Friday, February 24, 2012
Laïs is a Belgian group that creates folk, and world music consisting of polyphonic close harmony songs, occasionally a cappella, based on self-composed melodies with lyrics dating back to the Middle Ages. "Laïs" is a Celtic word, meaning "voice".
‘Friends of Syrian People’ kicks off in Tunis; Saudi delegation pulls out citing ‘inactivity’.(AlArabiya).The Saudi delegation withdrew from the “Friends of the Syrian People” meeting in Tunis over what it saw as the gathering’s “inactivity”, Al Arabiya reported.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal left the meeting after saying in a speech that focusing on humanitarian aid to Syria was “not enough.”“There is no other means but transferring power either voluntarily or by force. Is it justice to offer aid and leave the Syrians to the killing machine? ” he said.
Faisal said that the Syrian regime has lost legitimacy and turned into an occupation-like authority. “My country will not take part in an action that will not lead to the quick protection of the Syrians,” he said.Faisal said that giving weapons to the Syrian opposition facing a violent crackdown by government forces is an excellent idea, according to Reuters.
Asked if he thought arming the Syrian opposition was a good idea, the Saudi minister said: “I think it's an excellent idea.”
Asked why, he said: “Because they have to protect themselves.”
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani backed calls at the conference for an Arab peacekeeping force in Syria.
“We want this meeting to be a start to stopping the violence in Syria and this cannot be done except after the formation of an international Arab force to maintain security, the opening of secure humanitarian corridors to bring aid to the Syrian people and the application of Arab League decisions,” he told the meeting.
Arab League chief Nabil al-Araby called on the U.N. Security Council to issue an urgent resolution calling for a ceasefire in Syria.“This conference should make practical moves and prioritize the issuance of an urgent Security Council resolution for a ceasefire,” he told the opening session of the meeting in Tunis.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on the world to find ways to deny the Syrian government “the means with which to perpetrate atrocities against the Syrian people.”“We must seek ways and means of enforcing an arms embargo upon the regime,” Davutoglu told the meeting in the Tunisian capital.He said a significant number of countries taking part in the meeting, including Turkey, had already put into effect such measures, but a broader effort was needed.Hmmm......."May you live in interesting times?"Like it or not, we live in interesting times.Read the full story here.
Live blogging on the evolving situation here. (Guardian).
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Tonga 5.4 !More info here.
- Several police hurt by rioters at Temple Mount.(JPost).Security forces dispersed hundreds of Muslim worshipers rioting and throwing stones at the Temple Mount following Friday prayers. Eleven police officers injured by stones were treated on the scene and four rioters were detained, with additional arrests expected.Police managed to disperse all of the rioters with stun grenades, including several youths who took refuge in the Aqsa Mosque.Security forces raided the Aqsa Mosque plaza after the rioters threw stones at police at the Mughrabi Gate at the entrance to the compound.Jerusalem Police had warned of unrest at the Temple Mount earlier in the week as right-wing activists said they would ascend to the holy site and Palestinian activists responded by saying they would come to "protect" the area.Overnight Monday, police raided an apartment in Jerusalem's Ramot neighborhood and found extremist right-wing documents related to the Temple Mount. Police arrested one activist and took him for investigation.On Sunday, Police arrested 18 Muslims during unrest that broke out on the Temple Mount after 50 protesters pelted tourists and officers with stones.Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said the protesters were reacting to reports that a group of Jews bent on destroying the Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock and building the Third Temple on the site planned to ascend the Temple Mount en masse.There were similar rumors of such an attempt to be led by Likud activist Moshe Feiglin the previous Sunday.Read the full story here.
- Obama: “When Congress Refuses to Act, Joe And I Are Going to Act”.(CNSNews).In keeping with his “We Can’t Wait” initiative, President Barack Obama has once again asserted that if Congress does not enact his policies in the future, he will continue to forge ahead on his own.“When Congress refuses to act, Joe and I are going to act,” Obama said on Tuesday, with Vice President Joe Biden at his side. “In the months to come, wherever we have an opportunity, we’re going to take steps on our own to keep this economy moving.”Obama, speaking at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building near the White House, praised Congress for voting to extend the payroll tax cut. He said this helps the middle class, adding that he will fight for middle class voters regardless of what Congress does.Hmmmm......Obama Blames "Founding Fathers" For Making It Difficult For Him To "Bring Change"But..."I will keep plotting"Read the full story here.
- Secret Obama memo wanted the $800 billion stimulus to be—gasp!—$1.8 trillion.(A).By James Pethokoukis.It could have been bigger. Much, much bigger.Back in late 2008, soon-to-be Obama White House economic adviser Christina Romer prepared a policy memo—the contents a mystery until now—about how the new administration should deal with the collapsing economy. Romer thought to really do the job, the stimulus—later called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—should have been $1.8 trillion .This memo was dug up by Noam Scheiber of The New Republic magazine. Now, Obama never saw that $1.8 trillion number since Larry Summers, who was leading the econ team, thought it was politically impossible.Read the full story here.
- Correcting the Record: Five Half-Truths From Obama on Higher Gas Prices.(Heritage).During a speech on gas prices Thursday in Miami, the President tried to dodge responsibility for the pain Americans are feeling at the pump. Recognizing the trouble these higher prices are causing Americans, the President tried hard to demonstrate his concern over higher prices. But as the video above shows, the President and his Administration have repeatedly stated that they want higher energy prices. They want to use the pressure of higher energy costs as an excuse to force their green energy boondoggle on Americans.In a new report, Heritage’s Nick Loris breaks down five half-truths in the President’s speech.Read the full story here.
- Several members of the Congress received mail threatening a biological attack.(BLN).Several members of the Congress received mail threatening a biological attack and containing a suspicious powder later found to be harmless as law enforcement officials warned on Wednesday that more letters could be on their way.A number of media organizations and TV shows, including the New York Times and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, received mail postmarked Oregon warning that letters had been sent to the Washington or local offices of all 100 U.S. senators and that 10 contained a deadly pathogen, a law enforcement source said.House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, received a letter containing a powdery substance at one of his offices in his home state of Ohio, a Republican aide said, adding that the powder was harmless.Letters containing powder were also received at the home-state office of two senators, according to Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer, the chamber's chief law enforcement officer. Tests found the powder was harmless, Gainer said in a statement. He did not identify the senators.In a notice to Senate staffers titled "Urgent: Suspicious Mail Alert," Gainer warned that the sender of the letters had "indicated that additional letters containing a powdery substance will be arriving at more Senate offices and that some of these letters may contain actual harmful material."Read the full story here.
- Egyptian Islamist presidential hopeful attacked by armed men.(AlArabiya).A prominent Islamist candidate for the Egyptian presidency was attacked by armed men overnight and was in an intensive care unit in hospital suffering from brain concussion, aides and police said on Friday, underscoring an increase in crime a year after a country wide uprising.Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, 60, was on his way home from a campaign event in the city of Munufeya when three armed men wearing masks and carrying machineguns stopped him.“They beat him on the head repeatedly, took the car and ran,” said campaign team member Ahmed Osama.“He is now in the intensive care unit and conscious,” said Osama.The attack occurred two weeks before candidates register to run in the presidential election that Egypt is holding under plans by the ruling military council to hand over power to a new head of state at the end of June.Abul Fotouh, a former senior member of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood movement, is considered one of the more popular candidates in the election, which is set to take place by the end of June.He was expelled from the Muslim Brotherhood, which emerged as the biggest single party in a parliamentary election, when he defied its decision not to put up a presidential candidate.Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, one of the most widely respected Sunni Muslim clerics in the Arab world, has described Abul Fotouh as the “leading candidate” in a field including former Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, a liberal and former foreign minister.Police have reported a spike in crime after an uprising overthrew president Hosni Mubarak one year ago, and which also targeted police stations across the country.Drivers in particular complain of an increase in carjackings on Cairo’s ring road.Read the full story here.
- Turkey plans to buy 100 US F-35 fighters.(HD).Turkey is planning to purchase 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters worth $16 billion in an attempt to meet its future air force needs, DefenSe Minister ismet YIlmaz was quoted as saying today."Turkey plans to buy 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, two of which will be delivered in 2015," Yilmaz told the daily Milliyet.It is the first public announcement by Ankara of how much the program will cost.Turkey has long planned to purchase about 100 jets to replace its ageing F-4 and F-16 fleet, but increasing costs have hampered the acquisitions.The Joint Strike Fighter, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, is the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program ever.The U.S. defense department plans to buy more than 2,400 of the aircraft at a cost of about 385 billion dollars. The cost of each plane is now well over 100 million dollars.Hmmmm......Strange investment for a 'peaceloving' country.Certainly now that the U.S. thanks to Obama has only 100 operational combat planes.Read the full story here.
- How did CIA chief pack and deliver Öcalan to MİT undersecretary?(HD).in the February 28 (28 Şubat) documentary, a truth that only a few people have known for years is going to be revealed. It has been talked about a lot up until now and everybody has said something. According to some, the Israeli secret service Mossad provided enormous support and played a significant part in Öcalan’s capture. According to others, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) brought Öcalan from Kenya in an extremely successful mission. Neither of these is true.First of all, the Armed Forces made almost no contribution in the capture of Öcalan. This operation was, from the beginning to the end, conducted and finalized by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT). Starting from the planning of an attack against the villa the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader held in Rome, Italy, to his transfer from Kenya to here, every stage proceeded under MİT’s control.A detail, the most interesting of all and one that was not known widely, will come up tonight.It started with the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Ankara station chief asking for an appointment from the then MİT Undersecretary Şenkal Atasagun. The CIA chief extended an A4 size paper to Atasagun. When Atasagun read what was written on the paper, he understood that the business was over. I don’t want to spoil your pleasure by explaining what was written on that paper and how the incident developed.Read the full story here.
- Pakistani Taliban Behead 70-Year-Old Baker Accused Of Being a “Spy”.(CAO).The February 12 decapitation of a 70-year-old baker in Landi Kotal, Khyber Agency, by the Taliban has terrorised the local population and aroused universal condemnation from tribal society and rights activists.The Taliban accused the man of being a spy in an attempt to justify his murder.“Waris Khan had always lived a clean life and confined himself to a limited number of friends,” Qadeer Jan, a close friend of the murdered baker, told Central Asia Online, while refusing to comment on militant behaviour on grounds of personal safety.Taliban terror is the main reason local residents will not comment on such matters, said local elder Hasam ud Din.The Taliban’s “executions” have no legal backing, said Karim Mehsud, former president of the FATA Lawyers Forum. Pakistani law prescribes capital punishment for spying, Mehsud said. “But assisting government officials or security forces is no crime, and executing anyone on these charges is totally against the law.” “Every civilised citizen of Pakistan is under a moral and legal obligation to serve the country ... such behaviour ... cannot be called spying,” he said. Hmmmm......Aren't you glad Obama is willing to release the Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo?Read the full story here.
- Somalia: Al-Shabaab Beheads 16-Year-Old Girl Who Refused To Marry Jihadist Commander.(Telegraph).Gunmen from the Islamist al-Shabaab militia have routinely abducted teenage girls to work as servants on the frontline and forced them to marry fighters, according to a new report documenting the abuse of children in Somalia’s civil war.The report by Human Rights Watch also found that as fighting has intensified over the past two years, al-Shabaab has increasingly targeted boys as young as 10 for action on the frontline to join its dwindling ranks. Whole classrooms have been forced at gunpoint to leave school and fight.Researchers found that after several weeks of harsh training child recruits are sent for action where they often serve as “cannon fodder” to protect adult fighters.“It is a new, disturbing pattern using children as human shields,” said Laetitia Bader, one of the principal authors and researchers of the report.Boys who escaped camps were either mown down or faced long and terrifying journeys to sanctuary elsewhere in Somalia or across the border in Kenya.Girls who resisted capture can face the most appalling consequences, Human Rights Watch found. A 16-year-old girl who refused to marry an al-Shabaab commander who was three times her age was killed by his men and beheaded. Her head was brought back to the school as a warning to others.Hmmmm.....The 'people' the Turkish IHH aids.Read the full story here.
- PA TV glorifies violence and Martyrdom.(PW).Song: "Palestine is a state built...with the Martyr's blood, with gunfire".Official Palestinian Authority television twice broadcast a song stating that violence and the "Martyr's blood" will be used to achieve the Palestinian state. The song demonizes Israel as a "treacherous aggressor" and a "sinner."Songs promoting violence and demonizing Israel are frequently broadcast on PA TV, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch. Click to view recent examples here and here.The following is the full text of the song broadcast on PA TV.Read and see the full story here.
Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Compares Hassan Nasrallah to Goebbels and the Ideology of Iran to Hitler's Ideology.
Mustafa Alloush: Hitler also... I have the right to say this. I heard you out.
Interviewer: As far as you are concerned, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah is like Hitler?
Mustafa Alloush: He can be compared to Goebbels…
Interviewer: Okay. You see him as a Nazi, a Fascist.
Mustafa Alloush: He does not run the show. The show is run from Iran, by Sayyid Khamenei and the ideology founded by Imam Khomeini. In my opinion, their ideology is similar to that of the Nazi leader. [Hitler] also viewed it as an enterprise for the future of civilization, which would unite all. Alexander the Great and Napoleon at one point believed in the same thing. They thought that if they conquered and united the world, it would be beneficial for the future. In fact, it turned out that you cannot limit the world to the confines of your own perspective. Society is pluralistic, and it will remain so, no matter what.
Interviewer: I think that the worst attack on Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah is to compare him to…
Mustafa Alloush: Let's examine his style and his conduct… I respect the man. Don't think I don't. Source.
Interviewer: Citizenship means equality between all people in a certain country, whether Muslims on non-Muslims. In a country with multiple sectarian and religious denominations, can the head of state be non-Muslim?
Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: The head of a Muslim state must be a Muslim.
Interviewer: Doesn't this contradict the notion of citizenship?
Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: No. In principle, all people should be equal, but in a Muslim country, the imam should serve as a role model for Muslims. He leads the prayers. How can you ask a non-Muslim to pray? Source.
MK Ben Ari denied entry visa to U.S. over link to terrorist group.(Haaretz).The U.S. government has refused to issue an entry visa to MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union ) on the grounds that he belongs to a "terrorist organization."
Ben Ari applied to the American consulate for a visa so he could attend two conferences in the United States this week.
Though the consulate did not specify what group he is suspected of belonging to, he said he presumes it is Kach, the former far-right political party that both Israel and America now deem a banned terrorist organization.
In response, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud ) sent an angry letter to U.S. ambassador Dan Shapiro, saying it was unacceptable for a Knesset member to be banned from the United States and urging him to reconsider.
"National Union," Rivlin wrote, "is a completely legitimate faction of the Israeli parliament, and Ben Ari an elected representative of the State of Israel, a close American ally. To impugn him as belonging to a terrorist organization and bar him from visiting the country is unacceptable," he charged.
Ben Ari said he found it strange that a country which has granted visas to both Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (who was involved for decades in PLO terror ) should bar him "on the grounds that I'm a terrorist." Read the full story here.
Obama's White house 'guest' Badr Corps commander Hadi al-Ameri visits Khamenei to kiss his hand.Read the full story here.
'Hamas will demand key positions in 'Palestinian' unity gov't'.(JPost).Hamas will demand that members of its organization fill key roles in the unity government with Fatah if it is to agree to allow Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to serve as the interim government's prime minister, Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported on Thursday.According to the report, Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mahsaal will present his conditions to Abbas at a meeting between the two leaders in Cairo on Thursday.
Al-Ahram quoted Palestinian sources as saying Hamas would demand that one of its members serve as deputy prime minister in the unity government and that Hamas control the government's interior, justice and finance ministries.
The sources said that Abbas was expected to refuse the Hamas demands and insist that the sensitive posts in the new government be filled by more internationally accepted figures.
On the eve of the Abbas-Mashaal meeting, Hamas announced that its leaders have agreed to end their differences over the Qatari-brokered reconciliation pact.Hamas’s political bureau announced, following a meeting in the Egyptian capital, its support for the reconciliation accord, Ezat Risheq, a senior Hamas official, said.A dispute had erupted within Hamas over the Qatari-sponsored deal that Abbas and Mashaal signed in Doha on February 6.Hmmmm.......Obama backs PA aid despite the new Palestinian Authority government is set to include Hamas.
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.An administration official explained the first reduction as stemming from an improved economic situation in the Palestinian territories and the second as due to the curtailment of US provision of equipment for police officers as those supplies have already been delivered.
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.
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.Hmmmm.........How much of that $ 700 Million will go to the by Obama 'officially recognised' state of Palestine once Obama gets his second term?Read the full story here.
Note in this overview of donated US Aid to Palestine that the more money they recieve the lower their GDP becomes!
For More financial info Here.
Kofi Annan appointed UN-Arab League envoy to Syria.(Dawn).UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby on Thursday appointed Ban’s predecessor Kofi Annan as joint special envoy on the Syrian crisis, the United Nations announced.
Annan “will provide good offices aimed at bringing an end to all violence and human rights violations, and promoting a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis,” a UN statement said.
It said that Annan will be guided by last week’s resolution of the UN General Assembly, which endorsed an Arab League plan for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside, and other Arab League decisions on Syria.
“He will consult broadly and engage with all relevant interlocutors within and outside Syria in order to end the violence and the humanitarian crisis,” the statement said.
Annan will also “facilitate a peaceful Syrian-led and inclusive political solution that meets the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people through a comprehensive political dialogue between the Syrian government and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition.”Read the full story here.
'Iran set to expand nuclear activity in bunker', but 'US does not believe Iran trying to build nuclear bomb'.
'Iran set to expand nuclear activity in bunker', but 'US does not believe Iran trying to build nuclear bomb'.(JPost).VIENNA - Iran is believed to be carrying out preparations to expand nuclear activity deep inside a mountain, diplomats say, in a further sign of defiance in the face of intensifying Western pressure to curb its sensitive uranium enrichment drive.
Increased capacity at the Fordow underground site would probably heighten Western suspicion of Iran's intentions, after it last month started refining uranium there to a level that cuts the time it would need for any nuclear weapons bid.
A senior team of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) failed again this week to get the Islamic state to start addressing their mounting concerns about its nuclear work and returned empty handed to Vienna after two days of talks in Iran.The UN agency is now putting the finishing touches to its next report on Iran, expected to include information on the Tehran talks as well as more detail on the status of the Fordow plant near the Shi'ite Muslim holy city of Qom."I think we will see a jump in the potential state of readiness of the facility," one Vienna-based envoy said.
Fordow is of particular concern for the West and Israel as Iran is shifting the most controversial aspect of its nuclear work, refining uranium to a level that takes it significantly closer to potential bomb material, to the site."As Israel sees it, the nuclear program represents a serious threat; the time when Iran's putative efforts to build a bomb will become immune to a strike is fast approaching; and military action in the near future - perhaps as early as this year - therefore is a real possibility," it said.A Western official said Fordow was a very sensitive issue: "I'm not quite sure the Iranians understand they are playing with fire there."Iran last month said it had started to refine uranium to a fissile concentration of 20 percent, compared with the 3.5 percent normally used for nuclear power plants, at Fordow.Soon afterward, it doubled production capacity to a total of more than 600 uranium enrichment centrifuges at Fordow, diplomats have told Reuters.Iran now appears to be making preparations for a further increase in the number of the cylindrical machines, (3.000) spinning at supersonic speeds to increase the concentration of the fissile U-235 isotope, at the facility."They are working towards full installation," said another diplomat in the Austrian capital. "But they are not installed and ready to operate yet."
Iran said last year that it would transfer its highest-grade uranium refinement work to Fordow from an above-ground research and development facility at its main enrichment plant at Natanz, and sharply boost capacity.It says it will use 20 percent-enriched uranium to convert into fuel for a research reactor making isotopes to treat cancer patients, but Western officials say they doubt Iran has the capability to do that on an industrial scale.
In addition, they say, Fordow's capacity - up to 3,000 centrifuges - is too small to produce the fuel needed for nuclear power plants, but ideal for yielding smaller amounts of high-enriched product typical of a nuclear weapons program.Iran disclosed the existence of Fordow to the IAEA only in September 2009, at least two years after construction began, after learning that Western spy services had detected it.
Meanwhile US intelligence agencies do not believe that Iran is actively trying to build a nuclear weapon, The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday, citing a highly classified intelligence assessment from early 2011.According to the report, the intelligence estimate holds that Tehran halted efforts to develop and build a nuclear warhead in 2003.The Los Angeles Times claims that the report, representing the input of 16 US intelligence agencies, indicates that Iran is conducting research that could eventually enable it to develop a nuclear weapon, but that it has not sought to do so.Read the full story here and here.
Hmmmm........Iran’s declaratory policy today disavows any nuclear weapons intention, on spiritualas well as political grounds. The Islamic republic’s diplomats point to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s 2004 fatwa against the development, production, stockpiling, and use ofnuclear weapons. The inviolability and permanence of the fatwa is open to some interpretation, however, and in earlier days, Iranian leaders made little secret of their intentions. In 1991, Deputy President Ayatollah Mohajerani stated that Iran should workwith other Islamic states to create an ‘‘Islamic bomb.’’ Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani,characterized today as a pragmatist, in contrast to hardliner Ahmadinejad, in 1988 explicitly called on Iran to equip itself both in the offensive and defense use of chemical,bacteriological and radiological weapons.’’ By then, as then-Speaker of the Majlis and Commander in Chief, Rafsanjani had already won Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s approval to resume the Shah’s nuclear program and to begin secretly importing material and conducting experiments in violation of Iran’s safeguards agreement with the IAEA.Source.
Afghanistan President Karzai Wants Americans Tried for Quran Incident; Will Obama Defend Troops?(BP).By AWR Hawkins.
Thanks to Barack Obama’s failure to lead, events surrounding the burning of religious materials at Bargam Airfield–materials that included Qurans in which detainees were writing “extremist messages or inscriptions”–are perilously spiraling out of control. And now, Afghanistan President Karzai is calling for the American troops who took part in the burning to stand trial.
Karzai’s doing this because he can. And the reason he can is because all Obama has displayed up to this point is weakness.
Think about it: although U.S. military personnel have come forward to say the materials were only burned was because of the messages and inscriptions detainees had written within them, Obama has apologized twice to Karzai. One apology was what you’d call a regular apology, and the second one was what Obama spokesman Jay Carney called a “severe apology.”
What’s next? Will we offer to behead ourselves so Taliban and Al Qaeda members don’t have to go through all the hassle of catching us and tying us up?
Obama may have missed this, but we are at war in that part of the world. Not a play war, like on Xbox, but a real war where American men and women in uniform are in harm’s way day and night. We’ve already lost two brave military personnel via an Afghan solider who was incited by the alleged burning of these materials, used by detainees to exchange extremist messages. And our troops could face even more loses if Obama doesn’t stand up and fight for change.If Obama would do that, this situation could be handled quickly.When Karzai asks for our troops to be put on trial for burning the religious materials that contained the extremist messages, we should simply ask whether he’ll put the extremist who shot and killed two of our soldiers on trial as well.Hmmmm..........Do the soldiers get 'combat pay' for being shot by 'allies'?Read the full story here.More here.
Racism Scandal Hits Ukraine's Black Eurovision Contestant.(Rferl).By Claire Bigg.Ukrainian nationalists have denied insulting a singer of African descent amid a deepening scandal over the Eurovision Song Contest.
Yuri Syrotiuk, a spokesman for Ukraine's nationalist Svoboda party, said he had never attacked Gaitana, a popular singer born to a Congolese father and a Ukrainian mother, for her skin color.
The scandal erupted February 20 when Syrotiuk said the 32-year-old singer should not stand for Ukraine at the pop contest because "she does not represent the Ukrainian soul."
Gaitana was selected on February 18 to represent Ukraine at the Eurovision finals in Baku, Azerbaijan, in May.Many found the comments particularly misplaced since the singer, in her official Eurovision address, voiced hope that her song "Be My Guest" would help promote Ukraine as a "hospitable and friendly" country."I didn't make any comment about Gaitana," Syrotiuk told RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service on February 22. "What I said concerned the way the national selection was made. No party can determine who should participate and who should not. I said what Ruslana did was great, singing a national song. I didn't make any comment on Gaitana, her skin color, or her race."
France: FBI Agent Forgets Secret Obama File....Hmmm....no mention of a birth certificate?(LF).An FBI agent accidentally left his top secret file on Barack Obama at the counter at a Lebanese restaurant in Cannes, France during the G20 summit last November.
Ultimately, November’s G20 summit was full of gaffes. Let’s start with the private conversation between American president Obama and French president Nicolas Sarkozy that was accidentally broadcast to a host of listening journalists.
But French journalists at the daily Nice Matin recently revealed that an even more dramatic mistake happened the day before when an American FBI agent left a confidential file on the president’s visit at the counter of a local Lebanese restaurant.
“It was a really normal-looking binder,” said Bilal Herche, the manager of the restaurant Al Charq. “I opened it to see and it was then that I understood instantly that it was something crazy.”
The file contained a detailed plan of the 5th floor of the Carlton Hotel, where the American president was supposed to stay during the G20. It also included details on each of his routes, starting with his arrival at the Nice Airport all the way up to his departure.
Unsure what to do next, the restaurant manager finally found the telephone number for the FBI on the internet.
He called and finally managed to convince the agent on the other side of the Atlantic that he was telling the truth by reading the first page of the binder.
As soon as he finished reading, Herche said the American agent’s response was immediate: “Don’t move. We’re on our way.”
The young man didn’t even need to give the FBI his address. They had already traced his cell phone and two agents arrived in his restaurant minutes later.
The two agents returned every day during the G20 to eat lunch in Herche’s restaurant.
Herche, for his part, received the FBI medal of honor.Hmmmm.........He might get a mention in the Michelin guide under "Lost and Found" might be worth a 'Lone Star'?Read the full story here.
+18 Homs Injured Le Figaro Journalist Edith Bouvier Calls for Evacutation from Syria.In a video launched on the internet on Thursday, wounded Le Figaro journalist Édith Bouvier called for a cease-fire and a medical vehicle to evacuate her to Lebanon.
Bouvier’s colleague, photojournalist William Daniels, said her moral was high and she was smiling despite her injuries.
Two journalists have already lost their lives in Syria this week: American reporter Marie Colvin, the grand reporter of the Sunday Times, and Rémi Ochlik, a French photographer.
On Thursday, the Society of Journalists at Le Figaro demanded that Syrian authorities act immediately to facilitate her evacuation.
The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alain Juppé, said he had already asked authorities in Damas to organize Bouvier’s evacuation. He also took the occasion to express his anger at the situation of journalists in Homs.
“What happens in Syria becomes more revolting, more shameful, more scandalous each day,” he said.Read the full story here.more video report here.
“Obamacare is on a collision course with our liberty generally,” explains Heritage’s Jen Marshall in our latest video, “and the first casualty is religious freedom.”
As Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute explains, while this particular violation of religious liberty is bad enough, we can expect much more as Obamacare continues to be implemented.
“Every time they try to fix this, they wind up slamming into another part of the Constitution,” she explains in the video, “and it shows that this law is fundamentally, down to its DNA, unconstitutional.”
And nothing short of a full repeal of Obamacare is required.HT: BigGovernment.
Funny israeli commercial for one of the Israeli internet providers where an israeli walks through iranian street.
Simple translation: In life this is still not possible, but on the internet relationships like this are created every day.By the way, his t-shirt says "combat [soldiers] are the best, my brother."HT: IsraelMatzav.
USDA to Give Monsanto’s New GMO Crops Special ‘Speed Approval’.(AP).By Anthony Gucciardi.
If you thought Monsanto’s lack of testing on their current GMO crops was bad before, prepare to now be blown away by the latest statement by the USDA.Despite links to organ damage and mutated insects, the USDA says that it is changing the rules so that genetically modified seed companies like Monsanto will get ‘speedier regulatory reviews’.
With the faster reviews, there will be even less time spent on evaluating the potential dangers. Why? Because Monsanto is losing sales with longer approval terms.
The changes are expected to take full effect in March when they’re published in the Federal Register. The USDA’s goal is to cut the approval time for GMO crops in half in order to speedily implement them into the global food supply. The current USDA process takes longer than they would like due to ‘public interest, legal challenges, and the challenges associated with the advent of national organic food standards‘ says USDA deputy administrator Michael Gregoire.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, problems like public interest (activist groups attempting to bring the dangers of GMO crops to light), legal challenges (farmers suing Monsanto over genetic contamination), and national food standards are all getting in the way of their prime goal — to help Monsanto unleash their latest untested GMO creation. In fact, the concern is that Monsanto may be losing cash flow as nations like Brazil speed genetically modified seeds through laughable approval processes.
Steve Censky, chief executive officer of the American Soybean Association, states it quite plainly. This is a move to help Monsanto and other biotechnology giants squash competition and make profits. After all, who cares about public health?'It is a concern from a competition standpoint,' Censky said in a telephone interview.The same statements are re-iterated by analyst Jeff Windau in an interview with Bloomberg.'If you can reduce the approval time, you get sales that much faster,' said Windau.If you can reduce the approval time, as in the time it takes to determine if these food products are safe, then you can get sales much faster.Is the USDA working for the United States consumer, or is it working for Monsanto?Hmmmm.....Occupiers...Ask not what your country can do for you, but what Monsanto does to your food?Read the full story here.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Indonesia 5.6 - 5.2 !More info here.
- Illegal Who Tried Bombing Capitol Protected Under Obama Amnesty.(JW).As the Moroccan who plotted a suicide bombing inside the U.S. Capitol appears in federal court today, much of the mainstream media coverage omits a crucial part of the story; this is the class of illegal immigrant the Obama Administration is sparing from deportation. That’s because, like millions of others, the would-be assassin didn’t have a criminal record and thus never posed a threat to the public, according to the feds. Like many of the illegal aliens protected by the Obama Administration the attempted bomber, 29-year-old Amine El Khalifi, came to the U.S. as a kid (“through no fault of his own” as the open borders movement says). He could have easily qualified for discounted college tuition at a number of taxpayer-funded colleges and universities nationwide. El Khalifi lived under the radar in Alexandria Virginia while he orchestrated attacking a number of targets, including military buildings, a Washington D.C. restaurant popular among military officials and a synagogue. Last week he planned to blow up the nation’s capitol as a suicide bomber in a martyrdom operation. El Khalifi concocted a detailed plot and believed he was working with al Qaeda. Incredibly, El Khalifi is the prototype of illegal immigrant protected by Obama’s backdoor amnesty plan. Officially launched in mid-November, the initiative halts the removal of illegal aliens with no criminal records. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reviews all deportation cases and operates a “training program” to assure that enforcement agents and prosecuting attorneys don’t remove certain types of illegal immigrants. The idea, according to the administration, is to deport only undocumented aliens who have been convicted of serious crimes or pose a national security risk. That means a large class of illegal immigrants are being granted de facto amnesty, which is technically illegal without the consent of Congress. So far thousands have been spared removal under the outrageous initiative.As if this weren’t bad enough, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) records indicate that serious criminals are not being targeted for removal either. This in addition to a sharp drop in the number of overall deportations during a recent quarter analyzed by a nonprofit university group dedicated to researching the U.S. government.Hmmmmm......Obama: "All the Choices We've Made Have Been the Right Ones"Read the full story here.
- Female civil servants to wear uniforms in Iran.(BM).Tehran (dpa) – Iran is obliging female civil servants to wear uniforms at work, ISNA news agency reported Wednesday.Azar Nazari, the head of women’s affairs of the Tehran governor’s office said that women would be obliged to wear uniforms from the start of the new Persian year, on March 21.Nazari told ISNA that the uniforms had been designed following consultation with university professors and according to Iranian religious and cultural criteria.In line with Islamic regulations, women in Iran have to wear long gowns and a scarf to hide body contours and hair.Dress codes for women in ministries and public organizations are stricter still, and the new initiative further restricting choice of clothing caused dismay.“The samples I saw are not very different of what we have to wear now, but still forcing me to wear an uniform at the age of 47 makes me feel stupid and reminds me of my school days,” said Maedehe M., who works in a public office in Tehran.Another female employee working in a state bank said that previous plans to make all women look alike had failed, adding, “This plan will also fail, as telling women to wear can simply not work.”Following a survey, it had been decided that the main colors of the new uniforms would be navy blue and dark grey, Nazari said.She said there were also plans to introduce uniforms for men working in public organizations.Read the full story here.
- Now glyphosate found in people's urine.(GMwatch).According to an article in German in the Ithaca journal, a German university study has found significant concentrations of glyphosate in the urine samples of city dwellers. The analysis of the urine samples apparently found that all had concentrations of glyphosate at 5 to 20-fold the limit for drinking water. As well as being used increasingly widely in food production, glyphosate-based weedkillers often also get sprayed onto railway lines, urban pavements and roadsides.http://www.ithaka-journal.net/herbizide-im-urinDisturbingly, the Ithaca journal reports (in our translation), "The address of the university labs, which did the research, the data and the evaluation of the research method is known to the editors. Because of significant pressure by agrochemical representatives and the fear that the work of the lab could be influenced, the complete analytical data will only be published in the course of this year."http://www.ithaka-journal.net/herbizide-im-urinNews of this study comes not long after the publication of a study confirming glyphosate was contaminating groundwater. Last year also saw the publication of two US Geological Survey studies which consistently found glyphosate in streams, rain and even air in agricultural areas of the US. http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-listing/1-news-items/13549 Other recent studies - see the abstracts below - indicate that people may not only be absorbing glyphosate from multiple sources but that it can circulate in the blood and can even cross the placental barrier and so reach the developing fetus.Read the full story recent studies - see the abstracts below - indicate that people may not only be absorbing glyphosate from multiple sources but that it can circulate in the blood and can even cross the placental barrier and so reach the developing fetus.Read the full story here.
- Some U.S. pawnbrokers are taking liquid assets - literally.(Yahoo).NEW YORK (Reuters) - Along with family jewels and fine art they will accept wines as collateral for loans to help ease cash shortages of businesses and people on all rungs of the economic ladder."You'd be amazed by how many wealthy individuals have terrible credit ratings," said Jordan Tabach-Bank, head of Beverly Loan Co. in Beverly Hills, California."And besides, if you go to a bank, it can take weeks or months to get a loan. When we make a loan, it's usually the same day,"The pawnshop for the prosperous lends to hedge-fund managers, bankers, lawyers, doctors and even Oscar winners."Most people have a vision of pawn shops as sad sites. But that's not the case here," Tabach-Bank said. "I have a lot of people who come in who have a business opportunity and they need an infusion of cash for business purposes."USGoldBuyers.com, an online pawnbroker with an office in New York, will also accept fine wines, said spokesman Jose Caba, adding that the rich do not always have liquid assets to keep up with their expensive toys.British-based pawnbroker, borro.com, recently lent $120,000 in exchange for 128 bottles of Chateau d'Yquem, which had an estimated worth of $250,000.Within the last three weeks, borro.com had taken a case of 1989 Chateau Petrus, valued at about $38,000, for a loan of $24,000, said its Chief Executive Paul Aitken.Loans were also secured on various vintages of the five First Growths Bordeaux: Chateau Haut-Brion, Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Chateau Haut-Brion, Chateau Margaux and Chateau Mouton Rothschild -- top wines regularly sold at auctions where cases fetch tens of thousands of dollars.Hmmmm.....My choice would be this marvelous wine.Read the full story here.
Israel Racing (AIR) Race team could give boost to Israel – at Daytona 500.(JPost).A race team on a unique mission will attempt to spread its message of Israeli support on the grandest stage in motorsports, the Daytona 500.
America Israel Racing (AIR) was formed to raise awareness of the importance of Americans supporting the Jewish state through a unique and very public forum – the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.In order to earn a spot in Sunday’s Daytona 500, the America Israel Racing No. 49 Toyota will have to race its way in during the Gatorade Duel 150s, which takes place on Thursday in Daytona Beach, Florida.The car, driven by J.J. Yeley, will participate in the second duel. Both races will be televised by SPEED.“This is a critical time in our nation’s history as it pertains to our relationship with Israel,” said Rich Shirey, cofounder of AIR.
“As the only true democracy in the Middle East, we feel it is critical that the United States reaffirms its commitment to stand beside Israel. By fielding a car in the most-watched race of the year, we hope to show Israel just how many Americans feel the same way.”
To help achieve its goals, AIR teamed with NASCAR veteran Jay Robinson of Robinson-Blakeney Racing to attempt to place a car in this year’s Daytona field.“If enough people make a stand, the world will take notice,” Shirey said.Read the full story here.
" Yes We Can! " - EU suspends ACTA ratification, refers treaty to European Court of Justice.(RT).The EU has suspended the ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and referred the text to the European Court of Justice to investigate possible rights breaches.
The European Commission decided on Wednesday to ask the EU’s top court “to clarify that the ACTA agreement and its implementation must be fully compatible with freedom of expression and freedom of the internet.
The ACTA debate “must be based upon facts and not upon the misinformation or rumor that has dominated social media sites and blogs,” says EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. The EU will not ratify the international treaty until the court delivers its ruling, he added.
De Gucht insists the treaty will change nothing in the bloc, but help protect the creative economy.
European countries were quick to sign US- and Japan-lobbied ACTA agreement in Tokyo just a month ago. Ratification of the controversial agreement, however, is not going so smoothly.
ACTA faced fierce opposition by the Europeans, who saw it as an anti-democratic move. People took their anger to the streets in a synchronized protest, saying it violates their rights. About 200 cities participated in an anti-ACTA march on February 11.
The initial goal authorities pursued was to protect intellectual property and copyright, but human rights activists fought to prove its bias in favor of those in power. They argue it violates freedom of expression on the internet and allows unprecedented control of people’s personal information and privacy.
Some critics have been saying ACTA is a somewhat-disguised SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act).
ACTA has so far been signed by the EU as a bloc, 22 EU members as individual states, and also by the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, South Korea and some other countries. The total number of signatories to the treaty is 31.
The European Parliament is set to vote on ACTA in June. In parallel, the accord has to be ratified by all the 27 EU member states. Germany, the Netherlands, Cyprus, Estonia and Slovakia have not put individual signatures under the treaty as such and, in the wake of the mass anti-ACTA protests in Europe, are not eager to proceed with it.
Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Latvia suspended the ratification process, while Poland on the second thought refused to ratify the accord all together.
Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Latvia suspended the ratification process, while Poland on the second thought refused to ratify the accord all together.
Wednesday’s decision means ACTA’s ratification in the EU could be delayed for months.
Bob Beschizza, the managing director of online magazine and group blog Boing Boing, says nothing can stop Internet file swapping.
“What the industry needs to do when it considers how it makes entertainment products – music, movies and so on – available, is make it so that people can easily buy them. People don’t want to be thieves. They don’t want to take things they are not entitled to,” he told RT.
Beschizza believes that legislative initiatives like ACTA never do anything to stop piracy.
“The way the Internet works [is], as long as two computers can connect to each other, people are going to find a way to share files. The Internet works by copying data,” he said. “So what we foresee is when these laws are passed, there’ll be all this social harm and there’ll be no actual prevention of piracy.”Hmmmm..........I wonder if
king President Obama will refer ACTA to Congress and Senate?Read and see the full story here.
White House blocking release of Monsanto-linked lobbyist’s email.(ETL).By Madison Ruppert.The Obama administration is now blocking a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by an environmental group, Public Employees for Environment Responsibility (PEER), which is attempting to uncover Obama’s connections to Monsanto-linked lobbyists.
Keep in mind, Monsanto’s products have been linked to some horrific effects on biological systems like the human body, not the least of which is creating necrosis and significant mutations in critical cell types.
Also quite noteworthy is the fact that Monsanto was actually recently found guilty of chemical poisoning in the case of a French farmer.
The group suspects the Obama White House of working with these lobbyists to defend genetically engineered (GE) crops and the attempts to get these GE crops planted in wildlife refuges across the United States.
Part of the information which is currently being withheld by the Obama administration is part of an email from January 2011 from a lobbyist to a top White House policy analyst.
This lobbyist was with the Biotechnology Industry Organization, or BIO, which regularly represents the interests of companies specializing in GE seeds like Syngenta and the infamous multinational giant Monsanto.
The White House claims that they had to block portions of the email because it contained information on BIO’s lobbying strategy.They claimed that if this strategy was released, it could cause damage to the group’s competitiveness and those of the companies it represents.
“We suspect the reason an industry lobbyist so cavalierly shared strategy is that the White House is part of that strategy,” said Kathryn Douglass, the staff counsel for PEER.
Douglass is arguing that the email should be public record, adding, “The White House’s legal posture is as credible as claiming Coca Cola’s secret formula was ‘inadvertently’ left in a duffel bag at the bus station.”
PEER has been doing phenomenal work exposing the connections between our government and BIO lobbyists, including the release of internal emails last July.
The email release revealed that Peter Schmeissner, a senior science policy analyst and member of the biotechnology working group at the White House, actually had been corresponding with a BIO lobbyist about one of PEER’s legal challenges.
The lawsuit, filed by PEER and their allied groups, was quite successful in that it halted the planting of GE crops within the wildlife refuges across northeastern states.PEER has obviously not given up and they continue to fight the planned plantings of GE crops across the nation.
Truth-Out has been doing one of the best jobs of keeping track of the United States’ efforts to pressure foreign nations into accepting exports and GE crops, including countries like France and Spain.
Through the release of some WikiLeaks cables, it was found that essentially United States diplomats were working for companies like Monsanto by going around the world promoting their GE products.
The first legal challenge relating to the planting of GE crops on wildlife reserves came after PEER was contacted by biologists with the FWS who were opposed to the planting of GE crops on said reserves.
Later, PEER actually received an internal email which they believe shows that Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the USDA, actually was pressuring FWS to support GE crops.
In the email, dated January 14, 2011, David Hayes, the Interior Department Deputy Secretary, relayed to some of the top Interior Department and FWS officials that, “Apparently Vilsack is somewhat exercised that the Administration is not being consistent in supporting genetically modified crops.”
Of course when asked about this high-level pressure, Rocque claimed that she was completely unaware of any internal pressure coming from the upper levels of the Obama administration.
This is just more of the “I do not recall” plausible deniability nonsense.The case of Monsanto and the American diplomats promotion of their products is just about the most perfect example of how corrupt our so-called government has really become.Hmmmm........Obama: "All the Choices We've Made Have Been the Right Ones".Read the full story here.
Iran court convicts Christian pastor convert to death.(Fox).A trial court in Iran has issued its final verdict, ordering a Christian pastor to be put to death for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity, according to sources close to the pastor and his legal team.
Supporters fear Youcef Nadarkhani, a 34-year-old father of two who was arrested over two years ago on charges of apostasy, may now be executed at any time without prior warning, as death sentences in Iran may be carried out immediately or dragged out for years.
It is unclear whether Nadarkhani can appeal the execution order.“The world needs to stand up and say that a man cannot be put to death because of his faith,” said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).
“This one case is not just about one execution. We have been able to expose the system instead of just letting one man disappear, like so many other Christians have in the past.”
It is also feared that Nadarkhani will be executed in retaliation as Iran endures crippling sanctions and international pressure in response to its nuclear agenda and rogue rhetoric. The number of executions in Iran has increased significantly in the last month.
“This is defiance,” Sekulow said. “They want to say they will carry out what they say they will do.”
The order to execute Nadarkhani came only days after lawmakers in Congress supported a resolution sponsored by Pennsylvania Rep. Joseph Pitts denouncing the apostasy charge and calling for his immediate release.His lawyers appealed the decision under the premise that Nadarkhani was never a Muslim at the age of majority, and the case was sent to Iran’s Supreme Court, which upheld the lower court’s decision of execution, provided it could be proven that he had been a practicing Muslim from the age of adulthood, 15 in Islamic law, to age 19, which was when he converted.
The lower court then ruled that Nadarkhani had not practiced Islam during his adult life but still upheld the apostasy charge because he was born into a Muslim family.
The court then gave Nadarkhani the opportunity to recant, as the law requires a man to be given three chances to recant his beliefs and return to Islam.
His first option was to convert back to Islam. When he refused, he was asked to declare Muhammad a prophet, and still he declined.
Iran’s judiciary had delayed in issuing a final verdict, fearing the decision would have far-reaching political implications.The case was ultimately send to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, it seems he had the final say in the verdict.Todd Nettleton, Director of Media development for the Voice of the Martyrs USA:" “What I do know is that the supreme leader has spoken out against the house churches of Iran. He has talked about the growth of Christianity being a threat to the country,” Read the full story here.More detailed info on the inhuman 'justice' system in Iran here.
Senior Al-Qaeda Cleric to be Released from Egyptian Jail.(Memri).Egyptian jihadis reported that an Egyptian military court has decided to release Marjan Mustafa Salem Al-Jawhari, also known as 'Abd Al-Hakim Hassan, or Abu 'Amr, from prison. Hassan, in the past a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad’s shura council, was convicted in absentia in Egypt's “Vanguards of Conquest” and “Returnees from Albania” cases. Hassan was known to be in Afghanistan during the Taliban rule, where he was an active instructor at Al-Qaeda training camps. In 2001, following the US invasion, he fled to Waziristan. Hassan was later arrested by Pakistani authorities, who extradited him to Egypt in 2009.Hmmmm........I wonder if the Taliban asked Shaikh Yousef al-Qaradawi to intervene in Egypt, like he did with Obama for their Guantanamo comrades.Read the full story here.
Another Canadian Icon lost, 'Maid of the Mist' Steamboat company loses deal to operate Niagara Falls tours.
" Maid of the Mist I (ship, 1885)"
Another Canadian Icon lost, 'Maid of the Mist' Steamboat company loses deal to operate Niagara Falls tours.(Yahoo).TORONTO - One of the largest tourist draws in Niagara Falls may not be open this year because the Maid of the Mist Steamboat Company has lost the contract to operate boats in the Niagara Gorge after 165 years.
Maid of the Mist is run by the Maid of the Mist Steamship Company of Niagara Falls, Ontario, but owned by the Glynn family of Lewiston, NY since 1971. Boats are registered in St. Catharines, Ontario.
The first Maid of the Mist was launched in 1846 as a ferry service between the Canadian and American sides, pre-dating by two years the construction of the first Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge at the site. However, with the opening of the suspension bridge, the ferry service lost business, and by 1854, became a tourist attraction instead with the launch of a more luxurious boat. The current captain of the Maid of the Mist is Captain Mark Keith of St. Catharines, Ontario.
The Niagara Parks Commission announced Wednesday it had awarded a 30-year land-lease agreement for boat tour operations in the Niagara Gorge to Hornblower Canada, a California-based company."This is a great day for the Niagara Parks Commission and a great day for the tourism industry in Niagara and across Ontario," chair Janice Thomson said in a release.
However, the Hornblower service isn't scheduled to begin until the spring of 2014 and the Maid of the Mist company isn't sure it can stay in business for this summer's tourist season."As a result of this decision, our business, with a 165 year history of service to tourists from around the world, may soon come to an end," company president Christopher Glynn said in a release.
"The implications of this decision are very complex, and impact on many parties and create many uncertainties, including whether or not a boat tour service will be offered in Niagara Falls in 2012."It's the second government-ordered reversal for the Niagara Parks Commission, which last week agreed it would let American daredevil Nik Wallenda walk a tightrope over the world famous falls this summer.The Maid of the Mist tour boats ferry people from both the Canadian and American sides of the Niagara River to the base of the Horseshoe Falls under separate agreements with New York state and Ontario.The first Maid of the Mist began operating in Niagara Falls in 1846, and the boats have been drawing more than two million passengers annually in recent years.The Maid of the Mist Corp. has a 40-year contract through 2042 with New York state.Sen. Charles Schumer asked Premier Dalton McGuinty to ensure that the Maid of the Mist continue to have access to Canadian docks and storage, saying it would be impossible to build dry docks on the much narrower American side of the river.Read the full story here, more on the history of the ferry here.