Sunday, December 18, 2011
The REAL Christmas Spirit - Boy, 6, uses $1,000 prize money to buy sick children early Christmas presents.
- Boy, 6, uses $1,000 prize money to buy sick children early Christmas presents.(DailyMail).A boy who won $1,000 spent all the money buying gifts for children in hospital.Aiden Moe, six, delivered more than 100 'Pillow Pet' toys to families at the Ronald McDonald House in Sioux Falls, South Dakota this weekend. The house accommodates families who have children in local hospitals.Aiden received the special pillow shaped like an animal when he was a patient at Brookings Hospital and liked it so much he wanted other sick children to have one.Aiden's mother, JaMae Moe, told local station KSFY-TV that she's happy her son wants to give back to others. She said: 'It makes me feel like I raised him well.'The Moes live in Bryant, 110 miles northwest of Sioux Falls.Since 1983, more than 6,000 families who have children in hospital in South Dakota have been able to stay nearby at the Ronald McDonald house.Read the full story here.
"Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the LORD delivers him in times of trouble. The LORD will protect him and preserve his life; he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes."
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Japan 5.0 !More info here.
- Obama’s $4 Million Hawaii Vacation.(Heritage).President Obama had hoped to be in Hawaii today for the start of his 17-day Christmas vacation. Instead, he’s stuck in Washington until Congress finishes its work for the year. But in the Aloha State, residents are already abuzz about the first family’s trip — and its high price tag.Figures obtained by Hawaii Reporter reveal the trip is expected to run taxpayers about $4 million. It has already cost taxpayers about $100,000 extra just so first lady Michelle Obama and the president’s daughters, Sasha and Malia, could leave Friday before the president, according to White House Dossier.Hawaii Reporter’s comprehensive breakdown uses government data to calculate travel, housing, hotel and local costs. Hawaii Reporter research shows the total cost for the President’s visit for taxpayers far exceeded $1.5 million in 2010 — but is even more costly this year because he extended his vacation by three days and the cost for Air Force One travel has jumped since last assessed in 2000. In addition, Hawaii Reporter was able to obtain more specifics about the executive expenditures.The total cost (based on what is known) for the 17-day vacation roundtrip vacation to Hawaii for the President, his family and staff has climbed to more than $4 million.White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked about the vacation’s cost at a briefing last week. He dodged questions about Michelle Obama’s desire to travel separately from the president.Hmmm...."We feel your pain"?Read the full story here.
- Senior MP: Oil Sanction against Iran Means Closure of Strait of Hormuz.(Fars).TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian lawmaker warned the western countries against the consequences of banning Iran's oil sales, saying that Tehran will not allow even a single barrel of oil to pass through the Strait of Hormuz if the West boycotts Iranian crude supplies. "According to the international laws, including Paragraph 4 of Article 14 of the Geneva Convention, in case Iranian oil is sanctioned, we will not allow even a single barrel of oil to pass through to reach the hostile countries," Isa Jafari told FNA on Sunday. He reiterated that enemies, specially the US, should know that the Strait of Hormuz which is the world's energy bottleneck is controlled by Iran and based on their own estimates by 2020 a daily volume of over 35 million barrels of oil will pass through this waterway. The US, Israel and Britain are pressuring the European Union to ban oil imports from Iran while many EU member states are on the verge of bankruptcy and cannot tolerate any higher oil prices. In relevant remarks earlier this week, Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi had also dismissed oil sanctions against Iran by the EU and other western countries, saying the world is in dire need of Iranian oil supplies. "Imposing sanctions on Iranian oil is not a wise move, and the market would pay a high price for it," Qassemi said, explaining that there will be no replacement for Iranian oil in the market. "I believe Iranian oil has a unique place in the market, and in terms of its volume and quality there is no replacement for it." Despite recent talk about imposing sanctions on Iranian oil, European Union members have failed to reach a consensus in this regard. With some EU members heavily dependent on Iranian oil, a European boycott of Iran's energy sector looks impossible. While there has been mention of Saudi Arabia selling more crude oil in the possible absence of Iranian oil, Qassemi indicated that "the Saudi Oil Minister has completely rejected such an approach." Qassemi said his Saudi counterpart has vowed that if the western, specially the European, states ban Iranian oil imports, Riyadh would not replace Tehran as their source of crude supplies. Read the full story here.
- House GOP Revolts Over Senate Payroll Tax Bill.(BigGovernment).WASHINGTON (AP) – House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday that he opposes a Senate-approved bill that extends a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for just two months and said congressional bargainers need to write a new version that would last an entire year.As if to suggest other changes he would like in the legislation, the Ohio Republican mentioned a provision that would block Obama administration anti-pollution rules and “reasonable reductions in spending” that were in a House-passed version of the payroll tax bill that the Senate ignored.Boehner’s comments came a day after House Republicans used a conference call to complain bitterly about the Senate bill, putting House passage in serious jeopardy.House Republicans dislike the Senate bill for many reasons, including its lack of what they consider real spending cuts and its removal of restrictions on Obama administration rules. Others are unhappy about extending unemployment benefits or oppose cutting the payroll tax, which is used to finance the Social Security system.“It’s pretty clear I and our members oppose the Senate bill,” Boehner said on “Meet the Press” on NBC. He added, “I believe two months is just kicking the can down the road.”House leaders have scheduled a vote on the bill for Monday.The bill would force President Barack Obama to make a decision in the next two months on whether to build the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The president had initially said he would postpone a decision on the 1,700-mile-long pipeline until after next year’s elections and threatened to kill the payroll tax bill if it included the pipeline provision. But he backed off this week as the Senate payroll compromise took shape.Republicans strongly support the pipeline, which is supposed to pump oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas, for the thousands of jobs it is expected to create. Unions favor the plan but environmentalists oppose it, forcing Obama to choose between two Democratic constituencies.The Senate bill says Obama can reject the pipeline only if he decides building it would not be in the national interest.Hmmmm......Merry Christmas?Read the full story here.
- Egypt’s richest Library set on Fire.(DPNews).CAIRO- The 213-year-old Egyptian maps and historical manuscripts -- described as "irreplaceable" -- were destroyed after a library in Cairo was set ablaze during the clashes, Egyptian officials said Sunday. A fire that engulfed the building of the historic Egyptian Scientific Institute on Saturday morning has been extinguished. The extent of the damage has not yet been determined. The fire started on the lower floors of the building, which is on Qasr al-Aini Street in central Cairo, but later reached the higher floors. The firemen, who arrived very late at the site, could not initially control the fire. State news agency MENA said that firemen eventually managed to control it, but state TV reported that the fire damaged the whole building and all of its collections. The building is adjacent to the Shura Council building, and both MENA and state TV accused protesters of throwing a Molotov cocktail at the institute. Eyewitnesses were reported to have seen protesters throwing a Molotov cocktail at stone-throwing soldiers at the Shura Council building, but the projectile missed the intended target and instead landed in the Egyptian Scientific Institute. The website of Youm7 newspaper alleged that a protester was set on fire after trying to set the building on fire. No other source confirmed this news. Hmmm....."Das war ein Vorspiel nur, dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen." ("That was but a prelude; where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people also.") ~ Heinrich Heine.Read the full story here.
- Russian Oil rig sinks, more than 50 feared dead.(Yahoo).MOSCOW (Reuters) - A drilling rig with 67 crew on board capsized and sank off Russia's far eastern island of Sakhalin on Sunday while being towed through a winter storm, leaving more than 50 dead or missing in the icy Sea of Okhotsk.Emergency officials said the crew of an icebreaker and tugboat rescued 14 workers alive from the jack-up rig, the 'Kolskaya', which was operated by a Russian offshore exploration firm. They recovered four bodies from the water."The Kolskaya keeled to its side ... and sank within 20 minutes. The depth of the water at the site is 1,042 metres (3,400 feet)," Russia's federal water transport agency said on its website.Four of the survivors, suffering from hypothermia, were airlifted by helicopter to land and taken to hospital after the disaster struck at 12:45 p.m. (0145 GMT).The rest of the crew were missing, 200 km (125 miles) off the coast of remote Sakhalin island. The water temperature was one degree Celsius (33.8 Fahrenheit), giving survivors around 30 minutes before freezing to death, according to maritime and rescue websites.Three rescue craft, as well as helicopters, were sent to scour the waters for survivors from the rig owned by Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka (AMNGR), a unit of state-owned Zarubezhneft."There is no ecological danger. The vessel was carrying the minimum amount of fuel as it was being tugged by two craft," said a spokesman for AMNGR.The incident was a blow to efforts by Russia, the world's largest energy producer, to step up offshore oil and gas exploration to stave off a long-term decline in onshore production.The jack-up rig, which has three support legs that can be extended to the ocean floor while its hull floats on the surface, was heading from Kamchatka to Sakhalin when it overturned in stormy conditions with a swell of up to 6 metres."(President) Dmitry Medvedev has ordered all necessary assistance be provided to the victims of the drilling platform accident and has ordered a probe into the circumstances of the loss of the platform," the Kremlin said. The Emergencies Ministry said it would work through Sunday night.Winter often lasts 220-240 days in the waters off Sakhalin, where the main companies operating are ExxonMobil, Gazprom, and Royal Dutch Shell. They produce oil and gas, sometimes in icebound conditions, for export largely to Asian markets.Sakhalin-2, in which Shell and Mitsui also have stakes, produces 10 million tonnes per year of liquefied natural gas at Russia's only LNG plant in the port of Prigorodnoye for export to Asia, much of it to Japan.Read the full story here.
- Vaclav Havel, Dissident Playwright Who Led Czechoslovakia, Dead at 75.(NYT).Vaclav Havel, the writer and dissident whose eloquent dissections of Communist rule helped to destroy it in revolutions that brought down the Berlin Wall and swept Havel himself into power, died on Sunday. He was 75.His assistant, Sabina Tancevova, said that Mr. Havel died at his country house in northern Bohemia. A Czech embassy spokesman in Paris, Michal Dvorak, said in a statement that Mr. Havel, a heavy smoker for decades who almost died during surgery for lung cancer in 1996, had been suffering from severe respiratory ailments since last spring. A shy yet resilient, unfailingly polite but dogged man who articulated the power of the powerless, Mr. Havel spent five years in and out of Communist prisons, lived for two decades under close secret-police surveillance and endured the suppression of his plays and essays. He served 14 years as president, wrote 19 plays, inspired a film and a rap song and remained one of his generation’s most seductively nonconformist writers. All the while, he came to personify the soul of the Czech nation. His moral authority and his moving use of the Czech language cast him as the dominant figure during Prague street demonstrations in 1989 and as the chief behind-the-scenes negotiator who brought about the peaceful transfer of power known as the Velvet Revolution, a revolt so smooth that it took just weeks to complete, without a single bullet fired. He was chosen as democratic Czechoslovakia’s first president — a role he insisted was more duty than aspiration — and after the country split in January 1993, he became president of the Czech Republic. He linked the country firmly to the west, clearing the way for the Czech Republic to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1999 and the European Union five years later. Both as a dissident and as a national leader, Mr. Havel impressed the West as one of the most important political thinkers in Central Europe. Political ideas, not economics, interested him. His country, widely considered to have made a smooth transition from Communism to market democracy, came in for his devastating critique in December 1997, when he attacked corruption and the sell-off of government-run industries in a thinly veiled barb at his political nemesis, the longtime prime minister — and now president — Vaclav Klaus. Expressing disdain for what had happened to Czech society under Mr. Klaus — an ally of convenience in the days of the 1989 revolution — Mr. Havel told parliament that a “post-Communist morass” had allowed “the most immoral people” to achieve financial success at the expense of others. Mr. Klaus, a right-wing maverick who espouses the untrammeled capitalism Mr. Havel disliked, succeeded Mr. Havel as president in 2003. On Sunday, Mr. Klaus paid tribute to Mr. Havel, calling him “the symbol of the new era of the Czech state.” While many in the West worshiped Mr. Havel — President Bill Clinton once compared him to Gandhi — in his native country he was regarded with deep affection but also ambivalence, and even scorn. His slogan during the revolution that truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred was mocked by foes, who accused him of naïveté. Read the full story here.
- Don’t Be Fooled: The Horrible Anti-Internet Bill Is NOT Being Shelved Until Next Year.(Washingtonsblog).The Committee Members Who Support SOPA Sneakily Changed the Hearing Date to December 21st, Trying to Trick the American People Into Thinking It Was Over Until After the Holidays So We Won’t Fight Back!News reports initially said that the despicable anti-Internet bill – SOPA – has been delayed until next year. As Huffington Post notes:
After two days of debate, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) abruptly halted a key hearing on the Stop Online Piracy Act, postponing a Committee vote on the bill until 2012. The move marks a win for hordes of internet activists who oppose the bill, but gives lawmakers another opportunity to juice deep-pocketed corporations for campaign contributions.“This is a huge victory for everyone who uses the Internet — and proof that millions of people speaking out can still make a difference in a Congress usually run by corporate lobbyists,” said Aaron Swartz, co-founder of Reddit and Demand Progress, an organization that has staunchly opposed the bills for months.“It is good news,” said Sherwin Sie, deputy legal director Public Knowledge, a non-profit group opposing the bill. “The last thing you want is to get something like this rushed through at the last minute while people are trying to do something else. That’s been the message of SOPA opponents throughout. What’s the big rush?”
But Tech Dirt gives the following update:
Update…. Or not. Despite the fact that Congress was supposed to be out of session until the end of January, the Judiciary Committee has just announced plans to come back to continue the markup this coming Wednesday. This is rather unusual and totally unnecessary. But it shows just how desperate Hollywood is to pass this bill as quickly as possible, before the momentum of opposition builds up even further.Hmmmm.....Every Bill in the past that was bad for the American people had been passed during the Christmas period......Be warned!Read the full story here.
- It’s Time to “Occupy the Dream:” African-American Faith Community Joins Forces with Occupy Wall Street – First Day of Action on MLK Day, Jan 16 at Federal Reserve Banks.(WB).Members of the African-American faith community have joined forces with Occupy Wall Street to launch a new campaign for economic justice inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Faithful to its philosophical origin, the “Occupy the Dream” coalition has called for a National Day of Action on Martin Luther King Day – Monday, January 16, 2012 – when they will “Occupy the Federal Reserve,” in multiple cities nationwide, focusing attention on the gross injustice visited upon the 99% by the financial elite. This will be the first of many actions leading up to a mass gathering in Washington D.C., to be held April 4 – 7, when millions will unite in celebration of the life and legacy of Dr King.Hmmmm......Play the Race card?Read and see the full story here.
- Full-Speed Ahead for Obama-Sanctioned ‘Taliban Embassy’ in Qatar.(BigPeace).Qatar: host to the US military, al-Jazeera, the Muslim Brotherhood– and now, the world’s first Taliban embassy– at the behest of the Obama administration.On his Facebook page, Big Peace contributor Walid Phares brought my attention to a report in the Pakistani website The Nation that Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, the premier of US ally Qatar, is prepared to open an embassy for the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”– otherwise known as the Taliban. He said, “A solution in Afghanistan requires the participation of the Taliban in a way that must be decided by the Afghans.”An office of the self-styled Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan would be the first internationally recognized representation for the Taliban since it was ousted from power by the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001…. Western diplomats have said it is hoped the opening of a Taliban office would push forward the prospect of talks intended to reconcile insurgents with the Afghan government and end the decade-long war.This story was first reported around the time of the 9/11 anniversary and it’s not a surprise that Obama himself downplayed the news. As The Australian wrote in September: THE US has given its blessing for the Taliban to be brought in from the cold with a critical step towards reconciliation as the world paused to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. "Washington has endorsed plans for the Islamist network to open political headquarters in the gulf state of Qatar by the end of the year. The move has been devised so the West can begin formal peace talks with the Taliban."In addition to being home to In his post, Dr. Phares reminds us that Qatar is the address of al-Jazeera, the Muslim Brotherhood’s most influential figure, Yusef al-Qaradawi, his website OnIslam.net and his popular al-Jazeera tv show, “Shariah and Life”: The Qatari regime, funding power behind al Jazeera, which expresses [the] Muslim Brotherhood agenda, is calling for the recognition of the Taliban and will be opening an embassy for the Taliban regime. It was reported that the US Administration has encouraged Qatar to engage in this direction. Note that the United States is at war with the Taliban and considers it as a terrorist organization. Taliban and their allies of al Qaeda have killed thousands of US civilians and military.”Read the full story here.
- US Congress may restrict aid to Egypt- Camp David Peace Accords with Israel condition to receiving further aid .(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: The United States Congress may restrict aid to Egypt, as part of a $53.3 billion bill set to restructure US foreign aid.As a state of political chaos unravels through Egypt’s post-Mubarak transition to democratic rule, Congress has moved to reconsider the $1.3 billion in security service funding it gives to the Egyptian military annually.Under the terms of the bill, $250 million in US economic assistance for Egypt would also be blocked for review.The funds would be released when the secretary of state assures Congress that Egypt is obeying the 1979 Camp David Peace Accords with Israel, and supporting a transition to a civilian-led government in Egypt by “implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association and religion and due process of law.”“In a difficult economic and political climate, this bill meets our national security needs and global responsibilities while implementing tough restrictions and requirements on recipients of US assistance,” said Rep. Nita Lowey.The Republican-backed bill was passed in the House of Representatives on Friday, and will be up for a Senate vote this weekend. It comes amid efforts to cut the United State’s budget deficit, as Republicans push to reduce overseas spending.The United States government has given Egypt an average of $2 billion in aid since 1979, the majority of which goes to the Egyptian military.In 2010, $1.3 billion went to the Egyptian forces. Another $1.9 million was allocated to help train the Egyptian military and bolster long-term cooperation between the United States and Egypt.The Obama administration requested the same amount of assistance for the 2011 fiscal year.The bill under debate devotes $3.1 billion in security assistance for United State’s ally Israel. It also restructures US foreign aid for Pakistan and the Palestinian Authority.Meanwhile, political violence in Egypt continues, as the military wages an attack on anti-government protesters for the third consecutive day, leaving at least 10 dead and nearly 400 injured, according to official Ministry of Health death tolls.Hmmmm.....Finally some common sense.Read the full story here.
- Bollywood actress Veena Malik reported missing after nude FHM photo scandal.(Mirror).There were fears today for the wellbeing of Bollywood actress Veena Malik after she was reported missing by her manager.The controversial Pakistani model and actress, who is suing FHM magazine after she claimed they doctored photos to make her look nude, has not been seen since yesterday morning.She had complained of feeling depressed, but also was the subject of death threats over the photos.Her manager Pratiek Mehta said he received a text from Malik saying she was ill and depressed.Mr Mehta said she had been filming a movie called Mumbai 125 Kilometers at Goregaon and was last seen leaving in a car after shooting had finished.He added: "I have been trying to reach her since yesterday, but have failed. I have approached the officials at Bandra police station and have sought help in finding the whereabouts of Veena."However, the police at Bandra said she had not officially been reported as a missing person..The film’s director Hemant Madhukar said: "Veena left after the pack-up yesterday (Friday) morning. In the afternoon, I received an SMS from her where she apologised for not being able to concentrate on the shooting, stating that she was disturbed."I called her immediately, but her number was not reachable. I have not been able to get in touch with her since.”Last week Malik was reported to have said the stress of the controversy had aged her 10 years.Referring to FHM India, the 33-year-old said: “I feel completely cheated. They've added 10 years to my age.”Malik, who appeared on Bigg Boss, the Indian version of Big Brother, created controversy earlier this month when FHM India published a nude picture of her on its cover.Read the full story here.
- Update - Missing Veena Malik wearing Burka secretly reaches Pakistan.(Timesofindia).According to sources, she arrived back for visa renewal to Lahore via Wagha border, where her friend Ashmit Patel had come to drop her. She had mysteriously disappeared from Mumbai where she was shooting for a film.Actress was in the heat of a storm for posing nude in the Indian edition of FHM magazine with only an ISI tattoo on her arm.She alleged that the magazine airbrushed out the thong she was wearing during the shoot.Sources said that she walked into Pakistan from the Wagah border on Friday, where some of her friends picked her up and left for an unknown destination, The Nation reported.She had come to India on a 45 days visa, which was about to expire and a couple of days back she was asked by the authorities to get the visa renewed.Her arrival in Pakistan went unnoticed because she was wearing a burqa and her passport carried her real name Zahida.Earlier, A missing person's case has been registered at the Bandra police station in Mumbai. Her manager Prateek said, "Even if she was planning to go home, Veena would have told me. I got a call from her at 5.30am on Friday, but I couldn't speak to her. Post that I haven't been able to speak to her." But a source close to Veena is skeptical. "Really? I have no clue about this. From what I know she is in Mumbai." Sohail Rashid, Veena's manager in Pakistan, said, "Post the nude photo shoot incident, I too received abusive messages.Read the full story here.More here.
- Serious human rights violations committed by Egypt’s army.(Bikyamasr).More evidence has emerged documenting the ongoing crimes of Egypt's military.CAIRO: The Egyptian military has committed serious human rights crimes and violations against protesters, as more documentation of the violence emerges on social networking websites, showing video footage of harsh and excessive use of force against the protesters, including women and elderly people.Women have been beaten and stripped of their clothes, assaulted and threatened with rape prior to being detained.Activists say the military is escalating their violence and attacks. The number of missing people is increasing, as the death toll reached 10 on Saturday evening and the count of injured nears 400, according to official estimates from the Egyptian Ministry of Health.One woman in particular was seen in a video receiving a grave beaten by many soldiers. Her shirt snapped open, publicly reveling her skin and bra. She and a companion were running from the troops when she fell. Her companion tried to help her but received an equal beating. She was beaten with heavy wooden batons, and the soldiers in the video were seen kicking her in the chest. One soldier slammed his heavy army boots with tremendous power on the woman, who seemed to have passed out.The still image of the woman, bear chested in her bra and laying on the ground while a soldiers foot remains in the air, heading to her body, made headlines on Egypt’s press on Sunday and gave talk shows hosts and their guests much to talk about on Saturday night. Egyptians woke up to an unpopular fact– the military is not good for us. Newspapers like al-Tahrir enlarged the image, putting it as the headline of its front page.The military and the prime minister said the image is not real, calling it “Photoshopped.” Activists responded by releasing the whole video that shows the full reality of the beating.Another video showed an elderly woman with gray hair being dragged by four soldiers, with no consideration for her age. She was man handled and dragged from her clothes by the young soldiers.Other clips show military officers using live ammunition on protesters, while the other soldiers ran after their prey. Activists said many women were arrested and kept in the Egyptian cabinet building on the street of the sit-in.Since, the military had the street rebuilt in a matter of hours, paving the ground again and fixing the sidewalks, making it hard to imagine how much of a mess it was less than 14 hours ago.The soldiers were also featured setting the protesters’ tents on fire, tearing them apart with their own hands in anger.The violence erupted after a man was kidnapped from the sit-in in front of the Magles al-Sha’b building in downtown Cairo. He returned, badly injured and almost deformed by the beating he suffered at the hands of the soliders.Other protesters were angered at the attack, especially as rumors of kidnappings circulated over the last week. Some people remain missing.The military spilled gasoline on the sit-in’s tents and set it ablaze. Protesters who were trying to flee the fire were beaten badly and chased in the surrounding streets.The military was filmed on roof tops of buildings throwing large pieces of rocks and marble at the protesters below. Eyewitnesses reported that the army used Molotov cocktail bottles, fire crackers and water hoses on the protests.Ghada Kamal Ahmed Abdel Khaleq, an activist with the April 6 Youth Movement, gave her testimony of what happened to her while she was in detention in a video.She said she was trying to rest as the military attacked the street. As she looked back at the running wave of soldiers, she spotted a women being hit by soldiers. Abdel Khaleq stopped and ran back to “relive her from some of the batons– I thought I could lay on her”, she said, but she was not given a chance. She was surrounded with soldiers, who were not shy about using their batons on a woman. She received many hits on her head, cracking her skull open, necessitating stitches.After the beating, she was taken inside the Cabinet building to talk to the officers. One officer, who identified himself with a fake name, wanted her for himself.She said he pushed back the soldiers and told her he recognize her from the street and that she was insulting them. “I will show you how much of a man I am tonight, you are mine” he told the bleeding woman.“Dying is okay, we go out knowing that could happen, but for a woman to be threatened by rape and sexual violence, that is much harder,” she said.Women have repeatedly reported being molested, kicked and hit in sensitive areas and groped by soldiers who see it as a chance.Abdel Kahleq was rescued by a doctor who came inside to take away those who were in need of immediate medical help. He choose to take the women first. Abdel Kahleq says there were about 8 women there, some injured. She had to whisper to the doctor to communicate to him that the officer wanted to keep her overnight. She was taken out after the doctor insisted that she had to join the other women in the clinic.As Abdel Kahleq was leaving, the officer told her he will shoot her if he sees her again outside in the street.Other videos and testimonies continue to emerge, a clear picture is forming of what really went on during the clashes.Read the full story here.
- UK - Muslims outraged at police advert featuring cute puppy sitting in policeman's hat.(DailyMail).A postcard featuring a cute puppy sitting in a policeman's hat advertising a Scottish police force's new telephone number has sparked outrage from Muslims. Tayside Police's new non-emergency phone number has prompted complaints from members of the Islamic community.The choice of image on the Tayside Police cards - a black dog sitting in a police officer's hat - has now been raised with Chief Constable John Vine.The advert has upset Muslims because dogs are considered ritually unclean and has sparked such anger that some shopkeepers in Dundee have refused to display the advert.Dundee councillor Mohammed Asif said: 'My concern was that it's not welcomed by all communities, with the dog on the cards. 'It was probably a waste of resources going to these communities.'They (the police) should have understood. Since then, the police have explained that it was an oversight on their part, and that if they'd seen it was going to cause upset they wouldn't have done it.' Councillor Asif, who is a member of the Tayside Joint Police Board, said that the force had a diversity adviser and was generally very aware of such issues.He raised the matter with Mr Vine at a meeting of the board.The chief constable said he was unaware of the concerns and that the force had not sought to cause any upset but added he would look into the matter.Councillor Asif said: 'People who have shops just won't put up the postcard. But the police have said to me that it was simply an oversight and they did not seek to offend or upset.'Cards featuring police dog-in-training Rebel have been distributed to communities throughout the area to advertise the single number point of contact for non-emergency calls to the police.Rebel has proved a popular recruit for Tayside Police after coming through the very first Lothian and Borders Police dog-breeding programme in February. One of seven German Shepherd pups born in early December, he has now completed his course of inoculations, and is free to venture out onto the streets of Tayside.A spokesman for Tayside Police said: 'Trainee police dog Rebel has proved extremely popular with children and adults since being introduced to the public, aged six weeks old, as Tayside Police's newest canine recruit.'His incredible world-wide popularity - he has attracted record visitor numbers to our website - led us to believe Rebel could play a starring role in the promotion of our non-emergency number.'We did not seek advice from the force's diversity adviser prior to publishing and distributing the postcards. That was an oversight and we apologise for any offence caused.'Hmmm........Read the full story here.
- Saudi Security Forces Arrest 42 Ethiopian Christians For Praying.(Persecution).Washington, D.C. (December 17, 2011) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Saudi security forces arrested 42 Ethiopian Christians at a prayer gathering in Jeddah on Thursday. The location of the detained Christians is unknown.On December 15, Saudi police and security officers raided an evening prayer meeting at the home of an Ethiopian Christian in the Al-Safa district of Jeddah. Those attending the service were reportedly beaten and threatened before being arrested.Security officials broke [into] the house and captured… beat and threatened them for death… They divided the men and the women and they are torturing them [in prison],” an Ethiopian and Eritrean Christian immigrant community living in Europe wrote in an urgent appeal for help to the ambassadors of European embassies in Riyadh on Friday.Saudi Arabian officials have arrested Christians in the past but it is unprecedented for them to arrest 42 Christians at one time,” a church leader in Jeddah, who asked not to be named for security reasons, told ICC. “We are particularly concerned about the children of the detained Christians.”Two Ethiopian fellowships in Saudi Arabia informed ICC that they will temporarily postpone services until the situation calms. Christians in Saudi Arabia, most of who enter the country as foreign workers, are not allowed to practice their faith openly. Saudi police have been known to raid private worship gatherings in homes, arrest and deport congregants, and confiscate Christian materials, including Bibles.Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “Though not permitting a single church building where Christians can worship in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi government goes even further to assault the religious freedoms of its citizens and foreign workers by hunting for and arresting Christians who attend services in the privacy of their own homes. As a signatory to the UN Convention against Torture, we urge Saudi Arabia to end the abuse that the Ethiopian Christians have reportedly suffered in prison and to ensure their immediate release.Hmmmm....."Islamophobia".... anyone?Read the full story here.
- A financial Dunkirk: Britain draws up plans to rescue expats if Spain and Portugal are hit by financial oblivion.(DailyMail).Evacuation plans for British expats stranded in Spain and Portugal if their banking systems collapse are being drawn up by the Foreign Office.The contingency plans are being put in place to help thousands of Britons if they were unable to get to their money in the event of a catastrophic banking collapse in two of the most vulnerable eurozone economies.Around one million British expats live in Spain, particularly around Marbella and Malaga, and some 50,000 in Portugal.The Foreign Office is concerned that those who have invested savings in their adopted countries would face losing their homes if banks called in loans and they were unable to access money.Last week ratings agency Standard and Poor's downgraded 10 Spanish banks, including Banco Popular.Among options being considered for a 'nightmare scenario' include sending planes, ships and coaches to evacuate expats - some through Gibraltar.Small loans could also be made available to stranded Britons and pressure would be exerted on the Spanish and Portuguese governments to allow access to funds to pay for everyday essentials.Both countries have a deposit guarantee, like the UK, which means depositors are covered for up to €100,000.But in the event of a collapse, most banks would limit withdrawals.Many expats have retired to the south of Spain on fixed incomes, having used their savings to buy villas and apartments.A senior Foreign Office source told The Sunday Times: 'The nuclear scenario would be having thousands of Brits stranded at the airports in Spain and Portugal with no way to get money from the cash dispenser and no way to get home.'Who would be blamed for this? The Foreign Office.'We are looking at how we can help evacuate them if the banks in Spain and Portugal collapse, getting people cash, things like that, sending planes.'Expats could face losing their villas and apartments because they were unable to afford mortgage payments or withdraw enough cash as banks tried to stop money leaving the country.They could also lose savings if banks in either country collapsed.Jeremy Cook, chief economist at World First - foreign currency exchange specialists - told the newspaper: 'Countries have individual safeguards on deposits but for people with large deposits in a bank it would be difficult to say whether all that money would be protected.'Read the full story here.
- Highly Toxic Mercury Present in Processed Foods, Yet FDA Does Nothing.(BlacklistedNews).By Anthony Gucciardi - Activist Post.Why has the FDA ignored the fact that mercury, an element that is highly toxic in all forms, was found in a large number of brand-name processed foods?Specifically, the mercury content was found to be contained in high-fructose corn syrup, which also reportedly contains genetically modified ingredients.Instead of addressing this major public health concern, the FDA is focusing their time on crushing beneficial supplements through ridiculous NDI regulations that threaten the entire infrastructure of the nutraceuticals industry.Researchers from two U.S. studies reported that about half of tested samples of high-fructose corn syrup contained mercury. Mercury was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products which listed high-fructose corn syrup as the first-or-second-highest labeled ingredient.Following the report, organizations like the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy called on the FDA for immediate action: ‘Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply,”’the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies, said in a prepared statement.Americans Consumed Over 37 Pounds of Mercury-Laden HFCS in 2008. Mercury is toxic in any dosage, but the information becomes even more alarming when you consider the fact that the average American consumed 37.8 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup in 2008! If this is not explosive enough on its own, remember the fact that this is but one source of mercury exposure. CFL light bulbs, mercury-contaminated seafood, and some dental fillings are a few sources of mercury exposure that affect millions of individuals.The ubiquitous nature of high-fructose corn syrup in processed food products makes it difficult to avoid if you are on a junk food diet that is devoid of essential nutrients. Unfortunately, a large number of people worldwide subscribe to this nutritional program while in the dark regarding the true effects that such a diet can have on the human body. Until the FDA decides to step in (which simply will not happen unless activists make enough noise), protecting yourself and your family against HFCS is your priority. If you eat 100% organic food items, or grow your own organic food, you will not have to worry about toxic high-fructose corn syrup.It’s time to tell the FDA to focus on the real issues, like toxic elements in our food supply — not health-promoting supplements that have improved lives and boosted immune systems.Read the full story here.