Stephen Fry explains what the meaning of life is to him as a nonreligious person. In three minutes. Which is pretty impressive. It doesn't matter what you believe; these things seem pretty universal to me.
30 Mar 2014
During a wide-ranging interview with the Huffington Post UK, the minister for faith and communities, who is a Muslim, said the "most aggressive post I get is from people who are secular fundamentalists".
The Tory peer told HuffPost UK: "For me, what I define as a secular fundamentalist is somebody who says that there should be no public space for faith." When it was pointed out to her that this is what 'God Delusion' author Richard Dawkins and his fellow 'new atheists' call for, she replied: "That's why they’re so fundamentalist in their [secular] beliefs."
This isn't the first time Warsi and Dawkins have clashed. In an article for the Daily Telegraph in February 2012, Warsi claimed the UK was under threat from a growing wave of "militant secularisation". Dawkins responded by accusing her of wanting to "push religion" in the public sphere.
28 Mar 2014
The Central African Republic has never fully recovered from France's colonial rule, and it has only known ten years of a civilian government - from 1993 to 2003 - since achieving independence in 1960. Coup after coup, often with French military involvement, has led many to refer to the country as a phantom state. The current conflict has now completely erased the rule of law and order, and left the UN and international community looking confused and impotent.
27 Mar 2014
Abby Martin speaks about how Yale University's secret invite to Henry Kissinger has shined a new light into the former Secretary of State's long list of criminality, by helping facilitate US war crimes in South East Asia, South America and the Middle East, which resulted in the deaths of millions of civilians.
26 Mar 2014
It's great to see TV news hosts actually, you know, do their job. Mika Brzezinski is ace here:
a) She calls out her co-host for his ratings-driven speculative theories about the Malaysian missing plane by pulling the focus back onto *real* news and facts the public needs to hear. But also...
b) Even when her co-host is ridiculously patronizing by telling her to "relax" and that she's "upset" simply because she is spelling out in black and white what needs to be done, she carries on. It's a stark reminder that so often when women call out bullshit, they're just belittled.
Have a watch below.
Men in North Korea are now required to get the same haircut as their leader Kim Jong-un, it is reported.
The state-sanctioned guidelines were introduced in the capital Pyongyang about two weeks ago, media reports say. They are now being rolled out across the country - although some people have reservations about getting the look.
"Our leader's haircut is very particular, if you will," one source tells Radio Free Asia. "It doesn't always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes." Meanwhile, a North Korean now living in China says the look is actually unpopular at home because people think it resembles Chinese smugglers. "Until the mid-2000s, we called it the 'Chinese smuggler haircut'," the Korea Times reports.
It seems that haircuts have been state-approved in North Korea for some time - until now people were only allowed to choose from 18 styles for women and 10 for men. Earlier, North Korea's state TV launched a campaign against long hair, called "Let us trim our hair in accordance with the Socialist lifestyle".
25 Mar 2014
The disappearance of four members of a patent semiconductor traveling on Malaysia Airlines MH370 makes the famous billionaire Jacob Rothschild at the sole owner of the important patent.
The mystery surrounding the Malaysian Airlines MH-370 is growing as each day passes with more mysterious silence shadowing the disappearance of the airline. More and more conspiracy theories are beginning to boom on the internet. One of the conspiracies one is the Freescale Semiconductor’s ARM microcontroller ‘KL-03′ which is a new improvised version of an older microcontroller KL-02. This crazy story about how Illuminati Rothschild exploited the airlines to gain full Patent Rights of an incredible KL-03 micro-chip is going haywire across the internet especially when it’s involving Jacob Rothschild as the evil master plotter.
A US technology company which had 20 senior staff on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 had just launched a new electronic warfare gadget for military radar systems in the days before the Boeing 777 went missing.
24 Mar 2014
Today’s mass death sentences handed down by an Egyptian court are a grotesque example of the shortcomings and the selective nature of Egypt's justice system, Amnesty International said.
According to state media reports, in a single hearing this morning, the Minya Criminal Court sentenced 529 supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi to be executed for their alleged role in violence following his ousting in July last year.
“This is injustice writ large and these death sentences must be quashed. Imposing death sentences of this magnitude in a single case makes Egypt surpass most other countries’ use of capital punishment in a year,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.
"This is the largest single batch of simultaneous death sentences we’ve seen in recent years, not just in Egypt but anywhere in the world. Egypt's courts are quick to punish Mohamed Morsi's supporters but ignore gross human rights violations by the security forces. While thousands of Morsi's supporters languish in jail, there has not been an adequate investigation into the deaths of hundreds of protesters. Just one police officer is facing a prison sentence, for the deaths of 37 detainees.
23 Mar 2014
Here’s an extremely interesting, educational, and important video interview with Edward Snowden on the right to privacy. Appearing by telepresence robot, Edward Snowden speaks at TED2014 about surveillance and Internet freedom. The right to data privacy, he suggests, is not a partisan issue, but requires a fundamental rethink of the role of the internet in our lives — and the laws that protect it. “Your rights matter,” he say, “because you never know when you’re going to need them.”
22 Mar 2014
21 Mar 2014
Jailed transgender whistleblower Chelsea Manning has petitioned a Kansas Court to allow her to legally change her name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning. According to the Leavenworth Times, Leavenworth County District Court has scheduled an April 23 hearing on the name change request.
The petition was filed on January 27 and published 1 March, but only came to light today. It was submitted by Manning’s lawyer David Coombs, of Providence, Rhode Island. Manning, 25, is being held Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, for leaking classified material to the website WikiLeaks. She was sentenced to 35 years behind bars last August.
The former US soldier, who came out as transgender last year, is still being denied access to hormone replacement therapy by the military prison. A civil prison would be required to respect her transition and provide her the treatments she requested, but military prisons provide no support, as transgender people are already banned from military service.
20 Mar 2014
The largest Moroccan grouping in the Netherlands has said it will file a complaint against far-right politician Geert Wilders, after he told supporters he would ensure there were "fewer Moroccans" in the country.
Television pictures late on Wednesday showed Wilders in The Hague asking supporters after local government elections whether they wanted "fewer or more Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands?". "Fewer! Fewer!" the crowd shouted, with a smiling Wilders answering: "We're going to organise that."
"We believe by targeting a specific group, Wilders this time has gone too far," El Kaddouri said, referring to a 2011 court case that saw the politician acquitted on hate-speech charges. The court ruled that Wilders had targeted a religion, which is permitted under Dutch freedom of speech laws, rather than a specific ethnic group.
Hollywood has dutifully churned out yet another cinematic agitprop paean to a leftist “martyr,” this time Ernesto Guevara. So let’s recall the real “Che” and try to discern why many supposedly democratic, civil libertarian liberals still swoon over this Stalinist mass-murderer.
The meticulous myth of Senor Guevara is of a handsome Argentine heroically helping Fidel Castro’s guerrillas liberate Cuba from Fulgencio Batista’s military dictatorship in 1959. Then he became a global revolutionary icon inspiring the downtrodden to rise up everywhere, even personally leading rebel warriors in the Congo before being executed doing the same in Bolivia in 1967. The (communist) party line says Che personifies the selfless humanitarian courageously fighting for “social justice.” He’s the Marxists’ martyred Christ figure replete with pictures of his half-naked corpse riddled with bullet holes. And the classic poster of an angry young Guevara has scarred countless college dorm rooms for over 40 years, putting a face on the eternally young rebel for angry adolescents everywhere.
The real Guevara was a reckless bourgeois adrenaline-junkie seeking a place in history as a liberator of the oppressed. But this fanatic’s vehicle of “liberation” was Stalinism, named for Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, murderer of well over 20 million of his own people. As one of Castro’s top lieutenants, Che helped steer Cuba’s revolutionary regime in a radically repressive direction. Soon after overthrowing Batista, Guevara choreographed the executions of hundreds of Batista officials without any fair trials. He thought nothing of summarily executing even fellow guerrillas suspected of disloyalty and shot one himself with no due process.
Che was a purist political fanatic who saw everything in stark black and white. Therefore he vociferously opposed freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly, protest, or any other rights not completely consistent with his North Korean-style communism. How many rock music-loving teens sporting Guevara t-shirts today know their hero supported Cuba’s 1960s’ repression of the genre? How many homosexual fans know he had gays jailed?
18 Mar 2014
17 Mar 2014
In the wake of a March 16 referendum in which Crimeans voted to join the Russian Federation, Ukrainian leaders refused to cede any part of the peninsula, calling on their troops to prepare for war.
“Crimea was, is, and will be our territory,” said Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh in a statement delivered at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center on March 17. Former heavyweight boxing champion and leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform Vitali Klitschko announced that Ukrainian troops would remain at their bases, even after March 21, the end of a peace treaty signed by the interior ministries of Ukraine and Russia.
Scientists say they have extraordinary new evidence to support a Big Bang Theory for the origin of the Universe. Researchers believe they have found the signal left in the sky by the super-rapid expansion of space that must have occurred just fractions of a second after everything came into being. It takes the form of a distinctive twist in the oldest light detectable with telescopes.
The work will be scrutinised carefully, but already there is talk of a Nobel. "This is spectacular," commented Prof Marc Kamionkowski, from Johns Hopkins University. "I've seen the research; the arguments are persuasive, and the scientists involved are among the most careful and conservative people I know,"
Do you believe we are alone in the universe? It's an awfully big place you know!
Dolphins are thought of as one of the most intelligent species in the animal kingdom – and experts believe they have put their ingenuity to use in the pursuit of getting “high”. In extraordinary scenes filmed for a new documentary, young dolphins were seen carefully manipulating a certain kind of puffer fish which, if provoked, releases a nerve toxin.
Though large doses of the toxin can be deadly, in small amounts it is known to produce a narcotic effect, and the dolphins appeared to have worked out how to make the fish release just the right amount. Carefully chewing on the puffer and passing it between one another, the marine mammals then enter what seems to be a trance-like state.
Thousands of Australians have taken to the streets this weekend to protest against a range of Federal Government policies. The March in March protests started in regional centres yesterday and stepped up in major capital cities today.
Protesters say they are non-partisan, but united in frustration with the Abbott Government's approach on numerous policy issues. Demonstrators waving placards have today voiced anger on issues including climate change, the treatment of asylum seekers, marriage equality, the tax system and media ownership. Coordinators gave massive estimates of crowds in Melbourne and Hobart, and Sydney police say about 10,000 braved the rain in the city.
14 Mar 2014
US officials believe that two communications systems aboard Malaysian Airlines flight 370 were shut down separately, 14 minutes apart - which indicates the plane did not come down because of a sudden catastrophic failure. The data reporting system was shut down at 1.07 am and the transponder was turned off at 1.21 am just after the the pilot signed off to Malaysian air traffic controllers with 'All right, good night,' and before the Boeing 777 apparently changed course and turned west.
According to investigators this indicated that the switch-off could have been a deliberate act and officials told ABC News that the two communications devices were 'systematically shut down'. That has led the US investigating team to become 'convinced there was manual intervention' which in turn means it was not an accident or massive malfunction that caused the plane to cease to be airborne.
Despite these two crucial tracking devices being inoperative, the plane still sent signals to a satellite after the aircraft went missing in the form of 'pings' - rather like a cellphone does, even if it is not switched on. The Wall Street Journal reported that the 'pings' sent from missing flight 370 provided the plane's location, speed and altitude for at least five hours after it vanished from radar.
11 Mar 2014
“In Israel itself, there is a growth of racism,” Brownfeld began. “There is a growth of religious extremism. “The book, The King’s Torah, was a best seller,” He continued. “This is a book that said Jews and non-Jews are basically different in nature. Jews are much closer or to God than non-Jews who are referred to as uncompassionate.” “The ten commandments, thou shalt not kill, according to this book written by Orthodox rabbis, who are financed by the Israeli government, this book says that thou shalt not kill refers only to one Jew killing another; not killing non-Jews,” Brownfeld asserted. “In fact, it discusses the circumstances under which it is all right to kill non-Jewish children.”
“In Israel itself, there is a growth of racism,” Brownfeld began. “There is a growth of religious extremism. “The book, The King’s Torah, was a best seller,” He continued. “This is a book that said Jews and non-Jews are basically different in nature. Jews are much closer or to God than non-Jews who are referred to as uncompassionate.”
“The ten commandments, thou shalt not kill, according to this book written by Orthodox rabbis, who are financed by the Israeli government, this book says that thou shalt not kill refers only to one Jew killing another; not killing non-Jews,” Brownfeld asserted. “In fact, it discusses the circumstances under which it is all right to kill non-Jewish children.”
10 Mar 2014
Leonard Peltier (born September 12, 1944) is a Native American activist and member of the American Indian Movement (AIM). In 1977 he was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for first degree murder in the shooting of two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents during a 1975 conflict on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Peltier's indictment and conviction have been the subject of much controversy; Amnesty International placed his case under the "Unfair Trials" category of its Annual Report: USA 2010, citing concerns with the fairness of the proceedings. Peltier is incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary, Coleman in Florida. Peltier's next scheduled parole hearing will be in July 2024. Barring appeals, parole or presidential pardon, his projected release date is October 11, 2040.
8 Mar 2014
Documentary on the Brutal Reality of Spain's most Violent War
6 Mar 2014
Two members of Femen have been detained in Crimea's capital today after staging a topless protest near the regional parliament.
Dramatic pictures show security guards, believed to be Cossack irregulars, dragging the women who had 'stop Putin's war' written across their chests away from the Autonomous Republic building in Simferopol.
Femen released a statement on their website saying their members had been "severely beaten" by "pro-Russian activists" and arrested. Video footage has also emerged showing the women being carried away by security guards before being put into a police van.
News anchor Liz Wahl, an insider to the Russian state sponsored media network, stated her reasons for resignation as being due to the explicit and implicit white-washing of their news coverage of the events currently going on in Ukraine and the Crimea.
4 Mar 2014
At the very end of the 3/3/2014 episode of Russia Today's Breaking the Set, Abby Martin reads a monolog explaining her own personal position about Russia and the United States meddling with the sovereignty of the Ukrainian people. Censored by RT.
3 Mar 2014
The self-proclaimed government in Kiev has appointed two of Ukraine’s richest men to govern large industrial regions in the defiant east. One of the reasons for the Maidan protest was the influence the rich have on politics in the country.
The appointments of new governors of Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk Regions are among 18 made on Sunday by Kiev, which is struggling to consolidate power after the coup which ousted President Yanukovich last month.
The newly-appointed Dnepropetrovsk governor is Igor Kolomoysky, Ukraine’s third-wealthiest man, with an estimated fortune of $2.4 billion. He co-owns the informal commercial group Privat, which includes Ukraine’s largest bank Privatbank, which Kolomoysky heads, as well as assets in the oil, ferroalloys and food industries, agriculture and transport.
A former ally of Yulia Tymoshenko, Kolomoysky reportedly had a falling out with her and refused to finance her election campaign in 2010, which the ex-prime minister subsequently lost to Yanukovich. Kolomoysky was reported to be a principal sponsor of the UDAR party, which is one of the three fueling the street campaign to oust Yanukovich. Kolomoysky has a dual Ukrainian-Israeli citizenship and controls his business empire from Switzerland.
As the world continues to watch events in Ukraine, a new wave of protests are taking place across the world in Venezuela.
2 Mar 2014
1 Mar 2014
A sea of hungry, haunted faces looks out from a massive queue that snakes through the bombed out Yarmouk refugee camp in southern Syria. In the photo, taken on Jan. 31 of this year in Damascus' Palestinian refugee camp, men, women, and children are on line for aid that includes desperately needed food and medical supplies. There are more than 18,000 people in the Yarmouk camp, and many are starving to death.
The camp was originally built in 1948 to house Palestinian refugees fleeing the Arab-Israeli war. Since the start of the Syrian conflict the area has become a humanitarian disaster zone as fighting between government and rebel forces hinders attempts to deliver food and medical treatment to those within.
Dozens have died in the camp from malnutrition, with reports of those trapped in Yarmouk sometimes resorting to eating grass and cats in order to survive. Aid from the United Nations has trickled in slowly since January 2014, sometimes only 60 parcels a day, and when it does arrive it results in the harrowing scenes such as the one you see in this photo.
Tensions mount as forces swarm Ukraine airport. CNN's Ian Lee reports from Kiev.