Saturday, May 14, 2011
Emirates 24/7 A US man was injured in a fist fight with a Saudi university student triggered by a verbal attack by the American on the Arab man, a Saudi newspaper reported on Saturday.
Sharq carried a video film showing the unnamed Saudi student involved in a violent scuffle with the big American man inside a supermarket in New York.“The fight erupted after the American tried to insult the Saudi student, who responded and taught him a lesson,” the paper said.“The American man suffered from face injuries,” it added without making clear if the Saudi was arrested
- Syria Live Blog - May 14. Here .(Al-Jazeera).
- Libya Live Blog - May 14. Here (Al-Jazeera).
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Japan today 4.7 activity. More info here.
- Japan - Latest official Situation Update No. 109.Source : Here .
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Watch Live: Army Corps of Engineers to Open the Morganza Floodway at 4:30 (ET) to Ease and Direct Mississippi River Flooding in La.Here.
- Gingrich : Obama ‘food stamp president’.(WashingtonPost).MACON, Ga. — Newt Gingrich opened his presidential campaign here Friday night by introducing a jobs plan that would slash taxes and repeal an array of bureaucratic regulations.Returning to the state where he launched his political career more than three decades ago, the Republican former House speaker presented himself in sharp contrast to President Obama, whom he derided as a “food stamp president.” Gingrich sounded a hopeful tone as he pledged that a Gingrich administration would reaffirm American exceptionalism.“My theme is going to be: Together we can win the future. The right policies lead to the right results. And I’m going to argue that President Obama will lose the future because the wrong policies lead to the wrong results,” Gingrich said in a dinner speech before hundreds of activists at the Georgia Republican Party’s annual convention. He also signed his official statement of candidacy at the event.Gingrich, who has written more than a dozen non-fiction books — he plugged his latest, “To Save America,” on bookshelves now — opened his 30-minute address with a long rumination on American history. He predicted that the 2012 presidential election will be the most consequential since Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860.“We’re at the crossroads,” Gingrich said, repeatedly sniffling from allergies. “Down one road is a European centralized bureaucratic socialist welfare system in which politicians and bureaucrats define the future. Down the other road is a proud, solid, reaffirmation of American exceptionalism.”Central to that promise, he said, would be eliminating the capital gains and estate taxes and reducing the corporate income tax from 35 percent to 12.5 percent. Those tax cuts, as well as freezing the personal income tax rates at their current Bush-era levels, is critical to creating jobs and spurring innovation, he said.“The most important social welfare program in America is a job,” Gingrich said.Gingrich sought to lay blame for the recession, as well as the economic and social upheaval in Detroit, on Obama and his policies. “President Obama is the most successful food stamp president in American history,” Gingrich said. “I would like to be the most successful paycheck president in American history.”Less than two weeks after Obama led a successful raid on al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Gingrich said Obama “does not have a clue” about foreign affairs.Gingrich said the United States should reevaluate its diplomatic ties with Pakistan since bin Laden was found to have been living there for several years.“I was trying to figure out what the word ally meant,” he said. “I know what the word sucker meant. How stupid do you think we are?” Hmmmm......Dictatorship or Democarcy.Read the full story here.
- IMF boss Strauss-Kahn pulled off plane, arrested in oral sex probe.(NYPost).The French political bigshot who heads the International Monetary Fund was arrested for allegedly sodomizing a Manhattan hotel maid today — getting hauled off an Air France flight just moments before takeoff from Kennedy Airport, police sources told The Post.Three Port Authority detectives pulled Dominique Strauss-Kahn from the plane’s first-class cabin just two minutes before it was due to depart for Paris, the sources said.Strauss-Kahn, 62, was turned over to NYPD officers from the Midtown South precinct, and the case is being investigated by the Special Victims Unit.The trouble began around noon today, when a housekeeper entered Strauss-Kahn’s room at the Sofitel on West 44th Street.Strauss-Kahn was in his bathroom, said sources. He emerged from the bathroom naked, said the sources, and grabbed her.Then, Strauss-Kahn allegedly threw the housekeeper on the room’s bed and forced her to perform oral sex on him, said the sources.Strauss-Kahn let the maid leave — and soon afterward, headed off to Kennedy Airport for his flight to Paris.The NYPD’s special victims unit is investigating the case, the sources said.His arrest tonight could force him to postpone a planned meeting in Berlin on Sunday with German chancellor Angela Merkel.Strauss-Kahn, a leader of France’s Socialist Party, is the leading rival to President Nicholas Sarkozy in the 2012 election.Sarkozy was said in a news report yesterday to have begun a smear campaign against his rival that focused on his lavish lifestyle — including Strauss-Kahn’s purchase of suits from the same tailor who clothes President Obama.But Strauss-Kahn seems able to find trouble on his own. In 2008, he publicly admitted to "an error of judgment" for having an affair with an IMF subordinate.Hmmmm......Talk about getting a 'raise' in hard currency?Read the full story here.
- Misreading Obama.A must read!(EmergingCorruption).By Jack Cashill.From the moment Barack Obama took center stage at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the world has been busily trying to decipher the man. No one has been more busy reading Obama in the years since than the chair of the Harvard History Department, the esteemed Dr. James Kloppenberg. At numerous symposia, on both sides of the Atlantic, he has shared his distinctive insights on our 44th president.In his new book, Reading Obama: Dreams, Hope, and the American Political Tradition, Kloppenberg has assembled his insights into a misreading of Obama so sincere and so profound that it causes one to doubt the entire academic enterprise. In the heat of the 2008 campaign, a book like this would have been understandable. No one seemed to know much about Obama. Two years into the presidency, one marvels at how much information the author, his readers and editors had to ignore to allow this book to go to press.Working from Obama’s early articles, his later columns in the Hyde Park Herald, his key speeches, and his two books, the 1995 memoir Dreams from My Father and the 2006 policy brief Audacity of Hope, Kloppenberg finds in Obama a philosophical pragmatist with a “firmer grip on America’s past” than any president since Woodrow Wilson.To arrive at this understanding, Kloppenberg had first to convince himself that Obama actually wrote his own material. This was not difficult, at least not for the good professor. “But since I began investigating Obama’s ideas,” he observes, “no one who knows him has expressed any doubt to me that both books are his work.” For Kloppenberg, this was proof enough. Immured in his academic keep, he apparently sheltered himself from the 20,000 or so words I had already put into cyberspace establishing that Obama had substantial help with everything good that he has ever said or is alleged to have written.Kloppenberg’s enthusiasm leads him to overlook the cautions of his own ideological allies as well. This was most evident in his discussion of Obama’s March 2008 Philadelphia speech, “A More Perfect Union.” As the reader will recall, Obama delivered this stem-winder to distance himself, without exactly disowning, the suddenly toxic Rev. Jeremiah Wright.For the Philadelphia speech, according to Kloppenberg, Obama “did not need the assistance of his speech writer Jon Favreau.” This one he wrote from the heart. Jonathan Raban, the esteemed British travel writer and novelist, suspects otherwise. Although once as blind to Obama’s limitations as Kloppenberg, Raban was “disconcerted” to learn that Obama used a speechwriter at all. He was more troubled to learn that the speechwriter in question, Favreau, was a video-game whiz whom Obama had recruited in 2004 when the lad was just 22 years-old.Raban traces his awakening to Obama’s 2009 inaugural address, one that, in his words, suffered from “moth-eaten metaphors,” “faux-antique dialect,” and jarring semantic errors like Obama’s use of the word “forbearers” when he meant “forebears.” Raban felt even more “let down” upon discovering that the “More Perfect Union” speech was “a joint Obama/Favreau production.” Kloppenberg apparently has not yet made this discovery.Read the full story here.
- Eager to recuperate votes Obama shifts on domestic drilling.(TheHill).The White House will take a series of steps — including expediting drilling plans on government lands in Alaska — designed to show that the administration is serious about expanding domestic oil production and lowering gas prices.President Obama announced Saturday the government would hold annual onshore lease sales in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve; extend the life of leases in the Gulf of Mexico and in some areas off the coast of Alaska for one year; speed up ongoing Interior Department testing in the mid- and south-Atlantic to gauge the level of resources; and establish an interagency task force to coordinate permitting for offshore drilling in Alaska.The White House is making the policy shifts after taking intense criticism from Republicans in recent weeks over energy policy as gas prices have topped $4 per gallon in some parts of the country.Many of the proposals are incremental expansions of existing policies and had been set in motion prior to Saturday’s announcement. It’s also unclear by how much the plan will increase domestic oil production.In his weekly radio address, Obama said his administration is working to “increase safe and responsible oil production here at home,” while also pushing his previously stated support alternative fuels and eliminating tax breaks and subsidies for oil companies.The president acknowledged that there are “no quick fixes” to high gas prices and stressed that price spikes “are often temporary,” but he outlined a series of steps meant to show that the administration is taking action to help consumers.Hmmmmm.....Once re-elected all these measures can and will be turned back,so that i can finish my electric car dream?Read the full story here.
- You're Nuts !Federal gun legislation would greatly expand who qualifies as mentally ineligible from owning a gun.(DailyCaller).Recently introduced federal gun legislation would codify and greatly expand the definition of those barred from owning a gun because they suffer from broad, umbrella-like definitions of mental health problems. Mental health advocates, however, say legislators reacting to “deranged” people going on shooting sprees are “completely missing the point.”Last week, New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy introduced the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011, a nearly-identical resolution to that introduced in the Senate in March by her New York colleague, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer. Both bills include a section dedicated to further codifying in federal law what it means to be “adjudicated as a mental defective.” The proposed change would label any person a “mental health defective” who appears to “lack the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs,” or is “compelled” to receive counseling or medication.Other, seemingly more obvious, definitions of a “mental health defective” include anyone who has been found criminally insane, found incompetent to stand trial or found not guilty by reason of mental deficiencies.According to the legislation, decisions of whether someone is of subnormal intelligence, competency and/or mental illness are to be decided by a “court, board, commission, or other lawful authority.” No medical qualifications or background in psychological sciences are specified as necessary for such lawful authorities.Read the full story here.
- Bill Clinton: Create Internet agency.(Politico).Bill Clinton doesn’t like all the misinformation and rumors floating on the Internet. And he thinks the United Nations or the U.S. government should create an agency to do something about it.“It would be a legitimate thing to do,” Clinton said in an interview airing Friday on CNBC.The agency, Clinton said, would “have to be totally transparent about where the money came from” and would have to be “independent” because “if it’s a government agency in a traditional sense, it would have no credibility whatever, particularly with a lot of the people who are most active on the internet.”“Let’s say the U.S. did it, it would have to be an independent federal agency that no president could countermand or anything else because people wouldn’t think you were just censoring the news and giving a different falsehood out,” Clinton said.“That is, it would be like, I don’t know, National Public Radio or BBC or something like that, except it would have to be really independent and they would not express opinions, and their mandate would be narrowly confined to identifying relevant factual errors” he said. “And also, they would also have to have citations so that they could be checked in case they made a mistake. Somebody needs to be doing it, and maybe it’s a worthy expenditure of taxpayer money.”At the same time, though, political figures in other countries “will be careful what they say to America’s representatives around the world for a while because they’ll have bad memories of the, you know, the leaked memo,” he said.Stressing the dangers of putting some information online, Clinton said that he and his wife keep hard copies of their living wills that can’t be tampered with.Hmmmm......."Bill Clinton doesn’t like all the misinformation and rumors floating on the Internet" one name:Monica Lewinsky.Read the full story here.
- Osama Bin Laden porn Movie titles released.Here.
- "Change" there was a time the best qualified got the job offer.Chicago Ordered to Hire 111 Black Firefighters.(NYTimes).CHICAGO — The City of Chicago must hire 111 black firefighter applicants who were passed over for jobs years ago and pay tens of millions of dollars in damages to about 6,000 other black candidates under a ruling issued on Friday by a federal appeals court. The decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is only the latest in a legal battle that began with a written employment test for firefighters more than a decade ago, wound its way to the United States Supreme Court by last year and remains a matter of division and concern among the city’s firefighters. “For some of the people involved, this is a very emotional moment,” said Joshua Karsh, a lawyer who represented black applicants who accused the city of employment discrimination. “The city could have cleared this up a long time ago.” In 1995, 26,000 people took an employment test to become firefighters. The city said anyone who had scored above 65 was considered “qualified,” but chose its initial hires from random sets among candidates who scored 89 or better, a group it deemed “highly qualified,” court documents say. But after complaints were filed, the city conceded that the 89-point cutoff created a “disparate impact” against black candidates — 6,000 of whom had gotten qualified scores — compared with white candidates, the documents show. The Supreme Court ruled 9-0 last year that despite claims by the city, the group of black job candidates had not waited too long to file its lawsuit. Still uncertain on Friday was precisely how the court’s decision would be carried out. Among the 6,000 black candidates who sought jobs, 111 of them — it is unclear for the moment which ones — will be given jobs after receiving physical tests and training. Those who do not seek the jobs will split back pay that would have gone to the 111 had they been hired years ago. Jennifer Hoyle of the Chicago Department of Law estimated that cost to be $30 million. Mr. Karsh said he expected that the amount would be larger.The costs come at a difficult time for the city, where some people are predicting a budget shortfall in the hundreds of millions of dollars next year. A spokesman for Rahm Emanuel, who is to be sworn in as mayor on Monday, declined to comment on the ruling.Hmmmm......The end of 'common sense as we know it'.Read the full story here.
- UN: Iran, N.Korea traded technology.(YNet).Diplomats say technology exchange, which violates UN sanctions, was enacted through China.North Korea and Iran appear to have been regularly exchanging ballistic missile technology in violation of UN sanctions, according to a confidential United Nations report obtained by Reuters on Saturday.The report also said that the illicit technology transfers had "trans-shipment through a neighbouring third country." That country was China, several diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity. The report was submitted to the UN Security Council by a UN Panel of Experts, a group that monitors compliance with UN sanctions imposed on Pyongyang after it conducted two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. The UN sanctions included a ban on trade in nuclear and missile technology with North Korea, as well as an arms embargo. The UN measures also banned trade with a number of North Korean firms and called for asset freezes and travel bans on a number of North Korean individuals. "Prohibited ballistic missile-related items are suspected to have been transferred between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Islamic Republic of Iran on regular scheduled flights of Air Koryo and Iran Air," the report said.Several Security Council diplomats said that China was unhappy about the report. Beijing has prevented the publication of expert panel reports on North Korea and Sudan in the past. Earlier this week, Russia took similar steps to suppress an equally damning expert panel report on Iran.Hmmmm.....Sanctions that 'Byte"?Read the full story here.
- Tenerife beheading victim is retired female, British Norfolk County Council road safety officer.(edp.)Jennifer Mills-Westley, a retired Norfolk County Council road safety officer, was brutally killed whilst holidaying on the island.Her family paid tribute to her and said they were devastated by her death.Her daughter Sarah said: “Mum retired a number of years ago and was fully enjoying her retirement travelling between Tenerife and France where she spent time visiting her daughter and grandchildren, and her other daughter in Norfolk.“She was full of life, generous of heart, would do anything for anyone.“We now have to find a way of living without her love and light and we would ask at this difficult time for some privacy as we try to come to terms with our loss.”The 60-year-old was originally from Norwich, Norfolk, before retiring from her job as a road safety officer with Norfolk County Council and leaving the UK.A spokesman from Norfolk County Council said: Our deepest sympathies go to Jenny’s family and friends following this terrible news. “Jenny was a popular and well respected member of staff, who during her time with Norfolk County Council worked as a Road Safety Officer - working with many schools and children to teach cycling training and make Norfolk’s roads safer.”She had two daughters and five grandchildren.She died horrifically yesterday when a man attacked her in the Valdes shopping centre on Avenida Juan Carlos in Los Cristianos.Witnesses spoke of their horror and disbelief after she was stabbed and decapitated in a supermarket.The suspect, who was arrested. was named in reports as Deyan Valentinov D - with Spanish police only providing the first initial of his surname.He is believed to be 28 and a homeless Bulgarian with a police record.Police are investigating the man’s movements leading up to the killing and studying CCTV and witness statements to establish precisely what happened.The suspect was alleged to have carried Ms Mills-Westley’s head outside and was reportedly saying “God is on earth’’.Hmmmmm......Islam is the largest minority religion in Bulgaria. According to the 2001 Census 12.2% of the populationis Muslim.Most of the Muslims in Bulgaria are Sunni Muslims as Sunni Islam was the form of Islam promoted by the Ottoman Empire during their five-century rule of Bulgaria.Read the full story here.
- Is Bahrain the fuse in the Middle Eastern "Powderkeg"?Malaysia offers to send troops to Bahrain.(Al-Arabiya).Prime Minister Najib Razzak of Malaysia has offered to send his country’s troops as part of a peacekeeping force to help “de-escalate tension” in Bahrain. Mr. Razzak also backed Saudi Arabia’s efforts in resolving regional unrest, according to Agence-France Presse. Bahrain was rocked by protests in March when demonstrators took to the streets demanding greater personal liberties in the Shiite majority kingdom ruled by Sunnis.In March, at the request of the Bahrain government, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates sent their troops to quell the protests and restore calm. “Malaysia stands ready to contribute peacekeepers to Bahrain, if invited to do so by the leadership,” Mr. Razzak said in a statement late Friday following a meeting in Riyadh with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.“Malaysia will consider it a great honor to offer assistance in this noble effort,” the prime minister said.He said his country, where Malay Muslims dominate a population consisting also of Chinese and Tamils, “supported the national dialogue process launched by Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa in a bid to de-escalate tension in the country,” reported the AFP.Hmmmm.....Something tells me this will just escalate.Read the full story here.
- According to Al-Jazeera Bahrain is targeting Shia religious sites.(Al-Jazeera). The Bahraini government has destroyed a number of mosques in continuation of its aggressive crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, a special Al Jazeera investigation has revealed.At least 28 mosques and Shia religious institutions have been destroyed in the Gulf state since the crackdown on Shia-led protests began in Mid-March, the opposition group, Al Wefaq, told Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford.The Justice Ministry, however, said it was tearing down the mosques because they were not licensed."It is a war against identity," one man told our correspondent. "This Sunni government of Bahrain is fighting the Shia, destroying their places of worship and holy places."Adel Al-Moawda, deputy chairman of the Bahraini parliament, denied the report that mosques were being destroyed."The mosques that have been demolished, most of them are not mosques," Al-Moawda told Al Jazeera. "There were only expansions of mosques in some private territories. Very few numbers of mosques, which are illegally built, have been demolished."He said Sunni mosques were also among these few that had been demolished. "What is happening in Bahrain now ... everybody is following the law and order, that is all," he added.Earlier, Al Jazeera revealed that medics who worked to assist wounded protesters have been targeted, with hundreds facing arrest and investigation by the regime.Bahraini police also carried out raids on girls' schools, detaining and beating them, during its crackdown, secret filming by Al Jazeera's Stratford revealed.The government denied this report. "The allegations made by Al Jazeera English are totally baseless and without credibility," sources quoted by the Bahraini news agency said.Al-Moawda repeated the denial, saying "there is a big exaggeration in some of what I have just heard now about torturing doctors and nurses".Hmmmm....."We must cut off the head of the snake"?Read the full story here.
- Arabian Gulf or is it Persian Gulf?Prominent UAE businessman urges UN to identify the Gulf as Arab.(Al-Arabiya).If prominent UAE businessman Khalaf al-Habtoor has his way semantics will be the next battleground in escalating tensions between Iran and the Gulf states.Mr. Habtoor has asked United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) counterparts, Amr Moussa and Abdullatif Al-Zayani, in a letter obtained by Al Arabiya to officially refer to the Gulf as the Arabian Gulf.In making his request, Mr. Habtoor appears to be seeking to rekindle a long-standing dispute between Iran and the Gulf states over the correct reference to the region. The dispute has persuaded much of the world over the years in deference to the controversy to back away from calling the region the Persian Gulf and instead simply referring to it as the Gulf.Mr. Habtoor argued in his letter that reference to the region as the Persian Gulf was obsolete. “I think most members of the council agree about this,” he wrote. “We rely on present facts and realities that reflect history. The vast majority of Gulf people are Arabs, both from the Arab countries overlooking the Arab Gulf or from the areas controlled by Iran,” he added in a reference to the Iranian province of Khuzestan that is predominantly populated by Iranians of Arab origin.Mr. Habtoor’s proposal is likely to be politely rejected by Mr. Ban. The United Nations has enough Middle Eastern issues on its plate, including Iran’s nuclear development and the brutal suppression of anti-government protests in various Arab states, to want to take on another hot potato.GCC leaders like Mr. Habtoor are well aware that terminology in the Middle East almost always reflects a political view. If the identification of the Gulf is controversial so is the naming of Palestinians territories: to Palestinians the West Bank is occupied territory and part of Palestine; to many Israelis it’s Yehuda and Samaria, names that indicate that Israel too has Biblical claims to the land.As a result, GCC leaders despite their charges that Iran instigated the turmoil in Bahrain and ran a spy ring in Kuwait may not want to expand their dispute into the realm of semantics.In his letter, Mr. Habtoor argues, however, that that is the very reason why the GCC should take semantic action. It would constitute a response to “Iranian ambitions that exceed the bounds of reason,” he says. Mr. Habtoor argued that identifying the Gulf as Arab was “necessary to confront Iranian ambitions and reveal some truths and intentions of Iran to control the region and interfere in Arab countries’ domestic affairs and damage their social fabric.”Mr. Habtoor’s suggestion certainly taps into a widespread emotion across the Gulf. Yet, if adopted, it is unlikely to persuade Iran to change its views or policies. If anything, it would spark a war of words that would more likely than not clutter debate about the real issues that divide Iran and the Gulf states. The Gulf has sufficient burning issues that need to be resolved and is better off without distractions that may produce a feel good effect but no real solution.Hmmmm......The 'ball' is now in the Iranian camp.Ahmadinejad speech in 3....2....1?Read the full story here.
- Erdogans buddy and 'reformer' Assad breaks promises as more blood of pro-democracy protesters is spilled in Syria.(Al-Arabiya).President Bashar al-Assad of Syria keeps on breaking his promises to be conciliatory as more pro-democracy protesters fall dead because of the authoritarian regime’s brutal crackdown. On Saturday, fresh blood was spilled in the western border town of Tall Kalakh, close to Lebanon. A witness told Agence-France Presse that troops fired into a swarm of demonstrators, killing three people and wounding several others.“The security forces, who had been encircling Tall Kalakh since the morning, fired machineguns. At least three people were killed and several were wounded,” the witness told AFP.On Friday, at least six people were killed in protests in cities of Homs, Damascus and Deraa on Friday.A leading human rights activist told the Associated Press that three people were killed in Homs, two in Damascus and one in a village outside Deraa, the southern city where the revolt began two months ago.“At first they opened fire in the air, but the people continued on their way, and then they shot directly into the crowd,” an eyewitness said by telephone from Homs.Activist Louay Hussein said President Assad’s adviser Bouthaina Shaaban told him in a phone call on Thursday that “definitive presidential orders have been issued not to shoot demonstrators and whoever violates this will bear full responsibility.”Mr. Hussein was among four opposition figures that saw Ms. Shaaban this month and presented demands that included an end to violent repression of protesters and the introduction of political reform in the country, ruled by the Assad family since 1970, according to Reuters.The meetings were the first between the opposition and senior officials since demonstrations calling for political freedom and an end to corruption erupted in the southern city of Deraa on March 18.“I hope we will see (no firing at demonstrators) tomorrow. I still call for non-violent form of any protest regardless of the response of the security apparatus,” Mr. Hussein said in a statement sent to Reuters.Read the full story here.
- Woman held for wearing 'tight' pants ... even under a gown.(Emirates247).Police ran after woman to arrest her as she walked in a park in Dammam.Saudi Arabia’s most feared Islamic police arrested a woman while she was doing a walking exercise with tight pants worn under her gown, a local newspaper reported on Saturday.Members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice stopped the woman as she was doing her regular exercise in a park in the eastern town of Dammam.“At first she ignored them when they shouted to her to stop,” Sharq Arabic language daily said. “They then ran after her and arrested her for wearing a tight pants under her gown.”Hmmmmm........Feel free to fill in the dots,it's getting beyond words!Read the full story here.
- Cairo, take two:
ChairmanPresident Obama to deliver second major Middle East speech.(DailyCaller).The president will deliver a second major speech on the Middle East to reset his foreign policy following the changes that have swept through the region since his much-lauded June 2009 Cairo speech.The contents of the planned Thursday speech are being closely held by administration officials, who only offer generalities, both off and on the record. “I’m sure that it will be a fairly sweeping and comprehensive speech about what we’ve all been privileged enough to witness since January,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday. “I’m not going to say too much because I obviously want the president to have the field,” he added.The timing of Obama’s address is puzzling, because turmoil in the Arab countries — dubbed “the Arab Spring” — may rapidly invalidate any speech, said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the president of the GOP-affiliated American Action Forum, a libertarian-minded think-tank. “We’re still in spring, we’re not even in summer — why do you really want to talk in the middle of that?”The rapid pace of change was underlined Friday, when the president’s envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations resigned, citing personal reasons. The envoy, former Sen. George Mitchell, announced he was stepping down shortly before the president’s scheduled meeting with Israel’s visiting prime minister.The president is the chief author of the policies and words that will go into the the speech, which is to be delivered at the U.S. Department of State, said administration officials.He “has really been the central intellectual force in these decisions, in many cases, designing the approaches,” Thomas E. Donilon, the White House’s national security adviser, told the New York Times. The same article reported that the president “often surfs the blogs of experts on Arab affairs or regional news sites to get a local flavor for events … [and] has sounded out prominent journalists like Fareed Zakaria of Time magazine and CNN and Thomas L. Friedman … [and] ordered staff members to study transitions in 50 to 60 countries.”The president should use his official staff to gather needed information, said Holtz-Eakin, who served as director of the Congressional Budget Office from 2003 to 2005. “That’s why they’re there. [He should] ask them, and they’ll go find out,” he said.Obama’s emphasis on his personal role creates political risks. For example, Obama overrode his advisers and pushed for the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February, partly because he wanted to aid Westernized activists, including Google executive Wael Ghonim, the New York Times’ report said. But Ghonim has since been sidelined by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group, and has signed a contract to write a book.Hmmmm....Sounds pretty dictatorial to me ...one man deciding a country it's future?Chairman Obama hasn't done such a good job so far,what's the next Obamination recognising the Palestinian state?Read the full story here.
- U.S. imams arrested for alleged Pakistani Taliban links.Miami (CNN) -- Two South Florida imams and a third family member were arrested Saturday on charges of providing support to the Pakistani Taliban, the Justice Department said.In addition, three others in Pakistan were also indicted on the same charges.FBI agents arrested Hafiz Khan and his son Izhar Khan in South Florida, the department said. They are expected to make their initial court appearance in federal court on Monday.Another of Hafiz Khan's sons, Irfan Khan, was arrested in Los Angeles and will appear in court there.Also charged are three Pakistani residents: Ali Rehman, Alam Zeb, and Amina Khan. Amina Khan is Hafiz Khan's daughter, and Zeb is his grandson.The four-count indictment alleges that all six defendants conspired to provide material support to a conspiracy to kill, injure and kidnap people abroad, and that they provided support to the Pakistani Taliban.Hafiz Khan is the imam at Flagler Mosque in Miami. Izhar Khan, is an imam at the Jamaat Al-Mu'mineen Mosque in Margate, Florida."Despite being an imam, or spiritual leader, Hafiz Khan was by no means a man of peace. Instead, as today's charges show, he acted with others to support terrorists to further acts of murder, kidnapping and maiming," U.S. Attorney Wilfredo A. Ferrer said. "But for law enforcement intervention, these defendants would have continued to transfer funds to Pakistan to finance the Pakistani Taliban, including its purchase of guns."The indictment describes a number of occasions where Hafiz Khan transferred money to Pakistan, and where money was withdrawn once there."Khan solicited and distributed funds for the Pakistani Taliban, both personally and on behalf of others, and worked with the co-defendants and others to support the Pakistani Taliban's jihad," the indictment states.The elder Khan also built a madrassa in Pakistan's Swat Valley that provided shelter for the terrorist group, the indictment states.The Pakistani Taliban represent a confederation of Taliban groups in northwestern Pakistan, where they are based, said Bill Roggio, military-affairs analyst who is managing editor of The Long War Journal.Those fighters attack targets in Pakistan and across the border in Afghanistan.The group, which is headquartered in Quetta, is different from the Afghan Taliban, which has been focused on re-establishing the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan.Both groups swear allegiance to Taliban leader Mullah Omar and have close ties to al Qaeda, he said.Hmmmm....Two years After the Cairo speech the Middle East is even more negative towards the US than before!No More 'outreach'.Read the full story here.
- Russian sects: from Rasputin to the 'Jesus of Siberia'.(Telegraph).Russia has spawned a number of bizarre sects since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union as ordinary Russians have struggled to make the transition from state-sponsored atheism to a society where the Russian Orthodox Church is again in the ascendancy.Experts say there are as many as 700 sects in Russia attracting between 600,000 to 800,000 followers. The latest sect to make the headlines is an all-female group, which believes that Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, is a reincarnation of early Christian missionary Paul the apostle. Read the full story here.
- Cops increase security for Bintan bikini beach party.(JakartaPost).Police will deploy extra security measures for a so-called Bikini Beach Party on Bintan in Riau.Islands on Saturday that will be broadcast by Fashion TV, following protests from hard-line Muslim groups.Police said the theme of the event did not violate the anti-pornography law as alleged by opponents.Bintan Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Dwi Sulistiyono told The Jakarta Post on Friday that the event, which would be held at the Nirwana Garden Resort in the Lagoi International Tourism Zone, would go on as scheduled.“In response to objections by a number of groups, the police will increase security for this events,” Dwi said.He added that it was normal for people to wear bikinis on the beach.“Furthermore, we were told that the event is not open to the public. The large signboards [advertising the party] are just to enliven the event,” he said.Dwi added 100 police officers would be deployed at the event.The head of the Riau Islands branch of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), Tengku Azhari Abbas, told the Post on Thursday that the MUI was shocked to learn the event would be held on Bintan, despite the fact that the ethnic Malays in Bintan and the Riau Islands are mainly Muslim.He claimed the event would have a negative effect on the public, so the MUI was strongly opposed to it.Event organizers expressed confidence the event would take place as scheduled despite the protests. They said the exclusive nature of the venue was added value as it prevented disturbances.Event organizers expressed confidence the event would take place as scheduled despite the protests. They said the exclusive nature of the venue was added value as it prevented disturbances.Nirwana Garden Resort general affairs and administrative director Anton told the Post that those invited to the event had been told the dress code was white bikinis.Fashion TV booked all 400 rooms at the Nirwana Garden Resort. The event is expected to draw 800 people. Fashion TV had requested a venue that could hold 1,000 guests.“All the rooms are fully booked for tomorrow’s event. Guests who are not accommodated here can stay in other resorts in Lagoi,” Anton said.Read the full story here.
- Syria Live Blog - May 14. Here .(Al-Jazeera).
- Libya Live Blog - May 14. Here (Al-Jazeera).
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Japan today 4.7 activity. More info here.
- Japan - Latest official Situation Update No. 109.Source : Here .
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- 'Days of blood and violence ahead'.(Ynet).East Jerusalem tensions near boiling point as participants in funeral of teen killed during 'Nakba Day' riot predict dark days.Hundreds attended the Saturday funeral of 17-year-old Milad Ayache, who suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the abdomen during a 'Nakba Day' riot in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Friday. Calls of "Allahu Akbar" and "With our souls and our blood we will redeem you, Shahid," sounded during the procession, which started at Ras al-Amoud and went through the volatile Silwan neighborhood as well. Participants also hoisted Palestinian flags.Prior to the funeral, the Jerusalem Police increased deployment near the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amoud, where Ayache resided, in an effort to thwart further rioting. Deployment was also bolstered along the funeral procession's route, which ended at the Muslim cemetery in Temple Mount. Currently, it is unclear who fired the deadly shot. The Jerusalem District Police in investigating the incident, but a police request to autopsy the body was denied by the family. Palestinian sources said it is believed the fire came from the direction of Biet Yonatan.Abu Sharif, a resident Silwan, told Ynet that "All of Silwan in taking part in the funeral. People here are furious. Today and tomorrow will be days of blood and violence." Samir, another neighbor, added that "the atmosphere here is very strained. The police murdered a child. It's typical of the Israeli police and government."During the funeral, a group of mourners tried to force their way into a nearby Jewish home and started stoning security forces; who resulted to using crowd-control measures. Earlier, Palestinian sources reported that two Palestinians suffered rubber-bullet injuries during a clash with security forces near Beit Yonatan, in east Jerusalem. Palestinian protesters continued clashing with security forces in the capital's east after the funeral as well: demonstrators stoned security forces near the Dung Gate, effectively blocking traffic and a similar clash near Mount of Olives ended with the arrest of four Palestinians.Said Ayache works at the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, where he translates Hebrew books into Arabic. "I went to school to try and understand the Israelis, but the occupation is robbing us of all hope. I hope my son becomes a symbol for the Palestinian people, to get rid of the Israeli occupation and the settlement in the middle of Silwan."Hmmmm.....'Genius' Obama "Israel may benefit from the Arab winds of change".Read the full story here.
- Army WILL open spillway to save New Orleans from swollen Mississippi...but 22,500 people will be flooded as a result.(Dailymail).The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will open the Morganza Spillway today, unleashing 600,000 cubic feet of water per second and forcing 22,500 people to leave their soon to be flooded homes.Authorities hope that by opening the spillway they will relieve the swollen Mississippi River and avoid catastrophic flooding Louisiana's two largest cities Baton Rouge and New Orleans.By opening the levee, flood water will be diverted to 18,000 acres of farmland, 11,000 buildings, a wildlife refuge and a small oil refinery in the Atchafalaya River basin.It will be the first time the spillway, located about 45 miles northwest of Baton Rouge, has been opened in nearly 40 years.Volunteers and state officials are currently going house to house making sure residents know about the opening and evacuation plans.The 'trigger' for the spillway opening will be when the flow reaches 1.5 million cubic feet per second at Louisiana’s Red River Landing - expected sometime later today.Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal told residents in the affected areas to start leaving their homes and said the state has plans with the American Red Cross to provide shelters for evacuees.'Now's the time to evacuate,' Mr Jindal said. 'Now's the time for our people to execute their plans. That water's coming.'Opening the spillway will release a torrent that could submerge about 3,000 square miles under as much as 25 feet of water in some areas.When fully opened, the spillway can allow 600,000 cubic feet of water per second.Earlier this week, the Corps issued maps showing that New Orleans, Baton Rouge and other cities along the Mississippi would be inundated if the Morganza was not opened.Mr Jindal, a Republican, and New Orleans Mayor Mich Landrieu, a Democrat, have both previously said failure to open the Morganza could lead to flooding in New Orleans.In addition to threatening densely populated areas, lower Mississippi flooding could force shut-downs of as many as eight refineries and at least one nuclear power plant alongside the river.The refineries make up about 12 percent of the nation's capacity for making gasoline and other fuels.Hmmm.....The President?My guess he'll be playing Golf as a the good Christian he is,observing the scriptures he likes to quote!Read the full story here.
- Obama slammed over jokes about 'moats' and 'alligators' in immigration speech... by border residents forced to leave homes.(DailyMail).Residents of an Arizona town who fled their homes because of a massive fire say they are outraged at Obama’s claims to have secured the Mexican border.Hundreds of people evacuated their homes in Portal because of the fire that is suspected to have been started by illegal immigrants in the drug and human smuggling corridor, 50 miles north of the Mexico border.The residents, many of whom have been staying in refugee centres, said they were sickened at Obama’s jokes about Republicans wanting alligators and moats on the border in an immigration speech in Texas.‘Neither the border, nor daily life is secure,’ wrote the residents affected by the fire, which broke out on Sunday, in a petition they are sending to the White House.‘It is with great wonderment and sadness that we listened to your May 10 speech on immigration issues. ‘All of the joking about moats and alligators cut residents of Portal, AZ, to the core as we sheltered with friends or at a Red Cross evacuation site, to survive a terrible fire that still threatens our lives and property, as well as our ecotourism-based economy.’Speaking in Palo Alto on Tuesday, President Obama had boasted that the U.S.-Mexico border was more secure than ever before.Jeff Gee, one of the organisers behind the petition and a firefighter still battling the fire, said he was insulted by Obama's speech.‘I’m really disappointed at current border security, I’m really disappointed at the President’s speech saying that people like me wants moats with alligators, but moats with alligators might work, nothing else,’ he told Fox News.‘We’re doing everything we can to get the word out that this is serious problem, it’s not just a border issue, the drugs and crime are moving through the corridor and they keep going to major cities.’Cochise County sheriff Larry Dever said: ‘These people are not overreacting. What they suggest in letter is very deep part of their belief system based on their experience and their experience has been horrific.‘They see human smuggling and drug trafficking, they sit on their porch and watch people walk through, they've had their homes burgled,’ he told Fox News.‘It's a beautiful landscape and for those that moved out there for a sense of tranquility and peace, that's been destroyed.’Hmmmm....The trouble with lies is that the truth eventually catches up MR President.Read the full story here.
- Forget about the 'Big Bang' theory! Take a look at The evolution of European Union legislation.Read and weep here.
- Irish Muslim convert questioned over alleged Obama remarks.(IrishTimes).GARDAÍ ARE questioning a man about remarks he allegedly made in a newspaper interview in which he was reported as saying he would harm US president Barack Obama if he could.The arrested man, who is Irish but converted to Islam while living in the Middle East a number of years ago, was arrested yesterday morning at his home in Dublin’s north inner city. He is originally from the inner city.The suspect, who is 44 years old, is reported to have told a journalist that, if he was unknown or could somehow be unrecognisable in Dublin, he would like to “do something” to Mr Obama.He was reported as saying he would be happy if Mr Obama was killed, reportedly describing him as an enemy of Islam.The suspect is known to gardaí for some of the extreme views he has previously expressed. He has given interviews in which he has made comments sympathising with Islamic extremists, including those engaged in terrorism.However, The Irish Times understands he is being questioned merely about his alleged comments in the article published in recent days. There is no evidence he had any intention of acting on the views ascribed to him.The man’s alleged comments about Mr Obama come less than two weeks before the US president visits the Republic, as one of the biggest security operations in the State is being put in place.The suspect was taken to Store Street Garda station where he was being held last night under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act. He can be held for up to 72 hours without charge.Hmmmm.....More 'outreach to Muslims' is definitely a must it seems.Read the full story here.
- Pakistan slams US over Bin Laden raid.(Al-Jazeera).Lawmakers pass resolution calling for end to drone strikes and independent investigation into Abbottabad operation.Pakistan's parliament has demanded an end to US drone strikes on its territory, as well as an independent probe into the May 2 raid by US forces that killed Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader, in Abbottabad.The strongly worded resolution came at the end of an in-camera joint sitting of the parliament in Islamabad on Saturday. The session began on Friday.Lawmakers were briefed by senior military officials, including Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha, Director General of Military Operations Maj-Gen Ashfaq Nadeem Ahmad and Deputy Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Muhammad Hassan.Parliamentarians, who were debating "the situation arising from unilateral US action in Abbottabad", termed the continued occurence of missile strikes by US drones "unacceptable"."Such drone attacks must be stopped forthwith, failing which the government will be constrained to consider taking necessary steps including withdrawal of [the] transit facility allowed to NATO," the resolution said.The parliamentarians also rejected the government's initial plan to have an inquiry into the circumstances around the raid be carried out by the Pakistani army.They called on the government "to appoint an independent commission on the Abbottabad operation, fix responsibility and recommend necessary measures to ensure that such an incident does not recur".The parliamentary resolution strongly criticised the US raid in Abbottabad, saying "unilateral actions cannot advance the global cause of elimination of terrorism", while warning of "dire consequences for peace and security in the region and the world" if a repeat of that operation was staged.The resolution also calls on the Pakistani government to rethink its strategic partnership with the United States.It says Pakistan should "revisit and review its terms of engagement with the United States, with a view to ensuring that Pakistan's national interests are fully respected and accommodated".The resolution also highlighted the importance of international cooperation against terrorist groups "on the basis of a true partnership approach, based on equality, mutual respect and mutual trust".The joint sitting of parliament was held behind closed doors and under tight security. Journalists were not allowed inside the chamber to cover the proceedings.Meanwhile, the toll from a double suicide bombing outside a Frontier Constabulary fort in Charsadda, in northwest Pakistan, rose on Saturday to 80, with 150 people injured, Al Jazeera's correspondent reported.The bombers had targeted some 900 paramilitary recruits who had just completed their six-month training at the fort and were getting into vehicles at the beginning of 10 days of leave.The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, terming it "the first revenge" for the killing of Osama bin Laden.Hmmmm.....Read the full story here.
- Trustees Show Permanent Deficits for Social Security.(TheHeritage).How Will This Report Affect the Social Security Debate?The debate about whether Social Security faces a problem and needs to be fixed is over. The 2011 trustees report, which was released this afternoon, shows that the program already faces massive permanent annual deficits. In 2010, Social Security spent $49 billion more in benefits that it took in from its payroll tax. This year, that deficit will be approximately $46 billion.Now is the time to focus on solutions. Instead of just blindly defending the current program, both Congress and the Obama Administration should propose comprehensive programs that permanently fix Social Security. It is one thing to oppose a solution; it is another to come up with a plan and fix the problem.
Social Security Problem $1.2 Trillion and One Year Worse
In net present value terms, Social Security owes $9.1 trillion more in benefits than it will receive in taxes. The 2011 number consists of $2.6 trillion to repay the special issue bonds in the trust fund and $6. 5 trillion to pay benefits after the trust fund is exhausted in 2036—a year earlier. This is an increase of $1.2 trillion from last year’s report, which also reflects several changes to assumptions and methodology.What Does It All Mean?Bad News for Younger Workers. Unfortunately, younger workers have a great deal to worry about. Even though their parents’ and grandparents’ benefits are fairly safe, theirs are not. Any worker born after 1970 will reach full retirement age after the trust fund is exhausted. Unless Congress acts soon, younger workers can look forward to paying full Social Security taxes throughout their careers but receiving only about 75 percent or less of the benefits that have been promised to them. In addition, they will have to repay the Social Security trust fund, an expense that will total almost $6 trillion by the time the trust fund is exhausted in 2036.Improving Retirement Savings Is a Must. Allowing American workers to save and invest a portion of their income in accounts that they would own is the lowest-cost way to ensure that they have an adequate retirement income. Increasing the ability of workers to save for retirement will reduce their dependence on Social Security for retirement income and enable them to increase retirement security.Hmmmm....."Change" the worst kind ever!Read the full story here.
- Iran - Final showdown coming?Ahmadinejad sacks government ministers.(Al-Jazeera).Iranian president shake up government by also abolishing three departments, including the country's oil ministry.Three Iranian ministers have been dismissed and their departments dismantled in a government restructuring that cuts the number of ministries from 21 to 17, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president, has announced.Ahmadinejad announced the sackings of the country's ministers of oil, social welfare, and industry and mining, following a recent law passed by parliament which requires him to shrink the country's number of ministries, the ISNA news agency reported on Saturday.While a change was expected, the sudden dismissal comes as a surprise, as all three were considered staunch supporters of Ahmedinejad, and because Iran's parliament is still discussing an earlier proposal suggesting that the country's oil and energy ministries, as well as labour and social welfare ministries, should be merged.It was not immediately clear who would take over the merged agencies. According to Iranian law, parliament has to approve the remit of any new ministry.But parliamentary approval could be a difficult path, as parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani has been publicly critical of Ahmadinejad's domestic and economic policies.For the world's fifth largest oil exporter, the abolition of the oil ministry could have major effects, although the specific impact remains unclear.Read the full story here.
- Mideast envoy George Mitchell to resign.After Obama "Having stabbed Israel from all sides in the back"?(WashingtonPost).Former senator George J. Mitchell Jr., the veteran dealmaker picked by President Obama to lead Palestinians and Israelis to the peace table, has resigned his post in a move seen as emblematic of the frustrations and disappointments of the administration’s two-year effort to revive the Middle East peace process.Mitchell, who brought warring Irish factions together for the 1998 Belfast Peace Agreement, told the White House he would step down next week as special envoy on Middle East peace, a job he was given amid high expectations on Obama’s second day in office.He gave no official reason, but a White House statement on Friday said the 77-year-old former Senate majority leader was returning to his family after 28 months of difficult, and ultimately unsuccessful, negotiating.“He took on the toughest job imaginable and worked grueling hours to advance the interests of the United States and the cause of peace,” the statement quoted Obama as saying. It said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had appointed Mitchell’s chief deputy, David Hale, as acting envoy. Whether intentionally or not, the shift came just as the White House was preparing for what is likely to be a pivotal week in Middle East diplomacy. Obama is scheduled to deliver a major policy address on the region on Thursday, followed by talks with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the White House. Netanyahu’s visit to Washington will include a speech to Congress that will lay out Israel’s views on a possible peace deal.Hmmmm....What's the odds of Obama recognising the Palestinian state next week?Read the full story here.
- Geert Wilders : A warning to America!(KleinVerzet).A warning to America - Speech by Geert Wilders @ Tennessee Freedom Coalition, Cornerstone Church, Nashville, 12 May 2011.Dear friends from Tennessee. I am very happy to be in your midst today. I am happy and proud to be in this impressive church.My friends, I am here to speak words of truth and freedom.Do you know why America is in a better state than Europe? Because you enjoy more freedom than Europeans.And do you know why Americans enjoy more freedom than Europeans? Because you are still allowed to tell the truth. In Europe and Canada people are dragged to court for telling the truth about islam. I, too, have been dragged to court. I am an elected member of the house of representatives in the Netherlands. I am currently standing in court like a common criminal for saying that islam is a dangerous totalitarian ideology rather than a religion.The court case is still pending, but I risk a jail sentence of 16 months.Last week, my friend Lars Hedegaard, a journalist from Denmark, was fined because in a private conservation, which was recorded without his knowing, he had criticised the way women are treated in islamic societies.Recently, another friend, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a human rights activist from Austria, was fined because she had criticised islam's founder Muhammad. Unfortunately, there are many similar cases.I am especially happy to be in your midst because here I can say what I want to say without having to fear that I will be dragged to court upon leaving this church. My dear American friends, you cannot imagine how we envy your First Amendment. The day when America follows the example of Europe and Canada and introduces so-called "hate speech crimes" which is only used to punish people who are critical of islam, that day America will have lost its freedom.My friends, let us hope that this never happens.Last week, we celebrated Liberation Day in the Netherlands. We celebrated the liberation from the Nazi occupation in 1945. Many American soldiers, including many young Tennesseans, played a decisive role in the liberation of the Netherlands from nazi tyranny. We are immensely grateful for that. Young Americans gave their lives so that the Dutch might be free. I assure you: The Dutch people will never forget this.Unfortunately, however, the Europe which your fathers and grandfathers fought and died for is not the Europe we are living in today.I travel the world to tell people what Europe has become. I wish I could take you all on a visit to my country and show you what Europe has become. It has changed beyond recognition as a result of mass immigration. And not just any mass immigration, but mass immigration driven by the dangerous force of islam.My friends, I am sorry. I am here today with an unpleasant message. I am here with a warning. I am here with a battle cry: "Wake up, Christians of Tennessee. Islam is at your gate." Do not make the mistake which Europe made. Do not allow islam to gain a foothold here.Islam is dangerous. Islam wants to establish a state on earth, ruled by islamic sharia law. Islam aims for the submission, whether by persuasion, intimidation or violence, of all non-Muslims, including Christians.The results can be seen in Europe.Read the full story here.
- Terrorists Have Rights Too.What International Law Says about the Killing of Bin Laden.(Spiegel).The elimination of al-Qaida figurehead Osama bin Laden earlier this month was widely celebrated. But was it the right thing for the US to do? International law expert Kai Ambos argues that killing him was both illegal and morally dubious.Terrorists, even Osama bin Laden, are humans. As such, they have rights; human rights. Among these rights are the right to life, the right to humane treatment and the right to a fair trial. Fundamental human rights remain valid even in a state of emergency; they are impervious to such exceptions.
In peacetime, the right to life can only be limited in extraordinary circumstances, in particular by reason of self defense. If it is true that Osama bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot, self defense in response to an unlawful attack on the part of entering US Special Forces can be ruled out. Clearly, such an operation takes place under extreme pressure and it is conceivable that the Special Forces acted on the mistaken belief that they were under attack by bin Laden or his people -- criminal lawyers call this "putative self defense" -- but this would not make the killing lawful. It would only cast light on the mental state of the troops in question, and thus their culpability.
Yet, these soldiers are especially trained for such an operation, they are the elite of the elite. If we cannot demand restraint in the use of force from them, then we can't demand it from anybody -- not from the ordinary policeman in the street nor from the citizen defending his life or home. From this perspective, it seems unlikely that they shot bin Laden out of fear or by mistake. Rather they knew perfectly well what they were doing and killed him wantonly and willingly.
Here is the problem. A targeted killing of a terrorist does not, contrary to what US President Barack Obama has suggested, do a service to justice; rather, it runs contrary to it. A state governed by the rule of law, treats even its enemies humanely. It arrests terrorists and brings them before a court. This is exactly what Germany did with the Red Army Faction (RAF) and what it does today with al-Qaida members. This is what the US did in Nuremberg with the Nazis and what it promotes all over the world with other criminals against mankind. Why are the criminals of al-Qaida treated differently?
Should their guilt be established by way of a fair trial, they can be punished with severe sentences, including in some countries like the US, with the death penalty. The trial must come first, though. A killing in the absence of a fair trial constitutes an extra-judicial or extra-legal execution, which is unworthy of a state ruled by law (Rechtsstaat). Indeed, it is an act for which countries not ruled by law (Unrechtsstaaten) are charged before human rights bodies. Those who carry out or approve such extra-judicial killings forfeit the right to reproach authoritarian states for the very same practices.War, i.e. an "armed conflict" under International Humanitarian Law, presents a different legal situation. In such circumstances, people can lawfully be killed when they directly participate in hostilities. The prohibition on killing is suspended in international armed conflicts for combatants and in non-international armed conflicts for so-called fighters or de facto combatants.
These actors can, under specific conditions, also be the subjects of targeted killings. The most important condition is that the principle of proportionality is complied with, i.e. less severe measures (such as arrest) are to be preferred and unnecessary civilian victims must be avoided. If a targeted killing occurs in foreign territory, the territorial state must consent to the operation; otherwise the action amounts to a violation of state sovereignty, prohibited by Public International Law.
None of the United Nations Security Council resolutions on the fight against international terrorism, and in particular al-Qaida (Res. 1267 of 1999 to Res. 1974 of 2011), authorize the carrying out of operations on foreign territory, nor the arrest, and even less the killing, of (suspected) terrorists. These resolutions can, at best, be read, in line with the various Terrorism Conventions, as allowing the extradition or prosecution (aut dedere aut iudicare) of terrorism suspects.
In the case at hand, the targeted killing was not permitted since the US -- contrary to the misleading rhetoric of "the war on terror" -- is not involved in an armed conflict with al-Qaida. A loose and decentralised terrorist network does not fulfil the criteria for classification as a party to a conflict within the context of International Humanitarian Law. It lacks, above all, a centralized and hierarchical military command structure and the control of a defined territory. One may be able to understand this position in the light of Sept., 11 and what it did to the self-esteem of the US, the world's only superpower, humiliated as never before. But does this justify carrying out a policy which deliberately sidesteps the recognized principles of international humanitarian law? To the disappointment of many, the Obama administration has forcefully reconfirmed this position by killing bin Laden and by the killing of many alleged al-Qaida members (and civilians) before him by the increased use of predator drones.Read the full story here.
- Texas House Bans Offensive Security Pat-Downs.(CBS).The Texas House passed a bill that would make it a criminal offense for public servants to inappropriately touch travelers during airport security pat-downs.Approved late Thursday night, the measure makes it illegal for anyone conducting searches to touch “the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of another person” including through clothing.It also prohibits searches “that would be offensive to a reasonable person.”The bill’s chief sponsor is Republican Rep. David Simpson, who said, “this has to do with dignity and travel, and prohibiting indecent, groping searches.”He believes it will keep Transportation Security Administration officials from treating travelers like criminals, though the measure may be superseded by federal law.After a brief but raucous debate, lawmakers approved the measure with little opposition — drawing applause from supporters.Hmmmm....."Don't tread on me and don't touch my junk either!Read the full story here.
- Fukushima worker collapses and dies at stricken nuclear plant.(DailyMail).A worker at Japan's tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear power station has died after collapsing at its waste disposal building. He is the first person to die at the plant since the March 11 quake and tsunami struck. The disaster caused a string of fires, explosions and radiation leaks which amounted to the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.The contract worker, who was in his 60s, had only started working at the plant the day before he died. He was carrying equipment when he collapsed. He died later in hospital, said Naoyuki Matsumoto, a spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the plant.The company does not yet know the cause of the his death, Mr Matsumoto said. The worker had been wearing a full safety gear, and there were no harmful levels of radiation detected in his body.Hmmm......At Chernobyl many seemingly healthy individuals just collapsed dead from heart failure.Read the full story here.
- Turkish prosecutors ask Israel to ID Mavi Marmara attackers.(TodaysZaman).İstanbul Public Prosecutor's Office has submitted a letter to Israeli judicial authorities, demanding the identity of responsible people in a lethal Israeli raid into Mavi Marmara ship last year and other related official documents.Israeli raided the ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza on May 31 last year, killing eight Turkish and one American national. Turkey requests official apology and compensation for the families of the victims. Israel says its naval commandos faced with resistance and acted in self-defense while boarding the ship.In a two-page letter the İstanbul Public Prosecutor's Office sent as part of an ongoing court case investigating the May 31 flotilla raid, the incident was described and the names of the killed and wounded were listed.The letter demanded names and contact details of suspects or those who ordered the suspects to realize the raid along with official copy of information and documents related to the incident.Hmmmm.....Anything to start a war ,Israel should not beg Turkey to stop the next flotilla.Read the full story here.
- Eye for an eye: Woman blinded by scorned lover granted permission to throw acid into his eyes by Iran court.(DailyMail).A woman who was blinded when a scorned lover threw acid in her eyes has the chance to get a gruesome revenge today.A court in Iran has given permission for 32 year-old Ameneh Bahrami to get her own back by pouring acid in the eyes of her attacker, a fellow student at Tehran University.The court's OId Testament ruling - an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth - has sparked controversy even in Iran where medieval justice still holds sway. But Ameneh still appears bent on revenge.Twenty-seven year old Majid Movahedi threw sulphuric acid in her eyes at a bus-stop in 2004 after he had begged her in vain to marry him. For months he had stalked her and she was left blind and disfigured. She later underwent 19 operations.The court awarded her £19,000 in compensation and Majid went to jail. But Ameneh did not want the money. She wanted her attacker to suffer the same anguish she was forced to endure for more than six years.'His mother phoned my parents. She asked for mercy. 'She said that Majid would always work for me if he could keep his eyes. But now it's too late,' she was reported as saying yesterday.She has received death threats because of her determination to exact revenge.'The police have told me not to go out on the street alone,' she said. 'My parents are scared. They think the judges are wrong.'Arrangements have been made for Ameneh to inject the acid into her attacker's eyes as he lies in a Tehran hospital under an aesthetic at midday today. Twenty drops in each eye.At the last moment Ameneh could still change her mind. But yesterday she said: 'I'm very happy. After six years I'm getting justice. But we are both losers because we have both suffered greatly.Hmmmm....Welcome to Iran A.D. 620?Read the full story here.
- Updated ! Iran postpones acid blinding punishment.(Al-Jazeera). Court-ordered blinding of Iranian man who hurled acid in the face of a university classmate has been postponed.The court-ordered blinding of an Iranian man who hurled acid in the face of university classmate Ameneh Bahrami has been postponed.The sentence had been scheduled to be carried out at noon (7:30am GMT) on Saturday at the judiciary hospital in Tehran in the presence of a physician and representatives of the coroners' office and the prosecution.Al Jazeera's Dorsa Jabari, reporting from Tehran, said: "The victim showed up at the hospital this morning where she was told that because of various interviews she had granted western media, the judiciary officials had decided to postpone carrying out the punishment, which is five drops of sulfuric acid in each eye.""The execution of qesas (retribution in kind) of Majid (Movahedi)... has been postponed to an unknown date," the ISNA news agency reported on its website just hours before the appointed time.Movahedi was sentenced to be blinded in both eyes in February 2009 after being convicted of hurling acid in the face of Bahrami when she repeatedly spurned his offer of marriage.His victim, who has been the driving force behind the sentence, had travelled to the Iranian capital from Spain in the expectation of it being carried out and had even said she was ready to do the blinding herself."I was very happy that this was going to end today. And yes, I was going to carry out the punishment myself, but I was afraid that I would get acid on my hands, so a doctor is going to do it. It's been six years that I've been waiting for this day," Bahrami told Al Jazeera."The verdict is completely legal and I would like to carry it out. But if it is not possible, then the physician designated by the judiciary will do it," she said.It would be first time such a penalty was carried out in Iran. Amnesty International had called on Friday for a stay of the sentence, which it described as "a cruel and inhuman punishment amounting to torture"."Regardless of how horrific the crime suffered by Ameneh Bahrami, being blinded with acid is a cruel and inhuman punishment amounting to torture," the London-based human rights watchdog said."The Iranian authorities have a responsibility under international law to ensure it does not go ahead."The Islamic sharia code in force in Iran provides for 'eye-for-an-eye'-style retributive justice, most commonly for murder, or those convicted of causing intentional physical injury.Bahrami, who was 24 when she met Movahedi in 2002, now lives in Spain where she has been undergoing medical treatment for her disfigurement for years.She is blind in both eyes and still has serious injuries to her face and body. She told ISNA that the implementation of qesas would serve as a lesson for other acid throwers in the country."I still strongly stand with the carrying out of the qesas. I want qesas. I will become more serene," she told the news agency on May 11."This serenity will not stem from the culprit suffering hardship and pain but that (with the carrying out of the sentence) there is the probability of more deterrence regarding those who want to commit this crime."A number of acid attacks have been reported in Iran in recent years.Hmmmm....Don't you just 'hunger' for Sharia law in the U.S.?Read the full story here.
- Iraqi PM Praises Growing Ties With Iran.(Memri).Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has lauded growing relations with Iran, saying that his country supports enhanced economic cooperation with it. Speaking on the sidelines of a May 11 meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi in Baghdad, Maliki said that Iraq welcomes investments by Iranian companies. He expressed hope that the two neighbors will hold a meeting at the earliest opportunity to discuss ways to boost economic cooperation and joint ventures. In a meeting with Al-Maliki, Salehi called the entrance of Saudi military troops into Bahrain a "strategic mistake" and said that the Bahrain issue has "no military solution."Hmmmm.......Iran....Iraq.....Turkey ....Obama...full circle?Read the full story here.
- Sadrists: Unfreezing Jaysh Al-Mahdi Militia Last Resort If U.S. Military Presence Extended.(Memri).The Sadrist movement, under cleric Muqtada al-Sadr (who spends most of his time Iran, presumably to pursue higher religious education), has issued yet another threat about what it will do if the U.S. military presence in Iraq is extended. A leader in the movement, Hakim al-Zamily, said that extending the presence of the U.S. military in Iraq would require two-thirds of the votes in parliament. He added that even if that vote was secured, the Sadrist movement would first resort to mass demonstrations and sit-ins but ultimately would use the [Iranian armed, trained and financed] Jaysh al-Mahdi militia for armed resistance. Al-Maliki has remained equivocal about the question of extension, although he said he would defer to the views of the army commanders. Al-Iraqiya declared that it would fully abide by the decision taken by the government on the subject but expressed no a priori objection to extension. The Kurds support extension without reservation.Hmmmm......More 'buddies' from Iran.Read the full story here.
- Tehran U Lecturer: Iran Must Help Bahrainis Harm Saudi Arabia.(Memri).Mustafa Malakutian, political science lecturer at Tehran University, told the Rajanews website, which is affiliated with supporters of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that Iran must indirectly aid the anti-Syria demonstrators in Bahrain with military training and building of missiles, with the aim of harming Saudi oil wells. He also suggested Investing in Saudi oil in order to raise its price in the world. The Iranian news agency Fars, which is close to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), rejected an Al-Arabiya report that Malakutian is a senior IRGC official and said that he had no security role in the regime and that the channel had reported on the incident during the visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Salehi to the Gulf countries, with the aim of harming the IRGC. A MEMRI investigation found that Malakutian studied at the political faculty of the IRGC in Qom in 1989.Hmmmm.......All this while the US has an 'action figure' as president.Read the full story here.