ThysdrusRoman Coliseum of El-Jem

Panem et Circensis

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Location: Tunis, Tunisia, Tunisia

Friday, September 30, 2005

Oliver Twist: The Movie

Starting today, Roman Polanski's new movie based on Charles Dickens' masterpiece " Oliver Twist", will be showing in theatres. "Oliver Twist" remains one of the best novels I ever read by Charles Dickens.

Watch the trailer here

Algerians Vote "Yes" for Peace

ALGIERS, Algeria - Algerians overwhelmingly approved a peace plan that provides a broad amnesty for Islamic extremists but which critics denounced as a whitewash of crimes committed during a bloody internal war, official referendum results showed Friday.
(Via AP)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Arab League Chairman Cautions Against Ties With Israel

Mr. Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab League cautioned Arab and Muslim countries from rushing into establishing diplomatic ties with Israel now that it has withdrawn from Gaza.
“Israel’s policies do not deserve Arab courtesy,” Moussa said in an inteview with the Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat conducted earlier this month at the United Nations in New York.

“Why are they offering (Israel) free rewards?” he said, referring to Israel’s Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom’s meetings with ministers from Pakistan, Jordan, Tunisia, Indonesia and Qatar at the United Nations.

“I don’t understand why they are hailing Israel. Because of the withdrawal from Gaza? Doesn’t every one know that this is an incomplete withdrawal and that settlements are still being built and that the wall is being built?” he asked.

I think Mr. Amr Moussa, with all due respect to the man, should keep this for him, for each Arab and Muslim country is free and sovereign to decide whether to normalize reltaions with Israel or not. We all know that this is a game of mutual interests. We know as well that Egypt has already diplomatic ties with Israel and I don't think Mr. Moussa will tolerate whomsoever to criticize his country for that. (Via Khaleej Times)

ElJem Que J'Aime

This is a picture I came across reading a nice tunisian blog, toon-c, whom I hope won't be upset and just forgive me for having used it without his prior permission. Anyway the reason I am posting it here is mainly because I found it really unique, I like in fact the colour of the Colisseum which, indeed, makes our dear italian neighbours somehow envious when they visit ElJem. Well I wonder if the old man in the picture, whom I personally know, is aware that his pic is posted on a blog and as a matter of fact it could travel around the world, good for him!

A Wine With A Slight Taste Of Bach, Some Notes Of Vivaldi & A Zest Of Gluck

I came across this neat article in Le Monde newspaper (in french) about this italian wine-maker, Giancarlo Cignozzi, who came up with the idea of exposing his vineyards to classical music claiming that his crops are growing faster and they are less vulnerable to diseases. Cignozzi, who is the producer of the fine italian red wine el Brunello de Montalcino, found out that his impressions have been confirmed by the experimental work of Professor Stefano Mancuso, an italian expert in vegetal neurobiology, who concluded that "the effects of music or more specifically of sound frequencies on the growth of plants are visible".

Cignozzi says that in winter when his vineyards are hibernating, he uses sacred music of Hayden, Handel, Mozart's Enchanted Flute and a bit of Gluck. In Springtime, when the first leaves start to appear he attacks with baroque music, a lot of Bach and Vivaldi". June and July will be resonating with concertos and symphonies. Finally by the end of August and the beginning of September, period of ultimate growth, this is the time for Tchaïkovski with a 120 instrument orchestra. Thus go by Cignozzi's Four Seasons in the small village of Montalcino. Interesting no?!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Time For National Reconciliation In Algeria

After many years of violence fueled by a tragic civil war that has claimed at least 100,00 innocent lives, Algerians will vote tomorrow in a referendum on what the government calls a charter for peace and national reconciliation. (The Guardian)

Arabic Language Matters

Today's The Guardian has a link to a neat website Mideast Wire, a new online translation service which provides the west with an English-language digest of the Arabic press.
Mideast Wire was started by four journalists associated with the Daily Star in Beirut; two Americans, Nicholas Noe and Seth Walls, and two Lebanese, Majdoline Hatoum and Maha al-Azar.
That's really interesting despite the fact that the site is not free, since a subscription is needed to access its content.

Saudi Women Claim Being More Qualified Than Men

The Saudi Association for Administration in Jeddah conducted an opinion poll that showed that 74 percent of Saudi women believe they can better handle jobs monopolized by men. (The Washington Times)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Google Video

Search engine leader Google.Inc, is offering its new video service.

NEW YORK - Search engine leader Google Inc. is delving deeper into an unconventional business, offering an Internet streamcast of last week's television premiere of Chris Rock's new comedy.

For Google, it is a chance to demonstrate that its Google Video service, still in a "beta" test phase, is more than a collection of home videos, which users are encouraged to upload.

Through Google Video, professionals and amateurs alike may submit video that is indexed and then displayed through a browser-based video player. All the currently available videos are free, but Google hopes to eventually charge for some of material in partnership with the content providers.

Bush On Vacation

No Comment!

Philippine Beauty Winner Of 05 Miss International

Miss Lara Quigaman from the Philippines, won yesterday the 45th Miss International beauty pageant in Tokyo.

Ben Affleck: Senator From Virginia?

Today's Washington Post reports that Dems from Virginia are tossing around the idea that actor Ben Affleck could be a candidate to challenge the reelection bid of rising GOP star Sen. George Allen next year. However Affleck spokesman Ken Sunshine said the rumors are baseless, though "he would be a superb candidate for public office in the future. Right now, he's very busy directing his first feature movie for Disney, 'Gone, Baby, Gone.' " For those who may be don't know, Senator George Allen's mother is born in Tunisia!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Who Is The Bigger Threat?

A congressionally mandated advisory committee recently released a report citing polls that found that large majorities in Egypt, Morocco and Saudi Arabia "view George W Bush as a greater threat to the world order than Osama bin Laden.". Last year, the Committee led a fact-finding mission to the Middle East and warned that "there is deep and abiding anger toward US policies and actions,". The Advisory Committee on Cultural Diplomacy, which was founded in 2004 by US Congress reports to and advises the Secretary of State on ways to promote the use of cultural diplomacy in the foreign policy of the United States.

Saudi Prince Buys Large Shares Of Fox News

Via Sploid- According to Gulf Daily News, a bahraini daily newspaper,Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal has purchased 5.46 percent of the Fox corporation,raising concern that the conservative Fox News may soften its anti-terror stance due to the views of the new shareholder.

Liturgical Chants Of The Melkite Church

Don Jim over Dappled Things linked to a neat website dedicated to the liturgical chants found mainly in the Melkite Churches in some middle-eastern countries. The Byzantine chants you can listen to in the website are in arabic language, specifically lebanese or syrian dialect which are in fact similar with some differences in accent. Don Jim you are always welcome and thanks for sharing this with us!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

IRA Disarms

The Washington Post reports that the Irish Republican Army (IRA), Sinn Fein's paramilitary wing, has disarmed thus fulfilling a vow it made last July. The IRA's decision is considered by The Post as a landmark step toward ending more than three decades of political and religious violence in Northern Ireland.

Scotch Whisky: A Liquid History

This is the title of a new book by Charles MacLean where he traces the spirit's rise from medieval elixir to the most popular whisky in the world.

Via Arts & Letters Daily

Quote of the Day

"Bloom wherever you are planted".


Saturday, September 24, 2005

All Comments Are Welcome Except Some

I just found out that blogs can be a tool for a bunch of jerks to post their ads in the area reserved for comments. Unfortunately some ads are about obscene websites. I can block the option of receiving further comments but this will deprive other honest and interested readers from leaving their comments, what should I do?.

Anti-War Rally In Washington , DC

Today, organizers of an anti-war protest predict about 100,000 people will crowd the Ellipse near the White House for a rally and march. Coincidently other protesters will be gathering today in DC on the occasion of the annual General Assembly of the World Bank and the International Monetry Fund. I hope I will be able to take some pics or a video of such rallies.

Lost Rembrandt Paintings Discovered

Four Paintings by Rembrandt have been discovered. Experts say the paintings are of the artist's quality and have his characteristic unusual lighting.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Smoking In Tunisia

I came across this article, in arabic, via Babnet website. It tells the habit of smoking in Tunisia (both cigarettes and hookhas),a practice widely spread especially among younger generations. Nonetheless, the arabic text contains several typing errors (for instance the title should be : سامحني نشعّل؟ ( please do you have a lighter?) and which will be difficult to decipher for those who do not understand tunisian dialect.

President Bush Hits The Bottle Again?

The National Enquirer presents the following report: Hurricane Katrina and the war in Iraq have the president boozing again.

The Dylan-mania

This is a look at one of my favourite singers:Bob Dylan.
To millions he's the greatest songwriter ever. But to others, Bob Dylan has always just been a shambolic bloke who sounds like he sings through his nose. So, what are the faithful on about?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Fulla: A Doll With "Muslim Values"

Via Drudge-After Leila, Sara, Razanne, Fulla (Jasmin in arabic) is the doll introduced in November 2003 by NewBoy Design Studio, based in Syria and which now has quickly become a best seller all over the region. What is special about Fulla is that,
she roughly shares Barbie's size and proportions, but steps out of her shiny pink box wearing a black abaya and matching head scarf. She is named after a type of jasmine that grows in the Levant, and although she has an extensive and beautiful wardrobe (sold separately, of course), Fulla is usually displayed wearing her modest "outdoor fashion."

Jordan's King Wishes To Establish Himself As The Moderate Voice Of Islam

Today's Washington Times has an article on a speech delivered, yesterday, by King Abdullah of Jordan at a gathering of American rabbis yesterday that Jews and Muslims are irrevocably "tied together by culture and history" and that he is willing to take radical measures to combat Muslim extremists. Paradoxically and as I mentioned in yesterday's post, about 100% of Jordanians viewd Jews unfavorably.

The Feminization Of The Land Of Samurai

An intertesting article in today's The Washington Post, that looks at the so-called feminization of Japanese men, which has become a topic of TV talk shows, magazine articles, academic research, films and, perhaps most notably, public acceptance.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Poll: Jordan Top Anti-Jew Nation

According to a new poll by the PEW Research Center, Jordan ranks on top of anti-jew nations.The poll, which surveyed 17,000 people in 17 countries, said 100 percent of Jordanians viewed Jews unfavorably.

Moroccan Newspaper calls For the Abolition of The Royal Custom of Hand-kissing

The Editor of the moroccan newspaper "Tel Quel", in french, asked His Majesty King Mohamed VI of Morocco, to abandon the royal custom of hand-kissing, which he qualified as a symbol of "ensalvement". Referring to a decision made by King Abdallah Bin Abdelaziz, of Saudi Arabia, to abolish this custom of hand-kissing in the kingdom,the Editor urged His Majesty King Mohamed VI to follow the example of King Abdallah and do the same.

The Hurricane Alpha

Have you ever wondered why certain names are attributed to hurricanes, generally female ones and sometimes male ones? Here is the answer.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Muslims & The Holocaust

I came across this article via Reason Online, where the author Cathy Young, reports that a Muslim-staffed committees appointed to advise Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Cabinet on issues related to Islam have come up with a recommendation to get rid of an official event viewed as offensive to Muslims, referring here to the Holocaust Memorial Day.The members of this Committee
want this event to be folded into a "Genocide Memorial Day" that will also include such crimes as the slaughter of the Tutsis in Rwanda and the massacres of Bosnian Muslims by the Milosevic regime.
Though qualifying the
equation between the Holocaust and Israel's treatment of the Palestinians as absurd,
Cathy Young goes on to say that anti-semitism is not limited only to
the Muslim and Arab world but it is also widespread in western democracies as well and that all religions and ethnic groups have their bigots and haters.

The Helen Carter & The New Orleans Harmonettes

Last August, I posted something on a gospel concert by the Helen Carter & the New Orleans Harmonettes which took place at the Roman Amphitheatre of ElJem, Thysdrus.At that time I was not able to post the pics I took from that concert which turned to be a hymn for peace, love and tolerance. Minister Helen Carter, the lead singer of the group started to sing since the age of six and her first experience is in the the church where her mother brought her up and because she taught her these words, "Learn to know Him (God),then you will praise him and you will sing for Him".

Monday, September 19, 2005

A Tunisian Man Scoops 76 Million Euro-Lottery In France

A Tunisian father and his son, living in France and out of work, saw their luck change after winning nearly 76 million euros (93 million dollars) -- equal to about 62 centuries of the French minimum wage -- in the Euro Millions lottery, the organisers announced Saturday.

The Corpse Bride

The Corpse Bride, Tim Burton's new ghoulish animated film opened last weekend in five locations in North America and it will go on wide release next week.

On the way home to his fiancée, Victor (Johnny Depp) stops to practice his wedding vows, placing his ring on a stick poking out of the ground as a joke. He gets more than he bargained for when the stick turns out to be the finger of a dead woman, and now the Corpse Bride (Helena Bonham Carter) is after him, claiming to legally be his bride and intent on showing Victor the time of his after-life.
Naomi Pfefferman, Arts & Entertainment Editor for The Jewish Journal has an interesting article on this movie where she states that "Corpse" has Jewish bones in that it has its origins in a similar chilling Jewish folk tale.

View the trailer here.

Virtual Ancient Rome

My friend Don Jim has a link to a neat website that takes you through a virtual visit into ancient Rome.

US May Go Into Syria

Via Sploid- The US Ambassador to Iraq,Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, made the off the record prediction that the US will go into Syria to combat insurgents that have been using the country as a staging ground for terrorist activity in Iraq.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I Am Back!

I arrived yesterday after a month and half of vacation I spent in Tunisia. The trip was both long and exhausting especially the one from Paris to Washington, DC., about 8 hours non-stop flight.In Paris, and before boarding I asked the airfrance agents if it was possible to get a seat by the aisle but I was told that there was no seats available and I found myself sitting on the rear of the plane by the window with an aged swiss couple who fell in a deep sleep during most of the flight!Anyway, there were hardly any turbulences during the flight which made the trip less unpleasant.Now I have to adapt myself to the jetlag (6hours)which I think will last at least three days before things will get back to normal...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

37th World Scouts Conference Held In Tunisia

The 37th World Scouts Conference opened its activities in Tunisia on September 5th, 2005.More than 1,200 participants from 124 countries are attending. The Conference is the general assembly of the World Organization of the Scout Movement and is composed of the leaders of national Scout organizations.Today, the participants arrived at the city of ElJem where they spent the day at a place near the ancient Roman amphitheatre. Because my digital camera is not fixed yet, I was not able to take any pics of such event...

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Israeli Foreign Minister To Visit Tunisia Next November

According to Elaph, an arabic news website, Silvan Shalom the Israeli Foreign Minister accompanied by Dalia Isaac, Minister of Communications, will visit Tunisia next November to take part in the World Summit on Information Society which will be held in Tunis (November 16-18, 2005). Silvan Shalom is by the way born in Tunisia in the southern city of Gabes.

Chief Justice Rhenquist died Yesterday, He Was 80

Chief Justice William H.Rhenquist, died yesterday, at his home in Arlington he was 80.