Top 10 Defining Moments of the 2000s

Having reached the end of the first decade of the new millennium, it’s time to look back at all the things that helped shape the cultural heritage of our ever globalizing society. It seems amazing that it was nearly ten years ago when the entire world rang in the new millennium with style. From Tokyo to London, New York to Sydney, Rio De Janeiro to Cairo, the fireworks and celebrations were extraordinary. We’ve come a long way since. Did anyone think they would be holding a powerful phone in their pocket and take that power for granted today, ten years ago? Did anyone really grasp the ability for computers and the internet to permeate every aspect of our day to day lives? And did anyone think the Rolling Stones would still be touring? Well, here are the ten moments, ideas, and innovations which defined the decade. The list is broken into ten different categories, with at least one runner-up listed for each.

Harry Potter

Runners-up: The Da Vinci Code, Oprah’s book club.

In 1997 an unknown writer named Joanne Rowling finally got her break upon the publication of a novel she had been working on for seven years, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. What followed was nothing short of mania. The series, with seven books planned from the start, became a global phenomenon. By the time the final book was published in 2007, the Harry Potter series had turned Rowling into a billionaire, one of the runners-up for Time’s “Person of the Year”, and easily the most influential children’s writer of her era. An entire generation grew up along with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, reading thousands of pages in a time where most children are watching TV. Harry Potter became famous for its cult-like following, with millions of kids everywhere waiting outside bookstores for midnight parties on release dates. Over 400 million copies of the books have been translated into 67 different languages. Along with tie-in merchandise and movie deals, the franchise is worth an estimated £15 billion. Many groups attempted to ban the books, arguing that Rowling was brain washing kids into practicing magic and believing in the occult. Most of their criticism has been ignored, especially by the college students playing quidditch matches on campus, and Oxford English Dictionary, who in 2003 entered “muggle” into its lexicon.


Runners-up: Lost, The Sopranos, Family Guy.

Perhaps the most annoying of all entries on this list, reality TV has changed the landscape of television over the past decade. While different shows can fit the general description of reality TV, it really began with in the UK with Pop Idol in 2001. The winner of the first season was Will Young, who has had a modest career since. American Idol took off a year later, and every week gains more votes than the US presidential election. Other reality TV shows took off at the same time and have had a huge effect on television, such as, Survivor, Big Brother, The Amazing Race, and The Real World. Jeff Zucker, the Chief Executive of a rival network remarked that, “I think Idol is the most impactful show in the history of television”.


Runners-up: Hotel Rwanda, Brokeback Mountain.

Danny Boyle created a masterpiece in 2008 with his film Slumdog Millionaire. Based on the book “Q&A” by Vikas Swarup, the movie tells the tale of an impoverished young man and his chance to make millions on the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” He answers question after question based on chance encounters throughout his life, such as how he knows who is on a US 100 dollar bill. We learn that the young man, played by Dev Patel, is not interested in the money, but in finding his lost girlfriend. Slumdog Millionaire took the world by storm, grossing $377 million. It also won 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It has been acclaimed as being a small representative of the future of film, because of its international cast, crew, and audience. Joe Morgenstern called it the “world’s first globalized masterpiece”.


Runners-up: Spain Wins Euro 2008, Zinedine Zidane’s Headbutt, 2008 New York Giants.

Down three games to zero against their fiercest rival, the New York Yankees, in the American League Championship Series, the Red Sox were down to their final inning when the magic began. Even with superstar closer Mariano Rivera on the mound, the Red Sox were not going to be denied. They scored the tying run, and eventually won the game in the 12th inning. Game 5 went to 14 innings, and game 6 was decided by just two runs. In game 7 however, the Red Sox cut the Yankees loose with a 7 run victory to become the first team to ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit and win. But, their job was not done yet. The Red Sox had gone 86 years without a World Series title, and were not going to go home empty handed. In fact, they swept the Cardinals in 4 games to win the championship, in what analysts would later call “the greatest story baseball ever told”.


Runners-up: Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl Show, Live 8, Napster, death of Michael Jackson

Steve Jobs didn’t invent the mp3 player, but he did revolutionize it. In October of 2001, Apple introduced the world to the iPod, and perhaps they didn’t even realize what they were doing. Previously, mp3 players were unpopular because they were fragile, had short battery life, or were simply not sexy and fashionable. Apple saw the flaws of these products and attempted to fix them all. Eight years later, it’s hard to find a teenager or young adult without an iPod. Over 220,000,000 iPods have been sold throughout the world, making them the highest selling digital audio player. It has also changed the music industry itself. Any small musician, looking to make it big, can get his music in the iTunes store, and theoretically propel himself to stardom. Interestingly, there are studies being done that argue iPods are making kids more anti-social, because they can turn on their music instead of socializing. Even if you “are a PC”, you must admit that Apple was doing something right when they introduced the iPod.


Runners-up: HD TV, high speed internet, Wikipedia.

It was called just a fad, but others insist that social networking sites have become one of the biggest shifts in human interaction since the invention of the telephone. Social media has overtaken pornography as the #1 activity on the internet. Consider that it took the radio 38 years to reach 50 million users, but it took facebook less than 9 months to reach 100 million users. Twitter played a pivotal role in the 2009 Iranian elections, and yet all the popular news feeds were over taken on the day Michael Jackson died. With nearly 93% of college students using facebook or another form of social networking, these sites are already having a massive effect on human interaction. Social networking is fundamentally changing the way the world communicates.

Content Euro

Runners-up: Dotcom bust, real estate collapse.

The second most widely used currency in the world was formally introduced in 2002. The euro, primarily used by members of the European Union, is also used by millions of people on other continents. 16 members of the EU are obliged to adopt the euro eventually, with the United Kingdom and Denmark exempt. Many African counties have also adopted it unofficially and some countries have negotiated usage. There are now 23 countries using currencies directly pegged to the euro. Behind the US dollar, the euro has become the second largest reserve currency and the euro also has the more value in circulation than any other currency. With close to 500 million people worldwide using the euro, its use and expanding use will help shape our future and hopefully lead us into a stage of macroeconomic stability.


Runners-up: Darfur Genocide, Benazir Bhutto assassination, London train bombings.

On September 11, 2001, four airplanes in the United States were hijacked by Muslim extremists and crashed into various locations. Two were crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, one was flown into the Pentagon Building in Washington DC, and in the fourth plane, civilians overtook the terrorists and the plane crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Nearly three thousand people were killed in the attacks. Al-Qaeda, a terrorist group centered in the Middle East, and its leader Osama Bin Laden were blamed for the attack. The New York Stock Exchange, which makes its home only blocks away from the WTC, had its largest one day drop in history when it re-opened. Following the attack, President George W. Bush started his War on Terror, which has led to major conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The long term effects of the attacks are still being felt today, and will continue to shape the world for years to come.


Runners-up: Hurricane Katrina, Victorian Bushfire, Climate Change

The second largest recorded earthquake in history occurred on December 26, 2005, in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The resulting tsunami killed nearly 230,000 people and displaced over one million. Deaths occurred in fourteen different countries, and Indonesia suffered the worst fatalities. Tourists, mostly from Europe, were also killed during this peak travel time, with over 9,000 deaths. The tsunami is believed to have been the deadliest natural disaster since the 1976 Tangshan earthquake. In the aftermath, entire cities had been destroyed. Rural areas had been completely wiped out. The rest of the world responded with relief aid estimated at over ten billion US dollars. Despite the efforts, the countries most affected are still in the process of rebuilding, and many may never be the same.

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Runners-up: 2000 Bush/Gore Florida election, 2009 Iranian Elections.

In a nation still bearing the scars of its Jim Crow past, the people of the United States made a huge move toward true racial equality in 2008 by electing Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president. President Obama won the Electoral College by a staggering 192 votes over his opponent Senator John McCain. The triumph of “change” was approved all around the world. An international poll showed an average of 49% worldwide in favor of Obama, while McCain only garnered 12%. President Obama had some strong ideas and plans for the future, and only time will tell if he can truly come through with them.

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Top 10 Most Fatal Occupations

Are you thinking of getting a new job? You may want to check this list out before applying – these are the career paths that are most likely to see you dead! The ranking of the items on this list are based on US statistics, so they may vary in other countries.

Truck Driver Posture

Death Ratio: 27 out of 100,000

Making up 12% of the total deaths a year, with 905 on average, it also makes up the bottom of our list due to the huge amount of workers it employs. Truckers are highly trained before they can be put out on the road, and for good reason. Passenger vehicles get confused and scared around large trucks, leading to reckless driving that forces the truck driver to use evasive skills that can end up causing them to crash. 70% of trucking related fatalities occur because of this. Another problem with trucking is unsafe rest stops. They are often far away from any authority, leaving the trucker open to muggings.

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Death Ratio: 34 out of 100,000

A pretty straight forward job when it comes to the amount of danger involved. Climbing up giant poles is risky, especially when you balance at weird angles to work on a line. Decked out in highly protective gear to stop from being shocked and safety equipment to help them stay up, it’s not flawless and some 36 people die every year under this job.


Death Ratio: 35 out of 100,000

Carrying heavy equipment, kneeling, bending, climbing, heat, wind, long hours; roofing takes a lot of work. The physical strain often leads to carelessness to make the job easier, and workers don’t always find it beneficial to wear their safety gear. When you’re working so high up, this is a huge mistake. Besides the non fatal injuries of nail guns, burns from hot bitumen, and other possible dangers, there’s a huge risk of slipping or tripping on ladders, scaffolds, and slanted roofs. In 2005 reports were that there were 2 times more injuries than there were workers, and 94 deaths.


Death Ratio: 38 out of 100,000

With big toys and long hours, an accident is bound to happen. Unfortunately it happens a bit too often, about 307 times a year actually. Big business’s and small family owned farms alike have to do repetitive jobs for long hours at a time with very dangerous equipment and chemicals. Improper training or even just a slight moment of unawareness can lead to major issues such as two tractors colliding or you poisoning yourself. Then there’s always the odd rancher who tried to walk behind a horse and got a horseshoe to the skull.


Death Ratio: 42 out of 100,000

A job category ranging from the guys who pick up garbage after construction, to warehouse machinery operators, crane operators, and the guys who pick up your trash every week, 38 people total died during the year. Some jobs require you to work in extreme weather, at large heights, and do repetitive jobs for long hours. In big cities, trash collectors are constantly at risk of cutting themselves on glass and being hit by cars while loading garbage onto a truck. Along with physical hazards, even bigger issues are the toxins and chemicals that they are constantly exposed to that can cause severe long term damage.

Construction Worker

Death Ratio: 61 out of 100,000

These are the guys that build the giant metal frames for new buildings, bridges, and other large structures. Obviously not a job for the feint of heart, one wrong step can send you falling several stories high to a bone shattering end, which is the way most of these fatalities have gone. Even using the best safety gear they can, and strict rules stopping them from working in unfavorable weather, the numbers still float around 31 deaths a year.

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Death Ratio: 81 out of 100,000

Equipped with already dangerous tools, lumber workers are pressured to work fast and hard in places that aren’t always ideal for a guy with a heavy spinning saw. A lot of logging takes place on hills, where they are susceptible to high winds, falling branches, and hidden roots or vines. Though for a while it was the most dangerous job, most lumber companies are heavily safety regulated now, and the number of deaths has decreased in the last few years bringing statistics down to 64 deaths a year.

Pilot 10 Rev

Death Ratio: 88 out of 100,000

Although killing the second most workers a year, 101 total, it’s still less dangerous than the next two. Most people think of the large commercial and passenger jets when they think of pilots, but these numbers come mostly from Crop Dusting and testing new and experimental flight equipment. Crop Dusters work long days, expose themselves to chemicals, often land in stripless fields, and fly low around nearly invisible powerlines. This field also factors in helicopters that are often put in dangerous and risky situations.

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Death Ratio: 142 out of 100,000

Commonly regarded as the most dangerous job you can have, the Commercial Fishing industry reported 51 deaths on average a year. With heavy equipment on board, rough weather, sudden storms, rogue waves, ropes all over, and no where to run when things get bad, the dangers here certainly aren’t hidden.

Cell Tower

Death Ratio: 184 out of 100,000

Currently in the lead for most fatal job is the Cell Phone Tower Worker, a position new to the Census of Fatal Occupational Industries. In 2006, 18 people were killed on the job. Though it appears to be a small number, it means you have a much higher chance of dying here than in any other career choice. Why so dangerous? Cell phone companies are constantly trying to build more, build higher, and build faster. Aside from that, the carriers hire small contractors to build these towers. These contractors don’t always have all the right safety equipment, and it is not always used correctly. If a worker is damaged or fatally injured, any bills or lawsuits go to the contractor since the carrier and tower owners are rarely on the construction grounds, and the phone company gets off free (most of the time). To top it off, due to the phone company not having to pay for these incidents, very little is being done outside of Unions to regulate safety.

Sources for statistics: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, and U.S. Department of Defense, 2004. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2005), and “the latest BSL” data

Contributor: Trigun472

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Top 10 Steps To A Top 10 List

Reading that someone laughed, cried, prayed or gave to charity based on something you wrote is a great feeling, and I want to share that feeling with you. But first we have to get that great Top Ten list out of your head and posted online. Any published writer will tell you it’s harder than it looks, but is definitely rewarding.

I’m neither the best nor most prolific author on Listverse. I’m not even in the discussion. But I have tripped over a method to speed the creative process, while limiting (my) bad writing habits. I’d like to share these steps in hopes of reading YOUR list someday, and to goad the real pros into telling how they do it (I’m lookin’ at you, Flamehorse).

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Finding a great topic is the hardest part, so of course it’s the first thing you have to do. If you’re stuck for ideas, keep a Topic Diary and write ideas down whenever inspiration hits. Don’t worry if you can’t find enough list entries, just capture the idea and go on with your life. You can also use ideas from books or articles you read, so long as you expand on them and cite appropriately. Still no luck? Try the Listverse forums, which have over 200 topic suggestions. This is shooting fish in a barrel: the audience is telling you what they want to read about. [Image Source]


Under each topic in your Topic Diary, add bullet points for each list entry. Just a few words will do, and don’t worry about the order (yet). Don’t have enough? You’d be surprised how you can make a deeper, multifaceted list by combining separate topics. For example, “10 Star Vehicles That Were Black Holes”, combined failed ideas for ‘Rock Stars in Movies’ and “Worst Movies with a Decent Budget”. Neither list was compelling by itself, but together they were pure Schadenfreude. The list you’re reading now came from a horrid ‘My Top 10 Top 10” and ‘How to Write a Good Top 10 List’ (abandoned after reading Blogball).

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Open a blank Word document and write the title of your list. Underneath the title make a bullet list of all the examples you can think of. Don’t put them in any order or worry if you don’t have exactly ten: history shows that if you can come up with six or seven strong candidates, you’ll trip over three more during your research.

Now it’s time to make an entry box. This will ultimately become one of the top ten entries in your list. Drop down the page and write each of your bullet points on its own line. Then hit ‘enter’ about ten times to allow enough room to work.

Now do your research and find the raw data you want to use. Cut/paste that data verbatim, starting on the seventh empty line of the item box. Include the bibliographic data on a source line below the box. Do this every time you add supporting data.
When you’re done, you’ll have a fully cited list entry brimming with ideas—and nearly impossible to read.


Remember those empty lines at the top of the entry box? Your final copy will go there, but first you must do the rough cut.

Remove any portions of the raw data you’re not going to use. When finished, you’ll have a much smaller passage of someone else’s words supporting the point you’re trying to make. You’ve likely used multiple sources, so the writing styles won’t match, and everything sounds like it was written by committee (which, at this point, it has).

This is where the empty lines come in. Using your own words, rewrite the passage using the same style and voice used in the other list entries. This will create an easier read because it now sounds like it was written by one person. Delete the rough cut text, but keep the source links to help the editors.


Truman Capote believed ‘more in scissors than in pencils’. Re-read your passage and pare the wording to the essentials. This will prove painful, but you’re going for clarity, not clever wordplay. Those familiar with my earlier lists should detect megaton hypocrisy (see ‘Top 10 Incredibly Dangerous Sports’). [Image Source]

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I am continually delighted by the photos and graphics the editors choose for lists. ’10 Ridiculous Cases of Political Correctness’ looks positively artistic. This is a good thing because the online submission page does not allow for graphics or formatting. If a key graphic or video is required for your list, be sure to supply the hyperlink in the source material.


This is the order of your entries, from ‘worst to first’ or ‘first to worst’ or whatever. Make sure each entry has a reason for its placement, as the exclusionary nature of lists builds thematic tension during the read. For example, ‘Top 10 Talking Donkeys‘ may have been lampooned by some, but I was genuinely in suspense wondering what entry could possibly be next. Surely there’s no way Magoopaintrock had 10 of these, right? Well, he did. The entry order made sense, and the list was more satisfying because of it.

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You’ve finished the list, and it looks pretty good—possibly the best thing you’ve ever written. You’ve put a lot of time into it, and you’re anxious someone else is working on the exact same topic. Paranoid even. Post NOW, right?


You’re too close to it. Let the list sit for a day and come back to it with fresh eyes. You’ll probably go straight back to step six, annoyed at how verbose and pretentious you sound. Make your cuts and give the list to SOMEONE ELSE for a final review. If that person has ANY difficulty reading your list, zero in on that part and kill the problem dead. Not just Hollywood dead, but DEAD DEAD.

Proofreaders are also great for spotting typos, and they would have caught that I misspelled Ozzy Osbourne’s name in ‘Ten Rock Acts That Sabotaged Their Careers’ and Duke Nukem in ’10 Cases of Vaporware’. In both cases, the proper spelling was in the graphic directly beneath my misspelled title. D’oh!

Following a good proofreading session, copy everything from your Word document and paste into the ‘Submit a List’ page on Listverse. Resist the urge to edit, and click ‘Submit’. Now the waiting begins.


a. Rejection

So you’ve submitted your piece, and have since hit Listverse daily hoping to see your work online. But it doesn’t happen. There can be many reasons for this: the topic is too broad or too specific, it may be a nightmare to edit, it’s good but has already been done, or you haven’t sent Jamie the $85 “processing fee” (just kidding). The reasons go on and on.

Take heart—you put yourself out there and tried something new. If you’re still not sure why your work wasn’t chosen, a cold re-read a few weeks later will bring the shortcomings into sharp relief. ’10 Great Philanthropists Who Are Kids’ required a significant rewrite before it was finally accepted.

And for the record, I’ve been rejected plenty. ‘Top 10 Electric Guitars’, ‘Top 10 Shortest Rock Stars’, ’10 Bizarre Audiophile Speakers’, and ‘My Top 10 Top 10’ are all required reading on the Island of Misfit Toys (sniff).

b. Success

Congratulations, you’re now a published author, and your piece may appear in a Listverse book someday. Enjoy the positive comments left by readers, and don’t take the criticism too hard. Even after all your work, the wisdom of crowds may reveal research flaws or better list entries. I’ve been wrong at least three times (no Timothy McVeigh in ‘Top 10 Traitors in US History’), and peer review called me on it each time. It’s not a fun place to be, but man up and admit if you’re in error: most commenters want to add to the conversation, not attack you personally.

[Note from JFrater: I generally prefer not to reject lists and if I can avoid it through editing I do. However, lists that do require a lot of editing tend to take much longer to appear on the site because of the extra time I need to put into them.]


You should love trolls. Really. To think they get so worked up over something you wrote for free is a riot. Respond at your own risk—just remember they are few but indefatigable. And if you do get offended, know that they’d never speak this way to your face.

Also remember that the opposite of love is not hate, it’s apathy. Somebody was so moved by your writing they just HAD to respond. Maybe purging that vitriol from their system means they didn’t kick the dog or yell at the kids that day. And just because they’re angry doesn’t mean they didn’t learn something. Still hurt? Jonathan Swift may offer some comfort: ‘When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.’

Happy writing.

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Top 10 New Year Traditions

Just as the parties from Christmas begin to dwindle, preparations are started for the celebration of New Year. It is a time when even the least-likely party-goer will ready himself for a night of booze, singing, and food. This list looks at 10 of the most common and interesting traditions of New Year from around the world.


First-footing is an ancient European New Year’s custom that continues into the present in many areas. The first person to enter a home after midnight on the first day of the year should be a male, preferably with dark hair. Blondes may have been associated with Vikings – visitors who never brought good luck. The first-footer should carry a gift, such as a coin for prosperity, bread for food, salt for flavor, or whiskey to represent good cheer. The first-footer can be a resident of the house, but must not be inside during the hour leading up to midnight. No fair stepping outside and coming back in again!


There is an Irish tradition of predicting the political future of the country by checking which way the wind blows at midnight on New Year’s Eve. If the wind is from the west, there is a chance that good fortune will reign that year. If the wind is from the east, however, the British will prevail. Mistletoe was handed out to ward off bad luck, and single women put a sprig of mistletoe under their pillows in hopes of catching a dream about their future husbands. Another tradition peculiar to Ireland is pounding on the doors and windows of the house with bread. This practice was to chase out evil spirits and ensure bread for the upcoming year.


Madeira, a Portugese island, holds a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the most lavish New Year’s party. In 2007, 8,000 fireworks per minute made up the display in Funchal, the capital city, for a total of 600,000 fireworks. Visitors from around the world fill the tiny harbor, where the dazzle is reflected. In 2009, the government is spending 12,000,000 Euros to ensure the most spectacular celebration anywhere in the world. Other famous fireworks displays take place in Rio de Janeiro, Sydney harbor, and, of course, New York City, were visitors watch the descent of the giant six-foot crystal ball marking the last moments of the old year.

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New Year’s is the oldest holiday still being celebrated. The Babylonians celebrated the new year as early as 4000 B.C. At that time, the new year began on the first new moon after the Vernal Equinox. The celebration continued for eleven days, with each day having a different purpose and activity. Then, as now, resolutions were made. A common Babylonian resolution is to return borrowed farm equipment. At this time each year, the king was stripped of all power to undergo a ritual of humiliation, in which he was hit by the priest and separated from everyone for three days to pray. When he reappeared, ceremonies of restoration were performed to ensure that nature would support him during the coming year.

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Austria has one of the most glamorous of New Year’s celebrations. At the Imperial Ball, a tradition of the Hapsburg dynasty that has continued for hundreds of years, dancers wear white gowns and black jackets. At midnight, “The Blue Danube,”is played. The Strauss operetta, “Die Fledermaus, is performed each New Year’s Day. Celebrants dine on suckling pig – considered good luck. The tables are often decorated with candy pigs. Children pour molten lead into a tub of water. A soothsayer then reads the shape of the lead. It is considered bad luck to find that your lead resembles an old woman.


By the Chinese calendar, the year 2009 is actually 4706, a year of the ox. Chinese New Year is celebrated on the second new moon after the winter solstice. In 2010, it will fall on February 14. Firecrackers and noisemakers will chase away evil spirits. The fabulous dragon and lion will dance in the streets. People will wear red, the most auspicious of colors, and red envelopes with lucky money will be given to children. Tangerines are often given for good luck, but odd numbers are unlucky, so the tangerines are given in pairs. The third day of the new year is the day the mice marry off their daughters, so people go to bed early, so they don’t disturb the mice.


It is traditional in Japan to spend a full week preparing for the new year to arrive. The house must be thoroughly cleaned, so that no evil spirits can linger. All debts must be paid. And most importantly, all disagreements must be resolved and forgiven. Before midnight, 108 bells ring, to symbolize the elimination of 108 troubles. With no troubles, disagreements, debts, or disorder to contend with, all are free to welcome in the new year with every expectation of peace and prosperity. The day after New Year’s is First Writing Day, when people write their hopes and dreams for the new year.


For African Americans, New Year’s Day has a special significance, and is often called Emancipation Day or Jubilee Day. On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves from bondage, was read in Boston. Today, many African-American families hold “watch services” on January 1. Traditional foods include black-eyed peas, collard greens, ham hocks, and macaroni and cheese. The uniquely African-American celebration, Kwanzaa, continues over seven days starting December 26, so the New Year’s celebration is often part of Kwanzaa’s way of reconnecting people with their African roots. Kwanzaa began in the United States in the 1960s, and is not celebrated in Africa.

“Auld Lang Syne” has been called the most familiar song to which nobody knows the words. But this year, you will! Written by Robert Burns and first published after his death in 1796, the song became an instant standard in 1929 when Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played it on New Year’s Eve, broadcasting from the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The title literally means, “Old Long Time.” Roughly translated, here are the words:

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for days of auld lang syne.

We two have run around the hills
And pulled the daisies fine.
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot
Since the days of auld lang syne.

We two have paddled in the stream
From morn till the sun was down.
But seas between us two have roared
Since days of auld lang syne.

So here’s a hand my trusty friend.
Give us a hand of thine.
We’ll take a good-will drink again
For auld lang syne.

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Using a baby to symbolize the new year has been controversial from the beginning. Many cities watch for the first baby of the new year, to shower him or her with gifts from local merchants and lots of media attention. But parading a living baby through the streets brought disapproval from Greek mothers as early as 600 B.C. Egyptians also used a live human baby to symbolize the birth of a new year. Early Christians disapproved of the practice, but its popularity eventually overcame all objections, and the symbol remains one of the most popular. Today’s baby is traditionally a diapered boy with a sash labeled with the number of the upcoming year he represents.

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Top 10 Tips for Wearing White Tie

So, you have been invited to dine with the Queen at Buckingham Palace and the invitation specifies “white tie”. You have no idea what that means or what it entails. Okay, it is unlikely that any of us will be dining with the Queen, but White Tie events do happen quite often and there is a very specific way that you must dress when attending one of these events. This list deals primarily with menswear as it is probably simple enough to tell women that they should wear their finest gown (no skirts, no trousers) when attending. We will start at the head and move down to the feet.


The correct hat to wear to a white tie event is a top hat. The wearing of a hat is optional, but if you do wear one you should also wear an opera cloak or coat. White gloves, scarf and cane are optional extras. According to contemporary sources, the inventor of the top hat, John Hetherington, caused such fright in people when he first wore his hat, that he was taken to court for wearing “a tall structure having a shining luster calculated to frighten timid people”. An authentic top hat should be wider at the top and bottom than the middle, and should have a curved upturned rim.

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Your jacket should be a tailcoat – it must have a cut front that reaches to your waist and there should not be any part of the white vest underneath showing below the front. These coats have a split in the tail and often buttons on either side. The tails at the rear should not fall below your knees. The lapels (peaked) of the jacket should be covered with silk, or even better with grosgrain. In the photograph above, you can see that President Bush is wearing an ill fitting off-the-rack suit because the jacket front is too short. The Duke of Edinburgh (left) is wearing a well fitting suit with the correct length. The photograph on the right is another demonstration of a correctly fitting jacket and vest.


Your bowtie must be hand tied – do not buy a tie on a string or with clasps. It is as easy to tie a bowtie as it is to tie a regular tie – take some time to learn how. A hand tied is distinctively different in appearance and people will know. The tie should be made from cotton pique. You will need to have your neck measured when buying this item as bow ties come in various sizes.

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Your shirt should be made of white cotton with a stiff front made of white cotton pique. The shirt should have no buttons down the front and it should have a single cuff requiring cufflinks (this is called a link cuff shirt, and is not to be confused with French cuffs – double cuffs – which are worn with a dinner jacket). The shirt must have a stiff wing tip collar (normally also made with cotton pique) and you can optionally wear a more formal shirt with a detachable collar. The front of the shirt should be fastened with white (or silver, or diamond) studs, and the cuffs should be fastened with matching cufflinks. The tips of the shirt collar are meant to sit behind the tie.


Your vest must be long enough to cover your waist – you should see no sign of the top of your trousers – including your suspender buttons. This is not usually a problem if you are wearing the correct trousers (unlike President Bush in the photograph attached to item 9). The vest should be made with white cotton pique and it should have three mother-of-pearl buttons – you should fasten all three buttons (contrary to the normal practice on non-formal vests). You can get two styles of vest – one has curving lapels, and the other sharp. Both are equally fine but curving lapels tend to be favored by olden men and can make you look overweight. In the photograph above we see a correctly styled vest, but unfortunately the jacket is too short and should not be worn with the vest in question.

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You must wear suspenders with white tie. They should be button fastened suspenders – they should not have clips on them. You absolutely must not wear a belt at the same time as braces. Remember, suspenders are underwear – they must never be seen. For that reason you are free to wear any color you like. Suspenders are worn over your shirt but under your vest.


The correct trousers for white tie are fishtail trousers. These trousers sit on the waist, not the hips, and the back is higher than the front with a split with buttons (on the inside – same with the front) in order to fasten your braces. An example is seen in the photo above, but you should wear black trousers that are made to go with your jacket. Your trousers should have a double stripe down the outside of both legs (a single stripe is for black tie trousers). The stripes on your trousers should be made of the same material as the facing on your jacket lapels (grosgrain or silk). The trousers should fall to the heel of your shoe at the back – no higher, no shorter.


This is likely to be the most unusual item for most men – you must wear knee high black silk socks. These are readily available on the internet and in upmarket department stores. The best brand is probably Pantherella (as seen above).


When wearing white tie you must not wear patent leather shoes. The correct shoes are opera pumps which have a grosgrain bow on the front (as seen above). If you can not find opera pumps or do not own a pair, you can wear very high quality fine calves skin shoes – these are often sold as dancing shoes. You may also optionally wear formal slippers if you are hosting the white tie event (these are never worn outside of your own home). They are normally made of velvet and have an emblem stitched on the front. Opera pumps take a lot of getting used to if you are new to them as they do look a lot like women’s shoes without the high heel. Opera pumps are usually made of very fine high quality leather – they should not be made with patent leather.


The best type of handkerchief with white tie is fine linen – not silk. If you can not find a fine white linen handkerchief, silk is an acceptable alternative. The handkerchief must be white. The handkerchief should be folded (or puffed) and placed in the front pocket of your jacket so it is visible. If you wish to wear a flower in your lapel instead, you should generally not wear a handkerchief – though this is considered an acceptable practice it is not common. Keep an extra handkerchief in both of your trouser pockets – one for you in case you need it, and one in case you meet a lady in distress. Never use the handkerchief in your jacket pocket – it is for show only. You should also remember that it is considered extremely rude for any person to touch another person’s front handkerchief or tie.

Many thanks to Persephone who very kindly wrote a list of 8 points for ladies who are attending a white tie event. This is her 8 tips in their entirety:

I am a lady, therefore, I would not personally wear white tie. However, my husband does and we have been to several formal (i.e., white tie) functions in Europe and the United States. At least two people wanted to know a bit more about correct ladies’ attire, and with the permission of the Mr Frater, I will elaborate a bit.

1. Dress

As Mr Frater wrote, the dress can be of any colour. If there is an opening cotillion, very common at Austrian balls, regular guests should not wear white as pure white is reserved for debutantes. For a white tie function, especially one that involves dancing (e.g., Vienna Opera Ball in Austria), ladies wear a ball gown. A ball gown can be sleeveless, have short sleeves or even long sleeves (suitable for older ladies). The bodice is figure-hugging, whereas the skirt is full. Suitable fabrics are silks (silk satin, crepe, brocade, taffeta, dupioni, etc.), cotton (cotton satin or sateen, in the summer even cotton muslin) or various blends. A ball gown can be a two-piece ensemble, but the top and skirt must match. Here is an example of a ball gown.

2. Outerwear

The proper outerwear for a ball gown is a cloak. I have a black cotton velvet cloak that I wear during the traditional ball season. During the summer months, a simple silk shawl or a short matching bolero evening jacket (as pictured with the dress above) will suffice. Here’s a vintage evening cloak.

3. Shoes and Stockings

No sandals! Shoes must have closed toes and can be made of leather, satin, silk and in a colour that complements the dress. I usually wear black pumps and then switch into my ballroom dancing pumps. Stockings are a must for a formal event. Sorry, there no ifs and buts.

4. Handbag

A small evening handbag made of satin or silk usually looks best. You can either have one that matches or complements your dress.

5. Jewellery

Wear your tiara if you have one, and your best jewels. Watches are not worn, even if they are covered with diamonds.

6. Gloves

The proper gloves for a sleeveless of short-sleeved gown are opera gloves. For a long-sleeved dress, one may wear shorter gloves. Gloves are measured in buttons, an ancient French standard. The proper length is anywhere from 12 buttons (right above the elbow) to 18 buttons (middle of upper arm). Please avoid the 20 buttons as they look like you’re attending a fetish function or are about to star in a burlesque act. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but there is a time and place for everything. Traditionally, gloves are white, made out of kid leather and have a mousquetaire opening at the wrist, so a lady can eat and drink without completely removing her gloves. Gloves should always be worn when dancing, but hands must never be covered when eating. A lady may sip some champagne/water/wine, etc. while wearing gloves. Also, jewellery such as rings, bracelets, etc. are worn under not over the gloves. If you cannot fit them, don’t wear them if you’re bringing gloves. I see so many ladies who are trying to be elegant, wearing their rings over their gloves and eat dinner with them. I guess they just don’t know any better, but those of us who do, think it looks ridiculous. Kid gloves are expensive ($200+ per pair), but if you treat them well, they will last a lifetime. They may be lined with silk or unlined. Some are even washable. Here’s a great online place. If you don’t want to spend that much money, white or ivory silk is an acceptable alternative. Personally, I would abstain from anything coloured and polyester/nylon/spandex. Many ladies wear them, but they just don’t look very nice.

7. Make up

Tasteful and appropriate for you and the occasion. False eyelashes, eye shadow up to the brows, neon pink lipstick and two-inch neon pink talons are neither tasteful nor appropriate.

8. Hairstyles

Hair is usually in an updo, especially if there is dancing. You can wear your hair down, but many ladies prefer total or partial updos because the tiaras just look and fit better.

This is probably a good time to point out that white tie is evening wear – it should not be worn in the daytime. The same is true of black tie – neither should be worn before 6 o’clock in the evening.

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Top 10 Peaceful Men

Comments on the “Evil People” Lists have often called for a list of great people. I have researched 10 outstandingly good men, many of whom are very famous. I have listed them here. As it was said in The “Top 10 Most Evil Men List”, Evil people are abundant. On the other hand, good is a little harder to find. If you disagree with the list, or have any omissions (of which I’m sure there are many ), please comment. I hope you like this list.


According to the Baha’i religion, Baha’u’llah was born in 1817, a member of one of the great patrician families of Persia. The family could trace its lineage to the ruling dynasties of Persia’s imperial past, and was endowed with wealth and vast estates. Turning His back on the position at court which these advantages offered Him, Baha’u’llah became known for His generosity and kindliness which made Him deeply loved among His countrymen.

This privileged position did not long survive Baha’u’llah’s announcement of support for the message of the Báb. Engulfed in the waves of violence unleashed upon the Bábis after the Báb’s execution Baha’u’llah suffered not only the loss of all His worldly endowments but was subjected to imprisonment, torture and a series of banishments. The first was to Baghdad, where, in 1863, He announced Himself as the One promised by the Báb. From Baghdad, Baha’u’llah was sent to Constantinople, to Adrianople and finally to Acre, in the Holy Land, where He arrived as a prisoner, in 1868.

From Adrianople and later from Acre, Baha’u’llah addressed a series of letters to the rulers of His day that are among the most remarkable documents in religious history. They proclaimed the coming unification of humanity, and the emergence of a world civilization. The kings, emperors and presidents of the nineteenth century were called upon to reconcile their differences, curtail their armaments, and devote their energies to the establishment of universal peace.

Baha’u’llah passed away at Bahji, just north of Acre, and is buried there. His teachings had already begun to spread beyond the confines of the Middle East, and His Shrine is today the focal point of the world community which these teachings have brought into being.

Benjamin Franklin Engraving

Benjamin Franklin, born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 17, 1706, may, by his life alone, be the most profound statement of what an American strives to be. He attended grammar school at age eight, but was put to work at ten. He apprenticed as a printer to his brother James, who printed the New England Courant, at age twelve, and published his first article there, anonymously, in 1721. Young Benjamin was an avid reader, inquisitive and skeptical. Through his satirical articles, he poked fun at the people of Boston and soon wore out his welcome, both with his brother and with the city. He ran away to New York and then on to Philadelphia at the age of 16, looking for work as a printer. He managed a commission to Europe for the purpose of buying supplies to establish a new printing house in Philadelphia, but found himself abandoned when he stepped off ship. Through hard work and frugality he bought his fare back to Philadelphia in 1732, and set up shop as a printer. He was appointed clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1736, and as Postmaster the following year. In 1741, he began publishing Poor Richard’s Almanac, a very popular and influential magazine. He was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751, and served as an agent for Pennsylvania (and ultimately for three other colonies) to England, France and several other European powers.

He was elected to the Continental Congress in 1775, where he played a crucial role in the rebellion against Gr. Britain, including service to Jefferson, in editing the Declaration of Independence. Franklin, who was by this time independently wealthy and retired from publishing, continued to serve an important role in government, both local and national. He was the United States first Postmaster General, Minister to the French Court, Treaty agent and signer to the peace with Gr. Britain, Celebrated Member of the Constitutional convention (See Work, above). Benjamin Franklin: Businessman, Writer, Publisher, Scientist, Diplomat, Legislator and Social activist was one of the earliest and strongest advocates for the abolition of Slavery, and for the protection of the rights of American aboriginal peoples. He died on the 17th of April, 1790. On that day he was still one of the most celebrated characters in America.


Known as the founder of the Socratic method of questioning, Socrates was a famed social and judicial philosopher. Through his dialogues, his masterful arguments, and his logical method of countering his opponents verbally, he earned a reputation through every household, university and government office in Greece. Born to a sculptor and masonry worker in Athens, he followed his father’s chosen career path successfully for several years before devoting himself to the betterment of his own intellectual being. He had interest in the great philosophers of the day, including Plato and Xenophon. After their meeting, Plato continued writing using Socrates’ voice as the narrator of his works, which showed that logic and sound argument could disarm any opponent.

Socrates claimed to hear voices that told him about his own moral behavior, and would warn him if he were to not meet his own high standards of divine truth and justice. He also concluded that Greece’s wisest persons were not as wise as he, because Socrates claimed he saw his own ignorance. One who realizes he is ignorant will become the wisest of all.

Many Athenians in Greece thought that Socrates was polluting the minds of the city’s youth. They accused him of putting ideas into their heads, counter to the goals of the Athenian government. An argument, recorded in Apology, gives a prime example of Socrates’ argumentative process, where he shows that since the government has not thought about the city’s youth, they cannot be imprisoned for their corruption. This style of questioning begins with regular questioning and carries on until logic reaches a definite point and conclusion. His fame, life, philosophy and logic won him much praise, and is still considered the foundation of the philosophies that spread after him.

Martin Luther King-1

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, at his family home in Atlanta, Georgia. King was an eloquent Baptist minister and leader of the civil-rights movement in America, from the Mid-1950s until his death, by assassination, in 1968. King promoted non-violent means to achieve civil-rights reform and was awarded the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

King’s grandfather was a Baptist preacher. His father was pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. King earned his own Bachelor of Divinity degree from Crozier Theological Seminary in 1951, and earned his Doctor of Philosophy from Boston University, in 1955.

While at seminary, King became acquainted with Mohandas Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolent social protest. On a trip to India in 1959, King met with followers of Gandhi. During these discussions he became more convinced than ever that nonviolent resistance was the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.

As a pastor of a Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama, King lead a Black bus boycott. He and ninety others were arrested and indicted under the provisions of a law making it illegal to conspire to obstruct the operation of a business. King and several others were found guilty, but appealed their case. As the bus boycott dragged on, King was gaining a national reputation. The ultimate success of the Montgomery bus boycott made King a national hero.

Dr. King’s 1963 Letter from Birmingham Jail inspired a growing national civil rights movement. In Birmingham, the goal was to completely end the system of segregation in every aspect of public life (stores, no separate bathrooms and drinking fountains, etc.) and in job discrimination. Also in 1963, King led a massive march on Washington DC, where he delivered his now famous, “I Have A Dream” speech. King’s tactics of active nonviolence (sit-ins, protest marches) had put civil-rights squarely on the national agenda.

On April 4, 1968, King was shot by James Earl Ray while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was only 39 at the time of his death. Dr. King was turning his attention to a nationwide campaign to help the poor at the time of his assassination.


According to his homepage, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is both the head of state and the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born on 6 July, 1935, to a farming family, in a small hamlet located in Taktser, Amdo, and northeastern Tibet. At the age of two the child, who was named Lhamo Dhondup at that time, was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity.


Nelson Mandela was born in a small South African village, to a local chief and his third wife. He was the first person in his family to receive a western education, and was inspired to study law after witnessing the democracy of African tribal governance at an early age. Mandela became a sought after lawyer in Johannesburg, defending black South Africans against the government’s increasingly unfair treatment, and a key figure of the African National Congress, a political party that sought to unite all Africans and regain their rights and freedom. He participated in boycotts, organized protests, mobilized his people and, in turn, was labeled an enemy of the state: accused of treason, banned from political involvement, disbarred and sentenced to life in prison. Mandela’s incarceration brought international attention to the racial injustices of South Africa’s apartheid government, sparking the rally cry “Free Nelson Mandela” worldwide.

Mandela served 27 years in prison, before his release in 1990, at the age of 72. He was elected the first black President of South Africa, in 1994. Although he retired from political life in 1999, Mandela continues to lend his voice towards issues that affect his country and the world at large, such as the AIDS epidemic, poverty and human rights. He was also instrumental in securing South Africa as the host of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Nelson Mandela is one of the world’s greatest, and most admired political leaders. He has been honored with numerous awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, for he is a shining example of the incredible strength of the human spirit to persevere, in the face of adversity, for the pursuit of freedom.


Born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, Kathiawar, West India. He studied law in London, but in 1893 went to South Africa, where he spent 20 years opposing discriminatory legislation against Indians. As a pioneer of Satyagraha, or resistance through mass non-violent civil disobedience, he became one of the major political and spiritual leaders of his time. Satyagraha remains one of the most potent philosophies in freedom struggles throughout the world today.

In 1914, Gandhi returned to India, where he supported the Home Rule movement, and became leader of the Indian National Congress, advocating a policy of non-violent non-co-operation to achieve independence. His goal was to help poor farmers and laborers protest oppressive taxation and discrimination. He struggled to alleviate poverty, liberate women and put an end to caste discrimination, with the ultimate objective being self-rule for India.

Following his civil disobedience campaign (1919-22), he was jailed for conspiracy (1922-4). In 1930, he led a landmark 320 km/200 mi march to the sea to collect salt in symbolic defiance of the government monopoly. On his release from prison (1931), he attended the London Round Table Conference on Indian constitutional reform. In 1946, he negotiated with the Cabinet Mission, which recommended the new constitutional structure. After independence (1947), he tried to stop the Hindu-Muslim conflict in Bengal, a policy which led to his assassination in Delhi, by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu fanatic.

Even after his death, Gandhi’s commitment to non-violence and his belief in simple living: making his own clothes, eating a vegetarian diet, and using fasts for self-purification as well as a means of protest— has been a beacon of hope for oppressed and marginalized people throughout the world.


In about the sixth century B.C., Siddhartha Gautama was born into a royal family. When he was a young adult his experiences with the outside world drove him to seek out a greater understanding of life and spiritual fulfillment. Through seeking guidance and meditation, Siddhartha was said to have achieved Enlightenment. From that point, he was known as the Buddha, which means ‘Enlightened One’. For the rest of his life, the Buddha traveled great distances, teaching people about one path to salvation. After the Buddha’s death, his pupils continued to spread his teachings. Buddhism developed at a time when Hinduism, the most widespread religion in India, had become tightly controlled by priests and the upper classes. Buddhism offered hope and access to spiritual understanding and satisfaction to ordinary people. Throughout the world today, people still follow the teachings of the Buddha.


Master Kong Qiu, as his name translates from Chinese, lived from 551 to 479 BC, and remains the most important single philosopher in Eastern history. He espoused significant principles of ethics and politics, in a time when the Greeks were espousing the same things. We think of democracy as a Greek invention, a Western idea, but Confucius wrote in his Analects that “the best government is one that rules through ‘rites’ and the people’s natural morality, rather than by using bribery and coercion. This may sound obvious to us today, but he wrote it in the early 500s to late 400s BC. It is the same principle of democracy that the Greeks argued for and developed: the people’s morality is in charge; therefore, rule by the people.

Confucius defended the idea of an Emperor, but also advocated limitations to the emperor’s power. The emperor must be honest, and his subjects must respect him, but he must also deserve that respect. If he makes a mistake, his subjects must offer suggestions to correct him, and he must consider them. Any ruler who acted contrary to these principles was a tyrant, and thus a thief more than a ruler.

Confucius also devised his own independent version of the Golden Rule, which had existed for at least a century in Greece before him. His phrasing was almost identical, but then furthered the idea: “What one does not wish for oneself, one ought not to do to anyone else; what one recognizes as desirable for oneself, one ought to be willing to grant to others.” The first statement is in the negative, and constitutes a passive desire not to harm others. The second statement is much more important, constituting an active desire to help others. The only other philosopher of antiquity to advocate the Golden Rule in the positive form is Jesus Christ.


I have ranked Jesus Christ as number one because His impact is far more reaching than any of the other members of this list – with more adherents in the world, by a mile, than any other religious group. Jesus of Nazareth is the founding figure of Christianity, and Christianity is the religion that shaped Europe and much of the world, as a consequence. As the largest religion in the world, there is no doubt that Christianity is still making an impact to this day. The principal sources of information regarding Jesus’ life and teachings are the four canonical gospels. Most critical scholars in the fields of history and biblical studies believe that ancient texts on Jesus’ life are, at least partially, accurate, agreeing that Jesus was a Galilean Jew who was regarded as a teacher and healer. They also generally accept that He was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on orders of the Roman Prefect of Judaea Pontius Pilate, on the charge of sedition against the Roman Empire. Interestingly, the most peaceful man on this list also said: “Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword.” [St Matthew 10:34]

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10 Recent and Controversial Bans Around The World

From prohibition to books, no matter how much we like to think we live in a free society, there is always something being banned. While many of these things don’t affect us all, many of them do. Furthermore, the whole concept of a minority (politicians) banning things for the majority is repugnant. This is a list of ten things recently banned, which led to controversy.

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Food companies favor trans fats because it allows their products to stay fresh on the shelves longer and it is also made from less expensive oils keeping production costs down. The main concern with trans fats is the body is unable to break down trans fatty acids causing them to build up triggering high cholesterol and in some cases heart disease. In 2003 Denmark became the first country to ban foods containing large amounts of trans fats. Under this ban no more than two per cent of the fats and oils in any food product can contain trans fats. This effectively limits people’s trans fat intake to less than one gram per day. Switzerland followed with a similar ban in 2008.

Interesting Fact: The Center for Science in the Public Interest sued KFC over its use of trans fats in their fried foods. KFC then reviewed alternative oil options saying “there are a number of factors to consider including maintaining KFC’s unique taste and flavor of Colonel Sanders’ Original Recipe”. In 2006, KFC announced that it will replace the partially hydrogenated soybean oil it currently uses with a zero-trans-fat low linoleic soybean oil in all restaurants although its biscuits will still contain trans-fats.


In 2004 the Canadian Health Minister announced the Government’s immediate ban on baby walkers. Between 1990 and 2002, the ministry said, there were 1,935 reports of infants being injured using the walkers. It was determined that young children “do not have the necessary skills, reflexes or cognitive abilities to safely make use of the product”. The most common accident occurs when babies fall down stairs. The ban prohibits retailers from selling, advertising or importing baby walkers. Canada is the only country so far to ban Baby Walkers.

Interesting Fact: Many parents believe that baby walkers teach a child to walk faster; however, studies suggest that it is not true, and they may actually delay walking by two to three weeks.


Because the compact fluorescent (CFL) lasts five years longer and uses about 75 percent less energy it has prompted many countries to enact laws to phase out incandescent light bulbs. Australia passed a law in 2007 that will make it one of the first countries to ban the incandescent light bulbs outright in 2010. Cuba exchanged all incandescent light bulbs for CFLs, and banned the sale and import of them in 2005. The EU agreed to a phase out incandescent light bulbs by 2012. California recently passed a bill that will phase out the bulbs by 2018. New Zealand’s previous government passed legislation to ban the bulbs but the newly elected government threw the ban out due to the outcry the ban caused.

Interesting Fact: CFLs, like all fluorescent lamps, contain small amounts of mercury as vapor inside the glass tubing, averaging 4.0 mg per bulb. A broken compact fluorescent lamp will release its mercury content. This means that safe cleanup and disposing of broken compact fluorescent lamps will differ from incandescent bulbs.


Chewing gum was banned in Singapore in 1992 and was revised in 2004. Incorrect disposal of chewing gum on chairs, tables, floors and on the door sensors of the new metro system led to the ban. Regulations also did not make any provisions for personal use of quantities to be brought into Singapore. Therefore, bringing chewing gum into Singapore, even in small quantities was prohibited. In 2004 the Singapore Government recognized the proven health benefits of certain gums such as sugar-free gum that contains calcium lactate to strengthen tooth enamel. Medical gum was then allowed provided it was sold by a dentist or pharmacist who must take down the names of the buyers. Singapore is the only country with a chewing gum ban.

Interesting Fact: The Chicago-based Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company enlisted the help of a Washington, D.C lobbyist and the chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, to get chewing gum on the agenda of the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. This caused the 2004 revised ban allowing the medical improvement type gum.


In 2005 India became the first country to ban smoking and tobacco on-screen prohibiting all scenes showing the consumption of all tobacco products in movies and television programs. Whenever an actor smokes or consumes a tobacco product on screen, television channels must blur the scene. Films that already contain such scenes must run a scroll at the bottom of the screen, warning of the dangers of tobacco use.

Interesting Fact: Earlier this year the Delhi High Court overturned the Indian federal ban on performers smoking in films saying it is a reality of life and any censorship on its depiction would violate creative artists’ fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.

Plastic Bags

Somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year. In 2002 Bangladesh became the first country to ban plastic bags outright after discovering the bags blocked drains and was one of the main causes of the devastating floods of 1988 and 1998. Another problem with plastic bags is they do not biodegrade in landfills and pose a danger to many marine mammals. Thin plastic bags are now banned in South Africa and thicker ones are taxed. Similar laws exist in many other countries. Australia and the United Kingdom are also considering bans. In the United States the cities of San Francisco and Oakland have banned plastic shopping bags completely and promote reusable and compostable sacks.

Interesting Fact: According to one statistics choosing paper or plastic may just involve choosing which resource to consume. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the plastic bags used annually in the United States require about 12 million barrels of oil to produce. Paper bags require about 14 million trees. In a landfill, plastic bags take up less space than paper.


The move to ban super skinny or size-zero models came in 2006 after the death of 22-year-old model Luisel Ramos (shown on the right) who died of a heart attack moments after stepping off the catwalk. Ramos apparently was eating nothing but green leaves and diet coke for three months. Reports said she’d been told by her modeling agency that she would have a big future if she would loose a lot of weight. Stylists signed a joint declaration with the Italian government stating that, all models in shows must have a body mass index of 18 and above and must be “full bodied and healthy.” Madrid’s annual fashion show also banned models with a body mass index of less than 18 and there are calls for similar restrictions at London fashion shows.

Interesting Fact: In early 2007, Luisel’s 18-year-old sister Eliana Ramos, also a model (shown on the left) also died of an apparent heart attack believed to be related to malnutrition.

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This is the most recent ban on the list and gained momentum after members of the Bolivian wing of an animal rights group went undercover. They revealed that animals in circuses are confined to cages without room for them to move around and forced to stay crammed in cages for the majority of their lives. The Bolivian Senate agreed to the ban and President Morales signed it into law in July 2009. There are similar bans on animal use in circuses in Austria, Costa Rica, Finland and Denmark where it is prohibited to use certain species of wild animals. Bolivia is the first and only country to ban both wild and domestic animals from traveling circus.

Interesting Fact: The recent attention given to animal cruelty in circuses has prompted Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to release a fact sheet on how their animals are treated. You can read the fact sheet here.

Obama Smoking

Everyone is familiar with the recent smoking regulations that have affected smokers all over the world. In 2004 Ireland became the first country to prohibit smoking in all indoor workplaces including restaurants and bars. In 2008 a small mountainous kingdom between India and China called Bhutan was the first to ban smoking and tobacco sales outright. Authorities celebrated the ban by igniting a bonfire of cigarettes in the capital city and hanging banners across the main thoroughfare urging people to kick the habit. Violators in Bhutan are fined $232 (more than two months’ salary) The Ban on tobacco has caused an increase in the illegal trade of tobacco products to Bhutan. No other country so far has banned smoking and tobacco outright.

Interesting Fact: The first modern, nationwide tobacco ban was imposed by the Nazi Party. Smoking was prohibited in every German university, post office, military hospital, and Nazi Party office. The Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research was created in 1941 under orders from Adolf Hitler. Major anti-tobacco campaigns were widely broadcast by the Nazis until the end of the regime in 1945.


Sweden was the first country to ban parental spanking back in 1979. It took many years before another country would follow but now a total of 24 countries have passed similar laws. The most recent countries are Venezuela, Uruguay, Portugal, Spain and New Zealand in 2007 (though a referendum is being held to determine whether the anti-smacking bill should be repealed this year since the change of government) and Costa Rica and Republic of Moldova in 2008. There have been many studies done on the results of the Sweden spanking ban. Some studies suggest it has reduced child abuse in the country to almost zero. Other studies show Sweden with a lower rate of child deaths due to abuse than 20 out of 27 developed countries. Another recent report by Sweden suggested that the spanking ban has made little change in problematic forms of physical punishment.

Interesting Fact: In the United States (In all 50 states) it is legal for parents to spank or paddle their children. In 23 states corporal punishment is still legal in public schools. Canada bans corporal punishment for children under two and over twelve years of age, as well as the use of any objects such as a paddle.

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10 Ways Car Dealers Make Money Off You

At some point in our lives, we all have to buy a car. Whether it be brand new or second hand, we usually end up going through a dealer. This list is designed to help you save money by not being ripped off by the little tricks that dealers use to maximize their profit and your loss. Be sure to give other tips for saving on a new car in the comments.


This is the most obvious of ways a car dealer makes a profit. The difference between the dealer cost (invoice) and MSRP is typically 5-10%. This may not sound like a ton of mark-up, but when you consider that you’re dealing with thousands of dollars then the profit margin could be quite significant. For example, a car that a dealer pays $30,000 could generate a profit of around three-thousand dollars. And then multiple that times a few hundred cars a month, and a car dealer could make almost a million dollars a month on mark-up alone.


When a dealer sells a new car (not a pre-owned), the sale is RDR’d to the manufacturer (basically informing the manufacturer that one of their units has been sold). Once this sale has been verified, the manufacturer pays the dealer a set amount of money for “hold-back” and advertising. This amount is listed on the invoice in a less-than-obvious location and is often abbreviated/written in a way that a customer will be unable to figure out the information in the event he sees the actual invoice. For example: if an educated customer will only pay a certain percentage over invoice, then that percentage is calculated by the “invoice” price before any “hold-back” or advertising is deducted. Once the deal is funded and the contract is RDR’d, the manufacturer will send the dealer a pretty substantial amount of money (I’ve seen some “hold-back” and advertising fees as much as $1500).

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When a person trades in a car, the dealer will surely attempt to undervalue the trade to make an immediate profit, and then a profit later when the trade is sold. The immediate profit comes from what is called the ACV (actual cash value). If a trade is really worth $11,500 (ACV) and the dealer only shows the customer $10, 500, then there is an immediate thousand dollar profit from the start. The trick is to know where a dealer gets his appraisal information (the most common are Black Book and Manheim Auction Reports. Dealers will RARELY match Kelly Blue Book and NADA) and work off that number to get a fair value for your trade. The other means the dealer will make a profit is when he sells your trade in. There are many financial and credit factors that can generate a profit from your trade. Simple example: your trade is bought from the dealer for $10,000. The dealer will then send your car through service and detail and make sure it is prepped for retail and safe to drive (he’ll also insure the car in most instances). Your old car will now be put up for sale for $13,999. Now, here’s where many factors come is based on the potential buyers situation. The lenders will “book out” a car based on a standard process (typically, a program called Dealer-Track will provide access to NADA for the banks and the dealerships to see how much a car can be sold for). Banks will loan a certain percentage of the cars loan value based on the customer’s credit worthiness. Let’s say the car “books out” for $13,125 (this is 100%), and the potential buyer has great credit. The lender will loan up to 135% of the cars value for that customer. Which means the dealer can sell the car to that well-qualified customer for over $17,000 and make a nice profit ($7,000). On the other hand, if a person has poor credit, then the banks will loan less than 100% and the dealer will have to take the deal at a lesser profit, or the customer will have to put some cash down to generate a profit the dealer will agree to.

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New and Used cars are “packed.” This is a number that is immediately added to the car (in addition to the already existing mark-up). This is typically money that goes to pay the owner. The amount of pack varies between dealerships, new, used, etc, but I have never seen a “pack” less than $500. I’ve even seen some cars “packed” $1500. Let’s say a dealership sell 250 cars in one month, and the average “pack” is $1000: the owner makes a nice quarter million dollars a month on “pack” alone (3 million a year- not a bad salary).

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This is the biggest farce of them all. This is a dollar amount the dealer says goes to pay for the process of handling your paperwork, tag work, title work, tax work, loaner car, etc. The doc fees will fluctuate from dealer to dealer (I’ve seen $299 to $699). This is a legitimate process that does require paying a handful of people for their work, but- in no way does it cost anywhere close to the amount they’re charging. Most of the paperwork can be done is a few minutes and over the phone, internet, fax, etc. The overage naturally goes into management’s pockets.


Bad bad business practice right here. A “bump sticker” is legitimate-looking sticker that the dealer places next to the manufacturer’s window sticker with a higher priced MSRP than the actual MSRP. The dealer will try and justify this added cost by suggesting the car had some special product applied to the paint or the fabric, or some window etching was done, or they’ll try and itemize all the work that needed to be done to get the car prepped for retail (insurance, gas, detail, service, PDI- [post delivery inspection], etc), or they might try and tell you that this car had additional mark up because it’s a “hot item” and people are paying over retail for that car. It’s all a joke and educationally insulting. The theory is once the “bump sticker” is negotiated away, then the customer will feel that he got a pretty substantial discount, when- in fact- he’s simply paid full MSRP for the car: not a very good deal.


When a customer agrees to numbers, they will have to go the F and I office (Finance and Insurance) to finalize the car deal. This is where all the legal forms are signed, etc. However, this is also where a lot of money is made for the dealership. One of the big money makers in the car business comes from the sale of Extended Service Contracts (extended warranty). I would say nine out of ten extended warranties will cover things that are never likely to break. Additionally, you’ll need to pay a deductible (on top of the $1400 dollars you just paid for the warranty) each time you try and use the warranty. The mark up for this product is typically mandated by the state you live in, but you can expect to pay twice its original value. One good thing about an extended service agreement is that most of them are refundable (prorated based on what you haven’t used). Additionally, a certified pre-owned model is typically a better bet than an extended service agreement (because it’s backed by the manufacturer’s name. Extended warranties are typically backed by the private dealer with a lot less public reputation at stake).


Now this is a product that I strongly recommend you buy: it could turn out to worth its weight in gold. However, you don’t have to pay $599 for it at the dealership when you can get it at your local credit union for $150. Basically, GAP insurance satisfies the car loan in the event of theft or total loss. Your insurance company will only pay ACV for your loss, but GAP insurance picks up the “negative equity” you have remaining on your loan. For example: My car is worth $11,000, but I owe $16,000. In the event of a total loss of my car, the insurance company will only pay my lender $11,000 towards the loan leaving me having to come out of my pocket $5000 to satisfy the loan. However, GAP insurance pays the difference and I’m off Scott free to go buy a new car free and clear of any additional payment on the lost car.


A person with good credit should never have to put a down payment towards the purchase of a new car. However, there are some instances where it may be a necessary (too much negative equity in trade, personal need to lower monthly note, etc). But typically, if a customer is satisfied with their payment, and they don’t have a significant amount of negative equity, then the bank should have no problem lending money to a well qualified buyer. Sometimes a salesman or sales manager will say ‘The lender is requiring 20% down,” or they might say “You’re going to have to pay your taxes in cash. The bank will finance the car, but they will not finance any taxes or fees.” This is a lie. If you can secure your own financing (personal bank, credit union, etc) before you buy, then that would be in your best interest and eliminate a lot of the shenanigans that can happen at the dealership. Additionally, when the sales managers offer is itemized with a down payment and payment listed, the payment- more times than not- can be retained without the requested money down. Down payments usually result in sheer profit for the dealership.


This little gem is another reason car dealers get a bad rap. When a sales manager submits your application to lenders for approval, the lenders will reply with what’s called a “call back.” The “call back” details the requirements for the loan. Example: let’s say the sales manager submits the numbers to a prime lender- we’ll use BB & T- for approval. BB & T will reply with terms (24/36/48/60/72 months), maximum amount financed, stip’s (proof of income, proof or residency, references, etc), and what’s called a “buy rate.” The “buy rate” is the interest rate the lender has approved for the loan- let’s use 7.9%. Well, here’s where the finance manager can steal from you. Typically, the lender will allow the dealership to make 2 points of rate if you’re still ok with the payment. That means the rate you’ve earned is 7.9%, but the dealer can contract you at 9.9% and the bank will pay the dealer the overage from the rate. This puts LOTS of cash in their pockets. Next time you buy a car and finance with one of the dealerships banks ask the finance manager to see the call back from the bank and compare that rate with the interest rate he’s trying to sign you up for. If he refuses, then he’s holding points of rate and he doesn’t want you to see that he’s trying to get you to pay a higher rate.

Contributor: Kay Jay

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20 Famous Last Words

The deathbed can lead people to speak with great honesty and, in many cases, humor. This is a list of 20 last words by famous people.

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1. Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose.

Said by: Queen Marie Antoinette after she accidentally stepped on the foot of her executioner as she went to the guillotine.

2. I can’t sleep

Said by: J. M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan

3. I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.

Said by: Humphrey Bogart

4. I am about to — or I am going to — die: either expression is correct.

Said by: Dominique Bouhours, famous French grammarian

5. I live!

Said by: Roman Emperor, as he was being murdered by his own soldiers.

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6. Dammit…Don’t you dare ask God to help me.

Said by: Joan Crawford to her housekeeper who began to pray aloud.

7. I am perplexed. Satan Get Out

Said by: Aleister Crowley – famous occultist

8. Now why did I do that?

Said by: General William Erskine, after he jumped from a window in Lisbon, Portugal in 1813.

9. Hey, fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper? ‘French Fries’!

Said by: James French, a convicted murderer, was sentenced to the electric chair. He shouted these words to members of the press who were to witness his execution.

10. Bugger Bognor.

Said by: King George V whose physician had suggested that he relax at his seaside palace in Bognor Regis.

11. It’s stopped.

Said by: Joseph Henry Green, upon checking his own pulse.

12. LSD, 100 micrograms I.M.

Said by: Aldous Huxley (Author) to his wife. She obliged and he was injected twice before his death.

13. You have won, O Galilean

Said by: Emperor Julian, having attempted to reverse the official endorsement of Christianity by the Roman Empire.

14. No, you certainly can’t.

Said by: John F. Kennedy in reply to Nellie Connally, wife of Governor John Connelly, commenting “You certainly can’t say that the people of Dallas haven’t given you a nice welcome, Mr. President.

15. I feel ill. Call the doctors.

Said by: Mao Zedong (Chairman of China)


16. Tomorrow, I shall no longer be here

Said by: Nostradamus

17. Hurry up, you Hoosier bastard, I could kill ten men while you’re fooling around!

Said by: Carl Panzram, serial killer, shortly before he was executed by hanging.

18. Put out the bloody cigarette!!

Said by: Saki, to a fellow officer while in a trench during World War One, for fear the smoke would give away their positions. He was then shot by a German sniper who had heard the remark.

19. Please don’t let me fall.

Said by: Mary Surratt, before being hanged for her part in the conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln. She was the first woman executed by the United States federal government.

20. Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies.

Said by: Voltaire when asked by a priest to renounce Satan.

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Top 10 Terrible Issues Facing Children Worldwide

Children are the future and it is the responsibility of adults to protect them and ensure that they get the best footing in life. Unfortunately this is not always the case in many nations around the world – including our own! This list looks at ten of the worst situations that children today are forced to face. It is hard to believe that these situations still occur, but learning about them is a good way to start trying to help.


Palestinian children are taught to hate Jews, to glorify “jihad” (holy war), violence, death and child martyrdom almost from birth, as an essential part of their culture and destiny. As captured on an Israeli video documentary produced in 1998, a “Sesame Street”-like children’s program called the “Children’s Club” — complete with puppet shows, songs, Mickey Mouse and other characters — focused on inculcating intense hatred of Jews and a passion for engaging in and celebrating violence against them in a perpetual “jihad” until the day the Israeli flags come down from above “Palestinian land” and the Palestinian flag is raised.

In Madrasas, Islamic schools for study of pure Islamic religion, the culprits are the religious teachers; and the victims include helpless innocent underage students. The sacred teacher-student relationship is given a new definition in these Islamic schools. Following is the bitter experience of a 12 years old madrasa student from Kenya who was rescued during January 2003.

“It was a terrible place, they chain both legs and both arms, sometimes hands and feet together, They beat us at lunch time, dinner time and grab both legs and hands and give us lashes on the buttocks. We sleep in chains, eat in chains, and go to the toilets in chains. Sometimes we are hooked on the roof in chains and left hanging. We have to memorize the Koran and get punished if we cannot recite the Koran in the classroom”.

Chaining incidents are rare in Bangladeshi madrasas. Child torture incidents in madrasas are reported mostly in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sudan. The number of students are estimated somewhere between eight hundred thousands to one million. They are often run by religious organizations and lure young children mainly from poor families by providing free food and lodging. Some of the schools even provide intensive political and armed training.

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According to UNICEF, 25,000 children die each day due to poverty. Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted. The two regions that account for the bulk of the deficit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water. Some 1.8 million child deaths each year as a result of diarrhea. For the 1.9 billion children from the developing world, there are: 640 million without adequate shelter (1 in 3), 400 million with no access to safe water (1 in 5) and 270 million with no access to health services (1 in 7). 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (same as children population in France, Germany, Greece and Italy.) 1.4 million die each year from lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. 2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized. Millions of parents in developing countries must daily cope with the fact that their children may not survive the first critical years of life; in many cases, the diseases that threaten their children’s lives are preventable.


Of the 50 million refugees and displaced people in the world, approximately half are children. War is the primary factor in the creation of child refugees. It is also a principle cause of child death, injury, and loss of parents. In the last decade, war has killed more than 2 million children, wounded another 6 million, and orphaned about 1 million. Children also flee their homes because they fear various forms of abuse such as rape, sexual slavery, and child labor. Circumstances of birth also play a role in depriving children of a legal home. Each year 40 million children are not registered at birth, depriving them of nationality and a legal name.

The combined ravages of AIDS and war have created a large pool of orphan refugees and displaced children, particularly in Africa. The toll of Rwanda’s civil war, for example, left orphan children to head some 45,000 Rwandan households, with 90 percent of these headed by girls. “Separated Children” are those under age 18 and living outside their country of origin without parents or legal guardians to care for or protect them. Every year, about 20,000 separated children apply for asylum in Europe and North America. Overall, children account for approximately half of all individuals seeking legal asylum in developed countries. Separated children are not often legally recognized as refugees in western countries. In Europe, for example, where there may be as many as 50,000 separated children at any given time, only an estimated 1-5 percent of those who apply for asylum are granted refugee status.


More than 100 million children do not have access to school. Of the children who enroll in primary school, over 150 million drop out, while user fees, including levies, are still charged for access to education in 92 countries and that such charges have impact on excluding girls. 77 million children worldwide are not able to go to school due to lack of funds. For socially disadvantaged segments of the population like poor inhabitants of cities, AIDS orphans and the physically challenged, any access to education is often particularly difficult to obtain. The consequence of this lack of access to education is that 15 percent of those adolescents between 15 and 24 in third world countries are illiterate.

Location often contributes to a child’s lack of access and attendance to education. In certain areas of the world it is more difficult for children to get to school. For example, in high-altitude areas of India, severe weather conditions for more than 7 months of the year make school attendance erratic and force children to remain at home. Gender also contributes to a child’s lack of access and attendance to education. In 25 countries the proportion of boys enrolling in secondary school is higher than girls by 10% or more, and in five; India, Nepal, Togo, Turkey and Yemen, the gap exceeds 20%. The worst disparity is found in South Asia, where 52% of boys and only 33% of girls enroll; a gap of 10%. Enrollment is low for both boys and girls in sub-Saharan Africa, with rates of just 27% and 22%. Girls trail respectively behind. It is generally believed that girls are often discouraged from attending primary schooling, especially in less developed countries for religious and cultural reasons.

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Neglect is an act of omission, or the absence of action. While the consequences of child neglect can be devastating, it leaves no visible marks. Moreover, it usually involves infants and very young children who cannot speak for themselves. James M. Gaudin Jr., in “Child Neglect: Short-Term and Long-Term Outcomes”, reported that, compared with non-maltreated and abused children, neglected children have the worst delays in language comprehension and expression. Psychologically neglected children also score lowest in IQ (Intelligence Quotient) tests.

Emotional neglect, in its most serious form, can result in the “non-organic failure to thrive syndrome,” a condition in which a child fails to develop physically or even to survive. According to Gaudin, studies have found that, even with aggressive intervention, the neglected child continues to deteriorate. The cooperation of the neglectful parents, which is crucial to the intervention, usually declines as the child’s condition worsens. This shows that it is sometimes not that easy to change the parental attributes that have contributed to the neglect in the first place.

Parental neglectful behaviors include not keeping the child clean, not providing enough clothes for keeping warm, not making sure the child attended school, not caring if the child got into trouble in school, not helping with homework, not helping the child do his best, not providing comfort when the child was upset, and not helping when the child had problems. The prevalence of childhood neglect ranged from 3.2% in New Hampshire, United States, to 10% in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 19.4% in Singapore, and 36.4% in Pusan, Korea.


An estimated 211 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are working around the world, according to the International Labor Organization. Of these, 120 million children are working full time to help support their impoverished families.

There are millions of children whose labor can be considered forced, not only because they are too young to choose to work, but also because they are, in fact, actively coerced into working. These include child bonded laborers — children whose labor is pledged by parents as payment or collateral on a debt — as well as children who are kidnapped or otherwise lured away from their families and imprisoned in sweatshops or brothels. In addition, millions of children around the world work unseen in domestic service — given or sold at a very early age to another family.

Forced child laborers work in conditions that have no resemblance to a free employment relationship. They receive little or no pay and have no control over their daily lives. They are often forced to work beyond their physical capacity and under conditions that seriously threaten their health, safety and development. In many cases their most basic rights, such as freedom of movement and expression, are suppressed. They are subject to physical and verbal abuse. Even in cases where they are not physically confined to their workplace, their situation may be so emotionally traumatizing and isolating that once drawn into forced labor they are unable to conceive of a way to escape.

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In Thailand, NGOs have estimated that up to a third of prostitutes are children under 18. A study by the International Labor Organization on child prostitution in Vietnam reported that incidence of children in prostitution is steadily increasing and children under 18 make up between 5 percent and 20 percent of prostitution depending on the geographical area. In the Philippines, UNICEF estimated that there are 60,000 child prostitutes and many of the 200 brothels in the notorious Angeles City offer children for sex. In India as many as 200,000 Nepali girls, many under the age of 14, have been sold into red-light districts. Nepalese girls, especially virgins, are favored in India because of their fair skin and young looks. Every year about 10,000 Nepalese girls, most between the age of nine and 16, are sold to brothels in India. In El Salvador, one-third of the sexually exploited children between 14 and 17 years of age are boys. The median age for entering into prostitution among all children interviewed was 13 years.

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The internet is a virtual playground for child predators. It is a place that operates largely outside of the law. While trading in pedophile pornography is illegal, lack of adequate funding means law enforcement officials are able to investigate just two percent of their leads. Also, according to Interpol statistics, only one-half of one percent are ever prosecuted.

On a show that aired September 2, 2008, Oprah Winfrey showed a map that clearly conveyed how fast one pornographic image of a child being molested can spread. From a computer in Washington, DC, the image spread within 24 hours, all across the United States. The demand for new images and videos is so high that authorities report they are tracking increasingly brutal pornography with younger and younger victims.

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Trafficking is the fastest growing means by which people are forced into slavery. It affects every continent and most countries. Currently, children are trafficked from countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sudan and Yemen to be used as camel jockeys in the UAE. Furthermore, Anti-Slavery International also has evidence that children are also being trafficked to be used as camel jockeys in other Gulf states including Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and also internally in Sudan. The use of children as jockeys in camel racing is itself extremely dangerous and can result in serious injury and even death. Some children are also abused by the traffickers and employers, for example by depriving them of food and beating them. The children’s separation from their families and their transportation to a country where the people, culture and usually the language are completely unknown leaves them dependent on their employers and de facto forced laborers.

According to UNICEF, over 200,000 children work as slaves in West and Central Africa. Boys are usually sold to work on cotton and cocoa plantations while girls are used as domestic servants and prostitutes. In some cases, children are kidnapped outright and sold into slavery while in others, families sell their children, mostly girls, for as little as $14.


Around the world, children are singled out for recruitment by both armed forces and armed opposition groups, and exploited as combatants. Approximately 250,000 children under the age of 18 are thought to be fighting in conflicts around the world, and hundreds of thousands more are members of armed forces who could be sent into combat at any time. Although most child soldiers are between 15 and 18 years old, significant recruitment starts at the age of 10 and the use of even younger children has been recorded.

Easily manipulated, children are sometimes coerced to commit grave atrocities, including rape and murder of civilians using assault rifles such as AK-47s and G4s. Some are forced to injure or kill members of their own families or other child soldiers. Others serve as porters, cooks, guards, messengers, spies, and sex slaves.

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