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Cambridge Women Students Demand DSK 'Disinvited' From University Talk

Pressure mounts ahead of Friday's scheduled appearance of Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the British University's prestigious debate society. After seeing sexual assault charges in New York dropped, DSK is facing allegations in France related

A view of Cambridge University (Wikipedia)
A view of Cambridge University (Wikipedia)


LONDON - The euro zone crisis, the future of the global economy, French presidential elections. Such is the ambitious program of the event organized by the Cambridge Union Society, the British university's prestigious debate society. Just one small detail: the main speaker for the March 9 event happens to be named, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

The former head of the International Monetary Fund is currently under investigation in France over an alleged prostitution ring, which follows last year's case in New York where DSK was charged with sexual assault of a hotel maid, before charges were dropped by the prosecutor.

The debate society speaking engagement has outraged female members of the Cambridge University Students' Union (CUSU), who have launched a "Disinvite DSK" campaign. A petition opposing Strauss-Kahn's appearance has already been signed by more than 800 people.

Douglas H. Wigdor, the American lawyer of Nafissatou Diallo, the maid who claims she was sexually assaulted by Strauss-Kahn, is scheduled to join a protest against the participation of the former French Finance Minister, who until his arrest in New York last spring was the frontrunner to challenge Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2012 presidential election.

The Cambridge's Women's Campaign also noted that the scheduled event is not a debate, as is traditionally the case, but rather consists a conference followed by a Q&A session. They say this would give DSK a platform to speak on the economy without having to answer the sexual allegations against him.

The University justified the invitation by saying that the former head of the IMF was "exceptionally well qualified to speak on some of the greatest headline topics of the world in 2012."

Cambridge's debate circle is known for inviting controversial celebrities, like France's extreme-right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen, the Dalai Lama and members of the then apartheid regime in South Africa.

Trying to cope with the influx of requests, the University of Cambridge decided to distribute tickets to the talk by lottery. The event is sold out.

Read more from Le Monde in French. Original article by Marc Roche

Photo - Wikipedia

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food / travel

Legalizing Moonshine, A Winning Political Stand In Poland

Moonshine, typically known as “bimber” in Poland, may soon be legalized by the incoming government. There is a mix of tradition, politics and economics that makes homemade booze a popular issue to campaign on.

Photo of an empty vodka bottle on the ground in Poland

Bottle of vodka laying on the ground in Poland

Leszek Kostrzewski

WARSAWIt's a question of freedom — and quality. Poland's incoming coalition government is busy negotiating a platform for the coming years. Though there is much that still divides the Left, the liberal-centrist Civic Koalition, and the centrist Third Way partners, there is one area where Poland’s new ruling coalition is nearly unanimous: moonshine.

The slogan for the legalization of moonshine (known in Poland as "bimber") was initially presented by Michał Kołodziejczak, the leader of Agrounia, a left-wing socialist political movement in Poland that has qualified to be part of the incoming Parliament.

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”Formerly so-called moonshine was an important element of our cultural landscape, associated with mystery, breaking norms, and freedom from the state," Kołodziejczak said. "It was a reason to be proud, just like the liqueurs that Poles were famous for in the past.”

The president of Agrounia considered the right to make moonshine as a symbol of "subjectivity" that farmers could enjoy, and admitted with regret that in recent years it had been taken away from citizens. “It's also about a certain kind of freedom, to do whatever you want on your farm," Kołodziejczak adds. "This is subjectivity for the farmer. Therefore, I am in favor of providing farmers with the freedom to consume this alcohol for their own use.”

A similar viewpoint was aired by another Parliament member. “We will stop pretending that Polish farmers do not produce moonshine for their own use, such as for weddings,” the representative said, pointing out the benefits of controlling the quality. “Just like they produce slivovitz, which Poland is famous for. It's high time they did it legally.”

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