Some interesting stories for the weekend.

TOC Weekend Reads

Obama raises a long-neglected concept: sacrifice

One word, nestled amid the eloquence of Barack Obama’s victory speech, lingered long after the cheers subsided. Sacrifice. It’s a word too long absent from the political discourse, one that speaks to the change that Obama claims his presidency will represent.

Culture curry’s served hot in Singapore’s ChinatownEconomic Times

Gulping down noodles with vegetable curry, I could not help but think about the diversity of Chinatown despite the historical concentration of ethnic Chinese. For, as parochialism and intolerance tries to find newer roots in India, Chinatown in Singapore seems an instance of how countries elsewhere are learning to celebrate the multiracial composition of their populations.

An artist in exile tests India’s democratic idealsInternational Herald Tribune

Maqbool Fida Husain, India’s most famous painter, is afraid to go home. Husain is a Muslim who is fond of painting Hindu goddesses, sometimes portraying them nude. That obsession has earned him the ire of a small but organized cadre of Hindu nationalists. They have attacked galleries that exhibit his work, accused him in court of “promoting enmity” among faiths and, on one occasion, offered an $11 million reward for his head.

Scientists say a rock can soak up carbon dioxideReuters

A rock found mostly in Oman can be harnessed to soak up the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide at a rate that could help slow global warming, scientists say.

Reforming the young foot soldiers of jihadInternational Herald Tribune

Jilani frowned slightly and wrote Ali’s answer up on the white board behind him. He read it out to the class before turning back to Ali. “All right, Ali,” the sheik said. “Why do we answer calls for jihad? Is it because all Muslim leaders want to make God’s word highest? Do we kill if these leaders tell us to kill?”

Ali looked confused, but whispered, “Yes.”

Malaysian blogger fights a system he perfectedNew York Times

 “The government doesn’t have a clue how to handle bloggers,” Mr. Ooi said in an interview. “If I were a dictator, I would be despairing. What do you do against this?”

The Internet has become the main battleground against censorship in Malaysia, where a system of self-censorship in an atmosphere of government pressure and intimidation has produced a constricted press.

Online lessons for UK in Obama winBBC

If you did not look at Barack Obama’s website in the run-up to the US election, you might like to do so now before the excitement dies down.