28 Feb 2010

Obama Signs One-Year Extension of Patriot Act

President Barack Obama has signed a one-year extension of several provisions in the nation's main counterterrorism law, the Patriot Act. Provisions in the measure would have expired on Sunday without Obama's signature Saturday.


The act, which was adopted in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, expands the government's ability to monitor Americans in the name of national security.

Three sections of the Patriot Act that stay in force will:

-Authorize court-approved roving wiretaps that permit surveillance on multiple phones.
-Allow court-approved seizure of records and property in anti-terrorism operations.
-Permit surveillance against a so-called lone wolf, a non-U.S. citizen engaged in terrorism who may not be part of a recognized terrorist group.

Obama's signature comes after the House voted 315 to 97 Thursday to extend the measure.


War Made Easy

War Made Easy reaches into the Orwellian memory hole to expose a 50-year pattern of government deception and media spin that has dragged the United States into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq. Narrated by actor and activist Sean Penn, the film exhumes remarkable archival footage of official distortion and exaggeration from LBJ to George W. Bush, revealing in stunning detail how the American news media have uncritically disseminated the pro-war messages of successive presidential administrations.

UK survey reveals widespread use of covert selection to 'block out poorer pupils'

Hundreds of the best-performing comprehensive schools appear to be covertly selecting pupils from more affluent backgrounds and blocking those from more deprived families, it is revealed today.

Research commissioned by the Sutton Trust paints a picture of a secondary education system deeply socially segregated and in which large numbers of schools attempt to skew their intake.


The study's early findings have been seen by the Observer in advance of national offer day tomorrow, when hundreds of thousands of parents will receive letters telling them at which secondary school their children have been allocated a place. More than one in six are likely to miss their first choice.

The research will reignite the debate about admissions procedures. Brighton and Hove city council caused controversy in 2007 as the first authority to allocate places by random lottery. The government allows schools or councils to set their own criteria for admissions to oversubscribed schools, but it is illegal for state schools to select on the basis of academic ability or social status.

More on The Guardian

Also see Educational Gap between Rich and Poor Students is increasing in UK

26 Feb 2010

Bloody Harvest: The Real Cost of Fur

Over seven months, 30 fur farms, seven hours of footage and one and a half thousand photographs, Animal Defenders International investigated a random sample of Finnish fur farms. This investigation exposes the terrible suffering that is part and parcel of the fur industry.

YouTube channel of animaldefenders - furstop.com

Hedge Funds Speculate on Greek Debt

Greece's debt problems are attracting hedge funds which are betting that the country will default. Meanwhile a leading German economist has argued that the European Central Bank should allow inflation to rise in a bid to avoid a costly and unpopular bailout for Greece. In recent weeks the funds have been dealing in so-called credit default swaps (CDS) on a large scale. A CDS is a contract under which one side pays an annual fee to buy protection against default, while the seller promises to cover losses in the event of a default. They are in effect an insurance policy against defaults of bonds and other debt. The buyer gets a payoff if the underlying bond goes into default.


In the case of Greece, the dealers in CDS are betting that the Greek government won't be able to repay its debts and that the price of CDS will therefore rise. The prices of credit default swaps on Greek sovereign debt have already reached astronomical levels, rising to a record high of 410 basis points last week, twice as high as in December. That means that investors who want to insure €10 million worth of Greek government debt against default for five years now have to pay around €400,000 a year. The equivalent hedging price for a German government bond amounts to just €35,000.

"It's the same game as a year ago with Austria," says Philip Gisdakis, credit analyst at Italian bank Unicredit. At the time, hedge funds benefited from rising CDS prices for Austrian debt. Austria's close economic ties with cash-strapped eastern European countries was regarded as a potential trigger for a government default.


US airports reject controversial RT ads that are turning heads across the UK


RT advertisements juxtapose provocative images which show different sides of a story. We ask questions and encourage viewers to question more, since you can only reach a balanced judgment by being better informed. By challenging the accepted view, we reveal a side of the news that you wouldn´t normally see. After all, the more you question, the more you know.

Russia Today

British Navy intercepts Argentinian warship near British waters

Destroyer HMS York spotted the vessel around ten miles inside the disputed “oil zone” around the South Atlantic islands.

HMS York

The British crew had to radio the Argentinian ship, a smaller corvette named ARA Drummond, to demand that it change its course.

Sources told The Sun that the ship made an “innocent navigational blunder” and were embarrassed about the mistake. It is believed that the Drummond was spotted sailing alongside a French fleet before it broke away and headed for the disputed zone.

Under international law, the 15 miles of sea surrounding the Falklands are officially British waters


25 Feb 2010

Turkey officers face 'coup' charges

Seven senior military officers have been formally charged in Turkey for allegedly plotting to topple the government in 2003, increasing the number of officers under investigation to 20, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.
They include two serving admirals, three retired admirals and a retired general.

turkish soldiers

The purported coup plot, codenamed "Operation Sledgehammer", was allegedly drawn up and discussed in 2003 within the Istanbul-based First Army, shortly after the Justice and Development (AK) party came to power.

It was not known whether the suspects made any move to activate the plan, first reported in January by the Taraf newspaper.

The plot allegedly involved plans to bomb mosques and provoke tensions with Greece in a bid to force the downing of a Turkish jet, thus discrediting the government and leading to its downfall.

Other senior military officers have been indicted on charges of planning a separate plot by a far-right group known as "Ergenekon" to overthrow the government.

Al Jazeera

Also see: Ergenekon: power and democracy in Turkey (openDemocracy)

China, Burma, and the Kokang War of August 2009

YouTube channel of Stanford University

Greek rescue in danger as deputy prime minister attacks 'Nazi' Germany

Greece has greatly damaged its chances of an EU bail-out by lashing out at Germany over war-time atrocities and accusing Italy of cooking its books to hide public debt.


The escalating dispute came as a general strike in Greece spilled over into violent clashes between hooded youths and riot police in Athens. Chants of "burn the banks" are a foretaste of tensions once austerity measures bite in earnest later this year.

Public and private sector unions joined forces to bring the country to a standstill for 24 hours, halting flights, trains, and shipping, and shutting schools and hospitals.

Theodoros Pangalos, deputy prime minister, said Germany had no right to reproach Greece for anything after it devastated the country under the Nazi occupation, which left 300,000 dead. "They took away the gold that was in the Bank of Greece, and they never gave it back. They shouldn't complain so much about stealing and not being very specific about economic dealings," he told the BBC.


24 Feb 2010

Illuminati Symbolism In Movies

The Illuminati are the top players on the International playground, basically belonging to the thirteen of the wealthiest families in the world, and they are the men who really rule the world from behind the scenes (yes, they are mostly men, with a few exceptions). They are the REAL Decision Makers, who make up the rules for presidents and governments to follow, and they are often held from public scrutiny, as their action can't stand being scrutinized. They are connected by bloodlines going back thousands and thousands of years in time, and they are very careful with keeping those bloodlines as pure as possible from generation to generation. The only way to do so is by interbreeding.

FarhanK501 YouTube Channel

Egyptians and Internationals Rally Against the Wall of Shame

The wall's construction is entering its final stages. It is made of tremendous plates of steel and is reportedly bombproof and cannot be cut through. It extends some 20 meters deep. The deepest tunnels are deeper than that, and smugglers think that the wall alone will be insufficient to cut them off. But the wall won't be acting alone. It has been built in concert with a series of 30-meter deep pipes, apparently connected to the sea. The plan is probably to pump seawater from the Mediterranean through the pipes, inundating the land and making it too soft and sodden to tunnel through.

security_wall The tunnels would not be the only casualties of the flooding. Pumping saltwater into the land, only a couple dozen meters underground, would almost certainly precipitate an environmental disaster. The Rafah area is scattered with olive and citrus farms. Furthermore, the area draws its fresh water from an underground canal that runs from a town, Sheikh Zuyawid, to Rafah in the northern part of the Egyptian Sinai. Dumping saltwater into that water source will make it unfit for human consumption. The Egyptian Embassy's Consul General in Beirut, Ahmad Hilmi, has said, "There have been no studies on the effects of the plan."
Water experts in Gaza say simply that the Wall will destroy Gaza's aquifer. Already, 90 to 95 percent of the water in Gaza is unfit for human consumption and the aquifer is about to collapse, according to the United Nations Environment Program

More on t r u t h o u t

Brown to apologise for UK's role in child migrant scandal

The prime minister, Gordon Brown, will apologise today for the UK's role in sending thousands of its children to former colonies where many ended up in institutions or as labourers on farms.


The Child Migrants Programme, which ended 40 years ago, sent poor children to a "better life" in Australia and elsewhere, but many of those sent away said they were physically, emotionally or sexually abused.

The prime minister is due to express the government's regrets over the programme in a Commons' statement.

Under the scheme, which ran from the 1920s to the 1960s, an estimated 150,000 youngsters between three and 14 from less privileged backgrounds were sent to Commonwealth countries such as Australia and Canada, but many ended up being abused in foster homes, state-run orphanages and religious institutions.

Children were often told their parents were dead, while parents were given little information about where their offspring were going.


Cuba activist dies of hunger strike

A leading Cuban political activist jailed since 2003 has died after a lengthy hunger strike, officials in a Havana hospital have said.

Orlando Zapata Tamayo, 42, died on Tuesday afternoon after refusing to eat for 85 days, said a spokesman for the Hermanos Ameijeiras hospital.


Zapata Tamayo was transferred to the hospital late on Monday from a smaller clinic near his prison in the eastern province of Camaguy.

Deemed a prisoner of conscience by human rights group Amnesty International, Zapata Tamayo had gone on a hunger strike to protest jail conditions he blamed for his deteriorating health.

Al Jazeera

22 Feb 2010

Sumerian Origin of Humans?

Some interesting bits on the history of the Sumerians as compared in relation to the Genesis documents from the Old Testament.

Prozac for Dogs

If your dog is barking mad, help is at hand. You can give it some Prozac. A dog version of the anti-depressant drug has been launched in America and will soon be available in Britain.


It will be used to treat a canine compulsive disorder in which faulty genes combine with stress to produce excessive licking, whimpering and tail-chasing. The drug, called Reconcile, comes in a beef-flavoured chewy form and is also expected to curb compulsive pacing, chewing and dribbling.

Prozac, which has been used to cure compulsive behaviour in humans, works by increasing the brain’s levels of serotonin, a mood-lifting chemical.

Times Online

Peasant shootings prompt Venezuela farm militias

Venezuela will train peasant militias that work with soldiers as tensions rise with landowners after a spate of shootings of small farmers, including two attempts on one man's life this year.


While Venezuelan law allows reservist militias to carry weapons, Agriculture Minister Elias Jaua did not say whether the groups will be armed. He said they will be installed on farms from December.
"Don't make us march with guns and swords in hand," Jaua said at a meeting in the rural state of Guarico late on Thursday. "We are ready to accept the challenge and face the landowning oligarchs, who should accept the responsibility of which path they chose."
Dozens of peasant farmers have been shot dead in Venezuela in the four years since the OPEC nation's President Hugo Chavez started a land program that has stripped large landholders of millions of acres deemed to be idle or illegally obtained.

Reuters - Frente Nacional Campesino Ezequiel Zamora

Activists brave danger in Bishkek

In an over-heated office space near the centre of Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, three young women languish on a worn sofa, as they complete their first day on hunger strike.

Their revolutionary headbands bear the slogan: "Free political prisoners and end the Bakiyev clan tyranny."

Since mid-January, they and other activists have been taking part in a rotating hunger strike for a few days each at a time, to protest against the jailing of a former defence minister-turned dissident, General Ismail Isakov.

kyrgyz protesters

The popular general was stripped of his rank and sentenced to eight years in prison for corruption. But his supporters say his incarceration was politically motivated, and just the latest in a string of criminal investigations, jail sentences and smear campaigns against opposition leaders.

In another demonstration calling for his release, protesters blocked a trucking route from China but this was swiftly dismantled by police.

"We have overcome our fears, and we plan more actions if necessary. Some people are even threatening to set themselves on fire. But we have so far succeeded in stopping them," he told Al Jazeera (click for more).

‘Aliens are here’ says British Queen’s astronomer

Aliens could be among us - but we just cannot recognise them, Britain's top astronomer has said.

Lord Martin Rees said the visitors might be in a form beyond human understanding. Lord Rees, president of the Royal Society academy of science and also astronomer to the Queen, said: "They could be staring us in the face and we just don't recognise them."


The respected professor went on: "The problem is that we're looking for something very much like us, assuming that they at least have something like the same mathematics and technology.

"I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms that we can't conceive

The Sun

21 Feb 2010

"But I'm Not Wrong"

Bill Maher

Meir Dagan: the mastermind behind Mossad's secret war

In early January two black Audi A6 limousines drove up to the main gate of a building on a small hill in the northern suburbs of Tel Aviv: the headquarters of Mossad, the Israeli secret intelligence agency, known as the “midrasha”.

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, stepped out of his car and was greeted by Meir Dagan, the 64-year-old head of the agency. Dagan, who has walked with a stick since he was injured in action as a young man, led Netanyahu and a general to a briefing room.


According to sources with knowledge of Mossad, inside the briefing room were some members of a hit squad. As the man who gives final authorisation for such operations, Netanyahu was briefed on plans to kill Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a member of Hamas, the militant Islamic group that controls Gaza

More on Times Online


More video by Muse

Gordon Brown has to curb his volcanic temper

Britain's top civil servant ordered Gordon Brown to ‘curb your volcanic temper’ after complaints that he was abusive to his Downing Street staff, it was revealed last night.


The unprecedented rebuke, delivered by Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell, emerged amid explosive disclosures about Mr Brown’s wild and violent outbursts.

The Prime Minister was forced to go on television last night to deny he had physically assaulted his aides

See some examples on Mail Online

20 Feb 2010

Simon Deng, Ex-Slave Speaks About Arab Muslims In Sudan

This is Simon Deng, an escaped slave from Sudan.
Sadly, slavery is still alive and well in Islamic Sudan and in many other muslim societies.
Muhammad taught that non-muslims are of very little value under islamic rule, and that muslims are free to capture and enslave them. To this day, muslims still embrace and practice even the most inhumane of muhammad's teachings.

Kitman TV

Dutch cabinet falls over Afghan row

The Netherlands' coalition government has collapsed after the two largest parties failed to agree on whether to withdraw Dutch troops from Afghanistan later this year, as had been planned.

The cabinet of Jan Peter Balkenende, the prime minister, fell apart early on Saturday following 16 hours of talks in The Hague.

"Where there is no trust, it is difficult to work together. There is no road along which this cabinet to go further," Balkenende said.


Balkenende's centre-right Christian Democrat CDA, the bigger partner in the coalition, had suggested keeping a reduced force in Afghanistan for a year past the August 2010 deadline.

That was met with opposition from the Labour Party of Wouter Bos, the deputy prime minister.

Bos said: "A plan was agreed to when our soldiers went to Afghanistan. Our partners in the government didn't want to stick to that plan, and on the basis of their refusal we have decided to resign from this government."

Al Jazeera

US school district spied on students through webcams, court told

A school district in Pennsylvania spied on students through web cameras installed on laptops provided by the district, according to a class action lawsuit filed this week.

Lower Merion school district, in a well-heeled suburb of Philadelphia, provided 2,300 high-school students with Mac laptops last autumn in what its superintendent, Christopher McGinley, described as an effort to establish a "mobile, 21st-century learning environment".


The scheme was funded with $720,000 (£468,000) in state grants and other sources. The students were not allowed to install video games and other software, and were barred from "commercial, illegal, unethical and inappropriate" use.

The district retained remote control of the built-in webcams installed on the computers – and used them to capture images of the students, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court this week.

The ruse was revealed when Blake Robbins, a student at Harriton high school, was hauled into the assistant principal Lindy Matsko's office, shown a photograph taken on the laptop in his home and disciplined for "improper behaviour".


19 Feb 2010

British interrogation camp that turned prisoners into living skeletons

CSDIC, a division of the War Office, operated interrogation centres around the world, including one known as the London Cage, located in one of London's most exclusive neighbourhoods. Official documents discovered last month at the National Archives at Kew, south-west London, show that the London Cage was a secret torture centre where German prisoners who had been concealed from the Red Cross were beaten, deprived of sleep, and threatened with execution or with unnecessary surgery.

As horrific as conditions were at the London Cage, Bad Nenndorf was far worse. Last week, Foreign Office files which have remained closed for almost 60 years were opened after a request by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act. These papers, and others declassified earlier, lay bare the appalling suffering of many of the 372 men and 44 women who passed through the centre during the 22 months it operated before its closure in July 1947.


They detail the investigation carried out by a Scotland Yard detective, Inspector Tom Hayward, following the complaints of Major Morgan-Jones and Dr Jordan. Despite the precise and formal prose of the detective's report to the military government, anger and revulsion leap from every page as he turns his spotlight on a place where prisoners were systematically beaten and exposed to extreme cold, where some were starved to death and, allegedaly, tortured with instruments that his fellow countrymen had recovered from a Gestapo prison in Hamburg. Even today, the Foreign Office is refusing to release photographs taken of some of the "living skeletons" on their release.

More on The Guardian – Also: Revealed: victims of UK's cold war torture camp on The Guardian

The London Cage on The Shady Old Lady and Wikipedia

Nothing On T.V. Is Real

Stargate Digital's Virtual Backlot™ is a proprietary technology that gives filmmakers unparalleled access to any location through a variety of techniques. These can range from totally immersive sequences shot entirely on green screen to simple set extensions that marry into principal photography.

Stargate Studios

Alles Neu

Peter Fox - Die offizielle Homepage

The truth about the Mossad

Founded in 1948 along with the new Jewish state, the Mossad largely stayed in the shadows in its early years. Yitzhak Shamir, a former Stern Gang terrorist and future prime minister, ran operations targeting German scientists who were helping Nasser's Egypt build rockets – foreshadowing later Israeli campaigns to disrupt Iraqi and (continuing) Iranian attempts to acquire nuclear and other weapons.


The Mossad's most celebrated exploits included the abduction of the fugitive Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, who was later tried and hanged in Israel. Others were organising the defection of an Iraqi pilot who flew his MiG-21 to Israel, and support for Iraqi Kurdish rebels against Baghdad. Military secrets acquired by Elie Cohen, the infamous spy who penetrated the Syrian leadership, helped Israel conquer the Golan Heights in the 1967 Middle East war.


It was after that that the service's role expanded to fight the Palestinians, who had been galvanised under Yasser Arafat into resisting Israel in the newly occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. The 1970s saw the so-called "war of the spooks" with Mossad officers, operating under diplomatic cover abroad, recruiting and running informants in Fatah and other Palestinian groups. Baruch Cohen, an Arabic speaker on loan to the Mossad from the Shin Bet internal security service, was shot in a Madrid cafe by his own agent. Bassam Abu Sharif, of the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was badly disfigured by a Mossad parcel bomb sent to him in Beirut.

More on The Guardian

List of Israeli assassinations (Wikipedia)

Propaganda in North Korea

"Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist." Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O'Donnell, Propaganda And Persuasion

Niger president seized in military coup

Mutinous troops led by an army colonel captured Niger's President Mamadou Tandja after a gun battle on Thursday, and said they were suspending the constitution and dissolving all political institutions.


Tensions had been high in the west African uranium exporter since Tandja changed the constitution to extend his rule last year, a move that drew widespread criticism at home and led to international sanctions.

"We, the security and defence forces, have decided to take responsibility for putting an end to the tense political situation that you are already aware of," a spokesman for the military junta, which called itself the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy (CSRD), said in a statement on state television late on Thursday evening.

The statement made no mention of Tandja, but military sources said he had been seized along with several ministers.

They said soldiers led by Colonel Adamou Harouna had stormed the presidential palace in a four-hour gun battle in the heart of the capital, Niamey.


18 Feb 2010

The Bankers Manifesto of 1892: History Repeated

Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr. (click for his Nazi connections) revealed the Bankers Manifesto of 1892 to the U.S. Congress somewhere between 1907 and 1917.

“We (the bankers) must proceed with caution and guard every move made, for the lower order of people are already showing signs of restless commotion. Prudence will therefore show a policy of apparently yielding to the popular will until our plans are so far consummated that we can declare our designs without fear of any organized resistance.”


“The courts must be called to our aid, debts must be collected, bonds and mortgages foreclosed as rapidly as possible.

When, through the process of law, the common people have lost their homes, they will be more tractable and easily governed through the influence of the strong arm of the government applied to a central power of imperial wealth under the control of the leading financiers.

People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders. History repeats itself in regular cycles. This truth is well known among our principal men who are engaged in forming an imperialism of the world. While they are doing this, the people must be kept in a state of political antagonism.”

Whole Truth Coalition

First ever visit by a French president to their former Slave Colony

Staying in Haiti for less than four hours, Sarkozy greeted French embassy staff and aid workers and took a helicopter tour to see the extent of damage left by last month's quake.

Later speaking alongside Rene Preval, the Haitian president, Sarkozy said he wanted to turn the page in France's long history of troubled relations with its former colony.

But for many Haitians, Sarkozy's visit highlighted the bitter legacy of the price paid by Haiti to secure its freedom from French rule.


Following a succesful revolt in 1804, Haiti was forced to pay compensation to France – a debt that took more than half a century to pay off. In today's money the payments amount to more than $20bn.

For many Haitians those payments are what set the seal on Haiti's endemic poverty and at a demonstration on Wednesday hundreds of Haitian protesters called on France to pay back the money.

"France has played an important role in the way the country is suffering economically, and it has a clear responsibility to pay reparations," Camille Chalmers, a Haitian economist, told Al Jazeera.

During his visit Sarkozy acknowledged that France and Haiti had had a troubled relationship, saying he was conscious that France "did not leave a good legacy" in its former colony.

Al Jazeera

17 Feb 2010

Redemption Song

Bob Marley

Laura Magdalene Eisenhower outs secret Mars colony project

In a public statement, Laura Magdalene Eisenhower, great-granddaughter of former President Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969), has exposed her attempted recruitment from April 2006 through January 2007 by a secret Mars colony project.


Ms. Eisenhower’s account of her targeting by time travel surveillance and attempted manipulation by trained intelligence agents attached to a Mars colony project were revealed in an ExopoliticsRadio.org interview, and in an extensive written statement at Ms. Eisenhower’s website.
Ki’ Lia, a Stanford-educated artist, futurist and colleague of Ms. Eisenhower, has provided a corroborating first hand witness account of her and Ms. Eisenhower’s attempted recruitment into a secret human survival colony on Mars, available at Ki’ Lia’s website.


Malawi police launch operation against high-profile gay and lesbian people

Police in Malawi have launched an operation to hunt down and arrest high-profile gays and lesbians in the southern African state.

Fears of an anti-gay backlash across Africa are intensifying after the prosecution of the first gay couple to seek marriage in Malawi, and thousands of Ugandans demonstrated this week in support of a bill proposing the death penalty for some offences involving homosexual acts. Last week five men were arrested at an alleged gay wedding in Kenya.


Steven Monjeza, left, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga face up to 14 years in jail after being arrested for conducting a gay wedding. Photograph: Eldson Chagara/Reuters

Dave Chingwalu, a spokesman for police in Malawi, said a 60-year-old man was arrested yesterday and charged with sodomy. Chingwalu said he received a complaint from a young man that he had been asked to undress by the older man and was then sodomised. Police investigations had uncovered a network of high-profile people involved homosexual acts, investigations were under way "and we will arrest them all", Chingwalu said.

Malawi has been criticised by international groups for the prosecution of Steven Monjeza, 26, and 20-year-old Tiwonge Chimbalanga, jailed in December for holding a wedding ceremony. The men were charged with unnatural acts and gross indecency and could be imprisoned for up to 14 years if found guilty.

More on The Guardian website

16 Feb 2010

Dawkins speaks with Youself

I knew this guys voice sounded familiar. This guy was in Richard Dawkins' - http://richarddawkins.net/godDelusion

US to build two new nuclear power stations

President Obama has announced more than $8bn of federal loan guarantees to help build the first new nuclear power stations in the US for 30 years.


Two new plants are to be constructed in the state of Georgia by US electricity firm Southern Company. President Obama said the plants would be "safe and clean" and were needed to meet the country's future energy needs.

There have been no new nuclear power plants built in the US since the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island.

More on BBC News

Future police: Meet the UK's armed robot drones

Police forces all over the UK will soon be able to draw on unmanned aircraft from a national fleet, according to Home Office plans. Last month it was revealed that modified military aircraft drones will carry out surveillance on everyone from protesters and antisocial motorists to fly-tippers, and will be in place in time for the 2012 Olympics.


Surveillance is only the start, however. Military drones quickly moved from reconnaissance to strike, and if the British police follow suit, their drones could be armed -- but with non-lethal weapons rather than Hellfire missiles.
The flying robot fleet will range from miniature tactical craft such as the miniature AirRobot being tested by Essex police, to BAE System's new HERTI drone as flown in Afghanistan. The drones are cheaper than police helicopters -- some of which will be retired -- and are as wide as 12m in the case of HERTI.
Watching events on the ground without being able to act is frustrating. Targets often got away before an unarmed drone could summon assistance. In fact, in 2000 it was reported that an airborne drone spotted Osama bin Laden but could do nothing but watch him escape. So the RAF has been carrying out missions in Afghanistan with missile-armed Reapers since 2007. From the ground these just look like regular aircraft.

Future police: Meet the UK's armed robot drones

CCTV footage: The assassination of Mahmoud al Mabhouh in Dubai

Dubai Police are hunting 11 suspects with European passports, including a woman, for the murder in a Dubai hotel room of a top militant of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, the Gulf emirate's police chief said on Monday.
The hit team which killed Mahmud al-Mabhuh last month was made up of six British passport holders, three with Irish passports, including the woman, and the holders of a German and a French passport, Dhafi Khalfan said.

The National - Police show footage of al Mabhouh suspects

Also see the links on the Wikipedia page

15 Feb 2010

Pope meets Irish bishops over abuse

Pope Benedict XVI has met Ireland's 24 Roman Catholic bishops to discuss a scandal over the sexual abuse of children by members of the country's clergy.
Monday's meeting between the pope and the bishops opened with a prayer and fraternal kisses in what Ireland's senior bishop called a first step toward repentance.


Cardinal Sean Brady, archbishop of Armagh and primate of all Ireland, told Vatican Radio that the two-day meeting was part of a "journey of repentance, reconciliation and renewal" for the Irish Church.
Two judicial reports published in Ireland last year revealed that church leaders had protected child-abusing priests from the law, while many fellow clerics turned a blind eye.

The reports, which shocked the nation, documented decades of sexual, physical and psychological abuse in Catholic-run schools, workhouses and orphanages.

Al Jazeera

Sea Shepherd Captain Detained Onboard Japanese Whaling Vessel

Sea Shepherd Captain Peter Bethune of the vessel Ady Gil, which was sunk by the Japanese security ship Shonan Maru 2, boarded the whaling ship to conduct a citizen’s arrest of the skipper of the Shonan Maru 2.


Captain Bethune boarded the whaling ship under cover of darkness from a Jet Ski as the Shonan Maru 2 was travelling at 14 knots in the Southern Ocean. His first attempt failed when he fell into the frigid waters, but despite this the crew of the Shonan Maru 2 failed to see him and he successfully boarded the whaler without detection.

Captain Bethune’s breaching the security of the whaling fleet security vessel remained undetected for one and a half hours. At 0800 Hours, once the sun had risen, Captain Bethune calmly knocked on the bridge wing door, entered the wheelhouse, and presented himself to the Captain of Shonan Maru 2 where he informed the skipper that he was under arrest for the sinking of the Sea Shepherd ship Ady Gil on January 6th, 2010.

All radio communications with Peter Bethune ceased at 0805. The Shonan Maru 2 did acknowledge that Bethune was onboard.

More on Sea Shepherd

Israel is waging covert war across the Middle East

Israel is waging a covert assassination campaign across the Middle East in an effort to stop its key enemies co-ordinating their activities. Israeli agents have been targeting mossad-sealmeetings between members of Hamas and the leadership of the militant Hezbollah group, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

They are also suspected of recent killings in Dubai, Damascus and Beirut. While Israel’s Mossad spy agency has been suspected of staging assassinations across the world since the 1970s, it does not officially acknowledge or admit its activities.

The current spate of killings began in December when a “tourist bus” carrying Iranian officials and Hamas members exploded outside Damascus. The official report by Syria claimed that a tyre had exploded but photographs surfaced showing the charred remains of the vehicle — prompting speculation that a much larger explosion had taken place.

Times Online

14 Feb 2010

North Korea's Own Personal Jesus

By Hillboy1973

Civilians die in second day of Afghan offensive

Twelve civilians were killed during a major coalition assault on a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan Sunday, prompting an apology from the head of NATO-led forces in the country..


"We deeply regret this tragic loss of life," Ineternational Security Assistance Force commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in a statement which said he had conveyed his regret to Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

"The current operation in Central Helmand is aimed at restoring security and stability to this vital area of Afghanistan. It's regrettable that in the course of our joint efforts, innocent lives were lost."


Climategate U-turn: There Has Been No Global Warming Since 1995

The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information.

Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.


Professor Jones told the BBC yesterday there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organisational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is ‘not as good as it should be’.

The data is crucial to the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ used by climate change advocates to support the theory.

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.

Mail Online

How stupid can you be? US Rep. Nancy Elliott

Homophobic NH State Representative Nancy Elliott, R-Merrimack, speaking in the executive session on HB 1590, to repeal same-sex marriage. (2/9/2010) - YouTube

Inside North Korea: the ultimate package tour

The strangest of all the very strange things about the strangest place on earth, North Korea, is that it's surprisingly easy to go there. Or at least, not as hard as it somehow ought to be. I'd always thought that it was only marginally less difficult than going to the moon or, say, Eton, but my amazing revelation is this: type "North Korea" and "tourism" into Google, and you'll find Koryo Tours, a British-run, Beijing-based travel firm. A couple of clicks and a certain amount of cash later, and you, too, could find yourself on a vintage Russian jetliner heading towards the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.


It's impossibly exciting. And when Paul, the Australian sitting next to me, remarks, casually, that Air Koryo is considered unairworthy by the EU, it becomes, perhaps, just a little too exciting. But then some rousing martial music strikes up over a crackling intercom, and air stewardesses wearing what looks like jet-age vintage – white gloves, natty hats, red lipstick – bring around the in-flight reading material: the Pyongyang Times. The highlight of a recent firework spectacular, I learn, was a sky-writing display that read "Down With Imperialism", although the top story concerns a visit by Kim Jong Il to the new September 26 Breeding Pig Farm. "The country's economy is growing remarkably through a series of big events in the flame of the new revolutionary upsurge," he notes.

The ObserverPicture by Eric Lafforgue

13 Feb 2010

Vancouver Olympic Blues

The city of Vancouver is picking up most of the price tag for the Olympic games. Many people are angry about this because most of the prices told to the people of Vancouver were under estimated. Many social services have to be cut because the city is trying to pick up the tab for the games. RussiaToday

12 Feb 2010

Anonymous to Australia

To the members of the Australian government,
This is a message concerning the recent actions directed at high profile government websites by members of the organization that has become known as anonymous. We are delivering this message to inform you of the reasoning behind these actions, to enlighten you to the mistakes that you have made. Your attempts to construct a government mandated blacklist has been under our watchful eyes for quite some time, but your steps to finalize this plan have finally allowed us to take action. Your choice to ban material under the guise of the good of your people, your notions of right and wrong have forced us to remind you of the purpose behind the internet.

See more info on YouTube - Operation Titstorm--ED-Resource-Center

Goldman Sachs, Goldman Sachs, clicking in the votes?

With hindsight, perhaps it should have looked fishy from the start that the ­British public had decided to take sides with the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Campaigners for a "Robin Hood tax" watched with alarm as thousands of votes poured into their website, rejecting their proposal for a levy on City wheeler-dealing, to raise money to fight poverty and climate change.


After a bit more investigation, though, the unlikely backlash against the rob-the-rich plan – almost 5,000 no votes against the Robin Hood tax within 20 minutes – turned out to emanate from just two computer servers, one of which was registered to the investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Supporters of a "Tobin tax", including churches, trade unions and charities, projected a giant slogan on the side of the Bank of England in Threadneedle Street earlier this week, urging the public to join the campaign for a small tax on every trade in financial markets, from share deals to foreign exchange transactions. They say this could raise tens of billions of pounds to tackle poverty and climate change abroad, and prevent savage public spending cuts at home as the government struggles to pay for the bank bailouts.

The Guardian - Link to video

11 Feb 2010

Australia's Aboriginal Children: A New Inquiry Begins

In Australia, Deborah Melville's case has been widely covered in all major news outlets since 2008. But while the nation may have made been aware of the horrific neglect that Deborah Melville suffered, a largely unpublicized audit claims that her death was only scratching the surface of a much greater problem. According to a 2007 report leaked to the Australian on Feb. 6 and written by psychologist Howard Bath, then the director of a non-profit organization that specializes in support for child, youth and family services, the Northern Territory child-protection system is near collapse. Today, just over two years after Australia apologized for six decades of a policy that forcibly removed Aboriginal children from their homes, a new inquiry into that system is being launched.


Melville's great-aunt and aunt both lived at the home at the time of her death. Both women were charged with manslaughter in the case, but eventually acquitted in 2008 on the grounds that they couldn't have known just how sick she was. Not everyone however, was let off the hook: In an inquiry, completed on Jan. 19, the national Department of Families and Child Services (FACS), the authority that was supposed to be protecting Deborah, was found largely responsible for her death, having ignored the many red flags raised throughout her six years in foster care.

More on TIME

The kidnapping of Haiti

The theft of Haiti has been swift and crude. On 22 January, the United States secured “formal approval” from the United Nations to take over all air and sea ports in Haiti, and to “secure” roads. No Haitian signed the agreement, which has no basis in law. Power rules in an American naval blockade and the arrival of 13,000 marines, special forces, spooks and mercenaries, none with humanitarian relief training.


The airport in the capital, Port-au-Prince, is now an American military base and relief flights have been re-routed to the Dominican Republic. All flights stopped for three hours for the arrival of Hillary Clinton. Critically injured Haitians waited unaided as 800 American residents in Haiti were fed, watered and evacuated. Six days passed before the US Air Force dropped bottled water to people suffering thirst and dehydration.
The first TV reports played a critical role, giving the impression of widespread criminal mayhem. Matt Frei, the BBC reporter dispatched from Washington, seemed on the point of hyperventilation as he brayed about the “violence” and need for “security”.

In spite of the demonstrable dignity of the earthquake victims, and evidence of citizens’ groups toiling unaided to rescue people, and even an American general’s assessment that the violence in Haiti was considerably less than before the earthquake, Frei claimed that “looting is the only industry” and “the dignity of Haiti’s past is long forgotten.” Thus, a history of unerring US violence and exploitation in Haiti was consigned to the victims. “There’s no doubt,” reported Frei in the aftermath of America’s bloody invasion of Iraq in 2003, “that the desire to bring good, to bring American values to the rest of the world, and especially now to the Middle East... is now increasingly tied up with military power.”

More on the John Pilger website (column for the New Statesman)

It's just a ride, and we can change it any time we want. It's only a choice.

turbolupo youtube-channel

Appeal by China dissident Liu Xiaobo rejected

Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has had his appeal against an 11-year prison sentence rejected by a court in Beijing, his lawyer has said.


Mr Liu has been in jail since 2008, after being arrested for writing a petition known as Charter 08. It called for greater freedoms and democratic reforms in China, including an end to one-party rule. The former university professor is a veteran of the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy protests.

More than 300 international writers, including Salman Rushdie, Umberto Eco and Margaret Atwood, have called for his release.

Mr Liu is the only person to have been arrested for organising the Charter 08 appeal, but others who signed it have reportedly been harassed.

BBC NewsOn the Defence

10 Feb 2010

Dark side of Jordan's orphanages

In Jordan, numerous employees of government-run orphanages have been accused by orphans of committing physical, psychological and sexual abuse.

The National Centre for Human Rights says it has received 16 complaints of alleged abuse with a total of 25 children involved. But only four of the complaints have been passed on to courts because of a lack of evidence.

For its part, the social development ministry assures that every confirmed case will be taken to court.

More on Al Jazeera

French accuse Tony Blair of ‘Soviet-style' propaganda in run-up to Iraq war

Tony Blair was accused by the French government of “Soviet-style” black propaganda in the run-up to the Iraq war, secret memos obtained by the Iraq inquiry have found.


The Chilcot committee has obtained confidential phone records showing that then foreign secretary Jack Straw was told days before the crunch eve-of-war Commons vote not to misrepresent the French position on the need for UN approval.

The row began after Mr Blair seized on remarks by French president Jacques Chirac on 10 March 2003, that he would not back a second UN resolution authorising war in Iraq “whatever the circumstances”.

Mr Blair said the French were making clear they would use their Security Council veto “no matter what”. His claim was crucial in persuading wavering Labour backbenchers that the UN route was no longer possible and that the war had to go ahead.

London Evening Standard

Live pigs blasted in UK terror attack experiments

Live pigs are being blown up with explosives at Porton Down, the government’s secret military research laboratory, to simulate the effect of terrorist attacks on civilian targets.

In a series of tests at the biological and chemical research centre in Wiltshire, 18 large pigs were wrapped in protective blankets before bombs were detonated a few feet away. The scientists allowed the pigs to bleed until almost a third of their blood was gone to see how long they could be kept alive.


MPs and animal welfare groups have questioned the use of live animals in the explosions, even though the pigs were anaesthetised throughout. None survived the experiments.

Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, said: “These are revolting and unnecessary experiments. Sadly, we are too familiar with the effects of terrorism. It is perfectly possible to find out things we don’t know without blowing up pigs to find out.”

More on Times Online

9 Feb 2010

Scottish Student to be freed after terror conviction quashed

A student accused of being a "wannabe suicide bomber" will be freed early from prison after prosecutors in Scotland decided not to seek his retrial for plotting terrorist attacks.

Mohammed Atif Siddique, 24, from Alva near Stirling, is expected to be released today after the crown office said it would not oppose an appeal court's ruling that he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice after being wrongly convicted of preparing to commit or instigate Islamist terror attacks.


The shopkeeper's son was jailed for eight years in October 2007 for a string of terrorism offences after he was found guilty of downloading Islamist documents on weaponry, explosives and beheadings and then circulating them again on the internet.

He was also convicted for causing a breach of the peace at Glasgow Metropolitan college by threatening to become a suicide bomber and claiming to be an al-Qaida member, and showing images of suicide bombers and beheadings.

But last month, the appeal court judge Lord Osborne said he had been wrongly convicted of the most serious charge that there was a "reasonable suspicion" these documents were being held for the "commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism".


Yemen and The Militarization of Strategic Waterways

The Yemeni archipelago of Socotra in the Indian Ocean is located some 80 kilometres off the Horn of Africa and 380 kilometres South of the Yemeni coastline. The islands of Socotra are a wildlife reserve recognized by (UNESCO), as a World Natural Heritage Site.

Socotra is at the crossroads of the strategic naval waterways of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden (See map below). It is of crucial importance to the US military.

View Larger Map

Among Washington's strategic objectives is the militarization of major sea ways. This strategic waterway links the Mediterranean to South Asia and the Far East, through the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
It is a major transit route for oil tankers. A large share of China's industrial exports to Western Europe transits through this strategic waterway. Maritime trade from East and Southern Africa to Western Europe also transits within proximity of Socotra (Suqutra), through the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. (see map below). A military base in Socotra could be used to oversee the movement of vessels including war ships in an out of the Gulf of Aden.
"The [Indian] Ocean is a major sea lane connecting the Middle East, East Asia and Africa with Europe and the Americas. It has four crucial access waterways facilitating international maritime trade, that is the Suez Canal in Egypt, Bab-el-Mandeb (bordering Djibouti and Yemen), Straits of Hormuz (bordering Iran and Oman), and Straits of Malacca (bordering Indonesia and Malaysia). These ‘chokepoints’ are critical to world oil trade as huge amounts of oil pass through them." (Amjed Jaaved, A new hot-spot of rivalry, Pakistan Observer, July 1, 2009)


China quake activist jailed for inciting subversion

A Chinese activist who sought to document shoddy construction that contributed to deaths in China's devastating 2008 earthquake has been sentenced to five years in prison for subversion, his lawyer said on Tuesday.


Tan Zuoren was formally accused of inciting subversion of state power in emailed comments about the bloody crackdown on June 4, 1989, on pro-democracy demonstrators around Tiananmen Square.

But Tan's supporters and Amnesty International say he was detained because he planned to issue an independent report on the collapse of school buildings during the Sichuan earthquake, in which more than 80,000 people died.


Only in the USA: South Carolina now requires ’subversives’ to register

Terrorists who want to overthrow the United States government must now register with South Carolina's Secretary of State and declare their intentions -- or face a $25,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.


The state's "Subversive Activities Registration Act," passed last year and now officially on the books, states that "every member of a subversive organization, or an organization subject to foreign control, every foreign agent and every person who advocates, teaches, advises or practices the duty, necessity or propriety of controlling, conducting, seizing or overthrowing the government of the United States ... shall register with the Secretary of State."

There's even a $5 filing fee.

By "subversive organization," the law means "every corporation, society, association, camp, group, bund, political party, assembly, body or organization, composed of two or more persons, which directly or indirectly advocates, advises, teaches or practices the duty, necessity or propriety of controlling, conducting, seizing or overthrowing the government of the United States [or] of this State."

More on Raw Story