Today’s Best Idea

The New York Times’s daily wrap-up on Global Cartoon Rage (15 killed today in Nigeria, praise god) includes this summary of a meeting between Egyptian and Danish clerics:

“In Cairo, Bishop Karsten Nissen, of Denmark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, met with Grand Imam Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi of al-Azhar University, the world’s highest Sunni Muslim seat of learning.

“Tantawi said the Danish prime minister must apologize for the drawings and further demanded that the world’s religious leaders, including him and Pope Benedict XVI, should meet to write a law that ‘condemns insulting any religion, including the Holy Scriptures and the prophets.’ He said the United Nations should then impose the law on all countries.”

I nominate Pat Robertson and Jerry “The Hutt” Falwell to represent me at this law-writing confab.

Tsunami Aid: Norway Number 1

Based on the stats in my earlier-posted list, here’s the per capita ranking for selected nations and their government contributions to the tsunami relief effort (it would be interesting to do the nation-by-nation stats on private contributions, too, but I need to get off my butt and so something resembling real work at some point today). And yes, that number for Norway is correct. The government in Oslo raised its initial pledge of 100 million Norwegian kroner (about $16.3 million) to 1.1 billion kroner ($180 million) (as reported in the English edition of Aftenposten). Norway’s population is just 4.6 million, so the per capita figure exceeds that of even the sparsely populated Number 1 donor in total aid, Australia). If the United States made a commitment at a similar rate to Norway’s, its aid figure would come to a little more than $11.5 billion.

(Just for fun, I’ve thrown in each country’s world ranking in per capita GDP from the CIA World Factbook; the rankings are in parentheses after each country’s per capita aid figure in U.S. dollars).

–Updated on 1/5/04 to reflect new aid commitments from Australia and Germany.

–Updated on 1/8/04
to reflect new aid commitments and add Kuwait, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Switzerland.

–Updated on 1/8/04 to add Finland and the Netherlands and update French aid total.

–Updated on 1/9/04 to reflect increased aid commitment from Finland.

–Updated on 1/11/04 to reflect increased aid commitment from Canada.

1. Norway:
$39.13 (Per capita GDP rank: 2)

2. Australia: $37.82 (14)

3. Qatar: $29.76 (36)

4. Denmark:
$14.11 (8)

5. Canada: $13.24 (11)

6. Switzerland: $13.00 (7)

7. Finland: $12.56 (22)

8. Sweden: $8.33 (24)

9. Germany: $8.17 (21)

10. United Arab Emirates: $8.00 (32)

11. Kuwait: $4.35 (47)

12. Japan: $3.91 (17)

13. Taiwan: $2.21 (31)

14. Netherlands: $2.09 (16)

15. Spain: $1.69 (34)

16. New Zealand: $1.68 (35)

17. United Kingdom: $1.61 (19)

18. European Union: $1.36 (26)

19. United States: $1.19 (3)

20. Saudi Arabia:$1.17 (69)

21. France: $1.05 (20)

22. China: $0.05 (120)