Japanese pop star shaves head in apology -- for night with boyfriend
( The Guardian )

As pop star misdemeanours go, Minami Minegishi's was tame in the
extreme -- breaking her group's strict dating ban to spend a night
with her boyfriend.

Yet hours after a magazine published photographs of her leaving his
home last month, Minegishi, a member of the wildly popular girl band
AKB48, went on to YouTube to issue a tearful apology.

"As a senior member of the group, it is my responsibility to be a
role model for younger members," she said, before ending the four-
minute mea culpa with a deep, lingering bow.

The most striking thing about her apology, however, was her
appearance. She had shaved her head, a traditional act of contrition
in Japan, but perhaps a step too far for a 20-year-old woman whose
"crime" was to have found herself a boyfriend -- 19-year-old Alan
Shirahama, a dancer in a boyband.

Her dramatic gesture underlined the strict rules to which Japan's
young pop stars must adhere to project an image of unimpeachable

Minegishi is among the original members of the band, which since it
formed in 2005 has built up a huge following among teenage girls and
salarymen who flock to concerts and publicity events for the chance
to shake hands with their idols.

Together, the AKB48 stable has more than 230 members in their teens
and early 20s, with four main bands and several offshoots. Their act
is more saccharine than sexual, but the band has courted controversy
off-stage in the past year.


posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 日本 | このブログの読者になる |



Chug! Chug! Chug! Why More Women Are Binge Drinking
( TIME )

It’s not just fraternity brothers who are guzzling one beer too
many. Women and high school girls are equally likely to drink too much.

According to the latest survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 14 million U.S. women binge
drink about three times a month, downing about six beverages per
binge. The survey defined binge drinking as consuming five or more
drinks in one sitting for men and four or more for women.

It’s not unusual for young women ages 18 to 34, as well as high
schoolers, to overindulge; 1 in 8 women and 1 in 5 high school girls
report drinking to excess. But binge drinking accounts for about
23,000 deaths among women and girls in the U.S. each year.

Long bouts of drinking typical of binges can lead to unpleasant, not
to mention potentially dangerous, consequences for both men and
women. In her award-winning photography project “Keg Stand Queens,”
photographer Amanda Berg documented her friends’ drinking habits
during parties at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The
collection includes images of underage girls in sexually compromising
positions, passed out on lawns and leaning over toilet seats.

“All of these were clearly oriented to women. The data showed these
products were most popular among females of every age group and were
most popular among young drinkers. Those of us involved in alcohol
prevention called alcopops ‘beer with training wheels,’” says Dr.
David Jernigan. “Women traditionally drank less than men -- and
still do -- but there has been a very intentional effort to increase
it, and this has started exposing young women to products and
marketing at high rates. The numbers are not surprising to us and are
of great concern.”

posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 米国 | このブログの読者になる |


戦闘任務につく女性たち 粉砕される「真鍮の天井」

Women In Combat: Shattering the “Brass Ceiling”
( TIME )

The Pentagon will declare Thursday that it is lifting a ban on women
serving in combat -- a decision essentially rendered a fait accompli
by more than decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, where many women
served ably under fire. Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is
expected to make the announcement, based on a recommendation from
Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The historic change will open up hundreds of thousands of jobs in
infantry, armor and other previously all-male units from which women
have been formally barred under a 1994 Pentagon rule. Ultimately,
they could even be allowed to serve in special-operations units,
including the Army’s Delta Force and the Navy’s SEALs.

Women who missed the opportunity to serve in combat cheered the
change. “All jobs should be based on qualifications, not gender,”
says Darlene Iskra, the first woman ever to command a Navy ship, and
a Battleland contributor.

But the decision goes deeper than the post-9/11 wars. With an all-
volunteer military, the Pentagon needs women in its ranks. Beyond
that, the fluid nature of the 21st Century battlefield has rendered
long-ago battle maps, with a clear demarcation between front lines
and rear echelons, as dated as muskets and bayonets. Basically, it
has become untenable for the U.S. military to pretend its female
troops are not engaged in combat.

posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 米国 | このブログの読者になる |


アルジェリア人質事件 謎めいた武装勢力指導者の意図は何か

Algeria’s Hostage Crisis: What Was Behind a Shadowy Militant
Leader’s Plot?
( TIME )

A day after Algerian forces launched a military raid to end a deadly
hostage crisis at a natural gas plant, confusion reigned on Jan. 18
over the fate of the captives and their Islamist captors. Western
leaders, some of whose citizens were among the hostages, expressed
frustration at having heard little from Algerian officials about the
continuing standoff, and some governments signaled alarm over the
Jan. 17 operation that Algerian authorities admit resulted in the
death of an undisclosed number of hostages. Security officials in
Europe indicate that their services too have not obtained or been
offered much intelligence on the unfolding crisis.

“The lack of information and secrecy doesn’t surprise me at all
when you’re dealing with Algerian authorities used to doing as they
please, according to their own interests and without consulting
anyone,” says a senior French antiterrorism official who spoke on
condition of anonymity. “When it comes to Islamist situations,
they’re particularly rigid in shooting first and asking questions
later. We’ve always considered hostage scenarios a nightmare,
because they trap you between maniac extremist kidnappers and trigger-
happy Algerian security officials. The margin for people coming out
alive in such situations is reduced considerably.”

“As someone who has been hunted by authorities for decades, no one
knows better than Belmokhtar that there’d be no way Algerian
authorities would ever negotiate or let Islamists leave such a
situation alive,” the French official continues. Tying what was
effectively a suicide mission to events in Mali may have been an
attempt to advance Belmokhtar’s own cause in the region’s complex
jihadist milieu. Though Belmokhtar reveres Osama bin Laden and the
al-Qaeda organization with which he fought in Afghanistan, the
Algerian-born radical split with jihadi militias associated with
Africa’s loose regional network al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
(AQIM) and formed his own battalion late last year. Though he has
directed it in a wide part of the Sahel encompassing northern Mali in
harmony with other extremist networks, experts say Belmokhtar has
increasingly competed with leaders of other militias for influence
and prestige.

posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 国際 | このブログの読者になる |



Japanese Film Director Oshima Dies at 80
( TIME )

Nagisa Oshima, a Japanese director internationally acclaimed for his
films “Empire of Passion” and “In the Realm of the Senses,” has
died of pneumonia. He was 80.

A former student radical from Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto,
Oshima debuted in 1959 with “A Town of Love and Hope,” quickly
earning a reputation of a “new wave” director with social and
political themes during the 1960, often depicting youths raging
against the society. He tackled controversial social issues
throughout his career, ranging from capital punishment and racism to

But he is probably best remembered for his 1976 film “In the Realm
of the Senses,” a story based on a psychotic murder case set in pre-
World War II Japan, which stirred public indecency debate in Japan
and elsewhere because of explicit sex scenes. Two years later, Oshima
won best director award at the Cannes International Film Festival
with “Empire of Passion.”

Oshima also was a popular guest on television quiz and talk shows,
often triggering fiery debate. Soichiro Tahara, a journalist and talk
show host who often argued with Oshima, tweeted his message of

“I was scared of him but he was also like a very supportive brother.
He taught me many things, scolded me and yelled at me. But his words
were always affectionate,” Tahara wrote. “Mr. Oshima did not care
about taboo or compliance, not even a bit. He said what he wanted to
say, what he had to say. It’s hard to find a person like him
anymore. “

posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | エンターテインメント | このブログの読者になる |



How India Fought Polio -- and Won
( TIME )

A few days ago, Ramesh Ferris took his first ride on a motorbike.
Born in India and raised in Canada, Ferris made the journey into
rural India to meet Ruksa Khatun, the 3-year-old girl who is the last
child in India known to have contracted polio. This weekend, as the
nation quietly marked two years without a single infection by the
wild poliovirus, that child’s parents wondered how they were going
to manage the surgery her doctors say she needs on a foot crippled
by the disease.

Ferris would understand the gravity of their situation better than
most. After he was paralyzed by polio as an infant, his birth mother
was unable to provide him with the care he needed and placed him in
an international orphanage. He was adopted by a family in Canada’s
Yukon territory, where he grew up, eventually becoming an advocate in
the global drive to end polio. India was once considered the center
of the crippling disease -- and was expected to be the last place it
would be eradicated. But last year, the World Health Organization
(WHO) confirmed that polio was no longer endemic in India. Next year,
if no new cases arise, the country will be declared polio-free,
perhaps the greatest public-health feat it has ever achieved, saving
hundreds of thousands of children from paralysis and death.

India’s accomplishment was a triumph of consistent and strong
political will as well as international coordination and has given a
huge lift to the global fight against polio, a disease that as
recently as 1988 claimed 350,000 people each year. In 2012, the
global caseload was just 222. When India came off the WHO list last
year, the number of countries where the virus is still endemic came
down to three: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. “Given India’s
complex circumstances in terms of where people live and its
topography, it’s astounding it came off the list before other
countries,” says Ferris.

It wasn’t until 1994, when the local government of the New Delhi
capital region conducted a hugely successful mass immunization
campaign targeting children, that the idea began to gain momentum
that India might actually be able to tackle this disease. Though
other Indian states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu had conducted similar
campaigns before, it wasn’t until the national government saw
tangible progress that officials were sufficiently convinced they
could make a difference. “That’s when India decided to go after
polio in a big way,” says Naveen Thacker. Routine immunization --
in which patients sought out the vaccine themselves -- had reduced
polio but couldn’t stop it from spreading. Reported immunization
coverage across India was officially as high as 90%, but the disease
was still being transmitted.

posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 国際 | このブログの読者になる |


中国の一人っ子政策 「小皇帝」の呪い

China’s One-Child Policy: Curse of the ‘Little Emperors’
( TIME )

China is a colossal country and, as befits such a global powerhouse,
it has made some colossal mistakes. Take its infamous one-child
policy, implemented in 1979 and condemned from that day forward. A
new study released in Science makes it clear just how misguided the
idea was.

Initially, the policy seemed to make a cold kind of sense: the
country’s population growth was out of control, leaping nearly 75%
from 1949 to 1976; its per capita income was about 300 yuan, or just
over $48, and families with multiple children had nowhere near enough
money to raise them well. Why not just clamp down on all the
prodigious baby making and solve both problems at once?

Thirty-four years later, the planners can claim a crude victory.
China’s economy has boomed, and its 1.34 billion population is
estimated to be about 15% smaller than it would have been otherwise.
But that means that 250 million Chinese babies who would have been
born never were. Until 2004, when the practice of sex-selective
abortion was banned, millions of girls were aborted to satisfy
China’s traditional preference for boys; and as a result of that
gender bias, there are 32 million more marriage-age men in the
country than there are women, according to the British Medical Journal.

Lost in all those troubling numbers is what’s become of the
singletons themselves. Just 27% of those born in China in 1975 were
only children; in 1983, it was 91%. When you’re your parents’ one
shot at a genetic legacy, you may get to attend all the best schools,
wear all the best clothes and eat all the best foods -- at least
relative to children in multiple-sibling households. But you also
wind up with an overweening sense of your own importance. For years
now, Chinese parents and teachers have lamented what’s known as the
xiao huangdi -- or little emperor -- phenomenon, a generation of
pampered and entitled children who believe they sit at the center of
the social universe because that’s exactly how they’ve been treated.

posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 国際 | このブログの読者になる |


韓国が選んだ初の女性大統領 朴槿恵

South Korea Elects First Female President: Park Geun-hye
( TIME )

Park Geun-hye is headed back to the Blue House. On Wednesday, South
Koreans chose the daughter of South Korea’s Cold War strongman Park
Chung-hee as the country’s next President. Park, the 60-year-old
leader of the conservative Saenuri Party, defeated 59-year-old
liberal challenger Moon Jae-in -- once jailed for opposing her
father’s rule -- by a margin of about 3.5%. She will now move back
to the presidential residence where she lived as a child and where
she served as de facto First Lady after her mother’s death. Park has
spent much of her life in her father’s shadow. Now, as the
country’s first female President, she will need to chart her own

Moving forward won’t be easy. When outsiders think of Korea, they
think of a divided peninsula, with the 38th parallel separating the
totalitarian North from the democratic South. But South Korea itself
is split. This year’s closely fought presidential race showed that
South Koreans disagree not only about the future but also about the
past. As the daughter of the most influential leader in her
country’s modern history, Park Geun-hye is at the heart of that

When First Lady Yuk Young-soo was killed in a botched attack on Park
Sr. in 1974, Park Geun-hye stepped in as the acting First Lady. Her
service to her grieving father (himself assassinated five years
later) won her a reputation for steadfastness, poise and competence.
Yun Byung-se, a career diplomat who served as an adviser to Park Geun-
hye’s campaign, describes those years as formative: “Her
involvement in politics and policy issues started very early.”

But Park’s political pedigree also works against her. While Park Sr.
is worshipped by many South Koreans, especially older folk, for
transforming the country’s economy, he is despised by many others.
Park Chung-hee once wrote that, “In human life, economics precedes
politics or culture.” But fulfilling his economic ambitions caused
him to tighten his grip on power, not loosen it. He jailed and
tortured dissidents, dissolved the legislature and rewrote the
constitution to buttress his own position. To veterans of South
Korea’s democracy struggle, daughter Park is a symbol of the
country’s authoritarian past. For years, Park refused to criticize
her father. This fall she officially apologized for the excesses of
his era, but without condemning him outright. “I know more than
anyone the divergent views about my father,” Park told TIME in
written responses to questions. “I want to be judged on my own

posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 国際 | このブログの読者になる |