Dreams speculates as to the possibility of whether or not a brown dwarf--briefly, a massive object heavier than a planet but not heavy enough to become a star--lies close to Earth. The blog also reports on speculation that stars with massive planets may have evolved nearer to the galactic core than others.

  • Will Baird reports that fog has been found on Titan, suggesting the recycling of liquid in Titan's atmosphere in a model very similar to the water cycle on Earth.

  • Far Outliers mentions intra-Buddhist civil war in late medieval/early modern Japan.

  • Hunting Monsters suggests that British relatives of the dead in the Lockerbie disaster seem to be reacting to the convicted Libyan al-Megrahi's release less negatively than their American counterparts because they're aware of questions over the official conclusions and because they know about many wrongful prosecution cases at home.

  • Joe. My. God reports on new studies which report that, in the United States, gay/bi men contract HIV at 50 times the rate of the general population.

  • Marginal Revolution rehearses the ancient debate as to whether Americans or Europeans live better and more prosperous lives.

  • Noel Maurer wonders why the Mexican government's response to the recession is to cut spending, rather than increase it in good counter-cyclical manner. Also, he has questions about Canadian oil taxes.

  • Slap Upside the Head blogs about how a Minnesota pastor blames a recent tornado in that state on same-sex blessings.

  • Towleroad reports that Uruguay, already one of the most GLBT-friendly countries in South America, is about to legalize gay adoption.

  • The Vanity Press' Chet Scoville writes about the disconnection of so many right-wingers in the United States with reality. Death panels indeed!

  • Window on Eurasia suggests that Medvedev is referring to Ukraine as--roughly speaking--"the" Ukraine as opposed to Ukraine, I think, perhaps suggesting a certain tension regarding Ukrainian nationhood.

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