Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Collierville is a town in Shelby County, Tennessee, and a suburb located in the Memphis metropolitan area. As of the 2000 census, the population was 31,872. More recent estimates hint that the town's population has surpassed 40,000 people due to a residential boom over the last few years.
Collierville is a mainly upscale town of large houses and considerable retail expansion, but unlike its neighbors, still retains much of its "old town" feel from its days as a self-contained community, rather than a suburb. Smaller, older housesare still found in the heart of Collierville, mainly between Byhalia Road and Collierville-Arlington on the East and West and Shelton and Highway 72 on the North and South. Some industry, noteably Pepsi and Carrier, still dots the areas located south of Poplar Avenue.
Collierville is also home to the new Avenue at Carriage Crossing, an 800,000+ sq. ft. shopping center which opened in November 2005. Baptist Hospital, Collierville, also serves the medical needs of Collierville's residents.
Collierville is also the location for the FedEx World Technology Headquarters, located on the western edge of Collierville on the intersection of Bailey Station and Winchester.
Collierville will soon become part of the I-69 Highway plan integrating Bill Morris Parkway as part of this USDOT project linking Canada and Mexico within United States.

History
The Battle of Collierville was a battle of the American Civil War, occurring on November 3, 1863 in Shelby County, Tennessee.
Four minor battles occurred in 1863 at Collierville, Tennessee, during a three-month period. The November 3 fight was intended to be a Confederate cavalry raid to break up the Memphis and Charleston Railroad behind Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's XV Army Corps, then in the process of marching to the relief of Chattanooga. But, when Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers, leading a cavalry division riding up from Mississippi, learned that only two Union regiments defended Collierville, he decided to attack. Union Col. Edward Hatch possessed more men than Chalmers supposed, stationed at Collierville and at Germantown, five miles to the west. Scouts warned Hatch of Chalmers's approach from the south, so he ordered Collierville's defenders to be prepared and rode from Germantown with cavalry reinforcements. Chalmers, as he had done only three weeks earlier, attacked from the south. Col. Hatch arrived with help. Surprised by the unexpected appearance of the enemy on his flanks, Chalmers concluded that he was outnumbered, called off the battle, and, to ward off Union pursuit, withdrew back to Mississippi. The Memphis & Charleston Railroad remained open to Tuscumbia, Alabama, for Union troop movements. Estimated casualties were 60 for the Union and 95 for the Confederacy for a total of 155.

Geography
Collierville has a humid subtropical climate, with four distinct seasons. The summer months (late May to late September) are persistently hot (between 68 °F [20 °C] and 95 °F [35 °C]) and humid due to moisture encroaching from the Gulf of Mexico. Afternoon thunderstorms are frequent during some summers, but usually brief, lasting no longer than an hour. Early Autumn is pleasantly drier and mild, but can remain hot until late October. Abrupt but short-lived cold snaps are common. Late Autumn is rainy and colder, December being the third rainiest month of the year. Fall foliage becomes especially vibrant after the first frost, typically November, and lasts until early December. Winters are mild, but cold snaps can occur. The official all-time record low temperature was -13.0 °F (-25.0 °C), which occurred on December 24, 1963. Mild spells are sometimes warm with temperatures as high as 75 °F (23 °C) during January and February. Snowfall is not abundant but does occur during most winters, with an annual average of 5.7 inches (14.4 cm) at the airport. Spring often begins in late February or early March, following the onset of a sharp warmup. This season is also known as "severe weather season" due to the higher frequency of tornadoes, hail, and thunderstorms producing winds greater than 58 mph (93 km/h). Average rainfall is slightly higher during the spring months (except November) than the rest of the year, but not to any noticeable extent. Historically, April is the month with the highest frequency of tornadoes, though tornadoes have occurred every month of the year. Collierville is sunny approximately 64% of the time.

Climate
As of the 2000 census, there were 31,872 people, 10,368 households, and 8,937 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,298.3 people per square mile (501.3/km²). There were 10,770 housing units at an average density of 438.7/sq mi (169.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 89.87% White, 7.33% African American, 0.19% Native American, 1.47% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.51% of the population.
There were 10,368 households, out of which 52.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 76.1% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 13.8% were non-families. 11.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.06 and the average family size was 3.34.
In the town the population was spread out with 33.4% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 32.4% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 6.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.9 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $80,575, and the median income for a family was $84,830. Males had a median income of $63,986 versus $32,619 for females. The per capita income for the town was $30,252. About 1.9% of families and 2.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.6% of those under age 18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over.

Demographics
Job growth from 2000 to 2006 was 12.06%.

Economy
Of residents 25 years of age and older, 93.2% have a high school diploma or higher, 41.2% have a bachelor's degree or higher, and 11.4% have a graduate or professional degree. Of current students, 95.6% attend public schools, 4.4% attend private schools.
Collierville is served by the Shelby County School District, which is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Several private schools are also located in the town.

Education
Elementary Schools Middle Schools High Schools
Bailey Station Elementary
Collierville Elementary
Crosswind Elementary
Sycamore Elementary
Tara Oaks Elementary
Collierville Middle
Schilling Farms Middle
Collierville High
Houston High Collierville, Tennessee Private Schools
Collierville's traditional destination for visitors is the Historic Square, in the center of downtown. This quaint shopping destination boasts trendy shops, fun eateries, and a tree-lined park, all overlooking the old train depot from which the town grew.
Fair on the Square takes place every May on the Square.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


The Adventures of Asterix (French: Astérix) is a series of French comic books by René Goscinny (stories) and Albert Uderzo (illustrations). Uderzo has continued the series since the death of Goscinny in 1977. The series follows the exploits of a village of ancient Gauls as they resist Roman occupation. They do so by means of a magic potion, brewed by their druid, which gives the recipient superhuman strength. This is often used for comic effect, as in a recurring sequence where the villagers sally forth from their village to rout the attacking Romans so easily as to consider it great sport. In many cases, this resistance leads the main characters to travel to various European countries (but also Egypt, America, India and other non-European locations) in every other book, while the remaining are set in and around their village.
The 33 main books or albums (one of which is a compendium of short stories) have been translated into more than 100 languages and dialects. Besides the original French, most albums are available in English, Dutch, German, Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Spanish, Catalan, Basque, Portuguese (and Brazilian Portuguese), Italian, Polish, Romanian, modern Greek, Turkish, Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian and Indonesian. Beyond modern Europe, some albums have also been translated into languages as diverse as Esperanto, Mandarin, Korean, Bengali, Afrikaans, Arabic, Hindi, Hebrew, Latin and Ancient Greek. In France and especially in Germany, several volumes were translated into a variety of regional dialects, such as Alsatian, Swabian and Low German. Also, in Portugal, a special edition of the first volume, Asterix the Gaul, was translated into local language Mirandese. Hungarian-language books have been issued in Yugoslavia for the Hungarian minority living in Serbia. Although not a fully autonomic dialect, it slightly differs from the language of the books issued in Hungary. In Greece, a number of volumes have appeared in the Cretan Greek and Pontic Greek dialects.
The Asterix series is one of the most popular French comics in the world, and familiar to people of all ages in most European countries, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and parts of South America, Africa and Asia particularly, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, South Africa, Kenya, Philippines, Singapore, India and Indonesia. Asterix is less well known in the United States and Japan. In its early years the Disney Channel aired the British-produced English translations of the Asterix films, but so far it has enjoyed only a modest success in establishing foothold with American audiences.
The key to the success of the series is that it contains comic elements for all ages: young children like the fist-fights and other visual gags, while adults appreciate the cleverness of the allusions and puns that sparkle throughout the texts.
The names of the characters contain puns, and vary with translation into other languages. This article uses the names from the English-language translations by Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge. For the French names see below.
Apart from the 33 main comics, other Asterix books and film books have been made. See List of Asterix volumes.
Several books have been made into films, eight animated, and three with live actors. There have also been a number of games.

Humour
Wherever they visit, Asterix and and his friend Obelix encounter people and things borrowed and caricatured from 20th century real life. In the early album Asterix and the Goths for instance, the Goths (early Germans) are represented as militaristic and regimented, reminiscent of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Germans. The helmets worn by these Goths even resemble the German Pickelhaube helmets worn up to World War I and one of their leaders bears an uncanny resemblance to Otto von Bismarck. The British are shown as polite and phlegmatic, drinking warm beer or hot water with a drop of milk (before the first tea was brought by Asterix to what would later become England); they boil all their food and serve it with mint sauce, and they drive their chariots on the wrong side of the road. Spain is the cheap country down south where people from the North go on vacation and the locals are proud and hot-blooded. Portuguese people are always depicted as short and plump - Uderzo once said that every Portuguese immigrant he knew was like that. All the tribes represented are treated humorously as prototypes for their modern counterparts, and many aspects of them are satirized. However, the French are not exempt from satire, and almost all of the peoples Asterix meets are portrayed positively, even the Romans. The only tribe depicted completely unflatteringly is the Goths, possibly a result of the Second World War. In later books, such as Asterix the Legionary and Asterix and Obelix All at Sea, the Goths were depicted much more sympathetically; possibly because the Asterix series became very popular in Germany.
Some caricatures of the traits of certain French regions are also used: people from Normandy smother their food in cream and cannot give a straight answer; people from Marseille play boules and exaggerate matters, and Corsicans don't like to do any work, are easily angered and have generations-long-standing vendettas that they settle violently, and make cheese that smells so bad that it actually becomes an explosive.
Minor characters often resemble famous people or fictional characters, usually caricatures of existing French people of the same era, particularly from television and the spectacles. In Obelix and Co., for example, the young Roman bureaucrat is a caricature of a young Jacques Chirac, and it includes two Roman legionaries drawn to the likeness of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. In Asterix and the Falling Sky, the super-clones are a caricature of both Superman and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and their leader, Toon, resembles Mickey Mouse. Likewise the planet which Toon hails from, Tadilsweny, is an anagram of Walt Disney, in homage to the late cartoonist. At the back of the issue Uderzo also writes a short testimony to Walt Disney and gives away the anagram by mentioning "..Tadsil..., I mean, Walt Disney...". Such characters usually stand out visually, by not having the bulbous noses otherwise typical of Uderzo's style.
Other side characters allude to people related to the place Asterix is visiting. Notable examples include a very Elizabeth Taylor-like Cleopatra in Asterix and Cleopatra; Britain's most famous bards in the story Asterix in Britain, who are four in number and look remarkably like the Beatles; a pair of Belgian warriors in Asterix in Belgium who resemble and also speak like Dupond and Dupont (Thomson and Thompson) of Tintin-fame (the two characters are drawn in Hergé's typical ligne claire style, which is atypical for Uderzo); and both Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are depicted in Asterix in Spain. More recently, this spoofing has occasionally extended to major characters as well: in Asterix and the Black Gold, a Roman spy is a young Sean Connery named Dubbelosix drawn in James Bond style, and in Asterix and Obelix All at Sea, the leader of the escaped slaves (named Spartakis, being Greek) is based on Kirk Douglas' portrayal of the title character of Spartacus. In Asterix and the Cauldron, the head of the theatre is Laurensolivius, based on the actor Laurence Olivier. In the same book, there is another theatre actor of the name Alecguinius, based on the actor Alec Guinness.
The stories also feature allusions to major artistic works (such as Pieter Bruegel's Peasant Wedding and Victor Hugo's story of the Battle of Waterloo from Les Châtiments, in Asterix in Belgium; and Théodore Géricault's The Raft of the Medusa), as well as historical personalities (Napoleon, Louis XIV of France), and famous places (the Moulin Rouge, Bethlehem) and the Statue of Liberty (played by Asterix).
However, in many other respects the series reflects life in 1st century BC fairly accurately for the medium. For example, the multi-storied apartments in Rome — the insulae — which have Obelix remarking that one man's roof is another man's floor, and consequently, "These Romans are crazy": his favourite line. This line itself is also an intrinsic joke on Rome and the Romans, as its Italian equivalent is "Sono pazzi questi romani", which, like the banner of the Roman Empire ("Senatus Populusque Romanus"), abbreviates as "SPQR". On the other hand, the presence of chimneys in the Gaulish huts is not accurate, as they used gabled openings in the roof to let smoke escape. Also, it is now believed menhirs were erected long before the Gauls.
It was reported in September 2007 that an archaeological dig in Corent near Lyon, France revealed the society of the Gauls to be, in reality, more advanced than the Asterix series of books had suggested.
The text also makes relatively regular use of original Latin phrases, and allusions to Julius Caesar's De Bello Gallico, a book about the conquest of Gaul, often used as an introductory text to Latin. Some jokes are made about Caesar's use of the third person to write about himself. Such allusions were likely to be well-received by the better-educated sections of the French and Belgian public in the 1960s, when the teaching of Latin was still widespread in high schools.

Stereotypes and allusions
A key feature of the Asterix books in all translations are the constant puns used as names: the names of the two protagonists come from asterisk and obelisk, Asterix being the star of the books (Latin aster — derived from the Greek word αστήρ (aster) [star] and Celtic rix [king, cognate to Latin rex, Sanskrit rājā and related to German Reich and English reign]), and Obelix being a menhir delivery-man. This is a double pun, since as well as meaning a stone monolith, the word obelisk can also refer to the typographical dagger (†) that is often used to denote the second footnote on a page after an asterisk (*) has been used to reference the first.
Each cultural group in Asterix has a characteristic ending for names (though there are occasionally notable exceptions). Nearly all the male Gaulish characters' names end in -ix (probably a reference to the real-life Gaulish chieftain such as Vercingetorix although only the names of Gaulish kings — and not even all of them — ended in -ix, and when they did, it was always -rix). Other English language examples include the chief (Vitalstatistix), the druid (Getafix), and an old man (Geriatrix) with a young wife, who is never named. Most Gaulish women's names end in "a', such as Bacteria, Impedimenta, and Influenza. Roman characters' names end with -us as in Noxious Vapus, Crismus Bonus, Sendervictorius and Appianglorius. Normans use -af (Bathyscaf, Toocleverbyhaf, Timandahaf), Vikings use "-ssen" (Herendthelessen, Haroldwilssen), Egyptians use -is (Edifis, Artifis), Greeks use -es or -os (Diabetes, Thermos), Britons use -ax (Hiphiphurrax, Dipsomaniax, Valueaddedtax, Selectiveunemploymenttax) and occasionally -os (Cassivelaunos, Mykingdomforanos), Goths use -ic (Rhetoric, Choleric, Electric, Metric) and Spaniards use Spanish-sounding names such as Huevos Y Bacon (Eggs and Bacon). Female names also have consistent endings, but these are different from male names and generally end in -a: for instance the wife of the Roman Osseus Humerus is Fibula, the wife of village fishmonger Unhygenix is Bacteria, and the wife of Chief Vitalstatistix is Impedimenta.
Many names stand as solitary puns on their characters, like Getafix (who provides medicine and potions for the village) or Geriatrix—particularly with recurring characters, while others are simply absurdist such as "Spurius Brontosaurus", and some in groups play on each other, as in the example of a Roman guard talking through a closed door to another guard: "Open up, Sendervictorius! It's me, Appianglorius!" This is a pun on lines from the UK's national anthem "God Save the Queen": "Send her victorious, happy and glorious...".
Other names are puns derived from historical or literary quotations. An example is the British chief Mykingdomforanos whose name is a reference to the line "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!" from Shakespeare's play Richard III.

Puns in names
The speech of characters is written using lettering according to the language spoken (although no difference appears between the language of the Romans and the Gauls themselves, unlike in the Italian translation, where the Romans are given 20th century roman accents). The Gauls cannot automatically understand certain languages even though the reader will understand.
The names of characters in Asterix, aside from being puns, usually have suffixes representing their nationalities.
In the original it is more consistent (-is)
In Roman times Gaul, while centred on modern France (which includes Corsica), also included modern Switzerland, most of Belgium, and parts of western Germany and northern Italy — a fact the authors acknowledge by using the same suffix for the Belgians, Swiss and Corsicans.
In the original (and most translations) -ine is most often used for female names
Cultural references indicate these (in Asterix and the Great Crossing) are Danes rather than the Norsemen of Asterix and the Normans

Iberian: Sentences start with upside-down exclamation marks ('¡') or question marks ('¿'), as in real Spanish
Goth: blackletter (language barrier with Gauls)
Viking: Ø and Å characters are used for O and A (language barrier with Gauls)
Native American: Pictograms (language barrier with Gauls)
Egyptian: hieroglyphics with footnotes (language barrier with Gauls)
Greek: as if carved, with no curves and a minimum of strokes.
Britons: -ax (m); -a (f)
Egyptians: -ep, -is, -ut, -up, -et
Gauls: -ix (m); -a (f)
Goths: -ric
Greeks: -s (m); -a (f)
Iberians: -on
Indians: -it, -at (m); -ade (f)
Normans: -af
Persians: -es
Romans: -us (m); -a (f)
Vikings: -ssen (m); -ard, -ude (f) Asterix Representing languages
A number of running gags recur in various albums. One of these is that the bard Cacofonix is inspired to sing whenever Asterix and Obelix leave or come back from a grand journey, but is usually prevented from performing by Fulliautomatix (the blacksmith). When an adventure concludes, the village holds a banquet, but the bard is nearly always seen tied up and gagged so as not to disrupt the festivities (most notable exceptions in Asterix and the Chieftain's Shield, where it is Chief Vitalstatistix who is missing from the banquet, Asterix and the Normans, where his help proved vital in stopping the Normans, Asterix at the Olympic Games, where he is merely held at bay by Fulliautomatix's hammer, Asterix and Caesar's Gift, where he is given the unique opportunity to court a pretty girl, Asterix and the Magic Carpet, where he, Asterix and Obelix were in another country at the time, and Asterix and the Falling Sky, where his hut had been destroyed and Unhygienix and Fulliautomatix were tied up instead as 'punishment').
There is also Obelix tapping his forehead and muttering "These [people] are crazy" every time he learns something new about the land he is visiting and their people. His most common targets are the Romans, which is ironic because they consider the Gauls as being the crazy ones.
Another running gag among legionaries is to express their discontent with a military life far less interesting than what was promised with (in French) "Engagez-vous, rengagez-vous, qu'ils disaient!" (tentative translation: "enlist and enlist again, as they said!"). In the official English translation, this is stated as "Join up, they said! It's a man's life, they said!".
It was revealed in the first volume, Asterix the Gaul, that Obelix fell into a cauldron of magic potion as an infant, giving him super-human strength for life. Yet no matter how often Getafix explains that due to this exceptional circumstance, he cannot have any more potion, Obelix is jealous of Asterix and the other villagers and always tries to sneak some anyway. His various schemes to trick Getafix into letting him have a dose of potion are an ongoing joke in the series. Despite feeble attempts at disguising himself or simply begging, Obelix is always stopped by Getafix before he can drink any (the disastrous effects of Obelix ingesting any potion are seen in Asterix and Obelix All at Sea, though no negative effects occur when Obelix is given a few drops in Asterix and Cleopatra).
Another running gag is a group of pirates that tend to get caught in the middle of conflict and have their ship sunk. Despite their best attempts to steer clear of "any Gaulish vessels," the hapless pirates inevitably encounter a ship with Asterix and Obelix in it and wind up getting sunk. Sometimes the pirates lose their ship without Asterix or Obelix, however. In Asterix and the Roman Agent, they attack a ship carrying a Roman agent, who points at a random crew member and states he gave him a bagful of gold if he would not attack the agent. In the ensuing battle over the nonexistent bag of gold, the pirates sink their own ship. In Asterix and the Cauldron, tired of being sunk, they give up pirating completely and open a ship-themed restaurant. Asterix and Obelix arrive in search of something and despite their initial attempts at being good hosts, they are soon persuaded to return to the oceans. As their ship slips inevitably beneath the waves after an encounter with the Gauls and they cling to floating debris, the elderly mate always makes an observation in Latin, usually a well-known aphorism or verse lifted from a famous author like Horace or Virgil. The pirates were originally conceived as a one-shot parody of the comic-book Barbe-Rouge but proved so popular that they were fully integrated into the Asterix series.
In Asterix the Legionary, after their ship was sunk, the pirates were left in a raft resembling the painting The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault. In this particular image the captain even makes the pun: "We've been framed, by Jericho!". In Asterix and Cleopatra the pirates scuttle the ship themselves rather than be attacked by the Gauls again, the captain reasoning once that it "Saves us a few knocks, and comes to the same thing in the end".
These pirates — most notably the red-bearded captain, the constantly Latin-quoting peg-legged second-in-command, and the African lookout — are caricatures of the characters of "Barbe Rouge, Le Démon des Caraïbes", a pirate series that was published at the same time in Pilote, the weekly comics magazine in which Asterix appeared, and which Goscinny also edited.

Running gags
In the albums, some historical facts are retold, and attributed to Asterix and Obelix.

In Asterix and Cleopatra, when visiting Egypt, Obelix scales the sphinx. As he is about to mount the sphinx's nose it breaks off and falls to the ground. Immediately all the nearby souvenir-shops chisel off the noses of their souvenir-sphinxes in order to maintain the resemblance to the real monument.
In the same book, at the end, Asterix asks Cleopatra to call upon his countrymen if she needs anything built, such as a canal between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea — describing the Suez Canal (which was built by a French company).
In Asterix in Spain, Asterix finds himself in a circus in front of an aurochs. He evades the bull nicely, and gets applause from the audience. A guest of the Roman general drops her red cape in the arena. When Asterix wants to hand it back, the bull reacts and is finished after some dancing moves of Asterix, who is trying to save the cape from getting dirty, giving us the first bullfight.
In the same book, Unhygenix the fishmonger agrees to take payment for his boat rental in menhirs, as he wants to develop land on Salisbury Plain — which explains the mystery of Stonehenge. (In the French original, the land in question is at Carnac in Brittany.) An alternate explanation is proffered in Asterix and Son.
In Asterix and the Banquet (Le Tour de Gaule) Obelix travels around Gaul with a yellow knapsack on his back, as if wearing the yellow jersey in the modern Tour de France, complete with a white square patch on the backside, where we can imagine the cyclist's number.
In Asterix in Switzerland, Asterix manages to carry an unconscious Obelix through the Alps, by tying ropes around himself, Obelix, and their guides, creating a famous technique in mountain-climbing. Asterix and Obelix also hide in the secure bank locker of Zurix (Zurich): an allusion to modern Swiss banks.
In the same adventure above, the precision of Swiss watches and clocks is alluded to by the fact that the innkeeper who helps the duo never forgets to remind his customers to turn their hourglasses.
In Asterix in Belgium, the chieftain of Asterix's Belgian hosts gains inspiration for frites (French fries) and mussels, Belgium's two most famous culinary ambassadors, from a vat of boiling oil prepared as a Roman weapon, and a damp wooden plank belonging to the pirates after their ship was sunk by a rock Obelix tried to throw at a Roman camp on the coast (note that potatoes were unknown in Europe at the time).
In Asterix and the Goths, Getafix makes sure that the Goths are pushed into political turmoil so that they may never again regroup as a powerful nation and attack others. This is a reference to the strategy pursued by Richelieu in the 17th century to prevent the various German principalties from uniting and posing a threat to the power of France. Particularly accurate is the use of equal support towards all contenders, reflecting the notion of balance of power that was at the core of Richelieu's strategy.
In Asterix and the Laurel Wreath, Asterix and Obelix accidentally invent the potion to get rid of alcoholic hangovers. This is still an active area of research with geneticists trying to identify the gene responsible for hangovers. In an epilogue, it is stated that the potion became so widespread and the Romans so dependent on it, that it actually caused the decline of the Roman Empire.
In Asterix and the Normans, Justforkix, nephew of Vitalstatistix, arrives in an Italian chariot built for speed (a "sports cart"), an allusion to the famous Italian speedsters such as Ferrari and Lamborghini.
In Obelix and Co., the effect of globalisation on rural (Asterix's Village) and urban (Rome's) economies is portrayed. At the end of the story, the Roman Empire is on the verge of bankruptcy due to buying menhirs which nobody wants.
In Asterix at the Olympic Games, the use of Magic Potion is banned in the games but the Roman contingent still uses it. They are caught and disqualified owing to the fact that Getafix added a blue dye to the potion which coloured the tongues of the Romans. This reflects the burning issue of the use of performance enhancing drugs and their detection in modern sports.
In Asterix and the Black Gold, Asterix, Obelix and Dubbelosix rest for some time in a stable in Bethlehem. Also the first oil slick in history occurs when the oil collected by Asterix and Obelix squirts out in a struggle. A bird drenched in oil cries out "Oi! Don't say you are starting already!"
In Asterix and the Secret Weapon, the village women 'stand up' for their rights spurred on by Bravura, a female bard from Lutetia who wears breeches (Trousers in the modern world). Also Caesar commissions a secret legion of women soldiers to exploit the famous Gaulish gallantry and thereby conquer the village.
In Asterix and Caesar's Gift, Cacofonix composes the protest anthem "We Shall Overcome", which became the US civil rights movement song.
A recurring joke is references to the assassination of Julius Caesar by Brutus. In Asterix the Gladiator, Julius Caesar orders Brutus to join in the crowd's applause for him using the famous Shakespearean phrase "Et tu Brute". In Asterix and the Soothsayer a fortune-teller vouches for Brutus's fidelity to Caesar. In Asterix and the Roman Agent, Caesar tells Brutus to stop handling his knife or he'll injure himself, and Brutus mutters threateningly under his breath, "One of these days..."; in the French version he referred to Brutus as "my son", something which some historians have suggested may have been the case.
In Asterix in Britain, Asterix's cousin speaks about building an underwater tunnel from Dover to France and says that it's a dream project which he hopes to achieve some day. This is a reference to the modern channel tunnel (which wasn't built yet at the time the album was written).
In the same book, Getafix gives Asterix some herbs to take to Britain. At the time Britons drink hot water, sometimes with a drop of milk. Asterix loses the barrel of magic potion and simply adds Getafix's herbs to their hot water instead as a morale booster. When they return to Gaul, Getafix informs Asterix that the herbs are called tea.
Also in this volume, there is a scene where Asterix and Obelix are being chased by the Romans. There is a cutaway with the caption, "Somewhere near London", and a Briton cutting individual blades of grass with a finger-sized scythe. He says to himself, "Another 2,000 years of loving care and this will make a decent bit of turf!", a reference to Wembley Stadium. In the next frame Asterix, Obelix and the Roman army all trample over it, ruining the sod completely.
In Asterix and the Great Crossing, Asterix signals to a Viking ship, on a small island off the coast of North America. He stands with a raised torch atop a pile of stones, holding a folded map under his arm. This represents the Statue of Liberty, a gift from the French to the Americans.
In Asterix and the Cauldron, Obelix predicts the popularity of Asterix and Obelix stories. Albeit, Obelix assigns himself a more prominent place in the title of the series. Influences

Detailed list of the Asterix Volumes
Recurring characters in Asterix
List of Asterix films
List of Asterix games
English translations of Asterix
Roman Gaul, after Julius Caesar's conquest of 58–51 BC that consisted of five provinces.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Water supply and sanitation in Ecuador is characterized by (i) low coverage levels, particularly in rural areas; (ii) low service quality and efficiency; and (iii) limited cost recovery and a high level of dependence on financial transfers from national and sub-national governments. Furthermore, there are overlapping responsibilities both within the national government and between different levels of government.

Service quality
A study commissioned by the government under financing by the World Bank concluded that nationwide, tariffs covered only about 2/3 of system operation and maintenance costs in 2001. National and sub-national (provincial and municipal) government transfers are required to cover the operation and maintenance gap and to finance coverage expansion.

Water supply and sanitation in Ecuador Tariffs
The Sub-Secretariat of Water Supply, Sanitation and Solid Waste (SAPSyRS) of the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MIDUVI) is legally vested with the role to set sector policies, while the country's 219 municipalities are responsible for service provision either directly or through autonomous municipal companies. However, there is no clear definition of roles and responsibilities between various national and sub-national actors, nor is there an independent regulator of water supply and sanitation services. Stakeholders in the sector include the Fondo de Solidaridad, the Banco del Estado, the Social Fund FISE, regional development corporations, various government ministries and provincial and municipal governments, among others.
While Ecuador has a National Water and Sanitation Policy

Water supply and sanitation in Ecuador Efficiency
Financing for urban and rural water supply investments is provided by a multitude of national and sub-national actors under different terms. However, the government has recently taken a bold step to improve Ecuador's incentive framework for water and sanitation investments by adopting an Executive Decree on national government transfers to municipalities earmarked to WSS investment under a special tax on telephone calls (Impuesto sobre Consumos Especiales, ICE). The level of the transfers is higher for poorer municipalities, and – most notably – higher for those that improve operator performance or choose to delegate service provision to autonomous operators. The system of sub-national transfers thus provides incentives to improve both performance and more sustainable institutional arrangements at the local level.

Friday, April 25, 2008


The All India Forward Bloc is a leftwing nationalist political party in India. It emerged as a faction within the Indian National Congress in 1939, led by Subhas Chandra Bose. The party re-established as an independent political party after the independence of India. It has its main stronghold in West Bengal.

History
The Forward Bloc of the Indian National Congress was formed on 3 May 1939 by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, who had resigned from the presidency of the Indian National Congress on April 29 after being outmanœuvred by Gandhi. The formation of the Forward Bloc was announced to the public at a rally in Calcutta. Initially the aim of the Forward Bloc was to rally all the leftwing sections within the Congress and develop an alternative leadership inside the Congress. Bose became the president of the Forward Bloc and S.S. Cavesheer its vice-president. A Forward Bloc Conference was held in Bombay in the end of June. At that conference the constitution and programme of the Forward Bloc were approved.

Formation of the Forward Bloc
The following year, on June 2022 1940, the Forward Bloc held its first All India Conference in Nagpur. The conference declared the Forward Bloc to be a socialist political party, and the date of June 22 is considered as the founding date of the party by the Forward Bloc itself. The conference passed a resolution titled 'All Power to the Indian People', urging militant action for struggle against British colonial rule. Subhas Chandra Bose was elected as the president of the party and H.V. Kamath the general secretary.

Nagpur conference
Soon thereafter, on July 2, Bose was arrested and detained in Presidency Jail, Calcutta. In January 1941 he escaped from house arrest, and clandestinely went into exile. He travelled to the Soviet Union via Afghanistan, seeking Soviet support to the Indian independence struggle. Stalin declined Bose's request, and he then travelled to Germany. In Berlin he set up the Free India Centre, and rallied the Indian Legion.

Arrest and exile of Bose
At the end of the war, the Forward Bloc was reorganized. In February 1946 R.S. Ruiker organised a All India Active Workers Conference at Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. The conference declared the formation of the 'FB Workers Assembly', in practice the legal cover of the still illegal Forward Bloc. Notably some leading communists from Bombay, like K.N. Joglekar and Soli Batliwalli, joined the 'FB Workers Assembly'. The Workers Assembly conference declared that the "Forward Bloc is a a Socialist Party, accepting the theory of class struggle in its fullest implications and a programme of revolutionary mass action for the attainment of Socialism leading to a Classless Society."
However, the Bloc was clearly divided along ideological lines. One section was influenced by Marxism whereas the other upheld 'Subhasism', a syncretic ideology consisting of socialism, nationalism and Indian spiritualism.

Post-war reorganization
The Bloc held its 2nd All India Conference in Arrah, Bihar on January 1214 1947. S.S. Cavesheer (a leading member of the Subhasist sector) was elected president and Sheel Bhadra Yagee (a leading member of the Marxist sector) was elected general secretary. Subsequently, a national council was held in Bauria, West Bengal, which reaffirmed the demand of boycotting the Constituent Assembly as well as issuing a decree that Bloc members of state legislatures would resign.

Arrah conference
Following Independence and Partition, the party national council met in Varanasi February 1948. The national council meeting was also preceded by a decision of the Indian National Congress in the beginning of the year to expel all dissenting tendencies within the Congress, including the Forward Bloc. Thus the party decided to renounce any links with the Congress once and for all, and reconstruct itself as an independent opposition party.
The same year Yagee's party decided to join the United Socialist Organisation of India, a front led by Subhas Chandra Bose's elder brother Sarat Chandra Bose. Joglekar revolted against this decision. His followers, which were found in West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, rallied to form the Forward Communist Party.
The Yagee-led party did however survive Joglekar's departure. Yagee was able to push through a merger between the Forward Bloc and the Desh Sevak Party, led by INA officers General Mohan Singh and Colonel Guridal Singh Dhillon, in October 1949. Both had worked closely with Subhas Chandra Bose. They had both been amongst the accused in the Red Fort trials. Now, Mohan Singh was appointed chairman of the Forward Bloc and Dhillon was appointed as its general secretary. This merger gave a considerable moral boost to the party. In June 1951 the majority of the Ruiker-led Forward Bloc reunified with the party. A joint central committee meeting was held on June 23, which confirmed the merger of the two parties. Mohan Singh and Dhillon were re-elected as the party chairman and general secretary.

Split between Yagee and Ruikar
In the 1952 general election the party contested as 'Forward Bloc (Marxist)', a denomination that differentiated it from the rump 'Forward Bloc (Ruiker)'.
In Tripura a united front was formed by the Communist Party of India, Tripura Ganatantrik Sangha, Ganamukti Parishad, Ganatantrik Nari Samiti and independents for to contest the election to the Tripura electoral college (whose function was to appoint a Rajya Sabha delegate from Tripura) jointly. The Forward Bloc participated in mass rallies on October 2 and December 2, 1951. However, just before the election the Forward Bloc withdrew from the front and decided to contest three of the 30 seats on their own. None of the Forward Bloc candidates were elected.
In 1953 a group of party leaders from West Bengal, like Amar Bose, Satyapriya Banerjee and Suhurit Chaudhury, were expelled for breaking party discipline. The expellees formed the Marxist Forward Bloc.

1952 elections
In 1955 the Indian National Congress adopted socialism as its policy. Thus leaders like Yagee and Singh then proposed that as the Congress had become a socialist party, the Forward Bloc ought to merge with it. Singh and Yagee, without consulting the Central Committee nor the party membership, declared the unification of the Forward Bloc into the Congress. Many sections of the party disagreed with this move, and a Central Committee meeting was held in Nagpur May 11-15. The Central Committee decided to expel Singh and Yagee. Hemanta Kumar Bose was elected as the new chairman and R.K. Haldulkar as general secretary. This team would continue in their posts until Bose's murder in 1971. U. Muthuramalingam Thevar from Tamil Nadu was elected as deputy chairman of the party.
Following the 1955 split the party would enjoy a relatively long period without any major splits.

Expulsion of Yagee and Singh
In 1964 a unity process was initiated by the Praja Socialist Party, which eventually resulted in the formation of the Samyukta Socialist Party. The Forward Bloc was invited to join the new party, and the Delhi unit of the party did take part in a joint socialist anti-Nehru campaign conference in April 1964. However, the party did not merge into the SSP.

Socialist unity
The party stalwart in Tamil Nadu, U. Muthuramalingam Thevar, died on October 30, 1963. Following his death a power-struggle began between two of his disciples, Sasivarna Thevar and P.K. Mookiah Thevar. Mookiah Thevar emerged victorious and Sasivarna Thevar left to form his own party, the Subhasist Forward Bloc.
A bye-election for the Aruppukottai Lok Sabha constituency seat vacated by U. Muthuramalingam Thevar's death was held in 1964, in which the Forward Bloc was defeated for the first time.

Death of U.M. Thevar
In 1965 the party joined a 'Progressive Front' in Tripura. The front consisted of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, the Forward Bloc and a break-away faction of the Socialist Party. The front demanded nationwide land reforms, strengthening of the national defence, withdrawal from the Commonwealth, nationalisation of foreign capital, a rational food policy, release of all political prisoners and scrapping of the Indo-American agreement of food supply. Existence of the new front was declared at a meeting in Agartala on November 17. Mass rallies of the front were held in Belonia on November 28 and then in Birchandra Bazar (near Belonia) on December 1.

Progressive Front in Tripura
In 1968 two influential party leaders in Tamil Nadu Velayudham Nayar (then a central committee member of the party) and S. Andi Thevar broke away from AIFB and founded the Revolutionary Forward Bloc. Nayar and Thevar accused the Forward Bloc of having deviated from its socialist principles through its cooperation with the rightwing Swatantra Party.

1968 split in Tamil Nadu
In July 1969, violent clashes erupted in West Dinajpur, West Bengal, between peasants aligned with the of Communist Party of India (Marxist) and East Pakistani refugee cultivators, who supported the Forward Bloc. CPI(M) leader Hare Krishna Konar characterized the events as a degeneration of the agrarian struggles in rural West Bengal.

West Dinajpur clashes
In 1969 a major split in the Indian National Congress. Indira Gandhi had entered into open conflict with the traditional Congress leadership. Effectively two separate Congress parties appeared, the Congress(R) led by Indira and the Congress(O) led by Kamaraj. The split was in many ways a left-right one, with Indira whipping up populism against the established party elites. The Forward Bloc did in some ways welcome the new developments. It appreciated Indira's stands and reformulated its anti-Congress line to focus mainly opposition to the traditional Congress elite (i.e. the Congress(O)). In the 1969 presidential elections, AIFB supported Indira's candidate V.V. Giri. This caused an abrupt break-up of the Swatantra-AIFB alliance in Tamil Nadu, as the Swatantra Party sought to align itself with the Congress(O).

1971–72 elections
After having contested the 1972 elections on its own, the Forward Bloc decided to join a 'United Front' led by the communist parties in Tripura.

Realignment in Tripura
1977 was a crucial year in Indian political history. For the first time in independent India, the Congress Party was routed in a national election. The Forward Bloc had contested four seats in the Lok Sabha election. In West Bengal it had three candidates which were supported by the Left Front, out of whom all three were elected.

1977 elections
Ahead of the 2000 Bihar legislative election AIFB took part in building a front together with the Bharatiya Jan Congress, the Bihar Vikas Party, the Janata Dal (Secular), the Samajwadi Janata Party and the Nationalist Congress Party. The front vowed to maintain equidistance towards the two major blocs in Bihari politics, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the National Democratic Alliance, condeming them as 'casteist and communal'.
Ahead of the 2006 West Bengal legislative election, a section of the party led by Jayanta Roy, former AIFB Rajya Sabha member, and Chhaya Ghosh, former West Bengal Minister of Agriculture, broke away and formed the Indian People's Forward Bloc. This party aligned itself with the Indian National Congress.

Recent history
In the 2007 assembly election in Uttar Pradesh AIFB launched three candidate, Ram Lakhan in Bisalpur (732 votes, 0.51% of the votes in the constituency), Samar Singh in Fatehpur (870 votes, 0.69%) and Jabar Singh in Hastinapur (503 votes, 0.42%).

2007 UP election
AIFB struggles for socialism in India but they consider that their ideology differs from that of Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India, as they build their socialism on foreign ideologues as Marx and Lenin, whereas the socialism of AIFB is the Indian socialism of Subhas Chandra Bose.
AIFB has branches throughout the country, but the main strength of the party is concentrated in West Bengal. It is part of the Left Front government in there, and Forward Bloc has various ministers in the state government. Notably though AIFB is cooperating with CPI(M) in West Bengal, Tripura and on the national level, AIFB is not part of the Left Democratic Front in Kerala.
AIFB, together with the Revolutionary Socialist Party, is significantly more hesitant towards supporting the Congress-led governments than the CPI and CPI(M).
In the Lok Sabha elections 2004 the party received 0,4% of votes and three seats (All from West Bengal).
The current general secretary of AIFB is Debabrata Biswas.

Forward Bloc today
In Andhra Pradesh the party had significant presence during the 1950s, but then declined sharply. In 2005 the party took an initiative to revive its Andhra Pradesh State Committee. A.K. Biswas became the secretary of the Andhra Pradesh State Committee. Other State Committee members includes G. Appa Rao, Malla Reddy, K. Narender, Konda Dayanand and D. Venkatesam. The party is opposed to the Congress-led state government.

Andhra Pradesh
AIFB has a small state unit in Haryana. The secretary of the Haryana State Committee is T.N. Gupta.

Haryana
The Forward Bloc established its presence in Tripura in 1948.

Tripura
It has also formed an India - China Friendship Association.
All India Youth League
All India Students Bloc
Trade Union Coordination Committee
All India Agragami Kisan Sabha (peasants' organization)
All India Agragami Mahila Samiti (women's organization) Mass Organizations

All India Forward Bloc State Election Results

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Asian Century Origin
Most of the speculation as to a future Asian century is based on population growth and economic growth forecasts, as well as the growth that has already occurred in much of Asia. While much emphasis is focused on the growing power of China and India, the term Asian Century generally refers to all growth in East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Russia may also be considered a rising economy in Asia, but it is usually not being referred to in the use of this term.

Reasons
Further information: World population
Population growth in Asia is expected to continue through at least the first half of the 21st century. Nearing 4 billion persons in the beginning of the 21st century, the Asian population is predicted to grow to more than 5 billion by 2050 [2]. While its percent of world population is not expected to greatly change, North American and European shares of the global population are expected to decline [3]. This is significant since larger populations invariably increase military, economic, and political clout in the world. [4].

Demographics
Further information: Economy of Asia
One major reason for the belief in a coming Asian Century is the remarkable economic growth in Asia, and the continuing growth rates. Since China's economic reforms in the late 1970s (in farm privatization) and early 1990s (in most cities), the Chinese economy has enjoyed two and half decades of economic growth rates between 8 and 10%. The Indian economy began a similar ascent at the end of 1980s and early 1990s, and has averaged around 4% during this period, though growing slightly over 8% in 2005, and hitting 9.2% in 2006.
Both of these developments involved policy of a degree of managed liberalisation of the economy as well as a turning outwards of the economy towards globalization (both exports and attracting inward investment). The magnitude of this liberalisation and globalisation is still subject to debate. They were part of conscious decisions by key political leaders, especially in India and the PRC.
Also, the populations of the two countries offer a potential market of over two and a quarter billion. The development of the internal consumer market in these two countries has been a major basis for economic development. This has enabled much higher national growth rates for mainland China and India in comparison to Japan, the EU and even the USA. The international cost advantage on goods and services, based on cheaper labor costs, has enabled these two countries to exert a global competitive pressure.
The trend for greater Asian economic dominance has also been based on the extrapolations of recent historic economic trends. Goldman Sachs, in its BRIC economic forecast, highlighted the trend towards mainland China becoming the largest and India the 2nd largest economies by the year 2050 in terms of GDP. The report also predicted the type of industry that each nation would dominate, leading some to deem mainland China 'the industrial workshop of the world' and India 'one of the great service societies'.

Economics
Further information: Culture of Asia
Culturally, the Asian century is symbolised by Hong Kong genre films, Bollywood, and more recently, the Korean wave. The awareness of the different Asian cultures may be a part of a much more culturally aware world, as proposed in the Clash of Civilizations thesis. Equally, the affirmation of Asian cultures has an impact on the identity politics of Asians in Asia and outside in the Asian diasporas.
Though the use of English continues to spread, Asian languages are also becoming more popular to teach and study outside of the continent. The study of Chinese has recently gained greater attention in the United States, owing to a growing belief in the economic advantages of knowing it. It is also being encouraged through PRC's support of Confucius Institutes, which have opened in numerous nations to teach the Chinese language and culture [5].

Culture
The global political position of China and India has risen in international bodies and amongst the world powers, leading the USA and EU to become more active in the process of engagement with these two countries. People's Republic of China is also a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Although India is not a permanent member, it is possible that it will become one or at the least gain a more influential position [6]. Japan is also attempting to become a permanent member [7], though the attempts of both are opposed by other Asian countries (such as Pakistan for India, and China and South Korea for Japan).
An Asian regional bloc may be further developed in 21st century around ASEAN and other bodies on the basis of free trade agreements [8]. However, there is some political concern amongst the national leaderships of different Asian countries about PRC's hegemonic ambitions in the region. Another new organization, the East Asian Summit, could also possibly create an EU like trade zone [9].
The Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov encouraged the idea of a triple alliance between Russia, the PRC and India first formulated by Indian strategist Madhav Das Nalapat in 1983 [10], and supported the idea of a multipolar world [11]. WIth the November 2006 visit of Hu Jintao to India, the idea seems to be gaining some momentum.
The political future in Asia, whether more united or more polarized, is unclear. Yet most if not all forecasts predict the PRC and India to be amongst the major powers if not super powers of the 21st century.

Politics
Despite forecasts that predict the rising economic and political strength of Asia, the idea of an Asian Century has faced criticism. This has included the possibility that the continuing high rate of growth could lead to political upheavals, economic slumps, and environmental problems, especially in mainland China [12]. Others point out that the 21st century will be multipolar, and no one country or continent will have such a concentration of influence. Even in the "American" 20th century there was still a balance of power with the British and other European colonial empires from 1900 until 1945, and with the Soviet Union from 1945 until 1991.

Asian Century See also

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

BitTornado
BitTornado is a BitTorrent client. It is developed by John Hoffman, who also created its predecessor, Shad0w's Experimental Client. Based on the original BitTorrent client, the interface is largely the same, with added features such as
Super seeding mode and web seeding were originally developed by the BitTornado group.
It is programmed using Python, for platform independence.
BitTornado developer John Hoffman decided to ban BitComet users from accessing his client because it exploits super-seeds.

upload/download speed limitation;
prioritised downloading when downloading batches (several files);
detailed information about connections to other peers;
UPnP Port Forwarding (Universal Plug and Play);
IPv6 support (if your OS supports it/has it installed);
PE/MSE support as of version 0.3.18.