What a Wonderful World

News From Elsewhere That's Probably News To You

The Save the Children charity has accused aid workers and United Nations peacekeepers of having traded food for sex in Liberian refugee camps. (News24.com/South Africa)

The Chinese government has announced plans to build 48 new airports before 2010. Chinese air traffic is expected to double over the same period. (The Guardian/U.K.)

Turkey recently withdrew troops and planes from a planned multinational military exercise in Canada in the wake of Canada's official recognition of the deaths of around a million Armenians in Turkey during World War I as genocide on the part of the Turkish government. (The Globe and Mail/Toronto)

The author of a new biography of Pol Pot contends that a broken heart was part of the reason the former Cambodian communist dictator launched the genocidal reign of terror that caused the deaths of 1.7 million of his own people. A woman named Suon Somaly apparently jilted him for a political rival when he was a young man, leaving him devastated. (Radio Free Asia)

Researchers from Scotland's St. Andrews University have discovered that bottle-nosed dolphins appear to recognize each other as individuals via each animal's distinctive call—in effect, by name. (BBC)

The Vatican's official astronomer, Guy Consolmagno, recently remarked that creationism is "a destructive myth," adding "knowledge is dangerous, but so is ignorance. That's why science and religion need to talk to each other." (Scotsman.com)

Kurds in northern Iraq recently celebrated the emergence of a unified Kurdish provincial government, made up of members of both predominant parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdish Democratic Party. (Asia Times Online)

We Get Voice Mail

Hi, my name is [omitted to protect the slacker]. I'm a journalism student at the University of Maryland. I actually have an assignment to publish a number of articles in outside papers by Wednesday. I was wondering if there are any opportunities at your paper for anything you'd like to be covered. I'm willing to write about pretty much anything as long as it's 250 words or more. I can work pretty much any day this week, or up until Wednesday. So if there's anything you can help me out with, please give me a call. —Message left in City Paper's voice mailbox on Thursday, May 4.


Web site of the week: Die-BGE-Die.com

What is it: A site for consumers angry about the 72 percent electricity-rate increase customers of Baltimore Gas and Electric can expect to experience beginning July 1. Site includes contact information for public officials, links to ongoing media coverage of the rate-increase debacle, a "countdown to RIPOFF" timer, and candle-safety tips. Because, seriously, you might need them come July.

Excerpt: "So we were sitting around in the dark one night, practicing for the time when we won't be able to afford to burn electric lights in our homes, and we thought, 'What if we just didn't agree to pay the rate increase?'

Think about it: No one asked us whether or not we would like to pay this rate increase. This is supposed to be a democracy, right? We all have a voice, don't we? We are The Market, we choose who we want to do business with and at what cost to us. BGE didn't even have the cajones to call us up and let us know it was planning this buzz kill.

What if our July bill arrives and, just like the letter says, it's $48 dollars more than we're used to paying; forty eight dollars more than we can afford?

What if we just pay our usual amount and let the additional rate hike amount just hang? Will BGE turn off our electricity? We paid the bill; we just didn't pay all of it. We paid only what we could afford.

We promise to cut down on needless usage, sure. We'll do our part to conserve, etc. But, what if we can't afford to pay our whole electric and gas bill anymore? We'll pay some. We'll pay what we can afford. But the rest? We just can't swing it this month, pal.

We're afraid to actually try this. We just wanted to float the idea."

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