China jails a monk for “inciting the masses“:

BEIJING (Reuters) – The abbot of a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in southwest China has been jailed for three years on charges of endangering national security by inciting the masses, a group monitoring human rights in the Himalayan region said. Khenpo Jinpa, 37, abbot of Chogtsang Talung Monastery in Sichuan province, was sentenced last July, but the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy only reported his imprisonment in a statement seen on Monday. The centre did not give a reason for the delay, but the authorities are keen to keep politically sensitive Tibetan issues under wraps. The court could not be reached for comment. Police detained Khenpo Jinpa in August 2006 on suspicion of distributing leaflets calling for Tibet’s independence and the Dalai Lama’s long life at a festival the previous year, the centre said in a statement faxed to Reuters.

China (along with Israel and other countries) uses the web to improve its image. Is it working? Tibet House is holding a seminar on the future of the Dalai Lama on February 10th in New York. The government of New Zealand (a country with a possum problem*) is taking some heat for its involvement in Burma: a state-owned telecom company is puting up cellphone towers there. The NZ government defends its actions by saying cellphones will help bring democracy. The lengths Burma’s censors will go to. Amazing, and ultimately futile. Stallone wants to go confront the junta. Give ’em hell, Rocky! Has anyone seen Rambo IV?

Stallone, who stars in, directs and co-wrote the movie, told reporters he hopes the film will provoke a confrontation. The actor says he is willing to travel to Burma to confront ruling military officials, or to debate them in Washington at a congressional hearing. Stallone says Burmese who have been able to see the movie are using some of the film’s lines, such as, “Live for nothing, die for something,” as rallying points. He says such reaction makes it one of the proudest moments he has had in film.

Oprah chose an Eckhart Tolle book as her new Book Club selection. —- * I accidentally killed an opossum with my car this weekend and feel terrible about it. It was midnight. The poor slow thing suddenly appeared in the road. I hit the brakes, but was being tailgated very closely on a dark winding road — braking too hard could have caused a very serious collision. No time anyway. Bump – the creature was killed. I went back and picked him up by his thick, ratlike tail and carried him a ways off the road and laid him down in the woods. At least there he could rot in peace and not be flattened by more cars — and those animals interested in examining him would not find themselves staring into the fatal light, either. He was quite intact when I got to him, just very dead (the sound of hitting him convinced me he was not “playing possum”) and bleeding at the mouth. Up close he looked rather fierce, with sharp weaselish teeth, not the soft white form I saw in the headlights. Anyway, it was a very terrible feeling and I’m very sorry about it. It was my own sad miniature Traveling Through the Dark.

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