‘Sesame Street’ hits TV
US children’s TV favorite Sesame Street came to Afghanistan this week with the launch of a new series featuring familiar characters like Elmo and Big Bird. Baghch-e-Simsim made its debut on a local TV channel on Thursday and aims to improve education for children in the country. It is not the first time that the Sesame Street format has been exported. A version of the show came to neighboring Pakistan earlier this year, funded by the US government’s international aid agency USAID, while co-productions have also screened in Bangladesh, Egypt, Mexico and Russia. Deputy Education Minister Mohammad Siddiq Patman said he believed the program would “depict traditions, culture and other aspects of Afghan rural and urban life” and would be “profoundly useful” for children.
Album ‘difficult’ for dad
Amy Winehouse’s posthumous new album Lioness: Hidden Treasures hits stores tomorrow, but the one fan who will find it hardest to listen is her father. Mitch Winehouse, who has set up a charity in his daughter’s name after she died in July aged 27, heard the collection of 12 songs recorded from as early as 2002, a year before the release of her debut album, Frank. He said the experience had been “difficult,” with the memories of the late chart topper still raw. “We were finding it difficult to listen to Amy’s music, but we had to listen to it because if it wasn’t up to scratch we wouldn’t have allowed it to go out,” Mitch said in a recent interview. Early reviews of the album, released on Universal Music’s Island Records label, have been mixed. Lioness: Hidden Treasures features 12 songs and demos chosen by producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, who both worked with Winehouse when she was alive.
Dogs saved from fighting
Police have arrested six South Koreans suspected of running a massive, high-tech dogfighting operation where matches in the Philippines were shown online to overseas betters, police said yesterday. About 240 pitbulls were confiscated in the raid late on Friday from a secluded compound where the dogs were kept and the matches held, the local police intelligence chief said. “They had an arena enclosed with mirrors. They had videocams, computers and they would show live fights of the pitbulls and it could be seen on their Web site in Korea,” Chief Inspector Romeo Valero said. He said the Koreans did not know how to speak English and it was not yet known how long they had been in the country. One Korean said they did not know dogfighting was illegal in the Philippines.
Letters delivered from space
China’s post office is hoping to boost business by allowing customers to send letters postmarked from space. E-mails would be sent to a computer aboard Tiangong-1, a spacecraft currently orbiting the Earth and rerouted to a special China Space Post Office branch on the ground in Beijing, the country’s space program said on its Web site. The e-mails would then be printed, placed in space-themed envelopes, stamped with a new galactic postmark and sent on in the mail. The gimmick, which features China’s first astronaut, Yang Liwei (楊利偉), as head of a so-called “space post office,” is the latest initiative devised by the postal service to drum up business as more and more Chinese go online.