From the rise of Islamic State to the Ukraine crisis, we all watched history in the making this year. Here's Murad Gazdiev's wrap-up of the events that
31 Dec 2014
A little girl was confiscated from her loving parents because they smoked marijuana. Hill’s two-year-old daughter Alex, short for Alexandria, was removed from her parent’s home last November for “neglectful supervision” following her parents’ admission that they smoked pot after she was put to bed, reported KVUE.
“We never hurt our daughter. She was never sick, she was never in the hospital, and she never had any issues until she went into state care,” Hill told KVUE. This is a truly heartbreaking example of the state’s atrocious ‘war on drugs.’ The war on drugs is nothing more than a license to destroy innocent lives. To all those who enforce such immoral and unjust laws against humanity, how can you sleep at night?
30 Dec 2014
The Humane Society of the United States rescued 111 chimpanzees from horrendous conditions in testing facilities, and gave them — for the first time, or for the first time in a long time — their natural right to a peaceful habitat.
Rescuers brought the chimps to Chimp Haven, which is a vast stretch of land designated exclusively to rescued chimpanzees, located in northwest Louisiana. This group of apes has nearly doubled the size of the sanctuary, and is the largest number of chimps ever rescued at once.
29 Dec 2014
Russia is launching a new national defense facility, which is meant to monitor threats to national security in peacetime, but would take control of the entire country in case of war.
The new top-security, fortified facility in Moscow includes several large war rooms, a brand new supercomputer in the heart of a state-of-the-art data processing center, underground facilities, secret transport routes for emergency evacuation and a helicopter pad, which was deployed for the first time on Nov. 24 on the Moscow River. The Defense Ministry won’t disclose the price tag for the site, but it is estimated at the equivalent of several billion dollars.
The new National Defense Control Center (NDCC) is a major upgrade on what was previously called the Central Command of the General Staff, a unit tasked with round-the-clock monitoring of military threats against Russia, particularly ballistic missile launches, and deployment of strategic nuclear weapons. It was roughly a counterpart to the US National Military Command Center, the Pentagon’s principal command and control site.
27 Dec 2014
Two Saudi women detained for nearly a month in defiance of a ban on females driving were referred on Thursday to a court established to try terrorism cases, several people close to the defendants said. The cases of the two, Loujain al-Hathloul and Maysa al-Amoudi, were sent to the anti-terrorism court in connection to opinions they expressed in tweets and in social media, four people close to the two women told The Associated Press.
They did not elaborate on the specific charges or what the opinions were. Both women have spoken out online against the female driving ban. Activists say they fear the case is intended to send a warning to others pushing for greater rights. The four people spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear of government reprisals.
The Specialized Criminal Court, to which their cases were referred, was established in the capital Riyadh to try terrorism cases but has also tried and handed long prison sentences to a number of human rights workers, peaceful dissidents, activists and critics of the government. For example, this year it sentenced a revered Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a vocal critic of the government, to death for sedition and sentenced a prominent human rights lawyer, Waleed Abul-Khair, to 15 years in prison on charges of inciting public opinion.
25 Dec 2014
24 Dec 2014
To the Catholic Church's "seven deadly sins," Pope Francis has added the "15 ailments of the Curia."
Francis issued a blistering indictment of the Vatican bureaucracy Monday, accusing the cardinals, bishops and priests who serve him of using their Vatican careers to grab power and wealth, of living "hypocritical" double lives and forgetting that they're supposed to be joyful men of God.
Francis turned the traditional, genteel exchange of Christmas greetings into a public dressing down of the Curia, the central administration of the Holy See which governs the 1.2-billion strong Catholic Church. He made clear that his plans for a radical reform of the structures of church power must be accompanied by an even more radical spiritual reform of the men involved.
23 Dec 2014
A campaigning MP has called for the reinvestigation of the suspicious deaths more than 20 years ago of two whistleblowers who he believes had significant information relating to organised child abuse by a group with alleged links to Westminster. Labour's John Mann made the comments after he handed Scotland Yard a dossier that includes allegations about the involvement of 22 politicians - some of them apparently still serving - in paedophile rings. He told Sky News: "What I want to see is both those suspicious deaths reinvestigated because what links them together was both were people who in essence were blowing the whistle on child abuse." One was council official Bulic Forsythe, whose body was found in a burning flat in 1993, and the other an unnamed Lambeth caretaker who died in a suspected arson attack a couple of years earlier.
The two men's deaths were "undoubtedly linked to child abuse and potentially linked into the wider scandal", Mr Mann added. "There are figures in authority who are linked in, in both cases, and therefore it's all the more important that they are fully investigated," he said. "And that means putting significant resource in. That's what I'm calling for - enough police officers with enough specialism in there so that every stone is turned over to see what lies beneath it. There's certainly a lot there with these two cases." It was "crystal clear" that Mr Forsythe's death was highly suspicious and that he had "crucial information about child abuse" which was "very precise and relates to what's come much more to light in the last 12 months", said the Bassetlaw MP.
22 Dec 2014
18 Dec 2014
Leather gloves, shoes and other goods being sold in British shops and online may be made out of dogs slaughtered in horrific factories in China, it has been claimed. Dog skin produced in the slaughterhouses are used in products, labelled real leather, destined for export to the West, according to an animal rights group.
Footage taken by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) shows workers stood by a door at a slaughterhouse in the northern province of Hebei. As dogs are led through the door, the men kill them with a heavy stick. Sometimes it takes several blows to finish off the unwitting animals.
A pair of gloves made using dog skin. With dog meat restaurants popular in many parts of the country, several establishments later sell the animals' skin to leather producers, which likely sell to Western stores. 'Skin looks the same, whoever it comes from, and Chinese dog killers are not likely to advertise their skins honestly, so it's impossible to tell if those leather gloves or wallets are made out of dog, cow, pig, or goat skin.
'PETA is calling on British shoppers to consider the terror that dogs and other animals endure when they're mercilessly slaughtered and make the safe, vegan choice in clothing and accessories for the holidays and every day.'
17 Dec 2014
15 Dec 2014
Earlier this year, VICE News correspondent Ben Anderson traveled to Bahrain undercover to document the ongoing protests there. Bahrainis — inspired by the Arab Spring — have been taking to the streets every night for almost four years, calling for democracy.
One of the people Ben interviewed was Yousif Badah. His son, Ali Badah, was killed while protesting three years ago, when a police SUV repeatedly ran into him, pinning him against a wall.
On the third anniversary of his son's death, Yousif and others held a vigil for Ali. That vigil turned into a march, and was similarly met with police violence, this time resulting in injury to Yousif himself.
14 Dec 2014
The massive protest marches against police brutality on Saturday in Washington D.C. and New York City have received a fair bit of media attention, but just how big were those protests? Although some officials have released numbers, we still don't have a final, definitive call on just how many protesters came out. Some reports put the D.C. march at 10,000, while others, from the NYPD, put the New York march at 12,000 (a number that has been disputed by protesters on the ground).
But one aerial video of the MillionsMarchNYC march in New York, shot from a window overlooking 6th Avenue and 29th Street, offers a hint at just how large the march was. It's impossible to get an accurate count from watching the video, but the stream of humanity is impressive, whatever the final number.
12 Dec 2014
Code-breaking genius Alan Turing was murdered, a new book claims. The brilliant mathematician who cracked Hitler's Engima wartime code machines was found dead in 1954 at the age of 41. Author Roger Bristow claims a note from the pathologist casts doubt over the official conclusion of suicide. The post mortem report said he died from cyanide poisoning, but the note adds that: 'Death appears to be due to violence.'
Mr. Bristow, a former mayor who has spent almost 30 years researching Turing and his work at Bletchley Park, said he was carrying out secret work before his death. He believes the code-cracker was killed by the FBI because he had information that would be 'extremely damaging or embarrassing.' Mr Bristow adds that Turing had been working on the top secret operation Verona, deciphering wartime radio signals to identify Russian agents in the United States. He describes how some of the agents managed to get themselves into highly prominent positions, with one even becoming a personal assistant to President Roosevelt.
Turing, who was prosecuted for being gay, was found dead in his bedroom in Wilmslow, Cheshire in June 1954. Two years earlier he had been convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to chemical castration. A post mortem found traces of potassium cyanide in his body - a substance he used for his chemical experiments.
'My theory is that he had stumbled upon some information that could be extremely damaging or embarrassing to certain people in America. 'His body was found on the Tuesday morning and he was buried by Wednesday afternoon. How could proper tests have been conducted in that time? 'Also there is no evidence he was depressed before his death. In fact there are reports from neighbours that he seemed cheerful. 'But the final sentence on the pathologist report says it all: 'Death appears to be due to violence.'
11 Dec 2014
The US and Russia are preparing for “many long years of confrontation,” according to former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Writing on Wednesday in the Russian state newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta, the 83-year-old delivered his grim assessment, warning that the frosty relations between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin could have “terrible consequences”.
The "new Cold War", as Gorbachev recently described increasing tensions between Washington and Moscow, was brought about by the crisis in Ukraine, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its military encroachment into the state on the side of pro-Russian separatists.
The elder statesmen, whose policies of perestroika and glasnost led to the dissolution the Soviet Union in 1991, wrote: "The result of events in recent months is a catastrophic fall of the level of trust in international relations. Judging by the recent declarations, diplomats of both sides are preparing for many long years of confrontation. This is extremely dangerous."
He continued: “With such emotions running so high, as we have now, we may not survive through these years. Somebody may just lose control of himself. We must do our best to overturn this tendency.”
Al Jazeera's groundbreaking series Africa Investigates goes undercover to expose corruption at the heart of Uganda's judicial system.
10 Dec 2014
The full, abhorrent scale of how the US used torture as an everyday weapon in the ‘war on terror’ was laid bare last night. On a day of shame for the West, a Senate investigation revealed the sadistic abuse of detainees in a network of secret prisons around the world. The devastating report – described as ‘a stain on the values and conscience’ of the US – last night triggered demands for a similar, full-scale inquiry in Britain to uncover its own secrets.
One detainee was so brutalised he was left unable to speak and on life support. Another, chained almost naked to the floor, died from hypothermia while a third was hung by his arms from an iron bar for 22 hours. The agency – which worked hand in glove with MI5, MI6 and the Blair Government – repeatedly lied and misled the White House, Congress and the public about its so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’. In the long-awaited report, immediately rejected by the CIA, the Senate Intelligence Committee said the claims – repeated in public by former President George W Bush – had been ‘inaccurate’. In fact, the plots had already been foiled by the time any information was extracted from 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others.
9 Dec 2014
The United Nations children's agency UNICEF declared 2014 a devastating year for children with as many as 15 million caught in conflicts in Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and the Palestinian territories.
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said the high number of crises meant many of them were quickly forgotten or failed to capture global headlines, such as in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
Globally, UNICEF said some 230 million children were living in countries and regions affected by armed conflict.
"Children have been killed while studying in the classroom and while sleeping in their beds; they have been orphaned, kidnapped, tortured, recruited, raped and even sold as slaves," Lake said in a statement. "Never in recent memory have so many children been subjected to such unspeakable brutality."
Significant threats also emerged to children's health and well-being like the deadly outbreak of Ebola in the West African countries Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, which has left thousands orphaned and some 5 million out of school.
"Violence and trauma do more than harm individual children - they undermine the strength of societies," Lake said.
7 Dec 2014
The death of Staten Island man Eric Garner after New York police Officer Daniel Pantaleo put him in a banned choke hold horrified civil rights advocates nationwide. When a grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo earlier this week, despite video evidence clearly showing that his actions led to Garner's death. The Young Turks
From behind the bars around his bed, on the third floor of Athens’s Gennimatas hospital, Nikos Romanos could hear the thousands who took to the streets last week screaming his name, as heavily armed police looked on. Monitored by machine-gun-wielding riot police himself, the 21-year-old anarchist, imprisoned for participating in an armed bank robbery two years ago, has no desire to become a “martyr”.
“He is a fanatical lover of life. He wants to live,” his father, Giorgos Romanos, said in an exclusive interview with the Observer. “But this is his 27th day without food and his condition is deteriorating. He is getting weaker.” Death is not a word that crosses the dentist’s lips as he describes the descent of his son – his only child – from being a ski-loving model student to mascot for a seething segment of Greeks baying for a fight with officialdom at large.
But “martyrdom” is a distinct possibility. As protesters marked the sixth anniversary of the police killing of teenager Alexandros Grigoropoulos – an event that would trigger weeks of violence widely seen as the prelude to Greece’s great economic crisis – the 58-year-old acknowledged that the desire for a martyr is real among the country’s growing contingent of angry, unemployed youth.
Clashes between 6,000 protesters and riot police erupted in central Athens on Saturday as teargas and water cannon were used to beat back protesters in the bohemian Exarchia neighbourhood, where about 200 black-clad youths hurled stones and molotov cocktails. A cloud of smoke billowed into the sky from the clashes. Dozens of shops were damaged and nearly 100 demonstrators were detained.
4 Dec 2014
3 Dec 2014
Many young French jihadist fighters who joined the Islamic State militants have started questioning what they are really doing with them. Their lawyers say they want to come home but dread possible criminal charges, France’s Le Figaro has reported.
2 Dec 2014
The father of a 14-year-old child bride accused of murdering her husband said Thursday he was appealing to a Nigerian court to spare his daughter the death sentence. Wasilat Tasi'u is on trial for the murder of her 35-year-old husband, Umar Sani, who died after eating food that Tasi'u allegedly laced with rat poison. "We are appealing to the judge to consider Wasilat's plea," her father, Isyaku Tasi'u, told The Associated Press on Thursday.
On Wednesday witnesses told the High Court in Gezawa, a town 60 miles outside Nigeria's second largest city of Kano, that Tasi'u killed her husband two weeks after their wedding in April. Three others allegedly died after eating the poisoned meal. The prosecution, led by Lamido Soron-Dinki, senior state council from the Kano State Ministry of Justice, is seeking the death penalty.
The case calls into question the legality of trying a 14-year-old for murder under criminal law and the rights of child brides, who are common in the poverty-stricken, predominantly Muslim northern Nigeria region. "She was married to a man that she didn't love. She protested but her parents forced her to marry him," Zubeida Nagee, a women's rights activist in Kano, told AP. Nagee and other activists have written a letter of protest to the Kano state deputy governor. Nagee said Tasi'u was a victim of systematic abuse endured by millions of girls in the region. Activists say the blend of traditional customs, Islamic law and Nigeria's constitutional law poses a challenge when advocating for the rights of young girls in Nigeria.
More than 1.7 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt are facing a disastrous and hungry winter after a funding crisis forced the UN’s World Food Programme to suspend food vouchers to hundreds of thousands forced into exile by the conflict. Since the war began in March 2011, the WFP has brought food to millions of Syrians inside the country, and has used the voucher programme – which allows refugees to buy food in local shops – to inject about $800m (£500m) into the economies of those countries hosting them.
But after finding itself unable to secure the $64m it needs to support Syrian refugees in December, the WFP announced on Monday that it was halting the scheme. Severe funding shortfalls have already led the UN body to reduce rations within Syria, where it is trying to help 4.25 million people. Its executive director, Ertharin Cousin, issued a blunt and urgent appeal to donors, asking them to honour their commitments and warning that the suspension would have a devastating effect on the lives of more than 1.7 million people.
1 Dec 2014
30 Nov 2014
The Trews is a YouTube web series by English comedian, actor and activist Russell Brand. "The Trews" features Brand offering his take on media as it appears in newspapers, television clips or advertisements, as well as Brand responding to comments from viewers. The show often features interviews with celebrities, activists or other guests. The series is produced and edited by ex-Independent journalist Johann Hari. (Wikipedia)
28 Nov 2014
The Asia for Animals coalition is deeply concerned about the forthcoming Gadhimai Festival, held in honour of the Hindu Goddess Gadhimai, due to take place in Nepal on 28th and 29th November 2014. The festival is scheduled once every five years, will see the slaughter of many thousands of animals.
Despite campaigning by Nepalese, Indian and international animal-welfare organisations, the organisers of the festival and the Nepalese government allowed the 2009 slaughter to take place, where it was estimated that a quarter of a million animals were brutally slaughtered without stunning, resulting in extreme fear and pain.
Campaigners continue to lobby the organisers to cancel the slaughter, but despite worldwide protests, they have not introduced a single measure to alleviate the tremendous suffering. Animals are transported in appalling conditions, often with no food or water for two to three days before the sacrifice, before being forced to witness the killing of countless others before they are slaughtered themselves, including the killing of mother animals in front of their offspring.
25 Nov 2014
Lana Lokteff from Radio 3Fourteen and Red Ice Creations reviews the propaganda found within the TV show Saint George, starring George Lopez. She’ll also take a look at the politics of George Lopez’s stand-up comedy and discuss the strained relationship between Latinos and European Americans.
A white police officer will not face charges for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager in a case that set off violent protests and racial unrest throughout the nation. A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson, 28, for firing six shots in an August confrontation that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch said Monday night.
Crowds of protesters filled streets near the Ferguson police station following the announcement. A police car and stores were set on fire, other stores were looted, gunfire was heard and bricks were hurled. Police said they had been fired on and responded with smoke bombs and pepper spray before using tear gas.
Police later said they came under heavy automatic weapon fire, and some buildings were left to burn because of the danger. County police said an officer suffered a gunshot wound, but it was unclear if it was because of the protest violence. Protests sprang up in cities from New York to Los Angeles and remained mostly peaceful.
24 Nov 2014
Because, while Johanna is a woman, she is also transgender. And because of her gender identity, Johanna's life is in constant danger. The bias and hatred against transgender women is very real, as Johanna's story sadly shows. Often, the people who commit violence against transgender women assume that they must be gay men because they might wear make-up or might wear their hair long.
Not only is she a transgender woman, she is a transgender woman who crossed the U.S. border undocumented. This makes things more complicated. Because, unfortunately, she didn't find help. Instead, she found herself in the immigration detention system. Johanna was placed in a jail — with men.
...being locked up was a nightmare. She was beat up by a male cellmate. Then, guards told her the only safe way to house her was solitary confinement. There, she sat in a 6-by-13-foot cell for 23 hours a day with no human contact and no view of the outside world. She waited for an asylum decision for seven months. Johanna decided that going back home was far better than being locked up in solitary confinement. She was deported to El Salvador. Almost as soon as her plane landed in the San Salvador airport, more nightmares followed.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said equality between men and women is “against nature” at a summit in Istanbul. He sparked outrage with the speech made at a convention organised by women’s groups campaigning to eliminate gender discrimination in all its forms.
“You cannot make women and men equal; this is against nature,” Mr Erdoğan told the meeting full of women including his own daughter, Today’s Zaman reported. “You cannot subject a pregnant woman to the same working conditions as a man. You cannot make a mother who has to breastfeed her child equal to a man. You cannot make women do everything men do like the communist regimes did…this is against her delicate nature.” The President reportedly claimed that Islam dictated motherhood to be the prime role of women, reciting a hadith saying that “heaven lies at your mother’s feet”.
22 Nov 2014
The genocidal public discourse against Palestinians and non-Jews in Israel is reaching fever pitch, and if we’ve learned anything from the horrors of the 20th century it is that fascism doesn’t stop, it must be stopped. We need to call time on Israeli fascism.
Independent Israeli journalist David Sheen brought this image to attention, with this tweet:
You may find this image shocking, eerily reminiscent of the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany, African Americans through the era of the Jim Crow segregation laws, or the UK hotel signs of the 1950’s reading ‘No Blacks, no dogs, no Irish’. I do not make these comparisons for kicks, hype or wanton disregard for these past horrors. It is because of those disgraceful periods in our history that we must not stand by while it happens again.
21 Nov 2014
Three years after the Libyan revolution and the subsequent downfall of its dictator Muammar Qaddafi, the country has descended further into chaos and insecurity. Rebel militias, radical Islamists and former Qaddafi commander Khalifa Haftar are among the different groups vying for power and oil wealth, creating a vacuum in which violence and militancy reign supreme.
20 Nov 2014
By resolution 836(IX) of 14 December 1954, the General Assembly recommended that all countries institute a Universal Children's Day, to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children. It recommended that the Day was to be observed also as a day of activity devoted to promoting the ideals and objectives of the Charter and the welfare of the children of the world.
The Assembly suggested to governments that the Day be observed on the date and in the way which each considers appropriate. The date 20 November, marks the day on which the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989.
Activists celebrated last year when the government said it had backed down over a proposed 1 500 sq km “wildlife corridor” bordering the Serengeti National Park that would serve a commercial hunting and safari company based in the United Arab Emirates.
Now the deal appears to be back on and the Maasai have been ordered to leave their traditional lands by the end of the year. Maasai representatives will meet the prime minister, Mizengo Pinda, in Dodoma today to express their anger. They insist the sale of the land would rob them of their heritage and directly or indirectly affect the livelihoods of 80 000 people. The area is crucial for grazing livestock on which the nomadic Maasai depend.
Unlike last year, the government is offering compensation of 1 billion shillings (£369 350), not to be paid directly but to be channelled into socio-economic development projects. The Maasai have dismissed the offer. “I feel betrayed,” said Samwel Nangiria, co-ordinator of the local Ngonett civil society group. “One billion is very little and you cannot compare that with land. It’s inherited. Their mothers and grandmothers are buried in that land. There’s nothing you can compare with it.”
Nangiria said he believes the government never truly intended to abandon the scheme in the Loliondo district but was wary of global attention. “They had to pretend they were dropping the agenda to fool the international press.” He said it had proved difficult to contact the Ortelo Business Corporation (OBC), a luxury safari company set up by a UAE official close to the royal family. The OBC has operated in Loliondo for more than 20 years with clients reportedly including Prince Andrew.
Activists opposing the hunting reserve have been killed by police in the past two years, according to Nangiria, who says he has received threatening calls and text messages. “For me it is dangerous on a personal level. They said: ‘We discovered you are the mastermind, you want to stop the government using the land’. Another said: ‘You have decided to shorten your life. The hands of the government are too long. Put your family ahead of the Maasai.’”
19 Nov 2014
Military tensions, cyber espionage accusations, a brewing currency war; with every passing day, the headlines paint a convincing portrait of an emerging cold war between China and the West. But is this surface level reality the whole picture, or is there a deeper level to this conflict? Is China an opponent to the New World Order global governmental system or a witting collaborator with it?
18 Nov 2014
Romanians and other eastern Europeans who remember Russia's past aggressions are worried about the West's ability and willingness to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin. Al Jazeera's Ali Velshi reports from across Europe and the high Arctic as part of Al Jazeera's New Cold War series, looking at the stakes of the conflict.
17 Nov 2014
Following a week in which a chapter of Ku Klux Klan threatened to use “lethal force” against Ferguson protesters, the hacker collective known as Anonymous announced Operation KKK (#OpKKK) designed to harass the white supremacist group.
After Anonymous posted photos and personal information, including addresses and job positions, of Klan members living in the St. Louis area on Saturday, the Klan taunted the hacker group on Sunday only to see Anonymous take over their Twitter account two hours later.
16 Nov 2014
An alleged victim of the British Westminister "paedophile ring" currently being investigated by police has told officers he saw a Conservative MP murder a young boy at a sex party.
The allegation in the Sunday People comes after detectives examining allegations of historic sex abuse launched a new investigation into "possible homicide". Scotland Yard said officers working on Operation Fairbank, which is looking into claims that there was a paedophile ring with links to government, have been made aware of allegations concerning "serious non-recent sexual abuse", said to have occurred more than 30 years ago.
The paper, which has worked with investigations website Exaro, printed the the testimony of a man named 'Nick' who said he had known of three murders committed by the group.
But his most sensational claim was that a 12-year-old boy was strangled to death by a Tory MP at a orgy in the 1980s. “I watched while that happened. I am not sure how I got out of that. Whether I will ever know why I survived, I am not sure," he told the paper, describing how he and the victim had been driven to the party together. “I knew we were being taken somewhere to be sexually abused by powerful men. But I had no idea of the true horror of what was about to happen.
“The MP was particularly nasty, even among the group of people who sexually abused me and others. I still find it difficult to talk about these incidents after all these years.” Nick told the paper his father had arranged for the men to have sex with him. He has given the name of the MP to police working on Operation Midland, a strand of the Operation Fairbank inquiry and has allegedly help compiled “e-fit” pictures of the apparent murder victims.
When the lights change at the Shibuya crossing in Japan's capital, one of the world's busiest pedestrian thoroughfares, hundreds of people with their eyes glued to smartphones pick their way over the road. Despite being engrossed in the latest instalment of Candy Crush or busy chatting with their friends on messaging app Line, most manage to weave around cyclists, skateboarders and fellow Tokyoites.
But the growing ranks of these cellphone addicts are turning cities like Tokyo, London, New York and Hong Kong into increasingly hazardous hotspots, where zombified shoppers appear to be part of vast games of human pinball. "Hey, watch it!" barks a middle-aged salaryman as a hipster typing on his smartphone slams into him during one recent Friday evening crush hour. "Incidents involving people walking or on bicycles account for 41 percent of phone-related accidents," Tetsuya Yamamoto, a senior official at Tokyo Fire Department's disaster prevention and safety section, told AFP. "If people continue walking around looking at their phones, I think we could see more accidents happening."
15 Nov 2014
Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Up Above My Head (I hear music in the air) - unknown performance date (appox. around the 1960's) on the show TV Gospel Time with the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church Choir an amazing performance with a Gibson Les Paul SG custom with (polar white finish?). Solo around 1:30 min.
14 Nov 2014
13 Nov 2014
For as long as I've been reading about alien conspiracies, it's been an accepted article of faith among believers that the government was the enemy of the people and was conspiring with an alien race, or simply with other governments in our world, to keep evidence of a sentient extra-terrestrial presence hidden.
In 2012, authors Richard Dolan and Bryce Zabel became instant iconoclasts within the believer community when they published a book, After Disclosure, that laid out meticulously what the government should do to prepare the public for the "disclosure" of the conspiracy. The book leans in to the notion itself. The government conspirators, say these two, think that the conspiracy is untenable and that a full and open discussion of the fact of alien sentience is the best way to unite the world. Somehow.
This big secret will be revealed in 2015, if the chatter on shows like Coast-to-Coast AM is any indication. Why? Well, the "Grays" — the name given to the aliens who either conspire with the government to keep their presence hidden or are on the verge of attacking the Earth — have somehow given an ultimatum to their human co-conspirators. Maybe it's time to move humanity into the next phase of their existence. Maybe humans are battering the planet so badly that the Grays, who need the milk of the Earth to survive, are in peril. If humans fail to disclose the Grays' existence, then the Grays will make themselves known by, perhaps, a global television event that shows off their gravity-defying hardware.
12 Nov 2014
Relatives of the 12 women who died after a state-run mass sterilisation campaign in India went horribly wrong have told local media they were forced by health workers to attend the camp. More than 80 women underwent surgery for laparoscopic tubectomies at a free government-run camp in the central state of Chhattisgarh on Saturday. About 60 fell ill shortly afterwards, officials said. At least 14 were in a very serious condition by Wednesday and the death toll was expected to rise.
“The [health workers] said nothing would happen, it was a minor operation. They herded them like cattle,” Mahesh Suryavanshi, the brother-in-law of one casualty, told the Indian Express newspaper. Such camps are held regularly across India as part of a long-running effort to control population growth. Four doctors and officials have been suspended and police have registered a criminal complaint. “It was a serious matter of negligence. It was unfortunate,” said Raman Singh, the chief minister of Chhattisgarh.
10 Nov 2014
9 Nov 2014
In this day in 1989, residents of Berlin gathered on opposite sides of the concrete barrier that had divided them for nearly three decades and started tearing it down piece by piece. The wall that stood between East and West Berlin, between Communism and the West, would soon be no more.
But 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, barriers around the world are still standing. They separate communities, countries and even entire continents.
To mark the anniversary of the historic events of Nov. 9, HuffPost editors from around the world described the seemingly insurmountable barriers that still surround them to this day. Leaders around the world, the time has come to tear down these walls.
Guatemala's president has apologized to 33 communities of indigenous Achi people who were forced to abandon their homes to make way for construction of the Chixoy hydroelectric dam in the north of the Central American country (with funding from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank).
President Otto Perez Molina (accused of human rights abuses himself) says he asks forgiveness for atrocities and other human rights violations suffered by those communities over the project, which occurred during Guatemala's civil war. Some people were assassinated and others had their land expropriated.
The apology was delivered Saturday to a gathering of Achi as officials provided details of an agreement to provide $153.8 million in compensation for the damage inflicted on them. The money will be distributed among the 33 communities over the next 15 years. (Yahoo News)
In 1978, in the face of civil war, the Guatemalan government proceeded with its economic development program, including the construction of the Chixoy hydroelectric dam. Financed in large part by the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, the Chixoy Dam was built in Rabinal, a region of the department of Baja Verapaz historically populated by the Maya Achi. To complete construction, the government completed voluntary and forcible relocations of dam-affected communities from the fertile agricultural valleys to the much harsher surrounding highlands. When hundreds of residents refused to relocate, or returned after finding the conditions of resettlement villages were not what the government had promised, these men, women, and children were kidnapped, raped, and massacred by paramilitary and military officials. More than 440 Maya Achi were killed in the village of Río Negro alone, and the string of extrajudicial killings that claimed up to 5,000 lives between 1980 and 1982 became known as the Río Negro Massacres. The government officially declared the acts to be counterinsurgency activities - although local church workers, journalists and the survivors of Rio Negro deny that the town ever saw any organized guerrilla activity. (Wikipedia)
7 Nov 2014
Legend has it that in orbit around the Earth is a mysterious, dark object which dates back perhaps 13 000 years. Its origin and purpose are inscrutable, dubbed the “Black Knight” this elusive satellite has allegedly been beaming signals towards the Earth and inspected by NASA astronauts yet only a few on Earth officially know of its existence. The origin of the ominous name is part of the enigma; it is impossible to discover who first called it this or indeed why. Humans have only in the last 60 years had the technology to launch a man-made object into space so what is the logical explanation of tales of an alien intruder on our doorstep?
The first fossil of an amphibious ichthyosaur has been discovered in China, and the scientists who made the discovery say it fills a longstanding gap in the fossil record. Paleontologists have long known that ichthyosaurs--dolphin-like "sea monsters" that lived from about 250 million years ago until about 90 million years ago--descended from similar reptiles that lived on land. But there was no fossil showing a transitional creature adapted for life on land as well as in water.
"But now we have this fossil showing the transition," Dr. Ryosuke Motani, a professor in the department of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Davis, and a member of the international team of scientists who made the discovery, said in a written statement. "There's nothing that prevents it from coming onto land." Motani and his colleagues found the 248-million-year-old fossil in China's Anhui Province, according to the statement. The fossil measures about 1.5 feet in length and shows an animal with large, flexible flippers that would have made it possible to walk on land.
6 Nov 2014
Two ministers and a 90-year-old homeless advocate in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine for violating a city ordinance that effectively outlaws sharing food with homeless people in public. Homeless advocate Arnold Abbott, head of the group Love Thy Neighbor, has been feeding the homeless for more than 20 years.
“As contemplated on Sunday, I was arrested for feeding the homeless and received a citation to appear in court,” Abbott explained on Facebook. “However, only 4 people were fed before an officer told me to, ‘Drop that plate immediately!’ As though it were a weapon I was holding, and to go with him to the police car. After a time I was allowed to get the food back on the van and we were able to find a small churches [sic] driveway, where we set up, and fed the people who followed us over.”