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Jamila M’Barek … Given a set A = {…} … Road of Iron 6th of May, 2006 POST·MERIDIEM 08:17

Diverting fact of the day; Lough Neagh, that Isle-of-Man-shaped water-filled hole in Northern Ireland, is the ancestral property of the Earls of Shaftesbury. This means that half of it could be owned by Jamila M’Barek, a Paris-born nightclub hostess of Tunisian background. The stumbling block to her exercising her feudal right to jet ski abusively on the Lough, is that she has been accused of arranging the murder of her husband, Lord Shaftesbury, with whom she had commenced divorce proceedings. Ach, isn’t this twenty-first century fantastic? In a “like a fantasy” sense?

(I believe her prosecution has been reported on extensively in the English tabloids, but I have very little to do with the English tabloids, so this is something entirely new, and very diverting to me.)

Via our friends over at Fistful of Euros, comes one of the cooler LiveJournal entries I’ve seen in a while. Nicholas Whyte writes on the Treaty of Berlin, the diplomatic agreement that confirmed the establishment of Bulgaria (after hundreds of years being part of the Ottoman empire):

… Bulgaria had gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in possession of a huge swathe of territory in the southern Balkans; the western Great Powers felt that this would give Russia too much influence and divided it three ways, with Macedonia going back to Ottoman control, a much smaller Bulgarian principality set up with its capital in Sofia, and an even smaller autonomous province called Eastern Rumelia, with its capital at Plovdiv (then called Philippopolis in English).
He then gives details on how a Bulgarian mathematician looked at the limitations placed on the Eastern Rumelia elections in order to have the Greek and Turkish minorities notably represented, and figured out that he could have the Bulgarians control the province without too much trouble. And Eastern Rumelia has been part of Bulgaria since 1885 as a result.

Word of the day: роҳи оҳан is Tajik for “railroad”; notice the [i] sound (known as the izofat) at the end of роҳ. The izofat is an inverse genitive construction that originated in Persian; it’s also available in Urdu, the Koh-i-Noor being one example of it.

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