Saturday, March 29, 2008

Assignment #18

The disruption of a Chinese official’s speech during the Olympic torch lighting ceremonies in Greece last week was just the beginning of protests planned along the torch’s trip around the globe.

Groups have criticized China’s policies in other areas, particularly Sudan's Darfur crisis. But the pro-Tibet network, spread around the world, is more organized and interconnected than other groups, and its influence is expected to keep the issue of autonomy and violence in Tibet front and center for weeks.

That is troubling news for sponsors of the torch relay, including Coca Cola, Lenovo and Samsung Electronics. Advertising analysts estimate the companies have paid as much as $15 million each to sponsor the relay.

“What started off as a small number of organizations threatening to create some disruption has gotten bigger,” said a marketing agenct.

A well-organized and far-reaching band of Tibet support groups is centering around the torch relay. The torch moves next to Beijing, then to Almaty, Kazakhstan; Istanbul; St. Petersburg, Russia; London; Paris; San Francisco; and Buenos Aires, before heading to Africa and the Middle East. It then goes through Asia and Australia, before winding its way through Chinese provinces, including Tibet, before the start of the Olympics in August. Planning is under way for protests in most of the major cities outside China.

The communications manager for Coca-Cola, Kerry Kerr, said, “We are keeping an eye on the situation,” but added that the company was not involved in picking the cities involved in the relay.

“We feel that using the torch relay to put political pressure on China is not appropriate,” Ms. Kerr said. Still, Coke has had several meetings with protest groups, she said, and is sharing the groups’ concerns with the International Olympic Committee.

Coca-Cola is not speaking directly with the Chinese government on the issue.

In a written statement, another sponsor, Samsung Electronics of South Korea, said the company “has been in dialogue with activist groups, and has also been in regular communication with the International Olympic Committee.”

Lenovo, a Chinese PC maker, did not respond to several requests for comment.

None of the dozen advocates contacted suggested that Coca-Cola or other sponsors should pull out of the torch relay. But even former members of pro-Tibetan groups say they are looking for some sign the sponsors are aware of the criticisms of the Chinese government.

Advertisers like Coca-Cola “have to have some responsibility to humanity” and have to react to current events, said Ramneek Bhogal, an assistant professor at the Palmer College of Chiropractic, in Davenport, Iowa, who as a student, led a chapter of Students for a Free Tibet.

Protest groups have been particularly angry at the relay’s planned route through Tibet and over Mount Everest, saying that is sure to ignite more violence. Many groups are calling for a route change, but so far both the Beijing organizers and the International Olympic Committee say it will continue as planned.

Violence flared in Tibet after monks staged protests on March 10, the anniversary of a failed uprising against China. Tibetan groups say protesters were beaten, arrested and in some cases killed. They assert that more than 100 have been killed since March 10.

The Chinese government puts the number of dead at 19. Violence spread through the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, and shops and buildings were burned.

Reports of violence in Tibet and a heavy-handed Chinese reaction spread quickly, pushing Tibetan support groups to action.

1.) What do you think about the situation in Tibet and the response of the Chinese government?
2.) What responsibility do you think corporate sponsors have?
3.) Should other countries do anything about the situation in Tibet?

For the Real Article, check out the New York Times:

Monday, March 17, 2008

This Week - 3/17/08

There will not be a news post this week.
Instead, please find one historical figure prior to Alexander the Great and be prepared to give an oral report in class on Friday. You don't need to write an essay, just take some notes so it will be easier for you to talk about the person you choose.
You can use other history books or resources that you find on the internet.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Assignment #17

Obama Wins in Mississippi

Senator Barack Obama won Mississippi’s Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday, building his delegate lead over Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the final contest before the nominating fight heads to Pennsylvania for a six-week showdown.

Mr. Obama’s victory was built on a wave of support among blacks, who made up half of those who turned out to vote, according to exit polls conducted by television networks and The Associated Press. The polls found that roughly 90 percent of black voters supported Mr. Obama, but only a third of white voters did.

“It’s just another win in our column, and we are getting more delegates,” Mr. Obama, of Illinois, said. “I am grateful to the people of Mississippi for the wonderful support. What we’ve tried to do is steadily make sure that in each state we are making the case about the need for change in this country.”

Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee, won the primary for his party, taking him closer to the number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination.

After a frenzied string of primaries and caucuses for more than two months, Mississippi was alone in holding its contest Tuesday, where 33 delegates were at stake. It was the last primary before a six-week interlude. The Pennsylvania primary on April 22 opens the final stage of the Democratic nominating fight, with eight states, Puerto Rico and Guam left to weigh in.

Mississippi offered Mr. Obama an opportunity to regain his footing after losing the popular vote to Mrs. Clinton last week in three contests, Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island. Mr. Obama had been expected to win resoundingly in Mississippi, a state where 36 percent of the population is black, the highest percentage in the nation. He has enjoyed strong support among black voters and won all the other contests in the Deep South by large margins.

While Mrs. Clinton, of New York, campaigned in Mississippi last week and former President Bill Clinton dropped in over the weekend, the Clinton campaign has mostly been looking ahead to Pennsylvania, with its 158 delegates at stake.

Mrs. Clinton was campaigning in Pennsylvania on Tuesday when Mr. Obama began the day with a final appeal for support in the Mississippi Delta.

In the final days of the primary race, Mrs. Clinton raised the idea that Democrats struggling to decide between the candidates could have it both ways, implying that Mr. Obama would make a suitable running mate.

Mr. Obama rejected that idea on Monday as he campaigned in Mississippi, telling voters, “With all due respect, I’ve won twice as many states as Senator Clinton.”

As in many other states, an overwhelming share of voters said they were looking for change and were worried about the economy. Mr. Obama won the support of voters who listed those as their chief concerns, according to the surveys of voters.

Mississippi Democrats were twice as likely to say Mr. Obama inspired them about their future as opposed to Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Obama was more than twice as likely to be seen as honest.

(I don't know how much you know about the election in the States now, but I thought you might like a challenge)
1.) What do you know or have you heard about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama?
2.) Who do you think would help improve the US's image around the world?
3.) Do you think a woman or a member of a minority group will ever become president of Taiwan?

For the real article, see the NY Times: