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11
Aug 05
Thu

And in the news…

What do a cigarette lighter, Fur Elise, and Saddam Hussein have in common? Well, you can buy a cigarette lighter with Saddam’s face on it, and which plays Fur Elise when you flick it open in Hoi An. This is just one of the strange knick knacks which hawkers offer here, accompanied by the universal cry of, “You buy something!”. There are more mundane things for sale, such as English and French copies of the Vietnam News, thrust in front of tourists’ faces who are trying to enjoy their breakfast.

I haven’t felt the need to buy a copy yet, because, strangely enough, I’ve been reasonably in touch with world affairs on this trip. Not from news web sites, but through satellite TV. We had ABC Asia Pacific in Hanoi, BBC World in HuĂ© (complete with a simultaneous audio translation in Japanese running over the top of the English which was distracting to say the least) and now CNN in Hoi An. Was disappointed to hear the result of the second Ashes test, saw the terrible pollution in Kuala Lumpur, and even managed to catch the landing of the Discovery shuttle live. And there is too much coverage on Iran’s resumption of nuclear materials conversion. For domestic affairs, e-mails from friends have kept me up to date, including the juicy Crikey scoop on Alexander Downer’s daughter’s controversial award of a Chevening scholarship even though she only obtained third class honours.

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