Music, poetry, and a magician


This is a video of acoustic instrumental fingerstyle guitarist Michael Berk live at Club 85, Hitchin, Britain.

Tonight in the theatre, there was, first, percussion music and poetry by Rik van Boeckel. His theme was Cuba; and he showed how claves work in Cuban music.

Then, stage magic by Tilman Andris. First, tricks with ropes; then, with oranges. Then with big metal rings; then with finger rings.

After a pause, a spoken column by yours truly on Ms Rita Verdonk and other xenophobic politicians.

Then, guitar music by Michael Berk.

Another musician, Eelco Romijn, could not come because of a sore throat.

So, there was another poet, Jaap Montagne from Leiden, whose poems included one on spam.

Fossil crocodiles and manatees discovered in Cuba


This is a video about manatees in the USA today.

Translated from Belgian daily Het Belang van Limburg:

Cuban scientists have found the fossil remains of gigantic crocodiles and manatee relatives. The fossils are 20 million years old, scientists say.

They were found in Sancti Spiritus province in central Cuba. According to the vice president of the Cuban speleological society, Alejandro Romero, the fossils are from the Miocene. They were 20 meter underground.

Video on US creationists’ beliefs about fossils: here.

Crocodile tears: here.

Blair on trial for Iraq war in London play


This video is called Sexual abuse and torture by British troops in Iraq.

Reuters reports:

London Theatre Targets Blair for Iraq War

September 17, 2007

By Mike Collett-White

A London theatre has put British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the dock for waging war in Iraq, staging a mock tribunal where prosecution and defense lawyers question key witnesses.

As scrutiny over Blair’s legacy intensifies ahead of his expected resignation in a few weeks, “Called to Account” examines events leading to Britain’s participation in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that has damaged the leader’s popularity.

Based on a courtroom-style debate between lawyers to provide material for the drama, the play raises the question, asked many times before, of whether Blair and his officials deliberately manipulated intelligence to justify the 2003 invasion.

It also focuses on what pressure, if any, they put on the attorney general when he gave legal advice on the war, at what stage Blair agreed to back the use of force in Iraq and whether the aim was regime change and not weapons of mass destruction.

Some ground in the play was covered by the real-life Butler and Hutton inquiries of 2004, which cleared Blair and his government of deliberately distorting intelligence and misleading Britons.

But Richard Norton-Taylor, the Guardian journalist who wrote “Called to Account” based on transcripts of the mock legal debate, believes the remits were narrow and evidence has emerged since then that could compromise Blair.

“My personal view is that there is still a case to answer. We don’t know the full story,” Norton-Taylor said after the press night at the Tricycle Theatre on Monday.

He and director Nicolas Kent also quote from the Butler report, which said “as in the search for weapons in Iraq, one can never do too much digging.”

Arts Target Blair

Among witnesses who gave testimony was Clare Short, a fierce critic of Blair and the war, former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter and Richard Perle, ex-Pentagon official who backed the invasion but who has had doubts since. Blair does not appear.

“Called to Account” comes soon after Britain’s Channel 4 showed “The Trial of Tony Blair” in which the leader faces trial for war crimes as he steps down as leader.

New Labour ousts key anti-war MP, Bob Wareing: here.