Communist Tax Lawyer

A news, research and discussion platform for monitoring the evolution of Communist and ex-Communist countries to market economies

 

Culture & History

Neanderthal Teeth Found in Poland

February 2nd, 2010

Neanderthal ToothPolish scientists at the University of Szczecin have uncovered three teeth from the first Neanderthal remains discovered on Polish soil.

The findings were published in the German science journal Naturwissenschaften (Natural Sciences) on January 28 this year, after tests confirmed that the teeth found in 2008 indeed once belonged to a Neanderthal.

The teeth were uncovered in the mountains of the Polish Jura Chain – an area which claims more than 200 caves scattered among limestone rocks, cliffs, and outcroppings. Read the rest of this entry »

North Korea Resumes Firing near South Korean Border

January 28th, 2010

For the second straight day, North Korea fired artillery shells which fell just north of the Northern Limit Line’s (NLL) maritime border – near the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong.North Korea is Dark

After declaring a no-sail zone in the area earlier this week, the North fired at least 30 rounds yesterday morning as part of an “annual training drill,” which the South responded to with 100 warning shots of their own.

“We have confirmed North Korea’s firing of several artillery shells, but they did not cross (the maritime border)” said Joint Chief of Staff Park Sung-woo yesterday, according to Yonhap. “We are on high military alert.” Read the rest of this entry »

Armenia, Azerbaijan Make Progress on Nagorno-Karabakh Resolution

January 27th, 2010

Nagorno-KarabakhArmenian President Serzh Sarksyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev have reportedly come to an agreement on some basic principles regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute that has been going on for almost 20 years.

While meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at a ski resort near Sochi on Monday, the two leaders reached an understanding on the preamble to a new and improved version of the 2007 Madrid document, which outlined a step-by-step resolution to the conflict. Read the rest of this entry »

Online Matchmaking Taking Off for China’s Wealthy Elite

January 26th, 2010

Wedding Show

Who said money can’t buy love?

An elitist and largely exclusive online matchmaking site for China’s growing upper class is taking off as the country’s wealthy bachelors look to spend their money (or their parent’s) on finding the most beautiful partner money can buy. Read the rest of this entry »

Russia, U.S. Agree “95 Percent” on Nuclear Disarmament Treaty

January 25th, 2010

Russia and the United States are “95 percent” agreed on the terms of a disarmament treaty that would see the two largest nuclear powers each reduce their stockpile of nuclear warheads to between 1,500 and 1,675. The treaty would also reduce the number of vehicles capable of carrying these warheads to between 500 and 1,100.

“Everything in negotiations is going fine, 95 percent of the new deal’s issues have been agreed upon,” said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, according to Russian news agencies on Sunday. Read the rest of this entry »

Vietnam to Create World’s Largest Jade Buddha Sculpture

January 22nd, 2010

Vietnamese entrepreneur Dao Trong Cuong, owner of Than Chau Ngoc Viet (Vietnam’s Gemstone and Jewelry) Company, isn’t afraid to show off his wealth.

When a Vietnamese newspaper asked him why he chose to import a Hummer from the U.S. for US$300,000, Cuong simply said, “I like big, manly things.”

So, naturally, when a 35-ton jade stone was put on the market in Myanmar last year, Cuong purchased it for US$2 million with plans to make the world’s largest jade Buddha statue.

The stone, which currently stands 10 feet tall, 6 feet 6 inches wide, and 6 feet 6 inches deep, will retain its height, but is expected to be trimmed down to about 16 tons over the next two years while as many as 50 artists complete the sculpture. Read the rest of this entry »

Bulgarian and Kazakhstani Films Make Foreign Oscar Shortlist

January 21st, 2010

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences have shortlisted nine foreign films, out of 65 contenders, for the prestigious Best Foreign Language Film at the 82nd Academy Awards which will take place March 7, 2010 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California.

Although the nine will be whittled down to just five final nominees by February 2, among the nine shortlisted include Bulgaria’s, “The World is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner,” and Kazakhstan’s, “Kelin.”

If both films make the final cut, it would be the first Oscar nomination for a Bulgarian film and the second for Kazakhstan, after the country’s 2007 film, “Mogul.”

The World is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner Kelin

Here is the list of the final nine:

Argentina – “El Secreto de Sus Ojos”
Australia – “Samson & Delilah”
Bulgaria – “The World is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner”
France – “Un Prophète”
Germany – “The White Ribbon”
Israel – “Ajami”
Kazakhstan – “Kelin”
The Netherlands – “Winter in Wartime”
Peru – “The Milk of Sorrow”

To Protect Domestic Films, China Scales Back ‘Avatar’ Screenings

January 20th, 2010

AvatarChinese cinemas have confirmed that they are being told to stop showing the international blockbuster ‘Avatar’ in standard format starting as early as Thursday, a move that the media claims is an effort to give domestic films a fair chance at the profits.

‘Avatar’ will retain about one-third of its showings in the popular 3D format while the 2D version is likely to be replaced with the Chinese film, ‘Confucius,’ starring Chow Yun-Fat and Zhou Xun.

Despite being featured in approximately 2,500 theaters across China since its debut on January 4th, patrons are still waiting in line for hours to buy tickets to the international blockbuster, the New York Times reports. Read the rest of this entry »

Turkmenistan Set to Move Niyazov’s Arch of Neutrality

January 19th, 2010

Less than four years after the death of Turkmenistan’s eccentric and repressive ruler Saparmurat Niyazov, President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov has ordered the removal of the Arch of Neutrality from the country’s capital at Ashgabat.Arch of Neutrality

The 246-foot white tiled tripod tower was built by Niyazov to glorify himself during his rule and is topped with a rotating golden statue of himself which rotates so as to constantly face the sun.

The decision to move the statue outside of the city and rename it suggests that Turkmens may be trying to forget the isolated and repressive years under Niyazov and his authoritarian rule.

The late leader was famously narcissistic and had airports, cities, streets, months, periodicals, publications, and even a meteor named after himself and his family.

His portraits were hung outside public buildings and his name was included in the country’s patriotic oath which had to be published in every newspaper and recited at the end of every news program.

Niyazov also renamed himself the Great Turkmenbashi, meaning the “Father of All Turkmen,” and wrote a two volume spiritual guide that was made mandatory reading.

Koreas Exchange Fire in Naval Conflict Off Daecheong Island

November 10th, 2009

In the first naval clash since 2002, North Korean and South Korean military vessels exchanged fire near the disputed western sea border at 11:27 a.m. today.

While there were no casualties and relatively little damage on the South Korean side, a North Korean naval vessel was reportedly in flames as it retreated north.

The exchange lasted roughly two minutes in which the North Korean ship fired up to 50 rounds at the South Korean vessel at a distance of about two nautical miles.

Baek Seung-joo, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s state-run Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, said Tuesday’s clash would not have a big impact on inter-Korean relations.

Baek speculates that North Korea caused the incident, but that Pyongyang appears to want to create tensions and use them for domestic political consumption as U.S. President Obama prepares to visit Seoul next week.