The Afghan elections are under scrutiny this morning, notably in the Washington Post where it’s reported that President Hamid Karzai won last Thursday’s vote with an overwhelming majority of 68%. Thi is is according to Omar Zakhilwol, the Afghan Finance Minister. Pre-election estimates said Karzai would do well but wouldn’t get over 50% as required for an outright win. If confirmed, this would eliminate the need for a run off with top challenger, Abdullah Abdullah. There have been lots of accusations of vote rigging. Indeed the main opponent Abdullah Abdullah says ballot boxes were stuffed across the south of the country. If the official result confirms what the Finance Minister says, it could lead to political turmoil and violence amongst voters who feel they were cheated.
Let’s move to the International Herald Tribune which carries an article on Julia Child’s 40 year old French cook book which is flying off the shelves of bookstores across the US. It is to reach the No.1 spot on the New York Times Book Review best-seller list for August 30th. This is due to the success of the movie Julie and Julia about the cook’s life in France. But Americans who are shelling out $40 dollars for the book of labour intensive recipes are in for a shock. In a decade where recipe books promise 20 minute dinners that are above all light on calories, Ms. Child’s recipes feature instructions like “thin out with more cream”. has reawakened the debate as to why the French remain relatively slim despite their fatty diet. One purchaser of the book said she wouldn’t risk cooking some of the dishes more than once a month because of the fatty content!
Wikipedia has long been criticised for allowing users to edit the content without proper oversight. Well, things are changing it seems. Within weeks, according to the IHT, an experienced Wikipedia editor will sign off on any change made by the public before it can go live – this only for articles about living people. Many are saying this is an acceptance of the responsibility that goes with the encyclopaedia’s vast influence.
The Times of London reports on the advent of Cockney as a language option on ATM machines across London. This is an initiative by Bank Machine which runs 2500 ATMs in the UK. Customers could chose to withdraw “Sausage and Mash” in place of cash but not before introducing their “Huckleberry Finn”, that’s to say, their PIN code.