The world in six cups

"It plays a central role in both religious rituals and secular ceremonies. It has proven health benefits. It can promote either community and camaraderie or solitude and introspection. It can be calming or invigorating. Tea is arguably the most versatile beverage on Earth."

I once had a post about the world according to coffee. Well tea is a pretty good follow-up for those of us who enjoy global trekking and warm drinks.

Really interesting read, by the way.

Russia’s Scandalous ‘It Girl’ Remakes Herself as an Unlikely Face of Protest

She repeated her declaration that she might emigrate if the authorities resist political liberalization. And she continued — very carefully — to speak out against Mr. Putin, a family friend widely rumored to be her godfather.

It is difficult to imagine a more unlikely standard-bearer than Ms. Sobchak, 30, the ubiquitous blond party girl known as Russia’s Paris Hilton. Most people here know her through her raunchy careerin reality television, or the scandalous liaisons and broken engagements that make up the basic molecular structure of Russia’s tabloid culture.

Nevertheless, over the course of the last few months, the transformation of Ms. Sobchak has begun to seem real, setting off talk that — against all expectations — she is following the path of her father, Anatoly A. Sobchak, whose stand against Communism made him a hero for Russia’s liberals.


Outspoken Russian journalist Khadzhimurad Kamalov was gunned down “in a hail of bullets” late Thursday night outside his office in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan. The 46 year old was a prominent journalist and newsman and was the founder of Dagestan’s weekly newspaper Chernovik, known for its willingness to criticize officials and its work to uncover police abuse in the counterterrorism efforts in nearby Chechnya. Kamalov was known for his criticisms of and investigations into Dagestan’s Interior Ministry. In 2009, his name was on a circulated “assassination list.”  His death is a huge blow to freedom of speech and the press, and the willingness of activists and journalists to speak out in Russia.

Chernovik’s editor, Biyakai Magomedov, who witnessed the murder, said “They deliberately killed him in front of the newspaper’s office to scare the staff.”

Author Yulia Latynina told Ekho Moskvy radio “Just as Politkovskaya’s death meant the loss of information about Chechnya, Kamalov’s death will mean that to a large extent we will stop to understand what’s going on in Dagestan. People will simply be scared to write anything.”

Read the stories at the AFP, Boston Globe and the Guardian.

[Photo: Sergei Rasulov/AP File]

What Happens When You Donate to an Anti-Corruption Website in Russia?

  • [Woman calling herself] Yulia Ivanshova: Money was sent from your Yandex account to support [anti-corruption blogger] Alexey Navalny, is this right?
  • Me: (a little taken aback by the knowledge of the lady) And where did you get this information from?
  • YI: We have our sources, it’s public information.
  • Me: (even more shocked by the words “public information”) Why won’t you share with me who these sources are, if it is public information?
  • YI: No, I will not. But you didn’t answer my question. Why do you support Alexey Navalny?
  • Me: Well then, let’s exchange information. You tell me how you know about transactions from my Yandex account, and I will tell why I support Alexey Navalny.
  • YI: Who transferred money to you to support Alexey Navalny?
  • Me: I took [the money] from my paycheck and transferred it.
  • YI: That’s not true. Ten minutes before you transferred the money, money appeared in your Yandex account from a Moscow Credit Bank ATM. [...]