February 26, 2009

CEERES-region languages on Google Translate

I just read on the Official Google Blog that they recently added seven new languages to Google Translate making the grand total of languages available now 41! The exciting thing about this is four of these new seven languages are CEERES-region languages: Albanian, Hungarian, Estonian and Turkish

Anyways, Google Translate already has a bunch of other language spoken in our region available as well, including Russian, Ukranian, Polish, Greek, Serbian, and Bulgarian, to name a few. Just thought this might be interesting to some of our blog readers! 

February 17, 2009

News Roundup!

Sorry, it's been a while and I've missed a bunch of news!

I think the biggest piece of news is the closing of the US air base in Kyrgyzstan. It was obviously covered in many news sources. Some more recent news though, says that the Kyrgyz Parliament is to vote on a bill to close the base this week, as opposed to in March, which is when it had been expected. The BBC has an article about the base with a helpful map of other bases in the region. There's also a few articles speculating where the US might go next, as well, from Eurasianet and Transitions Online.

I've never really profiled other media than articles, but I've dug up some interesting video. While I haven't watched all of these, they look pretty good. The BBC has video of a reporter's trip there, discussing how Georgia is still trying to rebuild after the conflict with Russia. Also, a lot longer but possibly very interesting, I dug up this video of a lecture the Foreign Policy Association held with the former Prime Minister of Italy, on Russia from a European perspective.

Also exciting is the fact that Kosovo marked it's first independence day this week. Balkan Insight has a good article on the mixed feelings that the independence caused.

In brief: The Eurasia Daily Moniter has an article on Armenia and Turkey's relations, Russia is cutting the budget for the 2014 Olympics by 15% and an interesting article on the Obama administration's views of security threats in Central Asia.

February 4, 2009

Russia and Georgia in Harmony (at least this weekend)

For all of the reported bad blood between Russians and Georgians, both at the political and social levels, there are still many perfectly peaceful and complementary relationships between the two groups. Not the least of which is a shared history of rich cultures, distinct yet informing one another.

This weekend during The University of Chicago Folk Festival, Chicago residents will get a chance to see Russian and Georgian choirs perform back-to-back on Sunday, Feb. 8 (Ida Noyes Hall, West Lounge, 1212 East 59th Street Chicago).

Golosa, a Russian folk choir based at the University of Chicago, will present a program of secular songs from pre-Soviet Russia, with an emphasis on the tradition of the Semeiskie Old Believers in southern Siberia. These songs involve improvisation, close harmonies, and occasionally folk instruments and are quite unlike most of the Russian music that reaches us in the United States today. This concert/workshop will take place in the West Lounge in Ida Noyes on Saturday, 12:00-1:00 pm. Alioni, performing from 1-2:30pm, is Chicago's new Georgian folk singing ensemble directed by Clayton Parr, Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at DePaul. It has recently recorded for Hal Leonard Publishing, with special guest Carl Linich.