Sunday, 18 December 2011

Sunday 18 December

A cold day, which started with bright sunshine. However, showers appeared in the afternoon and those became increasingly wintry. Although the earlier brightness would have been tempting for a walk, the later rain and snow put paid to any such intentions. The forecast is for much milder conditions later in the week, as per usual in the run-up to Christmas.

The Philippines are cleaning up after tropical storm Washi lashed the southern island of Mindanao with very heavy rainfall. These washed away entire towns and cities, and left hundreds dead and many more missing. The Philippines are in typhoon alley, but even storms with lower winds tend to cause massive devastation on account of rainfall. The typhoon season is drawing to a close, but could rumble on until its resumption next spring.

I was saddened to hear of the death of the first post-communist president of Czecho-Slovakia, later of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel. His Charta 77 movement lay the foundations for the later democratic state, once the communist dictatorship had been overthrown. This in turn prompted similar uprisings in neighbouring countries, finally causing the downfall of the communist system in eastern Europe. Only China has a communist state, although it has embraced capitalism - only North Korea remains as an anachronistic true communist state in this world. Although I wonder whether Marx or Lenin really envisaged such a state-sized prison as North Korea is.

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