Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Canadian Diefenbunker from the 60’s now transformed in Dataville.(Corda).An American-born businessman and London School of Economics graduate, Self, 44, isn’t your typical desk-bound CEO. He has a sailor’s tan, slicked-back hair and a full beard. An old-fashioned Orson Welles-like sense of confidence envelops him, as do fragrant clouds of smoke from the Montecristo Mini cigars he frequently has in hand.When he was in his 20s, Self-launched a successful communications company that laid down fiber-optic cable in New York City’s “Silicon Alley.” Business was good, but he craved the outdoor life he’d known growing up on Martha’s Vineyard. One Labor Day weekend, while sailing through Nova Scotia with friends, he stumbled on a cabin for sale on a secluded island in Halifax Harbor. He snapped it up as a weekend retreat, sleeping in a hammock while he fixed up the property. “It was a real dream come true to rediscover nature after living in a concrete jungle,” Self recalls. A few years later he left big-city living for good.
But Self began to grow antsy with the simple life. Before long the serial entrepreneur—who had also tried his hand at commercial shellfish harvesting and biotech, among other ventures—had a vision for changing how large institutions processed and safeguarded valuable information. At the time, computer data was primarily processed and stored in urban areas, leaving it vulnerable to security breaches, acts of God and outages.
Self’s solution: Set up an international data center l cated far from natural and man-made threats, one that could protect the Internet and electronic records the way a bricks-and-mortar bank protects money. And what better country for this data center than Canada? Strict privacy laws, a stable economy and a solid infrastructure made it ideal.
Self took the idea to his Wall Street banking customers in 1999. But Canada proved to be a hard sell below the border. “Server huggers”—managers who wanted to keep their hardware a cab ride away—didn’t want to contend with the distance. It was, Self now likes to joke, a place his fellow Americans only knew of thanks to the Carly Simon song, “Halfway Round the World.” Undaunted, Self put the plan on hold.
Then came 9/11. Very quickly, big institutions saw just how important it was to run their computer servers and store valuable information away from financial centers. And technology had finally caught up with Self’s imagination. Dial-up connections and spotty Internet access were a thing of the past. Three trans-Atlantic fiber-optic cables were under construction between the northeastern United States and the U.K., which meant Self could promise his clients their data would be transmitted, processed and stored in mere fractions of a second. “When you’re trading billions of dollars’ worth of securities transactions,” he explains, “every millisecond delay could lose you millions of dollars.” Canada had the potential to be, as he puts it, a “digital infrastructure bridge between the Americas and Europe.”
And Self was convinced that Nova Scotia, located on the shortest fibrotic path between financial hubs, could become its gateway. The challenge he now faced was to find the perfect location. While casting about for a property big enough to house, power and cool tens of thousands of computer servers, he heard about the province’s once-top-secret Diefenbunkers—and an available facility in Debert, an 80-minute drive from Halifax. Beyond its intriguing history, the site had other benefits. The Diefenbunker was buried ten meters below the surface, so it was naturally cool— perfect for tempering the tremendous heat generated by computer servers. A nearby underground lake would provide geothermal cooling for millions of watts of heat, cutting operating costs in half. And because it was built to withstand nukes, the bunker was solid: One structural engineer told Self that the building—valued at a little over $1 million—would last another 500 years.
So in 2009, after reams of paperwork and another million-plus dollars in legal fees and closing costs, Self was the proud owner of a bomb shelter. He christened it Dataville and began extensive renovations to bring the mechanical and electrical systems into the 21st century.
Dataville already feels post-apocalyptic, as if Dr. No might lurk behind the thick steel doors. Self leads me past former decontamination showers into a 1,000-square-foot loft where he sometimes sleeps on late work nights. Jo-Dee, an Australian shepherd dog who belongs to a Dataville employee, herds us through an empty cafeteria. Café Bustelo coffee cans are lined up like props for an Andy Warhol painting. Jo-Dee trots ahead, past walls of control panels, a former CBC Radio emergency broadcasting room and a series of locked doors. Caged computer servers hum in a former command center for Norad’s early-warning missile system.The cavernous bunker holds dozens of tech staff who work all hours of the day to reconfigure computer servers, maintain generators and update networks. Many make the commute from Halifax and, when necessary, stay over in the second floor bedrooms originally built for government officials.When asked what it’s like sleeping in a bomb shelter, Self says, “It’s really womblike. People have great sleeps here.”Read the full story here.
Iran to Install Domestic Fuel Rods in Nuclear Reactor Wednesday - Official.(RN).Iran will insert its first domestically-produced nuclear fuel rods into a research reactor in Tehran on Wednesday, a top Iranian official told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.“Because Western countries were unwilling to help us, we began enriching uranium to 20 percent to make nuclear fuel rods,” Ali Bagheri, deputy chief of Iran’s national security council, said in an interview here.“These nuclear rods, the first created by Iranian specialists, will be inserted tomorrow into the Tehran Research Reactor in the presence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,” Bagheri said.Insertion of the domestically-produced nuclear fuel rods would mark a significant step forward in Iran’s nuclear program, experts said.
Bagheri also confirmed that the Fordo nuclear facility in northern Iran was operational.“It is operating under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Bagheri said in the interview in a meeting room in the national security council building.The IAEA itself confirmed last month that Iran had begun production of uranium enriched to 20 percent at the Fordo facility, which is underground and heavily guarded.Ahmadinejad announced last weekend that Iran would make an “important” announcement about its nuclear program this week. Media sources in Tehran told RIA Novosti that the Iranian president would announce new “nuclear achievements” on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, a US aircraft carrier strike group transited through the Strait of Hormuz, shadowed by several Iranian naval vessels, US media reported. Read the full story here.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Solomon Islands 6.5 - 6.3 ; Japan 6.0 - 5.4 ; Greece 5.3 ; Chile 5.1 ; Mexico 5.1!More info here.
- U.S. Foreign Policy - It's come to this: 'We need Assad's permission to put troops in Syria'.(IsraelMatzav).I hope that every Republican will take this quote and use it for his or her campaign. Once upon a time, there were two superpowers in the World, the United States and the Soviet Union. In the late '80's and early '90's, the Soviet Union imploded, and there was one superpower left: The United States of America. And all was reasonably well.In 2008, the American people elected a 'moderate' named Barack Hussein Obama, who proceeded to act as a Leftist, as some lone voices (including this one) predicted he would. Obama degraded America's military capabilities, denied its exceptionalism, and turned control of its foreign policy over to multilateral bodies which are dominated by dictatorships, many of which are controlled by radical Muslims.And now, it has come to this:US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent Monday meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. In a press conference at the end of the meeting, Obama's Secretary of State told reporters that the United States needs permission from Bashar al-Assad in order to station US troops in Syria.Read the full story here.
- White House conveniently Underestimated 2012 Deficit by $769.5B--or 138 Percent.(CNSNews).President Barack Obama released a budget today that estimates the federal deficit will drop to $901.4 billion in fiscal 2013, resulting in the first federal deficit of less than $1 trillion since Obama was elected in 2008. It also predicts the federal deficit will decline sharply in fiscal 2014, dropping all the way to $667.8 billion.But the White House does not have a good record in estimating what the federal deficit will be in future years.In February 2009, Obama submitted his first budget to Congress. It boldly predicted that the federal deficit would decrease dramatically during Obama’s term, dropping from an estimated $1.841 trillion in fiscal 2009 to $557.4 billion in fiscal 2012.However, in the fiscal 2013 budget that Obama submitted to Congress today, the White House is predicting that the federal deficit for fiscal 2012 will not be $557.4 billion after all. Instead, the White House says, it will be $1.3269 trillion.That means Obama’s fiscal 2010 budget proposal missed on its fiscal 2012 deficit prediction by $769.5 billion--an error of 138 percent.The fiscal 2013 budget Obama submitted to Congress today once again predicts dramatically declining deficits. It predicts that by fiscal 2014, the federal deficit will drop to $667.8 billion.If the White House misses that prediction by 138 percent, the fiscal 2014 deficit will actually be about $921.6 billion higher than $667.8 billion—coming in at $1.5894 trillion.Read the full story here.
- Barack Obama: In the Footsteps of Twentieth Century Despots.(AT).By Steve McCann.How many times will the American people have to be hit over the head before they understand that Barack Obama is the most corrupt, dictatorial, and ideologically driven president in American history? That his entire being and psyche are devoted to transforming the country not only into a socialist utopia, but into a nation permanently governed by a radical oligarchy?This mindset has been on display since the beginning of Obama's term, as detailed by David Limbaugh in his book, Crimes Against Liberty. Yet so many seem to not care or are deliberately oblivious to the long-term implications of his actions, many of which mirror those of the despots that ran roughshod over the last century.Nothing reveals Obama's dictatorial mindset more than his relationship with Congress. His recent actions in unilaterally making appointments that are subject to Senate approval while the Senate is still in session are blatantly unconstitutional and done to marginalize Congress. His appointment of innumerable "czars" is a means of bypassing Congress and their oversight of the federal Cabinet departments. His Department of Justice has been transformed into an advocacy group to enforce the left-wing radical version of social justice while refusing to be accountable to Congress. Obama has resorted to utilizing executive orders and volumes of regulations from various agencies under his command in order to put in place his radical policies and sidestep Congress and thus the will of the people.The citizens of Germany in the first four years of the 1930s would have found it impossible to imagine what became of their country by 1945 or to think it even remotely possible. Those in Italy in the 1920s, promised so much by the Mussolini regime, eagerly voted the Fascists into power only to end up with a society torn asunder and a nation lying in ruins. The same results were played out in Russia, China, and many countries in Eastern Europe.The history of the United States and its traditions of liberty and individual freedom should be a bulwark against the successful emergence of someone like Barack Obama and his cronies. Yet the majority of the citizenry, the media, the opposition party, the members of Congress, and the judiciary are not shouting from the highest hilltop and taking action to stop the Obama regime's unconstitutional acts and power-grabs.Perhaps it is as it was in Germany, Italy, and Russia among many -- a belief that the worst could never happen here.Either the citizens, on the 6th of November 2012, will choose to reverse course and return to the basic tenets of freedom and liberty upon which the nation was founded, or the people will choose to blindly follow Barack Obama on a path which will eventuate in internal chaos and violence as well as subservience to those countries who wish to see the end of America's time on the world stage.Read the full story here.
- Notre Dame Tells Obama: HHS Mandate Is a ‘Grave Violation of Religious Freedom and Cannot Stand’.(GWP).Members of the Notre Dame faculty sent President Obama a letter declaring the HHS mandate is “a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand.”Too bad they didn’t see this coming when they decided to invite and honor the most radical pro-abortion and pro-infanticide president in US history to speak at Commencement ceremonies in 2009.Twenty-five Notre Dame faculty members–led by the university’s top ethics expert, and including some of the school’s most eminent scholars–have signed a statement declaring that President Barack Obama’s latest version of his administration’s mandate that all health insurance plans in the United States must cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives, including those that cause abortions, is “a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand.”The statement—put out on the letterhead of the University of Notre Dame Law School–is also signed by leading scholars from other major American colleges and universities, including Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, Georgetown, Brigham Young, Yeshiva and Wheaton College.Read the full story here.
- Reaction Roundup: Heritage Responds to Obama’s 2013 Budget Proposal.(Heritage).Today, President Barack Obama released his budget for Fiscal Year 2013. Experts from The Heritage Foundation are analyzing the President’s proposal and offer their reactions, President Obama’s Budget Proposal: Running on Empty- Patrick Louis Knudsen.Coming from a President whose economic philosophy is a borrowed car company slogan, the Obama budget submitted Monday all too predictably repeats the stale and unsuccessful policies of the past three years. The Administration has tapped all its resources and can only recycle the President’s shopworn “vision”: bigger government, more spending, higher taxes, and deeper deficits. At a time when runaway spending and swelling deficits must be reversed, he worsens both immediately but, as usual, promises to fix them later. In his first post-debt-ceiling fiscal plan—delayed a week, with no explanation—the President appears to have offered an election-year campaign document, not a credible blueprint for addressing the nation’s fiscal and economic problems.Spending in the President’s budget rises inexorably from today’s $3.8 trillion to $5.8 trillion in 2022. Throughout the decade, outlays hold stubbornly above 22 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), more than twice the New Deal’s share of the economy in its peak years. In constant dollars, outlays are more than three times the peak of World War II.In short, the President’s budget is the same worn-out collection of higher spending and higher taxes he has offered three times before—with the same inevitable result of more spending, higher taxes, and still more government debt.Read the full roundup here.
- President Obama’s Spending.(Cato).By By Chris Edwards.The new federal budget includes a range of accounting maneuvers to cast the administration’s 10-year projections in the best possible light. Senate Republicans point out some of President Obama’s funky accounting here. But note that the George W. Bush administration also used tricks to make deficit forecasts look more optimistic.That’s why it’s useful to look at a president’s spending numbers for the current year and next year, rather than the make-believe numbers for later years in the budget. The chart shows total federal outlays since 2000 and Obama’s estimated spending for 2012 and proposed spending for 2013. Data are for fiscal years. Also, I’ve excluded TARP spending because reestimates of TARP costs distort the data.Spending has gone up from $2.98 trillion in 2008—the year before Obama came into office—to a proposed $3.80 trillion in 2013. That is a 28-percent increase in five years, which represents a compound annual growth rate of 5.0 percent. Because the economy has stagnated during this period, spending has increased as a share of GDP.Note that the lack of an overall spending increase in 2013 is not a victory for frugality. For one thing, spending on the 2009 “stimulus” bill peaked at $235 billion in 2010 and is now falling. It will be roughly $30 billion in 2013.Similarly, Iraq/Afghanistan war costs peaked at $163 billion in 2010 and are expected to fall to $97 billion by 2013. There have been similar drop offs in spending for recession-related programs such as unemployment insurance.Thus, as stimulus, war, and recession-related costs are falling by hundreds of billions of dollars, President Obama is using the money to increase spending on other programs. We have run deficits greater than a trillion dollars four years in a row, and yet the president seems oblivious to the need for real spending cuts.Here’s a better fiscal plan, which focuses on ways to cut spending and balance the budget.Read the ful story here.
- According to Obama’s Budget, Burden of Federal Spending Will Be $2 Trillion Higher in 10 Years.(Cato).By Daniel J. Mitchell President Obama’s budget proposal was unveiled today, generating all sorts of conflicting statements from both parties.Some of the assertions wrongly focus on red ink rather than the size of government. Others rely on dishonest Washington budget math, which means spending increases magically become budget cuts simply because outlays are growing at a slower rate than previously planned.When you strip away all the misleading and inaccurate rhetoric, here’s the one set of numbers that really matters. If we believe the President’s forecasts (which may be a best-case scenario), the burden of federal spending will grow by $2 trillion between this year and 2022.In all likelihood, the actual numbers will be worse than this forecast.The President’s budget, for instance, projects that the burden of federal spending will expand by less than 1 percent next year. That sounds like good news since it would satisfy Mitchell’s Golden Rule.But don’t believe it. If we look at the budget Obama proposed last year, federal spending was supposed to fall this year. Yet the Obama Administration now projects that outlays in 2012 will be more than 5 percent higher than they were in 2011.The most honest assessment of the budget came from the President’s Chief of Staff, who openly stated that, “the time for austerity is not today.”With $2 trillion of additional spending (and probably more), that’s the understatement of the century.What makes this such a debacle is that other nations have managed to impose real restraints on government budgets. The Baltic nations have made actual cuts to spending. And governments in Canada, New Zealand, Slovakia, and Ireland generated big improvements by either freezing budgets or letting them grow very slowly.I’ve already pointed out that the budget could be balanced in about 10 years if the Congress and the President displayed a modest bit of fiscal discipline and allowed spending to grow by no more than 2 percent annually.But the goal shouldn’t be to balance the budget. We want faster growth, more freedom, and constitutional government. All of these goals (as well as balancing the budget) are made possible by reducing the burden of federal spending.Read and see (Graph) the full story here.
- Money Loser + $100 Million Subsidy = Money Maker?(Heritage).When is a solar energy company a loan flipper instead of a solar energy company? How about when the value of its loan subsidies vastly exceeds the value of its solar project? A case in point is First Solar’s sale of its Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1 (AVSR1) to Exelon.On February 9, First Solar, Inc., made an 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing warned that First Solar’s sale of the AVSR1 to Exelon may fall through because of difficulty in getting building permits. The filing gives some hints about the value of the loan-guarantee subsidies relative to the value of the underlying project.The AVSR1 project has been awarded a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy (DOE). This, of course, makes the project more attractive to potential purchasers, like Exelon, by lowering borrowing costs. Indeed, First Solar sold several of its billion-dollar solar projects within hours of receiving confirmation of DOE loan guarantees. The better the loan terms, the higher would be the price of any package that includes the loan guarantee.The first interesting number on the 8-K filing is $646 million—the loan amount that DOE is guaranteeing for AVSR1. The second interesting number is $75 million—the purchase price of the project (which First Solar will have to repay to Exelon if the deal falls through).Normally, the purchase price should include the net value of the project plus the value of the loan guarantee. For instance, suppose there is a house for sale that contains a box of cash containing $100,000. If the box conveys, then the purchase price of the house will be $100,000 over its market value.Scratching the surface of First Solar’s 8-K filing tells us the net value of their solar project is smaller than the value of the loan guarantees. In fact, the net value of the project appears negative without the guarantees. Combining this finding with the rapidity with which it sells the projects after they get the guarantees implies First Solar is more of a loan broker than a solar-power creator.Whatever First Solar may be, three cheers for whoever is blocking the building permits!Read the full story here.
- Calls for Military Parade in New York Go Unanswered.(BigPeace).By Jason Bradley.In light of the upcoming New York Giant’s Super Bowl victory parade in New York City, public outcry for a parade honoring soldiers who have returned from Iraq are growing louder: A ticker-tape parade for the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants on Tuesday has helped spark a growing national debate over how veterans coming back from the Iraq War should be honored.“Getting Super Bowl-champ football players a parade in their hometowns is never an issue. But Iraq War veterans?” Paul Rieckhoff, founder of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, wrote in a blog post this week. “For some reason, they’re running into all kinds of resistance.”In defense of the Gotham city government, and in fairness to King Bloomberg, he is only following direction from Pentagon leaders who are reluctant to hold a parade for Iraqi veterans while other service members were still fighting in Afghanistan.Michael Bloomberg said that New York isn’t holding a parade at this time because Pentagon officials told the city they don’t want to have one with troops still fighting in Afghanistan.“We simply don’t think a national-level parade is appropriate while we continue to have America’s sons and daughters in harm’s way,” said Col. David Lapan, spokesman for Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.“While we are very appreciative of the offer to host such a parade to recognize the significant accomplishments of those who have served in Iraq, Gen. Dempsey has expressed the view that he doesn’t think it is appropriate while we still have forces engaged in combat operations in Afghanistan,” he said.Fair enough, I suppose, but these concerns have not stopped other cities from hosting their own military parades.But a parade for veterans held two weeks ago in St. Louis, which drew tens of thousands of people, has launched a movement for more parades across the country.Craig Schneider and Tom Appelbaum, two St. Louis men who had not served in the military, organized the St. Louis parade after posting the idea on a Facebook group and growing support there.Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.), who represents St. Louis and attended the parade, called it “a stunning display of patriotism and gratitude for our returning troops from Iraq.“To witness thousands of people along the parade route embrace these soldiers, saying ‘thank you, welcome home’ was truly inspirational,” he said.Read the full story here.
- Pentagon working with FAA to open U.S. airspace to combat drones.(PR).The drones flying in U.S. continental airspace will be used for domestic surveillance and the Global Hawks, MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers will be weaponized.FYI: Army to hold large-scale manned-unmanned air system demo and Congress OKs FAA bill allowing drones in U.S., GPS air traffic control“The stuff from Afghanistan is going to come back,” Steve Pennington, the Air Force’s director of ranges, bases and airspace, said at the conference. The Department of Defense “doesn’t want a segregated environment. We want a fully integrated environment.”That means the Pentagon wants the same rules for drones as any other military aircraft in the U.S. today.Robotic technology was the focus of the Assn. for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s annual program review conference in Washington last week. For three days, a crowd made up of more than 500 military contractors, military personnel and industry insiders packed the Omni Shoreham Hotel to listen to the foremost experts on robots in the air, on the ground and in the sea.Read the full story here.
- Breaking: Iran’s ‘Fordow’ Nuke Plant Now Fully Operational.(PJM).According to Mehr News Agency, sources within Iran revealed that there will be an announcement in a few days that the previously secret nuclear site, the Fordow nuclear enrichment facility, is now fully operational and enriching uranium at a 20% level.The world learned about the existence of this site in 2009 when the Iranians disclosed it to the IAEA right before President Obama, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom, and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France made statements at the G-20 summit in Pittsburg that referenced the secret Iranian site. The site is built deep into a mountain on a Revolutionary Guards’ base near the city of Qom.The Iranian leaders had intended to transfer much of their low-enriched uranium stock from Natanz to Fordow and to start the process of enrichment at a much higher level with protection against any attack.It is reported that the site cannot be destroyed even with the current bunker-buster bombs kept in the U.S. military’s arsenal.It should be noted that the Fordow facility can only house 3,000 centrifuges, and is therefore useless for providing fuel for a nuclear power plant. The only purpose is for clandestine use or for making a nuclear bomb. It is also important to note that enriching uranium to the 20% level is 9/10 of the way to weaponization.Hmmmm......Flashback Feb 04 MFS - The Other News:"The maximum of 3,000 centrifuges that Fodow can contain will never produce enough to supply the fuel needed for a nuclear reactor.However, their performance is perfect for making nuclear bombs.First mentioned Januari 12Th.Read the full story here.
- Report: Obama Administration Footing The Bill For Taliban’s Qatar Office.(FNA).TEHRAN — Iranian Envoy to Kabul Fada Hossein Maleki underlined the US and its allies’ continued failures in the region, and said they have lost their reputation among the regional states.Maleki pointed to the complication of the security situation in the region and the failure of the US policies, and added that Washington and its allies have sustained heavy damages and lost their political prestige among regional countries.He emphasized that covert talks between the US and Taliban and the opening of an office for the militant group in Doha, Qatar, with Washington’s financial and political support show a stalemate in the West’s strategy.Analysts are skeptical of the prospects of meaningful peace negotiations with the Taliban.The developments came after the United States softened tone on the Taliban, an accomplice of the al-Qaeda which the US has long taken responsible for the 9/11 attacks on New York’s twin towers.Read the full story here.
- Mossad chief Tamir Pardo probed US reaction to unilateral Iran strike'.(JPost).In his recent meetings in Washington, DC Mossad chief Tamir Pardo aimed to discover how the US would react were Israel to unilaterally attack Iran's nuclear facilities, Newsweek reported Monday.According to an unnamed source in the report, Pardo asked if the US was ready to bomb, and if not, "What does it mean if [Israel] does it anyway?"The report also said "Israel has stopped sharing a significant amount of information with Washington regarding its own military preparations" over the Iran nuclear issue.Senior intelligence officials and a military officer said that Israel stopped sharing significant information with the United States for about four months after US President Barack Obama called for the Green Line to be the basis of peace talks with Palestinians. Despite resuming information sharing, the report says, Israel still withholds a "top layer of information" on Iran.Despite some differences, Newsweek wrote, the US and Israel have an implicit understanding on covert operations, with Israel carrying out those that the US is legally bound to avoid. According to the report, Obama is "willing to come at the Iran problem from every possible angle: from behind, from the sides, overtly, covertly, diplomatically, and economically."Read the full story here.
- Egypt frees Australian journalist, US student, accused of incitement.(BM).CAIRO: An Australian journalist and an American student accused of “inciting” residents in Mahalla in the Nile Delta to violence were finally released on Monday said, after more than 48 hours in detention and charges brought against them.Journalist Austin Mackell, American student Derek Ludovici and their Egyptian translator Aliya Alwi had been in detention for two days and saw charges of incitement brought against them by Egypt’s military junta.Alwi’s family reportedly met the three upon their release around 9 PM in Mahalla in the Nile Delta.The Australian Embassy was reported to have intervened on behalf of their citizen Mackell in assisting in the legal process to help him be released.Earlier on Monday, reports began circling that Mackell would be deported from the country, but sources have told Bikyamasr.com that he is not likely to face being forced to leave the country.The journalist and his translator were arrested on Saturday evening, and the two have been charged with “incitement” and bribing residents to commit acts of violence and have been transferred to a prosecutor’s office.Mackell and translator Aliya Alwi had been covering the protests taking place in the northern Egyptian town – the flashpoint of protests in 2008 – as part of the general strike that began on Saturday in Egypt when the military police arrested them.Alwi reported at 7 PM local time on Saturday that they had been transferred to the military prosecution in Tanta, about an hour north of Cairo. Many online referred to this change as “worrying.”Mackell, an Australian national and journalist based in Egypt has written extensively from Egypt, having been published in major international newspapers and publications including The Guardian UK. The pair have worked together regularly in Egypt.The day before Mackell and Alwi were arrested, two Italian photographers were detained in the Abbassiya neighborhood of Cairo while covering the protests in the area. They have been told to leave the country, witnesses said.Read the full story here.
- Bangkok: Iranian man throws bomb at police; 5 hurt.(Jpost).An Iranian man severely injured himself in Bangkok when he threw a bomb at Thai police and it ricocheted off a tree, exploding as it bounced back towards him, the English-language Thai newspaper The Bangkok Post reported Tuesday. The incident came one day after near simultaneous attacks on Israeli embassies in India and Georgia. Shortly before, there had been an explosion in a house the man was renting in the Ekamai area of central Bangkok, government spokeswoman Thitima Chaisaeng told reporters.Two bombs on Sukhumvit 71 road in the Thai capital wounded five people, including the Iranian man, according to the Post report. Witnesses reported seeing a man lying beside a blown-out telephone booth with his legs decimated.According to a Thai television report, an "Iranian man" carrying a "black bag" hurled the first bomb towards a taxi after the driver refused to accept him as a passenger. Thitima said police had tried to move in and arrest the man after the blast by the taxi but he attempted to throw another bomb at them. However, it went off before he was able to do that, blowing one leg off and wounding the other.Witnesses told the newspaper in Bangkok that an unidentified man hurled the explosive and then fled. Police in Bangkok said the bomb was thrown nearby the Kasempithaya School in Soi Pridhiphanomyong 31-33. Thai police have closed down the adjacent intersection for investigations, according to the Post.Thai police arrested two Lebanese men with alleged Hezbollah ties last month on suspicions of building an explosive device.Read the full story here.
- Yemen Jews fearful of future.(BM).SANA’A: Although only a few remain in the country, Yemen’s Jewish population has expressed their concern over the departure from power of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.Community leader Rabbi Yahia Youssef Mussa told Bikyamasr.com that Saleh had over his three decades in power and had always been “kind and compassionate” towards the community, adding that now that he was leaving he feared that “groups” would target his people.According to government sources, the Jewish community in Yemen only counts 450 people, with the great majority living in the northern province of Amran, which sits directly next to the al-Houthis controlled territories, a group of Shia rebels.The Rabbi, which since the beginning of the popular uprising found refuge in the capital with his family, said the al-Houthis had threatened to annihilate his people as part of its religious crusade. Since tensions between Iran and the Jewish state of Israel are flaring up, Yemeni Jews feel they will get caught in the cross-fire.“Al-Houthis are financed and groomed by Iran, therefore the Jewish community in Yemen has become their target … they have already pillaged our village and stole all our belongings,” said Rabbi Yahia.Moreover, the government asked several Jewish families to vacate the houses, which were put at their disposals when al-Houthis raided their village in Amran. The families were housed in the old Sana’a, since most tourists had long fled the touristic attraction for fear of violence.“We were living under President Saleh’s protection so far and I am now worried that the next government will ignore our plight. We don’t have the ability to push back the Shia militants if they attack us. What will become of us?” asked the rabbi.Read the full story here.
- Massacres committed in Syria’s Homs as Damascus ignores Arab plan to stop bloodshed.(AlArabiya).Shelling was reported in the Syrian town of Rastan early on Tuesday, after as many as 43 people have been killed on Monday, mostly in Homs and Idlib, Al Arabiya reported citing Syrian activists.Syrian Local Coordination Committees (LCC) said the massacres were committed in the protest hub of Rastan on Monday against unarmed civilians. Reports of action on the ground are difficult to verify because Syria restricts access by journalists.In Baba Amro, a rebel bastion in Homs, Syrian troops targeted vehicles carrying citizens who were trying to escape the violent crackdown, leaving scores of people dead, including children and women, LCC activists told Al Arabiya.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Baba Amro was hit by artillery.“The neighborhood of Baba Amro has been subjected to sporadic shelling since 5:00 am (0300 GMT) by the Syrian army,” the Britain-based group said in a statement.Al Arabiya showed footage of the destruction caused by the bombing of the Syrian cities.An Arab League peacekeeping plan for Syria was ignored on Monday and the U.N. rights chief said crimes against humanity had probably been committed in the country that has been rocked by protests for 11 months.Syrian President Bashar al-Assad swiftly rejected the Arab League initiative for a joint mission with the United Nations to end the bloodshed, according to AFP.The latest violence came as Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, delivered a stark verdict on the consequences of the international community’s failure to pass a U.N. resolution condemning the deadly crackdown.“The nature and scale of abuses committed by Syrian forces indicate that crimes against humanity are likely to have been committed since March 2011,” she told the U.N. General Assembly.“The failure of the Security Council to agree on firm collective action appears to have emboldened the Syrian government to launch an all-out assault in an effort to crush dissent with overwhelming force.”Activist Mohammad al-Homsi said the situation was getting worse. “Army roadblocks are increasing around opposition districts, there is a pattern to the bombardment now. It is heavy in the morning, then gives way to an afternoon lull and resumes at night,” Homsi told Reuters from the Homs.Read the full story here.
- Turkey detains five people suspected of turning over dissident colonel a founder of the Free Syrian Army to Syria.(AlArabiya).A Turkish court Sunday placed in detention five people suspected of turning over to Syria a founder of the Free Syrian Army who is reported to have since been executed, reports said.The suspects ordered held by the court in the southern city of Adana include a member of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), the Anatolia news agency reported.They are being investigated for “political espionage” and for deprivation of liberty in the case of colonel Hussein Harmush and Mustafa Kassum, it said.The two men were taken out of a refugee camp in Altinozu, Hatay province, near the Syrian border “by force” and handed over to Syrian security forces, the Adana prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Friday.In June 2011, Harmush became the first Syrian military officer to publicly declare his opposition to President Bashar al-Assad regime’s deadly crackdown on protesters as he spoke to AFP in the Turkish village of Guvecci.On January 30, the Syrian League for Human Rights said that Harmush had been executed.“An air force intelligence unit last week carried out a sentence to shoot dead officer Hussein Harmush,” the non-governmental group said in a statement, which could not be immediately confirmed.Read the full story here.
Spielberg to make Armenian “Genocide” film.(ArmenianPulse).By Michael Santo.Both renowned producer-director Steven Spielberg and Schindler’s List writer Steven Zaillian are in negotiations with the Armenian National Cinema Center to develop a full-length feature film on the Armenian Genocide, Nouvelles d`Armйnie reports.Steven Spielberg and Zaillian collaborated on Schinder’s List. Spielberg also produced and directed the movie Munich.
It is hoped that the film will be ready by 2015, in time for the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The date of the beginning of the Armenian Genocide is conventionally held to be April 24, 1915, the day that Ottoman authorities arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople.The Armenian Genocide has also been called the Armenian Massacres and, by Armenians, the Great Crime. The number of Armenian deaths is generally held to have been between one and one and a half million.Turkey continues to deny the existence of the Armenian Genocide ever occurred. Instead, Turkey says that while that during World War I, many Armenians died, the number of Armenian victims has been greatly inflated.The country continues to face calls to accept the events of that period as genocide. Reportedly, to date, twenty countries have officially recognized the events of the period as genocide. Most historians also accept this view.
Gevorg Gevorgyan, Director of the Armenfilm studio and of the National Film Center in Yerevan said, “By the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide we must show the world a film that would be even more impressive than Mayrik or Ararat. Armenian and foreign actors will play in the film.”Read the full story here.
Clenched Fist Symbolizes Left's Love Of Coercion.(GrasStopsUSA).By Don Feder.Since the Bolshevik Revolution, the clenched fist has been the left’s most visible symbol.
In the ‘60s, it adorned posters and buttons and was adopted as a symbol of revolution by SDS, the black power movement, feminists and other Trotsky wannabes here and abroad. Now, it’s been resurrected by some in Occupy Wall Street. The symbolism couldn’t be more fitting. Fists are for smashing (institutions and traditions), bashing (heads) and pounding (square pegs into round holes). Whether it’s called Marxism, socialism, liberalism or the Obama administration, the left is about compulsion – forcing individuals to surrender cherished beliefs, compelling acceptance of the lifestyle choices of others, reshaping our national identity and pulverizing constitutional protections. If the left was a corporation (actually, it’s more of a criminal conspiracy), its motto would be: “Coercion is our most important product!” Take last week’s headlines: Obama offers a contraceptive “compromise” that still assaults religious freedom, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals abolishes marriage, for all intent and purposes. On Friday, Obama announced the resolution of a crisis he created: Charities and other Catholic institutions won’t have to pay directly for contraceptives, abortifcaients and sterilizations through their insurance plans. Instead, they’ll be required to negotiate with insurers to provide them free of charge (i.e., someone else will pay).
It was never about who would bear the cost, but compelling Catholic employers to make available that which their Church forbides. “Women must have access,” the administration’s spokesmen squeaked. “Because it promotes maternal and child health (a dubious assumption), by allowing women to space their pregnancies,” these “historic new guidelines” will make sure “women will have access to a full range of preventive measures.”
Leftist coercion is woven into the fabric of 21st century life. Its symptoms include speech codes, discrimination suits (heresy trials), mandatory sensitivity training and distortion of the First Amendment Establishment Clause to create religion-free zones.
In Revolutionary France, priests and nuns were massacred and Notre Dame turned into a temple to the “Goddess of Reason.” Obama would make the U.S. Catholic Church an auxiliary of the Goddesses of Feminism and Population Control. If there was honesty in political advertising, President Obama would conclude each of his addresses with a clenched-fist salute, while his friend, 60s terrorist Bill Ayers, hummed “The Ballad of Joe Hill” in the background.Read the full story here.
OIC to Hold Anti-Islamophobia Workshop in Brussels.(Abna).The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is to hold a media workshop in Brussels on Feb 15 to 16 pertaining to the ant-Islamic campaigns against Islam featured in some newspapers and media institutions, primarily in the West.The objective of this first-of-its-kind workshop is to develop media-related mechanisms to address these smear campaigns, the OIC said in a statement.
The two-day workshop will take the form of a series of brainstorming sessions to develop mechanisms for cooperation with external partners and to develop an action plan to address the phenomenon of ant-Islam media campaigns."The workshop will represent a quantum leap in media action, as it discusses, beyond rhetoric, the practical steps to address the phenomenon of Islamophobia," the OIC said.Muslim as well as non-Muslim leading civil society organisations, journalists, intellectuals and academicians are among the participants of the workshop.The idea to organize a media workshop was first noted at the Mecca OIC Extraordinary Summit of 2005 and was shaped by the OIC Ten Year Programme of Action and the Islamic Conferences of Information Ministers (ICIM) in the years that followed.
The OIC said the recommendations of the workshop will be presented for endorsement and implementation to the 9th session of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers (ICIM) which will be held in Libreville, Gabon (west central Africa), in April 2012.
The organisation noted that the workshop is of particular importance as it will be held only weeks before the convening of the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva in March, at which Resolution 16/18 will come to a vote for the second time after its unanimous endorsement in the previous session.Resolution 16/18 aims to combat intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatisation of discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief.
The resolution was an outcome of bilateral talks between the OIC and a number of Western countries, including the U.S. Two meetings were held in Istanbul and Washington, respectively, to develop operational mechanisms to implement the resolution at the level of the United Nations.
Reports say Resolution 16/18, which was adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva in March 2011, was backed by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the most recent Istanbul Process Conference in Washington in December.This is widely viewed as a significant step forward in OIC efforts to advance the international legal concept of defaming Islam.Hmmm.....How about other religions do they have rights also?Read the full story here.
U.S. Navy claims Iran preparing ‘suicide boats’ in case of conflict, previous U.S. Wargames consider serious US losses.
U.S. Navy claims Iran preparing ‘suicide boats’ in case of conflict.(AA).Iran has built up its naval forces in the Gulf and prepared boats that could be used in suicide attacks, but the U.S. navy can prevent it from blocking the Strait of Hormuz, the commander of U.S. naval forces in the region said on Sunday. Iran has made a series of threats in recent weeks to disrupt shipping in the Gulf or strike U.S. forces in retaliation if its oil trade is shut down by sanctions, or if its disputed nuclear program comes under attack.“They have increased the number of submarines ... they increased the number of fast attack craft,” Vice Admiral Mark Fox told reporters. “Some of the small boats have been outfitted with a large warhead that could be used as a suicide explosive device. The Iranians have a large mine inventory.” “We have watched with interest their development of long range rockets and short, medium and long range ballistic missiles and of course ... the development of their nuclear program,” Fox, who heads the U.S. Fifth Fleet, said at a briefing on the fleet’s base in the Gulf state of Bahrain.Iran now has 10 small submarines, he said.Military experts say the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet patrolling the Gulf - which always has at least one giant supercarrier accompanied by scores of jets and a fleet of frigates and destroyers - is overwhelmingly more powerful than Iran’s navy.Contacts between the U.S. Navy and Iranian craft in the Gulf region were routine, Fox said, referring to cases where his sailors helped Iranian ships that were in distress or threatened by pirates.In addition to commanding the Fifth Fleet, Fox is also the commander of a multinational naval task force charged with ensuring Gulf shipping routes stay open. Although most of its firepower is American, the task force also includes other Western countries and the Gulf Arab states.The European Union slapped an embargo on Iranian oil last month, which is due to kick in completely by July 1. Hmmm.......I sure hope they do better than in the "Millenium Challenge '02
That was the real lesson of Millennium Challenge II. And that's what has the Navy so furious at van Riper: he blew their cover. He showed all the hicks back home that the carrier battle fleet can be sunk by "small planes and boats." As weapons become smaller and deadlier, big targets just won't survive. Read the full story here.More on "Millenium Challenge" here.
Obama set to approve Egypt, PA aid despite tensions.(JPost).WASHINGTON – Despite recent tensions between the US and Egypt and a new Palestinian Authority government set to include Hamas, the Obama administration budget unveiled Monday maintains nearly the same level of funding for both in 2013.Egypt, which has arrested several US citizens who work for NGOs promoting democracy, is slated to receive $1.3 billion for military assistance under the plan and $250 million for economic assistance, as was also approved for 2012.“Our goal is to provide the necessary funds. It’s obviously clear to all of us that we have issues we need to work through, and we’re working very aggressively to do so,” said Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides after the budget plan was released. “But this budget reflects our commitment and our desire to fully fund this initiative.”He said the administration would be consulting with Congress, several members of which have said the detentions could cause the US to withhold money from Cairo.The Palestinians will see a slight roll back in economic aid from $395m. in 2012 to $370m. in 2013 as well as cut back in police training from $150m. to $70m.The budget plan also fully funds US military assistance to Israel as agreed under the 10-year Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries, and includes a $770m. “Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund.”The allocation, of which officials said $700m. was new money, is aimed at allowing the US “to quickly respond to dramatic changes in the region and incentivize reforms,” according to a State Department budget fact sheet.“We’re in a new world. The Arab Spring has come. We need to make sure we have the tools and the flexibility to fund these initiatives,” Nides said.(Is he talking a new Palestinian state in 2013?)
He said when it comes to the role of Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization, and its role in the Palestinian government, the administration would revisit the issue in 2013 when the money was actually due to be allocated.“When we get to 2013 and we have to work with Congress on the allocations we have to assess where that is a year from now... and the make-up of the government,” he said.
HT:IsraelMatzav.Obama decreases Israel's defence Budget!Tucked within Obama’s 2013 budget proposal is a request to reduce the amount of money Israel receives for its critical missile defense systems by $6.3 million relative to the 2012 budget proposal. Among these defense systems are Arrow and David’s Sling, both of which are jointly operated with the U.S.Publicly, the president has referred to himself as a stalwart champion of the U.S.-Israel military alliance. But administration efforts to reduce the amount of missile defense aid that Israel receives appear to be a growing trend in the president’s budget proposals.In fiscal year 2011, the administration requested $121.7 million in military aid for Israel’s key missile defense programs, according to the Defense Department. That number dropped to $106.1 million in the 2012 budget proposal, and plummeted again to $99.8 million in Obama’s newly released 2013 proposal.
“The continued downward slide in President Obama’s requests for critical US-Israel missile defense programs is troubling, and while Israel can continue to rely on close friends on Capitol Hill to make up the shortfall in funds needed, one is left wondering what President Obama would do if he becomes a lame duck President,” said a defense budget analyst who has tracked Israel funding for years, but was not authorized to speak on record.
Hmmmm.......Rewarding Terrorists punishing allies !FlashBack:"MFS - The Other News" May 2011 "Muslim Brotherhood to Obama : "Go to Hell".Egyptian Government Rejects US Conditional Aid".Read the full story here.
Posted and exposed By HT: Alexander Munch. by Haseeb Shah February 13, 2012.The number of Indian children being trafficked to Israel, brutally tortured, killed and consumed as food every year far exceeds the number of deaths in Syria's civil unrest but there is no international outcry about it. RAW had proposed a processing facility to prepare and ship the meat of Indians to Israel but it was rejected because Jewish custom requires the victims to be tortured and killed over several hours before they can be eaten. A by- product of their being killed in Israel rather than India is that their skins are found to be incomparably more valuable than their meat and are used in the manufacture of super-expensive shoes and handbags. Should RAW's trafficking of Indian children to Israel as food and for their skins be a cause for regime change? You bet! This trafficking has the sanction of the Italian woman but is she a member of Indian society? The wealth that Imelda Marcos and her husband in the Philippines amassed was not even peanuts compared to the wealth amassed by the Italian woman just as Imelda Marcos' world famous shoe collection was nothing compared to the Italian woman's fetish for shoes made from the skins of Indian children. The Italian woman gifted some of these shoes made from the skins of Indian children to the French president's wife who is Italian. Also handbags. The United States Secretary of State had requested one such handbag and it was sent to her by special jet which made the trip just for this purpose. Soon it will be a standard gift item to give to people in American and European governments. The BJP said its ministers in the Karnataka legislature were only "watching" violent porn videos on a smart phone, not "doing" it. Owners of these shoes & handbags -- who report wearing these shoes or carrying the handbag to be an intensely sexual experience -- get videos of the prolonged torture, killing & skinning of the child whose skin was used in their shoes or handbags & can choose the child in advance.
Twitter @haseebshah08 Srinagar, Kashmir, J&K
Electrical Engineering Student at NIT, Social Media Enthusiast. Hodophile, Exuberant,
This page was still reachable on the 14Th of February Thursday morning!
Now… Obama Campaign Launches ‘Truth Teams’.(ABC).The Obama campaign is today beginning a new effort to enlist and educate at least 2 million supporters for a “grassroots communications team” they’re calling the Truth Team.“The goal is to ensure that when Republicans attack President Obama’s record, grassroots supporters can take ownership of the campaign and share the facts with the undecided voters in their lives,” the campaign said in a statement.
The teams will be first launched in 13 “swing states,” including Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia.The rollout also includes a social media blitz, directing supporters to three new websites: KeepingHisWord.com, which highlights Obama’s record and “promises kept”; KeepingGOPHonest.com, which highlights GOP policy positions; and AttackWatch.com, which fact-checks claims made against Obama on the campaign trail.
Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said the initiative reflects a desperate attempt to spin Obama’s negative track record from his first term.
“The Obama campaign is organizing propaganda teams to deceive voters because Americans are catching onto the reality that Obama’s record doesn’t match his rhetoric,” Kukowski said in an email. “How else will they mask the broken promises like introducing another trillion dollar deficit or the fact that the president continues to recycle the same proposals without ever seeing results?”
I guess owning 99% of the media isn’t enough. When the other 1% challenges them, they must “fight back” or something.What a joke. Can a Ministry of Truth be far behind?Hmmmm..........‘Truth Teams’ a.k.a. people's Commissars?Read the full story here.More here.
Pastor Umar Mulinde was viciously attacked in his home country of Uganda in response to his work as a preacher. Friends from Israel’s JerusalemOnlineU.com jumped in to help, bringing him to Israel for treatment.
Rich People Win, Poor Kids Lose, in Obama’s America.(Heritage).Want a clear indication of President Barack Obama’s priorities? Take a look at the spending decisions emerging from his Administration today. In the battle between $40,000 dollar-electric-car-buying yuppies and at-risk kids in the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, rich people won, and they have President Obama to thank for it.
Today, President Obama put the taxpayers’ money where his allegiances lie. The Daily Caller reports that the White House intends to increase taxpayer-funded subsidies for those who purchase new-technology vehicles, including the Chevy Volt, to $10,000 per buyer, up from $7,500.
In case you haven’t been shopping for a Volt — and odds are, you haven’t — the vehicle carries a hefty $41,000 price tag. So what kind of person benefits from that tax credit? General Motors says the average income of a Volt buyer is $175,000 per year. And according to Bill Visnic, senior editor for Edmunds.com, “The Volt appeals to an affluent, progressive demographic.” In other words: rich yuppies.The Daily Caller reports that the subsidy “would cost taxpayers $100 million each year if it is approved by Congress, presuming only 10,000 new-technology autos are sold each year.” And if the President reaches his goal of putting 1 million of those kinds of cars on the road by 2015, the subsidy could cost $10 billion.Why is the subsidy necessary? It’s no big mystery. Despite the slick marketing, high-gas mileage, and environmentally friendly cachet that comes along with them, the cars just aren’t selling. In January, General Motors sold 603 Volts — almost twice as many as in January 2010, but less than half of its total sales in December. And in 2011, GM missed its projected sales volume for the vehicle, shipping 7,671 of the vehicles — well short of its target of 10,000.
Automakers, of course, have a lot riding on the vehicles — but so does President Obama. His Administration has banked heavily on the vehicles being an important part of his energy policy and the “new green economy.” That strategy, though, is failing. No matter how much the President wants consumers to buy electric cars, most consumers don’t want them. But whether they like it or not, those consumers are subsidizing the buyers who do.
While the rich are riding in their taxpayer-subsidized electric cars, the losers in President Obama’s America are at-risk kids languishing in under-performing schools in Washington, D.C. As part of his FY 2013 budget, President Obama eliminates funding for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which throws a school choice lifeline to children who would otherwise be left hopeless in Washington’s public school system.Thanks to the program, more than 1,600 low-income children in the nation’s Capital are using vouchers this school year to attend a school that they choose. The program has been a stunning success. Heritage’s Lindsey Burke writes:
According to federally-mandated evaluations of the program, student achievement has increased, and graduation rates of voucher students have increased significantly. While graduation rates in D.C. Public Schools hover around 55 percent, students who used a voucher to attend private school had a 91 percent graduation rate. How much does this kind of success cost? A mere $8,000 per student, compared to the estimated $18,000 spent per child by D.C. Public Schools.
To be clear: $10,000 in taxpayer funds to subsidize the purchase of an electric car versus $8,000 to give a child a choice in education. We know what the President chose. Which would you pick?Read the full story here.