Most popular animals in Britain


This vido is called Children’s Favorite Animals – Learning English Animal Names | Kids Learning Video.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies, says YouGov

Dogs remain the nation’s favourite animal

Zachary Davies Boren

Monday 02 March 2015

Men and women like quite different animals, according to new research.

According to a silly YouGov analysis that has confirmed long-held suspicions of gender-based animal bias, men like lobsters, alligators and sticklebacks (it’s a type of fish) whereas women prefer cats, ponies and miniature pigs.

The country’s overall favourites are still predictably pets like dogs and cats, as well as the more exotic tigers and elephants.

But, by declaring their animal preferences via the YouGov website, some of the pollster‘s 190,000 members have helped reveal that some stereotypes really are true.

Men, whom one classic nursery rhyme claims derive from slugs, snails and puppy-dog tails, have an expressed affection for powerful, strange, and not-traditionally cute creatures.

Slow worms, crayfish, and ants feature on the list of animals loved by one gender but not by the other.

Male animal preferences

Women, on the other hand, choose cuddly critters like guinea pigs, hedgehogs and panda bears.

Besides the butterfly and the penguin, every one of the female-preferred is a mammal.

There’s not a single mammal amongst the more male-loved animals.

Female animal preferences

What’s in a number?

This poll is actually more complex than many of the higher-brow studies which YouGov regularly releases; that’s because of something called the Z-score.

YouGov explained: “For each preference by members of a given group, we find what is known in statistics as the Z-score.

“This is a measure of what is particularly true of the people in that group. Basically, it is how the attitudes and opinions of a particular group differ from the national average and how great the strength of that difference is.”

The Z-score for the animals preferred by women are much stronger than those by men, which means the difference in opinion over donkeys is much greater than the one over rattlesnakes.

This probably means that women like their creatures much more than men like theirs.

Read the full list here.

Japanese government lies on ‘comfort women’, people protest


This video from South Korea says about itself:

“Herstory” Comfort Women Animation – English

15 January 2014

Produced with actual voices of the victims of the Japanese Military’s ‘Comfort Women‘ [policy].

By Ben McGrath:

Opposition to Japanese government’s lies on “comfort women”

27 February 2015

Opposition to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s attempt to whitewash the history of the Japanese military’s war crimes has emerged in Japan and also the United States. Earlier this month, a group of American historians issued a statement criticizing the Abe government’s attempts to pressure a US publishing company McGraw-Hill to amend its textbook’s treatment of so-called “comfort women.”

During the 1930s and 1940s, some 200,000 Korean, Chinese and other women were coerced into sex slavery in “comfort stations” established for Japanese officers and soldiers. Abe and other right-wing nationalists falsely claim that the women were not forced but willingly acted as prostitutes. This revision of history is bound up with the government’s plans to remilitarize and to end the current constitutional restrictions on the dispatch of the Japanese military in overseas interventions and wars.

Abe’s efforts to rewrite history could cloud plans for him to address a joint session of the US Congress, which, according to the Japan Times last weekend, could take place in late April. He would become the first Japanese prime minister to speak to Congress since 1961 when Hayato Ikeda addressed the House of Representatives. Abe’s grandfather, Nobsuke Kishi, also spoke before Congress as prime minister in 1957.

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers who visited Japan last week raised questions about Abe’s view of history. Democrat Congresswoman Diana DeGette warned that the issues surrounding World War II “could really put some cracks in the relationship… It’s really important that Japan not be seen as backtracking… on the comfort women issue and some other issues around the end of the war.”

Republican congressman James Sensenbrenner told the Wall Street Journal that Abe’s “revisionist history” was hurting “Japan’s standing with its neighbors. That has to be cooled down.” His warning reflects concerns in Washington that the Abe government’s whitewash of Japanese war crimes was undermining relations with South Korea, the other major US ally in North East Asia.

Regardless of these misgivings, Abe’s congressional address appears to be going ahead. The Obama administration regards Tokyo as a crucial ally in its “pivot to Asia” and military build-up throughout the Indo-Pacific region against China.

It should be noted that the criticisms of Abe’s stance on Japan’s atrocities are rather hypocritical. The US political establishment remains silent on its own crimes during World War II, including the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians in the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the firebombing of Tokyo and other Japanese cities.

Within Japan, right-wing nationalist groups continue to wage a vicious campaign against the Asahi Shimbun after it retracted a series of articles last August based on the testimony of Seiji Yoshida, a former soldier, who claimed to have forcibly rounded up “comfort women” on Korea’s Jeju Island. Yoshida later admitted that he had made up parts of his story, which has been seized on to claim there is no evidence that women were coerced into sex slavery and to demand the retraction of Japan’s 1993 Kono statement—a formal, but limited apology over the abuse of “comfort women.”

In an interview last month with the Asia-Pacific Journal, Yoshiaki Yoshimi, a leading historian on comfort women, said in, “As early as 1993 at the latest, no one took seriously Yoshida’s testimony claiming that he had witnessed the Japanese Army’s forcible relocation of women in Jeju Island. The Kono Statement was not based on Yoshida’s testimony. Nor do scholars researching the comfort women issue draw on it for their argument. In short, Asahi’s retraction of Yoshida’s testimony due to its falsity should not affect the discussion.”

Other former Japanese soldiers have provided evidence of the military’s system of sexual slavery. Masayoshi Matsumoto, currently 92, has spoken out against the crimes he witnessed as an army medic. “I feel like a war criminal. It is painful to speak of such things and I would rather cover it up. It is painful, but I must speak,” he said in a 2013 interview with Reuters.

In a more recent interview in the Asia-Pacific Journal in October 2014, Matsumoto described working at a base in Yu County in Shanxi Province in China during the war. “Our battalion had approximately one thousand men. We took about 5 or 6 ‘comfort women’ with us. I was a corpsman…I had to help the army doctor to do tests for venereal disease on comfort women.”

After describing the instruments and testing methods, Matsumoto said, “These [women] had definitely not arrived there of their own will. Nobody would be willing to travel to such a remote area. The money was handled by Japanese civilians employed by the military, who took care of the women.”

Matsumoto made clear that rape of captured village women was rampant and that the setting up of the “comfort stations,” where soldiers forced women to have sex, was an attempt to curb the spread of disease among the troops. Matsumoto described finding several women in a captured village.

“When we raided a village, there happened to be some villagers left behind. Normally during a raid all the villagers would flee. Among them were seven or eight women. The soldiers grabbed them and took them away to the barracks. Knowing that they would be killed if they resisted, these women came along without resisting. The women were made to live inside the barracks, and whenever the soldiers felt like it they would visit them to have sex,” he said.

Matsumoto explained why he spoke out: “While reading all kind of things, I realized that if we don’t face our past squarely, we’re bound to repeat the same mistakes. When I look at Abe, I think he’s starting to do exactly that. Someone needs to speak up.” Asked about Abe’s claim that there was no coercion of women, Matsumoto responded: “Such a thing is not true! It’s…nonsense. A lie.”

The evidence proving that the Japanese army engaged in the wide-scale and systematic coercion of women into its “comfort stations” is not limited to such personal accounts, but has been found in wartime documents unearthed by historians. Nevertheless Matsumoto’s first-hand testimony is not only telling refutation of Abe’s lies but also points to the fact that the whitewashing of war crimes is the preparation for new ones.

Libya, from bloodshed to more bloodshed


This video says about itself:

Women refugees flee Libyan violence

8 March 2011

As the world marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, euronews went to the Libyan-Tunisian border to meet some of the female migrants who are fleeing the violence in Libya.

By Joseph Kishore in the USA:

US imperialism and the catastrophe in Libya

17 February 2015

This weekend, the Islamic State (ISIS) released a video of the horrific beheadings of 21 Coptic Christian workers seized in the town of Sirte in eastern Libya. This barbaric act was the latest in a series of such killings, including the beheading or immolation of hostages from the US, Britain, Japan and Jordan.

The latest ISIS atrocity has triggered predictable expressions of shock and anger by news anchors and editorialists in the United States, along with further massacres. Within hours of the release of the video, Egypt, led by US-backed dictator General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, launched a wave of air strikes killing 64 people, including seven civilians.

Washington and its political allies are politically and morally responsible for these atrocities. The Islamist beheadings in Libya are the product of a monumental crime: the 2011 NATO war in Libya to oust the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Prior to the intervention of NATO, there were no sectarian murders of Christians in Libya and Islamist militias tied to Al Qaeda were small groups with no broader influence. These forces were armed and promoted when, in 2011, the Obama administration and its allies in Europe, led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, took the decision to topple Gaddafi.

The imperialist powers funneled massive amounts of money and weaponry to Islamist militias and Al Qaeda operatives, providing them with air support through a mass bombing campaign that killed tens of thousands of Libyans.

As the World Socialist Web Site wrote at the time: “Far from a ‘revolution’ or struggle for ‘liberation,’ what the world is witnessing is the rape of Libya by a syndicate of imperialist powers determined to lay hold of its oil wealth and turn its territory into a neo-colonial base of operations for further interventions throughout the Middle East and North Africa.”

The disastrous consequences of the rape of Libya are now all too clear to see.

The war culminated in the carpet bombing of Sirte and the torture and murder of Gaddafi, after which then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gloated, “We came, we saw, he died.” Since then, Libya has collapsed into an ever-bloodier civil war between various Islamist factions and rival militias vying for state power. The country has also served as a training ground for CIA-backed Islamist forces preparing to fight the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Less than four years after the war, the American media report on ISIS atrocities in Libya as if US imperialism had nothing to do with them. No one reading the editorial produced Sunday by the New York Times (“What Libya’s Unraveling Means”) would have any inkling of Washington’s role in producing this catastrophe, or the US media’s role in supporting the operation. One of the key figures in the war, the late US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, who was killed in an Islamist raid in Benghazi after the war, was himself a friend of many Times journalists.

The Times worries that “this oil-rich nation [is veering] towards complete chaos,” and that “the growth and radicalization of Islamist groups raise the possibility that large parts of Libya could become a satellite of the Islamic State.” It manages to describe the conflict that led to Gaddafi’s ouster simply as a “civil war,” without even mentioning NATO’s six-month bombing of Libya.

ISIS is now strongest precisely where Washington has intervened most aggressively. Another article published in the Times over the weekend warns, “The Islamic State is expanding beyond its base in Syria and Iraq to establish military affiliates in Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt and Libya.” The Times does not mention that the US has invaded or financed Islamist proxy wars in four of the six countries mentioned: Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

The world is now witnessing the consequences of the recklessness, brutality, greed and limitless stupidity of Washington and its NATO allies.

Responsibility for the disaster in Libya lies squarely with former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the initial champion of a NATO war in Libya; President Obama, whose administration provided the bulk of the firepower that shattered Libya’s armed forces and its major cities; and the NATO allied powers that joined in this murderous adventure.

What is unfolding across the Middle East today is an indictment of imperialism, its ruling elites, its political servants and its lying media.

Britain: David Cameron’s ‘free Libya’ is no-go area, Foreign Office says: here.

LIBYA: ISIS‘ NEW HOME BASE “The beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians by Islamic State followers has finally drawn the global spotlight to the group’s rising clout in Libya, which not long ago was touted as a successful example of Western intervention. The killings prompted Egyptian airstrikes on Islamic State strongholds in Libya and spurred calls for more active international involvement in what is fast becoming a failed state on Europe’s doorstep.” [WSJ]

Egypt’s Sisi becomes ‘key anti-IS ally’ after Libya raids. Egyptian strikes against IS in Libya likely to improve Cairo’s ties with US, as human rights ‘take a back seat’, say experts: here.

Thousands of migrants nearly die in a week trying to reach Italy from Libya: here.

US historians against Japanese government whitewashing war crimes


This video says about itself:

Rape of Nanking Part I Atrocities in Asia Nanjing Massacre

Rape of Nanking – Nanjing Massacre. Japanse Atrocities in Asia. Part I of 2. This documentary, by Rhawn Joseph is based on 20 years research and consists entirely of archival photos and film-clips. This film begins with an overview of Japan and China at the beginning of the 20th Century, explains the mind-set of the Japanese and their God, Hirohito, and then continues with the invasion of China, the crimes committed by the Japanese (during the Fall) on the road to Nanjing, Nanjing Massacre, the rape of the Philippines, Unit 731, the Baatan death camps, Japanese denials, and the dropping of the A-bomb on Japan.

This video is the sequel.

By Ben McGrath:

US historians criticize Tokyo’s efforts to whitewash war crimes

16 February 2015

A group of 19 American historians have condemned efforts by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to whitewash the historical record following his recent attempts to pressure a McGraw-Hill, a US publishing company, to change textbook passages concerning the Japanese military’s terrible abuse of “comfort women” during the 1930s and 1940s.

In a February 5 statement entitled “Standing with Historians of Japan,” the American academics not only criticized the Japanese government’s attempts to whitewash history but opposed any attempt by other governments to censor the past. As the title also makes clear, the historians lent support to their Japanese colleagues who have worked to investigate the truth regarding “comfort women,” or women who were coerced into “comfort stations” as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers.

Among those who signed the statement were Patrick Manning, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh who is being considered for the chair of the American Historical Association, and Hebert Ziegler, of Hawaii University and one of the authors of McGraw-Hill’s textbook that Abe criticized.

At the end of last year, the Japanese Consulate General in New York met with representatives of McGraw-Hill, to call for its textbook to be amended. The company refused. At the end of January, Abe declared that he was “shocked” by what he had read in the books and called for greater efforts to “correct” such accounts.

The statement by the American academics reads, “As historians, we express our dismay at recent attempts by the Japanese government to suppress statements in history textbooks both in Japan and elsewhere about the euphemistically named ‘comfort women,’ who suffered under a brutal system of sexual exploitation in the service of the Japanese imperial army during World War II. We therefore oppose the efforts of states or special interests to pressure publishers or historians to alter the results of their research for political purposes.”

The historians’ statement also expressed support for Japanese historians like Yoshimi Yoshiaki, a professor at Chuo University in Japan. It continued, “The careful research of historian Yoshimi Yoshiaki in Japanese government archives and the testimonial of survivors throughout Asia have rendered beyond dispute the essential features of a system that amounted to state-sponsored sexual slavery.”

Yoshiaki is a professor of modern history and author of the book, “Comfort Women,” first published in Japanese in 1995 and then in English in 2002. Yoshiaki began researching the sexual enslavement of comfort women in 1992 when victims were first beginning to come forward. He made extensive use of documents from the 1930s, found in the Ministry of Defense’s library (then known as the Defense Agency). This type of information is invaluable as many papers were destroyed in Japan during the closing days of World War II, including many that were evidence of war crimes.

While Yoshiaki made use of these documents to show the military’s role in setting up the brothels, he also stated in 2007 in the New York Times, “There are things that are never written in official documents. That they [comfort women] were forcibly recruited—that’s the kind of thing that would have never been written in the first place.”

The number of women forced into military-run “comfort stations” is estimated to have been approximately 200,000, with many of them coming from Korea, China, the Philippines, and other Asian countries occupied by Japan. Girls, often in their teens, endured horrendous conditions in the Japanese military brothels. Many committed suicide.

While some women were directly forced into sexual slavery, others were duped and then held against their will. In Korea, for example, the Japanese military relied on Korean middlemen to round up girls, often with phony promises of good jobs in factories or other work. These girls often came from poor families.

Right-wing Japanese nationalists often claim that the “comfort women” were already prostitutes and willingly worked at the comfort stations. While there is some evidence that this might be true in the early stages, as Japan’s imperialist war drive expanded, the practices of coercing and intimidating young women into becoming “comfort women” increased.

“The Japanese military itself newly built this system, took the initiative to create this system, maintained it and expanded it, and violated human rights as a result,” Yoshiaki said in 2007 comments to the New York Times. “That’s a critical difference [from prostitution].”

Abe’s attempt to revise the historical record on “comfort women” is just one aspect of a broader agenda. The government has also set aside more than a half billion dollars for a diplomatic and propaganda offensive to “restore Japan’s honor.” It recently announced the establishment of “Japan Houses” around the world to promote the country’s image and to whitewash past war crimes.

The first “Japan Houses” will be set up in London, Los Angeles, and Sao Paulo by the end of 2016, but the plan does not end there. “We are half-satisfied. By mobilizing all means, we must strengthen Japan’s information strategy…so that in a real sense, we can have (others) properly understand what is good about Japan,” said Yoshiaki Harada, a lawmaker with Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Japan also recently provided $5 million to Columbia University for a Japan studies position. It was the first time Tokyo has made such a grant in more than four decades. “There is a fear that Japan is losing out in an information war with South Korea and China and that we must catch up,” said Kan Kimura of Kobe University.

This concerted ideological campaign is part of the Abe government’s remilitarization of Japan and preparation for war. It is aimed at whipping up patriotic sentiment at home to dragoon a new generation of youth to go off to war, while blunting criticism abroad not only of past crimes, but the Japanese government’s current military build-up.

All of this has been encouraged by the United States as part of its “pivot to Asia,” designed to undermine China economically and militarily encircle it. While it is fully supportive of the “pivot,” the Abe government is also seeking to remilitarize to prosecute the economic and strategic interests of Japanese imperialism, even if they conflict with those of the US.

Australian-British airship suffragette Muriel Matters


Muriel Matters

By Peter Frost in Britain:

The Suffragette in the airship

Monday 16th February 2015

PETER FROST introduces us to an amazing but little known hero of the battle for votes for women

DURING the struggle to win votes for women in Britain in the first couple of decades of the 20th century, Suffragettes became masters of the art of gaining media attention with elaborate and imaginative actions.

One of the most audacious examples of this was an airship flown over London on this day in 1909 by Muriel Matters. Matters was a master in imaginative publicity for her cause.

She was born in Australia, coming to Britain in 1905, aged 28. She was a professional pianist, elocutionist and actress before coming to England, where she also became a talented journalist.

Matters became involved with the Suffragette movement and was a leading member of the Women’s Freedom League (WFL), a split from the better known Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU).

The WFL had been established in 1907 when Matters and some other leading members of the WSPU began to question the leadership of Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst.

The Pankhursts became unpopular with some Suffragettes by making decisions without consulting members and they challenged those who did not accept their leadership to leave the WSPU and to form an organisation of their own.

Seventy leading members left to form the WFL. Like the WSPU, the WFL was a militant organisation that was willing the break the law.

Members of the WFL however were generally non-violent and disagreed with the WSPU campaign of vandalism and arson against private and commercial property. Despite this over 100 WFL members were still sent to prison.

The WFL soon had over 4,000 members and it had its own newspaper, The Vote.

Matters was in charge of another publicity first — a horse-drawn recruiting caravan that toured the country.

Most WFL members were pacifists and during World War I they refused to become involved in the British army’s recruitment drive or to call off the votes for women campaign while the war was on.

WFL members supported the Women’s Peace Crusade for a negotiated peace.

Matters first came to prominence by chaining herself to a grille in the Ladies’ Gallery of the House of Commons.

While the authorities sent for a blacksmith to cut her free she made a speech. It was almost certainly the first speech ever made by a woman in the House of Commons.

When she learned that King Edward VII was to lead a public procession to officially open Parliament on February 16 1909 she knew this was an occasion not to be missed.

What was needed was something that would seize the headlines for the female emancipation.

Matters was not only a Suffragette, she was also a great socialist and counted among her circle of left-wing friends people such as Sylvia Pankhurst, George Bernard Shaw and the Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin.

Another socialist friend and a keen supporter of the Suffragette cause was Henry Spencer. It was not, however, Spencer’s politics that caught her attention. It was his most unusual hobby.

Spencer had built his own airship and flew the 80-foot hydrogen-filled dirigible from a small field near the Welsh Harp Lake in Hendon, north of London.

The lake is still there, beside the North Circular road, and the flying field became Hendon aerodrome and is now the RAF Museum.

Matters explained her plan to the bold aeronaut. They would load his airship, suitably painted with suffrage slogans, with a hundredweight of pamphlets and rain them down over the king’s procession.

Muriel Matters' airship

I’ll let Matters take up the story as she did in a 1939 interview with the BBC.

“That morning I went to Hendon and met Mr Henry Spencer who had his airship all ready near the Welsh Harp.

“It was quite a little airship, 88 feet long, and written in large letters on the gas bag were three words: Votes for women.

“Below this was suspended an extremely fragile rigging carrying the engine and a basket, like those used for balloons.

“We loaded up about a hundredweight of leaflets, then I climbed into the basket. Mr Spencer joined me and we rose into the air.”

The airship, despite the weight of two people and all that propaganda, climbed to an altitude of 3,500 feet before levelling off.

“It was very cold,” Matters said, “but I got some exercise throwing the leaflets overboard.”

She went on to describe how Spencer would climb out of the basket and clamber like a spider across the framework to make adjustments to the engine.

“Suddenly I realised that if he fell off, I hadn’t the first idea how to manoeuvre the airship.” she said.

“Not that I was terribly bothered about that. I was too busy making a trail of leaflets across London.”

With the airship emblazoned with “Votes for Women” on one side and “Women’s Freedom League” on the other she scattered 56lb of handbills onto the streets and houses below.

Edith How-Martyn and Elsie Craig, two leading members of the Women’s Freedom League, followed the airship in a car.

Unfortunately, the elements conspired against the Suffragette cause. The airship’s feeble motor was not enough to overcome the strong winds that blew it off course.

The airship never made it to the Palace of Westminster but drifted across London, passing over Wormwood Scrubs, Kensington, Tooting and eventually crash-landing — after a trip lasting an hour-and-a-half — in the upper branches of a tree in Coulsdon, Surrey.

Despite failing to fly over the king and his procession, Matters considered the aerial adventure a great success.

“The flight achieved all we wanted,” she said. “It got our movement a great deal of publicity, as you can imagine. In those days, the sight of an airship was enough to make people run for miles.”

Certainly the unique flight made headlines all across Britain and the world.

After her aerial adventure, Matters continued with her political life as an active Suffragette lecturing all over the world. She was an active campaigner against the first world war and stood as the Labour Party candidate for Hastings in the general election of 1924.

She went on to study in Barcelona under Maria Montessori, the radical Italian educationalist, returning to work at Sylvia Pankhurst’s school in Bow, east London.

Matters, the Suffragette in the airship, died in 1969 aged 92.

You can hear Muriel Matters telling her own story in her 1939 BBC radio interview.