February 08, 2008

Biofuels, Baptists, Rambo, Thaksin, and Shanghai

Well, nothing's simple in this world. Depressing new research seems to indicate biofuels may be worse for the earth than fossil fuels.

An American Baptist Delegation is going to visit Burmese refugee camps in Thailand.

The film Hmyaw-lint-gyin-myar-swar (With Much Hope) about people living with HIV, won Burma's top film honors. Burma's very old movie industry has fallen on hard times. Meanwhile, a film that will win no awards, Rambo IV, has some Burmese, who risk jail to see it, confused:

While cinemas are prevented from showing the film, the downloaded version - burned onto DVDs - is being passed around by groups of trusted friends. “Some of the video rental shops have put up a sign that reads ‘ We don't have a copy of Rambo 4 released in USA on January 25’, as many people continue to ask for it,” one Rangoon resident told the Indian-based website Mizzima.

Stallone’s fourth adventure as the action hero was shot along the Thai-Burmese border and features the Vietnam War veteran coming out of retirement to rescue Christian missionaries abducted by the authorities while supplying supplies to the ethnic Karen, who have long been the victims of clashes and attacks from government troops.

While political activists both inside and outside of Burma have celebrated the film for revealing the brutality of the junta, the Rangoon resident said that many people were confused as to whether the film was fictional or portrayed genuine events.

This must mean the junta's press censorship is pretty effective. Rambo's previous adventure took him to Afghanistan to help the heroic mujahideen battle the dastardly Soviets.

Former Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra will return to the country he was turned out of by the military in a coup in September 2006. Thaksin has been in exile in England where he purchased the Manchester City football club. And the political ban on Thaksin and his party in Thailand may be lifted within the next two years. The current PM is said to have a good relationship with Thaksin.

China has had an odd year weatherwise. While last year was the warmest on record for Shanghai this January brought uncharacteristically fierce winter storms and record-setting cold to much of the country, including Shanghai.

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