Archive for ‘US & Canada’

June 9, 2011

Germany denies America drug for killing its citizens

[Tom Hopper, US News Contributor]

Spiegel Online International: With more than 3000 American death row inmates in the 34 US states that  employ the death penalty not-so-eagerly awaiting their killing by lethal injection, America is running out of the lethal injection drugs to despatch the prisoners as US firms stop producing the deadly drug.

America’s desperate attempts to import the drugs though are not proving to be successful as country after country is refusing to supply the deadly drugs. The latest slap in the face for US executioners was from Germany which point-blank refused to supply the drug. Recently, India, UK and Denmark have done the same.

As a result, many executions have had to be delayed and the US is currently considering the employment of more primitive methods to cull its waiting list for executions.

Not a good time to be on death row in the USA it would seem. Perhaps the USA should be looking to get the lethal drugs from countries more amenable to killing their citizens which include Libya, China, Syria, Yemen, DRC as it is unlikely then that it would face any opposition for the importation of the necessary drugs.

In America, offences that carry the death penalty include:

  • Treason
  • Use of weapon of mass destruction resulting in death
  • Espionage, terrorism, certain violations of the Geneva Conventions that result in the death of one or more persons,
  • Aggravated rape in Louisiana, Florida and Oklahoma;
  • Extortionate kidnapping in Oklahoma;
  • Aggravated kidnapping in Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky and South Carolina;
  • Robbery and and aircraft hijacking in Alabama;
  • Drug trafficking resulting in a person’s death in Connecticut and Florida;
  • Train wrecking which leads to a person’s death and perjury which leads to a person’s death in California.

In addition, under the US Uniform Code of Military Justice, execution can be ordered for many more offences including: desertion, mutiny, spying, and misbehaviour before the enemy.

Many of those executed in the USA have received posthumous pardons.

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June 4, 2011

American consumers in trouble as US judges begin to imprison debt defaulters

[Tom Goldwater, Finance & Economy Contributor]

The Wall Street Journal:  In more than a third of American states now if you don’t pay your debts,  courts can imprison you.  In the UK, only local authorities have that privilege thus far as Britons can be imprisoned for failing to pay their council taxes.However, with British debt defaults increasing on a daily basis in the current severe economic times, it is likely that soon the country will follow American states providing for debtors to be jailed for non-payment of their debts.

Since 2010, The Wall Street Journal reports, over 5,000 warrants have been issued by US judges over nine counties against debtors. Furthermore, according to the Star-Tribune: “In Illinois and southwest Indiana, some judges jail debtors for missing court-ordered debt payments. In extreme cases people stay in jail until they raise a minimum payment….In January, a judge sentenced a Kenney, Illinois, man to ‘indefinite incarceration’ until he came up with $300 towards a lumber yard debt.”

The Star-Tribune reported that the man was a rooftop worker who had snapped his neck and back on the job and was off work due to his severe injuries and as a result could not pay debt was jailed for non-payment of the debt. His wife had to borrow the $300 from her credit card to get him out of jail.

Although in the USA, debtor prisons were outlawed in the 19th century, judges do not appear to be deterred from jailing debtors who fail to pay their debts and regulatory authorities are not intervening.

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May 31, 2011

“Not our vegetables to blame, its German food!”, Spain says after accusations from Germany that its vegetables caused the country’s deadly e.coli outbreak

[Peter Skelps, Epidemics Contributor]

BBC News: Spain is furious with the Germans for passing the buck to it for Germany‘s recent bad food outbreak which is making thousands seriously ill and so far has killed around 20 over Germany.

Angry Manuel Jose, a Spanish tourist in Hamburg, told iTOD Daily news contributor, Peter Skelps: “It’s nothing to do with Spain and Spanish food. It’s just a big cover up by the Germans to hide their own bad food. Bad food poisoning in Germany has always been a time bomb. Go to any fast food place, or cafe – they all touch money and everything with their hands and then handle your food with the same hands. Restaurant attendants and kitchen hands there even go to the bathroom and handle your food after without washing their hands. It’s them to blame, not us and it’s certainly nothing to do with our cucumbers.

He went on to say: “So they are bothered about 20 deaths…what about the 140,000 Germans that die each and every year directly from smoking tobacco in Germany. Instead of continuing to encourage Germans to smoke, shouldn’t they  stop trying to kill them all?”

Spain’s agricultural minister has said that Germany has no reliable data to link the poisoning to Spanish vegetables.  This view has since been echoed by a number of German officials who have expressed mixed views concerning the matter.

The outbreak has killed around fifteen Germans and one Swedish woman who died after eating German food.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), which is Germany’s national disease institute, has confirmed that since the outbreak, which appears to be worsening, over 1,150 people in  Germany have been contaminated by enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (‘EHEC‘) which in turn has led to Haemolytic-uraemic Syndrome (HUS), which causes kidney problems and can kill. Germany has 373 cases of HUS currently.

May 31, 2011

US Patriot Act extended to 2015 and gives government direct access to 300 million mobiles

[Boris Karliss, US News Contributor]

RT.com:  A buoyant President Obama and the US Congress successfully collaborated to continue America’s controversial ‘war on terror‘ with the extension of the US Patriot Act until 2015.  This means that the police and secret service will have blanket authority to spy on all Americans, whether they are involved in terror activities or not, for four more years when the Act is likely to be extended again.

Compulsory Internal Digital Examinations for Travellers

This event coupled with rumours abounding of a move by the US government to authorise internal digital examination for all travellers through US airports, US human rights activists are saying that the wide range of spying methods authorised to be employed against law-abiding citizens are being used by the Obama administration as fear tools for political advantage.

US Governments Latest Spy Tool Against Americans

With the collaboration of the major US wireless operators, the US government now has achieved a direct link to each and every hand held device in the USA. This will enable it with an alert system whereby the president and government agencies can send direct messages to each American with a handheld device warning of terror threats, weather disasters, etc. As this is just the start of the scheme many are fearing that it will soon become far more intrusive.

The system is due to become operative by the end of the year and will be fully nationwide by the middle of 2012.

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.

Related articles

May 26, 2011

First Lady Michelle Obama continues to wow England

[Tom Tatsky, Politics Contributor]

MailOnline reports that a radiant and elegant Michelle Obama in an exquisite adornment of jewels last night co-hosted a dinner in honour of the Queen of England and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

The First Lady, pictured above, wore an eye-catching black off-the-shoulder dress designed by Ralph Lauren for the formal event. Her evening wear was complemented by a thoughtful array of jewelry which included a Tom Bins cuff and necklace valued at around £1,500.

The American president, Barack Obama and the First Lady, were the host of an event at Winfield House in Regent’s Park, which is the official home of the American Ambassador, in honour of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh as a reciprocal gesture for the previous evening’s Buckingham Palace state banquet.

May 26, 2011

Earthquake of magnitude 5.9 shakes Fukushima region on May 24th 2011

[Sumi Aleksander, Japan News Contributor]

USGS: On Tuesday 24th May 2011, an earthquake of 5.9 magnitude struck the Honshu region which encapsulates the troubled Fukushima nuclear plant. No tsunami, or damage reports have been made.

The Honshu region is a notoriously unstable part of Japan and practically each day earthquakes at M4 to 6 strike the area.

An anonymous source at the UN has disclosed that it is looking into the Fukushima plant disaster to decide whether Japan was negligent in building the a nuclear plant in such an unstable part of the country and in that respect whether it should be made to compensate all countries that are now affected from serious radioactive contamination from the nuclear disaster that struck the plant.

May 24, 2011

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s state visit to UK a big hit

Picture source MailOnline – beautiful First Lady, Michelle Obama, in near miss wardrobe malfunction

[Selma Thomson, UK News Contributor]

MailOnline:  The Obamas‘ state visit to the UK seemed to be a big hit with all from the meetings with UK Prime Minister, David Cameron to that with the British royal family at Buckingham Palace.

Discussions between the politicians were reported to be warm and constructive with every hint of the ‘elusive’ special relationship in the air.

It is reported that points discussed covered how to induce ‘a sense of optimism and national mission’, whilst attending to declining living standards and the re-establishment of economies severely damaged by the financial crisis. Climate change, foreign policy challenges in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya also were featured in the discussions.

May 22, 2011

Osama bin Laden ‘died’ in 2006 and also in 2011 according to former CIA agent – RT.COM

[Jekatarina Putovska, War on Terror Contributor]

RT.COM: According a former CIA agent, Berkan Yashar, an ethnic Chechen now living in Turkey, Osama Bin Laden is in love with dying. That is because, he not only died in 2011, but also in 2006.

Berkan Yashar told Russia‘s Channel One TV station: “I knew Bin Laden’s Chechen guards very well…Samy, Ayub and Mahmud were with him right to the end. I remember well this date as there were three sixes in it – June 26, 2006. Those three men, as well as two Muslims from London and two from the US saw Bin Laden dead.He was seriously ill before his death. He faded away to skin and bone. The three Chechens washed his body before burying it.”

Yashar confirms that on May 2 2011, when President Obama pronounced that Bin Laden had been shot in the eye in Pakistan and dumped into the sea, US officials had found Bin Laden’s grave in the area of the Afghan-Pakistani border and then play-acted his killing in 2011.

Yashar said that he had only disclosed the news to the Russian media, because he had been concerned for his safety had he released the news outside Russia.

May 20, 2011

Facebook goes viral on child sex photos

[Tanya Korosova, Social Networks News Contributor]

Guardian.co.uk: Facebook, the popular social networking site with over 500 milliion users, is taking child sex abuse very seriously now.

So much so that it is introducing powerful technology called PhotoDNA which has been built by Microsoft that will automatically scan for child abuse, millions of photos posted by users in a massive drive to rid the site of paedophiles who are incresingly viewing Facebook as a haven for getting to kids.

In the past Facebook has been heavily criticised for its hitherto lax attitude to child protection on its site which has over 8 million users who are children.

The new system will be operated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) which is based in Virginia.  According to Microsoft, the system can detect child pornography with zero false positives.