Wednesday, December 06, 2006
'Making Globalisation a Force for Good'.
Globalisation presents challenges and opportunities today and in the future. In 2004, to better understand how the UK can benefit from global trading the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) published a White Paper on Trade and Investment called, 'Making Globalisation a Force for Good'.
The White Paper deals with the question of how we can harness the power of globalisation, not only in the UK but in every country, especially in the developing world. It addresses the implications of globalisation nationally and internationally and sets out a vision of a world trading system which is fair as well as free.Read more: White Paper
FBI Lacks Basic Religious, Cultural and Linguistic Understanding
Bassem Youssef is the FBI's highest-ranking Arab-American agent. He's fluent in Arabic, ran the FBI's offices in Saudi Arabia and is a terrorism expert. In fact, Youssef's undercover work helping to infiltrate the terror organization of the so-called "blind sheik," Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman, earned him the intelligence community's most-prestigious award, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal.
But now, for the first time, Youssef is speaking out against the agency he loves.
“Not knowing these basic tenets is symptomatic of a lack of deep knowledge about your principal adversary, and that is unacceptable," says Michael Sheehan, an NBC News terrorism analyst. Senior FBI officials argue on the tapes that it's not necessary to have expertise in Arab culture — even in terrorism — to run the FBI's war on terror. It's leadership that matters most, they say.Read more: FBI
Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize
Entries are invited for the Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize 2007. The £2000 Prize is for book-length translations of fiction, poetry or drama into English from any living European language. Entries for the 2007 prize must have been published for the first time in the calendar year 2006, and must be distributed in the UK. They must be submitted by the publisher by 31st January 2007. Further details of how to enter can be obtained from Sandra Madley, Office of the Principal, St Anne's College, Oxford OX2 6HS, or from firstname.lastname@example.org.Read more: Oxford
Religion and the Workplace
Attorney Dave Brown holds a Bible study group at his California firm and finds the weekly meetings grapple with everyday workplace quandaries as often as they look at religious issues.
'It's not just the Bible. A lot of the books we study are just about being a good person and just being human and understanding how to relate to people,' he said. 'It gives you a forum to talk.'
The growth of diversity in the workplace, along with the influence of religion in America, has brought faith -- once as taboo in the office as talk of sex and politics -- to the job, experts say.Read more: Taboos
Employers Ignore Anti-discrimination Law due to “fears and misconceptions�?
“Political correctness gone mad�? or “too much red tape�? are views expressed by employers on anti-discrimination legislation. The myths and misconceptions that have built up around equality rights has led to many employers resisting any discussion of the equal rights agenda, and many employees believing that they have more rights than they do. This is the conclusion of an article published in Equal Opportunities Review, based on a recent Acas discussion paper.Read more: EOR
Government challenges law firms on Equality and Diversity Record
The government has asked lawyers to help open up the legal profession to people from different backgrounds.
Legal services minister Bridget Prentice has challenged more law firms to publish their equality and diversity figures.Read more: Prentice
Company Offering Free Audio Language Lessons
For a limited time, Language Dynamics Inc., the US's leader in fast-and-easy-to-learn foreign language courses, CDs and books, is offering free audio lessons as well as "buy one get one free" foreign language courses on its new website located at .
"I felt it was time to offer free audio lessons to the public over the holiday season," states Mark Frobose, Language Dynamics founder and well-known author of Amazon.com's bestselling CD series Behind the Wheel Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Polish, and English for Spanish Speakers. "It's our way of spreading the goodwill and magic of language-learning to everyone during the Christmas season."Read more: LDI
Word of the Day: risible
risible \RIZ-uh-buhl\, adjective:
1. Capable of laughing; disposed to laugh.
2. Exciting or provoking laughter; worthy of laughter; laughable; amusing.
3. Relating to, connected with, or used in laughter; as, "risible muscles."
Before long, I began to read aloud with my father, chanting the strange and wondrous rivers -- Shenandoah, Rappahannock, Chickahominy -- and wrapping my tongue around the risible names of rebel generals: Braxton Bragg, Jubal Early, John Sappington Marmaduke, William "Extra Billy" Smith, Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard. -- Tony Horwitz, Confederates in the Attic
All twelve selected are thoughtful, small and funny in both senses of the word: odd and risible. -- Stefan Kanfer, "Of Cats, Myths and Pizza", Time, December 11, 1989
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
The Translator by Catherine Tate
Kwintessential came across this great piece of comedy from the Catherine Tate tv show. It is rather brash humour but is an interesting look at some of our stereotypes of different cultures and their languages.
Greek Taxi Drivers to get Lessons in Good Manners
Taxi drivers in Greece are to be taught better manners, the country's tourism minister has announced.
Greece plans to spend £1.2 million on lessons after taxi drivers' poor behaviour was cited as a source of irritation in visitor surveys. Tourism minister Fani Pali-Petralia said 5,000 drivers would be given lessons, but did not say what they would involve.Read more: Taxis
Conservatives to bring back Compulsory Language Lessons
The Conservative leader, David Cameron, today signalled a back-to-basics approach to education as the party promised to increase the use of setting classes by ability and a return to compulsory language lessons.
At the launch of his first policy report, the Tory leader said too many pupils were being failed in the basics of English, maths, science, history and foreign languages.Read more: Tories
Baidu Targets Japanese Market
Baidu.com Inc., China's biggest Internet search company, may need to add online shopping and mobile phone Web searching to succeed in its plan to lure users from Yahoo Japan Corp., the country's most-visited site.
Baidu yesterday said it will start operations in Japan next year. The Beijing-based company, which makes money by selling advertisements linked to its search results, said its experience with non-English languages and similarities between Japanese and Chinese will help lure users in Japan.Read more: Baidu
How Google Translates the Web
Translation software is notoriously spotty. When NEWSWEEK plugged the phrase "This translation does not make sense" into one popular program, it produced a Russian phrase that, translated back, stated: "This transfer does not make the feeling."
But a new technique developed by Google may prompt an industry sea change. Instead of preprogramming set rules of grammar and vocabulary, Google's software, which launched earlier this year, teaches itself to translate by analyzing Web pages that already exist in multiple languages. The result, according to a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is output that is significantly more fluent. Though the study wasn't designed as a product review, its results are striking: out of 40 programs, Google's ranked in the top three in every category.Read more: Google
Saudi's "Religious Police" to take Cultural Awareness Training
Saudi Arabia's bearded religious police, who have been known to force men to cut their hair, are being re-trained to handle a potential influx of non-Muslim tourists, a government official said on Sunday.
The Supreme Commission for Tourism (SCT) told Reuters that the Authority for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice -- otherwise known as the religious police, or "mutawwa" -- had volunteered to take part in an orientation programme.
"It aims to teach how to deal with people of different cultures and develop communication skills," Magid al-Shiddi, SCT spokesman said.Read more: Saudi
Diversity tsar Calls for Positive Action
Pressure is mounting on the government to change the law to allow employers to take "special measures" in favouring ethnic minority job applicants.
Trevor Phillips, who takes up his role as the UK's diversity tsar this week, has again insisted positive discrimination is necessary to end under-representation in certain professions.Read more: CRE
Google to Target Africa & Portugal through Portuguese Language
In America, Google is pretty much omnipresent. Elsewhere in the world . . . well, it's getting there. The search engine company has announced plans to enter Portugal in order to access the African market indirectly.
Anil Hansjee, Google's head of European corporate development, talked to Diario de Noticias about the company's intentions; The Sydney Morning Herald offered part of the interview. "We want to enter Africa, not through fixed-line Internet access but through mobile access," Hansjee said.Read more: Google
Is the German Language Going Global?
Anglicisms, spelling reform and falling tests scores in schools -- all of these bugbears come up when Germans discuss the significance of their language. However, the German language is not only under influence but, increasingly, it is also making an impact of its own beyond the German borders.
A few months ago, the online magazine Berliner Gazette spearheaded a new project they called McDeutsch, or "McGerman." Around 50 cultural experts based both in Germany and abroad hope to contribute to the national debate and create a global perspective. At a symposium in Berlin on Dec. 15, they'll delve more deeply into the matter.
"German is not only spoken in Germany, Austria and Switzerland," says Krystian Woznicki, the project's artistic director, who called the German language an export hit on a global level.Read more: German
English Language Tests for Immigrants to UK
The UK Government today strengthened its commitment to integration by announcing that from April 2 next year all those seeking to live in the UK permanently will have to pass English language and knowledge of life in the UK tests before being granted permanent settlement rights.
Introducing mandatory tests for applicants wishing to settle in Britain will bring them into line with the requirements for those seeking British nationality.Read more: UK
Google in the Middle East
Google CEO Eric Schmidt spoke recently at the Arab Strategy Forum, and he made some thought-provoking predictions about the region's future. "The next story in the development of the Arab world," Schmidt said, "will be the unleashing of the power of the Arab entrepreneur."
"Huge new non-oil businesses can be created here that are global and export-oriented," he continued, according to Jim Krane. Schmidt believed that the Arab world could use the Internet to branch out, although the region must also address a few problems.Read more: Arab World
Word of the Day: dictum
dictum \DIK-tuhm\, noun:
1. An authoritative statement; a formal pronouncement.
2. Law) A judicial opinion expressed by judges on points that do not necessarily arise in the case, and are not involved in it.
I have taken to heart Francis Bacon's dictum that "truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion". -- Donald B. Calne, Within Reason: Rationality and Human Behavior
As an editor, Rahv took seriously Trotsky's dictum that "Art can become a strong ally of revolution only in so far as it remains faithful to itself." -- David Laskin, Partisans