Archive for ‘General News’

May 27, 2011

President Obama’s sinister ‘special relationship’ with the United Kingdom

[Dominic Chatrell, Politics Contributor]

The UK Telegraph’s Peter Oborne writes a telling commentary on the circus surrounding President’s Obama’s recent visit to the United Kingdom. He describes the ‘special relationship’ between the two countries as nothing more than sinister and here’s why.

According to Mr. Osborne, this week’s visit by Barack Obama to the United Kingdom was nothing short of a national embarrassment especially as the mainstream media attention was more devoted to hype, rather than substance. In context, the President’s visit to the British Houses of Parliament in Westminster was certainly pop-starish with an adulating crowd of sycophantic politicians in ‘Mecca-like’ herds rushing to shake the hand of the man who since power has accomplished nothing significantly good and who has perpetrated the wars started by his precedessor, G.W Bush.
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The President’s impeccable rhetoric when speaking to the British Parliament pronounced:  “ [we] stand squarely on the side of those who want to be free….longing for human dignity is universal”.  But, not much commenting from listeners there, no hard questions for a President of a country which has departed from the rule of law taking into account the relatively insignificant, in matters of world affairs, but significant in terms of the ‘special relationship’, £5.2 million of outstanding congestion charge fines accumulated by US diplomats in central London.

Amidst the hand shaking and ‘high fives’, no one thought to ask Obama, why, in breach of his election promise he said recently that the illegal prison of Guantánamo Bay and America’s policy of having secret prisons in European countries are to be continued.

No one thought to ask this President of contradictory acts, words and broken promises, why he supports the suppression of the Shia population in Bahrain, as actively assisted by Saudi Arabia. And, why, the most undemocratic country in the middle east – Saudi Arabia – where women are treated like sub-human chattels and are not even allowed to drive in the Kingdom just because they are women, is on his ‘best friend’ list.

Again, no one thought to ask the ‘high-fiving’ President about the USA‘s use of the USA’s depleted uranium ordinance in Iraq and Afganistan, now proved to cause countless deformities and cancers in children in those countries and why he supports the use of torture to extract confessions when the overwhelming evidence is that it does not work. Again, no questions about why he deliberately blocked enquiries from the British judiciary recently regarding the unlawful killing of British forces in the conflict zones in the middle east, by US ‘friendly fire’.

Furthermore, this is a President who has so little regard for human rights and the due process of law that he has publicly stated that the Wikileaks suspect, Bradley Manning, ‘has broken the law’ – even when Mr. Manning has yet to be tried for his alleged crime by a military tribunal in respect to which Mr. Obama is Commander in Chief of the USA armed forces.

Despite all that, UK leaders were falling over themselves in standing ovations and glittering parties to celebrate a ‘special relationship’ which in substance has nothing special about it and in fact committed the UK to a war in Iraq that was not only illegal and costly, but has killed many serving British soldiers.

A special relationship it seems built on the personal ambitions of politicians, not citizens, on both sides of the Atlantic.

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May 23, 2011

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May 18, 2011

More women come out with sex charges against horny IMF chief Straus-Kahn who is now on suicide watch in a New York prison

[Samantha Templeton-Brewster, Celebrities Contributor]

MailOnline: It seems that sheer hell has decended upon the apparently sex-crazed ‘rutting chimpanzee’, AKA the unfortunate IMF chief, Dominique Straus Kahn,  following his imprisonment on charges of forced anal and oral sex upon a black Sofitel Hotel chambermaid in New York.

That is because the bandwagon of his abusees is getting bigger at a fast past as an increasing number of women are coming forward with allegations that he had forced himself upon them in a number of sexually inappropriate ways in the past.  However, no matter how different the individual cases are, the underlying thing message is clear- the IMF chief ‘has a problem’ with curbing his incandescent sexual desire.

His Twitter-like following of abusees now include the French Socialist party deputy Aurelie Filipetti, who reportedly had been salaciously ‘groped’ by Straus-Kahn; a journalist who did not want to mention her full name but who  reportedly had been offered sex in exchange for an exclusive  interview with the rampant IMF chief;  a Mexican chambermaid at the Sofitel who is claiming to have been sexually assaulted too along with her New York colleague whose allegations resulted in the IMF’s chief ending up in a prison cell and who’s DNA samples have matched up with those found on Strauss Kahn.

Moreover, rumours  are resurfacing that the sexually insatiable  IMF chief used to frequently visit a high-profile Paris swinger’s club Les Chandelles, which offers its clients to freely swap partners and  realize  any sexual fantasies imaginable with unknown males and females in darkened rooms.  It seems that his rough handling of many that he met there will be likely to erupt into another barrage of claims against the embattled Frenchman.

To cap it all, according to the words of the French  television  producer and host  Thierry Ardisson, who reportedly has known Mr. Kahn for quite a while, ‘Everyone knew about it. I have 14 women pals who have told me: “He tried to jump me.” I think that guy has an illness: you can enjoy s*******, but not to that point. He needs therapy.’

Well, Strauss Kahn is certainly likely to get therapy for his illness in a New York prison where inmates offer a special kind of therapy for sex offenders.

May 4, 2011

Chernobyl revisited – Russia calls for new nuclear safety rules worldwide

[Valentin Pleschuk, Russia News Contributor]

BBC News: Following the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has called upon the international community to adopt a new set of international nuclear safety rules.

For the first time since 1986 when the disaster broke out, a Russian leader actually visited the devastated and highly contaminated area. The commemoration ceremony at the foot of the crippled plant was also attended by the president of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovich.

The proposal came amid massive protests in Germany, France and a number of eastern European states against the use of nuclear power in the context of the worldwide radiation spread threat from the now infamous Fukushima plant.

Today, I sent proposals to [world] leaders… aimed at guaranteeing the necessary development of nuclear energy in the world while preventing at the same time catastrophic global consequences [of accidents]…..in order for such tragedies never to be repeated we must all be honest, we must provide absolutely exact information about what is going on.”” Mr Medvedev said. 

Although the full content of the proposals is unknown, one of the conditions of the programme, accentuated by Mr. Medvedev publicly, is enhanced openness and speedy information exchange between world governments and the population, as well as between countries’ governments themselves.

The ceremony was held in absence of Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus which was most grievously affected by the Chernobyl disaster, after being suggested as an unwelcome guest at the Chernobyl conference, by the president of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.

April 26, 2011

The poisoned chalice of NATO’s aid to the Libyan rebels

Depleted Uranium birth defects and cancers in Iraq, Afganistan and the Former Yugosalvia

[Akif Brownlie, Libya News Contributor]

International reports suggest that it is a well known secret that NATO forces assisting the rebels in Libya are using depleted uranium ordinance (‘DU‘) in their bombing strikes on Col. Gaddafi’s forces.

Whilst DU weapons are effective tools for wearing down the wily Colonel, there are serious questions now by the international community concerning the devastation on the health of all Libyans that the use of these weapons will bring.

DU is highly toxic as a radioactive substance and because of that analysts and international public health monitors, like the World Health Organisation, are echoing the view of the international community that there will be serious and wide-ranging permanent effects on the health of Libyans for many years to come from radiation contamination brought about by NATO’s shelling of their country.  That is because DU is proved to have devastated the health of residents in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia, where it has been used in bombing attacks by NATO forces.

It was in 1991, that the US military, in a real war for some time and keen to test out its new super toxic DU amour piercing artillery deployed the use of DU material in its military invasion of Iraq.  Later on and delighted by the apparent usefulness of DU to create weapons of serious destruction in Iraq, the USA used DU ordinance again to pound peace into the conflict in the former Yugosalvia.

But questions began to pile up with regard to the usefulness of DU in war as cancer rates began to increase in more than 5 provinces in southern Iraq which had been shelled by the Americans. Chilling facts had emerged for the World Health Organization which found that the DU shells had contaminated the air, water and soil in the areas with highly toxic radiation which was linked to the increased cancer cases.  As such, by 2003, leukemia south of Baghdad had skyrocketed and by 2009, cancer rates had increased by the rate of thousands year by year. In 2011, reports suggest that the problem is getting worse.

In Yugoslavia too, where the ordinance had been used, leukemia symptoms became epidemic and in some parts of the country radiation levels had risen to up to 1000 times above normal. Even NATO troops suffered from the use of DU and more than 250 Italian force members have since died from DU-related cancer. As for civilians, cancer rates went up from 1 per 1000 per each new-born baby to more than 15 per 1000.

Analysts are saying that there is no need for US, or NATO forces to use DU as there is nothing to indicate that non-DU bombs can be less effective. Furthermore, as DU-inflicted wounds on humans are practically impossible to treat and present hazards for not only the victims, but also the medical personnel treating them who are likely to be seriously contaminated with radiation, there is a strong case that they should not be used whatsoever by any civilized military force.

Furthermore, where DU shells explode in non-residential areas, the problem does not go away but becomes a deferred sentence of death for residents in the target country, or region as such explosions have been found to contaminate the soil and water permanently and to cause untold misery and deaths from cancer upon residents.

According to United States’ former Justice Secretary Ramsey Clark, DU utilisation is: “An unacceptable threat to life and a violation of international law”.

April 25, 2011

Bad news for doctoral cheats as hunt for plagiarised theses goes viral in Germany

[Dietke Kohl, Germany News Contributor]

Spiegel Online:  It was only two weeks ago that a law professor from the University of Bremen outed Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who was Germany‘s defense minister at the time, as a plagiariser of parts of his doctoral thesis. As a result, the minister departed his job from the German government last month and lost his PhD title.

Since then,  the hunt for plagiarised works has gone viral in Germany with more than 20 plagiarism hunters working round the clock to out high profile cheats mainly in the field of politics. The group, which calls itself VroniPlag, says that it is not politically motivated:  “The goal is to guarantee the integrity of doctor titles in Germany….the work performed here is neither politically motivated nor is it aimed at personal defamation or anything like it.”” (accrording to the VroniPlag website).

VroniPlag, is made up of Ph.D. holders and a number of professors and regularly updates the media with its outings.

Commentators as saying however, that VroniPlag is targeting German politicians more or less exclusively and  that having regard to the track record of politicians who never plagiarised anything, eg., Hitler, it is puzzling that a German minister should be forced to resign for cheating on his doctoral thesis?

In particular, they say, as a pre-eminent skill for any politician is the ability to cheat and lie seamlessly, it would seem that VroniPlag is in for a busy and fruitful time in its endeavours. But whether those politicians found out should be made to resign their posts as politicians is another matter as cheating on a doctoral dissertation is certainly nothing to suggest that the cheater is not a first-class politician.

April 24, 2011

President of Yemen caves in, but asks for immunity from punishment

[Aziza Sourris, Middle East News Contributor]

The New York Times: It seems that peoples’ power in Yemen has achieved a final victory as it incumbent embattled president, Ali Abdullah Saleh,  has announced that  he will step  down after 32 years of single leadership in exchange for being granted immunity from prosecution.

However political observers are trying to make out whether the decision was made under the pressure from the public or as a cunning move to lay the responsibility for the political turmoil ‘on the opposition’s shoulders’.

One of the conditions for stepping down requires the opposition party to stop the street demonstrations and join the ruling party of the president so as to form a coalition government. However, the leader of the opposition, Yassin Saeed Noman, said that he could not ‘force protesters from the streets’ and has not agreed join ranks with the party of the president.

The government, in turn, rejected the opposition’s offer to allow Mr. Saleh’s party to rule for a while until he quits the post and then ‘join a power-sharing government’, saying that the US (who is particularly concerned about certain extra- violent Al-Quaeda branches known to be based in the country) and the EU, as well as the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council were behind the offer.

April 15, 2011

World Bank says current high food prices have taken 44 million into the acute poverty zone

[John Stills, International Economy News Contributor]

BBC News: According to a recent World Bank report, food prices worldwide are approaching dangerously high levels – they are 36 per cent higher than last year’s now.

According the World Bank, the main blame for such such a soar upwards is down to the problems in the Middle East and North Africa, where political shifts, civil unrest and economic problems have contributed to a dramatic fuel cost rise and 44 million more people being driven into poverty since June 2010.

If the prices grow by another 10 per cent, another 10 million will have to say goodbye to normal living standards – their income will drop to one-and-a-half dollar a day, the amount comparable to the average income of the poorest in African and South-East Asian countries.

In total, 1,2 billion people in the world are below the poverty threshold of 1.25$ a day, which, according to various reports, is due to high food prices as well as to the enormous  gap between the rich and the poor in developing countries such as India, Thailand and others.

“More poor people are suffering and more people could become poor because of high and volatile food prices,”  World Bank president Robert opined. We have to put food first and protect the poor and vulnerable, who spend most of their money on food.”

To ease the problem, social help programs, including  food distributing among the poor, as well as various agricultural technology projects are currently under consideration by the World Bank.

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April 13, 2011

British woman sets herself on fire in train toilet

[Kevin Richardson, UK Unusual Events Contributor]

MailOnline: Rachel James apparently committed suicide today in train toilet by igniting herself.  The blonde woman, 43, from Uxbridge, Middlesex was reported to have kissed an elderly lady on the train before putting herself on fire.

She had carried a canister of gas down the train aisle on the train going to London when it came up to the Leighton Buzzard station in Bedforshire and sat down in the toilet and ignited herself.

No one else was injured, but the trains had been disrupted.

Commenters on the story on MailOnline seem to be angry that the woman had chosen this method of suicide which had caused the trains to be delayed.

April 13, 2011

Leading investor, Joichi Ito, says: ‘If you put a lot into your idea, you cannot fail’

[Anna Sergijenko, MCIoJ, Business News Contributor]

Joichi Ito, a serial investor, businessman and the founder of Creative Commons, the  internationally known non-profit organization which issues  free-of-claims  copyrights to creative individuals and companies. He recently shared his experience with BBC News.

According to Mr. Ito, the key to success is a non-standard idea coupled with tenacity and dedication.

“Every single company I did failed,” he said about his first decade as an entrepreneur. However, Mr. Ito’s  innovative ideas lead him to great success:  he has  invested  into many widely known social networking and software businesses such as Flickr, Six Apart and Twitter. An outspoken supporter of sharing economy and the important role of the Internet in shaping democratic processes, he was chosen by the World Economic Forum in 2001 as one of the “Global Leaders for Tomorrow’.

In general, his investor’s choice is in favour of online businesses. Unlike any others, which are encumbered by financial and other copyright-related issues, internet businesses according to Mr. Ito ‘are based on these open standards that allow interoperability and people to participate without asking permission, people to innovate without asking permission.’

Joichi Ito is generally known to be a man of wide interests and and a sharp eye for non-material things as such. The idea to develop social networking came to him, while observing young people in Chicago nightclubs where he worked as a DJ.

“People and communities and networks are what I’m interested in,’ he says. ‘I realised that in the sort of working-class community of the nightclubs there was a lot of very interesting stuff going on… The communities, people caring for each other.’