Archive for March 13th, 2011

March 13, 2011

Shocking video of Japan’s tsunami in devastation action

Japan is in disarray following the most powerful earthquake to hit the country in its recent history. The earthquake and the tsunami caused by it, have left in their wake unimaginable destruction, a potential nuclear disaster and many dead and unaccounted for.
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UK Telegraph reports that according to Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, the earthquake caused the Earth’s axis to offset 9.8in [25cm] and the US Geological Survey reported that the main island of Japan had moved 7.8ft [2.4m].  The authorities fear that thousands are dead and cannot account for tens of thousands more. Many Japanese are now living in emergency shelters without food, or electricity.
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The newspaper’s video footage shows the sheer devastating power of the tsunami in action. Viewing discretion is recommended as the footage is graphic.
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[Natural Disasters Contributor] 

March 13, 2011

US corporation tax rates to be reduced to create ‘level playing field’

According to a recent Breaking Legal News report, Washington is busy with preparing  another stimulus measure designed to get the ‘financial crisis’ hard-hit US economy back on track.

President Obama has now come out in the open with his plans to lower the US’s corporate tax. Currently, US corporate tax rates are the highest in the world as every company has to give out 39.5% of its income. Whilst the majority of US businesses work hard to meet the nation’s tax obligations,  some of them have been managing to manipulate the system considerably to their advantage and the new measure aims, among other things, to reduce/ eliminate this inequality.

According to Mr. Obama, “over the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all. But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.”

The president’s initiative has so far been met with a warm response by US business groups, but the country’s liberals are furious saying that it ignores the country’s deficit problem and leaves the rich and the near-rich with most of their cash which is contrary to Mr. Obama’s election promises.

[Financial News Contributor]

March 13, 2011

Libyan Rebels call out for direct help and less ‘hot air’ from the US and EU

The Huffington Post reports that according to accounts from the rebels in Libya, the incumbent ruthless leader of Libya, Colonel Gaddafi, is planning not only their defeat, but their total destruction.

Armed with US weapons and those supplied by EU countries (such as Italy and Belgium) in recent times, the Colonel’s forces east of the Ras Lanouf oil port are now  ‘raining rockets and shelling along the main coastal highway, targeting rebel vehicles trying to reinforce and bring supplies to the port’.

While the USA and the EU did make a tidy profit to the tune of some $60 billion in as recent as the years 2008/9 from lucrative supplies of weapons of crowd destruction to the Colonel’s regime, thus far the Libyan rebels have only been treated to the warm air of disapproval of the Colonel’s regime from the US and the EU whilst in the meantime, the Colonel’s forces on the ground continue their vicious campaign against them armed with the most sophisticated of weaponry.  The freezing of the Libyan regime’s bank accounts will assist and so will a ‘no-fly’ zone, but anything less than direct action on the ground to help the rebels, will be sure to result in only more of their deaths and the prolongation of the rule of the Colonel.

More action, less words it seems will need to prevail for the rebels to have any confidence that the Americans and the EU have not been the supreme architects of their misery under the Colonel.

[Africa News Contributor]

March 13, 2011

US justice system declares war on HIV

The Root reports that a man in Texas was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment for spitting at a police officer and another man, a 19-year-old student from Washington, was jailed for having unprotected sex with his own girlfriend.  The common feature in both of these relatively harsh sentences is that the men were  HIV positive.

More than 34 US states now have criminalized any actions that might possibly result in infecting a person with HIV.  No matter how small the chances are to catch the disease as a result of the offence (like spitting on somebody) and whether, or not the virus was actually  transmitted, harsh sentences for the HIV-infected seem to be the order of the day in the USA.

Depending on which state it is, actions that might infect someone are likely to be punished just as severely as a failure to act (e.g. to inform your partner of your condition) in order to prevent others from getting  infected. States are now taking to registering HIV-positive ‘criminals‘ in the National Sex Offenders’ Registry with no regard to the nature of the crime committed, which means that the whereabouts of the offenders are likely to get carefully monitored.

With more than one million people in the USA are officially HIV, or AIDS-ridden and with 40,000 HIV infections happening each year, these protective measures seem to be the start of a two-tier criminal justice regime – one for the non HIV-infected, one for the infected. The next step, bells for the HIV-infected? Who knows, as the US criminal justice system struggles to cope with this unprecedented problem.

[Medical Law Contributor]

March 13, 2011

“I will shoot your ass” – Dominica Director of Audit says to politician

It seems that Dominica politicians will need to invest in bullet-proof trousers following a recent event when the country’s Director of Audit, Clarence Christian, threatened to ‘shoot the ass’ of the Dominica Freedom Party‘s (‘DLP‘) deputy leader.

Dominica News Central reports that the incident is alleged to have taken place in 2009. Dominica politician, Michael Astaphan , deputy leader of the country Dominica Freedom Party (‘DLP’), said that after a radio talk show interview which was critical of the island’s Audit Director, Clarence Christian, he was threatend to be shot ‘in the ass’ by Mr. Christian.

Astaphan told Dominica News Central“Yesterday on our Freedom and You Programme, we were discussing crime, corruption and security in Dominica. The issue of persons working in the public service not following the act as it relates to politics came up. I made mention on the programme that the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) seems to be corrupt at its core because they are allowing certain practices to go on, contrary to the rules and regulations of the Public Service Act. I mentioned that the Director of Audit is a card holding member of the DLP and he took offence to that… I was outside talking to a few members and he passed by. When I went to my car, he made a second round and he threatened me by telling me ‘I am warning you, do not call my name on your programme’. When I asked him if that was a threat, he said he would take a gun and shoot our ass. Those were his words. He made a direct threat on my life”.

Mr. Astaphan is reported to have approached the police about the incident and said: “I went to the police and I reported the matter because I cannot understand how somebody holding a public office, who is suppose to be independent of the political system could be in violation of the rules is threatening me like that. This is not good governance practices at all at all at all”.

Apparently Mr. Christian had gone into hiding as all attempts to contact him had failed.

[Dominica Contributor]

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March 13, 2011

Japan’s tsunami reaches America – state of emergency declared

CNN reports that a 25 year old man was reported dead and many boats and harbours in the USA were damaged after  ‘jet speed’ tsunami waves moving across the Pacific from Japan‘s enormous earthquake reached the country last Friday.

In northern California wave more than 8 feet high were recorded and the tsunami waves reached the Hawaiian Islands at around 3 am on Friday (8.07 am ET).  California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in respect to four of the state’s coastal counties as the tsunami waves swept across the state’s beaches, ports and harbors. Emergency shelters have been opened up.

Fifty countries in the Pacific have been given tsunami warnings by the US Weather Service.

[Natural Disaster Contributor]

March 13, 2011

USA sold $40 billion in weapons in 2009 to ‘people power’ oppressors

Huffington Post reports that the U.S. government sanctioned $40 billion in international private arms sales in 2009. Of that, $7 billion was allocated to the middle east and African countries that are now in ‘people power’ revolts.

In 2008/2007, the authoritarian regimes of Egypt and Bahrain had benefitted from the US’s blanket authorization for more sales of military equipment. However, in 2009, the US had  lowered its arms sales quotas to Moammar Gadhafi’s Libyan regime, which only last month got a blanket weapons ban from the Mr. Obama’s administration.

The ‘smart diplomacy’ advocate President Obama’s approval of such sales during the first year of his administration, tops that of George W Bush in the final year of his administration who had only approved $34.2 billion.

It is reported that the ‘people power’ protestors in war-torn Libya are looking to see if the USA and the EU will sanction sales of military equipment to them in the same way that these administrations had supported their oppressive government. Tricky times ahead for the US and EU it would seem which only recently had imposed a ban on military sales to the troubled nation.

[Johnathan Bleuet – Finance & Economy Contributor]

March 13, 2011

US Stock Markets bring happiness factor to Americans

Huffington Post reports that Americans are happy, thank you very much, as the country’s famously strong  Stock Markets increased their wealth by more than $2.1 trillion in 2010 despite the country’s woes of high unemployment and a jittery real estate market caused by the global financial crisis. As a result, the beginning of 2011 saw the net worth of Americans increase by 3.8% from 2009 to $56.8 trillion according to new figures from the US Federal Reserve.

Greg Daco of IHS Global Insight commented: “The stock market is performing very well, it rebounded in the third quarter (of 2010) …. as result, there’s been a big gain in assets for households”.

[USA Financial News Contributor]

March 13, 2011

After the Cold War, the thaw accelerates as USA and Russia look to abolish visas

At a meeting last week between US Vice President, Joe Biden and Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, co-operation initiatives between the two countries were discussed which included scrapping of visa requirements between Russia and America. The meeting was felt to be successful overall by the two men and a senior  (anonymous) American administration official was reported to have said that the meeting was: “a serious discussion about serious issues, including cooperation on missile defense, accession to the World Trade Organization, Georgia, Afghanistan and energy.”

[Russia Contributor]

March 13, 2011

140,000 plus feared dead as aftershocks continue to ravage Japan

Huffington Post reports that since the explosion of one of the country’s nuclear reactors on Saturday which was caused by the recent earthquake, the authorities are seriously concerned about the possibility of an unstoppable ‘meltdown’ which could devastate the country for many years to come.

The scale of death and destruction caused by Japan‘s recent earthquake disaster has been unprecedented in the country’s history. Towns have been totally wiped out and more than 140,000 are feared dead. Along Japan’s coast, for several hundred miles, thousand of starving survivors are clinging to life in emergency centers which unfortunately are inaccessible to rescuers and electricity supply. Trains have disappeared and bodies awash Japan’s shores.

[Asia Contributor]