Friday, June 04, 2004

Don't try this at home! (That's the Prime Minister of Mongolia on the right, looking particularly transfixed.)
As you are probably aware June 3, the day of the full moon, was also Saga Dawa on the Tibeto-Mongolian calendar. This is the day on which the Buddha’s birth, Enlightenment, and Paranirvana are celebrated. For more information see Saga Dawa.

Janraisig Temple at Gandan

Several thousand people turned up at Gandan Monastery in Ulaan Baatar, certainly the biggest crowd I have ever seen there. The Prime Minister, the head of Gandan Monastery, Lama Zopa, the head of the world-wide Buddhist organization FPMT, and hosts of other dignitaries were present.

Dignitaries speechifying

Scale model of a new 40 foot high statue planned for a hilltop near Gandan

Close-up the proposed statue. This will be the new highlight of the UB skyline.

Of course no event in Mongolia is complete without a contortionist:

In Mongolia as elsewhere it isn’t over until the abundantly endowed lady sings . . . Lama Zopa, middle, in the background, looks especially pleased with the view.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Internet Madness Continued - This just in from our Sceptored Isle Correspondent:

"A TEENAGE schoolboy, searching for adventure beyond his middle-class upbringing, stumbled across what he believed to be a gruesome initiation test that would lead to a new life as a secret agent. Mark, 16, was convinced that the instructions he was receiving in an internet chat room came from a glamorous woman spymaster who promised sex and money if he killed John, a 14-year-old friend. The orders were detailed and specific. Mark was told where and when to meet his target and given a code which would signal if his mission was to be aborted. When he plunged the knife into his friend’s stomach he was to say: “I love you, bro.” On June 29 last year, in an alleyway in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, Mark carried out his instructions, stabbing John twice. What he did not know was that John was also the person who had planned the murder attempt and had been manipulating him over the internet. The 14-year-old had used multiple identities — including that of a woman spy — elaborately to plan his own suicide. Luckily, the stab wounds did not prove fatal. Mark and John — not their real names — appeared before Manchester Crown Court yesterday, where Judge David Maddison, the Recorder of Manchester, called the case “extraordinary”.

This story is from the London Times, which requires a subscription, hence no link.
"Japan is reeling from the latest in a string of horrific juvenile crimes - a 12-year-old schoolgirl stabbed to death by her 11-year-old classmate," read the headline. The key quote is "Investigators said the girl told police she and Mitarai [the victim] had fallen out over messages they sent each other on the internet." For the full story see Japan in Shock at School Murder.