Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy News Generator

I think we can all agree that the world's basically done gone blown to hell lately. If I mention Japan, you'll think of the hell that's broken loose there. If I mention Wisconsin, same thing. Or just about anywhere in the Middle East or North Africa. The South Pacific got hit with the same tsunami Japan did, as did the entire rest of the Pacific rim. The UN is looking at deteriorating conditions in Libya and responded with its all-too-stereotypical response of bickering. Arizona's the laughingstock of the country, even as half the rest of it wants to take after either Arizona or Wisconsin, if not both. Italy is getting hit with a flood of Tunisian refugees. Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Maldives continue to slowly sink into the sea. And this is not counting the other ongoing trouble spots and disaster zones- North Korea, DR Congo, Mexico, Somalia, Afghanistan, Haiti.

It's all getting to be a little too much to handle all at once. You just want to curl up into a corner and cry until all the bad things go away.

So here's what we're going to do. We're going to take some spins of the Random News Generator, but with this caveat: we're going to only cover nice things. We kind of need nice things at the moment. We'll take three spins.

ENGLAND: Is considering a revision of its libel law, allowing for more freedom to express honest opinion. As it stands, the laws are such that the papers there often have to dance around what they think might have happened in a particular incident, relying on euphemisms and double entendres. It's also, many believe, stifled scientific and academic debates, with sides self-censoring opinions, wary of triggering a lawsuit. Lawsuits can also currently be brought years after the original publication (publication online is currently considered as continuous); revisions in consideration would place a time limit one year from the date of original publication.

TANZANIA: Is seeing a couple of improvements in their healthcare system. First, they've acquired a medivac- air-based evacuation- that will cover the entirety of the country. Second, there are two new pediatric HIV clinics in the cities of Mbeya and Mwanza. With HIV as rampant as it is in much of Africa, particularly southern Africa, the disease is commonly passed on from mothers to their children. However, out of an estimated 140-150,000 children in the country with HIV, a dismal 8% are recieving care for it. The linked article notes that 5.6% of Tanzanians have HIV, with Mbeya, one of the cities in which a clinic was placed, clocking in at a downright tragic 9.2%.

CAMBODIA: Has been trying to repatriate Vietnamese corpses from fighting in that country during what we know here as the Vietnam War. Over the past decade, they've located and transferred 5,100 sets of remains. Of course, in order to make this particular piece of news happy, one must look past the fact that they all died in the war, or that it took so long to find the bodies, or the fact that they're still looking for more, and simply focus on the fact that these particular 5,100 who fought, no matter whose side they were on, are, sooner or later, finding their way home.

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